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How to Write a Research Paper

Writing is an art that very few individuals have truly mastered. It takes time and lots of practice to be a good writer. Students cannot survive school without this skill, as it contributes significantly to their overall academic performance. Whether you're completing assignments, lab reports, or research papers, you will require this skill. In writing, every step from planning and preparation to finally concluding the piece plays a significant role in the quality of the paper.

It is worth noting that writing a research paper is hard for the majority of people, students not spared. In this article, students get to learn how to write a research paper, specifically how to begin writing one.

Here is a step by step guide on how to start a research paper.

Planning and Preparation for Writing a Research Paper

The key to accomplishing any task is having some organization. The same is true for writing. There is no denying the fact that writing does take quite some time. Therefore, some careful planning and preparation are crucial. It is an essential step because it helps writers identify the resources they need, where to get them and how to allocate their time.

Planning and preparation also involve going through the paper guidelines. Students need first to familiarize themselves with instructions. It is a vital step when completing any academic task. It is important to note that you will only score marks on an excellent research essay that fulfills all the paper requirements.

Organizing also involves time management. Before you start working on your research essay, you need to know how much time you have to work on it. You will get to set milestones that will help you complete the paper before the deadline. You risk being penalized when you submit your research paper past the deadline.

During the planning and preparation stage, you will get to identify writing research resources based on the paper niche. It is pertinent that students do some planning and preparation when writing a research paper.

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Choose Your Topic

Creativity and originality are two critical aspects of a well-written research essay. That is only achievable when we are conversant with the topic we are writing. Passion also plays a significant role in writing a research paper that attains the set standards.

When choosing a topic, it is always wise to go for a niche that one is comfortable writing. However, the selected field must be relevant to the paper guidelines. Go for a topic that you are familiar with and are up to date with the latest information.

The topic you choose will inform the title of the research paper. Before settling on a title, you will prepare a list of around five titles. From there, you will work on identifying the one you can get sufficient information on and can write with ease.

Tips When Choosing a Topic

  • Identify a field that you are comfortable writing and can manage.
  • The topic must be interesting enough to arouse curiosity in readers.
  • Be specific with your topic, to avoid complicating the research.
  • Choose a relevant subject that your audience will relate with.
  • Working with your teacher or supervisor is a big part of writing a good research paper. Therefore, before settling on a topic, getting their approval is crucial.
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Do Research

A good research paper example is one that has provided sufficient information. That is often an implication that the author took ample time researching data for the paper. Before starting on your research paper, it is prudent that you collect all the information will be relevant.

Mastering how to write a good research paper involves knowing just how much info to include in your writing. One must not do the following:

  • Include too much information, which more than often turns out to be irrelevant.
  • Limit information such that your research essay appears to have gaps.

Part of knowing how to write a research paper includes being capable of citing the literature you consulted. An exemplary article will always include a list of materials referenced at the end of the document. Therefore, while researching ensure that you list down the sources you use. They include:

  • Online resources such as university websites
  • Encyclopedia and the dictionary
  • Journals
  • Experts on the topic
  • Reputable broadcasting agencies - newspapers, interviews, discussions and news
  • Government publications, and reports, and
  • Reputable magazines among others

Tips for Doing Sufficient Research

Collecting data that will be useful in writing a research paper is a skill that requires some mastering. A student needs to be capable of sifting through all the literature and finding the facts useful to their research paper.

Here are some tips for conducting research:

  • Evaluate the credibility of your sources. Only use and reference legit resources.
  • Take notes while going through resources
  • Read extensively. As mentioned before, when you select a topic, ensure that you get well conversant with it. That means reading widely to learn everything you can on the subject. Read as much relevant material, both old and new content
  • Go through a research paper example on the topic

Develop a Thesis Statement

An essential skill on how to start a research paper is learning how to develop the thesis statement. That is because the thesis statement is what will dictate the development and direction of the research paper.

The thesis statement also informs the research paper outline. You will need to do a lot of brainstorming when coming up with the thesis. You will formulate several statements before settling on the appropriate one for your research paper.

It is easy to get carried away in your writing. Formulating a thesis, helps you stay focused on the main points.

Tips for Developing a Thesis Statement

Knowing how to do a research paper involves mastering how to formulate a sound thesis statement. You can practice and learn by going through a research paper example. Here are tips for formulating the thesis:

  • Come up with several statements
  • Be flexible, as you may have to revise the statement as you progress with the research paper
  • Be precise that means the thesis should be clear and focused.

Create the Research Paper Outline

In writing, a well-written piece is one that has organization and flow. The same should apply to your essay. Having the skills of how to write a good research paper includes knowing how to divide your work into sections. Divide the content into the following parts:

  • An introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion

Creating a research paper outline is an excellent way of organizing the notes you recorded while researching into the above sections. The outline can is the blueprint or map for your research essay. That is because research paper outline acts as a guide on what information to include.

Before you begin writing your paper, creating an outline is a crucial step and should therefore not be ignored. Otherwise, you will find your work lacking in organization and flow. Also, chances are that you are likely to live out of some of the crucial facts informing your research paper.

Once you're done drafting the outline, you are good to start writing the research paper.


You no longer have to wonder how to start a research paper. Writing can sometimes be a challenge, and a lot of students will shy away from it. In fact, quite a percentage will delegate the task of writing the research paper to someone else. The step by step guide provided above is the first stage of learning how to write a research paper that meets the set standards.

A common adage that we have heard and been told severally, "practice makes perfect" comes quite in handy when learning how to do a research paper. That is because it is only through practice that one can develop the expertise of research paper writing. Going through a research paper example will also offer some advantages.

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