Barbara P
Barbara P

Research Paper Writing - Step by Step Guide for Students

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Published on: Apr 19, 2023

Last updated on: Jun 6, 2023

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If you are a college student, you will probably have to write a research paper at some point. It may seem a daunting task, especially if you are writing it for the first time.

Research paper writing is an important part of the college learning experience. It helps you in learning some of the important research and writing skills.

If you are new to research paper writing, this article will guide you to write an effective research paper.

You can also get a hand at some research paper examples and sample papers to understand how to do this task properly.

Research Paper Definition

A research paper is an important form of academic writing. It requires you to locate information about a topic, take a stand, and provide supporting evidence for that stance in an organized manner.

A research paper is similar to academic essays but is usually longer and more detailed and based on in-depth analysis. Research paper writing assignments help teachers access not only your writing skills but also your scholarly research skills.

Writing an effective research paper requires you to demonstrate knowledge of your selected topic, gather information from various sources, and make an original contribution to the topic in question.

How to Write a Research Paper?

Here is a step-by-step guide to take you through the entire process of writing a great research paper.

Find a complete description of each step in the following section.

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1. Choose a Topic

Choose a topic that you find interesting and know something about. You need to spend time and pay careful attention to deciding on a topic to make sure the paper is as strong as possible.

You need to research and see what is already available and think about the future outline, thesis, or hypothesis. Explore what has already been done on the topic and what has not yet been explored.

Once you have decided on the topic and then narrowed down the research, avoid choosing a broad topic because it would be difficult to cover all the aspects.

2. Find Information

Find topic-related information for the creation of an outline. You can find this information using search engines or encyclopedias. Use these tools as a starting point and choose credible and reliable sources to find information.

3. Create Thesis Statement

Now it's time to create a strong thesis statement to set the focus of your paper. Most research papers require a thesis statement. It is a short statement that you need to put forward for the readers what you are going to address in your paper.

Even if you are arguing for or against something, your paper needs a thesis. Writing a thesis statement is helpful because every point you make in your paper should support this idea that you are putting forward.

4. Create the Research Paper Outline

Now create a research paper outline to organize your research before you begin the writing process. Once you have created your thesis statement, note down the key points that you will need to support your argument. These points are your subheadings. Now organize all your thoughts in these subheadings.

Do not organize your paper as per the sources. First, organize and then use your sources as they become relevant, and then start writing your paper.

5. Literature Review

Now uncover what has been written about the topic in the past. Your research paper should include a review of what is known about the subject and how that knowledge was acquired.

After providing the general and specific context of the existing knowledge then come up with your own research. You should contribute to the existing knowledge. And because of this expectation, the review section is helpful in narrowing down and providing some background information about the topic.

A comprehensive literature review will help you save your time and think about the specific research questions that you want to answer.

6. Research Questions

Research questions and methods that you will use to find answers. First, your questions should be specific in scope.

Within each question, present the type of data that addresses a specific research question. There are many methods to drive answers to your research questions. However, be aware that each method has a set of strengths and weaknesses.

7. Research Methodology

Here are the research methods that you can use to gather information for your paper.

  • Focus group

    It is a great method to obtain a lot of information from a group of people without not investing much time and money. Just gathering all the questions in one place and asking a group of people to provide insights is enough.

  • Survey

    This method is conducted using a large sample with participants chosen randomly to provide their insights. It is important to remember that surveys have cons as each participant might not necessarily give their honest opinion.

  • Field arrangements

    Giving a specific group, certain information while others experience a different scenario to find answers. Methods such as analysis, direct observation, experiments, or participant observations are the most common methods used by researchers.

    In writing the methods of your research paper, it is important to be as precise and detailed about the methods as possible.

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8. Results and Analysis

After collecting data through research methods now it is time to make sense of the information you have. In the results and analysis section, you need to interpret findings and compare them with previous findings. Don’t forget to write about the implications for future research work.

9. Discussion

In this section, provide a necessary disclosure and provide a sense of transparency to your reader in terms of potential weaknesses of your research. Doing this might help researchers design new methods to deal with the limitations of your study.

10. Conclusion

In this part, provide a summary and tie all the information into a clear and coherent narrative. It retouches the main points of the research starting with the main research questions, methods employed, results and findings.

11. Appendices

Academic research papers more often contain one or more appendices. It contains additional material for enlarging the reader’s understanding. Such material includes charts, tables, summaries, interview questions, questionnaires, maps, pictures, letters, etc.

Research Paper Format

The research paper usually includes the introduction with topic sentences, body paragraphs, and conclusion. However, sometimes you are also asked to create an abstract that comes at the start of the paper.

Here are the most common elements that your research paper should include.

  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Introduction and problem statement
  • Literature rereview
  • Results and analysis
  • Discussion and conclusion
  • Appendices

And for formatting your paper, the following are some basic guidelines you can follow to make it look like it is professionally written.

  • One inch margin on all sides of the paper
  • Include a title page if it is specifically asked by your instructor
  • Starting numbering with page 2
  • The entire text should be doubled spaced throughout
  • Start each paragraph with an indentation of one-inch margin from left
  • Times news Roman 12pt is the appropriate font to use

APA Research Paper Format Example

APA is the common citation style used to cite other people’s work in your paper. Here is an example research paper in APA style to help you better understand the formatting.

Research Paper Outline Template

Below you can also find a sample research paper template to better understand the formatting guidelines.

Research Paper Example

There are different parts of a research paper and to fully understand what each part includes, here are some sample research papers that you can read.

Sample of Methodology in Research Paper

The methodology section of a research paper should answer two main questions:

  • How was the data collected?
  • How was it analyzed?

It is important to provide clear and precise answers to these questions. To find out more about answering these questions, here is a sample paper that you can also refer to.

Sample Literature Review for Research Paper

No idea how to write a literature review for a research paper?

Refer to the following sample paper and understand how to tackle the literature review part of the research paper.

Here are some more research paper examples that you can use as a source of inspiration and find ideas for your own research work.

Research Paper on Education

Writing an education research paper? Here is a research paper example on education for your help.

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Research Paper on Depression

Depression is a very common topic of research papers in psychology classes. It is a very complex subject that offers many possible topics to cover which often confuses students about what to choose and where to start from.

The following example will help you in writing a great research paper on depression.

Research Paper Topics

If you are still confused and wondering how to start a research paper, the first thing that you will encounter is to choose a topic.

Here are some interesting research paper topic ideas that you can choose from for your research paper.

  • Does offering tenure increase the quality of teaching?
  • Discrimination in the education system
  • Benefits of weight training vs. aerobics
  • The decline of communication due to technology
  • Media response and public outcry to political ads
  • What are the benefits of massage therapy?
  • How does stress affect the body?
  • How are black holes created?
  • Implications of violence and crime
  • Should college athletes be paid?
  • Impact of a global initiative
  • Can everything be solar powered?

Hopefully, now you know how to write a great research paper. In case, if you are stuck at any stage or can’t stay focused while writing your research paper. You can get help from paper writing labs from

Our professional research paper writers can assist you in writing a great research paper and all other ‘write essay’ requests. These writers can give you writing help with custom research papers of high quality and plagiarism-free.

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Barbara P


Barbara P, Literature, Marketing

Barbara's qualifications include a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university and extensive experience working practically in the medical field. With her research experience on various health issues, she is skilled in writing papers that offer new perspectives on healthcare topics. Many of her works have been published across multiple renowned publications.

Barbara's qualifications include a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university and extensive experience working practically in the medical field. With her research experience on various health issues, she is skilled in writing papers that offer new perspectives on healthcare topics. Many of her works have been published across multiple renowned publications.

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