Today guest edtech writer, Sandra Miller will tell a step-by-step procedure in writing a research paper.

So what is a research paper?

A research paper is a written documentation revolving around a single topic that is supported by evidence based on facts and relevant information. Although it may be a tedious process, writing a research paper can be easy, as long as you follow the following procedures.

VOCABULARY 180Selecting a Topic

Finding a topic is probably the most challenging part in the whole process, especially when no topic is assigned. Take this as an opportunity to know more about things around you by writing on something you are interested with or passionate about. You can also browse the Internet or watch television to see what’s trending.

Once you find your topic, narrow it down by listing specific questions out of it. One of these specific questions can be your thesis statement. Keep in mind that a research paper focuses on one particular subject only. For instance, if your chosen topic is about technology, narrow it down by looking into the effects of technology on children or how technology has made people’s lives easier.

Looking for Sources

Now that you have a topic, look for sources and materials that will supplement your thesis statement. There are various reliable and trustworthy sources you can use such as:

  • Books
  • Periodicals, which include magazines, newspapers, journals or scholarly articles
  • Online sources. However avoid quoting blogs or personal websites and Wiki sites since these are not reliable ones and they are most likely getting information from other people or websites too.

Make use of card catalogs or computer database or any other guide in the library to easily locate the books or periodicals to be used.

Taking Notes

Once you’ve gathered your sources, scan through it and eliminate those you will not need in your research. As soon as you establish which ones are relevant, read through all the information and make notes from it. Eventually, you will find sub topics related to your research so make sure to highlight it.

For organization purposes, use separate colors for each sub-topics. Using the technology example, topics related to mental development of children should be highlighted in yellow, physical development in orange and so on. This will be easier for you to pinpoint and sort the information you need when writing your paper. At the same time, arrange your notes according to sub topics and relevance.

And don’t forget to write down the bibliographical information from where you got the details. Remember that in writing a research paper, citing your sources is VERY important.


An outline is systematic and logical representation of how the paper will look like. In making an outline, go back to your notes and incorporate your topic and the corresponding arguments.

Writing the First Draft

It is important to establish your thesis statement at the start of your paper. After establishing your claim, support it with data and information based on your research. Again, your notes will play an important role in this process. If you feel that there is not enough information to supplement your research, look for additional materials.

Editing and Proofreading

The first draft may be disorganized. That is why it is also important to edit your paper by rearranging and adding paragraphs, omitting or adding information and ensuring the flow and continuity of ideas. Also check whether all the sources you used are included in your bibliography.

Once you’re through with the editing process, there is a need to proofread your paper by making sure it is free from spelling, grammatical or typographical errors. Further, ensure that all the instructions related to writing the research paper are properly complied with.

By following these steps, you will surely write your research paper effortlessly.

Sandra Miller is an edtech writer from Brooklyn, and helps students to make their research papers perfect!





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