Five Steps to Writing a Research Paper

There are five steps to writing a research paper that every student should follow. In every course or subject research paper are assigned to the students so that they learn

  • to undertake a study by themselves
  • to present their material
  • to critically evaluate a topic

For the first time students find some of the steps quite difficult to undertake but once they enter into the real process of research every step leads to making the process easier. With every step done the student will feel that they have better control over the way the research should go and the process completes in time. The only key is to follow a schedule and be regular in completing each task.

Step#1: Choosing the subject

The teacher sometimes assign a subject or topic to the student and asks him to do the research on it. The student has to undertake that topic in his own way with the guidance from the teacher. On the other hand teacher asks the students to choose their own topic and write a research paper on that. It is obvious that choosing your own subject or topic will give you more opportunity to be creative and original. It should also be kept in mind that choosing a good subject/topic for your research paper is not an easy task. Not every topic is a good one for research and new researchers might face difficulty in deciding about a topic. A topic should have several qualities to be qualified for the research.

Choosing a good topic is a whole big discussion and needs to be well understood before you actually start looking for it. A practical topic that has been well narrowed down by the student is better than a broad and emotional topic.

Step#2: Collecting information

This step needs most of your practical work and you can use both primary and secondary sources to collect data. You can read lots of books, journals, and newspapers to collect data related to your topic. You can also go beyond that and do surveys, observe real life situation or do some experiments. You can go outside and ask questions from people who know about your topic. There is no limit to the methods by which you can collect data but you have to keep your sample size as small as you can handle in your research. You have a limited time to complete this research so do not be fooled by your emotions and indulge in the data collection in such a way that it becomes too lengthy.

Step#3: Evaluating materials

After collecting data you need to critically evaluate it in light of previous authors work and your findings. This evaluation of the data makes it so personal for you although this does not mean that you invest personal bias in your research. You have to evaluate it free of any personal biases and prejudices. Keep it in mind that this research paper is your work but by no means it should reflect your personality, thinking and judgment. It should only show the knowledge that you have gained from studying and then analyzing several sources.

Step #4: Organizing ideas

Now as you have done with the collection and evaluation of the data you are in a position to organize your work in such a way that you are ready to write it down.

Step#5: Writing the paper

Writing the paper is the last step of the research paper now you have to start actual writing of the research paper. You will write down an introduction and then some reviews that will be followed by your method that you used to conduct this research paper and finally data collection and your interpretation. This all will give you a conclusion that you will write in the end. You can also write an abstract of your research paper in the beginning of your research paper. You need to acknowledge all the published or unpublished sources in your research paper. All those people who helped you in the completion of your research paper you should acknowledge them. Help from your supervisor and other experts in your subject is invaluable to you throughout the completion of your research paper.

You will first write a draft and will show it to your teacher to get it checked for any mistakes or improvements. This draft sometimes give you new ideas to improve your research paper in many useful ways. You also have the opportunity to edit your research paper for any spelling, grammar or language mistakes. You need to revise it several times before you take the final prints and are ready to present it to the class.


  • Roth, J. A., The Research Paper: Process, Form, and Content, Wadsworth Publishing Co., Eighth Ed., 1999, Pp-6-9
  • Lester, J. D., Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide, Scott, Foresman and Co., 1967, Pp- 2-8
  • Turabian, K. L., A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, The Univ of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2007, Eighth Ed., Pp- 13-20



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