5 steps in writing a research paper

The Art of Storytelling in Academic Writing: 5 Steps to a Better Research Paper

Life is about stories. We each have one. Humans use stories to create social connections, to share ideas, to entertain, and to inform. Communication takes place through stories, whether fictional, historical, or contextual. But what many people don’t know is that storytelling is just as important when it comes to academic writing.

Manuscripts submitted for publication, dissertations, and other research reports tell the story of a scientific investigation. Stories consist of five major components: setting, conflict, character, plot, and theme. Each component has its parallel in academic writing.

Since I don’t have time to dissect an entire manuscript or dissertation, I’m going to use an abstract to illustrate the concept of storytelling in academic writing. An abstract contains all the major elements of a research report: background, method, results, and conclusions.

Consider the following sample abstract:

The United States is currently facing a shortage of family practice physicians, resulting in fewer preventative health care options for patients and an increasing number of non-urgent visits to hospital emergency rooms. Despite a steady increase in medical school applications, student enrollment is limited due to a shortage of clinical faculty. Previous studies have identified high turnover rates among clinical faculty as a major challenge for medical schools. In the present study, the factors related to successful recruitment and retainment of clinical faculty were investigated by exploring the lived experiences of novice clinical faculty during the role transition from clinical practice to clinical educator.
Three common themes associated with positive role transitions were identified: orientation, training, and ongoing support. The results of this study may assist human resources personnel in medical schools with the development of programs to improve recruitment and retention of novice clinical faculty.

1. The Setting

In a research report, the setting is provided by the background information, which is drawn from the scientific literature. The reader needs to understand the overall problem and how the research topic addresses the problem. A good introduction takes the reader from a broad description of the problem to the specific focus of the study in a series of logical, sequential steps.

In the example above, the abstract begins by describing a nationwide crisis: the shortage of family physicians. The shortage of physicians is due to a shortage of clinical faculty to teach medical students. The shortage of faculty is due to high turnover rates. The high turnover rates are due to issues with recruitment and retention of faculty, which is what the study aims to address. Thus, in a few sentences, the reader is taken from a broad
problem (nationwide shortage of family physicians) to the focus of the study (recruitment and retainment of clinical faculty) in a series of logical steps that clearly explain the relevance of the study to the issue at hand.

2. The Conflict

In stories, the conflict is a struggle or an oppositional situation that involves the central character. In research reports, conflicts are based in the scientific literature. Two main types of conflict in research are discrepancies in results and gaps in the literature (i.e., unanswered questions).

When writing a paper or dissertation, a clear description of the conflict serves to engage the reader and imparts a degree of importance to the study. In the example above, the conflict is a gap in knowledge regarding the reasons for high turnover rates among clinical faculty in medical schools. The importance of the study is emphasized by connecting the gap in knowledge to the broader problem: the shortage of family physicians. Importantly, the consequences of the present situation are clearly identified: emergency rooms are being taxed by visits from patients who would be better served by a family physician, and family physicians often engage in preventative health measures to further reduce the need for hospitalization. Thus, in this case, the conflict is presented as a crisis situation with implications for healthcare costs and the health of U.S. citizens.

3. The Character

Once the background (setting) has been presented and the reader is made aware of the conflict, it is time to introduce the main character: the study. The study should be introduced to the reader as the solution to the conflict. I like to think of it as the hero swooping in to save the day.

In the above example, the problem has been clearly presented in the first three sentences. The fourth sentence introduces the study by presenting it as the potential solution to the

In the present study, the factors related to successful recruitment and retainment of clinical faculty were investigated…

The reader has already been made to understand how the successful recruitment and retainment of clinical faculty relates to the overall problem (the shortage of family physicians). The study is introduced as a means to resolve the problem (by identifying the factors involved in successful recruitment and retainment of clinical faculty). This introduction not only emphasizes the importance of the study to the reader, but also continues to engage the reader and maintain interest. Importantly, the reader is clear about the role of the study in resolving the conflict, and the need for the study is apparent.

Aside from presenting the role of the main character (to resolve the conflict), the reader
also needs to be introduced to the main character. The sentence fragment above ends with the following brief description of the methodology that not only explains how the study aims to resolve the conflict, but also describes the nature of the study itself:

…by exploring the lived experiences of novice clinical faculty during the role transition from clinical practice to clinical educator.

The qualitative nature of the study is made apparent by the description of the method (exploring the lived experiences of novice faculty). In addition, the reader learns that the phenomenon of role transition provides an outcome measure for the study. In other words, factors that are associated with successful recruitment and retention of clinical faculty are assumed to be associated with a positive role transition. Thus, the study is also phenomenological in nature.

With this information, the reader can create a framework, a mental context in which all the information that follows will be interpreted. Once again, this technique serves to engage the reader and reinforce the importance of the study.

4. The Plot

The plot consists of the events that happen in a story that relate to the central conflict. In a research report, the plot is simply the description of the study and the results. However, as with fictional writing, the connection to the central conflict must be made clear to the reader throughout the manuscript or dissertation. Confusing plotlines are the bane of any writer.

The purpose of the methods section is to provide a context in which the reader can interpret the findings and to allow other researchers to reproduce the study. Ideally, the methods section is written in a logical order that follows the sequence of events that comprise the method, beginning with sampling and followed by data collection, sorting or filtering (if applicable), and data analysis.

Results should be presented in a format that is easy to follow using visual aids such as tables, graphs, and illustrations as appropriate. The goal should be to make it easy for the reader to access the results. For example, lengthy textual descriptions of measures or statistical data should be avoided. No matter how groundbreaking the research, nobody wants to slog through paragraphs filled with numbers.

Results should be presented in a way that clearly connects them with the research topic. One of the more common mistakes I find when editing a dissertation is the presentation of results that have no clear connection to the research topic. Like a plotline that has no clear connection to the main conflict in the story, such tactics leave the reader with the impression that the material was added to provide bulk rather than substance.

5. The Theme

The theme of a story is the central idea or belief that the author wishes to convey. In a research report, the theme is largely found in the discussion of the results and the conclusions drawn from the findings, including implications for future research.

In the sample abstract above, the findings are necessarily brief. However, they convey a central message: novice clinical faculty need proper training, orientation, and support in order to be successful in their transition from practice to teaching. The implications are clear: implementing these practices will help retain novice faculty, which will boost the number of medical students and increase the number of family physicians.

The theme of a study is important: it emphasizes the contribution of the study to the body of knowledge in the field, it offers explanations for unexpected or potentially conflicting results, and it provides the reader with a sense of direction for future studies. In the sample abstract, the last sentence leaves the reader with a sense of future directions for the research.

The results of this study may assist human resources personnel with the development of programs to improve recruitment and retention of novice clinical faculty.

There is an art to writing about results. The researcher must be honest about what the study found (or did not find), point out limitations while not making the study appear weak, and draw conclusions that are clearly supported by the data. While major findings are easier to present in a positive light, the reality of scientific investigation is that studies often yield negative or conflicting results. The ability to demonstrate the importance of such findings is the mark of good academic writing.

I’ve mentioned reader interest and engagement frequently in this article, and you may ask yourself why, as a researcher publishing a study, these things should matter. The truth is that scientists, like many other professionals, succeed by convincing others of the importance and relevance of their work. This is achieved through clear communication
that engages the reader.

Storytelling has been a method of information exchange for humans since we first began to communicate ideas. Thus, applying the concepts of storytelling to academic writing can promote the conditions that are necessary for success. Grants are awarded, promotions are granted, and presentations are well attended all on the basis of clear, engaging communication. There are thousands of scientists out there who possess a high degree of intelligence and are doing work in important areas of research. To stand out among the crowd, you’ll need clear and effective communication. The best way to do that? Tell a good story.

5 Steps for Writing a Research Paper

Publications are the cornerstone of science. They disseminate data that expand our understanding of the world around us (and beyond!) and help secure funding for additional studies. However, most manuscripts do not pass the journal’s initial editorial process. Here, we review the editorial process and provide 5 steps for writing a research paper that will improve its chances of being published.

Figure 1. Publications are an important tool to disseminate research findings.

Editorial Process

Once a manuscript is submitted to a journal, it undergoes a multi-tier editorial process that includes the technical editor, chief editor, and associate editor before it is even sent out for review. The technical editor is the first one who reviews incoming manuscripts (Figure 2). Their primary duty is to ensure that the manuscript adheres to the journal’s specific requirements, such as the number of words and figure resolution. If the manuscript meets these requirements, it will next be reviewed by the chief editor, who reads the abstract – and only the abstract – to determine if the research paper is a good fit for the journal. Manuscripts that pass this stage continue to the associate editor who will read the entire manuscript. Only manuscripts that are deemed good enough will be sent out to two to three reviewers, who may or may not recommend the research paper for publication.

Research Scientists
Technical Editor
Chief Editor
Associate Editor

Step 1: Select a realistic journal

Selecting an appropriate and realistic journal is one of the most important decisions in improving your chances of getting your research paper published. To do this, read papers published by your journal-of-interest. Your envisioned paper in terms of potential impact, research topic, and amount of data should be comparable to other papers in that journal. To help narrow down the list of candidate journals to consider, try focusing on the journals that you read.

Step 2: Determine journal requirements

Each journal will have its own set of requirements, from word limits to formatting references. Failure to follow the journal’s requirements will result in the technical editor sending your manuscript back to you. These guidelines often address:

  • Word limits
  • Formatting for section headings
  • Formatting for references
  • Number of figures, tables, and references
  • Resolution of images

Formatting references to the correct style can be easily performed by software like EndNote.

Step 3: Collect enough data

Collect or continue to collect data for your study until the amount of data required for your target journal is met. Drafting a list of the tables and figures – and even the figure legends – before you even start your experiment can help streamline your data collection process. To perform statistical analyses, the number of replicates per group should be at least 3 – 5. Some analyses require more replicates, so it is important to seek the advice of a biostatistician before starting your experiment. You can also perform a statistical Power Analysis to determine the required sample size to detect an effect with a given degree of confidence.

Do you need help with experimental design, data collection, or data analysis? RayBiotech is a contract research organization that offers a comprehensive range of full testing services for proteomics research, including protein profiling with antibody arrays and biostatistics and bioinformatics analyses.

Step 4: Make high quality figures

Figures should be high quality with a minimum resolution of 300 dots per inch (dpi). Between the figure image and legend, the reader should be able to understand how the data were obtained without having to refer to the body text. With that said, if an acronym is described in the body text, it does not need to be described again in the legend. Each figure legend should have this structure:

  • Title: Figure conclusion
  • Sub-figure legend: Describe the data, but don’t interpret what the data mean. A sub-figure legend typically includes the analysis or assay method, what was measured, the sample type, full name of the treatment and concentration, and the length of treatment.
  • Last sentence: Include the statistical test used, what the p-values represent, and the number of replicates (e.g., n=5)

An example of a figure legend 1 that follows the guidelines above is below:

Figure 6. LGG supplementation decreases colonic tumor burden in a genetic cancer model. (A) Intestinal specific MSH2 knockout mice were generated by crossing Villin-Cremice with MSH2loxPuntil homozygosity. Intestinal specific MSH2 knockout mice were raised to 7 months of age, whereupon the were supplemented with HBSS, LGG, or BC by oral gavage for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks of supplementation, quantification of tumor burden was determined following removal and opening the colon longitudinally. (B) Colon lengths of mice described in (A) measured from rectum to cecum before removing colonic contents or any other manipulation. (C)Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E) sections of swiss-rolled colonic tissue with representative images of low-powered (Upper Panels) and high-powered view (Lower Panels). Areas within lower panels indicated by rectangle within the upper panels. (D) Weights of Mesenteric lymph nodes (mLn) in mice described in (A). (E) Flow cytometry analysis for the detection total CD8 T-cell numbers in mLnof mice described in (A). (F) Quantification of total effector CD8 T-cells from samples described in (E). (G) Immunofluorescence analysis for the detection of CD8 T-cells (green) DNA (Blue) within colonic polyps at 14 weeks of mice described in (A). (H) Quantification of CD8 T-cells (green) within colonic polyps at 14 weeks of mice described in (F). One-Way ANOVA utilized for statistics and represented as *=p

Typically, figures will show data in different ways. For example, the first sub-figure may present antibody array data as a heatmap or volcano plot, while other sub-figures may include a bar graph representing data from an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to confirm the finding and a confocal image of an immunofluorescent analysis showing the cellular distribution of a protein.

Journals with higher impact factors are now requiring that bar graphs also include data points representing each replicate (Figure 3). Such figures, as well as many others, can be produced using software like GraphPad Prism, which was built specifically for scientists to analyze and graph biological data. Adobe Photoshop can produce high resolution images and help compile multiple component figures.

Figure 3. Bar graph generated by GraphPad Prism software with fictional data and one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Figures with data points representing each replicate is an important detail to include while writing a research paper for publication.

How to Write a Research Paper Step by Step [2022 Upd.]

Only two words, but you already feel a chill down your spine. A research paper is no joke. It’s a super detailed piece of academic writing where you analyze a chosen issue in-depth. The main aim of such torture is to show how knowledgeable you are and that your opinion can be a valuable asset for the field.

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However, you should worry too much about it. The secret to a fabulous paper is to break it down into small tasks! Therefore, to successfully finish this task and stay sane, we only need to answer one question: What are the steps to writing a research paper? Continue reading this article by Custom-Writing.org experts, and soon you’ll get the answer!

Research papers can be kind of compared to essays since they both share a similar structure. However, the kind of paper we are talking about here is much longer and more detailed.

A typical research paper is much longer & more detailed than an essay.

Moreover, unlike with essays that present your writing skills, the research paper is needed to check your scholarly abilities. It makes sense that you would also need to spend more time looking through various sources and picking only the most credible ones. You need more self-managing skills to finish this assignment on time and with no stressing. But you can find everything you need in this short guide, which explains every step from getting ready to proofreading and editing!

👣 How to Write a Research Paper Step by Step

Read your assignment
The first step to writing a research paper is, of course, reading your assignment. Make sure you understand the formatting requirement, when the deadline is, and what you are asked to do.
Choose your topic
Now, you can concentrate on choosing your topic. There are many ways to come up with ideas, so it depends on what is more comfortable for you.
Do preliminary research
It’s time to take some time doing preliminary research. On this stage, you need to go through all the sources related to the subject. You can check out college research paper examples on the same topic for better understanding of the direction you should take your paper on, or to get additional resources.
Make a thesis statement
If there is any focal point of your research paper, this is it. Your thesis should be as coherent and logical as possible.
Outline your paper
Don’t skip writing an outline. Even though you usually see it as a total waste of time, the rest of the process gets much more efficient with it!
Make a draft
Write a draft of your research paper. The first version is never perfect, so you shouldn’t aim for it. Also, there is no need to start with the introduction; you can always choose any other part if it’s easier for you.
Revise & format it
After you finish all three parts of your paper, it’s time for the final touches. Revision and proofreading are essential parts of the writing process. They ensure that your work meets all the requirements and looks neat.

You’ll find more details on how to write a research paper in the below sections and in another useful article from this blog.

🕵 Step 1. Choosing Your Research Paper Topic

The first step to writing a research paper is to choose a topic. It should be:

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✔️ Unique The problem you choose to investigate should be broad enough that you’ll find new theories and experiments recently published.
✔️ Interesting The research paper you’re writing shouldn’t be boring. Instead, you need to find something engaging for you and your audience.
✔️ Relevant Research writing should correlate with your subject. Moreover, the primary step to finding your topic—read materials on your subject.

How to title a research paper according to your subject? Try rereading – you will find many exciting things in your notes to turn into a research paper title.

It’s also useful to read some works written by previous students. Ask your professor where you can find examples, and investigate their topics. It will inspire you to write a paper on an important issue.

🔎 Step 2. Doing Preliminary Research

How to start a research paper? By doing research, of course! In the beginning, you should determine where to find information. We have some tips on how to use the sources most effectively.

❗ Step 3. Making a Thesis Statement

While analyzing the sources, try to take some notes and put down any questions that pop up in your head. For instance, if there is something you think is worth mentioning in your research paper, write it in the form of a question. This way, you prepare for the next step, which is creating a thesis statement. And if you already decided on a research question, this statement should be able to answer it.

You need a decent thesis statement because it serves as a central element of your writing. Essentially, it allows your readers to understand the purpose of the paper.

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An effective thesis statement should be short but coherent and comprehensive. You need to describe your main arguments and briefly mention the evidence in only a couple of sentences. Typically, it is written at the end of the introduction.

It doesn’t have to be the final version since you can make changes throughout the whole writing process. As you conduct more research, you may find more ideas for the paper. However, even the version you create right now can serve as a guide later. While you’re working on the research paper’s main body, make sure every paragraph supports the thesis statement. It is vital that all of your arguments relate to it.

📑 Step 4. Making a Research Paper Outline

If it’s your first writing assignment of this type, perhaps, parts of a research paper aren’t familiar to you. Below all the categories that should be present in a research paper outline.

✒️ Step 5. Drafting Your Research Paper

Now it’s the time to start writing your paper. We collected several techniques and tricks that will help you write all of the outline components listed above.

Research Paper Title

Many students face this problem: you have a research paper topic and even some written material but don’t know how to title your work. If you don’t develop a good research title, the pages don’t make any sense. What are you creating? Why is this important? The audience will ask many questions. But it is you who actually should ask yourself first.

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What am I investigating?
What strategies and techniques do I use?
What are the results of my work?

Then combine the answers you get into a clear, informative title for a research paper.

Research Paper Abstract

The abstract isn’t a typical section for students who only write essays. So it may be a challenging task. Let’s look at the main characteristics of a good abstract:

✔️ Informative Write about your investigation. What results do you plan to get? What subject do you describe?
✔️ Brief The abstract for a research paper should be compact and precise. Try to avoid vague explanations and wordiness.
✔️ Critical Don’t overestimate your work. Don’t sell your ideas. Stick to a critical approach—tell about the advantages and flaws of your research.

Research Paper Introduction

The introduction to a research paper is your first chance to make a great impression on the audience.

For success writing an introduction to a research paper, make it perfect with the help of:

✔️ Organization The introduction is a reflection of your whole work. Structure this section by paraphrasing the main ideas of the paper.
✔️ Focus A research paper writer builds all the text around the fundamental idea. Focus on your topic and decisions about the problem.
✔️ Brevity Concise use of words is a standard feature of a great introduction. Make sure every sentence you include in this section has importance and can’t be deleted.
✔️ Honesty Don’t be shy to mention the weaknesses of your academic writing. Everyone understands that a regular student can’t develop a perfect investigation because of certain limitations.

Methods Part of a Research Paper

Some call the methods section of a research paper the core of the writing. Its importance relates to the fact that all the tools of your investigation are listed here.

What can you include in the methodology of a research paper?

✔️ Interview A discussion with a specialist is a professional way to make your paper valuable. Plan all the questions, details, and location before meeting the person who gives you an interview.
✔️ Documentary analysis What is a research paper without the investigation of documented resources? Be careful when choosing the materials—they must be relevant to the topic and trusted.
✔️ Survey What does a research paper look like? It’s a combination of investigation, statistics, and experiments. That’s why you should add some surveys to show facts, not only theory.
✔️ Observation Observation is a real experiment. It makes your research more valuable, and also—it’s a lot of fun. Put all your results in a special table you create that shows the data.

Research Paper Results

The results of a research paper show the outcome of your work. To develop an excellent scientific research paper, you should prepare your surveys and investigations so the results will be effortless to formulate.

Here are the main tips on how to do it:

✔️ Show the facts Include all the results of statistics and surveys to show the audience the scientific facts.
✔️ Don’t avoidnegative results Never avoid negative results. They aren’t mistakes in your academic writing. They’re an outcome of your research work.
✔️ Check the hypotheses Look carefully at what hypotheses you applied. Comment on each of them, was it proven or not, and by what methods.

Discussion Section of a Research Paper

To write the discussion section of a research paper, find some points that will state your ideas. You should talk about:

This is a section where self-criticism takes place—you can’t draw a good conclusion if you don’t evaluate your work with all its advantages and flaws. It would help if you also showed in this paragraph whether your research proved the results of other specialists or not.

Research Paper Conclusion

The question of how to end a research paper is an important one. You may think: We’ve already had a results section; why do we need a conclusion? A conclusion for a research paper doesn’t only show your achievements. The main function of this section is to leave the reader with a final impression. For example, you can invoke in people the desire to be more conscious of nature by sharing the facts about global warming.

Research Paper References

It’s always essential to write a bibliography, noting every article, book, or lecture that helped develop your project. When writing a reference page for a research paper, make sure you’re following the chosen format, such as APA or MLA style. Incorrect formatting can lead to a lower grade and less value to your paper.

The reference section is a challenging part. Each type of source should be written according to its specific rules. If you have any doubts on how to make the references, take a look at our APA and MLA research paper samples in the corresponding section. And the next one contains useful links that will help you format your research paper.

🔤 Step 6. Revising and Formatting Your Research Paper

The format of a research paper varies depending on the college or university you’re writing for. Be careful to follow the instructions your professor gives. You’ll know what length you should make your writing, what style to use for quotations and references, how to make a title page, and so on. No need to worry if something’s difficult to memorize. For instance, you can use an APA title page generator to at least cross this part of the paper off of your to-do list.

If you want to learn more about paper editing and revising, feel free to read this article. We also developed detailed guides on MLA and APA styles. You can use them for your research paper. The examples of how to properly cite books can be downloaded on your computer to use whenever it’s needed:

😸 Research Paper Examples

Below you’ll find two research paper examples. The first one is APA, and the second is MLA. Note that the full versions of the texts are downloadable for free!

Example #1: Child Abuse in Low-Income Families in the US (APA)

Child abuse is more prevalent in low-income families when compared to other populations in the United States. The global prevalence of this issue is at 22.3%, and the people living in poverty experience abuse as children more often when compared to others (Levely et al., 2017). Among the effects of child abuse on a person’s wellbeing, there are mental health problems, including trauma and low resilience to suicidal behavior. Additionally, physical health problems, for instance, chronic inflammation, are also associated with child abuse. However, there is no single intervention strategy that would target child abuse mitigation, which was tested and proven effective by multiple studies because this issue requires more research to define the exact causes. This study examines the different causes of child abuse in low-income families in the United States.

Example #2: Business Ethics (MLA)

Business ethics is a rapidly developing and promising academic field. Although some of its forms can be traced back to the earliest trading practiced in prehistoric human society, as a full-fledged discipline, it emerged in the second half of the last century (Wood 627). The discipline’s main objective is to equip entrepreneurs and managers with instruments allowing them to make more responsible decisions. The notion appeared to replace business philosophy in which the “greed is good” mantra dominated till the 1990s (Wood 632). The discipline will be investigated in the context of its relevance and applicability in the modern business. Business ethics is an indispensable academic field and instrument that prompts a company to reach the desired growth without employing morally dubious methods.

✏️ Research Paper FAQ

It could be useful to describe your personal experience in a research paper if you are considered a recognized expert in the field. Otherwise, you shouldn’t do it since the evidence and facts you use to support the arguments need to be strong. Therefore, it would only be wise to use trustworthy and respectable outside sources.

Writing a criminal justice research paper is easy if you follow our step-by-step guidelines. You only need to concentrate on the chosen field of study to pick the topic, and the rest of the process is explained!

Before you start picking up a topic for your research paper, it would be wise to spend an extra minute and reread the requirements. It could help you set the right objectives and prevent any future mistakes if you misunderstood the task.

The basic structure of any paper consists of an introduction, main body, and conclusion. You should always put your thesis statement, which describes your research paper’s main idea, at the end of the first part.

Five Steps to Writing a Research Paper

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.

5 Steps to Research Paper Writing

Are you just getting started with the steps in a normal academic writing guide? In that case, there are particular pointers you should bear in mind before diving. Your first steps are to choose an academic writing guide that’s both beneficial to you and appropriate to your academic writing needs. Most guides include step-by-step instructions as well as an index that you can refer to if it gets confusing. The following tips outline a simple and effective approach to writing a research report.

Step One: Selecting a Research Topic. This might be the most important step in a guide, but it is also among the least important. Based on your expertise in the topic and the obstacles you face on the way, you will have to rearrange the steps in your guide accordingly. By way of instance, if you’re new to the field, you will likely need to start by researching topics that will be familiar to you and that involve the areas you are most interested in. As you research, you will likely encounter many fascinating topics that you may not have considered otherwise. Select a topic that you think will help you gain insight into the area.

Step Two: Finding a Writing Style. There are lots of different styles and types of academic writing. You might choose to write from a variety of perspectives; or, you may want to follow an academic writing style that is often used in the field. The choice is up to you.

Step Three: Research the Article Process. If you’re a student who doesn’t know a great deal about academic writing, you probably don’t want to spend a lot of time worrying about the article process. But, even if you’ve researched the topic at a high level, the article writing process might still be confusing. If you’re not familiar with academic writing guides, it may take you a few tries to comprehend the guidelines. However, the article method is a significant step in a manual. This is where you write your first paragraphs and introduce the main points of your paper.

Step Four: Choose a Title for Your Paper. A name is the first thing your readers will see when they open your newspaper. You should ensure that it’s enlightening and relevant to your subject. Before selecting a title, make certain that it’s catchy, yet not too long or too short. You also want to make certain that your title complements the research you have done in order to support its goal. This step is vitally important for people who are not familiar with the academic writing process.

Step Five: Write Your Body and Introduction. This is the part where you present the material you’ve written on your research and explain its main idea. It’s also where you begin to detail the particulars of your research. A study guide will typically include sections of text that provide supporting evidence to your main argument. This part of your study guide comprises the introduction, body, and conclusion.

5 Steps for Writing a Research Paper Like a Pro

Anyone who has ever taken on a major research paper writing project can tell you, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Even personal or creative writing can run into writer’s block, but when you throw research into the mix, the task becomes an entirely different animal. Seasoned academic writers and professional research paper writers alike will tell you that feeling never really goes away, but you can absolutely learn to manage it.

There are plenty of specific tips to help you on your way, but the best general advice is the same as any other writing project, write what you know. Of course not every assignment will let you choose your topic, but even with an assigned topic, you don’t have to be a prisoner to your project.

In this article, we will identify the steps of a research-based writing project and present some best practices that will help you find success at each of those stages. We will also present some assistance options that you may not have considered, like hiring a professional research paper writer to walk you through the process or using writing groups to work through specific challenges.

Steps to writing a research paper

The general steps for writing these types of projects are the same whether you are a research paper writing service or a first time student. The difference between these two is that professional research paper writers are fluent in a variety of topics and have a catalog of sources readily available. Students have to start researching from scratch and are best off sticking to what they know.

The 5 steps you’ll be going through are:

  • 1. Choosing a research topic
  • 2. Gathering research
  • 3. Form a hypothesis or research question
  • 4. Outlining
  • 5. Write and edit

Though a professional research paper writer may be able to speed through or combine some of these steps, each of these parts are required for each and every research-based writing project.

1. Choosing a research topic

Selecting a specific area of research for your paper is one of the most crucial parts of the entire process. If you have a specific topic assigned, you aren’t able to do much with this step, but everyone else has a very important choice to make. In the event that you are forced to write on a subject that you know nothing about, you may want to consider seeking subject-specific help from a professional writing service or university writing center.

Stylized AI woman writing

Though it is sometimes a good idea for writers to step outside their comfort zone with writing projects, that is rarely the case with a research paper. A research-based writing project is almost guaranteed to force new learning all on its own and it tends to be more about diving deep into something specific so having a good foundation in your selected topic area is very helpful to the process. This is one of the major advantages to consulting a credible research paper writing service since their experts will be able to give terrific advice for choosing your own topic.

It is important to note that, in general, you will not be choosing an actual hypothesis or research question this early in the process. Experts and professionals may be able to make that a part of this step based on their experience with what is out there, but a student or beginner in a subject area should wait until they have finished the next step.

Stuck on choosing a topic? Consider one of these 15 popular topics.

2. Gathering research

Once you have chosen a topic, it is time for what may prove to be the longest and most labor-intensive step in the entire process. If you have access to a library, online database, or the guidance of a professional research paper writer, now would be a good time to make use of that and any other resource you can find. This step often turns into a journey of self-guided learning and that can prove a real challenge for many. It can also present a tremendous challenge for non-traditional students trying to balance school and life.

For the average writer who does not have years of experience researching a topic, this step begins with a general search for credible information that applies to your chosen subject. At this point, you don’t know what may or may not be relevant, so you want it all. You also want to be very careful about how you organize this information as you find it.

In the world of professional research paper writing services or academic writing, scholarly sources are the gold standard. Wikipedia simply does not cut it and even news articles or writings from science-based blogs should be considered suspect. You need to keep your research to peer-reviewed sources and, whenever possible, primary sources which are the writings produced directly by someone who conducted a study or made a discovery. Secondary sources have their place, but should always be considered supplemental.

Knowing if a source is primary or secondary and knowing how each should be applied is key to research paper success..

Key differences between primary and secondary sources.

As you embark on your journey of discovery, gathering reliable primary and secondary sources, you will need to keep them organized. The best way to do this is through an annotated bibliography. Some projects will require one of these anyway, but they are great for keeping all the relevant information on hand for each of your sources. Many people choose to buy annotated bibliographies from high-end research paper writing services to take this organizational task off their plate.

3. Form a hypothesis or research question

Now comes the moment of truth. By this point in the process, you have steeped yourself in reading and research on your chosen or assigned subject. At this stage, you should have enough of a background to select a hypothesis or research question for your paper. Which of these you choose to build your paper on depends on your specific needs or perhaps on the results of your research.

  • Hypothesis. This a distinct statement that the writer intends to either prove or disprove through the course of the paper.
  • Research question. This is a specific question about the subject area that the paper will explore and answer as well as the evidence is able.

During this step, you will want to engage outside resources to make sure you aren’t asking a question that has already been answered or posing a hypothesis that has been resolved. There are plenty of ways to do this:

  • You can talk to your professor, teacher’s assistant, or other students in the field to see if they are familiar with it.
  • You can consult a research paper writing service to see if their experts can give constructive advice.
  • You can simply search the internet to see if your specific hypothesis or question has been written on.

4. Outlining

Though this is perhaps the briefest of all steps, its importance should not be overlooked. While a research paper writing professional or published scholar might be able to envision an entire paper in their head, even they choose to outline as an organizational technique. Students need this step all the more.

In theory, you already have all the bones of your paper at this point. You just have to put them together in a meaningful way. You know your hypothesis or research question, you have your various sources and what each contributes. Depending on your project, you may have to include specific chapters, but if not you’ll want to keep a few general sections in mind:

  • 1. Introduction. Every paper begins with an introduction, a brief synopsis of what is to come. In a research paper, this focuses on brief context and the hypothesis or research question.
  • 2. Literature review. This section provides more thorough context. It may not be extensive and it can even be a part of the introduction, but you’ll want to keep this information in mind.
  • 3. Methodology. In this section, you will describe your research process. For most academic research papers, this is also a very brief section and may also be a part of the introduction.
  • 4. Main body. The bulk of your paper will be a repeated pattern of:
    • a. Point
    • b. Supporting data
    • c. Relevance to main point

    Whether you choose to create your own outline or buy an outline from a credible research paper writing service, you’ll want to use one. When you have a solid outline, the writing stage is more like filling in the blanks than working from scratch.

    The outline is a critical step of any major writing project. Most outlines follow this general structure..

    Structure of an outline.

    If you find yourself stuck at this point, maybe overwhelmed by the research available or maybe just up against writer’s block, consider doing a free-writing exercise to shake ideas loose. At the very least, this technique can keep you moving on a project.

    5. Write and edit

    After all the research and preparation, it is now time to write. On the plus side, much of the work of a research paper is in the research and your outline step has taken care of most of the organization. Whether you chose a credible writing service to get you to this point or did all the legwork yourself, it’s mostly downhill from here.

    Unfortunately, as with any writing project, one draft will not get the job done right. Even the best outline cannot guarantee a perfect flow the first time through and even the best writers are bound to make mistakes. Proofreading, revising, and editing are critical steps if you want the best possible outcomes.

    Provided you have time, one of the best ways to effectively proofread your own writing is to let it sit for a day or two after you finish a draft. Not every timetable allows for this, though, and that’s where professional editors, a writing group, or a trusted friend can come in handy. Put simply, you never want to turn in a first draft.

    Getting it done right

    Working at laptop with tea

    There are no substitutes for the tried and tested methods of scholars and professionals. High-end research paper writing services use experts who have been educated in the same system as students who turn to those services for guidance. They know the burdens and challenges faced by young writers every day and they understand that there is only so much time in the day. Those who choose to buy research papers, purchase editing services, or consult on individual portions of a research project, know that when you can’t do it yourself, it’s worth having it done right.

    5 steps for writing a research paper

    Writing a research paper is one of the most common tasks students get. Writing a research paper comes with responsibility, but also with stress and anxiety. A research paper is not just an essay, but a good method to get hands-on experience with conducting a study and expose your critical opinion on the findings.

    A research paper has a clear structure you need to follow, and this structure is usually shared in the requirements. Many students struggle with writing a summary , but the entire research paper can be challenging.

    So, which are the steps for writing a research paper?

    1. Choose Your Topic

    To write their research paper, many students ask teachers for help and coordination. Some teachers make topic suggestions, while others allow students to freely choose the topic. Choosing the topic you will do your research on is important and not an easy task.

    You should aim to choose something you find interesting so that you will keep your motivation levels high. At the same time, a topic you love will allow you to be original and creative, which is something you probably aim for.

    Choosing the topic of your research paper can be a challenging process. Take it to step by step and identify the subjects that catch your attention the most. Also, always think ahead and imagine how you will conduct your research on that topic.

    2. Good Research

    Before you start writing your research paper, you need to look for more information on the topic. You should not underestimate the power of good research. It can open new doors and enlarge your horizon. Good research also helps you support your points of view and hypothesis with validated arguments. You can also get new ideas on how to conduct or structure your research paper. Of course, if you need research paper writing help , some professional writers can support you in this process.

    3. Hypothesis and Research Questions

    Every research paper should have some hypothesis or research questions. These are mandatory and without them, your paper will lose value. You write it and conduct your research to prove something, and this something is your hypothesis.

    After you have done your research, you probably have enough information to form your hypothesis or research questions. There could be some specific factors you will look into. There could be processes you need to investigate. Either way, it is important to form an accurate hypothesis as it will guide your next chapters.

    4. Always Make an Outline

    Research papers are more complex than essays and assignments. It takes some time to write a research paper and this is because you have to discuss and expose a lot of ideas and arguments. Things can get confusing at times, especially when you interact with so much new information and knowledge.

    It is therefore important to always have an outline. Write a few ideas about the topics you will discuss in each part of the research paper.

    The outline of a research paper should include an introduction, where you briefly expose your chosen topic and hypothesis. The next section, literature review, should present all the evidence and facts that support your research question or hypothesis. There should be exactly those findings that led you to believe that your hypothesis is true. The next one in line is methodology. Here you should describe the entire research process and offer information about the participants, tools, and measuring options you have used.

    The next two sections are Findings/Results and Discussion/Conclusion. You should share the result of your research in the findings section and then discuss their implications in the conclusion section.

    5. Start Writing and Editing

    It would be an unreal expectation to think that you can write a perfect research paper from the very first time. But after you have organized the information, made your outline, and gained more knowledge on the subject, all you need is to start writing.

    Do not forget about editing and proofreading your research paper. It’s a plus if it is free of grammar and spelling mistakes.


    Writing a research paper can be an overwhelming process. However, if you follow these simple five steps, you can easily manage the project and organize your time. Make sure you get a good command of the topic through research and expose ideas in a clear, logical, and structured way.

    The Writing Process | 5 Steps with Examples & Tips

    Published on April 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield. Revised on April 23, 2022.

    Good academic writing requires effective planning, drafting, and revision.

    The writing process looks different for everyone, but there are five basic steps that will help you structure your time when writing any kind of text.

    Table of contents

    1. Step 1: Prewriting
    2. Step 2: Planning and outlining
    3. Step 3: Writing a first draft
    4. Step 4: Redrafting and revising
    5. Step 5: Editing and proofreading
    6. Frequently asked questions about the writing process

    Step 1: Prewriting

    Before you start writing, you need to decide exactly what you’ll write about and do the necessary research.

    Coming up with a topic

    If you have to come up with your own topic for an assignment, think of what you’ve covered in class—is there a particular area that intrigued, interested, or even confused you? Topics that left you with additional questions are perfect, as these are questions you can explore in your writing.

    The scope of your topics depends on what type of text you’re writing—for example, an essay, a research paper or a dissertation. Don’t pick anything too ambitious to cover within the word count, or too limited for you to find much to say.

    Narrow down your idea to a specific argument or question. For example, an appropriate topic for an essay might be narrowed down like this:

    Narrowing down a topic 19th-century literature Novels in the romantic period The novels of Jane Austen The theme of theater in Mansfield Park

    Doing the research

    Once you know your topic, it’s time to search for relevant sources and gather the information you need. This process varies according to your field of study and the scope of the assignment. It might involve:

    • Searching for primary and secondary sources.
    • Reading the relevant texts closely (e.g. for literary analysis).
    • Collecting data using relevant research methods (e.g. experiments, interviews or surveys)

    From a writing perspective, the important thing is to take plenty of notes while you do the research. Keep track of the titles, authors, publication dates, and relevant quotations from your sources; the data you gathered; and your initial analysis or interpretation of the questions you’re addressing.

    Step 2: Planning and outlining

    Especially in academic writing, it’s important to use a logical structure to convey information effectively. It’s far better to plan this out in advance than to try to work out your structure once you’ve already begun writing.

    Creating an essay outline is a useful way to plan out your structure before you start writing. This should help you work out the main ideas you want to focus on and how you’ll organize them. The outline doesn’t have to be final—it’s okay if your structure changes throughout the writing process.

    Use bullet points or numbering to make your structure clear at a glance. Even for a short text that won’t use headings, it’s useful to summarize what you’ll discuss in each paragraph.

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