Hints for Drafting your Research Paper


Creating a research paper is an intimidating task if you don’t have a clue how to start. First of all, it’s important to have a clear idea on how the research process works. Here are some tips to get you started. Keep in mind they do not have to be accomplished in this order.

  • Select a somewhat general topic that holds your interest
  • Make a list of key words which will help you when looking up more information about the topic
  • Get an overview of your topic by searching some reference sources
  • Keep notes as you go. Write down the source for all notes you make so you can go back to the original source
  • later if you want to include your notes in your research paper.
  • Brainstorm to get some questions about your topic
  • Look over the ideas you’ve got and the notes you’ve taken and create your thesis statement

Your thesis statement is a pivotal part of your research paper. It’s what the entire body and contents of your paper hinges on. Without a precise and compelling statement or question, you won’t have much to write about.

The next step is to make an outline using the main ideas from your research. Each main idea should form a main heading. Other supporting points go under each heading as a sub-heading.

Look over your outline and decide if you need to refocus your thesis statement. Make sure they fall into good alignment with each other before you start writing the body of your research paper. Now is the time to switch or alter the order of the paragraphs if you feel it necessary.

Now, write the body of your paper using the notes you wrote down in the research phase. Make all necessary citations and include them in your reference list. Write the introduction and conclusion. If you need a title page, it can be completed last. Evaluate all you’ve done. Does it conform to the assignment you were given? Have you completed each requirement? If so, it’s now time to proofread and get someone to edit it for you.

It’s always best to get a new pair of eyes to do some of the proofreading and editing. Many writers can’t see their own mistakes. Even the best authors have proofreaders and editors for that very reason. The next important thing to do is turn your paper in on time.