A research paper is a challenging assignment that students get to complete. Writing one can take quite some time. The benefits you get after crafting a good research paper are not only good grades. Those skills and abilities you master while working on this task will serve an excellent service for your future academic activities.

Our goal here is to save your precious time by giving valuable thoughts that will make everything clear. We will show how to write a research paper in several easy steps outlined below. Buckle up your seatbelts, and let's begin!  

What Is a Research Paper?

A research paper definition is relatively simple. It is one of many types of academic writing assignments. Such tasks encourage students to conduct adequate research, show practical analysis of retrieved data, and suggest a solution to arguments they present. It allows students to test their writing skills and evaluate their approach to doing scholarly research. While working on this assignment, build your ideas upon already existing knowledge about the subject. Additionally, figure out what other experts can tell you about it in their studies.

Research papers are somewhat similar to other academic essays. The difference is in document length and number of details outlined in its content. One can say that it's writing a broader essay while presenting your main idea and its argumentation.  

How to Write a Research Paper?

Working on a research paper can cause anxiety among students who are not that proficient in academic writing. It can be a difficult task for first-time writers. But the more they write, the better acquainted with those specifics they get. Once you learn some basics, it will be much easier to succeed in other academic pursuits during the studying years.

Now let's proceed further to understand how should a research paper look. But before you start reading, you can hire research paper writers online if individual work isn't your main concern with this article.    

Research Paper Structure

There are three parts of a research paper one should include. Those are an introduction, main body, and conclusion.

  1. Introduction Aim at establishing the background for the topic to research in its beginning – provide general information about the subject of discussion. Make sure to start with a hook. It will help your readers not to get bored right away. Show some importance of your main argument. End an introduction with a thoroughly crafted thesis statement. For more information, you may find a research paper introduction example.
  2. Main body Within this part, the primary goal is to stay focused on your thesis statement. Arrange each argument one by one to support the main idea. Use topic sentences to begin each paragraph. Don't forget about evidence that you need to show as proof. The general rule of thumb is to explore each point in a separate body paragraph.
  3. Conclusion Its purpose is to give your readers a sense of completeness. Restate the thesis statement. Emphasize how your arguments work together in support of your thesis. Summarize information you have provided in the main body using our summarizing tool. More tips on how to write a conclusion for a research paper is available in our guide.

Steps in Writing a Research Paper

Before we dive into depths of research paper writing process, let us outline a couple of general recommendations:

  • Understand what your assignment is all about. It's essential to know what your professor asks for before you proceed with this task.
  • Read all instructions carefully. Pay attention to the deadline, length, and citation style requirements.
  • Follow time management strategies to have enough time for writing a good research paper. You won't be able to get a high grade if you complete your assignment in a rush. Stay focused during the entire process.

Now we can take a closer look at the actual writing steps. 

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Come up With a Strong Research Paper Topic Idea

The easiest way to pass this step is choosing a topic that you are passionate about. Think of what interests you the most, compare it to research studies available online, and decide. Or consider picking a controversial topic if you want to spark more interest in your writing. Remember that in this case, an objective explanation of both contrasting ideas will be required.

If nothing specific comes to mind, try brainstorming. Take a pen and a piece of paper and write down everything related to your subject that you can think about. You can even ask your professor or some of your friends for help with finding excellent ideas.

Aim at locating relevant materials related to your subject area online. Even if the information you see is too broad, there is always an option to narrow it down and get a specific topic idea. Keep in mind that the concept you come up with should be original and subject-specific.  

Conduct a Research

While searching for materials, make sure to find an idea that you can write your assignment around. Use every possible source, including books, articles, reliable databases, and websites. Each of those might include information helpful for analysis. Once you find sources you can use, add them to the bibliography at the end of a research paper.

In general, research process can be pretty flexible. Stay focused and don't blindly skip materials that seem irrelevant at first glance. Make sure to go through them quickly before choosing whether to use the information presented or not.

A good decision is finding some resources that show another view of your topic from an absolutely different angle. They will help you notice great opportunities to make your research paper compelling. This way you will figure out whether your position on selected topic is unique and discover any debates possible to address. BTW, we have awesome college papers help for students with busy schedules, give it a try sometime.  

Develop a Research Paper Thesis

Now that you decided upon the topic and organized your materials, it's time to think of a research paper thesis statement. With its help, show your readers what you are trying to explain or prove. Your thesis is the testimony of chosen main argument. It should be clear and coherent. Without a well-developed thesis statement, your writing piece may look jumbled since you haven't specified its clear purpose before. Don't forget that the claim you make should be followed by solid evidence later in the main body. Get this evidence from materials that you have recently researched and analyzed.

Make a Research Paper Outline

A research paper outline is a way to see what information you will present in the paper. Writing an outline is not always obligatory. It depends on the assignment requirements your professor provides. Even if it is not required, you may still create one. It will help organize thoughts. An outline usually looks like a list of crucial points divided into headings and subheadings. Each of those includes arguments and evidence you want to introduce.

For more details about this part of paper, please check out our research paper outline template guide.  

Write Your Research Paper Draft

At this point, we are halfway through the entire process. You've done an important part of work before, and now it's time to start writing. Don't focus on finding the best words that express your point of view or developing a perfect tile just yet. You need to let your thoughts flow.

Follow the tips below during the writing process:  

  • Use your own thoughts. You have already done outstanding research by now. Going back and forth to the sources might cause losing your way of thinking. In such case, one may end up copying ideas instead of providing original research. Try to write from memory. It's okay to get into the sources again if you need to include statistics or a specific quote.
  • Cite your sources. Using unique ideas will help you not plagiarize. It may sound complicated, but in reality, such an approach ensures writing an original research paper built on the works and thoughts of others. Use quotation marks and mention the source if you use a direct quote. Don't forget to check for plagiarism to make sure that your research paper is authentic.
  • Don't be afraid of reorganizing your arguments. Pay attention to the sections you write that may feel out of order. Feel free to readjust the way of presenting your ideas. Build bridges between specific parts of paper with the help of logical transitions.

Revise Your Research Paper

The revision process is crucial in determining whether you've met all research paper requirements. Usually, there are two primary aspects you should pay attention to:

  1. Content Review how your paper is organized and structured. Check wording and length. Fix phrases or sentences that sound wordy or logically incorrect. Scan the assignment for possible typos. Compare your final result to the outline you have created before. Does the content still make sense, or is it better to move some paragraphs around? Have you included everything the requirements asked for? Do you need to write more to meet the required word count? If you believe that by now, you have crafted your research paper in terms of content to perfection, let's move to the last step.
  2. Grammar Following common grammar rules influences the grade you can receive for the research paper assignment. Review your written piece for errors and edit where necessary. In case of troubles with identifying those, consider using grammar checking software, such as Grammarly.

Research Paper Checklist

Finally, please find this checklist to help organize your writing process. Pay special attention to general setup and cross-check your paper with its help to ensure an excellent result.


  • The research paper title demonstrates its relation to the content and is of interest to my readers.
  • My introduction can grab readers’ attention from the beginning.
  • The thesis statement is clear and specific.
  • I have provided enough background information, and it’s well connected to the thesis.

Main Body

  • Each body paragraph starts with a coherent topic sentence.
  • Each body paragraph includes information related to my thesis statement.
  • I have provided enough facts and evidence to support the main points.
  • The information I described in the main body flows well with good transitions.  


  • The conclusion includes a restated thesis.
  • My conclusion shows that I clearly backed up my main arguments and the thesis statement.
  • The conclusion leaves some food for thought for my readers.

General Recommendations

  • I have correctly cited borrowed materials.
  • I have included a reference page or a bibliography at the end of the paper.
  • I have carefully proofread the paper for any possible errors, and it’s now perfectly organized.
  • All the assignment requirements, including formatting, were successfully met.
  • My paper is interesting and easy to read.

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Hopefully, this simple guide on how to write a research paper has shed some light on questions you might have had. We believe that following these recommendations will be enough to succeed in completing this assignment. Stick to our guidelines, and writing a research paper will be a duck soup.

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Article posted on:May 3, 2022
Article updated on:Jul 26, 2022


Leave your comment here:
6/22/2022 1:18 PM
Hi! I am a student at Michigan uni, but I also have a full-time job. Now, I must write a research paper but I worry that I just won't have time. How long does it take to write a research paper anyway?
6/23/2022 11:40 AM
Hello Ellie,

This purely depends on how long your research paper is. For example, if it were 8 pages long, it would take about 10 hours for the average writer to type on a keyboard. But if you needed to do in-depth research, you could spend more than 23 hours writing it. Or! You can save yourself the trouble and use our professional essay writing service )
7/5/2022 4:34 PM
Hi. I'm just wondering, how often am I expected to write a research paper? This sounds like a lot of work.
7/5/2022 5:08 PM
Hi Vincent,

On average, if you are a full-time student, you write research papers in your free time. This can be 1-2 papers per year. Although, if you are given specific time to conduct your research, you are definitely expected to write more papers per year.