How To Do A Research Paper

Conducting Research

One of the most important steps in writing a research paper is conducting research. It’s crucial to gather information from reliable sources to support your arguments and make your paper more credible. The following are the types of sources you can use when conducting research:

  1. Primary sources: These are sources that provide first-hand information. For instance, interviews, surveys, and observations.

  2. Secondary sources: These are sources that analyze, interpret, or summarize information from primary sources. Examples include textbooks, scholarly articles, and government reports.

  3. Tertiary sources: These are sources that compile information from primary and secondary sources. Examples include encyclopedias and dictionaries.

When evaluating sources, it’s essential to consider their reliability, relevance, and objectivity. Reliable sources are those that are authored by experts in the field and published by reputable organizations. Relevant sources should relate to the research question, while objective sources should present information that is unbiased.

Taking notes is also an essential part of conducting research. Notes help you to keep track of the sources you have used and the information you have gathered. You can use tools like Evernote or Google Keep to keep your notes organized.

Organizing Your Research

After gathering information from different sources, it’s crucial to organize it in a way that makes sense. One way to do this is to create an outline. An outline is a structure that helps you to organize your thoughts and ideas. It acts as a roadmap for your research paper and helps you to stay focused.

Creating an Outline

Creating an outline is a critical step in writing a research paper. It has several benefits, including:

  1. Helps you to stay organized: An outline helps you to stay organized by providing a structure for your paper.

  2. Saves time: An outline saves time by helping you to identify the main points of your paper and eliminate unnecessary information.

  3. Improves coherence: An outline improves coherence by ensuring that your paper flows logically from one idea to the next.

The elements of an outline include the introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction includes the research question, background information, and thesis statement. The body includes the supporting arguments, evidence, and counterarguments. The conclusion summarizes the main points of the paper and restates the thesis statement.

When creating an outline, it’s essential to use parallelism. Parallelism means that each section of the outline should have the same grammatical structure. For instance, if the first section starts with a verb, the other sections should also start with a verb.

Tips for creating an effective outline include using short phrases, using subheadings, and using bullet points. Short phrases help you to keep your outline concise, while subheadings help you to organize your thoughts. Bullet points make it easy to identify the main points of your paper.

Writing the Paper

The introduction of a research paper is critical to grabbing the reader’s attention. It should provide a clear and concise overview of the research topic, the research question, and the purpose of the paper. The introduction should also contain a thesis statement that summarizes the main argument of the paper. A good thesis statement should be clear, concise, and specific.

The body of the research paper is where the main arguments, supporting evidence, and counterarguments are presented. Each paragraph should focus on a single idea and be well-organized, with a clear topic sentence and supporting evidence. To ensure that the paper is well-structured, it is essential to create an outline before beginning to write. The outline should be used as a guide to ensure that all of the main arguments are covered in the paper.

Supporting arguments:
The supporting arguments are the backbone of the research paper. They should be well-researched, logical, and persuasive. Each supporting argument should be supported by evidence from reliable sources. It is important to ensure that the evidence is used effectively to support the argument.

The evidence used in the research paper should be credible and relevant. It should be obtained from reputable sources, such as academic journals, books, and reputable websites. The evidence should be used to support the main arguments and should be cited using the appropriate citation style.

Counterarguments are opposing arguments to the main arguments presented in the paper. They should be addressed and refuted in the paper to strengthen the main arguments. Acknowledging and addressing counterarguments shows that the research has been conducted thoroughly and that the author has considered all sides of the argument.


The conclusion of the research paper should summarize the main arguments presented in the paper. It should also provide a clear answer to the research question and restate the thesis statement. The conclusion should highlight the significance of the research and provide suggestions for future research. It is important to ensure that the conclusion is well-written and leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

Editing and Proofreading:

Importance of editing and proofreading:
Editing and proofreading are essential to ensuring that the research paper is clear, well-organized, and error-free. It is important to read the paper multiple times, checking for spelling and grammar errors, sentence structure, and clarity. Editing and proofreading help to ensure that the paper meets the required standards and is of high quality.

Tips for editing and proofreading:
One of the most effective tips for editing and proofreading is to take a break from the paper and come back to it later with a fresh perspective. It is also helpful to read the paper out loud, as this can help to identify errors that may have been missed during silent reading. Using tools such as Grammarly can also be helpful in identifying spelling and grammar errors.

Common mistakes to avoid:
Some common mistakes to avoid when editing and proofreading include using passive voice, using unnecessary words, and using the wrong citation style. It is important to ensure that the paper is written in an active voice, is concise, and follows the appropriate citation style guidelines. It is also important to ensure that the paper is well-organized and that the arguments are clear and concise.