Often the actual writing is the hardest part of a research paper. How do you put all of your ideas together in a cohesive and understandable fashion? Hopefully this guide has helped lead you to this point, but if you need help, go back and review the steps you may need more help with.
You should now have the following items that will help you start your paper:
Notes and a list of references from valid and reliable sources. When you create your list of works cited, you will only need to include the citations for the sources you refer to in your paper.
An outline to guide you through your paper with main points and supporting evidence.
A start on a thesis statement. You may find that your original idea isn’t supported by the research, or your thesis may evolve and change as you write. Revisiting your thesis throughout the research process is normal and a good idea.
Reviewing what makes a good research paper will help keep you on track as you write your paper. Here are the main points from step one of this guide:
A strong and focused thesis statement
Logically organized arguments and main points
Each main point is supported by persuasive facts and examples
Opposing viewpoints are included and rebutted, showing why the author's argument is more valid
The paper shows the author's understanding of the topic and the material
The work is original, not plagiarized
Every source is correctly documented and credited in a recognized citation style
The paper is written in clear language in a style suitable for college research
Finishing Touches and Final Draft
First drafts can be messy and that is ok. Revising and editing your paper may take as much time, or longer, than writing the first draft. Here are some tips to help you through the process.
Take a break. Hopefully you gave yourself plenty of time to work on your paper and are not rushed to finish. Taking a break will clear your head, focusing your attention on sections of your paper that might need revision.
Double check the facts and numbers. Add supporting arguments as needed.
Check for grammatical and spelling errors. Omit needless words and repetitious ideas.
Check your citations (in-text citation and reference list) and paper format (header, page number, margins, etc.) to make sure sources are properly cited and the format is correct.
Ask someone to read over your paper as they may be able to spot the mistakes you overlooked.
Another way to check for mistakes, omissions, or awkward word construction is to read your paper out loud to yourself.
Tips to Help You Start Writing
To see some quick tips to help you write your paper, watch the following short video:
Need More Help?
Get your paper and citations checked at the Center for Academic Success (CAS).