Grad Coach

How To Write A Research Paper

Step-By-Step Tutorial With Examples + FREE Template

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Expert Reviewer: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | March 2024

For many students, crafting a strong research paper from scratch can feel like a daunting task – and rightly so! In this post, we’ll unpack what a research paper is, what it needs to do , and how to write one – in three easy steps. 🙂 

Overview: Writing A Research Paper

What (exactly) is a research paper.

  • How to write a research paper
  • Stage 1 : Topic & literature search
  • Stage 2 : Structure & outline
  • Stage 3 : Iterative writing
  • Key takeaways

Let’s start by asking the most important question, “ What is a research paper? ”.

Simply put, a research paper is a scholarly written work where the writer (that’s you!) answers a specific question (this is called a research question ) through evidence-based arguments . Evidence-based is the keyword here. In other words, a research paper is different from an essay or other writing assignments that draw from the writer’s personal opinions or experiences. With a research paper, it’s all about building your arguments based on evidence (we’ll talk more about that evidence a little later).

Now, it’s worth noting that there are many different types of research papers , including analytical papers (the type I just described), argumentative papers, and interpretative papers. Here, we’ll focus on analytical papers , as these are some of the most common – but if you’re keen to learn about other types of research papers, be sure to check out the rest of the blog .

With that basic foundation laid, let’s get down to business and look at how to write a research paper .

Research Paper Template

Overview: The 3-Stage Process

While there are, of course, many potential approaches you can take to write a research paper, there are typically three stages to the writing process. So, in this tutorial, we’ll present a straightforward three-step process that we use when working with students at Grad Coach.

These three steps are:

  • Finding a research topic and reviewing the existing literature
  • Developing a provisional structure and outline for your paper, and
  • Writing up your initial draft and then refining it iteratively

Let’s dig into each of these.

Need a helping hand?

research and paper writing

Step 1: Find a topic and review the literature

As we mentioned earlier, in a research paper, you, as the researcher, will try to answer a question . More specifically, that’s called a research question , and it sets the direction of your entire paper. What’s important to understand though is that you’ll need to answer that research question with the help of high-quality sources – for example, journal articles, government reports, case studies, and so on. We’ll circle back to this in a minute.

The first stage of the research process is deciding on what your research question will be and then reviewing the existing literature (in other words, past studies and papers) to see what they say about that specific research question. In some cases, your professor may provide you with a predetermined research question (or set of questions). However, in many cases, you’ll need to find your own research question within a certain topic area.

Finding a strong research question hinges on identifying a meaningful research gap – in other words, an area that’s lacking in existing research. There’s a lot to unpack here, so if you wanna learn more, check out the plain-language explainer video below.

Once you’ve figured out which question (or questions) you’ll attempt to answer in your research paper, you’ll need to do a deep dive into the existing literature – this is called a “ literature search ”. Again, there are many ways to go about this, but your most likely starting point will be Google Scholar .

If you’re new to Google Scholar, think of it as Google for the academic world. You can start by simply entering a few different keywords that are relevant to your research question and it will then present a host of articles for you to review. What you want to pay close attention to here is the number of citations for each paper – the more citations a paper has, the more credible it is (generally speaking – there are some exceptions, of course).

how to use google scholar

Ideally, what you’re looking for are well-cited papers that are highly relevant to your topic. That said, keep in mind that citations are a cumulative metric , so older papers will often have more citations than newer papers – just because they’ve been around for longer. So, don’t fixate on this metric in isolation – relevance and recency are also very important.

Beyond Google Scholar, you’ll also definitely want to check out academic databases and aggregators such as Science Direct, PubMed, JStor and so on. These will often overlap with the results that you find in Google Scholar, but they can also reveal some hidden gems – so, be sure to check them out.

Once you’ve worked your way through all the literature, you’ll want to catalogue all this information in some sort of spreadsheet so that you can easily recall who said what, when and within what context. If you’d like, we’ve got a free literature spreadsheet that helps you do exactly that.

Don’t fixate on an article’s citation count in isolation - relevance (to your research question) and recency are also very important.

Step 2: Develop a structure and outline

With your research question pinned down and your literature digested and catalogued, it’s time to move on to planning your actual research paper .

It might sound obvious, but it’s really important to have some sort of rough outline in place before you start writing your paper. So often, we see students eagerly rushing into the writing phase, only to land up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on in multiple

Now, the secret here is to not get caught up in the fine details . Realistically, all you need at this stage is a bullet-point list that describes (in broad strokes) what you’ll discuss and in what order. It’s also useful to remember that you’re not glued to this outline – in all likelihood, you’ll chop and change some sections once you start writing, and that’s perfectly okay. What’s important is that you have some sort of roadmap in place from the start.

You need to have a rough outline in place before you start writing your paper - or you’ll end up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on.

At this stage you might be wondering, “ But how should I structure my research paper? ”. Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here, but in general, a research paper will consist of a few relatively standardised components:

  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology

Let’s take a look at each of these.

First up is the introduction section . As the name suggests, the purpose of the introduction is to set the scene for your research paper. There are usually (at least) four ingredients that go into this section – these are the background to the topic, the research problem and resultant research question , and the justification or rationale. If you’re interested, the video below unpacks the introduction section in more detail. 

The next section of your research paper will typically be your literature review . Remember all that literature you worked through earlier? Well, this is where you’ll present your interpretation of all that content . You’ll do this by writing about recent trends, developments, and arguments within the literature – but more specifically, those that are relevant to your research question . The literature review can oftentimes seem a little daunting, even to seasoned researchers, so be sure to check out our extensive collection of literature review content here .

With the introduction and lit review out of the way, the next section of your paper is the research methodology . In a nutshell, the methodology section should describe to your reader what you did (beyond just reviewing the existing literature) to answer your research question. For example, what data did you collect, how did you collect that data, how did you analyse that data and so on? For each choice, you’ll also need to justify why you chose to do it that way, and what the strengths and weaknesses of your approach were.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that for some research papers, this aspect of the project may be a lot simpler . For example, you may only need to draw on secondary sources (in other words, existing data sets). In some cases, you may just be asked to draw your conclusions from the literature search itself (in other words, there may be no data analysis at all). But, if you are required to collect and analyse data, you’ll need to pay a lot of attention to the methodology section. The video below provides an example of what the methodology section might look like.

By this stage of your paper, you will have explained what your research question is, what the existing literature has to say about that question, and how you analysed additional data to try to answer your question. So, the natural next step is to present your analysis of that data . This section is usually called the “results” or “analysis” section and this is where you’ll showcase your findings.

Depending on your school’s requirements, you may need to present and interpret the data in one section – or you might split the presentation and the interpretation into two sections. In the latter case, your “results” section will just describe the data, and the “discussion” is where you’ll interpret that data and explicitly link your analysis back to your research question. If you’re not sure which approach to take, check in with your professor or take a look at past papers to see what the norms are for your programme.

Alright – once you’ve presented and discussed your results, it’s time to wrap it up . This usually takes the form of the “ conclusion ” section. In the conclusion, you’ll need to highlight the key takeaways from your study and close the loop by explicitly answering your research question. Again, the exact requirements here will vary depending on your programme (and you may not even need a conclusion section at all) – so be sure to check with your professor if you’re unsure.

Step 3: Write and refine

Finally, it’s time to get writing. All too often though, students hit a brick wall right about here… So, how do you avoid this happening to you?

Well, there’s a lot to be said when it comes to writing a research paper (or any sort of academic piece), but we’ll share three practical tips to help you get started.

First and foremost , it’s essential to approach your writing as an iterative process. In other words, you need to start with a really messy first draft and then polish it over multiple rounds of editing. Don’t waste your time trying to write a perfect research paper in one go. Instead, take the pressure off yourself by adopting an iterative approach.

Secondly , it’s important to always lean towards critical writing , rather than descriptive writing. What does this mean? Well, at the simplest level, descriptive writing focuses on the “ what ”, while critical writing digs into the “ so what ” – in other words, the implications . If you’re not familiar with these two types of writing, don’t worry! You can find a plain-language explanation here.

Last but not least, you’ll need to get your referencing right. Specifically, you’ll need to provide credible, correctly formatted citations for the statements you make. We see students making referencing mistakes all the time and it costs them dearly. The good news is that you can easily avoid this by using a simple reference manager . If you don’t have one, check out our video about Mendeley, an easy (and free) reference management tool that you can start using today.

Recap: Key Takeaways

We’ve covered a lot of ground here. To recap, the three steps to writing a high-quality research paper are:

  • To choose a research question and review the literature
  • To plan your paper structure and draft an outline
  • To take an iterative approach to writing, focusing on critical writing and strong referencing

Remember, this is just a b ig-picture overview of the research paper development process and there’s a lot more nuance to unpack. So, be sure to grab a copy of our free research paper template to learn more about how to write a research paper.

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research and paper writing

How to Write a Research Paper

Use the links below to jump directly to any section of this guide:

Research Paper Fundamentals

How to choose a topic or question, how to create a working hypothesis or thesis, common research paper methodologies, how to gather and organize evidence , how to write an outline for your research paper, how to write a rough draft, how to revise your draft, how to produce a final draft, resources for teachers .

It is not fair to say that no one writes anymore. Just about everyone writes text messages, brief emails, or social media posts every single day. Yet, most people don't have a lot of practice with the formal, organized writing required for a good academic research paper. This guide contains links to a variety of resources that can help demystify the process. Some of these resources are intended for teachers; they contain exercises, activities, and teaching strategies. Other resources are intended for direct use by students who are struggling to write papers, or are looking for tips to make the process go more smoothly.

The resources in this section are designed to help students understand the different types of research papers, the general research process, and how to manage their time. Below, you'll find links from university writing centers, the trusted Purdue Online Writing Lab, and more.

What is an Academic Research Paper?

"Genre and the Research Paper" (Purdue OWL)

There are different types of research papers. Different types of scholarly questions will lend themselves to one format or another. This is a brief introduction to the two main genres of research paper: analytic and argumentative. 

"7 Most Popular Types of Research Papers" (Personal-writer.com)

This resource discusses formats that high school students commonly encounter, such as the compare and contrast essay and the definitional essay. Please note that the inclusion of this link is not an endorsement of this company's paid service.

How to Prepare and Plan Out Writing a Research Paper

Teachers can give their students a step-by-step guide like these to help them understand the different steps of the research paper process. These guides can be combined with the time management tools in the next subsection to help students come up with customized calendars for completing their papers.

"Ten Steps for Writing Research Papers" (American University)  

This resource from American University is a comprehensive guide to the research paper writing process, and includes examples of proper research questions and thesis topics.

"Steps in Writing a Research Paper" (SUNY Empire State College)

This guide breaks the research paper process into 11 steps. Each "step" links to a separate page, which describes the work entailed in completing it.

How to Manage Time Effectively

The links below will help students determine how much time is necessary to complete a paper. If your sources are not available online or at your local library, you'll need to leave extra time for the Interlibrary Loan process. Remember that, even if you do not need to consult secondary sources, you'll still need to leave yourself ample time to organize your thoughts.

"Research Paper Planner: Timeline" (Baylor University)

This interactive resource from Baylor University creates a suggested writing schedule based on how much time a student has to work on the assignment.

"Research Paper Planner" (UCLA)

UCLA's library offers this step-by-step guide to the research paper writing process, which also includes a suggested planning calendar.

There's a reason teachers spend a long time talking about choosing a good topic. Without a good topic and a well-formulated research question, it is almost impossible to write a clear and organized paper. The resources below will help you generate ideas and formulate precise questions.

"How to Select a Research Topic" (Univ. of Michigan-Flint)

This resource is designed for college students who are struggling to come up with an appropriate topic. A student who uses this resource and still feels unsure about his or her topic should consult the course instructor for further personalized assistance.

"25 Interesting Research Paper Topics to Get You Started" (Kibin)

This resource, which is probably most appropriate for high school students, provides a list of specific topics to help get students started. It is broken into subsections, such as "paper topics on local issues."

"Writing a Good Research Question" (Grand Canyon University)

This introduction to research questions includes some embedded videos, as well as links to scholarly articles on research questions. This resource would be most appropriate for teachers who are planning lessons on research paper fundamentals.

"How to Write a Research Question the Right Way" (Kibin)

This student-focused resource provides more detail on writing research questions. The language is accessible, and there are embedded videos and examples of good and bad questions.

It is important to have a rough hypothesis or thesis in mind at the beginning of the research process. People who have a sense of what they want to say will have an easier time sorting through scholarly sources and other information. The key, of course, is not to become too wedded to the draft hypothesis or thesis. Just about every working thesis gets changed during the research process.

CrashCourse Video: "Sociology Research Methods" (YouTube)

Although this video is tailored to sociology students, it is applicable to students in a variety of social science disciplines. This video does a good job demonstrating the connection between the brainstorming that goes into selecting a research question and the formulation of a working hypothesis.

"How to Write a Thesis Statement for an Analytical Essay" (YouTube)

Students writing analytical essays will not develop the same type of working hypothesis as students who are writing research papers in other disciplines. For these students, developing the working thesis may happen as a part of the rough draft (see the relevant section below). 

"Research Hypothesis" (Oakland Univ.)

This resource provides some examples of hypotheses in social science disciplines like Political Science and Criminal Justice. These sample hypotheses may also be useful for students in other soft social sciences and humanities disciplines like History.

When grading a research paper, instructors look for a consistent methodology. This section will help you understand different methodological approaches used in research papers. Students will get the most out of these resources if they use them to help prepare for conversations with teachers or discussions in class.

"Types of Research Designs" (USC)

A "research design," used for complex papers, is related to the paper's method. This resource contains introductions to a variety of popular research designs in the social sciences. Although it is not the most intuitive site to read, the information here is very valuable. 

"Major Research Methods" (YouTube)

Although this video is a bit on the dry side, it provides a comprehensive overview of the major research methodologies in a format that might be more accessible to students who have struggled with textbooks or other written resources.

"Humanities Research Strategies" (USC)

This is a portal where students can learn about four methodological approaches for humanities papers: Historical Methodologies, Textual Criticism, Conceptual Analysis, and the Synoptic method.

"Selected Major Social Science Research Methods: Overview" (National Academies Press)

This appendix from the book  Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy , printed by National Academies Press, introduces some methods used in social science papers.

"Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: 6. The Methodology" (USC)

This resource from the University of Southern California's library contains tips for writing a methodology section in a research paper.

How to Determine the Best Methodology for You

Anyone who is new to writing research papers should be sure to select a method in consultation with their instructor. These resources can be used to help prepare for that discussion. They may also be used on their own by more advanced students.

"Choosing Appropriate Research Methodologies" (Palgrave Study Skills)

This friendly and approachable resource from Palgrave Macmillan can be used by students who are just starting to think about appropriate methodologies.

"How to Choose Your Research Methods" (NFER (UK))

This is another approachable resource students can use to help narrow down the most appropriate methods for their research projects.

The resources in this section introduce the process of gathering scholarly sources and collecting evidence. You'll find a range of material here, from introductory guides to advanced explications best suited to college students. Please consult the LitCharts  How to Do Academic Research guide for a more comprehensive list of resources devoted to finding scholarly literature.

Google Scholar

Students who have access to library websites with detailed research guides should start there, but people who do not have access to those resources can begin their search for secondary literature here.

"Gathering Appropriate Information" (Texas Gateway)

This resource from the Texas Gateway for online resources introduces students to the research process, and contains interactive exercises. The level of complexity is suitable for middle school, high school, and introductory college classrooms.

"An Overview of Quantitative and Qualitative Data Collection Methods" (NSF)

This PDF from the National Science Foundation goes into detail about best practices and pitfalls in data collection across multiple types of methodologies.

"Social Science Methods for Data Collection and Analysis" (Swiss FIT)

This resource is appropriate for advanced undergraduates or teachers looking to create lessons on research design and data collection. It covers techniques for gathering data via interviews, observations, and other methods.

"Collecting Data by In-depth Interviewing" (Leeds Univ.)

This resource contains enough information about conducting interviews to make it useful for teachers who want to create a lesson plan, but is also accessible enough for college juniors or seniors to make use of it on their own.

There is no "one size fits all" outlining technique. Some students might devote all their energy and attention to the outline in order to avoid the paper. Other students may benefit from being made to sit down and organize their thoughts into a lengthy sentence outline. The resources in this section include strategies and templates for multiple types of outlines. 

"Topic vs. Sentence Outlines" (UC Berkeley)

This resource introduces two basic approaches to outlining: the shorter topic-based approach, and the longer, more detailed sentence-based approach. This resource also contains videos on how to develop paper paragraphs from the sentence-based outline.

"Types of Outlines and Samples" (Purdue OWL)

The Purdue Online Writing Lab's guide is a slightly less detailed discussion of different types of outlines. It contains several sample outlines.

"Writing An Outline" (Austin C.C.)

This resource from a community college contains sample outlines from an American history class that students can use as models.

"How to Structure an Outline for a College Paper" (YouTube)

This brief (sub-2 minute) video from the ExpertVillage YouTube channel provides a model of outline writing for students who are struggling with the idea.

"Outlining" (Harvard)

This is a good resource to consult after completing a draft outline. It offers suggestions for making sure your outline avoids things like unnecessary repetition.

As with outlines, rough drafts can take on many different forms. These resources introduce teachers and students to the various approaches to writing a rough draft. This section also includes resources that will help you cite your sources appropriately according to the MLA, Chicago, and APA style manuals.

"Creating a Rough Draft for a Research Paper" (Univ. of Minnesota)

This resource is useful for teachers in particular, as it provides some suggested exercises to help students with writing a basic rough draft. 

Rough Draft Assignment (Duke of Definition)

This sample assignment, with a brief list of tips, was developed by a high school teacher who runs a very successful and well-reviewed page of educational resources.

"Creating the First Draft of Your Research Paper" (Concordia Univ.)

This resource will be helpful for perfectionists or procrastinators, as it opens by discussing the problem of avoiding writing. It also provides a short list of suggestions meant to get students writing.

Using Proper Citations

There is no such thing as a rough draft of a scholarly citation. These links to the three major citation guides will ensure that your citations follow the correct format. Please consult the LitCharts How to Cite Your Sources guide for more resources.

Chicago Manual of Style Citation Guide

Some call  The Chicago Manual of Style , which was first published in 1906, "the editors' Bible." The manual is now in its 17th edition, and is popular in the social sciences, historical journals, and some other fields in the humanities.

APA Citation Guide

According to the American Psychological Association, this guide was developed to aid reading comprehension, clarity of communication, and to reduce bias in language in the social and behavioral sciences. Its first full edition was published in 1952, and it is now in its sixth edition.

MLA Citation Guide

The Modern Language Association style is used most commonly within the liberal arts and humanities. The  MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing  was first published in 1985 and (as of 2008) is in its third edition.

Any professional scholar will tell you that the best research papers are made in the revision stage. No matter how strong your research question or working thesis, it is not possible to write a truly outstanding paper without devoting energy to revision. These resources provide examples of revision exercises for the classroom, as well as tips for students working independently.

"The Art of Revision" (Univ. of Arizona)

This resource provides a wealth of information and suggestions for both students and teachers. There is a list of suggested exercises that teachers might use in class, along with a revision checklist that is useful for teachers and students alike.

"Script for Workshop on Revision" (Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt's guide for leading a 50-minute revision workshop can serve as a model for teachers who wish to guide students through the revision process during classtime. 

"Revising Your Paper" (Univ. of Washington)

This detailed handout was designed for students who are beginning the revision process. It discusses different approaches and methods for revision, and also includes a detailed list of things students should look for while they revise.

"Revising Drafts" (UNC Writing Center)

This resource is designed for students and suggests things to look for during the revision process. It provides steps for the process and has a FAQ for students who have questions about why it is important to revise.

Conferencing with Writing Tutors and Instructors

No writer is so good that he or she can't benefit from meeting with instructors or peer tutors. These resources from university writing, learning, and communication centers provide suggestions for how to get the most out of these one-on-one meetings.

"Getting Feedback" (UNC Writing Center)

This very helpful resource talks about how to ask for feedback during the entire writing process. It contains possible questions that students might ask when developing an outline, during the revision process, and after the final draft has been graded.

"Prepare for Your Tutoring Session" (Otis College of Art and Design)

This guide from a university's student learning center contains a lot of helpful tips for getting the most out of working with a writing tutor.

"The Importance of Asking Your Professor" (Univ. of Waterloo)

This article from the university's Writing and Communication Centre's blog contains some suggestions for how and when to get help from professors and Teaching Assistants.

Once you've revised your first draft, you're well on your way to handing in a polished paper. These resources—each of them produced by writing professionals at colleges and universities—outline the steps required in order to produce a final draft. You'll find proofreading tips and checklists in text and video form.

"Developing a Final Draft of a Research Paper" (Univ. of Minnesota)

While this resource contains suggestions for revision, it also features a couple of helpful checklists for the last stages of completing a final draft.

Basic Final Draft Tips and Checklist (Univ. of Maryland-University College)

This short and accessible resource, part of UMUC's very thorough online guide to writing and research, contains a very basic checklist for students who are getting ready to turn in their final drafts.

Final Draft Checklist (Everett C.C.)

This is another accessible final draft checklist, appropriate for both high school and college students. It suggests reading your essay aloud at least once.

"How to Proofread Your Final Draft" (YouTube)

This video (approximately 5 minutes), produced by Eastern Washington University, gives students tips on proofreading final drafts.

"Proofreading Tips" (Georgia Southern-Armstrong)

This guide will help students learn how to spot common errors in their papers. It suggests focusing on content and editing for grammar and mechanics.

This final set of resources is intended specifically for high school and college instructors. It provides links to unit plans and classroom exercises that can help improve students' research and writing skills. You'll find resources that give an overview of the process, along with activities that focus on how to begin and how to carry out research. 

"Research Paper Complete Resources Pack" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This packet of assignments, rubrics, and other resources is designed for high school students. The resources in this packet are aligned to Common Core standards.

"Research Paper—Complete Unit" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This packet of assignments, notes, PowerPoints, and other resources has a 4/4 rating with over 700 ratings. It is designed for high school teachers, but might also be useful to college instructors who work with freshmen.

"Teaching Students to Write Good Papers" (Yale)

This resource from Yale's Center for Teaching and Learning is designed for college instructors, and it includes links to appropriate activities and exercises.

"Research Paper Writing: An Overview" (CUNY Brooklyn)

CUNY Brooklyn offers this complete lesson plan for introducing students to research papers. It includes an accompanying set of PowerPoint slides.

"Lesson Plan: How to Begin Writing a Research Paper" (San Jose State Univ.)

This lesson plan is designed for students in the health sciences, so teachers will have to modify it for their own needs. It includes a breakdown of the brainstorming, topic selection, and research question process. 

"Quantitative Techniques for Social Science Research" (Univ. of Pittsburgh)

This is a set of PowerPoint slides that can be used to introduce students to a variety of quantitative methods used in the social sciences.

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Research Method

Home » Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Research Paper

Research Paper

Definition:

Research Paper is a written document that presents the author’s original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue.

It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new knowledge or insights to a particular field of study, and to demonstrate the author’s understanding of the existing literature and theories related to the topic.

Structure of Research Paper

The structure of a research paper typically follows a standard format, consisting of several sections that convey specific information about the research study. The following is a detailed explanation of the structure of a research paper:

The title page contains the title of the paper, the name(s) of the author(s), and the affiliation(s) of the author(s). It also includes the date of submission and possibly, the name of the journal or conference where the paper is to be published.

The abstract is a brief summary of the research paper, typically ranging from 100 to 250 words. It should include the research question, the methods used, the key findings, and the implications of the results. The abstract should be written in a concise and clear manner to allow readers to quickly grasp the essence of the research.

Introduction

The introduction section of a research paper provides background information about the research problem, the research question, and the research objectives. It also outlines the significance of the research, the research gap that it aims to fill, and the approach taken to address the research question. Finally, the introduction section ends with a clear statement of the research hypothesis or research question.

Literature Review

The literature review section of a research paper provides an overview of the existing literature on the topic of study. It includes a critical analysis and synthesis of the literature, highlighting the key concepts, themes, and debates. The literature review should also demonstrate the research gap and how the current study seeks to address it.

The methods section of a research paper describes the research design, the sample selection, the data collection and analysis procedures, and the statistical methods used to analyze the data. This section should provide sufficient detail for other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the research, using tables, graphs, and figures to illustrate the data. The findings should be presented in a clear and concise manner, with reference to the research question and hypothesis.

The discussion section of a research paper interprets the findings and discusses their implications for the research question, the literature review, and the field of study. It should also address the limitations of the study and suggest future research directions.

The conclusion section summarizes the main findings of the study, restates the research question and hypothesis, and provides a final reflection on the significance of the research.

The references section provides a list of all the sources cited in the paper, following a specific citation style such as APA, MLA or Chicago.

How to Write Research Paper

You can write Research Paper by the following guide:

  • Choose a Topic: The first step is to select a topic that interests you and is relevant to your field of study. Brainstorm ideas and narrow down to a research question that is specific and researchable.
  • Conduct a Literature Review: The literature review helps you identify the gap in the existing research and provides a basis for your research question. It also helps you to develop a theoretical framework and research hypothesis.
  • Develop a Thesis Statement : The thesis statement is the main argument of your research paper. It should be clear, concise and specific to your research question.
  • Plan your Research: Develop a research plan that outlines the methods, data sources, and data analysis procedures. This will help you to collect and analyze data effectively.
  • Collect and Analyze Data: Collect data using various methods such as surveys, interviews, observations, or experiments. Analyze data using statistical tools or other qualitative methods.
  • Organize your Paper : Organize your paper into sections such as Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. Ensure that each section is coherent and follows a logical flow.
  • Write your Paper : Start by writing the introduction, followed by the literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. Ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and follows the required formatting and citation styles.
  • Edit and Proofread your Paper: Review your paper for grammar and spelling errors, and ensure that it is well-structured and easy to read. Ask someone else to review your paper to get feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  • Cite your Sources: Ensure that you properly cite all sources used in your research paper. This is essential for giving credit to the original authors and avoiding plagiarism.

Research Paper Example

Note : The below example research paper is for illustrative purposes only and is not an actual research paper. Actual research papers may have different structures, contents, and formats depending on the field of study, research question, data collection and analysis methods, and other factors. Students should always consult with their professors or supervisors for specific guidelines and expectations for their research papers.

Research Paper Example sample for Students:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health among Young Adults

Abstract: This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults. A literature review was conducted to examine the existing research on the topic. A survey was then administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Introduction: Social media has become an integral part of modern life, particularly among young adults. While social media has many benefits, including increased communication and social connectivity, it has also been associated with negative outcomes, such as addiction, cyberbullying, and mental health problems. This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults.

Literature Review: The literature review highlights the existing research on the impact of social media use on mental health. The review shows that social media use is associated with depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health problems. The review also identifies the factors that contribute to the negative impact of social media, including social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Methods : A survey was administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The survey included questions on social media use, mental health status (measured using the DASS-21), and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis.

Results : The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Discussion : The study’s findings suggest that social media use has a negative impact on the mental health of young adults. The study highlights the need for interventions that address the factors contributing to the negative impact of social media, such as social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Conclusion : In conclusion, social media use has a significant impact on the mental health of young adults. The study’s findings underscore the need for interventions that promote healthy social media use and address the negative outcomes associated with social media use. Future research can explore the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health. Additionally, longitudinal studies can investigate the long-term effects of social media use on mental health.

Limitations : The study has some limitations, including the use of self-report measures and a cross-sectional design. The use of self-report measures may result in biased responses, and a cross-sectional design limits the ability to establish causality.

Implications: The study’s findings have implications for mental health professionals, educators, and policymakers. Mental health professionals can use the findings to develop interventions that address the negative impact of social media use on mental health. Educators can incorporate social media literacy into their curriculum to promote healthy social media use among young adults. Policymakers can use the findings to develop policies that protect young adults from the negative outcomes associated with social media use.

References :

  • Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2019). Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Preventive medicine reports, 15, 100918.
  • Primack, B. A., Shensa, A., Escobar-Viera, C. G., Barrett, E. L., Sidani, J. E., Colditz, J. B., … & James, A. E. (2017). Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: A nationally-representative study among US young adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 1-9.
  • Van der Meer, T. G., & Verhoeven, J. W. (2017). Social media and its impact on academic performance of students. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 16, 383-398.

Appendix : The survey used in this study is provided below.

Social Media and Mental Health Survey

  • How often do you use social media per day?
  • Less than 30 minutes
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • 1 to 2 hours
  • 2 to 4 hours
  • More than 4 hours
  • Which social media platforms do you use?
  • Others (Please specify)
  • How often do you experience the following on social media?
  • Social comparison (comparing yourself to others)
  • Cyberbullying
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
  • Have you ever experienced any of the following mental health problems in the past month?
  • Do you think social media use has a positive or negative impact on your mental health?
  • Very positive
  • Somewhat positive
  • Somewhat negative
  • Very negative
  • In your opinion, which factors contribute to the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Social comparison
  • In your opinion, what interventions could be effective in reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Education on healthy social media use
  • Counseling for mental health problems caused by social media
  • Social media detox programs
  • Regulation of social media use

Thank you for your participation!

Applications of Research Paper

Research papers have several applications in various fields, including:

  • Advancing knowledge: Research papers contribute to the advancement of knowledge by generating new insights, theories, and findings that can inform future research and practice. They help to answer important questions, clarify existing knowledge, and identify areas that require further investigation.
  • Informing policy: Research papers can inform policy decisions by providing evidence-based recommendations for policymakers. They can help to identify gaps in current policies, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and inform the development of new policies and regulations.
  • Improving practice: Research papers can improve practice by providing evidence-based guidance for professionals in various fields, including medicine, education, business, and psychology. They can inform the development of best practices, guidelines, and standards of care that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • Educating students : Research papers are often used as teaching tools in universities and colleges to educate students about research methods, data analysis, and academic writing. They help students to develop critical thinking skills, research skills, and communication skills that are essential for success in many careers.
  • Fostering collaboration: Research papers can foster collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers by providing a platform for sharing knowledge and ideas. They can facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships that can lead to innovative solutions to complex problems.

When to Write Research Paper

Research papers are typically written when a person has completed a research project or when they have conducted a study and have obtained data or findings that they want to share with the academic or professional community. Research papers are usually written in academic settings, such as universities, but they can also be written in professional settings, such as research organizations, government agencies, or private companies.

Here are some common situations where a person might need to write a research paper:

  • For academic purposes: Students in universities and colleges are often required to write research papers as part of their coursework, particularly in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Writing research papers helps students to develop research skills, critical thinking skills, and academic writing skills.
  • For publication: Researchers often write research papers to publish their findings in academic journals or to present their work at academic conferences. Publishing research papers is an important way to disseminate research findings to the academic community and to establish oneself as an expert in a particular field.
  • To inform policy or practice : Researchers may write research papers to inform policy decisions or to improve practice in various fields. Research findings can be used to inform the development of policies, guidelines, and best practices that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • To share new insights or ideas: Researchers may write research papers to share new insights or ideas with the academic or professional community. They may present new theories, propose new research methods, or challenge existing paradigms in their field.

Purpose of Research Paper

The purpose of a research paper is to present the results of a study or investigation in a clear, concise, and structured manner. Research papers are written to communicate new knowledge, ideas, or findings to a specific audience, such as researchers, scholars, practitioners, or policymakers. The primary purposes of a research paper are:

  • To contribute to the body of knowledge : Research papers aim to add new knowledge or insights to a particular field or discipline. They do this by reporting the results of empirical studies, reviewing and synthesizing existing literature, proposing new theories, or providing new perspectives on a topic.
  • To inform or persuade: Research papers are written to inform or persuade the reader about a particular issue, topic, or phenomenon. They present evidence and arguments to support their claims and seek to persuade the reader of the validity of their findings or recommendations.
  • To advance the field: Research papers seek to advance the field or discipline by identifying gaps in knowledge, proposing new research questions or approaches, or challenging existing assumptions or paradigms. They aim to contribute to ongoing debates and discussions within a field and to stimulate further research and inquiry.
  • To demonstrate research skills: Research papers demonstrate the author’s research skills, including their ability to design and conduct a study, collect and analyze data, and interpret and communicate findings. They also demonstrate the author’s ability to critically evaluate existing literature, synthesize information from multiple sources, and write in a clear and structured manner.

Characteristics of Research Paper

Research papers have several characteristics that distinguish them from other forms of academic or professional writing. Here are some common characteristics of research papers:

  • Evidence-based: Research papers are based on empirical evidence, which is collected through rigorous research methods such as experiments, surveys, observations, or interviews. They rely on objective data and facts to support their claims and conclusions.
  • Structured and organized: Research papers have a clear and logical structure, with sections such as introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. They are organized in a way that helps the reader to follow the argument and understand the findings.
  • Formal and objective: Research papers are written in a formal and objective tone, with an emphasis on clarity, precision, and accuracy. They avoid subjective language or personal opinions and instead rely on objective data and analysis to support their arguments.
  • Citations and references: Research papers include citations and references to acknowledge the sources of information and ideas used in the paper. They use a specific citation style, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Peer-reviewed: Research papers are often peer-reviewed, which means they are evaluated by other experts in the field before they are published. Peer-review ensures that the research is of high quality, meets ethical standards, and contributes to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Objective and unbiased: Research papers strive to be objective and unbiased in their presentation of the findings. They avoid personal biases or preconceptions and instead rely on the data and analysis to draw conclusions.

Advantages of Research Paper

Research papers have many advantages, both for the individual researcher and for the broader academic and professional community. Here are some advantages of research papers:

  • Contribution to knowledge: Research papers contribute to the body of knowledge in a particular field or discipline. They add new information, insights, and perspectives to existing literature and help advance the understanding of a particular phenomenon or issue.
  • Opportunity for intellectual growth: Research papers provide an opportunity for intellectual growth for the researcher. They require critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, which can help develop the researcher’s skills and knowledge.
  • Career advancement: Research papers can help advance the researcher’s career by demonstrating their expertise and contributions to the field. They can also lead to new research opportunities, collaborations, and funding.
  • Academic recognition: Research papers can lead to academic recognition in the form of awards, grants, or invitations to speak at conferences or events. They can also contribute to the researcher’s reputation and standing in the field.
  • Impact on policy and practice: Research papers can have a significant impact on policy and practice. They can inform policy decisions, guide practice, and lead to changes in laws, regulations, or procedures.
  • Advancement of society: Research papers can contribute to the advancement of society by addressing important issues, identifying solutions to problems, and promoting social justice and equality.

Limitations of Research Paper

Research papers also have some limitations that should be considered when interpreting their findings or implications. Here are some common limitations of research papers:

  • Limited generalizability: Research findings may not be generalizable to other populations, settings, or contexts. Studies often use specific samples or conditions that may not reflect the broader population or real-world situations.
  • Potential for bias : Research papers may be biased due to factors such as sample selection, measurement errors, or researcher biases. It is important to evaluate the quality of the research design and methods used to ensure that the findings are valid and reliable.
  • Ethical concerns: Research papers may raise ethical concerns, such as the use of vulnerable populations or invasive procedures. Researchers must adhere to ethical guidelines and obtain informed consent from participants to ensure that the research is conducted in a responsible and respectful manner.
  • Limitations of methodology: Research papers may be limited by the methodology used to collect and analyze data. For example, certain research methods may not capture the complexity or nuance of a particular phenomenon, or may not be appropriate for certain research questions.
  • Publication bias: Research papers may be subject to publication bias, where positive or significant findings are more likely to be published than negative or non-significant findings. This can skew the overall findings of a particular area of research.
  • Time and resource constraints: Research papers may be limited by time and resource constraints, which can affect the quality and scope of the research. Researchers may not have access to certain data or resources, or may be unable to conduct long-term studies due to practical limitations.

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Writing a Research Paper

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The Research Paper

There will come a time in most students' careers when they are assigned a research paper. Such an assignment often creates a great deal of unneeded anxiety in the student, which may result in procrastination and a feeling of confusion and inadequacy. This anxiety frequently stems from the fact that many students are unfamiliar and inexperienced with this genre of writing. Never fear—inexperience and unfamiliarity are situations you can change through practice! Writing a research paper is an essential aspect of academics and should not be avoided on account of one's anxiety. In fact, the process of writing a research paper can be one of the more rewarding experiences one may encounter in academics. What is more, many students will continue to do research throughout their careers, which is one of the reasons this topic is so important.

Becoming an experienced researcher and writer in any field or discipline takes a great deal of practice. There are few individuals for whom this process comes naturally. Remember, even the most seasoned academic veterans have had to learn how to write a research paper at some point in their career. Therefore, with diligence, organization, practice, a willingness to learn (and to make mistakes!), and, perhaps most important of all, patience, students will find that they can achieve great things through their research and writing.

The pages in this section cover the following topic areas related to the process of writing a research paper:

  • Genre - This section will provide an overview for understanding the difference between an analytical and argumentative research paper.
  • Choosing a Topic - This section will guide the student through the process of choosing topics, whether the topic be one that is assigned or one that the student chooses themselves.
  • Identifying an Audience - This section will help the student understand the often times confusing topic of audience by offering some basic guidelines for the process.
  • Where Do I Begin - This section concludes the handout by offering several links to resources at Purdue, and also provides an overview of the final stages of writing a research paper.

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  • CAREER BRIEF
  • 08 May 2019

Toolkit: How to write a great paper

A clear format will ensure that your research paper is understood by your readers. Follow:

1. Context — your introduction

2. Content — your results

3. Conclusion — your discussion

Plan your paper carefully and decide where each point will sit within the framework before you begin writing.

research and paper writing

Collection: Careers toolkit

Straightforward writing

Scientific writing should always aim to be A, B and C: Accurate, Brief, and Clear. Never choose a long word when a short one will do. Use simple language to communicate your results. Always aim to distill your message down into the simplest sentence possible.

Choose a title

A carefully conceived title will communicate the single core message of your research paper. It should be D, E, F: Declarative, Engaging and Focused.

Conclusions

Add a sentence or two at the end of your concluding statement that sets out your plans for further research. What is next for you or others working in your field?

Find out more

See additional information .

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-01362-9

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How to Write a Research Paper

Mastering the Art of Research Paper Writing: A Comprehensive Guide

Undergrads often write research papers each semester, causing stress. Yet, it’s simpler than believing if you know how to write a research paper . Divide the task, get tips, a plan, and tools for an outstanding paper. Simplify research, writing, topic choice, and illustration use!

A research paper is an academic document that involves deep, independent research to offer analysis, interpretation, and argument. Unlike academic essays, research papers are lengthier and more detailed, aiming to evaluate your writing and scholarly research abilities. To write one, you must showcase expertise in your subject, interact with diverse sources, and provide a unique perspective to the discussion. 

Research papers are a foundational element of contemporary science and the most efficient means of disseminating knowledge throughout a broad network. Nonetheless, individuals usually encounter research papers during their education; they are frequently employed in college courses to assess a student’s grasp of a specific field or their aptitude for research. 

Given their significance, research papers adopt a research paper format – a formal, unadorned style that eliminates any subjective influence from the writing. Scientists present their discoveries straightforwardly, accompanied by relevant supporting proof, enabling other researchers to integrate the paper into their investigations.

This guide leads you through every steps to write a research paper , from grasping your task to refining your ultimate draft and will teach you how to write a research paper.

Understanding The Research Paper

A research paper is a meticulously structured document that showcases the outcomes of an inquiry, exploration, or scrutiny undertaken on a specific subject. It embodies a formal piece of academic prose that adds novel information, perspectives, or interpretations to a particular domain of study. Typically authored by scholars, researchers, scientists, or students as part of their academic or professional pursuits, these papers adhere to a well-defined format. This research paper format encompasses an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. 

The introduction provides context and outlines the study’s significance, while the literature review encapsulates existing research and situates the study within the broader academic discourse. The methodology section elucidates the research process, encompassing data collection and analysis techniques. Findings are presented in the results section, often complemented by graphical and statistical representations. Interpretation of findings, implications, and connection to existing knowledge transpire in the discussion section. 

Ultimately, the conclusion encapsulates pivotal discoveries and their wider import.

Research papers wield immense significance in advancing knowledge across diverse disciplines, enabling researchers to disseminate findings, theories, and revelations to a broader audience. Before publication in academic journals or presentations at conferences, these papers undergo a stringent peer review process conducted by domain experts, ensuring their integrity, precision, and worth.

Academic and non-academic research papers diverge across several dimensions. Academic papers are crafted for scholarly circles to expand domain knowledge and theories. They maintain a formal, objective tone and heavily rely on peer-reviewed sources for credibility. In contrast, non-academic papers, employing a more flexible writing style, target a broader audience or specific practical goals. These papers might incorporate persuasive language, anecdotes, and various sources beyond academia. While academic papers rigorously adhere to structured formats and established citation styles, non-academic papers prioritize practicality, adapting their structure and citation methods to suit the intended readership.

The purpose of a research paper revolves around offering fresh insights, knowledge, or interpretations within a specific field. This formal document serves as a conduit for scholars, researchers, scientists, and students to communicate their investigative findings and actively contribute to the ongoing academic discourse.

People in a library

Research Paper Writing Process – How To Write a Good Research Paper

Selecting a suitable research topic .

Your initial task is to thoroughly review the assignment and carefully absorb the writing prompt’s details. Pay particular attention to technical specifications like length, formatting prerequisites (such as single- vs. double-spacing, indentation, etc.), and the required citation style. Also, pay attention to specifics, including an abstract or a cover page.

Once you’ve a clear understanding of the assignment, the subsequent steps to write a research paper are aligned with the conventional writing process. However, remember that research papers have rules, adding some extra considerations to the process.

When given some assignment freedom, the crucial task of choosing a topic rests on you. Despite its apparent simplicity, this choice sets the foundation for your entire research paper, shaping its direction. The primary factor in picking a research paper topic is ensuring it has enough material to support it. Your chosen topic should provide ample data and complexity for a thorough discussion. However, it’s important to avoid overly broad subjects and focus on specific ones that cover all relevant information without gaps. Yet, approach topic selection more slowly; choosing something that genuinely interests you is still valuable. Aim for a topic that meets both criteria—delivering substantial content while maintaining engagement.

Conducting Thorough Research 

Commence by delving into your research early to refine your topic and shape your thesis statement. Swift engagement with available research aids in dispelling misconceptions and unveils optimal paths and strategies to gather more material. Typically, research sources can be located either online or within libraries. When navigating online sources, exercise caution and opt for reputable outlets such as scientific journals or academic papers. Specific search engines, outlined below in the Tools and Resources section, exclusively enable exploring accredited sources and academic databases.

While pursuing information, it’s essential to differentiate between primary and secondary sources. Primary sources entail firsthand accounts, encompassing published articles or autobiographies, while secondary sources, such as critical reviews or secondary biographies, are more distanced. Skimming sources instead of reading each part proves more efficient during the research phase. If a source shows promise, set it aside for more in-depth reading later. Doing so prevents you from investing excessive time in sources that won’t contribute substantively to your work. You should present a literature review detailing your references and submit them for validation in certain instances. 

Organizing And Structuring The Research Paper

According to the research paper format , an outline for a research paper is a catalogue of essential topics, arguments, and evidence you intend to incorporate. These elements are divided into sections with headings, offering a preliminary overview of the paper’s structure before commencing the writing process. Formulating a structural outline can significantly enhance writing efficiency, warranting an investment of time to establish one.

Start by generating a list encompassing crucial categories and subtopics—a preliminary outline. Reflect on the amassed information while gathering supporting evidence, pondering the most effective means of segregation and categorization.

Once a discussion list is compiled, deliberate on the optimal information presentation sequence and identify related subtopics that should be placed adjacent. Consider if any subtopic loses coherence when presented out of order. Adopting a chronological arrangement can be suitable if the information follows a straightforward trajectory.

Given the potential complexity of research papers, consider breaking down the outline into paragraphs. This aids in maintaining organization when dealing with copious information and provides better control over the paper’s progression. Rectifying structural issues during the outline phase is preferable to addressing them after writing.

Remember to incorporate supporting evidence within the outline. Since there’s likely a substantial amount to include, outlining helps prevent overlooking crucial elements.

Writing The Introduction

According to the research paper format , the introduction of a research paper must address three fundamental inquiries: What, why, and how? Upon completing the introduction, the reader should clearly understand the paper’s subject matter, its relevance, and the approach you’ll use to construct your arguments.

What? Offer precise details regarding the paper’s topic, provide context, and elucidate essential terminology or concepts.

Why? This constitutes the most crucial yet challenging aspect of the introduction. Endeavour to furnish concise responses to the subsequent queries: What novel information or insights do you present? Which significant matters does your essay assist in defining or resolving?

How? To provide the reader with a preview of the paper’s forthcoming content, the introduction should incorporate a “guide” outlining the upcoming discussions. This entails briefly outlining the paper’s principal components in chronological sequence.

Pexels Cottonbro Studio 6334870

Developing The Main Body 

One of the primary challenges that many writers grapple with is effectively organizing the wealth of information they wish to present in their papers. This is precisely why an outline can be an invaluable tool. However, it’s essential to recognize that while an outline provides a roadmap, the writing process allows flexibility in determining the order in which information and arguments are introduced.

Maintaining cohesiveness throughout the paper involves anchoring your writing to the thesis statement and topic sentences. Here’s how to ensure a well-structured paper:

  • Alignment with Thesis Statement: Regularly assess whether your topic sentences correspond with the central thesis statement. This ensures that your arguments remain on track and directly contribute to the overarching message you intend to convey.
  • Consistency and Logical Flow: Review your topic sentences concerning one another. Do they follow a logical order that guides the reader through a coherent narrative? Ensuring a seamless flow from one topic to another helps maintain engagement and comprehension.
  • Supporting Sentence Alignment: Each sentence within a paragraph should align with the topic sentence of that paragraph. This alignment reinforces the central idea, preventing tangential or disjointed discussions.

Additionally, identify paragraphs that cover similar content. While some overlap might be inevitable, it’s essential to approach shared topics from different angles, offering fresh insights and perspectives. Creating these nuanced differences helps present a well-rounded exploration of the subject matter.

An often-overlooked aspect of effective organization is the art of crafting smooth transitions. Transitions between sentences, paragraphs, and larger sections are the glue that holds your paper together. They guide the reader through the progression of ideas, enhancing clarity and creating a seamless reading experience.

Ultimately, while the struggle to organize information is accurate, employing these strategies not only aids in addressing the challenge but also contributes to the overall quality and impact of your writing.

Crafting A Strong Conclusion 

The purpose of the research paper’s conclusion is to guide your reader out of the realm of the paper’s argument, leaving them with a sense of closure.

Trace the paper’s trajectory, underscoring how all the elements converge to validate your thesis statement. Impart a sense of completion by ensuring the reader comprehends the resolution of the issues introduced in the paper’s introduction.

In addition, you can explore the broader implications of your argument, outline your paper’s contributions to future students studying the subject, and propose questions that your argument raises—ones that might not be addressed in the paper itself. However, it’s important to avoid:

  • Introducing new arguments or crucial information that wasn’t covered earlier.
  • Extending the conclusion unnecessarily.
  • Employing common phrases that signal the decision (e.g., “In conclusion”).

By adhering to these guidelines, your conclusion can serve as a fitting and impactful conclusion to your research paper, leaving a lasting impression on your readers.

Refining The Research Paper

  • Editing And Proofreading 

Eliminate unnecessary verbiage and extraneous content. In tandem with the comprehensive structure of your paper, focus on individual words, ensuring your language is robust. Verify the utilization of active voice rather than passive voice, and confirm that your word selection is precise and tangible.

The passive voice, exemplified by phrases like “I opened the door,” tends to convey hesitation and verbosity. In contrast, the active voice, as in “I opened the door,” imparts strength and brevity.

Each word employed in your paper should serve a distinct purpose. Strive to eschew the inclusion of surplus words solely to occupy space or exhibit sophistication.

For instance, the statement “The author uses pathos to appeal to readers’ emotions” is superior to the alternative “The author utilizes pathos to appeal to the emotional core of those who read the passage.”

Engage in thorough proofreading to rectify spelling, grammatical, and formatting inconsistencies. Once you’ve refined the structure and content of your paper, address any typographical and grammatical inaccuracies. Taking a break from your paper before proofreading can offer a new perspective.

Enhance error detection by reading your essay aloud. This not only aids in identifying mistakes but also assists in evaluating the flow. If you encounter sections that seem awkward during this reading, consider making necessary adjustments to enhance the overall coherence.

  • Formatting And Referencing 

Citations are pivotal in distinguishing research papers from informal nonfiction pieces like personal essays. They serve the dual purpose of substantiating your data and establishing a connection between your research paper and the broader scientific community. Given their significance, citations are subject to precise formatting regulations; however, the challenge lies in the existence of multiple sets of rules.

It’s crucial to consult the assignment’s instructions to determine the required formatting style. Generally, academic research papers adhere to either of two formatting styles for source citations:

  • MLA (Modern Language Association)
  • APA (American Psychological Association)

Moreover, aside from MLA and APA styles, occasional demands might call for adherence to CMOS (The Chicago Manual of Style), AMA (American Medical Association), and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) formats.

Initially, citations might appear intricate due to their numerous regulations and specific details. However, once you become adept at them, citing sources accurately becomes almost second nature. It’s important to note that each formatting style provides detailed guidelines for citing various sources, including photographs, websites, speeches, and YouTube videos.

Students preparing a research paper

Tips For Writing An Effective Research Paper 

By following these research paper writing tips , you’ll be well-equipped to create a well-structured, well-researched, and impactful research paper:

  • Select a Clear and Manageable Topic: Choose a topic that is specific and focused enough to be thoroughly explored within the scope of your paper.
  • Conduct In-Depth Research: Gather information from reputable sources such as academic journals, books, and credible websites. Take thorough notes to keep track of your sources.
  • Create a Strong Thesis Statement: Craft a clear and concise thesis statement that outlines the main argument or purpose of your paper.
  • Develop a Well-Structured Outline: Organize your ideas into a logical order by creating an outline that outlines the main sections and their supporting points.
  • Compose a Captivating Introduction: Hook the reader with an engaging introduction that provides background information and introduces the thesis statement.
  • Provide Clear and Relevant Evidence: Support your arguments with reliable and relevant evidence, such as statistics, examples, and expert opinions.
  • Maintain Consistent Tone and Style: Keep a consistent tone and writing style throughout the paper, adhering to the formatting guidelines of your chosen citation style.
  • Craft Coherent Paragraphs: Each paragraph should focus on a single idea or point, and transitions should smoothly guide the reader from one idea to the next.
  • Use Active Voice: Write in the active voice to make your writing more direct and engaging.
  • Revise and Edit Thoroughly: Proofread your paper for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and sentence structure. Revise for clarity and coherence.
  • Seek Peer Feedback: Have a peer or instructor review your paper for feedback and suggestions.
  • Cite Sources Properly: Accurately cite all sources using the required citation style (e.g., MLA, APA) to avoid plagiarism and give credit to original authors.
  • Be Concise and Avoid Redundancy: Strive for clarity by eliminating unnecessary words and redundancies.
  • Conclude Effectively: Summarize your main points and restate your thesis in the conclusion. Provide a sense of closure without introducing new ideas.
  • Stay Organized: Keep track of your sources, notes, and drafts to ensure a structured and organized approach to the writing process.
  • Proofread with Fresh Eyes: Take a break before final proofreading to review your paper with a fresh perspective, helping you catch any overlooked errors.
  • Edit for Clarity: Ensure that your ideas are conveyed clearly and that your arguments are easy to follow.
  • Ask for Feedback: Don’t hesitate to ask for feedback from peers, instructors, or writing centers to improve your paper further.

In conclusion, we’ve explored the essential steps to write a research paper . From selecting a focused topic to mastering the intricacies of citations, we’ve navigated through the key elements of this process.

It’s vital to recognize that adhering to the research paper writing tips is not merely a suggestion, but a roadmap to success. Each stage contributes to the overall quality and impact of your paper. By meticulously following these steps, you ensure a robust foundation for your research, bolster your arguments, and present your findings with clarity and conviction.

As you embark on your own research paper journey, I urge you to put into practice the techniques and insights shared in this guide. Don’t shy away from investing time in organization, thorough research, and precise writing. Embrace the challenge, for it’s through this process that your ideas take shape and your voice is heard within the academic discourse.

Remember, every exceptional research paper begins with a single step. And with each step you take, your ability to articulate complex ideas and contribute to your field of study grows. So, go ahead – apply these tips, refine your skills, and witness your research papers evolve into compelling narratives that inspire, inform, and captivate.

In the grand tapestry of academia, your research paper becomes a thread of insight, woven into the larger narrative of human knowledge. By embracing the writing process and nurturing your unique perspective, you become an integral part of this ever-expanding tapestry.

Happy writing, and may your research papers shine brightly, leaving a lasting mark on both your readers and the world of scholarship.

Ranvir Dange

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The Process of Research Writing

(19 reviews)

research and paper writing

Steven D. Krause, Eastern Michigan University

Copyright Year: 2007

Publisher: Steven D. Krause

Language: English

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Reviewed by Kevin Kennedy, Adjunct Professor, Bridgewater State University on 12/2/22

I think this book would make an excellent supplement to other class material in a class focused on writing and research. It helps a lot with the "why"s of research and gives a high-level overview. read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 3 see less

I think this book would make an excellent supplement to other class material in a class focused on writing and research. It helps a lot with the "why"s of research and gives a high-level overview.

Content Accuracy rating: 5

The book is accurate, and talks a lot about different ways to view academic writing

Relevance/Longevity rating: 5

This would be quite relevant for a student early on the college journey who is starting to complete research-based projects.

Clarity rating: 4

The text is clear and concise, though that conciseness sometimes leads to less content than I'd like

Consistency rating: 5

The book is consistent throughout

Modularity rating: 4

I could use the first chapters of this book very easily, but the later ones get into exercises that my classes wouldn't necessarily use

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4

The book is organized from the high level (what is academic writing with research) to the more specific (here are some specific exercises)

Interface rating: 3

I don't like the flow from contents to chapters, and they feel distinctly text-based. This is a no-frills text, but that's ok.

Grammatical Errors rating: 3

I didn't note anything glaringly obvious

Cultural Relevance rating: 5

I think that this text stays away from the cultural and focuses mostly on the cognitive. This prevents offensive material, though it may make it less appealing to students.

Reviewed by Julie Sorge Way, Instructional Faculty, James Madison University on 11/23/21

Overall, I think this book’s strongest suits are its organization, clarity, and modularity. It is useful and adaptable for a wide range of courses involving a research component, and as the book itself argues, research is a part of most learning... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 4 see less

Overall, I think this book’s strongest suits are its organization, clarity, and modularity. It is useful and adaptable for a wide range of courses involving a research component, and as the book itself argues, research is a part of most learning at the university level, whether or not a single traditional “research paper” is the end goal of a course. This is a great book with adaptable and useful content across a range of disciplines, and while it is low on “bells and whistles,” the content it provides seems to be relevant, helpful, and also fill a gap among other OER texts that focus more on rhetoric and less on research.

Because this is a book on research writing rather than cutting edge science, etc. it is unlikely to be made inaccurate by the passing of time.

In a desire to move past the simple “Comp II” textbook, Krause’s work here is relevant to a variety of fields. In creating a course with a major-specific research component, many parts of this text are relevant to what I’m doing, and due to its modularity and organization (see below) I am able to make use of it easily and draw students’ attention to the parts that will help them most with our learning objectives.

Clarity rating: 5

Krause’s writing style is uncomplicated and direct. His examples are ones I think most students could relate to or at least connect with reasonably well.

While the book is internally consistent in its tone, level of detail, and relevance to Krause’s original writing goals, in the process of applying it to different courses (as almost inevitably happens with OER materials) it is inconsistently useful for the course I in particular am planning. This is certainly no fault of the book’s. One example would be that it presents MLA and APA format for citing sources, but not Chicago/Turabian.

Modularity rating: 5

Certainly, its modularity is a real strong suit for Krause’s book overall – individual instructors planning different types of coursework that involve writing and research can easily adapt parts that work, and its Creative Commons license makes this even better.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5

Clear and direct organization is another strong suit in Krause’s text. The information is presented in an orderly and easy to navigate way that allows instructors and students alike to hone in on the most useful information for their writing and research task without spending undue amounts of time searching. This is much appreciated especially in an open access text where instructors are more likely to be “picking and choosing” relevant content from multiple texts and resources.

Interface rating: 4

Simple but clear – basic HTML and PDF navigation by chapter and section. Like many OER texts it is a bit short on visual engagement – the colorful infographics and illustrations many people are used to both in printed textbooks and interacting with internet content.

Grammatical Errors rating: 5

No errors noted.

Widely relevant (at least in the North American context I have most experience with) but as always, instructors should preview and adapt all material for the needs and context of their own classes and students.

research and paper writing

Reviewed by Li-Anne Delavega, Undergraduate Research Experience Coordinator, Kapiolani Community College on 5/1/21

This textbook builds a good foundation for first-year students with topics such as developing a thesis, how to find sources and evaluate them, creating an annotated bibliography, audience, and avoiding plagiarism. While the content is explained... read more

This textbook builds a good foundation for first-year students with topics such as developing a thesis, how to find sources and evaluate them, creating an annotated bibliography, audience, and avoiding plagiarism. While the content is explained well and students are slowly walked through the research process, the textbook ends abruptly ends with a quick overview of the elements of a research essay after students organize their evidence and create an outline. A part two textbook that covers the rest of the writing process, such as structuring paragraphs, how to write an introduction and conclusion, and revising drafts, is needed to help students get to a finished product. As a composition-based textbook, I also felt it could have used a section on building arguments. The true gem of this textbook is its activities/exercises and comprehensive but accessible explanations.

Content Accuracy rating: 4

Aside from outdated citations and technology-related content, the process-based writing instruction is accurate and answers common questions from students about research and basic writing. I feel like the questions, checklists, and activities posed are helpful for students to really think through their writing process, and the author explains things without judgment. While students can benefit, I feel that faculty would also benefit from using this as a teaching manual to plan their classes.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 3

The writing instruction is solid and is still used in many textbooks today. Obviously, the sections on technology and citation are outdated, but some sections still have good reliable advice at their core. For example, search language, unreliable web sources, and collaborating online have evolved, but the concepts remain the same. I would cut those sections out and just take what I needed to give to students. The author has no plans to update this book, and someone would need to rewrite many sections of the book, which is not easy to implement.

The book is largely free of jargon and terms are clearly explained. The author's tone is casual and conversational when compared to other textbooks, which makes it more accessible to students and acts as a guide through the research process. However, it does lend itself to longer sections that could use heavy editing and it does sound like a mini-lecture, but I liked the way he thoroughly explains and sets up concepts. His tone and style are a bit inconsistent as others have noted.

The book is very consistent since research and writing terminology is the same across most disciplines. If you're a composition instructor, you'll find the framework is just common writing pedagogy for academic writing: focus on the writing process, freewriting, peer review, audience, revision, etc.

This book was intended to be modular and chapters are mostly self-contained, so it is easy to use individual chapters or change the sequence. There are unusable hyperlinks in each chapter that refer to other sections, but those are additional resources that could be replaced with a citation guide or other common resources. Sections, activities, examples, and key ideas are clearly labeled and can be used without the rest of the chapter. However, some writing concepts, such as a working thesis, are mentioned again in later chapters.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 3

Parts of the book are easily identifiable and the content within the chapter flows easily from one concept to the next. I felt that some of the chapters should have appeared earlier in the textbook. Students would have to wait until chapter 10 to learn about the research essay. Revising a working thesis comes before categorizing and reviewing your evidence. The peer-review chapter that advises students to read sections of their writing aloud to catch mistakes comes before brainstorming a topic. However, the sequence will depend on the instructor's preference. An index or a complete, searchable text would have helped so you don't need to guess which chapter has the content you need.

The PDF is the more polished and easier to read of the two versions. Overall, the PDF was well laid out, with clear headers and images. I found the colored boxes for the exercises helpful, though a lighter color would make the text easier to see for more students. The text uses different styles to create organization and emphasis, which made some pages (especially in the beginning) hard to read with the bolded and italicized clutter. I would have loved a complied version with all the chapters.

The HTML version is difficult to read as it is one long block of text and the callouts and images are not well spaced. There is, unfortunately, no benefit to reading the web version: no clickable links, dynamic text flow, or navigational links within each page so you will need to go back to the TOC to get the next section.

Grammatical Errors rating: 4

The book has grammatical and mechanical errors throughout but does not impact content comprehension. Other reviewers here identified more notable errors.

Cultural Relevance rating: 2

The language, examples, and references were generally ok, but the overall textbook felt acultural. Some consideration was taken with pronouns (relies on they/them/their) and gender roles. As others pointed out, there are many areas that could have used diversified sources, topics, references, examples, and students. Some of the textbook's activities assume able-bodied students and sections such as peer collaboration would benefit from a more nuanced discussion when he brought up resentment over non-contributing members, being silenced, and access to resources. There are a few red flags, but one glaring example is on page 5 of chapter 10. An excerpt from an article titled “Preparing to Be Colonized: Land Tenure and Legal Strategy in Nineteenth-Century Hawaii”(which includes the sentence, "Why did Hawaiians do this to themselves?") was used to show students when to use "I" in writing.

Overall, this is a good resource for writing instructors. As this book was written in 2007, faculty will need to cut or adapt a fair amount of the text to modernize it. It is not a textbook to assign to students for the semester, but the textbook's core content is solid writing pedagogy and the focus on using activities to reflect and revise is wonderful. Those outside of composition may find the basic exercises and explanations useful as long as students are primarily working out of a more discipline-specific (e.g., sciences) writing guide.

Reviewed by Milena Gueorguieva, Associate Teaching Professor, University of Massachusetts Lowell on 6/28/20

This is a process based research writing textbook, a rarity among composition textbooks. It is often the case that foundational writing courses are supposed to cover process and then, very often, instructors, students and textbook authors all... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 5 see less

This is a process based research writing textbook, a rarity among composition textbooks. It is often the case that foundational writing courses are supposed to cover process and then, very often, instructors, students and textbook authors all forget that process is important when they have to dive into the technical aspects of conducting and writing about and from research, usually in a 'second course' in the first year writing sequence. This is not the case with this book: it is a thoughtful, comprehensive exploration of writing from research as a multi-step recursive process. This approach can help students solidify the knowledge and skills they have acquired in prior courses, especially the multi-step recursive nature of writing as a process while developing a set of strong writing from research skills.

The foundations of research writing are presented in an accessible yet rigorous way. The book does away with the myth of research writing as something you do after you think about and research a topic. The author articulated this idea very well, when he wrote, ”We think about what it is we want to research and write about, but at the same time, we learn what to think based on our research and our writing.”

Relevance/Longevity rating: 4

Overall, an excellent handbook (it can be used non-sequentially); however, some of the information on database searches and working with popular internet sources as well as collaborative writing (especially as it relates to the use of technology) needs updating.

The appropriately conversational tone translates complex academic concepts into easy to access ideas that students can relate to. The same is true for the many activities and exercises that demonstrate a variety of real life applications for the research skills presented in the book, which helps students see that research and research based writing happen everywhere, not just on campuses , where students seem to write for an audience of one: the professor who assigned the paper.

The material presented is rigorously and consistently presented in various modes: text, activities and exercises.

It can be used in a variety of ways; it has excellent modular stucture.

Excellently organized: reviews and expands on what students might already know about academic writing as a process; introduces the fundamentals of research and research writing and then uses both of these sets of skills in various research projects.

Although it has some very useful and appropriate visuals , the text could have been more user friendly; it is difficult to follow.

Excellently proof-read,

the book is culturally sensitive and contains appropriate examples and/or references.

An overall excellent composition text that provides useful exercises and assignments (such as the antithesis essay) that can help students build complex and nuanced arguments based on research. Highly recommend!

Reviewed by Valerie Young, Associate Professor, Hanover College on 3/29/20

This text is both general and specific. General enough for use in a variety of courses and disciplines, specific enough to garner interest for faculty who want to teach students the fundamentals and more nuanced aspects of research writing. The... read more

This text is both general and specific. General enough for use in a variety of courses and disciplines, specific enough to garner interest for faculty who want to teach students the fundamentals and more nuanced aspects of research writing. The basics are here. The text could be assigned in specific modules. The text will benefit from an update, especially in regards to references about collaborative writing tools and internet research. The text is missing a chapter on reading research and integrating research into the literature review process. This is a relevant skill for research writing, as student writers often struggle with reading the work of others to understand the body of literature as a foundation for their own assertions.

The content and information seems like it could be helpful for any undergraduate course that has a research writing project. The unique aspects of this book are its features of collaborative and peer review writing practices and all of the exercises embedded in the text. The author gives examples and writing exercises throughout the chapters. These examples could serve inexperienced students quite well. They could also annoy advanced students.

There are some references to the World Wide Web and the Internet, and library research that seem a bit outdated. There isn't much advanced referencing of commonly used internet research options, such as Google Scholar, citation apps, etc.

Clarity rating: 3

Some points are clear and concise. Other pieces go into too much detail for one chapter page. Because the pages are long, and not all content will be relevant to all readers, the author could consider using "collapsible" sections. This could be especially relevant in the APA & MLA sections, offering a side-by-side comparison of each or offering overviews of style basics with sections that open up into more details for some interested readers.

Consistency rating: 4

no issues here

Modularity rating: 3

The chapters are relatively concise and each starts with an overview of content. The web format does not allow for much navigational flow between chapters or sections. It would be great to hyperlink sections of content that are related so that readers can pass through parts of the text to other topics. It does look like the author intended to hyperlink between chapters, but those links (denoted "Hyperlink:" in the text) are not functional.

Overall flow is appropriate for an interdisciplinary lens. Readers can move through as many or as few sections as needed. The chapter topics and subtopics are organized fairly comprehensively, and often by questions that students might ask.

Interface rating: 2

The long blocks of text in each chapter aren't very reader friendly. Also, once the reader gets to the end of the long page / chapter, there is no navigation up to the top of the chapter or laterally to previous or next content. Text doesn't adjust to screen size, so larger screens might have lots of white space.

no issues noticed. Some examples could be updated to be more inclusive, culturally diverse, etc.

This book has some good lessons, questions, and suggestions for topics relevant to research writing. The text could benefit from a more modern take on research writing, as some of the topics and phrases are dated.

Reviewed by Jennifer Wilde, Adjunct instructor, Columbia Gorge Community College on 12/13/18

The text is a wonderful guidebook to the process of writing a research essay. It describes the steps a college writer should take when approaching a research assignment, and I have no doubt that if students followed the steps outlined by the... read more

The text is a wonderful guidebook to the process of writing a research essay. It describes the steps a college writer should take when approaching a research assignment, and I have no doubt that if students followed the steps outlined by the text, they would be sure to succeed in generating a quality thesis statement and locating appropriate sources. It is not comprehensive in that it has very little to say regarding composition, clarity and style. It does not contain an index or glossary.

Sections on MLA and APA format are inaccurate in that they are outdated. It would be preferable for the text to refer students to the online resources that provide up to date information on the latest conventions of APA and MLA.

The bulk of the chapters are timeless and filled with wisdom about using research to write a paper. However, the book should contain links or otherwise refer students to the web sources that would tell them how to use current MLA/APA format. There are some passages that feel anachronistic, as when the author recommends that students consider the advantages of using a computer rather than a word processor or typewriter. The sections on computer research and "netiquette" feel outdated. Finally, the author describes the differences between scholarly sources and periodicals but does not address the newer type of resources, the online journal that is peer-reviewed but open access and not associated with a university.

The writing is strong and clear. Dr. Krause does not indulge in the use of jargon.

The different sections open with an explanation of what will be covered. Then, the author explains the content. Some chapters are rather short while others are long, but generally each topic is addressed comprehensively. In the last several chapters, the author closes with a sample of student work that illustrates the principles the chapter addressed.

The text is divisible into sections. To some extent the content is sequential, but it is not necessary to read the early chapters (such as the section on using computers, which millenials do not need to read) in order to benefit from the wisdom in later chapters. I used this text in a writing 121 course, and I did not assign the entire text. I found some chapters helpful and others not so relevant to my particular needs. Students found the chapters useful and discrete, and they did not feel like they had to go back and read the whole thing. The section on writing an annotated bibliography, for instance, could be used in any writing class.

The topics are presented in the order in which a student approaches a writing assignment. First, the author asks, why write a research essay, and why do research? Next, the author addresses critical thinking and library/data use; quoting, summarizing and paraphrasing; collaboration and writing with others; writing a quality thesis statement; annotating a bibliography; categorizing sources; dealing with counterarguments, and actually writing the research essay. It's quite intuitive and logical. It seems clear that this author has had a lot of experience teaching students how to do these steps.

The interface is straightforward, but I could not locate any hyperlinks that worked. Navigation through the book was no problem.

The book is well written overall. The writer's style is straightforward and clear. There are occasional typos and words that feel misplaced, as in the following sentence: "The reality is though that the possibilities and process of research writing are more complicated and much richer than that." There should be commas around the word "though", and the tone is fairly conversational. These are extremely minor issues.

The examples feel inclusive and I was not aware of any cultural insensitivity in the book overall.

The book is really helpful! I particularly appreciate the sections on how to write an annotated bib and a good thesis statement, and I think the sections on writing a category/evaluation of sources, working thesis statement, and antithesis exercise are unique in the large field of writing textbooks. The book contains no instruction on grammatical conventions, style, clarity, rhetoric, how to emphasize or de-emphasize points, or other writing tips. In that sense, it is not a great text for a composition class. But I think it's extremely useful as a second resource for such a class, especially for classes that teach argumentation or those that require an analytic essay. I feel it is most appropriate for science students - nursing, psychology, medicine, biology, sociology. It is less likely to be useful for a general WR 121 class, or for a bunch of English majors who largely use primary sources.

Reviewed by Jess Magaña, Assistant Teaching Professor, University of Missouri-Kansas City on 6/19/18

This is a comprehensive introduction to planning and writing research papers. The suggested activities seem helpful, and the lack of an index or glossary does not interfere with understanding. read more

This is a comprehensive introduction to planning and writing research papers. The suggested activities seem helpful, and the lack of an index or glossary does not interfere with understanding.

The information is accurate and straightforward.

Some information is out of date, such as the section regarding email, but the main concepts are well explained and relevant. An instructor could easily substitute a lecture or activity with updated information.

The clarity is excellent.

There are no inconsistencies.

The text is organized in a way that lends itself to changing the order of chapters and adding and subtracting topics to suit the needs of each class.

The progression of chapters is logical.

Interface rating: 5

The "hyperlinks" helpfully direct readers to related topics (although these are not actual links in the online version), which contributes to the modularity of the text.

There are a few errors, but none that significantly obscure meaning.

Cultural Relevance rating: 4

This text could use updated examples showing greater diversity in authors and work. I recommend instructors find supplementary examples relevant to their classes.

I intend to use this text in my courses, supplemented with a few activities and more diverse examples to suit my students' needs.

Reviewed by Sheila Packa, Instructor, Lake Superior College on 2/1/18

The text is a comprehensive guide to research for students in College Composition courses. The text is concise and interesting. Critical thinking, research and writing argument are integrated into his suggested assignments. The author covers... read more

The text is a comprehensive guide to research for students in College Composition courses. The text is concise and interesting. Critical thinking, research and writing argument are integrated into his suggested assignments.

The author covers the research question, library resources, how to paraphrase and use quotes, and collaborative writing projects. There are suggested exercises in the process of research, such as a topic proposal, a guide to developing a strong thesis statement, a full exploration of refutation (called the antithesis), the critique or rhetorical analysis, the annotated bibliography, and a guide to help students to accumulate a good assortment of sources. MLA and APA documentation is covered. Note that this text is published in 2007. Therefore, I recommend the use of MLA 8 Handbook for up-to-date guidelines for correct documentation. The Research Paper is full explained. In the chapter, Alternate Ways to Present Research, the author focuses on a Portfolio. He discusses web publication of research and poster sessions.

I value the clarity of ideas. The text is error-free, and I like the example essays written by students that will serve to inspire students.

The content is relevant. The author guides students through the process in a way that is easy to understand and also academically rigorous. The MLA 8 Handbook is a needed supplement (and that is affordable).

The writing is clear and concise. The organization of the chapters is logical and leads the students through steps in the process of research, writing a reasoned argument, and professional presentation of the research.

Terminology is clear and the framework for research is clear and sensible.

The book's modularity is definitely a strength. It's possible to use chapters of the text without using the entire book and to omit chapters that are not a focus of the instructor.

This book has a logical arrangement of chapters and the assignments are valuable.

The interface is great. It's readable online or in pdf form.

No grammatical errors. There is one detail that reflects changing rules of documentation. In MLA, titles of books, magazines, and journals are now italicized instead of underlined. In this text, they are underlined.

The text is free of bias or stereotypes.

Reviewed by Jennie Englund, Instructor, Composition I & II, Rogue Community College, Oregon on 8/15/17

Twelve chapters are broken into multiple parts. On Page 3 of the Introduction, the text emphasizes its purpose as an "introduction to academic writing and research." The following chapters present more than substantial information to give... read more

Twelve chapters are broken into multiple parts.

On Page 3 of the Introduction, the text emphasizes its purpose as an "introduction to academic writing and research." The following chapters present more than substantial information to give introductory (even well into master) research writers a foundation of the basics, as well as some detail. It differentiates itself as "Academic" research writing through thesis, evidence, and citation. Two of these concepts are revisted in the conclusion. The third (thesis) has its own section, which this reviewer will use in class.

I'm grateful to have reviewed an earlier electronic text. This provided the ability to compare/contrast, and note that this particular text was more comprehensive and in-depth than the guide I had previously reviewed (which was more of a framework, good in its own right.)

Had the guide contained a thorough section on revision, I'd give it a perfect score! Thus, the book very very nearly does what it sets out to do; it provides most of The Process of Research Writing.

Retrieval dates are no longer used on the APA References page. This reviewer would have preferred titles italicized instead of underlined.

The text opens with an introduction of the project, by its author. The project began in 2000 as a text for a major publishing house, but eventually landed via author's rights as an electronic text. Therefore, essentially, the book has already been around quite a while. This reviewer concludes that time, thought, and execution went into publishing the material, and predicts its popularity and usability will grow.

Timeless, the guide could have been used with small updates twenty years ago, and could be used with updates twenty years from now.

The guide could be used as the sole text in a composition course, supplemented by more formal (as well as APA) examples.

The text is organized into 12 chapters; it logically begins with "Thinking Critically about Research," and concludes with "Citing Your Research Using MLA or APA Style." The text includes most of what this reviewer uses to teach academic research writing. However, the book omits the editing/revising process.

The guide poses purposeful questions.

On Page 7 of the Introduction, the text reports being "organized in a 'step-by-step' fashion," with an invitation to the reader to use the book in any order, and revisit passages. The reviewer found the organization to be consistent and as systematic as the actual composition of an academic research paper.

The meat of the text begins with the definition and purpose of "Research." Immediately, a nod to working thesis follows, which is revisited in Chapter 5. Sources are examined and classified into a chart of "Scholarly Versus Non-scholarly or Popular Sources." The segment on "Using the Library" would complement a course or class period on library usage.

The Table of Contents is fluid and logical. Within the text, concepts are revisited and built upon, which the reviewer appreciates. Examples and exercises are given.

Chapter 10 contains an outline of a student research paper (which follows). The paper examines the problems with and solutions for university athletics. The paper is in MLA format. Tone is less formal than this reviewer would use as an example of academic research writing. The reviewer would have welcomed an example of an APA paper, as well.

The last chapter fully realizes instruction introduced at the beginning: citation defines academic writing, and academic writers credit their sources, and present evidence to their readers. I wish this last part emphasized thesis again, too, but in all, it is a very structured, reader-friendly guide.

Charts are integrated and understandable, though the majority of the book is text.

This review found some grammatical errors including capitalization. Book/journal/magazine/newspaper titles are underlined in lieu of italicized.

Student examples include Daniel Marvins, Ashley Nelson, Jeremy Stephens, Kelly Ritter, Stuart Banner, and Casey Copeman. Most examples of citations are from male authors. Text would benefit from multi-cultural authors. Examples/topics include The Great Gatsby,African-American Physicians and Drug Advertising, Cyberculture, ADHD, Diabetes, Student-athletes, and Drunk Driving.Examples are culturally appropriate and multi-disciplinary. Consistent pronoun used: he/him/his

Third-person narration is used; the author addresses the reader directly (and informally). While this perhaps makes a connection between the author and the reader, and adds to understanding, it does not reflect academic research writing, and may confuse beginning writers?

Chapter 5, "Writing a Working Thesis," is among the most clear, comprehensive, and straightforward instruction on the topic this reviewer has seen. I will use this section in my Composition I and II courses, as well as Chapters 1, 3, and 12. I wish this form had a place to rate usability. In that case, this guide would score highly. I commend Dr. Krause's execution and composition, and applaud his sharing this at no cost with the academic community.

Reviewed by Marie Lechelt, ESL/English Instructor and Writing Center Co-director, Riverland Community College on 6/20/17

"The Process of Research Writing" is a textbook that includes all of the major topics covered in most college research writing courses. The style of writing makes it easily understood by students. Depending on your focus in your writing class,... read more

"The Process of Research Writing" is a textbook that includes all of the major topics covered in most college research writing courses. The style of writing makes it easily understood by students. Depending on your focus in your writing class, you may want to supplement this text with more about argumentative writing. Other writing models, homework exercises, and classroom activities found by the instructor would also compliment the use of this text. While I would not use this textbook in my course from start to finish, I would jump around and use a variety of sections from it to teach research writing. This text could be used for a beginning writing class or a second semester writing course. Based on my students writing experiences and abilities, I would eliminate or include certain sections. There is no index or glossary included. The hyperlinks to other sections also do not work.

The content is accurate and error-free. I didn't detect any biased information either. The MLA and APA information have changed since this book was published. The peer review work, plagiarism, critiquing sources, and many more of the topics are almost exactly what I teach to my students. This format will work well for them.

While most research writing content does not change over time, there are many parts of this book that could be updated. These include examples (The Great Gatsby), hyperlinks, and references to technology. The technology aspect is especially important. Since technology is constantly changing, most textbooks (print and online) are out of date as soon as they are printed. Because of this, teachers are constantly having to use supplemental material, which is fine. Just like our class websites, we have to update this information every semester or even more often. If you choose to use this textbook, keep in mind that this will be necessary. The MLA/APA information is also out of date, but this is also to be expected.

Clarity is one of the benefits of this textbook. Although the style is somewhat informal, it included appropriate topics and terminology for students learning to write research essays. Students can understand the topics with one or two readings and discuss the topics in class. There were a few places that seemed like common knowledge for students at this level, like the library or using computers. Unfortunately, we do still have students who do not come to us having already learned this information. So, I don't think these sections would have a negative impact on other students. Students can also be given optional sections to read, or as I plan to do, the teacher can skip around and only assign some sections.

The majority of the terminology is common knowledge in research writing teaching. The text is fairly informal in writing style, which I believe is an advantage for students. Many times, students will read a text and then I will need to explain the terminology or ideas in depth in my lectures. Since I prefer to complete activities and work on students' writing in class, instead of lecturing, this book will work well. The chapter on the "Antithesis" was new to me. While I have taught these ideas, I have not used this term before. This is a chapter I may not use and instead include supplemental material of my own.

The chapters are divided clearly and could be separated quite easily to use as individual units in a writing class. If the hyperlinks worked though, they would be helpful. Exercises build upon one another, so one could not assign a later exercise without students first understanding the other sections of the text. I plan to use this text in a research writing class, and I will be skipping around and only using some sections. I do not believe there will be any problem with this. While students may at first feel that starting on Chapter 4 might be strange, they are very adaptive and should have no difficulties with this format.

The Table of Contents is clear and easily understood. Each chapter follows a logical sequence, and students will be able to transition from one topic to another without difficulty. The use of charts, headings, bold, highlighting, and some other visual aids help the reader to understand what is most important to remember. Although, this could be improved upon with the use of color and graphics. While the content is valuable, I would most likely skip around when using this book in the classroom. While the author begin with an introduction and then jumps right into research, I focus on topic selection and thesis writing before research begins. Of course, as the author mentions, students will go back to their thesis and research many times before finishing the writing process.

The text is easily navigated, and students would be able to follow the topics throughout. The lack of graphics and color is noticeable and detracts from the content. In a world of advanced technology where students click on hundreds of websites with amazing content each week, online textbooks need to meet this standard. This textbook is similar to a traditional textbook. Some links are also inactive.

There were some typos and small grammatical errors but no glaring instances. They also did not impact understanding.

This book contained no offensive language or examples. However, we have a lot of diversity in our classrooms, and this is not reflected in the book. Expanding the examples or including links to diverse examples would be helpful.

I will be using this text in a second semester writing class. It has valuable information about research writing. I believe it could also be used for a first semester writing class. As mentioned above, I will use sections of the text and skip around to accommodate the needs of my students. Supplemental materials will also be needed to meet current technology needs.

Reviewed by Betsy Goetz, English Instructor, Riverland Community College on 6/20/17

The text covers all subject areas appropriately. read more

The text covers all subject areas appropriately.

Overall, the text is accurate.

Relevant and current.

I liked the clarity of the text, especially the specific exercises for students to apply the theory they have learned.

This text is consistent -- good terminology!

Clear sections to focus on key points of research writing.

Well organized.

Not confusing

Overall, lacking grammatical errors.

Relevant -- research writing and thesis building are timeless.

Reviewed by Karen Pleasant, Adjunct Instructor, Rogue Community College on 4/11/17

The textbook covered the basics of writing a research paper (the term "essay"is preferred by the author) and would be appropriate for an introductory college writing course, such as WR 121 or WR 122. A table of content is provided, but there is... read more

The textbook covered the basics of writing a research paper (the term "essay"is preferred by the author) and would be appropriate for an introductory college writing course, such as WR 121 or WR 122. A table of content is provided, but there is no glossary. The textbook guides a student from exploring the initial topic selection through the finished product, although I would have liked the use of citations to be covered in more depth. If I chose this as the textbook for my class I would also need to add supplemental materials about thoroughly developing an argument as well as revising a paper.

The author presented the material in an unbiased manner and does so in a way that provides high readability for students with little to no background in writing a research paper. Excellent examples are provided to reinforce concepts and thoughtful, creative collaborative exercises round out each chapter to give practice in skill mastery. Both MLA and APA formatting styles are included, but the APA section needs to be updated. The book was published in 2007 and many of the APA guidelines have changed., including the preference for using italics versus underlining for book and journal titles.

Each chapter is self-contained and stands alone and , therefore, could easily be updated. Most of the information is relevant and could be used indefinitely. I like that Chapter 11 recommended alternate ways to present the research and suggested more contemporary technology based methods. Chapter 12, about APA and MLA citations, is the chapter that currently needs to be updated and would need to be checked for accuracy annually against the latest APA & MLA guidelines. As it reads, I would handout current materials for APA citation sessions and not use this chapter in the book.

The book is well organized and is very user friendly. I think students would enjoy reading it and be able to relate readily to the content. Examples given and exercises provided help to clarify the content and reinforce the concepts for students. The textbook flows well from selection of initial topic ideas to finished product and will help students to work through the process of writing a research paper.

New terms are thoroughly explained and are used consistently throughout the textbook. The knowledge students gain as they progress through the book feels logical and organized in a usable fashion.

The text is organized so that each chapter stands alone and the order the information is presented can be easily modified to fit the needs of an instructor. The book is that rare combination of being equally functional for both student and instructor.

The topics are presented as needed to guide students through the process of writing a research paper, but could be done in another order if desired. Bold and boxed items are used to emphasize key concepts and chapter exercises.

The textbook is visually appealing and easy to read with adequate use of white space and varied font sizes. I explored the textbook via the PDF documents, which were easy to download, although the hyperlinks were not accessible.

There were noticeable grammatical errors.

The textbook is inclusive and accessible to all and didn't have any content that could be deemed offensive. The approachable layout and writing style make the textbook relevant to college students from a variety of backgrounds.

I would definitely adopt this open textbook for my writing classes. The author provided some wonderful ideas for teaching about research papers and I found many chapter exercises that I would be willing to incorporate into my class . I am especially intrigued by the use of writing an antithesis paper as a lead in to adding opposition to the research paper and look forward to getting student input and feedback about some of the alternative ways to present their research. Compared to textbooks I have used or perused in the past, this book seems more inviting and user friendly for students new to writing college level research papers.

Reviewed by VINCENT LASNIK, Adjunct Professor, Rogue Community College on 4/11/17

This comprehensiveness is one of the strengths of The Process of Research Writing. The Table of Contents (TOC) is fine—and each separate chapter also reproduces the contents listing from high-lever through low-level subsections at the beginning... read more

This comprehensiveness is one of the strengths of The Process of Research Writing. The Table of Contents (TOC) is fine—and each separate chapter also reproduces the contents listing from high-lever through low-level subsections at the beginning of each chapter. This duplicate listing feature helps orient students to what is covered (and what is not) for every chapter in-context. Yes—It is a fair evaluation that there can generally be easy-to-fix, quickly recognizable updates, enhancements, and notable improvements to virtually any textbook 10-15 years after its initial publication date (particularly related to changing terminology and nomenclature within the dynamic English lexicon, technology applications (databases, websites, ‘search engines,’ current good ‘help sites’ for students learning the latest iteration of APA style for manuscript formatting, in-text citations, and end references, etc.)—and the Krause text is a prime candidate for such a thorough revision. For example, digital object identifiers (the doi was first introduced circa 2000) did not become widely/pervasively established until well into the first decade of the 21st century; the ‘doi’ is an ubiquitous standard today in 2017. Nevertheless, many of the basic (boilerplate) concepts are clearly noted and credibly, coherently explained. The text could use some effective reorganization (as I note elsewhere in my review)—but that is arguably a subjective/personalized perspective more related to the way we approach writing instruction and student academic development at Rogue Community College—and perhaps less of a global/universal criticism.

See my comments in other sections that impact this issue. Overall, Krause’s text appears, “accurate, error-free and unbiased.” There are no obvious problems with this observation/contention. Some of the ‘out-of-date’ specifics in the text need updating as I note in detail in my other comments.

Most of the text describes research-writing strategies that are fairly well-established if not generic to the undergraduate English composition content area; thus, the overall longevity of the existing text is good. I have suggested, however, that any such ‘how-to’ guide should be updated (as this particular version) after its first decade of publication. The content for online research, for example, reflects an early 2000s perspective of emerging technology terms (e.g., defining blogs as “web-logs” is easily 12-15 years behind the use of the term in 2017), and some of the online websites mentioned are no longer relevant. These types of ‘out-of-date’ past-referents/links, however, can be easily updated to 2017+ accuracy. I have made a few suggestions about such an update—including my offer to assist Steve Krause (gratis and pro bono) in this update should my collaboration be desired. Otherwise, Krause might go the more open ‘peer review’ route and assemble a set of active teachers, instructors, and adjunct professors (such as me) who are on the ‘frontlines’ of current praxis for research-based, critical thinking, problem-oriented writing courses across the 11th-12th grade and through the undergraduate and workforce education community.

The text is written is a clear, credible, and cogent prose throughout. This is one of the particular strengths of Krause’s text—and recursively provides an exemplar for well-written composition. On occasion, the clarity for students might be improved by additional ‘real-world examples’ (i.e., more ‘showing rather than mere abstract telling) explicating some obtuse concepts and numerous rules (e.g., for research strategy, proofreading/editing, using search engines and conducting library research, etc.)—but a similar constructive criticism could easily be made of nearly all similar sources.

The text wording, terminology, framework and process emphasis are highly consistent. There are overlaps and dovetailing (i.e., redundancy) in any/every college textbook—but Krause keeps these to a minimum throughout. Some updating of terminology would be appropriate, useful, and needed as I note throughout my OER review.

The text is superb in this regard. The chapters and exercises are highly modular—which supports the customized reorganization I apply myself in my own courses as noted in my other comments. Numerous subheads and special highlighted ‘key points’ textboxes augment this modularity and improve the narrowing of assigned readings, examples, and exercises for most writing courses. The Process of Research Writing is clearly not, “overly self-referential,” and can easily be, “reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader” by any instructor.

One of the principal weaknesses of the set of chapters is that the given ‘table of contents’ structure is conceptually disjointed—at least insofar as my research writing course is designed. Therefore, to provide a more coherent, logical sequence congruent to the course organization of my Writing 122 (this is an intermediate/advanced-level English Composition II)—it was necessary to assign a completely different order of The Process of Research Writing (Krause, 2007) high-level chapters/pages for weekly course reading assignments as follows:

Week One: Table of Contents; Introduction: Why Write Research Projects?; and Chapter 1: Thinking Critically About Research; Week Two: Chapter 2: Understanding and Using the Library and the Internet for Research. These three starting chapters were reasonable to introduce in Krause’s original sequence. Continuing into Week Two, I also added Chapter 4: How to Collaborate and Write with Others (but I highlighted limited/specific passages only since WR122 does not emphasize collaborative prose composition activities and extensive group-writing projects using such apps as Google Docs). Week Three: I then assigned Chapter 10: The Research Essay—since it was important to orient students to the intrinsic, namesake umbrella concept of researching and writing the research essay—the essential focus of the course I teach. IMPORTANT NEED TO RESTRUCTURE THE OER as it exists: Viewed from a course rationale and content/skill acquisition conceptual level—I have no idea why Krause did not place ‘Writing The Research Essay’ as high as Chapter 2. It comes far too late in the book as Chapter 10. This is actually where the chapter belongs (in my view); the other topics in the remaining Chapters’ (2—12) would more cogently and effectively proceed after first exploring the high-level nature of the research essay task in the first place. The subsequent skills for conducting Online Library Research; Quoting, Paraphrasing, Avoiding Plagiarism, creating a testable ‘Working Thesis,’ producing an Annotated Bibliography (some courses also use a précis assignment), Evaluating and Categorizing Sources, etc.—are realistically supporting, scaffolding, and corroborating functional/operational skills designed to design, research, and produce the research-based essay project. Therefore—from a project-based and problem-oriented pedagogical strategy/approach—a sound argument could be proffered that putting Chapter 10 second in a reordered book would help students on many levels (not the least being engaging interest and promoting contextual understanding for why learning the content of the remaining chapters makes sense and can be critical/applicable to the research-writing process.

Continuing on my own WR122 course text-sequence customization—in Week Four—we move into the attribution phase of the writing process in Chapter 3: Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism. Logically, we then move (in Week Five) to Chapter 5: The Working Thesis so students can ask significant/original questions and determine a point of departure into their research essay. This seemed like a good time to add the concept of ‘opposition views’ (i.e., counter-claims, rejoinder and rebuttal) discussed in Chapter 8: The Antithesis. In Week Six—we moved into essay formatting, in-text citation and end references, so Chapter 12: Citing Your Research Using MLA or APA Style {(focusing on reading pp. 1-2 (brief overview), and pp. 18-33 about APA style)} was assigned. In addition, students also perused Chapter 7: The Critique preceding a related argumentative assignment (i.e., a movie review project). For Week Seven (concurrent with an annotated bibliography project for the main term paper—students read Chapter 6: The Annotated Bibliography, and Chapter 9: The Categorization and Evaluation (of sources) that was ostensibly/logically relevant to the annotated bibliography project. Concluding the course for Weeks Eight-Eleven—there were new required readings. Students were instructed to review previous readings in The Process of Research Writing (Krause, 2007)—time permitting. Also Note: Chapter 11: Alternative Ways to Present Your Research is completely optional reading. It is not particularly applicable to this course; there is a student’s self-reflection about the research process on pp. 3-11 that may have some nominal merit, but it notes MLA style (versus my course’s use of APA 6th edition style only) and is in any case not required.

The text is not fancy; standard black and white (high-contrast) font used throughout. For emphasis of key points, Krause does use special ‘highlight boxes’ with gray background, a thick black stroke on the outside of the rectangular textbox. While the gray level might be lowered (in the update) for improved contrast—the true-black, bulleted, bolded key-terms are easy to perceive/read. The only criticism I have is the distracting overuse of quotation mark punctuation for emphasis; this should be corrected in any updated version. Otherwise, most of the book’s interface presentation supports a good user (student) experience, good printability, and good accessibility per ADA and general disability (e.g., visually impaired learners) protocols.

There are no significant/glaring occurrences of grammatical errors in the text. I am not a ‘grammar snob’ in any case. The prose seems clear, cogent, thoughtful, well-written; it generally uses solid grammar, mechanics, and punctuation. The exception is the overuse of a somewhat casual/conversational tone combined with (what is more of a recognizable issue) a distracting overuse of quotation marks—many of which are simply neither needed nor helpful; most could be quickly removed with an immediate improvement to readability.

I do not see significant, relevant, or glaring faux pas pertaining to any biased disrespect for multiculturalism. All persons (e.g., races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and cultural backgrounds) are equally respected and appreciated. The content area (English composition) is very amenable to a relatively generic, culture-free perspective—and Krause’s examples and prose is well-within any applicable standards of post-modern, scholarly, formal non-fiction in written Standard English.

[1] The Process of Research Writing was ostensibly presented/published to Creative Commons in 2007. No identifiable part/portion of the original edition text appears to have been updated (changed, modified, or improved) since then (i.e., at least 10 years); This is perhaps the single, most apparent flaw/weakness for this textbook. An in-depth revision to 2017 post-rhetorical model essay-writing standards and APA conventions would be invaluable—and quite bluntly—is sorely required. A newly updated Version 2.0 for 2017-18 should be critically planned (and scheduled or already ‘in progress’ if it is not already).

[2] There are many insightful, practical, and high-value approaches to the research writing process; in this regard—the nominal OER title is superbly appropriate for late high-school and beginning college (undergraduate) research essay projects. Even though some of the technical components (e.g., APA style) require updating/revision (which makes basic, reasonable sense after a ‘decade on the shelf’ for any academic research writing source)—Krause’s chapters can effectively replace many expensive, glossy college entry-level textbooks! After presenting the core concepts in a coherent and self-evident manner, Krause supplies a plethora of examples to illustrate those concepts. Then (and this is one of the true strengths of this OER)—each chapter (particularly Chapters 5-10) highlights student-oriented exercises to practice those same core concepts). Because of this latter emphasis—the Krause OER is ‘learner-centered’ (as opposed to ‘content centered’), problem-oriented and performance-oriented as well—providing opportunities for creative, resourceful teachers to adapt/adopt the OER to course assignments.

[3] There does not appear to be a single (standalone) PDF for this OER. This is a notable flaw/weakness for this textbook. Conversely, however, although a single PDF would have some convenient ‘easier downloading’ advantages for students—having separate chapters affords every teacher to create a customized chapter-order (as I have efficiently done to correspond to my course design). The chapters support excellent modularity and the accompanying exercises/examples demonstrate the concepts Krause explicates with a fine degree of granularity for any teacher. Thus—integrating any textbooks or teaching/learning resources (like OERs) always has tradeoffs—plusses and minuses, positives and negatives. The obvious key, therefore, is taking the liberty of using the OER as a supporting scaffold or buttress to an instructor’s original design concept—rather than the foundation around which a course can be designed.

[4] Some minor weaknesses for prose instruction are (a) Krause’s acceptance of passive, sophomoric signal phrasing (i.e., According to X…)—as opposed to strong, active voice such as ‘’X found…’; and (b) a general overuse of quotation marks throughout the book. This is not meant as a harsh criticism—merely an observation that readability could be improved with a newer version that eliminates most quotation marks (Note: In APA style—these punctuation symbols are only used for verbatim quotes. This makes for a cleaner, clearer manuscript).

[5] One of the solid/helpful strengths of the book is a relatively accurate presentation of APA style for in-text citation and end references (Chapter 12). It appears that like many academics—Krause is more familiar and comfortable with the Modern Language Association’s MLA style/formatting. No problem there—I was simply trained on APA beginning in 1984 so it is native to me; I also use the latest version of APA style in all of my writing (college composition) courses. Thus—it should come as no surprise there are a number of obvious APA-associated inaccuracies including (but limited to): (a) meekly accepting ‘n.d.’ (no date) and ‘n.a.’ (no author) sources when a little investigative research by the student (and adherence to the APA rule hierarchy for dates and authors) would easily come up with a sound date and author. Another error (b) seems to be more typographic (formatting) and/or refers to an earlier edition of APA style: the end references in the PDF (and html versions?) use underline in place of italics. The 2011 APA 6th edition style does not use underline in the end references. There are other small (faux pas) errors such as (c) noting generally inaccessible proprietary online databases and servers (again—no longer done in APA). A thorough, meticulous updating of this OER source would probably take care of many of these APA-error issues. I’d be happy to work with Steve on this update at any time.

[6] I use Amy Guptill’s Writing in College: From Competence to Excellence by Amy Guptill of State University of New York (2016) for my English Composition I course that emphasizes general essay writing and a simple research-supported argumentative essay. I teach that course using the following assigned readings: Week One: Chapter 1 (Really? Writing? Again?), pp. 1-7, and Chapter 2 (What Does the Professor Want? Understanding the Assignment), pp. 9-18; Week Two: Chapter 6 (Back to Basics: The Perfect Paragraph), pp. 48-56; Chapter 7 (Intros and Outros), pp. 57-64; Week Four: Chapter 9 (Getting the Mechanics Right), pp. 75-85; Week Five: Chapter 8 (Clarity and Concision), pp. 65-73; Week Six: Chapter 3 (Constructing the Thesis and Argument—From the Ground Up), pp. 19-27; Week Seven: Chapter 4 (Secondary Sources in Their Natural Habitats), pp. 28-37; Week Eight: Chapter 5 (Listening to Sources, Talking to Sources), pp. 38-47. I then switch over to Krause’s OER for my English Composition II course. At Rogue Community College, Writing 122 emphasizes intermediate essay writing and analytical, more rigorous and original research-based essays involving critical thinking. I completely reordered the chapters as described above to fit into my course design. I like Krause’s individual ‘modular’ chapters—but the particular ‘scope and sequence’ he uses are debatable. Overall, however, The Process of Research Writing easily and effectively substitutes/replaces other costly tomes from for-profit academic publishers—even those that offer bundled DVDs and online-access to proprietary tutorial sources. Used in conjunction with other freely available PDF OERs, websites, YouTube videos, tutorial/practice sites from innumerable libraries, blogs (e.g., the APA Blog is particularly helpful)—as well as original/customized sources created by individual instructors for their own courses—the Krause book offers a good, solid baseline for developing research-based writing competencies particularly appropriate for the first two years of college.

Reviewed by Amy Jo Swing, English Instructor, Lake Superior College on 4/11/17

This book covers most of the main concepts of research writing: thesis, research, documenting, and process. It's weak on argument though, which is standard in most research composition texts. The book provides a clear index so finding information... read more

This book covers most of the main concepts of research writing: thesis, research, documenting, and process. It's weak on argument though, which is standard in most research composition texts. The book provides a clear index so finding information is relatively easy. The other weak spot is on evaluation evidence: there is a section on it but not comprehensive examples. Students in general needs lots of practice on how to evaluate and use information.

The information is accurate mostly except for the APA and MLA section. Writing and research writing haven't changed that much in a long time. It's more the technology and tools that change.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 2

The ideas about research and writing in general are fine, However, the references to technology and documentation are very out of date, over 10 years so. Students use technology very differently than described in this text, and the technologies themselves have changed. For example, the author talks about floppy disks and AOL messenger but not about Google Drive, Wikipedia, Prezi, or how to use phones and tablets while researching. Our students are digital natives and need to understand how to use their devices to write and research.

The book is quite readable in general. Concepts are easy to understand. Sometimes, they are almost too simple like the section explaining what a library is. Students might not be sophisticated library users, but they understand in general how they work. The chapters are concise, which is nice for student use too.

Except for pronoun use, the book is consistent in tone and terms. Not all the terms are ones I use in my own teaching, and it would be nice to see explanation of more argument/research frameworks like the Toulmin Model of argument.

The chapters are pretty self-contained and clear as individual units. I can see including certain chapters and leaving out others that aren't as relevant to my teaching style or assignments. One could easily assign the chapters in a different order, but students ask lots of questions when you assign chapter 6 first and then weeks later, assign chapter 2 or 3.

The basic chapters make sense in terms of how they are created and categorized but the order is problematic if an instructor were to assign them in the order presented. For example, the chapter on creating an annotated bibliography comes before the one on documenting (APA/MLA). Students can't complete an annotated bibliography without knowing how to cite sources. Same with evaluating sources. There is so much information on locating sources before any clear mention is made of how to evaluate them. I find that is the weak spot with students. If they learn how to evaluate sources, it's easier to find and locate and research effectively.

Not many images. Students really like info-graphics, pictures, and multi-media. The hyperlinks to other sections of the book do not work in either the PDF or HTML versions. I do like some of the illustrations like mapping and how research is more a web than a linear process. For an online textbook, there aren't a lot of hyperlinks to outside resources (of which there are so many like Purdue's OWL and the Guide to Grammar and Writing).

There were quite a few errors : comma errors, spelling (affect/effect), some pronoun agreement errors, capitalization errors with the title in Chapter Four. The author also uses passive voice quite a bit, which is inconsistent with the general familiar tone. In some chapters, there is constant switching between first, second, and third person. I focus much on point of view consistency in my students' writing, and this would not be a great model for that.

Cultural Relevance rating: 3

There is no cultural offensiveness but not much diversity in examples and students names either. Marginalized students (of color, with disabilities, of different sexuality or gender) would not see themselves reflected much.

This is a good basic reference on the process of writing and research. However, it would not be too useful without updated information on technology and documentation. As a web-based text, it reads more like a traditional physical textbook.

Reviewed by Jocelyn Pihlaja, Instructor, Lake Superior College on 2/8/17

The length and scope of this book are appropriate for a semester-long research writing course, with twelve chapters that move from foundational concepts into more specific skills that are needed for the crafting of a paper incorporating MLA or APA... read more

The length and scope of this book are appropriate for a semester-long research writing course, with twelve chapters that move from foundational concepts into more specific skills that are needed for the crafting of a paper incorporating MLA or APA citation. In particular, I like that the early chapters cover the questions of "Why Write Research Papers?" and how to think critically, the middle chapters provide specific activities in the skills of quoting and paraphrasing, and the later chapters bring in assignments (such as writing an annotated bibliography) that help students practice and build content for their ultimate paper.There is no index or glossary to this book; however, the table of contents provides an overview of the chapters that guides navigation well.

Content Accuracy rating: 3

In terms of the thinking, this book's information is logical and sound. The explanations of concepts and activities read easily and do a fine job of explicating the why and how of research writing. In a few places, however, the word "effected" is used when it should be "affected." Editing also is needed when the author uses phrases such as "in the nutshell" instead of "in a nutshell." As well, in Chapter 4, there is pronoun/antecedent disagreement when the author uses "their" to refer to "each member." Also, each chapter contains at least one "Hyperlink" to supplemental information, yet the hyperlinks are dead. For the most part, the text is clean and well edited, but we English teachers are line-editing sticklers, so even small, occasional errors stand out. Overall: the ideas presented are accurate and free of bias, yet there are a few, niggling errors.

When it comes to relevance and longevity, this book is problematic. In fact, it is so outdated as to be unusable, at least for this instructor. Certainly, the concepts presented are solid; they don't change with passing years. However, typographically, the book is passe, as it uses two spaces after periods. Even more troubling is that it refers to the Internet as "new" and comes from a point of view that sees this thing called "the World Wide Web" as novel while also noting students might want to rely on microfilm and microfiche during their research. In another example, the author suggests to students that a benefit of writing on computers is that they can share their work with each other on disc or through email. Truly, such references make the book unusable for a class in 2017. Another issue is that the Modern Language Association has updated its guidelines several times since this book's publication; ideally, a text used in a research writing class would cover, if not the latest guidelines, at least the previous version of the guidelines. A full rewrite of the book is necessary before it could be adopted. As the book currently stands, students would roll their eyes at the antiquated technological language, and the teacher would need to apologize for asking students to read a text that is so out-of-date.

The writing in this book is both accessible and intelligent. It's eminently readable. Specifically, the inclusion of things like an "Evidence Quality and Credibility Checklist" at the end of Chapter 1 and the continual use of grey boxes that highlight major concepts is very good. Also extremely helpful are the examples of student writing that end nearly every chapter; these models demonstrate to readers what is expected from each assignment. Finally, the explanations of quoting and paraphrasing are superior -- so clear, so easy for students to digest. Were it not outdated in terms of technological references, I would definitely consider using this book in my classes due to the clarity of the prose.

Consistency rating: 3

For the most part, the book is well structured and consistent in its design and layout. Each chapter provides general explanation of a concept, moves into a specific assignment, and ends with an example or two of student responses to that assignment. Very quickly, readers know what to expect from each chapter, and there's something comforting about the predictability of the layout, especially in a book that is being read on a screen, using scrolling. When it comes to the terminology, my only note would be that the book starts out using a relaxed second-person point of view, addressing students as "you," but then, at the end of Chapter 2, the author suddenly begins also using the first-person "I." This first-person point of view continues throughout the book, so it becomes consistent from that point on, but for me as a reader, I never quite adjusted to that level of informality, particularly when all the sentences using "I" could easily be re-written in the third person. Before reading this text, I hadn't really considered what I like in a book, but now I know: because I want the text to model the ideal, I would prefer a more formal (and consistent) point of view. Today's students struggle to create essays that don't include "you" or "I" -- even when they very consciously are trying to avoid those words. Learning to write from the third person POV is surprisingly challenging. Therefore, my personal preference would be a textbook that consistently models this approach.

The chapters in this book are of a perfect length -- long enough to develop the ideas and present comprehensive explanations yet short enough to be ingested and excised. Put another way, I could see grabbing bits and pieces of this text and using them in my classes. For instance, without adopting the entire text, I still could pull the instructions for the Anti-Thesis essay or the Annotated Bibliography, or I could use the explanation of the purpose of collaboration. Indeed, the chapters and exercises in this book are tight "modules" that allow an instructor to pick and choose or to reorganize the chapters to better fit with an individual course structure. For me, although I won't use this entire text, I can envision incorporating pieces of it into my teaching.

The organization of this book is one of its greatest strengths. It starts with a broad overview of research into an exploration of the process behind seeking out reputable sources, weaves in a few shorter essay assignments that serve as building blocks for a longer paper, and culminates with the ideas for a final, capstone research project -- something that naturally grows out of all the previous chapters. Each chapter in the text flows easily out of the chapter before it. One of this text's greatest strengths is how each successive chapter builds on the concepts presented in the previous chapters.

As noted earlier, the hyperlinks in the book don't work. As well, the screenshots included in the book are blurry and add little, except frustration, to the content. Outside of those issues, though, the book is physically easy to read and navigate, largely thanks to the easy clicking between the table of contents and individual chapters.

As suggested earlier, the book, as a whole, reads easily, yet there are some errors with the homonyms "effected" and "affected," along with pronoun/antecedent disagreement. I also noticed a handful of places where there are extra spaces around commas (in addition to the use of two spaces after periods).

This text is definitely not insensitive or offensive; its tone is fair and balanced, free of bias. On the other hand, this book does not really bring in examples that address diversity. Students reading this book will not see acknowledgment of different races, ethnicities, sexual preferences, or personal histories. Thus, in addition to updating the references to technology, if this book were rewritten, it also could more deliberately address this lack. As it is, the content of this book does feel whitewashed and free of cultural relevance.

There is a lot of promise in this text because the explanations and assignments are so good. But unless it is updated, I don’t see it as usable in a current classroom.

Reviewed by Leana Dickerson, Instructor , Linn Benton Community College on 2/8/17

The author certainly outlines and examines elements of research writing, and does so in a very clear, organized, and thoughtful way. There is no glossary or index included in the text, but the chapters and headings in the table of contents and at... read more

The author certainly outlines and examines elements of research writing, and does so in a very clear, organized, and thoughtful way. There is no glossary or index included in the text, but the chapters and headings in the table of contents and at the beginning of each section very clearly outline what is to be expected from the text. Most all of the concepts are very thoroughly explained and examined including topics that typically are glossed over in research writing texts, including the opposition to argument, close reading, and the importance of research writing to a variety of career pathways. Although thorough in what is present, there are some issues that I would want to touch on with my research students including developing effective argument, logical organization, and examples of the revision process.

The information in this text is accurate and adequately explained. It seems readily accessible for any college age student, but doesn’t expect students to come with a background in research or writing. MLA formatting for works cited pages is up to date, and even addresses the fact that the format for citation changes regularly and points to appropriate resources outside of the text. The only formatting issue that I noticed were some in-text citations (examples throughout early chapters) that included a comma which is no longer expected by the MLA. In the works cited section (and throughout, in examples) when referring to book titles, the author does use the underline function instead of an italicized book title; the author also refers to the use of either italic or underlined differentiation, yet MLA suggests italics in text form.

The content of this text is very straight forward and although essentially up to date, may need updates as relevant technology develops. Updates should be simple and clear to implement as needed because of the strict organization of each chapter.

I found the content clarity in this text to be refreshing for college age students. Often, as an instructor, I ask my students to read a text and then I must re-visit the content in lecture format to ensure that my students are not lost on terminology or foundational knowledge. This text does not assume any prior knowledge from the reader, but also does not feel rudimentary. The formatting and highlighted importance of some information also provided clarity and consistency throughout. The author paced information well, building on major concepts from the beginning and returning to them throughout. The final stages of the text bring students to a major essay that easily shows how each concept included throughout the text can weave into a larger project.

This text is consistent, and feels organized with format, terminology, and the building of content from beginning to end.

The sections in this text are easily broken into segments that can be taught or read at any point throughout the writing process. The text does build on exercises from the beginning to the end, but each of these can be taken out of a linear timeline and used for multiple kinds of projects. The author actually refers to this organization in text, making it clear how each element can work alone or for a streamlined project.

Concepts build upon one another, and yet can be returned to (or jumped to) out of order and still be easy to access and utilize. The text is broken up nicely with bolded, bulleted, or boxed items which designate a stopping point, a discussion to consider, or important details or concepts to focus on.

The layout and navigation of this text online is very accessible, organized, and easy to read. The text PDFs often open in a full browser window, other times they open as PDF documents, but either way include a clean, streamlined format. The text does not seem to be able to be downloaded, making it potentially difficult for students to access without internet access. One issue that I did encounter was that in PDF format, or in html, hyperlinks do not function.

The text is clear, free of grammatical errors, and flows well.

This text is relevant to all audiences and very approachable for college age students.

I found this text to be a refreshing change from what is typically find in research textbooks; it’s relevance to more than just the assignment will help students connect research to the broader concept of academia and other facets of their lives. The antithesis section is a useful way for students to really engage with an opposing opinion and how they can then incorporate that into a successful research project. Also, the differing ways of presenting research I found to be useful for students to think about their project beyond a stapled stack of pages, and to expand that to differing modes of communication and presentation. I look forward to being able to use this text with students.

Reviewed by Samuel Kessler, Postdoctoral Fellow, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University on 2/8/17

"The Process of Research Writing" covers most of the areas students need to understand as they begin research writing at a college level. It has explanations of theses, bibliographies, citations, outlines, first paragraphs, etc. There is no index... read more

"The Process of Research Writing" covers most of the areas students need to understand as they begin research writing at a college level. It has explanations of theses, bibliographies, citations, outlines, first paragraphs, etc. There is no index or glossary, the latter especially being something that would have been very helpful and easy to put together. Krause has many useful definitions and quick-help guides throughout the text, but they are so scattered and ineffectively labeled that it can be very difficult to find them without reading through whole chapters in one's search. On the whole, buried inside these pages, is a very effective guides to *teaching* about research writing. In truth, this book is a teacher's introduction to a class (or, more realistically, three or four class sessions) devoted to college-level academic writing. Unfortunately, there are a lot of words that one has to get through to find all these subject, which can make for tough going.

Based on the questions and errors I see my students making, Krause has done a strong job of highlighting the basics of proper academic research. He spends much time on sources, especially on learning to differentiate between scholarly, trade, and journalistic sources, as well as how to steer clear and note the signs of online schlock (i.e. much of the internet). His tips for peer-to-peer editing and self-reflexive assignments are just the sort of things our students needs help working on.

This is a strange book. The portions that are about implementing class assignments or explaining terms like thesis and antithesis, as well as the examples of an outline or a good first paragraph, are all excellent tools for a classroom.

But there are so many instances of irrelevant or outdates explanations. No college student today needs to read about why writing on a computer is a useful thing to do. No student needs to read about how email can be a tool for academic exchange. A section on using computers for research? On how to copy and paste within a word document? (And no-one calls it the "World Wide Web".) These are issues for the late 90s, not for students in the second decade of the twenty-first century.

There is also a fair amount that is personal and peculiar to the author: a discussion of why he uses the term "research essay" instead of "research paper"? That is just wasted space, and actually without the argumentative merits of a research thesis that he had been teaching up to that point.

For students at research universities, or even at second-tier state and private colleges, the information about libraries and library catalogues changes so quickly that I could never assign those passages. Instead, we'll spend class time looking at our specific library interface. And often, so much material is being sent off-site these days that in many humanities fields its not even possible to scan the shelves any longer. And in science, books are almost irrelevant: online access journals are where the latest research is stored. A bound edition of *Science* from the 1970s contains very little that's important for a scientific research paper written in 2016--unless that paper is about the history of some form of experiment.

Krause writes in a folksy, breezy second-person. Now, so does Tom Friedman of the Times, though that is one of the main criticisms of his otherwise insights books. Krause has a tendency to be overly wordy. This book should more closely resemble Hemingway than Knausgaard in order to be practical. For students who have Facebook etc. open while they're reading this book, every sentence that's not directly relevant will make their minds wander. There are so many sentences that simply need to be cut. To use this book, I'd need to cut and paste just the relevant passages. And without an index or glossary, assigning sections to students is very hard.

"The Process of Research Writing" is internally consistent. Krause maintains the same tone throughout, and defines terms as he goes along. The chapters vary considerably in length, with the short chapters always being more useful and focused, with less superfluous verbiage and fewer authorial quirks.

Modularity rating: 2

"The Process of Research Writing" is a very difficult text to use. The HTML and PDF versions are identical, which defeats the unique way the internet functions. I read this book on both Safari and Chrome, and in neither browser do the hyperlinks work. The tables of content at the heads of each chapter do not link to their respective sections. The projects, assignments, and definitions do not appear in different windows, which would make them possible to keep open while continuing on in the book. There are many instances in which moving back and forth between sections would be very helpful, and that is simply not possible without having multiple windows of the same book open and going between them that way--something that is very clumsy. And again, there are so many superfluous words that even assigning specific chapters means getting through a lot of talk before actually encountering the various hints, tricks, and explanations that are important for learning how to do college-level research.

"The Process of Research Writing" reads like a series of lectures that are meant to be give in a large lecture class, with assignments appended throughout and at the ends. The order of the books is, overall, what one would expect and need for teaching the basics. However, there is a good deal in Chapter 10 that should have appeared earlier (outlines, for instance), and that becomes part of one long chapter that is difficult to use and should have been divided into smaller sections.

As mentioned, in neither Safari nor Chrome do the hyperlinks work. And there appears to have been no planning for links from the chapter tables-of-content to their various associated sections. This makes it very difficult to get between sections or to return to where one was after going somewhere else in the book. Further, there are many links on the internet that remain stable over long periods of time. The Library of Congress, for instance, about which there is a section concerning its cataloguing system, should have a link. As should WorldCat, which for many people who do not have access to a major research library is the best place for learning about texts. Many services like LexusNexus, ABC Clio, and the NY Times archive all also maintain stable websites that should be externally linked.

Except for a smattering of typos, the book has fine (though informal) grammar. This is not a text that could also be used to demonstrate high-level academic writing.

There is nothing culturally offensive here in any way.

In many ways, this is a much better book for teachers of first-year students than for the students themselves. There are many sections of this book to pull out and assign, or to read together in class, to help students gain an understanding of college-level research. But this is not a book I'd ever assign to my students in total. The suggestions for in-class and homework assignments are all high quality pedagogy. But students shouldn't read about their own assignments--they should just do them. Departments can give this book to first-year professors to help them create class periods where they teach their students how to write papers. That would be an excellent use for this text. But as a book for students themselves, I cannot recommend it.

Reviewed by Margaret Wood, Instructor, Klamath Community College on 8/21/16

The book thoroughly covers the material that first-year college research writers need to know including an introduction to basic academic research concepts, searches and source evaluation from library and web resources, a thorough discussion of... read more

The book thoroughly covers the material that first-year college research writers need to know including an introduction to basic academic research concepts, searches and source evaluation from library and web resources, a thorough discussion of summary, paraphrase and direct quotation, collaboration and peer review, topic selection, hypothesis and thesis development, annotated bibliography, text analysis and evaluation, engaging seriously with opposing viewpoints, working with evidence and attributes of evidence, the components of a traditional research essay, alternative forms of presentation (web-based project), and finally MLA and APA documentation. There are also hyperlinks to help readers move to relevant information in other chapters.

While concepts like ethos, logos, and pathos are mentioned in passing, they are not deeply developed. Other topics I generally teach alongside research which are not covered include strategies for defining terms, inductive and deductive logic, and logical fallacies.

I did not identify any inaccuracies or biases. There are areas where focus may be a bit different. For example, the model my institution uses for annotated bibliographies uses the rhetorical precis as a summary model, and also encourages a brief evaluative analysis. On the other hand, the emphasis given to the antithesis is new to me, and looks like a very good idea. I did identify a couple of grammatical issues -- two cases of "effect" instead of "affect", and one pronoun agreement problem.

Good writing principles don't tend to change that much. The discussion of the Web-based research project is very timely.

The book is written in a conversational style which should be easy for students to understand. All technical terms are clearly explained. There are also aids for comprehension and review including: a useful bulleted list at the beginning of each chapter outlines material covered in that chapter; highlighted boxes which provide guidance for class discussion on the topic; sample assignments; easy-to-read checklists of key points.

The text is entirely consistent. Hyperlinks help to connect key points to other chapters.

The material is subdivided into clear and appropriate chapters; moreover, the chapters provide clear subheadings. However, I did identify one instance where subheadings indicated material that is not present in chapter four: Three Ideas for Collaborative Projects * Research Idea Groups * Research Writing Partners * Collaborative Research Writing Projects.

Also, as previously mentioned, some material that I would like to include is not covered in this text.

I feel that chapter 3 should be placed later, at a point in the term where students have actually begun the writing process.

Images, though used infrequently, are blurry, and hyperlinks, at least as I was able to access them, did not appear to be active.

Mentioned above -- two "effect"/"affect" issues and one issue of pronoun agreement

I did not identify any culturally insensitive issues. The one essay topic used throughout, a thesis involving The Great Gatsby, I did not find particularly relevant, since my institution excludes literature from its research projects.

Solid and thorough advice on research writing. Quite heavy on text, but advice is useful and frequently innovative.

Reviewed by Laura Sanders, Instructor, Portland Community College on 8/21/16

The text offers a comprehensive discussion of all the elements of writing a research project. The author covers evaluating sources, using library research, incorporating research into essays, collaborative work, creating a thesis, as well as... read more

The text offers a comprehensive discussion of all the elements of writing a research project.

The author covers evaluating sources, using library research, incorporating research into essays, collaborative work, creating a thesis, as well as writing annotated bibliographies, close reading, opposition, alternative project formats, and citing sources.

Although there is no index or glossary, the text is organized in discrete chapters available on the site as HTML or PDF for easy navigation.

Although I found no inaccuracies, both the APA and MLA handbooks have been updated since the versions used in this text.

Most of the content will not be obsolete any time soon, but the citation chapter is not based on recent APA and MLA handbooks.

The section on alternative ways to present research (Chapter 11) could be updated to include YouTube, Prezi, and more recent technology.

The modular format would make it very easy to update.

The text is written at a level that is appropriate for the target audience, college students who need to build research and writing skills.

This text is internally consistent.

I consider the modules to be one of the main strengths of the text. The sections have useful subheadings.

It would be easy to select specific chapters as course readings.

The chapters follow an intuitive sequence of developing a paper from topic to research to draft.

This text is easy to navigate.

I found no grammar errors.

There are ample opportunities here to add cultural diversity to the sample topics and writing tasks.

I am thrilled to offer this text to my students instead of the incredibly expensive alternatives currently available.

I am particularly interested in using this book for online writing courses, so students who desire more thorough discussion of particular stages of writing a research project could build or refresh foundational skills in these areas.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Thinking Critically About Research
  • Chapter Two: Understanding and Using the Library and the Internet for Research
  • Chapter Three: Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Chapter Four: How to Collaborate and Write With Others
  • Chapter Five: The Working Thesis Exercise
  • Chapter Six: The Annotated Bibliography Exercise
  • Chapter Seven: The Critique Exercise
  • Chapter Eight: The Antithesis Exercise
  • Chapter Nine: The Categorization and Evaluation Exercise
  • Chapter Ten: The Research Essay
  • Chapter Eleven: Alternative Ways to Present Your Research
  • Chapter Twelve: Citing Your Research Using MLA or APA Style

Ancillary Material

About the book.

The title of this book is The Process of Research Writing , and in the nutshell, that is what the book is about. A lot of times, instructors and students tend to separate “thinking,” “researching,” and “writing” into different categories that aren't necessarily very well connected. First you think, then you research, and then you write. The reality is though that the possibilities and process of research writing are more complicated and much richer than that. We think about what it is we want to research and write about, but at the same time, we learn what to think based on our research and our writing. The goal of this book is to guide you through this process of research writing by emphasizing a series of exercises that touch on different and related parts of the research process.

About the Contributors

Steven D. Krause  grew up in eastern Iowa, earned a BA in English at the University of Iowa, an MFA in Fiction Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a PhD in Rhetoric and Writing at Bowling Green State University. He joined the faculty at Eastern Michigan University in 1998.

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Writing a Research Paper

This page lists some of the stages involved in writing a library-based research paper.

Although this list suggests that there is a simple, linear process to writing such a paper, the actual process of writing a research paper is often a messy and recursive one, so please use this outline as a flexible guide.

Discovering, Narrowing, and Focusing a Researchable Topic

  • Try to find a topic that truly interests you
  • Try writing your way to a topic
  • Talk with your course instructor and classmates about your topic
  • Pose your topic as a question to be answered or a problem to be solved

Finding, Selecting, and Reading Sources

You will need to look at the following types of sources:

  • library catalog, periodical indexes, bibliographies, suggestions from your instructor
  • primary vs. secondary sources
  • journals, books, other documents

Grouping, Sequencing, and Documenting Information

The following systems will help keep you organized:

  • a system for noting sources on bibliography cards
  • a system for organizing material according to its relative importance
  • a system for taking notes

Writing an Outline and a Prospectus for Yourself

Consider the following questions:

  • What is the topic?
  • Why is it significant?
  • What background material is relevant?
  • What is my thesis or purpose statement?
  • What organizational plan will best support my purpose?

Writing the Introduction

In the introduction you will need to do the following things:

  • present relevant background or contextual material
  • define terms or concepts when necessary
  • explain the focus of the paper and your specific purpose
  • reveal your plan of organization

Writing the Body

  • Use your outline and prospectus as flexible guides
  • Build your essay around points you want to make (i.e., don’t let your sources organize your paper)
  • Integrate your sources into your discussion
  • Summarize, analyze, explain, and evaluate published work rather than merely reporting it
  • Move up and down the “ladder of abstraction” from generalization to varying levels of detail back to generalization

Writing the Conclusion

  • If the argument or point of your paper is complex, you may need to summarize the argument for your reader.
  • If prior to your conclusion you have not yet explained the significance of your findings or if you are proceeding inductively, use the end of your paper to add your points up, to explain their significance.
  • Move from a detailed to a general level of consideration that returns the topic to the context provided by the introduction.
  • Perhaps suggest what about this topic needs further research.

Revising the Final Draft

  • Check overall organization : logical flow of introduction, coherence and depth of discussion in body, effectiveness of conclusion.
  • Paragraph level concerns : topic sentences, sequence of ideas within paragraphs, use of details to support generalizations, summary sentences where necessary, use of transitions within and between paragraphs.
  • Sentence level concerns: sentence structure, word choices, punctuation, spelling.
  • Documentation: consistent use of one system, citation of all material not considered common knowledge, appropriate use of endnotes or footnotes, accuracy of list of works cited.

research and paper writing

Academic and Professional Writing

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Analysis Papers

Reading Poetry

A Short Guide to Close Reading for Literary Analysis

Using Literary Quotations

Play Reviews

Writing a Rhetorical Précis to Analyze Nonfiction Texts

Incorporating Interview Data

Grant Proposals

Planning and Writing a Grant Proposal: The Basics

Additional Resources for Grants and Proposal Writing

Job Materials and Application Essays

Writing Personal Statements for Ph.D. Programs

  • Before you begin: useful tips for writing your essay
  • Guided brainstorming exercises
  • Get more help with your essay
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Resume Writing Tips

CV Writing Tips

Cover Letters

Business Letters

Proposals and Dissertations

Resources for Proposal Writers

Resources for Dissertators

Research Papers

Planning and Writing Research Papers

Quoting and Paraphrasing

Writing Annotated Bibliographies

Creating Poster Presentations

Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper

Thank-You Notes

Advice for Students Writing Thank-You Notes to Donors

Reading for a Review

Critical Reviews

Writing a Review of Literature

Scientific Reports

Scientific Report Format

Sample Lab Assignment

Writing for the Web

Writing an Effective Blog Post

Writing for Social Media: A Guide for Academics

How to Write a Research Paper

Academic Writing Service

If you already have a headache trying to understand what research paper is all about, we have created an ultimate guide for you on how to write a research paper. You will find all the answers to your questions regarding structure, planning, doing investigation, finding the topic that appeals to you. Plus, you will find out the secret to an excellent paper. Are you at the edge of your seat? Let us start with the basics then.

  • What is a Research Paper
  • Reasons for Writing a Research Paper
  • Report Papers and Thesis Papers
  • How to Start a Research Paper
  • How to Choose a Topic for a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Proposal for a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Research Plan
  • How to Do Research
  • How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Research Paper Rough Draft
  • How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Body of a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper
  • How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper
  • How to Revise and Edit a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Bibliography for a Research Paper
  • What Makes a Good Research Paper

Research Paper Writing Services

What is a research paper.

How to Write a Research Paper

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You probably know the saying ‘the devil is not as black as he is painted’. This particular saying is absolutely true when it comes to writing a research paper. Your feet are cold even with the thought of this assignment. You have heard terrifying stories from older students. You have never done this before, so certainly you are scared. What is a research paper? How should I start? What are all these requirements about?

Luckily, you have a friend in need. That is our writing service. First and foremost, let us clarify the definition. A research paper is a piece of academic writing that provides information about a particular topic that you’ve researched . In other words, you choose a topic: about historical events, the work of some artist, some social issues etc. Then you collect data on the given topic and analyze it. Finally, you put your analysis on paper. See, it is not as scary as it seems. If you are still having doubts, whether you can handle it yourself, we are here to help you. Our team of writers can help you choose the topic, or give you advice on how to plan your work, or how to start, or craft a paper for you. Just contact us 24/7 and see everything yourself.

5 Reasons for Writing a Research Paper

Why should I spend my time writing some academic paper? What is the use of it? Is not some practical knowledge more important? The list of questions is endless when it comes to a research paper. That is why we have outlined 5 main reasons why writing a research paper is a good thing.

  • You will learn how to organize your time

If you want to write a research paper, you will have to learn how to manage your time. This type of assignment cannot be done overnight. It requires careful planning and you will need to learn how to do it. Later, you will be able to use these time-managing skills in your personal life, so why not developing them?

  • You will discover your writing skills

You cannot know something before you try it. This rule relates to writing as well. You cannot claim that you cannot write until you try it yourself. It will be really difficult at the beginning, but then the words will come to your head themselves.

  • You will improve your analytical skills

Writing a research paper is all about investigation and analysis. You will need to collect data, examine and classify it. These skills are needed in modern life more than anything else is.

  • You will gain confidence

Once you do your own research, it gives you the feeling of confidence in yourself. The reason is simple human brain likes solving puzzles and your assignment is just another puzzle to be solved.

  • You will learn how to persuade the reader

When you write your paper, you should always remember that you are writing it for someone to read. Moreover, you want this someone to believe in your ideas. For this reason, you will have to learn different convincing methods and techniques. You will learn how to make your writing persuasive. In turns, you will be able to use these methods in real life.

What is the Difference between Report and Thesis Papers?

A common question is ‘what is the difference between a report paper and a thesis paper?’ The difference lies in the aim of these two assignments. While the former aims at presenting the information, the latter aims at providing your opinion on the matter. In other words, in a report paper you have to summarize your findings. In a thesis paper, you choose some issue and defend your point of view by persuading the reader. It is that simple.

A thesis paper is a more common assignment than a report paper. This task will help a professor to evaluate your analytical skills and skills to present your ideas logically. These skills are more important than just the ability to collect and summarize data.

How to Write a Research Paper Step by Step

Research comes from the French word  rechercher , meaning “to seek out.” Writing a research paper requires you to seek out information about a subject, take a stand on it, and back it up with the opinions, ideas, and views of others. What results is a printed paper variously known as a term paper or library paper, usually between five and fifteen pages long—most instructors specify a minimum length—in which you present your views and findings on the chosen subject.

How to Write a Research Paper

It is not a secret that the majority of students hate writing a research paper. The reason is simple it steals your time and energy. Not to mention, constant anxiety that you will not be able to meet the deadline or that you will forget about some academic requirement.

We will not lie to you; a research paper is a difficult assignment. You will have to spend a lot of time. You will need to read, to analyze, and to search for the material. You will probably be stuck sometimes. However, if you organize your work smart, you will gain something that is worth all the effort – knowledge, experience, and high grades.

The reason why many students fail writing a research paper is that nobody explained them how to start and how to plan their work. Luckily, you have found our writing service and we are ready to shed the light on this dark matter.

We have created a step by step guide for you on how to write a research paper. We will dwell upon the structure, the writing tips, the writing strategies as well as academic requirements. Read this whole article and you will see that you can handle writing this assignment and our team of writers is here to assist you.

How to Start a Research Paper?

How to Start a Research Paper

It all starts with the assignment. Your professor gives you the task. It may be either some general issue or specific topic to write about. Your assignment is your first guide to success. If you understand what you need to do according to the assignment, you are on the road to high results. Do not be scared to clarify your task if you need to. There is nothing wrong in asking a question if you want to do something right. You can ask your professor or you can ask our writers who know a thing or two in academic writing.

It is essential to understand the assignment. A good beginning makes a good ending, so start smart.

Learn how to start a research paper .

Choosing a Topic for a Research Paper

How to Choose a Topic for a Research Paper

We have already mentioned that it is not enough to do great research. You need to persuade the reader that you have made some great research. What convinces better that an eye-catching topic? That is why it is important to understand how to choose a topic for a research paper.

First, you need to delimit the general idea to a more specific one. Secondly, you need to find what makes this topic interesting for you and for the academia. Finally, you need to refine you topic. Remember, it is not something you will do in one day. You can be reshaping your topic throughout your whole writing process. Still, reshaping not changing it completely. That is why keep in your head one main idea: your topic should be precise and compelling .

Learn how to choose a topic for a research paper .

How to Write a Proposal for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Proposal for a Research Paper

If you do not know what a proposal is, let us explain it to you. A proposal should answer three main questions:

  • What is the main aim of your investigation?
  • Why is your investigation important?
  • How are you going to achieve the results?

In other words, proposal should show why your topic is interesting and how you are going to prove it. As to writing requirements, they may differ. That is why make sure you find out all the details at your department. You can ask your departmental administrator or find information online at department’s site. It is crucial to follow all the administrative requirements, as it will influence your grade.

Learn how to write a proposal for a research paper .

How to Write a Research Plan?

How to Write a Research Plan

The next step is writing a plan. You have already decided on the main issues, you have chosen the bibliography, and you have clarified the methods. Here comes the planning. If you want to avoid writer’s block, you have to structure you work. Discuss your strategies and ideas with your instructor. Think thoroughly why you need to present some data and ideas first and others second. Remember that there are basic structure elements that your research paper should include:

  • Thesis Statement
  • Introduction
  • Bibliography

You should keep in mind this skeleton when planning your work. This will keep your mind sharp and your ideas will flow logically.

Learn how to write a research plan .

How to Do Research?

How to Do Research

Your research will include three stages: collecting data, reading and analyzing it, and writing itself.

First, you need to collect all the material that you will need for you investigation: films, documents, surveys, interviews, and others. Secondly, you will have to read and analyze. This step is tricky, as you need to do this part smart. It is not enough just to read, as you cannot keep in mind all the information. It is essential that you make notes and write down your ideas while analyzing some data. When you get down to the stage number three, writing itself, you will already have the main ideas written on your notes. Plus, remember to jot down the reference details. You will then appreciate this trick when you will have to write the bibliography.

If you do your research this way, it will be much easier for you to write the paper. You will already have blocks of your ideas written down and you will just need to add some material and refine your paper.

Learn how to do research .

How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper?

How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper

To make your paper well organized you need to write an outline. Your outline will serve as your guiding star through the writing process. With a great outline you will not get sidetracked, because you will have a structured plan to follow. Both you and the reader will benefit from your outline. You present your ideas logically and you make your writing coherent according to your plan. As a result, this outline guides the reader through your paper and the reader enjoys the way you demonstrate your ideas.

Learn how to write an outline for a research paper . See research paper outline examples .

How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Research Paper

Briefly, the thesis is the main argument of your research paper. It should be precise, convincing and logical. Your thesis statement should include your point of view supported by evidence or logic. Still, remember it should be precise. You should not beat around the bush, or provide all the possible evidence you have found. It is usually a single sentence that shows your argument. In on sentence you should make a claim, explain why it significant and convince the reader that your point of view is important.

Learn how to write a thesis statement for a research paper . See research paper thesis statement examples .

Should I Write a Rough Draft for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Research Paper Rough Draft

Do you know any writer who put their ideas on paper, then never edited them and just published? Probably, no writer did so. Writing a research paper is no exception. It is impossible to cope with this assignment without writing a rough draft.

Your draft will help you understand what you need to polish to make your paper perfect. All the requirements, academic standards make it difficult to do everything flawlessly at the first attempt. Make sure you know all the formatting requirements: margins, words quantity, reference requirements, formatting styles etc.

Learn how to write a rough draft for a research paper .

How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper?

How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper

Let us make it more vivid for you. We have narrowed down the tips on writing an introduction to the three main ones:

  • Include your thesis in your introduction

Remember to include the thesis statement in your introduction. Usually, it goes at the end of the first paragraph.

  • Present the main ideas of the body

You should tell the main topics you are going to discuss in the main body. For this reason, before writing this part of introduction, make sure you know what is your main body is going to be about. It should include your main ideas.

  • Polish your thesis and introduction

When you finish the main body of your paper, come back to the thesis statement and introduction. Restate something if needed. Just make it perfect; because introduction is like the trailer to your paper, it should make the reader want to read the whole piece.

Learn how to write an introduction for a research paper . See research paper introduction examples .

How to Write a Body of a Research Paper?

How to Write a Body of a Research Paper

A body is the main part of your research paper. In this part, you will include all the needed evidence; you will provide the examples and support your argument.

It is important to structure your paragraphs thoroughly. That is to say, topic sentence and the evidence supporting the topic. Stay focused and do not be sidetracked. You have your outline, so follow it.

Here are the main tips to keep in head when writing a body of a research paper:

  • Let the ideas flow logically
  • Include only relevant information
  • Provide the evidence
  • Structure the paragraphs
  • Make the coherent transition from one paragraph to another

See? When it is all structured, it is not as scary as it seemed at the beginning. Still, if you have doubts, you can always ask our writers for help.

Learn how to write a body of a research paper . See research paper transition examples .

How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

Writing a good conclusion is important as writing any other part of the paper. Remember that conclusion is not a summary of what you have mentioned before. A good conclusion should include your last strong statement.

If you have written everything according to the plan, the reader already knows why your investigation is important. The reader has already seen the evidence. The only thing left is a strong concluding thought that will organize all your findings.

Never include any new information in conclusion. You need to conclude, not to start a new discussion.

Learn how to write a conclusion for a research paper .

How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper?

How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper

An abstract is a brief summary of your paper, usually 100-200 words. You should provide the main gist of your paper in this short summary. An abstract can be informative, descriptive or proposal. Depending on the type of abstract, you need to write, the requirements will differ.

To write an informative abstract you have to provide the summary of the whole paper. Informative summary. In other words, you need to tell about the main points of your work, the methods used, the results and the conclusion of your research.

To write a descriptive abstract you will not have to provide any summery. You should write a short teaser of your paper. That is to say, you need to write an overview of your paper. The aim of a descriptive abstract is to interest the reader.

Finally, to write a proposal abstract you will need to write the basic summary as for the informative abstract. However, the difference is the following: you aim at persuading someone to let you write on the topic. That is why, a proposal abstract should present your topic as the one worth investigating.

Learn how to write an abstract for a research paper .

Should I Revise and Edit a Research Paper?

How to Revise and Edit a Research Paper

Revising and editing your paper is essential if you want to get high grades. Let us help you revise your paper smart:

  • Check your paper for spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Sharpen the vocabulary
  • Make sure there are no slang words in your paper
  • Examine your paper in terms of structure
  • Compare your topic, thesis statement to the whole piece
  • Check your paper for plagiarism

If you need assistance with proofreading and editing your paper, you can turn to the professional editors at our service. They will help you polish your paper to perfection.

Learn how to revise and edit a research paper .

How to Write a Bibliography for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Bibliography for a Research Paper

First, let us make it clear that bibliography and works cited are two different things. Works cited are those that you cited in your paper. Bibliography should include all the materials you used to do your research. Still, remember that bibliography requirements differ depending on the formatting style of your paper. For this reason, make sure you ask you professor all the requirements you need to meet to avoid any misunderstanding.

Learn how to write a bibliography for a research paper .

The Key Secret to a Good Research Paper

Now when you know all the stages of writing a research paper, you are ready to find the key to a good research paper:

  • Choose the topic that really interests you
  • Make the topic interesting for you even if it is not at the beginning
  • Follow the step by step guide and do not get sidetracked
  • Be persistent and believe in yourself
  • Really do research and write your paper from scratch
  • Learn the convincing writing techniques and use them
  • Follow the requirements of your assignment
  • Ask for help if needed from real professionals

Feeling more confident about your paper now? We are sure you do. Still, if you need help, you can always rely on us 24/7.

We hope we have made writing a research paper much easier for you. We realize that it requires lots of time and energy. We believe when you say that you cannot handle it anymore. For this reason, we have been helping students like you for years. Our professional team of writers is ready to tackle any challenge.

All our authors are experienced writers crafting excellent academic papers. We help students meet the deadline and get the top grades they want. You can see everything yourself. All you need to do is to place your order online and we will contact you. Writing a research paper with us is truly easy, so why do not you check it yourself?

Additional Resources for Research Paper Writing:

  • Anthropology Research
  • Career Research
  • Communication Research
  • Criminal Justice Research
  • Health Research
  • Political Science Research
  • Psychology Research
  • Sociology Research

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13.1 Formatting a Research Paper

Learning objectives.

  • Identify the major components of a research paper written using American Psychological Association (APA) style.
  • Apply general APA style and formatting conventions in a research paper.

In this chapter, you will learn how to use APA style , the documentation and formatting style followed by the American Psychological Association, as well as MLA style , from the Modern Language Association. There are a few major formatting styles used in academic texts, including AMA, Chicago, and Turabian:

  • AMA (American Medical Association) for medicine, health, and biological sciences
  • APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the social sciences
  • Chicago—a common style used in everyday publications like magazines, newspapers, and books
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) for English, literature, arts, and humanities
  • Turabian—another common style designed for its universal application across all subjects and disciplines

While all the formatting and citation styles have their own use and applications, in this chapter we focus our attention on the two styles you are most likely to use in your academic studies: APA and MLA.

If you find that the rules of proper source documentation are difficult to keep straight, you are not alone. Writing a good research paper is, in and of itself, a major intellectual challenge. Having to follow detailed citation and formatting guidelines as well may seem like just one more task to add to an already-too-long list of requirements.

Following these guidelines, however, serves several important purposes. First, it signals to your readers that your paper should be taken seriously as a student’s contribution to a given academic or professional field; it is the literary equivalent of wearing a tailored suit to a job interview. Second, it shows that you respect other people’s work enough to give them proper credit for it. Finally, it helps your reader find additional materials if he or she wishes to learn more about your topic.

Furthermore, producing a letter-perfect APA-style paper need not be burdensome. Yes, it requires careful attention to detail. However, you can simplify the process if you keep these broad guidelines in mind:

  • Work ahead whenever you can. Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” includes tips for keeping track of your sources early in the research process, which will save time later on.
  • Get it right the first time. Apply APA guidelines as you write, so you will not have much to correct during the editing stage. Again, putting in a little extra time early on can save time later.
  • Use the resources available to you. In addition to the guidelines provided in this chapter, you may wish to consult the APA website at http://www.apa.org or the Purdue University Online Writing lab at http://owl.english.purdue.edu , which regularly updates its online style guidelines.

General Formatting Guidelines

This chapter provides detailed guidelines for using the citation and formatting conventions developed by the American Psychological Association, or APA. Writers in disciplines as diverse as astrophysics, biology, psychology, and education follow APA style. The major components of a paper written in APA style are listed in the following box.

These are the major components of an APA-style paper:

Body, which includes the following:

  • Headings and, if necessary, subheadings to organize the content
  • In-text citations of research sources
  • References page

All these components must be saved in one document, not as separate documents.

The title page of your paper includes the following information:

  • Title of the paper
  • Author’s name
  • Name of the institution with which the author is affiliated
  • Header at the top of the page with the paper title (in capital letters) and the page number (If the title is lengthy, you may use a shortened form of it in the header.)

List the first three elements in the order given in the previous list, centered about one third of the way down from the top of the page. Use the headers and footers tool of your word-processing program to add the header, with the title text at the left and the page number in the upper-right corner. Your title page should look like the following example.

Beyond the Hype: Evaluating Low-Carb Diets cover page

The next page of your paper provides an abstract , or brief summary of your findings. An abstract does not need to be provided in every paper, but an abstract should be used in papers that include a hypothesis. A good abstract is concise—about one hundred fifty to two hundred fifty words—and is written in an objective, impersonal style. Your writing voice will not be as apparent here as in the body of your paper. When writing the abstract, take a just-the-facts approach, and summarize your research question and your findings in a few sentences.

In Chapter 12 “Writing a Research Paper” , you read a paper written by a student named Jorge, who researched the effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets. Read Jorge’s abstract. Note how it sums up the major ideas in his paper without going into excessive detail.

Beyond the Hype: Abstract

Write an abstract summarizing your paper. Briefly introduce the topic, state your findings, and sum up what conclusions you can draw from your research. Use the word count feature of your word-processing program to make sure your abstract does not exceed one hundred fifty words.

Depending on your field of study, you may sometimes write research papers that present extensive primary research, such as your own experiment or survey. In your abstract, summarize your research question and your findings, and briefly indicate how your study relates to prior research in the field.

Margins, Pagination, and Headings

APA style requirements also address specific formatting concerns, such as margins, pagination, and heading styles, within the body of the paper. Review the following APA guidelines.

Use these general guidelines to format the paper:

  • Set the top, bottom, and side margins of your paper at 1 inch.
  • Use double-spaced text throughout your paper.
  • Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, in a legible size (10- to 12-point).
  • Use continuous pagination throughout the paper, including the title page and the references section. Page numbers appear flush right within your header.
  • Section headings and subsection headings within the body of your paper use different types of formatting depending on the level of information you are presenting. Additional details from Jorge’s paper are provided.

Cover Page

Begin formatting the final draft of your paper according to APA guidelines. You may work with an existing document or set up a new document if you choose. Include the following:

  • Your title page
  • The abstract you created in Note 13.8 “Exercise 1”
  • Correct headers and page numbers for your title page and abstract

APA style uses section headings to organize information, making it easy for the reader to follow the writer’s train of thought and to know immediately what major topics are covered. Depending on the length and complexity of the paper, its major sections may also be divided into subsections, sub-subsections, and so on. These smaller sections, in turn, use different heading styles to indicate different levels of information. In essence, you are using headings to create a hierarchy of information.

The following heading styles used in APA formatting are listed in order of greatest to least importance:

  • Section headings use centered, boldface type. Headings use title case, with important words in the heading capitalized.
  • Subsection headings use left-aligned, boldface type. Headings use title case.
  • The third level uses left-aligned, indented, boldface type. Headings use a capital letter only for the first word, and they end in a period.
  • The fourth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are boldfaced and italicized.
  • The fifth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are italicized and not boldfaced.

Visually, the hierarchy of information is organized as indicated in Table 13.1 “Section Headings” .

Table 13.1 Section Headings

A college research paper may not use all the heading levels shown in Table 13.1 “Section Headings” , but you are likely to encounter them in academic journal articles that use APA style. For a brief paper, you may find that level 1 headings suffice. Longer or more complex papers may need level 2 headings or other lower-level headings to organize information clearly. Use your outline to craft your major section headings and determine whether any subtopics are substantial enough to require additional levels of headings.

Working with the document you developed in Note 13.11 “Exercise 2” , begin setting up the heading structure of the final draft of your research paper according to APA guidelines. Include your title and at least two to three major section headings, and follow the formatting guidelines provided above. If your major sections should be broken into subsections, add those headings as well. Use your outline to help you.

Because Jorge used only level 1 headings, his Exercise 3 would look like the following:

Citation Guidelines

In-text citations.

Throughout the body of your paper, include a citation whenever you quote or paraphrase material from your research sources. As you learned in Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” , the purpose of citations is twofold: to give credit to others for their ideas and to allow your reader to follow up and learn more about the topic if desired. Your in-text citations provide basic information about your source; each source you cite will have a longer entry in the references section that provides more detailed information.

In-text citations must provide the name of the author or authors and the year the source was published. (When a given source does not list an individual author, you may provide the source title or the name of the organization that published the material instead.) When directly quoting a source, it is also required that you include the page number where the quote appears in your citation.

This information may be included within the sentence or in a parenthetical reference at the end of the sentence, as in these examples.

Epstein (2010) points out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).

Here, the writer names the source author when introducing the quote and provides the publication date in parentheses after the author’s name. The page number appears in parentheses after the closing quotation marks and before the period that ends the sentence.

Addiction researchers caution that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (Epstein, 2010, p. 137).

Here, the writer provides a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence that includes the author’s name, the year of publication, and the page number separated by commas. Again, the parenthetical citation is placed after the closing quotation marks and before the period at the end of the sentence.

As noted in the book Junk Food, Junk Science (Epstein, 2010, p. 137), “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive.”

Here, the writer chose to mention the source title in the sentence (an optional piece of information to include) and followed the title with a parenthetical citation. Note that the parenthetical citation is placed before the comma that signals the end of the introductory phrase.

David Epstein’s book Junk Food, Junk Science (2010) pointed out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).

Another variation is to introduce the author and the source title in your sentence and include the publication date and page number in parentheses within the sentence or at the end of the sentence. As long as you have included the essential information, you can choose the option that works best for that particular sentence and source.

Citing a book with a single author is usually a straightforward task. Of course, your research may require that you cite many other types of sources, such as books or articles with more than one author or sources with no individual author listed. You may also need to cite sources available in both print and online and nonprint sources, such as websites and personal interviews. Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , Section 13.2 “Citing and Referencing Techniques” and Section 13.3 “Creating a References Section” provide extensive guidelines for citing a variety of source types.

Writing at Work

APA is just one of several different styles with its own guidelines for documentation, formatting, and language usage. Depending on your field of interest, you may be exposed to additional styles, such as the following:

  • MLA style. Determined by the Modern Languages Association and used for papers in literature, languages, and other disciplines in the humanities.
  • Chicago style. Outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style and sometimes used for papers in the humanities and the sciences; many professional organizations use this style for publications as well.
  • Associated Press (AP) style. Used by professional journalists.

References List

The brief citations included in the body of your paper correspond to the more detailed citations provided at the end of the paper in the references section. In-text citations provide basic information—the author’s name, the publication date, and the page number if necessary—while the references section provides more extensive bibliographical information. Again, this information allows your reader to follow up on the sources you cited and do additional reading about the topic if desired.

The specific format of entries in the list of references varies slightly for different source types, but the entries generally include the following information:

  • The name(s) of the author(s) or institution that wrote the source
  • The year of publication and, where applicable, the exact date of publication
  • The full title of the source
  • For books, the city of publication
  • For articles or essays, the name of the periodical or book in which the article or essay appears
  • For magazine and journal articles, the volume number, issue number, and pages where the article appears
  • For sources on the web, the URL where the source is located

The references page is double spaced and lists entries in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. If an entry continues for more than one line, the second line and each subsequent line are indented five spaces. Review the following example. ( Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , Section 13.3 “Creating a References Section” provides extensive guidelines for formatting reference entries for different types of sources.)

References Section

In APA style, book and article titles are formatted in sentence case, not title case. Sentence case means that only the first word is capitalized, along with any proper nouns.

Key Takeaways

  • Following proper citation and formatting guidelines helps writers ensure that their work will be taken seriously, give proper credit to other authors for their work, and provide valuable information to readers.
  • Working ahead and taking care to cite sources correctly the first time are ways writers can save time during the editing stage of writing a research paper.
  • APA papers usually include an abstract that concisely summarizes the paper.
  • APA papers use a specific headings structure to provide a clear hierarchy of information.
  • In APA papers, in-text citations usually include the name(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication.
  • In-text citations correspond to entries in the references section, which provide detailed bibliographical information about a source.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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A complete guide to research papers writing

Research the topic, research the sources, organise your information, craft the outline, compose the introduction, compose the body, compose the conclusion, how not to write a research paper.

A research paper is an academic paper where you provide the results of your own investigation regarding a specific topic. It can be a master’s paper or even a dissertation. Your knowledge is not enough to craft an A+ paper, you will need to read and analyze dozens of reliable resources. This task may make you spend long sleepless nights over the project. We know how hard it can be to cope with such a complicated writing task, so we’re always ready to assist you

We are a team of experienced writers. We have written over a hundred of research papers for students from different countries. Placing an order will take a few minutes of your time and it will save you from hard work. Here’s the variant of how we can provide you research paper writing services:

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  • The writer does the research and writes the text of the paper;
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How to write a research paper: a step-by-step guide

In this section of the page, we’ll give you a complete guide to write a good research paper. You will see how to craft the paper from scratch. Follow the guide from the first step to the last one or pick up only the steps that you need for the paper.

Many students treat this stage of research papers writing as the easiest one and they face a lot of difficulties when doing the research in the future. Your goal here is to find the topic that hasn’t been discovered before, but the one that will give you the chance to find enough reliable sources. Your topic should be up-to-date and it should be interesting for your readers. It’s a big misconception to think that no one will ever read your paper. The right topic will make people look inside.

A research paper writer always does the research when crafting a paper

Start your research with crafting a list of primary and secondary sources. The first list include books, articles from scientists or famous researchers and all the recommendations from your professor. The second list will include the rest of sources that are somehow related to the topic, but you cannot fully rely on them. It means you can use information for analyzing the topic from various points of view to come to your own conclusion.

There are three major ways of how you can keep all the information in order:

  • Taking notes;
  • Prioritizing your information from the most to the least relevant;
  • Making bibliography cards.

If you don’t try to put everything in order, you will have to start your research somewhere from the middle as you won’t be able to keep in mind so much data. You can use a pen and your notebook or you can use any software for planning or word processing.

When you have everything in the right order, it’s time to plan your paper and think how it will look like. An outline is a detailed plan where you will add quotations, some core statements and the thesis. If you order only an outline from the research paper writing service, you will easily craft the text as you will get the background information that you will complete. Your outline should represent the structure of your paper with as much detail as possible.

Read the tips to write a research paper with ease.

Start your paper with writing how important the topic of your research is. Give your readers a few reasons why they should view your paper. Write a few sentences about prior researches that you have found during the research stage. And finish the introduction with the thesis statement. Express the core idea of the paper and your position towards it. Don’t make any hints at the conclusions as your readers will lose their interest.

Use the outline and write each section of the body separately. We recommend you using a ladder of abstraction technique. It means to start with general information and finish with some specific facts. You can do it within one section. To make your text readable, divide it into paragraphs. Use transitions between them to make them logically connected. When you finish, read the text and think if it’s easy to understand.

Make a summary of the thesis statement and all the arguments that you have provided in the body part of the paper. Professional research paper writers always write one phrase about the significance of the research to remind readers about it. You can finish your paper in a traditional way by stating of there’s anything for the further research. Or you can finish your conclusion with a question to your readers about the need to do any researches in the future. It’s good to discuss it with your professor.

Research papers writing is easy thanks to a complete guide on this page.

Most of the students make the same mistakes. The first is presence of grammar errors or misspelling. You can do a super great research and provide fantastic solutions to some problems, but you will spoil the overall impression. The next is procrastination. Most of the students are sure that they can manage cope with the task in one night before the deadline. And one more common mistake is using slangs and jargons. It’s an academic piece of writing, so mind you style.

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Research Paper Structure 101: From Title Page to Appendices

Research Paper Structure: The Complete Guide

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A professional writer with ten years of experience and a Ph.D. in Modern History, Catharine Tawil writes engaging and insightful papers for academic exchange. With deep insight into the impact of historical events on the present, she provides a unique perspective in giving students a feel for the past. Her writing educates and stimulates critical thinking, making her a treasure to those wading through the complexities of history.

A research paper is an academic work depicting the design and results of a study. It can be an academic assignment in undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Moreover, it is an integral requirement in doctoral programs, where postgrads’ research papers are published in reputable journals to add credibility to their research findings. 

Ordering different parts of a research paper is critical for fulfilling academic standards, streamlining your writing, and avoiding distractions and sidetracks. Although outlining may seem like a waste of time, it is the most efficient use of your time at the pre-writing stage, as it will help you order your thoughts and ideas and develop a plan of action to follow throughout the study. 

In this post, we’ll cover the basics of the research paper formatting, provide a basic template of a research paper structure, and provide a detailed description of each section, including the title page and abstract, introduction and literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. You can skip to a specific section if you have questions or concerns about it or check out the full article for an in-depth understanding of the full structure. 

Essential Components of a Research Paper

Unlike other types of academic assignments, research papers have a structure more complex than a simple trio of introduction, body, and conclusion. You are expected to follow the established academic norms and include specific information for your paper to have any scientific value. The basic research paper structure example comprises the following parts:

Introduction

  • Literature review

Methodology

  • Acknowledgments

Please note that some sections of a research paper outlined above are optional. For example, you only need to include appendices if you wish to share a large volume of data that would make the paper unwieldy. You can also adjust this research paper setup to fit your study and word count requirements better. For instance, you can combine the results and discussion sections or the introduction and literature review.

Formatting Requirements

Although the research paper structure is basically the same for all fields of study and topics, the papers can look drastically different when following research paper formatting guidelines of various formatting styles, be it Chicago, MLA, or APA. You must learn the appropriate style at the onset of the writing process, so remember to ask your academic advisor about it if there’s no mention of the formatting style within general requirements.

Once you know which research paper formatting style to use, get your hands on the relevant formatting guidebook. You can find most of the requirements online or sign out a book from a college library. Considering most formatting guidebooks are huge, focus on the main aspects that can make or break your paper, such as:

  • Margins, font, and spacing. Most research paper format guidelines require 1-inch margins on all sides, a legible font of at least 12 pt, and double-spaced lines. 
  • Page numbering. Requirements vary, but typically, you’ll need to include page numbers in the upper right-hand corner, half an inch from the corner.
  • Headings and subheadings. Refer to MLA or APA handbooks to learn specific research paper headings requirements or ask your professor, as the guidelines differ greatly. 
  • In-text citations and reference list. In most cases, research paper in-text citations require the name of the main author along with the page number or the publication year. Reference list formatting varies across different styles, but you can use automatic citation generators to speed up the formatting process.

With formatting requirements out of the way, let’s now focus on individual components of a research paper to help you understand what each section should contain to be well received.

Title Page and Abstract

The research paper title page format depends on the required formatting style:

  • MLA does not require a separate title page (unless specifically requested). Instead, in the upper left-hand corner of the first page, type your name, your instructor’s name, course name, and date (each on a new line, double-spaced). After that, center the title of the page and include its text.
  • APA requires a separate title page, which should include the title of the paper, your name and affiliation, as well as the course name and number, your instructor’s name, and the assignment’s due date. 

A research paper abstract is brief summary of the main points of the research paper. Depending on the formatting style, it can be from 100 to 250 words long, highlighting the research objective, key methodology, and results highlights. An abstract should help readers decide if your work is worth reading at a glance. 

An APA research paper organization requires an abstract on a separate page, with the “Abstract” heading and the paper’s summary (without indent). Below the abstract, type “Keywords:” (in italics) and list the keywords researchers would use to find your paper in the library or online. 

The opening section of the research paper outline gives students pause because they never know what the introduction should entail. If you’re stuck with writer’s block and don’t know how to start the paper, answer these four questions, and you’ll have all the major pieces necessary for the introduction:

  • What’s the context of the problem? Open with a general view of the issue and its current state without going into too much detail (that’s what the literature review is for). The background information should fit within one or two paragraphs and lead directly to the next point. 
  • What is the issue? The problem statement or question is the core of this part of the research paper structure. Think of it as a thesis statement for an essay. Everything you write in other sections of a research paper should always tie to your problem statement.
  • How do you plan to solve the problem? You can formulate research objectives or hypotheses that your study will try to achieve or prove. Short papers typically have one hypothesis, while longer works usually have two or more related objectives.
  • How will your study improve the issue? The answer can circle back to the background you laid out at the beginning of the research paper introduction and highlight the benefits (and potential drawbacks and limitations) of your research. It’s the major “selling point” of the study, which should explain why anyone should care about it. 

You can always leave the introduction for last and tackle it once the rest of the paper is done. That’s especially helpful if you use writer’s block as an excuse to procrastinate and put off writing other parts of a research paper.

Literature Review

The primary objective of a research paper literature review is to provide context and prove the relevance of your topic, as specified in the introduction. To that end, you need to find credible, objective, and relevant sources and synthesize any data pertaining to your research. It’s important to avoid simple paraphrasing or summarization of reference data and instead provide its analysis and synthesize your own hypothesis.

Aside from the similarities found in references, this part of the research paper structure should also focus on discrepancies, contradictions, and knowledge gaps. These will prove your study has merit and can resolve the existing issues. Moreover, the knowledge gaps will help lead up to your main research question, which you may repeat near the end of the literature review.

Depending on the topic of your study, you can organize the literature review:

  • Chronologically. You can go from the oldest sources published to the latest or from the latest events to situations long past. This approach is often the easiest, but it doesn’t fit all topics and fields of study.
  • Thematically. If you wish to cover two or more aspects of the issue, you can dedicate a subsection to each and analyze them together in the final subsection of the literature review. This is the most popular approach, as it can work for most topics.
  • Methodologically. If you want to focus on the differences and similarities in research methodology, you can split the literature review into several subsections, devoting each one to a single methodology. This approach works for select subjects and can make the most of systemic studies. 

If you’re working on an empirical study, you can stop there, but if your work is mostly theoretical, this stage of the research paper writing process could also involve developing a theoretical framework. It will help put your findings and results into perspective.

Although it may seem simple at first glance, a literature review takes a long time, most of which you’ll spend looking for reliable sources. Luckily, you can easily outsource this task. All you need to do is say, “Write my paper for me”, and our experts will take over ASAP. 

The research paper methodology section is an integral part of the piece, as it helps ensure the reproducibility of your results and increases your credibility. This part should answer two main questions:

  • What? What did your study involve? What resources, software, materials, or samples did you use? What were the ethical considerations of your research?
  • How? How much time did your study take? How did you choose participants? How did you collect data and analyze it?

Keep these questions in mind when working out a research design, picking data collection procedures and analysis techniques. If you rely on standard methods, a quick description with a citation would be enough for the methodology part of the research paper structure. But if you employ a unique approach, make sure to describe it in minute detail to ensure anyone can repeat the process and achieve the same results. 

For obvious reasons, the methodology section will differ greatly depending on your field of study and topic. For example, qualitative and quantitative research methods are vastly different. At the same time, quantitative analysis of sociology or linguistics research will be nothing like analyzing blood tests for nursing students or analyzing the success of a marketing campaign for a business and management class. While the tools (i.e., programming language or table processing software) may be similar, the application will be different, and you should highlight these distinctions in your methodology section. 

Although you can put off working on this section of the structure of a research paper, it can be helpful to put your methodology on paper before embarking on the study. A clear idea of the protocols you plan to employ should keep your study on track and minimize methodological errors. 

The research paper results present the study findings as the ultimate product of your research. Instead of the raw data, you can present analysis results and visual aids in the form of tables, figures, and graphs, provide statistical analysis results, and refer interested readers to appendices containing raw data.

Remember to follow the formatting style requirements for tables and figures, which differ for APA and MLA. The same applies to lists and other visual aids. You should also ensure these materials do not destroy your paper’s readability. For example, a three-page table is much more difficult to grasp than a couple of charts highlighting the same data. Moreover, if you plan to present your findings on a poster or a PowerPoint presentation, it pays to work out the best way to present your insights that will fit all formats, including print and projection.

It’s important to draw the line between the results and discussion parts of the research paper structure. The first presents analysis, while the latter relies on interpretations (or implications) of that analysis. Understanding the distinction can be quite challenging, especially if you’re working out the structure of a research paper for the first time.

Discussion and Conclusion

The research paper discussion connects the introduction and research question with the study results. Instead of merely analyzing data, this section should explain whether your initial hypothesis was correct or not. Moreover, the final section, along with the research paper conclusion, should cover the implications of the findings and their potential practical and theoretical applications. This part can also include the limitations of the study and the need for further research if you feel that it could be useful.

It may seem counterproductive, but you shouldn’t shy away from shortcomings, mistakes, and negative results achieved in your study. Instead of waiting for uncomfortable questions from your instructor, present the bad along with the good and hypothesize potential ways of correcting errors or minimizing the negative influences. In some cases, negative results can be just as valuable (if not more so) than positive findings.

Remember to include the research paper references and appendices after the conclusion to wrap up your work and make it better with careful editing, proofreading, and formatting.

What is the purpose of a research paper?

The main objective is to present and share research insights and discoveries, which you should account for when structuring a research paper. Adding literature review and methodology sections is critical for highlighting the study’s relevance and ensuring its reproducibility.

How do I structure the different sections of a research paper?

Structuring a research paper means adding an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. You can organize each of these sections thematically or chronologically or use a funnel structure, going from the broad context strokes to a narrow view of the problem.

What are the key formatting guidelines for a research paper?

Specific requirements for the structure of a research paper outline and its contents depend on the preferred formatting style. However, at its core, each formatting style focuses on readability. That’s where 12 pt to 14 pt font size and double line spacing come from. Refer to the relevant formatting style handbook for specific recommendations. 

How do I effectively write the introduction and literature review?

The introduction is a critical part of the research paper structure that should include your primary research objective (or question), hypotheses, and the study’s relevance. A literature review is designed to support the claims you make within the introduction by generously using reference data. 

What is the difference between the results and discussion sections?

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  • USC Libraries
  • Research Guides

Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

  • Broadening a Topic Idea
  • Purpose of Guide
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
  • Independent and Dependent Variables
  • Glossary of Research Terms
  • Reading Research Effectively
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
  • Academic Writing Style
  • Applying Critical Thinking
  • Choosing a Title
  • Making an Outline
  • Paragraph Development
  • Research Process Video Series
  • Executive Summary
  • The C.A.R.S. Model
  • Background Information
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Citation Tracking
  • Content Alert Services
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Primary Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Tiertiary Sources
  • Scholarly vs. Popular Publications
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Insiderness
  • Using Non-Textual Elements
  • Limitations of the Study
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Writing Concisely
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Footnotes or Endnotes?
  • Further Readings
  • Generative AI and Writing
  • USC Libraries Tutorials and Other Guides
  • Bibliography

Importance of Broadening the Research Topic

It is important to adopt a flexible approach when choosing a topic to investigate. The goal when writing any paper is to choose a research problem that is focused and time-limited. However, your starting point should not be so narrowly defined that you unnecessarily constrict your opportunity to investigate the topic thoroughly. A research problem that is too narrowly defined leads to any of the following problems :

  • You can't find enough information and what you do find is tangential or irrelevant.
  • You find information that is so specific that it can't lead to any significant conclusions.
  • Your sources cover so few ideas that you can't expand them into a significant paper.
  • The research problem is so case specific that it limits opportunities to generalize or apply the results to other contexts.
  • The significance of the research problem is limited to only a very small, unique population.

Ravitch, Sharon M. and Matthew Riggan. Reason and Rigor: How Conceptual Frameworks Guide Research . Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2017.

Strategies for Broadening the Research Topic

In general, an indication that a research problem is too narrowly defined is that you can't find any relevant or meaningful information about it. If this happens, don't immediately abandon your efforts to investigate the problem because it could very well be an excellent topic of study. A good way to begin is to look for parallels and opportunities for broader associations that apply to the initial research problem. A strategy for doing this is to ask yourself the basic six questions of who, what, where, when, how, and why.

Here is an example of how to apply the six questions strategy to broadening your topic. Let's use the research topic of how to investigate ways to improve trade relations between Peru and Bolivia as an example. Ask yourself:

  • Who? -- are there other countries involved in the relations between these two countries that might want to challenge or encourage this relationship? Are there particular individuals or special interest groups [e.g., politicians, union leaders, etc.] promoting trade relations or trying to inhibit it? [remember to ask either the individual who question, the collective who question, or the institutional who question].
  • What? -- what are the specific trading commodities you are examining? Are there commodities not currently traded between Peru and Bolivia that could be? What commodities are being traded but should be traded in greater volume? What barriers exist that may help or hinder the import-exports of specific commodities?
  • Where? -- where are examples of other bi-lateral trade agreements that could model the potential for closer trade relations between Peru and Bolivia? Where are the benefits most likely to be felt within each country? Note that the question of where can also relate to specific spatial and geographical issues, such as, are there any areas impeding transportation of goods in the region?
  • When? -- how long have these countries had or not had trade relations? How far into the future might a trade relationship last given other factors? The question of when can apply to either past issues or future areas of interest.
  • How? -- how might Peru and Bolivia forge these ties in relation to, for example, long-standing internal conflicts within each country? Note that the how question can also be framed as, "In what way might...." [e.g., In what way might improved trade relations lead to other forms of economic exchanges between the two countries?].
  • Why? -- what advantages can each country gain by pursuing active trade relations? Why might other countries be concerned about closer ties between these two countries? Asking why can illuminate the " So What? " question applied to your topic and, thus, provide a means of assessing significance.

Reflecting upon these six questions during your initial review of the literature can help you formulate ways to expand the parameters of your initial research problem, providing an opportunity to identify new avenues of investigation and centering your study around gaps in the literature when answers to questions cannot be found. Once you've identified additional directions in which to proceed with your topic, you can try narrowing it down again, if needed.

NOTE:   Do not determine on your own that a research problem is too narrowly defined . Always consult with a librarian before making this assumption because librarians are experts in finding information and interpreting it in relation to a research problem. As such, they can help guide you to undiscovered research or suggest ways to design a broader analysis of your research problem using resources you did not even know existed.

Booth, Wayne C. The Craft of Research . Fourth edition. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2016; Coming Up With Your Topic. Institute for Writing Rhetoric. Dartmouth College; Getting Started With Your Research: A Self-Help Guide to Quality Information, Jean and Alexander Heard Library. Vanderbilt University; Strategies for Broadening a Topic. University Libraries. Information Skills Modules. Virginia Tech University.

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Powerful Academic Phrases to Improve Your Essay Writing 

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Adopting a formal style of writing is crucial for any type of academic writing, be it scholarly articles, research papers or essays. It requires a deep understanding of the subject matter, the ability to analyze and synthesize complex information, and the skill to communicate ideas effectively. One of the primary challenges of academic writing is the need to balance clarity with accuracy.  

There are various factors that should be borne in mind in academic writing. The writing should be clear and precise. It should be well structured with a clear focus while demonstrating the rigor with which the research was conducted. Long winding sentences and emotional language must be completely avoided. While discipline specific language should be used, jargon must be avoided. In other words, academic writing is not easy. However, by using the right words and academic phrases, you can deliver clear, concise writing that can elevate your scholarly papers or essays.  

In this article we will look at a few strong academic phrases that can go a long way in improving your academic essay writing.

Table of Contents

Comparing and contrasting, providing examples, elaborating on information, indicating uncertainty, summarising, academic phrases for various situations.

In writing an academic essay, arguments and ideas need to be built and articulated in a compelling manner. These should be supported with appropriate evidence. Furthermore, verifiable facts and examples must be presented in an engaging way and the entire essay should be well structured.  

In all these, the usage of right academic phrases becomes helpful. Depending on what you want to convey, different academic phrases can be used in various situations as discussed below. 

Very often in essays you may have to engage in the process of comparing and contrasting information, key aspects of two phenomena taken for study, or various sources for your literature review and so on. You will have to bring in to your discussion not just the similarities to your arguments, but also opposing or conflicting perspectives.  

Use of appropriate phrases will help organically bring in such similar or contrasting information. For example, some of the phrases that can be used to discuss similarities and differences include: In comparison or by contrast, however, conversely, alternatively, whereas, on the other hand, likewise, in the same way and so on. Example: “The author expresses his opinion based on anecdotal references. By contrast the survey he quotes and tries to argue against is more plausible with the rigorous data it has collected.”  

While writing an academic essay, you are required to support and expand your ideas and arguments through the use of examples. Phrases that can be used to provide examples include: for example, for instance, to illustrate, to exemplify, to demonstrate. 

Example: “Climate and weather patterns are changing rapidly and its ramifications are staring us in the face. For example, look at what is happening with the incessant rains pouring down during certain summer months.”  

As you structure your narrative, you will have to elaborate at various points on the information, ideas, and arguments that you are presenting. This has to be done in a manner that does not adversely affect the smooth flow of the narrative. It is here that the usage of appropriate phrases is crucial to uplift the quality of your essay. Using phrases such as moreover, furthermore, in other words, in addition and so on can aid in providing additional information. 

Example: “Rising temperatures are greatly impacting the health of children belonging to vulnerable groups in parts of the Asian sub-continent. Moreover, the lack of adequate government support and dismal welfare measures is making lives harder for such families.” 

While writing research papers or essays, researchers often acknowledge the limitations of their studies and the possibilities for conflicting or opposing views. Such recognition is pertinent for the advancement of scientific knowledge. There are various phrases that can be used to indicate uncertainty such as: it could be argued that the data suggest that evidence suggest that, or it is possible due to. 

Example: “The evidence suggests that the new teaching methods are beneficial and can be considered as an alternative to existing methods”. 

The concluding part of your essay should be a summary of your main ideas and arguments and its significance. To this end, the following phrases can be utilized: to summarise, to conclude, above all, or most significantly.  

Example: “To conclude, evidence points to the positive impact of periodic creative workshops on children’s cognitive development.”   

While academic writing may be challenging, mastering the use of appropriate academic phrases, avoiding jargon, and delivering clear, concise writing can elevate one’s writing to a higher and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in their respective fields. 

Paperpal is a comprehensive AI writing toolkit that helps students and researchers achieve 2x the writing in half the time. It leverages 21+ years of STM experience and insights from millions of research articles to provide in-depth academic writing, language editing, and submission readiness support to help you write better, faster.  

Get accurate academic translations, rewriting support, grammar checks, vocabulary suggestions, and generative AI assistance that delivers human precision at machine speed. Try for free or upgrade to Paperpal Prime starting at US$19 a month to access premium features, including consistency, plagiarism, and 30+ submission readiness checks to help you succeed.  

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  • How to Paraphrase Research Papers Effectively
  • How to Use AI to Enhance Your College Essays and Thesis
  • 7 Ways to Improve Your Academic Writing Process
  • How to Cite Social Media Sources in Academic Writing? 

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How to Write a Whitepaper: The Ultimate Guide for Marketers

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A whitepaper is an in-depth, persuasive, and informational document that presents a problem and provides a solution. You can use white papers in content marketing to generate interest, establish thought leadership, and influence the decision-making process of potential customers.

Typically ranging from 2,500 to 5,000 words , a well-researched and engaging whitepaper allows you to explore a topic in-depth. It is meant to educate your audience about an issue they are facing and subtly guide them towards your product or service as the ideal solution.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the methodology and process of planning, researching, writing, formatting, and promoting a white paper that sets you apart as a thought leader in your industry. You will learn how to write a whitepaper by choosing the right topic, crafting a compelling argument, presenting your ideas with clarity, and leveraging your whitepaper to achieve your sales and marketing goals.

Understanding the Purpose and Types of Whitepapers

whitepaper 1

The primary goal of a whitepaper is to build trust with your audience and provide an in-depth report or guide that demonstrates your company's expertise in the field.

There are several common types of white papers, each serving a unique purpose. Some whitepapers focus on explaining the technical information of a product or service , while others present a business case for adopting a particular solution . Regardless of the specific type, all whitepapers should aim to inform and persuade the reader, rather than serve as a direct sales pitch.

By educating the reader about a specific challenge they face and offering a thoughtful solution to a problem, whitepapers can help establish your company as a trusted authority . This trust is essential for building long-term relationships with your target audience and promote a product or service.

When crafting a whitepaper, it's crucial to keep the purpose of a white paper in mind: to provide value to the reader. While the ultimate goal may be to generate leads or drive sales, the whitepaper itself should focus on delivering helpful, relevant information that addresses the reader's needs and concerns.

Planning and Preparing to Write Your Whitepaper

whitepaper 2

Writing a whitepaper requires careful planning and preparation to ensure it effectively addresses your potential customers' needs and positions your business as a thought leader. Here's a step-by-step process for writing a whitepaper that resonates with your target audience:

  • Define your target audience and their pain points . Understand who will be reading your whitepaper and what challenges they face. Identifying their needs allows you to tailor your content to provide the most relevant and valuable information.
  • Choose a specific topic that addresses your audience's needs. Select a whitepaper topic that directly relates to your potential customers' pain points and showcases your unique expertise. A focused, relevant topic will capture your readers' attention and demonstrate how your business can solve their problems.
  • Conduct thorough research using credible sources. A compelling whitepaper needs to provide original research, data, and insights. Gather facts and evidence from reputable industry sources, case studies, and your own research findings to support your whitepaper's claims and solutions.
  • Create a detailed outline to organize your whitepaper's contents. Structure your whitepaper with a clear introduction, problem statement, background information, proposed solution, and conclusion. A well-organized outline ensures your whitepaper flows logically and keeps readers engaged from start to finish.

What elements should include a Whitepaper?

whitepaper 3

Here is a summary of the key elements and format that a good whitepaper should include:

  • Attention-grabbing title that clearly states the problem or topic the whitepaper covers
  • Subtitle providing more context
  • Company name and logo
  • Publication date
  • Name(s) of author(s)

Abstract or Executive Summary 

  • Concise overview of the whitepaper's contents 
  • Direct statements of the whitepaper's position or argument to engage the reader
  • Enough detail to satisfy an executive while encouraging further reading

Table of Contents

  • Organized outline of the whitepaper's sections and subsections

Introduction

  • Hook to grab the reader's attention 
  • Definition of the issue or problem and relevant background information
  • Establishes the author's credibility and common ground with the audience

Problem Statement

  • Thorough explanation of the specific problem the whitepaper addresses
  • Entirely from the perspective of the target audience
  • Supported by facts, statistics and examples illustrating the problem's impact

Proposed Solution

  • Detailed description of the proposed solution to the stated problem
  • Makes a persuasive, evidence-based argument for the solution
  • Addresses potential objections and alternative solutions
  • Includes supporting visuals like charts, graphs, and infographics
  • Summarizes the whitepaper's key points and takeaways 
  • Reiterates the importance and value of the proposed solution
  • Includes a specific call-to-action for readers
  • Citations for all research, statistics, and information sources used

Designing Your Whitepaper for Maximum Engagement

whitepaper 4

The design and layout of your whitepaper play a crucial role in its readability and overall impact. A well-designed whitepaper not only looks professional but also makes the content more accessible and engaging for the reader. You can find different whitepaper examples  and templates in websites like Venngage .

Incorporate visual elements like images, charts, and infographics to break up the text and illustrate key points. These elements can help make complex information more digestible and engaging for your audience.

However, avoid turning your whitepaper into a slick sales brochure . While visual elements are important, ensure that each page has more text than visuals to maintain the whitepaper's informative purpose.

Optimize your whitepaper design for multiple devices, as readers may access it on desktops, tablets, or smartphones. Use a responsive layout that adapts to different screen sizes, making it easy to read and navigate.

Remember, a well-designed whitepaper enhances the reading experience, making it more likely that your audience will engage with and share your content.

Promoting Your Whitepaper for Lead Generation

whitepaper 5

Once you've created a compelling whitepaper, it's time to promote it as part of your content marketing strategy . A well-crafted whitepaper can be a powerful lead magnet, helping you generate interest and capture valuable contact information from potential customers.

To maximize the impact of your whitepaper, create a dedicated landing page to host it. This page should highlight the potential benefits of your whitepaper and include a lead generation form to collect visitor details in exchange for the download.

Leverage your whitepaper across multiple channels to reach a wider audience. Share snippets and links to your whitepaper on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook[16][19]. Incorporate it into your email marketing campaigns, targeting relevant segments of your subscriber list.

Don't let your whitepaper be a one-and-done piece of content. Repurpose the valuable information into various content formats to extend its reach. Transform key sections into blog posts, create engaging videos that summarize the main points, or develop a slide presentation to share on platforms like SlideShare.

A whitepaper is just one type of content in your marketing arsenal. Combine it with other lead generation tactics like eBooks, webinars, and email courses to create a comprehensive content marketing strategy that drives results.

Measuring the Success and ROI of Your Whitepaper

whitepaper 6

Tracking the performance of your whitepaper is crucial for understanding its impact and optimizing your content marketing strategy. By monitoring key metrics, you can gauge the effectiveness of your whitepaper and make data-driven decisions to improve its ROI.

One essential metric to track is the number of downloads your whitepaper receives. This indicates the level of interest and engagement from your target audience. Additionally, keep a close eye on the leads generated from your whitepaper, as this directly ties to its potential for driving conversions and revenue.

To gain deeper insights into reader engagement, analyze data such as time spent reading, scroll depth, and click-through rates on links within your whitepaper . This information can help you identify areas for improvement and optimize your content to better resonate with your audience.

Gathering feedback from readers is another valuable way to measure the success of your whitepaper. Surveys, comments, and social media mentions can provide qualitative data on how well your content is received and what improvements can be made.

By consistently tracking and analyzing these metrics, you can continually refine your whitepaper marketing strategy to maximize its impact and ROI. Use the insights gained to optimize your content, distribution channels, and promotional efforts, ensuring that your whitepaper remains a valuable asset in your content marketing arsenal.

Conclusion: How to write a Whitepaper

Writing a whitepaper may seem daunting, but by following the key steps and best practices outlined in this guide, you can create a valuable asset for your content marketing strategy. To recap, start by choosing a relevant topic, understanding your audience, and conducting thorough research. Then, craft a compelling outline, write engaging content, and enhance your whitepaper with visuals and a professional design.

Remember, whitepapers are powerful tools for establishing thought leadership, generating leads, and educating your target audience. Investing time and effort into whitepaper writing can differentiate your brand and provide immense value to your readers.

Don't let the process overwhelm you – break it down into manageable steps and leverage the expertise of your team or external resources when needed. With practice and persistence, you'll soon be creating whitepapers that resonate with your audience and drive results for your business.

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How to Write an Explanatory Essay

How to Write an Explanatory Essay

  • Smodin Editorial Team
  • Published: May 24, 2024

A study from the English Language Teaching Educational Journal found that students encounter difficulty in organizing thoughts, generating ideas, and understanding writing processes when writing essays [1]. These are all key components of putting together a good explanatory essay. If this sounds like you, then don’t worry.

With the right approach, you can seamlessly combine all these components. This guide will give you a simple step-by-step strategy for writing an explanatory essay. It’ll also give you handy writing tips and tool suggestions, like utilizing artificial intelligence.

With this guide, you’ll be able to write an explanatory essay with confidence.

1. Develop a strong thesis statement

Crafting a strong thesis statement is the cornerstone of any well-written explanatory essay. It sets the stage for what your essay will cover and clarifies the main point you’re going to explain. Here’s how to create a thesis:

  • Find the main idea : Start by pinpointing the key concept or question you want to explain. Develop a clear purpose for the essay. This will guide your research and writing process for your explanatory paper. Use other reputable explanatory essay examples to guide your ideas. This may involve exploring other explanatory essay topics within the same field.
  • Be specific : A vague thesis can confuse readers. So, make sure your statement is clear. If you’re explaining a complex process, break it down to its key points. After that, break it into a clear, concise statement that’s easy to understand.
  • Reflect objectivity : Explanatory essays educate and inform. They do not argue a point. So, your thesis should take an unbiased stance on the topic. It should present the facts as they are, not as you interpret them.
  • Use tools like the Smodin Writer : Smodin Writer does all the heavy lifting by leveraging the power of artificial intelligence. With it, you can generate an essay with a thesis statement. How, you ask? Through its dedicated thesis generator . It can create a statement that’s both strong and relevant. Plus, it can pull in all the most interesting information based on your topic to further enrich your thesis statement.

Make your thesis clear, informative, and neutral. This sets a strong foundation for an effective explanatory essay. Next, let’s look at how to gather the information you’ll need to support this thesis effectively.

2. Research and gather information

You need to conduct thorough research that will back your thesis with credible sources and relevant evidence. This will make your explanatory essay both informative and persuasive. Here’s a step-by-step guide to conducting effective research:

  • Start with a plan: Put together an explanatory essay outline that includes the information you need to support your thesis. The plan should list the best sources, like academic journals, books, reputable websites, or scholarly articles.
  • Use credible sources: They ensure the accuracy of your essay. Libraries, academic databases, and certified websites are excellent places to find trustworthy information.
  • Seek detailed information: Look for the most current sources that explain your topic well and provide unique insights related to or opposing your thesis statement. This depth is crucial for explaining complex ideas clearly and thoroughly in your explanatory papers. Pay attention to the explanatory essay structure to guide your topic of choice (more on this later).
  • Gather relevant evidence: Collect data, stats, and examples. They should directly support your main points. Make sure this evidence is directly related to your topic and enhances your narrative.
  • Employ digital tools: Tools like Smodin’s Research Assistant can accelerate your research process. Smodin’s tools can help you find detailed information quickly, ensuring that the data you use is up-to-date and relevant.
  • Document your sources: As you conduct research, keep a meticulous record of where your information comes from. This practice will help you make an accurate bibliography. It can save you time when you need to refer back to details or verify facts. Again, this is something that’s covered thanks to Smodin’s Citation Machine.
  • Evaluate your findings: Critically assess the information you collect. Ensure it provides a balanced view and covers the necessary aspects of your topic to give a comprehensive overview of your essay.

By following these steps, you can gather a rich pool of information that provides a strong backbone for your explanatory essay. Now, you can start structuring your findings into well-organized body paragraphs.

3. Structure body paragraphs

Once you’ve gathered relevant evidence through thorough research, it’s time to organize it. You should put it into well-structured body paragraphs that follow a logical flow. Here’s how to structure each body paragraph for a strong explanatory essay:

  • Decide how many paragraphs to use : It will depend on your topic’s complexity and the needed detail. Typically, three to five paragraphs are suitable, but longer essays may require more. An explanatory essay example on your topic of choice will be helpful.
  • Start with a topic sentence : Each body paragraph should begin with a clear topic sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph. This sentence will act as a roadmap for the paragraph, giving the reader a sense of what to expect.
  • Provide supporting evidence : After the topic sentence, share the evidence from your research. Ensure the evidence is relevant and directly supports the paragraph’s topic sentence.
  • Give a detailed explanation : Follow the evidence with an analysis or explanation that ties it back to the thesis statement. This step is crucial for maintaining logical flow throughout your body paragraphs.
  • Use linking words : They connect body paragraphs smoothly, ensuring the reader can follow your argument.
  • End each body paragraph with a closing sentence : It should sum up the point and move to the next idea.

Following this structure will help your body paragraphs support your thesis. These paragraphs will also offer a clear, detailed explanation of your essay topic. Strong body paragraphs are essential to maintain objectivity in your writing.

4. Maintain objectivity

An explanatory essay aims to inform and educate, which makes maintaining objectivity crucial. Staying neutral lets readers form their own opinions based on facts. This ensures the writing is both reliable and informative. Here’s how to maintain objectivity:

  • Avoid personal opinions: Your goal is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the topic. Refrain from injecting your personal opinion or biases. Instead, stick to presenting factual information that supports the thesis.
  • Use relevant evidence: As mentioned, ground your arguments with relevant evidence from credible sources. Back up your main points with data and use research findings and verified details. This will make the explanatory article trustworthy.
  • Provide a balanced view: In cases with multiple perspectives, offer a balanced view. Cover each side fairly. Even if one view prevails in consensus, acknowledging others gives readers a broader understanding.
  • Adopt neutral language: Be careful with word choice and tone. Neutral language implies words that don’t encourage or illustrate bias. This helps avoid emotionally charged phrases and keeps the writing objective.
  • Cite sources accurately: Proper citation of sources provides accountability for the evidence presented. This transparency builds credibility and shows you’ve conducted research thoroughly. It’s also worth noting that different intuitions have different citation styles like APA and Chicago, which is important to note before starting your essay.
  • Review for biases: After drafting your essay, review it with an eye for biases. Ensure no part leans too much on one viewpoint. And, don’t dismiss an opposing perspective without cause.

Maintaining objectivity enhances the clarity and reliability of explanatory writing. Let’s now focus on crafting an introduction and conclusion that bookend your work effectively.

5. Craft an effective introduction and conclusion

A good introduction and a strong conclusion frame your explanatory essay. They give context at the start and reinforce the main points at the end. Here’s how to craft an effective introduction and conclusion.

In the introduction:

  • Hook your reader in the introduction : Use an interesting fact, a compelling quote, or a surprising statistic.
  • Provide background information : Be brief and offer only the essential context the reader needs to fully understand the topic. This should give the audience a foundational understanding before diving deeper into your main points.
  • Include the thesis statement : Clearly state your thesis near the end of the introduction. This statement will outline the essay’s direction and give readers a preview of the body paragraphs.

In the conclusion:

  • Summarize the key points : Start your explanatory essay conclusion with a summary. It should cover the main points from the body paragraphs. This summary should help readers recall and reinforce the information they’ve just read.
  • Restate the thesis : Repeat your thesis again but in a new way. Explain how the evidence from the body paragraphs supported or clarified it.
  • Provide a conclusion : End the essay with a statement that wraps up the argument. This statement should resonate with the reader. It should leave them with an impression that stresses the topic’s importance.

An effective introduction and conclusion give the essay structure and coherence. They guide readers from start to finish. The next step is revising and editing your entire essay for clarity and precision.

6. Revise and check clarity

Revising and editing are key in writing. They make sure your essay is clear, joined, and polished. Here’s how to refine your writing using an explanatory essay checklist and proven academic writing techniques:

  • Take a break: Before diving into revisions, step away from your essay for a few hours or even a day. This break will help you return with fresh eyes, making it easier to spot errors or inconsistencies.
  • Follow an essay checklist: Create or use a checklist to ensure your essay has all the needed parts. It needs a strong intro with a clear thesis, well-structured body paragraphs, good sources, and a short conclusion. Check that your arguments follow a logical flow and that all relevant evidence is directly linked to your thesis statement.
  • Check for clarity and conciseness: Academic writing needs clarity. So, make sure each paragraph and sentence conveys your point. Don’t use unnecessary jargon or overly complex language. Keep sentences concise while maintaining detailed explanations of your main points.
  • Verify facts and citations: Make sure all facts, data, and quotes in the essay are accurate. Also, check that they are cited in the required academic style (e.g. MLA, APA). Improper citations can undermine the credibility of your writing.
  • Review the grammar and style: Look for common grammar mistakes, punctuation errors, and awkward phrasing. Reading the essay aloud can help catch odd sentence structures or confusing wording.
  • Seek feedback: Share your essay with a peer or use online tools to get constructive criticism. A second perspective can highlight issues you might have missed.

These editing steps will help you produce a polished essay that clearly explains your main points and holds up to academic scrutiny.

Explanatory Essay Format

Understanding the explanatory essay format is key to a well-structured and logical paper. Here’s a basic breakdown of the format for an explanatory essay:

Introduction paragraph

  • Begin with an interesting sentence to capture the reader’s attention.
  • Give a short intro. It should set the topic and outline the essay’s purpose.
  • Present a clear thesis statement summarizing the main idea of the entire essay.

Body paragraphs

  • Organize the body paragraphs around logical subtopics related to the essay topic.
  • Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence that aligns with the thesis.
  • Show evidence from good sources. Also, give key details for each main point.
  • Incorporate a robust concluding statement per paragraph that drives home your point and links to the ideas in the next paragraph/section.
  • Summarize the key points.
  • Provide a final statement that reinforces the main idea without introducing new information.
  • Craft a concluding statement that leaves your teacher or professor with a lasting impression.

Following this essay outline ensures that your paper has a clear flow. This makes it easy for readers to understand and follow your argument.

Write Better Explanatory Essays With Smodin

Explanatory essays can be overwhelming. Presenting a solid argument, keeping your professor or teacher interested, and remembering conventions like citations can be a real headache.

But, a strong thesis and thorough research make them easier. Well-structured body paragraphs also help deliver a clear, insightful essay that maintains objectivity. Just remember to revise and check for accuracy!

AI-powered platforms like Smodin simplify and enhance the process of writing explanatory essays.

Smodin’s tools help craft clear and well-structured essays that meet any of your academic standards. With Smodin’s advanced research capabilities, you can gather detailed and relevant information quickly. This will save you time and improve your work.

  • Plagiarism Checker : Ensure your essay maintains originality with Smodin’s plagiarism detection tool. This feature helps maintain academic integrity by checking your work against vast databases.
  • Auto Citation : Cite your sources accurately without the hassle. Smodin’s auto-citation tool ensures your references are in the right format and meet your academic institution’s rules.
  • Text Shortener : If your explanatory essay is too long, use Smodin’s AI writer as an essay shortener. It will help you cut your content without losing key details. This helps keep your essay clear and relevant.
  • Text Rewriter : Helps paraphrase existing content, ensuring uniqueness and a fresh perspective.
  • Summarizer : The Summarizer boils down long articles into short summaries. They are perfect for making an efficient outline or conclusion.

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