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APA Sample Paper: Experimental Psychology
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How to Write an Introduction for a Psychology Paper
Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."
Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.
- Writing Tips
If you are writing a psychology paper, it is essential to kick things off with a strong introduction. The introduction to a psychology research paper helps your readers understand why the topic is important and what they need to know before they delve deeper.
Your goal in this section is to introduce the topic to the reader, provide an overview of previous research on the topic, and identify your own hypothesis .
At a Glance
Writing a great introduction can be a great foundation for the rest of your psychology paper. To create a strong intro:
- Research your topic
- Outline your paper
- Introduce your topic
- Summarize the previous research
- Present your hypothesis or main argument
Before You Write an Introduction
There are some important steps you need to take before you even begin writing your introduction. To know what to write, you need to collect important background information and create a detailed plan.
Research Your Topic
Search a journal database, PsychInfo or ERIC, to find articles on your subject. Once you have located an article, look at the reference section to locate other studies cited in the article. As you take notes from these articles, be sure to write down where you found the information.
A simple note detailing the author's name, journal, and date of publication can help you keep track of sources and avoid plagiarism.
Create a Detailed Outline
This is often one of the most boring and onerous steps, so students tend to skip outlining and go straight to writing. Creating an outline might seem tedious, but it can be an enormous time-saver down the road and will make the writing process much easier.
Start by looking over the notes you made during the research process and consider how you want to present all of your ideas and research.
Introduce the Topic
Once you are ready to write your introduction, your first task is to provide a brief description of the research question. What is the experiment or study attempting to demonstrate? What phenomena are you studying? Provide a brief history of your topic and explain how it relates to your current research.
As you are introducing your topic, consider what makes it important. Why should it matter to your reader? The goal of your introduction is not only to let your reader know what your paper is about, but also to justify why it is important for them to learn more.
If your paper tackles a controversial subject and is focused on resolving the issue, it is important to summarize both sides of the controversy in a fair and impartial way. Consider how your paper fits in with the relevant research on the topic.
The introduction of a research paper is designed to grab interest. It should present a compelling look at the research that already exists and explain to readers what questions your own paper will address.
Summarize Previous Research
The second task of your introduction is to provide a well-rounded summary of previous research that is relevant to your topic. So, before you begin to write this summary, it is important to research your topic thoroughly.
Finding appropriate sources amid thousands of journal articles can be a daunting task, but there are several steps you can take to simplify your research. If you have completed the initial steps of researching and keeping detailed notes, writing your introduction will be much easier.
It is essential to give the reader a good overview of the historical context of the issue you are writing about, but do not feel like you must provide an exhaustive review of the subject. Focus on hitting the main points, and try to include the most relevant studies.
You might describe previous research findings and then explain how the current study differs or expands upon earlier research.
Provide Your Hypothesis
Once you have summarized the previous research, explain areas where the research is lacking or potentially flawed. What is missing from previous studies on your topic? What research questions have yet to be answered? Your hypothesis should lead to these questions.
At the end of your introduction, offer your hypothesis and describe what you expected to find in your experiment or study.
The introduction should be relatively brief. You want to give your readers an overview of a topic, explain why you are addressing it, and provide your arguments.
Tips for Writing Your Psychology Paper Intro
- Use 3x5 inch note cards to write down notes and sources.
- Look in professional psychology journals for examples of introductions.
- Remember to cite your sources.
- Maintain a working bibliography with all of the sources you might use in your final paper. This will make it much easier to prepare your reference section later on.
- Use a copy of the APA style manual to ensure that your introduction and references are in proper APA format .
What This Means For You
Before you delve into the main body of your paper, you need to give your readers some background and present your main argument in the introduction of you paper. You can do this by first explaining what your topic is about, summarizing past research, and then providing your thesis.
Armağan A. How to write an introduction section of a scientific article ? Turk J Urol . 2013;39(Suppl 1):8-9. doi:10.5152/tud.2013.046
Fried T, Foltz C, Lendner M, Vaccaro AR. How to write an effective introduction . Clin Spine Surg . 2019;32(3):111-112. doi:10.1097/BSD.0000000000000714
Jawaid SA, Jawaid M. How to write introduction and discussion . Saudi J Anaesth . 2019;13(Suppl 1):S18-S19. doi:10.4103/sja.SJA_584_18
American Psychological Association. Information Recommended for Inclusion in Manuscripts That Report New Data Collections Regardless of Research Design . Published 2020.
By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."
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How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline | Example
Published on August 7, 2022 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on August 15, 2023.
A research paper outline is a useful tool to aid in the writing process , providing a structure to follow with all information to be included in the paper clearly organized.
A quality outline can make writing your research paper more efficient by helping to:
- Organize your thoughts
- Understand the flow of information and how ideas are related
- Ensure nothing is forgotten
A research paper outline can also give your teacher an early idea of the final product.
Table of contents
Research paper outline example, how to write a research paper outline, formatting your research paper outline, language in research paper outlines.
- Definition of measles
- Rise in cases in recent years in places the disease was previously eliminated or had very low rates of infection
- Figures: Number of cases per year on average, number in recent years. Relate to immunization
- Symptoms and timeframes of disease
- Risk of fatality, including statistics
- How measles is spread
- Immunization procedures in different regions
- Different regions, focusing on the arguments from those against immunization
- Immunization figures in affected regions
- High number of cases in non-immunizing regions
- Illnesses that can result from measles virus
- Fatal cases of other illnesses after patient contracted measles
- Summary of arguments of different groups
- Summary of figures and relationship with recent immunization debate
- Which side of the argument appears to be correct?
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Follow these steps to start your research paper outline:
- Decide on the subject of the paper
- Write down all the ideas you want to include or discuss
- Organize related ideas into sub-groups
- Arrange your ideas into a hierarchy: What should the reader learn first? What is most important? Which idea will help end your paper most effectively?
- Create headings and subheadings that are effective
- Format the outline in either alphanumeric, full-sentence or decimal format
There are three different kinds of research paper outline: alphanumeric, full-sentence and decimal outlines. The differences relate to formatting and style of writing.
An alphanumeric outline is most commonly used. It uses Roman numerals, capitalized letters, arabic numerals, lowercase letters to organize the flow of information. Text is written with short notes rather than full sentences.
- Sub-point of sub-point 1
Essentially the same as the alphanumeric outline, but with the text written in full sentences rather than short points.
- Additional sub-point to conclude discussion of point of evidence introduced in point A
A decimal outline is similar in format to the alphanumeric outline, but with a different numbering system: 1, 1.1, 1.2, etc. Text is written as short notes rather than full sentences.
- 1.1.1 Sub-point of first point
- 1.1.2 Sub-point of first point
- 1.2 Second point
To write an effective research paper outline, it is important to pay attention to language. This is especially important if it is one you will show to your teacher or be assessed on.
There are four main considerations: parallelism, coordination, subordination and division.
Parallelism: Be consistent with grammatical form
Parallel structure or parallelism is the repetition of a particular grammatical form within a sentence, or in this case, between points and sub-points. This simply means that if the first point is a verb , the sub-point should also be a verb.
Example of parallelism:
- Include different regions, focusing on the different arguments from those against immunization
Coordination: Be aware of each point’s weight
Your chosen subheadings should hold the same significance as each other, as should all first sub-points, secondary sub-points, and so on.
Example of coordination:
- Include immunization figures in affected regions
- Illnesses that can result from the measles virus
Subordination: Work from general to specific
Subordination refers to the separation of general points from specific. Your main headings should be quite general, and each level of sub-point should become more specific.
Example of subordination:
Division: break information into sub-points.
Your headings should be divided into two or more subsections. There is no limit to how many subsections you can include under each heading, but keep in mind that the information will be structured into a paragraph during the writing stage, so you should not go overboard with the number of sub-points.
Ready to start writing or looking for guidance on a different step in the process? Read our step-by-step guide on how to write a research paper .
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APA Research Paper Outline: Examples and Template
06 Mar 2022
❔Why Is Research Paper Format Necessary?
☝️Concept & Purposes of Research Paper Outline
📑Understanding the APA Outline Format
✒️The Basic APA Outline Format
📃APA Style Outline Template Breakdown
📌Full Sentence Outline Format
📝Decimal Outline Format
💡Tips for Writing an Outline: Organize Your Ideas
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Why Is Research Paper Format Necessary?
Detect plagiarism in your paper for free, concept & purposes of research paper outline, purpose of research paper outline.
- APA paper outline discusses the study's core concepts.
- The research paper outlines to define the link between your ideas and the thesis.
- It provides you with manageable portions that you can handle.
- The research paper's APA outline enables the detection of structural faults or gaps.
- As shown in the example, it must clearly comprehend the subject at hand.
APA outline example
Understanding the apa outline format, apa paper outline example.
- Headings & Subheadings
- 1-inch margins on the top, bottom, left, and right.
- The page number on the upper right corner.
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- Summarize your key arguments.
- Explain how these concepts support your ultimate stance, as shown in APA outline example below.
The Basic APA Outline Format
Apa style outline template breakdown, full sentence outline format, apa research paper outline example, know how to structure your paper.
- 12-point Times New Roman
- 0" between paragraphs
- 1" margin all around
- double spaced (275 words/page) / single-spaced (550 words/page)
- 0.5" first line of a paragraph
PapersOwl editors can also format your paper according to your specific requirements.
APA Paper Outline Format Example
Decimal outline format, first paragraph: hook and thesis.
- The first paragraph is a sentence or two that introduces the central concept of your article.
- Introduce your topic or subject of study where your research is applicable as a context for further research.
- Explain why the mentioned issue is essential or relevant to the audience.
- A thesis statement is a claim that you make throughout your whole essay.
- The topic phrase is the first point in any writing to support a thesis statement.
- Give an explanation or provide evidence to support your point.
- Provide verifiable facts, figures, and/or citations from credible sources in your writing. It helps in the substantiating assertion.
- Include as many supporting statements and related evidence in your decimal outline.
Decimal APA outline format example
Decimal apa outline format layout, tips for writing an outline: organize your ideas, a definite goal, parallelism, coordination, subordination, avoid redundancy, wrap it up in a good way.
- Thesis statement
- Techniques employed
- Body of paper
- Conclusions section
- List of references
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How to write a psychology research paper
As a student pursuing psychology as a profession, you write research papers as part of your academic work. Sometimes, though, coming up with a good paper is easier said than done. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In this article, we look at how to write a flawless psychology research paper.
Psychology Research Paper and how to write it
Psychology is the study of human behavior, while research refers to a survey conducted for analysis of the experiences and actions of individuals or groups. Reasons that inspire research include education and occupation.
A psychology research paper conveys factual information about the topic of discussion. It utilizes pragmatic inquiry to help us understand human behavior.
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Argumentative Synthesis Essay
When writing a research paper in psychology, you describe the events to your audience, explain the behaviors, and help your audience understand the concepts from experimental investigations.
Types of Psychology Research Papers
The kind of assignment question determines the type of paper you write. Here are the most common types of research papers:
- Experimental Reports – commonly found in experimental psychology fields, which is a branch of psychology concerned with the scientific investigation of the responses of individuals to stimuli in controlled situations. In this genre, we administer tests to participants under controlled conditions.
- Critical Analysis Paper – focuses on reviewing previous research. It examines and concludes existing literature on a topic of interest.
Preparing to Write a Psychology Research Paper.
In your preparation to write a psychology research paper:
- Develop an idea – Focus on the assignment at hand. Read and understand what the reader expects you to discuss. Then brainstorm on how to tackle the topic at hand.
- Find background information and literature – Research on the content and to understand your topic. It would help if your essay is factual. Check the most common sources first, books, journal articles, and online resources. The credibility of your sources is of utmost importance.
Steps in Writing a Psychology Research Paper
Below is a list of steps in writing a psychology research paper for school.
Choose the Topic
Focus on your subject. Reflect on the information obtained during the research. In most cases, this is what guides you to choose a topic for your paper. The key to selecting a good topic for your psychology paper is to pick something narrow enough to allow you to focus on the subject. It’s best to settle on an issue with readily available sources of information.
You can learn how to title your essay from our previous articles. It’s simple, though. Look at the information you got from researching. Pick the main points and group them into one. Now find a name that suits that group and get the right wording. The shorter but descriptive your title is, the better it captures your paper.
Create your Thesis Statement
We base all research papers on a statement that we need to prove. This short statement, usually a sentence or two, summarises the main subject or claim we seek to establish.
But where do you locate your thesis statement ?
Well, it is located the end of the first paragraph. It declares what the author is trying to prove in the rest of the paper.
Develop the idea and support it throughout the text, using examples and evidence. So, state the topic, tell more about the work done, and express your thoughts on it.
Create an Outline
A research paper outline is a picture of what you want your paper to appear. Create the structure of your paper , from the first paragraph, the introduction, to the last. Also, indicate what to write in each of these paragraphs. Of course, this helps you organize your work, giving you an easy time when writing.
Writing the Paper
At this point, all you have left is writing the first paper. Follow your outline and write the psychology paper as extensively as you want it to appear. The main format will be: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion.
Read through your written paper and correct any grammatical or typing errors. You will likely miss out on mistakes in your work. In that case, hand the essay to someone else to proofread for you.
Writing a psychology research paper is tricky. The intricacy lies in the fact that you should base each claim on facts or experiments. Not every person has the time to follow through all these processes, and in that case, you can hand over your paper to our professional writers to assist you.
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The Only Psychology Research Paper Writing Guide You'll Ever Need
Table of contents
You’re a Psychology student, burning the midnight oil to complete your essay on ‘The Impact of Technology on Procrastination’, and you’re just left marveling at the ironic situation you’re in.
If only being a Psychology student meant you’ve got it all figured out - but alas!
Every student studying Psychology will agree that it’s a fascinating subject. However, just like other courses, even this one poses one big challenge, which is writing the dreaded research paper.
Well, don’t worry as we bring you the complete guide on Psychology research paper writing.
Ultimate Guide to Acing your Psychology Research Paper in College
Psychology is the study of behavior and mind, and writing a research paper in this discipline requires students to conduct extensive research on a specific topic, develop their thesis and discuss their findings on it.
Such an assignment enables students to take a deep dive into the subject and make logical arguments while empowering them to be critical thinkers.
6 Steps to Writing a Psychology Research Paper for College
If you’re planning to write your Psychology research paper at the very last minute.
That’s right. It’s a bad, bad idea.
Writing a research paper is no easy feat. From choosing the topic and doing the research to getting down to writing it and fine-tuning it for submission - this assignment demands ample attention, time, and motivation .
Here’s how you can write your Psychology research paper in just six steps -
Choose a Focussed Research Topic
The best research papers are those that are focused on a specific topic. Broad and vague topics are an absolute no-no because they don’t give you the scope to conduct your research and present your arguments accurately.
For instance, ‘mental health’ as a topic might intrigue you but is it enough for your research paper? Not quite. You need to go deeper and can consider writing about the connection between parenting styles and mental health instead. Now, that’s more specific, isn’t it?
So, brainstorm and make a list of topics that you find interesting and start shortlisting them on the basis of how much existing research you have access to and narrow down to a focused research question/topic.
Organize your Research
It’s well-established that you need to do a substantial amount of research while working on a Psychology research paper. You need to look into empirical studies, published journals, articles, and online databases such as PsycINFO and PsycNET .
However, that’s not all. A common mistake students make is that they do a lot of reading without making notes or maintaining a working bibliography by the side. This is a bad practice as you just tend to get overwhelmed by all the information when you get down to writing the paper.
Hence, while doing comprehensive research is essential, organizing your research is equally important for a smoother writing process.
Develop a Strong Hypothesis
A strong hypothesis forms the foundation of your research paper which is why before you rush to write the paper, you need to work on developing a thesis statement or hypothesis.
Your hypothesis needs to concisely state what your research is about and needs to be explained, tested, or evaluated in the course of your research. The most crucial element of a hypothesis is that it needs to be testable, which means it has the scope to be proven true or false.
Create an Outline
You might want to rush with your paper and get down to writing, but we strongly recommend creating an outline first. An outline lets you organize your thoughts while ensuring the research paper flows in logically.
This is the ideal structure of a psychology research paper
- Title page - needs to include the title of your paper along with your name and other course details
- Abstract - a 120-150-word summary mentioning the research question/topic and briefly talking about the research method implemented and the results obtained
- Introduction - introduce the topic while giving context and background information and end with the thesis statement or hypothesis
- Methodology - explain the research methodology in detail, including the number of participants, materials used, and procedure undertaken
- Results - present the results of the research done
- Conclusion - discuss the results and findings while establishing their connection to the hypothesis stated earlier
- Bibliography - accurately cite references in APA (American Psychological Association) format
Now that you have everything planned, organized, and laid out in front of you, you can finally start writing the paper.
Don’t make the mistake of writing the paper at once - it is likely to be a harrowing experience. You need to approach it with a calm mind, and to do this, it’s a good idea to break down the writing process. Tackle one section at a time, and don’t push yourself to finish it in one go.
Here’s a tip - as the introductory paragraph has a lot of expectations riding on it, we suggest coming to it at the end, once you are done with the rest of the paper.
Video on writing an impressive introductory paragraph for psychology research papers
Edit and Proofread
Don’t make the mistake of submitting your research paper without giving it multiple rounds of proofreading and editing.
Once you’re done writing, give your mind some rest and call it a day. You can start proofreading and editing it the next day. Read it out loud because it makes it easier to spot errors and awkwardly framed sentences. This is where you need also to make sure you have cited sources correctly and avoid falling into the unintentional plagiarism trap .
Parallelly, you can also have a friend or family member read your paper to point out mistakes that you might have missed out on.
What Makes an Impressive Psychology Research College Paper?
Writing in psychology does come with a few specifications. After all, you’re not writing a novel or another piece of creative writing , this is a research paper, and it’s as formal as formal gets.
Here’s what contributes to a winning psychology research paper for college -
Unbiased and Neutral Language
Whether it’s being sensitive towards all genders, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, or people with disabilities, it’s essential to be mindful of the language you use while writing your research paper. It needs to be bias-free.
For instance, use words such as homemaker or spouse instead of housewife or husband.
So, make sure your tone or words don’t reflect prejudice or discriminatory behavior, as that can be a serious downer.
Refer to Credible Sources
The sources you refer to or rely on need to be credible. What is credible, you ask?
While assessing the credibility of a source, you need to look into the following elements - who is the author, when was the source published, is it in line with your research topic, and where did the author get the information from?
In Psychology, you cannot go by the opinion or quotes of a scholar or author; you should only abide by their research results.
Here’s a video explaining how you can find credible online sources for your research paper
Remember to stay away from unreliable and outdated sources because they can adversely impact your research paper.
Discuss Alternate Possibilities
You should always address the limitations of your research and explore alternate possibilities in your paper. The idea is to have an unbiased approach and compare the two alternate theories instead of just favoring one side of it. This shows your attention to detail and is a sign of a holistic research paper.
Include Visual Content
You are likely to be left with a lot of data and numbers for the results section of your research paper. You need to find ways to effectively present this data, and the best way to do that is to include tables, graphs, and charts.
There is a lot more you can communicate with the help of such visual content. Just make sure you place them in the right section and label them correctly. They need to be easily comprehensible such that the reader does not have to spend too much time decoding them.
Correct Use of Tenses
Students make the mistake of overusing present tenses, which needs to be avoided in such a paper.
When you are referring to previously done the research, it’s best to use the present perfect tense. Similarly, when you are discussing the research methodology and findings, you should use the past tense.
The only time you can consider using the present tense is while discussing and interpreting the results.
You might think you can use jargon and technical terms to impress your instructor, but that’s not how it works. All that does is makes the paper very complex and impede the reading experience.
Hence, always focus on writing with clarity and simplicity because, more than anything, the reader needs to understand what you’re writing to appreciate it.
20 Great Psychology Research Paper Topics to Get You Started
1. Is Child Obesity a Reflection of Parental Negligence?
2. Link Between Television and Obesity
3. Stress and Preterm Delivery
4. Situations Leading to Cutting Yourself Disorder
5. Effects of Abortion on Mental Health
6. Dating Violence Among Teens
7. Teenage Sexting and its Consequences
8. Can Stringent Laws Force Morality?
9. Effects of Designer Babies on Society
10. Social Interaction
11. How Do Individual Differences Affect Stress
12. Psychological Reasons for Depression
13. Causes and Symptoms of Stress
14. Does Gender Affect Depression in Individuals?
15. Human Development - Conception to Old Age
16. Mental Development of Special Children
17. Does Gender Affect Memory?
18. Different Stages of Human Development
19. Relation between Physical Illness and Stress
20. Short Term and Long Term Memory
So yes, the thought of writing Psychology research papers might sound intimidating, but when you follow this guide and take it one step at a time, it’s likely to be a smoother process.
Despite all this, if you find yourself pressed for time or struggling to start your paper, you can always turn to Psychology research paper writing experts such as Writers Per Hour. Our competent team of writers possess excellent writing skills and are subject matter experts in Psychology.
So, contact us for help with your psychology research papers , and you can be sure to receive original, high-quality papers right on time for submission.
Last edit at Jul 27 2023
Stefani is a professional writer and blogger at Writers Per Hour . She primarily contributes articles about careers, leadership, business, and writing. Her educational background in family science and journalism has given her a broad base from which to approach many topics. She especially enjoys preparing resumes for individuals who are changing careers.
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Writing Research Papers
- Writing a Literature Review
When writing a research paper on a specific topic, you will often need to include an overview of any prior research that has been conducted on that topic. For example, if your research paper is describing an experiment on fear conditioning, then you will probably need to provide an overview of prior research on fear conditioning. That overview is typically known as a literature review.
Please note that a full-length literature review article may be suitable for fulfilling the requirements for the Psychology B.S. Degree Research Paper . For further details, please check with your faculty advisor.
Different Types of Literature Reviews
Literature reviews come in many forms. They can be part of a research paper, for example as part of the Introduction section. They can be one chapter of a doctoral dissertation. Literature reviews can also “stand alone” as separate articles by themselves. For instance, some journals such as Annual Review of Psychology , Psychological Bulletin , and others typically publish full-length review articles. Similarly, in courses at UCSD, you may be asked to write a research paper that is itself a literature review (such as, with an instructor’s permission, in fulfillment of the B.S. Degree Research Paper requirement). Alternatively, you may be expected to include a literature review as part of a larger research paper (such as part of an Honors Thesis).
Literature reviews can be written using a variety of different styles. These may differ in the way prior research is reviewed as well as the way in which the literature review is organized. Examples of stylistic variations in literature reviews include:
- Summarization of prior work vs. critical evaluation. In some cases, prior research is simply described and summarized; in other cases, the writer compares, contrasts, and may even critique prior research (for example, discusses their strengths and weaknesses).
- Chronological vs. categorical and other types of organization. In some cases, the literature review begins with the oldest research and advances until it concludes with the latest research. In other cases, research is discussed by category (such as in groupings of closely related studies) without regard for chronological order. In yet other cases, research is discussed in terms of opposing views (such as when different research studies or researchers disagree with one another).
Overall, all literature reviews, whether they are written as a part of a larger work or as separate articles unto themselves, have a common feature: they do not present new research; rather, they provide an overview of prior research on a specific topic .
How to Write a Literature Review
When writing a literature review, it can be helpful to rely on the following steps. Please note that these procedures are not necessarily only for writing a literature review that becomes part of a larger article; they can also be used for writing a full-length article that is itself a literature review (although such reviews are typically more detailed and exhaustive; for more information please refer to the Further Resources section of this page).
Steps for Writing a Literature Review
1. Identify and define the topic that you will be reviewing.
The topic, which is commonly a research question (or problem) of some kind, needs to be identified and defined as clearly as possible. You need to have an idea of what you will be reviewing in order to effectively search for references and to write a coherent summary of the research on it. At this stage it can be helpful to write down a description of the research question, area, or topic that you will be reviewing, as well as to identify any keywords that you will be using to search for relevant research.
2. Conduct a literature search.
Use a range of keywords to search databases such as PsycINFO and any others that may contain relevant articles. You should focus on peer-reviewed, scholarly articles. Published books may also be helpful, but keep in mind that peer-reviewed articles are widely considered to be the “gold standard” of scientific research. Read through titles and abstracts, select and obtain articles (that is, download, copy, or print them out), and save your searches as needed. For more information about this step, please see the Using Databases and Finding Scholarly References section of this website.
3. Read through the research that you have found and take notes.
Absorb as much information as you can. Read through the articles and books that you have found, and as you do, take notes. The notes should include anything that will be helpful in advancing your own thinking about the topic and in helping you write the literature review (such as key points, ideas, or even page numbers that index key information). Some references may turn out to be more helpful than others; you may notice patterns or striking contrasts between different sources ; and some sources may refer to yet other sources of potential interest. This is often the most time-consuming part of the review process. However, it is also where you get to learn about the topic in great detail. For more details about taking notes, please see the “Reading Sources and Taking Notes” section of the Finding Scholarly References page of this website.
4. Organize your notes and thoughts; create an outline.
At this stage, you are close to writing the review itself. However, it is often helpful to first reflect on all the reading that you have done. What patterns stand out? Do the different sources converge on a consensus? Or not? What unresolved questions still remain? You should look over your notes (it may also be helpful to reorganize them), and as you do, to think about how you will present this research in your literature review. Are you going to summarize or critically evaluate? Are you going to use a chronological or other type of organizational structure? It can also be helpful to create an outline of how your literature review will be structured.
5. Write the literature review itself and edit and revise as needed.
The final stage involves writing. When writing, keep in mind that literature reviews are generally characterized by a summary style in which prior research is described sufficiently to explain critical findings but does not include a high level of detail (if readers want to learn about all the specific details of a study, then they can look up the references that you cite and read the original articles themselves). However, the degree of emphasis that is given to individual studies may vary (more or less detail may be warranted depending on how critical or unique a given study was). After you have written a first draft, you should read it carefully and then edit and revise as needed. You may need to repeat this process more than once. It may be helpful to have another person read through your draft(s) and provide feedback.
6. Incorporate the literature review into your research paper draft.
After the literature review is complete, you should incorporate it into your research paper (if you are writing the review as one component of a larger paper). Depending on the stage at which your paper is at, this may involve merging your literature review into a partially complete Introduction section, writing the rest of the paper around the literature review, or other processes.
Further Tips for Writing a Literature Review
Full-length literature reviews
- Many full-length literature review articles use a three-part structure: Introduction (where the topic is identified and any trends or major problems in the literature are introduced), Body (where the studies that comprise the literature on that topic are discussed), and Discussion or Conclusion (where major patterns and points are discussed and the general state of what is known about the topic is summarized)
Literature reviews as part of a larger paper
- An “express method” of writing a literature review for a research paper is as follows: first, write a one paragraph description of each article that you read. Second, choose how you will order all the paragraphs and combine them in one document. Third, add transitions between the paragraphs, as well as an introductory and concluding paragraph. 1
- A literature review that is part of a larger research paper typically does not have to be exhaustive. Rather, it should contain most or all of the significant studies about a research topic but not tangential or loosely related ones. 2 Generally, literature reviews should be sufficient for the reader to understand the major issues and key findings about a research topic. You may however need to confer with your instructor or editor to determine how comprehensive you need to be.
Benefits of Literature Reviews
By summarizing prior research on a topic, literature reviews have multiple benefits. These include:
- Literature reviews help readers understand what is known about a topic without having to find and read through multiple sources.
- Literature reviews help “set the stage” for later reading about new research on a given topic (such as if they are placed in the Introduction of a larger research paper). In other words, they provide helpful background and context.
- Literature reviews can also help the writer learn about a given topic while in the process of preparing the review itself. In the act of research and writing the literature review, the writer gains expertise on the topic .
- How to Write APA Style Research Papers (a comprehensive guide) [ PDF ]
- Tips for Writing APA Style Research Papers (a brief summary) [ PDF ]
- Example APA Style Research Paper (for B.S. Degree – literature review) [ PDF ]
- Writing Research Paper Videos
- UCSD Library Psychology Research Guide: Literature Reviews
- Developing and Writing a Literature Review from N Carolina A&T State University
- Example of a Short Literature Review from York College CUNY
- How to Write a Review of Literature from UW-Madison
- Writing a Literature Review from UC Santa Cruz
- Pautasso, M. (2013). Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Literature Review. PLoS Computational Biology, 9 (7), e1003149. doi : 1371/journal.pcbi.1003149
1 Ashton, W. Writing a short literature review . [PDF]
2 carver, l. (2014). writing the research paper [workshop]. , prepared by s. c. pan for ucsd psychology.
Back to top
- Research Paper Structure
- Formatting Research Papers
- Using Databases and Finding References
- What Types of References Are Appropriate?
- Evaluating References and Taking Notes
- Citing References
- Writing Process and Revising
- Improving Scientific Writing
- Academic Integrity and Avoiding Plagiarism
- Writing Research Papers Videos
How to Write a Research Paper Outline In 7 Steps
A research paper outline is a supporting document that lists all the topics to include in a paper in the intended order, usually divided by paragraphs. The typical outline of a research paper also consists of other details like subtopics and evidential sources to help the writer stay organized. Some even have individual sentence topics and early ideas for phrasing.
Want to know how to write a research paper outline? This guide explains step by step what to include and how to write one yourself, including research paper outline examples.
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What is a research paper outline?
The outline is an integral part of how to write a research paper . The main purpose of a research paper outline is to structure the topics, data, and all other inclusions in the paper (like direct quotes) so you stay organized and don’t forget anything.
Conventionally, writers compose outlines after choosing a thesis statement and sourcing research evidence, but before writing the first draft . Making structural changes is far more efficient in the outlining phase than after you write the first draft; you can remove certain topics early on without wasting time writing them and add new topics before the drafting phase so you can write everything all at once.
The typical outline of a research paper is broken up into sections and paragraphs , listing each paragraph’s topic and the related evidence or data to include therein. The depth of detail can change depending on your writing style or the requirements of the paper, as we explain below.
Are there different kinds of research paper outlines?
In short, you decide what details to include in your research paper outline, although the requirements of the assignment influence what’s necessary. For example, a basic college research paper outline for a one-page assignment might contain only a list of four or five paragraph topics, whereas a formal research paper for a scientific study might outline each sentence in all five parts of a research paper: introduction, review of literature, methods, results, and discussion.
Research paper outlines can be one level, two level, and so on, depending on their intricacy. One-level outlines display just the section headings or main topics, while four-level outlines get very detailed with paragraph and sentence breakdowns.
There are three popular formats for research paper outlines: alphanumeric , full sentence , and decimal . Below, we’ll explain the details of each and illustrate their differences with the research paper outline examples, focused on the same topic: “Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James: Who’s the Best Basketball Player?”
Alphanumeric research paper outline
Alphanumeric is the most common outline format—with main topics listed as Roman numerals, subtopics as capital letters, specific points for each subtopic as Arabic numerals, and further details for individual points as lowercase letters.
You would write the information in quick blurbs—just a few words—instead of complete sentences.
Alphanumeric research paper outline example
I. Michael Jordan
A. Career Highlights
1. Six NBA Championships
a. Six NBA Finals MVP
2. US Olympics Basketball Team
a. 1984 Gold Medalist
b. 1992 Gold Medalist
3. Fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections
a. Three NBA All-Star Game MVP Awards
1. Record-holder scoring average
a. Regular season (30.12 points per game)
b. Playoffs (33.45 points per game)
2. Other accolades
a. 1996 Space Jam
b. Owner of Charlotte Hornets
II. LeBron James
1. Four NBA Championships
a. Four NBA Finals MVP
a. 2008 Gold Medalist
b. 2012 Gold Medalist
3. Eighteen NBA All-Star Game selections
a. LeBron James Family Foundation
b. Social activism
a. 2021 Space Jam
b. First player to accumulate $1 billion as an active player
III. Analysis and Discussion
A. Of course, Michael Jordan is better
Full-sentence research paper outline
Full-sentence research paper outlines have the same organization as alphanumeric outlines—with main topics listed as Roman numerals, subtopics as capital letters, subtopic points as Arabic numerals, and details for each point as lowercase letters.
However, the significant difference is that you would write the information in incomplete sentences instead of quick blurbs. The advantage is that your outline is more specific and easier to share with colleagues when working as a team. The disadvantage is that it takes a little longer to write.
Full-sentence research paper outline example
I. Michael Jordan is often considered the greatest basketball player of all time.
A. Jordan’s career in basketball is full of accomplishments and accolades.
1. During his career, Jordan won six NBA Championships.
a. Jordan was named NBA Finals MVP all six times he was eligible.
2. Jordan twice played for the US Olympics Basketball Team.
a. Jordan’s first Olympics was in 1984 when he won the gold medal.
b. Jordan won a second gold medal as part of the 1992 “Dream Team.”
3. Jordan was selected to play in the NBA All-Star Game fourteen times.
a. Jordan won the NBA All-Star Game MVP Award three times.
B. Jordan’s legacy encompasses achievements on and off the court.
1. Jordan still holds a couple of significant records in the NBA.
a. Jordan holds the record for the highest average of points per game during the regular season (30.12 points per game).
b. Jordan also holds the record for the highest average of points per game in the playoffs (33.45 points per game).
2. Jordan has notable success even when not playing basketball.
a. Jordan starred in the original 1996 film Space Jam.
b. Today, Jordan owns the Charlotte Hornets.
II. LeBron James is often considered Jordan’s strongest rival for the greatest basketball player.
A. James’s career mimics, and in some cases surpasses, that of Jordan’s career.
1. During his career, James won four NBA Championships.
a. James was named NBA Finals MVP all four times he was eligible.
2. Like Jordan, James twice played for the US Olympics Basketball Team.
a. James won the 2008 gold medal as part of the US basketball team.
b. James won the gold medal again in 2012.
3. James was selected to play in the NBA All-Star Game eighteen times.
a. James won the NBA All-Star Game MVP Award three times.
B. James has a rich life outside of basketball as well.
1. More than Jordan, James is known for his philanthropic work.
a. James started the LeBron James Family Foundation charity.
b. James fearlessly took public stances on controversial social issues.
2. Aside from charity, James has a few other distinctions from his lifetime.
a. James starred in the 2021 Space Jam remake.
b. James is the first NBA player to accumulate $1 billion as a player.
III. Considering the highlights of both athletes’ careers, who is better?
A. Of course, Michael Jordan is better.
Decimal research paper outline
Decimal research paper outlines forgo the alphanumeric system and instead use a system of numbers with increasing decimal points—with main topics listed as whole numbers (1 or 1.0), subtopics with one decimal point (1.1), points under a subtopic with two decimal points (1.1.1), and further details with three decimal points (220.127.116.11).
Each new piece of information uses the subsequent number (1.1.1, 1.1.2, etc.), so you always know where you are in the outline. You would write the content for each line in quick blurbs, just like the original alphanumeric formal.
Decimal research paper outlines are the most thorough but can get complicated. They’re recommended for writers who prefer technical precision or for lengthy outlines with many topics and subtopics.
Decimal research paper outline example
1 Michael Jordan
1.1 Career Highlights
1.1.1. Six NBA Championships
1.1.2 US Olympics Basketball Team
1.1.3 Fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections
1.2.1 Record-holder scoring average
1.2.2 Other accolades
2 LeBron James
2.1 Career Highlights
2.1.1 Four NBA Championships
2.1.2 US Olympics Basketball Team
2.1.3 Eighteen NBA All-Star Game selection
2.2.2 Other accolades
3 Analysis and Discussion
3.1 Of course, Michael Jordan is better
7 steps to follow when outlining a research paper
1 choose your thesis and gather sources.
Your outline is not the first step in writing a research paper. Before that, you first need to choose a thesis and then gather primary and secondary sources to back it up.
Your thesis is essentially what the research paper is about. Your thesis is given to you in some assignments, but sometimes, as with independent research, you’ll have to develop one on your own.
Once you’ve settled on a thesis, you’ll need evidence to support it. Collect all the relevant sources and data early on so that you know what to write about. Researching often reveals new aspects of your topic that you hadn’t known about before. It may dispel any misinterpretations you have—better to find out you’re wrong sooner rather than later. For help on how to cite your sources, use our free Citation Generator .
Keep in mind that the outline is just one part of writing a research paper. If you want to read more advice, take a look at our full guide on how to write a research paper .
2 Make a list of all the topics, subtopics, and points you want to cover
Go through your research and note each topic, subtopic, and supporting point. Be sure to keep related information together. Remember that everything you discuss in your paper should relate to your thesis, so omit anything that seems tangential.
If you’ve highlighted any specific passages or quotes from your sources, feel free to include them too. They aren’t necessary for all research paper outlines, but they save you time when you’re in the middle of writing your first draft.
3 Choose the best type of research paper outline for the assignment
Choose the type of research paper outline that best matches your topic, the assignment’s length, and the complexity of your paper. Simple papers only require simple outlines, but more advanced topics with lots of research can benefit from more detailed outlines.
Consider whether you’re sharing your outline with other team members or whether you’re writing it solo. Likewise, consider the length and amount of topics. The decimal format can help organize long papers, but feel free to stick with alphanumeric if it makes you comfortable.
4 Consider the structure and sequence of your topics
Before actually writing the research paper outline, think long and hard about the order in which you present your topics. What is the most logical sequence? What structure would communicate most clearly to your readers, who may be unfamiliar with these topics?
Keep in mind that some topics only make sense if they come after other topics. Before presenting new findings or revelations, you may want to add background or contextual information first. All other factors being equal, a chronological sequence is often the most logical structure.
5 Create the framework for your outline
Rather than writing your research paper outline entirely at once, start with just the framework. Try putting the main topics in order without yet including any subtopics or supporting points.
Starting with the framework gives you a clear look at the backbone of your research paper. Now would be a good time to rearrange the order if there’s a problem or add a new topic if you find something is missing. It’s never too late to go back and conduct more research to flesh out the areas you feel are lacking.
6 Add in more details
After you’re satisfied with the framework, go ahead and add the details. Most research paper outlines benefit from including the paragraph structure , so feel free to add lines about your topic sentence, development/support sentences, and conclusion for each paragraph.
If you want to get meticulous, you can add a few notes about sentence structure . Be careful of getting too detailed, though—otherwise, you’re writing a first draft instead of an outline!
7 Revise to improve structure
Finally, check your completed outline to see if there’s room for improvement. This is your last chance before you begin the first draft.
Double-check that all your topics are presented in the optimal order for your reader. Also, look over your research notes again to see if you’ve forgotten anything. Once your outline is the way you want it, it’s time to begin writing your research paper.
Research paper outline FAQs
What is a research paper outline.
A research paper outline is a supporting document that defines the structure of a research paper. The author creates the outline before the first draft to stay on track when writing .
How is a research paper outline structured?
Research paper outlines are generally divided into sections, paragraphs, and individual sentences or points. The amount of detail in a research paper outline varies depending on the writer’s style, the assignment requirements, and the complexity of the topic.
What are the different formats of research paper outlines?
Three popular formats for research paper outlines are alphanumeric , full sentence , and decimal .
Research Paper Guide
Research Paper Outline
Guide to Creating Effective Research Paper Outline
Published on: Dec 1, 2017
Last updated on: Oct 25, 2023
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Have you ever felt overwhelmed by research, not knowing how to start or structure your thoughts effectively?
You're not alone in facing this problem. The challenge of disorganized research is something many students deal with. But don't worry!
In this blog, we'll not only tell you how to create your research paper outline, but we’ve included some downloadable templates as well.
We'll provide a practical step-by-step solution for organizing your research material so you end with a well-structured research paper. By the end of the blog, you'll understand why outlines matter and how to create compelling research papers.
So, keep reading to learn more!
On This Page On This Page
What is a Research Paper Outline?
A research paper outline serves as a systematic framework for your paper. It's a structured strategy that assists in the organization of your thoughts and ideas before the writing process begins.
The outline structures out the main sections, subtopics, and supporting details in your research paper. In essence, it offers a well-structured and coherent roadmap for the entirety of your paper, maintaining academic rigor and clarity.
Different Research Paper Outline Formats
When it comes to creating a research paper outline, you've got options. Let's explore a few different formats that you can choose from:
A numeric outline is a structured organizational format for planning a research paper.
It uses a numerical system to represent the hierarchy of ideas, with each main section or point numbered and subpoints or details indicated by decimal numbers. Numeric outlines are useful for presenting information in a clear and logical sequence.
Here’s a sample research paper outline template for this format:
An alphanumeric outline is a hierarchical structure used to outline a research paper, combining numbers and letters to signify the different levels of information.
Main sections are designated with capital letters (A, B, C), which include major points, while subpoints are indicated by numbers and lowercase letters (1, 2, a, b). Alphanumeric outlines help writers organize complex topics and subtopics effectively.
Here’s a sample sample research paper outline for this format:
Full Sentence Outline
A full-sentence outline is a method of planning a research paper in which each point in the outline is presented as a complete sentence or phrase.
It provides a detailed overview of the content and structure of the paper. Full-sentence outlines are particularly helpful for writers who prefer thorough planning and want to capture the essence of each section or point.
Here’s a research paper outline format for full sentences:
Steps to Create a Research Paper Outline
Creating a research paper outline doesn't have to be complicated. Follow these simple steps to get started:
Step 1: Choose Your Research Topic
Begin by selecting a research topic that is both interesting to you and relevant to your assignment or academic objectives. Your chosen topic will serve as the foundation for your entire research paper.
Step 2: Identify Your Main Sections
Determine the main sections or chapters your research paper will include. These are the broad thematic areas that will structure your paper, and they provide a high-level overview of the topics you plan to cover. Here are the main sections a typical research paper involves:
- Title Page: This is the first page and includes the paper's title, author's name, institutional affiliation, and often the running head.
- Abstract : A concise summary of the paper, usually around 150-250 words, providing an overview of the research, its key findings, and implications.
- Introduction: Sets the stage for your research, offering background information and a thesis statement , which is a central argument or hypothesis.
- Literature Review : A comprehensive analysis of existing research and literature on your topic, demonstrating your understanding of the subject.
- Methodology: Explain the research methods, data collection techniques, and analytical tools used in your study.
- Findings: Presents the research results in a structured manner, often including data, tables, or charts.
- Discussion: Interpretation of the findings and their implications, offering insights into the research's significance.
- Conclusion: Summarizes the main points, reiterates the thesis, and discusses potential future research directions.
- References: A list of all sources cited in your paper, following a specific citation style (e.g., APA, MLA).
Step 3: Break It Down into Subtopics
Under each main section, further divide your content into smaller subtopics. Subtopics are like the building blocks of your paper; they represent the key points or ideas you intend to explore within each main section.
Step 4: Add Supporting Details
For each subtopic, include supporting details, facts, examples, or arguments that bolster your point. These supporting details form the substance of your paper and provide evidence for your claims or arguments.
Step 5: Organize Your Points
Organize your main sections, subtopics, and supporting details in a logical order that flows smoothly from one point to the next. This step ensures that your research paper maintains coherence and readability.
Step 6: Use Numbers or Letters
To enhance clarity within your outline, use numbering, a lettering system, or Roman numerals. Use numerical sequencing for main sections (e.g., "1.," "2.," "3.") and a combination of numbers and letters for subtopics (e.g., "1.1," "1.2," "2.1").
Step 7: Stay Flexible
Recognize that your outline is not set in stone. As you conduct research and begin writing, your ideas may evolve, and you may discover the need to adjust your outline accordingly. Embrace this flexibility to adapt to new insights and information.
By following these steps, you'll create a well-structured research paper outline that serves as a roadmap for your writing journey. It keeps your research organized and makes writing easier, resulting in a more effective paper.
Research Paper Outline Example
A research paper outline could be created in several different ways. Here is a sample research paper outline for a quick review:
Here are some more examples for different formats and subjects:
APA Research Paper Outline PDF
College Research Paper Outline
Argumentative Research Paper Outline
Sample Research Paper Outline
History Research Paper Outline
Research Paper Outline MLA
Research Paper Outline with Annotated Bibliography
Need to consult more examples? Have a look at these top-quality research paper examples and get inspiration!
In conclusion, with the help of these example templates and our step-by-step guide on creating an outline, you're now well-prepared to create an effective one.
If you're in a hurry and want to skip the outlining process, our essay writing service is here to help!
You can get our team of expert essay writers to assist you at any stage of your research or to deliver a well-formatted, accurate research paper.
So, just say, write my research paper , and we’ll deliver an original, top-quality paper to you!
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Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.
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- December 1, 2022
- Academic Advice
How To Write a Research Paper: The Ultimate Guide ￼
Regardless of the degree or program, you enroll in, writing research papers is inevitable. The process can seem daunting due to the time and effort it takes. But with the proper approach, you’ll make it.
This article will guide you on how to write a research paper perfectly, including how to write a thesis statement for a research paper, how to write a conclusion for a research paper, etc. More specifically, there are nine steps you need to follow to pave the way to a successfully written research paper.
But before that, let’s learn what a research paper is.
What Is a Research Paper?
A research paper can be considered an extended version of an essay. The research paper aims to present your interpretation, argument, or evaluation. In contrast to essays, research papers are more complex and require deep research on a particular matter. Research papers are characterized by the inclusivity of the presentation of other scientists’ opinions.
A research paper is more than a summary, collection of other sources, or literature review. At its core, the research paper analyzes and argues your point of view, further backed up by other studies.
Completing a research paper is a challenging task. But, with our help, you can start and build your way to a good end. Let’s get started!
How To Write a Research Paper
Writing a research paper sounds easy; you pick the topic, develop your argument, research what other studies have said, and conclude it. Those are the general rules. But writing a successful research paper requires you to be more attentive, consistent, and detailed.
The following steps will guide you through a more detailed process of writing a research paper.
Get familiar with the assignment
Writing a research paper takes more than just listening to the instruction while your professor explains. Because many students are not cautious enough to carefully listen and analyze every given step, they end up with a poorly graded assignment or, in the worst case, even fail.
Spend some time reading every instruction, and when in doubt, ask questions! Professors are always open to answering any questions you might have.
Choose a topic for your research paper
Deciding on a topic is usually time-consuming since there are so many topics available. If you need help deciding on a topic, think about what you are passionate about, but always remember to stay within the lines of the instructions. When choosing a topic, keep the following in mind:
- Choose a topic relevant to the length of the paper: If your professor has instructed a longer paper than usual, keep your topic broad, for example, “Internships.” On the other hand, if it’s shorter, try to narrow your topic to something more specific such as “Internship’s impact on interpersonal skills.”
- Consider topics that allow you to discuss or analyze rather than summarize: If you’re writing anything literature related, focus on how, for example, a particular scene leads to a specific theme. Avoid choosing a topic that plainly describes scenes or characters.
- Find a topic with many previous studies available: Since research papers mainly focus on your research, you must ensure plenty of studies can support your arguments.
Do the research and take notes
Now it’s time to research what different scholars have written about the topic. Since this step requires a lot of reading and comprehension, it’s crucial to know how to read scholarly articles effectively and efficiently. The pieces you will go through will be lengthy, and sometimes only a few parts within those papers will be helpful. That’s why it is essential to skim and scan.
Secondly, find reliable sources. Visit sites such as Google Scholar, and focus on peer-reviewed articles since they contain information that has been reviewed and evaluated.
Next, keep track of what you have read so far. It’s vital to save everything you have read and consider influential in one place. Instead of going back and forth between different sites, you can have everything in one place. You can bookmark the sources or link those sources to a document. That will save you valuable time when you start writing.
And remember: always stay focused and within your topic area.
Formulate your thesis statement
Research until you reach your own opinion or argument on the topic, otherwise known as a thesis statement. A thesis statement is an introductory statement that puts forward your explanation or point within the paper. When formulating a thesis statement, remember the following:
- Don’t be vague.
- Make a strong statement.
- Make it arguable.
Checking in with your professor after you have developed a clear, persuasive thesis statement can be helpful. Ask them whether they agree your thesis statement is the right one. And if you get a positive answer, you’re ready for the next step.
Create an outline for your research paper
Even if it’s not required by your instructor, creating an outline will help you greatly in the long run. A structure will simplify the writing process, regardless of length or complexity. It should contain detailed information for the arrangement of each paragraph and identify the smaller components per each paragraph in order, such as the introductory sentence and the supporting evidence.
The outline will create a visual board and help you define what to include and where. And most importantly, in this part, you can identify possible mistakes and not have them in your drafts.
Write your first draft
And now you’ve made it to the real deal. The work you’ve done till this point matters a lot. If you succeed in having a good topic, a strong thesis with backup evidence, and an already structured paper, half of the job is already done—you just have to fill in the blanks at this point.
As you first start writing, remember that this is the first draft. Trust your memory and avoid going between sources and your paper. This way, you can prevent plagiarism and be original instead. Start with the introduction and the body, and work through a conclusion.
Introductions to research papers are always unique. It is the part where you set up the topic and hook your reader. Additionally, you must provide background to the existing research, position your approach, and put forward the thesis statement. Furthermore, you need to explain why your topic deserves immediate attention.
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An introduction highlights all you’ve gathered from your research. While it may seem fine to write the introduction first, we suggest you focus on the body of the paper first. Then you’ll find it simple to build a clear summary.
This is the longest part of the research paper. You are required to support your thesis and build the argument, followed by citations and analysis.
Place the paragraphs in a logical arrangement so each key point flows naturally to the next one. Similarly, organize the sentences in each paragraph in an organic structure. If you have carefully arranged your notes and created an outline, your thoughts will automatically fall into place when you write your draft.
After introducing your topic and arguing your points, the conclusion will bring everything together. Focus on developing a stimulating and informative conclusion. Make it possible for readers to understand it independently from the rest of the paper.
These are some of the suggestions that will lead to a well-written conclusion:
- Provide a clear summary
- Emphasize issues raised and possible solutions
Write your second draft
Usually, the first draft is followed by a second one. However, before proceeding with the process, highlight the errors and points you would prefer to avoid including in the final draft. With the help of a second draft, you will be able to notice mistakes and create a definitive outline for the final draft. Furthermore, you can communicate your ideas more clearly and effectively by creating multiple drafts.
Cite sources and prepare a bibliography
Citations are what characterize the research paper. The importance of citations lies in reliability: citing sources will make your writing more reliable. But how do you cite correctly? The problem is that there is more than just a set of rules. If your professor has set no rules, you can ask them. After being given the right instructions on what citation style to use, do plenty of research and make sure to cite correctly.
Edit, edit, and edit some more
Now it’s time to strive for perfection. Start editing with a fresh perspective. Firstly, focus on the content. It would be beneficial to create a checklist you can follow. You can produce a list that follows the instructions of your professor. If everything checks right, you can submit it. Otherwise, you’ll need to work toward perfecting the paper. Here are some things you need to check:
- Are you within the lines of the assignment?
- Have you achieved the right length?
- Do sentences communicate your ideas?
- Is the supporting evidence conducted correctly?
It is also crucial to edit for grammar. Plenty of online tools, such as Grammarly and Hemingway Editor, can help you during the process. You can also ask your peers to check it after you’ve done your part. Their fresh perspective will pick up on many things you might have missed.
The Bottom Line
Writing a research paper is one of the essential parts of academics. The process might seem straightforward, but there are many steps you should carefully follow. And remember: always stay on track with your progress; otherwise, you will get lost in tasks.
We hope by the time you have read this guide, you’ve been able to pick up the essential parts. But if you haven’t, you can go through it again.
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