A Research Paper is not Simply an Informed Summary of a Topic

When you have a research paper due, it does not have to be an intimidating thing if you follow certain steps. That being said, every research paper will need to have specific parts. While everyone has a different style of researching as well as writing these parts must be included in the paper regardless. For that reason it is best to set up an outline as soon as you decide on the topic.

Decide on a topic

The very first stage is deciding on a topic. Whether one is given to you or you choose one yourself it is easier if it is a subject that you are interested in. Even if it isn’t then you can still look at it as a learning opportunity.

Narrow it down

Once you have your main topic idea you should narrow it down into a more focused field. For example if your topic is fishing then you can narrow it down to fishing for certain fish in certain areas and how it affects the local marine life.


The main goal of your paper, that is, what you are trying to prove through your research is called a thesis statement. This needs to be set out in a clear form in the opening of your paper. It only needs to be a couple of sentences long. At the end of the paper you should restate in and tell how you came to that conclusion.


Once you have your thesis statement an outline should be drawn up. The thesis statement should be first and each area that will be discussed should be the subheadings in the outline. It is much easier to write this way because when the outline is done properly it is just a matter of filling in the blanks.

Research, Citations, Drafts

Every research paper must be researched from either books or websites. If websites are used they should only be ones ending in .edu or .gov. Any books used should be less than 10 years old.

Any information that you get from a web site or a book must be properly cited in your research paper. If it is not then it is considered plagiarism.

There should be at least two drafts of a research paper done before a final copy is made. Read it, read it again and again looking for anything misspelled, missing, correct citation as well as grammar.