Skip to main content

How to Write a Research Paper

A research paper doesn't have to be a daunting task if you know how to organize your thoughts and if you take a step-by-step approach to your writing.


  • Step 1: Pick a topic Pick a topic that you’re passionate about. This will make the research and writing you do fun and interesting.
  • Step 2: Write a thesis statement Write a one-sentence thesis that describes your position on the topic at the outset of your research. Be prepared to modify it as you uncover information through your research.
  • Step 3: Research Research evidence that supports your thesis, and also evidence that opposes your thesis. Use the internet for general information or to find online almanacs and encyclopedias.
  • TIP: Use credible online sources such as educational or government sites.
  • Step 4: Outline Create an outline to give your research a logical structure. Include an introduction, body, and a conclusion, and list your research findings that support those areas.
  • TIP: The main portion of your paper will contain arguments to support and defend your position. Through your research you should also be able to anticipate opposing positions, and refute them.
  • Step 5: Write a draft Organize your research according to your outline and write a first draft of the paper. Don't worry about grammar yet. Get your thoughts on paper first.
  • Step 6: Revise Revise and edit your first draft as necessary. Check for grammar, spelling, and word usage.
  • Step 7: Follow directions Before you print your paper and hand it in, make sure you have followed all of your instructor's formatting directions for number of pages, footnotes or endnotes, and font size.
  • FACT: The Library of Congress is the largest library in the United States based on number of volumes held.

You Will Need

  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Internet access
  • Library
  • Printer

Popular Categories