What Are the Four Stages of the Process of Writing a Research Paper?

What Are the Four Stages of the Process of Writing a Research Paper?

Ask friends or writing tutors to proofread your paper before turning it in.

Writing a research paper permits you to explore a topic through research and analysis. The length of your paper will vary, but often ranges inbetween Ten and 15 pages. Some teachers may provide you with a research topic, or you might choose your own. With a topic in mitt, you may feel perplexed about the task ahead, but essentially, you only have to accomplish four stages of the research paper process before you have a paper you feel certain submitting.

Compile Research

Your very first step in the process involves scrupulously researching your topic. Explore a number of sources to get as much information as possible on your topic. To begin, you may want to perform an Internet search or look through encyclopedias to build up background on the subject. Look through books and periodicals as well. For another source of information, you may want to interview experts on your topic. If your paper involves a controversial topic, you should consider all viewpoints and provide research from differing perspectives as well. Once you have sources of information on the topic, you need to evaluate the credibility of each source. For example, Internet sources may include reader-added data, and your teacher may not accept these sources for your paper. Make note cards or organize your research in other ways. You should then create a bibliography with the sources you used during the research process.

Make an Outline

After you finish your research, you will most likely have some ideas on how you want to explain your topic. At this point, you will need to formulate a thesis statement, the main idea of your paper. For example, if writing about the regions in Northwest Mexico, your thesis statement may address distinct differences or similarities. With your thesis statement in mind, begin by making a list of the key points about the topic and this will make up the very first level of your outline. When considering the northwestern regions in Mexico, your very first level of the outline might break down by region: Baja, Chihuahua, Durango, Sinaloa, Sonora. Your next levels for each might include population, agriculture or other regional facts. Once you have a basic outline, you may want to go through your notes to check for any information you want to include but left out primarily. Make switches to your outline as necessary, but having this as a guideline will help you have a logical flow to your paper and help you through the writing process.

Write a Draft

Guided by your outline, you can begin writing the very first draft of your paper. If you permit yourself slew of time for this portion of the process, you can concentrate on one section at a time, making sure to include as much of your research as necessary. When you leave your paper until the last minute, you run the risk of rushing through the process and leaving out valuable details that may help the reader understand your position on the topic.


After you finish your initial draft, proofread your paper cautiously. Look for grammar issues and decent sentence structure. You should also make sure you have good transitions inbetween paragraphs and main ideas. Make sure you cite your sources when necessary and that you relayed your data accurately. Consider the structure of the essay and ask yourself if it works. Make any switches necessary and proceed revising.


About the Author

Kate Beck embarked writing for online publications in 2005. She worked as a certified ophthalmic technician for Ten years before returning to school to earn a Masters of Fine Arts degree in writing. Beck is presently putting the ending touches on a novel.

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