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SJND Miller Library: How do I write a research paper?

If you answer yes to the following questions, you are ready to write your research paper or essay:

  • Have you developed and researched your specific research question?
  • Have you synthesized information from multiple sources into an annotated bibliography?
  • Have you collected and analyzed relevant and accurate quotations and ideas from your research?
  • Are you more interested in your subject than you’ve ever been?
  • Can you see the implications of your research on the world around you?

STEP 1

Consider the type of research paper you are writing.
Is it a narrative, descriptive, expository, cause and effect, compare and contrast, argumentative, persuasive, or synthesis piece? Look at the various formats of essays at the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL).

STEP 2

Build your outline. 
Did your teacher provide you with a graphic organizer? If so, consider it while you develop an outline. If you prepare a detailed outline before writing, your essay will write itself. Visit the webpage below from OWL for tips on how to build an exhaustive outline. 

STEP 3

Review your research and develop your thesis statement. 

STEP 4

Start writing!
Write your essay in the following order: Body paragraphs, essay review/conclusion, introduction and background information. Body paragraphs generally consist of a topic sentence, an introduction to quotation, quotation, analysis, and transition sentence or 3+ TIQA/evidence-based paragraphs.
Tip: Try to avoid using quotations as much as you can. Instead, summarize or paraphrase. Putting work into your own words helps you to remember and engage with your research. 

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