Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Research Paper

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Research Paper
Table of Contents
  1. Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Research Paper
  2. The Goal of Research Paper
  3. Research Paper: Format & Structure Nuances
  4. Size (number of pages and words)
  5. Writing style & research paper format
  6. Watch after plagiarism!
  7. Choosing topic based on the main idea
  8. Picking and applying sources
  9. Structure
  10. Final steps

The Goal of Research Paper

A research paper is what usually comes in the middle or at the end of a particular semester. High school students sometimes face this type of assignment, but, as a rule, a research homework paper is a part of college curriculum. The main goal of this academic assignment is to reflect the knowledge of a student on every page.

Sometimes, the project of this type may involve everything studied during the entire course or particular term (Fall or Spring), but more often it is focused on one issue which a teacher considers the most valuable supplement to the knowledge and skills of all students. From time to time, the student is allowed to pick the topic on their own when the idea is not suggested by the tutor. It has to be stated on each page of the project.

On the whole, a research paper may be given as the part of any class:
  • History & Anthropology
  • English Language & Literature
  • Biology
  • Healthcare & Nursing
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Macroeconomics & Microeconomics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Astronomy
Usually, research papers are required for scientific disciplines such as biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, and astronomy. However, a student may face this kind of assignment at the end of his literature or art class. Students should not evaluate this task as an exam. It is rather a test of skills. If you are accomplishing this type of assignment for the biology class, a claim has to be based on the meaningful issue of evolution, medical treatment, or scientific innovations. The goal of the author is to find enough data to support or reject this claim. Make sure the application is synthetic.

Many teachers/professors wonder if their teaching methods are effective and whether the grades of their students reflect their real skills and gained experience. This type of essay is a valid benchmark regarding education.

It is much more difficult to produce any page of the research paper than write a full essay. Most of the time, it is caused by the specific format chosen by your teacher. We’ll get into details before. You may also view one of the excellent examples of written homework to have an overall idea. 

Research Paper: Format & Structure Nuances

Size (number of pages and words)

A student receives an enormous space for imagination and expression when working on the research paper (up to 5,000 words). You may get involved in high-speed printing as far as the project should be much bigger than a regular high school essay. If we talk about A4 page double-spaced (as most of the writing styles require), a good research paper must consist of 7-15 pages on the average. Don’t forget about extra parts such as writing Bibliography or Appendix.

Writing style & research paper format

Except for the research paper formats, students should be aware of the existing writings styles. A research paper has to be written in a mixed style made of persuasive and descriptive elements. So, each page and every paragraph have to explain the main idea as well as provide persuasive evidence to prove the author’s point of view to the target audience.

As for the format, each page should be formatted with respect to the popular academic style such as:
  1. MLA
  2. APA
  3. Chicago/Turabian
  4. Harvard
  5. Oxford
  6. Vancouver
There are things that remain unchanged. Except for double-spaced page, the margins should be 1” at the top, bottom, left, and right sides of each page.
The basic thing is to memorize the way citations have to appear on each page. After all, the student can always look on the internet. Another effective way is to buy a custom research paper from online experts.

Here are some examples in MLA and APA respectively: Gordon, Mary. “Putting Pen to Paper, but Not Just Any Pen or Just Any Paper.” The New York Times. July 1999. Blendon RJ et al. (1998). Understanding the Managed Care Backlash. Health Affairs. 17 (4): 80–93.
Sekhri, N. (2000). Managed Care: The US Experience. World Health Organization: 830-841.

Watch after plagiarism!

Just like in any other academic assignment, each page of the research paper has to be 100% unique. You can check whether your text is original with the help of various online software. You can find both free and paid versions. Remember that most of the texts you download from the internet or find in the published books or media have their own copyright. All rights are reserved by other authors, so stealing from them won’t work. The best thing you can do is paraphrase certain paragraphs or cite the chosen quotations properly. The last page, Bibliography, should then include these references.

Choosing topic based on the main idea

While picking the topic for your research paper, pay attention to the comments people leave under particular online article or post. It will help you to find out whether the subject is relevant and interesting for the potential reader. Pretend you are writing for a huge audience, not just for your instructor. Mention the reasons for choosing the topic on the first page.

It is necessary to get some inspiration before choosing a topic for your work. Start with our blog which includes sociology research topics.

Picking and applying sources

In your research, apply both primary and secondary sources. Interviews, polls, surveys all are effective tools to gather opinions, but primary sources such as books, statistics, journals, laws, and interviews are still the fundamental body of the text. Each page does not necessarily need a quotation. But it is important to point out where you discovered every statistics.

As for the number of useful references, three is not enough. Five-seven sources are the minimum for this type of assignment. They all must be mentioned on the last page known as Works Cited. Every book or site must be recalled in the proper way. As we know, it is better to add a little bit more than provide a minimum of information. So, search for eight excellent sources with proven information.


The structure of a research paper is almost identical to an essay, but has more sections:
  1. Cover/title page (place the title in the bottom of your cover page; place it in the heading on every next page). Don’t forget to number pages!
  2. Outline or table of contents (use this page as your guidelines)
  3. Abstract (summary)
  4. Introduction (first paragraph with the thesis which constitutes the main idea)
  5. Body (3-5 separate paragraphs that are focused on particular idea/argument)
  6. Conclusion (the last paragraph which restates thesis)
You may have any questions about a dedication page for your research paper. Read one of our blogs and find all the answers with ease.

Final steps

Writing in English is easy, but still, some mistakes can be made. Make sure to revise and edit your final paper page by page.
If you wish to pass any course successfully, every page of your research paper and any other written assignment should be perfect. We propose you to manage this problem with the help of the essay and research paper writing service online. Usually, such services provide students with excellent formatting, unique text, and even illustrations in case your instructions include those features.