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Howto Write a Research Paper

In high school, those research paper assignments presented a daunting task that most students would rather avoid, delay, or just forget entirely. Unfortunately, that didn't work in high school and it won't work in college, either. The good news is that most of us quite simply don't know how to write a research paper.

Research papers carry much more weight in college so the daunting task becomes more so but, for students who know how to write a research paper, the mission isn't all that impossible. Some students even enjoy them.


One way to deal with the assignment is to break it down into a series of small tasks with their own deadlines scheduled throughout the semester. Some steps can be accomplished in a short amount of time while others will take longer. Always keep in mind the other assignments and events throughout the semester, schedule all things accordingly, and stick to your schedule.

Your professor has probably assigned or perhaps hinted at topics that would be acceptable. The first step is to focus on one of these topics and find an angle in it that you find interesting. You'll be spending a lot of time with this assignment so the more it interests you personally, the easier it will be to live with.

The bulk of your time will likely be spent on the next two steps – the actual research and writing the first draft. Schedule plenty of time for these two steps, make them a part of your daily or weekly routine, and organize your notes as you take them, and you'll see that how to write a research paper becomes an automatic procedure that isn't all that overwhelming.

There was a time when the next two steps were very time consuming, too, but today almost every student has ready access to a computer so knowing how to write a research paper from step number one can minimize the time required here to a great degree. These next two steps are revising the first draft and rewriting the final copy for submission.

It's a good idea to print the first draft using double spacing or larger so you'll have a hard copy to work with and plenty of room between lines to revise, reword, and note spelling issues. By this point, your eyes will probably appreciate a break from a computer screen so a paper copy will be much easier reading. Your professor has most likely given formatting instructions for how to write a research paper for his or her class so make sure to incorporate these style guidelines exactly when you write your final copy, incorporating the notes you made to the first draft.

The last but certainly not least step is to meticulously proof your paper for spelling, grammar, and content. Use your computer's spelling and grammar checking software first but let your head make all final decisions on these decisions. Make sure your paper clearly addresses the issue presented by your choice of topic and make sure the format is exactly what was expected when your professor told you how to write a research paper this particular class.

It's just that simple. Now off to the library you go!