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How to Write a Research Paper

Write a First Draft

Research Papers


  1. Establish your topic.
  2. Look for sources of information.
  3. Read your sources and take notes.
  4. Organize your ideas.
  5. Write a first draft.
  6. Use footnotes or endnotes to document sources.
  7. Write a bibliography.
  8. Revise the first draft.
  9. Proofread the final draft.
  1. Every essay or paper is made up of three parts:

    • introduction
    • body
    • conclusion

  2. The introduction is the first paragraph of the paper. It often begins with a general statement about the topic and ends with a more specific statement of the main idea of your paper. The purpose of the introduction is to:

    • let the reader know what the topic is
    • inform the reader about your point of view
    • arouse the reader's curiosity so that he or she will want to read about your topic
  3. The body of the paper follows the introduction. It consists of a number of paragraphs in which you develop your ideas in detail.

    • Limit each paragraph to one main idea. (Don't try to talk about more than one idea per paragraph.)
    • Prove your points continually by using specific examples and quotations from your note cards.
    • Use transition words to ensure a smooth flow of ideas from paragraph to paragraph.
  4. The conclusion is the last paragraph of the paper. Its purpose is to

    • summarize your points, leaving out specific examples
    • restate the main idea of the paper


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