How to Structure a Research Paper Correctly

How to structure a research paper correctly

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the assignment.

Familiarization may seem self-evident, but understanding the details of what your instructor or tutor is looking for before composing your research paper is critical. Numerous learners miss this phase and inquire why they received a lower score on a paper they studied diligently for and were enthusiastic about. Low grades are usually due to a failure to read the instructions.

Spend some time reviewing the task. Examine all that your instructor has given you. Review the assignment, suggestions, rubric, and any extra resources you have been given very meticulously. Highlighting and taking notes on the assignment may also be beneficial. Take some time to figure out what you’re supposed to write and how you will be judged on it. And if you’re unsure, enquire!

Before you choose a topic, ask for clarification from your instructor. You’ll know you’re on the correct track if you do it this way.

Completing a research paper entails fulfilling the precise responsibilities assigned to you. Before you begin, double-check that you fully comprehend the assignment checklist:

  • Read everything thoroughly, checking for any ambiguities that you may need to clear with your instructor.
  • Determine the assignment’s aim, deadline, length, layout, and mode of submission.
  • Create a bulleted list of the most critical elements, then return and cross them off as you write.
  • Examine your deadline and word count thoughtfully: be objective and provide adequate time to do the research, write, and edit.

Step 2: Pick a Topic

It is time to determine what to write about in your research paper now that you know what you’re supposed to write on. Despite the fact that this can be intimidating, but don’t get too worked up over it. Writing about something you’re passionate or fascinated about can be beneficial, but don’t bother about coming up with the right topic. In many circumstances, a contentious topic is the best since it allows you to practice while articulating opposing viewpoints and supporting one if the task requires it.

Utilize your instructor’s suggestions to let you choose a topic for your paper. Pick a different topic if you have a favorite but are having problems incorporating it into the requirements. It will be simpler for you to write on a topic relevant to the task in the long term. It is necessary to be interested in the subject matter someone is writing about, although you shouldn’t have to adore your topic. It is also important to remember that you could utilize your research paper to continue to learn. By the close of this procedure, you should understand the subject well, but you don’t have to grasp everything immediately.

There are various ways to come up with a research paper topic, from sketching through taking notes to discussing it with a classmate or lecturer.

You can attempt freewriting, which entails deciding on a wide topic and constantly writing for two or three minutes to find anything pertinent that might be fascinating.

Other studies can also serve as a source of inspiration. Suggestions for other specific areas that warrant further investigation are frequently included in the discussion or suggestions areas of research papers.

After you have a wide subject area in mind, focus it down to a topic that fascinates you, satisfies your assignment’s requirements, and is researchable. Attempt to develop ideas that are both distinctive:

A report that followed the timeline of World War II may be too generic and unoriginal.

A research paper about the experiences of Danish nationals residing close to the German border during WWII would be unique and possibly unique.

Step 3: Research

Make a mental note of any debates that seem relevant to the topic, and attempt to narrow down a problem to which you can devote your research paper. To guarantee you don’t miss anything important, consult a range of sources, such as articles, textbooks, and reputable websites.

Not only should you double-check your thoughts, but you should also hunt for sources that challenge them.

  • What is it in your sources that readers appear to ignore?
  • Are there any contentious issues that you can discuss?
  • Do you have a different insight on your subject?
  • Is there any new research that builds on what’s already been done?

You may consider it appropriate to establish a few research questions at this point to assist lead you. When writing research questions, try to complete the following statement: “I would like to know how/what/why…”

And now comes the part you’ve all been anticipating for: research! This section is somewhat adaptable; diverse persons will conduct their research for a paper in multiple ways. Nonetheless, it’s critical to remain concentrated and maintain momentum. You have a research paper to write.

When doing research, keep in mind to 1) skim, 2) identify credible sites, and 3) don’t overlook anything.

Begin by skimming. It is not essential for you to review all that has ever been written about your issue in-depth. It is almost impossible. Get accustomed to skimming through information fast. Know how to identify fundamental arguments and evidence without becoming entangled in reviewing each word.

Next, search for credible sources. Though this could be the opposite of what you’ve been advised, you can create a research paper using Wikipedia. However, it would be best if you did not depend on it as a definitive resource. To get yourself acquainted with a topic, find terms that can help you broaden your research, and quickly absorb vast volumes of data, you can use general sites like Wikipedia. Nonetheless, the stuff you use in your paper must come from credible sources.

Dig deeper into what you’ve learnt from a Search on google or a Wikipedia article. Examine the article’s origins, utilize keywords from the google searches you conduct to explore an academic database or consult a professional if what you discovered is true and, if so, where you can locate a reputable source that came to the same conclusion. To be sure, you could utilize Wikipedia as a beginning point for your study, but you must not use Wikipedia as among your research paper’s key sources.

Lastly, information should not be overlooked. You can write an article which says whatever you want. Did scientists just uncover that octopus DNA is made up of extraterrestrial DNA? Is it true that a cook tried to murder Obama by poisoning him with apples? Although you can discover publications claiming that all two preceding statements are true, digging deeper reveals that they are untrue.

Strive to know all viewpoints and ideologies on your subject. Knowing them can be accomplished by studying a range of articles, reviewing a book or article that provides a summary of the topic and includes several opinions, or speaking with a professional who can elucidate the topic in significant detail.

Step 4: Structure Your Research

Since you have all of the data, you should decide how to use it.  Step four entails becoming organized. Various people have different inclinations in this area, just as they do in research. The nature of your assignment may also determine it. When it comes to arranging your work, a bibliography (meaning “book writing,” this is a catalogue of the books, periodicals, and other materials you’ve read) is vital.

If your instructor asks you to provide a bibliography with your research paper, make one that satisfies the paper’s criteria. Consider how you’d like to structure your research if you’re just building one alone. It could be a good idea to save sites to your browser’s bookmarks or create an online bibliography that permits you to connect the materials you find. You may choose a written list of your materials, or you may wish to make notes of everything you’ve learned that’s pertinent to your assignment on sticky notes or notecards, and then arrange your research paper on a desk.

Step 5: Form a Thesis

A thesis statement determines the goal and viewpoint of your article by stating your crucial point. The thesis statement should address the research question if you began with one. It should also state what facts and logic you’ll apply to back up your claim.

The thesis statement should be brief, controversial, and well-organized. That is, it should summarize your thesis in a phrase or two, make an assertion that warrants additional proof or examination, and make a logical point that connects all sections of the work.

The thesis statement will most likely be revised and refined as you conduct more studies, but it can act as a reference all through the process of writing. Every paragraph should seek to back up and expand on the key assertion.

You’re prepared to express your perspective, argument, or claim now that you know what you’ve been requested to do, that you’ve picked a topic that suits the assignment, and that you’ve examined and structured that information.

Your paper requires a thesis, even if you aren’t advocating for or against something. A thesis is a concise statement that you, as the scholar and author, make for the audience of your work to clarify or establish what you’re attempting to say.

When creating a thesis, a good place to start is with a one-sentence response to the question, “What is your paper about?” Below are some instances of possible responses:

The bond between humans and other species is explained in my paper.

It has to do with school rules about sophomores residing in university residences.

That wasn’t so difficult, after all. It is crucial to realize, though, that this is only the beginning. Many learners cease just there and don’t grasp why their thesis statement received a low mark from their instructor. A thesis must be conclusive, and it must not be about you. As a result, you might substitute statements like:

Canines and humankind have a symbiotic bond; not only are they man’s best friend, but encounters have affected modern dogs’ conduct and anatomy.

Sophomore students at many institutions are required to reside on university residence for their first year, which gets them out of trouble, assists them to achieve good scores, and boosts their ability to stay in school.

Marriage is viewed as a social mobility tool, a misstep, and a rewarding union, among other things.

Can you spot the distinctions between the first and next sets of thesis statements? Working to delete terms and ideas like “I believe” and “My paper is about” may take a few attempts.

It’s also crucial to avoid being overly ambiguous. Don’t be hesitant to make a bold claim. If you examine the samples above, you’ll notice that each one makes a distinct argument regarding the subject. Another important aspect of writing a great thesis statement is ensuring that it is debatable. That doesn’t imply it’s contentious or strongly held, but it does indicate the possibility of disagreement.

Evaluating to see if your thesis statement might be contested is a fantastic technique to ensure you have prepared a solid, detailed thesis statement that will lead you. At the same time, you compose your paper and get a decent mark.

It’s another time to consult with your instructor, an assignment writing tutor, or another reputable professor or guide after you’ve worked hard to develop a distinct, persuasive, and definite thesis statement. Present to them your thesis statement and inquire whether they believe it’s a strong enough thesis to use as a foundation for your paper.

Step 6: Develop an Outline

A research paper outline is basically a set of the main themes, justifications, and proof you want to incorporate, separated into parts with headings so you can get a general idea of how the paper will appear before you compose.

It’s useful devoting some time to creating a layout plan because it can make the writing process much more manageable.

It’s all about formatting your paper when you make an outline. Do not be overly formulaic, but following trends and rules might be beneficial. You may have composed six-paragraph essays in school, and it is fine to utilize the same styles for a college research paper; however, keep in mind that the structure you are using is appropriate for your project. Three or five primary parts could not suit your research paper if your thesis only has two major ideas.

If the assignment requires you to present a topic, describe several viewpoints on the topic, select and express your viewpoint, your paper will most likely include three primary segments, one for each of those goals.

Consider what you’re attempting to show or convey in your research paper and what format will enable you to do it in a concise, structured manner when you create an outline. It is common to have an introduction and a conclusion, but what happens in between depends on the subject of your essay.

When formulating your argument, it’s a good idea to consider what kinds of arguments you should ignore. Take a while to examine the most prevalent logical fallacies if you are unfamiliar with them; your score may count on it!

  1. Write a first draft of the research paper

It is okay if your initial draft is not flawless; you can improve it afterwards. At this point, your primary goals are as follows:

Keeping the pace going – write immediately, perfect afterwards.

Adhering to a proper arrangement and logical grouping of paragraphs and sentences will aid in the subsequent draft.

Use as few words as possible to convey your thoughts to remember what you were attempting to communicate when you returned to the text.

You do not have to begin with the introduction. Begin where it appears most normal for you – some people would prefer to complete the most rigid sections initially, while others choose to start with the simplest. Utilize your outline as a road map while you’re working.

Significant chunks of text should not be deleted. If you don’t like what you’ve written or it doesn’t seem to suit, relocate it to a new document, but don’t delete it entirely; you never know when it might come in handy later.

Arrangement of a paragraph

The essential building elements of research papers are paragraphs. Everyone should concentrate on a particular point or idea that contributes to the paper’s broader argument or objective.

An illustration of a well-structured paragraph is shown below.

My experiences with veterans have taught me that there is a bond between

veterans that is deeper than the surface. This bond is much like a bond between close

friends; it cannot be seen with the eyes, but it is felt with the soul. Currently, I am an

outsider. I desire to experience what the heroes who have gone before me have known to

be true and join a team committed to integrity, service before self, and excellence

in all we do. Thank you for your service and for considering my application to join a

team that is truly one-of-a-kind.

Citing Sources

To minimize unintended plagiarism, it’s also critical to maintain a record of citations at this point. Keep a checklist of where the information comes from every time you utilize one source.

You may produce citations and preserve your reference list as you proceed with our affordable writing service.

  1. Write the introduction

Three questions must be addressed in the research paper introduction segment: what, why, and how. Upon reviewing the introduction, the audience should have a good idea of what the paper is all about, why it’s worthwhile to read, and how you’ll support your claims.

What? Be explicit about the paper’s topic, provide background information, and describe significant terminology or ideas.

Why? It is the most vital portion of the introduction, but it’s also the most challenging. Address the following questions as briefly as possible: What new information or perspectives do you have to offer? What crucial concerns does your essay contribute to the definition or resolution of?

How? The introduction should incorporate a “map” of what will be covered, succinctly outlining the essential aspects of the work in chronological sequence to let the audience understand what is expected from the body of the article.

Write a compelling body of text

Most authors grapple with how to structure the information offered in their papers, which is why an outline is so helpful. Nonetheless, keep in mind that the outline is merely a guideline, and you can be creative with the sequence in which you convey material and points when writing.

Using your thesis statement and topic phrases as a guide can help you stay on track. Verify:

Topic sentences should be compared to the thesis statement; topic sentences should be compared to one another for similarity and logical sequence. Each sentence is compared to the paragraph’s topic sentence.

Keep an eye out for paragraphs that appear to tackle the same topics. If two paragraphs discuss the same subject, they must take various approaches to it. Attempt to make flows between sentences, paragraphs, and segments as seamless as possible.

Step 8: Write

Now, it’s time to sit down and compose your paper. You may feel as though you should have begun writing earlier, but don’t worry: the work you’ve done thus far is crucial. It will assist you in writing a research paper that is solid, precise, and intriguing.

Don’t be a perfectionist when you’re writing. Don’t stress about getting the ideal words, correcting your language, or coming up with the perfect title. As you revise, there is still time to refine your research paper. For now, all you have to do is write.

It’s a good idea to proofread your research before you begin writing, but don’t write straight from it. It’s simple to duplicate ideas without developing your work if you’re reflecting back and forth between your materials and your paper as you start writing. You have already put in a lot of effort, so believe it and compose your research paper from memory. It is fine to check up on a specific phrase or statistic, but your thoughts should be entirely your original ideas at this stage.

Avoiding plagiarism is easier when you work from your original concepts. Plagiarism is the unacknowledged usage of another person’s words or concepts, whether or not you intended to do so. This may appear frightening, but it does not have to be. You may be certain that you’ve written your essay that draws on the concepts, writing, and other people’s effort without copying, duplicating or plagiarizing if you execute the procedures given in this article.

You must cite your source if you copy content directly. Utilize quotation marks and credit the quote’s source. You don’t have to say where a concept originated if it’s a commonly held belief (usually acknowledged if you can find the fact expressed, without attribution, in three or more reliable sources). Bill Gates, for instance, is a multibillionaire who built Microsoft. That is a well-known truth that may be found in a variety of reliable sources. However, suppose your paper is on why Elon Musk is so wealthy, famous, and fabulous. In that case, you’ll need to attribute and cite particular quotes and figures and theories regarding why the Tesla billionaire is successful.

  1. Write the conclusion

The purpose of the research paper conclusion is to guide the audience out of the document’s argument by providing a sense of closure.

Follow the flow of the paper, focusing on how it flows to prove your point. Make sure the reader can understand how you’ve resolved the difficulties stated in the opening to give the article a feeling of closure.

You could also talk about the argument’s broader implications, highlight what the paper has to offer prospective students of the subject, and propose any problems the paper’s approach poses but cannot or does not seek to address.

You must not: Make additional arguments or provide essential facts.

Don’t take up any more room than is essential.

Start with stock terms that indicate the paper’s conclusion (e.g., “in conclusion”).

  1. The second draft

Pertaining to the second draft, there are four major factors to take into account.

Assess to see if your objective for the paper matches the initial draft and, more crucially, if your paper still responds to the task.

Consider any preconceptions that may require (more) substantiation, retaining your reader’s point of view. Eliminate these points if you can’t back them up with more evidence.

Be willing to rearrange your thoughts. Inspect to see if any areas are out of place or if your thoughts may be better arranged.

If you notice that old concepts do not suit as well as you had hoped, eliminate or simplify them. You might also come up with new and well-suited thoughts while composing the first draft; now would be the time to incorporate them into the paper.

  1. The revision process

Ensure that you have performed all requisite activities and articulated the paper adequately during the editing and proofreading phase.

Concerns from around the world

Verify that your paper fulfills all of the requirements listed on your assignment page.

Examine the paragraphs for logical order and fluency.

Compare and contrast paragraphs with the introduction and thesis statement.

Exceptional attention to detail

Examine each paragraph’s content to ensure that:

Each sentence contributes to the topic sentence’s success.

There is no extraneous or redundant data available.

All technical phrases that your audience might not be familiar with are defined.


Consider sentence structure, typographical errors, and formatting after that. Make sure you’ve utilized the right transition words and phrases to explain how your thoughts are connected. Look for mistakes, eliminate extraneous words, and double-check spellings and heading formatting for uniformity.

Finally, double-check that your document is formatted appropriately as per the guidelines of the citation style you’ve chosen. You may need to incorporate an MLA heading or make an APA title page, for instance.

With our award-winning Proofreading & Editing, Clarity Checking, and Structure Checking services,’s expert editors can assist with the review process.

Step 8: Edit for Content

Take a minute to applaud yourself now that you’ve completed your paper. You’ve put forth a lot of effort to get here! Return to work after that. Your paper still has to be edited before it can be sent in. Keep in mind how you were told not to be concerned about being flawless? You don’t need to be concerned, but now is the moment to make your paper as great as possible.

Begin with content editing. This entails considering the structure, arrangement, phrasing, and length of the document. When you made an outline, you meticulously formatted your paper. Is that layout still logical now that you’ve finished your paper? If that’s the case, congratulations. What must you do to get around if you don’t have a car? Take a close look at how you’ve phrased your statements. Did you get across what you wanted to say? Is there any way you might make your paper more clear or understandable? It’s also an excellent time to reflect on Step 1. Is your paper complete in terms of the requirements of the assignment? If not, where may the lacking pieces be added?

If your paper is excessively lengthy or brief, now is the moment to shorten it or lengthen it to a suitable length. If your paper is too long, don’t merely delete the conclusion. Don’t waste so much time experimenting with font sizes and margins in an attempt to lengthen your article. These modifications should be done with care and consideration. What should you cut, and how can you re-organize your document so that it retains a strong structure if you need to remove something? If you need to make your paper longer, you shouldn’t just add words randomly or duplicate what you’ve already said.

Consider where you could extend or what you could incorporate to your research paper that blends with the rest of it, enhance the concepts you’re providing, or offers useful information.

After you’ve made all of the modifications you think are necessary, go over your work once more to guarantee it makes complete sense. It’s possible to leave or erase a word, sentence, or paragraph that you didn’t intend to, notably while working on the computer. If you’re bored of staring at your research paper, hand it over to a colleague, mentor, or instructor and ask them to read it and tell you what they feel.

Step 9: Edit for Grammar

It’s also crucial to proofread for grammar. This may appear complicated, but there are a number of tools available to assist you. If you’re not sure what to do with commas, semicolons, or run-on sentences, use Grammarly Premium.

Editing for grammar, like content editing, may take a few passes. It’s fine if you need to take a break. It may even assist you in returning to your writing with a more focused mindset, which is essential for spotting and correcting errors.

Step 10: Read your paper once more and Submit your Research Paper

After you’ve completed Steps 1–9, you should pause. Give your paper the last peruse after a day or two (or an hour or two if you’re pressed for time). If you’ve only read your paper on a screen so far, printing a copy and reading it on paper can be beneficial. While studying on your computer, you may see errors or formatting difficulties that your eyes overlook. It’s time to present your research paper once you’ve reviewed it one more time and double-checked that it meets all of the assignment’s requirements.

Make sure you follow any directions for submitting the research paper that has been supplied to you. Allow time to debug if something goes wrong. What will you do if you attempt to print your paper ten minutes prior to classes starting and the toner is depleted in your printer?  Although it is bad that you are meant to submit your paper online at past midnight, and the Wi-Fi is down when you register to post your research paper at 11:50 PM, you could have averted this by logging on with plenty of time to handle any issues that could arise prior to the timeline. Your instructor will admire and value your preparation, and it will almost certainly benefit your marks.

Do not be hesitant to ask your instructor for assistance, but do so in a mature and sensible manner. If you log in one day earlier and discover that the location where you are meant to turn in your assignment is restricted or inaccessible, send an email to your instructor so that they can assist you in submitting your work before the deadline. Only don’t assume that they will assist you in the dead of night, on the weekend, or just shortly before a deadline. Some professors might, but at that point, you’re just lucky.