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Planning Your Paper

There are several steps involved in writing a research paper, including:

  1. Write your thesis statement
    • A thesis is a short statement (usually 1-2 sentences) defining the purpose of your paper that appears in the first paragraph.
  2. Collect research
  3. Outline your paper
    • Creating an outline before you begin writing can help organize your thoughts and make the task of writing smoother.
  4. Write!
  5. Edit your paper
    • Read through the entire paper, or have a friend/tutor do so, to check for typos, grammatical errors, inconsistencies, and other minor errors.
  6. Check formatting and citations.
    • Your professor likely specified a format for your paper (MLA, APA, etc.). Check official style guides, linked elsewhere in this guide, to make sure your paper and works cited page are formatted correctly.
    • Ensure that all necessary citations are present in the body of your paper. 

Create a Research Question

Develop an Outline

Organize your ideas into a structure with an outline.

Different types of papers require different types of structures. Always check with your professors to find out what they are expecting.

How to Write a Research Paper