Content of article
- 1 1. Choose the Type of Essay
- 2 2. Prepare an outline or diagram of your ideas.
- 3 Step 3. Do Research on Your Topic
- 4 3. Write your thesis statement.
- 5 Step 5. Create the First Draft
- 6 5. Write the introduction.
- 7 5. Outline Your Essay
- 8 How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper
- 9 7. Add the finishing touches.
- 10 Seven Tips for Writing a Good Paper
- 11 How to Write an APA Research Paper
- 12 Step 1. Choose a Topic
- 13 2. Brainstorm
1. Choose the Type of Essay
The first step to writing an essay is to define what type of essay you are writing. There are four main categories into which essays can be grouped:
Narrative Essay: Tell a story or impart information about your subject in a straightforward, orderly manner, like in a story.
Persuasive Essay: Convince the reader about some point of view.
Expository Essay: Explain to the reader how to do a given process. You could, for example, write an expository essay with step-by-step instructions on how to make a peanut butter sandwich.
Descriptive Essay: Focus on the details of what is going on. For example, if you want to write a descriptive essay about your trip to the park, you would give great detail about what you experienced: how the grass felt beneath your feet, what the park benches looked like, and anything else the reader would need to feel as if he were there.
Knowing what kind of essay you are trying to write can help you decide on a topic and structure your essay in the best way possible. Here are a few other types of essays:
Argumentative Essay: Take a position on a controversial issue and present evidence in favor of your position.
Compare and Contrast Essay: Identify similarities and differences between two subjects that are, typically, under the same umbrella.
Problem Solution Essay: Describe a problem, convince the reader to care about the problem, propose a solution, and be prepared to dismantle objections.
If you’ve been assigned an argumentative essay, check out these Top 10 Argumentative Essay Topics.
Once you have an outline, it’s time to start writing. Write based on the outline itself, fleshing out your basic skeleton to create a whole, cohesive and clear essay.
You’ll want to edit and re-read your essay, checking to make sure it sounds exactly the way you want it to. Here are some things to remember:
Revise for clarity, consistency, and structure.
Support your thesis adequately with the information in your paragraphs. Each paragraph should have its own topic sentence. This is the most important sentence in the paragraph that tells readers what the rest of the paragraph will be about.
Make sure everything flows together. As you move through the essay, transition words will be paramount. Transition words are the glue that connects every paragraph together and prevents the essay from sounding disjointed.
Reread your introduction and conclusion. Will the reader walk away knowing exactly what your paper was about?
In your introduction, it’s important to include a hook. This is the line or line that will lure a reader in and encourage them to want to learn more. For more on this, check out How to Write a Hook.
And, to help you formulate a killer conclusion, scan through these Conclusion Examples.
2. Prepare an outline or diagram of your ideas.
Start writing an intro. The introductory paragraph should begin with an attention grabber that may be:
★ a provocative question;
★ an anecdote;
★ unusual facts, etc.
You are writing an academic paper but that doesn’t mean you have to be boring. Next, you need to provide the background information, explain your goals, and how you plan to approach your research paper topic.
In order to write a successful essay, you must organize your thoughts. By taking what’s already in your head and putting it to paper, you are able to see connections and links between ideas more clearly.
This structure serves as a foundation for your paper. Use either an outline or a diagram to jot down your ideas and organize them.
To create a diagram, write your topic in the middle of your page.
Draw three to five lines branching off from this topic and write down your main ideas at the ends of these lines. Draw more lines off these main ideas and include any thoughts you may have on these ideas.
If you prefer to create an outline, write your topic at the top of the page. From there, begin to list your main ideas, leaving space under each one. In this space, make sure to list other smaller ideas that relate to each main idea. Doing this will allow you to see connections and will help you to write a more organized essay.
Step 3. Do Research on Your Topic
You should find enough secondary and primary credible sources on the subject of your paper, carefully read all of them, and find relevant evidence to support your thesis. At this stage, you should evaluate your sources, take notes, and start documenting your sources according to a citation style specified by your instructor (APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, etc.)
Make sure you use the latest edition of a specific style guide. You will use your notes about references later when writing your paper and building your bibliography. It’s crucial to cite all sources that you used for quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing to avoid plagiarism.
Once you have done your brainstorming and chosen your topic, you may need to do some research to write a good essay. Go to the library or search online for information about your topic. Interview people who might be experts in the subject.
Keep your research organized so it will be easy for you to refer back to. This will also make it easier to cite your sources when writing your final essay.
3. Write your thesis statement.
Now that you have chosen a topic and sorted your ideas into relevant categories, you must create a thesis statement. Your thesis statement tells the reader the point of your
. Look at your outline or diagram. What are the main ideas?
Your thesis statement will have two parts. The first part states the topic, and the second part states the point of the essay. For instance, if you were writing about Bill Clinton and his impact on the United States, an appropriate thesis statement would be, “Bill Clinton has impacted the future of our country through his two consecutive terms as United States President.
Another example of a thesis statement is this one for the “Winning Characteristics” Scholarship essay: “During my high school career, I have exhibited several of the “Winning Characteristics,” including Communication Skills, Leadership Skills and Organization Skills, through my involvement in Student Government, National Honor Society, and a part-time job at Macy’s Department Store.”
Step 5. Create the First Draft
Prepare a working thesis before you actually organize your research because it will guide your investigation and will help you stay focused on your subject. Your thesis statement should be concise and reflect the type of paper you are writing. All research papers can be divided into 3 categories:
- argumentative or persuasive if you are arguing the conclusion;
- expository when you explain information;
- analytical when you present your analysis of certain information.
You have to devote enough of your precious time to creating a good strong thesis statement so that your project has a clear purpose. Your thesis should be debatable and narrow because your claims should be supported by evidence.
Climate change is the most pressing challenge facing the world today.
Your research has given you tons of great ideas. Now you have to organize them for your impressive presentation. Don’t skip this vital step because without it, your project will lack focus and you will need more time for revising your draft trying to make sense of your jumbled thoughts.
Think about key points that you’ll need to develop to support your thesis statement. You can use them as subheadings for the body of your paper. Look through your notes and organize the information under each sub-heading.
You should resist the temptation to include any information that doesn’t fit into your outline no matter how interesting it is.
When writing an outline, you should keep in mind a typical research paper structure that commonly includes:
- a title page;
- an abstract;
- an introduction;
- a methodology section;
But if your research paper is not long, its format may include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. In any case, you should follow specific guidelines provided by your instructor.
This is the middle of the process. You have a clear direction and it’s time to create the first draft with a title, in-text citations, and a reference page.
The title is very important if you want to make a good impression on your readers because it’s the first thing that they see. It forms their view on what exactly they should expect in your paper. You should list the keywords that present the topic of your paper, methods you used, and results that you achieved.
Now create a sentence that includes all the keywords that you have listed and delete the unnecessary words. After that, you need to link the remaining ones. Finally, you have to delete non-essential info and organize the remaining words in the logical order. You can also include the subtitle. Make sure that your title is concise.
Afterwards, you need to write an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. These are the main parts of your paper so let us provide you with some details on how to do it right.
You have to make large-scale changes and check the logic, flow, transitions, make changes in the structure and order of your paragraphs. You should make sure that all your ideas are fully developed and all the claims are supported by credible evidence. You may need to add some section headings.
The next stage is editing. You have to check and eliminate filler words and phrases, improve word choice, and correct mistakes in punctuation and grammar if you find any. You should look for:
- incomplete sentences;
- dangling modifiers;
- easily confused words (such as to, too, and two);
- spelling mistakes;
- apostrophes for possessives and plurals;
- quotation rules obeyed;
- comma use;
- eliminate contractions.
You will need to re-read your paper several times. A good strategy is to read your paper backwards. In this way, you will feel a little disoriented and will be able to catch more mistakes. You should start reading the last sentence, then check the second to the last one and continue doing it until you get to your first sentence.
You should ask your friends or family members to review your research paper and express their opinion about it. They should evaluate your argument, transitions, and the balance and look for any inconsistencies with usage, grammar or mechanics.
Ask your friends to provide their feedback and make suggested changes if you think they make sense. Finally, you may print your paper and proofread it to eliminate minor mistakes or typos and ensure that your amazing research paper is flawless.
You can use our easy guide to craft winning research papers fast, get better grades, and enjoy your life in college. Alternatively, you can address our specialists to write research paper for you. As a result, you’ll spend less time but get more pleasure from studying at university.
Your thesis statement is the main point of your essay. It is essentially one sentence that says what the essay is about. For example, your thesis statement might be «Dogs are descended from wolves.
» You can then use this as the basic premise to write your entire essay, remembering that all of the different points throughout need to lead back to this one main thesis. You should usually state your thesis in your introductory paragraph.
The thesis statement should be broad enough that you have enough to say about it, but not so broad that you can’t be thorough.
To help you structure a perfectly clear thesis, check out these These Statement Examples.
Now the essay is written, but you’re not quite done. Reread what you’ve written, looking out for mistakes and typos.
Revise for technical errors.
Check for grammar, punctuation and spelling errors. You cannot always count on spell check to recognize every spelling error. Sometimes, you can spell a word incorrectly but your misspelling will also be a word, such as spelling «from» as «form.»
Another common area of concern is quotation marks. It’s important to cite your sources with accuracy and clarity. Follow these guidelines on how to use quotes in essays and speeches.
You might also want to consider the difference between quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing. Quoting is reserved for lines of text that are identical to an original piece of writing. Paraphrasing is reserved for large sections of someone else’s writing that you want to convey in your own words. Summarizing puts the main points from someone else’s text into your own words. Here’s more on When to Quote, Paraphrase, or Summarize.
5. Write the introduction.
Your outline will help you to complete this part of your paper. But you shouldn’t think that you must strictly follow it. It may evolve and you are free to revise it and make changes. The key thing is to stay on your track and focus on your thesis. You should provide your points and support your main idea.
Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence and provide arguments and relevant evidence to support it. You should write as many body paragraphs as you have the key points.
The body of your essay argues, explains or describes your topic. Each main idea that you wrote in your diagram or outline will become a separate section within the body of your essay.
Each body paragraph will have the same basic structure.
Begin by writing one of your main ideas as the introductory sentence. Next, write each of your supporting ideas in sentence format, but leave three or four lines in between each point to come back and give detailed examples to back up your position. Fill in these spaces with relative information that will help link smaller ideas together.
Now that you have developed your thesis and the overall body of your essay, you must write an introduction. The introduction should attract the reader’s attention and show the focus of your essay.
Begin with an attention grabber.
You can use shocking information, dialogue, a story, a quote, or a simple summary of your topic. Whichever angle you choose, make sure that it ties in with your thesis statement, which will be included as the last sentence of your introduction.
The conclusion brings closure of the topic and sums up your overall ideas while providing a final perspective on your topic. Your conclusion should consist of three to five strong sentences. Simply review your main points and provide reinforcement of your thesis.
5. Outline Your Essay
The next step is to outline what you are going to write about. This means you want to essentially draw the skeleton of your paper. Writing an outline can help to ensure your paper is logical, well organized and flows properly.
If you’ve been tasked with an argumentative essay, here’s the best formula for an Argumentative Essay Outline.
Start by writing the thesis statement at the top, and then write a topic sentence for each paragraph below that. This means you should know exactly what each of your paragraphs is going to be about before you write them.
Don’t jumble too many ideas in each paragraph or the reader may become confused.
Ensure you have transitions between paragraphs so the reader understands how the paper flows from one idea to the next.
Fill in supporting facts from your research under each paragraph. Make sure each paragraph ties back to your thesis and creates a cohesive, understandable essay.
Does your teacher follow the APA guidelines for writing papers? If so, these APA Outline Format Examples should help you pull it all together. As you progress into the meat of the essay (following our tips below), these APA Format Examples should prove beneficial!
Of, if MLA is your teacher’s preferred style, check out these MLA Format Examples.
How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper
Most research papers end with restarting their thesis statements. You can also do it but you shouldn’t repeat it word for word. Paraphrase it or summarize the key points of your paper. You may emphasize the significance of your findings as well.
Your rough draft is ready. Wondering what to do next? Go on reading to find some tips on how to revise your research paper.
7. Add the finishing touches.
After writing your conclusion, you might think that you have completed your essay. Wrong. Before you consider this a finished work, you must pay attention to all the small details.
Check the order of your paragraphs.
Your strongest points should be the first and last paragraphs within the body, with the others falling in the middle. Also, make sure that your paragraph order makes sense. If your essay is describing a process, such as how to make a great chocolate cake, make sure that your paragraphs fall in the correct order.
Review the instructions for your essay, if applicable. Many teachers and scholarship forms follow different formats, and you must double check instructions to ensure that your essay is in the desired format.
Finally, review what you have written. Reread your paper and check to see if it makes sense. Make sure that sentence flow is smooth and add phrases to help connect thoughts or ideas. Check your essay for grammar and spelling mistakes.
Congratulations! You have just written a great essay.
Seven Tips for Writing a Good Paper
I have been grading student essays for many years. Reading good essays is what every teacher wishes for yet rarely gets—a revitalizing and uplifting experience. More commonly I read bad essays. Reading bad essays is like living on a diet of junk food. Before long you will be feeling sick, guilty and angry by turns, and ready to die. Students, too, suffer when they write badly because they get bad grades, which they usually don’t enjoy. The writing principles outlined here could help both groups feel better.
Do the Work.
As a student you are stressed and often quite busy with schoolwork. You have a perfect right to feel self-pity and to rage at the fact that life isn’t easy. In fact, it’s quite the American thing to do. Nevertheless, you still have to perform. To get an ‘A,’ you need to do ‘A’ level work. It’s not enough to want an ‘A.’ It’s not enough to need an ‘A.’ It’s not even enough to have gotten A’s on all your previous papers throughout high school. Past glory may help you bypass long restaurant lines, avoid criminal convictions, or star in horrid late night infomercials, but to get a good grade on your paper, you have to do good work now.
Einstein said, «Make everything as simple as possible, but not more so.» Are we prepared to argue with Einstein? Right. So think twice before you use ‘existence’ to mean ‘life,’ ‘conceptualization’ to mean ‘idea,’ or ‘human beings’ to mean ‘people.’ And never, ever, use the word ‘paradigm,’ even if you know what it means. Like large bills, big words are better to have than to use. Adding them will make your bad essay longer, not better.
Don’t: «I, myself, for me, personally, as I see it, in my opinion, if you ask me, would venture to intimate that verbal articulation is meaningfully significant.»
Do: «Language is important.»
Avoid Small, Annoying Errors.
1. First, say «First,» not «Firstly,» «First of all,» or «First off.»
2. «They’re» means they are. «There» is where they are. «Their» is something that belongs to them. For example: «Their stuff is there. There is where they keep their stuff.» Or try: «The truth is out there. They’re searching for it with their silly flashlights.»
3. «Must have» is correct while «must of» is incorrect. The fact that two words sound alike does not mean they can be used interchangeably. To wit: «I must have confused the sound of the word with its spelling. I wrote, ‘must of’ when I should have written, ‘must have.'»
4. It’s = It is. Its = Belonging to it. To help internalize this distinction, you may memorize the following poem:
It’s not a friendly bear
Look at its glaring stare
If we don’t scoot, it’s rather certain
Its jaws will be our final curtain!
5. The spell checker checks for spelling. It doesn’t check for meaning in context. That task, I’m afraid, is still yours to complete. You need to tend to it. For example, the word ‘definitely’ definitely does not mean the same thing as the word ‘defiantly,’ even if your spell checker sees no distinction at all. If you decide to defiantly ignore this distinction, then you will definitely get a lower grade.
6. Resist the temptation to use «very» more than once or twice in a decade. Whenever you feel the urge to write «very,» you should write, «freakin‘» instead. For example, the sentence, «Psychological assessment is very crucial to the very essence of the very fragile psyche of your very child» may look passionate and powerful to you. However, if you re-write it: «psychological assessment is freakin’ important to the freakin’ essence of the freakin’ fragile psyche of your freakin’ child,» the problem will, one hopes, become freakin’ clear. (This ‘very’ rule also applies to ‘really’ and ‘pretty’.)
Which brings us to the next rule: Don’t Use Slang, unless slang is the topic of your paper. Not to diss the faculty, but it is (it’s) quite likely that your professor is not freakin’ familiar with the latest slang. Your professor is a middle-aged egghead who still remembers the first gulf war, has actually watched black and white TV, thinks ecstasy is what you experience when your paper gets accepted for publication in The Journal of Perpetual Obscurity, and doesn‘t know a mosh pit from Brad Pitt. Your professor thinks the def can’t hear, the phat are overweight, and the ‘ho’s’ are what Santa does on Christmas (and I mean that in the most vanilla sense). In other words, bro, your professor is not down with that. Feeling me? So resist the temptation to write, «Freud‘s the bomb! That idea of the anal stage is the shit!» Your professor may agree with you, but for all the wrong reasons.
Not all revised papers are good, but non-revised papers are always bad. As they say in politics, «Trust, but verify.» Even if you’re certain that your paper is a brilliant gem, give it the once over before turning it in. In writing as in love, a second glance is usually warranted. Don’t marry after the first date, and don’t turn in a first draft, at least if you expect anyone to take your marriage or your paper seriously. Revising is like using a condom—not your first priority, but your first obligation nonetheless. It’s not the most elegant process, but it is still a rather simple way to avoid freakin’ big problems; it isn’t spontaneous and it feels somewhat awkward, but everyone is eventually the better for it.
A Paper Assignment is an Opportunity, Not a Crisis.
Many students consider the task of writing a paper to be a form of cruel punishment, inflicted upon them by the heartless professor. Thus, they approach it with dread and resentment. This is not the right attitude. The writer Henry James once noted that good stories happen to those who know how to tell them. Every paper assignment is a great opportunity to learn how to tell your stories. Moreover, writing clearly necessitates thinking clearly, so the process of writing (and revising) helps you to sort things out with, and for, yourself. Finally, writing papers gives you a chance to speak up, and a stage from which you can sound off on various topics knowing that someone on the other end (your professor) will consider your ideas seriously and benevolently. Having experienced Twitter, you must realize what a rare opportunity this is. Take advantage of it.
Karl Kraus once said, «You don’t even live once.» So don’t waste time. Go ahead and put it in writing.
«Everything that can be said can be said clearly»
How to Write an APA Research Paper
We’ll break down the writing process into easy steps to help you understand how to write a research paper fast no matter how long it must be.
No one can write their first draft perfectly. So, if you want to make a good impression on your professor and earn a high grade, you should revise your draft to make sure that your project is on point.
Step 1. Choose a Topic
Sometimes college students are assigned with their research paper topics, but if you are fortunate enough to have such an option, choose your topic wisely. First of all, think about choosing a challenging topic you are interested in.
If your topic is too broad, your research paper is unlikely to be successful because it will look like a general overview. You should narrow your topic down to a certain aspect, concept or idea and make it specific and manageable.
You cannot write an essay unless you have an idea of what to write about. Brainstorming is the process in which you come up with the essay topic. You need to simply sit and think of ideas during this phase.
Write down everything that comes to mind as you can always narrow those topics down later.
Use clustering or mind mapping to brainstorm and come up with an essay idea. This involves writing your topic or idea in the center of the paper and creating bubbles (clouds or clusters) of related ideas around it.
Brainstorming can be a great way to develop a topic more deeply and to recognize connections between various facets of your topic.
Once you have a list of possible topics, it’s time to choose the best one that will answer the question posed for your essay. You want to choose a topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow.
If you are given an assignment to write a one-page essay, it would be far too much to write about «the history of the US,» since that could fill entire volumes of books. Instead, you could write about a specific event within the history of the United States: perhaps signing the Declaration of Independence or when Columbus discovered the Americas.
Choose the best topic idea from among your list and begin moving forward on writing your essay. But, before you move forward, take heed of these topics to avoid.