Academic Writing

How to Write an Effective Research Paper

Step 1: Develop a research plan!

Developing a research plan you will have to ask yourself 10 important subjects about your topic. You should be able to answer these 10 questions: 1) What is your topic? 2) What is your claim or hypothesis? 3) How is your hypothesis relevant to the audience 4) what background information do you have that will help guide you to prove your claim? 5) What expert or authoritative sources would you explore to find information on your topic? 6) What type of materials are you going to use to gather information to prove your thesis? 7) What strategy will you utilize to conduct the research? 8) Do you possess any skills or talents that will be useful in providing information on your topic? 9) How will you gain access to the research materials? 10) What difficulties do you think you will encounter as you conduct your research and prove your hypothesis? It’s helpful to organize this information in a table just like the one below:

What is your topic?

What is your claim or hypothesis?

How is your hypothesis relevant to the audience?

What background information do you have that will help guide you to prove your claim?

What expert or authoritative sources would you explore to find information on your topic?

What type of materials are you going to use to gather information to prove your thesis?

What strategy will you utilize to conduct the research?

Do you possess any skills or talents that will be useful in providing information on your topic?

How will you gain access to the research materials?

What difficulties do you think you will encounter as you conduct your research and prove your hypothesis?

Step 2: Begin Research !

Begin by going to websites such as Google, ChaCha, or Yahoo to see how much information you can find on your topic. At this stage, you aren’t looking for specifics (general information is fine.)

Step3: Evaluate Your Sources

I would recommend picking 3 sources that you found during the preliminary phase of your research and evaluate them critically. You should be able to understand what audience this source is catering to, as well as its purpose. Those questions will help you determine if the source will be beneficial for your research paper. If those questions seem unclear, consider using a different resource. If you determine you can answer those questions, and the sources are useful for your research, you need to make sure your sources are credible. Credibility is determined by the author’s position; if the author is vocal about their opinion the source should not be trusted. In a good solid source, look for an author that maintains a neutral stance.

Step 4: Make An Outline!

By this point you should fully understand what direction your research going in. You can start off very general, and elaborate later. Provide as many details as possible so that you will be prepared to write your paper.

Incorporate all of these steps while you’re writing your paper. I highly recommend writing 2 drafts, so that the proper revisions can be made. Make sure your cite all of your sources in the in your reference list as