How to Write a Research Paper With a Clear Structure


Writing a research paper doesn’t involve typing many words and listing multiple points irrelevant to the topic. Instead, it would help if you focused on developing your thesis statement and providing a reader with an elaborate argument that proves your point.

Unlike academic essays, research papers are lengthy and require a deep understanding of a chosen topic. This article will go through the step-by-step process of writing a research paper.

How to Do a Research Paper

There are some basic steps to writing a well-structured research paper. First, you need to start by selecting an engaging topic and think about whether you will be able to support your thesis statement.

When reading your sources, take notes and select quotes that support your claim. It will help you write a convincing thesis statement. Then, you need to write a detailed outline or use mind-mapping tools to visualize your ideas. 

After writing the first draft, reread it and make the necessary edits. Next, you need to proofread your research paper and fix all the mistakes you find. It will help you get professionally-looking text.

What Does a Research Paper Look Like

If you need to write a research paper in MLA format, follow specific requirements. Page margins from all sides should be 1 inch. Use a 12-pt font and double spacing to make your text easy to read. The size of the page should be 8.5 x 11 inches. It will help if you use title case capitalization when writing headings.

If you are asked to use the APA format, you can choose between 12-pt and 11-pt fonts, for instance, Arial or Times New Roman. Besides, you will be required to use double spacing and 1-inch margins. Your paragraphs should be indented ½ inch.

The main difference between the Chicago format is that page margins can be larger than 1 inch. In addition, you need to add page numbers in the top right corner or put them at the center at the bottom.

A research paper should contain:

  • An introduction with a thesis statement
  • A review of the sources and methods you used
  • A description of the results
  • A discussion of your findings

Most research papers are 5-7-pages-long. However, you might be required to write a 20-page-long research paper. In this case, it should contain more paragraphs.

You can outsource the task to professional writers if you have never written such texts before. Then, you can use the text you receive for writing your first draft. It will help you get the gist of your chosen topic and write your research paper with a well-thought-out structure.

 How Do You Write a Research Paper

After selecting a topic and reading the available sources, you must create a research paper outline. However, some researchers rush into things without paying enough attention to preparation. To avoid this mistake, pay attention to every stage of the process. Here are the main tips that will help you complete your assignment on time:

  • Read the instructions carefully to ensure that you understand the requirements. You may even take notes to remember specific points. Most people must spend at least half an hour reading through the instructions.
  • Select a suitable topic and check whether there are enough pieces of evidence to support your claim. You may need to pick a different topic if there is not enough engaging information.
  • Write a detailed outline based on your instructions.
  • Make a list of the sources that you are going to use. You will need to refer to it in your research paper. Then, you read these sources and take notes.
  • Beef up the outline you created using the information from your sources. You may use stats and other data to make your arguments well-grounded.
  • At the next stage, you can write the first draft. It will be easier to complete this task with a detailed outline.

Start to write a research paper at least 4 weeks before a deadline. It will ensure you have plenty of time to research your topic, write the paper and proofread it before submitting it.

What to Write in a Research Paper

If you are tasked with writing a research paper that is 8 pages long or even longer, you can’t do it without an outline. It will help you to stay on point and write well-structured body paragraphs.

You first need to find a topic that grabs your attention and try figuring out what unique claim about it you can make. You may even discuss it with your professor or peers. A good topic should refer to a specific problem you are trying to solve.

Your research paper should contain the following parts:

  • Introduction. Write about the background of the issue you will analyze and provide context to demonstrate why your problem requires a solution. You may indicate what specific terms you will use, describe the structure of your research paper, and explain what problem you will focus on.
  • Paragraph bodies. In this part of your research paper, you need to elaborate on your points and use your sources to support your arguments. Make sure to analyze the sources and demonstrate how your argument can contribute to solving the issue at hand.
  • Conclusion. If you wrote a long research paper with a complex argument, briefly summarize the main points and demonstrate why your approach is unique. You may also outline the directions of further research to put your research paper into perspective.

Remember that creating a well-thought-out structure is not enough to get published, as you will need to write convincing arguments and demonstrate that your paper is based on solid research.

Follow Basic Research Papers Guidelines

If you are new to academic writing, you need to know the basics before starting to work on your research paper. Your paper will be graded on how well you follow the instructions and explore your topic. Besides, your tutor will check whether you used the proper formatting and presented a strong thesis. Follow these simple guidelines to ensure that your research paper meets all the requirements:

  • Use primary and secondary sources to support your claim. Remember that it is essential to add endnotes.
  • Check your spelling and grammar before submitting your research paper, and use style format and citation guides.
  • Besides quoting books on your topics, quote articles recently published in reputable journals.
  • Add a title page with your name and the title of your research paper.
  • Number all the pages except for the title. In some cases, you may also be asked to number the title page.

These tips can be applied to most research papers you may ever need to write.

Wrapping Up

When writing a research paper, you must demonstrate how your research contributes to science. You can use the guidelines listed above to improve the quality of your writing. Your text should be clear and coherent, so you must include all the necessary information in each section. It is also crucial to structure your research paper well. In addition, you need to choose relevant data that will support your claim. Finally, employ only those methods that will help you convey your message. By prioritizing quality, you can ensure that your research paper will get published.


How to write a research paper fast?

To speed up your writing workflow, use the following tips:

  • Select the most relevant sources
  • Write a detailed outline
  • Write the main body of the text first and then focus on formatting

How to write a cover page for a research paper?

The title page should contain the following elements:

  • The name of your educational institution
  • The title of your research paper
  • Your full name
  • Your class, the name of your professor, and the deadline
  • A running head at the top of the page next to the page number

How to introduce the topic of a research paper?

When introducing your topic, try making it sound engaging to grab your reader’s attention. Then, provide some context and describe the findings made by other researchers. After outlining the method, you will use, overview your paper’s structure, and present your thesis statement.

How to write the intro to a research paper?

  • Outline your topic and use a hook to compel your reader to pay attention to your argument
  • Explore the background of the topic and demonstrate what problem you are going to focus on
  • Describe the issue you want to consider in detail
  • Set your objectives

What is the hardest part of research?

The introduction is considered the most challenging part of a research paper. This is why it should be written last.


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