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How to Start a Research Paper

How to Start a Research Paper

Students consider the process of writing a research paper as a complicated and messy process. In that article, we listed some of the stages that will guide you through the writing process smoothly.
So, how to start a research paper? Before we begin, let's take a look at the definition.

Table of Contents

What Is a Research Paper ?

what is a research paper

A research paper is a type of writing in which the author does an independent analysis of the topic and describes the findings from that investigation. Furthermore, one will have to identify the weaknesses and strengths of the subject and evaluate them accordingly.

Deciding on Research Paper Topic

You will probably bounce around from one good research topic to another until you finally decide on one. Your best option is to select one that you are well versed in. After filtering out various options, come up with the most suitable topic for research paper and begin researching. Sometimes, you may be forced to adjust your topic in the process of writing. This is a common occurrence so do not let it concern you.

Let’s imagine that you are writing about steroids and their effects. Surely, you can cover this theme in 200 pages, but if your assignment is to write a 10-page research paper, you will need to be more specific. Narrow down and focus on more specific questions. For example: Which steroids have the biggest side effects? Which components cause side effects? What are the side effects? How can sportsman avoid side effects?

Constructing a Research Paper Thesis

A research paper uses primary sources and data to support a thesis statement. A research paper thesis statement has a lot in common with a thesis for an essay or another non-research assignment. The difference lies in the fact that in a research thesis, you gather evidence from valid sources to prove your perspective on a topic. Despite the fact you support your thought by sources, the thesis idea should be original your own as it reflects the way you think.

Here is a quick checklist on writing a thesis statement:

  • Make sure your thesis is clear
  • Remember, the thesis is your argument. Make sure it sounds assertive.
  • Write two-three versions of your thesis and choose the best one
  • Share your thesis with a neutral person to get a straightforward outcome
  • Discuss your thesis with others; sometimes people have good ideas
  • It should appear in your introduction and be restated in conclusion

Tips for creating a thesis statement

Despite the level of your education or the chosen field of research, you will need to follow simple rules to spark your first words. This multi-step process includes:

  • selecting a topic;
  • formulating a thesis statement;
  • conducting research using up to date sources.

If you wonder how to start a thesis statement for a research paper, we have a full guide.

Constructing a Research Paper Introduction

Start your introductory sentence broad and work your way into a topic.

  • Don’t make your subject look too boring
  • Make sure that your statement relates to your thesis
  • Make sure that everyone can understand your statement if you don’t want to be criticized from the very beginning.

Moving forward, you should consistently support the thesis with information collected during your research. Keep in mind that, before editing, you need to create a complete rough draft. Also, don't forget about the research paper structure, since it is crucial to make the text easier comprehensible.

Researching and Analyzing

Find Primary and Secondary Sources

Depending on your theme, you will need to collect information to support your claims. If your paper is on a history topic, you will need to find primary sources like old documents, encyclopedias, old war footage, etc. to support your thesis statement. If your topic is about science, you may need to conduct an experiment and base your paper on the obtained findings. Otherwise, you can find information using labs, encyclopedias and other sources.

Research and confirm the validity of the author and sources so you can be sure that they are credible.

Don’t Forget to Take Notes

While you are busy conducting research or analyzing an experiment, don’t forget to take notes. Taking thorough notes keeps your mind involved in your activity. It will help you create a paper outline later on saving lots of time.

Writing Process

Draft an Outline

The best thing about an outline is that it helps you organize your thoughts before beginning the writing process. Moreover, when your outline is done, it becomes much easier to identify what needs to come first.

Check the Grammar

Spending hours writing endlessly may lead to poor results. This could be things such as grammar mistakes, misinterpretation of the facts, spelling mistakes, and an overall lack of eloquence in the text.


  • Avoid homonyms such as lie (to recline)/lie (to tell a falsehood), mean (average)/mean (not nice), kind (type)/kind (caring), etc.
  • Introduce direct quotations, spaces and punctuation properly.
  • Don’t forget to find and correct punctuation and sentence errors, especially regarding commas, sentence fragments, and run-on sentences.
  • Introduce direct quotations spaces and punctuations properly.

Avoid Plagiarism

If you use another person’s opinions or ideas, make sure to give them credit. Consult your professor about the right citation style to use. Styles such as the MLA format and the APA format are the more common ones, and they have different requirements for citing sources.

Research Paper Title Page

MLA Title Page

Here are some tips from our writing team on how to format your research paper MLA title page:

  • This page is double spaced and the letters are centred.
  • Type the name of your university or college.
  • Skip to about one-third of the page and type your research paper title, include a subtitle if you have.
  • Skip several lines down and type your name, your course name and number, your instructor name and your paper’s due date.

MLA Title Page

APA Title Page

Place the running head in your page’s header:

  • Use label “Running head:” then your shortened title (IN UPPERCASE LETTERS), align left
  • Place the page number in this same header, but align right, begin with page number 1
  • This header should be 1 inch from the top. Some teachers say 1/2 inch is okay too.
  • Place your paper’s title in the upper half of the page, centred, capitalize the first letter of important words in your title.
  • Place your University’s name below your name, double-spaced.

APA Title Page

Read Also: Learn How to Cite a Research Paper.

Final Thoughts

Congrats on making your research paper done! Answer these questions to avoid careless mistakes.

  • Am I sure that all my quotations, paraphrases, and summaries are accurate?
  • Am I sure that my references are accurate?
  • Is my documentation in the proper form that my instructor assigned?

Now you can go and submit your paper. Just don't miss the deadline!
Also, don’t forget that you can always count on the EssayPro — trusted essay writing service whenever you’re having difficulties with college writing!

Have any troubles with your paper?

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