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How to Write a Research Essay

December 04, 2017 Types of essays
How to Write a Research Essay

There is no doubt that a research essay is one of the most challenging writing assignments out there. A research essay is essentially an academic piece where a student, after conducting extensive preparation and research, presents the data on a subject in an organized manner.

Table Of Contents

This type of writing is a very common assignment given by teachers and professors to witness how a student can research, analyze, organize, and present large amounts of information at a given time. Science and history classes are most likely to require you to write one of these papers to show your knowledge on a particular subject. Often, such tasks can be issued as a final project to demonstrate a beyond mastery expertise in an area of study.

  • Read Instructions
  • Perform Your Research
  • Record Data
  • Outline
  • Structure
  • Write A Rough Draft
  • Polish It Up
  • Bibliography

Read Instructions

The importance of this, although it may seem obvious, can not be overstated. Failing to read the criteria carefully is the most common way for hard-working students to lose marks. Follow these steps as soon as the task is assigned, so you have plenty of time to check your understanding and talk with your tutor.

  • Read the instructions and criteria twice
  • Take special note of the requested style guide: e.g. MLA, Harvard, APA
  • Ask your tutor any questions you might have about what is required

Remember that the quality of your research or writing is irrelevant if the student didn’t respond to the assignment given or follow the instructions.

Perform Your Research

Performing research is probably the hardest part of creating a good research essay. Some given subjects might have very little information on them and therefore, complicate the entire process.
Some subjects might have very contradicting information based on different sources, which could potentially mislead you.
Having a variety of sources when presenting information is crucial to your success. Accessing different types of sources is quite significant as well.

Sources to use when writing a Research Essay

Primary Sources

There are two main types of sources you will find when performing your research - primary and secondary. Primary sources are those first hand, legal documents describing the object of study. Those are usually quite hard to find, but they have the most accurate and well-supported information.

You must base your information on sources as such because they will not fail or mislead you. Primary sources include things such as manuscripts, archives, films, speeches, books, journals, letters, etc.

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are the easiest to find, but also could be quite dangerous to use. Secondary sources are reviews, analysis, and interpretations of the subject based on primary sources. You have to be very careful when taking out information from sources as such. Validate its credibility and compare to other sources to ensure the truthfulness of the data.

Usage of Research Tools

Highlighting most important information is an underrated must have skill when working digitally. Using a highlighter and sticky notes when working with hard copy materials is neglected as well. All of the tools above will save hours of unnecessary work and help you refer to something quickly.

Record Data

Recording data isn’t a complicated process, however, how you record data will determine how fast you can access it when writing your paper. Academic research can occupy hundreds of pages and include a dozen of different sources.

Most efficient way of classifying your sources is either by:

  • Year of Publication
  • Author
  • Relevance to the Matter (sources with most relevant information regarding the subject)


When the information is fully collected, and you have placed an order, it’s time to organize that information into an essay plan, also known as the paper outline. Include only the most important information in your outline and avoid going into details as it will be a waste of time.

Select your main points and support it with links and references to the sources where you can find proof of this data. This will simplify your future writing process and keep you focused on the task.
research essay outline


To prepare for the final stages of writing the essay, it is often useful to consider a research essay outline. Note that depending on the word limit and the depth of the research required, the body may have more paragraphs. Nonetheless, the structure will be much the same.


  • A hook: A sentence that will foster the reader’s curiosity is an ideal start.
  • Thesis: state the objective of the essay, clearly, in as few words as possible.
  • Scope: Briefly explain the scope of the research and outline the progression.

Read more about how to write a great INTRODUCTION


Focus the writing on the argument of the essay drawing from the referred texts. Each paragraph should only make one main point.

  • First Point
  • A topic sentence should introduce the idea.
  • Elaborate on the idea, in contrast to, or supported by a referred text.
  • Conclude the concept and link it to the next idea.
  • Second Point
  • A topic sentence which introduces an idea, linking it with the previous.
  • Elaborate on the idea, in contrast to, or supported by a referred text.
  • Conclude the concept and link it to the next idea.
  • Third Point
  • Same as the second and each subsequent paragraph as required.


  • Contextualize the work you have referred to in relation to your topic.
  • List concise sentences which refer to each of your main ideas.


  • Write a sentence which transitions into the conclusion.
  • Explain how the topic argument was made. Conclude with final impressions

Writing a Rough Draft

Writing a rough draft is the biggest part of the entire process. After you have established your outline, begin writing. Try to include every available piece of information in your rough draft. Be detailed, be descriptive. Later revision stages will need you to narrow down your information and choose most important things. The process becomes much easier when you have what to choose from.

DO NOT worry about your sentence flow or grammar, that will be taken care off when polishing your drafts. Your aim is to create a solid structure filled with relevant information.

Finalizing Your Draft

Finalizing your submission is usually the most pleasant part of the process. There are several things you need and should do in this stage of your essay.

Adjusting Sentence Flow

Sentence flow is what determines how coherent and clear your work is. When finalizing your draft, go through the next and edit any sentences that either lack a logical connection to the body or might potentially confuse the reader.

Improving Word Choice

Your word choice has a strong effect on the reader. Not only does it demonstrate your overall intelligence and ability to write, but also will help you better describe the subject. Get rid of repetitive words and replace simple adjectives such as “good”, “nice”, “great” etc. Use resources such as a thesaurus for word choice assistance.

Fixing Grammar

Silly grammar mistakes might be the fall of your essay. All that great research that you have conducted will be pointless if you fail to fix your grammar. Reread your essay with a red pen and identify problematic areas. Use outside grammar correction services if needed.

Peer Review

It is always a great idea to pass your paper through a friend or a relative. Have them review your work and give you notes on potential problems or flaws. Ask them if what the paper provided a clear understanding of your topic. Apply any recommended touch-ups, and your paper is one step away from submission.


Neither teacher nor professor will accept your work without an included bibliography. Citing your sources is a must in this type of academic writing. It demonstrates the credibility of your work as well as shows that you are giving credit to people who have indirectly provided you with this information.

To simplify your task, record the links and origins of hard copy sources right as you discover them. This way you won’t have to come back and search for them when completing your bibliography process.

Use either MLA style citation format to record every possible source used at the end of the paper. Also, do not forget to cite quotes or excerpts from books within the text itself.

Advice From Our Professional Team

Learning to write a good research essay is vital for your future career. The prewriting stages of essay writing are the most important contributors to the overall quality of your paper. My advice for you is to spend a lot of time picking a topic that you will genuinely enjoy writing about. Spend a lot of time in your prewriting phase. As the article states, select a topic that is not too broad but also not too narrow. After you’ve chosen a topic and done your research, the actual paper is a breath of fresh air. You will already be an expert at what you’re writing about, and your content will be targeted toward a particular and exciting area. Remember this: if you sound passionate while writing, a reader is going to enjoy what you’ve written. On the other hand, if you hate what you’re writing about, then your reader will sense that and hate what they’re reading your paper just as much as you hated writing it. So choose wisely and outline carefully!

Prof. Logan, online essay writer from EssayPro

Need Some Assistance?

Writing a research essay is one of the most daunting and time-consuming tasks that a student deals with. Not only that, but they must also understand proper structuring and content management. This is one of those things that comes with experience. Luckily EssayPro, the best essay writing service on the web, has trained professional essay writers that know the ins and outs of research assignments! As former college graduates that hold Bachelor degrees, they have dealt with the struggle of finding and organizing information. If you just do not have the will or the time to write one of these essays, hire a writer who will take care of the task for you! Not only that but the grade you shall receive will leave you speechless!

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