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Organizing A Research Paper Writing Process In 6 Steps

Sometimes the most difficult part of writing a research paper is actually starting. Fortunately there are simple steps to take that make it easier and simplifies the whole writing process. Here are six steps to organizing a research paper writing process:

  1. Understand the assignment and set a plan/schedule. A big problem students often have is not understanding the assignment. If you have questions, ask the professor or consult a campus writing center. Set a list of tasks and milestones for the completion of the research paper and set a time and date for completion of each task.

  2. Find a topic and question. Once you have an understanding of what the assignment is about, choose a specific topic or question to research. Narrow the focus of your paper and make sure you have a topic that not only interests you but would be interesting for the reader.

  3. Begin research. After you have set a direction for the paper, it is time begin your research of the topic. Keep in mind that just because you chosen a topic and question does not mean you are restricted to that one topic for the rest of the paper. Make sure you use a wide variety of sources including books, journals, and Internet. Give yourself enough time to research because it is the most intensive part of the paper.

  4. Create an outline. Once you have collected all the research, it is good to organize your research and thoughts into an outline. Get your notes together and match the information that fits together. The outline should start with the introduction/thesis, include main ideas and supporting details and end with the conclusion. The more organized the outline, the easier it is to write the paper directly from the information in the outline.

  5. Write a draft. With the research material and information organized, the next step is to write a first draft. Remember that you will write more than one draft so don’t put too much pressure on the first one. Write with your own voice and don’t forget to cite sources.

  6. Write the final draft. After you have written and revised the first draft, the last step is to compose the final draft. The final draft should be clearly organized and have very few errors. Before turning the paper in, make sure it is formatted and organized correctly according to the professor’s guidelines.