How to Write a Research Paper

Writing a research paper involves several important steps. This reference will guide you through what a research paper is, how to write one, and provide a useful example. It includes picking and understanding your topic, conducting research, drafting your paper, and finally creating the final version.

Research papers can seem overwhelming, but by breaking the process down into manageable steps, you can tackle it more confidently. This guide aims to make writing a research paper less daunting and more approachable.

What is a Research Paper?

How to Write a Research Paper
How to Write a Research Paper – Created by 7ESL

A research paper is a type of academic writing that involves careful analysis, extensive research, and logical argumentation. Unlike an essay, which is often shorter and driven by the writer’s own opinions, a research paper requires you to delve deeply into a subject. This means using a variety of sources and presenting factual information to support your claims.

Key Differences

  • Length and Complexity: Research papers are generally longer and more complex. They involve detailed research and cover a topic extensively.
  • Purpose: While essays aim to convince the reader of the writer’s opinion, research papers aim to inform the reader about a specific topic, providing enough information for them to form their own opinion.
  • Structure: Research papers follow a more formal structure. Instead of starting with a personal stance, you begin with an introduction that outlines the topic, followed by detailed sections that explore various aspects of the subject.

Components of a Research Paper

  1. Introduction: This section provides an overview of the topic. It sets the stage for what will be discussed.
  2. Literature Review: Summarizes previous research on the topic.
  3. Methodology: Explains how you gathered and analyzed data.
  4. Findings: Presents the results of your research.
  5. Discussion: Interprets the findings and discusses their implications.
  6. Conclusion: Summarizes the main points and suggests areas for further research.


When you start an essay, you might begin with a personal opinion like, “Should abortion be legalized? Personally, I believe the answer is yes because…” In contrast, a research paper would start with a more neutral introduction to the topic, laying out the groundwork for a detailed examination.

Skills Involved

  • Research Skills: You need to find credible sources, assess their relevance, and integrate them into your paper.
  • Analytical Skills: Analyzing data and interpreting what it means in the context of your topic.
  • Writing Skills: Presenting your findings clearly and logically while following academic standards.


Including tables, images, and graphs can help illustrate your points more effectively. For instance:

Section Description
Introduction Overview of the topic
Literature Review Summary of previous research
Methodology Explanation of how research was conducted
Findings Presentation of research results
Discussion Interpretation of results and their implications
Conclusion Summary of main points and future research areas

A research paper requires thorough investigation and a structured approach. By focusing on analysis, interpretation, and evidence-based arguments, you provide more depth than personal opinion-based essays.

How to Write a Research Paper

Step 1 – Choose and/or Understand Your Topic

Before starting your research paper, it’s important to grasp what you’re writing about. If you can choose your own topic, pick something you are passionate about and comfortable discussing in detail.

If you were assigned a topic, don’t worry. Spend some time learning about it. Research by reading articles, books, watching videos, or listening to audios. Understanding your topic deeply will help you write better.

Step 2 – Conduct Research

Now that you are familiar with your topic, it’s time to dive into research. Focus on these five key questions: whatwhywhenwhere, and how. Gather as much information as possible and organize your notes clearly.

Try finding information that is often overlooked. Adding a unique angle to your paper can make it stand out. Are there strong debates on your topic? Share them and your own opinions if relevant. Also, check for any recent changes or updates related to your topic.

Step 3 – Create a draft or as Many as You Need

Practice makes perfect. After collecting enough information, start working on a draft. Don’t worry about making it perfect just yet.

  • Include everything you want in your paper.
  • Use an outline to arrange your ideas.
  • Focus on writing clear and concise paragraphs, each dealing with a single idea.
  • Don’t stress about spelling and grammar at this stage.

Step 4 – Create Your Final Product

After refining your drafts, it’s time to write your final paper.

  1. Introduction:
  2. Body:
    • Organize your paragraphs well.
    • Each should discuss one main idea.
  3. Conclusion:

Remember to be clear and concise. Use an outline to guide you if you feel stuck. Ensure that your final paper feels complete and well-rounded.

Research Paper Example

COVID19, also known as the coronavirus, has affected the entire world. The most affected places have shown higher numbers of cases and deaths, while some regions have managed to keep the spread low. Statistics indicate regions like the United States and India have experienced significant impacts, while countries like New Zealand have seen fewer cases.

The dangers of COVID19 are evident from its symptoms and effects. These include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, it can lead to death. COVID19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

To prevent COVID19, governments and health organizations have implemented various procedures. These include social distancing, wearing masks, and frequent handwashing. The effectiveness of these measures varies globally with different compliance levels. Some people doubt these preventive measures and believe the virus is not as dangerous as claimed. This leads to debates about the virus’s authenticity and the necessity of such restrictions.

Protests have also impacted the spread of COVID19. Protests in regions like the United States have shown a spike in cases following large gatherings. This correlation suggests that mass gatherings can exacerbate the spread of the virus.

COVID19 can be linked to other diseases. Those with preexisting conditions such as diabetes or heart disease are at higher risk of severe outcomes if they contract COVID19. Statistics show a greater number of deaths among patients with underlying conditions who have contracted the virus.

Improve your writing with the help of AI writing assistants!