1. How to Write Research Papers: Establish Your Topic
Pick a topic that is fun and interesting. Give yourself plenty of time to read and think about what you would like to do. Trying to answer questions about a particular subject may lead you to a good paper idea.
2. How to Write Research Papers: Look for Sources of Information
Go to the library. If you find a book that is useful, check the bibliography (list of sources) in the back of that book for other books or articles on that topic. Also, check indexes of periodicals and newspapers. Try to vary your sources by including books, magazine articles, and internet articles. Do not rely on just one source for all your information.
Keep a list of all the sources that you use. Include the title of the source, the author, publisher, and place and date of publication. This is your preliminary, or draft, bibliography.
3. How to Write Research Papers: Read Your Sources and Take Notes
On index cards write down source information including the volume number (if there is one) and the page number. If you wind up using that idea in your paper, you will have the information about the source ready to put in your footnote or endnote.
If you copy something directly from a book without putting it in your own words, put quotation marks around it so that you know it is an exact quotation. This will help you to avoid plagiarism. Before you sit down to write your rough draft, organize your note cards by subtopic (you can write headings on the cards) and make an outline.
4. How to Write Research Papers: Organize Your Ideas
Using the information collected on the index cards to organize your ideas. An outline shows your main ideas and the order in which you are going to write about them. It is the bare bones of what will later become a fleshed-out written report.
5. How to Write Research Papers: Write a First Draft
Every essay up consists of three parts:
The introduction is the first paragraph of the paper. It often begins with a general statement about the topic and ends with a more specific statement of the main idea of your paper.
The body of the paper follows the introduction. It consists of a number of paragraphs in which you develop your ideas in detail.
The conclusion is the last paragraph of the paper. Its purpose is to summarize your points, leaving out specific examples and to restate the main idea of the paper
6. How to Write Research Papers: Document Sources
As you write your first draft, including the introduction, body, and conclusion, add the information or quotations on your note cards to support your ideas.
Use footnotes or endnotes to identify the sources of this information. If you are using footnotes, the note will appear on the same page as the information you are documenting, at the bottom (or "foot") of the page. If you are using endnotes, the note will appear together with all other notes on a separate page at the end of your report, just before the bibliography.
7. How to Write Research Papers: Write a Bibliography
A bibliography is a list of the sources you used to get information for your report. It is included at the end of your report, on the last page (or last few pages).
You will find it easier to prepare your final bibliography if you keep track of each book, encyclopedia, or article you use as you are reading and taking notes. Start a preliminary, or draft, bibliography by listing on a separate sheet of paper all your sources. Note down the full title, author, place of publication and publisher for each source.
Once you have followed the steps it is a simple matter of proofreading and tweaking until you are satisfied you have written the perfect research paper.