Sep 03

How to Write a College Research Paper

Research paper explores a narrow topic with the use of both scholarly literature and documentary sources, published and unpublished. Research paper often involves the introduction of new documents, facts, theories proven by facts, etc.

Choosing a topic

Choosing a topic for research paper it is necessary to consider its timeliness, as well as availability of sources and literature. The wording of a topic should be specific. It is recommended to avoid topics covering a significant period of time since it is unlikely to cover all available material deep enough within a research paper. A topic should reflect the content of your work and be logically related to a purpose of the research.

The structure of research paper

A research paper consists of:

- plan (content);

- introduction;

- body of text (divided into parts, chapters, paragraphs at the wish of an author);

- conclusion;

- list of references;

- bibliography;

- appendices.


In introduction an author proves the chosen topic briefly explaining its academic interest. Introduction should include objective statement of the research paper, substantiation of topic timeliness, determination of research chronological framework, a brief review of existing sources and literature on the subject and the sources on the basis of which the research paper is written.

Body of text

A body of the text should reflect the theme stated by an author. At the same time it shouldn’t go beyond the scope of chronological framework specified in the introduction. It is recommended to avoid operating with well-known facts in the research paper (for example, describing facts related to D-Day, it is not necessary to tell the WWII history from the very beginning). Abundance of well-known facts can obscure new information discovered by an author during his/her research work. Your research paper has to be focused on new and interesting facts rather than on reviewing commonly known material.

It is better to write your paper in academic language, in an austere manner, neutrally, without excessive emotions and frills of alliteration. In a research paper a scientific text should be built as the thread of an argument aiming to prove one or another thesis of a research work. Avoid long and complex sentences, staying clear and logical in your writing. Never write your paper as a continuous text – divide it into paragraphs and chapters. Use reliable sources and verified facts avoiding inaccurate information as well as downright plagiarism.


Conclusion should contain findings on your research work and has to follow from the goals and objectives of the research defined in the introduction. Here you have to determine whether you were able to achieve these goals.

List of references and bibliography

The list of references contains details of the works cited in a text while a bibliography includes sources which can be not cited in the text but are relevant to the subject. The lists have to be composed in alphabetical order and to include colophon.


You should carefully choose appendices to illustrate the most striking aspects of your research paper. It is recommended to include copies of rare photographs and documents, various tables, graphs, drawings, but these appendices should be closely related to the text of the research paper. Don’t forget to give references to appendices in the text of the paper.

Stages of writing a research work:

1. To designate a subject of research.
2. To explore how the subject is provided by sources and literature and what aspects of the subject haven’t been studied yet.

3. To set forth goals and objectives.

4. To draw a working plan for the research work. Drawing the plan, you should define the range of questions you have to answer in order to achieve the goals. Optionally, you can divide the paper into chapters and each chapter may be divided into paragraphs. Heads of chapters and paragraphs should be clearly formulated.

5. To work with literature and sources. Exploring the sources, you can use the following scheme:

- a summary about the author;

- a problem set up by the author in his work;

- the sources on the basis of which the research is written;

-basicideas and conceptsput forward bythe author;

- author’s conclusions;

-your opinion onthis research.

  1. To write a draft text of your paper.

7. To finalize thestructure of the research paper.

8. To word a themeof the paper proceeding from the result of theresearch.

9. To write the final text of your research paper.