6 Easy Steps to Follow for Your Research Paper

A “dreaded” requirement in college is the research paper.  Even though you might have made one in high school, college is a whole different level.

Read on to make your college research paper experience more bearable.

1. Understand the requirements

Many students jump right into their paper without fully understanding what their professor wants.  Not only is this a sure waste of time, it gravely affects your score.  So double-check everything that your teacher requires before beginning.

2. Choose a topic you’re comfortable with

Rather than opting to “impress” your teacher with something complex, choose a topic you actually like.  The more you enjoy what you are researching, the easier it will be to finish.  It’s a lot easier to find references nowadays for a number of topics compared to before.  So think about what interests you so you can appreciate the process.

3. Research thoroughly

The research process is essential, yet not always exciting.  But to have good custom research papers, you need to dig deep to find credible information both for your case and against it.

While the internet can obviously be of big help, you might not find everything you need there as some journals are not yet online, and others require paid access.  Check with your librarian and professor if there are online journal sources that are free to use.  And of course, check the library for actual books and newspaper clippings that might be of help.

4. Create your thesis

Once you’ve read about your topic, create your thesis.  This is a statement of what you think your research will end up proving.

If you decided, for example, to research the effects of tutorial centers on a student’s grades, your thesis statement might be like this: “Despite the extra guidance a tutorial center may give, the actual improvement is negligible.”

5. Writing the paper

A challenging part for many students is writing it all down.  Though things may be clear in your mind, it can be difficult to organize your thoughts as you actually write.  Outlining your paper is one way to help structure things before writing.  Another technique is to find a sample paper and follow its flow.  Please note that you are NOT trying to copy the work; you are simply using it as a guide to structure your paper.

It is also important to know what style guide your teacher expects you to use as you write.  If not, you’ll end up revising everything later which is a big hassle.

6. Edit and submit again

Rarely is your first draft good enough for submission.  You’ll have to first submit it to your teacher for comments and revise accordingly.  If, however, you researched well and organized your thoughts carefully, chances are the revisions will be minor (hopefully!).


Although the research paper is not something college students look forward to, it doesn’t have to be so hard.  Consider the suggested tips to ensure that the research process goes smoothly for you and your grade point average.

Hints & Tricks