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20 Outstanding Tips For Writing An Effective Research Paper


  1. Start early. Make sure you review the information required of you as soon as it is assigned, and ask any questions if you are confused.
  2. Brainstorm. Take the time to do some free writing activities or mind mapping activities so that you can think about which topics you enjoy, what papers you have already written, and what arguments you enjoy supporting. These make for great topic ideas.
  3. Choose a topic
  4. Research top three to five potential topics to find which one is best supported by current evidence. Just because you selected a topic does not mean that there exists adequate information out there for you to present a supportive argument.
  5. Find information. Look through databases as well as your library for academic books, peer reviewed journal articles, and anything else relevant as a source.
  6. Take notes. If you write down any statistics or facts, make sure that you write down the corresponding bibliographic information so that you can easily cite the source at a later point in time.
  7. Craft a thesis statement.
  8. Create a tentative outline.
  9. Write your first draft.
  10. Take one day off so that your mind can relax and you can return for the editing and proofreading phases with a fresh perspective.
  11. Edit your paper for big picture items related to structure.
  12. Revise as necessary.
  13. Edit again to make sure the draft makes sense.
  14. Insert your reference page and citations.
  15. Proofread for small errors such as spelling or grammar.
  16. Double check each citation to make sure there are no errors.
  17. Type up your final paper. Make sure you save multiple copies of this both in print form and electronic form. You do not want to be this far into your assignment only to find that are the computer/printer issues so often taking place near the end of an assignment. If you do type up the document make sure you save it regularly, and that you also save it to your email, a cloud based storage site, or on a hard USB drive.
  18. Check through a plagiarism detection site. These sites will help to verify that you properly cited all of your sources and did not accidentally write down the thoughts from a book without a citation, and submit them as yours.
  19. Submit to your teacher.
  20. Give yourself a pat on the back.

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