How to Start a Research Paper - Simple Steps for Students

Written by

Katy Grace

7 mins read
how to start a research paper

Do you feel overwhelmed when you think about starting a research paper? You're not alone. It can be daunting to figure out where to start, especially if this is your first time writing a research paper.

But don't worry - with a little bit of guidance, you can easily get started on your research paper.

In this blog post, we'll outline seven simple steps that will help you get started on your research paper. So read on for expert tips and tricks that will make the process easier for you!

Keep reading to find out how you can impress your teacher!

What is a Research Paper?

The research paper is a challenge that students face in their final year. It's considered an essential part of completing any academic degree, and the process can be difficult but ultimately rewarding!

The purpose of this assignment is to present new information gained through a thorough investigation of your topic. The work involves original analysis of the student's chosen topic and compares it with other perspectives.

Like most difficult writing assignments, students need to be diligent and careful when working on this high-level research project.

Lastly, it takes exceptional research and writing skills to write a good paper.

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How to Start a Research Paper?

Here are simple steps below to start a research paper.

  1. 1. Read the Guidelines to Start Early
  2. You must read and understand the guidelines before starting your research paper. Reading them will help shape what kind of topic, tone, and organization we need for this assignment!

    The best way to start your research paper is by reading through the guidelines and topics covered in it. This ensures you do not miss any essential information from what is required from your paper.

    To make sure that you don't forget the most important parts, make notes of:

    • Paper format
    • Number of sources required
    • Font type and size
    • Word limit
    • Page spacing
    • Page numbers

    When starting a paper, it's important to understand the timeline for completion. Understanding these will help you finish on time and avoid last-minute panic!

    It is crucial to start working on your paper as soon as it's assigned. The more time and effort you put into the beginning means the better grade at the end of all things.

  3. 2. Brainstorm New Topic Ideas
  4. The first step in choosing a research paper topic is brainstorming possible topics. The professor will often give you a research topic to work on. This can be useful if you have already assigned one, but it's also important that students find interesting and unique subject matter for themselves.

    Make a detailed map of your mind while choosing a topic. Brainstorm and write down all ideas that come to you, then narrow down the research question according to the length of the paper.

    We all know the struggle of finding good research paper topics. It's a never-ending process, but luckily you can get some help by doing online searches and discussing potential suggestions with your teacher!

  5. 3. Conduct Research and Find Relevant Material
  6. The first step to writing a great paper is finding the perfect topic. Once you've done that, start conducting thorough research and ensure your primary sources are relevant!

    When looking for relevant information, it is important to find credible sources. These can include the internet and electronic databases, books, or newspaper articles written by experts in their field of expertise.

    Instead of using older data, which may be inaccurate or irrelevant due to the passage of time, try to mention updated research for a clearer understanding of how things work now.

    To avoid plagiarism, be sure to note down the information like author and publication date when you find it. This will help keep your paper original by including references from reputable sources.

  7. 4. Starting a Research Paper Outline
  8. When writing a paper, it's important to organize all the research sources manually in your journal. No matter what-- there is nothing more effective than pen and paper!

    The best way to start writing a research paper is by mentioning the key points and ideas you want to add. You can also include any questions or methods of the investigation if they're relevant to your topic at hand!

    The aim of developing an outline for your paper is to organize the information logically and make it easier for you. You can change or add sections at any time, as needed!

  9. 5. Compose a Strong Thesis Statement
  10. It's important to write a thesis statement that helps you stay focused when writing your research paper. A good way of doing this is by coming up with one key idea or question and narrowing it down.

    The thesis statement should be a crystal clear, focused explanation of your argument. It will control the overall direction and development you write about on paper; don't forget this crucial step!

  11. 6. Start from the Main Body
  12. Starting the first draft is a difficult process, and students spend time on it. Thus starting from your research paper's main body will save you some trouble in getting that great essay finished!

    It is because explaining the main ideas clearly in your body paragraphs will give proper direction. Also, start each paragraph with a topic sentence and stick to one idea per paragraph. This will give readers direction, as they know what topic you are discussing at any given time.

How to Start a Research Paper Introduction?

The introduction is the first and most important part of every research paper. Start your opening with an attention-grabbing hook sentence that will keep readers engaged, such as:

‘In this passage, I am going to talk about how…’.

In the part of an introduction, you can include:

  • An interesting fact
  • Unique background information
  • An anecdote
  • A quote from a famous author

The starting point of your paper should be compelling enough to hook and engage the reader.

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How to Start a Research Paper with a Quote?

A good starting point for research papers can be a quote. Find one that is clear and specific, and then work from there to make your own statement or opinion about the matter at hand!

To start a research paper with an interesting quote, follow these tips:

  • Avoid commonly used or common quotations.
  • Explain how the quotation relates to your main point.
  • Choose a quote that your target audience can relate to.
  • Make sure that the chosen quote matches the tone of your paper.
  • Also, acknowledge the source while quoting.

The examples below can be used as an introduction paragraph for your essay, have a look at it:

Example 1: Regarding survival rates for gladiators, Johnstone states: “Gladiator shows were hardly the bloodbaths we see in modern films and TV programs. If there were five fights in a day, on average, only one would end in death.”

Example 2: Karl Marx, the writer of the pamphlet ‘The Communist Manifesto,’ proclaims, “Communism abolishes all eternal truths…instead of constituting them on a new basis” (Marx 81). In other words, communism throws out all beliefs, not only ones that counter the ideas of communism.’

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How to Start a Research Paper About a Person?

Starting a paper about someone might focus on telling the story chronologically. It includes these elements:

  • Mention the full name of the person
  • A person’s lifetime synopsis
  • Discuss work history
  • Reasons why this person is relevant to the reader
  • Accomplishments
  • Life challenges and failures

Example 1: Jared Padalecki is an actor who hails from San Antonio, TX. Born in 1982, he made his acting debut in 1999 in a movie titled ‘A Little Inside.’ He had a memorable role in ‘Gilmore Girls, but his most popular work has been on the long-running television show ‘Supernatural.’’

Example 2: This research paper aims to write about a project manager, Patricia Jefferson. She has several years of project management experience. Her main research areas are managing large, long-term construction projects for multifamily residences.

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How to Start a Research Paper Conclusion

To summarize the paper, restate your thesis statement and question. Instead of adding new information, try to emphasize what you've learned in this project by tying it back into those key points.

A strong conclusion will give your paper an overall effect and help you impress the reader. It's necessary to provide a good summary in this part that sums up all significant points. A strong conclusion is just as important to your paper's overall effect.

Revise and Make the Changes

After you complete your final draft, make sure to revise it carefully and add any relevant information. Sources are also key in proving the credibility of research work- so adding authentic ones will help tremendously!

Proofreading is a very important step when writing papers. Make sure your paper has all the necessary elements and doesn't miss anything by following this checklist!

  • Is the thesis statement clear and to the point?
  • Is the paper well-organized from beginning to end with smooth transitions?
  • Do your arguments prove the thesis?
  • Have you properly cited the sources?
  • Did you avoid repetition?
  • Have you checked for grammar, punctuation, correct word choice, and sentence structure?

Besides this, you can also ask your friends or family to proofread. Though they are not professional editors, their suggestions might make a difference.

Lastly, look for the correct citation style and format to create organized work.

Have a look at the document below to get a clear understanding.

How to Start a Research Paper APA (PDF)

How to Start a Research Paper APA

Starting a research paper is indeed hard for many students. But this comprehensive guide will help you learn how to start writing your own with the necessary steps and guidelines in mind,

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