Homework CenterWriting Skills
[Home] Homework Center

How to Write a Research Paper

Research Papers


  1. Establish your topic.
  2. Look for sources of information.
  3. Read your sources and take notes.
  4. Organize your ideas.
  5. Write a first draft.
  6. Use footnotes or endnotes to document sources.
  7. Write a bibliography.
  8. Revise the first draft.
  9. Proofread the final draft.

Establish Your Topic

  1. Try to pick a topic that's fun and interesting. If your topic genuinely interests you, chances are you'll enjoy spending time working on it and it won't seem like a chore.
  2. Finding a topic can be difficult. Give yourself plenty of time to read and think about what you'd like to do. Trying to answer questions you have about a particular subject may lead you to a good paper idea.

    • What subject(s) are you interested in?
    • What interests you most about a particular subject?
    • Is there anything you wonder about or are puzzled about with regard to that subject?

  3. Once you have a topic, you will probably need to narrow it down to something more manageable. For example, say you are assigned to write a 10-page paper, and you decide to do it on Ancient Egypt. However, since Ancient Egypt is a big topic, and you only have a limited number of pages, you will have to focus on something more specific having to do with that topic.
  4. Too general:
    Ancient Egypt.

    Revised:
    The building of the pyramids of Ancient Egypt.

  5. One method for coming up with a more specific focus is called brainstorming (or freewriting). Brainstorming is a useful way to let ideas you didn't know you had come to the surface.

    • Sit down with a pencil and paper, or at your computer, and write whatever comes into your head about your topic.
    • Keep writing for a short but specific amount of time, say 3–5 minutes. Don't stop to change what you've written or to correct spelling or grammar errors.
    • After a few minutes, read through what you've written. You will probably throw out most of it, but some of what you've written may give you an idea that can be developed.
    • Do some more brainstorming and see what else you can come up with.

Homework Center Home »

highlights

Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks