Link to Syllabus
Research, according to Webster, is a 1) careful or diligent search, and 2) studious inquiry or examination-especially investigation
or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts. The purpose of writing a research report is to clearly
communicate what you have learned through your research.
The following list of steps is designed to help you make
it through the process successfully.
Step 1: Set Work Schedule/Timetable
Since you will have several weeks to complete a research paper, it is easy to ignore-and
thus put off-requirements that are not due immediately. Use a checksheet (see link at the bottom of page), to keep you on
schedule. First, write in your final due date and work backwards to today.
Step 2: Identify General Topic and Begin
Brainstorm topics that interest you, subjects you want to know about. Select one topic you want to read
about, don't already have strong opinion about, and have some background to understand. Before you begin to research , take
time to learn to use the various library sources.
Step 3: Clarify Required Documentation Style
You must credit
the authors of all the facts hand opinions you use in your paper; you much document your sources. Although there are several
different documentation styles, your instructor will require/recommend one specific style-probably MLA or APA. Consistent,
accurate documentation is critical to good research.
Step 4: Read to Narrow Topic
Read several general pieces
about your topic to help you decide which aspect of the subject will be your focus. Once you narrow your topic, run a preliminary
data base/indices search to be sure there is enough accessible material to support your research in that area. Decide if
your primary purpose is to explain or persuade.
Step 5: Draft Preliminary Thesis
Like any good thesis statement,
your research paper thesis must state your controlling idea about your topic. Keep revising your thesis statement until you
clearly communicated your controlling idea.
Step 6: Begin Research and Notetaking
Without purposeful, critical
reading and meaningful, accurate notetaking, you cannot produce a good research paper no matter how excellent a writer you
are. Always note complete citation information.
Step 7: Draft Tentative Working Outline
This informal outline
will help you organize the main ideas, major and minor detail you want to use to develop and support your thesis. In addition,
outlining helps you present ideas in a logical order.
Step 8: Continue Research and Notetaking
Draft Final Outline
If an outline is required, it should use the conventions of formal outlining.
Refine Thesis and Write First Draft
From your reading you should be ready to rewrite your thesis statement into a clear,
brief sentence that precisely focuses your paper. Your draft should be a well-crafted combination of direct quotes, idea
summaries, paraphrased ideas-all properly credited-and your original writing.
Step 11: Read to Fill-In Any Gaps
Step 12: Develop Works Cited Sheet
In addition to citing with parenthesis in the body of the paper,
you must develop a list of Works Cited at the end of your paper-an alphabetical listing of all your sources in the style your
Step 13: Write Draft Two, Three, Four...
Remember, the key to good writing is rewriting.
Having someone, like a tutor, read your draft may be helpful.
Step 14: Edit, Format and Double-Check Citations
Step 15: Complete Final Draft and Proofread