How to outline and write a research paper: A Step-by-Step Guide | Digital Ritesh

How to outline and write a research paper
A Step-by-Step Guide

Digital Ritesh

How are you, everyone!

Today, I'm showing you how to write a research paper step by step, starting with the research process and going all the way until your final draft.

I'm also going to show you some real examples from a research paper I wrote in college, so make sure to read the whole article to see those.

Let's get started. Before we dive into how exactly you can research, let's define what a research paper is. In this paper, you'll investigate a topic. and develop your argument, perspective, or analysis.

A research paper is really unique in that you can cover a lot of different disciplines. For example, your paper could describe the results of a scientific experiment, or it could simply be a literature review. It really is up to you.

When you're researching using outside information, it's important that you find the most credible sources available, and one example of a credible source is a scholarly article, which is often published in an academic journal or a similarly reputable source.

You can find these articles on databases including EbscoHost, JSTOR, Google Scholar, Bloom's Literature, etc. And if you're looking to find different pieces of literature, such as books, poetry, and short stories, if you can't go to your local library, you can actually find a lot of these different types of literature online.

For example, on Google Books, ProQuest, your own library's eBooks (if that's available to you), Poetry Foundation - their website is really great because it showcases different poets and their works - as well as anthologies, such as the Norton Anthologies, which often include lots of short stories and essays and the like.

If you're looking for auditory or visual sources such as interviews, speeches, TV clips, and documentaries, there are a couple of different sources that you can use.

YouTube is obviously a really good one because you can often find different clips that people have published online. Archives, such as the Library of Congress or National Archives, are really good because they often include full clips or full video sources.

The History Channel, Discovery Channel, and PBS are also some really good sources that I've used pretty often in my own papers. And if you're looking for newspaper and magazine articles, either in a historical sense or to get an opinion on current events, you can look at different sources such as The Hindu Times, The Indian Express, The Economic Times, and DNA.

Magazines including India Today, Forbes India. These are just a  couple of different types of sources, but honestly, any reputable newspaper or magazine that you find online will do just as well.

And lastly, for images such as photographs, art, and political cartoons, you can find these types of images on the National Archives, Library of commerce, and also on museums' websites and digital tours, which include images of artifacts and photographs that you can actually browse through on your own.

As you're finding your sources, it's important that you look into that source or read it over to actually gather information from those individual pieces.

So I like to compile all of my research onto a separate document, and note this is not my research paper outline, this is simply a  compilation of all of the research of all the research that I'm doing as I'm doing it.

And what I'll do is I'll include a header that includes the name of a concept or a big idea that I want to focus on potentially in my paper, and under that header, I will include the citation of the source in whatever style I'm using, such as APA or MLA

And what I like to do is to cite the source immediately as soon as I find it, and that's because I don't want to waste time going back at the end of my paper and trying to find all of my sources and cite them. Instead, if you cite them as you go along, it'll save a lot of time for you in the long run.

And under each source citation, I'll include a brief description of that source, especially if I'm planning to write an annotated bibliography, and I'll include quotes and paraphrased content, including page citations or page numbers so that I can look back at those pieces of information and potentially draw from them in my research paper and I'll also jot down a couple of notes on those quotes or on those excerpts to think of my own analysis.

And I'll keep repeating this for different concepts and different sources until I have a really comprehensive research document. So now, let's look at my own paper, which I'm going to be showing you some samples of in this article.

For one of my college classes, I wrote a research paper on Customers’ Satisfaction with and Perceptions Toward D-mart. So let's see how I went about going to write this paper. After conducting research using a lot of the different types of sources that I described earlier and compiling my research, I drafted my thesis.

I've included my thesis right here, and this is the actual thesis I wrote for my research paper. So let's read it over and break down how exactly I wrote it. Here it is:


Hope you have gone through the research paper,

Now, let's look at how to write your paper and cite your sources. I know we just looked at our introductory paragraph, but there are a lot of different ways you can write an introduction.

In general, you'll provide background information, explain your topic, offer a roadmap for the rest of your paper, and provide a clear, debatable thesis. And I know we looked at my own thesis statement,  but there are a million different ways to write a thesis statement.

You can do what I did, which is describe an argument, or you can explain your original discoveries, which you might have found through original research, shed light on a previously overlooked issue, examine a topic through a new lens, or anything else that you feel is appropriate for your paper.

When it comes to the body of the paper, you want to make sure that you're avoiding reciting information that you found. Instead, you want to construct a line of reasoning, so you'll state claims that you found based on your own research and back them up with evidence. 

That might include quotes, paraphrasing, statistics, excerpts, images,  and graphs, and you'll evaluate that evidence in your commentary or analysis. And again, this paper does not have to follow a specific structure, but as long as you are backing up everything that you're saying with evidence and analysis, you'll be fine.

And lastly, in your conclusion, you want to avoid summarizing your whole paper because chances are, your reader has just read the whole thing and doesn't really want to read a regurgitation of what the paper is.

Instead, you just want to answer a couple of questions, which are, 

Why are my findings important?


What should the reader take away from the paper?

You can also include limitations of your research or potential paths that you could take in the future if that's something that applies to your paper. And ultimately, maybe even offer some food for thought. 

Leave the reader thinking about a question or an idea or an insight that will make them continue thinking about your topic even as they go about their day or finish reading your paper.

To cite your sources, there are a couple of resources that you can use. I like to plug the name of the source or the link directly into two websites, which are Citation Machine and EasyBib.

You just might have to check over your citations to make sure that you're following all of the guidelines of the style that you're using. If you want to cite your sources by hand, Purdue OWL is a great resource that I highly recommend for that.

In general, when you're writing works cited or an annotated bibliography, you want to keep it double-spaced, put it in alphabetical order, and make sure that you indent the second line of your citation and onward.

I hope you all enjoyed reading this article. Comment down below with your own research paper topics or any suggestions you have for future Research Articles.

If you did like this article, please subscribe and share the blog to receive notifications whenever I post a new article.

Stay tuned, and I'll see you next time.

Also, read my other research articles below,

A Study on induction & orientation (end to end process & effectiveness) in Tata Technologies Ltd

What is Research? Here's What No One Tells You About Research? | Digital Ritesh

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