Basic Steps In The Research Process

Basic Steps In The Research Process
Basic Steps In The Research Process

Writing a research paper can be the journey of a thousand miles – the first step is crucial, but so are other steps. But the task doesn’t have to be daunting if you have a clear outline of what you need to do. This article will give you a clear strategy on how your research paper writing journey should go. The process here is pretty straightforward, but remember not all research papers are the same. Some steps here may need to be reshuffled depending on what your paper needs. But these steps should do the trick.

1. Start by choosing a topic

Like the journey of a thousand miles, the first step is crucial and sometimes the hardest to take. For a research paper, choosing a topic will be dictated by a few things;

  • What your assignment requires
  • Familiarity with the topic
  • The amount of information available about the topic.
  • How common is the topic

It’s always recommended that you pick your topic based on what the assignment dictates. This will help you stay within the parameters given by your teacher or instructor. It’s also recommended that you choose a topic you are familiar with – something you have an interest in and one you will enjoy writing about. Avoid choosing a topic that doesn’t have a lot of information to go about. Make sure you can find as many sources for the topic as possible. If you choose a common topic, make sure you are unique in your approach. Give your professor something to think about, make it interesting.

2. Choose a thesis question

The next step immediately after identifying a topic is to choose a thesis question. A thesis question allows you to select keywords and main talking points. The paper also becomes easy to write once you know what question you’ll be answering.

3. Find out how much information you can gather on the topic

Before even researching the topic, find out how much information there is about your chosen topic. Research the main concepts of your topic using keywords. Search encyclopedias, dictionaries, books, and the internet for key points on your topic. You can also consult your lecture notes for background information on the topic. Once you have all the material you need, then you can move on to the next step.

4. Collect research material

Once you find out how much there is about the topic, collect all the material you have found in one place. Have all the books, magazines, and newspaper articles on the topic ready. Makes sure you have all the bookmarks from your internet searches about the topic ready as well. You can use Google or Yahoo for your searches.

5. Find out the Quality of your sources

You are obviously not going to use all the material you have collected for your research paper. However, for the material you will use, make sure you check their quality and how authoritative they are. You will especially need to be careful about the sources you find on the internet – many sources here are less than reliable. Find out from the school authorities or your lecturer about which sources can be used to write your paper.

6. Scribble down some notes from the research materials

Put down information some information on the sources you have collected. You can write down the main concepts from these sources or simply write the titles, URL, or publisher. You will need these notes when creating a bibliography.

7. Start writing

It’s recommended that you start by writing a rough draft using the sources you have collected. Because this will be the most challenging part of your research paper, quality time should be spent here. Some students opt to buy research paper online in case they can’t quickly come up with something to write. You can get a paper outline that will help you organize your ideas before you can come up with the final draft. The final draft should come after you have revised your draft as many times as possible. Make sure you refer to all your sources and make your arguments as concrete as possible.

8. Don’t forget to cite your sources appropriately

A research paper is never complete unless credit is given where it’s due. By citing your work, you allow your professor, and anyone else who may read your paper in the future to access the materials used and even duplicate your work. It’s also ethical to credit the authors whose work you have used. You can use MLA or APA styles to cite your sources.

9. Proofread your work

While it may be fun to read a well-written research paper, it’s irritating to read a paper with many spelling and grammar mistakes. Go through your work again to make sure that your message reads well.


Writing a research paper is never an easy task if you don’t know how to go about it. If you get any steps wrong, your paper may be inaccurate and ultimately rejected by your instructor. Make sure you have everything in place before you start and ensure everything is done well when you are done.