Research Paper Learning Module

1. Overview

Writing research papers is an important part of your college learning experience. It trains you to become an experienced researcher and effective writer. But it can be a daunting task if you do not know how to do it. Don't worry! We will guide you through the process in this learning module. A combination of text and videos are used in this module. Learn at your own pace and revisit the information as much as you need to. Let's get started!

This chapter is an overview of the nuts and bolts of writing a research paper. After this overview, you will get an idea of what is involved in the research and writing process. Each process is further explained in the following sessions.

What is a research paper?

A research paper is an expanded essay that presents your investigation and argument on a focused topic based on the information you gathered. It demonstrates not only your understanding of available information from experts in the area of your research, but also your evaluation and insight on the subject matter through an orderly and logical presentation of your argument.

What are the qualities of a good research paper?

  • Has a strong thesis and the paper stays focused on the thesis.
  • Arguments and points are organized in a logical way.
  • Each point is supported by persuasive facts and examples.
  • Opposing viewpoints are included and rebutted to show why the author's argument is more valid.
  • The paper shows the author's strong understanding of the topic and the material being used.
  • The work is original, not plagiarized. Every source is documented and credited correctly in a recognized citation style.
  • The paper is written in good English with diction and usage expected of educated people in high school or above.

How do I start a research paper?

For a research paper, follow the research process:

Select a Topic → Find Background Information → Formulate a Thesis Statement → Create an Outline → Locate and Retrieve Materials → Evaluate Information → Take Notes → Write the Paper → Review Paper and Citations

This How to Research a Term Paper" handout briefly explains each process. It can serve as a quick guide or summary, but it is strongly recommended that you continue the following sessions for in-depth learning of each process.

Next Chapter: 2. Finding Topic Ideas