Writing Research Papers - Rice University

1) Know what your instructor wants you to do.

Before you do anything else, make sure you have a clear understanding of what your instructor expects from you. Read over the assignment several times and underline action words like . Throughout the writing process, keep those terms in mind so that you are always aware of your task. If the assignment doesn’t include any action words other than write, as in “write a research paper,” your teacher probably wants you to present an argument about your topic and provide support for the argument. If you are at all unsure, talk to him/her right away.

Here are the steps to follow when writing a research paper. Click on the link to read more.

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Academic and Professional Writing: Writing a Research Paper

This handout will include the following sections related to the process of writing a research paper:

There is neither template nor shortcut for writing a research paper; again, the process is, amongst other things, one of practice, experience, and organization, and begins with the student properly understanding the assignment at hand.


These are only a few guidelines on how to write research papers. Youwill no doubt develop your own styles, rules, and techniques for doingresearch, making arguments, and presenting the results of your work. Butif you follow the commandments above, you will be well on your way to writinggood research papers—and hopefully learn something about an important politicalor social topic along the way.Becoming an experienced researcher and writer in any field or discipline takes a great deal of practice. There are few individuals for whom this process comes naturally. Remember, even the most seasoned academic veterans have had to learn how to write a research paper at some point in their career. Therefore, with diligence, organization, practice, a willingness to learn (and to make mistakes!), and, perhaps most important of all, patience, a student will find that she can achieve great things through her research and writing.