How to Write a College Research Paper

How to Write a College Research Paper

As a college student, you should understand how to write a college research paper. A college research paper is an in-depth report on a specific subject or topic. It focuses on seeking different sources of information including statistics, facts and historical writings among others. A research paper can also be used to explore and identify technical, scientific and social issues in detail. The topic therefore is usually the one you choose but in some cases, your tutor can assign a topic area.

Easy guidelines on how to write a college research paper

Getting started with a college research paper

A college research paper varies in topics and in the number of pages. The first thing to do when writing your paper is to ensure you have enough time for research. This enables you to collect accurate and reliable information from different sources including online sources and library materials. For this reason, you need to organize yourself and plan for research. Write down a quick schedule as a way of keeping track of time, take the right notes, work on the first rough draft and revise the paper.

While getting started, avoid working out yourself. Be alert and brainstorm through the topic of your paper. It helps to stir up ideas before narrowing down to the main topic. Brainstorming also enables you to have a better understanding of the research topic thus, making it easier for you to collect content for your paper.

After the brainstorming session, it is imperative to carry out a preliminary research scan. It is an incredible step that helps you to collect vital information based on research topic. It also enables you to make any necessary changes or modify the topic of research thus, giving you a chance to settle on a more feasible research topic.

Focus on how to write a college research paper with a solid thesis statement

The next step after settling for an ideal topic is working on a solid thesis statement. It is the question you seek to answer in the paper. There are tutors and professors who want to see the thesis of your assignment before giving you a go ahead with the research. In this case, it is essential

  • To keep the subject of research simple
  • Be specific in writing because, it is simple carrying out research on a subject that is narrowly selected compared to a massive idea. Therefore, take time to sharpen and narrow down your topic
  • Additionally, ask yourself whether the idea will work. Ask your tutor on the suitability of your college research paper thesis statement. A preliminary research on the same can be carried out on the research and on the same material of your subject.
  • Once you have a solid statement, take time to familiarize yourself with different library materials and your research sources. Locate the right materials to collect factual, reliable and acceptable content for the assignment.

Taking notes for your college research paper

When writing a college research paper, the content you include therein plays a crucial role in determining the soundness of the paper. Therefore,

  • Take notes on small index cards based on the subject
  • In the cards include the name of the author, date of research and page number on your card. On a different index card, include bibliography details and in the proper manner for your bibliography or reference list. This will enable you to include the right footnotes, reference list and citations in the paper.
  • While taking notes, ensure to be accurate as much as possible. Provide direct quotes and the right statistics. Most importantly, sure to check on possible errors and eliminate unnecessary content.
  • It is equally essential to include pertinent quotes when done with your notes. Even so, always keep in mind that up to ten or fifteen percent of a completed college research paper should be quotations. They should also be accurate.

How to write a college research paper outline

An outline is a critical step when writing a college research paper. It is imperative to note that your paper will always be as good as the outline you work on. An outline guides you to putting your ideas together and ensuring that your paper flows well. The outline also helps you to include only the needed information in your research paper and not fluff. Therefore, ensure to follow all the guidelines on how to write a college research paper outline below for outstanding results

  • At the top, write down the introduction- this is your thesis statement but in an expanded form or paragraph. Carefully set up the statement and ensure it matches the collected content.
  • Have the main first heading underneath the introduction of your paper. Write down the subheadings and list your main first points in the paragraph.
  • Refer back to your note cards and figure out the most significant ones that will illustrate your points.

How to write a college research paper rough draft

With an outline on how to write a college research paper, work out on the first rough draft of your paper. Ensure the first rough draft is freely written as much as possible. In this case, follow your outline very closely. Use all the information in your note cards but avoid excessive quotations. Check for completeness and accuracy of facts once you are done with the rough draft.

If you feel that there are parts of the draft that appear too skimpy and long, revise the draft until you have the strongest and relevant points of all.

The next step will be to revise the final draft by revising the paragraphs for coherence and unity. In this case, you have to reword all your sentences for structure effectiveness, accuracy of grammar and punctuation. A dictionary will be useful in checking out word usage and spelling.

Write down the footnotes and bibliography of your college research paper

There are different manuals that offer more guidelines on how to write a college research paper. Based on the topic or subject of your paper,

  • use manuals that enhance your paper
  • Conclude your college research paper
  • You should always conclude your paper by re-reading it
  • Check out on the citations and quotes to ensure they are accurate
  • Keep all your note cards and
  • Proofread for the second time to ensure it is error free, relevant and meets set standards for writing a research paper.

Most importantly, ensure that just like the introduction of your paper, which attracts the attention of your readers, the conclusion of your paper should leave the reader thinking of the issues you presented in your research. Therefore, think of a good and memorable way to end your paper. For example, you can end your paper using an inspiring quotation.

Examples of Research Papers

Example 1

Topic: Health and Environmental Effects on Industrial Food


In an effort to enhance food production and to feed a population that is increasingly growing, different strategies have been employed to supplement organic farming. Adoption and industrial food production methods practice is one of the measures that have been employed. Industrial operations and practices aim at maximizing profits by increasing production optimally. From their immense activities, such activities can pose environmental harm based on their heavy dependence on petroleum and oil products. This is coupled with use of excessive chemicals, antibiotics and hormones that degrade the environment-

Example 2….

Research paper topic: The Juvenile Curfew Debate

In response to increasing waves of juvenile crimes in the late 80s and early 90s, many communities in the USA, decided to employ curfew statutes that were already present in writing or books. In societies and communities where age based curfews existed, violation of such were punishable by the law. National figures including President Bill Clinton embraced curfews stating that they were the most ideal approaches to handling the issue of juvenile crimes (Yeide, 2009, p. 2)………view the rest of the paper here.

Example 3…

Research paper topic: Action Research and Accountability in Social Work

Participatory action research also known as action research means a reflective manner where people working with others participate in progressive problem solving. Such people could be working as a group or as part of communities practice in enhancement of the manner in which they tackle different issues and solve different problems with their community at large or within their team (Ferrance, 2000, p. 6-7). ….. read the rest of the paper here.

The above guidelines on how to write a college research paper are useful and applicable in all research topics. The examples above will help you learn how to get started with your paper.

However, if you need assistance in writing a college research paper of your choice, get in touch with us for assistance. Visit our homepage for more information about our academic writing services. You can also continue reading more academic paper writing guidelines and sample papers on this blog.

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