Guideline on How to Write a Research Paper Essay

How to Write a Research Paper

The type of essay writing depends on the topic of your essay. Writing essays can take a lot of your time if you do not have a format or structure to follow. It becomes a lot easier for you to write an essay following an outline. Research essays are common in academic fields, office work, or any other research purposes. Before diving into the depth of the topic, we will have a look at what a research paper essay is.

What is a Research Paper Essay?

Research paper essay is the type of essay that requires you to analyze the work of others to form an opinion on the topic. It is a well-organized essay that involves the work from other people, and you synthesize your own perspective about it by analyzing all the aspects.

Topics for Research Essay

The topics for a research essay are diverse because you can research on any topic ranging from health, environment, technology to education and social issues. A few examples of the research essay topics are as follows.

  • Are plastic bottles bad for the environment?
  • What is the key to true happiness?
  • What is the importance of gender equality in society?

Research essays can be written on any of the above topics. You will research the topic completely, read as many writings as possible, gather work of other writers and then use it for your essay. After reading the work of other people, you start to develop your own perspective about the topic. Later, you incorporate this perspective in your essay and convey your point of view to other people.

How to Select a Good Topic?

The key to a good essay is a good topic. You need to find an interesting topic for your audience, so that it attracts them to read it. Following are some points to consider for selecting a good topic.

Points to Consider for Selecting Topic

Brainstorm the ideas

To select a good topic for your essay, you need to brainstorm the ideas. You need to think of as many possible topics as you can. This will enable you to have a lot of topics at hand and make it easier to choose a topic. You do not need to research right after deciding to write an essay. Take a walk, breathe in fresh air, and think of ideas from a fresh mind.

Choose what you know

One important thing you need to consider while choosing the topic for your essay is to choose what you already know. Select the topic you have plenty of information about. In this way, you will already have enough information at hand and there will not be much need to develop a fresh perspective. If you already had information about the topic, this explicitly meant that you already had a perspective and your opinion on the topic. You just need to read the work of other writers.

Know your audience

It is so important for you to know your audience before deciding the topic. Consider the age group of people who have access to your content and choose the topic of their interest. Always pick the topic that your audience is most interested in. It will bring the most attention to your content that it deserves.

Analyze your surroundings

You need to analyze your surroundings before picking up a topic. This surrounding observation can even involve observing your own friends or people at home. Look what they are interested in reading; this will help you attract the maximum number of people.

Pick a unique topic

Pick a topic that is unique. Write on something people are interested to read about but there are not enough writings about it. If your writing will be the only one about that topic, it will instinctively catch the audience’s attention.

Steps to Write a Good Research Essay

You can write a good research essay by following the given steps.

Steps to Write Good Research Essay

Get familiar with the topic

Getting familiar with the topic is really important. Although it may sound so obvious, it is an important step. You need to understand what your instructor is asking for if it is an academic paper. We usually ignore the instructions or do not pay attention to what is required, thus getting low marks. Carefully read instructions and familiarize yourself with the topic to score better.


Research is a flexible step, as you have diverse options for it and all the people research in their own way. However, it is important to get done with the research part quickly, as the writing part is still pending. Following are some important tips to remember while doing the research.

  • The research topics are so diverse, so the key is to skim through the sources. You do not need to read the full written articles on any topic. Skim through the sources and get an idea of what is written in it.
  • Look for authentic and credible sources for your research. Although sometimes we hear using Wikipedia as a source of research, it should not be the final source. Use as many credible sources as you can.
  • Do not ignore any kind of information, educate yourself on all aspects of the topic. This will help you in analyzing your topic more deeply.

Organize research

The next step is to organize all your research in one place. As you will be citing all the sources later in bibliography, so it is better to have it at one place from the beginning. Organizing the research at one place will also help you extract information when needed.

Form a thesis

Forming a thesis gives your audience an idea of what your essay contains. You have to put forward in a statement what you are arguing about, even if you are not arguing your essay needs a thesis statement to depict the main theme and points of your essay.

Create an outline

Preparing outlines is so important for essay writing. Outlines not only gather your thoughts at one place but they also help you to save time. Outlines are written as incomplete sentences, and you can later complete them.

Write the final draft

Writing the final draft does not require any research, as you already have all your thoughts organized. You just need to complete the incomplete sentences of your first draft or outline. Final drafts should be written with proper attention, as they are the final formal essay.

Edit for content

After completing your final draft, you can read your essay to add more information. If you feel a particular aspect lacking in your essay or some incomplete information, use your research sources to incorporate more ideas in your essay.

Edit for grammar

After content completion, you will review your essay to edit any grammatical errors. Most of the time, we tend to write a word two times or skip a word by reading it in our mind. In such cases, reading your essay will help you eliminate any of these errors.

Make a logical flow

Reading your final draft will also make you determine whether your essay is conveying what you want to convey. You can give a different structure to your sentences if they lack a logical flow. The more logical your transitions are, the easier it will become for the audience to understand your thoughts.

Re-read and submit

When you are done writing the final draft and editing it for mistakes, the final step is to read it for the last time to make any necessary changes. Now, your essay is ready to be submitted.

Outline of Research Essay

A research essay follows the basic five paragraph structure. The following is the outline of a research essay.


  •         Hook: Quote, question, or something interesting
  •         History of the topic
  •         Thesis statement

Body paragraph 1

  •         Extent of the problem
  •         What is affected by the problem?
  •         Facts, examples, evidence

Body paragraph 2

  •         Cause/effect
  •         Repercussions of the problem

Body paragraph 3

  •         Possible solution
  •         What will work
  •         What will not work
  •         Possible opposition


  •         Summarize
  •         Restate thesis statement

Sources of Research

For your research essay paper, you have a variety of sources to do the research. Some of these sources are mentioned below.

Your instructor

Your instructors are the best source of your research. Ask them a lot of questions about the given topic by respecting their time and effort.

Research librarians

This facility is available in most of the colleges where your libraries have staff to help you out with your research. They are the best source, as they fulfil their responsibility.

Writing centers

You can schedule appointments with writing centers’ staff either online or in person. They will not only help you in research but will also help you in structuring your research paper.


You can use Wikipedia as a source of initial research to learn about the topic. Never rely completely on Wikipedia as this is not a credible source.

Academic databases

You can also use academic databases to research for your article. These are the credible sources for research of your essay.

Online resources

You can always look up articles online on the internet. Try to rely on credible and most used websites, as they will also increase the credibility of your essay.


Summing up the whole discussion, research essays require lots of input, as you must research about the topic. However, it is not difficult to write. If you follow the steps, tips, and techniques mentioned above, you will be good to write a research paper. Never forget to cite the information, as you will be extracting lots of information from other sources for your research paper.