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How to Format a Research Paper

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Writing down your ideas as you have them will make writing your paper much easier and give you something to refer back to. Annotating your research can take quite a bit of time, but needs to be taken one step further in order to add a bit more clarity for the outlining process. Organize your notes by collecting all of your highlighted phrases and ideas into categories based on topic.

For example, if you are writing a paper analyzing a famous work of literature, you could organize your research into a list of notes on the characters, a list of references to certain points in the plot, a list of symbols the author presents, et cetera.

Try writing each quote or item that you marked onto an individual note card. That way, you can rearrange and lay out your cards however you would like. Color code your notes to make it easier. Write down a list of all the notes you are using from each individual resource, and then highlight each category of information in a different color. For example, write everything from a particular book or journal on a single sheet of paper in order to consolidate the notes, and then everything that is related to characters highlight in green, everything related to the plot mark in orange, et cetera.

As you go through your notes, mark down the author, page number, title, and publishing information for each resource. This will come in handy when you craft your bibliography or works cited page later in the game.

Identify the goal of the paper. Generally, speaking, there are two types of research paper: Each requires a slightly different focus and writing style which should be identified prior to starting a rough draft. An argumentative research paper takes a position on a contentious issue and argues for one point of view. The issue should be debatable with a logical counter argument. An analytic research paper offers a fresh look at an important issue. The subject may not be controversial, but you must attempt to persuade your audience that your ideas have merit.

This is not simply a regurgitation of ideas from your research, but an offering of your own unique ideas based on what you have learned through research. Who would be reading this paper, should it be published? Although you want to write for your professor or other superior, it is important that the tone and focus of your paper reflect the audience who will be reading it.

The thesis statement is a sentence statement at the beginning of your paper that states the main goal or argument of your paper. Although you can alter the wording of your thesis statement for the final draft later, coming up with the main goal of your essay must be done in the beginning. All of your body paragraphs and information will revolve around your thesis, so make sure that you are clear on what your thesis is.

What is the primary question or hypothesis that you are going to go about proving in your paper? Your thesis should express the main idea of your paper without listing all of your reasons or outline your entire paper.

Determine your main points. The body of your essay will revolve around the ideas that you judge to be most important. Go through your research and annotations to determine what points are the most pivotal in your argument or presentation of information. What ideas can you write whole paragraphs about? Which ideas to you have plenty of firm facts and research to back with evidence?

Write your main points down on paper, and then organize the related research under each. When you outline your main ideas, putting them in a specific order is important. Place your strongest points at the beginning and end of your essay, with more mediocre points placed in the middle or near the end of your essay. Main ideas can be spread out over as many paragraphs as you deem necessary. Depending on your paper rubric, class guidelines, or formatting guidelines, you may have to organize your paper in a specific way.

For example, when writing in APA format you must organize your paper by headings including the introduction, methods, results, and discussion. These guidelines will alter the way you craft your outline and final paper.

With the aforementioned tips taken into consideration, organize your entire outline. Justify main points to the left, and indent subsections and notes from your research below each. The outline should be an overview of your entire paper in bullet points.

Write your body paragraphs. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, writing your introduction first may be more difficult to accomplish than starting with the meat of your paper. Starting by writing the main points focusing on supporting your thesis allows you to slightly change and manipulate your ideas and commentary.

Support every statement you make with evidence. Supply ample explanations for your research. The opposite of stating opinions without facts is stating facts with no commentary.

Although you certainly want to present plenty of evidence, make sure that your paper is uniquely your own by adding commentary in whenever possible. Avoid using many long, direct quotes.

Although your paper is based on research, the point is for you to present your own ideas. Unless the quote you intend on using is absolutely necessary, try paraphrasing and analyzing it in your own words instead. Use clear segues into adjacent points in your paper. Your essay should flow well, rather than stopping and starting in a blunt fashion. Make sure that each of your body paragraphs flows nicely into the one after it.

Now that you have carefully worked through your evidence, write a conclusion that briefly summarizes your findings for the reader and provides a sense of closure. Start by briefly restating the thesis statement, then remind the reader of the points you covered over the course of the paper.

Slowly zoom out of the topic as you write, ending on a broad note by emphasizing the larger implication of your findings. First of all, the conclusion is easier to write when the evidence is still fresh in your mind.

The introduction is, in many respects, the conclusion written in reverse: Avoid repeating exact phrases that you already used in the conclusion. All research essays must be documented in certain ways in order to avoid plagiarism. Depending on the topic of your research and your field of study, you will have to use different styles of formatting. The Body is the heartiest part of the essay, it includes many fact-rich paragraphs or subsections and will allow you to build upon your thesis statement by providing facts to support your argument.

This section should not only elaborate on your opening statement, but also provide insight into the methods used to conduct your research and also include investigative points or answers to questions pondered.

You will also want to consider using a literature overview. This is achieved by documenting the literary sources used to support your theories and hypothesis. The topic of your paper and the selected literature should be adjacent.

If you used any sort of data validation, this will typically follow the methodology and literature sections. You might choose to use graphs or tables, but remember to explain these to your readers. Lastly, you will write your Conclusion. The conclusion typically does not offer new information, but rather summarizes the main points addressed in the paper. It is mandatory to also reiterate the thesis statement and mention any future research.

There are a number of sources you can turn to for research paper examples and, depending on your field of study, a plethora of potential high quality topics exist to pull your subject matter from.

As you will learn from looking any good research paper example, writing a great paper involves so much more than simply throwing a bunch of text and citations into a word processor and hoping for the best. A passing grade means not only thoroughly researching your topic and ensuring that all of your sources are accurately cited, it also means ensuring that your research essay is properly formatted. The following guideline will help you to create finished paper that not only reads like it was professionally written — but also looks like it!

A title page is not essential for a research paper unless specifically requested by your teacher. The MLA Handbook provides a general guideline on writing a research paper and documenting sources. In case of conflict, you should always follow guidelines set down by your teacher. If your teacher prefers the first page of your essay not be numbered, you will begin numbering with page 2. Double-space after the date.

On a new line, center the title of your essay. If you have a long title, double-space between lines of the title. Jones 1 Tracy Jones Ms. Pros and Cons Do not type your title all in capital letters. Do not put quotations marks before and after the title. Do not underline the title, or put a period at the end of the title. Proper names of people and places as well as important words should be capitalized in the title, but prepositions and conjunctions are normally shown in lower case letters, e.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The same rule applies to headings and subheadings as well. Follow the same capitalization rules for acronyms as you normally would in writing a text of the essay, e. When using an acronym, especially an uncommon one, you must indicate what the letters stand for at the first occurrence in your essay. If a Title Page is a requirement for your assignment, begin on a new page.

Use a format preferred by your teacher. You will need to fill your information into the [ ] brackets where I have instructions and tips for you. Keep in mind that your professor may have some different requirements based upon their preferences.

However, the following fields should suffice for most of your needs. My Major and why writing about this topic will be beneficial to me: Write why you are specifically interested in this topic and how it will benefit advancing your education.

Often your thesis will be more effective if it answers a how or why question instead of a who, what, when or where query. Approach to the subject of my paper: There are several ways you can present material in your paper in support of your thesis statement.

Will you have to define certain terms? Will you include anecdotal evidence? Will you include opposing views and comparing and contrasting them to your views?

How do you create an outline for your paper?

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For example, if the text of your research paper (including any endnotes) ends on page 10, the works-cited list begins on page Center the title, Works Cited, an inch from the top of the page (fig. 3).

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MLA Format Papers: Step-by-step Tips for Writing Research Essays Jerz > Writing > Academic > [ Titles | Thesis Statements | Blueprinting | Quoting | Citing | MLA Format ] ) If you’ve been asked to submit a paper in MLA style, your instructor is asking you to format the page and present the content in a .

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MLA is the formatting style of the Modern Language Association. It is used in areas such as English studies, comparative literature and foreign language. Writing a research paper using MLA style is a bit different from other formats. MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

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How to Cite a Paper in MLA November 07, How to Write If you are a high school or college student, then there will definitely be a time when you find yourself in a position in which you need to cite a research paper, dissertation, annotated bibliography etc. Sep 27,  · To write a research paper, start by researching your topic at the library, online, or using an academic database. Once you've found at least 5 reputable sources, outline the information you've learned through your research. Then, come up with a sentence thesis to base your paper off of%().