The Steps to Writing a Research Paper

  1. Select a general topic
  2. Research the selected topic
  3. Evaluate your resources
  4. Read!
  5. Develop a thesis
  6. Re-read with an eye on the thesis
  7. Develop supporting ideas and arguments
  8. Take notes
  9. Organize notes
  10. Develop an outline
  11. Write a rough draft
  12. Avoid plagarism
  13. Citing works within a paper
  14. Write a Works Cited or Bibliography
  15. Leave it alone for a couple of days
  16. Submit for peer review if possible
  17. Revise, revise, and revise!
  18. Proofread, proofread, proofread
  19. If you need assistance writing your research paper, try these UNT Resources
    1. The University Writing Center
    2. The Learning Center

 


Define/Refine Your Topic and Develop Your Thesis

Thesis - An arguable statement put forth for discussion and proof.

  • A thesis should be a strong, original idea, claim, or argument.
  • A thesis is normally found in the introduction of a paper.
  • A thesis informs the reader of the purpose of your paper.
  • A thesis should be specific, not broad or vague. Avoid vague terms like "good" or "bad."
  • A thesis should analyze, not summarize.
  • A thesis will tie together all the ideas of your paper.

Develop Supporting Ideas and Arguments


Make sure the content of your papers is relevant tyour argument. Read carefully and cut or revise parts of your paper that don't support your argument.


Types of Supporting Ideas and Arguments

  • Data from a Research Project
    If you conducted a project, present summaries of the data you collected, and relevant examples.
  • Facts & Figures
    Information about your topic that has been collected by other agencies or researchers
  • Statistics
    These are not as central tanthropology as some other fields, but they can still greatly strengthen your arguments.
  • Authorities (Quotes from Experts)
    You must establish the credentials of the authorities before their quotes are persuasive and credibility tthe argument.
  • Textual Evidence
    Supporting information from texts.
  • Historical Background

Develop an Outline


An outline is key tthe organization of your paper. See the Purdue University guide for developing outlines at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/general/gl_outlin.html


Write a Draft


When writing a draft, make sure treference the American Anthropological Association's Style Guide.
Please note that this requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader.

The Writing Lab at Purdue University provides thorough information on writing a research paper see below for assistance with particular parts of a draft:


Avoid Plagiarism


Plagiarism may be defined as the following:

  • Using the exact words or phrases of a source without proper quotation marks both before and after the words or phrases.
  • Using the exact words or phrases or the ideas of a source without proper documentation in APA style.
  • Using slightly changed words or phrases of a source tavoid quotation.
  • Submitting a paper that in any way represents the words, phrases, or ideas of someone else as your own.
  • Submitting a paper that you did not write.

This definition of plagiarism was written by the English Faculty at Weatherford College.


Citing Works Within a Paper


When citing works within a paper, make sure to reference the Quotations section of the American Anthropological Association's Style Guide.
Please note that this requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader.


Write a Works Cited or Bibliography


When writing a Works Cited or Bibliography, make sure to reference the American Anthropological Association's Style Guide.
Please note that this requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader.

When using APA style, you may reference APA Formatting and Style Guide at Purdue http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/

When using ChicagStyle, you may reference The University of Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center's ChicagStyle Manual at: http://www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/DocChiWorksCited.html


Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!


For an excellent, printable proofreading checklist, visit the Writing Center at George Mason University Online Handouts, including:

  • A Checklist for Revising Your Paper
  • Editing and Proofreading Your Work
  • A Final Draft Checklist

All available at http://writingcenter.gmu.edu/resources/handouts/editingproofreading.pdf