A research paper is an essay in which you explain what you have learned after exploring your topic in depth. In a research paper, you include information from sources such as books, articles, interviews, and Internet sites. You also use your own ideas, knowledge, and opinions. Most of your paper (as a rule of thumb, at least 80%) must be in your own words.
Main Ideas: Your paper should focus on a central issue that interests you. Limit your topic so that you can cover it in a paper of the assigned length. Organize the paper around the points that are most important in your opinion. State your main ideas in your own words, and use information from your sources to support them.
Paraphrasing and Summarizing: Incorporate ideas and facts from your sources by paraphrasing and summarizing. Write the ideas in your own way, using different words and sentence structures and leaving out unnecessary details.
Quotations in research paper example APA: Use quotations when the author’s words are especially well chosen or memorable. When you quote even a short phrase, copy the exact words, enclose them in quotation marks, and cite the name of the author or speaker.
Choose a Topic: Select a topic covered in the course or assigned by the instructor. Discuss with your instructor any questions about an appropriate topic.
Do Library Research in research paper example APA: The college library has the best resources to do your research. Look for a variety of sources, such as books, periodicals, and Internet sites. Books give a broad perspective, while recent articles provide up-to-date information. You can search for articles from many newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals in the library’s research databases, such as EBSCOhost.
Read Actively and Make Notes: As you read your sources, highlight and make notes in the margin (on copies). Write summaries of the main points in your own words, noting the source of each summary. If you copy groups of words, put them in quotation marks so that you will remember that you copied them.
Document Your Sources: In addition to citing your sources in the text of your paper, the last page will be a list of sources. Use the documentation style that your instructor assigns. Four common styles are Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA), Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), and Council of Science Editors (CSE). You can pick up a free Term Paper Handbook for any of these styles at the Writing Center, and you can download them from the Writing Center Web page at or .