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How To Write A Research Paper

Step-By-Step Tutorial With Examples + FREE Template

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Expert Reviewer: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | March 2024

For many students, crafting a strong research paper from scratch can feel like a daunting task – and rightly so! In this post, we’ll unpack what a research paper is, what it needs to do , and how to write one – in three easy steps. 🙂 

Overview: Writing A Research Paper

What (exactly) is a research paper.

  • How to write a research paper
  • Stage 1 : Topic & literature search
  • Stage 2 : Structure & outline
  • Stage 3 : Iterative writing
  • Key takeaways

Let’s start by asking the most important question, “ What is a research paper? ”.

Simply put, a research paper is a scholarly written work where the writer (that’s you!) answers a specific question (this is called a research question ) through evidence-based arguments . Evidence-based is the keyword here. In other words, a research paper is different from an essay or other writing assignments that draw from the writer’s personal opinions or experiences. With a research paper, it’s all about building your arguments based on evidence (we’ll talk more about that evidence a little later).

Now, it’s worth noting that there are many different types of research papers , including analytical papers (the type I just described), argumentative papers, and interpretative papers. Here, we’ll focus on analytical papers , as these are some of the most common – but if you’re keen to learn about other types of research papers, be sure to check out the rest of the blog .

With that basic foundation laid, let’s get down to business and look at how to write a research paper .

Research Paper Template

Overview: The 3-Stage Process

While there are, of course, many potential approaches you can take to write a research paper, there are typically three stages to the writing process. So, in this tutorial, we’ll present a straightforward three-step process that we use when working with students at Grad Coach.

These three steps are:

  • Finding a research topic and reviewing the existing literature
  • Developing a provisional structure and outline for your paper, and
  • Writing up your initial draft and then refining it iteratively

Let’s dig into each of these.

Need a helping hand?

steps in research essay

Step 1: Find a topic and review the literature

As we mentioned earlier, in a research paper, you, as the researcher, will try to answer a question . More specifically, that’s called a research question , and it sets the direction of your entire paper. What’s important to understand though is that you’ll need to answer that research question with the help of high-quality sources – for example, journal articles, government reports, case studies, and so on. We’ll circle back to this in a minute.

The first stage of the research process is deciding on what your research question will be and then reviewing the existing literature (in other words, past studies and papers) to see what they say about that specific research question. In some cases, your professor may provide you with a predetermined research question (or set of questions). However, in many cases, you’ll need to find your own research question within a certain topic area.

Finding a strong research question hinges on identifying a meaningful research gap – in other words, an area that’s lacking in existing research. There’s a lot to unpack here, so if you wanna learn more, check out the plain-language explainer video below.

Once you’ve figured out which question (or questions) you’ll attempt to answer in your research paper, you’ll need to do a deep dive into the existing literature – this is called a “ literature search ”. Again, there are many ways to go about this, but your most likely starting point will be Google Scholar .

If you’re new to Google Scholar, think of it as Google for the academic world. You can start by simply entering a few different keywords that are relevant to your research question and it will then present a host of articles for you to review. What you want to pay close attention to here is the number of citations for each paper – the more citations a paper has, the more credible it is (generally speaking – there are some exceptions, of course).

how to use google scholar

Ideally, what you’re looking for are well-cited papers that are highly relevant to your topic. That said, keep in mind that citations are a cumulative metric , so older papers will often have more citations than newer papers – just because they’ve been around for longer. So, don’t fixate on this metric in isolation – relevance and recency are also very important.

Beyond Google Scholar, you’ll also definitely want to check out academic databases and aggregators such as Science Direct, PubMed, JStor and so on. These will often overlap with the results that you find in Google Scholar, but they can also reveal some hidden gems – so, be sure to check them out.

Once you’ve worked your way through all the literature, you’ll want to catalogue all this information in some sort of spreadsheet so that you can easily recall who said what, when and within what context. If you’d like, we’ve got a free literature spreadsheet that helps you do exactly that.

Don’t fixate on an article’s citation count in isolation - relevance (to your research question) and recency are also very important.

Step 2: Develop a structure and outline

With your research question pinned down and your literature digested and catalogued, it’s time to move on to planning your actual research paper .

It might sound obvious, but it’s really important to have some sort of rough outline in place before you start writing your paper. So often, we see students eagerly rushing into the writing phase, only to land up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on in multiple

Now, the secret here is to not get caught up in the fine details . Realistically, all you need at this stage is a bullet-point list that describes (in broad strokes) what you’ll discuss and in what order. It’s also useful to remember that you’re not glued to this outline – in all likelihood, you’ll chop and change some sections once you start writing, and that’s perfectly okay. What’s important is that you have some sort of roadmap in place from the start.

You need to have a rough outline in place before you start writing your paper - or you’ll end up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on.

At this stage you might be wondering, “ But how should I structure my research paper? ”. Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here, but in general, a research paper will consist of a few relatively standardised components:

  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology

Let’s take a look at each of these.

First up is the introduction section . As the name suggests, the purpose of the introduction is to set the scene for your research paper. There are usually (at least) four ingredients that go into this section – these are the background to the topic, the research problem and resultant research question , and the justification or rationale. If you’re interested, the video below unpacks the introduction section in more detail. 

The next section of your research paper will typically be your literature review . Remember all that literature you worked through earlier? Well, this is where you’ll present your interpretation of all that content . You’ll do this by writing about recent trends, developments, and arguments within the literature – but more specifically, those that are relevant to your research question . The literature review can oftentimes seem a little daunting, even to seasoned researchers, so be sure to check out our extensive collection of literature review content here .

With the introduction and lit review out of the way, the next section of your paper is the research methodology . In a nutshell, the methodology section should describe to your reader what you did (beyond just reviewing the existing literature) to answer your research question. For example, what data did you collect, how did you collect that data, how did you analyse that data and so on? For each choice, you’ll also need to justify why you chose to do it that way, and what the strengths and weaknesses of your approach were.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that for some research papers, this aspect of the project may be a lot simpler . For example, you may only need to draw on secondary sources (in other words, existing data sets). In some cases, you may just be asked to draw your conclusions from the literature search itself (in other words, there may be no data analysis at all). But, if you are required to collect and analyse data, you’ll need to pay a lot of attention to the methodology section. The video below provides an example of what the methodology section might look like.

By this stage of your paper, you will have explained what your research question is, what the existing literature has to say about that question, and how you analysed additional data to try to answer your question. So, the natural next step is to present your analysis of that data . This section is usually called the “results” or “analysis” section and this is where you’ll showcase your findings.

Depending on your school’s requirements, you may need to present and interpret the data in one section – or you might split the presentation and the interpretation into two sections. In the latter case, your “results” section will just describe the data, and the “discussion” is where you’ll interpret that data and explicitly link your analysis back to your research question. If you’re not sure which approach to take, check in with your professor or take a look at past papers to see what the norms are for your programme.

Alright – once you’ve presented and discussed your results, it’s time to wrap it up . This usually takes the form of the “ conclusion ” section. In the conclusion, you’ll need to highlight the key takeaways from your study and close the loop by explicitly answering your research question. Again, the exact requirements here will vary depending on your programme (and you may not even need a conclusion section at all) – so be sure to check with your professor if you’re unsure.

Step 3: Write and refine

Finally, it’s time to get writing. All too often though, students hit a brick wall right about here… So, how do you avoid this happening to you?

Well, there’s a lot to be said when it comes to writing a research paper (or any sort of academic piece), but we’ll share three practical tips to help you get started.

First and foremost , it’s essential to approach your writing as an iterative process. In other words, you need to start with a really messy first draft and then polish it over multiple rounds of editing. Don’t waste your time trying to write a perfect research paper in one go. Instead, take the pressure off yourself by adopting an iterative approach.

Secondly , it’s important to always lean towards critical writing , rather than descriptive writing. What does this mean? Well, at the simplest level, descriptive writing focuses on the “ what ”, while critical writing digs into the “ so what ” – in other words, the implications . If you’re not familiar with these two types of writing, don’t worry! You can find a plain-language explanation here.

Last but not least, you’ll need to get your referencing right. Specifically, you’ll need to provide credible, correctly formatted citations for the statements you make. We see students making referencing mistakes all the time and it costs them dearly. The good news is that you can easily avoid this by using a simple reference manager . If you don’t have one, check out our video about Mendeley, an easy (and free) reference management tool that you can start using today.

Recap: Key Takeaways

We’ve covered a lot of ground here. To recap, the three steps to writing a high-quality research paper are:

  • To choose a research question and review the literature
  • To plan your paper structure and draft an outline
  • To take an iterative approach to writing, focusing on critical writing and strong referencing

Remember, this is just a b ig-picture overview of the research paper development process and there’s a lot more nuance to unpack. So, be sure to grab a copy of our free research paper template to learn more about how to write a research paper.

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  • How to write a research paper

Last updated

11 January 2024

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With proper planning, knowledge, and framework, completing a research paper can be a fulfilling and exciting experience. 

Though it might initially sound slightly intimidating, this guide will help you embrace the challenge. 

By documenting your findings, you can inspire others and make a difference in your field. Here's how you can make your research paper unique and comprehensive.

  • What is a research paper?

Research papers allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of a particular topic. These papers are usually lengthier and more detailed than typical essays, requiring deeper insight into the chosen topic.

To write a research paper, you must first choose a topic that interests you and is relevant to the field of study. Once you’ve selected your topic, gathering as many relevant resources as possible, including books, scholarly articles, credible websites, and other academic materials, is essential. You must then read and analyze these sources, summarizing their key points and identifying gaps in the current research.

You can formulate your ideas and opinions once you thoroughly understand the existing research. To get there might involve conducting original research, gathering data, or analyzing existing data sets. It could also involve presenting an original argument or interpretation of the existing research.

Writing a successful research paper involves presenting your findings clearly and engagingly, which might involve using charts, graphs, or other visual aids to present your data and using concise language to explain your findings. You must also ensure your paper adheres to relevant academic formatting guidelines, including proper citations and references.

Overall, writing a research paper requires a significant amount of time, effort, and attention to detail. However, it is also an enriching experience that allows you to delve deeply into a subject that interests you and contribute to the existing body of knowledge in your chosen field.

  • How long should a research paper be?

Research papers are deep dives into a topic. Therefore, they tend to be longer pieces of work than essays or opinion pieces. 

However, a suitable length depends on the complexity of the topic and your level of expertise. For instance, are you a first-year college student or an experienced professional? 

Also, remember that the best research papers provide valuable information for the benefit of others. Therefore, the quality of information matters most, not necessarily the length. Being concise is valuable.

Following these best practice steps will help keep your process simple and productive:

1. Gaining a deep understanding of any expectations

Before diving into your intended topic or beginning the research phase, take some time to orient yourself. Suppose there’s a specific topic assigned to you. In that case, it’s essential to deeply understand the question and organize your planning and approach in response. Pay attention to the key requirements and ensure you align your writing accordingly. 

This preparation step entails

Deeply understanding the task or assignment

Being clear about the expected format and length

Familiarizing yourself with the citation and referencing requirements 

Understanding any defined limits for your research contribution

Where applicable, speaking to your professor or research supervisor for further clarification

2. Choose your research topic

Select a research topic that aligns with both your interests and available resources. Ideally, focus on a field where you possess significant experience and analytical skills. In crafting your research paper, it's crucial to go beyond summarizing existing data and contribute fresh insights to the chosen area.

Consider narrowing your focus to a specific aspect of the topic. For example, if exploring the link between technology and mental health, delve into how social media use during the pandemic impacts the well-being of college students. Conducting interviews and surveys with students could provide firsthand data and unique perspectives, adding substantial value to the existing knowledge.

When finalizing your topic, adhere to legal and ethical norms in the relevant area (this ensures the integrity of your research, protects participants' rights, upholds intellectual property standards, and ensures transparency and accountability). Following these principles not only maintains the credibility of your work but also builds trust within your academic or professional community.

For instance, in writing about medical research, consider legal and ethical norms , including patient confidentiality laws and informed consent requirements. Similarly, if analyzing user data on social media platforms, be mindful of data privacy regulations, ensuring compliance with laws governing personal information collection and use. Aligning with legal and ethical standards not only avoids potential issues but also underscores the responsible conduct of your research.

3. Gather preliminary research

Once you’ve landed on your topic, it’s time to explore it further. You’ll want to discover more about available resources and existing research relevant to your assignment at this stage. 

This exploratory phase is vital as you may discover issues with your original idea or realize you have insufficient resources to explore the topic effectively. This key bit of groundwork allows you to redirect your research topic in a different, more feasible, or more relevant direction if necessary. 

Spending ample time at this stage ensures you gather everything you need, learn as much as you can about the topic, and discover gaps where the topic has yet to be sufficiently covered, offering an opportunity to research it further. 

4. Define your research question

To produce a well-structured and focused paper, it is imperative to formulate a clear and precise research question that will guide your work. Your research question must be informed by the existing literature and tailored to the scope and objectives of your project. By refining your focus, you can produce a thoughtful and engaging paper that effectively communicates your ideas to your readers.

5. Write a thesis statement

A thesis statement is a one-to-two-sentence summary of your research paper's main argument or direction. It serves as an overall guide to summarize the overall intent of the research paper for you and anyone wanting to know more about the research.

A strong thesis statement is:

Concise and clear: Explain your case in simple sentences (avoid covering multiple ideas). It might help to think of this section as an elevator pitch.

Specific: Ensure that there is no ambiguity in your statement and that your summary covers the points argued in the paper.

Debatable: A thesis statement puts forward a specific argument––it is not merely a statement but a debatable point that can be analyzed and discussed.

Here are three thesis statement examples from different disciplines:

Psychology thesis example: "We're studying adults aged 25-40 to see if taking short breaks for mindfulness can help with stress. Our goal is to find practical ways to manage anxiety better."

Environmental science thesis example: "This research paper looks into how having more city parks might make the air cleaner and keep people healthier. I want to find out if more green spaces means breathing fewer carcinogens in big cities."

UX research thesis example: "This study focuses on improving mobile banking for older adults using ethnographic research, eye-tracking analysis, and interactive prototyping. We investigate the usefulness of eye-tracking analysis with older individuals, aiming to spark debate and offer fresh perspectives on UX design and digital inclusivity for the aging population."

6. Conduct in-depth research

A research paper doesn’t just include research that you’ve uncovered from other papers and studies but your fresh insights, too. You will seek to become an expert on your topic––understanding the nuances in the current leading theories. You will analyze existing research and add your thinking and discoveries.  It's crucial to conduct well-designed research that is rigorous, robust, and based on reliable sources. Suppose a research paper lacks evidence or is biased. In that case, it won't benefit the academic community or the general public. Therefore, examining the topic thoroughly and furthering its understanding through high-quality research is essential. That usually means conducting new research. Depending on the area under investigation, you may conduct surveys, interviews, diary studies , or observational research to uncover new insights or bolster current claims.

7. Determine supporting evidence

Not every piece of research you’ve discovered will be relevant to your research paper. It’s important to categorize the most meaningful evidence to include alongside your discoveries. It's important to include evidence that doesn't support your claims to avoid exclusion bias and ensure a fair research paper.

8. Write a research paper outline

Before diving in and writing the whole paper, start with an outline. It will help you to see if more research is needed, and it will provide a framework by which to write a more compelling paper. Your supervisor may even request an outline to approve before beginning to write the first draft of the full paper. An outline will include your topic, thesis statement, key headings, short summaries of the research, and your arguments.

9. Write your first draft

Once you feel confident about your outline and sources, it’s time to write your first draft. While penning a long piece of content can be intimidating, if you’ve laid the groundwork, you will have a structure to help you move steadily through each section. To keep up motivation and inspiration, it’s often best to keep the pace quick. Stopping for long periods can interrupt your flow and make jumping back in harder than writing when things are fresh in your mind.

10. Cite your sources correctly

It's always a good practice to give credit where it's due, and the same goes for citing any works that have influenced your paper. Building your arguments on credible references adds value and authenticity to your research. In the formatting guidelines section, you’ll find an overview of different citation styles (MLA, CMOS, or APA), which will help you meet any publishing or academic requirements and strengthen your paper's credibility. It is essential to follow the guidelines provided by your school or the publication you are submitting to ensure the accuracy and relevance of your citations.

11. Ensure your work is original

It is crucial to ensure the originality of your paper, as plagiarism can lead to serious consequences. To avoid plagiarism, you should use proper paraphrasing and quoting techniques. Paraphrasing is rewriting a text in your own words while maintaining the original meaning. Quoting involves directly citing the source. Giving credit to the original author or source is essential whenever you borrow their ideas or words. You can also use plagiarism detection tools such as Scribbr or Grammarly to check the originality of your paper. These tools compare your draft writing to a vast database of online sources. If you find any accidental plagiarism, you should correct it immediately by rephrasing or citing the source.

12. Revise, edit, and proofread

One of the essential qualities of excellent writers is their ability to understand the importance of editing and proofreading. Even though it's tempting to call it a day once you've finished your writing, editing your work can significantly improve its quality. It's natural to overlook the weaker areas when you've just finished writing a paper. Therefore, it's best to take a break of a day or two, or even up to a week, to refresh your mind. This way, you can return to your work with a new perspective. After some breathing room, you can spot any inconsistencies, spelling and grammar errors, typos, or missing citations and correct them. 

  • The best research paper format 

The format of your research paper should align with the requirements set forth by your college, school, or target publication. 

There is no one “best” format, per se. Depending on the stated requirements, you may need to include the following elements:

Title page: The title page of a research paper typically includes the title, author's name, and institutional affiliation and may include additional information such as a course name or instructor's name. 

Table of contents: Include a table of contents to make it easy for readers to find specific sections of your paper.

Abstract: The abstract is a summary of the purpose of the paper.

Methods : In this section, describe the research methods used. This may include collecting data , conducting interviews, or doing field research .

Results: Summarize the conclusions you drew from your research in this section.

Discussion: In this section, discuss the implications of your research . Be sure to mention any significant limitations to your approach and suggest areas for further research.

Tables, charts, and illustrations: Use tables, charts, and illustrations to help convey your research findings and make them easier to understand.

Works cited or reference page: Include a works cited or reference page to give credit to the sources that you used to conduct your research.

Bibliography: Provide a list of all the sources you consulted while conducting your research.

Dedication and acknowledgments : Optionally, you may include a dedication and acknowledgments section to thank individuals who helped you with your research.

  • General style and formatting guidelines

Formatting your research paper means you can submit it to your college, journal, or other publications in compliance with their criteria.

Research papers tend to follow the American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), or Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) guidelines.

Here’s how each style guide is typically used:

Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS):

CMOS is a versatile style guide used for various types of writing. It's known for its flexibility and use in the humanities. CMOS provides guidelines for citations, formatting, and overall writing style. It allows for both footnotes and in-text citations, giving writers options based on their preferences or publication requirements.

American Psychological Association (APA):

APA is common in the social sciences. It’s hailed for its clarity and emphasis on precision. It has specific rules for citing sources, creating references, and formatting papers. APA style uses in-text citations with an accompanying reference list. It's designed to convey information efficiently and is widely used in academic and scientific writing.

Modern Language Association (MLA):

MLA is widely used in the humanities, especially literature and language studies. It emphasizes the author-page format for in-text citations and provides guidelines for creating a "Works Cited" page. MLA is known for its focus on the author's name and the literary works cited. It’s frequently used in disciplines that prioritize literary analysis and critical thinking.

To confirm you're using the latest style guide, check the official website or publisher's site for updates, consult academic resources, and verify the guide's publication date. Online platforms and educational resources may also provide summaries and alerts about any revisions or additions to the style guide.

Citing sources

When working on your research paper, it's important to cite the sources you used properly. Your citation style will guide you through this process. Generally, there are three parts to citing sources in your research paper: 

First, provide a brief citation in the body of your essay. This is also known as a parenthetical or in-text citation. 

Second, include a full citation in the Reference list at the end of your paper. Different types of citations include in-text citations, footnotes, and reference lists. 

In-text citations include the author's surname and the date of the citation. 

Footnotes appear at the bottom of each page of your research paper. They may also be summarized within a reference list at the end of the paper. 

A reference list includes all of the research used within the paper at the end of the document. It should include the author, date, paper title, and publisher listed in the order that aligns with your citation style.

10 research paper writing tips:

Following some best practices is essential to writing a research paper that contributes to your field of study and creates a positive impact.

These tactics will help you structure your argument effectively and ensure your work benefits others:

Clear and precise language:  Ensure your language is unambiguous. Use academic language appropriately, but keep it simple. Also, provide clear takeaways for your audience.

Effective idea separation:  Organize the vast amount of information and sources in your paper with paragraphs and titles. Create easily digestible sections for your readers to navigate through.

Compelling intro:  Craft an engaging introduction that captures your reader's interest. Hook your audience and motivate them to continue reading.

Thorough revision and editing:  Take the time to review and edit your paper comprehensively. Use tools like Grammarly to detect and correct small, overlooked errors.

Thesis precision:  Develop a clear and concise thesis statement that guides your paper. Ensure that your thesis aligns with your research's overall purpose and contribution.

Logical flow of ideas:  Maintain a logical progression throughout the paper. Use transitions effectively to connect different sections and maintain coherence.

Critical evaluation of sources:  Evaluate and critically assess the relevance and reliability of your sources. Ensure that your research is based on credible and up-to-date information.

Thematic consistency:  Maintain a consistent theme throughout the paper. Ensure that all sections contribute cohesively to the overall argument.

Relevant supporting evidence:  Provide concise and relevant evidence to support your arguments. Avoid unnecessary details that may distract from the main points.

Embrace counterarguments:  Acknowledge and address opposing views to strengthen your position. Show that you have considered alternative arguments in your field.

7 research tips 

If you want your paper to not only be well-written but also contribute to the progress of human knowledge, consider these tips to take your paper to the next level:

Selecting the appropriate topic: The topic you select should align with your area of expertise, comply with the requirements of your project, and have sufficient resources for a comprehensive investigation.

Use academic databases: Academic databases such as PubMed, Google Scholar, and JSTOR offer a wealth of research papers that can help you discover everything you need to know about your chosen topic.

Critically evaluate sources: It is important not to accept research findings at face value. Instead, it is crucial to critically analyze the information to avoid jumping to conclusions or overlooking important details. A well-written research paper requires a critical analysis with thorough reasoning to support claims.

Diversify your sources: Expand your research horizons by exploring a variety of sources beyond the standard databases. Utilize books, conference proceedings, and interviews to gather diverse perspectives and enrich your understanding of the topic.

Take detailed notes: Detailed note-taking is crucial during research and can help you form the outline and body of your paper.

Stay up on trends: Keep abreast of the latest developments in your field by regularly checking for recent publications. Subscribe to newsletters, follow relevant journals, and attend conferences to stay informed about emerging trends and advancements. 

Engage in peer review: Seek feedback from peers or mentors to ensure the rigor and validity of your research . Peer review helps identify potential weaknesses in your methodology and strengthens the overall credibility of your findings.

  • The real-world impact of research papers

Writing a research paper is more than an academic or business exercise. The experience provides an opportunity to explore a subject in-depth, broaden one's understanding, and arrive at meaningful conclusions. With careful planning, dedication, and hard work, writing a research paper can be a fulfilling and enriching experience contributing to advancing knowledge.

How do I publish my research paper? 

Many academics wish to publish their research papers. While challenging, your paper might get traction if it covers new and well-written information. To publish your research paper, find a target publication, thoroughly read their guidelines, format your paper accordingly, and send it to them per their instructions. You may need to include a cover letter, too. After submission, your paper may be peer-reviewed by experts to assess its legitimacy, quality, originality, and methodology. Following review, you will be informed by the publication whether they have accepted or rejected your paper. 

What is a good opening sentence for a research paper? 

Beginning your research paper with a compelling introduction can ensure readers are interested in going further. A relevant quote, a compelling statistic, or a bold argument can start the paper and hook your reader. Remember, though, that the most important aspect of a research paper is the quality of the information––not necessarily your ability to storytell, so ensure anything you write aligns with your goals.

Research paper vs. a research proposal—what’s the difference?

While some may confuse research papers and proposals, they are different documents. 

A research proposal comes before a research paper. It is a detailed document that outlines an intended area of exploration. It includes the research topic, methodology, timeline, sources, and potential conclusions. Research proposals are often required when seeking approval to conduct research. 

A research paper is a summary of research findings. A research paper follows a structured format to present those findings and construct an argument or conclusion.

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How to Write a Research Paper

Use the links below to jump directly to any section of this guide:

Research Paper Fundamentals

How to choose a topic or question, how to create a working hypothesis or thesis, common research paper methodologies, how to gather and organize evidence , how to write an outline for your research paper, how to write a rough draft, how to revise your draft, how to produce a final draft, resources for teachers .

It is not fair to say that no one writes anymore. Just about everyone writes text messages, brief emails, or social media posts every single day. Yet, most people don't have a lot of practice with the formal, organized writing required for a good academic research paper. This guide contains links to a variety of resources that can help demystify the process. Some of these resources are intended for teachers; they contain exercises, activities, and teaching strategies. Other resources are intended for direct use by students who are struggling to write papers, or are looking for tips to make the process go more smoothly.

The resources in this section are designed to help students understand the different types of research papers, the general research process, and how to manage their time. Below, you'll find links from university writing centers, the trusted Purdue Online Writing Lab, and more.

What is an Academic Research Paper?

"Genre and the Research Paper" (Purdue OWL)

There are different types of research papers. Different types of scholarly questions will lend themselves to one format or another. This is a brief introduction to the two main genres of research paper: analytic and argumentative. 

"7 Most Popular Types of Research Papers" (Personal-writer.com)

This resource discusses formats that high school students commonly encounter, such as the compare and contrast essay and the definitional essay. Please note that the inclusion of this link is not an endorsement of this company's paid service.

How to Prepare and Plan Out Writing a Research Paper

Teachers can give their students a step-by-step guide like these to help them understand the different steps of the research paper process. These guides can be combined with the time management tools in the next subsection to help students come up with customized calendars for completing their papers.

"Ten Steps for Writing Research Papers" (American University)  

This resource from American University is a comprehensive guide to the research paper writing process, and includes examples of proper research questions and thesis topics.

"Steps in Writing a Research Paper" (SUNY Empire State College)

This guide breaks the research paper process into 11 steps. Each "step" links to a separate page, which describes the work entailed in completing it.

How to Manage Time Effectively

The links below will help students determine how much time is necessary to complete a paper. If your sources are not available online or at your local library, you'll need to leave extra time for the Interlibrary Loan process. Remember that, even if you do not need to consult secondary sources, you'll still need to leave yourself ample time to organize your thoughts.

"Research Paper Planner: Timeline" (Baylor University)

This interactive resource from Baylor University creates a suggested writing schedule based on how much time a student has to work on the assignment.

"Research Paper Planner" (UCLA)

UCLA's library offers this step-by-step guide to the research paper writing process, which also includes a suggested planning calendar.

There's a reason teachers spend a long time talking about choosing a good topic. Without a good topic and a well-formulated research question, it is almost impossible to write a clear and organized paper. The resources below will help you generate ideas and formulate precise questions.

"How to Select a Research Topic" (Univ. of Michigan-Flint)

This resource is designed for college students who are struggling to come up with an appropriate topic. A student who uses this resource and still feels unsure about his or her topic should consult the course instructor for further personalized assistance.

"25 Interesting Research Paper Topics to Get You Started" (Kibin)

This resource, which is probably most appropriate for high school students, provides a list of specific topics to help get students started. It is broken into subsections, such as "paper topics on local issues."

"Writing a Good Research Question" (Grand Canyon University)

This introduction to research questions includes some embedded videos, as well as links to scholarly articles on research questions. This resource would be most appropriate for teachers who are planning lessons on research paper fundamentals.

"How to Write a Research Question the Right Way" (Kibin)

This student-focused resource provides more detail on writing research questions. The language is accessible, and there are embedded videos and examples of good and bad questions.

It is important to have a rough hypothesis or thesis in mind at the beginning of the research process. People who have a sense of what they want to say will have an easier time sorting through scholarly sources and other information. The key, of course, is not to become too wedded to the draft hypothesis or thesis. Just about every working thesis gets changed during the research process.

CrashCourse Video: "Sociology Research Methods" (YouTube)

Although this video is tailored to sociology students, it is applicable to students in a variety of social science disciplines. This video does a good job demonstrating the connection between the brainstorming that goes into selecting a research question and the formulation of a working hypothesis.

"How to Write a Thesis Statement for an Analytical Essay" (YouTube)

Students writing analytical essays will not develop the same type of working hypothesis as students who are writing research papers in other disciplines. For these students, developing the working thesis may happen as a part of the rough draft (see the relevant section below). 

"Research Hypothesis" (Oakland Univ.)

This resource provides some examples of hypotheses in social science disciplines like Political Science and Criminal Justice. These sample hypotheses may also be useful for students in other soft social sciences and humanities disciplines like History.

When grading a research paper, instructors look for a consistent methodology. This section will help you understand different methodological approaches used in research papers. Students will get the most out of these resources if they use them to help prepare for conversations with teachers or discussions in class.

"Types of Research Designs" (USC)

A "research design," used for complex papers, is related to the paper's method. This resource contains introductions to a variety of popular research designs in the social sciences. Although it is not the most intuitive site to read, the information here is very valuable. 

"Major Research Methods" (YouTube)

Although this video is a bit on the dry side, it provides a comprehensive overview of the major research methodologies in a format that might be more accessible to students who have struggled with textbooks or other written resources.

"Humanities Research Strategies" (USC)

This is a portal where students can learn about four methodological approaches for humanities papers: Historical Methodologies, Textual Criticism, Conceptual Analysis, and the Synoptic method.

"Selected Major Social Science Research Methods: Overview" (National Academies Press)

This appendix from the book  Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy , printed by National Academies Press, introduces some methods used in social science papers.

"Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: 6. The Methodology" (USC)

This resource from the University of Southern California's library contains tips for writing a methodology section in a research paper.

How to Determine the Best Methodology for You

Anyone who is new to writing research papers should be sure to select a method in consultation with their instructor. These resources can be used to help prepare for that discussion. They may also be used on their own by more advanced students.

"Choosing Appropriate Research Methodologies" (Palgrave Study Skills)

This friendly and approachable resource from Palgrave Macmillan can be used by students who are just starting to think about appropriate methodologies.

"How to Choose Your Research Methods" (NFER (UK))

This is another approachable resource students can use to help narrow down the most appropriate methods for their research projects.

The resources in this section introduce the process of gathering scholarly sources and collecting evidence. You'll find a range of material here, from introductory guides to advanced explications best suited to college students. Please consult the LitCharts  How to Do Academic Research guide for a more comprehensive list of resources devoted to finding scholarly literature.

Google Scholar

Students who have access to library websites with detailed research guides should start there, but people who do not have access to those resources can begin their search for secondary literature here.

"Gathering Appropriate Information" (Texas Gateway)

This resource from the Texas Gateway for online resources introduces students to the research process, and contains interactive exercises. The level of complexity is suitable for middle school, high school, and introductory college classrooms.

"An Overview of Quantitative and Qualitative Data Collection Methods" (NSF)

This PDF from the National Science Foundation goes into detail about best practices and pitfalls in data collection across multiple types of methodologies.

"Social Science Methods for Data Collection and Analysis" (Swiss FIT)

This resource is appropriate for advanced undergraduates or teachers looking to create lessons on research design and data collection. It covers techniques for gathering data via interviews, observations, and other methods.

"Collecting Data by In-depth Interviewing" (Leeds Univ.)

This resource contains enough information about conducting interviews to make it useful for teachers who want to create a lesson plan, but is also accessible enough for college juniors or seniors to make use of it on their own.

There is no "one size fits all" outlining technique. Some students might devote all their energy and attention to the outline in order to avoid the paper. Other students may benefit from being made to sit down and organize their thoughts into a lengthy sentence outline. The resources in this section include strategies and templates for multiple types of outlines. 

"Topic vs. Sentence Outlines" (UC Berkeley)

This resource introduces two basic approaches to outlining: the shorter topic-based approach, and the longer, more detailed sentence-based approach. This resource also contains videos on how to develop paper paragraphs from the sentence-based outline.

"Types of Outlines and Samples" (Purdue OWL)

The Purdue Online Writing Lab's guide is a slightly less detailed discussion of different types of outlines. It contains several sample outlines.

"Writing An Outline" (Austin C.C.)

This resource from a community college contains sample outlines from an American history class that students can use as models.

"How to Structure an Outline for a College Paper" (YouTube)

This brief (sub-2 minute) video from the ExpertVillage YouTube channel provides a model of outline writing for students who are struggling with the idea.

"Outlining" (Harvard)

This is a good resource to consult after completing a draft outline. It offers suggestions for making sure your outline avoids things like unnecessary repetition.

As with outlines, rough drafts can take on many different forms. These resources introduce teachers and students to the various approaches to writing a rough draft. This section also includes resources that will help you cite your sources appropriately according to the MLA, Chicago, and APA style manuals.

"Creating a Rough Draft for a Research Paper" (Univ. of Minnesota)

This resource is useful for teachers in particular, as it provides some suggested exercises to help students with writing a basic rough draft. 

Rough Draft Assignment (Duke of Definition)

This sample assignment, with a brief list of tips, was developed by a high school teacher who runs a very successful and well-reviewed page of educational resources.

"Creating the First Draft of Your Research Paper" (Concordia Univ.)

This resource will be helpful for perfectionists or procrastinators, as it opens by discussing the problem of avoiding writing. It also provides a short list of suggestions meant to get students writing.

Using Proper Citations

There is no such thing as a rough draft of a scholarly citation. These links to the three major citation guides will ensure that your citations follow the correct format. Please consult the LitCharts How to Cite Your Sources guide for more resources.

Chicago Manual of Style Citation Guide

Some call  The Chicago Manual of Style , which was first published in 1906, "the editors' Bible." The manual is now in its 17th edition, and is popular in the social sciences, historical journals, and some other fields in the humanities.

APA Citation Guide

According to the American Psychological Association, this guide was developed to aid reading comprehension, clarity of communication, and to reduce bias in language in the social and behavioral sciences. Its first full edition was published in 1952, and it is now in its sixth edition.

MLA Citation Guide

The Modern Language Association style is used most commonly within the liberal arts and humanities. The  MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing  was first published in 1985 and (as of 2008) is in its third edition.

Any professional scholar will tell you that the best research papers are made in the revision stage. No matter how strong your research question or working thesis, it is not possible to write a truly outstanding paper without devoting energy to revision. These resources provide examples of revision exercises for the classroom, as well as tips for students working independently.

"The Art of Revision" (Univ. of Arizona)

This resource provides a wealth of information and suggestions for both students and teachers. There is a list of suggested exercises that teachers might use in class, along with a revision checklist that is useful for teachers and students alike.

"Script for Workshop on Revision" (Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt's guide for leading a 50-minute revision workshop can serve as a model for teachers who wish to guide students through the revision process during classtime. 

"Revising Your Paper" (Univ. of Washington)

This detailed handout was designed for students who are beginning the revision process. It discusses different approaches and methods for revision, and also includes a detailed list of things students should look for while they revise.

"Revising Drafts" (UNC Writing Center)

This resource is designed for students and suggests things to look for during the revision process. It provides steps for the process and has a FAQ for students who have questions about why it is important to revise.

Conferencing with Writing Tutors and Instructors

No writer is so good that he or she can't benefit from meeting with instructors or peer tutors. These resources from university writing, learning, and communication centers provide suggestions for how to get the most out of these one-on-one meetings.

"Getting Feedback" (UNC Writing Center)

This very helpful resource talks about how to ask for feedback during the entire writing process. It contains possible questions that students might ask when developing an outline, during the revision process, and after the final draft has been graded.

"Prepare for Your Tutoring Session" (Otis College of Art and Design)

This guide from a university's student learning center contains a lot of helpful tips for getting the most out of working with a writing tutor.

"The Importance of Asking Your Professor" (Univ. of Waterloo)

This article from the university's Writing and Communication Centre's blog contains some suggestions for how and when to get help from professors and Teaching Assistants.

Once you've revised your first draft, you're well on your way to handing in a polished paper. These resources—each of them produced by writing professionals at colleges and universities—outline the steps required in order to produce a final draft. You'll find proofreading tips and checklists in text and video form.

"Developing a Final Draft of a Research Paper" (Univ. of Minnesota)

While this resource contains suggestions for revision, it also features a couple of helpful checklists for the last stages of completing a final draft.

Basic Final Draft Tips and Checklist (Univ. of Maryland-University College)

This short and accessible resource, part of UMUC's very thorough online guide to writing and research, contains a very basic checklist for students who are getting ready to turn in their final drafts.

Final Draft Checklist (Everett C.C.)

This is another accessible final draft checklist, appropriate for both high school and college students. It suggests reading your essay aloud at least once.

"How to Proofread Your Final Draft" (YouTube)

This video (approximately 5 minutes), produced by Eastern Washington University, gives students tips on proofreading final drafts.

"Proofreading Tips" (Georgia Southern-Armstrong)

This guide will help students learn how to spot common errors in their papers. It suggests focusing on content and editing for grammar and mechanics.

This final set of resources is intended specifically for high school and college instructors. It provides links to unit plans and classroom exercises that can help improve students' research and writing skills. You'll find resources that give an overview of the process, along with activities that focus on how to begin and how to carry out research. 

"Research Paper Complete Resources Pack" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This packet of assignments, rubrics, and other resources is designed for high school students. The resources in this packet are aligned to Common Core standards.

"Research Paper—Complete Unit" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This packet of assignments, notes, PowerPoints, and other resources has a 4/4 rating with over 700 ratings. It is designed for high school teachers, but might also be useful to college instructors who work with freshmen.

"Teaching Students to Write Good Papers" (Yale)

This resource from Yale's Center for Teaching and Learning is designed for college instructors, and it includes links to appropriate activities and exercises.

"Research Paper Writing: An Overview" (CUNY Brooklyn)

CUNY Brooklyn offers this complete lesson plan for introducing students to research papers. It includes an accompanying set of PowerPoint slides.

"Lesson Plan: How to Begin Writing a Research Paper" (San Jose State Univ.)

This lesson plan is designed for students in the health sciences, so teachers will have to modify it for their own needs. It includes a breakdown of the brainstorming, topic selection, and research question process. 

"Quantitative Techniques for Social Science Research" (Univ. of Pittsburgh)

This is a set of PowerPoint slides that can be used to introduce students to a variety of quantitative methods used in the social sciences.

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How to Write a Research Paper

Academic Writing Service

If you already have a headache trying to understand what research paper is all about, we have created an ultimate guide for you on how to write a research paper. You will find all the answers to your questions regarding structure, planning, doing investigation, finding the topic that appeals to you. Plus, you will find out the secret to an excellent paper. Are you at the edge of your seat? Let us start with the basics then.

  • What is a Research Paper
  • Reasons for Writing a Research Paper
  • Report Papers and Thesis Papers
  • How to Start a Research Paper
  • How to Choose a Topic for a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Proposal for a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Research Plan
  • How to Do Research
  • How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Research Paper Rough Draft
  • How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Body of a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper
  • How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper
  • How to Revise and Edit a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Bibliography for a Research Paper
  • What Makes a Good Research Paper

Research Paper Writing Services

What is a research paper.

How to Write a Research Paper

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You probably know the saying ‘the devil is not as black as he is painted’. This particular saying is absolutely true when it comes to writing a research paper. Your feet are cold even with the thought of this assignment. You have heard terrifying stories from older students. You have never done this before, so certainly you are scared. What is a research paper? How should I start? What are all these requirements about?

Luckily, you have a friend in need. That is our writing service. First and foremost, let us clarify the definition. A research paper is a piece of academic writing that provides information about a particular topic that you’ve researched . In other words, you choose a topic: about historical events, the work of some artist, some social issues etc. Then you collect data on the given topic and analyze it. Finally, you put your analysis on paper. See, it is not as scary as it seems. If you are still having doubts, whether you can handle it yourself, we are here to help you. Our team of writers can help you choose the topic, or give you advice on how to plan your work, or how to start, or craft a paper for you. Just contact us 24/7 and see everything yourself.

5 Reasons for Writing a Research Paper

Why should I spend my time writing some academic paper? What is the use of it? Is not some practical knowledge more important? The list of questions is endless when it comes to a research paper. That is why we have outlined 5 main reasons why writing a research paper is a good thing.

  • You will learn how to organize your time

If you want to write a research paper, you will have to learn how to manage your time. This type of assignment cannot be done overnight. It requires careful planning and you will need to learn how to do it. Later, you will be able to use these time-managing skills in your personal life, so why not developing them?

  • You will discover your writing skills

You cannot know something before you try it. This rule relates to writing as well. You cannot claim that you cannot write until you try it yourself. It will be really difficult at the beginning, but then the words will come to your head themselves.

  • You will improve your analytical skills

Writing a research paper is all about investigation and analysis. You will need to collect data, examine and classify it. These skills are needed in modern life more than anything else is.

  • You will gain confidence

Once you do your own research, it gives you the feeling of confidence in yourself. The reason is simple human brain likes solving puzzles and your assignment is just another puzzle to be solved.

  • You will learn how to persuade the reader

When you write your paper, you should always remember that you are writing it for someone to read. Moreover, you want this someone to believe in your ideas. For this reason, you will have to learn different convincing methods and techniques. You will learn how to make your writing persuasive. In turns, you will be able to use these methods in real life.

What is the Difference between Report and Thesis Papers?

A common question is ‘what is the difference between a report paper and a thesis paper?’ The difference lies in the aim of these two assignments. While the former aims at presenting the information, the latter aims at providing your opinion on the matter. In other words, in a report paper you have to summarize your findings. In a thesis paper, you choose some issue and defend your point of view by persuading the reader. It is that simple.

A thesis paper is a more common assignment than a report paper. This task will help a professor to evaluate your analytical skills and skills to present your ideas logically. These skills are more important than just the ability to collect and summarize data.

How to Write a Research Paper Step by Step

Research comes from the French word  rechercher , meaning “to seek out.” Writing a research paper requires you to seek out information about a subject, take a stand on it, and back it up with the opinions, ideas, and views of others. What results is a printed paper variously known as a term paper or library paper, usually between five and fifteen pages long—most instructors specify a minimum length—in which you present your views and findings on the chosen subject.

How to Write a Research Paper

It is not a secret that the majority of students hate writing a research paper. The reason is simple it steals your time and energy. Not to mention, constant anxiety that you will not be able to meet the deadline or that you will forget about some academic requirement.

We will not lie to you; a research paper is a difficult assignment. You will have to spend a lot of time. You will need to read, to analyze, and to search for the material. You will probably be stuck sometimes. However, if you organize your work smart, you will gain something that is worth all the effort – knowledge, experience, and high grades.

The reason why many students fail writing a research paper is that nobody explained them how to start and how to plan their work. Luckily, you have found our writing service and we are ready to shed the light on this dark matter.

We have created a step by step guide for you on how to write a research paper. We will dwell upon the structure, the writing tips, the writing strategies as well as academic requirements. Read this whole article and you will see that you can handle writing this assignment and our team of writers is here to assist you.

How to Start a Research Paper?

How to Start a Research Paper

It all starts with the assignment. Your professor gives you the task. It may be either some general issue or specific topic to write about. Your assignment is your first guide to success. If you understand what you need to do according to the assignment, you are on the road to high results. Do not be scared to clarify your task if you need to. There is nothing wrong in asking a question if you want to do something right. You can ask your professor or you can ask our writers who know a thing or two in academic writing.

It is essential to understand the assignment. A good beginning makes a good ending, so start smart.

Learn how to start a research paper .

Choosing a Topic for a Research Paper

How to Choose a Topic for a Research Paper

We have already mentioned that it is not enough to do great research. You need to persuade the reader that you have made some great research. What convinces better that an eye-catching topic? That is why it is important to understand how to choose a topic for a research paper.

First, you need to delimit the general idea to a more specific one. Secondly, you need to find what makes this topic interesting for you and for the academia. Finally, you need to refine you topic. Remember, it is not something you will do in one day. You can be reshaping your topic throughout your whole writing process. Still, reshaping not changing it completely. That is why keep in your head one main idea: your topic should be precise and compelling .

Learn how to choose a topic for a research paper .

How to Write a Proposal for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Proposal for a Research Paper

If you do not know what a proposal is, let us explain it to you. A proposal should answer three main questions:

  • What is the main aim of your investigation?
  • Why is your investigation important?
  • How are you going to achieve the results?

In other words, proposal should show why your topic is interesting and how you are going to prove it. As to writing requirements, they may differ. That is why make sure you find out all the details at your department. You can ask your departmental administrator or find information online at department’s site. It is crucial to follow all the administrative requirements, as it will influence your grade.

Learn how to write a proposal for a research paper .

How to Write a Research Plan?

How to Write a Research Plan

The next step is writing a plan. You have already decided on the main issues, you have chosen the bibliography, and you have clarified the methods. Here comes the planning. If you want to avoid writer’s block, you have to structure you work. Discuss your strategies and ideas with your instructor. Think thoroughly why you need to present some data and ideas first and others second. Remember that there are basic structure elements that your research paper should include:

  • Thesis Statement
  • Introduction
  • Bibliography

You should keep in mind this skeleton when planning your work. This will keep your mind sharp and your ideas will flow logically.

Learn how to write a research plan .

How to Do Research?

How to Do Research

Your research will include three stages: collecting data, reading and analyzing it, and writing itself.

First, you need to collect all the material that you will need for you investigation: films, documents, surveys, interviews, and others. Secondly, you will have to read and analyze. This step is tricky, as you need to do this part smart. It is not enough just to read, as you cannot keep in mind all the information. It is essential that you make notes and write down your ideas while analyzing some data. When you get down to the stage number three, writing itself, you will already have the main ideas written on your notes. Plus, remember to jot down the reference details. You will then appreciate this trick when you will have to write the bibliography.

If you do your research this way, it will be much easier for you to write the paper. You will already have blocks of your ideas written down and you will just need to add some material and refine your paper.

Learn how to do research .

How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper?

How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper

To make your paper well organized you need to write an outline. Your outline will serve as your guiding star through the writing process. With a great outline you will not get sidetracked, because you will have a structured plan to follow. Both you and the reader will benefit from your outline. You present your ideas logically and you make your writing coherent according to your plan. As a result, this outline guides the reader through your paper and the reader enjoys the way you demonstrate your ideas.

Learn how to write an outline for a research paper . See research paper outline examples .

How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Research Paper

Briefly, the thesis is the main argument of your research paper. It should be precise, convincing and logical. Your thesis statement should include your point of view supported by evidence or logic. Still, remember it should be precise. You should not beat around the bush, or provide all the possible evidence you have found. It is usually a single sentence that shows your argument. In on sentence you should make a claim, explain why it significant and convince the reader that your point of view is important.

Learn how to write a thesis statement for a research paper . See research paper thesis statement examples .

Should I Write a Rough Draft for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Research Paper Rough Draft

Do you know any writer who put their ideas on paper, then never edited them and just published? Probably, no writer did so. Writing a research paper is no exception. It is impossible to cope with this assignment without writing a rough draft.

Your draft will help you understand what you need to polish to make your paper perfect. All the requirements, academic standards make it difficult to do everything flawlessly at the first attempt. Make sure you know all the formatting requirements: margins, words quantity, reference requirements, formatting styles etc.

Learn how to write a rough draft for a research paper .

How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper?

How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper

Let us make it more vivid for you. We have narrowed down the tips on writing an introduction to the three main ones:

  • Include your thesis in your introduction

Remember to include the thesis statement in your introduction. Usually, it goes at the end of the first paragraph.

  • Present the main ideas of the body

You should tell the main topics you are going to discuss in the main body. For this reason, before writing this part of introduction, make sure you know what is your main body is going to be about. It should include your main ideas.

  • Polish your thesis and introduction

When you finish the main body of your paper, come back to the thesis statement and introduction. Restate something if needed. Just make it perfect; because introduction is like the trailer to your paper, it should make the reader want to read the whole piece.

Learn how to write an introduction for a research paper . See research paper introduction examples .

How to Write a Body of a Research Paper?

How to Write a Body of a Research Paper

A body is the main part of your research paper. In this part, you will include all the needed evidence; you will provide the examples and support your argument.

It is important to structure your paragraphs thoroughly. That is to say, topic sentence and the evidence supporting the topic. Stay focused and do not be sidetracked. You have your outline, so follow it.

Here are the main tips to keep in head when writing a body of a research paper:

  • Let the ideas flow logically
  • Include only relevant information
  • Provide the evidence
  • Structure the paragraphs
  • Make the coherent transition from one paragraph to another

See? When it is all structured, it is not as scary as it seemed at the beginning. Still, if you have doubts, you can always ask our writers for help.

Learn how to write a body of a research paper . See research paper transition examples .

How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

Writing a good conclusion is important as writing any other part of the paper. Remember that conclusion is not a summary of what you have mentioned before. A good conclusion should include your last strong statement.

If you have written everything according to the plan, the reader already knows why your investigation is important. The reader has already seen the evidence. The only thing left is a strong concluding thought that will organize all your findings.

Never include any new information in conclusion. You need to conclude, not to start a new discussion.

Learn how to write a conclusion for a research paper .

How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper?

How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper

An abstract is a brief summary of your paper, usually 100-200 words. You should provide the main gist of your paper in this short summary. An abstract can be informative, descriptive or proposal. Depending on the type of abstract, you need to write, the requirements will differ.

To write an informative abstract you have to provide the summary of the whole paper. Informative summary. In other words, you need to tell about the main points of your work, the methods used, the results and the conclusion of your research.

To write a descriptive abstract you will not have to provide any summery. You should write a short teaser of your paper. That is to say, you need to write an overview of your paper. The aim of a descriptive abstract is to interest the reader.

Finally, to write a proposal abstract you will need to write the basic summary as for the informative abstract. However, the difference is the following: you aim at persuading someone to let you write on the topic. That is why, a proposal abstract should present your topic as the one worth investigating.

Learn how to write an abstract for a research paper .

Should I Revise and Edit a Research Paper?

How to Revise and Edit a Research Paper

Revising and editing your paper is essential if you want to get high grades. Let us help you revise your paper smart:

  • Check your paper for spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Sharpen the vocabulary
  • Make sure there are no slang words in your paper
  • Examine your paper in terms of structure
  • Compare your topic, thesis statement to the whole piece
  • Check your paper for plagiarism

If you need assistance with proofreading and editing your paper, you can turn to the professional editors at our service. They will help you polish your paper to perfection.

Learn how to revise and edit a research paper .

How to Write a Bibliography for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Bibliography for a Research Paper

First, let us make it clear that bibliography and works cited are two different things. Works cited are those that you cited in your paper. Bibliography should include all the materials you used to do your research. Still, remember that bibliography requirements differ depending on the formatting style of your paper. For this reason, make sure you ask you professor all the requirements you need to meet to avoid any misunderstanding.

Learn how to write a bibliography for a research paper .

The Key Secret to a Good Research Paper

Now when you know all the stages of writing a research paper, you are ready to find the key to a good research paper:

  • Choose the topic that really interests you
  • Make the topic interesting for you even if it is not at the beginning
  • Follow the step by step guide and do not get sidetracked
  • Be persistent and believe in yourself
  • Really do research and write your paper from scratch
  • Learn the convincing writing techniques and use them
  • Follow the requirements of your assignment
  • Ask for help if needed from real professionals

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The Process of Research Writing

(19 reviews)

steps in research essay

Steven D. Krause, Eastern Michigan University

Copyright Year: 2007

Publisher: Steven D. Krause

Language: English

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Reviewed by Kevin Kennedy, Adjunct Professor, Bridgewater State University on 12/2/22

I think this book would make an excellent supplement to other class material in a class focused on writing and research. It helps a lot with the "why"s of research and gives a high-level overview. read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 3 see less

I think this book would make an excellent supplement to other class material in a class focused on writing and research. It helps a lot with the "why"s of research and gives a high-level overview.

Content Accuracy rating: 5

The book is accurate, and talks a lot about different ways to view academic writing

Relevance/Longevity rating: 5

This would be quite relevant for a student early on the college journey who is starting to complete research-based projects.

Clarity rating: 4

The text is clear and concise, though that conciseness sometimes leads to less content than I'd like

Consistency rating: 5

The book is consistent throughout

Modularity rating: 4

I could use the first chapters of this book very easily, but the later ones get into exercises that my classes wouldn't necessarily use

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4

The book is organized from the high level (what is academic writing with research) to the more specific (here are some specific exercises)

Interface rating: 3

I don't like the flow from contents to chapters, and they feel distinctly text-based. This is a no-frills text, but that's ok.

Grammatical Errors rating: 3

I didn't note anything glaringly obvious

Cultural Relevance rating: 5

I think that this text stays away from the cultural and focuses mostly on the cognitive. This prevents offensive material, though it may make it less appealing to students.

Reviewed by Julie Sorge Way, Instructional Faculty, James Madison University on 11/23/21

Overall, I think this book’s strongest suits are its organization, clarity, and modularity. It is useful and adaptable for a wide range of courses involving a research component, and as the book itself argues, research is a part of most learning... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 4 see less

Overall, I think this book’s strongest suits are its organization, clarity, and modularity. It is useful and adaptable for a wide range of courses involving a research component, and as the book itself argues, research is a part of most learning at the university level, whether or not a single traditional “research paper” is the end goal of a course. This is a great book with adaptable and useful content across a range of disciplines, and while it is low on “bells and whistles,” the content it provides seems to be relevant, helpful, and also fill a gap among other OER texts that focus more on rhetoric and less on research.

Because this is a book on research writing rather than cutting edge science, etc. it is unlikely to be made inaccurate by the passing of time.

In a desire to move past the simple “Comp II” textbook, Krause’s work here is relevant to a variety of fields. In creating a course with a major-specific research component, many parts of this text are relevant to what I’m doing, and due to its modularity and organization (see below) I am able to make use of it easily and draw students’ attention to the parts that will help them most with our learning objectives.

Clarity rating: 5

Krause’s writing style is uncomplicated and direct. His examples are ones I think most students could relate to or at least connect with reasonably well.

While the book is internally consistent in its tone, level of detail, and relevance to Krause’s original writing goals, in the process of applying it to different courses (as almost inevitably happens with OER materials) it is inconsistently useful for the course I in particular am planning. This is certainly no fault of the book’s. One example would be that it presents MLA and APA format for citing sources, but not Chicago/Turabian.

Modularity rating: 5

Certainly, its modularity is a real strong suit for Krause’s book overall – individual instructors planning different types of coursework that involve writing and research can easily adapt parts that work, and its Creative Commons license makes this even better.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5

Clear and direct organization is another strong suit in Krause’s text. The information is presented in an orderly and easy to navigate way that allows instructors and students alike to hone in on the most useful information for their writing and research task without spending undue amounts of time searching. This is much appreciated especially in an open access text where instructors are more likely to be “picking and choosing” relevant content from multiple texts and resources.

Interface rating: 4

Simple but clear – basic HTML and PDF navigation by chapter and section. Like many OER texts it is a bit short on visual engagement – the colorful infographics and illustrations many people are used to both in printed textbooks and interacting with internet content.

Grammatical Errors rating: 5

No errors noted.

Widely relevant (at least in the North American context I have most experience with) but as always, instructors should preview and adapt all material for the needs and context of their own classes and students.

steps in research essay

Reviewed by Li-Anne Delavega, Undergraduate Research Experience Coordinator, Kapiolani Community College on 5/1/21

This textbook builds a good foundation for first-year students with topics such as developing a thesis, how to find sources and evaluate them, creating an annotated bibliography, audience, and avoiding plagiarism. While the content is explained... read more

This textbook builds a good foundation for first-year students with topics such as developing a thesis, how to find sources and evaluate them, creating an annotated bibliography, audience, and avoiding plagiarism. While the content is explained well and students are slowly walked through the research process, the textbook ends abruptly ends with a quick overview of the elements of a research essay after students organize their evidence and create an outline. A part two textbook that covers the rest of the writing process, such as structuring paragraphs, how to write an introduction and conclusion, and revising drafts, is needed to help students get to a finished product. As a composition-based textbook, I also felt it could have used a section on building arguments. The true gem of this textbook is its activities/exercises and comprehensive but accessible explanations.

Content Accuracy rating: 4

Aside from outdated citations and technology-related content, the process-based writing instruction is accurate and answers common questions from students about research and basic writing. I feel like the questions, checklists, and activities posed are helpful for students to really think through their writing process, and the author explains things without judgment. While students can benefit, I feel that faculty would also benefit from using this as a teaching manual to plan their classes.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 3

The writing instruction is solid and is still used in many textbooks today. Obviously, the sections on technology and citation are outdated, but some sections still have good reliable advice at their core. For example, search language, unreliable web sources, and collaborating online have evolved, but the concepts remain the same. I would cut those sections out and just take what I needed to give to students. The author has no plans to update this book, and someone would need to rewrite many sections of the book, which is not easy to implement.

The book is largely free of jargon and terms are clearly explained. The author's tone is casual and conversational when compared to other textbooks, which makes it more accessible to students and acts as a guide through the research process. However, it does lend itself to longer sections that could use heavy editing and it does sound like a mini-lecture, but I liked the way he thoroughly explains and sets up concepts. His tone and style are a bit inconsistent as others have noted.

The book is very consistent since research and writing terminology is the same across most disciplines. If you're a composition instructor, you'll find the framework is just common writing pedagogy for academic writing: focus on the writing process, freewriting, peer review, audience, revision, etc.

This book was intended to be modular and chapters are mostly self-contained, so it is easy to use individual chapters or change the sequence. There are unusable hyperlinks in each chapter that refer to other sections, but those are additional resources that could be replaced with a citation guide or other common resources. Sections, activities, examples, and key ideas are clearly labeled and can be used without the rest of the chapter. However, some writing concepts, such as a working thesis, are mentioned again in later chapters.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 3

Parts of the book are easily identifiable and the content within the chapter flows easily from one concept to the next. I felt that some of the chapters should have appeared earlier in the textbook. Students would have to wait until chapter 10 to learn about the research essay. Revising a working thesis comes before categorizing and reviewing your evidence. The peer-review chapter that advises students to read sections of their writing aloud to catch mistakes comes before brainstorming a topic. However, the sequence will depend on the instructor's preference. An index or a complete, searchable text would have helped so you don't need to guess which chapter has the content you need.

The PDF is the more polished and easier to read of the two versions. Overall, the PDF was well laid out, with clear headers and images. I found the colored boxes for the exercises helpful, though a lighter color would make the text easier to see for more students. The text uses different styles to create organization and emphasis, which made some pages (especially in the beginning) hard to read with the bolded and italicized clutter. I would have loved a complied version with all the chapters.

The HTML version is difficult to read as it is one long block of text and the callouts and images are not well spaced. There is, unfortunately, no benefit to reading the web version: no clickable links, dynamic text flow, or navigational links within each page so you will need to go back to the TOC to get the next section.

Grammatical Errors rating: 4

The book has grammatical and mechanical errors throughout but does not impact content comprehension. Other reviewers here identified more notable errors.

Cultural Relevance rating: 2

The language, examples, and references were generally ok, but the overall textbook felt acultural. Some consideration was taken with pronouns (relies on they/them/their) and gender roles. As others pointed out, there are many areas that could have used diversified sources, topics, references, examples, and students. Some of the textbook's activities assume able-bodied students and sections such as peer collaboration would benefit from a more nuanced discussion when he brought up resentment over non-contributing members, being silenced, and access to resources. There are a few red flags, but one glaring example is on page 5 of chapter 10. An excerpt from an article titled “Preparing to Be Colonized: Land Tenure and Legal Strategy in Nineteenth-Century Hawaii”(which includes the sentence, "Why did Hawaiians do this to themselves?") was used to show students when to use "I" in writing.

Overall, this is a good resource for writing instructors. As this book was written in 2007, faculty will need to cut or adapt a fair amount of the text to modernize it. It is not a textbook to assign to students for the semester, but the textbook's core content is solid writing pedagogy and the focus on using activities to reflect and revise is wonderful. Those outside of composition may find the basic exercises and explanations useful as long as students are primarily working out of a more discipline-specific (e.g., sciences) writing guide.

Reviewed by Milena Gueorguieva, Associate Teaching Professor, University of Massachusetts Lowell on 6/28/20

This is a process based research writing textbook, a rarity among composition textbooks. It is often the case that foundational writing courses are supposed to cover process and then, very often, instructors, students and textbook authors all... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 5 see less

This is a process based research writing textbook, a rarity among composition textbooks. It is often the case that foundational writing courses are supposed to cover process and then, very often, instructors, students and textbook authors all forget that process is important when they have to dive into the technical aspects of conducting and writing about and from research, usually in a 'second course' in the first year writing sequence. This is not the case with this book: it is a thoughtful, comprehensive exploration of writing from research as a multi-step recursive process. This approach can help students solidify the knowledge and skills they have acquired in prior courses, especially the multi-step recursive nature of writing as a process while developing a set of strong writing from research skills.

The foundations of research writing are presented in an accessible yet rigorous way. The book does away with the myth of research writing as something you do after you think about and research a topic. The author articulated this idea very well, when he wrote, ”We think about what it is we want to research and write about, but at the same time, we learn what to think based on our research and our writing.”

Relevance/Longevity rating: 4

Overall, an excellent handbook (it can be used non-sequentially); however, some of the information on database searches and working with popular internet sources as well as collaborative writing (especially as it relates to the use of technology) needs updating.

The appropriately conversational tone translates complex academic concepts into easy to access ideas that students can relate to. The same is true for the many activities and exercises that demonstrate a variety of real life applications for the research skills presented in the book, which helps students see that research and research based writing happen everywhere, not just on campuses , where students seem to write for an audience of one: the professor who assigned the paper.

The material presented is rigorously and consistently presented in various modes: text, activities and exercises.

It can be used in a variety of ways; it has excellent modular stucture.

Excellently organized: reviews and expands on what students might already know about academic writing as a process; introduces the fundamentals of research and research writing and then uses both of these sets of skills in various research projects.

Although it has some very useful and appropriate visuals , the text could have been more user friendly; it is difficult to follow.

Excellently proof-read,

the book is culturally sensitive and contains appropriate examples and/or references.

An overall excellent composition text that provides useful exercises and assignments (such as the antithesis essay) that can help students build complex and nuanced arguments based on research. Highly recommend!

Reviewed by Valerie Young, Associate Professor, Hanover College on 3/29/20

This text is both general and specific. General enough for use in a variety of courses and disciplines, specific enough to garner interest for faculty who want to teach students the fundamentals and more nuanced aspects of research writing. The... read more

This text is both general and specific. General enough for use in a variety of courses and disciplines, specific enough to garner interest for faculty who want to teach students the fundamentals and more nuanced aspects of research writing. The basics are here. The text could be assigned in specific modules. The text will benefit from an update, especially in regards to references about collaborative writing tools and internet research. The text is missing a chapter on reading research and integrating research into the literature review process. This is a relevant skill for research writing, as student writers often struggle with reading the work of others to understand the body of literature as a foundation for their own assertions.

The content and information seems like it could be helpful for any undergraduate course that has a research writing project. The unique aspects of this book are its features of collaborative and peer review writing practices and all of the exercises embedded in the text. The author gives examples and writing exercises throughout the chapters. These examples could serve inexperienced students quite well. They could also annoy advanced students.

There are some references to the World Wide Web and the Internet, and library research that seem a bit outdated. There isn't much advanced referencing of commonly used internet research options, such as Google Scholar, citation apps, etc.

Clarity rating: 3

Some points are clear and concise. Other pieces go into too much detail for one chapter page. Because the pages are long, and not all content will be relevant to all readers, the author could consider using "collapsible" sections. This could be especially relevant in the APA & MLA sections, offering a side-by-side comparison of each or offering overviews of style basics with sections that open up into more details for some interested readers.

Consistency rating: 4

no issues here

Modularity rating: 3

The chapters are relatively concise and each starts with an overview of content. The web format does not allow for much navigational flow between chapters or sections. It would be great to hyperlink sections of content that are related so that readers can pass through parts of the text to other topics. It does look like the author intended to hyperlink between chapters, but those links (denoted "Hyperlink:" in the text) are not functional.

Overall flow is appropriate for an interdisciplinary lens. Readers can move through as many or as few sections as needed. The chapter topics and subtopics are organized fairly comprehensively, and often by questions that students might ask.

Interface rating: 2

The long blocks of text in each chapter aren't very reader friendly. Also, once the reader gets to the end of the long page / chapter, there is no navigation up to the top of the chapter or laterally to previous or next content. Text doesn't adjust to screen size, so larger screens might have lots of white space.

no issues noticed. Some examples could be updated to be more inclusive, culturally diverse, etc.

This book has some good lessons, questions, and suggestions for topics relevant to research writing. The text could benefit from a more modern take on research writing, as some of the topics and phrases are dated.

Reviewed by Jennifer Wilde, Adjunct instructor, Columbia Gorge Community College on 12/13/18

The text is a wonderful guidebook to the process of writing a research essay. It describes the steps a college writer should take when approaching a research assignment, and I have no doubt that if students followed the steps outlined by the... read more

The text is a wonderful guidebook to the process of writing a research essay. It describes the steps a college writer should take when approaching a research assignment, and I have no doubt that if students followed the steps outlined by the text, they would be sure to succeed in generating a quality thesis statement and locating appropriate sources. It is not comprehensive in that it has very little to say regarding composition, clarity and style. It does not contain an index or glossary.

Sections on MLA and APA format are inaccurate in that they are outdated. It would be preferable for the text to refer students to the online resources that provide up to date information on the latest conventions of APA and MLA.

The bulk of the chapters are timeless and filled with wisdom about using research to write a paper. However, the book should contain links or otherwise refer students to the web sources that would tell them how to use current MLA/APA format. There are some passages that feel anachronistic, as when the author recommends that students consider the advantages of using a computer rather than a word processor or typewriter. The sections on computer research and "netiquette" feel outdated. Finally, the author describes the differences between scholarly sources and periodicals but does not address the newer type of resources, the online journal that is peer-reviewed but open access and not associated with a university.

The writing is strong and clear. Dr. Krause does not indulge in the use of jargon.

The different sections open with an explanation of what will be covered. Then, the author explains the content. Some chapters are rather short while others are long, but generally each topic is addressed comprehensively. In the last several chapters, the author closes with a sample of student work that illustrates the principles the chapter addressed.

The text is divisible into sections. To some extent the content is sequential, but it is not necessary to read the early chapters (such as the section on using computers, which millenials do not need to read) in order to benefit from the wisdom in later chapters. I used this text in a writing 121 course, and I did not assign the entire text. I found some chapters helpful and others not so relevant to my particular needs. Students found the chapters useful and discrete, and they did not feel like they had to go back and read the whole thing. The section on writing an annotated bibliography, for instance, could be used in any writing class.

The topics are presented in the order in which a student approaches a writing assignment. First, the author asks, why write a research essay, and why do research? Next, the author addresses critical thinking and library/data use; quoting, summarizing and paraphrasing; collaboration and writing with others; writing a quality thesis statement; annotating a bibliography; categorizing sources; dealing with counterarguments, and actually writing the research essay. It's quite intuitive and logical. It seems clear that this author has had a lot of experience teaching students how to do these steps.

The interface is straightforward, but I could not locate any hyperlinks that worked. Navigation through the book was no problem.

The book is well written overall. The writer's style is straightforward and clear. There are occasional typos and words that feel misplaced, as in the following sentence: "The reality is though that the possibilities and process of research writing are more complicated and much richer than that." There should be commas around the word "though", and the tone is fairly conversational. These are extremely minor issues.

The examples feel inclusive and I was not aware of any cultural insensitivity in the book overall.

The book is really helpful! I particularly appreciate the sections on how to write an annotated bib and a good thesis statement, and I think the sections on writing a category/evaluation of sources, working thesis statement, and antithesis exercise are unique in the large field of writing textbooks. The book contains no instruction on grammatical conventions, style, clarity, rhetoric, how to emphasize or de-emphasize points, or other writing tips. In that sense, it is not a great text for a composition class. But I think it's extremely useful as a second resource for such a class, especially for classes that teach argumentation or those that require an analytic essay. I feel it is most appropriate for science students - nursing, psychology, medicine, biology, sociology. It is less likely to be useful for a general WR 121 class, or for a bunch of English majors who largely use primary sources.

Reviewed by Jess Magaña, Assistant Teaching Professor, University of Missouri-Kansas City on 6/19/18

This is a comprehensive introduction to planning and writing research papers. The suggested activities seem helpful, and the lack of an index or glossary does not interfere with understanding. read more

This is a comprehensive introduction to planning and writing research papers. The suggested activities seem helpful, and the lack of an index or glossary does not interfere with understanding.

The information is accurate and straightforward.

Some information is out of date, such as the section regarding email, but the main concepts are well explained and relevant. An instructor could easily substitute a lecture or activity with updated information.

The clarity is excellent.

There are no inconsistencies.

The text is organized in a way that lends itself to changing the order of chapters and adding and subtracting topics to suit the needs of each class.

The progression of chapters is logical.

Interface rating: 5

The "hyperlinks" helpfully direct readers to related topics (although these are not actual links in the online version), which contributes to the modularity of the text.

There are a few errors, but none that significantly obscure meaning.

Cultural Relevance rating: 4

This text could use updated examples showing greater diversity in authors and work. I recommend instructors find supplementary examples relevant to their classes.

I intend to use this text in my courses, supplemented with a few activities and more diverse examples to suit my students' needs.

Reviewed by Sheila Packa, Instructor, Lake Superior College on 2/1/18

The text is a comprehensive guide to research for students in College Composition courses. The text is concise and interesting. Critical thinking, research and writing argument are integrated into his suggested assignments. The author covers... read more

The text is a comprehensive guide to research for students in College Composition courses. The text is concise and interesting. Critical thinking, research and writing argument are integrated into his suggested assignments.

The author covers the research question, library resources, how to paraphrase and use quotes, and collaborative writing projects. There are suggested exercises in the process of research, such as a topic proposal, a guide to developing a strong thesis statement, a full exploration of refutation (called the antithesis), the critique or rhetorical analysis, the annotated bibliography, and a guide to help students to accumulate a good assortment of sources. MLA and APA documentation is covered. Note that this text is published in 2007. Therefore, I recommend the use of MLA 8 Handbook for up-to-date guidelines for correct documentation. The Research Paper is full explained. In the chapter, Alternate Ways to Present Research, the author focuses on a Portfolio. He discusses web publication of research and poster sessions.

I value the clarity of ideas. The text is error-free, and I like the example essays written by students that will serve to inspire students.

The content is relevant. The author guides students through the process in a way that is easy to understand and also academically rigorous. The MLA 8 Handbook is a needed supplement (and that is affordable).

The writing is clear and concise. The organization of the chapters is logical and leads the students through steps in the process of research, writing a reasoned argument, and professional presentation of the research.

Terminology is clear and the framework for research is clear and sensible.

The book's modularity is definitely a strength. It's possible to use chapters of the text without using the entire book and to omit chapters that are not a focus of the instructor.

This book has a logical arrangement of chapters and the assignments are valuable.

The interface is great. It's readable online or in pdf form.

No grammatical errors. There is one detail that reflects changing rules of documentation. In MLA, titles of books, magazines, and journals are now italicized instead of underlined. In this text, they are underlined.

The text is free of bias or stereotypes.

Reviewed by Jennie Englund, Instructor, Composition I & II, Rogue Community College, Oregon on 8/15/17

Twelve chapters are broken into multiple parts. On Page 3 of the Introduction, the text emphasizes its purpose as an "introduction to academic writing and research." The following chapters present more than substantial information to give... read more

Twelve chapters are broken into multiple parts.

On Page 3 of the Introduction, the text emphasizes its purpose as an "introduction to academic writing and research." The following chapters present more than substantial information to give introductory (even well into master) research writers a foundation of the basics, as well as some detail. It differentiates itself as "Academic" research writing through thesis, evidence, and citation. Two of these concepts are revisted in the conclusion. The third (thesis) has its own section, which this reviewer will use in class.

I'm grateful to have reviewed an earlier electronic text. This provided the ability to compare/contrast, and note that this particular text was more comprehensive and in-depth than the guide I had previously reviewed (which was more of a framework, good in its own right.)

Had the guide contained a thorough section on revision, I'd give it a perfect score! Thus, the book very very nearly does what it sets out to do; it provides most of The Process of Research Writing.

Retrieval dates are no longer used on the APA References page. This reviewer would have preferred titles italicized instead of underlined.

The text opens with an introduction of the project, by its author. The project began in 2000 as a text for a major publishing house, but eventually landed via author's rights as an electronic text. Therefore, essentially, the book has already been around quite a while. This reviewer concludes that time, thought, and execution went into publishing the material, and predicts its popularity and usability will grow.

Timeless, the guide could have been used with small updates twenty years ago, and could be used with updates twenty years from now.

The guide could be used as the sole text in a composition course, supplemented by more formal (as well as APA) examples.

The text is organized into 12 chapters; it logically begins with "Thinking Critically about Research," and concludes with "Citing Your Research Using MLA or APA Style." The text includes most of what this reviewer uses to teach academic research writing. However, the book omits the editing/revising process.

The guide poses purposeful questions.

On Page 7 of the Introduction, the text reports being "organized in a 'step-by-step' fashion," with an invitation to the reader to use the book in any order, and revisit passages. The reviewer found the organization to be consistent and as systematic as the actual composition of an academic research paper.

The meat of the text begins with the definition and purpose of "Research." Immediately, a nod to working thesis follows, which is revisited in Chapter 5. Sources are examined and classified into a chart of "Scholarly Versus Non-scholarly or Popular Sources." The segment on "Using the Library" would complement a course or class period on library usage.

The Table of Contents is fluid and logical. Within the text, concepts are revisited and built upon, which the reviewer appreciates. Examples and exercises are given.

Chapter 10 contains an outline of a student research paper (which follows). The paper examines the problems with and solutions for university athletics. The paper is in MLA format. Tone is less formal than this reviewer would use as an example of academic research writing. The reviewer would have welcomed an example of an APA paper, as well.

The last chapter fully realizes instruction introduced at the beginning: citation defines academic writing, and academic writers credit their sources, and present evidence to their readers. I wish this last part emphasized thesis again, too, but in all, it is a very structured, reader-friendly guide.

Charts are integrated and understandable, though the majority of the book is text.

This review found some grammatical errors including capitalization. Book/journal/magazine/newspaper titles are underlined in lieu of italicized.

Student examples include Daniel Marvins, Ashley Nelson, Jeremy Stephens, Kelly Ritter, Stuart Banner, and Casey Copeman. Most examples of citations are from male authors. Text would benefit from multi-cultural authors. Examples/topics include The Great Gatsby,African-American Physicians and Drug Advertising, Cyberculture, ADHD, Diabetes, Student-athletes, and Drunk Driving.Examples are culturally appropriate and multi-disciplinary. Consistent pronoun used: he/him/his

Third-person narration is used; the author addresses the reader directly (and informally). While this perhaps makes a connection between the author and the reader, and adds to understanding, it does not reflect academic research writing, and may confuse beginning writers?

Chapter 5, "Writing a Working Thesis," is among the most clear, comprehensive, and straightforward instruction on the topic this reviewer has seen. I will use this section in my Composition I and II courses, as well as Chapters 1, 3, and 12. I wish this form had a place to rate usability. In that case, this guide would score highly. I commend Dr. Krause's execution and composition, and applaud his sharing this at no cost with the academic community.

Reviewed by Marie Lechelt, ESL/English Instructor and Writing Center Co-director, Riverland Community College on 6/20/17

"The Process of Research Writing" is a textbook that includes all of the major topics covered in most college research writing courses. The style of writing makes it easily understood by students. Depending on your focus in your writing class,... read more

"The Process of Research Writing" is a textbook that includes all of the major topics covered in most college research writing courses. The style of writing makes it easily understood by students. Depending on your focus in your writing class, you may want to supplement this text with more about argumentative writing. Other writing models, homework exercises, and classroom activities found by the instructor would also compliment the use of this text. While I would not use this textbook in my course from start to finish, I would jump around and use a variety of sections from it to teach research writing. This text could be used for a beginning writing class or a second semester writing course. Based on my students writing experiences and abilities, I would eliminate or include certain sections. There is no index or glossary included. The hyperlinks to other sections also do not work.

The content is accurate and error-free. I didn't detect any biased information either. The MLA and APA information have changed since this book was published. The peer review work, plagiarism, critiquing sources, and many more of the topics are almost exactly what I teach to my students. This format will work well for them.

While most research writing content does not change over time, there are many parts of this book that could be updated. These include examples (The Great Gatsby), hyperlinks, and references to technology. The technology aspect is especially important. Since technology is constantly changing, most textbooks (print and online) are out of date as soon as they are printed. Because of this, teachers are constantly having to use supplemental material, which is fine. Just like our class websites, we have to update this information every semester or even more often. If you choose to use this textbook, keep in mind that this will be necessary. The MLA/APA information is also out of date, but this is also to be expected.

Clarity is one of the benefits of this textbook. Although the style is somewhat informal, it included appropriate topics and terminology for students learning to write research essays. Students can understand the topics with one or two readings and discuss the topics in class. There were a few places that seemed like common knowledge for students at this level, like the library or using computers. Unfortunately, we do still have students who do not come to us having already learned this information. So, I don't think these sections would have a negative impact on other students. Students can also be given optional sections to read, or as I plan to do, the teacher can skip around and only assign some sections.

The majority of the terminology is common knowledge in research writing teaching. The text is fairly informal in writing style, which I believe is an advantage for students. Many times, students will read a text and then I will need to explain the terminology or ideas in depth in my lectures. Since I prefer to complete activities and work on students' writing in class, instead of lecturing, this book will work well. The chapter on the "Antithesis" was new to me. While I have taught these ideas, I have not used this term before. This is a chapter I may not use and instead include supplemental material of my own.

The chapters are divided clearly and could be separated quite easily to use as individual units in a writing class. If the hyperlinks worked though, they would be helpful. Exercises build upon one another, so one could not assign a later exercise without students first understanding the other sections of the text. I plan to use this text in a research writing class, and I will be skipping around and only using some sections. I do not believe there will be any problem with this. While students may at first feel that starting on Chapter 4 might be strange, they are very adaptive and should have no difficulties with this format.

The Table of Contents is clear and easily understood. Each chapter follows a logical sequence, and students will be able to transition from one topic to another without difficulty. The use of charts, headings, bold, highlighting, and some other visual aids help the reader to understand what is most important to remember. Although, this could be improved upon with the use of color and graphics. While the content is valuable, I would most likely skip around when using this book in the classroom. While the author begin with an introduction and then jumps right into research, I focus on topic selection and thesis writing before research begins. Of course, as the author mentions, students will go back to their thesis and research many times before finishing the writing process.

The text is easily navigated, and students would be able to follow the topics throughout. The lack of graphics and color is noticeable and detracts from the content. In a world of advanced technology where students click on hundreds of websites with amazing content each week, online textbooks need to meet this standard. This textbook is similar to a traditional textbook. Some links are also inactive.

There were some typos and small grammatical errors but no glaring instances. They also did not impact understanding.

This book contained no offensive language or examples. However, we have a lot of diversity in our classrooms, and this is not reflected in the book. Expanding the examples or including links to diverse examples would be helpful.

I will be using this text in a second semester writing class. It has valuable information about research writing. I believe it could also be used for a first semester writing class. As mentioned above, I will use sections of the text and skip around to accommodate the needs of my students. Supplemental materials will also be needed to meet current technology needs.

Reviewed by Betsy Goetz, English Instructor, Riverland Community College on 6/20/17

The text covers all subject areas appropriately. read more

The text covers all subject areas appropriately.

Overall, the text is accurate.

Relevant and current.

I liked the clarity of the text, especially the specific exercises for students to apply the theory they have learned.

This text is consistent -- good terminology!

Clear sections to focus on key points of research writing.

Well organized.

Not confusing

Overall, lacking grammatical errors.

Relevant -- research writing and thesis building are timeless.

Reviewed by Karen Pleasant, Adjunct Instructor, Rogue Community College on 4/11/17

The textbook covered the basics of writing a research paper (the term "essay"is preferred by the author) and would be appropriate for an introductory college writing course, such as WR 121 or WR 122. A table of content is provided, but there is... read more

The textbook covered the basics of writing a research paper (the term "essay"is preferred by the author) and would be appropriate for an introductory college writing course, such as WR 121 or WR 122. A table of content is provided, but there is no glossary. The textbook guides a student from exploring the initial topic selection through the finished product, although I would have liked the use of citations to be covered in more depth. If I chose this as the textbook for my class I would also need to add supplemental materials about thoroughly developing an argument as well as revising a paper.

The author presented the material in an unbiased manner and does so in a way that provides high readability for students with little to no background in writing a research paper. Excellent examples are provided to reinforce concepts and thoughtful, creative collaborative exercises round out each chapter to give practice in skill mastery. Both MLA and APA formatting styles are included, but the APA section needs to be updated. The book was published in 2007 and many of the APA guidelines have changed., including the preference for using italics versus underlining for book and journal titles.

Each chapter is self-contained and stands alone and , therefore, could easily be updated. Most of the information is relevant and could be used indefinitely. I like that Chapter 11 recommended alternate ways to present the research and suggested more contemporary technology based methods. Chapter 12, about APA and MLA citations, is the chapter that currently needs to be updated and would need to be checked for accuracy annually against the latest APA & MLA guidelines. As it reads, I would handout current materials for APA citation sessions and not use this chapter in the book.

The book is well organized and is very user friendly. I think students would enjoy reading it and be able to relate readily to the content. Examples given and exercises provided help to clarify the content and reinforce the concepts for students. The textbook flows well from selection of initial topic ideas to finished product and will help students to work through the process of writing a research paper.

New terms are thoroughly explained and are used consistently throughout the textbook. The knowledge students gain as they progress through the book feels logical and organized in a usable fashion.

The text is organized so that each chapter stands alone and the order the information is presented can be easily modified to fit the needs of an instructor. The book is that rare combination of being equally functional for both student and instructor.

The topics are presented as needed to guide students through the process of writing a research paper, but could be done in another order if desired. Bold and boxed items are used to emphasize key concepts and chapter exercises.

The textbook is visually appealing and easy to read with adequate use of white space and varied font sizes. I explored the textbook via the PDF documents, which were easy to download, although the hyperlinks were not accessible.

There were noticeable grammatical errors.

The textbook is inclusive and accessible to all and didn't have any content that could be deemed offensive. The approachable layout and writing style make the textbook relevant to college students from a variety of backgrounds.

I would definitely adopt this open textbook for my writing classes. The author provided some wonderful ideas for teaching about research papers and I found many chapter exercises that I would be willing to incorporate into my class . I am especially intrigued by the use of writing an antithesis paper as a lead in to adding opposition to the research paper and look forward to getting student input and feedback about some of the alternative ways to present their research. Compared to textbooks I have used or perused in the past, this book seems more inviting and user friendly for students new to writing college level research papers.

Reviewed by VINCENT LASNIK, Adjunct Professor, Rogue Community College on 4/11/17

This comprehensiveness is one of the strengths of The Process of Research Writing. The Table of Contents (TOC) is fine—and each separate chapter also reproduces the contents listing from high-lever through low-level subsections at the beginning... read more

This comprehensiveness is one of the strengths of The Process of Research Writing. The Table of Contents (TOC) is fine—and each separate chapter also reproduces the contents listing from high-lever through low-level subsections at the beginning of each chapter. This duplicate listing feature helps orient students to what is covered (and what is not) for every chapter in-context. Yes—It is a fair evaluation that there can generally be easy-to-fix, quickly recognizable updates, enhancements, and notable improvements to virtually any textbook 10-15 years after its initial publication date (particularly related to changing terminology and nomenclature within the dynamic English lexicon, technology applications (databases, websites, ‘search engines,’ current good ‘help sites’ for students learning the latest iteration of APA style for manuscript formatting, in-text citations, and end references, etc.)—and the Krause text is a prime candidate for such a thorough revision. For example, digital object identifiers (the doi was first introduced circa 2000) did not become widely/pervasively established until well into the first decade of the 21st century; the ‘doi’ is an ubiquitous standard today in 2017. Nevertheless, many of the basic (boilerplate) concepts are clearly noted and credibly, coherently explained. The text could use some effective reorganization (as I note elsewhere in my review)—but that is arguably a subjective/personalized perspective more related to the way we approach writing instruction and student academic development at Rogue Community College—and perhaps less of a global/universal criticism.

See my comments in other sections that impact this issue. Overall, Krause’s text appears, “accurate, error-free and unbiased.” There are no obvious problems with this observation/contention. Some of the ‘out-of-date’ specifics in the text need updating as I note in detail in my other comments.

Most of the text describes research-writing strategies that are fairly well-established if not generic to the undergraduate English composition content area; thus, the overall longevity of the existing text is good. I have suggested, however, that any such ‘how-to’ guide should be updated (as this particular version) after its first decade of publication. The content for online research, for example, reflects an early 2000s perspective of emerging technology terms (e.g., defining blogs as “web-logs” is easily 12-15 years behind the use of the term in 2017), and some of the online websites mentioned are no longer relevant. These types of ‘out-of-date’ past-referents/links, however, can be easily updated to 2017+ accuracy. I have made a few suggestions about such an update—including my offer to assist Steve Krause (gratis and pro bono) in this update should my collaboration be desired. Otherwise, Krause might go the more open ‘peer review’ route and assemble a set of active teachers, instructors, and adjunct professors (such as me) who are on the ‘frontlines’ of current praxis for research-based, critical thinking, problem-oriented writing courses across the 11th-12th grade and through the undergraduate and workforce education community.

The text is written is a clear, credible, and cogent prose throughout. This is one of the particular strengths of Krause’s text—and recursively provides an exemplar for well-written composition. On occasion, the clarity for students might be improved by additional ‘real-world examples’ (i.e., more ‘showing rather than mere abstract telling) explicating some obtuse concepts and numerous rules (e.g., for research strategy, proofreading/editing, using search engines and conducting library research, etc.)—but a similar constructive criticism could easily be made of nearly all similar sources.

The text wording, terminology, framework and process emphasis are highly consistent. There are overlaps and dovetailing (i.e., redundancy) in any/every college textbook—but Krause keeps these to a minimum throughout. Some updating of terminology would be appropriate, useful, and needed as I note throughout my OER review.

The text is superb in this regard. The chapters and exercises are highly modular—which supports the customized reorganization I apply myself in my own courses as noted in my other comments. Numerous subheads and special highlighted ‘key points’ textboxes augment this modularity and improve the narrowing of assigned readings, examples, and exercises for most writing courses. The Process of Research Writing is clearly not, “overly self-referential,” and can easily be, “reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader” by any instructor.

One of the principal weaknesses of the set of chapters is that the given ‘table of contents’ structure is conceptually disjointed—at least insofar as my research writing course is designed. Therefore, to provide a more coherent, logical sequence congruent to the course organization of my Writing 122 (this is an intermediate/advanced-level English Composition II)—it was necessary to assign a completely different order of The Process of Research Writing (Krause, 2007) high-level chapters/pages for weekly course reading assignments as follows:

Week One: Table of Contents; Introduction: Why Write Research Projects?; and Chapter 1: Thinking Critically About Research; Week Two: Chapter 2: Understanding and Using the Library and the Internet for Research. These three starting chapters were reasonable to introduce in Krause’s original sequence. Continuing into Week Two, I also added Chapter 4: How to Collaborate and Write with Others (but I highlighted limited/specific passages only since WR122 does not emphasize collaborative prose composition activities and extensive group-writing projects using such apps as Google Docs). Week Three: I then assigned Chapter 10: The Research Essay—since it was important to orient students to the intrinsic, namesake umbrella concept of researching and writing the research essay—the essential focus of the course I teach. IMPORTANT NEED TO RESTRUCTURE THE OER as it exists: Viewed from a course rationale and content/skill acquisition conceptual level—I have no idea why Krause did not place ‘Writing The Research Essay’ as high as Chapter 2. It comes far too late in the book as Chapter 10. This is actually where the chapter belongs (in my view); the other topics in the remaining Chapters’ (2—12) would more cogently and effectively proceed after first exploring the high-level nature of the research essay task in the first place. The subsequent skills for conducting Online Library Research; Quoting, Paraphrasing, Avoiding Plagiarism, creating a testable ‘Working Thesis,’ producing an Annotated Bibliography (some courses also use a précis assignment), Evaluating and Categorizing Sources, etc.—are realistically supporting, scaffolding, and corroborating functional/operational skills designed to design, research, and produce the research-based essay project. Therefore—from a project-based and problem-oriented pedagogical strategy/approach—a sound argument could be proffered that putting Chapter 10 second in a reordered book would help students on many levels (not the least being engaging interest and promoting contextual understanding for why learning the content of the remaining chapters makes sense and can be critical/applicable to the research-writing process.

Continuing on my own WR122 course text-sequence customization—in Week Four—we move into the attribution phase of the writing process in Chapter 3: Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism. Logically, we then move (in Week Five) to Chapter 5: The Working Thesis so students can ask significant/original questions and determine a point of departure into their research essay. This seemed like a good time to add the concept of ‘opposition views’ (i.e., counter-claims, rejoinder and rebuttal) discussed in Chapter 8: The Antithesis. In Week Six—we moved into essay formatting, in-text citation and end references, so Chapter 12: Citing Your Research Using MLA or APA Style {(focusing on reading pp. 1-2 (brief overview), and pp. 18-33 about APA style)} was assigned. In addition, students also perused Chapter 7: The Critique preceding a related argumentative assignment (i.e., a movie review project). For Week Seven (concurrent with an annotated bibliography project for the main term paper—students read Chapter 6: The Annotated Bibliography, and Chapter 9: The Categorization and Evaluation (of sources) that was ostensibly/logically relevant to the annotated bibliography project. Concluding the course for Weeks Eight-Eleven—there were new required readings. Students were instructed to review previous readings in The Process of Research Writing (Krause, 2007)—time permitting. Also Note: Chapter 11: Alternative Ways to Present Your Research is completely optional reading. It is not particularly applicable to this course; there is a student’s self-reflection about the research process on pp. 3-11 that may have some nominal merit, but it notes MLA style (versus my course’s use of APA 6th edition style only) and is in any case not required.

The text is not fancy; standard black and white (high-contrast) font used throughout. For emphasis of key points, Krause does use special ‘highlight boxes’ with gray background, a thick black stroke on the outside of the rectangular textbox. While the gray level might be lowered (in the update) for improved contrast—the true-black, bulleted, bolded key-terms are easy to perceive/read. The only criticism I have is the distracting overuse of quotation mark punctuation for emphasis; this should be corrected in any updated version. Otherwise, most of the book’s interface presentation supports a good user (student) experience, good printability, and good accessibility per ADA and general disability (e.g., visually impaired learners) protocols.

There are no significant/glaring occurrences of grammatical errors in the text. I am not a ‘grammar snob’ in any case. The prose seems clear, cogent, thoughtful, well-written; it generally uses solid grammar, mechanics, and punctuation. The exception is the overuse of a somewhat casual/conversational tone combined with (what is more of a recognizable issue) a distracting overuse of quotation marks—many of which are simply neither needed nor helpful; most could be quickly removed with an immediate improvement to readability.

I do not see significant, relevant, or glaring faux pas pertaining to any biased disrespect for multiculturalism. All persons (e.g., races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and cultural backgrounds) are equally respected and appreciated. The content area (English composition) is very amenable to a relatively generic, culture-free perspective—and Krause’s examples and prose is well-within any applicable standards of post-modern, scholarly, formal non-fiction in written Standard English.

[1] The Process of Research Writing was ostensibly presented/published to Creative Commons in 2007. No identifiable part/portion of the original edition text appears to have been updated (changed, modified, or improved) since then (i.e., at least 10 years); This is perhaps the single, most apparent flaw/weakness for this textbook. An in-depth revision to 2017 post-rhetorical model essay-writing standards and APA conventions would be invaluable—and quite bluntly—is sorely required. A newly updated Version 2.0 for 2017-18 should be critically planned (and scheduled or already ‘in progress’ if it is not already).

[2] There are many insightful, practical, and high-value approaches to the research writing process; in this regard—the nominal OER title is superbly appropriate for late high-school and beginning college (undergraduate) research essay projects. Even though some of the technical components (e.g., APA style) require updating/revision (which makes basic, reasonable sense after a ‘decade on the shelf’ for any academic research writing source)—Krause’s chapters can effectively replace many expensive, glossy college entry-level textbooks! After presenting the core concepts in a coherent and self-evident manner, Krause supplies a plethora of examples to illustrate those concepts. Then (and this is one of the true strengths of this OER)—each chapter (particularly Chapters 5-10) highlights student-oriented exercises to practice those same core concepts). Because of this latter emphasis—the Krause OER is ‘learner-centered’ (as opposed to ‘content centered’), problem-oriented and performance-oriented as well—providing opportunities for creative, resourceful teachers to adapt/adopt the OER to course assignments.

[3] There does not appear to be a single (standalone) PDF for this OER. This is a notable flaw/weakness for this textbook. Conversely, however, although a single PDF would have some convenient ‘easier downloading’ advantages for students—having separate chapters affords every teacher to create a customized chapter-order (as I have efficiently done to correspond to my course design). The chapters support excellent modularity and the accompanying exercises/examples demonstrate the concepts Krause explicates with a fine degree of granularity for any teacher. Thus—integrating any textbooks or teaching/learning resources (like OERs) always has tradeoffs—plusses and minuses, positives and negatives. The obvious key, therefore, is taking the liberty of using the OER as a supporting scaffold or buttress to an instructor’s original design concept—rather than the foundation around which a course can be designed.

[4] Some minor weaknesses for prose instruction are (a) Krause’s acceptance of passive, sophomoric signal phrasing (i.e., According to X…)—as opposed to strong, active voice such as ‘’X found…’; and (b) a general overuse of quotation marks throughout the book. This is not meant as a harsh criticism—merely an observation that readability could be improved with a newer version that eliminates most quotation marks (Note: In APA style—these punctuation symbols are only used for verbatim quotes. This makes for a cleaner, clearer manuscript).

[5] One of the solid/helpful strengths of the book is a relatively accurate presentation of APA style for in-text citation and end references (Chapter 12). It appears that like many academics—Krause is more familiar and comfortable with the Modern Language Association’s MLA style/formatting. No problem there—I was simply trained on APA beginning in 1984 so it is native to me; I also use the latest version of APA style in all of my writing (college composition) courses. Thus—it should come as no surprise there are a number of obvious APA-associated inaccuracies including (but limited to): (a) meekly accepting ‘n.d.’ (no date) and ‘n.a.’ (no author) sources when a little investigative research by the student (and adherence to the APA rule hierarchy for dates and authors) would easily come up with a sound date and author. Another error (b) seems to be more typographic (formatting) and/or refers to an earlier edition of APA style: the end references in the PDF (and html versions?) use underline in place of italics. The 2011 APA 6th edition style does not use underline in the end references. There are other small (faux pas) errors such as (c) noting generally inaccessible proprietary online databases and servers (again—no longer done in APA). A thorough, meticulous updating of this OER source would probably take care of many of these APA-error issues. I’d be happy to work with Steve on this update at any time.

[6] I use Amy Guptill’s Writing in College: From Competence to Excellence by Amy Guptill of State University of New York (2016) for my English Composition I course that emphasizes general essay writing and a simple research-supported argumentative essay. I teach that course using the following assigned readings: Week One: Chapter 1 (Really? Writing? Again?), pp. 1-7, and Chapter 2 (What Does the Professor Want? Understanding the Assignment), pp. 9-18; Week Two: Chapter 6 (Back to Basics: The Perfect Paragraph), pp. 48-56; Chapter 7 (Intros and Outros), pp. 57-64; Week Four: Chapter 9 (Getting the Mechanics Right), pp. 75-85; Week Five: Chapter 8 (Clarity and Concision), pp. 65-73; Week Six: Chapter 3 (Constructing the Thesis and Argument—From the Ground Up), pp. 19-27; Week Seven: Chapter 4 (Secondary Sources in Their Natural Habitats), pp. 28-37; Week Eight: Chapter 5 (Listening to Sources, Talking to Sources), pp. 38-47. I then switch over to Krause’s OER for my English Composition II course. At Rogue Community College, Writing 122 emphasizes intermediate essay writing and analytical, more rigorous and original research-based essays involving critical thinking. I completely reordered the chapters as described above to fit into my course design. I like Krause’s individual ‘modular’ chapters—but the particular ‘scope and sequence’ he uses are debatable. Overall, however, The Process of Research Writing easily and effectively substitutes/replaces other costly tomes from for-profit academic publishers—even those that offer bundled DVDs and online-access to proprietary tutorial sources. Used in conjunction with other freely available PDF OERs, websites, YouTube videos, tutorial/practice sites from innumerable libraries, blogs (e.g., the APA Blog is particularly helpful)—as well as original/customized sources created by individual instructors for their own courses—the Krause book offers a good, solid baseline for developing research-based writing competencies particularly appropriate for the first two years of college.

Reviewed by Amy Jo Swing, English Instructor, Lake Superior College on 4/11/17

This book covers most of the main concepts of research writing: thesis, research, documenting, and process. It's weak on argument though, which is standard in most research composition texts. The book provides a clear index so finding information... read more

This book covers most of the main concepts of research writing: thesis, research, documenting, and process. It's weak on argument though, which is standard in most research composition texts. The book provides a clear index so finding information is relatively easy. The other weak spot is on evaluation evidence: there is a section on it but not comprehensive examples. Students in general needs lots of practice on how to evaluate and use information.

The information is accurate mostly except for the APA and MLA section. Writing and research writing haven't changed that much in a long time. It's more the technology and tools that change.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 2

The ideas about research and writing in general are fine, However, the references to technology and documentation are very out of date, over 10 years so. Students use technology very differently than described in this text, and the technologies themselves have changed. For example, the author talks about floppy disks and AOL messenger but not about Google Drive, Wikipedia, Prezi, or how to use phones and tablets while researching. Our students are digital natives and need to understand how to use their devices to write and research.

The book is quite readable in general. Concepts are easy to understand. Sometimes, they are almost too simple like the section explaining what a library is. Students might not be sophisticated library users, but they understand in general how they work. The chapters are concise, which is nice for student use too.

Except for pronoun use, the book is consistent in tone and terms. Not all the terms are ones I use in my own teaching, and it would be nice to see explanation of more argument/research frameworks like the Toulmin Model of argument.

The chapters are pretty self-contained and clear as individual units. I can see including certain chapters and leaving out others that aren't as relevant to my teaching style or assignments. One could easily assign the chapters in a different order, but students ask lots of questions when you assign chapter 6 first and then weeks later, assign chapter 2 or 3.

The basic chapters make sense in terms of how they are created and categorized but the order is problematic if an instructor were to assign them in the order presented. For example, the chapter on creating an annotated bibliography comes before the one on documenting (APA/MLA). Students can't complete an annotated bibliography without knowing how to cite sources. Same with evaluating sources. There is so much information on locating sources before any clear mention is made of how to evaluate them. I find that is the weak spot with students. If they learn how to evaluate sources, it's easier to find and locate and research effectively.

Not many images. Students really like info-graphics, pictures, and multi-media. The hyperlinks to other sections of the book do not work in either the PDF or HTML versions. I do like some of the illustrations like mapping and how research is more a web than a linear process. For an online textbook, there aren't a lot of hyperlinks to outside resources (of which there are so many like Purdue's OWL and the Guide to Grammar and Writing).

There were quite a few errors : comma errors, spelling (affect/effect), some pronoun agreement errors, capitalization errors with the title in Chapter Four. The author also uses passive voice quite a bit, which is inconsistent with the general familiar tone. In some chapters, there is constant switching between first, second, and third person. I focus much on point of view consistency in my students' writing, and this would not be a great model for that.

Cultural Relevance rating: 3

There is no cultural offensiveness but not much diversity in examples and students names either. Marginalized students (of color, with disabilities, of different sexuality or gender) would not see themselves reflected much.

This is a good basic reference on the process of writing and research. However, it would not be too useful without updated information on technology and documentation. As a web-based text, it reads more like a traditional physical textbook.

Reviewed by Jocelyn Pihlaja, Instructor, Lake Superior College on 2/8/17

The length and scope of this book are appropriate for a semester-long research writing course, with twelve chapters that move from foundational concepts into more specific skills that are needed for the crafting of a paper incorporating MLA or APA... read more

The length and scope of this book are appropriate for a semester-long research writing course, with twelve chapters that move from foundational concepts into more specific skills that are needed for the crafting of a paper incorporating MLA or APA citation. In particular, I like that the early chapters cover the questions of "Why Write Research Papers?" and how to think critically, the middle chapters provide specific activities in the skills of quoting and paraphrasing, and the later chapters bring in assignments (such as writing an annotated bibliography) that help students practice and build content for their ultimate paper.There is no index or glossary to this book; however, the table of contents provides an overview of the chapters that guides navigation well.

Content Accuracy rating: 3

In terms of the thinking, this book's information is logical and sound. The explanations of concepts and activities read easily and do a fine job of explicating the why and how of research writing. In a few places, however, the word "effected" is used when it should be "affected." Editing also is needed when the author uses phrases such as "in the nutshell" instead of "in a nutshell." As well, in Chapter 4, there is pronoun/antecedent disagreement when the author uses "their" to refer to "each member." Also, each chapter contains at least one "Hyperlink" to supplemental information, yet the hyperlinks are dead. For the most part, the text is clean and well edited, but we English teachers are line-editing sticklers, so even small, occasional errors stand out. Overall: the ideas presented are accurate and free of bias, yet there are a few, niggling errors.

When it comes to relevance and longevity, this book is problematic. In fact, it is so outdated as to be unusable, at least for this instructor. Certainly, the concepts presented are solid; they don't change with passing years. However, typographically, the book is passe, as it uses two spaces after periods. Even more troubling is that it refers to the Internet as "new" and comes from a point of view that sees this thing called "the World Wide Web" as novel while also noting students might want to rely on microfilm and microfiche during their research. In another example, the author suggests to students that a benefit of writing on computers is that they can share their work with each other on disc or through email. Truly, such references make the book unusable for a class in 2017. Another issue is that the Modern Language Association has updated its guidelines several times since this book's publication; ideally, a text used in a research writing class would cover, if not the latest guidelines, at least the previous version of the guidelines. A full rewrite of the book is necessary before it could be adopted. As the book currently stands, students would roll their eyes at the antiquated technological language, and the teacher would need to apologize for asking students to read a text that is so out-of-date.

The writing in this book is both accessible and intelligent. It's eminently readable. Specifically, the inclusion of things like an "Evidence Quality and Credibility Checklist" at the end of Chapter 1 and the continual use of grey boxes that highlight major concepts is very good. Also extremely helpful are the examples of student writing that end nearly every chapter; these models demonstrate to readers what is expected from each assignment. Finally, the explanations of quoting and paraphrasing are superior -- so clear, so easy for students to digest. Were it not outdated in terms of technological references, I would definitely consider using this book in my classes due to the clarity of the prose.

Consistency rating: 3

For the most part, the book is well structured and consistent in its design and layout. Each chapter provides general explanation of a concept, moves into a specific assignment, and ends with an example or two of student responses to that assignment. Very quickly, readers know what to expect from each chapter, and there's something comforting about the predictability of the layout, especially in a book that is being read on a screen, using scrolling. When it comes to the terminology, my only note would be that the book starts out using a relaxed second-person point of view, addressing students as "you," but then, at the end of Chapter 2, the author suddenly begins also using the first-person "I." This first-person point of view continues throughout the book, so it becomes consistent from that point on, but for me as a reader, I never quite adjusted to that level of informality, particularly when all the sentences using "I" could easily be re-written in the third person. Before reading this text, I hadn't really considered what I like in a book, but now I know: because I want the text to model the ideal, I would prefer a more formal (and consistent) point of view. Today's students struggle to create essays that don't include "you" or "I" -- even when they very consciously are trying to avoid those words. Learning to write from the third person POV is surprisingly challenging. Therefore, my personal preference would be a textbook that consistently models this approach.

The chapters in this book are of a perfect length -- long enough to develop the ideas and present comprehensive explanations yet short enough to be ingested and excised. Put another way, I could see grabbing bits and pieces of this text and using them in my classes. For instance, without adopting the entire text, I still could pull the instructions for the Anti-Thesis essay or the Annotated Bibliography, or I could use the explanation of the purpose of collaboration. Indeed, the chapters and exercises in this book are tight "modules" that allow an instructor to pick and choose or to reorganize the chapters to better fit with an individual course structure. For me, although I won't use this entire text, I can envision incorporating pieces of it into my teaching.

The organization of this book is one of its greatest strengths. It starts with a broad overview of research into an exploration of the process behind seeking out reputable sources, weaves in a few shorter essay assignments that serve as building blocks for a longer paper, and culminates with the ideas for a final, capstone research project -- something that naturally grows out of all the previous chapters. Each chapter in the text flows easily out of the chapter before it. One of this text's greatest strengths is how each successive chapter builds on the concepts presented in the previous chapters.

As noted earlier, the hyperlinks in the book don't work. As well, the screenshots included in the book are blurry and add little, except frustration, to the content. Outside of those issues, though, the book is physically easy to read and navigate, largely thanks to the easy clicking between the table of contents and individual chapters.

As suggested earlier, the book, as a whole, reads easily, yet there are some errors with the homonyms "effected" and "affected," along with pronoun/antecedent disagreement. I also noticed a handful of places where there are extra spaces around commas (in addition to the use of two spaces after periods).

This text is definitely not insensitive or offensive; its tone is fair and balanced, free of bias. On the other hand, this book does not really bring in examples that address diversity. Students reading this book will not see acknowledgment of different races, ethnicities, sexual preferences, or personal histories. Thus, in addition to updating the references to technology, if this book were rewritten, it also could more deliberately address this lack. As it is, the content of this book does feel whitewashed and free of cultural relevance.

There is a lot of promise in this text because the explanations and assignments are so good. But unless it is updated, I don’t see it as usable in a current classroom.

Reviewed by Leana Dickerson, Instructor , Linn Benton Community College on 2/8/17

The author certainly outlines and examines elements of research writing, and does so in a very clear, organized, and thoughtful way. There is no glossary or index included in the text, but the chapters and headings in the table of contents and at... read more

The author certainly outlines and examines elements of research writing, and does so in a very clear, organized, and thoughtful way. There is no glossary or index included in the text, but the chapters and headings in the table of contents and at the beginning of each section very clearly outline what is to be expected from the text. Most all of the concepts are very thoroughly explained and examined including topics that typically are glossed over in research writing texts, including the opposition to argument, close reading, and the importance of research writing to a variety of career pathways. Although thorough in what is present, there are some issues that I would want to touch on with my research students including developing effective argument, logical organization, and examples of the revision process.

The information in this text is accurate and adequately explained. It seems readily accessible for any college age student, but doesn’t expect students to come with a background in research or writing. MLA formatting for works cited pages is up to date, and even addresses the fact that the format for citation changes regularly and points to appropriate resources outside of the text. The only formatting issue that I noticed were some in-text citations (examples throughout early chapters) that included a comma which is no longer expected by the MLA. In the works cited section (and throughout, in examples) when referring to book titles, the author does use the underline function instead of an italicized book title; the author also refers to the use of either italic or underlined differentiation, yet MLA suggests italics in text form.

The content of this text is very straight forward and although essentially up to date, may need updates as relevant technology develops. Updates should be simple and clear to implement as needed because of the strict organization of each chapter.

I found the content clarity in this text to be refreshing for college age students. Often, as an instructor, I ask my students to read a text and then I must re-visit the content in lecture format to ensure that my students are not lost on terminology or foundational knowledge. This text does not assume any prior knowledge from the reader, but also does not feel rudimentary. The formatting and highlighted importance of some information also provided clarity and consistency throughout. The author paced information well, building on major concepts from the beginning and returning to them throughout. The final stages of the text bring students to a major essay that easily shows how each concept included throughout the text can weave into a larger project.

This text is consistent, and feels organized with format, terminology, and the building of content from beginning to end.

The sections in this text are easily broken into segments that can be taught or read at any point throughout the writing process. The text does build on exercises from the beginning to the end, but each of these can be taken out of a linear timeline and used for multiple kinds of projects. The author actually refers to this organization in text, making it clear how each element can work alone or for a streamlined project.

Concepts build upon one another, and yet can be returned to (or jumped to) out of order and still be easy to access and utilize. The text is broken up nicely with bolded, bulleted, or boxed items which designate a stopping point, a discussion to consider, or important details or concepts to focus on.

The layout and navigation of this text online is very accessible, organized, and easy to read. The text PDFs often open in a full browser window, other times they open as PDF documents, but either way include a clean, streamlined format. The text does not seem to be able to be downloaded, making it potentially difficult for students to access without internet access. One issue that I did encounter was that in PDF format, or in html, hyperlinks do not function.

The text is clear, free of grammatical errors, and flows well.

This text is relevant to all audiences and very approachable for college age students.

I found this text to be a refreshing change from what is typically find in research textbooks; it’s relevance to more than just the assignment will help students connect research to the broader concept of academia and other facets of their lives. The antithesis section is a useful way for students to really engage with an opposing opinion and how they can then incorporate that into a successful research project. Also, the differing ways of presenting research I found to be useful for students to think about their project beyond a stapled stack of pages, and to expand that to differing modes of communication and presentation. I look forward to being able to use this text with students.

Reviewed by Samuel Kessler, Postdoctoral Fellow, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University on 2/8/17

"The Process of Research Writing" covers most of the areas students need to understand as they begin research writing at a college level. It has explanations of theses, bibliographies, citations, outlines, first paragraphs, etc. There is no index... read more

"The Process of Research Writing" covers most of the areas students need to understand as they begin research writing at a college level. It has explanations of theses, bibliographies, citations, outlines, first paragraphs, etc. There is no index or glossary, the latter especially being something that would have been very helpful and easy to put together. Krause has many useful definitions and quick-help guides throughout the text, but they are so scattered and ineffectively labeled that it can be very difficult to find them without reading through whole chapters in one's search. On the whole, buried inside these pages, is a very effective guides to *teaching* about research writing. In truth, this book is a teacher's introduction to a class (or, more realistically, three or four class sessions) devoted to college-level academic writing. Unfortunately, there are a lot of words that one has to get through to find all these subject, which can make for tough going.

Based on the questions and errors I see my students making, Krause has done a strong job of highlighting the basics of proper academic research. He spends much time on sources, especially on learning to differentiate between scholarly, trade, and journalistic sources, as well as how to steer clear and note the signs of online schlock (i.e. much of the internet). His tips for peer-to-peer editing and self-reflexive assignments are just the sort of things our students needs help working on.

This is a strange book. The portions that are about implementing class assignments or explaining terms like thesis and antithesis, as well as the examples of an outline or a good first paragraph, are all excellent tools for a classroom.

But there are so many instances of irrelevant or outdates explanations. No college student today needs to read about why writing on a computer is a useful thing to do. No student needs to read about how email can be a tool for academic exchange. A section on using computers for research? On how to copy and paste within a word document? (And no-one calls it the "World Wide Web".) These are issues for the late 90s, not for students in the second decade of the twenty-first century.

There is also a fair amount that is personal and peculiar to the author: a discussion of why he uses the term "research essay" instead of "research paper"? That is just wasted space, and actually without the argumentative merits of a research thesis that he had been teaching up to that point.

For students at research universities, or even at second-tier state and private colleges, the information about libraries and library catalogues changes so quickly that I could never assign those passages. Instead, we'll spend class time looking at our specific library interface. And often, so much material is being sent off-site these days that in many humanities fields its not even possible to scan the shelves any longer. And in science, books are almost irrelevant: online access journals are where the latest research is stored. A bound edition of *Science* from the 1970s contains very little that's important for a scientific research paper written in 2016--unless that paper is about the history of some form of experiment.

Krause writes in a folksy, breezy second-person. Now, so does Tom Friedman of the Times, though that is one of the main criticisms of his otherwise insights books. Krause has a tendency to be overly wordy. This book should more closely resemble Hemingway than Knausgaard in order to be practical. For students who have Facebook etc. open while they're reading this book, every sentence that's not directly relevant will make their minds wander. There are so many sentences that simply need to be cut. To use this book, I'd need to cut and paste just the relevant passages. And without an index or glossary, assigning sections to students is very hard.

"The Process of Research Writing" is internally consistent. Krause maintains the same tone throughout, and defines terms as he goes along. The chapters vary considerably in length, with the short chapters always being more useful and focused, with less superfluous verbiage and fewer authorial quirks.

Modularity rating: 2

"The Process of Research Writing" is a very difficult text to use. The HTML and PDF versions are identical, which defeats the unique way the internet functions. I read this book on both Safari and Chrome, and in neither browser do the hyperlinks work. The tables of content at the heads of each chapter do not link to their respective sections. The projects, assignments, and definitions do not appear in different windows, which would make them possible to keep open while continuing on in the book. There are many instances in which moving back and forth between sections would be very helpful, and that is simply not possible without having multiple windows of the same book open and going between them that way--something that is very clumsy. And again, there are so many superfluous words that even assigning specific chapters means getting through a lot of talk before actually encountering the various hints, tricks, and explanations that are important for learning how to do college-level research.

"The Process of Research Writing" reads like a series of lectures that are meant to be give in a large lecture class, with assignments appended throughout and at the ends. The order of the books is, overall, what one would expect and need for teaching the basics. However, there is a good deal in Chapter 10 that should have appeared earlier (outlines, for instance), and that becomes part of one long chapter that is difficult to use and should have been divided into smaller sections.

As mentioned, in neither Safari nor Chrome do the hyperlinks work. And there appears to have been no planning for links from the chapter tables-of-content to their various associated sections. This makes it very difficult to get between sections or to return to where one was after going somewhere else in the book. Further, there are many links on the internet that remain stable over long periods of time. The Library of Congress, for instance, about which there is a section concerning its cataloguing system, should have a link. As should WorldCat, which for many people who do not have access to a major research library is the best place for learning about texts. Many services like LexusNexus, ABC Clio, and the NY Times archive all also maintain stable websites that should be externally linked.

Except for a smattering of typos, the book has fine (though informal) grammar. This is not a text that could also be used to demonstrate high-level academic writing.

There is nothing culturally offensive here in any way.

In many ways, this is a much better book for teachers of first-year students than for the students themselves. There are many sections of this book to pull out and assign, or to read together in class, to help students gain an understanding of college-level research. But this is not a book I'd ever assign to my students in total. The suggestions for in-class and homework assignments are all high quality pedagogy. But students shouldn't read about their own assignments--they should just do them. Departments can give this book to first-year professors to help them create class periods where they teach their students how to write papers. That would be an excellent use for this text. But as a book for students themselves, I cannot recommend it.

Reviewed by Margaret Wood, Instructor, Klamath Community College on 8/21/16

The book thoroughly covers the material that first-year college research writers need to know including an introduction to basic academic research concepts, searches and source evaluation from library and web resources, a thorough discussion of... read more

The book thoroughly covers the material that first-year college research writers need to know including an introduction to basic academic research concepts, searches and source evaluation from library and web resources, a thorough discussion of summary, paraphrase and direct quotation, collaboration and peer review, topic selection, hypothesis and thesis development, annotated bibliography, text analysis and evaluation, engaging seriously with opposing viewpoints, working with evidence and attributes of evidence, the components of a traditional research essay, alternative forms of presentation (web-based project), and finally MLA and APA documentation. There are also hyperlinks to help readers move to relevant information in other chapters.

While concepts like ethos, logos, and pathos are mentioned in passing, they are not deeply developed. Other topics I generally teach alongside research which are not covered include strategies for defining terms, inductive and deductive logic, and logical fallacies.

I did not identify any inaccuracies or biases. There are areas where focus may be a bit different. For example, the model my institution uses for annotated bibliographies uses the rhetorical precis as a summary model, and also encourages a brief evaluative analysis. On the other hand, the emphasis given to the antithesis is new to me, and looks like a very good idea. I did identify a couple of grammatical issues -- two cases of "effect" instead of "affect", and one pronoun agreement problem.

Good writing principles don't tend to change that much. The discussion of the Web-based research project is very timely.

The book is written in a conversational style which should be easy for students to understand. All technical terms are clearly explained. There are also aids for comprehension and review including: a useful bulleted list at the beginning of each chapter outlines material covered in that chapter; highlighted boxes which provide guidance for class discussion on the topic; sample assignments; easy-to-read checklists of key points.

The text is entirely consistent. Hyperlinks help to connect key points to other chapters.

The material is subdivided into clear and appropriate chapters; moreover, the chapters provide clear subheadings. However, I did identify one instance where subheadings indicated material that is not present in chapter four: Three Ideas for Collaborative Projects * Research Idea Groups * Research Writing Partners * Collaborative Research Writing Projects.

Also, as previously mentioned, some material that I would like to include is not covered in this text.

I feel that chapter 3 should be placed later, at a point in the term where students have actually begun the writing process.

Images, though used infrequently, are blurry, and hyperlinks, at least as I was able to access them, did not appear to be active.

Mentioned above -- two "effect"/"affect" issues and one issue of pronoun agreement

I did not identify any culturally insensitive issues. The one essay topic used throughout, a thesis involving The Great Gatsby, I did not find particularly relevant, since my institution excludes literature from its research projects.

Solid and thorough advice on research writing. Quite heavy on text, but advice is useful and frequently innovative.

Reviewed by Laura Sanders, Instructor, Portland Community College on 8/21/16

The text offers a comprehensive discussion of all the elements of writing a research project. The author covers evaluating sources, using library research, incorporating research into essays, collaborative work, creating a thesis, as well as... read more

The text offers a comprehensive discussion of all the elements of writing a research project.

The author covers evaluating sources, using library research, incorporating research into essays, collaborative work, creating a thesis, as well as writing annotated bibliographies, close reading, opposition, alternative project formats, and citing sources.

Although there is no index or glossary, the text is organized in discrete chapters available on the site as HTML or PDF for easy navigation.

Although I found no inaccuracies, both the APA and MLA handbooks have been updated since the versions used in this text.

Most of the content will not be obsolete any time soon, but the citation chapter is not based on recent APA and MLA handbooks.

The section on alternative ways to present research (Chapter 11) could be updated to include YouTube, Prezi, and more recent technology.

The modular format would make it very easy to update.

The text is written at a level that is appropriate for the target audience, college students who need to build research and writing skills.

This text is internally consistent.

I consider the modules to be one of the main strengths of the text. The sections have useful subheadings.

It would be easy to select specific chapters as course readings.

The chapters follow an intuitive sequence of developing a paper from topic to research to draft.

This text is easy to navigate.

I found no grammar errors.

There are ample opportunities here to add cultural diversity to the sample topics and writing tasks.

I am thrilled to offer this text to my students instead of the incredibly expensive alternatives currently available.

I am particularly interested in using this book for online writing courses, so students who desire more thorough discussion of particular stages of writing a research project could build or refresh foundational skills in these areas.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Thinking Critically About Research
  • Chapter Two: Understanding and Using the Library and the Internet for Research
  • Chapter Three: Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Chapter Four: How to Collaborate and Write With Others
  • Chapter Five: The Working Thesis Exercise
  • Chapter Six: The Annotated Bibliography Exercise
  • Chapter Seven: The Critique Exercise
  • Chapter Eight: The Antithesis Exercise
  • Chapter Nine: The Categorization and Evaluation Exercise
  • Chapter Ten: The Research Essay
  • Chapter Eleven: Alternative Ways to Present Your Research
  • Chapter Twelve: Citing Your Research Using MLA or APA Style

Ancillary Material

About the book.

The title of this book is The Process of Research Writing , and in the nutshell, that is what the book is about. A lot of times, instructors and students tend to separate “thinking,” “researching,” and “writing” into different categories that aren't necessarily very well connected. First you think, then you research, and then you write. The reality is though that the possibilities and process of research writing are more complicated and much richer than that. We think about what it is we want to research and write about, but at the same time, we learn what to think based on our research and our writing. The goal of this book is to guide you through this process of research writing by emphasizing a series of exercises that touch on different and related parts of the research process.

About the Contributors

Steven D. Krause  grew up in eastern Iowa, earned a BA in English at the University of Iowa, an MFA in Fiction Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a PhD in Rhetoric and Writing at Bowling Green State University. He joined the faculty at Eastern Michigan University in 1998.

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Steps To Write A Great Research Paper

Steps To Write A Great Research Paper

This guide will provide a succinct walkthrough on the step-by-step process of how you should write an academic research paper with a proper research paper format . It encompasses all the key steps in writing a research paper such as how to start writing a research paper, crafting an outline, incorporating citations and evidence, and formulating a concluding section. 

The following is a step-by-step manual tailored for students and professionals, acknowledging that certain steps may not be universally applicable to every assignment. Consider this a comprehensive overview to assist you in maintaining a structured approach and steps in writing a research paper .

Here’s an overview of the following 7 steps in writing a research paper :

Step 1: Choose a Topic

Step 2: conduct preliminary research, step 3: develop a thesis statement, step 4: create an outline, step 5: conduct in-depth research, step 6: write a rough draft, step 7: revise and edit.

Let’s dive deeper into the 7 steps in writing a research paper .

While this may appear straightforward, the choice of a topic holds significant weight in the research paper writing process, as it dictates subsequent research paper steps .

The primary consideration in the process of selecting a research paper topic is whether it offers sufficient substance and content for a comprehensive exploration. Opting for a subject with ample data and complexity is essential to facilitate a meaningful discussion. However, it is equally important to avoid overly broad topics and instead focus on those specific enough to cover all pertinent information without sacrificing depth.

Nevertheless, the selection of your topic should not be a mechanical process; it is advisable to choose something that personally interests you. Ideally, the chosen topic should fulfill both criteria—providing substantial content and maintaining your personal engagement.

Commence your research early, as the term “research paper” implies a need for timely investigation.

To refine your chosen topic and formulate a solid thesis statement, it’s imperative to explore existing research on your subject promptly. This initial research phase serves to dispel any misconceptions you might have about the topic and unveils optimal paths and approaches for acquiring more material.

Sources can typically be found online or in a library. When conducting online searches, ensure the use of reputable sources such as science journals or academic papers. Some search engines, detailed below in the Tools and Resources section, enable the exclusive exploration of accredited sources and academic databases.

Maintain awareness of the distinction between primary and secondary sources during your search. Primary sources, like published articles or autobiographies, offer firsthand accounts, while secondary sources, such as critical reviews or secondhand biographies, provide more removed perspectives.

During the research gathering process, it is advisable to skim through sources rather than reading each one in full initially. If a source appears promising, set it aside for a thorough reading later. This approach prevents getting bogged down with sources that may not be ultimately utilized, allowing for more effective use of your time in discovering valuable sources.

In certain instances, a literature review may be required to elucidate your sources and present them for validation by an authority. Even if a literature review is not mandatory, compiling an early list of potential sources proves helpful—this proactive approach becomes an asset at a later stage.

Conduct Preliminary Research

Based on the insights gathered during your initial research, craft a thesis statement that succinctly encapsulates the essence of your research paper. Typically serving as the opening sentence in your paper, the thesis statement serves as your reader’s introduction to the topic.

The thesis statement is integral to initiating a research paper and not only orients your reader but also aids other researchers in evaluating the utility of your paper for their own research. Similarly, examining the thesis statements of other research papers can assist you in gauging their relevance to your own work.

An effective thesis statement encompasses all crucial aspects of the discussion without divulging excessive details. If articulating it proves challenging, consider framing your topic as a question and then providing an answer. For instance, if your research paper explores the impact of segregating students with ADHD from their peers, you might pose the question, “Does separating students with ADHD enhance their learning?” The answer, drawn from your preliminary research, forms a solid foundation for your thesis statement.

Many students inquire about the process of crafting a research paper outline, which holds greater significance for research papers steps compared to informal essays due to the need for a methodical and systematic structure. This ensures that all issues are addressed effectively.

Begin by creating a list of essential categories and subtopics—a preliminary outline for your outline. Reflect on the information gathered during the compilation of supporting evidence and contemplate the optimal way to separate and categorize each element.

Once you have identified the topics to be covered, consider the most effective order for presenting the information. Assess the relationship between subtopics and determine if any should be presented sequentially. If the information follows a straightforward timeline, adopting a chronological approach is suitable.

Given the potential complexity of research papers, consider organizing your outline into paragraphs. This not only facilitates organization when dealing with a substantial amount of information but also provides better control over the paper’s flow and direction. Addressing structural issues during the outline phase is preferable to resolving them after completing the entire paper.

Remember to incorporate your supporting evidence into the outline according to the research paper format . Since you likely have a wealth of information to include, outlining helps prevent oversight and ensures a comprehensive integration of key details.

Create An Outline

The next step out of the 7 steps in writing a research paper is to conduct in-depth research.

When embarking on the phase of conducting in-depth research for your chosen topic, it becomes imperative to delve beyond surface-level information, aiming for a more profound understanding. This involves a meticulous exploration that goes beyond the basics, seeking to uncover nuanced details and unique perspectives that contribute to the richness of your research paper.

To begin with, the process entails gathering a wealth of comprehensive and specific information related to your topic. This may involve consulting a diverse range of sources, including academic articles, books, scholarly journals, and reputable online databases. The goal is to accumulate a substantial body of knowledge that not only addresses the core elements of your topic but also provides intricate insights that add depth and complexity to your research.

Moreover, evaluating the credibility of your sources is crucial during this phase. Scrutinize the reliability of the authors, the publication outlets, and the methodology employed in the research. Ensuring that your sources are trustworthy and authoritative enhances the overall quality and reliability of your research paper.

An additional layer to this process involves considering the perspectives of different authors. Diverse viewpoints contribute to a well-rounded and comprehensive view of the subject matter. This requires the exploration of literature written by experts with varying opinions, interpretations, and approaches. By integrating contrasting perspectives, you enrich your understanding of the topic and demonstrate a thorough engagement with the existing discourse in your field of study.

In summary, conducting in-depth research goes beyond merely scratching the surface. It involves a meticulous exploration of various sources, a critical assessment of their credibility, and a conscientious consideration of diverse perspectives. This comprehensive approach ensures that your research paper is not only well-informed but also contributes meaningfully to the existing body of knowledge on your chosen topic.

Once you’ve completed your outline, the next step is to commence the actual writing of your research paper. Although this stage is notably the lengthiest and requires significant involvement, proper preparation of your sources and the creation of a comprehensive outline should facilitate a smooth process.

If grappling with how to compose an introduction for your research paper, initiating with your previously crafted thesis statement becomes pivotal. Open your paper with the thesis statement, and subsequently, elaborate on the introduction by incorporating secondary information. Reserve the detailed elaboration for the body of the research paper, which follows the introduction.

The body section constitutes the substantial portion of your research paper. In contrast to essays, research papers typically segment the body into sections, each with distinct headers to enhance readability and facilitate navigation. Utilize the divisions outlined in your initial plan as a roadmap.

Systematically follow your outline, addressing each paragraph in turn. Given that this is an initial draft, don’t fret over achieving perfection in every word. Revision and refinement will come later; at this juncture, focus on articulating all pertinent points. In essence, it is acceptable to make errors, as you will have the opportunity to rectify them during subsequent revisions.

Connecting paragraphs cohesively, especially in longer works like research papers, can be a challenge. Employ transition sentences, particularly at the outset and conclusion of each paragraph, to enhance the overall flow of your paper.

Even after completing the body, understanding how to craft a conclusion for a research paper remains essential. Analogous to an essay conclusion, your research paper’s conclusion should reiterate the thesis, recapitulate primary evidence, and succinctly summarize your findings for clarity. Avoid introducing new information in the conclusion; however, you can incorporate your personal perspective or interpretation to aid the reader’s comprehension of the overarching picture.

The revising and editing phase is a critical component of the research paper writing process, demanding careful attention to detail and a commitment to refining your work for optimal quality.

Commence by subjecting your draft to a comprehensive review, focusing on clarity, coherence, and consistency. Ensure that your ideas are expressed clearly, allowing the reader to follow your arguments without confusion. Assess the overall coherence of your paper, confirming that each paragraph logically connects to the preceding and succeeding ones. Consistency in tone, style, and formatting is paramount, creating a polished and professional presentation.

Conduct a meticulous examination for grammatical errors, typos, and punctuation mistakes. A grammatically sound paper enhances its credibility and readability. Additionally, verify that your citations adhere to the prescribed format, whether it’s APA, MLA, Chicago, or another citation style. Consistent and accurate citations not only uphold academic integrity but also contribute to the overall professionalism of your paper.

Adherence to formatting guidelines is crucial in ensuring that your document meets the required standards. Confirm that your margins, font size, line spacing, and other formatting elements align with the specified requirements.

To gain valuable insights and perspectives, seek feedback from peers or instructors. Another set of eyes can provide fresh perspectives on your work, pointing out areas that may require further clarification or improvement. Constructive feedback is instrumental in refining your paper and addressing any blind spots you might have overlooked.

Following the feedback received, embark on making necessary revisions to enhance the overall quality of your paper. This may involve restructuring sentences, rephrasing paragraphs, or refining your argumentation. Be diligent in addressing each aspect identified during the review and feedback process.

In summary, the revision and editing phase is a meticulous and iterative process that involves a thorough examination of your paper’s clarity, grammar, citations, and adherence to formatting guidelines. Integrating feedback and making targeted revisions contribute to the refinement of your research paper, elevating it to a polished and professional standard.

Edit Your Paper

In conclusion, crafting a research paper is a multifaceted process that requires careful planning, dedication, and attention to detail. By following a systematic research paper format , you can navigate through the various stages of research paper writing with greater efficiency and effectiveness.

Steps in writing a research paper is to initiate the process by selecting a well-defined and compelling topic, ensuring it aligns with your interests and the parameters of your assignment. Thorough preliminary research is essential to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive understanding of your chosen subject. Create a detailed outline, organizing your ideas logically and providing a roadmap for the subsequent writing phases.

Writing the actual research paper involves constructing a robust introduction with a clear thesis statement, followed by a well-organized body that explores your topic in depth. The use of clear transitions enhances the flow of your paper, aiding comprehension. The conclusion should succinctly recapitulate your thesis, summarize key findings, and offer a sense of closure without introducing new information.

The revising and editing phase is a crucial step that demands attention to clarity, grammar, citation accuracy, and adherence to formatting guidelines. Seek feedback from peers or instructors to gain valuable insights and perspectives, allowing for targeted revisions that enhance the overall quality of your paper.

Remember that effective research paper writing is an iterative process. It’s normal to revisit and refine any of the steps in writing a research paper as you progress through the various stages. Embrace the opportunity to learn and grow through each iteration, continually improving your skills in research, writing, and critical thinking.

By approaching your research paper with diligence and a commitment to excellence, you’ll not only meet the requirements of your assignment but also contribute meaningfully to the academic discourse surrounding your chosen topic. In the end, a well-crafted research paper is a testament to your scholarly abilities and a valuable addition to the collective body of knowledge in your field of study.

Ranvir Dange

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How to Write a Research Paper

Last Updated: February 18, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Chris Hadley, PhD . Chris Hadley, PhD is part of the wikiHow team and works on content strategy and data and analytics. Chris Hadley earned his PhD in Cognitive Psychology from UCLA in 2006. Chris' academic research has been published in numerous scientific journals. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 4,188,977 times.

Whether you’re in a history, literature, or science class, you’ll probably have to write a research paper at some point. It may seem daunting when you’re just starting out, but staying organized and budgeting your time can make the process a breeze. Research your topic, find reliable sources, and come up with a working thesis. Then create an outline and start drafting your paper. Be sure to leave plenty of time to make revisions, as editing is essential if you want to hand in your best work!

Sample Research Papers and Outlines

steps in research essay

Researching Your Topic

Step 1 Focus your research on a narrow topic.

  • For instance, you might start with a general subject, like British decorative arts. Then, as you read, you home in on transferware and pottery. Ultimately, you focus on 1 potter in the 1780s who invented a way to mass-produce patterned tableware.

Tip: If you need to analyze a piece of literature, your task is to pull the work apart into literary elements and explain how the author uses those parts to make their point.

Step 2 Search for credible sources online and at a library.

  • Authoritative, credible sources include scholarly articles (especially those other authors reference), government websites, scientific studies, and reputable news bureaus. Additionally, check your sources' dates, and make sure the information you gather is up to date.
  • Evaluate how other scholars have approached your topic. Identify authoritative sources or works that are accepted as the most important accounts of the subject matter. Additionally, look for debates among scholars, and ask yourself who presents the strongest evidence for their case. [3] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
  • You’ll most likely need to include a bibliography or works cited page, so keep your sources organized. List your sources, format them according to your assigned style guide (such as MLA or Chicago ), and write 2 or 3 summary sentences below each one. [4] X Research source

Step 3 Come up with a preliminary thesis.

  • Imagine you’re a lawyer in a trial and are presenting a case to a jury. Think of your readers as the jurors; your opening statement is your thesis and you’ll present evidence to the jury to make your case.
  • A thesis should be specific rather than vague, such as: “Josiah Spode’s improved formula for bone china enabled the mass production of transfer-printed wares, which expanded the global market for British pottery.”

Drafting Your Essay

Step 1 Create an outline

  • Your outline is your paper’s skeleton. After making the outline, all you’ll need to do is fill in the details.
  • For easy reference, include your sources where they fit into your outline, like this: III. Spode vs. Wedgewood on Mass Production A. Spode: Perfected chemical formula with aims for fast production and distribution (Travis, 2002, 43) B. Wedgewood: Courted high-priced luxury market; lower emphasis on mass production (Himmelweit, 2001, 71) C. Therefore: Wedgewood, unlike Spode, delayed the expansion of the pottery market.

Step 2 Present your thesis...

  • For instance, your opening line could be, “Overlooked in the present, manufacturers of British pottery in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries played crucial roles in England’s Industrial Revolution.”
  • After presenting your thesis, lay out your evidence, like this: “An examination of Spode’s innovative production and distribution techniques will demonstrate the importance of his contributions to the industry and Industrial Revolution at large.”

Tip: Some people prefer to write the introduction first and use it to structure the rest of the paper. However, others like to write the body, then fill in the introduction. Do whichever seems natural to you. If you write the intro first, keep in mind you can tweak it later to reflect your finished paper’s layout.

Step 3 Build your argument in the body paragraphs.

  • After setting the context, you'd include a section on Josiah Spode’s company and what he did to make pottery easier to manufacture and distribute.
  • Next, discuss how targeting middle class consumers increased demand and expanded the pottery industry globally.
  • Then, you could explain how Spode differed from competitors like Wedgewood, who continued to court aristocratic consumers instead of expanding the market to the middle class.
  • The right number of sections or paragraphs depends on your assignment. In general, shoot for 3 to 5, but check your prompt for your assigned length.

Step 4 Address a counterargument to strengthen your case.

  • If you bring up a counterargument, make sure it’s a strong claim that’s worth entertaining instead of ones that's weak and easily dismissed.
  • Suppose, for instance, you’re arguing for the benefits of adding fluoride to toothpaste and city water. You could bring up a study that suggested fluoride produced harmful health effects, then explain how its testing methods were flawed.

Step 5 Summarize your argument...

  • Sum up your argument, but don’t simply rewrite your introduction using slightly different wording. To make your conclusion more memorable, you could also connect your thesis to a broader topic or theme to make it more relatable to your reader.
  • For example, if you’ve discussed the role of nationalism in World War I, you could conclude by mentioning nationalism’s reemergence in contemporary foreign affairs.

Revising Your Paper

Step 1 Ensure your paper...

  • This is also a great opportunity to make sure your paper fulfills the parameters of the assignment and answers the prompt!
  • It’s a good idea to put your essay aside for a few hours (or overnight, if you have time). That way, you can start editing it with fresh eyes.

Tip: Try to give yourself at least 2 or 3 days to revise your paper. It may be tempting to simply give your paper a quick read and use the spell-checker to make edits. However, revising your paper properly is more in-depth.

Step 2 Cut out unnecessary words and other fluff.

  • The passive voice, such as “The door was opened by me,” feels hesitant and wordy. On the other hand, the active voice, or “I opened the door,” feels strong and concise.
  • Each word in your paper should do a specific job. Try to avoid including extra words just to fill up blank space on a page or sound fancy.
  • For instance, “The author uses pathos to appeal to readers’ emotions” is better than “The author utilizes pathos to make an appeal to the emotional core of those who read the passage.”

Step 3 Proofread

  • Read your essay out loud to help ensure you catch every error. As you read, check for flow as well and, if necessary, tweak any spots that sound awkward. [13] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source

Step 4 Ask a friend, relative, or teacher to read your work before you submit it.

  • It’s wise to get feedback from one person who’s familiar with your topic and another who’s not. The person who knows about the topic can help ensure you’ve nailed all the details. The person who’s unfamiliar with the topic can help make sure your writing is clear and easy to understand.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Remember that your topic and thesis should be as specific as possible. Thanks Helpful 5 Not Helpful 0
  • Researching, outlining, drafting, and revising are all important steps, so do your best to budget your time wisely. Try to avoid waiting until the last minute to write your paper. Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 2

steps in research essay

You Might Also Like

Get Started With a Research Project

  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/assignments/planresearchpaper/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/evaluating-print-sources/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/conducting_research/research_overview/index.html
  • ↑ https://poorvucenter.yale.edu/writing/graduate-writing-lab/writing-through-graduate-school/working-sources
  • ↑ https://opentextbc.ca/writingforsuccess/chapter/chapter-5-putting-the-pieces-together-with-a-thesis-statement/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/developing_an_outline/index.html
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/introductions/
  • ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/writingprocess/counterarguments
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/ending-essay-conclusions
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/revising-drafts/
  • ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/formandstyle/writing/scholarlyvoice/activepassive
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/reading-aloud/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/proofreading/index.html

About This Article

Chris Hadley, PhD

To write a research paper, start by researching your topic at the library, online, or using an academic database. As you conduct your research and take notes, zero in on a specific topic that you want to write about and create a 1-2 sentence thesis to state the focus of your paper. Then, create an outline that includes an introduction, 3 to 5 body paragraphs to present your arguments, and a conclusion to sum up your main points. Once you have your paper's structure organized, draft your paragraphs, focusing on 1 argument per paragraph. Use the information you found through your research to back up your claims and prove your thesis statement. Finally, proofread and revise your content until it's polished and ready to submit. For more information on researching and citing sources, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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  • Academic Writing
  • What is a Research Paper?

Steps in Writing a Research Paper

  • Critical Reading and Writing
  • Punctuation
  • Writing Exercises
  • ELL/ESL Resources

A series of steps, starting with developing a research question and working thesis, will lead you through writing a research paper. As you move through these steps and actually create the research paper, you may find that you can't move through all of them in chronological order, and that's o.k. In fact, you may change the order of the steps depending on the subject, your knowledge of the subject, and your sources. For example, sometimes you need to do just a bit of background research and reading before you can develop a research question. Sometimes you need to go back and find additional sources to corroborate your viewpoint. The research writing steps that we offer represent a general, ideal, movement through the research writing process. In reality, writers often repeat or circle back as needed.

Hey, wait a minute . . . why did we say "ideal?" In our opinion, these steps represent the best way to move through the writing process because they ask you to think and develop a research question before you actually do a lot of research. The one big mess that you can get into, as a student, comes from doing too much unfocused research before identifying your own viewpoint, the one that you will eventually need to support. If you do too much unfocused research first, then the tendency is to try to include all of it in the paper. The result is a hodgepodge of information that's not focused, developed fully, or indicative of your own thoughts. It's also not efficient to do too much research before you really know what you're looking for. Try it our way--develop that research question first--to cut out a lot of research paper mess.

These steps will lead you through writing a research paper:

  • One Big Mess...
  • Developing a Research Question
  • Thesis Characteristics
  • Finding Sources
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Taking Notes
  • Working with Quotations
  • Writing Summaries & Paraphrases
  • Building the Essay Draft
  • Documentation Formats
  • Revising and Proofreading the Draft

Need Assistance?

If you would like assistance with any type of writing assignment, learning coaches are available to assist you. Please contact Academic Support by emailing [email protected].

Questions or feedback about SUNY Empire's Writing Support?

Contact us at [email protected] .

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  • How to Do Research for an Excellent Essay: The Complete Guide

steps in research essay

One of the biggest secrets to writing a good essay is the Boy Scouts’ motto: ‘be prepared’. Preparing for an essay – by conducting effective research – lays the foundations for a brilliant piece of writing, and it’s every bit as important as the actual writing part. Many students skimp on this crucial stage, or sit in the library not really sure where to start; and it shows in the quality of their essays. This just makes it easier for you to get ahead of your peers, and we’re going to show you how. In this article, we take you through what you need to do in order to conduct effective research and use your research time to best effect.

Allow enough time

First and foremost, it’s vital to allow enough time for your research. For this reason, don’t leave your essay until the last minute . If you start writing without having done adequate research, it will almost certainly show in your essay’s lack of quality. The amount of research time needed will vary according to whether you’re at Sixth Form or university, and according to how well you know the topic and what teaching you’ve had on it, but make sure you factor in more time than you think you’ll need. You may come across a concept that takes you longer to understand than you’d expected, so it’s better to allow too much time than too little.

Read the essay question and thoroughly understand it

If you don’t have a thorough understanding of what the essay question is asking you to do, you put yourself at risk of going in the wrong direction with your research. So take the question, read it several times and pull out the key things it’s asking you to do. The instructions in the question are likely to have some bearing on the nature of your research. If the question says “Compare”, for example, this will set you up for a particular kind of research, during which you’ll be looking specifically for points of comparison; if the question asks you to “Discuss”, your research focus may be more on finding different points of view and formulating your own.

Begin with a brainstorm

Start your research time by brainstorming what you already know. Doing this means that you can be clear about exactly what you’re already aware of, and you can identify the gaps in your knowledge so that you don’t end up wasting time by reading books that will tell you what you already know. This gives your research more of a direction and allows you to be more specific in your efforts to find out certain things. It’s also a gentle way of introducing yourself to the task and putting yourself in the right frame of mind for learning about the topic at hand.

Achieve a basic understanding before delving deeper

If the topic is new to you and your brainstorm has yielded few ideas, you’ll need to acquire a basic understanding of the topic before you begin delving deeper into your research. If you don’t, and you start by your research by jumping straight in at the deep end, as it were, you’ll struggle to grasp the topic. This also means that you may end up being too swayed by a certain source, as you haven’t the knowledge to question it properly. You need sufficient background knowledge to be able to take a critical approach to each of the sources you read. So, start from the very beginning. It’s ok to use Wikipedia or other online resources to give you an introduction to a topic, though bear in mind that these can’t be wholly relied upon. If you’ve covered the topic in class already, re-read the notes you made so that you can refresh your mind before you start further investigation.

Working through your reading list

If you’ve been given a reading list to work from, be organised in how you work through each of the items on it. Try to get hold of as many of the books on it as you can before you start, so that you have them all easily to hand, and can refer back to things you’ve read and compare them with other perspectives. Plan the order in which you’re going to work through them and try to allocate a specific amount of time to each of them; this ensures that you allow enough time to do each of them justice and that focus yourself on making the most of your time with each one. It’s a good idea to go for the more general resources before honing in on the finer points mentioned in more specialised literature. Think of an upside-down pyramid and how it starts off wide at the top and becomes gradually narrower; this is the sort of framework you should apply to your research.

Ask a librarian

Library computer databases can be confusing things, and can add an extra layer of stress and complexity to your research if you’re not used to using them. The librarian is there for a reason, so don’t be afraid to go and ask if you’re not sure where to find a particular book on your reading list. If you’re in need of somewhere to start, they should be able to point you in the direction of the relevant section of the library so that you can also browse for books that may yield useful information.

Use the index

If you haven’t been given specific pages to read in the books on your reading list, make use of the index (and/or table of contents) of each book to help you find relevant material. It sounds obvious, but some students don’t think to do this and battle their way through heaps of irrelevant chapters before finding something that will be useful for their essay.

Taking notes

As you work through your reading, take notes as you go along rather than hoping you’ll remember everything you’ve read. Don’t indiscriminately write down everything – only the bits that will be useful in answering the essay question you’ve been set. If you write down too much, you risk writing an essay that’s full of irrelevant material and getting lower grades as a result. Be concise, and summarise arguments in your own words when you make notes (this helps you learn it better, too, because you actually have to think about how best to summarise it). You may want to make use of small index cards to force you to be brief with what you write about each point or topic. We’ve covered effective note-taking extensively in another article, which you can read here . Note-taking is a major part of the research process, so don’t neglect it. Your notes don’t just come in useful in the short-term, for completing your essay, but they should also be helpful when it comes to revision time, so try to keep them organised.

Research every side of the argument

Never rely too heavily on one resource without referring to other possible opinions; it’s bad academic practice. You need to be able to give a balanced argument in an essay, and that means researching a range of perspectives on whatever problem you’re tackling. Keep a note of the different arguments, along with the evidence in support of or against each one, ready to be deployed into an essay structure that works logically through each one. If you see a scholar’s name cropping up again and again in what you read, it’s worth investigating more about them even if you haven’t specifically been told to do so. Context is vital in academia at any level, so influential figures are always worth knowing about.

Keep a dictionary by your side

You could completely misunderstand a point you read if you don’t know what one important word in the sentence means. For that reason, it’s a good idea to keep a dictionary by your side at all times as you conduct your research. Not only does this help you fully understand what you’re reading, but you also learn new words that you might be able to use in your forthcoming essay or a future one . Growing your vocabulary is never a waste of time!

Start formulating your own opinion

As you work through reading these different points of view, think carefully about what you’ve read and note your own response to different opinions. Get into the habit of questioning sources and make sure you’re not just repeating someone else’s opinion without challenging it. Does an opinion make sense? Does it have plenty of evidence to back it up? What are the counter-arguments, and on balance, which sways you more? Demonstrating your own intelligent thinking will set your essay apart from those of your peers, so think about these things as you conduct your research.

Be careful with web-based research

Although, as we’ve said already, it’s fine to use Wikipedia and other online resources to give you a bit of an introduction to a topic you haven’t covered before, be very careful when using the internet for researching an essay. Don’t take Wikipedia as gospel; don’t forget, anybody can edit it! We wouldn’t advise using the internet as the basis of your essay research – it’s simply not academically rigorous enough, and you don’t know how out of date a particular resource might be. Even if your Sixth Form teachers may not question where you picked up an idea you’ve discussed in your essays, it’s still not a good habit to get into and you’re unlikely to get away with it at a good university. That said, there are still reliable academic resources available via the internet; these can be found in dedicated sites that are essentially online libraries, such as JSTOR. These are likely to be a little too advanced if you’re still in Sixth Form, but you’ll almost certainly come across them once you get to university.

Look out for footnotes

In an academic publication, whether that’s a book or a journal article, footnotes are a great place to look for further ideas for publications that might yield useful information. Plenty can be hidden away in footnotes, and if a writer is disparaging or supporting the ideas of another academic, you could look up the text in question so that you can include their opinion too, and whether or not you agree with them, for extra brownie points.

Don’t save doing all your own references until last

If you’re still in Sixth Form, you might not yet be required to include academic references in your essays, but for the sake of a thorough guide to essay research that will be useful to you in the future, we’re going to include this point anyway (it will definitely come in useful when you get to university, so you may as well start thinking about it now!). As you read through various books and find points you think you’re going to want to make in your essays, make sure you note down where you found these points as you go along (author’s first and last name, the publication title, publisher, publication date and page number). When you get to university you will be expected to identify your sources very precisely, so it’s a good habit to get into. Unfortunately, many students forget to do this and then have a difficult time of going back through their essay adding footnotes and trying to remember where they found a particular point. You’ll save yourself a great deal of time and effort if you simply note down your academic references as you go along. If you are including footnotes, don’t forget to add each publication to a main bibliography, to be included at the end of your essay, at the same time.

Putting in the background work required to write a good essay can seem an arduous task at times, but it’s a fundamental step that can’t simply be skipped. The more effort you put in at this stage, the better your essay will be and the easier it will be to write. Use the tips in this article and you’ll be well on your way to an essay that impresses!

To get even more prepared for essay writing you might also want to consider attending an Oxford Summer School .

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Basic Steps in the Research Process

The following steps outline a simple and effective strategy for writing a research paper. Depending on your familiarity with the topic and the challenges you encounter along the way, you may need to rearrange these steps.

Step 1: Identify and develop your topic

Selecting a topic can be the most challenging part of a research assignment. Since this is the very first step in writing a paper, it is vital that it be done correctly. Here are some tips for selecting a topic:

  • Select a topic within the parameters set by the assignment. Many times your instructor will give you clear guidelines as to what you can and cannot write about. Failure to work within these guidelines may result in your proposed paper being deemed unacceptable by your instructor.
  • Select a topic of personal interest to you and learn more about it. The research for and writing of a paper will be more enjoyable if you are writing about something that you find interesting.
  • Select a topic for which you can find a manageable amount of information. Do a preliminary search of information sources to determine whether existing sources will meet your needs. If you find too much information, you may need to narrow your topic; if you find too little, you may need to broaden your topic.
  • Be original. Your instructor reads hundreds of research papers every year, and many of them are on the same topics (topics in the news at the time, controversial issues, subjects for which there is ample and easily accessed information). Stand out from your classmates by selecting an interesting and off-the-beaten-path topic.
  • Still can't come up with a topic to write about? See your instructor for advice.

Once you have identified your topic, it may help to state it as a question. For example, if you are interested in finding out about the epidemic of obesity in the American population, you might pose the question "What are the causes of obesity in America ?" By posing your subject as a question you can more easily identify the main concepts or keywords to be used in your research.

Step 2 : Do a preliminary search for information

Before beginning your research in earnest, do a preliminary search to determine whether there is enough information out there for your needs and to set the context of your research. Look up your keywords in the appropriate titles in the library's Reference collection (such as encyclopedias and dictionaries) and in other sources such as our catalog of books, periodical databases, and Internet search engines. Additional background information may be found in your lecture notes, textbooks, and reserve readings. You may find it necessary to adjust the focus of your topic in light of the resources available to you.

Step 3: Locate materials

With the direction of your research now clear to you, you can begin locating material on your topic. There are a number of places you can look for information:

If you are looking for books, do a subject search in One Search . A Keyword search can be performed if the subject search doesn't yield enough information. Print or write down the citation information (author, title,etc.) and the location (call number and collection) of the item(s). Note the circulation status. When you locate the book on the shelf, look at the books located nearby; similar items are always shelved in the same area. The Aleph catalog also indexes the library's audio-visual holdings.

Use the library's  electronic periodical databases  to find magazine and newspaper articles. Choose the databases and formats best suited to your particular topic; ask at the librarian at the Reference Desk if you need help figuring out which database best meets your needs. Many of the articles in the databases are available in full-text format.

Use search engines ( Google ,  Yahoo , etc.) and subject directories to locate materials on the Internet. Check the  Internet Resources  section of the NHCC Library web site for helpful subject links.

Step 4: Evaluate your sources

See the  CARS Checklist for Information Quality   for tips on evaluating the authority and quality of the information you have located. Your instructor expects that you will provide credible, truthful, and reliable information and you have every right to expect that the sources you use are providing the same. This step is especially important when using Internet resources, many of which are regarded as less than reliable.

Step 5: Make notes

Consult the resources you have chosen and note the information that will be useful in your paper. Be sure to document all the sources you consult, even if you there is a chance you may not use that particular source. The author, title, publisher, URL, and other information will be needed later when creating a bibliography.

Step 6: Write your paper

Begin by organizing the information you have collected. The next step is the rough draft, wherein you get your ideas on paper in an unfinished fashion. This step will help you organize your ideas and determine the form your final paper will take. After this, you will revise the draft as many times as you think necessary to create a final product to turn in to your instructor.

Step 7: Cite your sources properly

Give credit where credit is due; cite your sources.

Citing or documenting the sources used in your research serves two purposes: it gives proper credit to the authors of the materials used, and it allows those who are reading your work to duplicate your research and locate the sources that you have listed as references. The  MLA  and the  APA  Styles are two popular citation formats.

Failure to cite your sources properly is plagiarism. Plagiarism is avoidable!

Step 8: Proofread

The final step in the process is to proofread the paper you have created. Read through the text and check for any errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Make sure the sources you used are cited properly. Make sure the message that you want to get across to the reader has been thoroughly stated.

Additional research tips:

  • Work from the general to the specific -- find background information first, then use more specific sources.
  • Don't forget print sources -- many times print materials are more easily accessed and every bit as helpful as online resources.
  • The library has books on the topic of writing research papers at call number area LB 2369.
  • If you have questions about the assignment, ask your instructor.
  • If you have any questions about finding information in the library, ask the librarian.

Contact Information

Craig larson.

Librarian 763-424-0733 [email protected] Zoom:  myzoom   Available by appointment

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Research Method

Home » Research Process – Steps, Examples and Tips

Research Process – Steps, Examples and Tips

Table of Contents

Research Process

Research Process

Definition:

Research Process is a systematic and structured approach that involves the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data or information to answer a specific research question or solve a particular problem.

Research Process Steps

Research Process Steps are as follows:

Identify the Research Question or Problem

This is the first step in the research process. It involves identifying a problem or question that needs to be addressed. The research question should be specific, relevant, and focused on a particular area of interest.

Conduct a Literature Review

Once the research question has been identified, the next step is to conduct a literature review. This involves reviewing existing research and literature on the topic to identify any gaps in knowledge or areas where further research is needed. A literature review helps to provide a theoretical framework for the research and also ensures that the research is not duplicating previous work.

Formulate a Hypothesis or Research Objectives

Based on the research question and literature review, the researcher can formulate a hypothesis or research objectives. A hypothesis is a statement that can be tested to determine its validity, while research objectives are specific goals that the researcher aims to achieve through the research.

Design a Research Plan and Methodology

This step involves designing a research plan and methodology that will enable the researcher to collect and analyze data to test the hypothesis or achieve the research objectives. The research plan should include details on the sample size, data collection methods, and data analysis techniques that will be used.

Collect and Analyze Data

This step involves collecting and analyzing data according to the research plan and methodology. Data can be collected through various methods, including surveys, interviews, observations, or experiments. The data analysis process involves cleaning and organizing the data, applying statistical and analytical techniques to the data, and interpreting the results.

Interpret the Findings and Draw Conclusions

After analyzing the data, the researcher must interpret the findings and draw conclusions. This involves assessing the validity and reliability of the results and determining whether the hypothesis was supported or not. The researcher must also consider any limitations of the research and discuss the implications of the findings.

Communicate the Results

Finally, the researcher must communicate the results of the research through a research report, presentation, or publication. The research report should provide a detailed account of the research process, including the research question, literature review, research methodology, data analysis, findings, and conclusions. The report should also include recommendations for further research in the area.

Review and Revise

The research process is an iterative one, and it is important to review and revise the research plan and methodology as necessary. Researchers should assess the quality of their data and methods, reflect on their findings, and consider areas for improvement.

Ethical Considerations

Throughout the research process, ethical considerations must be taken into account. This includes ensuring that the research design protects the welfare of research participants, obtaining informed consent, maintaining confidentiality and privacy, and avoiding any potential harm to participants or their communities.

Dissemination and Application

The final step in the research process is to disseminate the findings and apply the research to real-world settings. Researchers can share their findings through academic publications, presentations at conferences, or media coverage. The research can be used to inform policy decisions, develop interventions, or improve practice in the relevant field.

Research Process Example

Following is a Research Process Example:

Research Question : What are the effects of a plant-based diet on athletic performance in high school athletes?

Step 1: Background Research Conduct a literature review to gain a better understanding of the existing research on the topic. Read academic articles and research studies related to plant-based diets, athletic performance, and high school athletes.

Step 2: Develop a Hypothesis Based on the literature review, develop a hypothesis that a plant-based diet positively affects athletic performance in high school athletes.

Step 3: Design the Study Design a study to test the hypothesis. Decide on the study population, sample size, and research methods. For this study, you could use a survey to collect data on dietary habits and athletic performance from a sample of high school athletes who follow a plant-based diet and a sample of high school athletes who do not follow a plant-based diet.

Step 4: Collect Data Distribute the survey to the selected sample and collect data on dietary habits and athletic performance.

Step 5: Analyze Data Use statistical analysis to compare the data from the two samples and determine if there is a significant difference in athletic performance between those who follow a plant-based diet and those who do not.

Step 6 : Interpret Results Interpret the results of the analysis in the context of the research question and hypothesis. Discuss any limitations or potential biases in the study design.

Step 7: Draw Conclusions Based on the results, draw conclusions about whether a plant-based diet has a significant effect on athletic performance in high school athletes. If the hypothesis is supported by the data, discuss potential implications and future research directions.

Step 8: Communicate Findings Communicate the findings of the study in a clear and concise manner. Use appropriate language, visuals, and formats to ensure that the findings are understood and valued.

Applications of Research Process

The research process has numerous applications across a wide range of fields and industries. Some examples of applications of the research process include:

  • Scientific research: The research process is widely used in scientific research to investigate phenomena in the natural world and develop new theories or technologies. This includes fields such as biology, chemistry, physics, and environmental science.
  • Social sciences : The research process is commonly used in social sciences to study human behavior, social structures, and institutions. This includes fields such as sociology, psychology, anthropology, and economics.
  • Education: The research process is used in education to study learning processes, curriculum design, and teaching methodologies. This includes research on student achievement, teacher effectiveness, and educational policy.
  • Healthcare: The research process is used in healthcare to investigate medical conditions, develop new treatments, and evaluate healthcare interventions. This includes fields such as medicine, nursing, and public health.
  • Business and industry : The research process is used in business and industry to study consumer behavior, market trends, and develop new products or services. This includes market research, product development, and customer satisfaction research.
  • Government and policy : The research process is used in government and policy to evaluate the effectiveness of policies and programs, and to inform policy decisions. This includes research on social welfare, crime prevention, and environmental policy.

Purpose of Research Process

The purpose of the research process is to systematically and scientifically investigate a problem or question in order to generate new knowledge or solve a problem. The research process enables researchers to:

  • Identify gaps in existing knowledge: By conducting a thorough literature review, researchers can identify gaps in existing knowledge and develop research questions that address these gaps.
  • Collect and analyze data : The research process provides a structured approach to collecting and analyzing data. Researchers can use a variety of research methods, including surveys, experiments, and interviews, to collect data that is valid and reliable.
  • Test hypotheses : The research process allows researchers to test hypotheses and make evidence-based conclusions. Through the systematic analysis of data, researchers can draw conclusions about the relationships between variables and develop new theories or models.
  • Solve problems: The research process can be used to solve practical problems and improve real-world outcomes. For example, researchers can develop interventions to address health or social problems, evaluate the effectiveness of policies or programs, and improve organizational processes.
  • Generate new knowledge : The research process is a key way to generate new knowledge and advance understanding in a given field. By conducting rigorous and well-designed research, researchers can make significant contributions to their field and help to shape future research.

Tips for Research Process

Here are some tips for the research process:

  • Start with a clear research question : A well-defined research question is the foundation of a successful research project. It should be specific, relevant, and achievable within the given time frame and resources.
  • Conduct a thorough literature review: A comprehensive literature review will help you to identify gaps in existing knowledge, build on previous research, and avoid duplication. It will also provide a theoretical framework for your research.
  • Choose appropriate research methods: Select research methods that are appropriate for your research question, objectives, and sample size. Ensure that your methods are valid, reliable, and ethical.
  • Be organized and systematic: Keep detailed notes throughout the research process, including your research plan, methodology, data collection, and analysis. This will help you to stay organized and ensure that you don’t miss any important details.
  • Analyze data rigorously: Use appropriate statistical and analytical techniques to analyze your data. Ensure that your analysis is valid, reliable, and transparent.
  • I nterpret results carefully : Interpret your results in the context of your research question and objectives. Consider any limitations or potential biases in your research design, and be cautious in drawing conclusions.
  • Communicate effectively: Communicate your research findings clearly and effectively to your target audience. Use appropriate language, visuals, and formats to ensure that your findings are understood and valued.
  • Collaborate and seek feedback : Collaborate with other researchers, experts, or stakeholders in your field. Seek feedback on your research design, methods, and findings to ensure that they are relevant, meaningful, and impactful.

About the author

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Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

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How to Write an Explanatory Essay

How to Write an Explanatory Essay

  • Smodin Editorial Team
  • Published: May 24, 2024

A study from the English Language Teaching Educational Journal found that students encounter difficulty in organizing thoughts, generating ideas, and understanding writing processes when writing essays [1]. These are all key components of putting together a good explanatory essay. If this sounds like you, then don’t worry.

With the right approach, you can seamlessly combine all these components. This guide will give you a simple step-by-step strategy for writing an explanatory essay. It’ll also give you handy writing tips and tool suggestions, like utilizing artificial intelligence.

With this guide, you’ll be able to write an explanatory essay with confidence.

1. Develop a strong thesis statement

Crafting a strong thesis statement is the cornerstone of any well-written explanatory essay. It sets the stage for what your essay will cover and clarifies the main point you’re going to explain. Here’s how to create a thesis:

  • Find the main idea : Start by pinpointing the key concept or question you want to explain. Develop a clear purpose for the essay. This will guide your research and writing process for your explanatory paper. Use other reputable explanatory essay examples to guide your ideas. This may involve exploring other explanatory essay topics within the same field.
  • Be specific : A vague thesis can confuse readers. So, make sure your statement is clear. If you’re explaining a complex process, break it down to its key points. After that, break it into a clear, concise statement that’s easy to understand.
  • Reflect objectivity : Explanatory essays educate and inform. They do not argue a point. So, your thesis should take an unbiased stance on the topic. It should present the facts as they are, not as you interpret them.
  • Use tools like the Smodin Writer : Smodin Writer does all the heavy lifting by leveraging the power of artificial intelligence. With it, you can generate an essay with a thesis statement. How, you ask? Through its dedicated thesis generator . It can create a statement that’s both strong and relevant. Plus, it can pull in all the most interesting information based on your topic to further enrich your thesis statement.

Make your thesis clear, informative, and neutral. This sets a strong foundation for an effective explanatory essay. Next, let’s look at how to gather the information you’ll need to support this thesis effectively.

2. Research and gather information

You need to conduct thorough research that will back your thesis with credible sources and relevant evidence. This will make your explanatory essay both informative and persuasive. Here’s a step-by-step guide to conducting effective research:

  • Start with a plan: Put together an explanatory essay outline that includes the information you need to support your thesis. The plan should list the best sources, like academic journals, books, reputable websites, or scholarly articles.
  • Use credible sources: They ensure the accuracy of your essay. Libraries, academic databases, and certified websites are excellent places to find trustworthy information.
  • Seek detailed information: Look for the most current sources that explain your topic well and provide unique insights related to or opposing your thesis statement. This depth is crucial for explaining complex ideas clearly and thoroughly in your explanatory papers. Pay attention to the explanatory essay structure to guide your topic of choice (more on this later).
  • Gather relevant evidence: Collect data, stats, and examples. They should directly support your main points. Make sure this evidence is directly related to your topic and enhances your narrative.
  • Employ digital tools: Tools like Smodin’s Research Assistant can accelerate your research process. Smodin’s tools can help you find detailed information quickly, ensuring that the data you use is up-to-date and relevant.
  • Document your sources: As you conduct research, keep a meticulous record of where your information comes from. This practice will help you make an accurate bibliography. It can save you time when you need to refer back to details or verify facts. Again, this is something that’s covered thanks to Smodin’s Citation Machine.
  • Evaluate your findings: Critically assess the information you collect. Ensure it provides a balanced view and covers the necessary aspects of your topic to give a comprehensive overview of your essay.

By following these steps, you can gather a rich pool of information that provides a strong backbone for your explanatory essay. Now, you can start structuring your findings into well-organized body paragraphs.

3. Structure body paragraphs

Once you’ve gathered relevant evidence through thorough research, it’s time to organize it. You should put it into well-structured body paragraphs that follow a logical flow. Here’s how to structure each body paragraph for a strong explanatory essay:

  • Decide how many paragraphs to use : It will depend on your topic’s complexity and the needed detail. Typically, three to five paragraphs are suitable, but longer essays may require more. An explanatory essay example on your topic of choice will be helpful.
  • Start with a topic sentence : Each body paragraph should begin with a clear topic sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph. This sentence will act as a roadmap for the paragraph, giving the reader a sense of what to expect.
  • Provide supporting evidence : After the topic sentence, share the evidence from your research. Ensure the evidence is relevant and directly supports the paragraph’s topic sentence.
  • Give a detailed explanation : Follow the evidence with an analysis or explanation that ties it back to the thesis statement. This step is crucial for maintaining logical flow throughout your body paragraphs.
  • Use linking words : They connect body paragraphs smoothly, ensuring the reader can follow your argument.
  • End each body paragraph with a closing sentence : It should sum up the point and move to the next idea.

Following this structure will help your body paragraphs support your thesis. These paragraphs will also offer a clear, detailed explanation of your essay topic. Strong body paragraphs are essential to maintain objectivity in your writing.

4. Maintain objectivity

An explanatory essay aims to inform and educate, which makes maintaining objectivity crucial. Staying neutral lets readers form their own opinions based on facts. This ensures the writing is both reliable and informative. Here’s how to maintain objectivity:

  • Avoid personal opinions: Your goal is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the topic. Refrain from injecting your personal opinion or biases. Instead, stick to presenting factual information that supports the thesis.
  • Use relevant evidence: As mentioned, ground your arguments with relevant evidence from credible sources. Back up your main points with data and use research findings and verified details. This will make the explanatory article trustworthy.
  • Provide a balanced view: In cases with multiple perspectives, offer a balanced view. Cover each side fairly. Even if one view prevails in consensus, acknowledging others gives readers a broader understanding.
  • Adopt neutral language: Be careful with word choice and tone. Neutral language implies words that don’t encourage or illustrate bias. This helps avoid emotionally charged phrases and keeps the writing objective.
  • Cite sources accurately: Proper citation of sources provides accountability for the evidence presented. This transparency builds credibility and shows you’ve conducted research thoroughly. It’s also worth noting that different intuitions have different citation styles like APA and Chicago, which is important to note before starting your essay.
  • Review for biases: After drafting your essay, review it with an eye for biases. Ensure no part leans too much on one viewpoint. And, don’t dismiss an opposing perspective without cause.

Maintaining objectivity enhances the clarity and reliability of explanatory writing. Let’s now focus on crafting an introduction and conclusion that bookend your work effectively.

5. Craft an effective introduction and conclusion

A good introduction and a strong conclusion frame your explanatory essay. They give context at the start and reinforce the main points at the end. Here’s how to craft an effective introduction and conclusion.

In the introduction:

  • Hook your reader in the introduction : Use an interesting fact, a compelling quote, or a surprising statistic.
  • Provide background information : Be brief and offer only the essential context the reader needs to fully understand the topic. This should give the audience a foundational understanding before diving deeper into your main points.
  • Include the thesis statement : Clearly state your thesis near the end of the introduction. This statement will outline the essay’s direction and give readers a preview of the body paragraphs.

In the conclusion:

  • Summarize the key points : Start your explanatory essay conclusion with a summary. It should cover the main points from the body paragraphs. This summary should help readers recall and reinforce the information they’ve just read.
  • Restate the thesis : Repeat your thesis again but in a new way. Explain how the evidence from the body paragraphs supported or clarified it.
  • Provide a conclusion : End the essay with a statement that wraps up the argument. This statement should resonate with the reader. It should leave them with an impression that stresses the topic’s importance.

An effective introduction and conclusion give the essay structure and coherence. They guide readers from start to finish. The next step is revising and editing your entire essay for clarity and precision.

6. Revise and check clarity

Revising and editing are key in writing. They make sure your essay is clear, joined, and polished. Here’s how to refine your writing using an explanatory essay checklist and proven academic writing techniques:

  • Take a break: Before diving into revisions, step away from your essay for a few hours or even a day. This break will help you return with fresh eyes, making it easier to spot errors or inconsistencies.
  • Follow an essay checklist: Create or use a checklist to ensure your essay has all the needed parts. It needs a strong intro with a clear thesis, well-structured body paragraphs, good sources, and a short conclusion. Check that your arguments follow a logical flow and that all relevant evidence is directly linked to your thesis statement.
  • Check for clarity and conciseness: Academic writing needs clarity. So, make sure each paragraph and sentence conveys your point. Don’t use unnecessary jargon or overly complex language. Keep sentences concise while maintaining detailed explanations of your main points.
  • Verify facts and citations: Make sure all facts, data, and quotes in the essay are accurate. Also, check that they are cited in the required academic style (e.g. MLA, APA). Improper citations can undermine the credibility of your writing.
  • Review the grammar and style: Look for common grammar mistakes, punctuation errors, and awkward phrasing. Reading the essay aloud can help catch odd sentence structures or confusing wording.
  • Seek feedback: Share your essay with a peer or use online tools to get constructive criticism. A second perspective can highlight issues you might have missed.

These editing steps will help you produce a polished essay that clearly explains your main points and holds up to academic scrutiny.

Explanatory Essay Format

Understanding the explanatory essay format is key to a well-structured and logical paper. Here’s a basic breakdown of the format for an explanatory essay:

Introduction paragraph

  • Begin with an interesting sentence to capture the reader’s attention.
  • Give a short intro. It should set the topic and outline the essay’s purpose.
  • Present a clear thesis statement summarizing the main idea of the entire essay.

Body paragraphs

  • Organize the body paragraphs around logical subtopics related to the essay topic.
  • Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence that aligns with the thesis.
  • Show evidence from good sources. Also, give key details for each main point.
  • Incorporate a robust concluding statement per paragraph that drives home your point and links to the ideas in the next paragraph/section.
  • Summarize the key points.
  • Provide a final statement that reinforces the main idea without introducing new information.
  • Craft a concluding statement that leaves your teacher or professor with a lasting impression.

Following this essay outline ensures that your paper has a clear flow. This makes it easy for readers to understand and follow your argument.

Write Better Explanatory Essays With Smodin

Explanatory essays can be overwhelming. Presenting a solid argument, keeping your professor or teacher interested, and remembering conventions like citations can be a real headache.

But, a strong thesis and thorough research make them easier. Well-structured body paragraphs also help deliver a clear, insightful essay that maintains objectivity. Just remember to revise and check for accuracy!

AI-powered platforms like Smodin simplify and enhance the process of writing explanatory essays.

Smodin’s tools help craft clear and well-structured essays that meet any of your academic standards. With Smodin’s advanced research capabilities, you can gather detailed and relevant information quickly. This will save you time and improve your work.

  • Plagiarism Checker : Ensure your essay maintains originality with Smodin’s plagiarism detection tool. This feature helps maintain academic integrity by checking your work against vast databases.
  • Auto Citation : Cite your sources accurately without the hassle. Smodin’s auto-citation tool ensures your references are in the right format and meet your academic institution’s rules.
  • Text Shortener : If your explanatory essay is too long, use Smodin’s AI writer as an essay shortener. It will help you cut your content without losing key details. This helps keep your essay clear and relevant.
  • Text Rewriter : Helps paraphrase existing content, ensuring uniqueness and a fresh perspective.
  • Summarizer : The Summarizer boils down long articles into short summaries. They are perfect for making an efficient outline or conclusion.

Facility for Rare Isotope Beams

At michigan state university, new frib precision measurement program advances understanding of proton halos, theoretical physicists and experimentalists work together to measure the mass of a rare isotope expected to form a rare proton halo, publishing the first results from frib’s precision measurement program. .

In May 2022, the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) at Michigan State University (MSU), launched its precision measurement program. Staff from FRIB’s  Low Energy Beam and Ion Trap (LEBIT) facility take high-energy, rare-isotope beams generated at FRIB and cool them to a lower energy state. Afterward, the researchers measure specific particles’ masses at high precision. 

The LEBIT team, led by  Ryan Ringle , adjunct professor of physics at FRIB and in the MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy and senior scientist at FRIB, and  Georg Bollen , University Distinguished Professor of Physics and FRIB Experimental Systems Division director, recently published a research paper that used the facility to take a step in verifying the mass of aluminum-22. Researchers think this exotic isotope demonstrates a rare but interesting property—specifically, that the nucleus is surrounded by a “halo” of protons that loosely orbit the nucleus. This halo structure reveals distinctive physical properties during its fleeting existence.

“This program requires a lot of extra beam preparation to perform experiments, and this is the first measurement in FRIB’s science program,” Ringle said. “This measurement could not have been done in a reasonable time at FRIB’s predecessor, the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, and it highlights our facility’s potential moving forward. Considering this was done with one-eightieth of FRIB’s power specification, this was like a warm-up before exercising.” 

The team published its results in  Physical Review Letters (“ Precision Mass Measurement of the Proton Dripline Halo Candidate 22 Al”).

Capturing elusive proton halos

While most atoms have electrons tightly orbiting the nucleus, protons and neutrons are part of the nucleus itself. However, when atoms encounter many of the same charged particles under certain conditions, they can create halos that orbit the nucleus beyond the pull of the strong nuclear force—the force that would normally keep these particles within the nucleus. While all halo structures are rare fleeting phenomena, neutrons are usually observed as halo particles. A nucleus’s positive charge usually repels protons’ positive charges, meaning that halos made of protons are even rarer. Measurements on nearby isotopes suggested that aluminum-22 might be an isotope that could form a proton halo, but researchers needed to verify this directly in other experiments. 

To achieve this, the team creates a high-energy isotope beam of aluminum-22 using a process called “projectile fragmentation” at FRIB. The researchers create a beam from a heavy, stable atomic nucleus of a given element—in this case, an isotope of argon—then accelerate the beam to half the speed of light. The beam then hits a target with these ultra-fast-moving particle projectiles. This violent collision creates rare, short-lived isotopes that the researchers can shepherd into an instrument to filter out the particle of interest. They then lower the temperature to slow them down into a uniform beam and measure particle mass accurately. 

While the team was able to accurately measure the mass of aluminum-22, it is only part of verifying the isotope’s proton halo structure. The LEBIT researchers’ colleagues in the  Beam Cooler and Laser Spectroscopy (BECOLA) facility at FRIB now plan to take the next step in verifying the proton halo by measuring the charge radius—the distribution of protons around the nucleus—as well as how much the nucleus may be deformed from its traditional, spherical shape. Taken together, these measurements can unequivocally confirm the existence of a proton halo structure around aluminum-22. 

Ringle pointed out that the collaboration between theoretical physicists and experimentalists at FRIB plays an essential role for research like determining the existence of a proton halo around a rare isotope such as aluminum-22. 

FRIB provides research opportunities to graduate students 

Ringle credited students on the team for playing a key role in advancing this research. One of LEBIT’s graduate students, Scott Campbell, took this project on as part of his dissertation. 

“He really took charge of running this experiment from start to finish,” Ringle said. “The students who work with us really benefit from the wealth of expertise we have at this facility. Nowhere else is a facility like this located in the middle of a university campus. It allows students to come in for an hour or two between their classes or before they go home for the day. They can work at the lab part-time and easily pair that with taking classes. But our facility gets benefit as well; we have increased access to talented, motivated students.” 

Campbell studied physics and computer science at Gonzaga University as an undergraduate. He was excited by the prospect of coming to MSU for graduate school in large part to FRIB being on campus and being a major resource for physics students. “I was very excited by the prospect of doing for nuclear physics research at MSU, especially with FRIB ramping up during my studies,” he said. “We have access to these great facilities and a great community, and we get to participate in groundbreaking advances in nuclear science.” 

Campbell also noted that FRIB not only offers world-class facilities, but also networking opportunities and mentors like Ringle. “We are surrounded by colleagues who are interested in your research and want to help you push science forward,” he said.

Eric Gedenk is a freelance science writer.

Michigan State University operates the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) as a user facility for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), supporting the mission of the DOE-SC Office of Nuclear Physics. Hosting what is designed to be the most powerful heavy-ion accelerator, FRIB enables scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications for society, including in medicine, homeland security, and industry.

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of today’s most pressing challenges. For more information, visit energy.gov/science.

A systematic literature review of empirical research on ChatGPT in education

  • Open access
  • Published: 26 May 2024
  • Volume 3 , article number  60 , ( 2024 )

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steps in research essay

  • Yazid Albadarin   ORCID: orcid.org/0009-0005-8068-8902 1 ,
  • Mohammed Saqr 1 ,
  • Nicolas Pope 1 &
  • Markku Tukiainen 1  

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Over the last four decades, studies have investigated the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into education. A recent prominent AI-powered technology that has impacted the education sector is ChatGPT. This article provides a systematic review of 14 empirical studies incorporating ChatGPT into various educational settings, published in 2022 and before the 10th of April 2023—the date of conducting the search process. It carefully followed the essential steps outlined in the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA 2020) guidelines, as well as Okoli’s (Okoli in Commun Assoc Inf Syst, 2015) steps for conducting a rigorous and transparent systematic review. In this review, we aimed to explore how students and teachers have utilized ChatGPT in various educational settings, as well as the primary findings of those studies. By employing Creswell’s (Creswell in Educational research: planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research [Ebook], Pearson Education, London, 2015) coding techniques for data extraction and interpretation, we sought to gain insight into their initial attempts at ChatGPT incorporation into education. This approach also enabled us to extract insights and considerations that can facilitate its effective and responsible use in future educational contexts. The results of this review show that learners have utilized ChatGPT as a virtual intelligent assistant, where it offered instant feedback, on-demand answers, and explanations of complex topics. Additionally, learners have used it to enhance their writing and language skills by generating ideas, composing essays, summarizing, translating, paraphrasing texts, or checking grammar. Moreover, learners turned to it as an aiding tool to facilitate their directed and personalized learning by assisting in understanding concepts and homework, providing structured learning plans, and clarifying assignments and tasks. However, the results of specific studies (n = 3, 21.4%) show that overuse of ChatGPT may negatively impact innovative capacities and collaborative learning competencies among learners. Educators, on the other hand, have utilized ChatGPT to create lesson plans, generate quizzes, and provide additional resources, which helped them enhance their productivity and efficiency and promote different teaching methodologies. Despite these benefits, the majority of the reviewed studies recommend the importance of conducting structured training, support, and clear guidelines for both learners and educators to mitigate the drawbacks. This includes developing critical evaluation skills to assess the accuracy and relevance of information provided by ChatGPT, as well as strategies for integrating human interaction and collaboration into learning activities that involve AI tools. Furthermore, they also recommend ongoing research and proactive dialogue with policymakers, stakeholders, and educational practitioners to refine and enhance the use of AI in learning environments. This review could serve as an insightful resource for practitioners who seek to integrate ChatGPT into education and stimulate further research in the field.

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Avoid common mistakes on your manuscript.

1 Introduction

Educational technology, a rapidly evolving field, plays a crucial role in reshaping the landscape of teaching and learning [ 82 ]. One of the most transformative technological innovations of our era that has influenced the field of education is Artificial Intelligence (AI) [ 50 ]. Over the last four decades, AI in education (AIEd) has gained remarkable attention for its potential to make significant advancements in learning, instructional methods, and administrative tasks within educational settings [ 11 ]. In particular, a large language model (LLM), a type of AI algorithm that applies artificial neural networks (ANNs) and uses massively large data sets to understand, summarize, generate, and predict new content that is almost difficult to differentiate from human creations [ 79 ], has opened up novel possibilities for enhancing various aspects of education, from content creation to personalized instruction [ 35 ]. Chatbots that leverage the capabilities of LLMs to understand and generate human-like responses have also presented the capacity to enhance student learning and educational outcomes by engaging students, offering timely support, and fostering interactive learning experiences [ 46 ].

The ongoing and remarkable technological advancements in chatbots have made their use more convenient, increasingly natural and effortless, and have expanded their potential for deployment across various domains [ 70 ]. One prominent example of chatbot applications is the Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer, known as ChatGPT, which was introduced by OpenAI, a leading AI research lab, on November 30th, 2022. ChatGPT employs a variety of deep learning techniques to generate human-like text, with a particular focus on recurrent neural networks (RNNs). Long short-term memory (LSTM) allows it to grasp the context of the text being processed and retain information from previous inputs. Also, the transformer architecture, a neural network architecture based on the self-attention mechanism, allows it to analyze specific parts of the input, thereby enabling it to produce more natural-sounding and coherent output. Additionally, the unsupervised generative pre-training and the fine-tuning methods allow ChatGPT to generate more relevant and accurate text for specific tasks [ 31 , 62 ]. Furthermore, reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF), a machine learning approach that combines reinforcement learning techniques with human-provided feedback, has helped improve ChatGPT’s model by accelerating the learning process and making it significantly more efficient.

This cutting-edge natural language processing (NLP) tool is widely recognized as one of today's most advanced LLMs-based chatbots [ 70 ], allowing users to ask questions and receive detailed, coherent, systematic, personalized, convincing, and informative human-like responses [ 55 ], even within complex and ambiguous contexts [ 63 , 77 ]. ChatGPT is considered the fastest-growing technology in history: in just three months following its public launch, it amassed an estimated 120 million monthly active users [ 16 ] with an estimated 13 million daily queries [ 49 ], surpassing all other applications [ 64 ]. This remarkable growth can be attributed to the unique features and user-friendly interface that ChatGPT offers. Its intuitive design allows users to interact seamlessly with the technology, making it accessible to a diverse range of individuals, regardless of their technical expertise [ 78 ]. Additionally, its exceptional performance results from a combination of advanced algorithms, continuous enhancements, and extensive training on a diverse dataset that includes various text sources such as books, articles, websites, and online forums [ 63 ], have contributed to a more engaging and satisfying user experience [ 62 ]. These factors collectively explain its remarkable global growth and set it apart from predecessors like Bard, Bing Chat, ERNIE, and others.

In this context, several studies have explored the technological advancements of chatbots. One noteworthy recent research effort, conducted by Schöbel et al. [ 70 ], stands out for its comprehensive analysis of more than 5,000 studies on communication agents. This study offered a comprehensive overview of the historical progression and future prospects of communication agents, including ChatGPT. Moreover, other studies have focused on making comparisons, particularly between ChatGPT and alternative chatbots like Bard, Bing Chat, ERNIE, LaMDA, BlenderBot, and various others. For example, O’Leary [ 53 ] compared two chatbots, LaMDA and BlenderBot, with ChatGPT and revealed that ChatGPT outperformed both. This superiority arises from ChatGPT’s capacity to handle a wider range of questions and generate slightly varied perspectives within specific contexts. Similarly, ChatGPT exhibited an impressive ability to formulate interpretable responses that were easily understood when compared with Google's feature snippet [ 34 ]. Additionally, ChatGPT was compared to other LLMs-based chatbots, including Bard and BERT, as well as ERNIE. The findings indicated that ChatGPT exhibited strong performance in the given tasks, often outperforming the other models [ 59 ].

Furthermore, in the education context, a comprehensive study systematically compared a range of the most promising chatbots, including Bard, Bing Chat, ChatGPT, and Ernie across a multidisciplinary test that required higher-order thinking. The study revealed that ChatGPT achieved the highest score, surpassing Bing Chat and Bard [ 64 ]. Similarly, a comparative analysis was conducted to compare ChatGPT with Bard in answering a set of 30 mathematical questions and logic problems, grouped into two question sets. Set (A) is unavailable online, while Set (B) is available online. The results revealed ChatGPT's superiority in Set (A) over Bard. Nevertheless, Bard's advantage emerged in Set (B) due to its capacity to access the internet directly and retrieve answers, a capability that ChatGPT does not possess [ 57 ]. However, through these varied assessments, ChatGPT consistently highlights its exceptional prowess compared to various alternatives in the ever-evolving chatbot technology.

The widespread adoption of chatbots, especially ChatGPT, by millions of students and educators, has sparked extensive discussions regarding its incorporation into the education sector [ 64 ]. Accordingly, many scholars have contributed to the discourse, expressing both optimism and pessimism regarding the incorporation of ChatGPT into education. For example, ChatGPT has been highlighted for its capabilities in enriching the learning and teaching experience through its ability to support different learning approaches, including adaptive learning, personalized learning, and self-directed learning [ 58 , 60 , 91 ]), deliver summative and formative feedback to students and provide real-time responses to questions, increase the accessibility of information [ 22 , 40 , 43 ], foster students’ performance, engagement and motivation [ 14 , 44 , 58 ], and enhance teaching practices [ 17 , 18 , 64 , 74 ].

On the other hand, concerns have been also raised regarding its potential negative effects on learning and teaching. These include the dissemination of false information and references [ 12 , 23 , 61 , 85 ], biased reinforcement [ 47 , 50 ], compromised academic integrity [ 18 , 40 , 66 , 74 ], and the potential decline in students' skills [ 43 , 61 , 64 , 74 ]. As a result, ChatGPT has been banned in multiple countries, including Russia, China, Venezuela, Belarus, and Iran, as well as in various educational institutions in India, Italy, Western Australia, France, and the United States [ 52 , 90 ].

Clearly, the advent of chatbots, especially ChatGPT, has provoked significant controversy due to their potential impact on learning and teaching. This indicates the necessity for further exploration to gain a deeper understanding of this technology and carefully evaluate its potential benefits, limitations, challenges, and threats to education [ 79 ]. Therefore, conducting a systematic literature review will provide valuable insights into the potential prospects and obstacles linked to its incorporation into education. This systematic literature review will primarily focus on ChatGPT, driven by the aforementioned key factors outlined above.

However, the existing literature lacks a systematic literature review of empirical studies. Thus, this systematic literature review aims to address this gap by synthesizing the existing empirical studies conducted on chatbots, particularly ChatGPT, in the field of education, highlighting how ChatGPT has been utilized in educational settings, and identifying any existing gaps. This review may be particularly useful for researchers in the field and educators who are contemplating the integration of ChatGPT or any chatbot into education. The following research questions will guide this study:

What are students' and teachers' initial attempts at utilizing ChatGPT in education?

What are the main findings derived from empirical studies that have incorporated ChatGPT into learning and teaching?

2 Methodology

To conduct this study, the authors followed the essential steps of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA 2020) and Okoli’s [ 54 ] steps for conducting a systematic review. These included identifying the study’s purpose, drafting a protocol, applying a practical screening process, searching the literature, extracting relevant data, evaluating the quality of the included studies, synthesizing the studies, and ultimately writing the review. The subsequent section provides an extensive explanation of how these steps were carried out in this study.

2.1 Identify the purpose

Given the widespread adoption of ChatGPT by students and teachers for various educational purposes, often without a thorough understanding of responsible and effective use or a clear recognition of its potential impact on learning and teaching, the authors recognized the need for further exploration of ChatGPT's impact on education in this early stage. Therefore, they have chosen to conduct a systematic literature review of existing empirical studies that incorporate ChatGPT into educational settings. Despite the limited number of empirical studies due to the novelty of the topic, their goal is to gain a deeper understanding of this technology and proactively evaluate its potential benefits, limitations, challenges, and threats to education. This effort could help to understand initial reactions and attempts at incorporating ChatGPT into education and bring out insights and considerations that can inform the future development of education.

2.2 Draft the protocol

The next step is formulating the protocol. This protocol serves to outline the study process in a rigorous and transparent manner, mitigating researcher bias in study selection and data extraction [ 88 ]. The protocol will include the following steps: generating the research question, predefining a literature search strategy, identifying search locations, establishing selection criteria, assessing the studies, developing a data extraction strategy, and creating a timeline.

2.3 Apply practical screen

The screening step aims to accurately filter the articles resulting from the searching step and select the empirical studies that have incorporated ChatGPT into educational contexts, which will guide us in answering the research questions and achieving the objectives of this study. To ensure the rigorous execution of this step, our inclusion and exclusion criteria were determined based on the authors' experience and informed by previous successful systematic reviews [ 21 ]. Table 1 summarizes the inclusion and exclusion criteria for study selection.

2.4 Literature search

We conducted a thorough literature search to identify articles that explored, examined, and addressed the use of ChatGPT in Educational contexts. We utilized two research databases: Dimensions.ai, which provides access to a large number of research publications, and lens.org, which offers access to over 300 million articles, patents, and other research outputs from diverse sources. Additionally, we included three databases, Scopus, Web of Knowledge, and ERIC, which contain relevant research on the topic that addresses our research questions. To browse and identify relevant articles, we used the following search formula: ("ChatGPT" AND "Education"), which included the Boolean operator "AND" to get more specific results. The subject area in the Scopus and ERIC databases were narrowed to "ChatGPT" and "Education" keywords, and in the WoS database was limited to the "Education" category. The search was conducted between the 3rd and 10th of April 2023, which resulted in 276 articles from all selected databases (111 articles from Dimensions.ai, 65 from Scopus, 28 from Web of Science, 14 from ERIC, and 58 from Lens.org). These articles were imported into the Rayyan web-based system for analysis. The duplicates were identified automatically by the system. Subsequently, the first author manually reviewed the duplicated articles ensured that they had the same content, and then removed them, leaving us with 135 unique articles. Afterward, the titles, abstracts, and keywords of the first 40 manuscripts were scanned and reviewed by the first author and were discussed with the second and third authors to resolve any disagreements. Subsequently, the first author proceeded with the filtering process for all articles and carefully applied the inclusion and exclusion criteria as presented in Table  1 . Articles that met any one of the exclusion criteria were eliminated, resulting in 26 articles. Afterward, the authors met to carefully scan and discuss them. The authors agreed to eliminate any empirical studies solely focused on checking ChatGPT capabilities, as these studies do not guide us in addressing the research questions and achieving the study's objectives. This resulted in 14 articles eligible for analysis.

2.5 Quality appraisal

The examination and evaluation of the quality of the extracted articles is a vital step [ 9 ]. Therefore, the extracted articles were carefully evaluated for quality using Fink’s [ 24 ] standards, which emphasize the necessity for detailed descriptions of methodology, results, conclusions, strengths, and limitations. The process began with a thorough assessment of each study's design, data collection, and analysis methods to ensure their appropriateness and comprehensive execution. The clarity, consistency, and logical progression from data to results and conclusions were also critically examined. Potential biases and recognized limitations within the studies were also scrutinized. Ultimately, two articles were excluded for failing to meet Fink’s criteria, particularly in providing sufficient detail on methodology, results, conclusions, strengths, or limitations. The review process is illustrated in Fig.  1 .

figure 1

The study selection process

2.6 Data extraction

The next step is data extraction, the process of capturing the key information and categories from the included studies. To improve efficiency, reduce variation among authors, and minimize errors in data analysis, the coding categories were constructed using Creswell's [ 15 ] coding techniques for data extraction and interpretation. The coding process involves three sequential steps. The initial stage encompasses open coding , where the researcher examines the data, generates codes to describe and categorize it, and gains a deeper understanding without preconceived ideas. Following open coding is axial coding , where the interrelationships between codes from open coding are analyzed to establish more comprehensive categories or themes. The process concludes with selective coding , refining and integrating categories or themes to identify core concepts emerging from the data. The first coder performed the coding process, then engaged in discussions with the second and third authors to finalize the coding categories for the first five articles. The first coder then proceeded to code all studies and engaged again in discussions with the other authors to ensure the finalization of the coding process. After a comprehensive analysis and capturing of the key information from the included studies, the data extraction and interpretation process yielded several themes. These themes have been categorized and are presented in Table  2 . It is important to note that open coding results were removed from Table  2 for aesthetic reasons, as it included many generic aspects, such as words, short phrases, or sentences mentioned in the studies.

2.7 Synthesize studies

In this stage, we will gather, discuss, and analyze the key findings that emerged from the selected studies. The synthesis stage is considered a transition from an author-centric to a concept-centric focus, enabling us to map all the provided information to achieve the most effective evaluation of the data [ 87 ]. Initially, the authors extracted data that included general information about the selected studies, including the author(s)' names, study titles, years of publication, educational levels, research methodologies, sample sizes, participants, main aims or objectives, raw data sources, and analysis methods. Following that, all key information and significant results from the selected studies were compiled using Creswell’s [ 15 ] coding techniques for data extraction and interpretation to identify core concepts and themes emerging from the data, focusing on those that directly contributed to our research questions and objectives, such as the initial utilization of ChatGPT in learning and teaching, learners' and educators' familiarity with ChatGPT, and the main findings of each study. Finally, the data related to each selected study were extracted into an Excel spreadsheet for data processing. The Excel spreadsheet was reviewed by the authors, including a series of discussions to ensure the finalization of this process and prepare it for further analysis. Afterward, the final result being analyzed and presented in various types of charts and graphs. Table 4 presents the extracted data from the selected studies, with each study labeled with a capital 'S' followed by a number.

This section consists of two main parts. The first part provides a descriptive analysis of the data compiled from the reviewed studies. The second part presents the answers to the research questions and the main findings of these studies.

3.1 Part 1: descriptive analysis

This section will provide a descriptive analysis of the reviewed studies, including educational levels and fields, participants distribution, country contribution, research methodologies, study sample size, study population, publication year, list of journals, familiarity with ChatGPT, source of data, and the main aims and objectives of the studies. Table 4 presents a comprehensive overview of the extracted data from the selected studies.

3.1.1 The number of the reviewed studies and publication years

The total number of the reviewed studies was 14. All studies were empirical studies and published in different journals focusing on Education and Technology. One study was published in 2022 [S1], while the remaining were published in 2023 [S2]-[S14]. Table 3 illustrates the year of publication, the names of the journals, and the number of reviewed studies published in each journal for the studies reviewed.

3.1.2 Educational levels and fields

The majority of the reviewed studies, 11 studies, were conducted in higher education institutions [S1]-[S10] and [S13]. Two studies did not specify the educational level of the population [S12] and [S14], while one study focused on elementary education [S11]. However, the reviewed studies covered various fields of education. Three studies focused on Arts and Humanities Education [S8], [S11], and [S14], specifically English Education. Two studies focused on Engineering Education, with one in Computer Engineering [S2] and the other in Construction Education [S3]. Two studies focused on Mathematics Education [S5] and [S12]. One study focused on Social Science Education [S13]. One study focused on Early Education [S4]. One study focused on Journalism Education [S9]. Finally, three studies did not specify the field of education [S1], [S6], and [S7]. Figure  2 represents the educational levels in the reviewed studies, while Fig.  3 represents the context of the reviewed studies.

figure 2

Educational levels in the reviewed studies

figure 3

Context of the reviewed studies

3.1.3 Participants distribution and countries contribution

The reviewed studies have been conducted across different geographic regions, providing a diverse representation of the studies. The majority of the studies, 10 in total, [S1]-[S3], [S5]-[S9], [S11], and [S14], primarily focused on participants from single countries such as Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, China, Indonesia, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Tajikistan, and the United States. In contrast, four studies, [S4], [S10], [S12], and [S13], involved participants from multiple countries, including China and the United States [S4], China, the United Kingdom, and the United States [S10], the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan [S12], Turkey, Sweden, Canada, and Australia [ 13 ]. Figures  4 and 5 illustrate the distribution of participants, whether from single or multiple countries, and the contribution of each country in the reviewed studies, respectively.

figure 4

The reviewed studies conducted in single or multiple countries

figure 5

The Contribution of each country in the studies

3.1.4 Study population and sample size

Four study populations were included: university students, university teachers, university teachers and students, and elementary school teachers. Six studies involved university students [S2], [S3], [S5] and [S6]-[S8]. Three studies focused on university teachers [S1], [S4], and [S6], while one study specifically targeted elementary school teachers [S11]. Additionally, four studies included both university teachers and students [S10] and [ 12 , 13 , 14 ], and among them, study [S13] specifically included postgraduate students. In terms of the sample size of the reviewed studies, nine studies included a small sample size of less than 50 participants [S1], [S3], [S6], [S8], and [S10]-[S13]. Three studies had 50–100 participants [S2], [S9], and [S14]. Only one study had more than 100 participants [S7]. It is worth mentioning that study [S4] adopted a mixed methods approach, including 10 participants for qualitative analysis and 110 participants for quantitative analysis.

3.1.5 Participants’ familiarity with using ChatGPT

The reviewed studies recruited a diverse range of participants with varying levels of familiarity with ChatGPT. Five studies [S2], [S4], [S6], [S8], and [S12] involved participants already familiar with ChatGPT, while eight studies [S1], [S3], [S5], [S7], [S9], [S10], [S13] and [S14] included individuals with differing levels of familiarity. Notably, one study [S11] had participants who were entirely unfamiliar with ChatGPT. It is important to note that four studies [S3], [S5], [S9], and [S11] provided training or guidance to their participants before conducting their studies, while ten studies [S1], [S2], [S4], [S6]-[S8], [S10], and [S12]-[S14] did not provide training due to the participants' existing familiarity with ChatGPT.

3.1.6 Research methodology approaches and source(S) of data

The reviewed studies adopted various research methodology approaches. Seven studies adopted qualitative research methodology [S1], [S4], [S6], [S8], [S10], [S11], and [S12], while three studies adopted quantitative research methodology [S3], [S7], and [S14], and four studies employed mixed-methods, which involved a combination of both the strengths of qualitative and quantitative methods [S2], [S5], [S9], and [S13].

In terms of the source(s) of data, the reviewed studies obtained their data from various sources, such as interviews, questionnaires, and pre-and post-tests. Six studies relied on interviews as their primary source of data collection [S1], [S4], [S6], [S10], [S11], and [S12], four studies relied on questionnaires [S2], [S7], [S13], and [S14], two studies combined the use of pre-and post-tests and questionnaires for data collection [S3] and [S9], while two studies combined the use of questionnaires and interviews to obtain the data [S5] and [S8]. It is important to note that six of the reviewed studies were quasi-experimental [S3], [S5], [S8], [S9], [S12], and [S14], while the remaining ones were experimental studies [S1], [S2], [S4], [S6], [S7], [S10], [S11], and [S13]. Figures  6 and 7 illustrate the research methodologies and the source (s) of data used in the reviewed studies, respectively.

figure 6

Research methodologies in the reviewed studies

figure 7

Source of data in the reviewed studies

3.1.7 The aim and objectives of the studies

The reviewed studies encompassed a diverse set of aims, with several of them incorporating multiple primary objectives. Six studies [S3], [S6], [S7], [S8], [S11], and [S12] examined the integration of ChatGPT in educational contexts, and four studies [S4], [S5], [S13], and [S14] investigated the various implications of its use in education, while three studies [S2], [S9], and [S10] aimed to explore both its integration and implications in education. Additionally, seven studies explicitly explored attitudes and perceptions of students [S2] and [S3], educators [S1] and [S6], or both [S10], [S12], and [S13] regarding the utilization of ChatGPT in educational settings.

3.2 Part 2: research questions and main findings of the reviewed studies

This part will present the answers to the research questions and the main findings of the reviewed studies, classified into two main categories (learning and teaching) according to AI Education classification by [ 36 ]. Figure  8 summarizes the main findings of the reviewed studies in a visually informative diagram. Table 4 provides a detailed list of the key information extracted from the selected studies that led to generating these themes.

figure 8

The main findings in the reviewed studies

4 Students' initial attempts at utilizing ChatGPT in learning and main findings from students' perspective

4.1 virtual intelligent assistant.

Nine studies demonstrated that ChatGPT has been utilized by students as an intelligent assistant to enhance and support their learning. Students employed it for various purposes, such as answering on-demand questions [S2]-[S5], [S8], [S10], and [S12], providing valuable information and learning resources [S2]-[S5], [S6], and [S8], as well as receiving immediate feedback [S2], [S4], [S9], [S10], and [S12]. In this regard, students generally were confident in the accuracy of ChatGPT's responses, considering them relevant, reliable, and detailed [S3], [S4], [S5], and [S8]. However, some students indicated the need for improvement, as they found that answers are not always accurate [S2], and that misleading information may have been provided or that it may not always align with their expectations [S6] and [S10]. It was also observed by the students that the accuracy of ChatGPT is dependent on several factors, including the quality and specificity of the user's input, the complexity of the question or topic, and the scope and relevance of its training data [S12]. Many students felt that ChatGPT's answers were not always accurate and most of them believed that it requires good background knowledge to work with.

4.2 Writing and language proficiency assistant

Six of the reviewed studies highlighted that ChatGPT has been utilized by students as a valuable assistant tool to improve their academic writing skills and language proficiency. Among these studies, three mainly focused on English education, demonstrating that students showed sufficient mastery in using ChatGPT for generating ideas, summarizing, paraphrasing texts, and completing writing essays [S8], [S11], and [S14]. Furthermore, ChatGPT helped them in writing by making students active investigators rather than passive knowledge recipients and facilitated the development of their writing skills [S11] and [S14]. Similarly, ChatGPT allowed students to generate unique ideas and perspectives, leading to deeper analysis and reflection on their journalism writing [S9]. In terms of language proficiency, ChatGPT allowed participants to translate content into their home languages, making it more accessible and relevant to their context [S4]. It also enabled them to request changes in linguistic tones or flavors [S8]. Moreover, participants used it to check grammar or as a dictionary [S11].

4.3 Valuable resource for learning approaches

Five studies demonstrated that students used ChatGPT as a valuable complementary resource for self-directed learning. It provided learning resources and guidance on diverse educational topics and created a supportive home learning environment [S2] and [S4]. Moreover, it offered step-by-step guidance to grasp concepts at their own pace and enhance their understanding [S5], streamlined task and project completion carried out independently [S7], provided comprehensive and easy-to-understand explanations on various subjects [S10], and assisted in studying geometry operations, thereby empowering them to explore geometry operations at their own pace [S12]. Three studies showed that students used ChatGPT as a valuable learning resource for personalized learning. It delivered age-appropriate conversations and tailored teaching based on a child's interests [S4], acted as a personalized learning assistant, adapted to their needs and pace, which assisted them in understanding mathematical concepts [S12], and enabled personalized learning experiences in social sciences by adapting to students' needs and learning styles [S13]. On the other hand, it is important to note that, according to one study [S5], students suggested that using ChatGPT may negatively affect collaborative learning competencies between students.

4.4 Enhancing students' competencies

Six of the reviewed studies have shown that ChatGPT is a valuable tool for improving a wide range of skills among students. Two studies have provided evidence that ChatGPT led to improvements in students' critical thinking, reasoning skills, and hazard recognition competencies through engaging them in interactive conversations or activities and providing responses related to their disciplines in journalism [S5] and construction education [S9]. Furthermore, two studies focused on mathematical education have shown the positive impact of ChatGPT on students' problem-solving abilities in unraveling problem-solving questions [S12] and enhancing the students' understanding of the problem-solving process [S5]. Lastly, one study indicated that ChatGPT effectively contributed to the enhancement of conversational social skills [S4].

4.5 Supporting students' academic success

Seven of the reviewed studies highlighted that students found ChatGPT to be beneficial for learning as it enhanced learning efficiency and improved the learning experience. It has been observed to improve students' efficiency in computer engineering studies by providing well-structured responses and good explanations [S2]. Additionally, students found it extremely useful for hazard reporting [S3], and it also enhanced their efficiency in solving mathematics problems and capabilities [S5] and [S12]. Furthermore, by finding information, generating ideas, translating texts, and providing alternative questions, ChatGPT aided students in deepening their understanding of various subjects [S6]. It contributed to an increase in students' overall productivity [S7] and improved efficiency in composing written tasks [S8]. Regarding learning experiences, ChatGPT was instrumental in assisting students in identifying hazards that they might have otherwise overlooked [S3]. It also improved students' learning experiences in solving mathematics problems and developing abilities [S5] and [S12]. Moreover, it increased students' successful completion of important tasks in their studies [S7], particularly those involving average difficulty writing tasks [S8]. Additionally, ChatGPT increased the chances of educational success by providing students with baseline knowledge on various topics [S10].

5 Teachers' initial attempts at utilizing ChatGPT in teaching and main findings from teachers' perspective

5.1 valuable resource for teaching.

The reviewed studies showed that teachers have employed ChatGPT to recommend, modify, and generate diverse, creative, organized, and engaging educational contents, teaching materials, and testing resources more rapidly [S4], [S6], [S10] and [S11]. Additionally, teachers experienced increased productivity as ChatGPT facilitated quick and accurate responses to questions, fact-checking, and information searches [S1]. It also proved valuable in constructing new knowledge [S6] and providing timely answers to students' questions in classrooms [S11]. Moreover, ChatGPT enhanced teachers' efficiency by generating new ideas for activities and preplanning activities for their students [S4] and [S6], including interactive language game partners [S11].

5.2 Improving productivity and efficiency

The reviewed studies showed that participants' productivity and work efficiency have been significantly enhanced by using ChatGPT as it enabled them to allocate more time to other tasks and reduce their overall workloads [S6], [S10], [S11], [S13], and [S14]. However, three studies [S1], [S4], and [S11], indicated a negative perception and attitude among teachers toward using ChatGPT. This negativity stemmed from a lack of necessary skills to use it effectively [S1], a limited familiarity with it [S4], and occasional inaccuracies in the content provided by it [S10].

5.3 Catalyzing new teaching methodologies

Five of the reviewed studies highlighted that educators found the necessity of redefining their teaching profession with the assistance of ChatGPT [S11], developing new effective learning strategies [S4], and adapting teaching strategies and methodologies to ensure the development of essential skills for future engineers [S5]. They also emphasized the importance of adopting new educational philosophies and approaches that can evolve with the introduction of ChatGPT into the classroom [S12]. Furthermore, updating curricula to focus on improving human-specific features, such as emotional intelligence, creativity, and philosophical perspectives [S13], was found to be essential.

5.4 Effective utilization of CHATGPT in teaching

According to the reviewed studies, effective utilization of ChatGPT in education requires providing teachers with well-structured training, support, and adequate background on how to use ChatGPT responsibly [S1], [S3], [S11], and [S12]. Establishing clear rules and regulations regarding its usage is essential to ensure it positively impacts the teaching and learning processes, including students' skills [S1], [S4], [S5], [S8], [S9], and [S11]-[S14]. Moreover, conducting further research and engaging in discussions with policymakers and stakeholders is indeed crucial for the successful integration of ChatGPT in education and to maximize the benefits for both educators and students [S1], [S6]-[S10], and [S12]-[S14].

6 Discussion

The purpose of this review is to conduct a systematic review of empirical studies that have explored the utilization of ChatGPT, one of today’s most advanced LLM-based chatbots, in education. The findings of the reviewed studies showed several ways of ChatGPT utilization in different learning and teaching practices as well as it provided insights and considerations that can facilitate its effective and responsible use in future educational contexts. The results of the reviewed studies came from diverse fields of education, which helped us avoid a biased review that is limited to a specific field. Similarly, the reviewed studies have been conducted across different geographic regions. This kind of variety in geographic representation enriched the findings of this review.

In response to RQ1 , "What are students' and teachers' initial attempts at utilizing ChatGPT in education?", the findings from this review provide comprehensive insights. Chatbots, including ChatGPT, play a crucial role in supporting student learning, enhancing their learning experiences, and facilitating diverse learning approaches [ 42 , 43 ]. This review found that this tool, ChatGPT, has been instrumental in enhancing students' learning experiences by serving as a virtual intelligent assistant, providing immediate feedback, on-demand answers, and engaging in educational conversations. Additionally, students have benefited from ChatGPT’s ability to generate ideas, compose essays, and perform tasks like summarizing, translating, paraphrasing texts, or checking grammar, thereby enhancing their writing and language competencies. Furthermore, students have turned to ChatGPT for assistance in understanding concepts and homework, providing structured learning plans, and clarifying assignments and tasks, which fosters a supportive home learning environment, allowing them to take responsibility for their own learning and cultivate the skills and approaches essential for supportive home learning environment [ 26 , 27 , 28 ]. This finding aligns with the study of Saqr et al. [ 68 , 69 ] who highlighted that, when students actively engage in their own learning process, it yields additional advantages, such as heightened motivation, enhanced achievement, and the cultivation of enthusiasm, turning them into advocates for their own learning.

Moreover, students have utilized ChatGPT for tailored teaching and step-by-step guidance on diverse educational topics, streamlining task and project completion, and generating and recommending educational content. This personalization enhances the learning environment, leading to increased academic success. This finding aligns with other recent studies [ 26 , 27 , 28 , 60 , 66 ] which revealed that ChatGPT has the potential to offer personalized learning experiences and support an effective learning process by providing students with customized feedback and explanations tailored to their needs and abilities. Ultimately, fostering students' performance, engagement, and motivation, leading to increase students' academic success [ 14 , 44 , 58 ]. This ultimate outcome is in line with the findings of Saqr et al. [ 68 , 69 ], which emphasized that learning strategies are important catalysts of students' learning, as students who utilize effective learning strategies are more likely to have better academic achievement.

Teachers, too, have capitalized on ChatGPT's capabilities to enhance productivity and efficiency, using it for creating lesson plans, generating quizzes, providing additional resources, generating and preplanning new ideas for activities, and aiding in answering students’ questions. This adoption of technology introduces new opportunities to support teaching and learning practices, enhancing teacher productivity. This finding aligns with those of Day [ 17 ], De Castro [ 18 ], and Su and Yang [ 74 ] as well as with those of Valtonen et al. [ 82 ], who revealed that emerging technological advancements have opened up novel opportunities and means to support teaching and learning practices, and enhance teachers’ productivity.

In response to RQ2 , "What are the main findings derived from empirical studies that have incorporated ChatGPT into learning and teaching?", the findings from this review provide profound insights and raise significant concerns. Starting with the insights, chatbots, including ChatGPT, have demonstrated the potential to reshape and revolutionize education, creating new, novel opportunities for enhancing the learning process and outcomes [ 83 ], facilitating different learning approaches, and offering a range of pedagogical benefits [ 19 , 43 , 72 ]. In this context, this review found that ChatGPT could open avenues for educators to adopt or develop new effective learning and teaching strategies that can evolve with the introduction of ChatGPT into the classroom. Nonetheless, there is an evident lack of research understanding regarding the potential impact of generative machine learning models within diverse educational settings [ 83 ]. This necessitates teachers to attain a high level of proficiency in incorporating chatbots, such as ChatGPT, into their classrooms to create inventive, well-structured, and captivating learning strategies. In the same vein, the review also found that teachers without the requisite skills to utilize ChatGPT realized that it did not contribute positively to their work and could potentially have adverse effects [ 37 ]. This concern could lead to inequity of access to the benefits of chatbots, including ChatGPT, as individuals who lack the necessary expertise may not be able to harness their full potential, resulting in disparities in educational outcomes and opportunities. Therefore, immediate action is needed to address these potential issues. A potential solution is offering training, support, and competency development for teachers to ensure that all of them can leverage chatbots, including ChatGPT, effectively and equitably in their educational practices [ 5 , 28 , 80 ], which could enhance accessibility and inclusivity, and potentially result in innovative outcomes [ 82 , 83 ].

Additionally, chatbots, including ChatGPT, have the potential to significantly impact students' thinking abilities, including retention, reasoning, analysis skills [ 19 , 45 ], and foster innovation and creativity capabilities [ 83 ]. This review found that ChatGPT could contribute to improving a wide range of skills among students. However, it found that frequent use of ChatGPT may result in a decrease in innovative capacities, collaborative skills and cognitive capacities, and students' motivation to attend classes, as well as could lead to reduced higher-order thinking skills among students [ 22 , 29 ]. Therefore, immediate action is needed to carefully examine the long-term impact of chatbots such as ChatGPT, on learning outcomes as well as to explore its incorporation into educational settings as a supportive tool without compromising students' cognitive development and critical thinking abilities. In the same vein, the review also found that it is challenging to draw a consistent conclusion regarding the potential of ChatGPT to aid self-directed learning approach. This finding aligns with the recent study of Baskara [ 8 ]. Therefore, further research is needed to explore the potential of ChatGPT for self-directed learning. One potential solution involves utilizing learning analytics as a novel approach to examine various aspects of students' learning and support them in their individual endeavors [ 32 ]. This approach can bridge this gap by facilitating an in-depth analysis of how learners engage with ChatGPT, identifying trends in self-directed learning behavior, and assessing its influence on their outcomes.

Turning to the significant concerns, on the other hand, a fundamental challenge with LLM-based chatbots, including ChatGPT, is the accuracy and quality of the provided information and responses, as they provide false information as truth—a phenomenon often referred to as "hallucination" [ 3 , 49 ]. In this context, this review found that the provided information was not entirely satisfactory. Consequently, the utilization of chatbots presents potential concerns, such as generating and providing inaccurate or misleading information, especially for students who utilize it to support their learning. This finding aligns with other findings [ 6 , 30 , 35 , 40 ] which revealed that incorporating chatbots such as ChatGPT, into education presents challenges related to its accuracy and reliability due to its training on a large corpus of data, which may contain inaccuracies and the way users formulate or ask ChatGPT. Therefore, immediate action is needed to address these potential issues. One possible solution is to equip students with the necessary skills and competencies, which include a background understanding of how to use it effectively and the ability to assess and evaluate the information it generates, as the accuracy and the quality of the provided information depend on the input, its complexity, the topic, and the relevance of its training data [ 28 , 49 , 86 ]. However, it's also essential to examine how learners can be educated about how these models operate, the data used in their training, and how to recognize their limitations, challenges, and issues [ 79 ].

Furthermore, chatbots present a substantial challenge concerning maintaining academic integrity [ 20 , 56 ] and copyright violations [ 83 ], which are significant concerns in education. The review found that the potential misuse of ChatGPT might foster cheating, facilitate plagiarism, and threaten academic integrity. This issue is also affirmed by the research conducted by Basic et al. [ 7 ], who presented evidence that students who utilized ChatGPT in their writing assignments had more plagiarism cases than those who did not. These findings align with the conclusions drawn by Cotton et al. [ 13 ], Hisan and Amri [ 33 ] and Sullivan et al. [ 75 ], who revealed that the integration of chatbots such as ChatGPT into education poses a significant challenge to the preservation of academic integrity. Moreover, chatbots, including ChatGPT, have increased the difficulty in identifying plagiarism [ 47 , 67 , 76 ]. The findings from previous studies [ 1 , 84 ] indicate that AI-generated text often went undetected by plagiarism software, such as Turnitin. However, Turnitin and other similar plagiarism detection tools, such as ZeroGPT, GPTZero, and Copyleaks, have since evolved, incorporating enhanced techniques to detect AI-generated text, despite the possibility of false positives, as noted in different studies that have found these tools still not yet fully ready to accurately and reliably identify AI-generated text [ 10 , 51 ], and new novel detection methods may need to be created and implemented for AI-generated text detection [ 4 ]. This potential issue could lead to another concern, which is the difficulty of accurately evaluating student performance when they utilize chatbots such as ChatGPT assistance in their assignments. Consequently, the most LLM-driven chatbots present a substantial challenge to traditional assessments [ 64 ]. The findings from previous studies indicate the importance of rethinking, improving, and redesigning innovative assessment methods in the era of chatbots [ 14 , 20 , 64 , 75 ]. These methods should prioritize the process of evaluating students' ability to apply knowledge to complex cases and demonstrate comprehension, rather than solely focusing on the final product for assessment. Therefore, immediate action is needed to address these potential issues. One possible solution would be the development of clear guidelines, regulatory policies, and pedagogical guidance. These measures would help regulate the proper and ethical utilization of chatbots, such as ChatGPT, and must be established before their introduction to students [ 35 , 38 , 39 , 41 , 89 ].

In summary, our review has delved into the utilization of ChatGPT, a prominent example of chatbots, in education, addressing the question of how ChatGPT has been utilized in education. However, there remain significant gaps, which necessitate further research to shed light on this area.

7 Conclusions

This systematic review has shed light on the varied initial attempts at incorporating ChatGPT into education by both learners and educators, while also offering insights and considerations that can facilitate its effective and responsible use in future educational contexts. From the analysis of 14 selected studies, the review revealed the dual-edged impact of ChatGPT in educational settings. On the positive side, ChatGPT significantly aided the learning process in various ways. Learners have used it as a virtual intelligent assistant, benefiting from its ability to provide immediate feedback, on-demand answers, and easy access to educational resources. Additionally, it was clear that learners have used it to enhance their writing and language skills, engaging in practices such as generating ideas, composing essays, and performing tasks like summarizing, translating, paraphrasing texts, or checking grammar. Importantly, other learners have utilized it in supporting and facilitating their directed and personalized learning on a broad range of educational topics, assisting in understanding concepts and homework, providing structured learning plans, and clarifying assignments and tasks. Educators, on the other hand, found ChatGPT beneficial for enhancing productivity and efficiency. They used it for creating lesson plans, generating quizzes, providing additional resources, and answers learners' questions, which saved time and allowed for more dynamic and engaging teaching strategies and methodologies.

However, the review also pointed out negative impacts. The results revealed that overuse of ChatGPT could decrease innovative capacities and collaborative learning among learners. Specifically, relying too much on ChatGPT for quick answers can inhibit learners' critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Learners might not engage deeply with the material or consider multiple solutions to a problem. This tendency was particularly evident in group projects, where learners preferred consulting ChatGPT individually for solutions over brainstorming and collaborating with peers, which negatively affected their teamwork abilities. On a broader level, integrating ChatGPT into education has also raised several concerns, including the potential for providing inaccurate or misleading information, issues of inequity in access, challenges related to academic integrity, and the possibility of misusing the technology.

Accordingly, this review emphasizes the urgency of developing clear rules, policies, and regulations to ensure ChatGPT's effective and responsible use in educational settings, alongside other chatbots, by both learners and educators. This requires providing well-structured training to educate them on responsible usage and understanding its limitations, along with offering sufficient background information. Moreover, it highlights the importance of rethinking, improving, and redesigning innovative teaching and assessment methods in the era of ChatGPT. Furthermore, conducting further research and engaging in discussions with policymakers and stakeholders are essential steps to maximize the benefits for both educators and learners and ensure academic integrity.

It is important to acknowledge that this review has certain limitations. Firstly, the limited inclusion of reviewed studies can be attributed to several reasons, including the novelty of the technology, as new technologies often face initial skepticism and cautious adoption; the lack of clear guidelines or best practices for leveraging this technology for educational purposes; and institutional or governmental policies affecting the utilization of this technology in educational contexts. These factors, in turn, have affected the number of studies available for review. Secondly, the utilization of the original version of ChatGPT, based on GPT-3 or GPT-3.5, implies that new studies utilizing the updated version, GPT-4 may lead to different findings. Therefore, conducting follow-up systematic reviews is essential once more empirical studies on ChatGPT are published. Additionally, long-term studies are necessary to thoroughly examine and assess the impact of ChatGPT on various educational practices.

Despite these limitations, this systematic review has highlighted the transformative potential of ChatGPT in education, revealing its diverse utilization by learners and educators alike and summarized the benefits of incorporating it into education, as well as the forefront critical concerns and challenges that must be addressed to facilitate its effective and responsible use in future educational contexts. This review could serve as an insightful resource for practitioners who seek to integrate ChatGPT into education and stimulate further research in the field.

Data availability

The data supporting our findings are available upon request.

Abbreviations

  • Artificial intelligence

AI in education

Large language model

Artificial neural networks

Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer

Recurrent neural networks

Long short-term memory

Reinforcement learning from human feedback

Natural language processing

Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

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The paper is co-funded by the Academy of Finland (Suomen Akatemia) Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering for the project Towards precision education: Idiographic learning analytics (TOPEILA), Decision Number 350560.

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YA contributed to the literature search, data analysis, discussion, and conclusion. Additionally, YA contributed to the manuscript’s writing, editing, and finalization. MS contributed to the study’s design, conceptualization, acquisition of funding, project administration, allocation of resources, supervision, validation, literature search, and analysis of results. Furthermore, MS contributed to the manuscript's writing, revising, and approving it in its finalized state. NP contributed to the results, and discussions, and provided supervision. NP also contributed to the writing process, revisions, and the final approval of the manuscript in its finalized state. MT contributed to the study's conceptualization, resource management, supervision, writing, revising the manuscript, and approving it.

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Correspondence to Yazid Albadarin .

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See Table  4

The process of synthesizing the data presented in Table  4 involved identifying the relevant studies through a search process of databases (ERIC, Scopus, Web of Knowledge, Dimensions.ai, and lens.org) using specific keywords "ChatGPT" and "education". Following this, inclusion/exclusion criteria were applied, and data extraction was performed using Creswell's [ 15 ] coding techniques to capture key information and identify common themes across the included studies.

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Albadarin, Y., Saqr, M., Pope, N. et al. A systematic literature review of empirical research on ChatGPT in education. Discov Educ 3 , 60 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s44217-024-00138-2

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Received : 22 October 2023

Accepted : 10 May 2024

Published : 26 May 2024

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s44217-024-00138-2

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Age Calculator Application Project | Source Code, SRS, UML Diagrams, Research Paper

In a world where age is a factor for many legal, social, and personal purposes, it is very convenient to have a quick and available method of calculating it. Age calculator applications do just that. These small simple calculators provide an easy and accurate way to determine a person’s age from when they were born. No need to sit down and calculate or thumb calendars: this article looks into the functionality, advantages, and potential uses of age calculator application.

front-page-age-calculator

Age Calculator Application project in software development

  • Demo Video:
  • How to Create an Age Calculator Application?

Table of Content

Step1 : Team Formation Phase | Age Calculator Application:

Step 2: creating project synopsys | age calculator application:, 2.1 introduction, 2.1.1 problem statement, 2.1.2 proposed solution:, 2.1.3 objective of the project:, 2.2 methodologies used:, 2.3 technology used:, 2.4 future scope:, step 3: requirement gathering phase:, 3.1 introduction | age calculator application ( srs ):, 3.1.1 purpose:, 3.1.2 scope:, 3.2 overall description | age calculator application:, 3.2.1 product perspective:, 3.2.2 system interface:, 3.2.3 product functions:, 3.2.4 operating environment:, 3.3 functional requirements | age calculator application:, 3.3.1 software requirements:, 3.3.2 hardware requirements:.

  • 3.3.2 Database Requirements:

3.4 Non-Functional Requirements:

3.4.1 usability requirements, 3.4.2 security requirements, 3.4.3 availability requirements, 3.4.4 error requirements:, 3.5 design:, 3.5.1 data flow diagram for age calculator application:, 3.5.2 use case diagram:, step 4: coding or implementation phase of age calculator application:, 4.1 environment creation:, 4.2 project setup, step 1: setup node.js, step 2: download the source code from github, step 3: setup react dependencies:, step 4: run:.

Result Pupup:

4.3 Code Structure:

Step 5: hosting our website:.

Steps to host your website:

Step 6: Testing Phase:

Step 7: creating project presentation on age calculator application:, future enhancements.

Before the start of any step, there is the ideation process in which the developer thinks and generates some creative problem statements and their solutions. Here in this post, we are covering age calculator application creation.

You can also visit   Top 50 project ideas for Software  Development   page to know about some more creative software development ideas for your future projects.

A Project Development is a multiphase process in which each and every process are equally important. Here in this post we are also going to develop our Age Calculator Application in multiple phases, such as:

  • Team Formation
  • Creating Project Synopsys
  • Requirement Gathering
  • Coding or Implementation
  • Project Presentation

Let us look into the steps one by one.

In Team Formation Phase we will form a dynamic team having high energy and enthusiasm for the project.

In Age Calculator Application creation We need Frontend Developer majorly i.e. HTML , CSS , Javascript and react.js . If you want to improve your website appearance you can also take the help of any UI/UX Developer also.

  • Front end Developer
  • UI / UX Developer

If a person knows about frontend development he/she can develop the Age Calculator Application all by himself/herself.

teampng

Team formation phase of age calculator application

A project synopsis serves as a concise overview or summary of a proposed project, offering a brief but comprehensive insight into its objectives, scope, methodology, and expected outcomes.

Let’s create a Synopsys Report for Age Calculator Application:

An age calculator application is an essential tool that simplifies the process of determining age accurately. Its significance lies in its ability to provide precise and reliable results, eliminating the potential for human error. This versatile application finds utility across diverse domains, from personal record-keeping to organizational data management and research analysis. It streamlines processes by automating complex age calculations, saving valuable time and resources. Moreover, accurate age data plays a crucial role in informing data-driven decisions across various sectors. With its user-friendly interface and widespread availability, an age calculator application offers accessibility and convenience, empowering individuals and organizations to leverage the power of age data effectively.

In the digital age, an age calculator app solves a common yet tricky problem: determining someone’s age accurately. Whether for personal curiosity, event planning, or professional data analysis , this tool takes the guesswork out of age calculations. With just a few taps, you can input a date of birth and instantly know someone’s precise age. No more awkward “How old are you?” moments or risky assumptions. An age calculator app is a discreet, reliable, and versatile solution, empowering you with age data at your fingertips, streamlining processes, and unlocking insights for personal and professional endeavors.
An age calculator application will provide a user-friendly digital solution to accurately calculate an individual’s age based on their date of birth. With a clean and intuitive interface, users can effortlessly input the required date and instantly obtain the precise age, eliminating the need for complex calculations or guesswork. This application will serve as a reliable and convenient tool for personal record-keeping, event planning, demographic analysis, and various other scenarios where accurate age information is essential. Whether for personal or professional purposes, an age calculator application offers a streamlined and accessible approach to leveraging the power of age data effectively.

The primary objective of an age calculator application is to offer a user-friendly and reliable solution for accurately determining an individual’s age based on their date of birth. By providing a clean interface to input the required date, it instantly calculates and displays the precise age, streamlining the process. Whether for personal use, event planning, demographic research, or any scenario requiring accurate age data, this application aims to empower users with a seamless and accessible approach to leveraging age information, facilitating informed decision-making and enabling data-driven insights across various domains.

Front end of the website will be created using react.js which is a powerful JavaScript library for building dynamic and interactive user interfaces (UIs) and used tailwind.css which is a Utility first CSS framework for building rapid custom UI. 

data-flow-diagram-of-age-calculator-application

Data flow diagram of age calculator appliation

Technologies used in this project are:

  • Tailwind.css

While the core functionality of accurately calculating age based on date of birth is invaluable, the future scope of this application extends far beyond its current utility. Enhancements could include integrations with calendar apps for automated birthday/milestone reminders, data visualization tools for analyzing age demographics, and even predictive capabilities estimating future ages for long-term planning. Additionally, the application could evolve into a comprehensive age-related toolkit, incorporating legal age requirements for various activities, age-specific health and wellness recommendations, and personalized life event timelines. With continuous innovation and user feedback, this age calculator has the potential to become an indispensable companion app, empowering users with age-centric insights and solutions throughout their lifetimes.

Below are some of the key points in a  Software Requirement Specification Document :

Purpose Scope Introduction Overall Description Product Perspective System Interface Product Function Operating Environment Functional Requirements Software Requirements Hardware Requirements Database Requirements Non-Functional Requirement Usability Requirements Security Requirements Availability Requirements Error Requirements Design Control Flow Diagram Use Case Diagram System Features

Note : To know more about  What is a SRS Document  or  How to write a good SRS for your Project  follow these articles.

Let’s Start building a Software Requirement Specification for Age Calculator Application:

The main objective of this document is to illustrate the requirements of the  Age Calculator Application  . The document gives the detailed description of the both functional and non-functional requirements proposed by the client.

The age calculator application serves the purpose of providing an accurate and user-friendly solution for determining an individual’s age based on their date of birth. By offering a clean interface and streamlined calculations, it empowers users with precise age information for various scenarios, including personal record-keeping, event planning, demographic analysis, and compliance with age-related requirements. The primary aim is to simplify age calculations, eliminate errors, and enable data-driven insights through seamless access to accurate age data.

The age calculator application holds a promising scope for growth beyond its core functionality. Potential enhancements include integrations with calendar apps for automated birthday/milestone reminders and data visualization tools for analyzing age demographics. The application could evolve into a comprehensive age-centric toolkit, incorporating legal age requirements, health recommendations, and personalized life event timelines.

Predictive capabilities estimating future ages could aid long-term planning. As technology progresses and user needs change, the application can adapt, serving as a versatile tool for individuals, families, and professionals across domains. Continuous innovation and user feedback will drive its evolution into a holistic age management solution and trusted companion throughout users’ lifetimes, empowering them with age-related insights and solutions.

This project will provide the age of a person, days remain in his next birthday, nest bierhday date, his age on moon, his age on mars, total number of months he lived, total number of days he lived.

The user interface for the task will have a website that will show the age related details of the user. This site will utilize HTML, CSS and Javascript, React.js and Tailwind.CSS in its frontend.

  • It will show the Age of the user.
  • It will show the Age in total months only.
  • It will show the age in days only
  • It will show the next birthday of the user.
  • It will show the days remaining for his next birthday.
  • It will show the age of the person on the moon.
  • It will show the age of the person on the mars.

Age Calculator Application is an web page which you can run using your favourite browser. In the website all details are static and can only be updated by the author. It requires knowledge of html , CSS, JS, React.js and Tailwind.css to update any entry in this project.

This software package is developed using html , CSS, javascript and React.js for frontend, Using Vs Code as a text editor and Google Chrome for the execution of our code.

Required Specifications for our Device:

  • Operating System : Windows 7, 8, 9, 10 .
  • Language : Html , CSS , JavaScript.
  • Libraries: React.js, Tailwind.css
  • Text Editor : Vs Code.
  • Processor : Intel core i3 or above for a stable experience and fast retrieval of data.
  • Hard Disk : 2GB and above
  • RAM : 256 MB or more, recommended 2 GB for fast reading and writing capabilities which will result in better performance time.
  • Our user interface should be interactive simple and easy to understand . Website should use proper colours and fonts to look good and appealing. Use consistent backgrounds and images.
  • Use some authentications to only let legit users to show your personal details.
  • Normal users can just read information using this website.
  • System will have different types of users and every user has access constraints.
  • Proper user authentication should be provided.
Availability requirements for a Age Calculator Application are crucial to ensure that the website service is consistently accessible and operational.

Here are key availability requirements:

  • Uptime Percentage:  Maintain a high level of service availability, such as 99.9% uptime. so a high uptime percentage ensures that the service is consistently accessible.
  • Load Balancing:  Use load balancing to distribute incoming traffic across multiple servers or instances. Load balancing helps distribute the load evenly, preventing individual servers from becoming overwhelmed and improving overall system performance and availability.
  • Scalability:  Scalability ensures that the application can handle varying levels of traffic and user activity without degradation in performance.
  • Backup and Recovery:  Regularly back up critical data and implement robust recovery procedures. In the event of data loss or system failures, a well-defined backup and recovery strategy ensures that the application can be restored quickly and efficiently.
  • Use updated Data:  Use updated data for making your project more authentic and usable.

If there comes any errors in any part of the project it should be able to alert the author about it. Errors in the links and website working should be treated in less down time.

The design phase in Age Calculator Application is a crucial stage where the conceptual ideas and requirements are transformed into a detailed and visually appealing blueprint. This phase involves creating the Data flow Diagrams , ER model design , and the overall architecture of the Age Calculator Application.
Data Flow Diagram (DFD)  serves as a visual representation of the flow of information within the system. This diagram illustrates how data, flows in the project. because this is our frontend project majorly , we will be only using html and css part of the project so we are only going to discuss about the project structure in this stage.

Let’s Draw a Dataflow Diagram for our project:

A use case diagram is a visual representation of the functional requirements of a system, illustrating how users interact with the system and the system’s responses. For a Age Calculator Application, the use case diagram will include actors such as “User,” or “Administrator” and system will tell about the various details like age, age in months, age in days etc.

Here’s a simplified use case diagram for a Age Calculator Application:

use-case-diagram-of-age-calculator-application

Use Case diagram of age calculator application

At this stage, the fundamental development of the product starts. For this, we use a specific programming code as per the design. Conventional programming tools like compilers, interpreters, debuggers, etc. are also put into use at this stage.

In this stage we are going to create the environment to build our project, We will install all required software and extensions for ease in the coding part.

Required Softwares:

  • VsCode:  Vs Code is a widely used text editor for development purpose .
  • Google Chrome:  You need to install a web browser to execute the html code. You can use any of your favourite web browser.

In our project we are using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React.js and Tailwind to build the project so in this stage we are going to code our project. Before going further lets talk about the environment we need for the project.

Source Code: https://github.com/geeksforgeeksorg/Age-Calculator

Here are the steps to run the code in you computer:

We must have NodeJS installed on our PC. So, the very first step will be to install NodeJS. Once we have set up NodeJS on our PC, the next thing we need to do is set up our project. Here are some article you can refer.

  • Installation of Node.js on Windows
  • Installation of Node.js on Linux
  • Installation of Node.js on mac

In this step we download the project from github go to project source code link then click on code then click on Download ZIP. After downloading the zip file extract the it at your desired path.

download-from-github

Or you can also clone the repository by the command:

Now you have the source code downloaded. Next open you CMD and navigate to your your project’s directory and paste this command which is for download the required packages for the project.

Now you have all the dependencies required to run the project. Use the following command to run your project.

Now your project is up and running. You will be able to see the project on https://locahhost:3000.

Here are some of the screen shots of the project.

front-page-age-calculator

Homepage of age calculator application project

After entering the from and to the user will able to see the result in popup which looks like this:

result-popup-of-age-calculator-application

Result popup of age calculator application

Here is how the folder and file structure is looks like:

code-structure-of-age-calculator-application

Code Structure of age calculator application

To host your website we can use various tools or third party web apps . here we are going to discuss about most reliable source to do it i.e. GitHub.

  • Create a new repository.
  • Upload all project files in this repository.
  • Go to  settings  >>  Pages  >> select the  branch (main)  and  folder (root)  >> push save.
  • then wait for some time when there is a green tick appears on top you can go again in setting >> pages there you will find a link which will be your hosted project website link .
For Detailed Documentation follow   How to Host a Website on GitHub For Free?
Testing is a crucial phase in the development of a   Age Calculator Application to ensure that it meets its intended requirements, functions correctly, and is free of bugs.

Below are some key steps and considerations for the testing phase of a Age Calculator Application:

  • Test individual modules or components of the system in isolation to ensure they function as intended.
  • We have to check all links and sections of the project should work properly.
  • Verify that different modules and components of the Age Calculator Application should work together seamlessly.
  • Validate that the intended functions accurately and efficiently.
  • Ensure that the user interface is user-friendly, intuitive, and visually appealing.
  • Check for consistency in design elements and responsiveness across different devices.
  • Identify and rectify any security vulnerabilities in the system.
  • Ensure that user data is handled securely, and unauthorized access is prevented.
  • There is lots of personal details so make sure to provide only those details which are less confidential.

In this phase of software development, Developer will have to present their work in front of authorities and they will judge your work and give suggestions on the improvement areas.

The ideal length of the ppt should be min 10 slides and maximum 15 slides , you will not have too much time to explain your project so prepare your presentation carefully using important key points.

Some of the key points (slides) which your presentation should have are given below:

  • Project Name and Team Details
  • Introduction
  • Project Scope
  • Problem Statement
  • Proposed Solution
  • Product Functionalities
  • Flow chart of the project
  • Analysis of model
  • Integration of Backend features like Databases and message features.
  • Use of more Advance frontend technologies like react, Angular frameworks.
  • Use of  UI/UX  in your project.
  • Update the project if needed.

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  27. Age Calculator Application Project

    3.5.2 Use Case Diagram: A use case diagram is a visual representation of the functional requirements of a system, illustrating how users interact with the system and the system's responses. For a Age Calculator Application, the use case diagram will include actors such as "User," or "Administrator" and system will tell about the various details like age, age in months, age in days etc.