Published Apr 8, 2024 ⦁ 18 min read
How to Write a Good Research Paper: Starting Points

How to Write a Good Research Paper: Starting Points

Writing a good research paper involves several key steps, from selecting a fresh and manageable topic to organizing your findings and arguments in a coherent structure. Here's a concise guide to get you started:

  • Choose a Topic: Pick something new, interesting, and manageable.
  • Preliminary Research: Dive into initial research to understand the topic better.
  • Thesis Statement: Clearly state what your paper will argue.
  • Outline: Plan the structure of your paper.
  • Introduction: Hook your readers and present your thesis.
  • Body: Develop your arguments with evidence.
  • Conclusion: Summarize key points and explore the implications.
  • Revise and Edit: Refine your paper through self-review and peer feedback.

Additionally, leveraging tools like Yomu AI can help with aspects such as paraphrasing, citation management, and plagiarism detection, ensuring your research paper is well-crafted and original.

Brainstorming and Selection

Picking the right topic is key. Here's how to brainstorm:

  • Write down what you're interested in. It's more fun to research something you like.

  • Look at recent studies in your area to see what's new or hasn't been covered much.

  • Talk about your ideas with your teacher or friends. They might help you see things differently.

  • Think about current events or big issues that could use some academic digging.

After you've got some ideas, think about these things:

  • Originality: Go for a topic that's fresh and hasn't been done a lot. This makes your work stand out.

  • Significance: Your research should aim to teach us something new or solve a problem. That's the whole point of doing it.

  • Feasibility: Be realistic about what you can do with the time and resources you have. Make sure it's something you can actually achieve.

Picking a topic that's new, important, and doable is the first step to a great paper.

Narrowing Down

Start broad, then get specific:

  • If you're into WWII history, first focus on something like the lives of people in Denmark near the German border during the war (more specific).

  • Then, zoom in on how German policies affected their daily lives between 1943-1945 (even more specific).

  • End up with a clear question, like: "What was life like for Danish people near the German border because of German policies from 1943-1945?" (very specific)

Your research question should:

  • Look at a specific part of your topic
  • Be clear about what you're studying
  • Be something you can argue or analyze
  • Not be something everyone already knows a lot about

Getting your topic just right and asking a unique question makes your paper focused and interesting.

Step 2: Conduct Preliminary Research

Identifying Sources

When you start looking for information, try to find reliable and diverse sources that talk about your topic in an unbiased way. Here are some good places to start:

  • Academic journals: These are articles written by experts that give deep insights. Use websites like JSTOR, Google Scholar, PubMed to find them.

  • Books: Search for books that give background information or theories about your topic in your library.

  • News articles: Newspapers and news websites can show you the latest happenings related to your topic.

  • Websites: Look at educational websites from universities or research groups for straightforward facts. Just make sure the website is trustworthy.

  • Primary sources: If you're studying history or something similar, look for first-hand accounts like letters, speeches, or data to support your points.

Explore a variety of sources to get a well-rounded view of your topic. Make sure they are detailed, correct, and look at different sides of the story.

Taking Notes and Organizing Information

While you gather information, keeping things organized is key. Here's how to do it:

  • Record bibliographic details like the author's name, the title, and when it was published for each source. This helps you cite them correctly later. Tools like Zotero, Mendeley, or EndNote can make this easier.

  • Use your own words to write down the main points. This helps avoid copying someone else's work by mistake.

  • Highlight direct quotes you might want to use in your paper. Remember to note where you found them.

  • Sort your notes into groups by topic. This can help you see how everything connects. Using different colors for each group might help too.

  • Check facts by comparing what you find in different sources. This helps make sure your information is accurate and fair.

Keeping your notes on a computer means you can search, edit, and share them easily. Always back up your files so you don't lose your work.

Getting your notes in order early on makes writing your paper much smoother and helps you build a stronger argument.

Step 3: Develop a Thesis Statement

Understanding Thesis Statements

Think of a thesis statement as a one or two-sentence summary of what your paper is all about. It's usually found at the end of the first paragraph. The thesis tells your readers what point you're trying to make and sets up what they can expect from the rest of your paper.

Here's what you should know about thesis statements:

  • It tells the main point you're going to argue in your paper
  • It's clear about what your paper will focus on
  • Usually just 1-2 sentences long
  • Answers the main question you're looking into
  • It's specific, something people can have different opinions on, and you can show it's true with evidence

A good thesis statement is like a map for your paper. It tells readers where you're going to take them. It should be easy to understand, focused, and lay out your paper's plan.

Formulating Your Thesis

Once you've done some initial research, you can start making your thesis statement. Here's how:

  • Sum up your main argument in a short, clear way based on what you've found out. Be clear about your point of view.

  • Make sure it's something people can disagree on. If everyone already agrees, it's not a good thesis.

  • Be sure you can prove it with the information and sources you have. Don't claim something you can't support.

  • Keep it focused on your research topic so your thesis is sharp.

  • Change it if you need to as you write and your ideas grow. It's okay to tweak it.

Here's an example:

Social media makes anxiety and depression worse for teenagers because it hurts their self-esteem and creates pressure about how they look online.

This thesis is good because it clearly says what the paper will argue, picks a side that can be debated, focuses on one specific issue, and outlines a discussion that can be backed up with facts and expert opinions.

With a strong thesis statement as your base, you can shape the rest of your paper around proving and discussing it using facts, expert views, logical thinking, and reliable sources. Let your thesis guide the way your research unfolds.

Step 4: Create an Outline

The Role of an Outline

Making an outline before you start writing your research paper is really helpful for organizing your thoughts. Think of an outline as a plan or a map for your paper. It helps you arrange your ideas in a way that makes sense and connects well.

Here's why an outline is important:

  • It helps you organize your thoughts in a logical order.
  • It shows how different ideas relate to each other.
  • It makes the actual writing part easier because you know what you're going to write about.
  • It ensures you talk about everything you planned to.
  • It stops you from getting off track.
  • It keeps your paper focused on your main point.

In short, an outline is a must-have for writing a clear and structured research paper.

Building Your Outline

When you make your outline, start with your main point (thesis statement), then list the big ideas and evidence that support it.

Here's a simple way to make an outline:

  • Introduction
  • A catchy start to get readers interested
  • Background info and why your research is important
  • Your main point
  • Body Paragraph 1
  • Idea 1
  • Evidence A
  • Evidence B
  • Body Paragraph 2
  • Idea 2
  • Evidence C
  • Evidence D
  • Body Paragraph 3
  • Idea 3
  • Evidence E
  • Evidence F
  • Conclusion
  • Repeat your main point
  • Sum up your big ideas
  • Your final thoughts

Some tips for making an outline:

  • Write down each big idea in a full sentence.
  • For each big idea, list 2-3 pieces of evidence.
  • Put your ideas in an order that makes sense to build your argument.
  • Be open to changing your ideas as you write.

With an outline as your guide, you can start writing your paper knowing exactly what you want to say. It helps make the writing process smoother and keeps your paper organized from the start.

Step 5: Write the Introduction

Hooking the Reader

When you start your research paper, you want to grab the reader's attention right away. Here are some simple ways to do that:

  • Start with an interesting fact, number, or quote about your topic. This makes people want to read more because they find out something cool or unexpected.
  • Ask a question that makes people think, and that your paper will answer. This gets them curious and keeps them reading.
  • Share a short story or example that shows why your topic matters. This helps readers feel more connected to what you're talking about.
  • Mention something new or important that's happened recently related to your topic. This shows your paper is up-to-date and relevant.

Pick the best way to start based on what your paper is about. This first impression can make readers want to know more.

Presenting the Thesis

The first paragraph should also tell readers your main point, or thesis, at the end. Your thesis is the big idea your whole paper is about.

When you write your thesis statement:

  • Make it clear, to the point, and easy to understand. Stay away from anything too broad or unclear.
  • Say what you think or believe about your topic in a way that can be backed up with facts.
  • Quickly mention how you'll prove your point in the rest of the paper.

A good thesis makes it clear what you'll be talking about and sets up the rest of your paper. It's like a promise to your readers about what they can expect to learn.

This way, you smoothly lead readers into the main part of your paper.

Step 6: Craft the Body

Developing Arguments

When you're writing the main part of your paper, think of it as explaining your main idea (your thesis) in more detail. Here's how to do it:

  • Start each paragraph with a sentence that introduces a new point that helps prove your main idea.
  • Then, give 2-3 examples or pieces of information from your research that support this point. This could be things like quotes, numbers, or facts.
  • Explain why these examples matter and how they help prove your point. Don't just list facts—make sure to connect them back to your argument.
  • Use words like "also", "but", and "because" to link your ideas together smoothly.
  • It's important to also talk about other viewpoints briefly. Show why your argument is stronger.

Following this setup helps you make your argument stronger, one paragraph at a time.

Organizing Paragraphs

Here's how to keep your paragraphs well-organized:

  • Start broad, then get specific: Begin with general points that support your thesis and then dive into the details. Wrap up by connecting the details back to the main argument.

  • Use transitions: Words like "Next", "Also", or "Another point" help move from one idea to the next smoothly. They remind readers of how everything fits together.

  • Be consistent: Try to keep the same order—point, evidence, analysis—in each paragraph. This makes your paper easier to follow.

  • Link ideas together: Mention how the new point relates to what you just talked about. This way, readers can see how all your points build on each other.

Keeping your paragraphs focused and connected makes your paper's argument stronger, step by step.


Step 7: Conclude Effectively

Summarizing Key Points

Your conclusion should quickly go over the main ideas and points you've made in your paper. Here's how to do it:

  • Say your main point again, but use different words. This reminds readers what you were arguing.
  • Mention the key points and evidence you used, but keep it brief—just 1-2 sentences for each.
  • Don't throw in new info or sources here. Just talk about what you've already covered.
  • Start wrapping up with phrases like "In summary" or "To conclude" to highlight the main things to remember.
  • Finish by talking about why your research and what you found are important. What new thing did you show?

Keeping your conclusion short and straightforward wraps things up nicely without dragging on.

Implications of the Research

The conclusion is also a good place to think about the bigger picture of your research:

  • How could your findings help solve real-world problems? Where might they be used?
  • What other research areas could use a study like yours? What's the next step that looks good?
  • Are there any bigger debates or policy changes related to your findings?
  • What new questions have popped up from your work that others could look into?

Thinking about the bigger picture shows readers the value and possible impact of your research. It leaves them thinking about what comes next and the bigger role of your work.

Step 8: Revise and Edit

Self-Review and Peer Feedback

It's really important to go over your paper again after you've written it. Here's what you should do:

  • First, take a short break once you're done writing. This helps you see your work with new eyes when you come back.
  • Read your paper slowly to find parts that might be confusing or could be better. Make a note of what to change.
  • Check if you have enough evidence supporting your points. If not, add more.
  • Make sure your paper's structure makes sense and that your ideas build on each other logically. Rearrange parts if you need to.
  • Have someone else like a friend, classmate, or teacher read your paper. Ask them to look for:
    • If your argument makes sense
    • Parts that are hard to understand or need more details
    • Any mistakes in grammar, spelling, or how you've listed your sources
    • Ways to make your paper flow better
  • Use their suggestions to fix any weak spots. Getting someone else's viewpoint can really help.

Taking time to review your paper and get feedback makes your final version much clearer and stronger.

Final Edits

After you've made big changes, it's time to focus on the small details:

  • Go through your paper carefully to correct any spelling or grammar mistakes. Reading out loud can help find errors.
  • Double-check your list of sources and the way you've mentioned them in your paper. They need to match the required format.
  • Ensure everything like pictures, tables, and section titles look right and follow the guidelines.
  • Review the length of your paper and how much attention you've given to each part. Make some parts shorter or longer if needed.
  • Make sure your introduction and conclusion match up. Adjust them so they reflect the same ideas.
  • Give your paper one last look to catch any minor issues.

Paying attention to these final details makes your paper look polished and professional. It shows you've put in the effort and leaves a good impression on whoever reads it.

Additional Resources

Yomu AI has some great tools to help students and researchers write better academic papers. These tools make it easier to write, make sure you're not copying someone else's work, and keep track of all your sources.

Autocomplete and Paraphrasing

  • Autocomplete - If you're stuck and can't think of what to write next, Yomu AI can suggest words, phrases, or even sentences to help you keep going. This can save you a lot of time.

  • Paraphrasing - If you need to use information from somewhere else in your paper, the paraphrasing tool can rewrite it in a new way. This helps you use other people's ideas without copying them directly.

Citation Management

  • Auto-cite - This feature creates citations automatically for any quotes or references you use, in over 9,000 different styles like APA or MLA.

  • Citations database - You can save and organize all your sources in one place, along with their citations. This makes it much easier to keep track of everything.

  • Format checking - This checks to make sure your citations and reference list are done correctly according to the rules of the style you're using.

Plagiarism Detection

  • Plagiarism checker - This tool looks through billions of pages on the internet to find any text that might be too similar to yours. It helps make sure your work is original.

  • Similarity reports - You get a report that shows which parts of your paper are original and which parts might need to be changed. It's a quick way to see if there's a problem.

  • Citation suggestions - If the checker finds parts of your paper that need sources, it will suggest how to cite them properly.

With these tools, Yomu AI helps students write better, more original papers and keep track of all their sources easily.


Writing a research paper is a big task that needs a lot of work and focus. But think of it as more than just homework. See it as a chance to really get into a topic you're interested in, to learn new things, and to share what you find with others.

Doing research lets you follow what you're curious about, read a lot, think carefully about what you find, and come up with answers based on evidence. These skills are important not just for school, but for understanding the world and taking part in discussions throughout your life.

By writing this paper, you've put together your own argument based on your research. You've brought together information from different places to back up your point of view. And you've presented ideas that might make others see things in a new way. That's a big achievement.

Writing papers for school can be tough, but it's also a chance to learn and grow. Let the process of writing a research paper make you ask important questions and keep learning. Appreciate your paper not just for the grade it might get, but for what it teaches you. And most importantly, always keep wanting to learn more about the world. That's what makes research so exciting.

What is a good way to start a research paper?

To start off strong, make sure you have a clear thesis statement. This is a sentence that shows what your paper is about and what side you're on. If you started with a question, your thesis should answer it. Also, hint at the evidence and reasoning you'll use to back up your point. Having a strong thesis helps guide your research and writing, acting like the backbone for your whole paper.

How do you start a research paper with the first sentence?

Here are some good ways to kick off your paper:

  • Share an interesting fact or number about your topic
  • Ask a question that your paper will answer
  • Tell a short story or give an example that shows why your topic is important
  • Mention something new or big that's happened recently with your topic

The first sentence should grab the reader's attention, making them want to keep reading to find out what you have to say.

How do you write the introduction of a research paper?

A good introduction should have:

  • A brief background of the topic
  • A summary of past research that's relevant
  • Reasons why your paper is important
  • A description of how you did your research
  • Your thesis statement, which is your main argument
  • A quick look at how your paper is laid out

The introduction sets up the topic for the readers, giving them the context and showing them what to expect from your paper.

What should be on the first page of a research paper?

The first page, or the title page, should include:

  • The paper's full title
  • The names of the authors and where they work or study
  • A note with the authors' contact info and any thank-yous
  • A short version of the title at the top of the page

You also need to add things like page numbers and any specific formatting required. The title page gives the basic info about the paper and makes it look professional.

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