research paper prompts

How To Create A Great Research Paper: A Guide From Experts


It is that time of the course again. You have just been assigned the work that makes up most of the marks of your final grade. This assignment is one that fills many students with dread.

There is no hiding the fact that to produce a good research paper is going to take effort, but don’t let that put you off. There are ways to enjoy the work involved. With a little forethought and planning writing your work will be a dream, not a nightmare.

What makes a paper great?


There’s a technique used in business called SMART which you can apply to your work. That is:

  • S – Specific, focus on one area only. Anything that does not specifically answer the thesis statement must be cut.
  • M – Measurable, all information you cite in your work must be from proven sources.
  • A – Attainable, make sure you can answer your research question.
  • R – Realistic, ensure that all the evidence you cite in your work is from valid, trustworthy sources.
  • T – Time-limited, set a limited framework on your research, and you will feel less overwhelmed by the amount of information you find.

Setting to work


  1. As soon as you receive the assignment check that you understand what is being asked of you. If you are in any way unclear, ask. It is better to feel a little silly now, than turn in work that does not fulfil the assignment.
  2. Get started immediately. If you start planning now then you will know how long you are going to need to complete the task.
  3. Choose a topic that you are enthusiastic about. Passion for a subject shines through in your writing. Also consider writing everything you already know about your topic. It focuses your search which in turn overcomes that feeling of being overwhelmed by information.
  4. Research, little and often, whenever you have a spare moment from your other work and you will find your evidence builds up, without all the stress.
  5. Organize your notes into an outline.
  6. This cannot be said often enough: Good Papers Are Not Written In A Last Minute Rush. Get started on the writing as soon as you can.
  7. First drafts are not final drafts, revise, edit, move your words around to where they have most impact. If you have written an outline before you begin writing this stage is a lot easier.

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