My Step by Step Guide to Writing a Research Paper

Sunday, October 13, 2019

In this video, I’ll go through the step-by-step process I use when writing a research paper.

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**** A truncated transcript follows. A full transcript can be found at www.marblejar.net. ****

Hi, everyone! This is Lara Hammock from the Marble Jar channel and in today’s video, I’ll go through the step-by-step process I use when writing a research paper.

Every person is different, but I think there are some basic steps to writing a good research paper — and it doesn’t involve just typing out as many words on a topic that you can possibly think of. Now, these are fairly generic steps, but I think they would apply the majority of research papers give or take a couple. If your paper is 8 pages or longer, I would strongly urge you to plan out the steps for your paper at least 4 weeks in advance. You can watch my video on planning out big projects or research papers. I’ll give you an idea of how long I think most of these steps would take for a 15 page paper and you can adjust accordingly based on your assignment and general research and writing speed. Here we go:
1. Understand the instructions – read through the instructions for the assignment thoroughly and make notes! It’s obviously really important to understand exactly what the assignment is asking for and as early as possible. You don’t want to find that you don’t understand something when you are down to the wire. Plus, if you have questions, I guarantee that you are not the only one! Oh, and if you want to get a good grade — you need to follow the assignment instructions even if you think its a dumb assignment. I have learned that the hard way. Take the 30 minutes that it takes to understand the assignment completely.
2. Choose a topic – After you’ve figured out what the assignment is asking, you’ll need to pick a topic. You can pick one out of the air, but I would suggest choosing a couple of topics that seem interesting to you and then doing some superficial research just to make sure that there is enough interesting information out there to do a paper on. If you don’t do this, you may have to change your topic later in the process after you’ve wasted considerable mental energy. This step can take 1-2 hours depending on how much research you do on your possible topics.
3. Build a basic outline – Now that you have a topic, you are going to build a basic outline for your paper based on the instructions given. I’m going to do a video on some of the outline tools that i use, but there is no need to be fancy — just make a list of the section and some bullets underneath them to give more detail. At this point, you haven’t fully researched yet, so this outline won’t be very detailed until you do. For example, I did a paper recently that asked me to explore a concept and gave several areas that needed to be addressed in the paper: a definition, two related theoretical perspectives, how the concept has changed over time, current practice or policy issues, and how these issues might differ for two countries. Based on these instructions, i put together the following initial outline. If your teacher or professor provides exemplars or examples of exemplary papers from previous classes, i always use those to help me build a good outline. I try to ignore the content since I don’t want to be overly influenced by someone else’s work, but I will not hesitate to completely rip off a good structural design for a paper! As long as it flows with the way I think. This should take you no more than an hour.
4. Make a list of relevant research studies – now you are going to use all of your resources, online and otherwise, to make a list of studies and articles to read for your paper. You can use Google Scholar or if your learning institution has a library portal, you will have even better access to research journals and other scholarly resources. I have a video that covers how I keep and reference this information, but for this step, you are just gathering a giant list of things to read that may be relevant for your research. Compiling this list can take 2 to 4 hours. . . .

**** A full transcript can be found at www.marblejar.net. ****

20 Comments

  1. Creative Savants says:

    Detailed research guidelines available on our channel.. For better understanding.. Have a look..

  2. Che Morales says:

    I have a research paper due next month, it was assigned last month

  3. arden amarelo says:

    I have to write 3 pages on how vibrations affect an ant's memory, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOOOOOOO INFORMATION ON THIS TOPIC!!!!!!

  4. Naja Jack says:

    This is very helpful, but I would have mentioned how important it is to time manage and remain patient with yourself because the amount of time it takes for each step in the video could quite overwhelming to viewers.

  5. Shayne Garrett says:

    my professor did really give instructions all that he said was it has to be around 10 pages

  6. Munawar Hussain says:

    This was a cool video

  7. elysha white says:

    For all the people saying your paper is due in less than 24hrs this is the wrong video for you. this is for people who didnt procrastinate and actually have time to do a full paper to get a good grade. if you need a fast track video go to crash course.

  8. Jyoti Rai says:

    My parameter is 15 mins then i crawl back to my phone even if there are no notifications sounds

  9. Riley Sayle says:

    Write for 6 hours straight? Wow, I can't write for 20 minutes straight without using my pens as drum sticks…

  10. Dyl Andrew says:

    I love the video thanks so much! But I also love video editing, and I know your exposure is too high/the "whites are blown out" so in editing maybe bring those down cause it hurt my eyes lol no offense great video you're helping many. (tbh idk what your other videos look like yet im only speaking on watching just this one.)

  11. Nur Aysah Abbas says:

    Oh my God, I also have assignment to write an research paper which will due 2 weeks from now? Anyone can help me?

  12. Andrew .23 says:

    I have a 6-page research paper due by next Sunday and I don't even have a subject yet. What makes a good research paper subject? help

  13. Pocketninja G says:

    Who else here and the paper is due in 2 days? hahah.

  14. Bob Villa says:

    99.99% of people watching a YouTube video on how to write a research paper need to FINISH it in LESS THAN 24 HOURS.

  15. Shirlei Barnes says:

    Love these tips!

  16. jaky fraze says:

    Helpful new.
    use Zotero

  17. Absolute Newt says:

    what instructions?… I was only shown how to format the paper

  18. Cecilia Zhuang says:

    Thank you!

  19. Mohamadou Boubacar says:

    I have 2 days left to write 12 pages and I didn’t even choose my topic yet. I feel like my head is about to blow!!

  20. Afshan Shaikh says:

    Thank you for a helpful video. I found the time estimates particularly helpful, as I did not find those in other videos that I watched.

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