Research Paper Survival Guide & Flowchart
Return to Writing Your Research Paper page for accompanying explanations

Developed by Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D.   --- susan at beyondutopia dot com

Getting Started
What's your primary thesis & your research problem?
Three major sections or thrusts of your research.
One-sentence overview of your findings, or what you think makes this paper valuable.

Definition Section
Define key terms needed to understand your paper.
Cite references.

EXPANDED Key Research Problem
In-depth look at your problem; go into more detail.
Begin to organize your references, check the credibility of all sources.

Survival Guide for Research Paper Writers:  Don't panic!  Keep calm, and above all, don't let them see your fear.  You can make it! 

Background and Contexts
Explain why your approach is unique
Brief chronology of other work done; brief history of ideas & research in this specific area.
Overview of key works in this area.

"Evidence" Section
Present your evidence.  Remember that "evidence" can take different forms.  It could consist of examples, case studies, articles, original research, supporting statistics. Explain why the evidence you use is valid

Expanded "Evidence" -- Further Case Studies & Original Conclusions
In-depth analysis

Debate Points / Controversy / Insight
Is there anything about this topic that is controversial?  Are there two sides of the issue? What are they?  Who thinks so?  Why?  Cite sources.

Concluding Summary
Insights, analysis, recommendations

Refer to the style guide, and cite all sources, including journals, books, monographs, Internet-based sources.  Double-check the credibility and/or reliability of the information -- ask your advisor or your librarian.
Cite sources using the style appropriate to the topic.