• The Process of Writing a Research Paper
  • Diagram of Writing a Research Paper
  • Choosing a Topic
  • Working with an Assigned Topic
  • Developing your own Topic
  • What is a Good Topic?
  • Example of Narrowing a Topic
  • Setting a Research Agenda


The Process of Writing a Research Paper
Below, you will find a diagram that lays out the steps involved in writing a research paper. Not surprisingly, you will notice one word that is repeated again and again: research. This is because at each stage of your work — from choosing a topic to drafting your paper — you will likely need to do research. This module will discuss the process of writing a research paper as well as how to choose and develop a topic for a research paper.

Writing a Research Paper:

Preliminary research on areas of interest

Choose a Topic

Continue with preliminary research on your chosen topic

Narrow the Topic

Find Secondary Sources and Primary Sources (if appropriate)

Working Bibliography

Take Notes on Sources

Determine the historical problems or questions raised by the sources

Thesis Question and Tentative Thesis

Find More Research to Support Thesis if Necessary


Research any gaps in outline

Draft Paper


Final Draft

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