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HOW TO write a research paper

Concerning your assignment to write, that is draft and revise, a research paper....

"There are days when the result is so bad that no fewer than five revisions are required. In contrast, when I'm greatly inspired, only four revisions are needed."

John Kenneth Galbraith

If you have to write a research paper and every college or university student must, then run...don't the following website for assistance: which is provided free by the good offices of Gale Group.

All steps (Gale provides 9) of the research process from choosing a topic to drafting and revising a research paper are illustrated by examples that follow the creation of a research paper exploring Toni Morrison's novel Beloved. So you will be able to track the development of a thesis from initial questions asked during th reading of Beloved to the documentation of material researched to develop that thesis. Obviously business students will be employed in other topics, for example, Galbraith's wonderful book, The New Industrial State, but the manner or format of the research process should be the same.

Remember that the purpose of research is not simply to retrieve data, but to participate in a conversation about it (Brent 109). In addition to being a scholarly investigation, research is a social activity intended to create new knowledge. Because your purpose is to create new knowledge while recognizing those scholars whose exisiting work has helped you in this pursuit, you are HONOR BOUND never to commit plagiarism. (Be advised that faculty members are well aware of websites selling academic papers. There is also software available to identify previously authored, duplicates of research papers often show up in the same classroom.)

There are a number of good sources to help you write your term or research paper. Two excellent sources are provided by
(1): Capitol Community College of Hartford, Ct. which offers, "A Guide for Writing Research Papers Based on MLA" (Modern Language Association) and
(2) the Long Island University / C.W. Post Camps: B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library's "Citation Style for Research Papers" which offers sound advice and samples of citation styles.

You should begin by asking your professor's preference for style he or she would like you to use. If he or she has no preference, you can use any of the following guidelines (depending on the type of institution you are attending):

  • MLA: literature, arts and humanities (
  • APA: psychology, education, and other social sciences
  • Turabian: For college students: all subjects (
  • Chicago: used with all subjects in the "real world" by books, magazines, newspapers and other non-scholarly publications
  • AMA: medicine, health, and biological sciences. There are some other websites you should be aware of that have a different slant on your needs, and three come to mind:

(1) BigChalk (free) provides guidence for writing research papers: "the web's largest collection of topics, ideas, and assistance";
(2) which provides a large selection of literature for research papers (it costs as of this writing $9.95/month); and
(3) something which students rarely think about, but should, and that is publishing their work in local newspapers, journals and trade magazines. The source for these editors, submission requirements, and compensation is: ($2.99/ careful, it automatically renews!) Nevertheless, get published!

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