Writing a Research Paper


Use this checklist to make sure that you have met all the requirements in writing your research paper.

Is there a preamble, that is, an introductory comment, to familiarize the reader with your topic? [    ]
Have you provided the main ideas to be developed in the body paragraphs? [    ]
Is there a thesis statement, which clearly states the position you will take in your research paper? (The thesis statement should be the last sentence in your introductory paragraph.) [    ]
Body paragraphs
For each body paragraph, is there a topic sentence which serves two purposes: to refer to your thesis statement and to indicate the main idea to be developed in this paragraph? [    ]
Is there sufficient proof (that is, reasons, details, or examples) to develop the main idea in each paragraph? [    ]
Is the relation between the proof and the idea clear? (The reader should not have to guess how the proof relates to the idea.) [    ]
Is there a concluding sentence for each paragraph to summarize the proof forcefully and to show how it relates to your thesis statement? [    ]
Does the conclusion summarize the ideas that were presented in the body paragraphs? [    ]
Does it show how the ideas support the thesis statement? [    ]
Does it contain, if appropriate, a statement to linger in the mind of the reader? [    ]
Does the cover page have the correct format? [    ]
Is the title page written correctly? [    ]
Is each new paragraph indented? [    ]
Are the pages numbered correctly? [    ]
Are there equal margins on all four sides of each page? [    ]
Is the text of the research paper double spaced? [    ]
Are there any corrections on the final copy? [    ]
Have you avoided the use of the pronouns I, we, you, and their derivatives? [    ]
Have you avoided expressions such as in this research paper or in the following paragraphs? [    ]
Is there sufficient space at the end of your research paper for the instructor's grade and comments? [    ]
Have you checked for errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar? [    ]
Have you checked for unity, coherence, and sentence variety? [    ]
Footnotes and Endnotes
Is each footnote/endnote written correctly? [    ]
Are footnotes placed at the bottom of the page? [    ]
Are endnotes placed at the end of the research paper (before the bibliography)? [    ]
Is each bibliography entry written correctly? [    ]

If you can answer yes truthfully to each of these questions, you will have a well-structured research paper. If you researched your topic and included solid evidence to support your thesis, your research paper should be really good. Your grade should reflect your effort.

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