Writing a research paper involves the same general steps. Students need to learn those steps because they will write several large papers while they are in both high school and college. Whether the paper is MLA, APA, Chicago Style, or a highly specific style, all of these large projects are structured in relatively the same way.
Pick a Topic
In all term papers, students need to pick a topic that is argumentative in nature. Students do this so they can prove the point using what they have learned during class. Once the topic has been decided upon, the student then needs to create a claim or thesis statement. This will be the controlling statement for the entire project. The best way to craft the controlling sentence is to create a yes or no question, then answer it by using the question in the answer.
Start Looking for Information
Once the thesis is crafted, the next step is to begin to conduct research. It is important that the sources are all valid sources that are written and curated by organizations that are not trying to sell something. There are plenty of articles and blogs online that look like they are legitimate news sources, but in reality they are just websites trying to get advertising and clicks. Look for sites sponsored by non-profit organization, schools, and government agencies. These will be better options for nearly all types of term papers.
Organize What You Have Found
After your digging for knowledge is completed, it is important to properly organize what you have found. You will have to craft a bibliography page, so keep track of every article, website, and journal that you read. You will also have to organize the information you found into a paper that makes sense. There are websites that will help you build the bibliography, but it will be up to you how you want to organize your thoughts. Many students will use order of importance, chronological, or cause-and-effect based on the topic of the project.
Write, Proofread, and Edit
Write the research paper, using the formatting that your instructor assigned. It is important to use a style manual so you use the right heading and page settings. You will also want to be sure that you include the right amount of in-text citations. You will also want to proofread and edit the paper so it is free from mistakes that could cost you a top grade.