How to Organize a Research Paper

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By: Marie Fincher

August 28, 2015

Hours of Research - Don't Forget the Organization

When students work on research papers, they usually spend hours gathering their sources, reading, and taking notes. What they often forget to think about is how to organize a research paper. At this point, you may be wondering what there is to think about. Aren’t research papers written in the same order all the time (intro, body, conclusion)? This is true, however there is much more to organizing a research paper than that. A well-organized research paper conveys the points that the writer is making both effectively and efficiently.  Unfortunately, many students do not know how to organize research papers. This is why we have decided to create this quick guide to help students understand the potential mistakes that they can make when organizing their papers, and a few tips for getting their research papers organized.

Common Mistakes in Research Paper Organization

Probably the most common mistakes that students make when organizing their papers is to use one source per paragraph. In other words, each body paragraph in their research paper contains information from a single source. The problem with this method is that the paragraphs don’t make a strong point. They simply make several small points that are not always related to each other. This makes it difficult to identify a main idea sentence which can result in the loss of points. A second mistake that students make is that they do not put any thought into the sequence of paragraphs. This is too bad, because the order really can make a difference.

Writing a Research Paper that is Well-Organized

Research paper organization begins when you are taking notes. Do not separate and organize your notes by source. Organize them by idea instead. Some students find it helpful to use a separate piece of paper for each idea or point. Others choose to use different colored pens. The idea is to be able to identify all of the notes you have taken relating to one point or one idea. Each set of notes relating to each point will become one body paragraph in your essay. Next, you should determine how you are going to sequence your paragraphs. Consider taking the paragraph that makes the strongest argument in favor of your thesis and making that the last paragraph. This way, the last point that people read is your best point.

Help with Writing a Research Paper

Even if you have paper organization down-pat, there is still research, note taking, writing, editing, and revising to be done. Then, there is more polishing and editing, creating your bibliography, and writing your title page. Writing a research paper takes a lot of time, focus, and energy. Sometimes this is simply too much work for a college student. Work, study, and social obligations can make it nearly impossible to find the time to finish these big writing assignments. This is why busy students come to when they need help with important research paper assignments. If you need help, just take a few minutes to place an order today.

Marie Fincher

While being committed to a number of charitable causes, like volunteering at special events or giving free art lessons to children, Marie doesn’t forget her vocation – writing. She can write about almost anything but has focused on time management, motivation, academic and business writing.