Informative Research Paper Assignment Instructions

What is a research paper? A research paper is a piece of academic writing based on its author’s original research on a particular topic, and the analysis and interpretation of the research findings. It can be either a term paper, a master’s thesis or a doctoral dissertation. This Chapter outlines the logical steps to writing a good research paper. To achieve supreme excellence or perfection in anything you do, you need more than just the knowledge. Like the Olympic athlete aiming for the gold medal, you must have a positive attitude and the belief that you have the ability to achieve it. That is the real start to writing an A+ research paper.

STEP 1. HOW TO START A RESEARCH PAPER? CHOOSE A TOPIC

Choose a topic which interests and challenges you. Your attitude towards the topic may well determine the amount of effort and enthusiasm you put into your research.

Focus on a limited aspect, e.g. narrow it down from “Religion” to “World Religion” to “Buddhism”. Obtain teacher approval for your topic before embarking on a full-scale research. If you are uncertain as to what is expected of you in completing the assignment or project, re-read your assignment sheet carefully or ASK your teacher.

Select a subject you can manage. Avoid subjects that are too technical, learned, or specialized. Avoid topics that have only a very narrow range of source materials.

STEP 2. FIND INFORMATION

Surf the Net.

For general or background information, check out useful URLs, general information online, almanacs or encyclopedias online such as Britannica. Use search engines and other search tools as a starting point.

Pay attention to domain name extensions, e.g., .edu (educational institution), .gov (government), or .org (non-profit organization). These sites represent institutions and tend to be more reliable, but be watchful of possible political bias in some government sites. Be selective of .com (commercial) sites. Many .com sites are excellent; however, a large number of them contain advertisements for products and nothing else. Network Solutions provides a link where you can find out what some of the other extensions stand for. Be wary of the millions of personal home pages on the Net. The quality of these personal homepages vary greatly. Learning how to evaluate websites critically and to search effectively on the Internet can help you eliminate irrelevant sites and waste less of your time.

The recent arrival of a variety of domain name extensions such as .biz (commercial businesses), .pro, .info (info on products / organizations), .name, .ws (WebSite), .cc (Cocos Island) or .sh (St. Helena) or .tv (Tuvalu) may create some confusion as you would not be able to tell whether a .cc or .sh or .tv site is in reality a .com, a .edu, a .gov, a .net, or a .org site. Many of the new extensions have no registration restrictions and are available to anyone who wishes to register a distinct domain name that has not already been taken. For instance, if Books.com is unavailable, you can register as Books.ws or Books.info via a service agent such as Register.com.

To find books in the Library use the OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog).

Check out other print materials available in the Library:

  • Almanacs, Atlases, AV Catalogs
  • Encyclopedias and Dictionaries
  • Government Publications, Guides, Reports
  • Magazines, Newspapers
  • Vertical Files
  • Yellow Pages, Zip or Postal Code and Telephone Directories

Check out online resources, Web based information services, or special resource materials on CDs:

  • Online reference materials (including databases, e.g. SIRS, ProQuest, eLibrary, etc.)
  • Google Scholar 
  • Wall Street Executive Library
  • Index to Periodicals and Newspapers (e.g. MagPortal.com, OnlineNewspapers.com, etc.)
  • Answers.com – an online dictionary and encyclopedia all-in-one resource that you can install on your computer free of charge and find one-click answers quickly.
  • Encyclopedias (e.g.Britannica, Canadian Encyclopedia, etc.)
  • Magazines and Journals
  • Newspapers
  • International Public Library 
  • Subject Specific software (e.g. discovering authors, exploring Shakespeare, etc.)

Check out public and university libraries, businesses, government agencies, as well as contact knowledgeable people in your community.

Read and evaluate. Bookmark your favorite Internet sites. Printout, photocopy, and take notes of relevant information.

As you gather your resources, jot down full bibliographical information (author, title, place of publication, publisher, date of publication, page numbers, URLs, creation or modification dates on Web pages, and your date of access) on your work sheet, printout, or enter the information on your laptop or desktop computer for later retrieval. If printing from the Internet, it is wise to set up the browser to print the URL and date of access for every page. Remember that an article without bibliographical information is useless since you cannot cite its source.

STEP 3. MAKE YOUR THESIS STATEMENT

Most research papers normally require a thesis statement. If you are not sure, ask your teacher whether your paper requires it.

A thesis statement is a main idea, a central point of your research paper. The arguments you provide in your paper should be based on this cenral idea, that is why it is so important. Do some critical thinking and write your thesis statement down in one sentence. Your research paper thesis statement is like a declaration of your belief. The main portion of your essay will consist of arguments to support and defend this belief.

A thesis statement should be provided early in your paper – in the introduction part, or in the second paragraph, if your paper is longer.

It is impossible to create a thesis statement immediately when you have just started fulfilling your assignment. Before you write a thesis statement, you should collect, organize and analyze materials and your ideas. You cannot make a finally formulated statement before you have completed your reseach paper. It will naturally change while you develop your ideas.

Stay away from generic and too fuzzy statements and arguments. Use a particular subject. The paper should present something new to the audience to make it interesting and educative to read.

Avoid citing other authors in this section. Present your own ideas in your own words instead of simply copying from other writers.

A thesis statement should do the following:

  • Explain the readers how you interpret the subject of the research
  • Tell the readers what to expect from your paper
  • Answer the question you were asked
  • Present your claim which other people may want to dispute

Make sure your thesis is strong.

If you have time and opportunity, show it to your instructor to revise. Otherwise, you may estimate it yourself.

You must check:

  • Does my statement answer the question of my assignment?
  • Can my position be disputed or opposed? If not, maybe you have just provided a summary instead of creating an argument.
  • Is my statement precise enough? It should not be too general and vague.
  • Does it pass a so-called “so what” test? Does it provide new/interesting information to your audience or does it simply state a generic fact?
  • Does the body of my manuscript support my thesis, or are they different things? Compare them and change if necessary. Remember that changing elements of your work in the process of writing and reviewing is normal.

A well-prepared thesis means well-shaped ideas. It increases credibility of the paper and makes good impression about its author.

More helpful hints about Writing a Research Paper.

STEP 4. MAKE A RESEARCH PAPER OUTLINE

A research paper basically has the following structure:

  1. Title Page (including the title, the author’s name, the name of a University or colledge, and the publication date)
  2. Abstract (brief summary of the paper – 250 words or less)
  3. Introduction (background information on the topic or a brief comment leading into the subject matter – up to 2 pages)
  4. Manuscript Body, which can be broken down in further sections, depending on the nature of research:
  • Materials and Methods
  • Results (what are the results obtained)
  • Discussion and Conclusion etc.
  1. Reference
  2. Tables, figures, and appendix (optional)

An outline might be formal or informal.

An informal outline (working outline) is a tool helping an author put down and organize their ideas. It is subject to revision, addition and canceling, without paying much attention to form. It helps an author to make their key points clear for him/her and arrange them.

Sometimes the students are asked to submit formal outlines with their research papers.

In a formal outline, numbers and letters are used to arrange topics and subtopics. The letters and numbers of the same kind should be placed directly under one another. The topics denoted by their headings and subheadings should be grouped in a logical order.

All points of a research paper outline must relate to the same major topic that you first mentioned in your capital Roman numeral.

Example of an outline:

I. INTRODUCTION - (Brief comment leading into subject matter - Thesis statement on Shakespeare) II. BODY - Shakespeare's Early Life, Marriage, Works, Later Years A. Early life in Stratford 1. Shakespeare's family a. Shakespeare's father b. Shakespeare's mother 2. Shakespeare's marriage a. Life of Anne Hathaway b. Reference in Shakespeare's Poems B. Shakespeare's works 1. Plays a. Tragedies i. Hamlet ii. Romeo and Juliet b. Comedies i. The Tempest ii. Much Ado About Nothing c. Histories i. King John ii. Richard III iii. Henry VIII 2. Sonnets 3. Other poems C. Shakespeare's Later Years 1. Last two plays 2. Retired to Stratford a. Death b. Burial i. Epitaph on his tombstone III. CONCLUSION A. Analytical summary 1. Shakespeare's early life 2. Shakespeare's works 3. Shakespeare's later years B. Thesis reworded C. Concluding statement

The purpose of an outline is to help you think through your topic carefully and organize it logically before you start writing. A good outline is the most important step in writing a good paper. Check your outline to make sure that the points covered flow logically from one to the other. Include in your outline an INTRODUCTION, a BODY, and a CONCLUSION. Make the first outline tentative.

INTRODUCTION – State your thesis and the purpose of your research paper clearly. What is the chief reason you are writing the paper? State also how you plan to approach your topic. Is this a factual report, a book review, a comparison, or an analysis of a problem? Explain briefly the major points you plan to cover in your paper and why readers should be interested in your topic.

BODY – This is where you present your arguments to support your thesis statement. Remember the Rule of 3, i.e. find 3 supporting arguments for each position you take. Begin with a strong argument, then use a stronger one, and end with the strongest argument for your final point.

CONCLUSION – Restate or reword your thesis. Summarize your arguments. Explain why you have come to this particular conclusion.

STEP 5. ORGANIZE YOUR NOTES

Organize all the information you have gathered according to your outline. Critically analyze your research data. Using the best available sources, check for accuracy and verify that the information is factual, up-to-date, and correct. Opposing views should also be noted if they help to support your thesis. This is the most important stage in writing a research paper. Here you will analyze, synthesize, sort, and digest the information you have gathered and hopefully learn something about your topic which is the real purpose of doing a research paper in the first place. You must also be able to effectively communicate your thoughts, ideas, insights, and research findings to others through written words as in a report, an essay, a research or term paper, or through spoken words as in an oral or multimedia presentation with audio-visual aids.

Do not include any information that is not relevant to your topic, and do not include information that you do not understand. Make sure the information that you have noted is carefully recorded and in your own words, if possible. Plagiarism is definitely out of the question. Document all ideas borrowed or quotes used very accurately. As you organize your notes, jot down detailed bibliographical information for each cited paragraph and have it ready to transfer to your Works Cited page.

Devise your own method to organize your notes. One method may be to mark with a different color ink or use a hi-liter to identify sections in your outline, e.g., IA3b – meaning that the item “Accessing WWW” belongs in the following location of your outline:

I. Understanding the Internet A. What is the Internet 3. How to "Surf the Net" b. Accessing WWW

Group your notes following the outline codes you have assigned to your notes, e.g., IA2, IA3, IA4, etc. This method will enable you to quickly put all your resources in the right place as you organize your notes according to your outline.

STEP 6. WRITE YOUR FIRST DRAFT

Start with the first topic in your outline. Read all the relevant notes you have gathered that have been marked, e.g. with the capital Roman numeral I.

Summarize, paraphrase or quote directly for each idea you plan to use in your essay. Use a technique that suits you, e.g. write summaries, paraphrases or quotations on note cards, or separate sheets of lined paper. Mark each card or sheet of paper clearly with your outline code or reference, e.g., IB2a or IIC, etc.

Put all your note cards or paper in the order of your outline, e.g. IA, IB, IC. If using a word processor, create meaningful filenames that match your outline codes for easy cut and paste as you type up your final paper, e.g. cut first Introduction paragraph and paste it to IA. Before you know it, you have a well organized term paper completed exactly as outlined.

If it is helpful to you, use a symbol such as “#” to mark the spot where you would like to check back later to edit a paragraph. The unusual symbol will make it easy for you to find the exact location again. Delete the symbol once editing is completed.

STEP 7. REVISE YOUR OUTLINE AND DRAFT

Read your paper for any content errors. Double check the facts and figures. Arrange and rearrange ideas to follow your outline. Reorganize your outline if necessary, but always keep the purpose of your paper and your readers in mind. Use a free grammar and proof reading checker such as Grammarly.

CHECKLIST ONE:

1. Is my thesis statement concise and clear?
2. Did I follow my outline? Did I miss anything?
3. Are my arguments presented in a logical sequence?
4. Are all sources properly cited to ensure that I am not plagiarizing?
5. Have I proved my thesis with strong supporting arguments?
6. Have I made my intentions and points clear in the essay?

Re-read your paper for grammatical errors. Use a dictionary or a thesaurus as needed. Do a spell check. Correct all errors that you can spot and improve the overall quality of the paper to the best of your ability. Get someone else to read it over. Sometimes a second pair of eyes can see mistakes that you missed.

CHECKLIST TWO:

1. Did I begin each paragraph with a proper topic sentence?
2. Have I supported my arguments with documented proof or examples?
3. Any run-on or unfinished sentences?
4. Any unnecessary or repetitious words?
5. Varying lengths of sentences?
6. Does one paragraph or idea flow smoothly into the next?
7. Any spelling or grammatical errors?
8. Quotes accurate in source, spelling, and punctuation?
9. Are all my citations accurate and in correct format?
10. Did I avoid using contractions? Use “cannot” instead of “can’t”, “do not” instead of “don’t”?
11. Did I use third person as much as possible? Avoid using phrases such as “I think”, “I guess”, “I suppose”
12. Have I made my points clear and interesting but remained objective?
13. Did I leave a sense of completion for my reader(s) at the end of the paper?


The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition, by William Strunk, Jr.

For an excellent source on English composition, check out this classic book by William Strunk, Jr. on the Elements of Style. Contents include: Elementary Rules of Usage, Elementary Principles of Composition, Words & Expressions Commonly Misused, An Approach to Style with a List of Reminders: Place yourself in the background, Revise and rewrite, Avoid fancy words, Be clear, Do not inject opinion, Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity, … and much more. Details of The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. partially available online at Bartleby.com. Note: William Strunk, Jr. (1869–1946). The Elements of Style was first published in 1918.

There is also a particular formatting style you must follow. It depends on the field of your studies or the requirements of your University/supervisor.

There are several formatting styles typically used. The most commonly used are the APA style and the MLA style. However, there are such style guides as the Chicago Manual of Style, American Medical Association (AMA) Style, and more.

APA (American Psychological Association) style is mostly used to cite sources within the field of social sciences. The detailed information can be found in Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed., 2nd printing).

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used for the liberal arts and humanities. The most recent printed guide on it is the  MLA Handbook (8th ed.). Instead of providing individual recommendations for each publishing format (printed, online, e-books etc.), this edition recommends a single universal set of guidelines, which writers can apply to any kind of source.

You should necessarily ask your instuctor which formatting style is required for your paper and format it accordingly before submitting.

STEP 8. TYPE FINAL PAPER

All formal reports or essays should be typewritten and printed, preferably on a good quality printer.

Read the assignment sheet again to be sure that you understand fully what is expected of you, and that your essay meets the requirements as specified by your teacher. Know how your essay will be evaluated.

Proofread final paper carefully for spelling, punctuation, missing or duplicated words. Make the effort to ensure that your final paper is clean, tidy, neat, and attractive.

Aim to have your final paper ready a day or two before the deadline. This gives you peace of mind and a chance to triple check. Before handing in your assignment for marking, ask yourself: “Is this the VERY BEST that I can do?”

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Informative essay writing is an art that every student needs to master. In order to graduate from any educational establishment, one has to accomplish a lot of writing assignments successfully. Thus, essay writing skills are of utmost importance when it comes to student’s academic performance and grades. In this post, we will share with you some tips on how to work on an essay and pay special attention to hints and strategies for writing essays as well as examples of informative essay topics.

A special feature of an informative essay is that it sparks the reader’s interest to the discussed topic. Therefore, to produce a high-grade paper, you should know virtually everything about the theme of the essay and express your thoughts in an organized manner. Profound research, detailed outline, close following our recommendations, and informative essay examples will help you master an outstanding piece. Still, you can always read our post with some writing tips and become a guru of essay writing.

GET A HIGH GRADE

An Informative Essay: Where to Start?

The very first step to getting started with an informative essay is studying assignment requirements and instructions very carefully as well as collecting relevant information. Find out what sources (primary or secondary) are required to know where to get the information. Specify the formatting requirements, word count, and essay content. Ask about the deadline to start working on the essay as early as possible so that you have time to make all necessary corrections.

The second step is choosing a topic. Selecting a theme of your writing is an extremely important decision since it influences other stages of your writing. You need to pick a topic that you can easily find information about. At the same time, your writing should not, in any case, be trivial and boring; surprise a reader with some interesting facts and intriguing statements. Think about your audience. This is necessary to get the correct idea about what new you can tell people in your composition.

After you find the topic, it’s time to do the research and brainstorm on the theme. This process is quite labor-intensive and requires a lot of time and attention. Not to miss out any important detail in your writing, it is essential to make notes and write down interesting and informative facts that you can include in your essay. Make sure to collect all the information before moving forward. Otherwise, you risk forgetting about some main points. Once the supporting material is in place, you are to write down your ideas to form an outline and proceed with the first draft of the paper.

Informative Essay Topics – How to Choose the Theme?

Choosing informative essay topics can stall your writing process for a long time, since you simply do not know what to write about. In addition to the case where your teacher formulates the exact topic of the essay, the choice of a theme can be reduced to narrowing the direction given by the tutor. When picking a particular topic, pay attention to the availability of literary sources and relevant information to use in your writing. In some cases, it is more logical to search the necessary information first and then proceed with choosing a topic and working on an essay.

As it has been earlier stated, choosing the right topic for an informative essay is half the battle. Therefore, before deciding what to write about, make sure that the topic is interesting to the audience. Avoid picking beaten themes that have already been discussed millions of times. Apart from being attractive and catchy to the audience, the topic should be also motivating to you. Otherwise, you will not be able to do the detailed research and collect all the necessary information. In case you are excited about the theme, the writing process will be much easier and the result will pleasantly surprise you.

There is no rule on what topic to choose for an informative essay. Everything depends on your interests, preferences of your tutor, the academic level required, word count, and the discipline. It will be difficult to prepare a 500-word essay on a broad topic; however, 500 words will be perfectly enough to write about your weekend or hobby. Here, you should also understand that easy informative topics will never get a high grade. Therefore, it is recommended to write about some interesting, complex, and engaging themes. Although there are no good/ bad informative essay topics, we have prepared a list of themes that might inspire you to find a special theme for your informative essay.

Good Informative Essay Topics

  • The most interesting event in my life
  • My favorite book
  • What is friendship/ love to me?
  • In what time would you like to be if you had a time machine and why?
  • Life without the Internet
  • Family and family values
  • Why is tolerance so important today?
  • What is my favorite film?
  • Music is the best healing therapy
  • How to become a true leader?

Informative Essay Topics for Middle School

  • Great inventions of mankind
  • The Internet is an integral part of our life
  • Relationship between parents and children
  • How to save the environment?
  • Bad habits
  • Modern society: progress or degradation?
  • Why freedom and independence are important today?
  • How to become a writer?
  • My favorite Hollywood actor/ actress
  • Meaning of money in modern world
  • Skills necessary for becoming a leader

Informative Essay Topics for College Students

  • The impact of modern technology on our lives
  • Secrets of gestures and body language
  • What does the body language say?
  • The biggest leaders in the history
  • What does handwriting say about a person?
  • Astrology as a science
  • Seven wonders of the world
  • How to become a perfect wife/ mother?

Easy Informative Essay Topics

  • The book I’ve recently read
  • Why is reading so important?
  • The film I've recently watched
  • Which book is worth reading at any age?
  • Reaching success at work
  • Nature protection is the acutest problem of the 21st century
  • How must the word “honesty” be defined in dictionaries?

GET ORIGINAL TOPIC IDEAS

Informative Essay Outline – How to Prepare It?

Once you have explored the Internet and come up with the ideas you are excited to write about, this means that you have found your topic and are ready to proceed with the task. It would be a good decision to prepare several topics and let your friend or a teacher choose the best and most informative one. This way, you will kill two birds with one stone – find the topic that will be interesting both to you and your reader. The most important aspect here is to write down your ideas carefully without missing out on any important detail. This is where a detailed outline will be of great service to you.

Writing an essay can be quite problematic, especially if you do not feel inspired or cannot collect your thoughts in a logical sequence. But do not worry – a little planning, research, and diligence will help you structure your piece in the most effective way. When preparing an informative essay outline, remember that an essay should begin with an introduction (containing a thesis), a body, and a conclusion. Although a good essay cannot be written without a plan, the outline should not be too large. In it, you are to state only the main idea of each separate paragraph of your writing. We make sure that each paragraph is relevant to the topic of our essay. Looking at the outline, you shouldn’t be distracted by minor details. It should help us focus on the main idea.

Informative essay outline example

  1. Nature protection is the acutest problem of our times (introduction)
  2. The biggest environmental problems of today
  • The problem of deforestation
  • Air pollution
  • Water pollution
  1. Effects of environmental problems
  • The threat of global warming
  • Destruction of the natural environment of life
  • Non-indigenous species
  1. We should protect nature

Make sure that each point of the outline is thoroughly discussed in the paper and none of the paragraphs is missed out.

How to Write an Informative Essay?

When writing an informative essay, do not forget about the rule “5 wh?”. Having determined the subject of reasoning and your attitude towards it, ask five simple questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? Answering each of them in your writing will help you create an informative masterpiece and keep your reader interested till the very last word. As a general rule, an essay should contain 5 paragraphs.

  • Introduction – introduce the importance of the topic and write down a thesis statement.
  • Body – provide arguments in support of the statement.
  • Conclusion – generalize the arguments from the previous parts of the essay, restate a thesis, without introducing any new ideas.

How to Write an Informative Essay Introduction?

The first paragraph is for you to introduce the topic to the reader. Here, you are to provide some background information and demonstrate why this theme is important to be discussed. When writing an introduction for your informative essay, you need to grab the interest of the reader. You can start your writing with either a question or an interesting statement. You can find some inspiration on how to write a great essay hook here. As a general rule, an introduction should contain up to 7 sentences, along with a thesis statement. However, there are no restrictions here.  

How to Write an Informative Essay Thesis?

After choosing the topic, the first thing to do is to formulate a thesis. A thesis statement is not a certainly proven fact and not the result of observations. A thesis is the main idea of your essay, which you can formulate in several statements. The presence of this statement in the text not only helps the reader understand the basic idea of the essay. It also helps them see how much you understand this idea, how much of text is consistent with it, and that you know how to write an informative essay. A thesis statement is usually 1 or 2 sentences long that shortly cover all the main points of your writing.

How to Write an Informative Essay Body?

At this stage, you are to describe the main points that support the thesis. Devote a small paragraph to each of them, without mixing the ideas. Make sure each subsequent paragraph is different from the previous one and doesn’t break the logical chain. The main criteria to be followed for the argumentation are topics, sequence, chronology, and contrast. According to these principles, you can form a comprehensive and effective body of your essay.

Major mistakes in argumentation

  • Repetition – Do not state the same idea in two different sections. Each new paragraph should contain a new idea and argument.
  • Extra information – Make sure that all the statements directly relate to the main topic. Even if you have an insurmountable desire to write an incredibly interesting fact, read it a few times and think if it has anything in common with the thesis statement.
  • Inconsistency – If you are discussing the main point, make sure that it has a connection with the informative statement above. Do not confuse the logical connection introducing some unrelated ideas.

How to Write an Informative Essay Conclusion?

In the last part of the essay, you need to restate your main idea in a concise manner It is a section where you summarize the argument and briefly repeat the thesis. Of course, it is not the best idea to reiterate a thesis in a conclusion in the same way as it has been written in the introduction. Use different wording and support your idea with the arguments discussed in the body.

Major errors in the conclusion

  • New arguments – The conclusion is inherently an informative but a summarizing part. Do not introduce new ideas at the end; it's better to add one more paragraph to the body.
  • Reiteration – It is not necessary to describe the structure of the written work and literally repeat what was written above. If the reader has reached the conclusion, they have already read all the main points of your essay.

Informative Essay Examples for Your A-grade Writing

Unfortunately, not all students can boast of brilliant writing skills and have enough time to do profound research and prepare for essay writing. But if you were assigned to write an informative essay and do not how to write an informative essay, our company can help you with it. Our writers will do everything for you from elaborating an outline and formatting the paper to forming your main points into a catchy and interesting-to-read piece. All you need to do is to place an order with all the assignment specifics; we will do the rest for you!

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