How to start writing a research paper: preparation steps to take


The first step in writing your research paper will be the hardest. That’s fine. Many students before you have been where you are now and you certainly won’t be the last to face that moment of confusion. You can follow these steps to make sure you’re adequately prepared:

Be well versed in your subject

Research can be done in any subject area and you should be more than competent in your field before you attempt to do research within it. This will help you to make relevant contributions or notice trends that can be remarked upon within your paper. If you feel a little unsure of yourself in this regard, engage in some revision of your key concepts.

Connect your subject to current affairs

If you know your field well you can also look for ways that your subject area can be connected to current affairs. This can create a hybrid topic that has wider applicability so that more people are likely to benefit from your research. Check out informative blogs, news stories and articles. Any of these sources can give you great ideas.

Check recent research in your field

Knowing your field is a good start but it’s important to pay attention to the most recent research that has come out of it. This can prevent you from choosing a topic that has been done extremely well by another researcher quite recently. It may also provide you with much better ideas to build upon.

Ensure your access to relevant research

Having selected a topic, you will need to ensure that you have adequate access to the research material you need. If you need to interview experts, do some research into how accessible those people are. Similarly, if you need to survey a population of people or just a sample, see if there are any cultural, social or other reasons that you might be refused access.

Make sure you have adequate resources

Some aspects of your research will cost you. If you have enough money to do everything on your own then you’re set. If not, look for scholarship opportunities that will financially support you for the duration of your research and allow you to fully explore your research.

These are some of the more obvious steps in research preparation. You can also make your own checklist of any other concerns you think you should keep in mind.