Writing A Research Paper Rough Draft: Basic Advice For Students

Formats are an extremely important element of the writing process. They help a paper take on a recognizable look so that from a distance anyone in the field can see what it is supposed to be. In research, you need to be concerned not only with the general layout of your paper but whether it obeys all the other rules of the process such as compile good sources and properly citing them. If you are accustomed to this process then you will lean very little here but for beginners, here are a few tips that can help you get past this first hurdle:

  • Consider your rubric
  • Good educators will usually give a list of instructions on what you should be trying to accomplish. Each required piece will be clearly labeled so that you can be certain how much it will add to your overall grade. This document, known as a rubric, will be your best friend until you are finished with the entire paper.


  • Select a topic
  • This can save you a year of unnecessary trouble and may cost you as little as an hour. You may think you have stumbled upon the perfect topic immediately but it pays to take the rest of the hour to explore other possibilities just to be perfectly certain. Failure to do so may result in you acting just a little bit too quickly and using the wrong topic for your paper.


  • Compile a list of themes
  • Having selected a great topic to research, start plotting out the major themes within it that you will need to address. These are all of the most important things associated with it that absolutely cannot be missed out. Be as detailed or brief as you like.


  • Decide the methodology you should employ
  • You can select any one of several ways to collect the information that you will be including. Some pieces benefit more from primary sources. Others are impossible without secondary sources You can even look at how this issue was addressed by other researchers who had similar papers.


  • Conduct basic research
  • This may not appear relevant to your first draft but it proves itself to be. By including this step you can discover early on how feasible the rest of the project might be. If you cannot do this well, you should give up on the original topic and move onto something else.