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How to Write a Research Paper

How to Write a Research Paper and Research Paper Topics

Are you unsure of how to write a great paper, thesis, or dissertation? If so, just take a deep breath and get ready to expand your writing skills. In this article, you will learn how to write a research paper that your teacher enjoys reading. Once you’re done with this article, you can also learn more here. Now, let’s review the seven steps of creating a top-level written work.

First, Consider Your Research Paper Topics

Before you start writing, you should understand which research paper topics you can write about. You’ll also need to know the paper requirements. If you don’t know this information, you have two options:
  1. Review your assignment sheet.
  2. Ask your teacher to clarify the requirements.
After you know the requirements, begin narrowing down your research paper topics. Do this by focusing on a specific aspect of the subject that’s not too broad or too narrow. Also, make sure you take interest in the topic. After all, you’ll put hours of work into completing this paper. Easy research paper topics usually have enough source materials to reference without being overwhelming. Here are some example research paper topics with evaluations of whether each subject is too broad or too narrow:
  • Far too broad: Sports.
  • Slightly less broad: Basketball.
  • Focused: Who is the best basketball player of our generation?
  • Too Narrow: High school basketball court requirements.
Check with your teacher to make sure your topic meets all the paper requirements before moving forward.

Second, Source Quality Information for Your Research Paper

There are many places to find quality information for your paper. Here are the top sources of information you should focus on:
  • Print material you can find in the library. For instance, encyclopedias, government reports, newspapers, and books.
  • Online materials from credible sources, especially from .gov, or .edu sites. Also, online periodicals you have evaluated.
  • Scholarly databases that organize academic publications. For example, EBSCO and LexisNexis.
While you’re at it, make sure that you’re keeping track of all the sources for your paper. You’ll use these to cite your work using MLA format or APA format. Looking for help on other grammar topics? Take a peek at our grammar pages: Pronoun and Adverb.

Third, Select the Central Idea for Your Research Paper

Next, you need a thesis for your paper. This is the central idea you’re basing your writing around. Each paragraph of your paper will support the central idea and your position on the thesis topic.

Fourth, Create a Research Paper Outline

By outlining, you give your paper a logical structure that’s easy to follow. Therefore, you should identify the most important parts of your paper and arrange them into main points and sub-points.

Fifth, Draft Your Research Paper

After creating an outline, you can begin the writing process. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect right from the beginning. You have time to go through the editing process later. For now, just get your ideas out and ensure that you follow your outline.

Sixth, Rearrange Your Research Paper Outline and Complete a Second Draft

Once your first draft is complete, it’s time for a second draft. Get a friend to double check your writing and outline for any mistakes or use an online tool like the BibMe Plus grammar checker. It’ll review every nounverbadjective, and more, looking for general grammatical errors. It’s always great to have a second pair of eyes on your work to spot common errors that may have been missed.

Finally, Use the Correct Formatting Style

Now that you’re happy with your paper, it’s time to cite your work and follow the correct formatting style. In addition to MLA format and APA format, there are more styles of formatting work that your teacher may require you to follow. Either way, after formatting, you’re ready to hand in the paper to your teacher! Do you still have questions on how to write a research paper? Use this link to find more info about the process. Looking for further help and clarification on grammar topics? Check out our prepositionconjunctioninterjection, and determiner pages. ...

What is an Interjection?

Aha! An Interjection Definition!

There’s one part of speech that is radically different from a verb, noun, pronoun, adjective, and the rest. They don’t help you understand relationships between words, nor do they have much of a grammatical purpose. Curious to learn more about this interesting group of words? This article answers the questions, “what is an interjection and why are they so special?” Quick tip: Is your next writing assignment due soon? Make sure you’re formatting your work correctly by learning the guidelines for MLA format and APA format.

What is an Interjection?

Looking for an interjection definition? An interjection is a word, phrase, or sentence that expresses emotion, meaning, or feeling. These emotion words proceed punctuation marks, which are most often but not always exclamation points. For example:
Rats! My research paper is late!
This emotion word doesn’t mean that there are rodents running around. Instead, it expresses frustration and disappointment at missing a due date.
Whoa, this city view is amazing!
In this example, you aren’t saying “whoa” to calm down your horse. Instead, it expresses surprise at how wonderful the view is. There are many great resources available on interjections. Check out this recommended reading and find more tips here for help once you’re done with this article.

Common Interjection Use

As you can tell from the above examples, you can place an interjection at the beginning of a sentence. However, it’s not a set rule. In fact, you can place emotion words throughout a sentence at the beginning, middle, or end. Interjections can also come after any part of speech, such as a verb, adjective, or noun. Here’s an example of emotion words in the middle of a sentence:
I tried my birthday cake and yuck, it wasn’t any good.
That example explains disgust for how the cake tastes. And here’s another with the emotion word at the end of the sentence:
I dropped my phone again, ugh.
This example tells you that the speaker is frustrated that their phone fell. Quick tip: Does your teacher use a formatting structure other than MLA or APA? Learn how to cite work using more styles in this helpful guide from BibMe.

Interjection Examples

Here are some great words that can help you express your emotions. They include: ahh, alas, alrighty, blah, dang, gee, nah, oops, phew, shucks, woops, and yikes. Of course, there are many more fun words to learn that express emotion! Which ones are your favorite?

Appropriate Times to Use Interjections

As you can tell, the previous examples are informal. Therefore, you should only use emotion words in speech or while writing informally. If you’re curious as to whether you’re using emotion words correctly in your writing, look at the BibMe Plus grammar and plagiarism check. It’ll help you correct common English grammar mistakes. Looking for additional BibMe Plus pages on other parts of speech? Check out adverb, preposition, determiner, and conjunction!

What is a Verb?

Verbs: Using Words to Act and Be

It’s incredibly easy to forget the various parts of speech in English, especially if you’re a native speaker. After all, you’ve been learning the different categories since birth. In this article, you’re going to find the answer to the question, “what is a verb?” Soon, you’ll understand the fundamentals of this important part of speech. Quick tip: After you finish reading this article, check out BibMe’s grammar checker. It’ll search for and correct common mistakes in your next English paper. When you’ve finished learning about verbs, check out our other pages: adjectives and adverb.

What is a Verb?

A very simple definition is that verbs are action words or words that discuss states of being. However, there are a few things to learn in order to really understand what that means. Let’s break it down. Sometimes, the action you take is physical. In this case, you use a physical word to describe the action. Here are a couple examples:
  • rode my bike to school.
  • Let’s swim in the ocean.
On the other hand, sometimes an action takes place in your mind. In this case you use mental words instead of physical ones. See if you can tell the difference between these examples and the ones above:
  • understand what you mean.
  • Ben forgot where he put his research paper.
In addition to physical and mental words, there’s a third verb form: the state of being. But unlike the two other types, this form has nothing to do with expressing action. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The state of being form is about inaction. That’s why these words are also known as inactive words. Click here to learn more. At this point, you might be saying to yourself, “Okay, that definition is easy to understand. But here’s another pressing question…”

What’s the Subject Verb Agreement Rule?

Quick tip: Are you planning to reference this article for a school project? Make sure you cite your sources! Learn how to make citations by reading these guides on MLA format and APA format before continuing. Now, back to the lesson… In every sentence there’s a person, place, thing, or idea that’s acting or in a state of being. This is the foundation of the agreement rule. When you write a present tense sentence in English, your subject and verb must agree. But they’ll only agree if the singular or plural action words match with their singular or plural noun counterpart. Oddly enough, these words agree by being different. For example, look at this sentence:
The bird eats chia seeds.
When the noun phrase (the bird) is singular, the action word (eats) is singular too. Yes, you’re reading that right; a singular action word always ends with the letter s, whereas a singular noun does not. Here’s the same sentence, but this time using the plural form:
The birds eat chia seeds.
In this example, both words are plural and in agreement. Plural nouns gain the letter s, while plural action words drop theirs. As both the action word and the noun are plural, it follows the agreement rule. So, when does the agreement rule apply? Well, you follow it in these situations:
  • In present tense sentences.
  • When the noun comes after certain states of being words like in the sentences:
    • My friend is talking to me.
    • My friends are talking to me.
  • When using a personal pronoun that isn’t I or you.
    • She runs outside.
    • They run outside. Woohoo!
Note: Woohoo! is not a verb. It’s an interjection.

Breaking All the Rules

Now that you understand this rule, let’s end on irregular verbs. Many action words follow a standard pattern when you switch tenses. Here’s what it looks like:


  • Present Tense: Jumps
  • Past Tense: Jumped
  • Present Participle: Jumping
Irregular words don’t care about the rules and instead do their own thing. Let’s look at the tenses of the irregular word sing:


  • Present Tense: Sings
  • Past Tense: Sang
  • Present Participle: Singing
There are many irregular words with unique patterns to learn. As you can see, some words just break all the rules, which makes language exciting. But that doesn’t mean you should break the rules too. Instead, learn about APA, MLA, and more styles of citing sources for your upcoming homework assignment. Looking for more? Take a peek at some of our other grammar pages: PrepositionConjunction, and Determiner. ...

What is a Pronoun

Choosing the Proper Pronoun

What is a pronoun? Chances are you use these while discussing people and things. In this article, you’ll learn an easy to understand pronoun definition and a few rules that will quickly improve your English skills. Quick tip: Don’t struggle with spelling mistakes on your next paper. BibMe Plus has a built-in plagiarism check that’s easy to use! If you’re looking to learn the basics first, start with BibMe’s guides. Learn what a preposition is, discover how a conjunction is used, and see a determiner example.

A Pronoun Definition

In the English language you don’t repeat a noun or noun phrase every time you reference it. If you did, your sentences would be repetitive. Instead, you use a pronoun.
The yellow car stopped at the light before the yellow car made a right turn.
*Note that ‘yellow’ is an adjective describing the noun ‘car’. Pretty redundant, right? Instead of saying ‘the yellow car’ a second time, you can simply use a pronoun.
The yellow car stopped at the light before it made a right turn.
As you see, pronouns substitute and take the place of nouns. Before moving on, here’s a useful link on substitution words.

Substitution Word Chart

Person Subject Object Possessive Reflexive
1st Person I Me Mine Myself
1st Person (plural) We Us Ours Ourselves
2nd Person You You Yours Yourself
2nd Person (plural) You You Yours Yourselves
3rd Person (male) He Him His Himself
3rd Person (female) She Her Hers Herself
3rd Person It It (N/A) Itself
3rd Person (plural) They Them Theirs Themselves

What is a Pronoun? The Many Variations

There are many subclasses of replacement words. This detailed book on grammar describes them all in detail. Let’s look at each subclass and how they’re different.

Personal Words

First there are personal words. There are three categories: subject words, object words, and possessive words. I, you, he, she, it, we, and they are subject words. These words describe a noun that’s doing something or being something. Me, you, him, her, it, us, and them are object words. When a verb affects the noun, it’s known as the object. Mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, and theirs are possessive pronouns. Possessive words indicate ownership of a noun.
We (subject) were walking down the street when a car that almost hit us (object). Minutes later, we realized the car that almost hit us was mine (possessive).
Ready to learn something new? Review this guide on MLA format.

Reflexive and Intensive Words

Next, we have reflexive and intensive words. These words end in -self or -selves. Reflexive words explain that a noun who takes an action benefits from that same action.
Lisa baked herself a cake. (Reflexive)
Intensive words are simply there to add emphasis.
Lisa baked a cake herself. (Intensive)
Removing a reflexive word changes the whole sentence.
Lisa baked a cake. (Who was the cake for?)
However, removing an intensive word from a sentence doesn’t change the meaning.

Demonstrative Words

Demonstrative words point to specific people or things. This (singular) and these (plural) point to things near. That (singular) and those (plural) point to things farther away in time or distance.
Can I have that, please?
Already familiar with modifying words? Discover resources on APA format instead!

Indefinite Words

Indefinite words include distributive, negative and impersonal words. This group also includes the compounds words something, anyone, nothing, everyone, somebody, anybody, and anything.
Everybody loves somebody.

Interrogative Words

The main interrogative pronouns are who, whom, whose, which, and what. You ask questions with these words.
Oh no! Who ate the last piece of cake?*
The above should not be confused with interrogative adverbs like why, where, how, and when. *In case you were wondering, “Oh no” is an interjection.

Reciprocal Words

The two reciprocal words are each other and one another. They refer to people receiving the benefits or consequences of an action.
They despise one another.

Relative Words

The relative words who, whom, whose, what, which and that help identify people or things.
My brother, who is only 5 years old, can write in complete sentences.
So, in conclusion, here are three rules to remember.
  • Subject words come before the verb at the beginning of a sentence.
  • Object words receive the action and follow the verb at the middle or end of the sentence.
  • Possessive pronouns his, hers, ours, theirs, and yours show ownership and do not need apostrophes.
Now that you know about modifying words, why not give your teacher the day off? BibMe Plus makes it simple to cite sources using APA, MLA, and more styles within minutes. Try it out the today or the next time you do research. ...

What is a Preposition?

Preposition Examples and Definition

A preposition is a relationship word that connects nouns, pronouns, and phrases together with different words in a sentence. Once you’re done with this article, see this page for more information. At first, this definition might be a bit difficult to understand, especially if you’re learning English as a second language. Don’t stress! Here’s an easier to understand preposition definition that should clarify things. Prepositions explain two key pieces of information:
  1. The physical location of a noun or pronoun
  2. The location of a noun or pronoun in time
There are two forms of physical location words. Firstly, you can describe the position of a noun or pronoun using words likeatin, or on.
Stacy is at the beach.
His chips are in the pantry.
Secondly, you can describe the direction of a noun or pronoun in relation to another phrase. To describe direction, you use words like behindinsidedown, and between.
The baseball landed behind the neighbor’s fence.
John is still inside his house.
Quick Tip: Before you continue, develop your citation skills by learning about MLA format or APA format! It’ll help make it easier to track your research sources. Overall, there are more than 100 relationship words to learn and use! To better understand relationship words, here are additional examples:
Nancy went to school after doing her homework.
Jacob kicked the ball across the yard.
Your keys are on the table.
Ugh! The apple rolled underneath the refrigerator.
*Grammar tip: Adding an interjection ike “ugh” can help add emotion to your sentence." Looking to explore more grammar topics? Check out our grammar pages on determining a determiner, and knowing what a conjunction is.

What’s a Prepositional Phrase?

As you can see in the examples above, relationship words come in pairs with objects. Objects are the nouns and pronouns found in a sentence. For instance, let’s look at an example:
The cat beside the tree.
In this example, the object is the cat. The relationship word is beside. The object and relationship word connect with the second noun in the sentence, the tree. You’ll also find a relationship phrase, which is beside the tree. As you can tell, the phrase doesn’t have a verb. There’s also no subject and only the preposition, beside, and the noun, tree. In a relationship phrase you can also have a pronoun instead of a noun. Want additional help on your next homework assignment? The BibMe Plus plagiarism checker helps ensure that all your sources are cited. If you find sources that still need to be cited, BibMe Plus has tools that help you cite them correctly using APA format, MLA format, and more styles. Check it out!

A Few Rules to Help with Relationship Words

In a prepositional phrase you always have an object and a relationship word. For example:
  • In the classroom
  • Across the street
You can add adjectives to relationship phrases. They go between the relationship word and the object. For example:
  • In the small classroom
  • Across the busy street
Since the object is a noun or pronoun, you can even have multiple relationship words and object words within one sentence. Here’s a sentence using more than one object and relationship word:
Over the weekend Stephanie took a trip on an airplane for the first time.
In this example there are three prepositions: overon, and for. First, you have the word over which is the relationship word for the noun weekend. It explains when Stephanie took her trip. Second, there’s the word on, which modifies the noun airplane. It explains the vehicle Stephanie rode to take her trip. Finally, there’s the word for. It modifies the noun time. The final part of the sentence tells the reader that she’s never travelled on an airplane before this weekend. Now you understand relationship words, but remember, they don’t have to be boring! Learn more here to discover helpful information about relationship words. You can also add an adverb or an adjective to your sentence to give your reader more details. The possibilities are endless! ...

What is a Noun?

Everything Has A Name: The Noun

What is a Noun? Simply put, it is a naming word. In fact, its very definition means “name.” Here are some of the things that you can name with nouns, plus some examples.
  • You can name people like teenagersboys, or Albert Einstein.
  • You can discuss animals like dogs and cats.
  • Use them to talk about places like your school or the store.
  • Have a conversation about things like a table or a cup.
But that’s not all! You can also use them to name:
  • Qualities like creativity or calmness.
  • Ideas like love and excitement.
  • Finally, you can talk about actions like growing or believing.
In most cases, naming words are made up of a single word. However, there are also compound naming words like “natural disaster,” which names an event. Relatedly, also read up on what a pronoun is. Already have naming words down? Learn how to cite your writing resources using APA, MLA, and more styles on BibMe.

Varieties of Naming Words

There are many rules to remember about naming words. Here are some easy ones to start with. Naming words can be singular or plural. For instance, you can talk about both a river and rivers. There are even masculine and feminine varieties of naming words like in actor and actress. Naming words often need the articles aan, or the as in the sentence, “I want a dog.” But sometimes, they don’t need an article, like in the sentence, “I like dogs.” As you can tell, this is a large class of words. In fact, it’s probably one of the most important parts of speech in the English language. Now that you know a few naming words, why not become a stronger writer by learning about APA format?

The Proper Noun

proper noun names specific people, places or things. It always requires capital letters. In some cases, you need to capitalize two or more words.
My father Ned is an honorable man.
The Eiffel Tower is the most popular monument in *France.
The proper noun includes all names, towns, cities, states, countries, continents, days of the week and months of the year. Quick tip: Next time you’re working on a homework assignment, try this plagiarism checker by BibMe for peace of mind! A common noun names general people or things in a common class. It does not require capitalization unless it is at the beginning of a sentence. The three subcategories are concreteabstract, and collective. Concrete words, on the other hand, name things that you perceive with your senses. These words name things you can see, touch, taste, feel and hear.
My computer just froze.
Abstract words name ideas, concepts, emotions and other things that cannot be perceived by your senses.
It took a lot of courage to speak in front of the class.
Collective words name groups of people or things.
Hurray! Our team won the basketball game.
FYI, ‘Hurray” is considered to be an interjection in this sentence. Quick tip - Before you continue, learn about MLA format to cite your work properly!

Other Classifications

Be careful when using countable and uncountable words because they require different verb and determinerwords. Countable words are things that we can count, so they will have both a singular and plural form. The singular countable word must be accompanied by an indefinite article like a or an. The plural countable word does not need an article.
She wants an apple.
They want seven apples instead of six.
Uncountable words are names of things that we cannot count. They do not have a plural form and are not used with indefinite articles.
I would like some rice.
We all ate ice cream.
Common uncountable words are ricewateradviceinformation, and health. The most commonly confused uncountable words are researchevidenceequipmentwork, and chocolate. Want to know more about countable and uncountable words? Learn more here. Compound words are formed by one noun and either a prepositionadjective, or verb. These words can be written together, written separately in open form, or hyphenated.
There is a full moon tonight.
Other compound words include mother-in-law, pickpocket and paper-clip.

What is a Noun That’s Possessive?

It is a word that shows the ownership of a thing. You form this type of word by adding an apostrophe plus the letter s to a noun.
That is John’s sword.
Now you understand the basics of naming words! If you need a longer lesson, then look at this further reading. If you’re still thirsty for grammar knowledge, read on about how to spot an adverb and what is a conjunction. ...