how to write a paper about a person

How to Write an Essay about a Person

In this tutorial you will learn how to write a biographical essay – an essay about a person.  

This method will work for writing about anyone:

  • Your friend or a loved one
  • A public or historical figure
  • Anyone else you respect and admire.

How to Structure a Biographical Essay 

The biggest challenge in writing a biography essay is coming up with material. And the easiest way to keep your ideas flowing is to break your topic into subtopics.

Do you recall the saying, “Divide and conquer?” This military concept states that in order to conquer a nation, you must divide it first. 

We’ll use this idea in our approach to writing about a person. Remember, a person, a human being is our main subject in a biographical essay. 

And to discuss a person effectively, we must “divide” him or her. 

How would we go about dividing our subject into subtopics?

The Power of Three

The easiest way to break up any subject or any topic is to use the Power of Three. 

how to write a paper about a person

When you have just one subject, undivided, that’s a recipe for being stuck. Dividing into two is progress. 

But three main supporting ideas, which correspond to three main sections of your essay, are the perfect number that always works. 

Note that the three supporting points should also be reflected in your thesis statement . 

Let’s see how it would work when talking about a person.

What does any person have? What are the aspects of any human being?

Any person has emotions. 

In fact, humans are very emotional creatures. This part deals with how the person feels. 

This section or part of the essay will answer some of the following questions: 

“How emotional is this person in her decision making?”

“What emotions predominate in this person? Is this person predominantly positive or negative? Calm or passionate?”

You can discuss more than one emotion with regards to this person.

Any person has an intellect.

The intellect is the ability to think rather than feel. This is an important difference. 

Something that is very important to remember when dividing your topic into subtopics is to make sure that each subtopic is different from the others. 

Thinking is definitely different from feeling , although they are related because they are both parts of human psychology. 

This part of the essay will answer the questions:

“How smart is this person?”

“How is this person’s decision making affected by her intellect or logic?”

“What intellectual endeavors does this person pursue?”

Any person has a body, a physicality.

This sounds obvious, but this is an important aspect of any human being about whom you choose to write. 

This part of your essay answers these questions:

“What are this person’s physical attributes or qualities?”

“How do this person’s physical qualities affect her and others?”

“How do they affect her life?”

“Is this person primarily healthy or not?”

And there are many more questions you can ask about this person’s physicality or physical body. 

As a result of dividing our subject into three distinct parts, we now have a clear picture of the main structure of this essay.

how to write a paper about a person

Another Way to Divide a Subject – Change

Another great way to talk about a person is to discuss a change, any kind of a change. 

Change as an idea lends itself very well to the Power of Three because it involves three parts. 

Think of a person who has lost weight, for example. What are the three parts of that change?

First, it’s how much the person weighed in the past, before the change. Second, it is the agent of change, such as an exercise program. And third, it is the result; it’s how much the person weighs after the change has happened. 

This structure is applicable to any kind of a change. 

In this part of the essay, you can discuss anything that is relevant to the way things were before the change took place. It’s the “before” picture.

Some of the questions to ask are:  

“How did this person use to be in the past?”

“How did the old state of things affect her life?”

The Agent of Change

This can be anything that brought about the change. In the case of weight loss, this could be a diet or an exercise program. In the case of education, this could be college. 

Some of the question to ask are the following:

“What happened? What are the events or factors that made this person change?”

“What actually brought about the change in this person?”

Maybe the person went to college, and college life changed this person.

Maybe this person went to prison. That can change a person’s life for the better or worse. 

Maybe she underwent some interesting sort of a transformation, such as childbirth or a passing of a loved one. It could even be a car accident or some other serious health hazard. 

The Present

This is the “after” picture. In this section, you would describe the state of this person after the change has taken place. 

This part of the essay would answer the questions: 

“How is this person now?”

“What has changed?”

Note that the resulting change doesn’t have to be set in the present day. This change could have happened to a historical figure, and both the “before” and “after” would be in the past. 

And there you have it. You have three parts or three sections, based on some kind of a change. 

how to write a paper about a person

This is a wonderful way to discuss any person, especially if you’re writing a biography of a public or historical figure.

A Third Way to Divide a Subject – Personal Qualities

A great way to discuss a person, especially someone you know personally, is to talk about their qualities of character. 

A person can have many character qualities. And in this case, the Power of Three helps you narrow them down to three of the most prominent ones. 

Let’s pick three personal qualities of someone you might know personally.

In this section, you could simply provide examples of this person showing courage in times of trouble. 

Here, you would talk about the goals and dreams this person has and how she plans to achieve them. 

Here, just provide examples of acts of kindness performed by this person. 

Three major qualities like these are enough to paint a pretty thorough picture of a person. 

how to write a paper about a person

Discussing personal qualities is a great way to add content to your biographical essay. And it works in a discussion of any human being, from a friend to a distant historical figure. 

How to Write a Longer Biography Essay

At this point, you have all the building blocks to write an excellent essay about a person. 

By the way, if you struggle with essay writing in general, I wrote a detailed guide to essay writing for beginners . 

In this section, I want to show you how to use what you’ve learned to construct one of those big papers, if that’s what you need to do. 

If you have to write a basic essay of about 600-1000 words, then just use one of the simple structures above. 

However, if you need to write 2,000 – 5,000 words, or even more, then you need a deeper structure. 

To create a deeper, more complex structure of a biography essay while still keeping the process easy to follow, we’ll simply combine structures we have already learned.   

Combining Change and Human Attributes

Let’s say that you decided that your main point will be about this person’s change as a result of some event. 

Then, you will have three main sections, just like I showed you in writing about any change. 

In effect, you will be discussing:

  • How this person was in the past (before the change)
  • The actual change
  • What happened as the result

You now have divided your essay into three parts. And now, you can use the Power of Three again to divide each main section into subsections.  

Section 1. You can talk about how this person was in the past, in terms of:

  • Physicality

how to write a paper about a person

Section 2. When you talk about change, you can still use the Power of Three.

You can ask the question, “What were the drivers of change?”

You can be even more specific here and ask, “What were the three drivers of change?”

And then you answer that question.

For example, if this person went to college, some of the factors of change could have been:

  • The pressure of having to submit work on time.

And those factors changed this person.

how to write a paper about a person

Section 3 . As a result of the change, how is this person now, in terms of:

Other Ways to “Divide and Conquer”

Note that there are many more aspects of any person that you can discuss.

Some of them include:

  • Outer vs Inner life.
  • Personal vs Professional life. 
  • Abilities or Skills. 

You can pick any other aspects you can think of. And you can use the Power of Three in any of your sections or subsections to write as much or as little as you need. 

Tips on Writing a Biographical Essay

You can apply any of these techniques to writing about yourself..

When you’re writing about yourself, that’s an autobiographical essay. It is simply a piece of writing in which you reveal something about your life. 

You can take any of the ways we just used to divide a human being or her life into parts and apply them to yourself. 

This can work in a personal statement or a college admissions essay very well. 

Here’s a list of things to narrow your autobiographical essay topic:

  • One significant event in your life
  • A change that you decided to make
  • A person you met who changed your life (or more than one person)
  • The biggest lesson you’ve ever received in life
  • Your goals and aspirations (talking about the future)

Structure your essay as if it is an argumentative essay.

Most of the research papers and essays you’ve written up to date have probably been expository. This means that you stated an argument and supported it using evidence.

A biographical essay is not necessarily expository. You don’t always have something to argue or prove. You could simply tell the reader a story about yourself or describe a period in your life. 

But you can and probably should still use the structures presented in this tutorial because this will make it much easier for you to organize your thoughts. 

Stay focused on your subject.  

Once you know your structure, just stick to it. For example, if you’ve chosen to talk about a person’s courage, ambition, and kindness, these three qualities will carry your essay as far as you want.

But don’t sneak in another quality here and there, because that will dilute your argument. Be especially careful not to write anything that contradicts your view of this person.

If you use contradictory information, make sure it is a counterargument, which is a great technique to add content. You can learn how to use counterarguments in this video:

Hope this helps. Now go write that biography essay!

How to Write a 300 Word Essay – Simple Tutorial

How to expand an essay – 4 tips to increase the word count, 10 solid essay writing tips to help you improve quickly, essay writing for beginners: 6-step guide with examples, 6 simple ways to improve sentence structure in your essays.

Tutor Phil is an e-learning professional who helps adult learners finish their degrees by teaching them academic writing skills.

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How to Write a Descriptive Paragraph About a Person (With Examples)

How to Write a Descriptive Paragraph About a Person (With Examples)

4-minute read

  • 7th January 2023

Describing a person or character is difficult for even the most successful authors. It requires a balance of words to make sure they shine through without the language being too heavy. In this article, we’ll look at how to write a descriptive paragraph about a person, share some examples, and talk about different strategies.

1.   Brainstorm Your Ideas

Brainstorming is crucial to any writing process. It’s the process in which you think of ideas for what you’d like to write about. In this case, you’re writing a descriptive paragraph about a person. It’s important to use adjectives to describe the features or characteristics you want to focus on.

One way to come up with ideas for a descriptive paragraph about a person is to go through the five senses. Use the questions below to get some ideas for what you want to highlight about your person.

Appeal to your reader’s senses – smell, taste, sound, sight, and touch

Smell: How does the person smell? Do they wear perfume? Are they doing an activity that would make them have a certain smell?

Taste: Do you associate a certain food with this person? Does it make you think of a specific taste? Can you taste something due to a certain smell they have?

Sound: Do they have a unique voice or laugh? Are they doing an activity that has distinctive sounds?

Sight: What prominent features do they have? For example, think about their dressing style, their smile, or their surroundings. What do you see them doing in your mind when you see a photo of them? What memories do you have of this person? Does this person remind you of something or someone?

Touch: What textures do you see? For example, imagine their skin or clothing. How does it feel if you hug them?

2.   Begin With a Short and Snappy Sentence

Like with any type of writing, you want to hook your reader so that they want to continue reading. In this case, you can use a topic sentence, if appropriate, to introduce your reader to the person. For example:

Or, if you want to be more creative, you can reel them in with a short and snappy sentence about this person. This is called a writing hook . This sentence should focus on a stand-out detail or characteristic about the person you’re describing. For example:

3.   Describe the Person

Now, this is the hard part. But, if you’ve brainstormed plenty of ideas and know which ones you want to focus on, it will be easier. Let’s look at some examples to get a better idea of how to write a descriptive paragraph about a person using the prompt “describe a person you admire.”

Comments: This paragraph is pretty typical of most students. It gives lots of visual details of the person and uses a simile or two (“ Her eyes are like the color of honey” and “Her smile shines like the sun” ). While this strategy gets the job done, it’s not very exciting to read. In fact, it can be quite boring!

Let’s look at how we can rewrite this to make it more exciting.

Find this useful?

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Comments: In this example, we focused on one defining characteristic of the person we are describing — her laugh. This strategy places more focus on the person you’re describing, rather than the adjectives you use to describe them.

4.   Edit and Revise

After you write your descriptive paragraph, be sure to read it over. Read it out loud. Read it in a funny voice. Doing this will help you to hear the words and identify which parts do not work or sound awkward.

5.   General Tips for Descriptive Writing

●  Avoid using too many descriptive words.

●  Remember to show the reader, not tell.

●  Appeal to the reader’s five senses – smell, touch, taste, sight, and sound.

●  Focus on a striking or defining characteristic.

●  Use contrasting details from other people or surroundings for emphasis.

●  Use literary devices (metaphors, similes etc.) sparingly and with intention.

●  Use a hook to reel your reader in.

●  Use a variety of short and long sentences.

●  Practice creative writing exercises to improve your descriptive writing skills.

●  Always edit and revise your writing.

If you need more help with writing a descriptive paragraph or essay , send your work to us! Our experts will proofread your first 500 words for free !

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How To Write A Descriptive Essay On A Person: Step By Step

how to write a descriptive essay on a person

  • Post author By admin
  • March 1, 2024

Descriptive essays are like painting a vivid picture with words. They allow us to delve deep into the essence of someone or something, capturing every detail, emotion, and nuance. When it comes to writing a descriptive essay on a person, it’s all about bringing that individual to life on the page. In this guide, we’ll explore step-by-step how to write a descriptive essay on a person, from choosing the right person to polishing your final draft.

Table of Contents

How Do You Start A Descriptive Essay?

Starting a descriptive essay requires setting the scene and grabbing the reader’s attention. Here are some effective ways to begin:

  • Start with a vivid description: Paint a picture with words by describing the setting, person, or object you’ll be focusing on. Use sensory details to immerse the reader in the scene.
  • Use an engaging anecdote: Begin with a short story or anecdote related to your subject. This can draw readers in and make them curious to learn more.
  • Pose a rhetorical question: Start with a thought-provoking question that relates to your topic. This can pique the reader’s curiosity and encourage them to keep reading for the answer.
  • Invoke the senses: Appeal to the reader’s senses by describing sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. This creates a vivid experience for the reader and sets the tone for your essay.
  • Provide a brief background: Offer a brief introduction to your subject, providing context for the description that follows. This helps orient the reader and gives them a sense of what to expect.

Ultimately, the goal is to engage the reader from the very beginning and create a strong foundation for your descriptive essay.

How To Write A Descriptive Essay On A Person?

Pre-writing phase.

Before diving into writing, it’s essential to do some groundwork.

  • Selecting Your Subject: Choose a person who holds significance for you. It could be a family member, friend, mentor, or even a historical figure you admire.
  • Brainstorming Traits: Think about the qualities and characteristics that define this person. Jot down specific details, memories, and anecdotes that come to mind.
  • Gathering Memories: Reflect on your experiences with this person. Recall moments that stand out, whether they’re funny, heartwarming, or profound.
  • Determining Tone: Consider the tone and perspective you want to convey in your essay. Will it be nostalgic, admiring, or reflective?

Creating an Outline

A well-structured outline provides a roadmap for your essay, ensuring that you cover all essential aspects.

  • Introduction: Set the stage by introducing the person you’ll be describing and stating the purpose of your essay. Your thesis statement should give readers a glimpse of what to expect.
  • Body Paragraphs: Organize your essay into paragraphs focusing on different aspects of the person’s character.
  • Physical Description: Paint a vivid picture of their appearance, from their physical features to their style of dress and unique mannerisms.
  • Personality Traits: Dive into their personality, exploring their quirks, habits, values, and passions.
  • Impact on Others: Highlight the person’s relationships and influence on those around them, including anecdotes that showcase their impact.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the key traits discussed in the essay and reflect on their significance. Leave readers with a lasting impression.

Drafting the Essay

With your outline in hand, it’s time to start writing.

  • Introduction: Begin with an attention-grabbing opening that draws readers in. Introduce the person and provide context for why they are important to you.
  • Body Paragraphs: Develop each section with descriptive details and vivid imagery. Use sensory language to evoke emotions and create a sense of intimacy.
  • Conclusion: Reinforce the central theme of your essay and leave readers with a thought-provoking insight or reflection.

Revision and Editing

Once you’ve completed your first draft, it’s time to polish your essay.

  • Review for Clarity: Ensure that your essay flows smoothly from one paragraph to the next, with clear transitions between ideas.
  • Check for Errors: Proofread your essay for grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes. Pay attention to sentence structure and word choice.
  • Seek Feedback: Share your essay with friends, family, or peers for feedback. Consider their suggestions for improvement and make revisions accordingly.

Finalizing the Essay

Before submitting your essay, take one last look to ensure it’s polished and ready to shine.

  • Formatting: Format your essay according to the guidelines provided, including font size, spacing, and margins.
  • Proofread Again: Give your essay a final proofread to catch any lingering errors or typos.
  • Submission: Once you’re satisfied with your essay, submit it with confidence, knowing that you’ve crafted a compelling portrayal of the person who holds significance in your life.

Top 3 Examples of Descriptive Essays About a Person

“my grandmother: a portrait of strength and love”.

In this essay, the author paints a vivid picture of their grandmother, emphasizing her physical appearance as well as her inner strength and loving nature.

Through detailed descriptions of her wrinkled hands, warm smile, and comforting presence, the author captures the essence of their grandmother’s character.

Anecdotes and memories illustrate her resilience and the profound impact she has had on the author’s life, making her a cherished figure to be admired and celebrated.

“The Man Who Built Bridges: A Tribute to My Father”

This essay pays tribute to the author’s father, highlighting his remarkable qualities as a bridge builder both literally and metaphorically.

Through evocative descriptions of his weathered hands, steadfast determination, and unwavering kindness, the author portrays their father as a symbol of resilience, integrity, and compassion.

Anecdotes from the author’s childhood underscore the profound influence their father has had, leaving a lasting legacy of love and strength.

“The Artist of Words: An Ode to Maya Angelou”

In this essay, the author celebrates the life and legacy of Maya Angelou, the renowned poet, author, and civil rights activist.

Through vivid descriptions of Angelou’s commanding presence, eloquent speech, and unwavering courage, the author captures the essence of her indomitable spirit and profound impact on literature and society.

Quotes and excerpts from Angelou’s works illustrate her mastery of language and her ability to inspire and empower others, leaving an enduring legacy of hope and resilience.

Tips To  Write A Descriptive Essay On A Person

Writing a descriptive essay about a person requires attention to detail and a focus on capturing the essence of the individual. Here are some tips to help you craft a compelling descriptive essay:

  • Choose a Subject You Know Well: Select a person whom you know intimately or have spent significant time with. This familiarity will allow you to provide rich descriptions and insights into their character.
  • Brainstorm Descriptive Details: Before you start writing, make a list of physical attributes, personality traits, habits, and mannerisms that characterize the person. Think about specific anecdotes or memories that showcase their unique qualities.
  • Create an Outline: Organize your essay with a clear structure, including an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Decide on the main traits or characteristics you will focus on in each section.
  • Start with an Engaging Introduction: Grab the reader’s attention from the start with a compelling opening sentence or anecdote that sets the scene and introduces the person you will be describing.
  • Use Vivid Descriptive Language: Paint a vivid picture with words by using sensory details to describe the person’s appearance, movements, facial expressions, and gestures. Appeal to the reader’s senses to create a vivid and immersive experience.
  • Show, Don’t Tell: Instead of simply stating facts about the person, show their personality and character through descriptive scenes, dialogue, and actions. Use specific examples and anecdotes to illustrate your points.
  • Focus on Emotions and Impressions: Describe not only what the person looks like but also how they make you feel and the impression they leave on others. Capture the emotions and atmosphere surrounding your interactions with them.
  • Be Objective and Honest: While it’s important to highlight the person’s positive qualities, don’t shy away from portraying their flaws or weaknesses if they are relevant to the essay. Be honest and objective in your descriptions.
  • Organize Your Thoughts: Structure your essay logically, moving from one characteristic or trait to the next in a coherent manner. Use transitions to guide the reader smoothly through your descriptions.
  • Conclude with a Reflection: Summarize the key points of your essay in the conclusion and reflect on the significance of the person in your life or the impact they have had on others. Leave the reader with a lasting impression or insight.

By following these tips and techniques, you can create a descriptive essay that brings your chosen person to life on the page and leaves a lasting impression on your readers.

In conclusion, writing a descriptive essay on a person is a rewarding endeavor that allows you to celebrate the unique qualities and impact of someone special.

By following these steps (about how to write a descriptive essay on a person) and pouring your heart into your writing, you can create a masterpiece that truly brings your subject to life on the page.

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Descriptive Essay

Descriptive Essay Writing

Last updated on: Feb 9, 2023

How To Write An Impactful Descriptive Essay?

By: Cathy A.

12 min read

Reviewed By: Melisa C.

Published on: Dec 17, 2019

Descriptive Essay

Wondering how to write an impressive descriptive essay? Writing a descriptive essay is both fun and challenging. You need to describe the main topic in detail and by engaging the five senses of the readers.

Students usually get this type of essay in high school and college. Writing a descriptive essay is different from other essays.

You need to focus on describing a certain person, place, or event.

Luckily for you, the following blog post will provide some helpful tips on how to create an engaging essay.

Continue reading to learn how to write an A-worthy descriptive essay.

Descriptive Essay

On this Page

What is a Descriptive Essay?

A descriptive essay is a detailed paper that describes a place, person, situation, object, or emotion. Different people have different points of view and your job is to explain yours in detail.

You may be asked to write a descriptive essay about the beach or forest or about a person or situation. The purpose of this essay is to test the writer’s ability in expressing and explaining their experiences.

Descriptive writing should create a picture in the reader’s mind. You may be required to write a descriptive essay as a high school or college essay assignment.

For a compelling essay, using adjectives and adverbs, details, and figurative language is fundamental. Without proper usage of words, you will not be able to invoke the readers' emotions.

What is the Purpose of a Descriptive Essay?

The purpose of a descriptive essay is to describe a person, place, or personal experience in vivid detail so that the reader can create a picture in his mind.

The descriptive essay is written to get the reader to understand by using descriptive language. It is different from narrative essays, where the writer tells the story about someone else. Usually, it starts with a real-life event and then the content follows the author's imagination.

Descriptive essays are not intended to persuade the reader or show facts and figures to prove something. Descriptive essays are like word paintings that contain personal and descriptive details and these are mostly assigned to students of creative writing.

How to Start a Descriptive Essay

A strong start for your descriptive essay is essential. Analyze your topic from every angle and document the following details:

Analyze the main subjects in detail and observe minute things.

  • Start with observing all the possible aspects of the subject.
  • Don't just observe the object but also its surroundings.
  • Focus on details and features of the subject and develop opinions about them.
  • Be thoughtful; this first step will be the basis for the essay.

Physical Settings

Describing the physical settings is a must in a descriptive essay. When describing, keep the following points in mind.

  • Focus on the subject's position and observe nearby objects
  • Note the time of day and kind of lighting: natural or imitated
  • Physical settings: all the basic and decorative elements
  • The position and shape of the objects
  • Alignment and any other observable information

Physical Features

When describing the physical features of the subject, living or nonliving, consider the following points.

  • Living or nonliving; describe the features in detail
  • The subject's skin color, texture, smoothness, expression, and age
  • The features of inanimate objects in the picture, color, surface, and texture

Create Drama

Storytelling and drama are the life and blood of a good descriptive essay. It turns your essay into an exciting and interesting piece of writing. However, be subtle about adding drama to your sentence structure and add it to complement your story only.

Focus On Your Feelings

Focus on how you feel about the particular topic or person and stick to it. It is easy to get involved when working on the essay. But, focus on your own feelings and write an essay based on them.

Use Of Specific Vocabulary

Vocabulary is important. Select the best words for describing an action or object. Don't always use the first word that comes to mind.

Write slowly and thoughtfully, and use specific words to convey your thoughts.

Psychological Aspects

Writing about a certain situation or behavior of a person focuses on the mental aspects and emotions involved in them.

For Example, describe your emotions when your friend misplaced your notes right before the exam.

You may have had several emotions in that incident. Maybe you were prepared for exams, but this situation put you under pressure and made you feel frustrated and hurt.

Explore those emotions and describe the feelings they aroused. Describe the body language also, if relevant.

Ask Yourself, WHY?

This is the most valuable tip for students. When you are looking at a particular subject, and having difficulty analyzing its aspects, ask yourself "WHY".

  • Why is the subject the way it is?
  • Why does the person you are describing have such a deep-set and cold eyes?
  • Why is the animal so wounded and terrified?
  • Why is this particular place famous?

It is a good practice and after some time you will do it naturally. Knowing the why is important if you want to describe your topic properly.

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How To Write A Descriptive Essay?

When you write a descriptive essay, you help your readers visualize an event, a person, or a story. It is written to make your readers feel what you feel about the respective subject.

A descriptive essay seeks to appeal to some or all of the audience’s five senses. Some key things to consider are:

  • Discussing your subject thoroughly
  • Focusing on details and adding them in your essay
  • Sharing your personal feelings and experience about the subject
  • Observing and describing all sensory details of your subject

Here are the steps to write a descriptive essay easily.

1- Choose an Engaging and Focused Essay Topic

An important step that all strong descriptive essays share is having a focused topic. Before you make the outline, identify the purpose of your essay and use it to create an appropriate thesis statement.This type of paper does not require much personal opinion from you. Its main goal should be focusing on information that will make a dominant impression in readers' minds instead.

2- Research and Gather Important Details

When writing a descriptive essay, it is important to make sure you include as many details and sensory information as possible. This helps your reader fully understand the images that are being presented in their mind's eye.You can organize these ideas into categories so they're easy for you to access when needed.

3- Create an Outline of Your Essay

Your essays must be organized by having subheadings that are clear and concise. Group your main points into individual body paragraphs, each of which should only cover one idea or topic at a time.

4- Write your Essay’s Introduction

A good introductory paragraph is much like a road map because it provides direction to your readers.

It provides relevant background information before diving into more specific details related to how something works or why something happens. These could include statistics or stories from real-life scenarios.

5- Write the Main Body Section of Your Essay

Each body paragraph should start with a topic sentence that keeps the reader hooked on what you are saying. Use specific details instead of making generalized statements, and make sure to give examples if necessary.

6- End with a Strong Conclusion

The conclusion of an essay is the final paragraph, and it should summarize all that you have said throughout. It's a good idea to restate the main points and key details from the essay in this section.

It is important so the reader has everything they need for better understanding before ending off on something new.

If necessary be sure not to introduce anything odd or unusual, to avoid any confusion.

7- Proofread and Revise the Essay Carefully

Once you are done writing the essay, proofread and revise it carefully. Make sure that it is free from all kinds of errors.

Descriptive Essay Outline

Like all the other essays, a descriptive essay also follows the usual 5-paragraph essay structure and format.Before starting, it is important to create an outline. Following are the fundamental elements of your descriptive essay outline:

Descriptive Essay Introduction

The introduction sets the footing for the entire essay. Before heading towards the body section, the reader will come across the introduction.

It is the first impression of your work. It is very important to write an engaging introduction so that the readers read the essay till the end.

Start the essay in an easy-to-understand way and language. Provide background information on your topic so they can understand it and its importance.

To make sure the reader feels your emotions and decides to continue reading further, incorporate the following points in your introduction.

The following tips will guide you on how to write a good introduction for a descriptive essay.

  • Attract the reader's attention with an interesting fact, phrase, or quote
  • Don't bombard them with information
  • Go straight to the main pointsInclude enough information to introduce the topic and its significance.
  • Summarize the argument and the main topic and craft your thesis statement

Descriptive Essay Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is an integral part of your essay. It focuses on the argument and the writer’s main idea, which is to be discussed in the essay.

This statement also provides the writer with a chance of explaining the purpose and scope of the topic. It is intriguing and engaging.

A thesis statement is written at the end of the introduction, it is mainly a single sentence that describes the essay objective. The thesis statement should act as a guide to the reader on what to expect in the essay body. It is like a table of contents of a book, to the reader on contents you will get an idea of what the book is all about so you get to understand it better.

It is like a table of contents of a book. By reading it, you will get an idea of what the book is all about.

A good thesis should contain the following things:

  • Define the essay scope - it should narrow down all the points to clarify its purpose.
  • Avoid using common words - you should be creative with your choice of words.
  • Create suspense - it should attract the reader to the body paragraphs of the essay.

For further information on how to write a thesis for a descriptive essay, check out the following examples.

  • Descriptive essay example about a Place

“Even though monarchy is long gone, Buckingham Palace is here to remind us of the aesthetic beauty of that era.”

  • Descriptive essay example about a Person

“One of the characteristics of Spider-Man is his youthfulness, and the fact that he talks to himself more than Hamlet.”

  • Descriptive essay example about an Emotion

“For numerous reasons, the dark forest is my greatest fear, though not a fear which is necessarily smart to face.”

Descriptive Essay Body Paragraphs

Body paragraphs of the essay come next after the introduction and thesis statement. It is the main part that continues your essay.

Usually, an essay consists of three body paragraphs but you can add more if needed.

Don't add more than one central idea in one paragraph. Fusing different ideas will confuse the reader.

Build your paragraphs according to the thesis and introduction.

  • Start each body paragraph with the main sentence
  • Use transitions to move between paragraphs smoothly
  • Each paragraph should be five to six sentences long

Descriptive Essay Conclusion

The concluding paragraph is the last part of an essay, and probably your last chance to impress your reader.

The last part that the reader can keep in mind is the conclusion, which is as important as the rest of the essay.

To make it interesting and thought-provoking, include the following points:

  • Restate the thesis statement
  • Summarize the main points
  • Add an intriguing closing statement

After writing the conclusion, make a review of your essay, identify the mistakes and maintain a good tone throughout the essay.

Descriptive Essay Format Sample

Here is the descriptive essay format to help you understand how you can write a winning descriptive essay.

DESCRIPTIVE ESSAY FORMAT (PDF)

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Descriptive Essay Topics Ideas

Descriptive essay topics are often related to physical settings, locations, living beings, and objects.

Make sure that your essay includes the five senses, touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing, or at least one of them. It depends on the topic and the kind of feeling that you want to arouse.

Below are some descriptive essay ideas and ways to achieve them.

Living Beings

When you want to write about a person like a family member, consider the following elements:

  • Gender, age, complexion, and expressions
  • Physical features
  • Height, body type, and approximate weight
  • Kind of clothes

These details will add depth to the description and your readers will actually see your narrative.

When animals are the subject, you can add the above points plus the following details:

  • Species and animal
  • Size, weight, color
  • Behavior patterns
  • Temperament
  • Trained or wild?
  • Real or fictional?

Inanimate Subjects

Geographic locations and structures.

When your subject is a place or a building, add the following points:

  • Research about the place and its historical background
  • The color and the building's type
  • A famous place or landmark to draw a comparison and inspire interest

Human behavior and psychology is a compelling descriptive essay subject. When writing about it:

  • Describe the consequences of a particular behavior
  • Discuss the emotional dimension of the topic and how you perceive it personally

Event Or Travel Experience

A travel experience makes a good descriptive essay since you have experienced the event first hand.

Give a detailed description of the place, people at the venue, and the atmosphere of the location.

Idea, Concept, or Occupation

When writing on such topics, focus on how an idea or concept affects society and its different aspects.

Example Descriptive Essay Topics for Students

Choosing a topic for your descriptive essay is quite interesting. You get to choose something that you have an emotional connection with.

When writing a descriptive essay about a person or place, adding their personal traits will be helpful.

Some examples of descriptive essay topics include:

  • Compose a detailed descriptive essay about your best friend.
  • Describe a fancy place that you have created.
  • Describe your dream vacation destination.
  • Describe your favorite mall or store.
  • Describe your childhood home.
  • Descriptive essay about nature.
  • Descriptive essay about a place you visited.
  • Describe the personality of your Maths teacher.
  • Discuss the main characters of your favorite movie.
  • Descriptive essay about chocolate.
  • Write an essay using unique Words to describe yourself.
  • What makes me unique?
  • My first love.

Descriptive Essay Examples

Study these descriptive essay examples and sample papers to understand the main idea, structure, and purpose of descriptive essays.

DESCRIPTIVE ESSAY ON MARKET (PDF)

DESCRIPTIVE ESSAY EXAMPLE PERSON (PDF)

To help you understand how to write a great descriptive essay, we have a whole blog post dedicated to it. We know that talking about something is one thing and demonstrating it is completely different.

Having a descriptive essay assignment with a short deadline? Looking for someone to do my essay for me ?

5StarEssays.com academic writing professionals are ready to help you. They read the essay details before writing and make sure that they incorporate all the details in it.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the features of a descriptive essay.

A descriptive essay provides a perfect opportunity for writers to express their feelings on any subject. Descriptive writing has rich sensory details which appeal to all of your senses.

How do you start a descriptive essay introduction?

The introduction to the descriptive essay should set the scene and introduce the main topic. You can use these sensory details to get a sense of what the essay is all about.

What are the two types of descriptive essays?

There are two types of descriptive essays. The first type deals with people, and the second one is about objects.

What are the elements of a descriptive essay?

Here are the key elements of a descriptive essay.

  • Sensory details
  • Figurative language
  • Central and main theme
  • Precise and clear language
  • Proper organization of ideas

What makes good descriptive writing?

Good and effective descriptive writing consists of vivid sensory details that appeal to all senses including the sense of sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste. Moreover, these essays also explain people’s feelings in writing.

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Descriptive Essay

Descriptive Essay About A Person You Admire

Cathy A.

How to Craft the Perfect Descriptive Essay About A Person You Admire

Descriptive Essay About A Person You Admire

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Are you looking for tips on how to write a descriptive essay about someone you admire? Do you have someone special in your life that you would like to immortalize through words? 

A lot of people find writing a descriptive essay about a person quite challenging. But with the right structure and steps, you can easily create an engaging piece of writing.

Look no further! You’ll get these steps right here! 

This article will provide you with examples and helpful advice that you need to craft an effective and engaging essay. Plus, we’ll show you what makes a great descriptive essay with examples.

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  • 1. The Basics of Descriptive Essay
  • 2. How to Write a Descriptive Essay About Someone You Admire
  • 3. Descriptive Essay About a Person You Admire Examples
  • 4. Key Points for Writing A Descriptive Essay On The Person I Admire The Most 

The Basics of Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay is an essay that requires the student to provide a detailed and precise description of their chosen subject.

When writing about a person, the goal is to introduce your reader to the person you are writing about. 

You will want to include important facts about them and discuss their personality, including their beliefs, hobbies, and interests. You should also provide vivid examples that illustrate the person's characteristics.

Watch the video below to learn more about expository writing:

How to Write a Descriptive Essay About Someone You Admire

Now that you know what makes a great descriptive essay about a person , it’s time to start writing. Here are some steps that will help you create an effective and engaging essay:

1. Choose a Person You Admire:

Select someone who has impacted your life in a special way, or someone whose qualities you admire greatly. Look for role models in your life. In addition, it is important to choose someone you have enough information. 

For example writing a descriptive essay about mother is easier than writing an essay about anyone else.

You can also polish your descriptive writing skills by writing on other descriptive essay topics .

2. Research the Person Thoroughly:

Before you begin writing, make sure you have enough information about the person. You can research by talking to people who know the person well, or reading books and articles written about them.

3. Create an Outline:

This helps keep your essay organized and focused. You can use the basic structure of an essay with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion as a guide. So make sure you include all of the important points in your outline.

4. Use Vivid Language and Imagery:

Describe anything that stands out about the person, such as their physical appearance and mannerisms. Use powerful adjectives to give life to your essay and make it more interesting for your readers.

5. Include Relevant Examples:

Using real-life examples adds depth and texture to your essay. These can be anything from stories of when you met the person or a unique trait that they possess. Examples will also help make your essay more illustrative and descriptive.

6. Write an Effective Conclusion:

Your conclusion should serve as a summary of all the points you have discussed in your essay. Make sure to end on a positive note and provide your readers with a lasting impression of your subject’s character.

Reading some example essays will clarify it even more. So let's check out some examples below.

Descriptive Essay About a Person You Admire Examples

If you are given a task to write a paragraph about a person you admire, these examples will help you!

The Person I Admire The Most Essay 200 Words

The Person I Admire The Most Essay 250 Words

The Person I Admire Most 300 Words

Here are some more examples to get a better idea of how a descriptive essay looks like:

A Famous Person You Admire Essay

The Person I Admire The Most My Mother Essay

Descriptive Essay About A Person in My Life

You can read more descriptive essay examples on various other topics as well. 

Key Points for Writing A Descriptive Essay On The Person I Admire The Most 

Writing a descriptive essay about the person you admire the most can be a rewarding experience. 

Here are some key points and tips to help you create an engaging and meaningful essay:

  • Vivid Descriptions: Use descriptive language to paint a clear picture of the person, including their qualities, achievements, and impact.
  • Emotional Connection: Explain the emotional connection you have with the person and why their presence is meaningful.
  • Use Concrete Examples: Provide specific anecdotes and examples that illustrate the person's admirable qualities and actions.
  • Reflect on Life Lessons: Discuss the lessons you've learned from this person and how they've influenced your personal growth and values.
  • Stay Authentic: Be genuine and sincere in your writing. Your admiration for the person should come through as a heartfelt expression

To conclude,

Writing an engaging descriptive essay about someone you admire can be quite challenging, but it is definitely worth the effort. With these tips in mind, you will be well on your way to writing a great essay.

Are you looking for a legit essay writing service ? Don't worry! We've got you covered.

MyPerfectWords.com offers the top essay writing service for all types of essays. Our professional and experienced writers have years of experience in crafting high-quality custom essays.

So contact our descriptive essay writing service today. We guarantee you will be satisfied with the quality and accuracy of our work.

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Descriptive Essay About a Person

Benjamin Oaks

Table of Contents

Descriptive Essay About a Person

The last type is probably the most difficult because the description of a person won’t include the appearance only, but would also consider character, temperament, behavior, and so on.

If you really want to write a high-quality descriptive essay, you should be attentive, competent, and … creative.

We understand that this essay type can be a real challenge; that’s why we would try to provide you with the most valuable recommendations on how to write a descriptive essay about a person.

What is the specifics of the descriptive essay about a person?

First, you should choose the person who will be the subject of this description. For example, you can write a descriptive essay about a person you love. On the other hand, we are not sure that the number of people who are interested in this article will not be awe-inspiring and your paper may be a bit boring for other people.

So, writers usually decide to create essays about an extraordinary historical personality or write a descriptive essay about a person you admire. For example, you can write an essay about Napoleon Bonaparte, Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan, or other famous and successful people to consider their personalities more precisely.

Describe the features of the person one by one, like:

  • Appearance. How to start a descriptive essay about a person? Clothes make the man! So, it should be the first part of your writing. Describe facial features, height, weight, hair color, eye color, clothes, and so on.
  • Manners. After that, you can describe the most typical acts and behaves of this man or woman. If you decided to consider famous people, it could help to detect the name of your subject from the very beginning. For example, if you say that this man liked to smoke cigars, drink alcohol, and wear hats, it will not be a problem to assume that it is Winston Churchill.
  • Character traits. This part is probably the most difficult because you can describe the appearance of this person without any additional help. Just analyze photos and write your text. However, if you need to consider the most significant character traits, it’s recommended to read memoirs or look for articles of experienced historians.
  • Emotions. You can watch videos or analyze special materials to figure out the emotional state of your subject. Don’t forget to mention whether this human is choleric, phlegmatic, melancholic, or sanguine. Don’t forget to mention its sense of humor as well.

Use free descriptive essay example about a person to avoid mistakes

Don’t forget that you are not the first author on the Internet who has to write this article. Fortunately, there are dozens of websites, which provide descriptive essay examples about a person.

We don’t recommend you to use any descriptive essay about a person you admire example as your own article because you will fail all anti-plagiarism tests. However, this sample could be a great pattern, which you can use in the future.

How to write a descriptive essay about a person: simple tips

Of course, these recommendations don’t guarantee your future success in this sphere, but we strongly recommend you to use them to minimize risks and increase the quality of your paper:

For example, you can find info about the number of bottles of wine which this man consumes every day or the number of brothers and sisters of this particular subject.
“He is very tall and has big blue eyes.”
  • Choose people, you know well. Remember! You should choose people whom you know good enough to write an article about them. On the other hand, if you decided to consider the main features of a star, you should research more information about this person before choosing the topic.
  • Find the balance. We are sure that it’s not enough to use even several paragraphs if you really want to describe each feature of this person, but a lot of info can overload your text. So, you should find the ideal balance between informative and concise. We can recommend you to write down 3-4 the most recognizable features of this person and stay focused on them. Describe them well, and it would be significantly better than writing about nose, mouth, eyebrows, lips, arms, legs, and other parts of the body of this person.

… Final thoughts

Therefore, it’s not an easy task. In most cases, it takes at least 5-6 hours to write a high-quality paper.

Luckily, you may manage to avoid a lot of problems and make this process more comfortable if you try to analyze any sample descriptive essay about a person and follow our simple recommendations.

Ain’t in the mood for writing a descriptive essay about a person? Guess who is! Yeah, our writers are the best. And always available, by the way…

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How To Write A Descriptive Essay About A Person (Step By Step)

Table of Contents

Descriptive essay about a person

Students are required to write different types of essays on various subjects, and descriptive essays are among the many articles that students will be required to present as part of their coursework .  It describes different objects like events or a person. A good descriptive paper needs to be detailed and should capture the reader’s interest from the beginning to the end. Descriptive articles are not intended to present logical arguments or persuade readers, the paper contains word paintings , the author use colorful, accurate and vivid language to engage a reader’s senses.

How to start a descriptive essay about a person

Before writing your essay , the first process entails choosing the subject to be discussed, conduct in-depth research to gather more details about the individual.  Identify any dialogues, or works of literature that might support your thesis statement and observe or reflect the person you want to explain. Think about your target audience before choosing the type of language that would attract his audience. An excellent introduction states why the author intends to present using a clear thesis statement to support the essay theme . Writing an article about a person means the person has significantly influenced the author. The author presents the main features of the person that makes him stand out.

Anecdotes are a good start, starting with an inspiring story about a person is a common phenomenon with most descriptive essays. Anecdotes creatively capture the reader’s attention in a dramatic way. The author can use similes and descriptive adjectives to present the person’s physical features. An introduction can start with a question, an exclamation, a flashback a quote or an emotional memory

How to write main part

A standard body contains three paragraphs, writing an essay about a person also follows the same format. The first section of the body includes observational detailed of a person, the second paragraph aims at describing the environment where the person lives, and the third paragraph present sensual and emotional details of the person. When describing an influential person in our lives, some of the most important details include his personality traits, physical characters and biographical data about an individual.

The physical description can include details like long curly brown hair, brown eyes, slender and graceful appearance.  Personality traits include describing individual behavior to reveal her personality traits. For example, the author can present individual emotional responses like when a person is in a joyful mood or sad.  The following example can act as a good illustration when describing emotional response: When Carol found out that she was to join Harvard University, she raised her slender arms in the sky and broke into crazy dance moves that surprised everyone.

The author should present every important aspect of a person. Writers use various adjectives and adverbs to give an interesting and exciting essay about a famous person. In the article body, the author should provide specific examples to enhance his description for the audience to understand why the person is important. Appropriate examples provide readers with better insight of the author’s view about the person. The author can also use prepositional phrases and give concrete examples of the person’s characteristics including the author’s interaction with the particular person.

A good description of a person should paint a glowing picture of an individual whereby the reader can visualize the person being described. When describing an important person, the author needs to not only to talk about the person, but also present the positive impact the person has made in his life .It is important to describe the relationship between the author and the person he is describing to convince the reader the significance of the person being described.

How to conclude a descriptive essay about a person

The conclusion is the last paragraph, but the most important part so an essay. The author concluded an essay by rephrasing the thesis statement and reviewing the main point to concave the reader why the person is worth describing.

Outline example

Introduction

Topic sentence

Thesis Statement

Essay body:

  • Physical Appearance
  • Detail description of the person
  • Second’s physical characteristic
  • Detailed description giving examples
  • Individual Characteristics
  • Individual characteristic one
  • Examples and detailed explanation about the characteristic 2
  • Individual characteristic two
  • Individual characteristic three
  • Examples and detailed explanation about the characteristic 3
  • Examples of hobbies and dialogue about his perception about the hobbies
  • Topic Sentence:
  • Detailed explanation for hobby 1 including where, why, hewn and how
  • Detailed explanation of hobby 2
  • Detailed explanation hobby 3
  • Sensory Details
  • Description of smell, hear and touch and examples presenting visual details
  • Sensory detail 1
  • Sensory detail 2
  • Sensory detail 3
  • Show the most memorable moment
  • Review the main details given in the essay body
  • Conclude by showing one thing you like the most.

how to write a paper about a person

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How To Write A Research Paper

Step-By-Step Tutorial With Examples + FREE Template

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Expert Reviewer: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | March 2024

For many students, crafting a strong research paper from scratch can feel like a daunting task – and rightly so! In this post, we’ll unpack what a research paper is, what it needs to do , and how to write one – in three easy steps. 🙂 

Overview: Writing A Research Paper

What (exactly) is a research paper.

  • How to write a research paper
  • Stage 1 : Topic & literature search
  • Stage 2 : Structure & outline
  • Stage 3 : Iterative writing
  • Key takeaways

Let’s start by asking the most important question, “ What is a research paper? ”.

Simply put, a research paper is a scholarly written work where the writer (that’s you!) answers a specific question (this is called a research question ) through evidence-based arguments . Evidence-based is the keyword here. In other words, a research paper is different from an essay or other writing assignments that draw from the writer’s personal opinions or experiences. With a research paper, it’s all about building your arguments based on evidence (we’ll talk more about that evidence a little later).

Now, it’s worth noting that there are many different types of research papers , including analytical papers (the type I just described), argumentative papers, and interpretative papers. Here, we’ll focus on analytical papers , as these are some of the most common – but if you’re keen to learn about other types of research papers, be sure to check out the rest of the blog .

With that basic foundation laid, let’s get down to business and look at how to write a research paper .

Research Paper Template

Overview: The 3-Stage Process

While there are, of course, many potential approaches you can take to write a research paper, there are typically three stages to the writing process. So, in this tutorial, we’ll present a straightforward three-step process that we use when working with students at Grad Coach.

These three steps are:

  • Finding a research topic and reviewing the existing literature
  • Developing a provisional structure and outline for your paper, and
  • Writing up your initial draft and then refining it iteratively

Let’s dig into each of these.

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how to write a paper about a person

Step 1: Find a topic and review the literature

As we mentioned earlier, in a research paper, you, as the researcher, will try to answer a question . More specifically, that’s called a research question , and it sets the direction of your entire paper. What’s important to understand though is that you’ll need to answer that research question with the help of high-quality sources – for example, journal articles, government reports, case studies, and so on. We’ll circle back to this in a minute.

The first stage of the research process is deciding on what your research question will be and then reviewing the existing literature (in other words, past studies and papers) to see what they say about that specific research question. In some cases, your professor may provide you with a predetermined research question (or set of questions). However, in many cases, you’ll need to find your own research question within a certain topic area.

Finding a strong research question hinges on identifying a meaningful research gap – in other words, an area that’s lacking in existing research. There’s a lot to unpack here, so if you wanna learn more, check out the plain-language explainer video below.

Once you’ve figured out which question (or questions) you’ll attempt to answer in your research paper, you’ll need to do a deep dive into the existing literature – this is called a “ literature search ”. Again, there are many ways to go about this, but your most likely starting point will be Google Scholar .

If you’re new to Google Scholar, think of it as Google for the academic world. You can start by simply entering a few different keywords that are relevant to your research question and it will then present a host of articles for you to review. What you want to pay close attention to here is the number of citations for each paper – the more citations a paper has, the more credible it is (generally speaking – there are some exceptions, of course).

how to use google scholar

Ideally, what you’re looking for are well-cited papers that are highly relevant to your topic. That said, keep in mind that citations are a cumulative metric , so older papers will often have more citations than newer papers – just because they’ve been around for longer. So, don’t fixate on this metric in isolation – relevance and recency are also very important.

Beyond Google Scholar, you’ll also definitely want to check out academic databases and aggregators such as Science Direct, PubMed, JStor and so on. These will often overlap with the results that you find in Google Scholar, but they can also reveal some hidden gems – so, be sure to check them out.

Once you’ve worked your way through all the literature, you’ll want to catalogue all this information in some sort of spreadsheet so that you can easily recall who said what, when and within what context. If you’d like, we’ve got a free literature spreadsheet that helps you do exactly that.

Don’t fixate on an article’s citation count in isolation - relevance (to your research question) and recency are also very important.

Step 2: Develop a structure and outline

With your research question pinned down and your literature digested and catalogued, it’s time to move on to planning your actual research paper .

It might sound obvious, but it’s really important to have some sort of rough outline in place before you start writing your paper. So often, we see students eagerly rushing into the writing phase, only to land up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on in multiple

Now, the secret here is to not get caught up in the fine details . Realistically, all you need at this stage is a bullet-point list that describes (in broad strokes) what you’ll discuss and in what order. It’s also useful to remember that you’re not glued to this outline – in all likelihood, you’ll chop and change some sections once you start writing, and that’s perfectly okay. What’s important is that you have some sort of roadmap in place from the start.

You need to have a rough outline in place before you start writing your paper - or you’ll end up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on.

At this stage you might be wondering, “ But how should I structure my research paper? ”. Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here, but in general, a research paper will consist of a few relatively standardised components:

  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology

Let’s take a look at each of these.

First up is the introduction section . As the name suggests, the purpose of the introduction is to set the scene for your research paper. There are usually (at least) four ingredients that go into this section – these are the background to the topic, the research problem and resultant research question , and the justification or rationale. If you’re interested, the video below unpacks the introduction section in more detail. 

The next section of your research paper will typically be your literature review . Remember all that literature you worked through earlier? Well, this is where you’ll present your interpretation of all that content . You’ll do this by writing about recent trends, developments, and arguments within the literature – but more specifically, those that are relevant to your research question . The literature review can oftentimes seem a little daunting, even to seasoned researchers, so be sure to check out our extensive collection of literature review content here .

With the introduction and lit review out of the way, the next section of your paper is the research methodology . In a nutshell, the methodology section should describe to your reader what you did (beyond just reviewing the existing literature) to answer your research question. For example, what data did you collect, how did you collect that data, how did you analyse that data and so on? For each choice, you’ll also need to justify why you chose to do it that way, and what the strengths and weaknesses of your approach were.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that for some research papers, this aspect of the project may be a lot simpler . For example, you may only need to draw on secondary sources (in other words, existing data sets). In some cases, you may just be asked to draw your conclusions from the literature search itself (in other words, there may be no data analysis at all). But, if you are required to collect and analyse data, you’ll need to pay a lot of attention to the methodology section. The video below provides an example of what the methodology section might look like.

By this stage of your paper, you will have explained what your research question is, what the existing literature has to say about that question, and how you analysed additional data to try to answer your question. So, the natural next step is to present your analysis of that data . This section is usually called the “results” or “analysis” section and this is where you’ll showcase your findings.

Depending on your school’s requirements, you may need to present and interpret the data in one section – or you might split the presentation and the interpretation into two sections. In the latter case, your “results” section will just describe the data, and the “discussion” is where you’ll interpret that data and explicitly link your analysis back to your research question. If you’re not sure which approach to take, check in with your professor or take a look at past papers to see what the norms are for your programme.

Alright – once you’ve presented and discussed your results, it’s time to wrap it up . This usually takes the form of the “ conclusion ” section. In the conclusion, you’ll need to highlight the key takeaways from your study and close the loop by explicitly answering your research question. Again, the exact requirements here will vary depending on your programme (and you may not even need a conclusion section at all) – so be sure to check with your professor if you’re unsure.

Step 3: Write and refine

Finally, it’s time to get writing. All too often though, students hit a brick wall right about here… So, how do you avoid this happening to you?

Well, there’s a lot to be said when it comes to writing a research paper (or any sort of academic piece), but we’ll share three practical tips to help you get started.

First and foremost , it’s essential to approach your writing as an iterative process. In other words, you need to start with a really messy first draft and then polish it over multiple rounds of editing. Don’t waste your time trying to write a perfect research paper in one go. Instead, take the pressure off yourself by adopting an iterative approach.

Secondly , it’s important to always lean towards critical writing , rather than descriptive writing. What does this mean? Well, at the simplest level, descriptive writing focuses on the “ what ”, while critical writing digs into the “ so what ” – in other words, the implications . If you’re not familiar with these two types of writing, don’t worry! You can find a plain-language explanation here.

Last but not least, you’ll need to get your referencing right. Specifically, you’ll need to provide credible, correctly formatted citations for the statements you make. We see students making referencing mistakes all the time and it costs them dearly. The good news is that you can easily avoid this by using a simple reference manager . If you don’t have one, check out our video about Mendeley, an easy (and free) reference management tool that you can start using today.

Recap: Key Takeaways

We’ve covered a lot of ground here. To recap, the three steps to writing a high-quality research paper are:

  • To choose a research question and review the literature
  • To plan your paper structure and draft an outline
  • To take an iterative approach to writing, focusing on critical writing and strong referencing

Remember, this is just a b ig-picture overview of the research paper development process and there’s a lot more nuance to unpack. So, be sure to grab a copy of our free research paper template to learn more about how to write a research paper.

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Research Method

Home » Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Research Paper

Research Paper

Definition:

Research Paper is a written document that presents the author’s original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue.

It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new knowledge or insights to a particular field of study, and to demonstrate the author’s understanding of the existing literature and theories related to the topic.

Structure of Research Paper

The structure of a research paper typically follows a standard format, consisting of several sections that convey specific information about the research study. The following is a detailed explanation of the structure of a research paper:

The title page contains the title of the paper, the name(s) of the author(s), and the affiliation(s) of the author(s). It also includes the date of submission and possibly, the name of the journal or conference where the paper is to be published.

The abstract is a brief summary of the research paper, typically ranging from 100 to 250 words. It should include the research question, the methods used, the key findings, and the implications of the results. The abstract should be written in a concise and clear manner to allow readers to quickly grasp the essence of the research.

Introduction

The introduction section of a research paper provides background information about the research problem, the research question, and the research objectives. It also outlines the significance of the research, the research gap that it aims to fill, and the approach taken to address the research question. Finally, the introduction section ends with a clear statement of the research hypothesis or research question.

Literature Review

The literature review section of a research paper provides an overview of the existing literature on the topic of study. It includes a critical analysis and synthesis of the literature, highlighting the key concepts, themes, and debates. The literature review should also demonstrate the research gap and how the current study seeks to address it.

The methods section of a research paper describes the research design, the sample selection, the data collection and analysis procedures, and the statistical methods used to analyze the data. This section should provide sufficient detail for other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the research, using tables, graphs, and figures to illustrate the data. The findings should be presented in a clear and concise manner, with reference to the research question and hypothesis.

The discussion section of a research paper interprets the findings and discusses their implications for the research question, the literature review, and the field of study. It should also address the limitations of the study and suggest future research directions.

The conclusion section summarizes the main findings of the study, restates the research question and hypothesis, and provides a final reflection on the significance of the research.

The references section provides a list of all the sources cited in the paper, following a specific citation style such as APA, MLA or Chicago.

How to Write Research Paper

You can write Research Paper by the following guide:

  • Choose a Topic: The first step is to select a topic that interests you and is relevant to your field of study. Brainstorm ideas and narrow down to a research question that is specific and researchable.
  • Conduct a Literature Review: The literature review helps you identify the gap in the existing research and provides a basis for your research question. It also helps you to develop a theoretical framework and research hypothesis.
  • Develop a Thesis Statement : The thesis statement is the main argument of your research paper. It should be clear, concise and specific to your research question.
  • Plan your Research: Develop a research plan that outlines the methods, data sources, and data analysis procedures. This will help you to collect and analyze data effectively.
  • Collect and Analyze Data: Collect data using various methods such as surveys, interviews, observations, or experiments. Analyze data using statistical tools or other qualitative methods.
  • Organize your Paper : Organize your paper into sections such as Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. Ensure that each section is coherent and follows a logical flow.
  • Write your Paper : Start by writing the introduction, followed by the literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. Ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and follows the required formatting and citation styles.
  • Edit and Proofread your Paper: Review your paper for grammar and spelling errors, and ensure that it is well-structured and easy to read. Ask someone else to review your paper to get feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  • Cite your Sources: Ensure that you properly cite all sources used in your research paper. This is essential for giving credit to the original authors and avoiding plagiarism.

Research Paper Example

Note : The below example research paper is for illustrative purposes only and is not an actual research paper. Actual research papers may have different structures, contents, and formats depending on the field of study, research question, data collection and analysis methods, and other factors. Students should always consult with their professors or supervisors for specific guidelines and expectations for their research papers.

Research Paper Example sample for Students:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health among Young Adults

Abstract: This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults. A literature review was conducted to examine the existing research on the topic. A survey was then administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Introduction: Social media has become an integral part of modern life, particularly among young adults. While social media has many benefits, including increased communication and social connectivity, it has also been associated with negative outcomes, such as addiction, cyberbullying, and mental health problems. This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults.

Literature Review: The literature review highlights the existing research on the impact of social media use on mental health. The review shows that social media use is associated with depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health problems. The review also identifies the factors that contribute to the negative impact of social media, including social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Methods : A survey was administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The survey included questions on social media use, mental health status (measured using the DASS-21), and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis.

Results : The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Discussion : The study’s findings suggest that social media use has a negative impact on the mental health of young adults. The study highlights the need for interventions that address the factors contributing to the negative impact of social media, such as social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Conclusion : In conclusion, social media use has a significant impact on the mental health of young adults. The study’s findings underscore the need for interventions that promote healthy social media use and address the negative outcomes associated with social media use. Future research can explore the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health. Additionally, longitudinal studies can investigate the long-term effects of social media use on mental health.

Limitations : The study has some limitations, including the use of self-report measures and a cross-sectional design. The use of self-report measures may result in biased responses, and a cross-sectional design limits the ability to establish causality.

Implications: The study’s findings have implications for mental health professionals, educators, and policymakers. Mental health professionals can use the findings to develop interventions that address the negative impact of social media use on mental health. Educators can incorporate social media literacy into their curriculum to promote healthy social media use among young adults. Policymakers can use the findings to develop policies that protect young adults from the negative outcomes associated with social media use.

References :

  • Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2019). Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Preventive medicine reports, 15, 100918.
  • Primack, B. A., Shensa, A., Escobar-Viera, C. G., Barrett, E. L., Sidani, J. E., Colditz, J. B., … & James, A. E. (2017). Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: A nationally-representative study among US young adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 1-9.
  • Van der Meer, T. G., & Verhoeven, J. W. (2017). Social media and its impact on academic performance of students. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 16, 383-398.

Appendix : The survey used in this study is provided below.

Social Media and Mental Health Survey

  • How often do you use social media per day?
  • Less than 30 minutes
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • 1 to 2 hours
  • 2 to 4 hours
  • More than 4 hours
  • Which social media platforms do you use?
  • Others (Please specify)
  • How often do you experience the following on social media?
  • Social comparison (comparing yourself to others)
  • Cyberbullying
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
  • Have you ever experienced any of the following mental health problems in the past month?
  • Do you think social media use has a positive or negative impact on your mental health?
  • Very positive
  • Somewhat positive
  • Somewhat negative
  • Very negative
  • In your opinion, which factors contribute to the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Social comparison
  • In your opinion, what interventions could be effective in reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Education on healthy social media use
  • Counseling for mental health problems caused by social media
  • Social media detox programs
  • Regulation of social media use

Thank you for your participation!

Applications of Research Paper

Research papers have several applications in various fields, including:

  • Advancing knowledge: Research papers contribute to the advancement of knowledge by generating new insights, theories, and findings that can inform future research and practice. They help to answer important questions, clarify existing knowledge, and identify areas that require further investigation.
  • Informing policy: Research papers can inform policy decisions by providing evidence-based recommendations for policymakers. They can help to identify gaps in current policies, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and inform the development of new policies and regulations.
  • Improving practice: Research papers can improve practice by providing evidence-based guidance for professionals in various fields, including medicine, education, business, and psychology. They can inform the development of best practices, guidelines, and standards of care that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • Educating students : Research papers are often used as teaching tools in universities and colleges to educate students about research methods, data analysis, and academic writing. They help students to develop critical thinking skills, research skills, and communication skills that are essential for success in many careers.
  • Fostering collaboration: Research papers can foster collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers by providing a platform for sharing knowledge and ideas. They can facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships that can lead to innovative solutions to complex problems.

When to Write Research Paper

Research papers are typically written when a person has completed a research project or when they have conducted a study and have obtained data or findings that they want to share with the academic or professional community. Research papers are usually written in academic settings, such as universities, but they can also be written in professional settings, such as research organizations, government agencies, or private companies.

Here are some common situations where a person might need to write a research paper:

  • For academic purposes: Students in universities and colleges are often required to write research papers as part of their coursework, particularly in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Writing research papers helps students to develop research skills, critical thinking skills, and academic writing skills.
  • For publication: Researchers often write research papers to publish their findings in academic journals or to present their work at academic conferences. Publishing research papers is an important way to disseminate research findings to the academic community and to establish oneself as an expert in a particular field.
  • To inform policy or practice : Researchers may write research papers to inform policy decisions or to improve practice in various fields. Research findings can be used to inform the development of policies, guidelines, and best practices that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • To share new insights or ideas: Researchers may write research papers to share new insights or ideas with the academic or professional community. They may present new theories, propose new research methods, or challenge existing paradigms in their field.

Purpose of Research Paper

The purpose of a research paper is to present the results of a study or investigation in a clear, concise, and structured manner. Research papers are written to communicate new knowledge, ideas, or findings to a specific audience, such as researchers, scholars, practitioners, or policymakers. The primary purposes of a research paper are:

  • To contribute to the body of knowledge : Research papers aim to add new knowledge or insights to a particular field or discipline. They do this by reporting the results of empirical studies, reviewing and synthesizing existing literature, proposing new theories, or providing new perspectives on a topic.
  • To inform or persuade: Research papers are written to inform or persuade the reader about a particular issue, topic, or phenomenon. They present evidence and arguments to support their claims and seek to persuade the reader of the validity of their findings or recommendations.
  • To advance the field: Research papers seek to advance the field or discipline by identifying gaps in knowledge, proposing new research questions or approaches, or challenging existing assumptions or paradigms. They aim to contribute to ongoing debates and discussions within a field and to stimulate further research and inquiry.
  • To demonstrate research skills: Research papers demonstrate the author’s research skills, including their ability to design and conduct a study, collect and analyze data, and interpret and communicate findings. They also demonstrate the author’s ability to critically evaluate existing literature, synthesize information from multiple sources, and write in a clear and structured manner.

Characteristics of Research Paper

Research papers have several characteristics that distinguish them from other forms of academic or professional writing. Here are some common characteristics of research papers:

  • Evidence-based: Research papers are based on empirical evidence, which is collected through rigorous research methods such as experiments, surveys, observations, or interviews. They rely on objective data and facts to support their claims and conclusions.
  • Structured and organized: Research papers have a clear and logical structure, with sections such as introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. They are organized in a way that helps the reader to follow the argument and understand the findings.
  • Formal and objective: Research papers are written in a formal and objective tone, with an emphasis on clarity, precision, and accuracy. They avoid subjective language or personal opinions and instead rely on objective data and analysis to support their arguments.
  • Citations and references: Research papers include citations and references to acknowledge the sources of information and ideas used in the paper. They use a specific citation style, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Peer-reviewed: Research papers are often peer-reviewed, which means they are evaluated by other experts in the field before they are published. Peer-review ensures that the research is of high quality, meets ethical standards, and contributes to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Objective and unbiased: Research papers strive to be objective and unbiased in their presentation of the findings. They avoid personal biases or preconceptions and instead rely on the data and analysis to draw conclusions.

Advantages of Research Paper

Research papers have many advantages, both for the individual researcher and for the broader academic and professional community. Here are some advantages of research papers:

  • Contribution to knowledge: Research papers contribute to the body of knowledge in a particular field or discipline. They add new information, insights, and perspectives to existing literature and help advance the understanding of a particular phenomenon or issue.
  • Opportunity for intellectual growth: Research papers provide an opportunity for intellectual growth for the researcher. They require critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, which can help develop the researcher’s skills and knowledge.
  • Career advancement: Research papers can help advance the researcher’s career by demonstrating their expertise and contributions to the field. They can also lead to new research opportunities, collaborations, and funding.
  • Academic recognition: Research papers can lead to academic recognition in the form of awards, grants, or invitations to speak at conferences or events. They can also contribute to the researcher’s reputation and standing in the field.
  • Impact on policy and practice: Research papers can have a significant impact on policy and practice. They can inform policy decisions, guide practice, and lead to changes in laws, regulations, or procedures.
  • Advancement of society: Research papers can contribute to the advancement of society by addressing important issues, identifying solutions to problems, and promoting social justice and equality.

Limitations of Research Paper

Research papers also have some limitations that should be considered when interpreting their findings or implications. Here are some common limitations of research papers:

  • Limited generalizability: Research findings may not be generalizable to other populations, settings, or contexts. Studies often use specific samples or conditions that may not reflect the broader population or real-world situations.
  • Potential for bias : Research papers may be biased due to factors such as sample selection, measurement errors, or researcher biases. It is important to evaluate the quality of the research design and methods used to ensure that the findings are valid and reliable.
  • Ethical concerns: Research papers may raise ethical concerns, such as the use of vulnerable populations or invasive procedures. Researchers must adhere to ethical guidelines and obtain informed consent from participants to ensure that the research is conducted in a responsible and respectful manner.
  • Limitations of methodology: Research papers may be limited by the methodology used to collect and analyze data. For example, certain research methods may not capture the complexity or nuance of a particular phenomenon, or may not be appropriate for certain research questions.
  • Publication bias: Research papers may be subject to publication bias, where positive or significant findings are more likely to be published than negative or non-significant findings. This can skew the overall findings of a particular area of research.
  • Time and resource constraints: Research papers may be limited by time and resource constraints, which can affect the quality and scope of the research. Researchers may not have access to certain data or resources, or may be unable to conduct long-term studies due to practical limitations.

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Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

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Writing a Research Paper

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The Research Paper

There will come a time in most students' careers when they are assigned a research paper. Such an assignment often creates a great deal of unneeded anxiety in the student, which may result in procrastination and a feeling of confusion and inadequacy. This anxiety frequently stems from the fact that many students are unfamiliar and inexperienced with this genre of writing. Never fear—inexperience and unfamiliarity are situations you can change through practice! Writing a research paper is an essential aspect of academics and should not be avoided on account of one's anxiety. In fact, the process of writing a research paper can be one of the more rewarding experiences one may encounter in academics. What is more, many students will continue to do research throughout their careers, which is one of the reasons this topic is so important.

Becoming an experienced researcher and writer in any field or discipline takes a great deal of practice. There are few individuals for whom this process comes naturally. Remember, even the most seasoned academic veterans have had to learn how to write a research paper at some point in their career. Therefore, with diligence, organization, practice, a willingness to learn (and to make mistakes!), and, perhaps most important of all, patience, students will find that they can achieve great things through their research and writing.

The pages in this section cover the following topic areas related to the process of writing a research paper:

  • Genre - This section will provide an overview for understanding the difference between an analytical and argumentative research paper.
  • Choosing a Topic - This section will guide the student through the process of choosing topics, whether the topic be one that is assigned or one that the student chooses themselves.
  • Identifying an Audience - This section will help the student understand the often times confusing topic of audience by offering some basic guidelines for the process.
  • Where Do I Begin - This section concludes the handout by offering several links to resources at Purdue, and also provides an overview of the final stages of writing a research paper.

How to Write a Research Paper 

How to Write a Research Paper 

  • Smodin Editorial Team
  • Updated: May 17, 2024

Most students hate writing research papers. The process can often feel long, tedious, and sometimes outright boring. Nevertheless, these assignments are vital to a student’s academic journey. Want to learn how to write a research paper that captures the depth of the subject and maintains the reader’s interest? If so, this guide is for you.

Today, we’ll show you how to assemble a well-organized research paper to help you make the grade. You can transform any topic into a compelling research paper with a thoughtful approach to your research and a persuasive argument.

In this guide, we’ll provide seven simple but practical tips to help demystify the process and guide you on your way. We’ll also explain how AI tools can expedite the research and writing process so you can focus on critical thinking.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear roadmap for tackling these essays. You will also learn how to tackle them quickly and efficiently. With time and dedication, you’ll soon master the art of research paper writing.

Ready to get started?

What Is a Research Paper?

A research paper is a comprehensive essay that gives a detailed analysis, interpretation, or argument based on your own independent research. In higher-level academic settings, it goes beyond a simple summarization and includes a deep inquiry into the topic or topics.

The term “research paper” is a broad term that can be applied to many different forms of academic writing. The goal is to combine your thoughts with the findings from peer-reviewed scholarly literature.

By the time your essay is done, you should have provided your reader with a new perspective or challenged existing findings. This demonstrates your mastery of the subject and contributes to ongoing scholarly debates.

7 Tips for Writing a Research Paper

Often, getting started is the most challenging part of a research paper. While the process can seem daunting, breaking it down into manageable steps can make it easier to manage. The following are seven tips for getting your ideas out of your head and onto the page.

1. Understand Your Assignment

It may sound simple, but the first step in writing a successful research paper is to read the assignment. Sit down, take a few moments of your time, and go through the instructions so you fully understand your assignment.

Misinterpreting the assignment can not only lead to a significant waste of time but also affect your grade. No matter how patient your teacher or professor may be, ignoring basic instructions is often inexcusable.

If you read the instructions and are still confused, ask for clarification before you start writing. If that’s impossible, you can use tools like Smodin’s AI chat to help. Smodin can help highlight critical requirements that you may overlook.

This initial investment ensures that all your future efforts will be focused and efficient. Remember, thinking is just as important as actually writing the essay, and it can also pave the wave for a smoother writing process.

2. Gather Research Materials

Now comes the fun part: doing the research. As you gather research materials, always use credible sources, such as academic journals or peer-reviewed papers. Only use search engines that filter for accredited sources and academic databases so you can ensure your information is reliable.

To optimize your time, you must learn to master the art of skimming. If a source seems relevant and valuable, save it and review it later. The last thing you want to do is waste time on material that won’t make it into the final paper.

To speed up the process even more, consider using Smodin’s AI summarizer . This tool can help summarize large texts, highlighting key information relevant to your topic. By systematically gathering and filing research materials early in the writing process, you build a strong foundation for your thesis.

3. Write Your Thesis

Creating a solid thesis statement is the most important thing you can do to bring structure and focus to your research paper. Your thesis should express the main point of your argument in one or two simple sentences. Remember, when you create your thesis, you’re setting the tone and direction for the entire paper.

Of course, you can’t just pull a winning thesis out of thin air. Start by brainstorming potential thesis ideas based on your preliminary research. And don’t overthink things; sometimes, the most straightforward ideas are often the best.

You want a thesis that is specific enough to be manageable within the scope of your paper but broad enough to allow for a unique discussion. Your thesis should challenge existing expectations and provide the reader with fresh insight into the topic. Use your thesis to hook the reader in the opening paragraph and keep them engaged until the very last word.

4. Write Your Outline

An outline is an often overlooked but essential tool for organizing your thoughts and structuring your paper. Many students skip the outline because it feels like doing double work, but a strong outline will save you work in the long run.

Here’s how to effectively structure your outline.

  • Introduction: List your thesis statement and outline the main questions your essay will answer.
  • Literature Review: Outline the key literature you plan to discuss and explain how it will relate to your thesis.
  • Methodology: Explain the research methods you will use to gather and analyze the information.
  • Discussion: Plan how you will interpret the results and their implications for your thesis.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the content above to elucidate your thesis fully.

To further streamline this process, consider using Smodin’s Research Writer. This tool offers a feature that allows you to generate and tweak an outline to your liking based on the initial input you provide. You can adjust this outline to fit your research findings better and ensure that your paper remains well-organized and focused.

5. Write a Rough Draft

Once your outline is in place, you can begin the writing process. Remember, when you write a rough draft, it isn’t meant to be perfect. Instead, use it as a working document where you can experiment with and rearrange your arguments and evidence.

Don’t worry too much about grammar, style, or syntax as you write your rough draft. Focus on getting your ideas down on paper and flush out your thesis arguments. You can always refine and rearrange the content the next time around.

Follow the basic structure of your outline but with the freedom to explore different ways of expressing your thoughts. Smodin’s Essay Writer offers a powerful solution for those struggling with starting or structuring their drafts.

After you approve the outline, Smodin can generate an essay based on your initial inputs. This feature can help you quickly create a comprehensive draft, which you can then review and refine. You can even use the power of AI to create multiple rough drafts from which to choose.

6. Add or Subtract Supporting Evidence

Once you have a rough draft, but before you start the final revision, it’s time to do a little cleanup. In this phase, you need to review all your supporting evidence. You want to ensure that there is nothing redundant and that you haven’t overlooked any crucial details.

Many students struggle to make the required word count for an essay and resort to padding their writing with redundant statements. Instead of adding unnecessary content, focus on expanding your analysis to provide deeper insights.

A good essay, regardless of the topic or format, needs to be streamlined. It should convey clear, convincing, relevant information supporting your thesis. If you find some information doesn’t do that, consider tweaking your sources.

Include a variety of sources, including studies, data, and quotes from scholars or other experts. Remember, you’re not just strengthening your argument but demonstrating the depth of your research.

If you want comprehensive feedback on your essay without going to a writing center or pestering your professor, use Smodin. The AI Chat can look at your draft and offer suggestions for improvement.

7. Revise, Cite, and Submit

The final stages of crafting a research paper involve revision, citation, and final review. You must ensure your paper is polished, professionally presented, and plagiarism-free. Of course, integrating Smodin’s AI tools can significantly streamline this process and enhance the quality of your final submission.

Start by using Smodin’s Rewriter tool. This AI-powered feature can help rephrase and refine your draft to improve overall readability. If a specific section of your essay just “doesn’t sound right,” the AI can suggest alternative sentence structures and word choices.

Proper citation is a must for all academic papers. Thankfully, thanks to Smodin’s Research Paper app, this once tedious process is easier than ever. The AI ensures all sources are accurately cited according to the required style guide (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.).

Plagiarism Checker:

All students need to realize that accidental plagiarism can happen. That’s why using a Plagiarism Checker to scan your essay before you submit it is always useful. Smodin’s Plagiarism Checker can highlight areas of concern so you can adjust accordingly.

Final Submission

After revising, rephrasing, and ensuring all citations are in order, use Smodin’s AI Content Detector to give your paper one last review. This tool can help you analyze your paper’s overall quality and readability so you can make any final tweaks or improvements.

Mastering Research Papers

Mastering the art of the research paper cannot be overstated, whether you’re in high school, college, or postgraduate studies. You can confidently prepare your research paper for submission by leveraging the AI tools listed above.

Research papers help refine your abilities to think critically and write persuasively. The skills you develop here will serve you well beyond the walls of the classroom. Communicating complex ideas clearly and effectively is one of the most powerful tools you can possess.

With the advancements of AI tools like Smodin , writing a research paper has become more accessible than ever before. These technologies streamline the process of organizing, writing, and revising your work. Write with confidence, knowing your best work is yet to come!

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Why writing by hand beats typing for thinking and learning

Jonathan Lambert

A close-up of a woman's hand writing in a notebook.

If you're like many digitally savvy Americans, it has likely been a while since you've spent much time writing by hand.

The laborious process of tracing out our thoughts, letter by letter, on the page is becoming a relic of the past in our screen-dominated world, where text messages and thumb-typed grocery lists have replaced handwritten letters and sticky notes. Electronic keyboards offer obvious efficiency benefits that have undoubtedly boosted our productivity — imagine having to write all your emails longhand.

To keep up, many schools are introducing computers as early as preschool, meaning some kids may learn the basics of typing before writing by hand.

But giving up this slower, more tactile way of expressing ourselves may come at a significant cost, according to a growing body of research that's uncovering the surprising cognitive benefits of taking pen to paper, or even stylus to iPad — for both children and adults.

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In kids, studies show that tracing out ABCs, as opposed to typing them, leads to better and longer-lasting recognition and understanding of letters. Writing by hand also improves memory and recall of words, laying down the foundations of literacy and learning. In adults, taking notes by hand during a lecture, instead of typing, can lead to better conceptual understanding of material.

"There's actually some very important things going on during the embodied experience of writing by hand," says Ramesh Balasubramaniam , a neuroscientist at the University of California, Merced. "It has important cognitive benefits."

While those benefits have long been recognized by some (for instance, many authors, including Jennifer Egan and Neil Gaiman , draft their stories by hand to stoke creativity), scientists have only recently started investigating why writing by hand has these effects.

A slew of recent brain imaging research suggests handwriting's power stems from the relative complexity of the process and how it forces different brain systems to work together to reproduce the shapes of letters in our heads onto the page.

Your brain on handwriting

Both handwriting and typing involve moving our hands and fingers to create words on a page. But handwriting, it turns out, requires a lot more fine-tuned coordination between the motor and visual systems. This seems to more deeply engage the brain in ways that support learning.

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"Handwriting is probably among the most complex motor skills that the brain is capable of," says Marieke Longcamp , a cognitive neuroscientist at Aix-Marseille Université.

Gripping a pen nimbly enough to write is a complicated task, as it requires your brain to continuously monitor the pressure that each finger exerts on the pen. Then, your motor system has to delicately modify that pressure to re-create each letter of the words in your head on the page.

"Your fingers have to each do something different to produce a recognizable letter," says Sophia Vinci-Booher , an educational neuroscientist at Vanderbilt University. Adding to the complexity, your visual system must continuously process that letter as it's formed. With each stroke, your brain compares the unfolding script with mental models of the letters and words, making adjustments to fingers in real time to create the letters' shapes, says Vinci-Booher.

That's not true for typing.

To type "tap" your fingers don't have to trace out the form of the letters — they just make three relatively simple and uniform movements. In comparison, it takes a lot more brainpower, as well as cross-talk between brain areas, to write than type.

Recent brain imaging studies bolster this idea. A study published in January found that when students write by hand, brain areas involved in motor and visual information processing " sync up " with areas crucial to memory formation, firing at frequencies associated with learning.

"We don't see that [synchronized activity] in typewriting at all," says Audrey van der Meer , a psychologist and study co-author at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. She suggests that writing by hand is a neurobiologically richer process and that this richness may confer some cognitive benefits.

Other experts agree. "There seems to be something fundamental about engaging your body to produce these shapes," says Robert Wiley , a cognitive psychologist at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. "It lets you make associations between your body and what you're seeing and hearing," he says, which might give the mind more footholds for accessing a given concept or idea.

Those extra footholds are especially important for learning in kids, but they may give adults a leg up too. Wiley and others worry that ditching handwriting for typing could have serious consequences for how we all learn and think.

What might be lost as handwriting wanes

The clearest consequence of screens and keyboards replacing pen and paper might be on kids' ability to learn the building blocks of literacy — letters.

"Letter recognition in early childhood is actually one of the best predictors of later reading and math attainment," says Vinci-Booher. Her work suggests the process of learning to write letters by hand is crucial for learning to read them.

"When kids write letters, they're just messy," she says. As kids practice writing "A," each iteration is different, and that variability helps solidify their conceptual understanding of the letter.

Research suggests kids learn to recognize letters better when seeing variable handwritten examples, compared with uniform typed examples.

This helps develop areas of the brain used during reading in older children and adults, Vinci-Booher found.

"This could be one of the ways that early experiences actually translate to long-term life outcomes," she says. "These visually demanding, fine motor actions bake in neural communication patterns that are really important for learning later on."

Ditching handwriting instruction could mean that those skills don't get developed as well, which could impair kids' ability to learn down the road.

"If young children are not receiving any handwriting training, which is very good brain stimulation, then their brains simply won't reach their full potential," says van der Meer. "It's scary to think of the potential consequences."

Many states are trying to avoid these risks by mandating cursive instruction. This year, California started requiring elementary school students to learn cursive , and similar bills are moving through state legislatures in several states, including Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina and Wisconsin. (So far, evidence suggests that it's the writing by hand that matters, not whether it's print or cursive.)

Slowing down and processing information

For adults, one of the main benefits of writing by hand is that it simply forces us to slow down.

During a meeting or lecture, it's possible to type what you're hearing verbatim. But often, "you're not actually processing that information — you're just typing in the blind," says van der Meer. "If you take notes by hand, you can't write everything down," she says.

The relative slowness of the medium forces you to process the information, writing key words or phrases and using drawing or arrows to work through ideas, she says. "You make the information your own," she says, which helps it stick in the brain.

Such connections and integration are still possible when typing, but they need to be made more intentionally. And sometimes, efficiency wins out. "When you're writing a long essay, it's obviously much more practical to use a keyboard," says van der Meer.

Still, given our long history of using our hands to mark meaning in the world, some scientists worry about the more diffuse consequences of offloading our thinking to computers.

"We're foisting a lot of our knowledge, extending our cognition, to other devices, so it's only natural that we've started using these other agents to do our writing for us," says Balasubramaniam.

It's possible that this might free up our minds to do other kinds of hard thinking, he says. Or we might be sacrificing a fundamental process that's crucial for the kinds of immersive cognitive experiences that enable us to learn and think at our full potential.

Balasubramaniam stresses, however, that we don't have to ditch digital tools to harness the power of handwriting. So far, research suggests that scribbling with a stylus on a screen activates the same brain pathways as etching ink on paper. It's the movement that counts, he says, not its final form.

Jonathan Lambert is a Washington, D.C.-based freelance journalist who covers science, health and policy.

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What is ChatGPT? Here's everything you need to know about ChatGPT, the chatbot everyone's still talking about

  • ChatGPT is getting a futuristic human update. 
  • ChatGPT has drawn users at a feverish pace and spurred Big Tech to release other AI chatbots.
  • Here's how ChatGPT works — and what's coming next.

Insider Today

OpenAI's blockbuster chatbot ChatGPT is getting a new update. 

On Monday, OpenAI unveiled GPT-4o for ChatGPT, a new version of the bot that can hold conversations with users in a very human tone. The new version of the chatbot will also have vision abilities.

The futuristic reveal quickly prompted jokes about parallels to the movie "Her," with some calling the chatbot's new voice " cringe ."

The move is a big step for the future of AI-powered virtual assistants, which tech companies have been racing to develop.

Since its release in 2022, hundreds of millions of people have experimented with the tool, which is already changing how the internet looks and feels to users.

Users have flocked to ChatGPT to improve their personal lives and boost productivity . Some workers have used the AI chatbot to develop code , write real estate listings , and create lesson plans, while others have made teaching the best ways to use ChatGPT a career all to itself.

ChatGPT offers dozens of plug-ins to those who subscribe to ChatGPT Plus subscription. An Expedia one can help you book a trip, while an OpenTable one will get nab you a dinner reservation. And last month, OpenAI launched Code Interpreter, a version of ChatGPT that can code and analyze data .

While the personal tone of conversations with an AI bot like ChatGPT can evoke the experience of chatting with a human, the technology, which runs on " large language model tools, " doesn't speak with sentience and doesn't "think" the way people do. 

That means that even though ChatGPT can explain quantum physics or write a poem on command, a full AI takeover isn't exactly imminent , according to experts.

"There's a saying that an infinite number of monkeys will eventually give you Shakespeare," said Matthew Sag, a law professor at Emory University who studies copyright implications for training and using large language models like ChatGPT.

"There's a large number of monkeys here, giving you things that are impressive — but there is intrinsically a difference between the way that humans produce language, and the way that large language models do it," he said. 

Chatbots like ChatGPT are powered by large amounts of data and computing techniques to make predictions to string words together in a meaningful way. They not only tap into a vast amount of vocabulary and information, but also understand words in context. This helps them mimic speech patterns while dispatching an encyclopedic knowledge. 

Other tech companies like Google and Meta have developed their own large language model tools, which use programs that take in human prompts and devise sophisticated responses.

Despite the AI's impressive capabilities, some have called out OpenAI's chatbot for spewing misinformation , stealing personal data for training purposes , and even encouraging students to cheat and plagiarize on their assignments. 

Some recent efforts to use chatbots for real-world services have proved troubling. In 2023, the mental health company Koko came under fire after its founder wrote about how the company used GPT-3 in an experiment to reply to users. 

Koko cofounder Rob Morris hastened to clarify on Twitter that users weren't speaking directly to a chatbot, but that AI was used to "help craft" responses. 

Read Insider's coverage on ChatGPT and some of the strange new ways that both people and companies are using chat bots: 

The tech world's reception to ChatGPT:

Microsoft is chill with employees using ChatGPT — just don't share 'sensitive data' with it.

Microsoft's investment into ChatGPT's creator may be the smartest $1 billion ever spent

ChatGPT and generative AI look like tech's next boom. They could be the next bubble.

The ChatGPT and generative-AI 'gold rush' has founders flocking to San Francisco's 'Cerebral Valley'

Insider's experiments: 

I asked ChatGPT to do my work and write an Insider article for me. It quickly generated an alarmingly convincing article filled with misinformation.

I asked ChatGPT and a human matchmaker to redo my Hinge and Bumble profiles. They helped show me what works.

I asked ChatGPT to reply to my Hinge matches. No one responded.

I used ChatGPT to write a resignation letter. A lawyer said it made one crucial error that could have invalidated the whole thing .

Read ChatGPT's 'insulting' and 'garbage' 'Succession' finale script

An Iowa school district asked ChatGPT if a list of books contains sex scenes, and banned them if it said yes. We put the system to the test and found a bunch of problems.

Developments in detecting ChatGPT: 

Teachers rejoice! ChatGPT creators have released a tool to help detect AI-generated writing

A Princeton student built an app which can detect if ChatGPT wrote an essay to combat AI-based plagiarism

Professors want to 'ChatGPT-proof' assignments, and are returning to paper exams and requesting editing history to curb AI cheating

ChatGPT in society: 

BuzzFeed writers react with a mix of disappointment and excitement at news that AI-generated content is coming to the website

ChatGPT is testing a paid version — here's what that means for free users

A top UK private school is changing its approach to homework amid the rise of ChatGPT, as educators around the world adapt to AI

Princeton computer science professor says don't panic over 'bullshit generator' ChatGPT

DoNotPay's CEO says threat of 'jail for 6 months' means plan to debut AI 'robot lawyer' in courtroom is on ice

It might be possible to fight a traffic ticket with an AI 'robot lawyer' secretly feeding you lines to your AirPods, but it could go off the rails

Online mental health company uses ChatGPT to help respond to users in experiment — raising ethical concerns around healthcare and AI technology

What public figures think about ChatGPT and other AI tools:

What Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and 12 other business leaders think about AI tools like ChatGPT

Elon Musk was reportedly 'furious' at ChatGPT's popularity after he left the company behind it, OpenAI, years ago

CEO of ChatGPT maker responds to schools' plagiarism concerns: 'We adapted to calculators and changed what we tested in math class'

A theoretical physicist says AI is just a 'glorified tape recorder' and people's fears about it are overblown

'The most stunning demo I've ever seen in my life': ChatGPT impressed Bill Gates

Ashton Kutcher says your company will probably be 'out of business' if you're 'sleeping' on AI

ChatGPT's impact on jobs: 

AI systems like ChatGPT could impact 300 million full-time jobs worldwide, with administrative and legal roles some of the most at risk, Goldman Sachs report says

Jobs are now requiring experience with ChatGPT — and they'll pay as much as $800,000 a year for the skill

Related stories

ChatGPT may be coming for our jobs. Here are the 10 roles that AI is most likely to replace.

AI is going to eliminate way more jobs than anyone realizes

It's not AI that is going to take your job, but someone who knows how to use AI might, economist says

4 careers where workers will have to change jobs by 2030 due to AI and shifts in how we shop, a McKinsey study says

Companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Meta are paying salaries as high as $900,000 to attract generative AI talent

How AI tools like ChatGPT are changing the workforce:

10 ways artificial intelligence is changing the workplace, from writing performance reviews to making the 4-day workweek possible

Managers who use AI will replace managers who don't, says an IBM exec

How ChatGPT is shaping industries: 

ChatGPT is coming for classrooms, hospitals, marketing departments, and everything else as the next great startup boom emerges

Marketing teams are using AI to generate content, boost SEO, and develop branding to help save time and money, study finds

AI is coming for Hollywood. 'It's amazing to see the sophistication of the images,' one of Christopher Nolan's VFX guy says.

AI is going to offer every student a personalized tutor, founder of Khan Academy says

A law firm was fined $5,000 after one of its lawyers used ChatGPT to write a court brief riddled with fake case references

How workers are using ChatGPT to boost productivity:  

CheatGPT: The hidden wave of employees using AI on the sly

I used ChatGPT to talk to my boss for a week and she didn't notice. Here are the other ways I use it daily to get work done.

I'm a high school math and science teacher who uses ChatGPT, and it's made my job much easier

Amazon employees are already using ChatGPT for software coding. They also found the AI chatbot can answer tricky AWS customer questions and write cloud training materials.

How 6 workers are using ChatGPT to make their jobs easier

I'm a freelance editor who's embraced working with AI content. Here's how I do it and what I charge.

How people are using ChatGPT to make money:

How ChatGPT and other AI tools are helping workers make more money

Here are 5 ways ChatGPT helps me make money and complete time-consuming tasks for my business

ChatGPT course instruction is the newest side hustle on the market. Meet the teachers making thousands from the lucrative gig.

People are using ChatGPT and other AI bots to work side hustles and earn thousands of dollars — check out these 8 freelancing gigs

A guy tried using ChatGPT to turn $100 into a business making 'as much money as possible.' Here are the first 4 steps the AI chatbot gave him

We used ChatGPT to build a 7-figure newsletter. Here's how it makes our jobs easier.

I use ChatGPT and it's like having a 24/7 personal assistant for $20 a month. Here are 5 ways it's helping me make more money.

A worker who uses AI for a $670 monthly side hustle says ChatGPT has 'cut her research time in half'

How companies are navigating ChatGPT: 

From Salesforce to Air India, here are the companies that are using ChatGPT

Amazon, Apple, and 12 other major companies that have restricted employees from using ChatGPT

A consultant used ChatGPT to free up time so she could focus on pitching clients. She landed $128,000 worth of new contracts in just 3 months.

Luminary, an AI-generated pop-up restaurant, just opened in Australia. Here's what's on the menu, from bioluminescent calamari to chocolate mousse.

A CEO is spending more than $2,000 a month on ChatGPT Plus accounts for all of his employees, and he says it's saving 'hours' of time

How people are using ChatGPT in their personal lives:

ChatGPT planned a family vacation to Costa Rica. A travel adviser found 3 glaring reasons why AI won't replace experts anytime soon.

A man who hated cardio asked ChatGPT to get him into running. Now, he's hooked — and he's lost 26 pounds.

A computer engineering student is using ChatGPT to overcome learning challenges linked to her dyslexia

How a coder used ChatGPT to find an apartment in Berlin in 2 weeks after struggling for months

Food blogger Nisha Vora tried ChatGPT to create a curry recipe. She says it's clear the instructions lacked a human touch — here's how.

Men are using AI to land more dates with better profiles and personalized messages, study finds

Lawsuits against OpenAI:

OpenAI could face a plagiarism lawsuit from The New York Times as tense negotiations threaten to boil over, report says

This is why comedian Sarah Silverman is suing OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT

2 authors say OpenAI 'ingested' their books to train ChatGPT. Now they're suing, and a 'wave' of similar court cases may follow.

A lawsuit claims OpenAI stole 'massive amounts of personal data,' including medical records and information about children, to train ChatGPT

A radio host is suing OpenAI for defamation, alleging that ChatGPT created a false legal document that accused him of 'defrauding and embezzling funds'

Tips on how to write better ChatGPT prompts:

7 ways to use ChatGPT at work to boost your productivity, make your job easier, and save a ton of time

I'm an AI prompt engineer. Here are 3 ways I use ChatGPT to get the best results.

12 ways to get better at using ChatGPT: Comprehensive prompt guide

Here's 9 ways to turn ChatGPT Plus into your personal data analyst with the new Code Interpreter plug-in

OpenAI's ChatGPT can write impressive code. Here are the prompts you should use for the best results, experts say.

Axel Springer, Business Insider's parent company, has a global deal to allow OpenAI to train its models on its media brands' reporting.

Watch: What is ChatGPT, and should we be afraid of AI chatbots?

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Most write-in votes in the Philly Democratic presidential primary weren’t for people. Why that signals success for ‘uncommitted.’

The other names Philly Democrats chose over Joe Biden ranged from Donald Trump to Jason Kelce.

Volunteer Evelyn Kurniadi with election buttons at the Ford PAL Recreational Center in South Philadelphia, on election day, Tuesday, April 23, 2024.

The vast majority of write-in votes cast in the Democratic presidential primary in Philadelphia were marked void, a likely sign of success for a campaign which urged voters to write the word uncommitted as a protest of President Joe Biden’s support of Israel.

Philly election officials indicated last month they would mark “uncommitted” votes as void rather than offer a specific tally for the word. Pennsylvania election law only requires counties to tally write-in votes cast for a person. As a result any write-in votes that listed uncommitted or another nonperson entity like the Phanatic or Gritty could be grouped together by counties as void or scattered.

While it’s unclear exactly what these voters wrote, 14,625 write-in ballots were marked void — making up more than 90% of the 16,216 write-in votes cast in the Democratic contest.

Driven by votes in left-leaning parts of the city, write-in votes made up 10% of the presidential primary vote in Philadelphia.

The proportion of void ballots vastly outpaces the proportion in previous high-profile Democratic primaries. In the 2022 primary for U.S. Senate, just under a third of write-in votes were tallied as void. The uptick can likely be attributed to the uncommitted campaign.

Progressive activists in the Uncommitted PA campaign, which was created by the Democratic Socialists of America, had sought to send a message to Biden in support of cease-fire in Gaza, where more than 35,000 people have been killed in the region since Israel launched its military operation following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack.

“We claim every single write-in as an Uncommitted vote, and the vote breakdown in Philadelphia demonstrates our massive impact in the Presidential write-in space,” Uncommitted PA said in a statement

“Uncommitted PA believes that the outcome of the primary election serves as a strong indicator of voter sentiment in the November election. Voters in Pennsylvania feel conflicted about voting for Biden, as demonstrated by the massive write-in totals and undervote for Biden in PA.”

Other write-in choices, however, indicated that some Democratic voters were not motivated by Gaza.

Former President Donald Trump, who is the presumptive Republican nominee, earned more write-ins than any other candidate with 416 votes. He was followed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., with 270 votes, and Cornel West, with 120 votes. Both are mounting independent campaigns.

Some voters also wrote in the names of prominent progressives, including 118 votes for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and 10 for U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Philadelphians showed support for high-profile Pennsylvania Democrats as 10 voted for Gov. Josh Shapiro and six wrote in U.S. Sen. John Fetterman .

A handful of voters also turned towards sports and pop culture for their write-in votes. Four Democratic voters wrote in recently retired Eagles center Jason Kelce , while three tossed their support behind international pop star Taylor Swift, who also happens to be dating Kelce’s younger brother Travis.

In the Republican Presidential Primary 400 write-in votes were recorded. More than a quarter of those votes were marked void.

Biden earned 95 write-in votes from Republicans, followed by former U.S. Rep Liz Cheney — a Republican who voted for Trump’s second impeachment — who received 31 write-in votes. Twenty-nine Republican voters wrote in Robert F. Kennedy, while three wrote in Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Kelce, is going from the Eagles to ESPN , also earned one vote in the GOP primary.

Writing a White Paper Like a Pro: 9 Essential Steps for Success

Writing a white paper is the heavyweight bout of content creation . And just like boxing, crafting a white paper requires strategy, finesse, and a game plan. It’s not just about throwing punches — it’s about knowing the right time to jab with statistics, slip in case studies, and use compelling insights and analysis to deliver a decisive hook. Execute it well and your white paper can position your brand as an industry champion who’s adept at addressing your customers’ needs.

Creating this type of content is more of an art than a science, but there are general guidelines you can follow to help you out along the way. Here are some tips for writing a white paper, from choosing a topic to sharing your content with the world.

1. Choose a compelling topic

White paper topics should focus on things people actually want to read about. This seems obvious, but finding the right topic can be your biggest challenge. First, figure out who your audience is; who are you trying to reach? Then, choose an issue that’s interesting to them — perhaps a common problem they’re faced with, or a case study of successful companies in your industry.

Contently recently helped a staffing agency put together a white paper on the current talent landscape. It offered data and insights on how to attract talent, interview candidates, onboard employees, and keep staff happy for the long run. That’s exactly the type of insight the agency’s audience of employers needs to help fill roles. Plus, the white paper positioned the staffing agency as a go-to expert on talent recruitment.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to find white paper topics that will resonate with your audience. Take a look at the topics of content you’ve already created, like blogs, social media posts, and podcast episodes, for inspiration.

2. Write an outline

While you might be able to wing it with a blog post, long-form content like white papers require more planning. Knowing how to write a white paper outline can help you organize your content in a coherent way and make sure you cover the topic thoroughly.

Here are some common sections of white papers you can consider including in your outline:

  • Executive summary
  • Introduction and background
  • Description of the problem (or problems) the paper will address
  • Recommendations
  • Conclusions

Making sure your white paper is organized upfront can save you a lot of time at the writing stage. It will help you focus on exactly what you need to cover and where.

3. Gather your references

Writing a white paper requires you to use a variety of different materials to make your points clearly and effectively. Gather up everything you’ll need to lay out the problem and proposed solutions. This can include:

  • Case studies
  • Internal data
  • Industry reports
  • Research from third parties
  • Historical information
  • Academic studies

Some brands also include quotes from their executives or leaders to emphasize points and expertise in their white papers. If that’s a strategy that makes sense for your content, this would be a good time to conduct interviews or ask for quotes.

Having your research and references ready to go can streamline the writing process. You can focus your attention on craft and form rather than trying to dig up another source. Keep the materials organized by subtopic and where you expect to use them in your outline.

4. Craft an attention-grabbing intro

Be captivating when writing a white paper introduction. You want to catch people’s attention right off the bat. Pique their interest, and then tell them what they’re going to learn by reading your white paper. This means writing a summary of your white paper and including an organized list of topics.

Emphasize the value you will create. Your white paper is not a billboard for your business — it is an opportunity to create an image of expertise and insight that will help your readers.

Not sure where to start? Take a look at the most compelling statistics you found in your research. You can use a staggering number that illustrates the problem you’re covering or solution you’re proposing as the hook for your introduction.

5. Start writing

Armed with a body of research and a captivating introduction, you’re ready to start writing a white paper. Get your thoughts down while they are still fresh in your mind. Just start writing.

Your white paper can be as little as five to six pages long or extend well beyond 25 pages, depending on the subject matter and depth of the content. If you’re used to writing shorter pieces of content, it can feel overwhelming to try to fill all those pages.

That’s where your outline can come in handy, though. Think of each section as its own mini piece of content.

Be descriptive and professional. Writing a white paper is not the same as writing a blog. You need to use a business writing style and be fairly descriptive.

In your conclusion, explain how your company can help. If you are selling a product or service that will help your readers, make sure to mention it at the end. You shouldn’t use the body of the white paper to sell your product or service, so make sure to use a catch that is naturally incorporated when you summarize the paper.

Don’t worry about editing until you have completed the draft. You will have no problem going back and making everything flow well afterward. If you can’t think of ways to make a smooth transition between sections in your first draft, you can add them later.

6. List your sources

Citing your sources is not only important for crediting the sources of the research you used — it also helps establish transparency and credibility to your white paper. Showing that you looked at high-quality reports and research helps build trust with your audience.

You have a few different options for citing sources in a white paper. For its white paper, “ Why Learning is Pivotal to Business Transformation ,” Conduent used footnotes at the bottom of each page. This method gives white papers a more academic feel without interrupting the flow of the text.

You could cite your sources at the end in a “references section.” While this minimizes visual distractions in your white paper, it comes with the trade-off of forcing readers to flip to the end to see where you got your material.

Some white papers opt to use in-text citations. It’s a more editorial style that can make your white paper read like a magazine story. However, it adds a lot of extra words to the text, so avoid this method if you have tons of sources to cite.

The method you use depends on the style of your white paper and your audience. But as long as you cite your sources clearly and consistently, you’re in good shape.

7. Proofread your white paper

After writing your white paper, it’s time to break out your (digital) red pen and proofread it to perfection. Go back over your draft and see what needs to be done to make it read better.

Ask for other people’s opinions, because they may be able to catch mistakes you overlooked. Read it out loud to ensure there are no run-on sentences or awkward phrases.

If you have the budget, consider contracting with a professional editor or proofreader to give it a final read. A white paper is a powerful sales and marketing tool, so you’ll want to make sure it’s polished, professional, and free of typos.

8. Invest in a visually stunning design

The design of your white paper can make a big difference in motivating people to read it. Don’t take the term ‘white paper’ too literally — it’s often full of color and design elements that make it more enjoyable to read.

Start by choosing a clean and professional layout that aligns with your brand’s identity. Use consistent fonts, colors, and formatting throughout the white paper to maintain consistency. Make sure your heading and subheadings stand out to increase readability.

Break up big blocks of text with other visual elements. Images can go a long way to driving a point home and keeping your audience engaged. Incorporate graphs and charts to help data stand out. You can also use pull quotes from leaders at your brand to build expertise throughout the white paper.

Pay particular attention to your title page, too. It should include your company logo, the title of your white paper, and an eye-catching photo or image. This is your chance to make a great first impression, so use this space wisely.

9. Put it out in the world

After you’ve put the final touches on your white paper, it’s time to publish and distribute it. Promote the white paper to your network. Create enticing teasers to generate curiosity and drive traffic to a dedicated landing page where visitors can download the white paper in exchange for their contact information. This turns your white paper into lead-generating content .

Consider collaborating with industry influencers or partners to expand your reach and tap into their networks. This helps your white paper reach a wider audience and make a bigger impact.

You can also repurpose the content from your white paper to make it even more engaging. The insurance company Travelers transformed its white paper on managing the risks of AI into a multimedia webinar . Get creative, and think about ways to turn your white paper content into social media posts, videos, infographics, and even podcast episodes. It gives your audience more ways to interact with the content you’ve worked hard to create.

Writing a white paper is your brand’s chance to shine like a beacon of authority. With strategic planning, compelling content, and a striking design, you can grow your audience and spark genuine interest in what your brand has to offer.

Ask The Content Strategist: FAQs About Writing a White Paper

How can a brand measure the effectiveness of a white paper after it has been published.

Brands can measure effectiveness through metrics like downloads, social shares, and website traffic, while gathering feedback through surveys or feedback forms to assess reader satisfaction and comprehension.

What are some common pitfalls to avoid when writing a white paper?

Common pitfalls include lack of clarity in defining objectives, overloading with technical jargon, insufficient evidence, neglecting audience interests, and ignoring visual appeal.

How can brands ensure that their white paper content remains relevant and up-to-date in a rapidly evolving industry landscape?

To maintain relevance, brands should monitor industry trends, update content regularly, engage with experts for fresh perspectives, and encourage feedback from readers.

If you’re looking for more examples of great content, check out Contently’s case studies page .

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OpenAI Unveils New ChatGPT That Listens, Looks and Talks

Chatbots, image generators and voice assistants are gradually merging into a single technology with a conversational voice.

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A photo of a large cement building with expansive glass windows.

By Cade Metz

Reporting from San Francisco

As Apple and Google transform their voice assistants into chatbots, OpenAI is transforming its chatbot into a voice assistant.

On Monday, the San Francisco artificial intelligence start-up unveiled a new version of its ChatGPT chatbot that can receive and respond to voice commands, images and videos.

The company said the new app — based on an A.I. system called GPT-4o — juggles audio, images and video significantly faster than previous versions of the technology. The app will be available starting on Monday, free of charge, for both smartphones and desktop computers.

“We are looking at the future of the interaction between ourselves and machines,” said Mira Murati, the company’s chief technology officer.

The new app is part of a wider effort to combine conversational chatbots like ChatGPT with voice assistants like the Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. As Google merges its Gemini chatbot with the Google Assistant, Apple is preparing a new version of Siri that is more conversational.

OpenAI said it would gradually share the technology with users “over the coming weeks.” This is the first time it has offered ChatGPT as a desktop application.

The company previously offered similar technologies from inside various free and paid products. Now, it has rolled them into a single system that is available across all its products.

During an event streamed on the internet, Ms. Murati and her colleagues showed off the new app as it responded to conversational voice commands, used a live video feed to analyze math problems written on a sheet of paper and read aloud playful stories that it had written on the fly.

The new app cannot generate video. But it can generate still images that represent frames of a video.

With the debut of ChatGPT in late 2022 , OpenAI showed that machines can handle requests more like people. In response to conversational text prompts, it could answer questions, write term papers and even generate computer code.

ChatGPT was not driven by a set of rules. It learned its skills by analyzing enormous amounts of text culled from across the internet, including Wikipedia articles, books and chat logs. Experts hailed the technology as a possible alterative to search engines like Google and voice assistants like Siri.

Newer versions of the technology have also learned from sounds, images and video. Researchers call this “multimodal A.I.” Essentially, companies like OpenAI began to combine chatbots with A.I. image , audio and video generators.

(The New York Times sued OpenAI and its partner, Microsoft, in December, claiming copyright infringement of news content related to A.I. systems.)

As companies combine chatbots with voice assistants, many hurdles remain. Because chatbots learn their skills from internet data, they are prone to mistakes. Sometimes, they make up information entirely — a phenomenon that A.I. researchers call “ hallucination .” Those flaws are migrating into voice assistants.

While chatbots can generate convincing language, they are less adept at taking actions like scheduling a meeting or booking a plane flight. But companies like OpenAI are working to transform them into “ A.I. agents ” that can reliably handle such tasks.

OpenAI previously offered a version of ChatGPT that could accept voice commands and respond with voice. But it was a patchwork of three different A.I. technologies: one that converted voice to text, one that generated a text response and one that converted this text into a synthetic voice.

The new app is based on a single A.I. technology — GPT-4o — that can accept and generate text, sounds and images. This means that the technology is more efficient, and the company can afford to offer it to users for free, Ms. Murati said.

“Before, you had all this latency that was the result of three models working together,” Ms. Murati said in an interview with The Times. “You want to have the experience we’re having — where we can have this very natural dialogue.”

An earlier version of this article misstated the day when OpenAI introduced its new version of ChatGPT. It was Monday, not Tuesday.

How we handle corrections

Cade Metz writes about artificial intelligence, driverless cars, robotics, virtual reality and other emerging areas of technology. More about Cade Metz

Explore Our Coverage of Artificial Intelligence

News  and Analysis

Ilya Sutskever, the OpenAI co-founder and chief scientist who in November joined three other board members to force out Sam Altman before saying he regretted the move, is leaving the company .

OpenAI has unveiled a new version of its ChatGPT chatbot  that can receive and respond to voice commands, images and videos.

A bipartisan group of senators released a long-awaited legislative plan for A.I. , calling for billions in funding to propel U.S. leadership in the technology while offering few details on regulations.

The Age of A.I.

D’Youville University in Buffalo had an A.I. robot speak at its commencement . Not everyone was happy about it.

A new program, backed by Cornell Tech, M.I.T. and U.C.L.A., helps prepare lower-income, Latina and Black female computing majors  for A.I. careers.

Publishers have long worried that A.I.-generated answers on Google would drive readers away from their sites. They’re about to find out if those fears are warranted, our tech columnist writes .

A new category of apps promises to relieve parents of drudgery, with an assist from A.I.  But a family’s grunt work is more human, and valuable, than it seems.

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