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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.
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Wavy Decoration

The Process of Writing a Research Paper

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Planning the Research Paper

The goal of a research paper is to bring together different views, evidence, and facts about a topic from books, articles, and interviews, then interpret the information into your writing. It’s about a relationship between you, other writers, and your teacher/audience.

A research paper will show two things: what you know or learned about a certain topic, and what other people know about the same topic. Often you make a judgment, or just explain complex ideas to the reader. The length of the research paper depends on your teacher’s guidelines. It’s always a good idea to keep your teacher in mind while writing your paper because the teacher is your audience.

The Process There are three stages for doing a research paper. These stages are:

While most people start with prewriting, the three stages of the writing process overlap. Writing is not the kind of process where you have to finish step one before moving on to step two, and so on. Your job is to make your ideas as clear as possible for the reader, and that means you might have to go back and forth between the prewriting, writing and revising stages several times before submitting the paper.

» Prewriting Thinking about a topic

The first thing you should do when starting your research paper is to think of a topic. Try to pick a topic that interests you and your teacher — interesting topics are easier to write about than boring topics! Make sure that your topic is not too hard to research, and that there is enough material on the topic. Talk to as many people as possible about your topic, especially your teacher. You’ll be surprised at the ideas you’ll get from talking about your topic. Be sure to always discuss potential topics with your teacher.

Places you can find a topic: newspapers, magazines, television news, the World Wide Web, and even in the index of a textbook!

Narrowing down your topic

As you think about your topic and start reading, you should begin thinking about a possible thesis statement (a sentence or two explaining your opinion about the topic). One technique is to ask yourself one important question about your topic, and as you find your answer, the thesis can develop from that. Some other techniques you may use to narrow your topic are: jot lists; preliminary outlines; listing possible thesis statements; listing questions; and/or making a concept map. It also may be helpful to have a friend ask you questions about your topic.

For help on developing your thesis statement, see the English Center Guide to Developing a Thesis Statement .

Discovery/Reading about your topic

You need to find information that helps you support your thesis. There are different places you can find this information: books, articles, people (interviews), and the internet.

As you gather the information or ideas you need, you need to make sure that you take notes and write down where and who you got the information from. This is called “citing your sources.” If you write your paper using information from other writers and do not cite the sources, you are committing plagiarism . If you plagiarize, you can get an “F” on your paper, fail the course, or even get kicked out of school.

CITING SOURCES

There are three major different formats for citing sources. They are: the Modern Language Association (MLA) , the American Psychology Association (APA) , and the Chicago Turabian style . Always ask your teacher which format to use. For more information on these styles, see our other handouts!

ORGANIZING INFORMATION

After you’ve thought, read, and taken notes on your topic, you may want to revise your thesis because a good thesis will help you develop a plan for writing your paper. One way you can do this is to brainstorm — think about everything you know about your topic, and put it down on paper. Once you have it all written down, you can look it over and decide if you should change your thesis statement or not.

If you already developed a preliminary map or outline, now is the time to go back and revise it. If you haven’t developed a map or outline yet, now is the time to do it. The outline or concept map should help you organize how you want to present information to your readers. The clearer your outline or map, the easier it will be for you to write the paper. Be sure that each part of your outline supports your thesis. If it does not, you may want to change/revise your thesis statement again.

» Writing a research paper follows a standard compositional (essay) format. It has a title, introduction, body and conclusion. Some people like to start their research papers with a title and introduction, while others wait until they’ve already started the body of the paper before developing a title and introduction. See this link for more information about writing introductions and conclusions .

Some techniques that may help you with writing your paper are:

  • start by writing your thesis statement
  • use a free writing technique (What I mean is…)
  • follow your outline or map
  • pretend you are writing a letter to a friend, and tell them what you know about your topic
  • follow your topic notecards

If you’re having difficulties thinking of what to write about next, you can look back at your notes that you have from when you were brainstorming for your topic.

» Revising The last (but not least) step is revising. When you are revising, look over your paper and make changes in weak areas. The different areas to look for mistakes include: content– too much detail, or too little detail; organization/structure (which is the order in which you write information about your topic); grammar; punctuation; capitalization; word choice; and citations.

It probably is best if you focus on the “big picture” first. The “big picture” means the organization (paragraph order), and content (ideas and points) of the paper. It also might help to go through your paper paragraph by paragraph and see if the main idea of each paragraph relates to the thesis. Be sure to keep an eye out for any repeated information (one of the most common mistakes made by students is having two or more paragraphs with the same information). Often good writers combine several paragraphs into one so they do not repeat information.

Revision Guidelines

  • The audience understands your paper.
  • The sentences are clear and complete.
  • All paragraphs relate to the thesis.
  • Each paragraph explains its purpose clearly.
  • You do not repeat large blocks of information in two or more different paragraphs.
  • The information in your paper is accurate.
  • A friend or classmate has read through your paper and offered suggestions.

After you are satisfied with the content and structure of the paper, you then can focus on common errors like grammar, spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, capitalization, typos, and word choice.

Proofreading Guidelines

  • Subjects and verbs agree.
  • Verb tenses are consistent.
  • Pronouns agree with the subjects they substitute.
  • Word choices are clear.
  • Capitalization is correct.
  • Spelling is correct.
  • Punctuation is correct.
  • References are cited properly.

For more information on proofreading, see the English Center Punctuation and Grammar Review .

After writing the paper, it might help if you put it aside and do not look at it for a day or two. When you look at your paper again, you will see it with new eyes and notice mistakes you didn’t before. It’s a really good idea to ask someone else to read your paper before you submit it to your teacher. Good writers often get feedback and revise their paper several times before submitting it to the teacher.

Source: “Process of Writing a Research Paper,” by Ellen Beck and Rachel Mingo with contributions from Jules Nelson Hill and Vivion Smith, is based on the previous version by Dawn Taylor, Sharon Quintero, Robert Rich, Robert McDonald, and Katherine Eckhart.

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Grad Coach

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.

Need a helping hand?

research paper about process

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.

You Might Also Like:

Referencing in Word

Can you help me with a full paper template for this Abstract:

Background: Energy and sports drinks have gained popularity among diverse demographic groups, including adolescents, athletes, workers, and college students. While often used interchangeably, these beverages serve distinct purposes, with energy drinks aiming to boost energy and cognitive performance, and sports drinks designed to prevent dehydration and replenish electrolytes and carbohydrates lost during physical exertion.

Objective: To assess the nutritional quality of energy and sports drinks in Egypt.

Material and Methods: A cross-sectional study assessed the nutrient contents, including energy, sugar, electrolytes, vitamins, and caffeine, of sports and energy drinks available in major supermarkets in Cairo, Alexandria, and Giza, Egypt. Data collection involved photographing all relevant product labels and recording nutritional information. Descriptive statistics and appropriate statistical tests were employed to analyze and compare the nutritional values of energy and sports drinks.

Results: The study analyzed 38 sports drinks and 42 energy drinks. Sports drinks were significantly more expensive than energy drinks, with higher net content and elevated magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C. Energy drinks contained higher concentrations of caffeine, sugars, and vitamins B2, B3, and B6.

Conclusion: Significant nutritional differences exist between sports and energy drinks, reflecting their intended uses. However, these beverages’ high sugar content and calorie loads raise health concerns. Proper labeling, public awareness, and responsible marketing are essential to guide safe consumption practices in Egypt.

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The Process of Research Writing

(19 reviews)

research paper about process

Steven D. Krause, Eastern Michigan University

Copyright Year: 2007

Publisher: Steven D. Krause

Language: English

Formats Available

Conditions of use.

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Learn more about reviews.

Reviewed by Kevin Kennedy, Adjunct Professor, Bridgewater State University on 12/2/22

I think this book would make an excellent supplement to other class material in a class focused on writing and research. It helps a lot with the "why"s of research and gives a high-level overview. read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 3 see less

I think this book would make an excellent supplement to other class material in a class focused on writing and research. It helps a lot with the "why"s of research and gives a high-level overview.

Content Accuracy rating: 5

The book is accurate, and talks a lot about different ways to view academic writing

Relevance/Longevity rating: 5

This would be quite relevant for a student early on the college journey who is starting to complete research-based projects.

Clarity rating: 4

The text is clear and concise, though that conciseness sometimes leads to less content than I'd like

Consistency rating: 5

The book is consistent throughout

Modularity rating: 4

I could use the first chapters of this book very easily, but the later ones get into exercises that my classes wouldn't necessarily use

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4

The book is organized from the high level (what is academic writing with research) to the more specific (here are some specific exercises)

Interface rating: 3

I don't like the flow from contents to chapters, and they feel distinctly text-based. This is a no-frills text, but that's ok.

Grammatical Errors rating: 3

I didn't note anything glaringly obvious

Cultural Relevance rating: 5

I think that this text stays away from the cultural and focuses mostly on the cognitive. This prevents offensive material, though it may make it less appealing to students.

Reviewed by Julie Sorge Way, Instructional Faculty, James Madison University on 11/23/21

Overall, I think this book’s strongest suits are its organization, clarity, and modularity. It is useful and adaptable for a wide range of courses involving a research component, and as the book itself argues, research is a part of most learning... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 4 see less

Overall, I think this book’s strongest suits are its organization, clarity, and modularity. It is useful and adaptable for a wide range of courses involving a research component, and as the book itself argues, research is a part of most learning at the university level, whether or not a single traditional “research paper” is the end goal of a course. This is a great book with adaptable and useful content across a range of disciplines, and while it is low on “bells and whistles,” the content it provides seems to be relevant, helpful, and also fill a gap among other OER texts that focus more on rhetoric and less on research.

Because this is a book on research writing rather than cutting edge science, etc. it is unlikely to be made inaccurate by the passing of time.

In a desire to move past the simple “Comp II” textbook, Krause’s work here is relevant to a variety of fields. In creating a course with a major-specific research component, many parts of this text are relevant to what I’m doing, and due to its modularity and organization (see below) I am able to make use of it easily and draw students’ attention to the parts that will help them most with our learning objectives.

Clarity rating: 5

Krause’s writing style is uncomplicated and direct. His examples are ones I think most students could relate to or at least connect with reasonably well.

While the book is internally consistent in its tone, level of detail, and relevance to Krause’s original writing goals, in the process of applying it to different courses (as almost inevitably happens with OER materials) it is inconsistently useful for the course I in particular am planning. This is certainly no fault of the book’s. One example would be that it presents MLA and APA format for citing sources, but not Chicago/Turabian.

Modularity rating: 5

Certainly, its modularity is a real strong suit for Krause’s book overall – individual instructors planning different types of coursework that involve writing and research can easily adapt parts that work, and its Creative Commons license makes this even better.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5

Clear and direct organization is another strong suit in Krause’s text. The information is presented in an orderly and easy to navigate way that allows instructors and students alike to hone in on the most useful information for their writing and research task without spending undue amounts of time searching. This is much appreciated especially in an open access text where instructors are more likely to be “picking and choosing” relevant content from multiple texts and resources.

Interface rating: 4

Simple but clear – basic HTML and PDF navigation by chapter and section. Like many OER texts it is a bit short on visual engagement – the colorful infographics and illustrations many people are used to both in printed textbooks and interacting with internet content.

Grammatical Errors rating: 5

No errors noted.

Widely relevant (at least in the North American context I have most experience with) but as always, instructors should preview and adapt all material for the needs and context of their own classes and students.

research paper about process

Reviewed by Li-Anne Delavega, Undergraduate Research Experience Coordinator, Kapiolani Community College on 5/1/21

This textbook builds a good foundation for first-year students with topics such as developing a thesis, how to find sources and evaluate them, creating an annotated bibliography, audience, and avoiding plagiarism. While the content is explained... read more

This textbook builds a good foundation for first-year students with topics such as developing a thesis, how to find sources and evaluate them, creating an annotated bibliography, audience, and avoiding plagiarism. While the content is explained well and students are slowly walked through the research process, the textbook ends abruptly ends with a quick overview of the elements of a research essay after students organize their evidence and create an outline. A part two textbook that covers the rest of the writing process, such as structuring paragraphs, how to write an introduction and conclusion, and revising drafts, is needed to help students get to a finished product. As a composition-based textbook, I also felt it could have used a section on building arguments. The true gem of this textbook is its activities/exercises and comprehensive but accessible explanations.

Content Accuracy rating: 4

Aside from outdated citations and technology-related content, the process-based writing instruction is accurate and answers common questions from students about research and basic writing. I feel like the questions, checklists, and activities posed are helpful for students to really think through their writing process, and the author explains things without judgment. While students can benefit, I feel that faculty would also benefit from using this as a teaching manual to plan their classes.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 3

The writing instruction is solid and is still used in many textbooks today. Obviously, the sections on technology and citation are outdated, but some sections still have good reliable advice at their core. For example, search language, unreliable web sources, and collaborating online have evolved, but the concepts remain the same. I would cut those sections out and just take what I needed to give to students. The author has no plans to update this book, and someone would need to rewrite many sections of the book, which is not easy to implement.

The book is largely free of jargon and terms are clearly explained. The author's tone is casual and conversational when compared to other textbooks, which makes it more accessible to students and acts as a guide through the research process. However, it does lend itself to longer sections that could use heavy editing and it does sound like a mini-lecture, but I liked the way he thoroughly explains and sets up concepts. His tone and style are a bit inconsistent as others have noted.

The book is very consistent since research and writing terminology is the same across most disciplines. If you're a composition instructor, you'll find the framework is just common writing pedagogy for academic writing: focus on the writing process, freewriting, peer review, audience, revision, etc.

This book was intended to be modular and chapters are mostly self-contained, so it is easy to use individual chapters or change the sequence. There are unusable hyperlinks in each chapter that refer to other sections, but those are additional resources that could be replaced with a citation guide or other common resources. Sections, activities, examples, and key ideas are clearly labeled and can be used without the rest of the chapter. However, some writing concepts, such as a working thesis, are mentioned again in later chapters.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 3

Parts of the book are easily identifiable and the content within the chapter flows easily from one concept to the next. I felt that some of the chapters should have appeared earlier in the textbook. Students would have to wait until chapter 10 to learn about the research essay. Revising a working thesis comes before categorizing and reviewing your evidence. The peer-review chapter that advises students to read sections of their writing aloud to catch mistakes comes before brainstorming a topic. However, the sequence will depend on the instructor's preference. An index or a complete, searchable text would have helped so you don't need to guess which chapter has the content you need.

The PDF is the more polished and easier to read of the two versions. Overall, the PDF was well laid out, with clear headers and images. I found the colored boxes for the exercises helpful, though a lighter color would make the text easier to see for more students. The text uses different styles to create organization and emphasis, which made some pages (especially in the beginning) hard to read with the bolded and italicized clutter. I would have loved a complied version with all the chapters.

The HTML version is difficult to read as it is one long block of text and the callouts and images are not well spaced. There is, unfortunately, no benefit to reading the web version: no clickable links, dynamic text flow, or navigational links within each page so you will need to go back to the TOC to get the next section.

Grammatical Errors rating: 4

The book has grammatical and mechanical errors throughout but does not impact content comprehension. Other reviewers here identified more notable errors.

Cultural Relevance rating: 2

The language, examples, and references were generally ok, but the overall textbook felt acultural. Some consideration was taken with pronouns (relies on they/them/their) and gender roles. As others pointed out, there are many areas that could have used diversified sources, topics, references, examples, and students. Some of the textbook's activities assume able-bodied students and sections such as peer collaboration would benefit from a more nuanced discussion when he brought up resentment over non-contributing members, being silenced, and access to resources. There are a few red flags, but one glaring example is on page 5 of chapter 10. An excerpt from an article titled “Preparing to Be Colonized: Land Tenure and Legal Strategy in Nineteenth-Century Hawaii”(which includes the sentence, "Why did Hawaiians do this to themselves?") was used to show students when to use "I" in writing.

Overall, this is a good resource for writing instructors. As this book was written in 2007, faculty will need to cut or adapt a fair amount of the text to modernize it. It is not a textbook to assign to students for the semester, but the textbook's core content is solid writing pedagogy and the focus on using activities to reflect and revise is wonderful. Those outside of composition may find the basic exercises and explanations useful as long as students are primarily working out of a more discipline-specific (e.g., sciences) writing guide.

Reviewed by Milena Gueorguieva, Associate Teaching Professor, University of Massachusetts Lowell on 6/28/20

This is a process based research writing textbook, a rarity among composition textbooks. It is often the case that foundational writing courses are supposed to cover process and then, very often, instructors, students and textbook authors all... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 5 see less

This is a process based research writing textbook, a rarity among composition textbooks. It is often the case that foundational writing courses are supposed to cover process and then, very often, instructors, students and textbook authors all forget that process is important when they have to dive into the technical aspects of conducting and writing about and from research, usually in a 'second course' in the first year writing sequence. This is not the case with this book: it is a thoughtful, comprehensive exploration of writing from research as a multi-step recursive process. This approach can help students solidify the knowledge and skills they have acquired in prior courses, especially the multi-step recursive nature of writing as a process while developing a set of strong writing from research skills.

The foundations of research writing are presented in an accessible yet rigorous way. The book does away with the myth of research writing as something you do after you think about and research a topic. The author articulated this idea very well, when he wrote, ”We think about what it is we want to research and write about, but at the same time, we learn what to think based on our research and our writing.”

Relevance/Longevity rating: 4

Overall, an excellent handbook (it can be used non-sequentially); however, some of the information on database searches and working with popular internet sources as well as collaborative writing (especially as it relates to the use of technology) needs updating.

The appropriately conversational tone translates complex academic concepts into easy to access ideas that students can relate to. The same is true for the many activities and exercises that demonstrate a variety of real life applications for the research skills presented in the book, which helps students see that research and research based writing happen everywhere, not just on campuses , where students seem to write for an audience of one: the professor who assigned the paper.

The material presented is rigorously and consistently presented in various modes: text, activities and exercises.

It can be used in a variety of ways; it has excellent modular stucture.

Excellently organized: reviews and expands on what students might already know about academic writing as a process; introduces the fundamentals of research and research writing and then uses both of these sets of skills in various research projects.

Although it has some very useful and appropriate visuals , the text could have been more user friendly; it is difficult to follow.

Excellently proof-read,

the book is culturally sensitive and contains appropriate examples and/or references.

An overall excellent composition text that provides useful exercises and assignments (such as the antithesis essay) that can help students build complex and nuanced arguments based on research. Highly recommend!

Reviewed by Valerie Young, Associate Professor, Hanover College on 3/29/20

This text is both general and specific. General enough for use in a variety of courses and disciplines, specific enough to garner interest for faculty who want to teach students the fundamentals and more nuanced aspects of research writing. The... read more

This text is both general and specific. General enough for use in a variety of courses and disciplines, specific enough to garner interest for faculty who want to teach students the fundamentals and more nuanced aspects of research writing. The basics are here. The text could be assigned in specific modules. The text will benefit from an update, especially in regards to references about collaborative writing tools and internet research. The text is missing a chapter on reading research and integrating research into the literature review process. This is a relevant skill for research writing, as student writers often struggle with reading the work of others to understand the body of literature as a foundation for their own assertions.

The content and information seems like it could be helpful for any undergraduate course that has a research writing project. The unique aspects of this book are its features of collaborative and peer review writing practices and all of the exercises embedded in the text. The author gives examples and writing exercises throughout the chapters. These examples could serve inexperienced students quite well. They could also annoy advanced students.

There are some references to the World Wide Web and the Internet, and library research that seem a bit outdated. There isn't much advanced referencing of commonly used internet research options, such as Google Scholar, citation apps, etc.

Clarity rating: 3

Some points are clear and concise. Other pieces go into too much detail for one chapter page. Because the pages are long, and not all content will be relevant to all readers, the author could consider using "collapsible" sections. This could be especially relevant in the APA & MLA sections, offering a side-by-side comparison of each or offering overviews of style basics with sections that open up into more details for some interested readers.

Consistency rating: 4

no issues here

Modularity rating: 3

The chapters are relatively concise and each starts with an overview of content. The web format does not allow for much navigational flow between chapters or sections. It would be great to hyperlink sections of content that are related so that readers can pass through parts of the text to other topics. It does look like the author intended to hyperlink between chapters, but those links (denoted "Hyperlink:" in the text) are not functional.

Overall flow is appropriate for an interdisciplinary lens. Readers can move through as many or as few sections as needed. The chapter topics and subtopics are organized fairly comprehensively, and often by questions that students might ask.

Interface rating: 2

The long blocks of text in each chapter aren't very reader friendly. Also, once the reader gets to the end of the long page / chapter, there is no navigation up to the top of the chapter or laterally to previous or next content. Text doesn't adjust to screen size, so larger screens might have lots of white space.

no issues noticed. Some examples could be updated to be more inclusive, culturally diverse, etc.

This book has some good lessons, questions, and suggestions for topics relevant to research writing. The text could benefit from a more modern take on research writing, as some of the topics and phrases are dated.

Reviewed by Jennifer Wilde, Adjunct instructor, Columbia Gorge Community College on 12/13/18

The text is a wonderful guidebook to the process of writing a research essay. It describes the steps a college writer should take when approaching a research assignment, and I have no doubt that if students followed the steps outlined by the... read more

The text is a wonderful guidebook to the process of writing a research essay. It describes the steps a college writer should take when approaching a research assignment, and I have no doubt that if students followed the steps outlined by the text, they would be sure to succeed in generating a quality thesis statement and locating appropriate sources. It is not comprehensive in that it has very little to say regarding composition, clarity and style. It does not contain an index or glossary.

Sections on MLA and APA format are inaccurate in that they are outdated. It would be preferable for the text to refer students to the online resources that provide up to date information on the latest conventions of APA and MLA.

The bulk of the chapters are timeless and filled with wisdom about using research to write a paper. However, the book should contain links or otherwise refer students to the web sources that would tell them how to use current MLA/APA format. There are some passages that feel anachronistic, as when the author recommends that students consider the advantages of using a computer rather than a word processor or typewriter. The sections on computer research and "netiquette" feel outdated. Finally, the author describes the differences between scholarly sources and periodicals but does not address the newer type of resources, the online journal that is peer-reviewed but open access and not associated with a university.

The writing is strong and clear. Dr. Krause does not indulge in the use of jargon.

The different sections open with an explanation of what will be covered. Then, the author explains the content. Some chapters are rather short while others are long, but generally each topic is addressed comprehensively. In the last several chapters, the author closes with a sample of student work that illustrates the principles the chapter addressed.

The text is divisible into sections. To some extent the content is sequential, but it is not necessary to read the early chapters (such as the section on using computers, which millenials do not need to read) in order to benefit from the wisdom in later chapters. I used this text in a writing 121 course, and I did not assign the entire text. I found some chapters helpful and others not so relevant to my particular needs. Students found the chapters useful and discrete, and they did not feel like they had to go back and read the whole thing. The section on writing an annotated bibliography, for instance, could be used in any writing class.

The topics are presented in the order in which a student approaches a writing assignment. First, the author asks, why write a research essay, and why do research? Next, the author addresses critical thinking and library/data use; quoting, summarizing and paraphrasing; collaboration and writing with others; writing a quality thesis statement; annotating a bibliography; categorizing sources; dealing with counterarguments, and actually writing the research essay. It's quite intuitive and logical. It seems clear that this author has had a lot of experience teaching students how to do these steps.

The interface is straightforward, but I could not locate any hyperlinks that worked. Navigation through the book was no problem.

The book is well written overall. The writer's style is straightforward and clear. There are occasional typos and words that feel misplaced, as in the following sentence: "The reality is though that the possibilities and process of research writing are more complicated and much richer than that." There should be commas around the word "though", and the tone is fairly conversational. These are extremely minor issues.

The examples feel inclusive and I was not aware of any cultural insensitivity in the book overall.

The book is really helpful! I particularly appreciate the sections on how to write an annotated bib and a good thesis statement, and I think the sections on writing a category/evaluation of sources, working thesis statement, and antithesis exercise are unique in the large field of writing textbooks. The book contains no instruction on grammatical conventions, style, clarity, rhetoric, how to emphasize or de-emphasize points, or other writing tips. In that sense, it is not a great text for a composition class. But I think it's extremely useful as a second resource for such a class, especially for classes that teach argumentation or those that require an analytic essay. I feel it is most appropriate for science students - nursing, psychology, medicine, biology, sociology. It is less likely to be useful for a general WR 121 class, or for a bunch of English majors who largely use primary sources.

Reviewed by Jess Magaña, Assistant Teaching Professor, University of Missouri-Kansas City on 6/19/18

This is a comprehensive introduction to planning and writing research papers. The suggested activities seem helpful, and the lack of an index or glossary does not interfere with understanding. read more

This is a comprehensive introduction to planning and writing research papers. The suggested activities seem helpful, and the lack of an index or glossary does not interfere with understanding.

The information is accurate and straightforward.

Some information is out of date, such as the section regarding email, but the main concepts are well explained and relevant. An instructor could easily substitute a lecture or activity with updated information.

The clarity is excellent.

There are no inconsistencies.

The text is organized in a way that lends itself to changing the order of chapters and adding and subtracting topics to suit the needs of each class.

The progression of chapters is logical.

Interface rating: 5

The "hyperlinks" helpfully direct readers to related topics (although these are not actual links in the online version), which contributes to the modularity of the text.

There are a few errors, but none that significantly obscure meaning.

Cultural Relevance rating: 4

This text could use updated examples showing greater diversity in authors and work. I recommend instructors find supplementary examples relevant to their classes.

I intend to use this text in my courses, supplemented with a few activities and more diverse examples to suit my students' needs.

Reviewed by Sheila Packa, Instructor, Lake Superior College on 2/1/18

The text is a comprehensive guide to research for students in College Composition courses. The text is concise and interesting. Critical thinking, research and writing argument are integrated into his suggested assignments. The author covers... read more

The text is a comprehensive guide to research for students in College Composition courses. The text is concise and interesting. Critical thinking, research and writing argument are integrated into his suggested assignments.

The author covers the research question, library resources, how to paraphrase and use quotes, and collaborative writing projects. There are suggested exercises in the process of research, such as a topic proposal, a guide to developing a strong thesis statement, a full exploration of refutation (called the antithesis), the critique or rhetorical analysis, the annotated bibliography, and a guide to help students to accumulate a good assortment of sources. MLA and APA documentation is covered. Note that this text is published in 2007. Therefore, I recommend the use of MLA 8 Handbook for up-to-date guidelines for correct documentation. The Research Paper is full explained. In the chapter, Alternate Ways to Present Research, the author focuses on a Portfolio. He discusses web publication of research and poster sessions.

I value the clarity of ideas. The text is error-free, and I like the example essays written by students that will serve to inspire students.

The content is relevant. The author guides students through the process in a way that is easy to understand and also academically rigorous. The MLA 8 Handbook is a needed supplement (and that is affordable).

The writing is clear and concise. The organization of the chapters is logical and leads the students through steps in the process of research, writing a reasoned argument, and professional presentation of the research.

Terminology is clear and the framework for research is clear and sensible.

The book's modularity is definitely a strength. It's possible to use chapters of the text without using the entire book and to omit chapters that are not a focus of the instructor.

This book has a logical arrangement of chapters and the assignments are valuable.

The interface is great. It's readable online or in pdf form.

No grammatical errors. There is one detail that reflects changing rules of documentation. In MLA, titles of books, magazines, and journals are now italicized instead of underlined. In this text, they are underlined.

The text is free of bias or stereotypes.

Reviewed by Jennie Englund, Instructor, Composition I & II, Rogue Community College, Oregon on 8/15/17

Twelve chapters are broken into multiple parts. On Page 3 of the Introduction, the text emphasizes its purpose as an "introduction to academic writing and research." The following chapters present more than substantial information to give... read more

Twelve chapters are broken into multiple parts.

On Page 3 of the Introduction, the text emphasizes its purpose as an "introduction to academic writing and research." The following chapters present more than substantial information to give introductory (even well into master) research writers a foundation of the basics, as well as some detail. It differentiates itself as "Academic" research writing through thesis, evidence, and citation. Two of these concepts are revisted in the conclusion. The third (thesis) has its own section, which this reviewer will use in class.

I'm grateful to have reviewed an earlier electronic text. This provided the ability to compare/contrast, and note that this particular text was more comprehensive and in-depth than the guide I had previously reviewed (which was more of a framework, good in its own right.)

Had the guide contained a thorough section on revision, I'd give it a perfect score! Thus, the book very very nearly does what it sets out to do; it provides most of The Process of Research Writing.

Retrieval dates are no longer used on the APA References page. This reviewer would have preferred titles italicized instead of underlined.

The text opens with an introduction of the project, by its author. The project began in 2000 as a text for a major publishing house, but eventually landed via author's rights as an electronic text. Therefore, essentially, the book has already been around quite a while. This reviewer concludes that time, thought, and execution went into publishing the material, and predicts its popularity and usability will grow.

Timeless, the guide could have been used with small updates twenty years ago, and could be used with updates twenty years from now.

The guide could be used as the sole text in a composition course, supplemented by more formal (as well as APA) examples.

The text is organized into 12 chapters; it logically begins with "Thinking Critically about Research," and concludes with "Citing Your Research Using MLA or APA Style." The text includes most of what this reviewer uses to teach academic research writing. However, the book omits the editing/revising process.

The guide poses purposeful questions.

On Page 7 of the Introduction, the text reports being "organized in a 'step-by-step' fashion," with an invitation to the reader to use the book in any order, and revisit passages. The reviewer found the organization to be consistent and as systematic as the actual composition of an academic research paper.

The meat of the text begins with the definition and purpose of "Research." Immediately, a nod to working thesis follows, which is revisited in Chapter 5. Sources are examined and classified into a chart of "Scholarly Versus Non-scholarly or Popular Sources." The segment on "Using the Library" would complement a course or class period on library usage.

The Table of Contents is fluid and logical. Within the text, concepts are revisited and built upon, which the reviewer appreciates. Examples and exercises are given.

Chapter 10 contains an outline of a student research paper (which follows). The paper examines the problems with and solutions for university athletics. The paper is in MLA format. Tone is less formal than this reviewer would use as an example of academic research writing. The reviewer would have welcomed an example of an APA paper, as well.

The last chapter fully realizes instruction introduced at the beginning: citation defines academic writing, and academic writers credit their sources, and present evidence to their readers. I wish this last part emphasized thesis again, too, but in all, it is a very structured, reader-friendly guide.

Charts are integrated and understandable, though the majority of the book is text.

This review found some grammatical errors including capitalization. Book/journal/magazine/newspaper titles are underlined in lieu of italicized.

Student examples include Daniel Marvins, Ashley Nelson, Jeremy Stephens, Kelly Ritter, Stuart Banner, and Casey Copeman. Most examples of citations are from male authors. Text would benefit from multi-cultural authors. Examples/topics include The Great Gatsby,African-American Physicians and Drug Advertising, Cyberculture, ADHD, Diabetes, Student-athletes, and Drunk Driving.Examples are culturally appropriate and multi-disciplinary. Consistent pronoun used: he/him/his

Third-person narration is used; the author addresses the reader directly (and informally). While this perhaps makes a connection between the author and the reader, and adds to understanding, it does not reflect academic research writing, and may confuse beginning writers?

Chapter 5, "Writing a Working Thesis," is among the most clear, comprehensive, and straightforward instruction on the topic this reviewer has seen. I will use this section in my Composition I and II courses, as well as Chapters 1, 3, and 12. I wish this form had a place to rate usability. In that case, this guide would score highly. I commend Dr. Krause's execution and composition, and applaud his sharing this at no cost with the academic community.

Reviewed by Marie Lechelt, ESL/English Instructor and Writing Center Co-director, Riverland Community College on 6/20/17

"The Process of Research Writing" is a textbook that includes all of the major topics covered in most college research writing courses. The style of writing makes it easily understood by students. Depending on your focus in your writing class,... read more

"The Process of Research Writing" is a textbook that includes all of the major topics covered in most college research writing courses. The style of writing makes it easily understood by students. Depending on your focus in your writing class, you may want to supplement this text with more about argumentative writing. Other writing models, homework exercises, and classroom activities found by the instructor would also compliment the use of this text. While I would not use this textbook in my course from start to finish, I would jump around and use a variety of sections from it to teach research writing. This text could be used for a beginning writing class or a second semester writing course. Based on my students writing experiences and abilities, I would eliminate or include certain sections. There is no index or glossary included. The hyperlinks to other sections also do not work.

The content is accurate and error-free. I didn't detect any biased information either. The MLA and APA information have changed since this book was published. The peer review work, plagiarism, critiquing sources, and many more of the topics are almost exactly what I teach to my students. This format will work well for them.

While most research writing content does not change over time, there are many parts of this book that could be updated. These include examples (The Great Gatsby), hyperlinks, and references to technology. The technology aspect is especially important. Since technology is constantly changing, most textbooks (print and online) are out of date as soon as they are printed. Because of this, teachers are constantly having to use supplemental material, which is fine. Just like our class websites, we have to update this information every semester or even more often. If you choose to use this textbook, keep in mind that this will be necessary. The MLA/APA information is also out of date, but this is also to be expected.

Clarity is one of the benefits of this textbook. Although the style is somewhat informal, it included appropriate topics and terminology for students learning to write research essays. Students can understand the topics with one or two readings and discuss the topics in class. There were a few places that seemed like common knowledge for students at this level, like the library or using computers. Unfortunately, we do still have students who do not come to us having already learned this information. So, I don't think these sections would have a negative impact on other students. Students can also be given optional sections to read, or as I plan to do, the teacher can skip around and only assign some sections.

The majority of the terminology is common knowledge in research writing teaching. The text is fairly informal in writing style, which I believe is an advantage for students. Many times, students will read a text and then I will need to explain the terminology or ideas in depth in my lectures. Since I prefer to complete activities and work on students' writing in class, instead of lecturing, this book will work well. The chapter on the "Antithesis" was new to me. While I have taught these ideas, I have not used this term before. This is a chapter I may not use and instead include supplemental material of my own.

The chapters are divided clearly and could be separated quite easily to use as individual units in a writing class. If the hyperlinks worked though, they would be helpful. Exercises build upon one another, so one could not assign a later exercise without students first understanding the other sections of the text. I plan to use this text in a research writing class, and I will be skipping around and only using some sections. I do not believe there will be any problem with this. While students may at first feel that starting on Chapter 4 might be strange, they are very adaptive and should have no difficulties with this format.

The Table of Contents is clear and easily understood. Each chapter follows a logical sequence, and students will be able to transition from one topic to another without difficulty. The use of charts, headings, bold, highlighting, and some other visual aids help the reader to understand what is most important to remember. Although, this could be improved upon with the use of color and graphics. While the content is valuable, I would most likely skip around when using this book in the classroom. While the author begin with an introduction and then jumps right into research, I focus on topic selection and thesis writing before research begins. Of course, as the author mentions, students will go back to their thesis and research many times before finishing the writing process.

The text is easily navigated, and students would be able to follow the topics throughout. The lack of graphics and color is noticeable and detracts from the content. In a world of advanced technology where students click on hundreds of websites with amazing content each week, online textbooks need to meet this standard. This textbook is similar to a traditional textbook. Some links are also inactive.

There were some typos and small grammatical errors but no glaring instances. They also did not impact understanding.

This book contained no offensive language or examples. However, we have a lot of diversity in our classrooms, and this is not reflected in the book. Expanding the examples or including links to diverse examples would be helpful.

I will be using this text in a second semester writing class. It has valuable information about research writing. I believe it could also be used for a first semester writing class. As mentioned above, I will use sections of the text and skip around to accommodate the needs of my students. Supplemental materials will also be needed to meet current technology needs.

Reviewed by Betsy Goetz, English Instructor, Riverland Community College on 6/20/17

The text covers all subject areas appropriately. read more

The text covers all subject areas appropriately.

Overall, the text is accurate.

Relevant and current.

I liked the clarity of the text, especially the specific exercises for students to apply the theory they have learned.

This text is consistent -- good terminology!

Clear sections to focus on key points of research writing.

Well organized.

Not confusing

Overall, lacking grammatical errors.

Relevant -- research writing and thesis building are timeless.

Reviewed by Karen Pleasant, Adjunct Instructor, Rogue Community College on 4/11/17

The textbook covered the basics of writing a research paper (the term "essay"is preferred by the author) and would be appropriate for an introductory college writing course, such as WR 121 or WR 122. A table of content is provided, but there is... read more

The textbook covered the basics of writing a research paper (the term "essay"is preferred by the author) and would be appropriate for an introductory college writing course, such as WR 121 or WR 122. A table of content is provided, but there is no glossary. The textbook guides a student from exploring the initial topic selection through the finished product, although I would have liked the use of citations to be covered in more depth. If I chose this as the textbook for my class I would also need to add supplemental materials about thoroughly developing an argument as well as revising a paper.

The author presented the material in an unbiased manner and does so in a way that provides high readability for students with little to no background in writing a research paper. Excellent examples are provided to reinforce concepts and thoughtful, creative collaborative exercises round out each chapter to give practice in skill mastery. Both MLA and APA formatting styles are included, but the APA section needs to be updated. The book was published in 2007 and many of the APA guidelines have changed., including the preference for using italics versus underlining for book and journal titles.

Each chapter is self-contained and stands alone and , therefore, could easily be updated. Most of the information is relevant and could be used indefinitely. I like that Chapter 11 recommended alternate ways to present the research and suggested more contemporary technology based methods. Chapter 12, about APA and MLA citations, is the chapter that currently needs to be updated and would need to be checked for accuracy annually against the latest APA & MLA guidelines. As it reads, I would handout current materials for APA citation sessions and not use this chapter in the book.

The book is well organized and is very user friendly. I think students would enjoy reading it and be able to relate readily to the content. Examples given and exercises provided help to clarify the content and reinforce the concepts for students. The textbook flows well from selection of initial topic ideas to finished product and will help students to work through the process of writing a research paper.

New terms are thoroughly explained and are used consistently throughout the textbook. The knowledge students gain as they progress through the book feels logical and organized in a usable fashion.

The text is organized so that each chapter stands alone and the order the information is presented can be easily modified to fit the needs of an instructor. The book is that rare combination of being equally functional for both student and instructor.

The topics are presented as needed to guide students through the process of writing a research paper, but could be done in another order if desired. Bold and boxed items are used to emphasize key concepts and chapter exercises.

The textbook is visually appealing and easy to read with adequate use of white space and varied font sizes. I explored the textbook via the PDF documents, which were easy to download, although the hyperlinks were not accessible.

There were noticeable grammatical errors.

The textbook is inclusive and accessible to all and didn't have any content that could be deemed offensive. The approachable layout and writing style make the textbook relevant to college students from a variety of backgrounds.

I would definitely adopt this open textbook for my writing classes. The author provided some wonderful ideas for teaching about research papers and I found many chapter exercises that I would be willing to incorporate into my class . I am especially intrigued by the use of writing an antithesis paper as a lead in to adding opposition to the research paper and look forward to getting student input and feedback about some of the alternative ways to present their research. Compared to textbooks I have used or perused in the past, this book seems more inviting and user friendly for students new to writing college level research papers.

Reviewed by VINCENT LASNIK, Adjunct Professor, Rogue Community College on 4/11/17

This comprehensiveness is one of the strengths of The Process of Research Writing. The Table of Contents (TOC) is fine—and each separate chapter also reproduces the contents listing from high-lever through low-level subsections at the beginning... read more

This comprehensiveness is one of the strengths of The Process of Research Writing. The Table of Contents (TOC) is fine—and each separate chapter also reproduces the contents listing from high-lever through low-level subsections at the beginning of each chapter. This duplicate listing feature helps orient students to what is covered (and what is not) for every chapter in-context. Yes—It is a fair evaluation that there can generally be easy-to-fix, quickly recognizable updates, enhancements, and notable improvements to virtually any textbook 10-15 years after its initial publication date (particularly related to changing terminology and nomenclature within the dynamic English lexicon, technology applications (databases, websites, ‘search engines,’ current good ‘help sites’ for students learning the latest iteration of APA style for manuscript formatting, in-text citations, and end references, etc.)—and the Krause text is a prime candidate for such a thorough revision. For example, digital object identifiers (the doi was first introduced circa 2000) did not become widely/pervasively established until well into the first decade of the 21st century; the ‘doi’ is an ubiquitous standard today in 2017. Nevertheless, many of the basic (boilerplate) concepts are clearly noted and credibly, coherently explained. The text could use some effective reorganization (as I note elsewhere in my review)—but that is arguably a subjective/personalized perspective more related to the way we approach writing instruction and student academic development at Rogue Community College—and perhaps less of a global/universal criticism.

See my comments in other sections that impact this issue. Overall, Krause’s text appears, “accurate, error-free and unbiased.” There are no obvious problems with this observation/contention. Some of the ‘out-of-date’ specifics in the text need updating as I note in detail in my other comments.

Most of the text describes research-writing strategies that are fairly well-established if not generic to the undergraduate English composition content area; thus, the overall longevity of the existing text is good. I have suggested, however, that any such ‘how-to’ guide should be updated (as this particular version) after its first decade of publication. The content for online research, for example, reflects an early 2000s perspective of emerging technology terms (e.g., defining blogs as “web-logs” is easily 12-15 years behind the use of the term in 2017), and some of the online websites mentioned are no longer relevant. These types of ‘out-of-date’ past-referents/links, however, can be easily updated to 2017+ accuracy. I have made a few suggestions about such an update—including my offer to assist Steve Krause (gratis and pro bono) in this update should my collaboration be desired. Otherwise, Krause might go the more open ‘peer review’ route and assemble a set of active teachers, instructors, and adjunct professors (such as me) who are on the ‘frontlines’ of current praxis for research-based, critical thinking, problem-oriented writing courses across the 11th-12th grade and through the undergraduate and workforce education community.

The text is written is a clear, credible, and cogent prose throughout. This is one of the particular strengths of Krause’s text—and recursively provides an exemplar for well-written composition. On occasion, the clarity for students might be improved by additional ‘real-world examples’ (i.e., more ‘showing rather than mere abstract telling) explicating some obtuse concepts and numerous rules (e.g., for research strategy, proofreading/editing, using search engines and conducting library research, etc.)—but a similar constructive criticism could easily be made of nearly all similar sources.

The text wording, terminology, framework and process emphasis are highly consistent. There are overlaps and dovetailing (i.e., redundancy) in any/every college textbook—but Krause keeps these to a minimum throughout. Some updating of terminology would be appropriate, useful, and needed as I note throughout my OER review.

The text is superb in this regard. The chapters and exercises are highly modular—which supports the customized reorganization I apply myself in my own courses as noted in my other comments. Numerous subheads and special highlighted ‘key points’ textboxes augment this modularity and improve the narrowing of assigned readings, examples, and exercises for most writing courses. The Process of Research Writing is clearly not, “overly self-referential,” and can easily be, “reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader” by any instructor.

One of the principal weaknesses of the set of chapters is that the given ‘table of contents’ structure is conceptually disjointed—at least insofar as my research writing course is designed. Therefore, to provide a more coherent, logical sequence congruent to the course organization of my Writing 122 (this is an intermediate/advanced-level English Composition II)—it was necessary to assign a completely different order of The Process of Research Writing (Krause, 2007) high-level chapters/pages for weekly course reading assignments as follows:

Week One: Table of Contents; Introduction: Why Write Research Projects?; and Chapter 1: Thinking Critically About Research; Week Two: Chapter 2: Understanding and Using the Library and the Internet for Research. These three starting chapters were reasonable to introduce in Krause’s original sequence. Continuing into Week Two, I also added Chapter 4: How to Collaborate and Write with Others (but I highlighted limited/specific passages only since WR122 does not emphasize collaborative prose composition activities and extensive group-writing projects using such apps as Google Docs). Week Three: I then assigned Chapter 10: The Research Essay—since it was important to orient students to the intrinsic, namesake umbrella concept of researching and writing the research essay—the essential focus of the course I teach. IMPORTANT NEED TO RESTRUCTURE THE OER as it exists: Viewed from a course rationale and content/skill acquisition conceptual level—I have no idea why Krause did not place ‘Writing The Research Essay’ as high as Chapter 2. It comes far too late in the book as Chapter 10. This is actually where the chapter belongs (in my view); the other topics in the remaining Chapters’ (2—12) would more cogently and effectively proceed after first exploring the high-level nature of the research essay task in the first place. The subsequent skills for conducting Online Library Research; Quoting, Paraphrasing, Avoiding Plagiarism, creating a testable ‘Working Thesis,’ producing an Annotated Bibliography (some courses also use a précis assignment), Evaluating and Categorizing Sources, etc.—are realistically supporting, scaffolding, and corroborating functional/operational skills designed to design, research, and produce the research-based essay project. Therefore—from a project-based and problem-oriented pedagogical strategy/approach—a sound argument could be proffered that putting Chapter 10 second in a reordered book would help students on many levels (not the least being engaging interest and promoting contextual understanding for why learning the content of the remaining chapters makes sense and can be critical/applicable to the research-writing process.

Continuing on my own WR122 course text-sequence customization—in Week Four—we move into the attribution phase of the writing process in Chapter 3: Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism. Logically, we then move (in Week Five) to Chapter 5: The Working Thesis so students can ask significant/original questions and determine a point of departure into their research essay. This seemed like a good time to add the concept of ‘opposition views’ (i.e., counter-claims, rejoinder and rebuttal) discussed in Chapter 8: The Antithesis. In Week Six—we moved into essay formatting, in-text citation and end references, so Chapter 12: Citing Your Research Using MLA or APA Style {(focusing on reading pp. 1-2 (brief overview), and pp. 18-33 about APA style)} was assigned. In addition, students also perused Chapter 7: The Critique preceding a related argumentative assignment (i.e., a movie review project). For Week Seven (concurrent with an annotated bibliography project for the main term paper—students read Chapter 6: The Annotated Bibliography, and Chapter 9: The Categorization and Evaluation (of sources) that was ostensibly/logically relevant to the annotated bibliography project. Concluding the course for Weeks Eight-Eleven—there were new required readings. Students were instructed to review previous readings in The Process of Research Writing (Krause, 2007)—time permitting. Also Note: Chapter 11: Alternative Ways to Present Your Research is completely optional reading. It is not particularly applicable to this course; there is a student’s self-reflection about the research process on pp. 3-11 that may have some nominal merit, but it notes MLA style (versus my course’s use of APA 6th edition style only) and is in any case not required.

The text is not fancy; standard black and white (high-contrast) font used throughout. For emphasis of key points, Krause does use special ‘highlight boxes’ with gray background, a thick black stroke on the outside of the rectangular textbox. While the gray level might be lowered (in the update) for improved contrast—the true-black, bulleted, bolded key-terms are easy to perceive/read. The only criticism I have is the distracting overuse of quotation mark punctuation for emphasis; this should be corrected in any updated version. Otherwise, most of the book’s interface presentation supports a good user (student) experience, good printability, and good accessibility per ADA and general disability (e.g., visually impaired learners) protocols.

There are no significant/glaring occurrences of grammatical errors in the text. I am not a ‘grammar snob’ in any case. The prose seems clear, cogent, thoughtful, well-written; it generally uses solid grammar, mechanics, and punctuation. The exception is the overuse of a somewhat casual/conversational tone combined with (what is more of a recognizable issue) a distracting overuse of quotation marks—many of which are simply neither needed nor helpful; most could be quickly removed with an immediate improvement to readability.

I do not see significant, relevant, or glaring faux pas pertaining to any biased disrespect for multiculturalism. All persons (e.g., races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and cultural backgrounds) are equally respected and appreciated. The content area (English composition) is very amenable to a relatively generic, culture-free perspective—and Krause’s examples and prose is well-within any applicable standards of post-modern, scholarly, formal non-fiction in written Standard English.

[1] The Process of Research Writing was ostensibly presented/published to Creative Commons in 2007. No identifiable part/portion of the original edition text appears to have been updated (changed, modified, or improved) since then (i.e., at least 10 years); This is perhaps the single, most apparent flaw/weakness for this textbook. An in-depth revision to 2017 post-rhetorical model essay-writing standards and APA conventions would be invaluable—and quite bluntly—is sorely required. A newly updated Version 2.0 for 2017-18 should be critically planned (and scheduled or already ‘in progress’ if it is not already).

[2] There are many insightful, practical, and high-value approaches to the research writing process; in this regard—the nominal OER title is superbly appropriate for late high-school and beginning college (undergraduate) research essay projects. Even though some of the technical components (e.g., APA style) require updating/revision (which makes basic, reasonable sense after a ‘decade on the shelf’ for any academic research writing source)—Krause’s chapters can effectively replace many expensive, glossy college entry-level textbooks! After presenting the core concepts in a coherent and self-evident manner, Krause supplies a plethora of examples to illustrate those concepts. Then (and this is one of the true strengths of this OER)—each chapter (particularly Chapters 5-10) highlights student-oriented exercises to practice those same core concepts). Because of this latter emphasis—the Krause OER is ‘learner-centered’ (as opposed to ‘content centered’), problem-oriented and performance-oriented as well—providing opportunities for creative, resourceful teachers to adapt/adopt the OER to course assignments.

[3] There does not appear to be a single (standalone) PDF for this OER. This is a notable flaw/weakness for this textbook. Conversely, however, although a single PDF would have some convenient ‘easier downloading’ advantages for students—having separate chapters affords every teacher to create a customized chapter-order (as I have efficiently done to correspond to my course design). The chapters support excellent modularity and the accompanying exercises/examples demonstrate the concepts Krause explicates with a fine degree of granularity for any teacher. Thus—integrating any textbooks or teaching/learning resources (like OERs) always has tradeoffs—plusses and minuses, positives and negatives. The obvious key, therefore, is taking the liberty of using the OER as a supporting scaffold or buttress to an instructor’s original design concept—rather than the foundation around which a course can be designed.

[4] Some minor weaknesses for prose instruction are (a) Krause’s acceptance of passive, sophomoric signal phrasing (i.e., According to X…)—as opposed to strong, active voice such as ‘’X found…’; and (b) a general overuse of quotation marks throughout the book. This is not meant as a harsh criticism—merely an observation that readability could be improved with a newer version that eliminates most quotation marks (Note: In APA style—these punctuation symbols are only used for verbatim quotes. This makes for a cleaner, clearer manuscript).

[5] One of the solid/helpful strengths of the book is a relatively accurate presentation of APA style for in-text citation and end references (Chapter 12). It appears that like many academics—Krause is more familiar and comfortable with the Modern Language Association’s MLA style/formatting. No problem there—I was simply trained on APA beginning in 1984 so it is native to me; I also use the latest version of APA style in all of my writing (college composition) courses. Thus—it should come as no surprise there are a number of obvious APA-associated inaccuracies including (but limited to): (a) meekly accepting ‘n.d.’ (no date) and ‘n.a.’ (no author) sources when a little investigative research by the student (and adherence to the APA rule hierarchy for dates and authors) would easily come up with a sound date and author. Another error (b) seems to be more typographic (formatting) and/or refers to an earlier edition of APA style: the end references in the PDF (and html versions?) use underline in place of italics. The 2011 APA 6th edition style does not use underline in the end references. There are other small (faux pas) errors such as (c) noting generally inaccessible proprietary online databases and servers (again—no longer done in APA). A thorough, meticulous updating of this OER source would probably take care of many of these APA-error issues. I’d be happy to work with Steve on this update at any time.

[6] I use Amy Guptill’s Writing in College: From Competence to Excellence by Amy Guptill of State University of New York (2016) for my English Composition I course that emphasizes general essay writing and a simple research-supported argumentative essay. I teach that course using the following assigned readings: Week One: Chapter 1 (Really? Writing? Again?), pp. 1-7, and Chapter 2 (What Does the Professor Want? Understanding the Assignment), pp. 9-18; Week Two: Chapter 6 (Back to Basics: The Perfect Paragraph), pp. 48-56; Chapter 7 (Intros and Outros), pp. 57-64; Week Four: Chapter 9 (Getting the Mechanics Right), pp. 75-85; Week Five: Chapter 8 (Clarity and Concision), pp. 65-73; Week Six: Chapter 3 (Constructing the Thesis and Argument—From the Ground Up), pp. 19-27; Week Seven: Chapter 4 (Secondary Sources in Their Natural Habitats), pp. 28-37; Week Eight: Chapter 5 (Listening to Sources, Talking to Sources), pp. 38-47. I then switch over to Krause’s OER for my English Composition II course. At Rogue Community College, Writing 122 emphasizes intermediate essay writing and analytical, more rigorous and original research-based essays involving critical thinking. I completely reordered the chapters as described above to fit into my course design. I like Krause’s individual ‘modular’ chapters—but the particular ‘scope and sequence’ he uses are debatable. Overall, however, The Process of Research Writing easily and effectively substitutes/replaces other costly tomes from for-profit academic publishers—even those that offer bundled DVDs and online-access to proprietary tutorial sources. Used in conjunction with other freely available PDF OERs, websites, YouTube videos, tutorial/practice sites from innumerable libraries, blogs (e.g., the APA Blog is particularly helpful)—as well as original/customized sources created by individual instructors for their own courses—the Krause book offers a good, solid baseline for developing research-based writing competencies particularly appropriate for the first two years of college.

Reviewed by Amy Jo Swing, English Instructor, Lake Superior College on 4/11/17

This book covers most of the main concepts of research writing: thesis, research, documenting, and process. It's weak on argument though, which is standard in most research composition texts. The book provides a clear index so finding information... read more

This book covers most of the main concepts of research writing: thesis, research, documenting, and process. It's weak on argument though, which is standard in most research composition texts. The book provides a clear index so finding information is relatively easy. The other weak spot is on evaluation evidence: there is a section on it but not comprehensive examples. Students in general needs lots of practice on how to evaluate and use information.

The information is accurate mostly except for the APA and MLA section. Writing and research writing haven't changed that much in a long time. It's more the technology and tools that change.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 2

The ideas about research and writing in general are fine, However, the references to technology and documentation are very out of date, over 10 years so. Students use technology very differently than described in this text, and the technologies themselves have changed. For example, the author talks about floppy disks and AOL messenger but not about Google Drive, Wikipedia, Prezi, or how to use phones and tablets while researching. Our students are digital natives and need to understand how to use their devices to write and research.

The book is quite readable in general. Concepts are easy to understand. Sometimes, they are almost too simple like the section explaining what a library is. Students might not be sophisticated library users, but they understand in general how they work. The chapters are concise, which is nice for student use too.

Except for pronoun use, the book is consistent in tone and terms. Not all the terms are ones I use in my own teaching, and it would be nice to see explanation of more argument/research frameworks like the Toulmin Model of argument.

The chapters are pretty self-contained and clear as individual units. I can see including certain chapters and leaving out others that aren't as relevant to my teaching style or assignments. One could easily assign the chapters in a different order, but students ask lots of questions when you assign chapter 6 first and then weeks later, assign chapter 2 or 3.

The basic chapters make sense in terms of how they are created and categorized but the order is problematic if an instructor were to assign them in the order presented. For example, the chapter on creating an annotated bibliography comes before the one on documenting (APA/MLA). Students can't complete an annotated bibliography without knowing how to cite sources. Same with evaluating sources. There is so much information on locating sources before any clear mention is made of how to evaluate them. I find that is the weak spot with students. If they learn how to evaluate sources, it's easier to find and locate and research effectively.

Not many images. Students really like info-graphics, pictures, and multi-media. The hyperlinks to other sections of the book do not work in either the PDF or HTML versions. I do like some of the illustrations like mapping and how research is more a web than a linear process. For an online textbook, there aren't a lot of hyperlinks to outside resources (of which there are so many like Purdue's OWL and the Guide to Grammar and Writing).

There were quite a few errors : comma errors, spelling (affect/effect), some pronoun agreement errors, capitalization errors with the title in Chapter Four. The author also uses passive voice quite a bit, which is inconsistent with the general familiar tone. In some chapters, there is constant switching between first, second, and third person. I focus much on point of view consistency in my students' writing, and this would not be a great model for that.

Cultural Relevance rating: 3

There is no cultural offensiveness but not much diversity in examples and students names either. Marginalized students (of color, with disabilities, of different sexuality or gender) would not see themselves reflected much.

This is a good basic reference on the process of writing and research. However, it would not be too useful without updated information on technology and documentation. As a web-based text, it reads more like a traditional physical textbook.

Reviewed by Jocelyn Pihlaja, Instructor, Lake Superior College on 2/8/17

The length and scope of this book are appropriate for a semester-long research writing course, with twelve chapters that move from foundational concepts into more specific skills that are needed for the crafting of a paper incorporating MLA or APA... read more

The length and scope of this book are appropriate for a semester-long research writing course, with twelve chapters that move from foundational concepts into more specific skills that are needed for the crafting of a paper incorporating MLA or APA citation. In particular, I like that the early chapters cover the questions of "Why Write Research Papers?" and how to think critically, the middle chapters provide specific activities in the skills of quoting and paraphrasing, and the later chapters bring in assignments (such as writing an annotated bibliography) that help students practice and build content for their ultimate paper.There is no index or glossary to this book; however, the table of contents provides an overview of the chapters that guides navigation well.

Content Accuracy rating: 3

In terms of the thinking, this book's information is logical and sound. The explanations of concepts and activities read easily and do a fine job of explicating the why and how of research writing. In a few places, however, the word "effected" is used when it should be "affected." Editing also is needed when the author uses phrases such as "in the nutshell" instead of "in a nutshell." As well, in Chapter 4, there is pronoun/antecedent disagreement when the author uses "their" to refer to "each member." Also, each chapter contains at least one "Hyperlink" to supplemental information, yet the hyperlinks are dead. For the most part, the text is clean and well edited, but we English teachers are line-editing sticklers, so even small, occasional errors stand out. Overall: the ideas presented are accurate and free of bias, yet there are a few, niggling errors.

When it comes to relevance and longevity, this book is problematic. In fact, it is so outdated as to be unusable, at least for this instructor. Certainly, the concepts presented are solid; they don't change with passing years. However, typographically, the book is passe, as it uses two spaces after periods. Even more troubling is that it refers to the Internet as "new" and comes from a point of view that sees this thing called "the World Wide Web" as novel while also noting students might want to rely on microfilm and microfiche during their research. In another example, the author suggests to students that a benefit of writing on computers is that they can share their work with each other on disc or through email. Truly, such references make the book unusable for a class in 2017. Another issue is that the Modern Language Association has updated its guidelines several times since this book's publication; ideally, a text used in a research writing class would cover, if not the latest guidelines, at least the previous version of the guidelines. A full rewrite of the book is necessary before it could be adopted. As the book currently stands, students would roll their eyes at the antiquated technological language, and the teacher would need to apologize for asking students to read a text that is so out-of-date.

The writing in this book is both accessible and intelligent. It's eminently readable. Specifically, the inclusion of things like an "Evidence Quality and Credibility Checklist" at the end of Chapter 1 and the continual use of grey boxes that highlight major concepts is very good. Also extremely helpful are the examples of student writing that end nearly every chapter; these models demonstrate to readers what is expected from each assignment. Finally, the explanations of quoting and paraphrasing are superior -- so clear, so easy for students to digest. Were it not outdated in terms of technological references, I would definitely consider using this book in my classes due to the clarity of the prose.

Consistency rating: 3

For the most part, the book is well structured and consistent in its design and layout. Each chapter provides general explanation of a concept, moves into a specific assignment, and ends with an example or two of student responses to that assignment. Very quickly, readers know what to expect from each chapter, and there's something comforting about the predictability of the layout, especially in a book that is being read on a screen, using scrolling. When it comes to the terminology, my only note would be that the book starts out using a relaxed second-person point of view, addressing students as "you," but then, at the end of Chapter 2, the author suddenly begins also using the first-person "I." This first-person point of view continues throughout the book, so it becomes consistent from that point on, but for me as a reader, I never quite adjusted to that level of informality, particularly when all the sentences using "I" could easily be re-written in the third person. Before reading this text, I hadn't really considered what I like in a book, but now I know: because I want the text to model the ideal, I would prefer a more formal (and consistent) point of view. Today's students struggle to create essays that don't include "you" or "I" -- even when they very consciously are trying to avoid those words. Learning to write from the third person POV is surprisingly challenging. Therefore, my personal preference would be a textbook that consistently models this approach.

The chapters in this book are of a perfect length -- long enough to develop the ideas and present comprehensive explanations yet short enough to be ingested and excised. Put another way, I could see grabbing bits and pieces of this text and using them in my classes. For instance, without adopting the entire text, I still could pull the instructions for the Anti-Thesis essay or the Annotated Bibliography, or I could use the explanation of the purpose of collaboration. Indeed, the chapters and exercises in this book are tight "modules" that allow an instructor to pick and choose or to reorganize the chapters to better fit with an individual course structure. For me, although I won't use this entire text, I can envision incorporating pieces of it into my teaching.

The organization of this book is one of its greatest strengths. It starts with a broad overview of research into an exploration of the process behind seeking out reputable sources, weaves in a few shorter essay assignments that serve as building blocks for a longer paper, and culminates with the ideas for a final, capstone research project -- something that naturally grows out of all the previous chapters. Each chapter in the text flows easily out of the chapter before it. One of this text's greatest strengths is how each successive chapter builds on the concepts presented in the previous chapters.

As noted earlier, the hyperlinks in the book don't work. As well, the screenshots included in the book are blurry and add little, except frustration, to the content. Outside of those issues, though, the book is physically easy to read and navigate, largely thanks to the easy clicking between the table of contents and individual chapters.

As suggested earlier, the book, as a whole, reads easily, yet there are some errors with the homonyms "effected" and "affected," along with pronoun/antecedent disagreement. I also noticed a handful of places where there are extra spaces around commas (in addition to the use of two spaces after periods).

This text is definitely not insensitive or offensive; its tone is fair and balanced, free of bias. On the other hand, this book does not really bring in examples that address diversity. Students reading this book will not see acknowledgment of different races, ethnicities, sexual preferences, or personal histories. Thus, in addition to updating the references to technology, if this book were rewritten, it also could more deliberately address this lack. As it is, the content of this book does feel whitewashed and free of cultural relevance.

There is a lot of promise in this text because the explanations and assignments are so good. But unless it is updated, I don’t see it as usable in a current classroom.

Reviewed by Leana Dickerson, Instructor , Linn Benton Community College on 2/8/17

The author certainly outlines and examines elements of research writing, and does so in a very clear, organized, and thoughtful way. There is no glossary or index included in the text, but the chapters and headings in the table of contents and at... read more

The author certainly outlines and examines elements of research writing, and does so in a very clear, organized, and thoughtful way. There is no glossary or index included in the text, but the chapters and headings in the table of contents and at the beginning of each section very clearly outline what is to be expected from the text. Most all of the concepts are very thoroughly explained and examined including topics that typically are glossed over in research writing texts, including the opposition to argument, close reading, and the importance of research writing to a variety of career pathways. Although thorough in what is present, there are some issues that I would want to touch on with my research students including developing effective argument, logical organization, and examples of the revision process.

The information in this text is accurate and adequately explained. It seems readily accessible for any college age student, but doesn’t expect students to come with a background in research or writing. MLA formatting for works cited pages is up to date, and even addresses the fact that the format for citation changes regularly and points to appropriate resources outside of the text. The only formatting issue that I noticed were some in-text citations (examples throughout early chapters) that included a comma which is no longer expected by the MLA. In the works cited section (and throughout, in examples) when referring to book titles, the author does use the underline function instead of an italicized book title; the author also refers to the use of either italic or underlined differentiation, yet MLA suggests italics in text form.

The content of this text is very straight forward and although essentially up to date, may need updates as relevant technology develops. Updates should be simple and clear to implement as needed because of the strict organization of each chapter.

I found the content clarity in this text to be refreshing for college age students. Often, as an instructor, I ask my students to read a text and then I must re-visit the content in lecture format to ensure that my students are not lost on terminology or foundational knowledge. This text does not assume any prior knowledge from the reader, but also does not feel rudimentary. The formatting and highlighted importance of some information also provided clarity and consistency throughout. The author paced information well, building on major concepts from the beginning and returning to them throughout. The final stages of the text bring students to a major essay that easily shows how each concept included throughout the text can weave into a larger project.

This text is consistent, and feels organized with format, terminology, and the building of content from beginning to end.

The sections in this text are easily broken into segments that can be taught or read at any point throughout the writing process. The text does build on exercises from the beginning to the end, but each of these can be taken out of a linear timeline and used for multiple kinds of projects. The author actually refers to this organization in text, making it clear how each element can work alone or for a streamlined project.

Concepts build upon one another, and yet can be returned to (or jumped to) out of order and still be easy to access and utilize. The text is broken up nicely with bolded, bulleted, or boxed items which designate a stopping point, a discussion to consider, or important details or concepts to focus on.

The layout and navigation of this text online is very accessible, organized, and easy to read. The text PDFs often open in a full browser window, other times they open as PDF documents, but either way include a clean, streamlined format. The text does not seem to be able to be downloaded, making it potentially difficult for students to access without internet access. One issue that I did encounter was that in PDF format, or in html, hyperlinks do not function.

The text is clear, free of grammatical errors, and flows well.

This text is relevant to all audiences and very approachable for college age students.

I found this text to be a refreshing change from what is typically find in research textbooks; it’s relevance to more than just the assignment will help students connect research to the broader concept of academia and other facets of their lives. The antithesis section is a useful way for students to really engage with an opposing opinion and how they can then incorporate that into a successful research project. Also, the differing ways of presenting research I found to be useful for students to think about their project beyond a stapled stack of pages, and to expand that to differing modes of communication and presentation. I look forward to being able to use this text with students.

Reviewed by Samuel Kessler, Postdoctoral Fellow, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University on 2/8/17

"The Process of Research Writing" covers most of the areas students need to understand as they begin research writing at a college level. It has explanations of theses, bibliographies, citations, outlines, first paragraphs, etc. There is no index... read more

"The Process of Research Writing" covers most of the areas students need to understand as they begin research writing at a college level. It has explanations of theses, bibliographies, citations, outlines, first paragraphs, etc. There is no index or glossary, the latter especially being something that would have been very helpful and easy to put together. Krause has many useful definitions and quick-help guides throughout the text, but they are so scattered and ineffectively labeled that it can be very difficult to find them without reading through whole chapters in one's search. On the whole, buried inside these pages, is a very effective guides to *teaching* about research writing. In truth, this book is a teacher's introduction to a class (or, more realistically, three or four class sessions) devoted to college-level academic writing. Unfortunately, there are a lot of words that one has to get through to find all these subject, which can make for tough going.

Based on the questions and errors I see my students making, Krause has done a strong job of highlighting the basics of proper academic research. He spends much time on sources, especially on learning to differentiate between scholarly, trade, and journalistic sources, as well as how to steer clear and note the signs of online schlock (i.e. much of the internet). His tips for peer-to-peer editing and self-reflexive assignments are just the sort of things our students needs help working on.

This is a strange book. The portions that are about implementing class assignments or explaining terms like thesis and antithesis, as well as the examples of an outline or a good first paragraph, are all excellent tools for a classroom.

But there are so many instances of irrelevant or outdates explanations. No college student today needs to read about why writing on a computer is a useful thing to do. No student needs to read about how email can be a tool for academic exchange. A section on using computers for research? On how to copy and paste within a word document? (And no-one calls it the "World Wide Web".) These are issues for the late 90s, not for students in the second decade of the twenty-first century.

There is also a fair amount that is personal and peculiar to the author: a discussion of why he uses the term "research essay" instead of "research paper"? That is just wasted space, and actually without the argumentative merits of a research thesis that he had been teaching up to that point.

For students at research universities, or even at second-tier state and private colleges, the information about libraries and library catalogues changes so quickly that I could never assign those passages. Instead, we'll spend class time looking at our specific library interface. And often, so much material is being sent off-site these days that in many humanities fields its not even possible to scan the shelves any longer. And in science, books are almost irrelevant: online access journals are where the latest research is stored. A bound edition of *Science* from the 1970s contains very little that's important for a scientific research paper written in 2016--unless that paper is about the history of some form of experiment.

Krause writes in a folksy, breezy second-person. Now, so does Tom Friedman of the Times, though that is one of the main criticisms of his otherwise insights books. Krause has a tendency to be overly wordy. This book should more closely resemble Hemingway than Knausgaard in order to be practical. For students who have Facebook etc. open while they're reading this book, every sentence that's not directly relevant will make their minds wander. There are so many sentences that simply need to be cut. To use this book, I'd need to cut and paste just the relevant passages. And without an index or glossary, assigning sections to students is very hard.

"The Process of Research Writing" is internally consistent. Krause maintains the same tone throughout, and defines terms as he goes along. The chapters vary considerably in length, with the short chapters always being more useful and focused, with less superfluous verbiage and fewer authorial quirks.

Modularity rating: 2

"The Process of Research Writing" is a very difficult text to use. The HTML and PDF versions are identical, which defeats the unique way the internet functions. I read this book on both Safari and Chrome, and in neither browser do the hyperlinks work. The tables of content at the heads of each chapter do not link to their respective sections. The projects, assignments, and definitions do not appear in different windows, which would make them possible to keep open while continuing on in the book. There are many instances in which moving back and forth between sections would be very helpful, and that is simply not possible without having multiple windows of the same book open and going between them that way--something that is very clumsy. And again, there are so many superfluous words that even assigning specific chapters means getting through a lot of talk before actually encountering the various hints, tricks, and explanations that are important for learning how to do college-level research.

"The Process of Research Writing" reads like a series of lectures that are meant to be give in a large lecture class, with assignments appended throughout and at the ends. The order of the books is, overall, what one would expect and need for teaching the basics. However, there is a good deal in Chapter 10 that should have appeared earlier (outlines, for instance), and that becomes part of one long chapter that is difficult to use and should have been divided into smaller sections.

As mentioned, in neither Safari nor Chrome do the hyperlinks work. And there appears to have been no planning for links from the chapter tables-of-content to their various associated sections. This makes it very difficult to get between sections or to return to where one was after going somewhere else in the book. Further, there are many links on the internet that remain stable over long periods of time. The Library of Congress, for instance, about which there is a section concerning its cataloguing system, should have a link. As should WorldCat, which for many people who do not have access to a major research library is the best place for learning about texts. Many services like LexusNexus, ABC Clio, and the NY Times archive all also maintain stable websites that should be externally linked.

Except for a smattering of typos, the book has fine (though informal) grammar. This is not a text that could also be used to demonstrate high-level academic writing.

There is nothing culturally offensive here in any way.

In many ways, this is a much better book for teachers of first-year students than for the students themselves. There are many sections of this book to pull out and assign, or to read together in class, to help students gain an understanding of college-level research. But this is not a book I'd ever assign to my students in total. The suggestions for in-class and homework assignments are all high quality pedagogy. But students shouldn't read about their own assignments--they should just do them. Departments can give this book to first-year professors to help them create class periods where they teach their students how to write papers. That would be an excellent use for this text. But as a book for students themselves, I cannot recommend it.

Reviewed by Margaret Wood, Instructor, Klamath Community College on 8/21/16

The book thoroughly covers the material that first-year college research writers need to know including an introduction to basic academic research concepts, searches and source evaluation from library and web resources, a thorough discussion of... read more

The book thoroughly covers the material that first-year college research writers need to know including an introduction to basic academic research concepts, searches and source evaluation from library and web resources, a thorough discussion of summary, paraphrase and direct quotation, collaboration and peer review, topic selection, hypothesis and thesis development, annotated bibliography, text analysis and evaluation, engaging seriously with opposing viewpoints, working with evidence and attributes of evidence, the components of a traditional research essay, alternative forms of presentation (web-based project), and finally MLA and APA documentation. There are also hyperlinks to help readers move to relevant information in other chapters.

While concepts like ethos, logos, and pathos are mentioned in passing, they are not deeply developed. Other topics I generally teach alongside research which are not covered include strategies for defining terms, inductive and deductive logic, and logical fallacies.

I did not identify any inaccuracies or biases. There are areas where focus may be a bit different. For example, the model my institution uses for annotated bibliographies uses the rhetorical precis as a summary model, and also encourages a brief evaluative analysis. On the other hand, the emphasis given to the antithesis is new to me, and looks like a very good idea. I did identify a couple of grammatical issues -- two cases of "effect" instead of "affect", and one pronoun agreement problem.

Good writing principles don't tend to change that much. The discussion of the Web-based research project is very timely.

The book is written in a conversational style which should be easy for students to understand. All technical terms are clearly explained. There are also aids for comprehension and review including: a useful bulleted list at the beginning of each chapter outlines material covered in that chapter; highlighted boxes which provide guidance for class discussion on the topic; sample assignments; easy-to-read checklists of key points.

The text is entirely consistent. Hyperlinks help to connect key points to other chapters.

The material is subdivided into clear and appropriate chapters; moreover, the chapters provide clear subheadings. However, I did identify one instance where subheadings indicated material that is not present in chapter four: Three Ideas for Collaborative Projects * Research Idea Groups * Research Writing Partners * Collaborative Research Writing Projects.

Also, as previously mentioned, some material that I would like to include is not covered in this text.

I feel that chapter 3 should be placed later, at a point in the term where students have actually begun the writing process.

Images, though used infrequently, are blurry, and hyperlinks, at least as I was able to access them, did not appear to be active.

Mentioned above -- two "effect"/"affect" issues and one issue of pronoun agreement

I did not identify any culturally insensitive issues. The one essay topic used throughout, a thesis involving The Great Gatsby, I did not find particularly relevant, since my institution excludes literature from its research projects.

Solid and thorough advice on research writing. Quite heavy on text, but advice is useful and frequently innovative.

Reviewed by Laura Sanders, Instructor, Portland Community College on 8/21/16

The text offers a comprehensive discussion of all the elements of writing a research project. The author covers evaluating sources, using library research, incorporating research into essays, collaborative work, creating a thesis, as well as... read more

The text offers a comprehensive discussion of all the elements of writing a research project.

The author covers evaluating sources, using library research, incorporating research into essays, collaborative work, creating a thesis, as well as writing annotated bibliographies, close reading, opposition, alternative project formats, and citing sources.

Although there is no index or glossary, the text is organized in discrete chapters available on the site as HTML or PDF for easy navigation.

Although I found no inaccuracies, both the APA and MLA handbooks have been updated since the versions used in this text.

Most of the content will not be obsolete any time soon, but the citation chapter is not based on recent APA and MLA handbooks.

The section on alternative ways to present research (Chapter 11) could be updated to include YouTube, Prezi, and more recent technology.

The modular format would make it very easy to update.

The text is written at a level that is appropriate for the target audience, college students who need to build research and writing skills.

This text is internally consistent.

I consider the modules to be one of the main strengths of the text. The sections have useful subheadings.

It would be easy to select specific chapters as course readings.

The chapters follow an intuitive sequence of developing a paper from topic to research to draft.

This text is easy to navigate.

I found no grammar errors.

There are ample opportunities here to add cultural diversity to the sample topics and writing tasks.

I am thrilled to offer this text to my students instead of the incredibly expensive alternatives currently available.

I am particularly interested in using this book for online writing courses, so students who desire more thorough discussion of particular stages of writing a research project could build or refresh foundational skills in these areas.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Thinking Critically About Research
  • Chapter Two: Understanding and Using the Library and the Internet for Research
  • Chapter Three: Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Chapter Four: How to Collaborate and Write With Others
  • Chapter Five: The Working Thesis Exercise
  • Chapter Six: The Annotated Bibliography Exercise
  • Chapter Seven: The Critique Exercise
  • Chapter Eight: The Antithesis Exercise
  • Chapter Nine: The Categorization and Evaluation Exercise
  • Chapter Ten: The Research Essay
  • Chapter Eleven: Alternative Ways to Present Your Research
  • Chapter Twelve: Citing Your Research Using MLA or APA Style

Ancillary Material

About the book.

The title of this book is The Process of Research Writing , and in the nutshell, that is what the book is about. A lot of times, instructors and students tend to separate “thinking,” “researching,” and “writing” into different categories that aren't necessarily very well connected. First you think, then you research, and then you write. The reality is though that the possibilities and process of research writing are more complicated and much richer than that. We think about what it is we want to research and write about, but at the same time, we learn what to think based on our research and our writing. The goal of this book is to guide you through this process of research writing by emphasizing a series of exercises that touch on different and related parts of the research process.

About the Contributors

Steven D. Krause  grew up in eastern Iowa, earned a BA in English at the University of Iowa, an MFA in Fiction Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a PhD in Rhetoric and Writing at Bowling Green State University. He joined the faculty at Eastern Michigan University in 1998.

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  • The Writing Process

A Process Approach to Writing Research Papers

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research paper about process

(adapted from Research Paper Guide, Point Loma Nazarene University, 2010) 

Step 1: Be a Strategic Reader and Scholar 

Even before your paper is assigned, use the tools you have been given by your instructor and GSI, and create tools you can use later. 

See the handout “Be a Strategic Reader and Scholar” for more information.

Step 2: Understand the Assignment 

  • Free topic choice or assigned?
  • Type of paper: Informative? Persuasive? Other?
  • Any terminology in assignment not clear?
  • Library research needed or required? How much?
  • What style of citation is required?
  • Can you break the assignment into parts?
  • When will you do each part?
  • Are you required or allowed to collaborate with other members of the class?
  • Other special directions or requirements?

Step 3: Select a Topic 

  • interests you
  • you know something about
  • you can research easily
  • Write out topic and brainstorm.
  • Select your paper’s specific topic from this brainstorming list.
  • In a sentence or short paragraph, describe what you think your paper is about.

Step 4: Initial Planning, Investigation, and Outlining 

  • the nature of your audience
  • ideas & information you already possess
  • sources you can consult
  • background reading you should do

Make a rough outline, a guide for your research to keep you on the subject while you work. 

Step 5: Accumulate Research Materials 

  • Use cards, Word, Post-its, or Excel to organize.
  • Organize your bibliography records first.
  • Organize notes next (one idea per document— direct quotations, paraphrases, your own ideas).
  • Arrange your notes under the main headings of your tentative outline. If necessary, print out documents and literally cut and paste (scissors and tape) them together by heading.

Step 6: Make a Final Outline to Guide Writing 

  • Reorganize and fill in tentative outline.
  • Organize notes to correspond to outline. 
  • As you decide where you will use outside resources in your paper, make notes in your outline to refer to your numbered notecards, attach post-its to your printed outline, or note the use of outside resources in a different font or text color from the rest of your outline. 
  • In both Steps 6 and 7, it is important to maintain a clear distinction between your own words and ideas and those of others.

Step 7: Write the Paper 

  • Use your outline to guide you.
  • Write quickly—capture flow of ideas—deal with proofreading later.
  • Put aside overnight or longer, if possible.

Step 8: Revise and Proofread 

  • Check organization—reorganize paragraphs and add transitions where necessary.
  • Make sure all researched information is documented.
  • Rework introduction and conclusion.
  • Work on sentences—check spelling, punctuation, word choice, etc.
  • Read out loud to check for flow.

Carolyn Swalina, Writing Program Coordinator  Student Learning Center, University of California, Berkeley ©2011 UC Regents

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline | Example

Published on August 7, 2022 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on August 15, 2023.

How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline

A research paper outline is a useful tool to aid in the writing process , providing a structure to follow with all information to be included in the paper clearly organized.

A quality outline can make writing your research paper more efficient by helping to:

  • Organize your thoughts
  • Understand the flow of information and how ideas are related
  • Ensure nothing is forgotten

A research paper outline can also give your teacher an early idea of the final product.

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Table of contents

Research paper outline example, how to write a research paper outline, formatting your research paper outline, language in research paper outlines.

  • Definition of measles
  • Rise in cases in recent years in places the disease was previously eliminated or had very low rates of infection
  • Figures: Number of cases per year on average, number in recent years. Relate to immunization
  • Symptoms and timeframes of disease
  • Risk of fatality, including statistics
  • How measles is spread
  • Immunization procedures in different regions
  • Different regions, focusing on the arguments from those against immunization
  • Immunization figures in affected regions
  • High number of cases in non-immunizing regions
  • Illnesses that can result from measles virus
  • Fatal cases of other illnesses after patient contracted measles
  • Summary of arguments of different groups
  • Summary of figures and relationship with recent immunization debate
  • Which side of the argument appears to be correct?

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research paper about process

Follow these steps to start your research paper outline:

  • Decide on the subject of the paper
  • Write down all the ideas you want to include or discuss
  • Organize related ideas into sub-groups
  • Arrange your ideas into a hierarchy: What should the reader learn first? What is most important? Which idea will help end your paper most effectively?
  • Create headings and subheadings that are effective
  • Format the outline in either alphanumeric, full-sentence or decimal format

There are three different kinds of research paper outline: alphanumeric, full-sentence and decimal outlines. The differences relate to formatting and style of writing.

  • Alphanumeric
  • Full-sentence

An alphanumeric outline is most commonly used. It uses Roman numerals, capitalized letters, arabic numerals, lowercase letters to organize the flow of information. Text is written with short notes rather than full sentences.

  • Sub-point of sub-point 1

Essentially the same as the alphanumeric outline, but with the text written in full sentences rather than short points.

  • Additional sub-point to conclude discussion of point of evidence introduced in point A

A decimal outline is similar in format to the alphanumeric outline, but with a different numbering system: 1, 1.1, 1.2, etc. Text is written as short notes rather than full sentences.

  • 1.1.1 Sub-point of first point
  • 1.1.2 Sub-point of first point
  • 1.2 Second point

To write an effective research paper outline, it is important to pay attention to language. This is especially important if it is one you will show to your teacher or be assessed on.

There are four main considerations: parallelism, coordination, subordination and division.

Parallelism: Be consistent with grammatical form

Parallel structure or parallelism is the repetition of a particular grammatical form within a sentence, or in this case, between points and sub-points. This simply means that if the first point is a verb , the sub-point should also be a verb.

Example of parallelism:

  • Include different regions, focusing on the different arguments from those against immunization

Coordination: Be aware of each point’s weight

Your chosen subheadings should hold the same significance as each other, as should all first sub-points, secondary sub-points, and so on.

Example of coordination:

  • Include immunization figures in affected regions
  • Illnesses that can result from the measles virus

Subordination: Work from general to specific

Subordination refers to the separation of general points from specific. Your main headings should be quite general, and each level of sub-point should become more specific.

Example of subordination:

Division: break information into sub-points.

Your headings should be divided into two or more subsections. There is no limit to how many subsections you can include under each heading, but keep in mind that the information will be structured into a paragraph during the writing stage, so you should not go overboard with the number of sub-points.

Ready to start writing or looking for guidance on a different step in the process? Read our step-by-step guide on how to write a research paper .

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Basic Steps in the Research Process

The following steps outline a simple and effective strategy for writing a research paper. Depending on your familiarity with the topic and the challenges you encounter along the way, you may need to rearrange these steps.

Step 1: Identify and develop your topic

Selecting a topic can be the most challenging part of a research assignment. Since this is the very first step in writing a paper, it is vital that it be done correctly. Here are some tips for selecting a topic:

  • Select a topic within the parameters set by the assignment. Many times your instructor will give you clear guidelines as to what you can and cannot write about. Failure to work within these guidelines may result in your proposed paper being deemed unacceptable by your instructor.
  • Select a topic of personal interest to you and learn more about it. The research for and writing of a paper will be more enjoyable if you are writing about something that you find interesting.
  • Select a topic for which you can find a manageable amount of information. Do a preliminary search of information sources to determine whether existing sources will meet your needs. If you find too much information, you may need to narrow your topic; if you find too little, you may need to broaden your topic.
  • Be original. Your instructor reads hundreds of research papers every year, and many of them are on the same topics (topics in the news at the time, controversial issues, subjects for which there is ample and easily accessed information). Stand out from your classmates by selecting an interesting and off-the-beaten-path topic.
  • Still can't come up with a topic to write about? See your instructor for advice.

Once you have identified your topic, it may help to state it as a question. For example, if you are interested in finding out about the epidemic of obesity in the American population, you might pose the question "What are the causes of obesity in America ?" By posing your subject as a question you can more easily identify the main concepts or keywords to be used in your research.

Step 2 : Do a preliminary search for information

Before beginning your research in earnest, do a preliminary search to determine whether there is enough information out there for your needs and to set the context of your research. Look up your keywords in the appropriate titles in the library's Reference collection (such as encyclopedias and dictionaries) and in other sources such as our catalog of books, periodical databases, and Internet search engines. Additional background information may be found in your lecture notes, textbooks, and reserve readings. You may find it necessary to adjust the focus of your topic in light of the resources available to you.

Step 3: Locate materials

With the direction of your research now clear to you, you can begin locating material on your topic. There are a number of places you can look for information:

If you are looking for books, do a subject search in One Search . A Keyword search can be performed if the subject search doesn't yield enough information. Print or write down the citation information (author, title,etc.) and the location (call number and collection) of the item(s). Note the circulation status. When you locate the book on the shelf, look at the books located nearby; similar items are always shelved in the same area. The Aleph catalog also indexes the library's audio-visual holdings.

Use the library's  electronic periodical databases  to find magazine and newspaper articles. Choose the databases and formats best suited to your particular topic; ask at the librarian at the Reference Desk if you need help figuring out which database best meets your needs. Many of the articles in the databases are available in full-text format.

Use search engines ( Google ,  Yahoo , etc.) and subject directories to locate materials on the Internet. Check the  Internet Resources  section of the NHCC Library web site for helpful subject links.

Step 4: Evaluate your sources

See the  CARS Checklist for Information Quality   for tips on evaluating the authority and quality of the information you have located. Your instructor expects that you will provide credible, truthful, and reliable information and you have every right to expect that the sources you use are providing the same. This step is especially important when using Internet resources, many of which are regarded as less than reliable.

Step 5: Make notes

Consult the resources you have chosen and note the information that will be useful in your paper. Be sure to document all the sources you consult, even if you there is a chance you may not use that particular source. The author, title, publisher, URL, and other information will be needed later when creating a bibliography.

Step 6: Write your paper

Begin by organizing the information you have collected. The next step is the rough draft, wherein you get your ideas on paper in an unfinished fashion. This step will help you organize your ideas and determine the form your final paper will take. After this, you will revise the draft as many times as you think necessary to create a final product to turn in to your instructor.

Step 7: Cite your sources properly

Give credit where credit is due; cite your sources.

Citing or documenting the sources used in your research serves two purposes: it gives proper credit to the authors of the materials used, and it allows those who are reading your work to duplicate your research and locate the sources that you have listed as references. The  MLA  and the  APA  Styles are two popular citation formats.

Failure to cite your sources properly is plagiarism. Plagiarism is avoidable!

Step 8: Proofread

The final step in the process is to proofread the paper you have created. Read through the text and check for any errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Make sure the sources you used are cited properly. Make sure the message that you want to get across to the reader has been thoroughly stated.

Additional research tips:

  • Work from the general to the specific -- find background information first, then use more specific sources.
  • Don't forget print sources -- many times print materials are more easily accessed and every bit as helpful as online resources.
  • The library has books on the topic of writing research papers at call number area LB 2369.
  • If you have questions about the assignment, ask your instructor.
  • If you have any questions about finding information in the library, ask the librarian.

Contact Information

Craig larson.

Librarian 763-424-0733 [email protected] Zoom:  myzoom   Available by appointment

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research paper about process

How to Write a Research Paper

Use the links below to jump directly to any section of this guide:

Research Paper Fundamentals

How to choose a topic or question, how to create a working hypothesis or thesis, common research paper methodologies, how to gather and organize evidence , how to write an outline for your research paper, how to write a rough draft, how to revise your draft, how to produce a final draft, resources for teachers .

It is not fair to say that no one writes anymore. Just about everyone writes text messages, brief emails, or social media posts every single day. Yet, most people don't have a lot of practice with the formal, organized writing required for a good academic research paper. This guide contains links to a variety of resources that can help demystify the process. Some of these resources are intended for teachers; they contain exercises, activities, and teaching strategies. Other resources are intended for direct use by students who are struggling to write papers, or are looking for tips to make the process go more smoothly.

The resources in this section are designed to help students understand the different types of research papers, the general research process, and how to manage their time. Below, you'll find links from university writing centers, the trusted Purdue Online Writing Lab, and more.

What is an Academic Research Paper?

"Genre and the Research Paper" (Purdue OWL)

There are different types of research papers. Different types of scholarly questions will lend themselves to one format or another. This is a brief introduction to the two main genres of research paper: analytic and argumentative. 

"7 Most Popular Types of Research Papers" (Personal-writer.com)

This resource discusses formats that high school students commonly encounter, such as the compare and contrast essay and the definitional essay. Please note that the inclusion of this link is not an endorsement of this company's paid service.

How to Prepare and Plan Out Writing a Research Paper

Teachers can give their students a step-by-step guide like these to help them understand the different steps of the research paper process. These guides can be combined with the time management tools in the next subsection to help students come up with customized calendars for completing their papers.

"Ten Steps for Writing Research Papers" (American University)  

This resource from American University is a comprehensive guide to the research paper writing process, and includes examples of proper research questions and thesis topics.

"Steps in Writing a Research Paper" (SUNY Empire State College)

This guide breaks the research paper process into 11 steps. Each "step" links to a separate page, which describes the work entailed in completing it.

How to Manage Time Effectively

The links below will help students determine how much time is necessary to complete a paper. If your sources are not available online or at your local library, you'll need to leave extra time for the Interlibrary Loan process. Remember that, even if you do not need to consult secondary sources, you'll still need to leave yourself ample time to organize your thoughts.

"Research Paper Planner: Timeline" (Baylor University)

This interactive resource from Baylor University creates a suggested writing schedule based on how much time a student has to work on the assignment.

"Research Paper Planner" (UCLA)

UCLA's library offers this step-by-step guide to the research paper writing process, which also includes a suggested planning calendar.

There's a reason teachers spend a long time talking about choosing a good topic. Without a good topic and a well-formulated research question, it is almost impossible to write a clear and organized paper. The resources below will help you generate ideas and formulate precise questions.

"How to Select a Research Topic" (Univ. of Michigan-Flint)

This resource is designed for college students who are struggling to come up with an appropriate topic. A student who uses this resource and still feels unsure about his or her topic should consult the course instructor for further personalized assistance.

"25 Interesting Research Paper Topics to Get You Started" (Kibin)

This resource, which is probably most appropriate for high school students, provides a list of specific topics to help get students started. It is broken into subsections, such as "paper topics on local issues."

"Writing a Good Research Question" (Grand Canyon University)

This introduction to research questions includes some embedded videos, as well as links to scholarly articles on research questions. This resource would be most appropriate for teachers who are planning lessons on research paper fundamentals.

"How to Write a Research Question the Right Way" (Kibin)

This student-focused resource provides more detail on writing research questions. The language is accessible, and there are embedded videos and examples of good and bad questions.

It is important to have a rough hypothesis or thesis in mind at the beginning of the research process. People who have a sense of what they want to say will have an easier time sorting through scholarly sources and other information. The key, of course, is not to become too wedded to the draft hypothesis or thesis. Just about every working thesis gets changed during the research process.

CrashCourse Video: "Sociology Research Methods" (YouTube)

Although this video is tailored to sociology students, it is applicable to students in a variety of social science disciplines. This video does a good job demonstrating the connection between the brainstorming that goes into selecting a research question and the formulation of a working hypothesis.

"How to Write a Thesis Statement for an Analytical Essay" (YouTube)

Students writing analytical essays will not develop the same type of working hypothesis as students who are writing research papers in other disciplines. For these students, developing the working thesis may happen as a part of the rough draft (see the relevant section below). 

"Research Hypothesis" (Oakland Univ.)

This resource provides some examples of hypotheses in social science disciplines like Political Science and Criminal Justice. These sample hypotheses may also be useful for students in other soft social sciences and humanities disciplines like History.

When grading a research paper, instructors look for a consistent methodology. This section will help you understand different methodological approaches used in research papers. Students will get the most out of these resources if they use them to help prepare for conversations with teachers or discussions in class.

"Types of Research Designs" (USC)

A "research design," used for complex papers, is related to the paper's method. This resource contains introductions to a variety of popular research designs in the social sciences. Although it is not the most intuitive site to read, the information here is very valuable. 

"Major Research Methods" (YouTube)

Although this video is a bit on the dry side, it provides a comprehensive overview of the major research methodologies in a format that might be more accessible to students who have struggled with textbooks or other written resources.

"Humanities Research Strategies" (USC)

This is a portal where students can learn about four methodological approaches for humanities papers: Historical Methodologies, Textual Criticism, Conceptual Analysis, and the Synoptic method.

"Selected Major Social Science Research Methods: Overview" (National Academies Press)

This appendix from the book  Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy , printed by National Academies Press, introduces some methods used in social science papers.

"Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: 6. The Methodology" (USC)

This resource from the University of Southern California's library contains tips for writing a methodology section in a research paper.

How to Determine the Best Methodology for You

Anyone who is new to writing research papers should be sure to select a method in consultation with their instructor. These resources can be used to help prepare for that discussion. They may also be used on their own by more advanced students.

"Choosing Appropriate Research Methodologies" (Palgrave Study Skills)

This friendly and approachable resource from Palgrave Macmillan can be used by students who are just starting to think about appropriate methodologies.

"How to Choose Your Research Methods" (NFER (UK))

This is another approachable resource students can use to help narrow down the most appropriate methods for their research projects.

The resources in this section introduce the process of gathering scholarly sources and collecting evidence. You'll find a range of material here, from introductory guides to advanced explications best suited to college students. Please consult the LitCharts  How to Do Academic Research guide for a more comprehensive list of resources devoted to finding scholarly literature.

Google Scholar

Students who have access to library websites with detailed research guides should start there, but people who do not have access to those resources can begin their search for secondary literature here.

"Gathering Appropriate Information" (Texas Gateway)

This resource from the Texas Gateway for online resources introduces students to the research process, and contains interactive exercises. The level of complexity is suitable for middle school, high school, and introductory college classrooms.

"An Overview of Quantitative and Qualitative Data Collection Methods" (NSF)

This PDF from the National Science Foundation goes into detail about best practices and pitfalls in data collection across multiple types of methodologies.

"Social Science Methods for Data Collection and Analysis" (Swiss FIT)

This resource is appropriate for advanced undergraduates or teachers looking to create lessons on research design and data collection. It covers techniques for gathering data via interviews, observations, and other methods.

"Collecting Data by In-depth Interviewing" (Leeds Univ.)

This resource contains enough information about conducting interviews to make it useful for teachers who want to create a lesson plan, but is also accessible enough for college juniors or seniors to make use of it on their own.

There is no "one size fits all" outlining technique. Some students might devote all their energy and attention to the outline in order to avoid the paper. Other students may benefit from being made to sit down and organize their thoughts into a lengthy sentence outline. The resources in this section include strategies and templates for multiple types of outlines. 

"Topic vs. Sentence Outlines" (UC Berkeley)

This resource introduces two basic approaches to outlining: the shorter topic-based approach, and the longer, more detailed sentence-based approach. This resource also contains videos on how to develop paper paragraphs from the sentence-based outline.

"Types of Outlines and Samples" (Purdue OWL)

The Purdue Online Writing Lab's guide is a slightly less detailed discussion of different types of outlines. It contains several sample outlines.

"Writing An Outline" (Austin C.C.)

This resource from a community college contains sample outlines from an American history class that students can use as models.

"How to Structure an Outline for a College Paper" (YouTube)

This brief (sub-2 minute) video from the ExpertVillage YouTube channel provides a model of outline writing for students who are struggling with the idea.

"Outlining" (Harvard)

This is a good resource to consult after completing a draft outline. It offers suggestions for making sure your outline avoids things like unnecessary repetition.

As with outlines, rough drafts can take on many different forms. These resources introduce teachers and students to the various approaches to writing a rough draft. This section also includes resources that will help you cite your sources appropriately according to the MLA, Chicago, and APA style manuals.

"Creating a Rough Draft for a Research Paper" (Univ. of Minnesota)

This resource is useful for teachers in particular, as it provides some suggested exercises to help students with writing a basic rough draft. 

Rough Draft Assignment (Duke of Definition)

This sample assignment, with a brief list of tips, was developed by a high school teacher who runs a very successful and well-reviewed page of educational resources.

"Creating the First Draft of Your Research Paper" (Concordia Univ.)

This resource will be helpful for perfectionists or procrastinators, as it opens by discussing the problem of avoiding writing. It also provides a short list of suggestions meant to get students writing.

Using Proper Citations

There is no such thing as a rough draft of a scholarly citation. These links to the three major citation guides will ensure that your citations follow the correct format. Please consult the LitCharts How to Cite Your Sources guide for more resources.

Chicago Manual of Style Citation Guide

Some call  The Chicago Manual of Style , which was first published in 1906, "the editors' Bible." The manual is now in its 17th edition, and is popular in the social sciences, historical journals, and some other fields in the humanities.

APA Citation Guide

According to the American Psychological Association, this guide was developed to aid reading comprehension, clarity of communication, and to reduce bias in language in the social and behavioral sciences. Its first full edition was published in 1952, and it is now in its sixth edition.

MLA Citation Guide

The Modern Language Association style is used most commonly within the liberal arts and humanities. The  MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing  was first published in 1985 and (as of 2008) is in its third edition.

Any professional scholar will tell you that the best research papers are made in the revision stage. No matter how strong your research question or working thesis, it is not possible to write a truly outstanding paper without devoting energy to revision. These resources provide examples of revision exercises for the classroom, as well as tips for students working independently.

"The Art of Revision" (Univ. of Arizona)

This resource provides a wealth of information and suggestions for both students and teachers. There is a list of suggested exercises that teachers might use in class, along with a revision checklist that is useful for teachers and students alike.

"Script for Workshop on Revision" (Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt's guide for leading a 50-minute revision workshop can serve as a model for teachers who wish to guide students through the revision process during classtime. 

"Revising Your Paper" (Univ. of Washington)

This detailed handout was designed for students who are beginning the revision process. It discusses different approaches and methods for revision, and also includes a detailed list of things students should look for while they revise.

"Revising Drafts" (UNC Writing Center)

This resource is designed for students and suggests things to look for during the revision process. It provides steps for the process and has a FAQ for students who have questions about why it is important to revise.

Conferencing with Writing Tutors and Instructors

No writer is so good that he or she can't benefit from meeting with instructors or peer tutors. These resources from university writing, learning, and communication centers provide suggestions for how to get the most out of these one-on-one meetings.

"Getting Feedback" (UNC Writing Center)

This very helpful resource talks about how to ask for feedback during the entire writing process. It contains possible questions that students might ask when developing an outline, during the revision process, and after the final draft has been graded.

"Prepare for Your Tutoring Session" (Otis College of Art and Design)

This guide from a university's student learning center contains a lot of helpful tips for getting the most out of working with a writing tutor.

"The Importance of Asking Your Professor" (Univ. of Waterloo)

This article from the university's Writing and Communication Centre's blog contains some suggestions for how and when to get help from professors and Teaching Assistants.

Once you've revised your first draft, you're well on your way to handing in a polished paper. These resources—each of them produced by writing professionals at colleges and universities—outline the steps required in order to produce a final draft. You'll find proofreading tips and checklists in text and video form.

"Developing a Final Draft of a Research Paper" (Univ. of Minnesota)

While this resource contains suggestions for revision, it also features a couple of helpful checklists for the last stages of completing a final draft.

Basic Final Draft Tips and Checklist (Univ. of Maryland-University College)

This short and accessible resource, part of UMUC's very thorough online guide to writing and research, contains a very basic checklist for students who are getting ready to turn in their final drafts.

Final Draft Checklist (Everett C.C.)

This is another accessible final draft checklist, appropriate for both high school and college students. It suggests reading your essay aloud at least once.

"How to Proofread Your Final Draft" (YouTube)

This video (approximately 5 minutes), produced by Eastern Washington University, gives students tips on proofreading final drafts.

"Proofreading Tips" (Georgia Southern-Armstrong)

This guide will help students learn how to spot common errors in their papers. It suggests focusing on content and editing for grammar and mechanics.

This final set of resources is intended specifically for high school and college instructors. It provides links to unit plans and classroom exercises that can help improve students' research and writing skills. You'll find resources that give an overview of the process, along with activities that focus on how to begin and how to carry out research. 

"Research Paper Complete Resources Pack" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This packet of assignments, rubrics, and other resources is designed for high school students. The resources in this packet are aligned to Common Core standards.

"Research Paper—Complete Unit" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This packet of assignments, notes, PowerPoints, and other resources has a 4/4 rating with over 700 ratings. It is designed for high school teachers, but might also be useful to college instructors who work with freshmen.

"Teaching Students to Write Good Papers" (Yale)

This resource from Yale's Center for Teaching and Learning is designed for college instructors, and it includes links to appropriate activities and exercises.

"Research Paper Writing: An Overview" (CUNY Brooklyn)

CUNY Brooklyn offers this complete lesson plan for introducing students to research papers. It includes an accompanying set of PowerPoint slides.

"Lesson Plan: How to Begin Writing a Research Paper" (San Jose State Univ.)

This lesson plan is designed for students in the health sciences, so teachers will have to modify it for their own needs. It includes a breakdown of the brainstorming, topic selection, and research question process. 

"Quantitative Techniques for Social Science Research" (Univ. of Pittsburgh)

This is a set of PowerPoint slides that can be used to introduce students to a variety of quantitative methods used in the social sciences.

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How to Write a Research Paper

Academic Writing Service

If you already have a headache trying to understand what research paper is all about, we have created an ultimate guide for you on how to write a research paper. You will find all the answers to your questions regarding structure, planning, doing investigation, finding the topic that appeals to you. Plus, you will find out the secret to an excellent paper. Are you at the edge of your seat? Let us start with the basics then.

  • What is a Research Paper
  • Reasons for Writing a Research Paper
  • Report Papers and Thesis Papers
  • How to Start a Research Paper
  • How to Choose a Topic for a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Proposal for a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Research Plan
  • How to Do Research
  • How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Research Paper Rough Draft
  • How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Body of a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper
  • How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper
  • How to Revise and Edit a Research Paper
  • How to Write a Bibliography for a Research Paper
  • What Makes a Good Research Paper

Research Paper Writing Services

What is a research paper.

How to Write a Research Paper

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You probably know the saying ‘the devil is not as black as he is painted’. This particular saying is absolutely true when it comes to writing a research paper. Your feet are cold even with the thought of this assignment. You have heard terrifying stories from older students. You have never done this before, so certainly you are scared. What is a research paper? How should I start? What are all these requirements about?

Luckily, you have a friend in need. That is our writing service. First and foremost, let us clarify the definition. A research paper is a piece of academic writing that provides information about a particular topic that you’ve researched . In other words, you choose a topic: about historical events, the work of some artist, some social issues etc. Then you collect data on the given topic and analyze it. Finally, you put your analysis on paper. See, it is not as scary as it seems. If you are still having doubts, whether you can handle it yourself, we are here to help you. Our team of writers can help you choose the topic, or give you advice on how to plan your work, or how to start, or craft a paper for you. Just contact us 24/7 and see everything yourself.

5 Reasons for Writing a Research Paper

Why should I spend my time writing some academic paper? What is the use of it? Is not some practical knowledge more important? The list of questions is endless when it comes to a research paper. That is why we have outlined 5 main reasons why writing a research paper is a good thing.

  • You will learn how to organize your time

If you want to write a research paper, you will have to learn how to manage your time. This type of assignment cannot be done overnight. It requires careful planning and you will need to learn how to do it. Later, you will be able to use these time-managing skills in your personal life, so why not developing them?

  • You will discover your writing skills

You cannot know something before you try it. This rule relates to writing as well. You cannot claim that you cannot write until you try it yourself. It will be really difficult at the beginning, but then the words will come to your head themselves.

  • You will improve your analytical skills

Writing a research paper is all about investigation and analysis. You will need to collect data, examine and classify it. These skills are needed in modern life more than anything else is.

  • You will gain confidence

Once you do your own research, it gives you the feeling of confidence in yourself. The reason is simple human brain likes solving puzzles and your assignment is just another puzzle to be solved.

  • You will learn how to persuade the reader

When you write your paper, you should always remember that you are writing it for someone to read. Moreover, you want this someone to believe in your ideas. For this reason, you will have to learn different convincing methods and techniques. You will learn how to make your writing persuasive. In turns, you will be able to use these methods in real life.

What is the Difference between Report and Thesis Papers?

A common question is ‘what is the difference between a report paper and a thesis paper?’ The difference lies in the aim of these two assignments. While the former aims at presenting the information, the latter aims at providing your opinion on the matter. In other words, in a report paper you have to summarize your findings. In a thesis paper, you choose some issue and defend your point of view by persuading the reader. It is that simple.

A thesis paper is a more common assignment than a report paper. This task will help a professor to evaluate your analytical skills and skills to present your ideas logically. These skills are more important than just the ability to collect and summarize data.

How to Write a Research Paper Step by Step

Research comes from the French word  rechercher , meaning “to seek out.” Writing a research paper requires you to seek out information about a subject, take a stand on it, and back it up with the opinions, ideas, and views of others. What results is a printed paper variously known as a term paper or library paper, usually between five and fifteen pages long—most instructors specify a minimum length—in which you present your views and findings on the chosen subject.

How to Write a Research Paper

It is not a secret that the majority of students hate writing a research paper. The reason is simple it steals your time and energy. Not to mention, constant anxiety that you will not be able to meet the deadline or that you will forget about some academic requirement.

We will not lie to you; a research paper is a difficult assignment. You will have to spend a lot of time. You will need to read, to analyze, and to search for the material. You will probably be stuck sometimes. However, if you organize your work smart, you will gain something that is worth all the effort – knowledge, experience, and high grades.

The reason why many students fail writing a research paper is that nobody explained them how to start and how to plan their work. Luckily, you have found our writing service and we are ready to shed the light on this dark matter.

We have created a step by step guide for you on how to write a research paper. We will dwell upon the structure, the writing tips, the writing strategies as well as academic requirements. Read this whole article and you will see that you can handle writing this assignment and our team of writers is here to assist you.

How to Start a Research Paper?

How to Start a Research Paper

It all starts with the assignment. Your professor gives you the task. It may be either some general issue or specific topic to write about. Your assignment is your first guide to success. If you understand what you need to do according to the assignment, you are on the road to high results. Do not be scared to clarify your task if you need to. There is nothing wrong in asking a question if you want to do something right. You can ask your professor or you can ask our writers who know a thing or two in academic writing.

It is essential to understand the assignment. A good beginning makes a good ending, so start smart.

Learn how to start a research paper .

Choosing a Topic for a Research Paper

How to Choose a Topic for a Research Paper

We have already mentioned that it is not enough to do great research. You need to persuade the reader that you have made some great research. What convinces better that an eye-catching topic? That is why it is important to understand how to choose a topic for a research paper.

First, you need to delimit the general idea to a more specific one. Secondly, you need to find what makes this topic interesting for you and for the academia. Finally, you need to refine you topic. Remember, it is not something you will do in one day. You can be reshaping your topic throughout your whole writing process. Still, reshaping not changing it completely. That is why keep in your head one main idea: your topic should be precise and compelling .

Learn how to choose a topic for a research paper .

How to Write a Proposal for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Proposal for a Research Paper

If you do not know what a proposal is, let us explain it to you. A proposal should answer three main questions:

  • What is the main aim of your investigation?
  • Why is your investigation important?
  • How are you going to achieve the results?

In other words, proposal should show why your topic is interesting and how you are going to prove it. As to writing requirements, they may differ. That is why make sure you find out all the details at your department. You can ask your departmental administrator or find information online at department’s site. It is crucial to follow all the administrative requirements, as it will influence your grade.

Learn how to write a proposal for a research paper .

How to Write a Research Plan?

How to Write a Research Plan

The next step is writing a plan. You have already decided on the main issues, you have chosen the bibliography, and you have clarified the methods. Here comes the planning. If you want to avoid writer’s block, you have to structure you work. Discuss your strategies and ideas with your instructor. Think thoroughly why you need to present some data and ideas first and others second. Remember that there are basic structure elements that your research paper should include:

  • Thesis Statement
  • Introduction
  • Bibliography

You should keep in mind this skeleton when planning your work. This will keep your mind sharp and your ideas will flow logically.

Learn how to write a research plan .

How to Do Research?

How to Do Research

Your research will include three stages: collecting data, reading and analyzing it, and writing itself.

First, you need to collect all the material that you will need for you investigation: films, documents, surveys, interviews, and others. Secondly, you will have to read and analyze. This step is tricky, as you need to do this part smart. It is not enough just to read, as you cannot keep in mind all the information. It is essential that you make notes and write down your ideas while analyzing some data. When you get down to the stage number three, writing itself, you will already have the main ideas written on your notes. Plus, remember to jot down the reference details. You will then appreciate this trick when you will have to write the bibliography.

If you do your research this way, it will be much easier for you to write the paper. You will already have blocks of your ideas written down and you will just need to add some material and refine your paper.

Learn how to do research .

How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper?

How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper

To make your paper well organized you need to write an outline. Your outline will serve as your guiding star through the writing process. With a great outline you will not get sidetracked, because you will have a structured plan to follow. Both you and the reader will benefit from your outline. You present your ideas logically and you make your writing coherent according to your plan. As a result, this outline guides the reader through your paper and the reader enjoys the way you demonstrate your ideas.

Learn how to write an outline for a research paper . See research paper outline examples .

How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Research Paper

Briefly, the thesis is the main argument of your research paper. It should be precise, convincing and logical. Your thesis statement should include your point of view supported by evidence or logic. Still, remember it should be precise. You should not beat around the bush, or provide all the possible evidence you have found. It is usually a single sentence that shows your argument. In on sentence you should make a claim, explain why it significant and convince the reader that your point of view is important.

Learn how to write a thesis statement for a research paper . See research paper thesis statement examples .

Should I Write a Rough Draft for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Research Paper Rough Draft

Do you know any writer who put their ideas on paper, then never edited them and just published? Probably, no writer did so. Writing a research paper is no exception. It is impossible to cope with this assignment without writing a rough draft.

Your draft will help you understand what you need to polish to make your paper perfect. All the requirements, academic standards make it difficult to do everything flawlessly at the first attempt. Make sure you know all the formatting requirements: margins, words quantity, reference requirements, formatting styles etc.

Learn how to write a rough draft for a research paper .

How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper?

How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper

Let us make it more vivid for you. We have narrowed down the tips on writing an introduction to the three main ones:

  • Include your thesis in your introduction

Remember to include the thesis statement in your introduction. Usually, it goes at the end of the first paragraph.

  • Present the main ideas of the body

You should tell the main topics you are going to discuss in the main body. For this reason, before writing this part of introduction, make sure you know what is your main body is going to be about. It should include your main ideas.

  • Polish your thesis and introduction

When you finish the main body of your paper, come back to the thesis statement and introduction. Restate something if needed. Just make it perfect; because introduction is like the trailer to your paper, it should make the reader want to read the whole piece.

Learn how to write an introduction for a research paper . See research paper introduction examples .

How to Write a Body of a Research Paper?

How to Write a Body of a Research Paper

A body is the main part of your research paper. In this part, you will include all the needed evidence; you will provide the examples and support your argument.

It is important to structure your paragraphs thoroughly. That is to say, topic sentence and the evidence supporting the topic. Stay focused and do not be sidetracked. You have your outline, so follow it.

Here are the main tips to keep in head when writing a body of a research paper:

  • Let the ideas flow logically
  • Include only relevant information
  • Provide the evidence
  • Structure the paragraphs
  • Make the coherent transition from one paragraph to another

See? When it is all structured, it is not as scary as it seemed at the beginning. Still, if you have doubts, you can always ask our writers for help.

Learn how to write a body of a research paper . See research paper transition examples .

How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

Writing a good conclusion is important as writing any other part of the paper. Remember that conclusion is not a summary of what you have mentioned before. A good conclusion should include your last strong statement.

If you have written everything according to the plan, the reader already knows why your investigation is important. The reader has already seen the evidence. The only thing left is a strong concluding thought that will organize all your findings.

Never include any new information in conclusion. You need to conclude, not to start a new discussion.

Learn how to write a conclusion for a research paper .

How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper?

How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper

An abstract is a brief summary of your paper, usually 100-200 words. You should provide the main gist of your paper in this short summary. An abstract can be informative, descriptive or proposal. Depending on the type of abstract, you need to write, the requirements will differ.

To write an informative abstract you have to provide the summary of the whole paper. Informative summary. In other words, you need to tell about the main points of your work, the methods used, the results and the conclusion of your research.

To write a descriptive abstract you will not have to provide any summery. You should write a short teaser of your paper. That is to say, you need to write an overview of your paper. The aim of a descriptive abstract is to interest the reader.

Finally, to write a proposal abstract you will need to write the basic summary as for the informative abstract. However, the difference is the following: you aim at persuading someone to let you write on the topic. That is why, a proposal abstract should present your topic as the one worth investigating.

Learn how to write an abstract for a research paper .

Should I Revise and Edit a Research Paper?

How to Revise and Edit a Research Paper

Revising and editing your paper is essential if you want to get high grades. Let us help you revise your paper smart:

  • Check your paper for spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Sharpen the vocabulary
  • Make sure there are no slang words in your paper
  • Examine your paper in terms of structure
  • Compare your topic, thesis statement to the whole piece
  • Check your paper for plagiarism

If you need assistance with proofreading and editing your paper, you can turn to the professional editors at our service. They will help you polish your paper to perfection.

Learn how to revise and edit a research paper .

How to Write a Bibliography for a Research Paper?

How to Write a Bibliography for a Research Paper

First, let us make it clear that bibliography and works cited are two different things. Works cited are those that you cited in your paper. Bibliography should include all the materials you used to do your research. Still, remember that bibliography requirements differ depending on the formatting style of your paper. For this reason, make sure you ask you professor all the requirements you need to meet to avoid any misunderstanding.

Learn how to write a bibliography for a research paper .

The Key Secret to a Good Research Paper

Now when you know all the stages of writing a research paper, you are ready to find the key to a good research paper:

  • Choose the topic that really interests you
  • Make the topic interesting for you even if it is not at the beginning
  • Follow the step by step guide and do not get sidetracked
  • Be persistent and believe in yourself
  • Really do research and write your paper from scratch
  • Learn the convincing writing techniques and use them
  • Follow the requirements of your assignment
  • Ask for help if needed from real professionals

Feeling more confident about your paper now? We are sure you do. Still, if you need help, you can always rely on us 24/7.

We hope we have made writing a research paper much easier for you. We realize that it requires lots of time and energy. We believe when you say that you cannot handle it anymore. For this reason, we have been helping students like you for years. Our professional team of writers is ready to tackle any challenge.

All our authors are experienced writers crafting excellent academic papers. We help students meet the deadline and get the top grades they want. You can see everything yourself. All you need to do is to place your order online and we will contact you. Writing a research paper with us is truly easy, so why do not you check it yourself?

Additional Resources for Research Paper Writing:

  • Anthropology Research
  • Career Research
  • Communication Research
  • Criminal Justice Research
  • Health Research
  • Political Science Research
  • Psychology Research
  • Sociology Research

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11.2 Steps in Developing a Research Proposal

Learning objectives.

  • Identify the steps in developing a research proposal.
  • Choose a topic and formulate a research question and working thesis.
  • Develop a research proposal.

Writing a good research paper takes time, thought, and effort. Although this assignment is challenging, it is manageable. Focusing on one step at a time will help you develop a thoughtful, informative, well-supported research paper.

Your first step is to choose a topic and then to develop research questions, a working thesis, and a written research proposal. Set aside adequate time for this part of the process. Fully exploring ideas will help you build a solid foundation for your paper.

Choosing a Topic

When you choose a topic for a research paper, you are making a major commitment. Your choice will help determine whether you enjoy the lengthy process of research and writing—and whether your final paper fulfills the assignment requirements. If you choose your topic hastily, you may later find it difficult to work with your topic. By taking your time and choosing carefully, you can ensure that this assignment is not only challenging but also rewarding.

Writers understand the importance of choosing a topic that fulfills the assignment requirements and fits the assignment’s purpose and audience. (For more information about purpose and audience, see Chapter 6 “Writing Paragraphs: Separating Ideas and Shaping Content” .) Choosing a topic that interests you is also crucial. You instructor may provide a list of suggested topics or ask that you develop a topic on your own. In either case, try to identify topics that genuinely interest you.

After identifying potential topic ideas, you will need to evaluate your ideas and choose one topic to pursue. Will you be able to find enough information about the topic? Can you develop a paper about this topic that presents and supports your original ideas? Is the topic too broad or too narrow for the scope of the assignment? If so, can you modify it so it is more manageable? You will ask these questions during this preliminary phase of the research process.

Identifying Potential Topics

Sometimes, your instructor may provide a list of suggested topics. If so, you may benefit from identifying several possibilities before committing to one idea. It is important to know how to narrow down your ideas into a concise, manageable thesis. You may also use the list as a starting point to help you identify additional, related topics. Discussing your ideas with your instructor will help ensure that you choose a manageable topic that fits the requirements of the assignment.

In this chapter, you will follow a writer named Jorge, who is studying health care administration, as he prepares a research paper. You will also plan, research, and draft your own research paper.

Jorge was assigned to write a research paper on health and the media for an introductory course in health care. Although a general topic was selected for the students, Jorge had to decide which specific issues interested him. He brainstormed a list of possibilities.

If you are writing a research paper for a specialized course, look back through your notes and course activities. Identify reading assignments and class discussions that especially engaged you. Doing so can help you identify topics to pursue.

  • Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) in the news
  • Sexual education programs
  • Hollywood and eating disorders
  • Americans’ access to public health information
  • Media portrayal of health care reform bill
  • Depictions of drugs on television
  • The effect of the Internet on mental health
  • Popularized diets (such as low-carbohydrate diets)
  • Fear of pandemics (bird flu, HINI, SARS)
  • Electronic entertainment and obesity
  • Advertisements for prescription drugs
  • Public education and disease prevention

Set a timer for five minutes. Use brainstorming or idea mapping to create a list of topics you would be interested in researching for a paper about the influence of the Internet on social networking. Do you closely follow the media coverage of a particular website, such as Twitter? Would you like to learn more about a certain industry, such as online dating? Which social networking sites do you and your friends use? List as many ideas related to this topic as you can.

Narrowing Your Topic

Once you have a list of potential topics, you will need to choose one as the focus of your essay. You will also need to narrow your topic. Most writers find that the topics they listed during brainstorming or idea mapping are broad—too broad for the scope of the assignment. Working with an overly broad topic, such as sexual education programs or popularized diets, can be frustrating and overwhelming. Each topic has so many facets that it would be impossible to cover them all in a college research paper. However, more specific choices, such as the pros and cons of sexual education in kids’ television programs or the physical effects of the South Beach diet, are specific enough to write about without being too narrow to sustain an entire research paper.

A good research paper provides focused, in-depth information and analysis. If your topic is too broad, you will find it difficult to do more than skim the surface when you research it and write about it. Narrowing your focus is essential to making your topic manageable. To narrow your focus, explore your topic in writing, conduct preliminary research, and discuss both the topic and the research with others.

Exploring Your Topic in Writing

“How am I supposed to narrow my topic when I haven’t even begun researching yet?” In fact, you may already know more than you realize. Review your list and identify your top two or three topics. Set aside some time to explore each one through freewriting. (For more information about freewriting, see Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” .) Simply taking the time to focus on your topic may yield fresh angles.

Jorge knew that he was especially interested in the topic of diet fads, but he also knew that it was much too broad for his assignment. He used freewriting to explore his thoughts so he could narrow his topic. Read Jorge’s ideas.

Conducting Preliminary Research

Another way writers may focus a topic is to conduct preliminary research . Like freewriting, exploratory reading can help you identify interesting angles. Surfing the web and browsing through newspaper and magazine articles are good ways to start. Find out what people are saying about your topic on blogs and online discussion groups. Discussing your topic with others can also inspire you. Talk about your ideas with your classmates, your friends, or your instructor.

Jorge’s freewriting exercise helped him realize that the assigned topic of health and the media intersected with a few of his interests—diet, nutrition, and obesity. Preliminary online research and discussions with his classmates strengthened his impression that many people are confused or misled by media coverage of these subjects.

Jorge decided to focus his paper on a topic that had garnered a great deal of media attention—low-carbohydrate diets. He wanted to find out whether low-carbohydrate diets were as effective as their proponents claimed.

Writing at Work

At work, you may need to research a topic quickly to find general information. This information can be useful in understanding trends in a given industry or generating competition. For example, a company may research a competitor’s prices and use the information when pricing their own product. You may find it useful to skim a variety of reliable sources and take notes on your findings.

The reliability of online sources varies greatly. In this exploratory phase of your research, you do not need to evaluate sources as closely as you will later. However, use common sense as you refine your paper topic. If you read a fascinating blog comment that gives you a new idea for your paper, be sure to check out other, more reliable sources as well to make sure the idea is worth pursuing.

Review the list of topics you created in Note 11.18 “Exercise 1” and identify two or three topics you would like to explore further. For each of these topics, spend five to ten minutes writing about the topic without stopping. Then review your writing to identify possible areas of focus.

Set aside time to conduct preliminary research about your potential topics. Then choose a topic to pursue for your research paper.

Collaboration

Please share your topic list with a classmate. Select one or two topics on his or her list that you would like to learn more about and return it to him or her. Discuss why you found the topics interesting, and learn which of your topics your classmate selected and why.

A Plan for Research

Your freewriting and preliminary research have helped you choose a focused, manageable topic for your research paper. To work with your topic successfully, you will need to determine what exactly you want to learn about it—and later, what you want to say about it. Before you begin conducting in-depth research, you will further define your focus by developing a research question , a working thesis, and a research proposal.

Formulating a Research Question

In forming a research question, you are setting a goal for your research. Your main research question should be substantial enough to form the guiding principle of your paper—but focused enough to guide your research. A strong research question requires you not only to find information but also to put together different pieces of information, interpret and analyze them, and figure out what you think. As you consider potential research questions, ask yourself whether they would be too hard or too easy to answer.

To determine your research question, review the freewriting you completed earlier. Skim through books, articles, and websites and list the questions you have. (You may wish to use the 5WH strategy to help you formulate questions. See Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” for more information about 5WH questions.) Include simple, factual questions and more complex questions that would require analysis and interpretation. Determine your main question—the primary focus of your paper—and several subquestions that you will need to research to answer your main question.

Here are the research questions Jorge will use to focus his research. Notice that his main research question has no obvious, straightforward answer. Jorge will need to research his subquestions, which address narrower topics, to answer his main question.

Using the topic you selected in Note 11.24 “Exercise 2” , write your main research question and at least four to five subquestions. Check that your main research question is appropriately complex for your assignment.

Constructing a Working ThesIs

A working thesis concisely states a writer’s initial answer to the main research question. It does not merely state a fact or present a subjective opinion. Instead, it expresses a debatable idea or claim that you hope to prove through additional research. Your working thesis is called a working thesis for a reason—it is subject to change. As you learn more about your topic, you may change your thinking in light of your research findings. Let your working thesis serve as a guide to your research, but do not be afraid to modify it based on what you learn.

Jorge began his research with a strong point of view based on his preliminary writing and research. Read his working thesis statement, which presents the point he will argue. Notice how it states Jorge’s tentative answer to his research question.

One way to determine your working thesis is to consider how you would complete sentences such as I believe or My opinion is . However, keep in mind that academic writing generally does not use first-person pronouns. These statements are useful starting points, but formal research papers use an objective voice.

Write a working thesis statement that presents your preliminary answer to the research question you wrote in Note 11.27 “Exercise 3” . Check that your working thesis statement presents an idea or claim that could be supported or refuted by evidence from research.

Creating a Research Proposal

A research proposal is a brief document—no more than one typed page—that summarizes the preliminary work you have completed. Your purpose in writing it is to formalize your plan for research and present it to your instructor for feedback. In your research proposal, you will present your main research question, related subquestions, and working thesis. You will also briefly discuss the value of researching this topic and indicate how you plan to gather information.

When Jorge began drafting his research proposal, he realized that he had already created most of the pieces he needed. However, he knew he also had to explain how his research would be relevant to other future health care professionals. In addition, he wanted to form a general plan for doing the research and identifying potentially useful sources. Read Jorge’s research proposal.

Read Jorge's research proposal

Before you begin a new project at work, you may have to develop a project summary document that states the purpose of the project, explains why it would be a wise use of company resources, and briefly outlines the steps involved in completing the project. This type of document is similar to a research proposal. Both documents define and limit a project, explain its value, discuss how to proceed, and identify what resources you will use.

Writing Your Own Research Proposal

Now you may write your own research proposal, if you have not done so already. Follow the guidelines provided in this lesson.

Key Takeaways

  • Developing a research proposal involves the following preliminary steps: identifying potential ideas, choosing ideas to explore further, choosing and narrowing a topic, formulating a research question, and developing a working thesis.
  • A good topic for a research paper interests the writer and fulfills the requirements of the assignment.
  • Defining and narrowing a topic helps writers conduct focused, in-depth research.
  • Writers conduct preliminary research to identify possible topics and research questions and to develop a working thesis.
  • A good research question interests readers, is neither too broad nor too narrow, and has no obvious answer.
  • A good working thesis expresses a debatable idea or claim that can be supported with evidence from research.
  • Writers create a research proposal to present their topic, main research question, subquestions, and working thesis to an instructor for approval or feedback.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

13.5 Research Process: Making Notes, Synthesizing Information, and Keeping a Research Log

Learning outcomes.

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Employ the methods and technologies commonly used for research and communication within various fields.
  • Practice and apply strategies such as interpretation, synthesis, response, and critique to compose texts that integrate the writer’s ideas with those from appropriate sources.
  • Analyze and make informed decisions about intellectual property based on the concepts that motivate them.
  • Apply citation conventions systematically.

As you conduct research, you will work with a range of “texts” in various forms, including sources and documents from online databases as well as images, audio, and video files from the Internet. You may also work with archival materials and with transcribed and analyzed primary data. Additionally, you will be taking notes and recording quotations from secondary sources as you find materials that shape your understanding of your topic and, at the same time, provide you with facts and perspectives. You also may download articles as PDFs that you then annotate. Like many other students, you may find it challenging to keep so much material organized, accessible, and easy to work with while you write a major research paper. As it does for many of those students, a research log for your ideas and sources will help you keep track of the scope, purpose, and possibilities of any research project.

A research log is essentially a journal in which you collect information, ask questions, and monitor the results. Even if you are completing the annotated bibliography for Writing Process: Informing and Analyzing , keeping a research log is an effective organizational tool. Like Lily Tran’s research log entry, most entries have three parts: a part for notes on secondary sources, a part for connections to the thesis or main points, and a part for your own notes or questions. Record source notes by date, and allow room to add cross-references to other entries.

Summary of Assignment: Research Log

Your assignment is to create a research log similar to the student model. You will use it for the argumentative research project assigned in Writing Process: Integrating Research to record all secondary source information: your notes, complete publication data, relation to thesis, and other information as indicated in the right-hand column of the sample entry.

Another Lens. A somewhat different approach to maintaining a research log is to customize it to your needs or preferences. You can apply shading or color coding to headers, rows, and/or columns in the three-column format (for colors and shading). Or you can add columns to accommodate more information, analysis, synthesis, or commentary, formatting them as you wish. Consider adding a column for questions only or one for connections to other sources. Finally, consider a different visual format , such as one without columns. Another possibility is to record some of your comments and questions so that you have an aural rather than a written record of these.

Writing Center

At this point, or at any other point during the research and writing process, you may find that your school’s writing center can provide extensive assistance. If you are unfamiliar with the writing center, now is a good time to pay your first visit. Writing centers provide free peer tutoring for all types and phases of writing. Discussing your research with a trained writing center tutor can help you clarify, analyze, and connect ideas as well as provide feedback on works in progress.

Quick Launch: Beginning Questions

You may begin your research log with some open pages in which you freewrite, exploring answers to the following questions. Although you generally would do this at the beginning, it is a process to which you likely will return as you find more information about your topic and as your focus changes, as it may during the course of your research.

  • What information have I found so far?
  • What do I still need to find?
  • Where am I most likely to find it?

These are beginning questions. Like Lily Tran, however, you will come across general questions or issues that a quick note or freewrite may help you resolve. The key to this section is to revisit it regularly. Written answers to these and other self-generated questions in your log clarify your tasks as you go along, helping you articulate ideas and examine supporting evidence critically. As you move further into the process, consider answering the following questions in your freewrite:

  • What evidence looks as though it best supports my thesis?
  • What evidence challenges my working thesis?
  • How is my thesis changing from where it started?

Creating the Research Log

As you gather source material for your argumentative research paper, keep in mind that the research is intended to support original thinking. That is, you are not writing an informational report in which you simply supply facts to readers. Instead, you are writing to support a thesis that shows original thinking, and you are collecting and incorporating research into your paper to support that thinking. Therefore, a research log, whether digital or handwritten, is a great way to keep track of your thinking as well as your notes and bibliographic information.

In the model below, Lily Tran records the correct MLA bibliographic citation for the source. Then, she records a note and includes the in-text citation here to avoid having to retrieve this information later. Perhaps most important, Tran records why she noted this information—how it supports her thesis: The human race must turn to sustainable food systems that provide healthy diets with minimal environmental impact, starting now . Finally, she makes a note to herself about an additional visual to include in the final paper to reinforce the point regarding the current pressure on food systems. And she connects the information to other information she finds, thus cross-referencing and establishing a possible synthesis. Use a format similar to that in Table 13.4 to begin your own research log.

6/06/2021

It has been estimated, for example, that by 2050, milk production will increase 58 percent and meat production 73 percent (Chai).

 

Shows the pressure being put on food systems that will cause the need for more sustainable systems

Maybe include a graph showing the rising pressure on food systems.

Connects to similar predictions about produce and vegan diets. See Lynch et al.

Chai, Bingil Clark, et al. “Which Diet Has the Least Environmental Impact on Our Planet? A Systematic Review of Vegan, Vegetarian and Omnivorous Diets.” , vol. 11, no. 15, 2019, . Accessed 6 Dec. 2020.

Types of Research Notes

Taking good notes will make the research process easier by enabling you to locate and remember sources and use them effectively. While some research projects requiring only a few sources may seem easily tracked, research projects requiring more than a few sources are more effectively managed when you take good bibliographic and informational notes. As you gather evidence for your argumentative research paper, follow the descriptions and the electronic model to record your notes. You can combine these with your research log, or you can use the research log for secondary sources and your own note-taking system for primary sources if a division of this kind is helpful. Either way, be sure to include all necessary information.

Bibliographic Notes

These identify the source you are using. When you locate a useful source, record the information necessary to find that source again. It is important to do this as you find each source, even before taking notes from it. If you create bibliographic notes as you go along, then you can easily arrange them in alphabetical order later to prepare the reference list required at the end of formal academic papers. If your instructor requires you to use MLA formatting for your essay, be sure to record the following information:

  • Title of source
  • Title of container (larger work in which source is included)
  • Other contributors
  • Publication date

When using MLA style with online sources, also record the following information:

  • Date of original publication
  • Date of access
  • DOI (A DOI, or digital object identifier, is a series of digits and letters that leads to the location of an online source. Articles in journals are often assigned DOIs to ensure that the source can be located, even if the URL changes. If your source is listed with a DOI, use that instead of a URL.)

It is important to understand which documentation style your instructor will require you to use. Check the Handbook for MLA Documentation and Format and APA Documentation and Format styles . In addition, you can check the style guide information provided by the Purdue Online Writing Lab .

Informational Notes

These notes record the relevant information found in your sources. When writing your essay, you will work from these notes, so be sure they contain all the information you need from every source you intend to use. Also try to focus your notes on your research question so that their relevance is clear when you read them later. To avoid confusion, work with separate entries for each piece of information recorded. At the top of each entry, identify the source through brief bibliographic identification (author and title), and note the page numbers on which the information appears. Also helpful is to add personal notes, including ideas for possible use of the information or cross-references to other information. As noted in Writing Process: Integrating Research , you will be using a variety of formats when borrowing from sources. Below is a quick review of these formats in terms of note-taking processes. By clarifying whether you are quoting directly, paraphrasing, or summarizing during these stages, you can record information accurately and thus take steps to avoid plagiarism.

Direct Quotations, Paraphrases, and Summaries

A direct quotation is an exact duplication of the author’s words as they appear in the original source. In your notes, put quotation marks around direct quotations so that you remember these words are the author’s, not yours. One advantage of copying exact quotations is that it allows you to decide later whether to include a quotation, paraphrase, or summary. ln general, though, use direct quotations only when the author’s words are particularly lively or persuasive.

A paraphrase is a restatement of the author’s words in your own words. Paraphrase to simplify or clarify the original author’s point. In your notes, use paraphrases when you need to record details but not exact words.

A summary is a brief condensation or distillation of the main point and most important details of the original source. Write a summary in your own words, with facts and ideas accurately represented. A summary is useful when specific details in the source are unimportant or irrelevant to your research question. You may find you can summarize several paragraphs or even an entire article or chapter in just a few sentences without losing useful information. It is a good idea to note when your entry contains a summary to remind you later that it omits detailed information. See Writing Process Integrating Research for more detailed information and examples of quotations, paraphrases, and summaries and when to use them.

Other Systems for Organizing Research Logs and Digital Note-Taking

Students often become frustrated and at times overwhelmed by the quantity of materials to be managed in the research process. If this is your first time working with both primary and secondary sources, finding ways to keep all of the information in one place and well organized is essential.

Because gathering primary evidence may be a relatively new practice, this section is designed to help you navigate the process. As mentioned earlier, information gathered in fieldwork is not cataloged, organized, indexed, or shelved for your convenience. Obtaining it requires diligence, energy, and planning. Online resources can assist you with keeping a research log. Your college library may have subscriptions to tools such as Todoist or EndNote. Consult with a librarian to find out whether you have access to any of these. If not, use something like the template shown in Figure 13.8 , or another like it, as a template for creating your own research notes and organizational tool. You will need to have a record of all field research data as well as the research log for all secondary sources.

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Published: 21 June 2024 Contributors: Cole Stryker

Process improvement is a systematic approach to enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of business processes. It involves analyzing and improving existing processes within an organization to meet new business goals or standards of quality, so organizations can do more with less, faster.

Process improvement [sometimes referred to as business process improvement (BPI)] is a subdiscipline within business process management (BPM), a management approach that seeks understanding and control of all of the organization's business processes. BPI practitioners use popular process improvement methodologies, such as Lean, Six Sigma, Global 8-D, Total Quality Management, Theory of Constraints and Rummler Bache.

Process improvement provides a structured approach to overseeing and optimizing organizational workflows , yielding numerous benefits. By systematically analyzing and refining processes, organizations can eliminate inefficiencies, reduce costs and improve productivity. This approach leads to more consistent and reliable outcomes, minimizing errors and enhancing quality. Process improvement also fosters greater transparency and accountability, as it involves clearly defined roles, responsibilities and metrics for performance evaluation. This clarity helps in identifying and addressing bottlenecks and redundancies swiftly, leading to better customer experiences and higher profitability.

Moreover, process improvement enhances agility and adaptability, enabling organizations to respond more effectively to changing market conditions, customer needs and regulatory requirements. It supports continuous improvement by creating a culture where processes are regularly reviewed and refined, helping ensure that they remain aligned with strategic goals and evolving business environments. This proactive approach helps maintain compliance, mitigate risks and achieve sustainable growth. Additionally, improved processes lead to better resource usage and faster turnaround times, which can significantly boost customer satisfaction and competitive advantage.

Download the study to explore Forrester’s findings and discover why continuous process optimization should be a business imperative for your organization.

IBM Blueworks Live demo

The steps of process improvement differ across methodologies but a general approach includes:

The first step is identifying the processes that need improvement, selecting one that significantly impacts organizational performance and customer satisfaction and clearly defining its scope.

Next, the current process is mapped out in detail, creating a comprehensive flowchart or diagram that outlines all steps, inputs, outputs and stakeholders involved. The map includes relevant performance data, including cycle time, error rates and customer feedback.

Next, analyze the process map to identify inefficiencies, bottlenecks and waste. Root cause analysis can help with identifying the sources of issues.

Once the analysis is complete, the next step involves developing improvement strategies by brainstorming potential solutions with stakeholders and evaluating the feasibility and impact of each option.

This strategy leads to creating a detailed action plan that specifies the steps, timelines, responsibilities and resources required for implementing the chosen improvements. Implementing these changes involves administering the action plan and making necessary adjustments to the process.

Continuous monitoring and measuring of the process changes involves tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and gathering feedback to assess the effectiveness of the improvements.

The successful changes are then standardized by documenting the improved process and establishing new standard operating procedures (SOPs). Training and onboarding employees on these new procedures ensures that everyone understands and can sustain the changes. The final step involves reviewing the process periodically to ensure that the improvements are maintained and continue to meet organizational goals. This strategy helps foster a culture of continuous improvement where feedback is regularly solicited and further enhancements are made as needed.

Process improvement initiatives can involve one or more common methodologies.

Lean methodology is a systematic approach from the Japanese school of lean manufacturing that focuses on maximizing customer value while minimizing waste. Originating from the Toyota Production System, it emphasizes creating more value with fewer resources by identifying and eliminating activities that don't add value to streamline processes. Key principles include defining value, mapping the value stream, ensuring continuous flow, implementing pull systems and pursuing perfection through continuous improvement (Kaizen). Lean uses management tools such as 5S, value stream mapping and Kanban to enhance efficiency, reduce costs and improve quality, fostering a culture of continuous process improvement and employee engagement.

Agile methodology is an iterative, team-based approach to software development and project management that emphasizes flexibility, collaboration and customer feedback. Agile process improvement projects are divided into small, manageable tasks called iterations or sprints, typically lasting 1-4 weeks. Teams work closely with customers to prioritize features and adapt to changing requirements. Regular meetings, such as daily stand-ups and sprint reviews, ensure transparency and alignment. Agile frameworks such as Scrum and Kanban provide structures for planning, running and monitoring progress. By promoting adaptability and rapid delivery of value, Agile enables team members to respond quickly to feedback and deliver high-quality products efficiently.

Six Sigma is a data-driven methodology aimed at improving process quality by identifying and eliminating defects and variability. It uses statistical tools and process improvement techniques to identify root causes of problems, striving for near-perfection with a goal of no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. The DMAIC framework (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) is central to Six Sigma, guiding problem-solving and process improvement efforts.

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a comprehensive management approach centered on continuous improvement and customer satisfaction. It involves all members of an organization in improving processes, products, services and culture. Key principles include a strong customer focus, total employee involvement, process-centered thinking, integrated systems, strategic and systematic approaches, continuous improvement, fact-based decision-making and effective communication. TQM tools include quality circles and statistical process control.

Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is a radical approach to process improvement that involves rethinking and redesigning core business processes. This method helps achieve dramatic improvements in critical performance measures such as cost, quality, service and speed. BPR focuses on identifying and eliminating outdated, inefficient processes and replacing them with streamlined, effective ones. The steps include mapping existing processes, analyzing them to identify areas for significant improvement, designing new processes, implementing changes and monitoring results. BPR aims for substantial breakthroughs rather than incremental improvements, often leading to major shifts in how organizations operate.

The PDCA cycle is a continuous improvement model. It begins with “Plan,” where objectives and processes are defined to deliver results. Next, “Do” implements the plan on a small scale. “Check” involves evaluating the outcomes against expectations and identifying any discrepancies. Finally, “Act” standardizes successful processes or revises plans for further improvement. This iterative cycle fosters ongoing enhancements in quality and efficiency, making it fundamental for effective process improvement and problem-solving across various industries.

Technology plays a pivotal role in process improvement by providing smart tools, templates, wokflow automations, data analysis capabilities and communication platforms that optimize business operations and enhance operational efficiency .

Integration of disparate systems and technologies creates seamless end-to-end processes, reducing silos and inefficiencies. Digital transformation enables organizations to quickly adapt to market changes, customer preferences and regulatory requirements.

Automation of repetitive tasks reduces manual effort and human error, improving accuracy and efficiency. Business process automation speeds up processes, leading to quicker turnaround times and increased productivity. By replacing manual labor with automated systems , stakeholders can lower operational costs and reallocate resources.

Advanced analytics tools analyze large datasets to identify patterns, trends and areas for improvement. Data-driven insights enable informed decision-making, leading to more effective strategies and actions. Predictive models anticipate future trends and outcomes, enabling proactive adjustments to processes.

Sensors and IoT devices provide real-time data on process performance and if deviations are detected, enable immediate intervention. Technology allows continuous monitoring of product or service quality, ensuring adherence to standards and specifications. Automated feedback mechanisms capture user feedback and performance metrics, facilitating continuous improvement.

Technology facilitates collaboration among geographically dispersed teams, enabling real-time communication and collaboration. Cloud-based platforms centralize document storage and collaboration, ensuring version control and accessibility.

IBM Blueworks Live is a cloud-based platform that transforms the way teams build and refine business processes. It offers a unique, collaborative environment that bridges the gap between process mapping and actionable insights.

Business process automation tools empower you to understand and orchestrate critical resources including people, applications and systems. Manage your end-to-end business processes and respond quickly to changing market conditions. Increase organizational efficiency and reduce errors that can negatively impact the customer experience.

IBM Process Mining helps businesses make faster, more informed decisions for process improvement through data-driven insights.

Business process modeling gives organizations a simple way to understand and optimize workflows by creating data-driven visual representations of key business processes.

Learn what business process analysis (BPA) is and the types, methods and steps for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to consider.

Explore what business automation is, why it matters and how you can put it to work in your organization.

Organizational development (OD) is the planned, systematic process of changing the strategies, procedures and culture of an organization to improve its performance, effectiveness and growth.

What do a Canadian energy company, a Dutch coffee retailer and a British multinational consumer packaged goods (CPG) company have in common right now? All are transforming their procurement operations by leveraging state-of-the-art process mining and intelligent automation technology.

Discover how high-impact automations can help make your IT systems more proactive, processes more efficient and people more productive.

Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

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Public Trust in Government: 1958-2024

Public trust in the federal government, which has been low for decades, has increased modestly since 2023 . As of April 2024, 22% of Americans say they trust the government in Washington to do what is right “just about always” (2%) or “most of the time” (21%). Last year, 16% said they trusted the government just about always or most of the time, which was among the lowest measures in nearly seven decades of polling.

Date.Individual pollsMoving average
5/19/2024PEW2222
6/11/2023PEW1619
5/01/2022PEW2020
4/11/2021PEW2421
8/2/2020PEW2024
4/12/2020PEW2721
3/25/2019PEW1717
12/04/2017PEW1818
4/11/2017PEW2019
10/04/2015PEW1918
7/20/2014CNN1419
2/26/2014PEW2418
11/15/2013CBS/NYT1720
10/13/2013PEW1919
5/31/2013CBS/NYT2020
2/06/2013CBS/NYT2022
1/13/2013PEW2623
10/31/2012NES2219
10/19/2011CBS/NYT1017
10/04/2011PEW2015
9/23/2011CNN1518
8/21/2011PEW1921
2/28/2011PEW2923
10/21/2010CBS/NYT2223
10/01/2010CBS/NYT1821
9/06/2010PEW2423
9/01/2010CNN2523
4/05/2010CBS/NYT2023
4/05/2010PEW2522
3/21/2010PEW2224
2/12/2010CNN2622
2/05/2010CBS/NYT1921
1/10/2010GALLUP1920
12/20/2009CNN2021
8/31/2009CBS/NYT2422
6/12/2009CBS/NYT2023
12/21/2008CNN2625
10/15/2008NES3124
10/13/2008CBS/NYT1724
7/09/2007CBS/NYT2424
1/09/2007PEW3128
10/08/2006CBS/NYT2929
9/15/2006CBS/NYT2830
2/05/2006PEW3431
1/20/2006CBS/NYT3233
1/06/2006GALLUP3232
12/02/2005CBS/NYT3232
9/11/2005PEW3131
9/09/2005CBS/NYT2930
6/19/2005GALLUP3035
10/15/2004NES4639
7/15/2004CBS/NYT4041
3/21/2004PEW3638
10/26/2003GALLUP3736
7/27/2003CBS/NYT3643
10/15/2002NES5546
9/04/2002GALLUP4646
9/02/2002CBS/NYT3840
7/13/2002CBS/NYT3840
6/17/2002GALLUP4443
1/24/2002CBS/NYT4646
12/07/2001CBS/NYT4849
10/25/2001CBS/NYT5554
10/06/2001GALLUP6049
1/17/2001CBS/NYT3144
10/31/2000CBS/NYT4038
10/15/2000NES4442
7/09/2000GALLUP4239
4/02/2000ABC/POST3138
2/14/2000PEW4034
10/03/1999CBS/NYT3036
9/14/1999CBS/NYT3833
5/16/1999PEW3133
2/21/1999PEW3131
2/12/1999ABC/POST3232
2/04/1999GALLUP3334
1/10/1999CBS/NYT3734
1/03/1999CBS/NYT3337
12/01/1998NES4033
11/15/1998PEW2630
11/01/1998CBS/NYT2426
10/26/1998CBS/NYT2628
8/10/1998ABC/POST3431
2/22/1998PEW3435
2/01/1998GALLUP3933
1/25/1998CBS/NYT2632
1/19/1998ABC/POST3132
10/31/1997PEW3931
8/27/1997ABC/POST2231
6/01/1997GALLUP3226
1/14/1997CBS/NYT2327
11/02/1996CBS/NYT2527
10/15/1996NES3328
5/12/1996GALLUP2731
5/06/1996ABC/POST3429
11/19/1995ABC/POST2527
8/07/1995GALLUP2222
8/05/1995CBS/NYT2021
3/19/1995ABC/POST2220
2/22/1995CBS/NYT1821
12/01/1994NES2221
10/29/1994CBS/NYT2222
10/23/1994ABC/POST2220
6/06/1994GALLUP1719
1/30/1994GALLUP1920
1/20/1994ABC/POST2422
3/24/1993GALLUP2225
1/17/1993ABC/POST2825
1/14/1993CBS/NYT2425
10/23/1992CBS/NYT2225
10/15/1992NES2925
6/08/1992GALLUP2329
10/20/1991ABC/POST3535
3/06/1991CBS/NYT4742
3/01/1991ABC/POST4546
1/27/1991ABC/POST4640
12/01/1990NES2833
10/28/1990CBS/NYT2532
9/06/1990ABC/POST4235
1/16/1990ABC/POST3838
6/29/1989CBS/NYT3539
1/15/1989CBS/NYT4441
11/10/1988CBS/NYT4443
10/15/1988NES4141
1/23/1988ABC/POST3940
10/18/1987CBS/NYT4143
6/01/1987ABC/POST4743
3/01/1987CBS/NYT4244
1/21/1987CBS/NYT4343
1/19/1987ABC/POST4442
12/01/1986NES3944
11/30/1986CBS/NYT4943
9/09/1986ABC/POST4044
1/19/1986CBS/NYT4244
11/06/1985CBS/NYT4943
7/29/1985ABC/POST3842
3/21/1985ABC/POST3740
2/27/1985CBS/NYT4642
2/22/1985ABC/POST4345
11/14/1984CBS/NYT4644
10/15/1984NES4441
12/01/1982NES3339
11/07/1980CBS/NYT3932
10/15/1980NES2530
3/12/1980CBS/NYT2627
11/03/1979CBS/NYT3028
12/01/1978NES2931
10/23/1977CBS/NYT3332
4/25/1977CBS/NYT3534
10/15/1976NES3336
9/05/1976CBS/NYT4035
6/15/1976CBS/NYT3335
3/01/1976GALLUP3334
2/08/1976CBS/NYT3635
12/01/1974NES3636
10/15/1972NES5353
12/01/1970NES5454
10/15/1968NES6262
12/01/1966NES6565
10/15/1964NES7777
12/01/1958NES7373

When the National Election Study began asking about trust in government in 1958, about three-quarters of Americans trusted the federal government to do the right thing almost always or most of the time.

Trust in government began eroding during the 1960s, amid the escalation of the Vietnam War, and the decline continued in the 1970s with the Watergate scandal and worsening economic struggles.

Confidence in government recovered in the mid-1980s before falling again in the mid-’90s. But as the economy grew in the late 1990s, so too did trust in government. Public trust reached a three-decade high shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks but declined quickly after. Since 2007, the shares saying they can trust the government always or most of the time have not been higher than 30%.

Today, 35% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say they trust the federal government just about always or most of the time, compared with 11% of Republicans and Republican leaners.

Democrats report slightly more trust in the federal government today than a year ago. Republicans’ views have been relatively unchanged over this period.

Since the 1970s, trust in government has been consistently higher among members of the party that controls the White House than among the opposition party.

Republicans have often been more reactive than Democrats to changes in political leadership, with Republicans expressing much lower levels of trust during Democratic presidencies. Democrats’ attitudes have tended to be somewhat more consistent, regardless of which party controls the White House.

However, Republican and Democratic shifts in attitudes from the end of Donald Trump’s presidency to the start of Joe Biden’s were roughly the same magnitude.

Date.Democrat/Lean DemRepublican/Lean Rep
5/19/2024PEW3511
6/11/2023PEW258
5/1/2022PEW299
4/11/2021PEW369
8/2/2020PEW1228
4/12/2020PEW1836
3/25/2019PEW1421
12/04/2017PEW1522
4/11/2017PEW1528
10/04/2015PEW2611
7/20/2014CNN1711
2/26/2014PEW3216
11/15/2013CBS/NYT318
10/13/2013PEW2710
5/31/2013CBS/NYT308
2/06/2013CBS/NYT348
1/13/2013PEW3715
10/31/2012NES2916
10/19/2011CBS/NYT138
10/04/2011PEW2712
9/23/2011CNN2011
8/21/2011PEW2513
3/01/2011PEW3424
10/21/2010CBS/NYT367
10/01/2010CBS/NYT2713
9/06/2010PEW3513
9/01/2010CNN3118
4/05/2010CBS/NYT2714
3/21/2010PEW3213
2/12/2010CNN3418
2/05/2010CBS/NYT319
1/10/2010GALLUP2316
12/20/2009CNN2516
8/31/2009CBS/NYT3412
6/12/2009CBS/NYT3510
12/21/2008CNN3022
10/15/2008NES3431
10/13/2008CBS/NYT1219
7/09/2007CBS/NYT1831
1/09/2007PEW2243
10/08/2006CBS/NYT2050
9/15/2006CBS/NYT2044
2/05/2006PEW2053
1/20/2006CBS/NYT2351
1/06/2006GALLUP2044
12/02/2005CBS/NYT1952
9/11/2005PEW1949
9/09/2005CBS/NYT2142
6/19/2005GALLUP2436
10/15/2004NES3561
3/21/2004PEW2455
10/26/2003GALLUP3542
7/27/2003CBS/NYT2551
10/15/2002NES5263
9/04/2002GALLUP3855
9/02/2002CBS/NYT3252
7/13/2002CBS/NYT3445
6/17/2002GALLUP3355
1/24/2002CBS/NYT3956
12/07/2001CBS/NYT3960
10/25/2001CBS/NYT4770
10/06/2001GALLUP5268
1/17/2001CBS/NYT2638
10/15/2000NES4843
7/09/2000GALLUP4241
4/02/2000ABC/POST3824
2/14/2000PEW4637
10/03/1999CBS/NYT3127
9/14/1999CBS/NYT4235
5/16/1999PEW3630
2/21/1999PEW3525
2/12/1999ABC/POST4121
2/04/1999GALLUP3829
1/10/1999CBS/NYT4233
1/03/1999CBS/NYT3729
12/01/1998NES4535
11/19/1998PEW3123
11/01/1998CBS/NYT2822
10/26/1998CBS/NYT2825
8/10/1998ABC/POST4030
2/22/1998PEW4228
2/01/1998GALLUP5226
1/25/1998CBS/NYT3122
10/31/1997PEW4632
6/01/1997GALLUP3925
1/14/1997CBS/NYT2920
11/02/1996CBS/NYT3120
10/15/1996NES4027
5/12/1996GALLUP3220
5/06/1996ABC/POST4135
11/19/1995ABC/POST2726
8/07/1995GALLUP2421
8/05/1995CBS/NYT2020
3/19/1995ABC/POST2720
2/22/1995CBS/NYT1819
12/01/1994NES2618
10/29/1994CBS/NYT2619
10/23/1994ABC/POST2716
6/06/1994GALLUP2311
1/30/1994GALLUP2514
1/20/1994ABC/POST3018
3/24/1993GALLUP3211
1/17/1993ABC/POST3225
1/14/1993CBS/NYT2621
10/23/1992CBS/NYT1731
10/15/1992NES3134
6/08/1992GALLUP1731
10/20/1991ABC/POST3141
3/06/1991CBS/NYT4056
3/01/1991ABC/POST4152
12/01/1990NES2632
10/28/1990CBS/NYT2131
9/06/1990ABC/POST3748
1/16/1990ABC/POST3246
6/29/1989CBS/NYT2745
1/15/1989CBS/NYT3754
11/10/1988CBS/NYT3658
10/15/1988NES3551
1/23/1988ABC/POST3151
10/18/1987CBS/NYT3647
6/01/1987ABC/POST3859
3/01/1987CBS/NYT3454
1/21/1987CBS/NYT3651
1/19/1987ABC/POST3951
12/01/1986NES3153
11/30/1986CBS/NYT3763
9/09/1986ABC/POST3051
1/19/1986CBS/NYT3651
11/06/1985CBS/NYT4259
7/29/1985ABC/POST3048
3/21/1985ABC/POST2949
2/22/1985ABC/POST3062
11/14/1984CBS/NYT3659
10/15/1984NES4150
12/01/1982NES3241
11/07/1980CBS/NYT4042
10/15/1980NES3123
3/12/1980CBS/NYT3022
11/03/1979CBS/NYT3228
12/01/1978NES3326
10/23/1977CBS/NYT4025
4/25/1977CBS/NYT3734
10/15/1976NES3042
9/05/1976CBS/NYT3845
6/15/1976CBS/NYT3636
3/01/1976GALLUP3140
12/01/1974NES3638
10/15/1972NES4862
12/01/1970NES5261
10/15/1968NES6660
12/01/1966NES7154
10/15/1964NES8073
12/01/1958NES7179
Date.Liberal Dem/Lean DemCons-Moderate Dem/Lean DemModerate-Lib Rep/Lean RepConservative Rep/Lean Rep
5/19/2024PEW3336177
6/11/2023PEW2327144
5/1/2022PEW2632137
4/11/2021PEW3140165
8/2/2020PEW8163127
4/12/2020PEW12223737
3/25/2019PEW13152120
12/04/2017PEW15162620
4/11/2017PEW15163226
10/04/2015PEW2825149
7/20/2014CNN1916157
2/26/2014PEW31332113
11/15/2013CBS/NYT3825135
10/13/2013PEW2527167
5/31/2013CBS/NYT3030164
2/06/2013CBS/NYT353497
1/13/2013PEW34371714
10/31/2012NES26321815
10/19/2011CBS/NYT913117
10/04/2011PEW3025149
9/23/2011CNN30161111
8/21/2011PEW26241810
3/01/2011PEW36333218
10/21/2010CBS/NYT3735124
10/01/2010CBS/NYT34221016
9/06/2010PEW39311910
9/01/2010CNN36302811
4/05/2010CBS/NYT3721237
3/21/2010PEW36311911
2/12/2010CNN3634259
2/05/2010CBS/NYT3132137
1/10/2010GALLUP29222012
12/20/2009CNN31231813
8/31/2009CBS/NYT38301410
6/12/2009CBS/NYT4234138
12/21/2008CNN36282817
10/15/2008NES37344828
10/13/2008CBS/NYT16122612
7/09/2007CBS/NYT14213828
1/09/2007PEW15254145
10/08/2006CBS/NYT14225051
9/15/2006CBS/NYT11234444
2/05/2006PEW13235254
1/20/2006CBS/NYT27215250
1/06/2006GALLUP10263356
12/02/2005CBS/NYT16216047
9/11/2005PEW13223954
9/09/2005CBS/NYT12264641
6/19/2005GALLUP25243141
10/15/2004NES24396359
3/21/2004PEW23245356
10/26/2003GALLUP23393152
7/27/2003CBS/NYT21275547
10/15/2002NES53566661
9/04/2002GALLUP31405060
9/02/2002CBS/NYT32325553
7/13/2002CBS/NYT37335042
6/17/2002GALLUP30365955
1/24/2002CBS/NYT38395854
12/07/2001CBS/NYT34436158
10/06/2001GALLUP46556669
1/17/2001CBS/NYT33244133
10/15/2000NES58525444
7/09/2000GALLUP41425035
4/02/2000ABC/POST38392820
10/03/1999CBS/NYT26332924
9/14/1999CBS/NYT38454227
2/12/1999ABC/POST40432616
2/04/1999GALLUP36403327
1/10/1999CBS/NYT39444028
1/03/1999CBS/NYT34393126
12/01/1998NES45463934
11/01/1998CBS/NYT28282322
10/26/1998CBS/NYT30282226
8/10/1998ABC/POST38352427
2/01/1998GALLUP55523323
1/25/1998CBS/NYT24312419
6/01/1997GALLUP41383121
1/14/1997CBS/NYT30282514
11/02/1996CBS/NYT30322119
10/15/1996NES38393025
5/12/1996GALLUP25352518
5/06/1996ABC/POST41413933
11/19/1995ABC/POST26272628
8/07/1995GALLUP16271725
8/05/1995CBS/NYT21191923
3/19/1995ABC/POST24282217
2/22/1995CBS/NYT20182217
12/01/1994NES22282116
10/29/1994CBS/NYT26272315
10/23/1994ABC/POST32252211
6/06/1994GALLUP1626159
1/30/1994GALLUP20271812
1/20/1994ABC/POST26312510
1/17/1993ABC/POST30332822
1/14/1993CBS/NYT17302020
10/23/1992CBS/NYT20153032
10/15/1992NES26333731
6/08/1992GALLUP13193130
10/20/1991ABC/POST25334239
3/06/1991CBS/NYT46395756
3/01/1991ABC/POST39415450
12/01/1990NES27263133
9/06/1990ABC/POST34394945
1/16/1990ABC/POST28345039
6/29/1989CBS/NYT27273855
1/15/1989CBS/NYT33385654
11/10/1988CBS/NYT24406552
10/15/1988NES34355251
1/23/1988ABC/POST30315449
10/18/1987CBS/NYT34374749
6/01/1987ABC/POST34416055
1/21/1987CBS/NYT34375448
1/19/1987ABC/POST37385251
12/01/1986NES25365353
9/09/1986ABC/POST25345544
1/19/1986CBS/NYT34385152
11/06/1985CBS/NYT42436056
7/29/1985ABC/POST26335341
3/21/1985ABC/POST27295248
2/22/1985ABC/POST28336263
10/15/1984NES34475246
12/01/1982NES29354838
11/07/1980CBS/NYT38424441
10/15/1980NES34282818
3/12/1980CBS/NYT31292518
11/03/1979CBS/NYT34312826
12/01/1978NES38332424
10/23/1977CBS/NYT41413216
4/25/1977CBS/NYT41383336
10/15/1976NES27344941
9/05/1976CBS/NYT33424545
6/15/1976CBS/NYT35353934
12/01/1974NES36403940
10/15/1972NES44536266

Among Asian, Hispanic and Black adults, 36%, 30% and 27% respectively say they trust the federal government “most of the time” or “just about always” – higher levels of trust than among White adults (19%).

During the last Democratic administration, Black and Hispanic adults similarly expressed more trust in government than White adults. Throughout most recent Republican administrations, White Americans were substantially more likely than Black Americans to express trust in the federal government to do the right thing.

Date.HispanicBlackWhiteAsian
5/19/2024PEW30271936
6/11/2023PEW23211323
5/1/2022PEW29241637
4/11/2021PEW36371829
8/2/2020PEW28151827
4/12/2020PEW292726
3/25/2019PEW28917
12/04/2017PEW231517
4/11/2017PEW241320
10/04/2015PEW282315
7/20/2014CNN9
2/26/2014PEW332622
11/15/2013CBS/NYT12
10/13/2013PEW212417
5/31/2013CBS/NYT15
2/06/2013CBS/NYT3915
1/13/2013PEW443820
10/31/2012NES383816
10/19/2011CBS/NYT15158
10/04/2011PEW292517
9/23/2011CNN10
8/21/2011PEW283515
3/01/2011PEW282530
10/21/2010CBS/NYT4015
10/01/2010CBS/NYT17
9/06/2010PEW373720
9/01/2010CNN21
4/05/2010CBS/NYT18
3/21/2010PEW263720
2/12/2010CNN22
2/05/2010CBS/NYT16
1/10/2010GALLUP16
12/20/2009CNN2118
8/31/2009CBS/NYT21
6/12/2009CBS/NYT16
12/21/2008CNN22
10/15/2008NES342830
10/13/2008CBS/NYT18
7/09/2007CBS/NYT1125
1/09/2007PEW352032
10/08/2006CBS/NYT31
9/15/2006CBS/NYT31
2/05/2006PEW2636
1/20/2006CBS/NYT1934
1/06/2006GALLUP33
12/02/2005CBS/NYT35
9/11/2005PEW1232
9/09/2005CBS/NYT1229
6/19/2005GALLUP32
10/15/2004NES3450
3/21/2004PEW1741
10/26/2003GALLUP39
7/27/2003CBS/NYT1937
10/15/2002NES4158
9/04/2002GALLUP46
9/02/2002CBS/NYT39
7/13/2002CBS/NYT39
6/17/2002GALLUP48
1/24/2002CBS/NYT48
12/07/2001CBS/NYT51
10/25/2001CBS/NYT60
10/06/2001GALLUP61
1/17/2001CBS/NYT33
10/15/2000NES3246
7/09/2000GALLUP41
4/02/2000ABC/POST28
2/14/2000PEW3640
10/03/1999CBS/NYT28
9/14/1999CBS/NYT3039
5/16/1999PEW2831
2/21/1999PEW3231
2/12/1999ABC/POST32
2/04/1999GALLUP33
1/10/1999CBS/NYT3735
1/03/1999CBS/NYT3931
12/01/1998NES573638
11/19/1998PEW2726
11/01/1998CBS/NYT2922
10/26/1998CBS/NYT2625
8/10/1998ABC/POST33
2/22/1998PEW4233
2/01/1998GALLUP36
1/25/1998CBS/NYT25
10/31/1997PEW3938
6/01/1997GALLUP3132
1/14/1997CBS/NYT1524
11/02/1996CBS/NYT313024
10/15/1996NES3532
5/12/1996GALLUP24
5/06/1996ABC/POST34
11/19/1995ABC/POST26
8/07/1995GALLUP22
8/05/1995CBS/NYT2419
3/19/1995ABC/POST2721
2/22/1995CBS/NYT2017
12/01/1994NES2220
10/29/1994CBS/NYT1622
10/23/1994ABC/POST21
6/06/1994GALLUP15
1/30/1994GALLUP17
1/20/1994ABC/POST3421
3/24/1993GALLUP20
1/17/1993ABC/POST4525
1/14/1993CBS/NYT2224
10/23/1992CBS/NYT2123
10/15/1992NES372728
6/08/1992GALLUP23
10/20/1991ABC/POST2936
3/06/1991CBS/NYT3049
3/01/1991ABC/POST3546
12/01/1990NES392227
10/28/1990CBS/NYT2625
9/06/1990ABC/POST3943
1/16/1990ABC/POST3538
6/29/1989CBS/NYT2636
1/15/1989CBS/NYT3346
11/10/1988CBS/NYT3345
10/15/1988NES2543
1/23/1988ABC/POST2941
10/18/1987CBS/NYT3241
6/01/1987ABC/POST3449
3/01/1987CBS/NYT2045
1/21/1987CBS/NYT2746
1/19/1987ABC/POST3147
12/01/1986NES2142
11/30/1986CBS/NYT2352
9/09/1986ABC/POST2642
1/19/1986CBS/NYT2245
11/06/1985CBS/NYT3452
7/29/1985ABC/POST2240
3/21/1985ABC/POST2940
2/22/1985ABC/POST2446
10/15/1984NES3346
12/01/1982NES2634
11/07/1980CBS/NYT3040
10/15/1980NES2625
3/12/1980CBS/NYT3524
11/03/1979CBS/NYT3629
12/01/1978NES2929
10/23/1977CBS/NYT2834
4/25/1977CBS/NYT3435
10/15/1976NES2235
6/15/1976CBS/NYT3534
3/01/1976GALLUP2334
12/01/1974NES1938
10/15/1972NES3256
12/01/1970NES4055
10/15/1968NES6261
12/01/1966NES6565
10/15/1964NES7777
12/01/1958NES6274

Note: For full question wording, refer to the topline . White, Black and Asian American adults include those who report being one race and are not Hispanic. Hispanics are of any race. Estimates for Asian adults are representative of English speakers only.

Sources: Pew Research Center, National Election Studies, Gallup, ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, and CNN Polls. Data from 2020 and later comes from Pew Research Center’s online American Trends Panel; prior data is from telephone surveys. Details about changes in survey mode can be found in this 2020 report . Read more about the Center’s polling methodology . For analysis by party and race/ethnicity, selected datasets were obtained from searches of the iPOLL Databank provided by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research .

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ABOUT PEW RESEARCH CENTER  Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of  The Pew Charitable Trusts .

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Pharma’s digital Rx: Quantum computing in drug research and development

The development of molecular formulations that become drugs to treat or cure diseases is at the heart of the pharmaceutical industry. Development is so fundamental that pharma spends a full 15 percent of its sales on R&D—a huge sum that accounts for more than 20 percent of total R&D spending across all industries in the global economy. This investment goes hand in hand with innovation: constantly seeking to improve the R&D process, pharma companies have for decades been early adopters of computational chemistry’s digital tools, such as molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and density functional theory (DFT). More recently, pharma R&D has taken advantage of artificial intelligence (AI). The next digital frontier is quantum computing  (QC).

In a recent article , we analyzed the impact of QC on the chemical industry, which, similarly to pharma, relies on the development and manufacture of molecules, and concluded that it will be one of the first industries to benefit. In this article, we explain the profound impact that QC could have on the pharma industry and present use cases for its application. We also provide a set of strategic questions to get clarity on the path forward for industry players.

Pharma’s focus on molecular formations makes it well suited for QC

Identifying and developing small molecules and macromolecules that might help cure illnesses and diseases is the core activity of pharmaceutical companies. Given its focus on molecular formations, pharma as an industry is a natural candidate for quantum computing. The molecules (including those that might be used for drugs) are actually quantum systems; that is, systems that are based on quantum physics. QC is expected to be able to predict and simulate the structure, properties, and behavior (or reactivity) of these molecules more effectively than conventional computing can. Exact methods are computationally intractable for standard computers, and approximate methods are often not sufficiently accurate when interactions on the atomic level are critical, as is the case for many compounds. Theoretically, quantum computers have the capacity to efficiently simulate the complete problem, including interactions on the atomic level. As these quantum computers become more powerful, tremendous value will be at stake.

The basics of quantum computing

A conventional computer, built on transistor-based classical bits operated by voltages, can be in only one of two states: 0 or 1. A quantum computer, instead, uses systems based on quantum physics, such as superconducting loops or ions hovering in electromagnetic fields (ion traps), which are operated by microwave radiation or lasers, respectively. As a result of the laws of quantum mechanics, such systems can be held in a special physical state, called a quantum superposition, in which quantum bits (qubits) exist in a probabilistic combination of the two states—0 and 1—simultaneously.

The implications of these effects for QC are dramatic. Qubits can process far more information than conventional computers can. Qubits use the characteristics of quantum-mechanical systems to solve complex equations in a probabilistic manner, so a computation solved with a quantum algorithm enables sampling from the probabilistic distribution of being correct. The combination of greater speed with probabilistic solutions means that quantum computing fits well with a certain subset of computing needs and applications, such as optimization, the simulation of chemicals, and AI.

While the technology behind quantum computing is rather difficult to understand intuitively (see sidebar, “The basics of quantum computing”), its impact is much easier to grasp: it will handle certain kinds of computational tasks exponentially faster than today’s conventional computers do. Thus, once fully developed, QC could add value across the entire drug value chain—from discovery through development to registration and postmarketing.

QC’s biggest impact on pharma will be in the discovery phases

While QC may benefit the entire pharma value chain—from research across production through commercial and medical—its primary value lies in R&D (Exhibit 1).

Currently, pharma players process molecules with non-QC tools, such as MD and DFT, in a methodology called computer-assisted drug discovery (CADD). But the classical computers they rely on are sorely limited, and basic calculations predicting the behavior of medium-size drug molecules could take a lifetime to compute accurately. CADD on quantum computers could increase the scope of biological mechanisms amenable to CADD, shorten screening time, and reduce the number of times an empirically based development cycle must be run by eliminating some of the research-related “dead ends,” which add significant time and cost to the discovery phase. Exhibit 2 shows where QC-enhanced CADD would improve the development cycle.

QC could make current CADD tools more effective by helping to predict molecular properties with high accuracy. That can affect the development process in several ways, such as modeling how proteins fold and how drug candidates interact with biologically relevant proteins. Here, QC may allow researchers to screen computational libraries against multiple possible structures of the target in parallel. Current approaches usually restrict the structural flexibility of the target molecule due to a lack of computational power and a limited amount of time. These restrictions may reduce the chances of identifying the best drug candidates.

In the longer term, QC may improve generation and validation of hypotheses by using machine-learning (ML) algorithms to uncover new structure-property relationships. Once it has reached sufficient maturity, QC technology may be able to create new types of drug-candidate libraries that are no longer restricted to small molecules but also include peptides and antibodies. It could also enable a more automated approach to drug discovery, in which a large structural library of biologically relevant targets is automatically screened against drug-like molecules via high-throughput approaches.

One could even envision QC triggering a paradigm shift in pharmaceutical R&D, moving beyond today’s digitally enabled R&D toward simulation-based or in silico drug discoveries—a trend that has been seen in other industries as well.

The following QC use cases apply to different aspects of drug discovery and will emerge at different points over an extended timeline. All of them, however, may enable more accurate and efficient development of targeted compounds.

Target identification and validation

During target identification, QC can be leveraged to reliably predict the 3-D structures of proteins. Obtaining high-quality structural data is a lengthy process often leading to low-quality results. Despite all efforts, researchers have yet to crystallize many biologically important proteins—be it due to their size, solubility (for example, membrane proteins), or inability to express and purify in sufficient amount. Pharma companies sometimes develop drugs without even knowing the structure of a protein—accepting the risk of a trial-and-error approach in subsequent steps of drug development—because the business case for a given drug is potentially so strong.

AlphaFold, developed by Google’s DeepMind, was a breakthrough in AI-driven protein folding but has not resolved all of the challenges of classical computing-based simulation, including, for example, formation of protein complexes, protein-protein interactions, and protein-ligand interactions. It’s the interactions that are most difficult to classically solve and, thus, may benefit from QC, which allows for the explicit treatment of electrons. Additionally, QC may allow for strong computational efficiencies here given that Google’s AI model—which is trained on around 170,000 different structures of protein data—requires more than 120 high-end computers for several weeks.

Hit generation and validation

QC’s ability to parallel process complex phenomena would be particularly valuable during hit generation and validation. With existing computers, pharma companies can only use CADD on small to medium-size drug candidates and largely in a sequential manner. Computing power is the bottleneck. With powerful enough QC, pharma companies would be able to expand all use cases to selected biologics as well, for instance, semi-synthesized biologics or fusion proteins, and perform in silico search and validation experiments in a more high-throughput fashion. This use case would go beyond the identification of the protein and eventually encompass almost the entire known biological world. With a robust enough hit-generation and validation approach, this step would already deliver potential lead molecules that are much easier and quicker to optimize.

Lead optimization

During lead optimization, which is a top-three parameter to improve R&D productivity, 1 Steven M. Paul et al., “How to improve R&D productivity: The pharmaceutical industry’s grand challenge,” Nature Reviews Drug Discovery , March 2010, Volume 9, pp. 203–214, nature.com. QC may allow for enhanced absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME); more accurate activity and toxicity predictions for organ systems; dose and solubility optimization; and other safety issues.

Data linkage and generation

The metalevel of R&D very much consists of linking appropriate data together—for instance, creating sensible connections between data points through effective (semantic) management. The more complex the biological information that can be processed, the more extensive the graphs that inform the drug discovery research process become. There is currently research on “topological data analysis” under way that aims to identify “holes” and “connections” across large data sets. 2 Silvano Garnerone, Seth Lloyd, and Paolo Zanardi, “Quantum algorithms for topological and geometric analysis of data,” Nature Communications , January 2016, Volume 7, Article 10138, nature.com. This may at some point enable R&D specialists to identify concrete cases and “industry verticals” where such algorithms are applicable, for example, in identifying connections across brain cells in response to a drug.

Moreover, QC could be used to “deepfake” missing data points throughout the research process, that is, generate a type of fake data by using ML algorithms. This could be particularly useful wherever there is a scarcity of data, such as in rare diseases, that can then be mitigated through artificial data sets. QC will set a new bar here regarding speed in training ML models, amount of initial data needed, and level of accuracy.

Clinical trials

Clinical trials could be optimized through patient identification and stratification and population pharmacogenetic modeling. 3 Paul et al., 2010. In trial planning and execution, QC could optimize the selection of the trial sites. QC could also augment causality analyses for side effects to improve active safety surveillance.

Beyond research and development

While the potential value of QC in pharma R&D is immense, it will also likely play a role further down the value chain. In the production of active ingredients, QC may aid in the calculation of reaction rates, optimize catalytic processes, and, ultimately, create significant efficiencies in the development of new product formulations. In the business-related value pools, QC in pharma could include the optimization of logistics (for instance, the optimization of on-site flows of materials, heat, and waste in production facilities) and improvements in the supply chain. Finally, toward market access and commercial, QC may even enable automatic drug recommendations.

Rollout of QC in pharma R&D will occur over two clear time horizons, characterized by a gradual tech transition

The development of quantum computers began nearly four decades ago, but it is the gains in QC technology realized over the past few years that paved the way for practical applications in pharma. We see the key, value-adding QC activities in pharma unfolding over two distinct eras as the technology further matures (Exhibit 3):

  • From 2020–30: Not fully error-corrected QC. Early commercial activities related to quantum computing are already under way as we leave the first horizon—which focused on quantum-inspired algorithms over the past 40 years—and enter the horizon of not fully error-corrected QC. Often referred to as “noisy intermediate-scale quantum” (NISQ), this phase describes the not-error-corrected characteristics of near-term devices that are based on an initially considerable number of quantum bits (qubits) to solve problems classic computers can’t solve yet and do not provide fault tolerance. The timeline for the development and implementation of QC technology, and its adoption across companies, is very much under debate. NISQ, as a class of probabilistic computers that still (mostly) produce error-prone results, may potentially provide a near-term solution for a limited set of use cases. Companies eyeing QC’s potential should take this uncertainty into consideration.
  • Beyond 2030: Fully error-corrected QC. Beyond 2030, fully error-corrected QC is expected, in which full value through QC will be captured. In this horizon, QC gets implemented at scale, and later adopters also implement the technology. In other words, chemicals players may start creating value with QC by the mid-2020s ; pharma companies are expected to move more solidly into the space shortly thereafter. Compared with the chemical industry, pharma researchers primarily target more complex and larger molecular systems, which can’t be replicated with either high-performance computers or today’s limited quantum computers.

Exactly when a particular company begins to capture QC’s benefits will depend on its tech starting point (that is, its current level of R&D digitization) and its business focus: the number of small active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in its portfolio. Pharma companies that have a strong footprint in CADD and focus their R&D on smaller molecules will be among the first to take advantage of emergent QC. Exhibit 4 maps key CADD methods along the drug-discovery continuum and offers an indication of the applicability of QC. It’s expected that QC will be mostly applicable in the discovery phase of hit generation, hit-to-lead, and also in lead optimization.

In the next five to ten years, we expect that the first QC tools pharma players deploy will rely on hybrid methodologies that use classical algorithms alongside QC subroutines when they can create additional value. The prominent examples are the imaginary time evolution (an algorithm to find the ground-state and excited-state energy of many-particle systems) and the variational quantum eigen-solver, or VQE (an algorithm to calculate the binding affinity between an API and a target receptor). The value that algorithms such as VQE will add depends on the size of the quantum hardware. Describing small-molecule drugs generally requires less-mature quantum computers, while biologicals will be tackled only as QC matures.

Taking steps now can position pharma players for QC success later

The pharma sector is well positioned to take full advantage of this opportunity. Its tech-ready culture already embraces a wide array of digital tools: CADD, AI, ML, and non-QC DFT- and MD-simulation tools already play a big role in the sector’s R&D. On top of this, pharma players are already working with quantum-chemical simulations, so the barrier to entry is quite low. Scientists will not have to change the way they develop drugs in any fundamental way—they will just be working with more capable tools.

That said, companies will make their own decisions regarding whether and how to move toward a QC-enabled business. Some pharma players may take a pass on deploying QC, others may wait and observe, while still others are going “all in,” ginning up early in-house development. Most pharma players, however, will likely undertake joint-development strategies with upstream players. No matter what, answering some key strategic questions will help companies make more informed decisions on their stance for QC.

Assess the opportunity

Pharmaceutical companies should assess QC now and potentially lay the groundwork to reap the benefits of the technology later. QC may give many of them a huge opportunity, yet each pharma player needs to figure out how much exposure it has and the size of its QC opportunity in the context of its current pace of development. Thus, pharma players should consider three key strategic questions to determine their optimal QC strategy (Exhibit 5):

  • Will QC demonstrate promise to disrupt my area of play and reorganize the competitive landscape?
  • Have I identified opportunities in my value chain where QC’s potential may translate into value and in which time horizon?
  • Can I dedicate resources to investigate QC opportunities, and can I scale up capabilities?

Subject to the above answers, moving early can help secure valuable intellectual property for the algorithms that drive QC and can also address a key issue: pharma won’t be the first industry sector to benefit from QC, so late-moving players could face a lack of suitable talent.

Establish partnerships

Some pharmaceutical players have already realized the need to join forces on the topic of QC and have started to collaborate and/or form partnerships. For example, QuPharm formed in late 2019 by major pharmaceutical players to pool ideas and expertise around QC use cases. QuPharm also collaborates with the Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C), which was created in 2018 by the US government as part of the National Quantum Initiative Act and aims to enable commercial QC use-case efforts. Additionally, the Pistoia Alliance is a life sciences membership organization, which was organized to facilitate precompetitive collaboration and foster R&D innovation.

Partnering with pure quantum players taps into their existing expertise to test early use cases and facilitate development. At the moment, there are more than 100 QC-focused companies—both start-ups and established firms—around the world, focusing on software, hardware, or enabling services. Approximately 25 companies are targeting applications in the pharma industry. Less than 15 focus on algorithms or solutions for pharma players, and very few are focusing exclusively on the needs of pharma players.

Develop capabilities

Digital talent gaps are already a reality, and QC may only exacerbate them. Unlike other important digital tools, such as AI, quantum computing depends on niche know-how. Pharma companies already struggle to attract people with capabilities in the less specialized digital technologies, and hiring quantum-computing experts may prove to be even more of a challenge.

Ensure organizational collaboration

A pharma company’s “way of working” will also be central to its success in QC. The traditional walls that separate the work of the organization’s various functions and units—for example, research, tech, business—will have to fall away. Cross-functional collaboration in both spirit and action will characterize the pharma companies that are able to take full advantage of QC.

Quantum computing could be the key to exponentially more efficient discovery of pharmaceutical cures and therapeutics as well as to hundreds of billions of dollars in value for the pharma industry. Experts predict, for example, that today’s $200 billion market for protein-based drugs could grow by 50 to 100 percent  in the medium term if better tools to develop them became available. Given QC’s vast potential, we expect global pharma spending on QC in R&D to be in the billions by 2030. Pharma companies would be well advised to assess the QC opportunity for themselves and begin laying the groundwork in securing their place in this new competitive and technological landscape.

Matthias Evers is a senior partner in McKinsey’s Hamburg office, and Anna Heid is a consultant in the Zurich office, where Ivan Ostojic is a partner.

The authors wish to thank Nicole Bellonzi, Matteo Biondi, Thomas Lehmann, Lorenzo Pautasso, Katarzyna Smietana, Matija Zesko, and the many industry/academia experts for their contributions to this article.

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Investigation into the Vortex Evolution characteristics of the Francis Turbine During the Runaway Process

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The runaway process is a dynamic transition process that gradually deviates from the optimal operating condition. The flow passage components dissipate all of the energy corresponding to the hydraulic turbine's head, causing the internal flow of the hydraulic turbine to gradually deteriorate and produce a large-scale vortex structure during the runaway process. A model Francis turbine is used as the research object in this paper to understand the evolution characteristics of an unsteady vortex during a runaway. The runaway process is investigated using high-precision simulation technology of gas-liquid two-phase flow, and the runaway speed is obtained, consistent with the experimental results. The results show that the cavitation volume increases as the rotating speed increases. The large incidence angle between the inlet flow and the blade causes large-scale flow separation in the runner, which leads to forming of a sheet vortex band near the hub of the runner hub and a columnar vortex in the blade passage of the runner blade suction surface. As the runaway process continues, the flow separation in the runner intensifies and the induced vortex size increases, obstructing the runner's passage. In addition, pressure signal analysis reveals that the pressure fluctuation caused by the sheet vortex band is low-frequency. On the other hand, the pressure fluctuation caused by the columnar vortex is frequent. These two types of vortex structures with high-energy pressure fields degrade the flow in the runner and reduce the hydraulic performance of the turbine.

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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Paper recommending vitamin D for COVID-19 retracted four years after expression of concern

research paper about process

A paper that purported to find vitamin D could reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms has been retracted from PLOS ONE , four years after the journal issued an expression of concern about the research.

The article, “ Vitamin D sufficiency, a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D at least 30 ng/mL reduced risk for adverse clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19 infection ,” appeared online September 25, 2020. Michael F. Holick , a professor of medicine at Boston University and a proponent of the use of vitamin D, was the last author among a group of other researchers from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran. 

Soon after publication, the paper gained traction on platforms like Twitter (now X) as evidence vitamin D could treat COVID-19 symptoms.

Amidst this discussion, Nick Brown , a science integrity researcher at Linnaeus University in Växjö, Sweden, and Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz , a research fellow at the University of Wollongong, Australia, pointed out potential flaws with the work, including the small sample size of the study and a lack of patient information such as how the patients died.

PLOS ONE posted an expression of concern for the article on October 14, 2020. According to the notice, “concerns were raised about the validity of results and conclusions reported in the article and about undisclosed competing interests.” The expression of concern also noted “statements in the article, including in its title and conclusions, that suggest a causal relationship between vitamin D levels and the clinical outcome of COVID-19 infections which is not supported by the data.” 

The competing interests refer to Holick’s “non-financial interests based on his vitamin D research and other activities focused on vitamin D; contributions to an app that tracks vitamin D; and interests that include consultancies, funding support, and authorship of books related to vitamin D usage.” In 2018, the New York Times reported on Holick’s financial ties to the vitamin D industry.

“This project did not receive any grants. Prof. Holick did not have any funding support for this project,” Mohammad Ali Sahraian, the paper’s corresponding author, told Retraction Watch. 

Regarding the competing interests, Holick said: 

The app dminder.info is free. I do not derive any income from it. I am no longer a consultant for Quest Diagnostics and therefore it was not listed. I do not receive any book royalties related to any information that is in this publication. I do not have any conflict of interest regarding any aspect of the study design, the results, or conclusions.

The paper has been cited 189 times, according to Clarivate’s Web of Science, with the bulk of citations coming after the expression of concern.

On June 6, nearly four years later, PLOS ONE retracted the study. A statistical reviewer and members of the PLOS ONE Editorial Board found that the study design was inadequate to address the research question and the methods used were not detailed enough to reproduce the study, according to the retraction notice. “As such, we have concluded that the article’s conclusions are not supported by the reported data,” the notice said.

Sahraian said he and his colleagues were “very surprised” and “upset” by the retraction, which should “not be decided without any ethical problem.”

“It would have been preferable for these issues to have been identified and addressed during the pre-publication review process, rather than after the work had already been made public,” Sahraian told Retraction Watch. “However, we did not claim a causal role of vitamin D in the clinical outcome of COVID-19 infections. The current study was cross-sectional and only considered the association between COVID-19 and circulating vitamin D levels.” 

Holick, Saharian, and the paper’s first author do not agree with the retraction, while others could not be reached, the notice states. Sahraian said they don’t agree because they provided detailed responses to the editorial board’s concerns on multiple occasions, but did not receive any response from the journal. 

“I believe it is unfair, unethical, and inhumane to retract an article due solely to the faults of the editorial team rather than addressing the flaws inherent to the study itself,” he said.

David Knutson , head of communications at PLOS , said, “the authors’ comment that the communications in this case were one-sided, and the implication that our editorial decision was biased, are not true.” 

PLOS completed an objective evaluation and communicated with the authors on multiple occasions, Knutston said.  He acknowledged a “long gap in our communications with the authors between March 2021 and December 2023” and apologized for one instance in which PLOS did not update an author following their query about the retraction decision.

Meyerowitz-Katz said he has mixed feelings about this retraction. “It is to the credit of the editorial team that they even bothered to investigate, and retracting on the basis of low quality – rather than misconduct or similar – shows a commitment to integrity that few journals display,” he said. 

But retracting it “at this point will have no impact whatsoever on the pollution of the literature – the damage has well and truly been done. I think that the PLOS ONE editorial team should explain exactly why it took an entire pandemic’s worth of time to come to a decision, given that the issues they cite as reasons to retract are the same ones I pointed out on Twitter in September 2020,” Meyerowitz-Katz said.

Brown said it would have been better if the retraction “didn’t take quite so long,” but given the expression of concern was issued rapidly, “I think the journal handled it overall fairly well.”

PLOS ONE cited an ethics case backlog for their slowness in retracting this paper, among other papers. 

Knutson told us the case was “complex,” and the four year time period “reflects the time we required to complete a rigorous assessment and investigation,” as well as “some internal delays due to competing priorities.” He said:

Given the complexity of this case, the nature of the concerns, and potential clinical implications of the article and the concerns raised, we published an interim Expression of Concern soon after the concerns were raised to our attention.  

Knutson said the competing interests mentioned in the expression of concern did not play a part in the retraction of the paper. “The retraction decision was based on concerns about the study design, methodological reporting, and the reliability of the article’s conclusions,” he said.

Like Retraction Watch? You can make a  tax-deductible contribution to support our work , subscribe to our free  daily digest   or  paid weekly update ,  follow us  on Twitter , like us  on Facebook , or add us to your  RSS reader . If you find a retraction that’s  not in The Retraction Watch Database , you can  let us know here . For comments or feedback, email us at [email protected] .

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5 thoughts on “paper recommending vitamin d for covid-19 retracted four years after expression of concern”.

I always wondered how some of the colleagues publish 20-30 papers a year. I always tell my PhD students if they can write a major paper or two based on the work that would be excellent. But the academia is now full of people who just count the numbers and H-index. Your work helps me to understand this proliferation of publications, and this is not good for science long termly.

From within our genuine clinical practice with enthusiastic colleagues, the maximal number of papers we can publish on annual bases is 6-8. Every single paper must encompasses full clinical documentation, not fake numbers of imaginary patients. I reviewed more than 500 papers from different international medical journals. 90 percent are fake and have nothing to do with authentic clinical practice. The falacies in published papers are endless and the level and the quality of the reviewers are unacceptable .

The paper not only gained traction on Twitter but was endorsed by Anthony Fauci.

Did he? I’ve only seen Fauci comment on vitamin D supplementation in case you are deficient, not specifically referring to this paper.

The retraction of the article is a fatal mistake on the part of the PLOS ONE editorial team, as several other observational studies have confirmed the results of the study. In the meantime, the results of observational studies, such as the result of thestudy by the University of Heidelberg are no longer are no longer doubted. “Vitamin D Deficiency and Outcome of COVID-19 Patients ” https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/9/2757 „In our patients, when adjusted for age, gender, and comorbidities, VitD deficiency was associated with a 6-fold higher hazard of severe course of disease and a ~15-fold higher risk of death.“

Unfortunately, like many other scientists, the PLOS ONE editorial team doubts the results of the observational studies only because they could not be replicated in intervention studies. It is more likely that the results of the many intervention studies can be doubted because they did not use the form of vitamin D that was already present in the observational studies. In observational studies, the storage form of vitamin D calcidiol is already present, which acts quickly. In most intervention studies, however, vitamin D3 in the form cholecalciferol was administered, which must first be converted into calcitriol before it becomes effective through further conversion into calcitriol. In particular, the initial conversion of D3 to calcidiol can take several days. Since patients are typically only admitted to intervention studies on the day of hospitalisation and sepsis is already present on this day, which has to be treated within a few studies, D3 supplementation can not help much.

If calcidiol levels were measured longitudinally in intervention studies, this could be recognised. However, as this is not common practice, it is not recognised that a severe 25(OH)D deficiency can occur despite D3 supplementation, causing the immune system to fail. At least calcidiol must therefore be administered, which can be converted into calcitriol within a few minutes ChatGpt summarised this very aptly after a discussion:

>> The form of vitamin D administered is critical to its effectiveness in acutely ill patients. Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) may not have the rapid effect required in acute infections and incipient sepsis. Calcidiol and calcitriol, which are more rapidly bioavailable and act directly, have tended to show better results in studies. For future studies, it is important to consider the choice of vitamin D form and possibly favour fast-acting forms such as calcidiol or calcitriol, especially in patients with acute illness or sepsis.<<

Unfortunately, there are about 140 intervention studies in which vitamin D3 was administered, but only 3 studies in which the fast-acting forms calcidiol or calcitriol were administered. The typical result of these 3 studies was that no patient died and very few had to be ventilated. The best known of these is this one: Entrenas Castillo M, Entrenas Costa LM, Vaquero Barrios JM, et al. "Effect of calcifediol treatment and best available therapy versus best available therapy on intensive care unit admission and mortality among patients hospitalized for COVID-19: A pilot randomized clinical study." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7456194/

However, it will probably take some time before it is recognised that the 140 studies are flawed because the wrong form of vitamin D was used in them, and only the 3 studies with calcidiol or calcitriol delivered correct results. The main reason why it will still take some time is that it must first be generally recognised that vitamin D is a "negative acute phase reactant" and that the 25(OH)D value can fall by up to 2.5ng/ml per day during an infection because this is used to activate T-cells, which are then used to fight viruses.

More on vitamin D use during an infection Vitamin D the life insurance against Long Covid and autoimmune diseases https://www.facebook.com/share/p/LzLmk3ycoXZ568vT/

This sharp drop in 25(OH)D levels cannot be stopped quickly by D3 supplementation, but can be stopped by calcidiol supplementation. Only when it is recognised that the time factor plays a role due to the high daily vitamin D use will many people realise why the results of intervention studies are so strongly dependent on the form of vitamin D used. Then hopefully all patients who are hospitalised with signs of sepsis will be given one of the fast-acting forms of vitamin D immediately.

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  2. Research Process

    The research process has numerous applications across a wide range of fields and industries. Some examples of applications of the research process include: Scientific research: The research process is widely used in scientific research to investigate phenomena in the natural world and develop new theories or technologies. This includes fields ...

  3. A Beginner's Guide to Starting the Research Process

    Step 4: Create a research design. The research design is a practical framework for answering your research questions. It involves making decisions about the type of data you need, the methods you'll use to collect and analyze it, and the location and timescale of your research. There are often many possible paths you can take to answering ...

  4. PDF Section 1 Introduction to The Research 2017. Process

    reate a comprehensive discussion of the paper topic. A research paper demonstrates thorough knowledge of a particular topic, based on the writer's in- depth reading on the subject, critical analysis. f the material, and careful exposition of the topic. The process of writing a research paper requires a good deal of time, energy, and focus in ...

  5. Writing a Research Paper

    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 ...

  6. The Process of Writing a Research Paper

    The Process There are three stages for doing a research paper. These stages are: Prewriting. Writing. Revising. While most people start with prewriting, the three stages of the writing process overlap. Writing is not the kind of process where you have to finish step one before moving on to step two, and so on.

  7. How To Write A Research Paper (FREE Template

    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 ...

  8. The Process of Research Writing

    The title of this book is The Process of Research Writing, and in the nutshell, that is what the book is about. A lot of times, instructors and students tend to separate "thinking," "researching," and "writing" into different categories that aren't necessarily very well connected. First you think, then you research, and then you write.

  9. A Process Approach to Writing Research Papers

    Step 5: Accumulate Research Materials. Use cards, Word, Post-its, or Excel to organize. Organize your bibliography records first. Organize notes next (one idea per document— direct quotations, paraphrases, your own ideas). Arrange your notes under the main headings of your tentative outline.

  10. Writing a Research Paper

    Writing a Research Paper. This page lists some of the stages involved in writing a library-based research paper. Although this list suggests that there is a simple, linear process to writing such a paper, the actual process of writing a research paper is often a messy and recursive one, so please use this outline as a flexible guide.

  11. How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline

    A research paper outline is a useful tool to aid in the writing process, providing a structure to follow with all information to be included in the paper clearly organized. A quality outline can make writing your research paper more efficient by helping to: Organize your thoughts; Understand the flow of information and how ideas are related

  12. Basic Steps in the Research Process

    Step 8: Proofread. The final step in the process is to proofread the paper you have created. Read through the text and check for any errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Make sure the sources you used are cited properly. Make sure the message that you want to get across to the reader has been thoroughly stated.

  13. How to Write a Research Paper

    This resource from American University is a comprehensive guide to the research paper writing process, and includes examples of proper research questions and thesis topics. "Steps in Writing a Research Paper" (SUNY Empire State College) This guide breaks the research paper process into 11 steps. Each "step" links to a separate page, which ...

  14. Research Paper Steps

    Research Paper Steps. Carefully defining your research question as well as implementing and conducting research are absolutely critical to a good research paper. If you follow the suggestions for each step of the research process carefully and thoughtfully, you'll understand the process of research much better and create a stronger end ...

  15. How To Write a Research Paper

    To write an informative abstract you have to provide the summary of the whole paper. Informative summary. In other words, you need to tell about the main points of your work, the methods used, the results and the conclusion of your research. To write a descriptive abstract you will not have to provide any summery.

  16. PDF Research Paper Writing Process

    h paper are related processes. When you read a research paper, you internalize the. structure of a research paper. Note-taking allows you to zoom in on the most relevant parts of the r. search papers you are reading. Putting your notes into an outline helps you create a plan f. r how you're going to write. If you don't have a reading ...

  17. PDF Understanding the Research Process

    Understanding the Research Process. The argumentative research paper is both challenging and confrontational. It requires the academic writer to form an opinion and to take a position on the subject matter presented. All facts are presented for the purpose of supporting the central argument (your thesis statement).

  18. PDF 6 Simple Steps for Writing a Research Paper

    Step 4: Construct an Outline. Once you have collected all of the research, it may be helpful to organize your thoughts with an outline. To construct an outline, you must group your notes together and match information that fits together. An outline should be formatted in this manner: I. II. III.

  19. 11.2 Steps in Developing a Research Proposal

    Developing a research proposal involves the following preliminary steps: identifying potential ideas, choosing ideas to explore further, choosing and narrowing a topic, formulating a research question, and developing a working thesis. A good topic for a research paper interests the writer and fulfills the requirements of the assignment.

  20. 13.5 Research Process: Making Notes, Synthesizing ...

    See Writing Process Integrating Research for more detailed information and examples of quotations, paraphrases, and summaries and when to use them. Other Systems for Organizing Research Logs and Digital Note-Taking. Students often become frustrated and at times overwhelmed by the quantity of materials to be managed in the research process.

  21. PDF Ten Steps for Writing Research Papers

    There are ten steps involved in writing a research paper: Step 1: Select a subject Step 2: Narrow the topic Step 3: State the tentative objective (or thesis) Step 4: Form a preliminary bibliography Step 5: Prepare a working outline Step 6: Start taking notes Step 7: Outline the paper Step 8: Write a rough draft Step 9: Edit your paper Step 10 ...

  22. What Is Process Improvement

    Process improvement [sometimes referred to as business process improvement (BPI)] is a subdiscipline within business process management (BPM), a management approach that seeks understanding and control of all of the organization's business processes. BPI practitioners use popular process improvement methodologies, such as Lean, Six Sigma, Global 8-D, Total Quality Management, Theory of ...

  23. 52-4: Research on the Process of Single Polarizer Reflective LCD

    This paper proposes a reflective liquid crystal display solution, where an OC bump diffuse reflection layer is fabricated on the TFT side. By optimizing the OC bump height difference and pitch process parameters, and combining with a polarizer incorporating a quarter-wave retardation film, a reflective liquid crystal display panel with high reflectivity and wide viewing angle is achieved.

  24. Public Trust in Government: 1958-2024

    Sources: Pew Research Center, National Election Studies, Gallup, ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, and CNN Polls. Data from 2020 and later comes from Pew Research Center's online American Trends Panel; prior data is from telephone surveys. Details about changes in survey mode can be found in this 2020 report.

  25. Quantum computing in drug development

    The more complex the biological information that can be processed, the more extensive the graphs that inform the drug discovery research process become. There is currently research on "topological data analysis" under way that aims to identify "holes" and "connections" across large data sets. 2 Silvano Garnerone, Seth Lloyd, and ...

  26. The Research Process

    Writing a research paper is often the most complex writing task you'll engage in during your college career. The process of locating sources, note-taking, drafting, and editing offers you the opportunity to delve into a specific question on a topic. The result can be deeply rewarding; when you finish a well-researched and well-crafted paper ...

  27. Publications

    Our publications showcase the IfG's sector-leading research, giving readers an impartial and evidence-based analysis of what makes good government - and what could be improved. Insight papers offer a concise run-down of key issues, including our snap analysis of current events such as changes of government or emerging external challenges.

  28. Investigation into the Vortex Evolution characteristics of the Francis

    A model Francis turbine is used as the research object in this paper to understand the evolution characteristics of an unsteady vortex during a runaway. The runaway process is investigated using high-precision simulation technology of gas-liquid two-phase flow, and the runaway speed is obtained, consistent with the experimental results.

  29. Paper recommending vitamin D for COVID-19 retracted four years after

    A paper that purported to find vitamin D could reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms has been retracted from PLOS ONE, four years after the journal issued an expression of concern about the research.. The article, "Vitamin D sufficiency, a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D at least 30 ng/mL reduced risk for adverse clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19 infection," appeared online ...