Stages of the Research Process
In this course, you follow the same basic writing process you have used in other writing courses:
prewriting, writing, rewriting, and proofreading. For a review of the writing process, see the Axia Writing
Style Handbook at the Center for Writing Excellence at
You must be
logged into eCampus in order to access the file).
Research writing, however, requires higher-level critical-thinking skills and research that is more detailed.
Using a systematic process to write a research paper is important because your research and writing will
be stronger, more convincing, and better organized. As you write the research paper, adhere to the
Step 1: Beginning the Project
Think About the Assignment
It is important that you understand the assignment requirements before you begin. Start by reviewing the
details for the research paper. Print the requirements and then jot down your questions, comments, or
ideas in the margins. Consider these questions as well:
Are you able to select your own topic, or has the instructor specified the topic for you?
What kinds of sources do you need? How many sources are you expected to use?
Where do you need to look for sources? Does your instructor require the use of library databases
Who can help you? If you do not know how to use a library, you may need to talk to a librarian. If
you are required to do an interview, for example, you would need to locate an appropriate person.
You must also think about your schedule. You probably lead a very busy life, so you need to set up a
timeline or research plan for each of the steps in the writing process and for each of the assignments in
this course. Conducting research is very time- consuming, so be sure to plan ahead.
Analyze the Audience and the Purpose
Before you select a topic, think carefully about your audience and the purpose of your research. Consider
the following questions:
Why would someone want to read your research paper? What compelling information would they
What might you assume your audience already knows about your topic? On the other hand, what
information may be too difficult for the audience to understand?
What type of evidence or support do you need to convince or persuade your audience regarding
Along with analyzing your audience, consider your purpose for writing the paper. Are you trying to
persuade, convince, or entertain? In this course, you will be trying to convince your audience to accept