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Writing a Research Paper: Getting Started

Guidelines for writing a research paper.

Understand Your Assignment

Guide Overview

Visit the tabs along the top of this guide to find information to help you complete your research paper. For help from a librarian or from writing tutors, see the Getting Help page.

Read Your Assignment

Your Assignment

Make sure you have read and understand your assignment. 

  • Make sure you read the whole assignment - no one wants to get their grade knocked down just because they didn't take the time to read all the requirements. The fine details are important!
  • If you're not sure about what you're being asked to do, ask your instructor - it's better to clear up any misconceptions before you start on your project.
  • You may find it useful to start taking notes while you're reading through your assignment - jot down what you're thinking and questions you have - to help get your thinking started on your assignment.