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How to Write a Research Paper

Research Papers

  1. Establish your topic.
  2. Look for sources of information.
  3. Read your sources and take notes.
  4. Organize your ideas.
  5. Write a first draft.
  6. Use footnotes or endnotes to document sources.
  7. Write a bibliography.
  8. Revise the first draft.
  9. Proofread the final draft.

Use Footnotes or Endnotes to Document Sources

  1. As you write your first draft, including the introduction, body, and conclusion, add the information or quotations on your note cards to support your ideas.
  2. Use footnotes or endnotes to identify the sources of this information. If you are using footnotes, the note will appear on the same page as the information you are documenting, at the bottom (or "foot") of the page. If you are using endnotes, the note will appear together with all other notes on a separate page at the end of your report, just before the bibliography.

  3. There are different formats for footnotes (and endnotes), so be sure to use the one your teacher prefers.

  4. Note that footnotes can be shortened if the source has already been given in full in a previous footnote. (see below)

Sample Footnotes/Endnotes

Originally Mount Everest was called Peak XV.1 As it turned out, Peak XV already had two other names. One name came from the north side of the mountain, from the Tibetans, who had named it Joloungma, or "Goddess, Mother of the World."2 The other name came from the south side of the mountain, from the Nepalese, who referred to it as Sagarmatha or "Goddess of the Sky."3 Later the mountain was renamed in honor of Sir George Everest. Although today it is rarely called Sagarmatha or Joloungma, it is clear from their names for the mountain that the Tibetan and Nepalese people worshiped this special place on earth.

(bottom of the same page for footnotes, separate page for endnotes)

1 Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air (New York: Villard Books, 1997), p. 10.
2 Roberta Reynolds, The Vanishing Cultures of the Himalayas (San Diego: Harcourt, 1991), p. 23.
3 Reynolds, Vanishing Cultures, p. 24.

The paragraph on Everest is taken from a research paper submitted by Alexandra Ferber, grade 9. This paragraph may not be reproduced without permission.

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