One of the biggest reasons students fail a research paper writing assignment is because they don’t consider some key elements beforehand and jump right into the assignment. While many students start the project on habit alone, it’s important to spend a few minutes reminding oneself of these five things:

Know the common rules


you should be sure that you know the basic or common rules of conducting research and writing the assignment. The body of the assignment should be divided up into sub-sections (e.g., introduction, methods, discussion, etc.).


You should know how much space should be applied to each of these subsections and arranged your work accordingly. If you aren’t sure how to format or structure your assignment you should find a good example.


You can find many examples in published journals or you can turn to a professional writing company to provide you with an example written from scratch.

Be sure you understand the assignment very well

The first thing you need to be sure of is that you understand the assignment forwards and backwards. If you are unclear about any aspect you should immediately speak with the professor so that there is no doubt you will be able to meet all of its requirements. The kinds of things you should check for are paper length, the kind of resources you need to include, the method or study approach, and whether you need to follow a specific format. If for any reason you can’t get this information from the instructor, you should immediately seek expert advice from other sources.

Choose a topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow

Students have the tendency to make a research paper project more difficult than it has to be by not selecting a good topic. But what makes a good topic? It should be one that is original and explores a new question or issue in your area of study. It should also be something that interests you. This makes it easier to stay motivated throughout the entire process. Finally, a good topic is one that is neither too broad nor too narrow. If it’s too broad you won’t be able to explore the topic in-depth, and if it’s too narrow you will have trouble locating resource material.

Know where you to find your academic resources

Next, you should know exactly where to look for your academic resources. You can always search for background information online; familiarize yourself with some of the key terms, major issues, and questions surrounding your topic. But your in-depth academic study should be done looking for credible resources at the library. A reference librarian can help you optimize your searches so that you find the most relevant and current information. He or she should also be able to provide you with some search terms you may not have thought about before, so be sure to get as much help before starting.

All of the information you reference must be precise

Finally, all of the information you reference in your research paper should be precise. Don’t make up information and be sure you understand this content before you apply it as supporting evidence for your own work. Double check your quotes and paraphrases and be aware of the context in which the information is provided. If there is any doubt as to what something means then you should spend the time search for secondary resources that can validate the original information. If you after a while you still don’t understand the content it’s probably a good idea to leave it and find something else to use.