What Is Research Writing?


Research = the physical process of gathering information + the mental process of deriving the answer to your question from the information you gathered.

Research writing = the process of sharing the answer to your research question along with the evidence on which your answer is based, the sources you used, and your own reasoning and explanation.

The essential components or building blocks of research writing are the same no matter what kind of question you are answering or what kind of reader you are assuming as you share your answer.


The Essential Building Blocks of Research Writing

  1. Do real research
    1. Begin from a question to which you don’t know the answer and that can’t be answered just by going to the appropriate reference source.  That is, begin from a research question, not a homework question.
    2. Decide what kind of information or data will be needed in order to build the answer to the question.
    3. Gather information and/or collect data.
    4. Work with the information/data to derive or construct your answer.

    This is the research process, and it happens before you begin to write your paper.  No research, no research writing, so don’t shortchange this part of the process.

  2. Create a one-sentence answer to your research question.
    1. This will be the thesis statement/main point/controlling idea of your research paper.
  3. Share your answer to research questions in a way that makes it believable, understandable, and usable for your readers.  To do this
    1. Include plentiful and well-chosen examples from the data/information you gathered
    2. Indicate the validity of your data by accurately reporting your research method (field or lab research)
    3. Indicate the quality of your information by accurately citing your sources (source-based research)
    4. Indicate the quality of your information by accurately citing your sources (source-based research)


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