How To Begin A Research Paper: 5 Do's And Don'ts

Writing a research paper is much like riding a bicycle. Once you learn how to ride the bike, you should remember forever. There are some keys steps to successfully riding a bike, but they are easy to follow. When writing a paper, you can follow a set formula, like with riding a bike. Each time you write a paper, you will be given directions and/or a rubric, have a topic of study, complete research, create an outline, and write. This will be the same every time. Below we have outlined some additional do’s and don’ts you can follow for beginning all of your tasks.


  1. Read the Instructions
  2. By reading the instructions before beginning your writing you will have a clear understanding of the prompt and purpose of the assignment.

  3. Consider the Rubric
  4. Similarly to the instructions, the rubric may have specific information necessary to you be successful. For instance, the rubric may specify how many sources you should use, what type of sources should be included, or other particular specifications from the teacher.

  5. Brainstorm Ideas
  6. Think about what you find interesting, and what will also hold the attentions of your readers. This is the idea you should go with.

  7. Complete Preliminary Research
  8. Make sure there are sources out there to support your area of discussion.

  9. Prepare Outline
  10. Always create an outline before beginning your writing. The outline will be a numerically and alphabetically organized road map to your paper.


  1. Begin Rashly
  2. Make sure to avoid rushing to start. The prep work in a research paper is just as important, if not more important, than the actual writing.

  3. Use Tired Ideas
  4. Do not use an old or cliché idea for your paper. No one wants to read something tired and/or overdone.

  5. Ignore Research
  6. Make sure to complete preliminary research, as we have already advised. By doing some searching for support in advance you will determine whether or not there are sources out there for your use.

  7. Avoid Plagiarism
  8. Come up with original ideas. Do not draw your argument or topic from other people. It is one thing to be inspired by others’ works it is another to plagiarize.

  9. Use Reputable Sources
  10. Always verify the reliability of your sources. You want to be sure to use only scholarly and reputable resources.

By following these 5 do’s and 5 don’ts you will successfully begin your paper every time! Much like riding the bike, once you learn, you will never forget. Commit these tips to memory for your own ease and performance.

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