10 Mistakes to Avoid when Writing a Research Essay

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A research essay or research paper is an extended version of a regular essay. It should have a more sophisticated structure and a narrower topic, involving much more research. To complete the work successfully, you should know the typical mistakes students make. Let’s find out what those are and avoid them.

A Generalized Topic

Research papers require a more professional approach and a sophisticated, narrow topic. The general truths of most subjects have been researched for years, so it’s important to bring clarity to details in your paper. Here’s how to narrow down a topic:

  1. Take a general theme;
  2. Think of W’s and H’s (when, where, why, what, how);
  3. Choose one and think about the problems involved;
  4. Pick one and think of similarities and opposites, the past and the future, contrast and relationships, etc.;
  5. Choose one and here you have a topic.

A Poor Thesis Statement

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A thesis statement is your research paper idea and means of explaining it described in 1-2 sentences. Some people make it too blurry and difficult to understand. You should know that there are two types of thesis statements and thus, two structures:

  • You don’t persuade anyone, just state the fact.
    The structure: something is true.
  • You have to persuade your audience you’re correct.
    The structure: something is true because of this, this, and this.

Inattentiveness to Requirements

Every educational establishment has an academic paper guidelines sheet. It contains all the information about the format of the research essay and the standard to which it should fit. Some also contain basic requirements for a topic, the size of the paper, examples of citations, etc.

Learn it by heart and check it every time you hit a point when you have to format something.

Poor Research

Research according to the size and depth required for the paper, never do less. Although, it’s better to collect more information than necessary so you have a choice while crafting the research paper.

Here are some sources for more in-depth research:

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  • Field-specific journals;
  • Checked and marked research papers;
  • Local and online libraries.


Plagiarism is copying someone’s work and pretending it’s yours. It’s a hot issue these days when downloading a research paper isn’t a problem. Oftentimes, students do it because they are unable to write a good academic paper.

In any case, it’s better to turn to professional paper writing services like CustomWritings.com, where you’ll get a top-notch one-of-a-kind research essay.

Twisted Outline

A twisted outline that is difficult to follow leads to a chaotic academic paper. It’s difficult to build a logical plan for a sophisticated paper. However, there’s a tip that works all the time: the tougher the paper, the easier the outline should be.

Start with the basics:

  • Your thesis and smooth explanation of the paper.
  • The main body.
    Your facts, theories, proof, etc. presented and explained one by one,
  • Your closing words with your thesis statement explained and no new info.

Weak Connections and Transitions

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Another huge mistake structure-wise is messing the logical chains.

See, a smooth outline is like a skeleton for your research essay, the materials and thoughts you include are the muscles and organs. The connections and transitions you make are the blood. As weird as it may sound, without the blood (better call it the flow) the body won’t work.

The main recommendation here is to flow through the paper, from one fact/evidence/point of view to another. Use transitional phrases and be sure your work is logically connected.

Lack of Paragraph Structure

One more thing that may confuse your audience is improper paragraph structure. Again, if it’s all twisted, even you won’t understand it if you read your paper in a year.

Remember that a basic paragraph is 5 sentences:

  • The first one is introductory, matching the transition from the previous paragraph;
  • The three following are supporting or explanatory;
  • The last one is concluding and transitioning to the next part.

You can lengthen your paragraphs if it’s allowed, but know your limits and remember the structure.

Wrong Format for Reference List and Bibliography

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Some students fail to recognize the difference between a reference list and a bibliography:

  • A reference list includes all the sources you have cited while writing the paper;
  • A bibliography is a list of all the sources you based the research essay on.

Different writing standards imply different formats for these parts, so make sure you check how you format them before handing in the paper. You can also seek for the help from experts such as those provided by rushessay.

Lack or Absence of Proofreading

You must be tired from all the work so much you think the paper is done. However, there’s another crucial part left: checking.

If you can, take at least a couple of days to proofread your research essay. Here’s a step-by-step:

  • Read the paper in different ways: out loud, to yourself, to your friends/family;
  • Use online services to check for plagiarism, readability, and mistakes;
  • Read again and leave it till the next day;
  • Proofread and check the work one more time the next day and make final strokes if necessary.

You Have the Keys to an Excellent Research Paper

Congratulations, you have a list of dos and don’ts for an academic paper. They are more or less the same for a work of any grade, difficulty, type, or topic. Before you start a new task, go through them again to be sure you don’t make any major mistakes, and good luck!