Invest time in writing your thesis statement—it’s the main idea of your paper, from which everything else flows. Without a well-thought-out thesis statement, your paper is likely to end up jumbled and with an unclear purpose.
Although the research paper format is fairly standardized, writing guidelines may vary not only among academic institutions but also among individual professors. Pay attention to any how-to handouts you’ve received, and don’t forget to check your university’s writing lab for more resources.
You don’t have to read in-full everything ever written about your topic. In fact, you probably can’t. Get comfortable reading through things quickly. Learn how to identify key points and arguments without getting bogged down and reading every word.
Any information that doesn’t fit within the framework of your outline, and doesn’t directly support your thesis statement, no matter how interesting, doesn’t belong in your research paper. Keep your focus narrow and avoid the kitchen sink approach.
If your teacher requires you to turn in a bibliography with your research paper; you ought to already know exactly what the assignment is by now!), create a bibliography that meets the requirements for the paper. If you are just making one just for yourself, think about how you would like to organize your research.