What Is a Research Paper Checklist?

A research paper checklist is a checklist or a printed handout that lists all the important requirements needed in a research paper. The checklist is especially helpful to students whenever they are tasked to fulfill an academic paper or research proposal.

According to a journal article published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health, research papers- especially medical ones- always require a suitable title. There are three basic types of titles. These are descriptive, declarative, and interrogative. Other times, these titles may also be classified as nominal, compound, or full sentence titles.

Types of Research Papers

If you are a student, then you will know that research papers are a basic element in academics. There are several types of research papers, and some of the most common ones are tackled below.  

Argumentative Research Paper: An argumentative research paper is perhaps the most common type of research paper. And as the name suggests, it is a paper that requires an element of persuasion. In other words, to write a good argumentative research paper, it must be convincing and engaging to the reader. This type of paper tests the reasoning and critical thinking abilities of the student or researcher. Characteristic of an argumentative research paper is the thesis statement. The statement often serves as the opening argument. So if you do choose to write an argumentative research paper, selecting a good thesis statement is crucial. Analytical Research Paper: Another common type of research paper is the analytical paper. This paper often entails an in-depth look at a certain topic. It is also a practice of how well you can interpret a topic or subject. A good analytical research paper offers profound insights or offers a fresh angle to an otherwise ordinary topic. When writing an analytical research paper, it helps to have a particular framework or lens to work with in which you can analyze and evaluate a subject. Do not be afraid to think outside of the box when crafting an analytical research paper. What a student should hope to aim for when writing this type of research paper is a new and broader perspective. Descriptive Research Paper: The most simple and straightforward type of research paper, the descriptive paper is meant to inform, educate, or report. Nothing beyond that is required; although, writing a descriptive research paper is an exercise in one’s mastery of language. How well you describe and narrate events or information will determine how effective your research paper will be. This type of research paper may lack the depth of an analytical paper, but that does not mean it cannot be eloquently presented. To illustrate, descriptive research writing can be particularly useful when you are tasked to either summarize a topic, report certain facts, or share the results of an experiment. Critical Research Paper: Another type of research paper is the critical research paper. This type of paper goes a little further than just a regular argumentative paper. Yes, it still requires a convincing and persuasive argument; but in addition, the critical paper also needs an element of personal view or opinion. This type of research paper requires you to take a stand or at the very least, provide a dimension of critique. For instance, a literary review can be considered a critique. Your own interpretations, evaluations, and preferences are fused together in a string of arguments meant to sell a point of view to the reader.

Tips for Writing a Research Paper

Every student has to go through the process of crafting a research paper at least once in their academic life. Whether you are a middle school, high school, or college student, writing research papers not only helps hone your language and communication abilities, it can help sharpen critical thinking and organization skills. The next time you are assigned to write a research paper, keep in mind these essential tips:   

Revise, revise, revise. Seasoned writers and authors know full well that writing is not writing without revising. It can even be said that the bulk of the creative process of writing involves multiple revisions. It is precisely the reason why a first draft is never to be considered final, much less submitted. Once you have finished drafting your research paper, you need to go back and review it. Ideally, you need to review it more than once. Ensure you make the necessary revisions on sentence structure, grammar, spelling, etc., if it is applicable. Have your paper proofread or peer-edited. Another important step in the post-writing process is proofreading. You can review your own work and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with proofreading one’s own writing. However, if you want to take it a step further, a good practice would be to let another person review your work. Choose a trusted friend to proofread and get their honest opinion. Be open to criticism and feedback as well. When you have your research paper peer-reviewed, it is possible for other people to spot errors and flaws that you otherwise could not have. Always check your citations. Research papers require external sources that you need in order to strengthen your arguments. You can gather as many references and sources as you need, but the important thing is knowing how to cite them properly. There are many styles that are widely used and generally accepted when it comes to academic citations. Two of the most common are the MLA format and APA format. Make sure you follow the guidelines and are consistent in your citations once you decide on a particular format. Strictly follow the format. A research paper usually contains several core elements. And these standard sections tend to follow a strict format or flow. A typical research paper consists of several parts. Arrange them in order and in a manner where there is a substantial and organized flow. The structure of a research paper is absolutely vital. Make sure you cover the major sections such as the introduction, review of related literature, research methodology, analysis, findings, conclusion, and recommendations. The rigid rules of writing a research paper help promote diligence and conscientiousness in communication and writing. Look out for minor flaws. When writing a research paper, it is easy to get carried away by your ideas and thoughts, especially if you find yourself engrossed and consumed in your thought processes. It can be easy to overlook minor errors and flaws in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. One reason it is also a good practice to review your work is so that you can spot mistakes or errors, then rectify them accordingly. Of course, no research paper will always be 100% perfect; but it is your responsibility to catch minor mistakes and fix them before submitting your final paper. Develop a voice. Finding a voice in your writing can take time to develop. But as you continually exercise your writing ability, you will eventually discover your own style and establish your voice. This can either be learned or it can develop from your natural tendencies and talent. Creating research papers is more than just providing information or presenting convincing evidence. The way the ideas are weaved together and wrapped in a good writing style are crucial aspects too. For all writers, the refinement and polishing of a personal writing style can be achieved with the right practice.

How to Create a Research Paper Checklist

The numerous time-saving templates above can help you customize your own research paper checklist without having to start from scratch. Simply pick one that suits your needs and keep in mind the following steps below. 

Step 1: Prepare the Format

To create a research paper checklist, decide on a format that works for you. Since a checklist is pretty much straightforward, create a simple table while leaving enough space for your checklist items. You can also include a checkbox before every item. The format depends entirely on you and how you would want it to look like. Choose whether or not you want to use single words, short phrases, or even complete sentences. How simple or complex the format of your research paper checklist will depend on you and your needs. 

Step 2: Enumerate the Requirements

When you have established your format, fill up your checklist with the necessary items. Enumerate the requirements of your research paper either in bullet points, checkboxes, or numbers. But you do not have to be limited by just the requirements. Other ideas for what to include in your checklist are parts of the research paper, reminders, or even a series of self-revision questions about the research topic. Regardless, these items should serve as a reminder for the start, end, and over the course of your writing. It will help ensure you stay on top of your requirements.  

Step 3: Include a Time Table

To take it a step further, you might want to include a time element in your checklist. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using just a simple checklist. But if you want to stay on top of deadlines or due dates, it may be helpful to include an additional column for these timely reminders.  Teachers impose deadlines for submissions and the last thing you want is to miss any of these deadlines. On the other hand, you can simply place self-imposed deadlines. For example, give yourself a fixed time as to when you aim to finish writing the review of literature and all the other sections. Or specify the time frame of both the start and end dates for writing your research methodology or any other section. 

Step 4: Have the Research Paper Checklist Proofread

If you are not sure if your checklist is accurate or complete, it might be a good idea to have a trusted friend double check your list. As the saying goes, two pairs of eyes are better than just one. If having a research paper peer-reviewed is necessary, then it would not hurt for your checklist to be reviewed as well. Who knows, maybe there was something you missed or overlooked, and a friend can point it out for you. This way, you can be twice as sure before proceeding to writing the actual research paper.  


How do you write a checklist for a research paper?

To write a checklist for a research paper, you can create your own from scratch or use an existing template. Doing the latter is faster and more convenient. Indicate all the requirements, parts, or reminders needed for your research paper. Enumerate them one by one. You can also add a checkbox, bullet, or number beside each item on your checklist.

What are the 7 parts of a research paper?

According to an online article by UC San Diego, the 7 major parts of a research paper are the following: the title page, abstract, introduction, methodology, results, discussion, and the references section.

What is the format of a research paper?

The two most common formats used in research paper writing is MLA and APA. According to an article published by Bibliography.com, MLA stands for Modern Language Association and is typically used in the arts and humanities when citing books and other literature. APA, on the other hand, stands for American Psychological Association. The format is intended for technical works usually found in the social sciences.

Research paper writing can be a long and tedious task. Almost every student is subjected to it as an assignment, at least once in their academic life. Let the sample templates above be your blueprint and guide as you prepare to write your research paper. Download and customize a sample research paper checklist today!