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At this stage you abandon most of the mad hypotheses that were OK in the Epitome, because at the end you want only what stands up to testing. You go back and forth to your data, or documents, or whatever material you are working from, checking the claims you are making. Often I find I have remembered a detail in the data or the literature slightly wrong; this is where I correct that, and modify the argument accordingly.

As I work on an Argument-outline, I find that my desk becomes piled with printouts, manila folders, books, journal offprints, notes, summaries and sketches. The Argument-outline will therefore look more organized than the Epitome did. The argument should be built around the main effects in the data, the strong central story in the documents, or the major theoretical idea you are developing. Often early-career researchers are so concerned not to make errors, that they obscure the truths they have to offer.

How to Write a Research Paper - A Research Guide for Students

Speak your intellectual story with confidence! And sit down quickly Luther by Cranach. The story goes that the great teacher and religious reformer, Dr Martin Luther, was once asked by a nervous young minister how to preach. The Argument-outline might take satisfactory shape the first time through - if the analysis is very straightforward, or if you have thought a lot beforehand.

Often, however, it will need further iterations. When you get a first version of the Argument-outline on paper, you can see with devastating clarity the flaws in your own argument, the gaps in evidence, the unconvincing conclusions.

Writing a Research Paper

My argument-outline, 5th iteration. Take five deep breaths, go back to the raw material and check your data, go back to the analysis and think it through again, and then write another Argument-outline. You might go through this cycle five or six times, though one or two is more usual. The point is that you are testing and improving as you go.

How To Write Research Paper: Creative Writing Lessons & Tips: Writebynight

When you find such material, you have to re-think the analysis until those awkward exceptions make sense together with the main story, rather than sitting outside it. That makes the analysis more intellectually powerful as well as more inclusive. At the end of this step, you should have a coherent line of thought to present to the reader.

You will know what explanations e. You have a definite idea of how the article will start and how it will end. You soon will have text. For the last twelve years, I have been running free workshops on writing, in various universities and conferences. Almost the opposite!

My workshops are built on the idea that the making of organized knowledge is an inherently social, co-operative process, and that writing is central to this larger undertaking. The workshops are half a presentation of this idea, exploring what the social character of knowledge means for intellectual workers; and half a set of practical writing tasks that the workshop participants can do, on the spot, for their current projects. In this document, I will outline the ideas that I offer in the workshops. The first season concerns writing as a practice, its various genres in a research context, and the ways research communication operates in the world.

The second season, to follow, will describe specifically how to write a research paper. Raewyn Connell, The nature of writing. Research communication, the social reality. The genres in writing for research. Writing programmes. More about writing: some resources. It takes years to learn how to write well. There are special difficulties about writing for research. Texts must survive a series of technical judgments — by yourself, your colleagues, journal reviewers, and ultimate readers.

Research impacts In the face of all this, three things make writing for research worthwhile. It meets a social need. And it involves a rare privilege. Meeting a social need. I have emphasised, from Episode One onwards, that making organized knowledge is inherently a social process. Research is done by women and men working in cooperation, in sustained interaction, linking over distance and time.


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The core of the communication that makes their cooperation possible is, precisely, writing for research. Writing for research, then, is a key to the growth of knowledge as a social resource.


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  • Rockefeller nor Mao Zedong were noted researchers. But even small research contributions become part of the shared wealth of knowledge in the public domain, and sustain the collective process of producing it. This is easy to see for biomedical or engineering knowledge. It also applies in the social sciences and humanities, for the self-understanding of cultures and societies.

    The stakes are large. Practising the craft. In this Age of Wal-mart, the connection between a usable object and the work of the people who made it is heavily disguised and easily forgotten. Doing a slow job well So it is good to notice, and celebrate, the work itself. I have emphasised that writing for research is generally slow and often difficult. Yet there is great satisfaction in doing a slow and difficult job well.

    Not as high as going to bed with someone you love; but it lasts longer I read a lot of poetry in translation, the oddest of all genres — it makes me think about the writing process on two levels at once.

    Twenty Steps to Writing a Research Article

    Try your hand at haiku, heroic couplets, epistolatory romances, lines of computer code. Once when I was a graduate student I wrote a poem in Fortran 4, a now-obsolete programming language. It was a dreadful poem but started me thinking about possibilities and limits in language. The privilege. We live in an age when the public sphere is drenched in disinformation and distortion.

    On a vast scale, the fashion industry, the porn industry and the drug industry peddle fantasies about human bodies. As a university worker, I am deeply ashamed by the way universities, during the last twenty years, have joined the pack. Neoliberal university managements now routinely spend tens of millions of dollars on campaigns of seductive misrepresentation to attract fee-paying students. In such a world, it is a privilege to speak the truth.

    Research cycle

    Heaven knows, truth can be hard to establish. All researchers understand that, if they know their trade. Building our collective knowledge involves many false starts and failed hypotheses, much uncertainty and debate, and a lot of plain hard work. That allows us to speak truth to power, in the classic role of the intellectual. But the privilege also allows us to speak truth among the people without power - for whom accurate knowledge and deeper understanding matter most of all. This unpromising title conceals a fine collection of essays by the great Nigerian novelist, on writing, language, colonialism, and more.

    Yes, the US thriller writer. This has terrific essays on intellectual work and freedom under the War on Terror. Basho is one of the most respected Japanese poets and this is a lovely account of his trip on foot through the countryside, writing haiku poems and thinking about eternity as he went. Since I'm a sociologist, I'll also recommend "On intellectual craftsmanship", the famous appendix to the US sociologist C. Wright Mills' book The Sociological Imagination It has excellent low-tech advice, still relevant, about research planning; Mills himself was a notably clear, plain writer.

    Discovering, Narrowing, and Focusing a Researchable Topic

    Representative passage: "Grammar in relation to a tree and two horses. More positively, James Joyce, Ulysses All this book is amazing stuff, with spectacular writing and great comedy. Look especially at the "Oxen of the Sun" episode, set in a maternity hospital, where Joyce imitates the whole history of English prose. A bolt from the blue strikes an author, kindling a fever of creativity from which a text surges. And a few years later, a Nobel Prize follows But the rest of this tale is a myth.

    In Episode One, I showed how writing is actually a form of labour.