Research Paper Final Draft Examples

A final draft is a piece of writing that will be handed in as your best work. Students should treat crafting a final draft as a task of increased importance, because it is their last chance to enhance their paper and correct any flaws.

Steps for Crafting the Final Draft of an Essay

  1. Take a break after writing your second draft. You will have to revise your second draft at least three more times until it is put in order—have a rest before starting the final copy of your paper.
  2. Do a spellcheck of your second draft. You should revise your paper in terms of misspelled words, typos, and accidental word repetitions; you could also perform a punctuation check at this interval.
  3. Do a grammar check. It is a process that requires extreme caution, because grammatical mistakes may be far less obvious than spelling errors. This check implies correcting faulty parallelisms, problems with noun-verb agreement, dangling participles, improper usage of passive voice, and so on.
  4. After you’ve checked the language of your paper, it is time to pay attention to its technical aspects. This includes the formatting style, your reference list, in-text citations, and the title page. Make sure all of these correspond with the requirements of your teacher or the publication you are submitting your essay to.
  5. Revise the whole piece of writing once again. Since it is the last time you will read through it with an intention to make corrections, be extra-attentive and check every little detail in the text. Evaluate the structure of your essay, the way your arguments are organized, and the credibility of these arguments. Check for poor or non-existent transitions between paragraphs, pay attention to grammar, stylistics, syntax, and punctuation.

Key Points to Consider

  1. Reading your final draft aloud will grant you an opportunity to take a fresh look at what you have written. Weaknesses in writing are usually easier to notice when heard.
  2. Your paper should be written in your own words, except abstracts where you are using citations. It is always better to show your own understanding of an issue, even if it is incorrect, than to frame your ideas in another author’s words. A final draft is your last chance to exclude any possible signs of plagiarism from your paper.
  3. Using a computer for proofreading is a sound idea, since text processing software often has a function of automatic spelling and grammar checking. However, proofreading on your own once again after the computer check is still recommended to avoid mistakes a computer may not have found.

Do and Don’t

Do
  • Do check whether your thesis statement is stated clearly, and whether it encompasses all of your key ideas. Also, check if your introduction draws readers’ attention in.
  • Do check whether each of your paragraphs represents an idea. It is important that multiple ideas are not crammed into one paragraph; topic sentences showing these main ideas should be included into each paragraph as well.
  • Do evaluate your evidence. It shouldn’t be insufficient, but the paper shouldn’t be overburdened with too much factual information as well.
Don’t
  • Don’t try to read your writing on a computer screen. After you’ve made a spell-check on the computer, print your essay out, and proofread the hard copy. It is much easier to perceive information on paper.
  • Don’t rely on automatic spell and grammar checkers. Though these tools contribute to the process of proofreading, they are far from being perfect, therefore they can miss obvious errors.
  • Don’t leave proofreading the final draft copy for the last minute; give yourself enough time to revise your paper thoroughly, because most likely this piece of writing is the one you will hand in.
  • Don’t be afraid to give your final draft to a friend or another person you trust for proofreading. A person who has never seen your piece of writing will take a fresh look at it, and most likely notice flaws and errors you’ve missed.

Common Mistakes When Crafting the Final Draft of an Essay

– Incomplete references. Students often tend to hurry when crafting the final draft to finally finish the writing process, and forget about the proper formatting of in-text citations and sources in the reference list.

– Forgetting to spell out abbreviations. You should provide a complete transcript of a certain term or name before using an abbreviation for it.

– Not explaining the meaning of uncommon words. Students use a term with a specific meaning, but forget to specify it; spell-checkers may not flag the term, and neither will these students pay attention to it while proofreading since it may have been spelled correctly.

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  • 1

    Annotate your research. Once you’ve gathered all your research, print it out (if it is an online source) and gather post-its or anything you need to mark notes in the books/magazines you are using. This step is very important: read through your research, take notes on what you think is important, and highlight key facts and phrases. Write directly on copies you’ve made, or use slips of paper tucked into pages to mark places of importance.[3]
    • Do a thorough job annotating to make your outlining and paper-writing easier in the end. Make marks on anything that you think might be remotely important or that could be put to use in your paper.
    • As you mark off important pieces in the research, add your own commentary and notes explaining to yourself where you might use it in your paper. Writing down your ideas as you have them will make writing your paper much easier and give you something to refer back to.
  • 2

    Organize your notes. Annotating your research can take quite a bit of time, but needs to be taken one step further in order to add a bit more clarity for the outlining process. Organize your notes by collecting all of your highlighted phrases and ideas into categories based on topic. For example, if you are writing a paper analyzing a famous work of literature, you could organize your research into a list of notes on the characters, a list of references to certain points in the plot, a list of symbols the author presents, et cetera.
    • Try writing each quote or item that you marked onto an individual note card. That way, you can rearrange and lay out your cards however you would like.
    • Color code your notes to make it easier. Write down a list of all the notes you are using from each individual resource, and then highlight each category of information in a different color. For example, write everything from a particular book or journal on a single sheet of paper in order to consolidate the notes, and then everything that is related to characters highlight in green, everything related to the plot mark in orange, et cetera.
  • 3

    Construct a preliminary bibliography/references page. As you go through your notes, mark down the author, page number, title, and publishing information for each resource. This will come in handy when you craft your bibliography or works cited page later in the game.

  • 4

    Identify the goal of the paper. Generally, speaking, there are two types of research paper: an argumentative research paper or an analytic research paper. Each requires a slightly different focus and writing style which should be identified prior to starting a rough draft.
    • An argumentative research paper takes a position on a contentious issue and argues for one point of view. The issue should be debatable with a logical counter argument.
    • An analytic research paper offers a fresh look at an important issue. The subject may not be controversial, but you must attempt to persuade your audience that your ideas have merit. This is not simply a regurgitation of ideas from your research, but an offering of your own unique ideas based on what you have learned through research.
  • 5

    Determine your audience. Who would be reading this paper, should it be published? Although you want to write for your professor or other superior, it is important that the tone and focus of your paper reflect the audience who will be reading it. If you’re writing for academic peers, then the information you include should reflect the information you already know; you don’t need to explain basic ideas or theories. On the other hand, if you are writing for an audience who doesn’t know much about your subject, it will be important to include explanations and examples of more fundamental ideas and theories related to your research.[4]

  • 6

    Develop your thesis. The thesis statement is a 1-2 sentence statement at the beginning of your paper that states the main goal or argument of your paper. Although you can alter the wording of your thesis statement for the final draft later, coming up with the main goal of your essay must be done in the beginning. All of your body paragraphs and information will revolve around your thesis, so make sure that you are clear on what your thesis is.[5]
    • An easy way to develop your thesis is to make it into a question that your essay will answer. What is the primary question or hypothesis that you are going to go about proving in your paper? For example, your thesis question might be “how does cultural acceptance change the success of treatment for mental illness?” This can then determine what your thesis is - whatever your answer to the question is, is your thesis statement.
    • Your thesis should express the main idea of your paper without listing all of your reasons or outline your entire paper. It should be a simple statement, rather than a list of support; that’s what the rest of your paper is for!
  • 7

    Determine your main points. The body of your essay will revolve around the ideas that you judge to be most important. Go through your research and annotations to determine what points are the most pivotal in your argument or presentation of information. What ideas can you write whole paragraphs about? Which ideas to you have plenty of firm facts and research to back with evidence? Write your main points down on paper, and then organize the related research under each.
    • When you outline your main ideas, putting them in a specific order is important. Place your strongest points at the beginning and end of your essay, with more mediocre points placed in the middle or near the end of your essay.
    • A single main point doesn’t have to be kept to a single paragraph, especially if you are writing a relatively long research paper. Main ideas can be spread out over as many paragraphs as you deem necessary.
  • 8

    Consider formatting guidelines. Depending on your paper rubric, class guidelines, or formatting guidelines, you may have to organize your paper in a specific way. For example, when writing in APA format you must organize your paper by headings including the introduction, methods, results, and discussion. These guidelines will alter the way you craft your outline and final paper.[6]

  • 9

    Finalize your outline. With the aforementioned tips taken into consideration, organize your entire outline. Justify main points to the left, and indent subsections and notes from your research below each. The outline should be an overview of your entire paper in bullet points. Make sure to include in-text citations at the end of each point, so that you don’t have to constantly refer back to your research when writing your final paper.

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