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COM 5000: Introduction to Graduate Studies


The DISCOVER process is a system you can follow anytime you are required to write on a topic.

D - define your topic or thesis statement

 I -  inquire (find some background information on your topic)

S - search for additional information on your topic

C - collect information (articles) on your topic

O - organize the information in a logical format (decide how to present your information)

V - verify the information (is the author an authority on the issue? is the website credible?)

E - express the information (write the paper)

R - reflect and revise (writing is a circular process; write a draft, then read, review, and revise)

Steps to Writing a Research Paper

1. Choose a topic (or use the topic assigned by the instructor)

2. Analyze the topic (this is where you read about the topic)

  • Read about the topic until you have the knowledge and understanding to write the paper.
  • Think! What questions do you want/need to answer about the topic?
  • Think! What patterns do you notice in the literature?
  • Think! What are your own reactions and observations? 

3. Develop a thesis statement (short, one or two sentences)

  • Touch on all the points you will make in your paper
  • Explain the significance of your argument
  • Be logically sound
  • Appear at the end (or somewhere within) the introduction portion of your paper
  • Answer who, what, when, where, why, and how about your topic 

4. Make an outline

  • List the points you want to make in your paper
  • Determine a logical method for presenting the points you want to make.  You may use one of these methods or develop your own method.
    • Process
    • Chronology
    • Cause and Effect
    • Classification 

5. Write your paper

Information adapted from Bowen, N. (2010 Summer). How to write great papers. Retrieved from

General Elements of a Research Paper

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Review of the Literature
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion & Conclusion
  • References
  • Appendix

Elements of a research paper adapted from the American Psychological Association Manual.