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How to Write a Research Paper

Writing a research paper is a bit more difficult that a standard high school essay. You need to site sources, use academic data and show scientific examples. Before beginning, you’ll need guidelines for how to write a research paper.

Start the Research Process

Before you begin writing the research paper, you must do your research. It is important that you understand the subject matter, formulate the ideas of your paper, create your thesis statement and learn how to speak about your given topic in an authoritative manner. You’ll be looking through online databases, encyclopedias, almanacs, periodicals, books, newspapers, government publications, reports, guides and scholarly resources. Take notes as you discover new information about your given topic. Also keep track of the references you use so you can build your bibliography later and cite your resources.

Develop Your Thesis Statement

When organizing your research paper, the thesis statement is where you explain to your readers what they can expect, present your claims, answer any questions that you were asked or explain your interpretation of the subject matter you’re researching. Therefore, the thesis statement must be strong and easy to understand. Your thesis statement must also be precise. It should answer the question you were assigned, and there should be an opportunity for your position to be opposed or disputed. The body of your manuscript should support your thesis, and it should be more than a generic fact.

Create an Outline

Many professors require outlines during the research paper writing process. You’ll find that they want outlines set up with a title page, abstract, introduction, research paper body and reference section. The title page is typically made up of the student’s name, the name of the college, the name of the class and the date of the paper. The abstract is a summary of the paper. An introduction typically consists of one or two pages and comments on the subject matter of the research paper. In the body of the research paper, you’ll be breaking it down into materials and methods, results and discussions. Your references are in your bibliography. Use a research paper example to help you with your outline if necessary.

Organize Your Notes

When writing your first draft, you’re going to have to work on organizing your notes first. During this process, you’ll be deciding which references you’ll be putting in your bibliography and which will work best as in-text citations. You’ll be working on this more as you develop your working drafts and look at more white paper examples to help guide you through the process.

Write Your Final Draft

After you’ve written a first and second draft and received corrections from your professor, it’s time to write your final copy. By now, you should have seen an example of a research paper layout and know how to put your paper together. You’ll have your title page, abstract, introduction, thesis statement, in-text citations, footnotes and bibliography complete. Be sure to check with your professor to ensure if you’re writing in APA style, or if you’re using another style guide.


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6-Page Research Paper Outline for College Students

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Students can use the comprehensive  research paper outline  or any other outline in the assignment prompt. For those wondering about how many words should a 6-page paper be, the answer is about 1,650 words ± 100.

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6 Page Essay: Examples, Topics, & Word Count

What does a six page essay look like? If you’re searching for an answer to this question, you’re in the right place! Such a paper is a standard high school and college assignment. That’s why it might be written on almost any topic. Police brutality, the Holocaust, obesity, and overpopulation are just some examples.

A 6 page essay word count is usually 1450 to 1500 words (12 pt., double-spaced). The length of a typical academic paragraph is 100 to 150 words. So, there are 10 to 15 paragraphs in a six page essay.

If you need 6 page essay examples, take a look at the list below. We’ve collected A+ samples for you to get inspired. Good luck with your essay!

6-page Essay Examples: 8537 Samples

Innovation in history: how guns changed the world research paper.

Social Security System In The United States

Professional Issues for Child and Youth Care Practitioners in School Based Settings

Al-JAZEERA “Arabic Television Network”

Literature Study on Rising Incidence of Cyber Pedophilia

Drawing Lessons for Beginners

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Saudi Arabia’s Oil Sector

Analysis and Review of the Decisions made in the Simulation of the Lenity Hospital for Advanced Care (LHAC)

Adult Learning and Education

Trends in Consumer Buying Habits

Happiness and Morality

Organizing and Leading with RI Strategy

Towards the Conceptualization of a Non–Linear ISD Model

Maternal Mortality: Situations, Policies and Programs

Honesty in the workplace

Concepts of Alzheimer’s disease

Enhancement Drugs in Sports Should Be Banned: An Argumentative Paper

A Clockwork Orange: Setting and Literary Devices

Disaster Recovery Plan

Video Games Addiction: Is It Real?

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Pros and Cons of Abortion to the Society Argumentative Essay

Women’s Participation in World’s Development: Importance of Understanding

Bob Dylan Blowin In the Wind

Video Games Do Enhance Learning Ability

Negative Impact of Internet on Society Essay

Langston Hughes and Black Elite

Resource Identification, Evaluation and Selection: Congestive Heart Failure

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Salem Witch Trials Causes

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Fast Food and Hate Groups

Charles Chesnutt’s “The Wife of His Youth”

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Bellevue Mine Explosion, Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, December 9, 1910

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Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha)

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Striving for the Ultimate Knowledge: Eli’s Mission. Video Game

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Effects of divorce on young children

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards

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Free 6 Page Essay Example Catalog for Students

8989 samples of this type

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Every database administrator needs to uncover new information concerning the data relations and database relations. Rule discovery therefore is the name given to this process. Rule discovery is defined as the search for patterns, regularities and correlations in the target database by utilizing every available information source (Shneiderman, & Goodman, 2006). By the realization of these relations and regularities, application of optimization queries becomes much easier in the process. A clear and a better outcome will be realized as compared to a situation where the knowledge of the rules in question is not known.

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Academic Paper Examples

📜 what is an academic paper, 📝 types of academic papers, 👣 how to write an academic paper: 9 easy steps, ❓ academic paper faqs.

There are many forms of academic writing , but an academic paper should always meet three basic criteria . It should be written by scholars for other scholars, focus on issues that concern the academic community, and contain an informed argument. Other characteristics of academic writing include a formal writing style, specific vocabulary terms, and the use of the third-person perspective.

What Is an Academic Paper?

There are four general types of academic texts . A descriptive text describes a phenomenon, person, or fact. A reflective text conveys the author’s response to experiences, opinions, or new information. An analytical paper shows the relationships between different phenomena. And, finally, a critical text evaluates someone else’s work.

Examples of academic paper genres include:

📚 Book Review

To put it simply, a review is a critical evaluation of a text, object, event, etc. A review is not merely a summary, but rather a commentary with persuasive arguments . When writing a good book review , you need to clearly state your opinion of the work in question, and support your statements logically and/or empirically.

Reviews are usually short and rarely exceed 1000 words in academic journals and newspapers. The structure of a book review often resembles that of other academic papers, featuring typical elements like an introduction, a thesis statement, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Book Review Example

🤨 Critique Paper

A critique paper aims to critically read and analyze a text, research, or performance. It can also be called a response paper. A critique resembles a book review, but there are important differences. A review should contain the key points of the work in question, while a critique focuses on the evaluation and analysis of the text or research.

If you need more information on how to write a critique paper, take a look at our killer writing tips !

Critique Paper Example

✍️ Academic Essay

An essay is a common form of academic writing. Many different kinds of academic essays exist, but most of them share the same goal of informing readers about the author’s position with the help of arguments and evidence.

There is no ready-made formula for the perfect essay structure .

Instead, it may be useful to think of the different sections of the text as answers to different questions that your reader might have when encountering your research essay. For example, “ What ” is probably the first question a reader might have. Thus, the “what” or “demonstration” section of your paper, which aims to explain the phenomenon about which you are writing, should come early, just after the introduction.

Next, your reader might want to know if the claims you make are valid in all cases. “ How ” is the corresponding question here. How will another perspective, a new set of materials, or different sources affect the claim you make? A typical academic essay usually contains at least one “how” section.

And finally, before coming to a conclusion, your reader might want to ask “ Why ” or “ So what ”. Why does this matter to anyone besides you? Answering this question helps your readers understand the text within a broader context. By providing a clear response to the "why" question, your essay demonstrates its significance.

Academic Essay Example

🎥 Movie Analysis

Unlike literature, a movie includes audiovisual elements. However, literature and film do have many similarities. Both use characters, dialogues, plots, settings, symbolism, etc. These features can be analyzed for their intent and effect in both cinema and literature.

Coherent arguments and convincing evidence are as crucial for movie analysis as for other scholarly papers. Therefore, well-developed academic writing skills are required to write a successful film analysis paper .

📊 Academic Report

A report is a type of academic paper that is created for a very clear purpose and contains specific information and evidence. Students are usually asked to write reports for one of two reasons: 1) to demonstrate what they have learned, or 2) to develop an important skill. Moreover, a good report needs to be clear , concise , and well structured . Still confused about writing a report? Don’t hesitate to check out our report writing tips !

Academic Report Example

🔬 Research Paper

Like most other scholarly papers, an academic research paper is not just a collection of information or a review of the literature on a particular topic. A research paper needs to present your own argument on a topic, supported by others’ works.

What does a research paper look like? Usually, it is an expanded version of an essay. When working on an essay, a student often focuses on personal thoughts and experiences. However, to write on a research paper, you need to find out what the experts know. Thus, a literature review section is usually an essential part of a research paper outline. Other important parts include the abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, and references.

How long should a research paper be? There’s no single answer to this question because the length of a research paper depends on its topic and purpose. However, an average paper usually fills between four and five pages.

If you need more advice on how to do a research paper, please read this article !

Research Paper Example

The whole writing process may seem overly complex and intimidating at first. But when you break it down into smaller tasks, it becomes more organized and manageable.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to write an academic paper most efficiently. Before jumping into it, you can add a preparation stage. Spend a little bit of time by checking out some free essay samples to gain some inspiration and generate ideas. It will boost the whole process and help you reach your goal with ease.

How to Write an Academic Paper: 9 Easy Steps

🔥 Step 1. Choose a Hot Topic

Selecting a topic is probably the most difficult challenge for students who are starting their research papers. Sometimes you are assigned a topic, but often you need to choose one by yourself. Choosing and defining a good topic is a crucial part of a successful research project. However, don’t fret about coming up with the final version for the header of your academic paper at this stage. That decision comes much later.

❓ Step 2. Formulate Your Topic as a Research Question

A research question is the base of every scholarly paper. You can think of your research project as a house. The data collection forms the walls, and the hypothesis is the foundation. Your research question, however, is even more fundamental; it is the ground beneath the house. It needs to be solid , specific , and answerable .

At this stage, it is important to develop a preliminary research question, keeping in mind that you’ll probably refine or even change it later.

🤓 Step 3. Read & Make Notes

Most likely, you’ll have reviewed some sources by this stage of topic selection, but now is the time to dig deeper.

To get started, make a list of the sources that you plan to use. Ideally, they should be relevant to the topic and as current as possible. Make sure that you understand who the top voices in your field are and what they have to say about your topic. If you have any questions, you can always use our guide on how to find credible sources .

It is a good idea to take notes while reading. Later, you’ll be able to convert them into a full literature review section.

❗ Step 4. Formulate a Thesis Statement

Once you’ve decided on a research question, and you have a grasp on what other scholars have written on the topic, it is time to make your own ideas more concrete. At this stage, you need to formulate a thesis statement that aims to convey the central argument of your academic paper. Your task is to persuade your audience that you have something valuable to say. A good thesis statement should be specific , debatable , and concise .

🔍 Step 5. Get Your Empirical Results

This step is not always necessary. Still, if you need empirical evidence to prove your thesis, you’ll have to spend time collecting it. Scholars conduct their research in different ways, so this stage is flexible according to your specific topic. If you have any questions about gathering empirical evidence, you can always consult your professor.

📅 Step 6. Plan Your Paper

The work that you’ve already done has probably given you tons of exciting ideas. Your task at this stage is to organize these ideas logically in an outline format. Think of the key points that support your thesis and use them as subheadings for the body paragraphs of your paper.

A typical academic paper structure includes:

Academic paper structure

🖊️ Step 7. Write Your Draft

At this stage, you already have an outline that gives you a direction. All you need to do is create the first draft of your paper by filling in the details of each section.

The header of your academic paper is very important. If you want to make a good impression on your audience, take note that the title is the first thing that they’ll see. Make a list of the keywords that pertain to the topic you chose, the methods you used, and the results you obtained. Create a sentence that includes as many of the keywords as possible. Make it logical and concise, and add a subtitle if needed.

After creating your headers, you’ll find that drafting the individual sections of your paper is much easier. If you still have doubts, you can find more information on how to write an academic paper here .

🗒️ Step 8. Revise & Edit the Draft

Now that you’ve managed to finish your first draft, take a moment to congratulate yourself! And then, get back to work because you still have a lot to do.

Remember, the first draft is never perfect. If you want to make a good impression on your audience, revise and edit the content and grammar of your paper. Use our checklists to make your academic paper as perfect as it can be.

🔤 Step 9. Format Your Paper

At this stage, you need to make sure that that the format of your academic paper meets the correct style requirements. Pay special attention to citations.

The idea behind citations is simple. If you use the ideas of other people in your work, you must give them credit .

How do you cite your sources ? There are many citation styles, but the most popular are APA and MLA .

What is APA Format?

APA (American Psychological Association) style is often used in Social Sciences (Sociology, Anthropology, Economics, etc.), but many other disciplines use it too.

Take a look at our guidelines if you need to write a paper that requires APA format. You can also find sample APA papers below.

What is MLA Format?

MLA style was developed by the Modern Language Association. MLA is the leading style of documentation in the Humanities, and enables students and researchers in the fields of Language and Literature to format their papers in a universal way.

Want to learn more? You can always read our guidebook , or find sample MLA papers below.

❓ How to write an academic paper?

To write a paper, you need to choose a hot topic and formulate a research question. Then read your sources and get some empirical evidence if necessary. Then make a plan of your paper and write the first draft of it. Take your time to revise and edit the draft. And, finally, don’t forget about the formatting!

❓ How do you start an academic paper?

Selecting a research topic is the starting point for every paper. It is also probably the most difficult challenge, especially when you need to choose one by yourself. However, don’t worry too much about coming up with the final version of the topic at this stage. Formulate a preliminary one. Once you’ve formulated a topic and a research question, the base of your scientific paper is ready.

❓ How do I write a good academic paper?

A good academic paper features several characteristics. First of all, it has a clear purpose. It contains a research question and an answer to it. Moreover, a good paper presents an original point of view. A good academic text is a well-structured one: all parts of it should support the thesis statement. The explanations should be clear, logical, and straightforward. Last but not least, a good paper bases on a number of scholarly sources.

❓ What are the parts of an academic paper?

A basic academic paper structure includes three main parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The body is usually the most voluminous part of any paper. It typically consists of a literature review, a methods section, results, and discussion. An abstract (a short and concise summation of the entire story) is not always required. Still, most academic papers aimed for publication have one.

❓ What is an example of academic writing?

Numerous forms of academic writing exist. Still, an excellent example of academic writing should be written by scholars for other scholars, explore the issues that concern the academic community, and contain an informed argument. Examples of academic writing include book reviews, critique papers, essays, movie analysis, reports, research papers, etc.

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How To Select Interesting 6-Page Research Paper Topics

Conducting research is a serious task that should not be taken lightly, especially when the results of your study may have the potential to affect the world and life as we know it. While writing the actual paper may be difficult or challenging, it is equally important to place high importance on selecting a good subject for study, since this has the most potential to affect the difficulty of the task at hand. It is quite easy to select a topic that seems promising at first, only to realize that it was a bad choice after devoting precious hours pursuing this course. In the following points I will outline several tips that will help guide you towards choosing an excellent topic for research:

Being interested means motivation and motivation can accomplish things that you didn’t realize possible. Do not be afraid to choose a subject of study that you enjoy, just be sure to make it one that is relevant to the interest of your target readers.

Research is constantly happening all around the world and there is no end to the questions that people wish to have answered. Do a quick online search for different ideas of study used by other academics and compare them to your available choices. Having an idea of how students general choose their titles can help with your own.

Often, we find it hard making a decision or coming up with an idea because we try to think to hard about it. Brain storming is very useful for this purpose since it allows you to produce a large quantity of ideas within a short period of time.

Now that you have a long list of what may seem like ridiculous topic ideas, browse through them and select the best ones. Do not be surprised to find one that is undeniably genius in the mix.

When making a choice, try to make it one that you can make real progress with. This can be done by doing simple drafts of your top choices and seeing how they proceed before making your final decision.

03-11-2023 © All rights reserved. | Research & Writing For College Students

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How to Write a Research Paper | A Beginner's Guide

A research paper is a piece of academic writing that provides analysis, interpretation, and argument based on in-depth independent research.

Research papers are similar to academic essays , but they are usually longer and more detailed assignments, designed to assess not only your writing skills but also your skills in scholarly research. Writing a research paper requires you to demonstrate a strong knowledge of your topic, engage with a variety of sources, and make an original contribution to the debate.

This step-by-step guide takes you through the entire writing process, from understanding your assignment to proofreading your final draft.

Table of contents

Understand the assignment, choose a research paper topic, conduct preliminary research, develop a thesis statement, create a research paper outline, write a first draft of the research paper, write the introduction, write a compelling body of text, write the conclusion, the second draft, the revision process, research paper checklist, free lecture slides.

Completing a research paper successfully means accomplishing the specific tasks set out for you. Before you start, make sure you thoroughly understanding the assignment task sheet:

Carefully consider your timeframe and word limit: be realistic, and plan enough time to research, write, and edit.

There are many ways to generate an idea for a research paper, from brainstorming with pen and paper to talking it through with a fellow student or professor.

You can try free writing, which involves taking a broad topic and writing continuously for two or three minutes to identify absolutely anything relevant that could be interesting.

You can also gain inspiration from other research. The discussion or recommendations sections of research papers often include ideas for other specific topics that require further examination.

Once you have a broad subject area, narrow it down to choose a topic that interests you, m eets the criteria of your assignment, and i s possible to research. Aim for ideas that are both original and specific:

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6 page research paper

Note any discussions that seem important to the topic, and try to find an issue that you can focus your paper around. Use a variety of sources , including journals, books, and reliable websites, to ensure you do not miss anything glaring.

Do not only verify the ideas you have in mind, but look for sources that contradict your point of view.

In this stage, you might find it helpful to formulate some research questions to help guide you. To write research questions, try to finish the following sentence: “I want to know how/what/why…”

A thesis statement is a statement of your central argument — it establishes the purpose and position of your paper. If you started with a research question, the thesis statement should answer it. It should also show what evidence and reasoning you’ll use to support that answer.

The thesis statement should be concise, contentious, and coherent. That means it should briefly summarize your argument in a sentence or two, make a claim that requires further evidence or analysis, and make a coherent point that relates to every part of the paper.

You will probably revise and refine the thesis statement as you do more research, but it can serve as a guide throughout the writing process. Every paragraph should aim to support and develop this central claim.

A research paper outline is essentially a list of the key topics, arguments, and evidence you want to include, divided into sections with headings so that you know roughly what the paper will look like before you start writing.

A structure outline can help make the writing process much more efficient, so it’s worth dedicating some time to create one.

Your first draft won’t be perfect — you can polish later on. Your priorities at this stage are as follows:

You do not need to start by writing the introduction. Begin where it feels most natural for you — some prefer to finish the most difficult sections first, while others choose to start with the easiest part. If you created an outline, use it as a map while you work.

Do not delete large sections of text. If you begin to dislike something you have written or find it doesn’t quite fit, move it to a different document, but don’t lose it completely — you never know if it might come in useful later.

Paragraph structure

Paragraphs are the basic building blocks of research papers. Each one should focus on a single claim or idea that helps to establish the overall argument or purpose of the paper.

Example paragraph

George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language” has had an enduring impact on thought about the relationship between politics and language. This impact is particularly obvious in light of the various critical review articles that have recently referenced the essay. For example, consider Mark Falcoff’s 2009 article in The National Review Online, “The Perversion of Language; or, Orwell Revisited,” in which he analyzes several common words (“activist,” “civil-rights leader,” “diversity,” and more). Falcoff’s close analysis of the ambiguity built into political language intentionally mirrors Orwell’s own point-by-point analysis of the political language of his day. Even 63 years after its publication, Orwell’s essay is emulated by contemporary thinkers.

Citing sources

It’s also important to keep track of citations at this stage to avoid accidental plagiarism . Each time you use a source, make sure to take note of where the information came from.

You can use our free citation generators to automatically create citations and save your reference list as you go.

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The research paper introduction should address three questions: What, why, and how? After finishing the introduction, the reader should know what the paper is about, why it is worth reading, and how you’ll build your arguments.

What? Be specific about the topic of the paper, introduce the background, and define key terms or concepts.

Why? This is the most important, but also the most difficult, part of the introduction. Try to provide brief answers to the following questions: What new material or insight are you offering? What important issues does your essay help define or answer?

How? To let the reader know what to expect from the rest of the paper, the introduction should include a “map” of what will be discussed, briefly presenting the key elements of the paper in chronological order.

The major struggle faced by most writers is how to organize the information presented in the paper, which is one reason an outline is so useful. However, remember that the outline is only a guide and, when writing, you can be flexible with the order in which the information and arguments are presented.

One way to stay on track is to use your thesis statement and topic sentences . Check:

Be aware of paragraphs that seem to cover the same things. If two paragraphs discuss something similar, they must approach that topic in different ways. Aim to create smooth transitions between sentences, paragraphs, and sections.

The research paper conclusion is designed to help your reader out of the paper’s argument, giving them a sense of finality.

Trace the course of the paper, emphasizing how it all comes together to prove your thesis statement. Give the paper a sense of finality by making sure the reader understands how you’ve settled the issues raised in the introduction.

You might also discuss the more general consequences of the argument, outline what the paper offers to future students of the topic, and suggest any questions the paper’s argument raises but cannot or does not try to answer.

You should not :

There are four main considerations when it comes to the second draft.

The goal during the revision and proofreading process is to ensure you have completed all the necessary tasks and that the paper is as well-articulated as possible.

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Fine-grained details

Check the content of each paragraph, making sure that:

Next, think about sentence structure , grammatical errors, and formatting . Check that you have correctly used transition words and phrases to show the connections between your ideas. Look for typos, cut unnecessary words, and check for consistency in aspects such as heading formatting and spellings .

Finally, you need to make sure your paper is correctly formatted according to the rules of the citation style you are using. For example, you might need to include an MLA heading  or create an APA title page .

Scribbr’s professional editors can help with the revision process with our award-winning proofreading services.

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Checklist: Research paper

I have followed all instructions in the assignment sheet.

My introduction presents my topic in an engaging way and provides necessary background information.

My introduction presents a clear, focused research problem and/or thesis statement .

My paper is logically organized using paragraphs and (if relevant) section headings .

Each paragraph is clearly focused on one central idea, expressed in a clear topic sentence .

Each paragraph is relevant to my research problem or thesis statement.

I have used appropriate transitions  to clarify the connections between sections, paragraphs, and sentences.

My conclusion provides a concise answer to the research question or emphasizes how the thesis has been supported.

My conclusion shows how my research has contributed to knowledge or understanding of my topic.

My conclusion does not present any new points or information essential to my argument.

I have provided an in-text citation every time I refer to ideas or information from a source.

I have included a reference list at the end of my paper, consistently formatted according to a specific citation style .

I have thoroughly revised my paper and addressed any feedback from my professor or supervisor.

I have followed all formatting guidelines (page numbers, headers, spacing, etc.).

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