How to Write a Research Paper Fast?

By: Tasha Kolesnikova

10 min



How to Write a Research Paper Fast?

Procrastination is not a new concept to the students. Now that you have left the APA research paper for the last minute, it is crucial to understand how to get done with the academic paper quickly. Most people cannot work well under pressure and tend to compromise the content's quality to complete it in time.

But what if you can still do well even if it is a last-minute essay and write a good research paper? You can follow specific tips for writing term papers on short deadlines. Of course, there are no specific rules to these; feel free to incorporate what works best for you in this plan. It is just a necessary groundwork to help you get started.

Find a Good Writing Environment

An environment plays a significant role in determining the length of time you will require to finish your assignment. Thus, you have to find the most suitable spot to facilitate the thinking and writing process and get you in the mood to start. Things you should consider for this are:

Distraction-free Spot

Has it ever happened to you that you have wanted to concentrate on studying, but the surrounding noise does not allow you to do so? Everybody has been there. But this time, you do not have a lot of time on your hands. Eliminate all of these distractions and get to work.

Find a location you can work in without getting disturbed. For some people, listening to music helps them to concentrate. If you know what helps you to focus, that is perfect. It would help if you had a couple of hours to work in a comfortable setting. Find a place that will allow you to do so. This can be a library or a park. Depending on what you prefer.

Good Lighting

Adequate lighting is very crucial for not only writing but also to improve your thinking process. If the spot you choose is near a window, utilize the sun for the lighting source. If not, ensure you have enough light to lit up the room you are working in. This also prevents you from getting tired as quickly.

Bring Your Supplies Needed

Even if you have not headed out and are working at home, you do require supplies. This can include a computer, paper, pen, books, highlighter, or anything that aids your writing process. Do not forget about your water bottle. Keep them right beside you so that when you need them later, you do not have to leave time and time again. Doing so will speed up the entire process and prevent you from tiring yourself from unnecessary activity.

Pre-Writing Tips

First of all, go through the assigned work and grasp the key concepts required. The guidelines are essential to understand before starting. This includes getting a decent idea about the word limit, formatting, and citation style. The two most frequently used are APA and MLA. After this, schedule the time you can manage to squeeze out from your routine to devote to this college paper.

Planning Your Time

How much time do you have to get this research paper ready? This will help you assign the time to each section of your work. Suppose you have half an hour. Utilize 10 minutes to outline and create a structure, 15 minutes for writing, and the last 5 to revise and edit. If you have more time, redistribute the division accordingly. The rule is to spend at least 1/5th of the remaining time creating an outline, 1/2nd of it on shaping and writing the main body.

Pick a Topic You Have Already Worked With

Sometimes, you might get assigned research paper topics by your instructor. Other times, you will be more fortunate and obtain the freedom of doing so yourself. If it's the latter case, plan strategically so that you can save a significant amount of time altogether. If you decide to experiment this time, it might turn out fine, but the chances of finishing it in time will be slim. Instead, be smart and pick a topic you have already worked with and have done previous research. This will help you save a lot of time, and you will have a decent idea about the direction to take. If you have any notes or links saved on your computer, it is time you take them out.

How to Select a New Topic?

If you lack experience in this department, you might lose an edge but can still catch up. Brainstorm ideas. Think about a topic that genuinely interests you. This way, you will stay motivated throughout the research paper. It will also take less time to wrap your mind around this idea.

You can also use the internet to find samples of ideal topics that are thought-provoking and can help you score high grades. Ensure that whatever you choose to go in with is neither too broad nor too specific. Your work might end up being haphazard with no direction in sight by not having a clear focus. By being too focused, there might not be enough research present to work with. Take the middle ground.

Conduct In-Depth Research While Taking Quick Notes

If you do not have previous notes, do not worry. Take out your laptop, and start searching. A vital tip to utilize here is not to rely on just one source. Find as much content on the topic as possible. This will help you support your thesis statement later on. You can use a few good sources: Wikipedia, Google Scholar, government reports, encyclopedias, and online databases.

Make sure to keep taking notes while you are skimming through all important files. This way, you will not miss out on anything important. You can also use mind maps and web diagrams to jot down key ideas systematically. Do not forget to note down these sources; you will need them in your references section at the end of the research paper. You should always paraphrase this information to avoid plagiarism in the final submission.

Create an Outline in Advance

Do you know why so many students fail at crafting an impressive research paper? This is because they do not spend any time on planning and outlining. Writing time is important, but so is this step. In the ideation phase, you would have done a lot of brainstorming. These ideas should be structured and put into order.

Creating a template in advance will help you save time and speed up the writing process. Try making sense of your unorganized thoughts. Once you have created a well-structured outline, you can invest the rest of your time in nailing the thesis statement. Hence, ensure that your outline and the key points support it instead of contradicting it at any point.

Writing Process

Now that you are done with all the steps necessary for pre-writing, it is time you get on with the report. However, the shortage of time does not at all mean you skip this step. You will always need to go through your composed work again at the end. Consider this your first draft. This is where you will be including all the vital information in a systematic sequence. Make sure to include in-text citations wherever you feel are essential.

After including everything in this paper, you will have a raw compilation of all the important arguments and evidence. You will have to refine this to make it presentable and worthy of submission.

The Abstract

An abstract is the first passage the reader will see. It should comprise all the highlights of your paper along with the purpose. This has to be brief and only a short passage to get the audience ready for what is yet to come. It usually consists of 300 words or less. The sequence should include the study's intent, the design followed by the major findings, and finally, a summary of your conclusions and interpretations.

A rule of thumb to perfect this part is to imagine being in the shoes of another researcher. Then, go through this part. Question yourself, if you wanted to go forward after reading this abstract if you were in their place. If you are satisfied and think you have included enough information to encourage others to read on, go ahead.


Always start with the topic and why is it interesting. Effectively establish your research problem. Follow it by providing some background information on the subject you chose. Then, briefly explain the significance of the work and why you selected it. Also, describe the work that has already been done by researchers in the field. You should also state the approach you have taken to tackle the issue. Finally, end the introductory paragraph with a clear and precise thesis statement.

Thesis Statement

This is the last sentence of this paragraph. You might execute the entire research paper properly, but you can never score high without a strong thesis statement. The whole foundation of the academic paper is based on this line. It has to be quite specific; a two-sentence condensation of the analysis or argument to come later. As you keep on writing, the topic might change. You would have to revise this statement at the end. Be careful when you are at this stage. You can probably check with your instructor before moving forward.

The Body Paragraphs

This is the time when you should be utilizing your outline. Go through all the points you highlighted in the research phase. You will soon understand the significance of doing so in terms of saving time and maintaining the structure. Always keep going back to your thesis statement to ensure every point you make relay backs to this.

Begin every new paragraph with a topic sentence. You have to analyze how this statement is true and provide supporting evidence. Using quotes is also an effective way to relate to your points. Do not forget to ensure that you are doing so from credible sources. Treat every paragraph like a mini-essay. Conclude every point you make before ending it. Nonetheless, all these should be cohesive and in line with the thesis statement.

Making a Logical Conclusion

After completing the analysis, you have to conclude. You can do so by restating the thesis. Summarize your paper and avoid repetition here. Do not state any facts and figures in this section. You can also determine how you believe the points you said to support the thesis statement. Suggesting exciting ideas to help future research is also a great way to end this conclusion.

You have to write this so that the readers understand how and why your research matters to them. It is more than just a summary, rather a synthesis of the essential points. You have to convey the broader implications of the study made. In most cases, one small paragraph will suffice, although more might be required. Check beforehand.

Cite Sources

A major difference between any other academic paper and a research paper is the need for citation. At the end of this paper, you will have to include the list of sources you utilized throughout the document or bibliography. Depending on your teacher's preference and instructions, follow the APA format, MLA, or Chicago. This makes up an imperative step in your research paper. Every claim you have made until now has to be backed up by these. Give credit where it is due.

Finishing a Research Paper Fast

Before submitting your research paper, editing and revising are two key steps you need to take care of. This is crucial for helping you improve the structure and the content. Besides, proofreading is just as important.

Revise and Edit

Reread your work to ensure it is on point. Being short on time does not mean submitting the first draft. Make sure you get rid of all the grammatical and spelling mistakes. An excellent tool to use here for saving time is Grammarly. It is software that automatically corrects many errors you have made as you go. The rest are identified and highlighted.

Checking the flow and logic are also essential for improving the quality of your paper. The transitions between each paragraph have to be smooth and coherent. While you are in this process, remove any repetitive phrases and any filler words. You want your paper to be concise and to-the-point. Reading this paper aloud is an excellent way to catch any syntax errors.

Check for Plagiarism

Before submitting your work, this should be your last step. Even if subconsciously, you might have lifted text from a source. This will show in your report upon submission. It is a practice that is considered highly unethical and can affect your grade adversely. It is better to be safe than sorry. Run your work through a plagiarism detection tool like Turnitin. If it clears the test, it is good to go.

Now you know the fastest and easiest ways to cope with any time of research paper. Of course, you should divide the time better next time, but if you fail to do so for whatever reason, there is no reason to be overwhelmed. The steps mentioned above will prepare you for tackling such a situation. Good luck!

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I studied sociology and marketing at Europa-Universität Viadrina (Germany) and Universidade da Beira Interior (Portugal). When I was a sophomore, back in 2018, I decided to put what I've learned into practice, so I got my first job in digital marketing. I currently work in the content marketing department at Studybay, building strong, effective, and respectful communication between the platform and our clients.

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