Skip to main content
SearchLogin or Signup

Research Paper Guidelines

Adapted from the UC San Diego Making of the Modern World Program

Published onDec 25, 2020
Research Paper Guidelines

A Good Research Paper

  • Clearly defines the historical and geographical context of the topic

  • Situates itself within an ongoing scholarly conversation

  • Presents a persuasively argued point that is amply supported with relevant evidence from primary and secondary source material

  • Acknowledges other points of view

  • Discusses the significance of its claims

  • Is well written and organized

To Achieve these Goals, Include:

Introductory Paragraph

  • An indication of your topic

  • The scholarly historical and context of your research

  • The question you are addressing

  • Your thesis statement

  • An indication of the significance of your topic and question

Research Question

  • Open-ended

  • Amenable to historical research


  • An answer to the question you pose

  • Arguable (i.e. open to interpretation)

  • Amply supported by evidence


  • Explain which of your claims each piece of evidence supports

  • Explain how the evidence supports your claims

  • Acknowledge sources clearly and correctly (using Chicago Manual of Style 17th edition full note style), whether you quote or paraphrase an author’s words or merely draw upon an author’s ideas

  • Use direct quotation sparingly and only when necessary

Counter Argument

  • Acknowledge the scholars whose positions differ from yours

  • Explain how each counterargument differs from your own claims

  • Present the evidence that supports each counterargument

  • Rebut each counterargument (i.e., explain why your claims are stronger)


  • Summarize the argument

  • Reiterate and elaborate the significance


No comments here