English 1121-1132 Research Essay Tips for Students

Tips for Students for Research Essays

  • Choose something that really interests you. You are going to be working on this project for a while and you don’t want something that will bore you!
  • Your completed essay will need to be at least 2,500 words.
  • Don’t procrastinate; make sure you are completing all the exercises as you are told to in the PACEs so you are ready to write your first draft and good copy when you are supposed to.
  • When setting your goals for English make sure you have checked the PACE to see what you are going to be required to do so you set fewer pages when you can see that you have a lot of work to do.
  • Spend time developing a good thesis statement. Your statement must be something that is debatable. You must be able to argue your case. Stating “My topic is interesting” is not a good thesis statement. Whereas, stating “Breast feeding is better for babies than formula” is a good thesis statement. This website has some good tips for developing a thesis statement.


  • Having a good thesis statement will give focus for your essay. Every paragraph should be contributing a new point to the argument. Each part of your essay should be there for a reason.
  • You are welcome to submit your thesis statement to us so we can critique it for you and help you to improve it if necessary.
  • Make sure you are using a good number and range of sources. It is good to use a combination of print and electronic resources.
  • Be careful when using the internet that you choose reputable websites. Wikipedia can be helpful for an overview of material but you should not make it the basis for your research.
  • Make good notes as you go along. You will make things easier for yourself in the long run.
  • Use this format when referencing websites. Sometimes you may not have all the information (ie. Name of person who wrote it), but include as much as you can.


Bibliography: same as above, but put the last name of the lead author first.

  • For Wikipedia pages use the following format:

“Article Title.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., date last updated (DD Month YYYY). Web. Date accessed (DD Month YYYY). <URL>

  • Finish your essay well. Have a strong conclusion that not only summarises your main points, but finishes with a memorable last statement. It is your last chance to win your reader over to your point of view.

Marking Schedule Research Essay








Thesis Statement
Essay structure            Subject, theme topic or thesis stated clearly in      opening paragraphs
          One topic per paragraph
          Strong conclusion summarizing  contents of essay
Used examples to back up points
Each point supports the thesis
Shows evidence of research



Endnotes and bibliography done appropriately  




Quality of writing
Grammar, spelling, punctuation