Planning and Preparation

  • First Online: 21 September 2023

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  • Adrian Wallwork 3  

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Chapter 1 analyses the benefits for you of publishing your research, and suggests various approaches for choosing the right journal and understanding what the editor expects from a paper in terms of content, style and structure. It also covers:

whether to write your first draft in your own language for subsequent machine translation, or to write directly in English

deciding the order in which to write the various sections (Introduction, Methods, etc)

keeping the referees happy

highlighting your findings

why you should aim for simplicity in your writing rather than complexity

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Wallwork, A. (2023). Planning and Preparation. In: English for Writing Research Papers . English for Academic Research. Springer, Cham.

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Published : 21 September 2023

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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.

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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:

  • Read it carefully, looking for anything confusing you might need to clarify with your professor.
  • Identify the assignment goal, deadline, length specifications, formatting, and submission method.
  • Make a bulleted list of the key points, then go back and cross completed items off as you’re writing.

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

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

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:

  • A paper following the chronology of World War II would not be original or specific enough.
  • A paper on the experience of Danish citizens living close to the German border during World War II would be specific and could be original enough.

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.

  • Is there anything people seem to overlook in the sources you research?
  • Are there any heated debates you can address?
  • Do you have a unique take on your topic?
  • Have there been some recent developments that build on the extant research?

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.

Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

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research paper on planning

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:

  • Maintaining forward momentum — write now, perfect later.
  • Paying attention to clear organization and logical ordering of paragraphs and sentences, which will help when you come to the second draft.
  • Expressing your ideas as clearly as possible, so you know what you were trying to say when you come back to the text.

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:

  • topic sentences against the thesis statement;
  • topic sentences against each other, for similarities and logical ordering;
  • and each sentence against the topic sentence of that paragraph.

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 :

  • Offer new arguments or essential information
  • Take up any more space than necessary
  • Begin with stock phrases that signal you are ending the paper (e.g. “In conclusion”)

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

  • Check how your vision of the paper lines up with the first draft and, more importantly, that your paper still answers the assignment.
  • Identify any assumptions that might require (more substantial) justification, keeping your reader’s perspective foremost in mind. Remove these points if you cannot substantiate them further.
  • Be open to rearranging your ideas. Check whether any sections feel out of place and whether your ideas could be better organized.
  • If you find that old ideas do not fit as well as you anticipated, you should cut them out or condense them. You might also find that new and well-suited ideas occurred to you during the writing of the first draft — now is the time to make them part of the paper.

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. You can speed up the proofreading process by using the AI proofreader .

Global concerns

  • Confirm that your paper completes every task specified in your assignment sheet.
  • Check for logical organization and flow of paragraphs.
  • Check paragraphs against the introduction and thesis statement.

Fine-grained details

Check the content of each paragraph, making sure that:

  • each sentence helps support the topic sentence.
  • no unnecessary or irrelevant information is present.
  • all technical terms your audience might not know are identified.

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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Research Paper Planner: Guide

  • 1: Understand Your Assignment
  • 2: Select & Focus Your Topic
  • 3: Explore a Research Question
  • 4: Design Your Research Strategy
  • 5: Finding Sources
  • 6: Read, Note, and Compare Sources
  • 7: Write Thesis Statement
  • 8: Writing the First Draft
  • 9: Evaluate Your First Draft
  • 10: Revise & Rewrite
  • 11: Put Your Paper in Final Form

Reference Librarians

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Welcome to the Research Paper Planner Guide

Welcome to the Guide portion of the BU Libraries' Research Paper Planner (RPP).  This Guide contains links to helpful resources for each step of the research and writing process.   If you have used the Timeline portion of the RPP the links in the Timeline will take you to the links for that step of the process.

This Guide may be used independently of the Timeline to locate resources for each of the following stages of the research and writing process; just click on the Step button to the left to get there.

Surprised that there are so many steps?  Research conducted by librarians and teachers of writing has shown that breaking a research paper or thesis down into these steps is the "normal" process of writing for humanities and social science disciplines.  Using these steps will help you approach your research assignment in a progressive manner that should produce a better final product.  Give it a try and then use the evaluation for to the right to let us know how the RPP worked for you and suggest ways it could be improved.

This work is based on the University of Minnesota's Assignment Calculator but has been modified to meet the needs of the Baylor University community.

  • Research Paper Planner: Timeline This link will take you to the Timeline portion of the Research Paper Planner where you can set a start and end date for your writing project, see the deadlines for each step, print out the Timeline for your project, and/or set up email alerts for each step of the research and writing process.
  • Next: 1: Understand Your Assignment >>
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Developing a Guide to Urban Planning Interventions

Two individuals speak with one another across a folding table with papers and water for participants

Credit: The Healthy Neighborhoods Study

What is “good” urban planning? Asked another way, how do we measure and judge the progress of the professional field of urban planning? Often the focus of “good” planning is centered on a balance of outcomes, stakeholder interests, and diverse actors. This interdisciplinary approach with myriad goals translates to a lack of universal standards to assess and iterate upon the planning process. Worse yet, this broad approach can produce outcomes counter to public interest and perpetuate systemic power imbalances. In a new paper for the Journal of Planning Literature , a group of researchers ask: Rather than simply satisfy engaged stakeholders, what then should be planners’ central charge?

“Health equity should act as a north star for urban planning because it provides a good measure of what constitutes ‘just’ planning and because it is responsive to and dependent on planning activities,” said Shin Bin Tan, an Assistant Professor at the National University of Singapore and lead author of the paper. “To actively follow this north star, planning researchers and professionals need a practical roadmap. Our paper offers a pathway to utilize the strengths of planning to design interventions to advance health equity and construct a more robust metric for evaluating the success of interventions.”

In addition to Tan (MCP ‘17, PhD ‘21) authors of the paper include: Andrew Binet (MCP ‘15, PhD ‘21) as well as J. Phillip Thompson and Mariana Arcaya. Tan’s research focuses on how built environment interventions and public policy can improve social and health equity. Binet, an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia, is especially interested in understanding how urban environments shape our health and the relationships of care that sustain us, and how social and community planning can be tools for responding to the contemporary crisis of care and achieving health equity.  

Read their full paper, “Health Equity as a Guide for Urban Planning” 

Published April 3, 2024 Related Links Health Equity as a Guide for Urban Planning Shin Bin Tan Andrew Binet Mariana Arcaya Phillip Thompson

2022 Journal of Financial Planning Research Papers

Journal of Financial Planning Montgomery–Warschauer Award

Required Minimum Distributions as a Retirement Strategy: The Tradeoff Between RMD Volatility and the Expected Number of Dollars Paid Out

  • The intent of this paper is to help financial advisers prepare for a client discussion about the required minimum distributions (RMD) withdrawal strategy, which many Americans follow.
  • Clients who plan to follow this strategy need to be advised that the asset allocation they choose affects the volatility in the RMDs.
  • It also affects the expected total number of dollars paid out over a client’s retirement life expectancy.
  • Based on historic returns, the tradeoff between the volatility in RMDs and the expected number of dollars paid out is examined.

The Psychology of Estate Planning with Blended Families: How Financial Planners Can Better Help Blended Families Develop an Estate Plan that Works

  • This paper explores the complexities involved in the estate planning process for blended families and offers guidance for financial planners based on the principles of financial psychology.
  • Theoretical frameworks from the field of psychology offer insights into the formation and development of blended families and some of the unique challenges they face.
  • It is important for financial planners to recognize how conflicting interests from current and former family members impact a client’s emotions and financial decision-making.
  • Financial planners could benefit from understanding how to take a more comprehensive approach to helping clients recognize their money beliefs and biases by integrating financial psychology into the estate planning process.
  • Financial psychology tools can help financial planners better understand blended families’ unique challenges.

A Lasting Legacy of the Great Recession: How Changes in Wealth Were Associated with Changes in Bequest Expectations

  • Between 2007 and 2009, American aggregate household wealth declined by 20 percent (Dettling, Hsu, and Llanes 2018). By 2012, however, aggregate household wealth surpassed its 2007 peak and continued to increase through 2016. Although the Great Recession and its subsequent recovery has been extensively studied, little is known about the association between changes in wealth during these periods and changes in bequest expectations.
  • Based on Hurd and Smith’s (2001) model of consumption and saving, we expected a positive relationship between changes in wealth and changes in bequest expectations. The purpose of this study was, however, to explore whether a modest or significant decline in wealth that occurred during the Great Recession was linked with a drop in bequest expectations. Similarly, this study investigated the magnitude of wealth increases during the recovery that were associated with a return to expectations held prior to the Great Recession.
  • Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), this research found that during the Great Recession, both significant and modest declines in wealth were associated with a drop in bequest expectations. However, no relationship was found between increases in wealth and a rise in bequest expectations. Following the Great Recession, only wealth increases at the highest end of the distribution were associated with a return to previously held bequest expectations.
  • Financial planners can use these results to better understand shifts in bequest expectations during various economic cycles and provide the necessary interventions to help clients meet their long-term wealth transfer goals and objectives.

An Evaluation of the Association Between Marital Status and Financial Risk Tolerance

  • Financial planners collect vast amounts of data from individual clients to determine appropriate investment strategies. It is important to be able to accurately categorize appropriate financial and investment recommendations to ensure regulatory compliance, client acceptance, and financial planning strategy adherence, all of which foster trust, understanding, and further validation of the professional relationship.
  • This paper describes how the marital status of a financial decision-maker is associated with their financial risk tolerance. This paper makes conclusions with respect to whether a client’s marital status needs exclusive consideration in the context of financial planning and the investment management process.
  • Using data from 1,174 financial decision-makers, it was determined that marital status is not uniformly associated with financial risk tolerance.
  • Financial knowledge emerged from the analyses as the most important descriptor of financial risk tolerance across genders. Additionally, older respondents were found to be less willing to take a risk.

Retirement Glide Path Options in an Uncertain, Low-Interest-Rate Environment

  • Some retiree asset allocation decisions may be based on projections made using long-term historical average returns of the different asset categories. With stock and bond returns at their long-term averages, a 4 percent initial withdrawal rate over a 30-year retirement was a possibility even for conservative investors with portfolios heavily weighted toward bonds. This pleasant picture changes dramatically when the current bond environment is considered.
  • After spending much of 2020 below 1 percent, 10-year U.S. Treasury yields have increased to about 1.6 percent as of May 2021, still far below their long-term average. With inflation averaging 2 percent and possibly headed higher, bonds are providing negative real returns for retirees in need of safe cash flows. In addition, if bond yields do climb back up to their long-term averages, retirees holding bonds will be hit with significant capital losses along the way.
  • Rather than assuming that bond rates and inflation will return to normal over five or 10 years, as some other papers have done, this analysis considered scenarios where rates return to normal over five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years, or never. While a quick recovery for interest rates would mean large upfront capital losses for new retirees, failure rates for portfolios heavily weighted with bonds peak if rates recover in about 15 years.
  • This study found that post-retirement glide path choices that would have worked in the past are no longer safe investment choices in this environment. With a 20–80 stock–bond mix, a 4 percent withdrawal rate over 30 years is simply not a viable option. Even with lower withdrawal rates and/or shorter retirement horizons, retirees are best served with decreasing glide paths that boost their early allocation to stock. Decreasing glide path options result in lower failure rates across the different portfolio equity levels, but the higher the allocation to stock, the less the choice of glide path matters.

The Role of Financial Planners on African American Business Owners' Personal Credit and Access to Capital

  • Addressing the issue of “wealth gap,” particularly among people of color and other disadvantaged groups, has been one of the primary focuses of many politicians, activists, and industry leaders as well as financial services professionals. Small business ownership is an established method for individuals of varying backgrounds to amass significant wealth.
  • In this paper, we aim to assist financial advisers in understanding the challenging landscape for African American business (AAB) owners and utilizing this knowledge to help their clients improve their business outcomes by studying the role personal credit has on access to credit.
  • Using the 2019 data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), we first show that AAB owners have worse credit profiles than business owners of other ethnic groups. We also document a positive association between better personal credit and the use of personal financial planners for AAB owners, with the expectation that this will improve access to capital and therefore improve business outcomes.
  • We also provide guidance for financial advisers to improve their efficacy in assisting African American business (AAB) owners in improving business outcomes, such as utilizing decentralized finance as a means for obtaining capital and mitigating the discrimination risk inherent in obtaining credit from traditional banking institutions.

Does Advisor Channel Influence Passive Fund Choice?

  • Historical differences in compensation may influence how representatives from broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, and dual registrants select funds.
  • Evidence from advertising content suggests that active-fund families promote characteristics such as recent returns that are appealing to investors and reward commission-compensated advisors, but do not predict future performance.
  • Using a survey that asks advisors to list the top three criteria they use when selecting mutual funds for a clients and their investment style, we find that registered representatives (from RIAs) favor more salient characteristics such as expense ratio while representatives from broker-dealers and dual registrants favor recent returns and active investing strategies.
  • Registered representatives from RIAs are more likely to follow a passive investing strategy and consider expense ratio as an important fund characteristic, while there is no statistical difference between representatives from broker-dealers and dual registrants.
  • These findings are consistent with the existence of conflicts that favor the promotion of active investing strategies among advisors who are regulated as fiduciaries.

The Role of Personal Financial Salience: Part II

  • Personal financial salience (PFS) was recently introduced as a concept that describes “how individuals allocate attentional, perceptual, and cognitive resources to their personal financial situation” (Pearson 2021, 87). The study that introduced PFS utilized app- and web-based financial planning product (A&WFPP) usage to proxy PFS, and then used the PFS variable to show that individuals who frequently use these products are more likely to find it easier to cover their bills, have an emergency fund, have a plan for their children’s college education, and have a plan for retirement.
  • Using similar methodology, this follow-up study examines the effect of PFS on financial satisfaction and retirement insecurity. Financial satisfaction is defined as satisfaction with one’s financial condition, and retirement insecurity is defined as an individual’s fear of running out of money during retirement.
  • While prior research showed that higher levels of PFS are associated with objective measures of financial health, this study shows that higher levels of PFS are associated positively with non-objective measures of financial health. The empirical results reveal that, when compared to individuals with low PFS levels, those with high PFS levels are more likely to have higher levels of financial satisfaction. Furthermore, those with high PFS levels are more likely to have low retirement insecurity.

How Do Commodities Fit into Client Portfolios?

  • Academic literature suggests that since the mid-2000s, improved investment technology may have resulted in the “financialization” of commodity markets. This financialization is defined as the participation in commodity markets of institutional investors that have not historically been part of the commodity trading complex. Whether due to financialization or not, since 2005, the correlation structure of commodities with other assets, and perhaps their expected returns, has been altered. This paper summarizes these changes, and their implications for investment planning.
  • Since 2005, return correlation between the Bloomberg Commodities Index and the S&P 500 has been 49 percent, compared to –30 percent 1973–2004. This change has significantly reduced the ability of commodities to contribute to an efficient portfolio in a modern portfolio theory framework.
  • The correlation of returns to the Bloomberg Commodities Index with inflation has been very high since 2005, at 64 percent. This correlation comes primarily from the correlation of commodities with unexpected inflation. The index is slightly negatively correlated with inflation expectations. This is in contrast to pre-2004, when commodities returns were correlated with both expected and unexpected inflation. Commodities’ high correlation with unexpected inflation makes the asset class an appealing inflation hedge despite its limited contributions to an efficient portfolio.

The Science of Building Trust and Commitment in Financial Planning: Using Structural Equation Modeling to Examine Antecedents to Trust and Commitment

  • The current study is a replication and extension of the early work of Sharpe et al. (2007). They found strong empirical support for financial life planning in fostering trust and commitment in the planner–client relationship.
  • To expand on Sharpe et al. (2007), the study at hand provides an in-depth exploration of the theory of trust and commitment developed by Morgan and Hunt (1994) with a focus on the antecedents to the formation of commitment and trust from a client’s perception.
  • Structural equation modeling (SEM) results support the theoretical model. Specifically, that trust and commitment are built by the following antecedents: (1) communication abilities, (2) an absence of opportunistic behavior, (3) perceived relationship benefits, (4) the costs of terminating the relationship, and (5) shared values.
  • These results suggest that technical skills alone, such as generating high investment returns, may not be sufficient to build client trust and commitment and provide continued financial life planning support.

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Computer Science > Robotics

Title: towards scalable & efficient interaction-aware planning in autonomous vehicles using knowledge distillation.

Abstract: Real-world driving involves intricate interactions among vehicles navigating through dense traffic scenarios. Recent research focuses on enhancing the interaction awareness of autonomous vehicles to leverage these interactions in decision-making. These interaction-aware planners rely on neural-network-based prediction models to capture inter-vehicle interactions, aiming to integrate these predictions with traditional control techniques such as Model Predictive Control. However, this integration of deep learning-based models with traditional control paradigms often results in computationally demanding optimization problems, relying on heuristic methods. This study introduces a principled and efficient method for combining deep learning with constrained optimization, employing knowledge distillation to train smaller and more efficient networks, thereby mitigating complexity. We demonstrate that these refined networks maintain the problem-solving efficacy of larger models while significantly accelerating optimization. Specifically, in the domain of interaction-aware trajectory planning for autonomous vehicles, we illustrate that training a smaller prediction network using knowledge distillation speeds up optimization without sacrificing accuracy.

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research paper on planning

Illustration by James Round

How to plan a research project

Whether for a paper or a thesis, define your question, review the work of others – and leave yourself open to discovery.

by Brooke Harrington   + BIO

is professor of sociology at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Her research has won international awards both for scholarly quality and impact on public life. She has published dozens of articles and three books, most recently the bestseller Capital without Borders (2016), now translated into five languages.

Edited by Sam Haselby

Need to know

‘When curiosity turns to serious matters, it’s called research.’ – From Aphorisms (1880-1905) by Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

Planning research projects is a time-honoured intellectual exercise: one that requires both creativity and sharp analytical skills. The purpose of this Guide is to make the process systematic and easy to understand. While there is a great deal of freedom and discovery involved – from the topics you choose, to the data and methods you apply – there are also some norms and constraints that obtain, no matter what your academic level or field of study. For those in high school through to doctoral students, and from art history to archaeology, research planning involves broadly similar steps, including: formulating a question, developing an argument or predictions based on previous research, then selecting the information needed to answer your question.

Some of this might sound self-evident but, as you’ll find, research requires a different way of approaching and using information than most of us are accustomed to in everyday life. That is why I include orienting yourself to knowledge-creation as an initial step in the process. This is a crucial and underappreciated phase in education, akin to making the transition from salaried employment to entrepreneurship: suddenly, you’re on your own, and that requires a new way of thinking about your work.

What follows is a distillation of what I’ve learned about this process over 27 years as a professional social scientist. It reflects the skills that my own professors imparted in the sociology doctoral programme at Harvard, as well as what I learned later on as a research supervisor for Ivy League PhD and MA students, and then as the author of award-winning scholarly books and articles. It can be adapted to the demands of both short projects (such as course term papers) and long ones, such as a thesis.

At its simplest, research planning involves the four distinct steps outlined below: orienting yourself to knowledge-creation; defining your research question; reviewing previous research on your question; and then choosing relevant data to formulate your own answers. Because the focus of this Guide is on planning a research project, as opposed to conducting a research project, this section won’t delve into the details of data-collection or analysis; those steps happen after you plan the project. In addition, the topic is vast: year-long doctoral courses are devoted to data and analysis. Instead, the fourth part of this section will outline some basic strategies you could use in planning a data-selection and analysis process appropriate to your research question.

Step 1: Orient yourself

Planning and conducting research requires you to make a transition, from thinking like a consumer of information to thinking like a producer of information. That sounds simple, but it’s actually a complex task. As a practical matter, this means putting aside the mindset of a student, which treats knowledge as something created by other people. As students, we are often passive receivers of knowledge: asked to do a specified set of readings, then graded on how well we reproduce what we’ve read.

Researchers, however, must take on an active role as knowledge producers . Doing research requires more of you than reading and absorbing what other people have written: you have to engage in a dialogue with it. That includes arguing with previous knowledge and perhaps trying to show that ideas we have accepted as given are actually wrong or incomplete. For example, rather than simply taking in the claims of an author you read, you’ll need to draw out the implications of those claims: if what the author is saying is true, what else does that suggest must be true? What predictions could you make based on the author’s claims?

In other words, rather than treating a reading as a source of truth – even if it comes from a revered source, such as Plato or Marie Curie – this orientation step asks you to treat the claims you read as provisional and subject to interrogation. That is one of the great pieces of wisdom that science and philosophy can teach us: that the biggest advances in human understanding have been made not by being correct about trivial things, but by being wrong in an interesting way . For example, Albert Einstein was wrong about quantum mechanics, but his arguments about it with his fellow physicist Niels Bohr have led to some of the biggest breakthroughs in science, even a century later.

Step 2: Define your research question

Students often give this step cursory attention, but experienced researchers know that formulating a good question is sometimes the most difficult part of the research planning process. That is because the precise language of the question frames the rest of the project. It’s therefore important to pose the question carefully, in a way that’s both possible to answer and likely to yield interesting results. Of course, you must choose a question that interests you, but that’s only the beginning of what’s likely to be an iterative process: most researchers come back to this step repeatedly, modifying their questions in light of previous research, resource limitations and other considerations.

Researchers face limits in terms of time and money. They, like everyone else, have to pose research questions that they can plausibly answer given the constraints they face. For example, it would be inadvisable to frame a project around the question ‘What are the roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict?’ if you have only a week to develop an answer and no background on that topic. That’s not to limit your imagination: you can come up with any question you’d like. But it typically does require some creativity to frame a question that you can answer well – that is, by investigating thoroughly and providing new insights – within the limits you face.

In addition to being interesting to you, and feasible within your resource constraints, the third and most important characteristic of a ‘good’ research topic is whether it allows you to create new knowledge. It might turn out that your question has already been asked and answered to your satisfaction: if so, you’ll find out in the next step of this process. On the other hand, you might come up with a research question that hasn’t been addressed previously. Before you get too excited about breaking uncharted ground, consider this: a lot of potentially researchable questions haven’t been studied for good reason ; they might have answers that are trivial or of very limited interest. This could include questions such as ‘Why does the area of a circle equal π r²?’ or ‘Did winter conditions affect Napoleon’s plans to invade Russia?’ Of course, you might be able to make the argument that a seemingly trivial question is actually vitally important, but you must be prepared to back that up with convincing evidence. The exercise in the ‘Learn More’ section below will help you think through some of these issues.

Finally, scholarly research questions must in some way lead to new and distinctive insights. For example, lots of people have studied gender roles in sports teams; what can you ask that hasn’t been asked before? Reinventing the wheel is the number-one no-no in this endeavour. That’s why the next step is so important: reviewing previous research on your topic. Depending on what you find in that step, you might need to revise your research question; iterating between your question and the existing literature is a normal process. But don’t worry: it doesn’t go on forever. In fact, the iterations taper off – and your research question stabilises – as you develop a firm grasp of the current state of knowledge on your topic.

Step 3: Review previous research

In academic research, from articles to books, it’s common to find a section called a ‘literature review’. The purpose of that section is to describe the state of the art in knowledge on the research question that a project has posed. It demonstrates that researchers have thoroughly and systematically reviewed the relevant findings of previous studies on their topic, and that they have something novel to contribute.

Your own research project should include something like this, even if it’s a high-school term paper. In the research planning process, you’ll want to list at least half a dozen bullet points stating the major findings on your topic by other people. In relation to those findings, you should be able to specify where your project could provide new and necessary insights. There are two basic rhetorical positions one can take in framing the novelty-plus-importance argument required of academic research:

  • Position 1 requires you to build on or extend a set of existing ideas; that means saying something like: ‘Person A has argued that X is true about gender; this implies Y, which has not yet been tested. My project will test Y, and if I find evidence to support it, that will change the way we understand gender.’
  • Position 2 is to argue that there is a gap in existing knowledge, either because previous research has reached conflicting conclusions or has failed to consider something important. For example, one could say that research on middle schoolers and gender has been limited by being conducted primarily in coeducational environments, and that findings might differ dramatically if research were conducted in more schools where the student body was all-male or all-female.

Your overall goal in this step of the process is to show that your research will be part of a larger conversation: that is, how your project flows from what’s already known, and how it advances, extends or challenges that existing body of knowledge. That will be the contribution of your project, and it constitutes the motivation for your research.

Two things are worth mentioning about your search for sources of relevant previous research. First, you needn’t look only at studies on your precise topic. For example, if you want to study gender-identity formation in schools, you shouldn’t restrict yourself to studies of schools; the empirical setting (schools) is secondary to the larger social process that interests you (how people form gender identity). That process occurs in many different settings, so cast a wide net. Second, be sure to use legitimate sources – meaning publications that have been through some sort of vetting process, whether that involves peer review (as with academic journal articles you might find via Google Scholar) or editorial review (as you’d find in well-known mass media publications, such as The Economist or The Washington Post ). What you’ll want to avoid is using unvetted sources such as personal blogs or Wikipedia. Why? Because anybody can write anything in those forums, and there is no way to know – unless you’re already an expert – if the claims you find there are accurate. Often, they’re not.

Step 4: Choose your data and methods

Whatever your research question is, eventually you’ll need to consider which data source and analytical strategy are most likely to provide the answers you’re seeking. One starting point is to consider whether your question would be best addressed by qualitative data (such as interviews, observations or historical records), quantitative data (such as surveys or census records) or some combination of both. Your ideas about data sources will, in turn, suggest options for analytical methods.

You might need to collect your own data, or you might find everything you need readily available in an existing dataset someone else has created. A great place to start is with a research librarian: university libraries always have them and, at public universities, those librarians can work with the public, including people who aren’t affiliated with the university. If you don’t happen to have a public university and its library close at hand, an ordinary public library can still be a good place to start: the librarians are often well versed in accessing data sources that might be relevant to your study, such as the census, or historical archives, or the Survey of Consumer Finances.

Because your task at this point is to plan research, rather than conduct it, the purpose of this step is not to commit you irrevocably to a course of action. Instead, your goal here is to think through a feasible approach to answering your research question. You’ll need to find out, for example, whether the data you want exist; if not, do you have a realistic chance of gathering the data yourself, or would it be better to modify your research question? In terms of analysis, would your strategy require you to apply statistical methods? If so, do you have those skills? If not, do you have time to learn them, or money to hire a research assistant to run the analysis for you?

Please be aware that qualitative methods in particular are not the casual undertaking they might appear to be. Many people make the mistake of thinking that only quantitative data and methods are scientific and systematic, while qualitative methods are just a fancy way of saying: ‘I talked to some people, read some old newspapers, and drew my own conclusions.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. In the final section of this guide, you’ll find some links to resources that will provide more insight on standards and procedures governing qualitative research, but suffice it to say: there are rules about what constitutes legitimate evidence and valid analytical procedure for qualitative data, just as there are for quantitative data.

Circle back and consider revising your initial plans

As you work through these four steps in planning your project, it’s perfectly normal to circle back and revise. Research planning is rarely a linear process. It’s also common for new and unexpected avenues to suggest themselves. As the sociologist Thorstein Veblen wrote in 1908 : ‘The outcome of any serious research can only be to make two questions grow where only one grew before.’ That’s as true of research planning as it is of a completed project. Try to enjoy the horizons that open up for you in this process, rather than becoming overwhelmed; the four steps, along with the two exercises that follow, will help you focus your plan and make it manageable.

Key points – How to plan a research project

  • Planning a research project is essential no matter your academic level or field of study. There is no one ‘best’ way to design research, but there are certain guidelines that can be helpfully applied across disciplines.
  • Orient yourself to knowledge-creation. Make the shift from being a consumer of information to being a producer of information.
  • Define your research question. Your question frames the rest of your project, sets the scope, and determines the kinds of answers you can find.
  • Review previous research on your question. Survey the existing body of relevant knowledge to ensure that your research will be part of a larger conversation.
  • Choose your data and methods. For instance, will you be collecting qualitative data, via interviews, or numerical data, via surveys?
  • Circle back and consider revising your initial plans. Expect your research question in particular to undergo multiple rounds of refinement as you learn more about your topic.

Good research questions tend to beget more questions. This can be frustrating for those who want to get down to business right away. Try to make room for the unexpected: this is usually how knowledge advances. Many of the most significant discoveries in human history have been made by people who were looking for something else entirely. There are ways to structure your research planning process without over-constraining yourself; the two exercises below are a start, and you can find further methods in the Links and Books section.

The following exercise provides a structured process for advancing your research project planning. After completing it, you’ll be able to do the following:

  • describe clearly and concisely the question you’ve chosen to study
  • summarise the state of the art in knowledge about the question, and where your project could contribute new insight
  • identify the best strategy for gathering and analysing relevant data

In other words, the following provides a systematic means to establish the building blocks of your research project.

Exercise 1: Definition of research question and sources

This exercise prompts you to select and clarify your general interest area, develop a research question, and investigate sources of information. The annotated bibliography will also help you refine your research question so that you can begin the second assignment, a description of the phenomenon you wish to study.

Jot down a few bullet points in response to these two questions, with the understanding that you’ll probably go back and modify your answers as you begin reading other studies relevant to your topic:

  • What will be the general topic of your paper?
  • What will be the specific topic of your paper?

b) Research question(s)

Use the following guidelines to frame a research question – or questions – that will drive your analysis. As with Part 1 above, you’ll probably find it necessary to change or refine your research question(s) as you complete future assignments.

  • Your question should be phrased so that it can’t be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
  • Your question should have more than one plausible answer.
  • Your question should draw relationships between two or more concepts; framing the question in terms of How? or What? often works better than asking Why ?

c) Annotated bibliography

Most or all of your background information should come from two sources: scholarly books and journals, or reputable mass media sources. You might be able to access journal articles electronically through your library, using search engines such as JSTOR and Google Scholar. This can save you a great deal of time compared with going to the library in person to search periodicals. General news sources, such as those accessible through LexisNexis, are acceptable, but should be cited sparingly, since they don’t carry the same level of credibility as scholarly sources. As discussed above, unvetted sources such as blogs and Wikipedia should be avoided, because the quality of the information they provide is unreliable and often misleading.

To create an annotated bibliography, provide the following information for at least 10 sources relevant to your specific topic, using the format suggested below.

Name of author(s):
Publication date:
Title of book, chapter, or article:
If a chapter or article, title of journal or book where they appear:
Brief description of this work, including main findings and methods ( c 75 words):
Summary of how this work contributes to your project ( c 75 words):
Brief description of the implications of this work ( c 25 words):
Identify any gap or controversy in knowledge this work points up, and how your project could address those problems ( c 50 words):

Exercise 2: Towards an analysis

Develop a short statement ( c 250 words) about the kind of data that would be useful to address your research question, and how you’d analyse it. Some questions to consider in writing this statement include:

  • What are the central concepts or variables in your project? Offer a brief definition of each.
  • Do any data sources exist on those concepts or variables, or would you need to collect data?
  • Of the analytical strategies you could apply to that data, which would be the most appropriate to answer your question? Which would be the most feasible for you? Consider at least two methods, noting their advantages or disadvantages for your project.

Links & books

One of the best texts ever written about planning and executing research comes from a source that might be unexpected: a 60-year-old work on urban planning by a self-trained scholar. The classic book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) by Jane Jacobs (available complete and free of charge via this link ) is worth reading in its entirety just for the pleasure of it. But the final 20 pages – a concluding chapter titled ‘The Kind of Problem a City Is’ – are really about the process of thinking through and investigating a problem. Highly recommended as a window into the craft of research.

Jacobs’s text references an essay on advancing human knowledge by the mathematician Warren Weaver. At the time, Weaver was director of the Rockefeller Foundation, in charge of funding basic research in the natural and medical sciences. Although the essay is titled ‘A Quarter Century in the Natural Sciences’ (1960) and appears at first blush to be merely a summation of one man’s career, it turns out to be something much bigger and more interesting: a meditation on the history of human beings seeking answers to big questions about the world. Weaver goes back to the 17th century to trace the origins of systematic research thinking, with enthusiasm and vivid anecdotes that make the process come alive. The essay is worth reading in its entirety, and is available free of charge via this link .

For those seeking a more in-depth, professional-level discussion of the logic of research design, the political scientist Harvey Starr provides insight in a compact format in the article ‘Cumulation from Proper Specification: Theory, Logic, Research Design, and “Nice” Laws’ (2005). Starr reviews the ‘research triad’, consisting of the interlinked considerations of formulating a question, selecting relevant theories and applying appropriate methods. The full text of the article, published in the scholarly journal Conflict Management and Peace Science , is available, free of charge, via this link .

Finally, the book Getting What You Came For (1992) by Robert Peters is not only an outstanding guide for anyone contemplating graduate school – from the application process onward – but it also includes several excellent chapters on planning and executing research, applicable across a wide variety of subject areas. It was an invaluable resource for me 25 years ago, and it remains in print with good reason; I recommend it to all my students, particularly Chapter 16 (‘The Thesis Topic: Finding It’), Chapter 17 (‘The Thesis Proposal’) and Chapter 18 (‘The Thesis: Writing It’).

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Online Guide to Writing and Research

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  • Online Guide to Writing

Planning and Writing a Research Paper

Why Outline?

It can be difficult to start from scratch when you begin a draft. An outline is very beneficial in the beginning stage of your writing. Here are a few ways an outline can help: 

organize your ideas  

present your material in a logical form 

show the relationships among your ideas  

construct an ordered overview of the topic 

How to Create an Outline

Begin by brainstorming. Write down a few main ideas about the text or assignment and then narrow them down into two or three main points. From these main ideas, you will get a sense of what you are going to write about. This is called a thesis, the central statement or argument of an essay: the purpose of your paper. You will need supporting evidence to uphold your main ideas or argument. Once you have these components, you will be able to create an effective essay.  

For a sample outline, visit this page:  Online Guide Sample Outline Chapter Two

Outlines can be very beneficial to the overall writing process.  If you are struggling at all with your research paper, try writing an outline and see if that helps.  

Here is another link to a great resource about outlines: Prewriting and Outlining   

Key Takeaways

  • As you manage your research project, keep the dynamic character of outlining in mind.
  • Outlines can be very beneficial to the overall writing process.

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Table of Contents: Online Guide to Writing

Chapter 1: College Writing

How Does College Writing Differ from Workplace Writing?

What Is College Writing?

Why So Much Emphasis on Writing?

Chapter 2: The Writing Process

Doing Exploratory Research

Getting from Notes to Your Draft


Prewriting - Techniques to Get Started - Mining Your Intuition

Prewriting: Targeting Your Audience

Prewriting: Techniques to Get Started

Prewriting: Understanding Your Assignment

Rewriting: Being Your Own Critic

Rewriting: Creating a Revision Strategy

Rewriting: Getting Feedback

Rewriting: The Final Draft

Techniques to Get Started - Outlining

Techniques to Get Started - Using Systematic Techniques

Thesis Statement and Controlling Idea

Writing: Getting from Notes to Your Draft - Freewriting

Writing: Getting from Notes to Your Draft - Summarizing Your Ideas

Writing: Outlining What You Will Write

Chapter 3: Thinking Strategies

A Word About Style, Voice, and Tone

A Word About Style, Voice, and Tone: Style Through Vocabulary and Diction

Critical Strategies and Writing

Critical Strategies and Writing: Analysis

Critical Strategies and Writing: Evaluation

Critical Strategies and Writing: Persuasion

Critical Strategies and Writing: Synthesis

Developing a Paper Using Strategies

Kinds of Assignments You Will Write

Patterns for Presenting Information

Patterns for Presenting Information: Critiques

Patterns for Presenting Information: Discussing Raw Data

Patterns for Presenting Information: General-to-Specific Pattern

Patterns for Presenting Information: Problem-Cause-Solution Pattern

Patterns for Presenting Information: Specific-to-General Pattern

Patterns for Presenting Information: Summaries and Abstracts

Supporting with Research and Examples

Writing Essay Examinations

Writing Essay Examinations: Make Your Answer Relevant and Complete

Writing Essay Examinations: Organize Thinking Before Writing

Writing Essay Examinations: Read and Understand the Question

Chapter 4: The Research Process

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Ask a Research Question

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Cite Sources

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Collect Evidence

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Decide Your Point of View, or Role, for Your Research

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Draw Conclusions

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Find a Topic and Get an Overview

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Manage Your Resources

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Outline

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Survey the Literature

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Work Your Sources into Your Research Writing

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found? - Human Resources

Research Resources: What Are Research Resources?

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found?

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found? - Electronic Resources

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found? - Print Resources

Structuring the Research Paper: Formal Research Structure

Structuring the Research Paper: Informal Research Structure

The Nature of Research

The Research Assignment: How Should Research Sources Be Evaluated?

The Research Assignment: When Is Research Needed?

The Research Assignment: Why Perform Research?

Chapter 5: Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity

Giving Credit to Sources

Giving Credit to Sources: Copyright Laws

Giving Credit to Sources: Documentation

Giving Credit to Sources: Style Guides

Integrating Sources

Practicing Academic Integrity

Practicing Academic Integrity: Keeping Accurate Records

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material - Paraphrasing Your Source

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material - Quoting Your Source

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material - Summarizing Your Sources

Types of Documentation

Types of Documentation: Bibliographies and Source Lists

Types of Documentation: Citing World Wide Web Sources

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - APA Style

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - CSE/CBE Style

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - Chicago Style

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - MLA Style

Types of Documentation: Note Citations

Chapter 6: Using Library Resources

Finding Library Resources

Chapter 7: Assessing Your Writing

How Is Writing Graded?

How Is Writing Graded?: A General Assessment Tool

The Draft Stage

The Draft Stage: The First Draft

The Draft Stage: The Revision Process and the Final Draft

The Draft Stage: Using Feedback

The Research Stage

Using Assessment to Improve Your Writing

Chapter 8: Other Frequently Assigned Papers

Reviews and Reaction Papers: Article and Book Reviews

Reviews and Reaction Papers: Reaction Papers

Writing Arguments

Writing Arguments: Adapting the Argument Structure

Writing Arguments: Purposes of Argument

Writing Arguments: References to Consult for Writing Arguments

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Anticipate Active Opposition

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Determine Your Organization

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Develop Your Argument

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Introduce Your Argument

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - State Your Thesis or Proposition

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Write Your Conclusion

Writing Arguments: Types of Argument

Appendix A: Books to Help Improve Your Writing


General Style Manuals

Researching on the Internet

Special Style Manuals

Writing Handbooks

Appendix B: Collaborative Writing and Peer Reviewing

Collaborative Writing: Assignments to Accompany the Group Project

Collaborative Writing: Informal Progress Report

Collaborative Writing: Issues to Resolve

Collaborative Writing: Methodology

Collaborative Writing: Peer Evaluation

Collaborative Writing: Tasks of Collaborative Writing Group Members

Collaborative Writing: Writing Plan

General Introduction

Peer Reviewing

Appendix C: Developing an Improvement Plan

Working with Your Instructor’s Comments and Grades

Appendix D: Writing Plan and Project Schedule

Devising a Writing Project Plan and Schedule

Reviewing Your Plan with Others

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    Event Planning: Understanding the Process Through Gained Experience and Research Event planning is a complex and challenging job as it requires a creative, driven individual who excels as a multitasker and problem solver. The focus of this master's project is to engage in a deeper understanding and gain volunteer experience as part of

  17. Financial planning: A research agenda for the next decade

    We provide an informed discussion about challenges, opportunities and the future of research and practice in the field of financial planning over the next 10 years. As editors of Financial Planning Review , using a mix-methods approach and a survey of subject-matter expert views, we outline what we believe are some of the future key themes of ...

  18. Planning a Research Paper

    The introduction of your paper should be clearly written without any extra, unnecessary information. This is often the first thing (sometimes the only thing) that someone reads from your work. Make sure that you can simply say the following statement: "This paper is about ___________.". When you can answer this simply, writing the paper ...

  19. How To Write a Research Plan (With Template and Examples)

    If you want to learn how to write your own plan for your research project, consider the following seven steps: 1. Define the project purpose. The first step to creating a research plan for your project is to define why and what you're researching. Regardless of whether you're working with a team or alone, understanding the project's purpose can ...

  20. How to Write a Research Paper

    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.

  21. Welcome

    This link will take you to the Timeline portion of the Research Paper Planner where you can set a start and end date for your writing project, see the deadlines for each step, print out the Timeline for your project, and/or set up email alerts for each step of the research and writing process. Next: 1: Understand Your Assignment >>. Last ...


    A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW. This paper conducted a sy stematic review of succession planning (S P) articles published over. the last decade. The Systematic Quantitative A ssessment Technique was used to ...

  23. Developing a Better Way to Guide Urban Planning Interventions

    Our paper offers a pathway to utilize the strengths of planning to design interventions to advance health equity and construct a more robust metric for evaluating the success of interventions.". In addition to Tan (MCP '17, PhD '21) authors of the paper include: Andrew Binet (MCP '15, PhD '21) as well as J. PhillipThompson and Mariana ...

  24. 2022 Journal of Financial Planning Research Papers

    2022. Journal of Financial Planning. Research Papers. The intent of this paper is to help financial advisers prepare for a client discussion about the required minimum distributions (RMD) withdrawal strategy, which many Americans follow. Clients who plan to follow this strategy need to be advised that the asset allocation they choose affects ...

  25. [2404.01746] Towards Scalable & Efficient Interaction-Aware Planning in

    Real-world driving involves intricate interactions among vehicles navigating through dense traffic scenarios. Recent research focuses on enhancing the interaction awareness of autonomous vehicles to leverage these interactions in decision-making. These interaction-aware planners rely on neural-network-based prediction models to capture inter-vehicle interactions, aiming to integrate these ...

  26. How to plan a research project

    Research planning is rarely a linear process. It's also common for new and unexpected avenues to suggest themselves. As the sociologist Thorstein Veblen wrote in 1908 : 'The outcome of any serious research can only be to make two questions grow where only one grew before.' That's as true of research planning as it is of a completed project.

  27. Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Outline

    How to Create an Outline. Begin by brainstorming. Write down a few main ideas about the text or assignment and then narrow them down into two or three main points. From these main ideas, you will get a sense of what you are going to write about. This is called a thesis, the central statement or argument of an essay: the purpose of your paper.