How to Write a Good Literary Research Paper

The first thing you need to learn before writing your literary research paper is that it should be different from a traditional academic essay. You need to support your thesis with secondary sources. While finding an interesting topic for your paper might be challenging, it is a necessary step for developing a sound argument.

Using a systematic approach and creating a well-defining structure, you can access your sources critically and offer your unique take on a problem. Before submitting your literary research paper, you need to revise and proofread it.

If you have never written such texts, you might fail to develop a good structure without thorough preparation. In this article, we will share the best tips that will help you develop an elaborate argument and submit your assignment in time.

Read on to learn how to create a streamlined text structure and use an outline to develop your main idea. We will also explain how you can summarize your main arguments and write a powerful thesis statement by answering relevant questions.

What Is a Literary Research Paper

A literary research paper is based on published scholarly sources on literature-related topics. Its main purpose is to provide a solution to a question that deals with a topic discussed in the literary field.

After letting a reader know about the past and current debates regarding your topic, you are required to state your main thesis and start to develop your argument.

When writing your literary research paper, you must analyze published and unpublished materials. The latter mostly include:

  • Letters.
  • Private diaries.
  • Other documents from archives.

If you found some materials that allow you to see your topic in a new light, you need to use them to make your claim more solid and support your arguments. In addition, it will allow you to find an objective solution to a problem at hand.

How to Start a Literary Research Paper

If you are wondering how to start preparing to write a research paper, read this section to learn what steps you need to take.

  • The first thing you need to do is to find a fresh topic that will grab a reader’s attention. It will help you select the right title for your research paper and develop your main argument. For instance, you may analyze different versions of a text. Ask a question that will make a reader think about what causes the differences between these versions. Then, it would help if you told me what methodology you would use to answer it.
  • The next step involves analyzing your primary sources. It’s better to use annotated editions as they will provide you with more information.
  • If you notice some discrepancies, focus on them to understand what might have caused them. Make sure to ask questions and look for sources that can provide answers.
  • Before getting started with your first draft, write a thesis statement. It should already contain the main point of your argument.
  • Don’t put off writing an introduction. It should be 1-2 paragraphs long and end with the thesis statement. Longer literary research papers require a longer introduction.

These steps will help you prepare to write your assignment and ensure that you will stay on track.

How to Structure a Literary Research Paper to Make it Easier to Read

Students are usually given practical guidelines when writing their research papers. However, remember that your final grade will depend on how closely you follow the requirements.

A typical literary research paper should have a traditional structure:

  • Topic.
  • Introduction.
  • Main body.
  • References.
  • Conclusion.

By creating an outline before writing a research paper, you can save much time and ensure that the structure of your text will stay the same. In addition, an outline will help you organize your information and develop more interesting arguments.

Remember to include a description of the methods you used to analyze your sources. Unfortunately, inexperienced writers often mistake and omit this step, resulting in lower grades.

The objective of each part of your literary research paper is different. It would be best to introduce your topic in the introduction, explain the methods you used to achieve your results, and share your thoughts on your sources. The Discussion section should include your personal opinion, so it’s better to avoid using quotes.

How to End a Literary Research Paper On a Positive Note

After exploring your topic in detail, you need to show that you are satisfied with the results you achieved. However, don’t be too hard on yourself; avoid criticizing your findings even if you aren’t fully satisfied with them.

While staying on point is recommended, you may use some effective metaphors to convey your message. You may also refer to other authors who might provide invaluable insights into this topic.

The main point of the conclusion is to demonstrate that your thesis was fully defended. Show that your main point still stands after you took into account criticism.

How to Create A Perfect Literary Research Paper Outline

Before creating an outline, you must ensure you know your topic well. Start by reading your sources. If you don’t have access to annotated editions, try using encyclopedias, bibliographies, and web-based library catalogues to find additional sources.

Besides, you may use the reference lists from the books that cover your topic. However, it’s better to base your research on reliable sources. Otherwise, your outline will be too vague.

After reading and annotating your sources, you must write a well-structured outline to see which arguments you need to make. Thanks to the outline, you will better understand how you will use different pieces of evidence to support your argument.

The outline should be based on your topic. You can consider it as a table of content and structure it in any order you like. Try using a logical structure to make your research paper easier to read.

Make your outline as detailed as possible. Then, you can revise it while writing your research paper. In addition, it will help you remain focused on your main topic.

Write an Engaging Literary Research Paper Introduction

It would help if you immediately grabbed a reader’s attention by introducing a fresh take on your topic. Most literary research papers require only one paragraph. However, if you need to write an 8-page or longer paper, you may also add a second paragraph.

By using controversial quotes and provocative questions, you can introduce your topic and make it sound intriguing.

Some assignments require you to provide a reader with a broad context and describe an author and their works to provide more information about your topic. After describing the context, you may also indicate how you will interpret your sources. Finally, at the end of your introductory paragraph, you should add a thesis statement.

In some cases, it makes sense to write your introduction after completing the main body of your text. Alternatively, you can revise your original introduction to make it sound more compelling.

Tips for Writing Literary Research Paper Body

In this section, you should develop your argument by presenting pieces of evidence, summarizing your findings, and introducing supporting statements. Each paragraph should be dedicated to one of the points you want to develop. We advise starting your paragraphs with a mini-thesis and providing the necessary context.

Use your outline to avoid getting distracted. It’s better to alternate between short and long sentences to make your paragraphs easier to read. It would help if you showed how your sources support your claim. Use linking phrases to make your arguments sound more logical.

Write the Literary Research Paper Conclusion

Instead of simply restating your thesis, try showing how your argument can be further elaborated. Then, after summarizing your main findings, put them in a broader context and show whether your thesis can be developed further.

The conclusion should demonstrate that you defended your thesis and considered existing criticism. There is no need to provide your reader with a definitive answer as your research paper might get outdated in the light of new findings. It’s better to create a controversy and end your research paper with a thought-provoking statement or a question.

Final Thoughts

If you are genuinely interested in your topic and know how to present your arguments compellingly, you will easily get top grades for your literary research paper. However, in case you can’t conduct thorough research and read countless sources to find pieces of evidence supporting your claim, it might be a daunting task to submit your assignment within a deadline.

To get your research paper written on time, contact our team of professional academic writers. They have vast expertise in different areas and know how to write a well-grounded literary research paper that fully meets academic requirements.