General Writing Resources

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Getting Started Writing an Academic Paper

This page will provide you with a variety of resources to help you organize, format, and write your paper.  Remember, that ANU has adopted the use of the latest edition of the APA Style Manual, which governs the style requirements for your paper.

Writing an academic paper should occur over several steps.  It should not be considered done in one sitting.  The more preparation you do before you begin to write, the easier and more cohesive it will be.  To learn more about each of these steps, consult the ANU Library’s Getting Started Writing a Paper Guide.

Developing Research Questions and Problem Statements

A research question is what you intend to investigate related to your research topic. A research question will lead you to a “problem” statement (or thesis) in your paper.  To develop a good question you have to be knowledgeable about your topic.  The more you know about a topic, the easier it is to develop a good question.  The research question is the start of your paper.  Research Questions are:

  • Focused on a specific area of the topic. Think about what aspect of a topic most interests you.
  • Centered around a complex issue.  The issue needs to be complex enough to find multiple sources for your solution/argument.
  • Clear in their scope (i.e. not too broad and not too narrow).

Answers to these questions will form your problem statement and help form the structure of your paper.

A well-defined problem statement will serve as your compass in gathering evidence and reporting the evidence in your research paper.  Components of a Problem Statement/Thesis are:

  • Define the problem/issue you will research
  • Narrow the scope (i.e. might be a region, population, culture, etc.)
  • Explain the significance (why should the average person care about the issue?)
  • Propose a solution (what can be done to address the problem or issue?)

Problem Statement Worksheet


5 Tips
5 Tips for a Great Annotated Bibliography


Annotated Bibliographies

Guide for Annotated Bibliographies Worksheet



APA Writing Resources

ANU's APA Style Manual Quiz
Take the APA Quiz


APA’s Student Title Page Guide

APA’s Student Paper Setup Guide

Academic Writer Tutorial: Basics of Seventh Edition APA Style


Links to Additional Writing Resources

General Writing Introduction by the OWL at Purdue University

Writing Basics by the University of Arizona Global Campus

Help with Grammar and Spelling using the Grammarly desktop app



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