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Research in the Social Sciences

A detailed guide on how to do research in the social sciences.


You've done the comes the fun (or hard) part, depending on your point of view! It's time to take all you know and craft it into a cohesive narrative!

Based on your discipline, the outline of your research paper may look different. Most papers in the social sciences follow this format:

  • Introduction
    • Includes research question and hypothesis
    • Joined together by a thesis, or working argument
  • Literature Review
  • Data collection
  • Analysis of Data
  • Conclusions drawn from data
  • Concluding thoughts/Plans for future research

However, always check with your professor about how they'd like you to arrange your paper.

Thesis Statement

Thesis statements are scary. They are your arguments, or conclusions, about what you've researched.



  • Avoid saying "I think" or "I believe"
  • Draw your thesis/argument from the research itself
  • Keep it simple!

Pro Writing Tips

  • Don't try to impress; write as you would speak (but maybe a little more formal)
  • Spend a little bit of time everyday writing. Even if you don't write more than a paragraph, that's still good.
  • Go where the data takes you!
    • You're not reinventing the wheel; write what you know you know.
  • Remember: you are the expert on this topic. Be confident.
    • Avoid "I think"; "I believe" and other qualifiers.
  • Breathe! You can do this!
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