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10 Tips for Writing a Research Paper on Leadership

In today’s team-oriented business world the art of leadership has become an exceptionally valuable trait, and it is no wonder that colleges and universities are adding more leadership courses and leadership training to their curriculums, not just in business courses but across the spectrum.

Teamwork is now an expected or required element of disciplines as diverse as office work, teaching, and blue-collar trades. Gone are the days when a jack of all trades was expected to work alone and get the job done. But the downside of the emphasis on teamwork and leadership is that leadership is also a hot topic for research papers. As more and more students need to do more than just work in teams, and need to understand leadership at an academic level, a greater number of students are looking for help to write high-quality research papers on leadership.

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of ten tips that can make it easier to write a research paper on leadership.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Read and understand your assignment thoroughly. Most assignments are fairly clear, but it never hurts to double check to make sure you understand every part of the assignment. If you aren’t sure about any part of the assignment, ask for clarification before you start the writing process. It’s always easier to do something right the first time than to go back and change things after you’ve made a mistake.
  2. Identify relevant leadership concepts and theories. The field of leadership is very broad can contains a large number of theories. For any leadership paper, it helps to start with a theoretical basis to help guide your research process. Identify the theory that best applies and use it to help develop your research questions and thesis statement.
  3. Write specific research questions to guide your research. By identifying the question that you need to answer, you can be sure that you are looking for the right research. In many cases this is the same as the assignment, but in other cases the question derives from the assignment and isn’t given to you ahead of time.
  4. Visit your school’s library. Most will have a business section in which leadership articles and books can be found. This doesn’t have to be the physical library; most electronic libraries have subject guides to help you locate resources related to leadership.
  5. Take careful notes. Don’t assume that you can remember all the best quotes in every article you read. Copy and paste them (with citations!) into a document for later use. By pulling out the best information and constructing your citations and reference list entries now, all you’ll need to do is paste them in when you start writing.
  6. Outline your paper. Even a simple outline can save you enormous time during the writing process. Use your assignment and the rubric to determine what sections your paper needs to have, and start to fill in your thesis statement and the main points that will support it.
  7. Draft your paper from start to finish. Don’t get hung up on any one section that starts to give you trouble. Use your outline to write a draft of your paper from start to finish. You can always go back to make changes, but if you stop and get hung up on one part, you might not finish in time.
  8. Revise your paper carefully. After you’ve written the first draft, go back and read it again, making change and corrections to ensure that you’ve fully addressed every part of the assignment and have incorporated and cited your sources correctly.
  9. Proofread your paper thoroughly. Nothing makes a paper look less professional than typos. Try to catch them all before you submit your paper. If you have difficulty catching grammar and spelling errors, ask a friend for help or work with your institution’s writing center.
  10. Relax! The more stress you feel, the harder it will be to write a great essay. Staying calm throughout the process will make it easier and faster to write, and will improve the final result.

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