Research Writinga resource for grad students and postdocs

Whether you’re writing a paper for class, developing a research proposal, or writing a journal article for publication, completing this self-paced program will broaden your understanding of research writing and help you organize your thoughts, write more clearly, and save you time.

We developed this online research writing resource to help you become more productive writers and researchers. Each module has been split into units that will take you less than ten minutes to complete, so you’re able to view the modules in their entirety or as segments.

Module 1Overview of Research Process

Anything you write involves organization and a logical flow of ideas, so understanding the logic of the research process before beginning to write is essential. Simply put, you need to put your writing in the larger context.

Module 2Structure of an Academic Argument

In this resource we'll focus on the most common structure of academic arguments and on the steps in the story line, or the means by which a narrative thread is developed to carry the argument from the beginning to the end of a piece of writing.

Module 3Fundamental Writing Skills for Researchers

Everyone is capable of being a good writer, even without any innate skill. A snapshot of research writing is given, from presenting a research question in context of current knowledge to interpreting your findings.

Module 4Editing: Analyzing Your Writing Strengths and Weaknesses

By reflecting on these summary principles and checking your work based on the questions presented here, you’ll ensure your research is both easily accessible and understandable, therefore persuading your reader that your problem, approach, and findings are valid.

Module 5Finding and Citing Appropriate Literature

This guide will help you navigate UNL’s Libraries website to find and cite relevant articles for your coursework and research.

Module 6Writing For Publication

Even with a set of valid, novel, and significant findings, research isn't necessarily publishable. The best papers place the described work in context, identify gaps in the knowledge base, and explain the importance of the new information.

Module 7Peer Feedback in Writing Groups

Somewhere between your first and final draft, your paper might get stuck in limbo. Sure, there are words on the document pages, but your writing still needs improvement. This is the point where other focused readers can provide feedback and help you edit your work to further develop your text.

Module 8Developing Effective Writing Habits

In this module, you’ll learn how to overcome the barriers that keep you from finishing—or starting—a writing project and how to develop a writing routine. With a few of these tools under your belt, you’ll be ready to form a writing habit that saves you time and maximizes your productivity.

Module 9Writing with Integrity

This module addresses several important themes of academic integrity: plagiarism, falsification, and authorship. Simply put, we must (a) give credit to those from whom we borrow words, images or ideas; (b) not manipulate research so as to inaccurately or dishonestly represent findings; and (c) share appropriately the credit and rewards for authorship of publications.


This online writing resource is the result of the concerted and collaborative efforts of many individuals, units, and departments at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

All of us at the Office of Graduate Studies and the Office of Postdoctoral Studies gratefully acknowledge the support and assistance of the following individuals and units:

Neal Bryan, Associate Director–Office of Postdoc Studies & Graduate Student Development, for his involvement in all aspects of program development, including the initial planning, working closely with the web developer and videographer, and editing and formatting all content.

Aaron Coleman, Senior Web Developer–Office of University Communications, and the entire UNL communications team, for their creativity in design.

Catherine Daniel, University of South Australia, for allowing us to use excerpts of her materials in the Structure of an Academic Argument module.

David Fitzgibbon, Director of Video Services–Office of University Communications, for his expert videography and editing of the Fundamental Writing Skills for Researchers and Writing for Publication workshops.

Richard Lombardo, Director of Postdoc Studies & Graduate Student Development, for developing the program, directing the project, designing/presenting the Fundamental Writing Skills for Researchers workshop, and writing and editing many of the modules.

Charlene Maxey-Harris, Chair, University Libraries, for developing the guide for finding and citing relevant articles for coursework and research.

Adam Thompson, Assistant Director, Robert J. Kutak Center for the Teaching and Study of Applied Ethics, for his contributions to the Writing with Integrity module.

Brian Waters, Assoc. Professor–Agronomy & Horticulture, for designing and presenting the Writing for Publication workshop.

Special thanks to the Office of the Executive Vice-Chancellor for providing the funding that made this program possible.