According to the College of the Sequoias Writing Center, a rough draft begins with an outline to organize the logical flow of the paper. Students then expand on key points in the outline and write an introduction and conclusion. According to New Charter University, students also insert proper citation of sources during the rough draft stage.
The thesis statement of the research question is in the introduction of the research paper. It states the writer's argument, which is explained and supported throughout the paper. The introduction is the top of a funnel, narrowing to the thesis statement with larger ideas first. The body is the section that explains the ideas of the paper and helps the writer make a point. In a research paper, each point within the body is a major finding in the writer’s research. Any information that is not completely original must be accompanied by a citation that is formatted according to the discipline’s citation style. The conclusion acts as a summary of the paper and ties up any loose ends.
The rough draft of a research paper becomes the final draft after at least one or more edits. During the edit stage, writers may expand ideas in the rough draft, add details and correct grammar and formatting issues.