How to Write a Research Paper About Smoking


The trick to writing an outstanding research paper lies in a developing a concise thesis that elucidates a new angle rather than simply regurgitating facts. Smoking might seem like an bounteous subject at first, but sorting through a plethora of information can be as difficult as searching for resources on less documented topics. The history of smoking is filled with controversy, misinformation, disease and addiction. Finding an angle that can be thoroughly discussed within the boundaries of your paper is key.

Research and Outline

  • Choose a specific aspect of smoking that interests you. Perform preliminary research on topics such as diseases like lung cancer and emphysema, chemical and emotional addiction, marketing and teen smokers, the tobacco industry owners and workers, tobacco processing and chemicals and the history of tobacco cultivation and use.

  • Read books, articles and news reports that discuss your chosen topic about smoking. Search for resources that argue against one another to help you see diverse viewpoints about your topic. If you are researching marketing tactics of the tobacco industry, find old advertisements from magazines and newspapers, including ads in the 1920's stating that smoking was good for your health.

  • Outline your research paper. Organize the basic ideas and arguments of your research paper in a logical order. If your essay is about tobacco marketing, begin with historical advertising to youth and show the progression of laws developed to restrict the tobacco industry from targeting minors.

Write and Revise

  • Formulate your argumentative thesis clearly stating the purpose of your paper. Place this one to two-sentence thesis at the end of the introductory paragraph and make the rest of your paper support this claim. For example, "Although strict laws prohibit the tobacco industry from marketing to minors, the prevalence of underage smokers shows that cigarette marketing still reaches and appeals to youth."

  • Compose your introduction paragraph. Assume that your reader is familiar with smoking, but offer a brief summary about your topic that illuminates your argument while also gaining the reader's interest and attention. Stay within the boundaries of your essay rather than making broad statements or quoting irrelevant facts about smoking. For example, if your topic is targeted advertising towards youth, you will not discuss the diseases that older smokers experience.

  • Write a topic sentence for each paragraph that is relevant to your thesis statement. A topic sentence is to a paragraph what a thesis is to your paper. Your topic sentence will clearly state the purpose of the paragraph. Write one topic sentence on the prevalence of cigarette advertising in magazines teenagers read, another about giveaways, like sunglasses with cigarette brand logos on them, at concerts and other places teens frequent and another about statistics on teen smokers.

  • Compose a conclusion that summarizes the points you have made about and offer a clear outcome of your research. Convince the reader that your argument is a correct assessment of your claim about cigarette marketing that reaches youth despite laws prohibiting direct advertising to minors.

  • Read your research paper out loud to reveal grammatical mistakes and awkward sentence structure. For example, you might notice that in the first three paragraphs you use the term "cigarette advertising," but in the final pages you use the term "cigarette marketing." Cite all your sources in a bibliography or "works cited" page.

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