How to Write a Family and Consumer Science Research Paper: Guide for College Students

Writing guide
Posted on February 8, 2019

Family and consumer science is a good major for those students who are interested in studying the relationships among people and their personal environments and would like to help people make decisions and solve problems. These disciplines focus on people, families, and communities from ecological and interdisciplinary perspectives.

If you want to succeed in your academic career and as family and consumer science professional, you will have to be an active listener, have strong reading and research skills, and be a good writer because writing assignments such as essays and term papers will account for the major part of your student grade.

Wondering how to cope with a tricky family and consumer science research paper? Read this article where you’ll find an easy guide on how to write a successful research paper in family and consumer sciences. Besides, we will provide you with a list of amazing family and consumer science research paper topics to help you get started.

What Is a Family and Consumer Science Research Paper?

The goal of a research paper in family and consumer science is to bring together different views, facts, and evidence about a certain topic from books and articles from scholarly journals, analyze them, and interpret this information into your own writing. Your research paper will demonstrate 2 things: what you have learned about a specific topic and what experts in the field think about the same topic. Sometimes you have to explain a complex idea to your readers and sometimes you have to present your own judgment about a particular issue or a problem. Research papers may vary in length which commonly depends on your teacher’s guidelines.

Actually, there are 3 stages of creating a research paper in any discipline:

  • prewriting: understanding the assignment, choosing a topic, doing research, making an outline;
  • writing: creating the first draft;
  • revising and writing the final draft.

Sometimes the most difficult part of writing a research paper is just getting started, so let’s discuss these stages in detail and break down the process into easy steps.

Find a Good Topic: Creative Ideas from Our Writers

The first thing you should is to understand your assignment and to choose a specific question or topic for doing research. The best approach is to pick a topic that interests you and may be interesting for your reader – you’ll never feel bored when working on your project. When you find an appropriate topic, you should start the preliminary reading of some general sources such as textbooks or encyclopedias to get a better idea of it. You should think about the possible thesis statement/research question and use different techniques to narrow down your topic and make it manageable. For example, if you are interested in a healthy lifestyle, you may write about the importance of developing healthy lifestyle habits for college students or for patients with specific diseases.

You should do your best to make your topic as specific as possible. Here is what you can do:

  • jot lists;
  • make preliminary outlines;
  • make a concept map;
  • list questions;
  • list possible thesis statements.

If you lack ideas for finding an interesting topic for your research project, feel free to use our list of powerful family and consumer science research paper topics:

  • Role of the Family And Community in Child Development;
  • Importance of Adopting Eco-sustainable Habits in Families;
  • Healthy Lifestyle Programs for Parents;
  • Why Should Food Sustainability Be an International Priority?
  • Why Is Homeschooling on the Rise In The USA?
  • Sustainability Trends in The Fashion Industry;
  • What Are the Barriers to Healthy Weight Management?
  • Impact of Financial Literacy on Economic Behavior;
  • Practical Application of Fundamental Nutrition Principles;
  • Discuss Services Provided by Different Types of Family Service Agencies;
  • Quality Assurance Programs in the Food Industry;
  • Electrical Systems in Residential and Commercial Design;
  • Management of Family Income;
  • Marriage and Family Living;
  • Strategies of Family Financial Counseling.

Begin Research: Calm & Steady

When you have chosen an appropriate topic and created a preliminary thesis to understand the direction you want to take in your paper, it’s time to start conducting a research. Your task is to find relevant information on the topic that will help you support your thesis statement or give an answer to your research question. You should find different types of primary and secondary sources searching library catalogs, online databases, bibliographies, periodical indexes. You can also follow the suggestions of your instructor. Your research paper in family and consumer science should be based on scholarly books and articles from journals. You can find lots of relevant information online as well.

You should make a list of possible sources and start reading them closely and making notes of interesting ideas that you find in them and your own thoughts. You should get all of the bibliographical information about your sources (e.g. title, date of publishing, author, page number etc.) so you don’t have to look for that information when writing your research paper.

When making notes, you should write the information in your own words. You can paraphrase or summarize the information you have found to avoid plagiarism. If you take direct quotes from sources, you should use quotation marks to indicate that. Think about possible conclusions from what you have read and write them down as well. Besides, you need to look for details and evidence that will help you support your thesis and write them down too (good examples, facts, statistics).

When citing your sources, you should do it according to the requirements of a specific format for citing sources, for example, APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard etc. Ask your instructor what citation style you should use.

Organize Information

When you have gathered enough information, you may want to change the focus of your paper and revise your thesis. You should use brainstorming techniques to decide whether you need to change your thesis or not. Make sure that your thesis is strong and specific. For example, when writing a research paper on nutrition, your thesis statement may look like this one:

‘Nutrition is essential for health and well-being, growth and development so keeping basic nutrition principles can help people of all ages improve the quality of life.’

Now it’s time to develop a detailed outline or a concept map to organize the information that you want to present to your readers and outline your argument. You should group all your notes together, match information that fits together, and think about key points that will help you support your thesis statement. Typically, a research paper is a lengthy project so you shouldn’t put all your key ideas into one section. You need to think about an introduction and conclusion and divide the main body into several sections that discuss specific aspects of your topic. You should also think about possible section headings and keep them clear and concise.

Write the First Draft

A good outline will guide your writing and help you stay focused on your topic and provide a logical argument. When you have developed a detailed structure for your research paper, you can start writing your draft form any section. You should start writing freely the section that you feel comfortable with and don’t worry too much about grammar or spelling at this early stage. You’ll need to write multiple drafts and now your task is to put your ideas on paper and organize a logical argument. Don’t put excessive pressure on your first draft – you’ll think about grammar, punctuation, and spelling at the editing and proofreading stage of the writing process.

Here are some general family and consumer science research paper writing tips you should keep in mind to work more productively:

  • Use your thesis statement, outline, and notes to fill the sections of your future paper;
  • Try to write in your own words and don’t just repeat the researched information;
  • Cite all your sources properly even in the rough draft;
  • If you have trouble with writing some section of your research paper, skip it, and go back to it later;
  • A good idea is to consult a good dictionary or a thesaurus to find the most precise words for expressing your thoughts.

Now let’s discuss how to write different parts of your family and consumer science research paper.


There is no need to write a lengthy introduction. You’d better make it short and sharp to start your research paper more effectively. Here are some essential elements that you should include in the introduction:

  • You should begin the introduction with an attention grabber: an interesting fact, impressive statistics, a short story, a good example or historical context that presents the topic of your research paper;
  • You may define the key terms to help your readers better understand your paper and follow your argument;
  • You have to explain the focus of your paper and the purpose of your research;
  • You must end your introduction with the thesis statement and reveal the plan for organizing your argument.

Main Body

Build the body of your family and consumer science research paper around the points you are willing to make and divide it into a number of sections. Begin each of the sections with an explanation of its purpose. Develop a strong argument, integrating your sources. Don’t just report the content of the scholarly works you have read. You need to explain, summarize or analyze the information you have gathered. And it’s important to evaluate all your sources.

You should also provide strong examples, explanations, and details that can persuade your readers to accept your point of view. Besides, you should include paraphrases and direct quotations with proper references. On the other hand, you should be very selective in the use of quotations and include only the appropriate quoted material that is illustrative or vividly-phrased to support your argument. Over-quoting obscure your own thinking and tells your readers that you don’t have much to say for yourself.


In the conclusion, you should draw together all the threads of your argument. You can restate your thesis or briefly summarize the argument of your research paper for your readers. You can emphasize the significance of your findings and give recommendations about possible further research. Don’t add any new evidence or information in this part of your academic paper.

Revise Your Draft

When you have completed your first draft, you should revise it and make changes in weak areas to ensure that your readers will be able to easily follow your argument. You should check the content, logic, organization/structure, citations etc. Keep in mind that revising and editing your research paper is a multi-step process. Here is what you should do.

First, you should focus on ‘the big picture’ and check the overall organization of your ideas in the paper. Review your research paper and check the logical flow of all your sections as well as coherence and depth of your discussion in the main body. You should also read your paper paragraph by paragraph to see how the main idea of every paragraph relates to the thesis statement. Make sure that there are no paragraphs with the same information.

Then, check each paragraph and consider the sequence of ideas within it, topic sentences, details and examples to support the main points, use of the transition words in paragraphs and between them.

You should also ensure that you consistently use the specific citation format when citing your sources and that you have an accurate list of works cited.

When you are satisfied with the content and the structure of your family and consumer science research paper, you can proofread it and pay attention to sentence-level concerns such as sentence structure and word choice and look for common errors like spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and typos.

When proofreading your research paper, you’d better read it aloud. In this way, you will easier notice some problems that your eyes might miss. Writer’s blindness is a common problem so you may need a second set of eyes to proofread your final draft. A good idea is to ask your friend or a family member to review your research paper and help you eliminate minor mistakes and typos to ensure that your project is flawless.

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