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How to Write a Research Paper on Autism




Autism Word CloudAutism is actually a grouping of developmental disorders on a spectrum - hence the correct terminology - Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). These conditions are complex which makes writing a research paper on the subject challenging, but ultimately rewarding. This article will provide you with tips and guidance that should make the process a less daunting prospect than it otherwise could be! Basically, the key is to break the task down into manageable chunks that follow a logical structure.


Why Write a Research Paper on Autism?

Whether you have been set a paper on autism or have chosen the topic yourself, it's a helpful first step to put the task into context. The latest figures suggest ASDs affect approximately 1 in 80 children and that boys are more likely to be affected than girls; the reason(s) for the gender disparity having not yet been definitively explained.

With so many kids now affected, any research paper could draw on a broad range of fields including medicine, education and social care. By writing a paper on autism you will place yourself in a good position to pursue a career in any of these fields and many more.

So, where to start...


Research, Research, Research!

It will come as no surprise to you that if you are going to write a research paper on autism, the foundation of your work will be - research! As a matter of fact, research will be the main factor in any essay that you do at whatever academic level you are at.

When it comes to medical topics there are a huge number of websites out there from which to draw on for the likes of statistics, definitions, symptoms, and therapies. If you feel confident reviewing the latest medical research then the holy grail here is PubMed, a database of all published, peer-reviewed medical research papers. If you can draw on data from current medical papers you will have gone a long way to producing a great autism research paper.


Next Steps

Once you have reviewed, collected  and analysed research relevant to your particular paper, the next steps are to present this information in a logical, step-by-step format. The fact is, if you have done your research properly and come to conclusions you can back up with references, your paper will almost write itself.

The structure of any research paper follows the same basic outline:

  • Introduction - Here you introduce the topic, perhaps including background to autism and current statistics.
  • Hypothesis or Aim - This is when you present the idea(s) you wish to put forward, in this case as they relate to autism.
  • Data & Analysis - Next you want to present all the information you have to either support your hypothesis, or discuss both sides of an argument of you are writing a review paper.
  • Conclusion - Finally, you want to wrap up your paper by providing a short summary of what you found from your research, remembering to remain impartial at all times to give a balanced view. Remember, this remains the case even if a hypothesis you developed turns out to be untrue after you've completed your research review!


If you follow the basic guidelines above you should find writing a college research paper on autism (or any subject) is at least a little less frightening than you might have imagined! Autism is a complex subject but if your focus is specific and you do your research and break your work down into manageable chunks, you will find you've finished your paper to the best of your ability in no time.

If you do need further help there are many autism charities who will no doubt be happy to help you with any questions if you send them a polite email e.g.:

  1. Autism Speaks
  2. Autistica
  3. Autism Society of America
  4. Autism Research Institute


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