Writing A Research Paper On ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition that was recognized quite recently, but is now accepted by many people as an explanation for why some children behave badly. There are still controversies about how to diagnose and treat it though - as well as a quite high number of medical professionals who don’t believe it actually exists - so it’s a popular choice for research papers. Before starting a paper on the subject, it’s best to consider the following points.

Structuring the essay

It’s worth thinking about the structure (and word count) of your essay before you even start your research. A list of paragraph headings will help you allocate your research time efficiently. There is no point finding other studies on the long term effects of Ritalin if you already have eight examples, are rapidly approaching your word limit and still have not addressed how he condition is diagnosed. The traditional approach of outlining the areas you hope to cover in the essay in your first paragraph still has its advantages. However, it can also be a good idea to start with a short quotation or very short “first hand” account of a specific incident to grab the reader’s attention.

Proper referencing

Assume any book or journal you use, or any website you access, will instantly become non-findable the instant you put it back on the shelf. You can save yourself a lot of heart-ache by noting down the bibliographical details when you first decide you will use a source. It is infuriating to find that you can’t use really pertinent material because you can’t cite the reference.

Hidden agendas

You are writing on a topic that can be very provocative for many people, possibly including yourself. This means you have to be especially critical about the reliability of the sources you use, and make a conscious effort to use a variety of sources. Much bias is unintentional, but there’s a lot of it about; drug companies, parents, educationalists, psychologists and other health professionals will all have their own biases, conscious or unconscious. Adopt respectful but skeptical attitude to all of them. Sometimes it’s easy to spot bias. It is always useful to be able to see who paid for a particular piece of research, for example. Biased selection or interpretation of data may be due to financial interests but can also be influenced by emotional factors.

Critical evaluation

This plethora of potentially biased sources may appear to be a problem, but in fact you can use it to your advantage. It gives you plenty of opportunities to show your critical evaluation of the source you have selected, which is often a key requirement for the award of a high grade. Obviously biased examples are also good for illustrating aspects of the controversies surrounding ADHD.


Write it last - this sounds obvious, but many people start with the introduction, go on to the conclusion then write the rather important bit in the middle - and make sure it’s related to the rest of the paper. It’s surprising how many conclusions aren’t!