What is a final draft?
A final draft is the last version of a paper you are submitting to a professor, journal, newspaper, etc. It should be preceded by at least one rough draft.
The final draft for a research paper in my upper-division courses should follow these formatting guidelines, unless otherwise indicated:
The final draft is the culmination of a lot of work that has been done researching, analyzing, collating data, comparing and contrasting, and finally writing your ideas into a coherent and sensible document that is directly related to the thesis (argument) you have developed. It should be grammar and spell-checked both using the computer and using your own human sense of what is good writing (pro-tip: read it aloud to yourself or a friend - if it doesn't make sense to them, rewrite that sentence/paragraph). It should be representative of your best effort to understand and reveal to others the topic that you have chosen.