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Your Ultimate Guide To Parts of a Research Paper
Students should know the different parts of a research paper before they start the writing process. Research paper writing is an important task in the academic world. But, many learners don’t know much about the research paper structure when asked to complete this task. Essentially, many learners don’t know about the components of a research paper. Unfortunately, this can ruin the overall quality of their work.
So, what are the basic parts of a research paper? Well, there are five major sections of a research paper. These are the parts that you will find in any paper. However, the number of research paper parts can always vary depending on the nature and length of the work.
The Basic Parts of a Research Paper
Perhaps, you’re wondering, what are the 5 parts of research paper? Well, this article will answer your question. The basic parts to a research paper are the introduction, method, results, discussion, and conclusion. However, a research paper can include other parts like the abstract, discussion, and reference list.
Although a student can be writing on a single topic, each part of research paper requires specific information. That’s why different research paper sections exist. It’s, therefore, important that students learn about the information that should go to different sections of research paper.
Research Paper Introduction
The introduction is one of the most important parts of an APA research paper. This is the section that gives the paper a direction. It tells the readers what the paper will attempt to achieve. The introduction of a research paper is the section where the writer states their thesis argument and research problem. What do you intend to study and what makes it important?
An ideal introduction of a research paper should: Provide a general research problem presentation Layout what you will try to achieve with your work State your position on the topic
Perhaps, you may have always wondered, what are the major parts of an argumentative research paper? Well, the introduction is one of these sections because it tells the readers about your position on the topic.
The Methods Section of a Research Paper
This is also called the methodology part of a research paper. It states the methodology and design used to conduct research. The methodology used in every paper will vary depending on the research type and field.
For instance, social sciences use observation methods to collect data while physical sciences may use apparatus. Such variations should be considered when learning how to write a methods section of a research paper. However, the most important thing is to ensure that other researchers can replicate the performed research using similar methods for verification purposes.
The assumption is that the person that will read the paper knows the basic research methods that you use to gather information and write the paper. Therefore, don’t go into detail trying to explain the methods. For instance, biochemists or organic chemists are familiar with methods like chromatography. Therefore, you should just highlight the equipment that you used instead of explaining the entire process.
If you did a survey, include a questionnaire copy in the appendix if you included too many questions. Nevertheless, refer your readers to the questionnaire in the appendix section whenever you think it’s necessary. Use the internet to learn how to write the methods section of a research paper if still unsure about the best way to go about this section. You can also c ontact us to get professional writing help online.
The Results Section of a Research Paper
The content that you include in this section will depend on the aims and results of your research. If you’re writing a quantitative research paper, this section will include a presentation of numerical data and results. When writing a qualitative research paper, this section should include discussions of different trends. However, you should not go into details.
A good results section of a research paper example will include graphs or tables of analyzed data. Raw data can also be included in the appendix to enable other researchers to follow it up and check calculations. Commentary can also be included to link results together instead of displaying unconnected and isolated figures and charts. Striking a balance between the results section and the discussion section can be difficult for some students. That’s because some of the findings, especially in descriptive or quantitative research fall into the grey area. Additionally, you should avoid repetition in your results section.
Therefore, find a middle ground where you can provide a general overview of your data so that you can expand it in your discussion section. Additionally, avoid including personal interpretations and opinions into this section and keep it for the discussion part.
The Discussion Section of a Research Paper
Some people confuse the results section with the discussion section. As such, they wonder what goes in the discussion section of a research paper. Essentially, elaborating your findings in the results section will leave you with nothing to include in the discussion section. Therefore, try to just present your findings in the result section without going into details.
Just like the name suggests, the discussion section is the place where you discuss or explain your findings or results. Here, you tell readers more about what you found. You can also add personal interpretations. Your discussion should be linked to the introduction and address every initial point separately.
It’s also crucial to ensure that the information included in the discussion section is related to your thesis statement. If you don’t do that, you can cloud your findings. Essentially, the discussion section is the place where you show readers how your findings support your argument or thesis statement.
Do you want to write a paper that will impress the tutor to award you the top grade? This section should feature the most analysis and citations. It should also focus on developing your thesis rationally with a solid argument of all major points and clear reasoning. Therefore, avoid unnecessary and meaningless digressions and maintain a clear focus. Provide cohesion and unity to strengthen your research paper.
Research Paper Conclusion
This is the last major part of any research paper. It’s the section where you should build upon the discussion and refer the findings of your research to those of other researchers. The conclusion can have a single paragraph or even two. However, the conclusion can be the most important section of an entire paper when writing a dissertation. That’s because it can describe results while discussing them in detail. It can also emphasize why the results of the research project are important to the field. What’s more, it can tie the paper with previous studies.
In some papers, this section provides recommendations while calling for further research and highlighting flaws that may have affected the results of the study. Thus, this can be the section where the writer suggests improvements that can make the research design better.
Parts Of A Research Paper Explained
Though these are the major sections of a research paper, the reference list or bibliography is also very important. No research paper can be complete without a bibliography or reference list that documents the used sources. These sources should be documented according to the specified format. Thus, the format of the reference list can vary from APA to MLA, Chicago to Harvard, and other formats. Nevertheless, a research paper that features the five major sections and a reference list will be considered complete in most institutions even without the acknowledgment and abstract parts. The best way to get a high grade is to ask professionals ‘Can someone do my assignment for me now?’ and get your papers done on time.
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How to Write a Research Paper: Parts of the Paper
- Choosing Your Topic
- Citation & Style Guides This link opens in a new window
- Critical Thinking
- Evaluating Information
- Parts of the Paper
- Writing Tips from UNC-Chapel Hill
- Librarian Contact
Parts of the Research Paper Papers should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Your introductory paragraph should grab the reader's attention, state your main idea, and indicate how you will support it. The body of the paper should expand on what you have stated in the introduction. Finally, the conclusion restates the paper's thesis and should explain what you have learned, giving a wrap up of your main ideas.
1. The Title The title should be specific and indicate the theme of the research and what ideas it addresses. Use keywords that help explain your paper's topic to the reader. Try to avoid abbreviations and jargon. Think about keywords that people would use to search for your paper and include them in your title.
2. The Abstract The abstract is used by readers to get a quick overview of your paper. Typically, they are about 200 words in length (120 words minimum to 250 words maximum). The abstract should introduce the topic and thesis, and should provide a general statement about what you have found in your research. The abstract allows you to mention each major aspect of your topic and helps readers decide whether they want to read the rest of the paper. Because it is a summary of the entire research paper, it is often written last.
3. The Introduction The introduction should be designed to attract the reader's attention and explain the focus of the research. You will introduce your overview of the topic, your main points of information, and why this subject is important. You can introduce the current understanding and background information about the topic. Toward the end of the introduction, you add your thesis statement, and explain how you will provide information to support your research questions. This provides the purpose and focus for the rest of the paper.
4. Thesis Statement Most papers will have a thesis statement or main idea and supporting facts/ideas/arguments. State your main idea (something of interest or something to be proven or argued for or against) as your thesis statement, and then provide your supporting facts and arguments. A thesis statement is a declarative sentence that asserts the position a paper will be taking. It also points toward the paper's development. This statement should be both specific and arguable. Generally, the thesis statement will be placed at the end of the first paragraph of your paper. The remainder of your paper will support this thesis.
Students often learn to write a thesis as a first step in the writing process, but often, after research, a writer's viewpoint may change. Therefore a thesis statement may be one of the final steps in writing.
Examples of Thesis Statements from Purdue OWL
5. The Literature Review The purpose of the literature review is to describe past important research and how it specifically relates to the research thesis. It should be a synthesis of the previous literature and the new idea being researched. The review should examine the major theories related to the topic to date and their contributors. It should include all relevant findings from credible sources, such as academic books and peer-reviewed journal articles. You will want to:
- Explain how the literature helps the researcher understand the topic.
- Try to show connections and any disparities between the literature.
- Identify new ways to interpret prior research.
- Reveal any gaps that exist in the literature.
More about writing a literature review. . .
6. The Discussion The purpose of the discussion is to interpret and describe what you have learned from your research. Make the reader understand why your topic is important. The discussion should always demonstrate what you have learned from your readings (and viewings) and how that learning has made the topic evolve, especially from the short description of main points in the introduction.Explain any new understanding or insights you have had after reading your articles and/or books. Paragraphs should use transitioning sentences to develop how one paragraph idea leads to the next. The discussion will always connect to the introduction, your thesis statement, and the literature you reviewed, but it does not simply repeat or rearrange the introduction. You want to:
- Demonstrate critical thinking, not just reporting back facts that you gathered.
- If possible, tell how the topic has evolved over the past and give it's implications for the future.
- Fully explain your main ideas with supporting information.
- Explain why your thesis is correct giving arguments to counter points.
7. The Conclusion A concluding paragraph is a brief summary of your main ideas and restates the paper's main thesis, giving the reader the sense that the stated goal of the paper has been accomplished. What have you learned by doing this research that you didn't know before? What conclusions have you drawn? You may also want to suggest further areas of study, improvement of research possibilities, etc. to demonstrate your critical thinking regarding your research.
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Writing Research Papers
- Research Paper Structure
Whether you are writing a B.S. Degree Research Paper or completing a research report for a Psychology course, it is highly likely that you will need to organize your research paper in accordance with American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines. Here we discuss the structure of research papers according to APA style.
Major Sections of a Research Paper in APA Style
A complete research paper in APA style that is reporting on experimental research will typically contain a Title page, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, and References sections. 1 Many will also contain Figures and Tables and some will have an Appendix or Appendices. These sections are detailed as follows (for a more in-depth guide, please refer to " How to Write a Research Paper in APA Style ”, a comprehensive guide developed by Prof. Emma Geller). 2
What is this paper called and who wrote it? – the first page of the paper; this includes the name of the paper, a “running head”, authors, and institutional affiliation of the authors. The institutional affiliation is usually listed in an Author Note that is placed towards the bottom of the title page. In some cases, the Author Note also contains an acknowledgment of any funding support and of any individuals that assisted with the research project.
One-paragraph summary of the entire study – typically no more than 250 words in length (and in many cases it is well shorter than that), the Abstract provides an overview of the study.
What is the topic and why is it worth studying? – the first major section of text in the paper, the Introduction commonly describes the topic under investigation, summarizes or discusses relevant prior research (for related details, please see the Writing Literature Reviews section of this website), identifies unresolved issues that the current research will address, and provides an overview of the research that is to be described in greater detail in the sections to follow.
What did you do? – a section which details how the research was performed. It typically features a description of the participants/subjects that were involved, the study design, the materials that were used, and the study procedure. If there were multiple experiments, then each experiment may require a separate Methods section. A rule of thumb is that the Methods section should be sufficiently detailed for another researcher to duplicate your research.
What did you find? – a section which describes the data that was collected and the results of any statistical tests that were performed. It may also be prefaced by a description of the analysis procedure that was used. If there were multiple experiments, then each experiment may require a separate Results section.
What is the significance of your results? – the final major section of text in the paper. The Discussion commonly features a summary of the results that were obtained in the study, describes how those results address the topic under investigation and/or the issues that the research was designed to address, and may expand upon the implications of those findings. Limitations and directions for future research are also commonly addressed.
List of articles and any books cited – an alphabetized list of the sources that are cited in the paper (by last name of the first author of each source). Each reference should follow specific APA guidelines regarding author names, dates, article titles, journal titles, journal volume numbers, page numbers, book publishers, publisher locations, websites, and so on (for more information, please see the Citing References in APA Style page of this website).
Tables and Figures
Graphs and data (optional in some cases) – depending on the type of research being performed, there may be Tables and/or Figures (however, in some cases, there may be neither). In APA style, each Table and each Figure is placed on a separate page and all Tables and Figures are included after the References. Tables are included first, followed by Figures. However, for some journals and undergraduate research papers (such as the B.S. Research Paper or Honors Thesis), Tables and Figures may be embedded in the text (depending on the instructor’s or editor’s policies; for more details, see "Deviations from APA Style" below).
Supplementary information (optional) – in some cases, additional information that is not critical to understanding the research paper, such as a list of experiment stimuli, details of a secondary analysis, or programming code, is provided. This is often placed in an Appendix.
Variations of Research Papers in APA Style
Although the major sections described above are common to most research papers written in APA style, there are variations on that pattern. These variations include:
- Literature reviews – when a paper is reviewing prior published research and not presenting new empirical research itself (such as in a review article, and particularly a qualitative review), then the authors may forgo any Methods and Results sections. Instead, there is a different structure such as an Introduction section followed by sections for each of the different aspects of the body of research being reviewed, and then perhaps a Discussion section.
- Multi-experiment papers – when there are multiple experiments, it is common to follow the Introduction with an Experiment 1 section, itself containing Methods, Results, and Discussion subsections. Then there is an Experiment 2 section with a similar structure, an Experiment 3 section with a similar structure, and so on until all experiments are covered. Towards the end of the paper there is a General Discussion section followed by References. Additionally, in multi-experiment papers, it is common for the Results and Discussion subsections for individual experiments to be combined into single “Results and Discussion” sections.
Departures from APA Style
In some cases, official APA style might not be followed (however, be sure to check with your editor, instructor, or other sources before deviating from standards of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association). Such deviations may include:
- Placement of Tables and Figures – in some cases, to make reading through the paper easier, Tables and/or Figures are embedded in the text (for example, having a bar graph placed in the relevant Results section). The embedding of Tables and/or Figures in the text is one of the most common deviations from APA style (and is commonly allowed in B.S. Degree Research Papers and Honors Theses; however you should check with your instructor, supervisor, or editor first).
- Incomplete research – sometimes a B.S. Degree Research Paper in this department is written about research that is currently being planned or is in progress. In those circumstances, sometimes only an Introduction and Methods section, followed by References, is included (that is, in cases where the research itself has not formally begun). In other cases, preliminary results are presented and noted as such in the Results section (such as in cases where the study is underway but not complete), and the Discussion section includes caveats about the in-progress nature of the research. Again, you should check with your instructor, supervisor, or editor first.
- Class assignments – in some classes in this department, an assignment must be written in APA style but is not exactly a traditional research paper (for instance, a student asked to write about an article that they read, and to write that report in APA style). In that case, the structure of the paper might approximate the typical sections of a research paper in APA style, but not entirely. You should check with your instructor for further guidelines.
Workshops and Downloadable Resources
- For in-person discussion of the process of writing research papers, please consider attending this department’s “Writing Research Papers” workshop (for dates and times, please check the undergraduate workshops calendar).
- How to Write APA Style Research Papers (a comprehensive guide) [ PDF ]
- Tips for Writing APA Style Research Papers (a brief summary) [ PDF ]
- Example APA Style Research Paper (for B.S. Degree – empirical research) [ PDF ]
- Example APA Style Research Paper (for B.S. Degree – literature review) [ PDF ]
- Writing Research Paper Videos
APA Journal Article Reporting Guidelines
- Appelbaum, M., Cooper, H., Kline, R. B., Mayo-Wilson, E., Nezu, A. M., & Rao, S. M. (2018). Journal article reporting standards for quantitative research in psychology: The APA Publications and Communications Board task force report . American Psychologist , 73 (1), 3.
- Levitt, H. M., Bamberg, M., Creswell, J. W., Frost, D. M., Josselson, R., & Suárez-Orozco, C. (2018). Journal article reporting standards for qualitative primary, qualitative meta-analytic, and mixed methods research in psychology: The APA Publications and Communications Board task force report . American Psychologist , 73 (1), 26.
- Formatting APA Style Papers in Microsoft Word
- How to Write an APA Style Research Paper from Hamilton University
- WikiHow Guide to Writing APA Research Papers
- Sample APA Formatted Paper with Comments
- Sample APA Formatted Paper
- Tips for Writing a Paper in APA Style
1 VandenBos, G. R. (Ed). (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) (pp. 41-60). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
2 geller, e. (2018). how to write an apa-style research report . [instructional materials]. , prepared by s. c. pan for ucsd psychology.
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- Formatting Research Papers
- Using Databases and Finding References
- What Types of References Are Appropriate?
- Evaluating References and Taking Notes
- Citing References
- Writing a Literature Review
- Writing Process and Revising
- Improving Scientific Writing
- Academic Integrity and Avoiding Plagiarism
- Writing Research Papers Videos
Scientific and Scholarly Writing
- Literature Searches
- Tracking and Citing References
Parts of a Scientific & Scholarly Paper
- Writing Effectively
- Where to Publish?
- Capstone Resources
Different sections are needed in different types of scientific papers (lab reports, literature reviews, systematic reviews, methods papers, research papers, etc.). Projects that overlap with the social sciences or humanities may have different requirements. Generally, however, you'll need to include:
METHODS SECTION (Materials and Methods)
What is a title
Titles have two functions: to identify the main topic or the message of the paper and to attract readers.
The title will be read by many people. Only a few will read the entire paper, therefore all words in the title should be chosen with care. Too short a title is not helpful to the potential reader. Too long a title can sometimes be even less meaningful. Remember a title is not an abstract. Neither is a title a sentence.
What makes a good title?
A good title is accurate, complete, and specific. Imagine searching for your paper in PubMed. What words would you use?
- Use the fewest possible words that describe the contents of the paper.
- Avoid waste words like "Studies on", or "Investigations on".
- Use specific terms rather than general.
- Use the same key terms in the title as the paper.
- Watch your word order and syntax.
The abstract is a miniature version of your paper. It should present the main story and a few essential details of the paper for readers who only look at the abstract and should serve as a clear preview for readers who read your whole paper. They are usually short (250 words or less).
The goal is to communicate:
- What was done?
- Why was it done?
- How was it done?
- What was found?
A good abstract is specific and selective. Try summarizing each of the sections of your paper in a sentence two. Do the abstract last, so you know exactly what you want to write.
- Use 1 or more well developed paragraphs.
- Use introduction/body/conclusion structure.
- Present purpose, results, conclusions and recommendations in that order.
- Make it understandable to a wide audience.
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Parts of a Research Paper
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- 1 Parts of a Research Paper: Definition
- 3 Research Paper Structure
- 4 Research Paper Examples
- 5 Research Paper APA Formatting
- 6 In a Nutshell
Parts of a Research Paper: Definition
The point of having specifically defined parts of a research paper is not to make your life as a student harder. In fact, it’s very much the opposite. The different parts of a research paper have been established to provide a structure that can be consistently used to make your research projects easier, as well as helping you follow the proper scientific methodology.
This will help guide your writing process so you can focus on key elements one at a time. It will also provide a valuable outline that you can rely on to effectively structure your assignment. Having a solid structure will make your research paper easier to understand, and it will also prepare you for a possible future as a researcher, since all modern science is created around similar precepts.
Have you been struggling with your academic homework lately, especially where it concerns all the different parts of a research paper? This is actually a very common situation, so we have prepared this article to outline all the key parts of a research paper and explain what you must focus as you go through each one of the various parts of a research paper; read the following sections and you should have a clearer idea of how to tackle your next research paper effectively.
What are the main parts of a research paper?
There are eight main parts in a research paper :
- Title (cover page)
- Literature review
- Research methodology
- Data analysis
- Reference page
If you stick to this structure, your end product will be a concise, well-organized research paper.
Do you have to follow the exact research paper structure?
Yes, and failing to do so will likely impact your grade very negatively. It’s very important to write your research paper according to the structure given on this article. Follow your research paper outline to avoid a messy structure. Different types of academic papers have very particular structures. For example, the structure required for a literature review is very different to the structure required for a scientific research paper.
What if I'm having trouble with certain parts of a research paper?
If you’re having problems with some parts of a research paper, it will be useful to look at some examples of finished research papers in a similar field of study, so you will have a better idea of the elements you need to include. Read a step-by-step guide for writing a research paper , or take a look at the section towards the end of this article for some research paper examples. Perhaps you’re just lacking inspiration!
Is there a special formatting you need to use when citing sources?
Making adequate citations to back up your research is a key consideration in almost every part of a research paper. There are various formatting conventions and referencing styles that should be followed as specified in your assignment. The most common is APA formatting, but you could also be required to use MLA formatting. Your professor or supervisor should tell you which one you need to use.
What should I do once I have my research paper outlined?
If you have created your research paper outline, then you’re ready to start writing. Remember, the first copy will be a draft, so don’t leave it until the last minute to begin writing. Check out some tips for overcoming writer’s block if you’re having trouble getting started.
Research Paper Structure
There are 8 parts of a research paper that you should go through in this order:
The very first page in your research paper should be used to identify its title, along with your name, the date of your assignment, and your learning institution. Additional elements may be required according to the specifications of your instructors, so it’s a good idea to check with them to make sure you feature all the required information in the right order. You will usually be provided with a template or checklist of some kind that you can refer to when writing your cover page .
This is the very beginning of your research paper, where you are expected to provide your thesis statement ; this is simply a summary of what you’re setting out to accomplish with your research project, including the problems you’re looking to scrutinize and any solutions or recommendations that you anticipate beforehand.
This part of a research paper is supposed to provide the theoretical framework that you elaborated during your research. You will be expected to present the sources you have studied while preparing for the work ahead, and these sources should be credible from an academic standpoint (including educational books, peer-reviewed journals, and other relevant publications). You must make sure to include the name of the relevant authors you’ve studied and add a properly formatted citation that explicitly points to their works you have analyzed, including the publication year (see the section below on APA style citations ).
Different parts of a research paper have different aims, and here you need to point out the exact methods you have used in the course of your research work. Typical methods can range from direct observation to laboratory experiments, or statistical evaluations. Whatever your chosen methods are, you will need to explicitly point them out in this section.
While all the parts of a research paper are important, this section is probably the most crucial from a practical standpoint. Out of all the parts of a research paper, here you will be expected to analyze the data you have obtained in the course of your research. This is where you get your chance to really shine, by introducing new data that may contribute to building up on the collective understanding of the topics you have researched. At this point, you’re not expected to analyze your data yet (that will be done in the subsequent parts of a research paper), but simply to present it objectively.
From all the parts of a research paper, this is the one where you’re expected to actually analyze the data you have gathered while researching. This analysis should align with your previously stated methodology, and it should both point out any implications suggested by your data that might be relevant to different fields of study, as well as any shortcomings in your approach that would allow you to improve you results if you were to repeat the same type of research.
As you conclude your research paper, you should succinctly reiterate your thesis statement along with your methodology and analyzed data – by drawing all these elements together you will reach the purpose of your research, so all that is left is to point out your conclusions in a clear manner.
The very last section of your research paper is a reference page where you should collect the academic sources along with all the publications you consulted, while fleshing out your research project. You should make sure to list all these references according to the citation format specified by your instructor; there are various formats now in use, such as MLA, Harvard and APA, which although similar rely on different citation styles that must be consistently and carefully observed.
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Research Paper Examples
When you’re still learning about the various parts that make up a research paper, it can be useful to go through some examples of actual research papers from your exact field of study. This is probably the best way to fully grasp what is the purpose of all the different parts.
We can’t provide you universal examples of all the parts of a research paper, since some of these parts can be very different depending on your field of study.
To get a clear sense of what you should cover in each part of your paper, we recommend you to find some successful research papers in a similar field of study. Often, you may be able to refer to studies you have gathered during the initial literature review.
There are also some templates online that may be useful to look at when you’re just getting started, and trying to grasp the exact requirements for each part in your research paper:
Research Paper APA Formatting
When you write a research paper for college, you will have to make sure to add relevant citation to back up your major claims. Only by building up on the work of established authors will you be able to reach valuable conclusions that can be taken seriously on a academic context. This process may seem burdensome at first, but it’s one of the essential parts of a research paper.
The essence of a citation is simply to point out where you learned about the concepts and ideas that make up all the parts of a research paper. This is absolutely essential, both to substantiate your points and to allow other researchers to look into those sources in cause they want to learn more about some aspects of your assignment, or dig deeper into specific parts of a research paper.
There are several citation styles in modern use, and APA citation is probably the most common and widespread; you must follow this convention precisely when adding citations to the relevant part of a research paper. Here is how you should format a citation according to the APA style.
In a Nutshell
- There are eight different parts of a research paper that you will have to go through in this specific order.
- Make sure to focus on the different parts of a research paper one at a time, and you’ll find it can actually make the writing process much easier.
- Producing a research paper can be a very daunting task unless you have a solid plan of action; that is exactly why most modern learning institutions now demand students to observe all these parts of a research paper.
- These guidelines are not meant to make student’s lives harder, but actually to help them stay focused and produce articulate and thoughtful research that could make an impact in their fields of study.
Discover more useful articles:
What is works cited? We will give you some information:
In this article we give you information about thesis format:
What you should know about an APA format title page:
This article gives some information about a thesis defense:
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- Research guides
Writing an Educational Research Paper
Research paper sections, customary parts of an education research paper.
There is no one right style or manner for writing an education paper. Content aside, the writing style and presentation of papers in different educational fields vary greatly. Nevertheless, certain parts are common to most papers, for example:
Contains the paper's title, the author's name, address, phone number, e-mail, and the day's date.
Not every education paper requires an abstract. However, for longer, more complex papers abstracts are particularly useful. Often only 100 to 300 words, the abstract generally provides a broad overview and is never more than a page. It describes the essence, the main theme of the paper. It includes the research question posed, its significance, the methodology, and the main results or findings. Footnotes or cited works are never listed in an abstract. Remember to take great care in composing the abstract. It's the first part of the paper the instructor reads. It must impress with a strong content, good style, and general aesthetic appeal. Never write it hastily or carelessly.
Introduction and Statement of the Problem
A good introduction states the main research problem and thesis argument. What precisely are you studying and why is it important? How original is it? Will it fill a gap in other studies? Never provide a lengthy justification for your topic before it has been explicitly stated.
Limitations of Study
Indicate as soon as possible what you intend to do, and what you are not going to attempt. You may limit the scope of your paper by any number of factors, for example, time, personnel, gender, age, geographic location, nationality, and so on.
Discuss your research methodology. Did you employ qualitative or quantitative research methods? Did you administer a questionnaire or interview people? Any field research conducted? How did you collect data? Did you utilize other libraries or archives? And so on.
The research process uncovers what other writers have written about your topic. Your education paper should include a discussion or review of what is known about the subject and how that knowledge was acquired. Once you provide the general and specific context of the existing knowledge, then you yourself can build on others' research. The guide Writing a Literature Review will be helpful here.
Main Body of Paper/Argument
This is generally the longest part of the paper. It's where the author supports the thesis and builds the argument. It contains most of the citations and analysis. This section should focus on a rational development of the thesis with clear reasoning and solid argumentation at all points. A clear focus, avoiding meaningless digressions, provides the essential unity that characterizes a strong education paper.
After spending a great deal of time and energy introducing and arguing the points in the main body of the paper, the conclusion brings everything together and underscores what it all means. A stimulating and informative conclusion leaves the reader informed and well-satisfied. A conclusion that makes sense, when read independently from the rest of the paper, will win praise.
See the Citation guide .
Education research papers often contain one or more appendices. An appendix contains material that is appropriate for enlarging the reader's understanding, but that does not fit very well into the main body of the paper. Such material might include tables, charts, summaries, questionnaires, interview questions, lengthy statistics, maps, pictures, photographs, lists of terms, glossaries, survey instruments, letters, copies of historical documents, and many other types of supplementary material. A paper may have several appendices. They are usually placed after the main body of the paper but before the bibliography or works cited section. They are usually designated by such headings as Appendix A, Appendix B, and so on.
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- Research paper
Writing a Research Paper Introduction | Step-by-Step Guide
Published on September 24, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on March 27, 2023.
The introduction to a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:
- Present your topic and get the reader interested
- Provide background or summarize existing research
- Position your own approach
- Detail your specific research problem and problem statement
- Give an overview of the paper’s structure
The introduction looks slightly different depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or constructs an argument by engaging with a variety of sources.
Table of contents
Step 1: introduce your topic, step 2: describe the background, step 3: establish your research problem, step 4: specify your objective(s), step 5: map out your paper, research paper introduction examples, frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.
The first job of the introduction is to tell the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening hook.
The hook is a striking opening sentence that clearly conveys the relevance of your topic. Think of an interesting fact or statistic, a strong statement, a question, or a brief anecdote that will get the reader wondering about your topic.
For example, the following could be an effective hook for an argumentative paper about the environmental impact of cattle farming:
A more empirical paper investigating the relationship of Instagram use with body image issues in adolescent girls might use the following hook:
Don’t feel that your hook necessarily has to be deeply impressive or creative. Clarity and relevance are still more important than catchiness. The key thing is to guide the reader into your topic and situate your ideas.
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This part of the introduction differs depending on what approach your paper is taking.
In a more argumentative paper, you’ll explore some general background here. In a more empirical paper, this is the place to review previous research and establish how yours fits in.
Argumentative paper: Background information
After you’ve caught your reader’s attention, specify a bit more, providing context and narrowing down your topic.
Provide only the most relevant background information. The introduction isn’t the place to get too in-depth; if more background is essential to your paper, it can appear in the body .
Empirical paper: Describing previous research
For a paper describing original research, you’ll instead provide an overview of the most relevant research that has already been conducted. This is a sort of miniature literature review —a sketch of the current state of research into your topic, boiled down to a few sentences.
This should be informed by genuine engagement with the literature. Your search can be less extensive than in a full literature review, but a clear sense of the relevant research is crucial to inform your own work.
Begin by establishing the kinds of research that have been done, and end with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to respond to.
The next step is to clarify how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses.
Argumentative paper: Emphasize importance
In an argumentative research paper, you can simply state the problem you intend to discuss, and what is original or important about your argument.
Empirical paper: Relate to the literature
In an empirical research paper, try to lead into the problem on the basis of your discussion of the literature. Think in terms of these questions:
- What research gap is your work intended to fill?
- What limitations in previous work does it address?
- What contribution to knowledge does it make?
You can make the connection between your problem and the existing research using phrases like the following.
Now you’ll get into the specifics of what you intend to find out or express in your research paper.
The way you frame your research objectives varies. An argumentative paper presents a thesis statement, while an empirical paper generally poses a research question (sometimes with a hypothesis as to the answer).
Argumentative paper: Thesis statement
The thesis statement expresses the position that the rest of the paper will present evidence and arguments for. It can be presented in one or two sentences, and should state your position clearly and directly, without providing specific arguments for it at this point.
Empirical paper: Research question and hypothesis
The research question is the question you want to answer in an empirical research paper.
Present your research question clearly and directly, with a minimum of discussion at this point. The rest of the paper will be taken up with discussing and investigating this question; here you just need to express it.
A research question can be framed either directly or indirectly.
- This study set out to answer the following question: What effects does daily use of Instagram have on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls?
- We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls.
If your research involved testing hypotheses , these should be stated along with your research question. They are usually presented in the past tense, since the hypothesis will already have been tested by the time you are writing up your paper.
For example, the following hypothesis might respond to the research question above:
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The final part of the introduction is often dedicated to a brief overview of the rest of the paper.
In a paper structured using the standard scientific “introduction, methods, results, discussion” format, this isn’t always necessary. But if your paper is structured in a less predictable way, it’s important to describe the shape of it for the reader.
If included, the overview should be concise, direct, and written in the present tense.
- This paper will first discuss several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then will go on to …
- This paper first discusses several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then goes on to …
Full examples of research paper introductions are shown in the tabs below: one for an argumentative paper, the other for an empirical paper.
- Argumentative paper
- Empirical paper
Are cows responsible for climate change? A recent study (RIVM, 2019) shows that cattle farmers account for two thirds of agricultural nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands. These emissions result from nitrogen in manure, which can degrade into ammonia and enter the atmosphere. The study’s calculations show that agriculture is the main source of nitrogen pollution, accounting for 46% of the country’s total emissions. By comparison, road traffic and households are responsible for 6.1% each, the industrial sector for 1%. While efforts are being made to mitigate these emissions, policymakers are reluctant to reckon with the scale of the problem. The approach presented here is a radical one, but commensurate with the issue. This paper argues that the Dutch government must stimulate and subsidize livestock farmers, especially cattle farmers, to transition to sustainable vegetable farming. It first establishes the inadequacy of current mitigation measures, then discusses the various advantages of the results proposed, and finally addresses potential objections to the plan on economic grounds.
The rise of social media has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the prevalence of body image issues among women and girls. This correlation has received significant academic attention: Various empirical studies have been conducted into Facebook usage among adolescent girls (Tiggermann & Slater, 2013; Meier & Gray, 2014). These studies have consistently found that the visual and interactive aspects of the platform have the greatest influence on body image issues. Despite this, highly visual social media (HVSM) such as Instagram have yet to be robustly researched. This paper sets out to address this research gap. We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls. It was hypothesized that daily Instagram use would be associated with an increase in body image concerns and a decrease in self-esteem ratings.
The introduction of a research paper includes several key elements:
- A hook to catch the reader’s interest
- Relevant background on the topic
- Details of your research problem
and your problem statement
- A thesis statement or research question
- Sometimes an overview of the paper
Don’t feel that you have to write the introduction first. The introduction is often one of the last parts of the research paper you’ll write, along with the conclusion.
This is because it can be easier to introduce your paper once you’ve already written the body ; you may not have the clearest idea of your arguments until you’ve written them, and things can change during the writing process .
The way you present your research problem in your introduction varies depending on the nature of your research paper . A research paper that presents a sustained argument will usually encapsulate this argument in a thesis statement .
A research paper designed to present the results of empirical research tends to present a research question that it seeks to answer. It may also include a hypothesis —a prediction that will be confirmed or disproved by your research.
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- Research Guides
BSCI 1510L Literature and Stats Guide: 3.2 Components of a scientific paper
- 1 What is a scientific paper?
- 2 Referencing and accessing papers
- 2.1 Literature Cited
- 2.2 Accessing Scientific Papers
- 2.3 Traversing the web of citations
- 2.4 Keyword Searches
- 3 Style of scientific writing
- 3.1 Specific details regarding scientific writing
3.2 Components of a scientific paper
- 4 For further information
- Appendix A: Calculation Final Concentrations
- 1 Formulas in Excel
- 2 Basic operations in Excel
- 3 Measurement and Variation
- 3.1 Describing Quantities and Their Variation
- 3.2 Samples Versus Populations
- 3.3 Calculating Descriptive Statistics using Excel
- 4 Variation and differences
- 5 Differences in Experimental Science
- 5.1 Aside: Commuting to Nashville
- 5.2 P and Detecting Differences in Variable Quantities
- 5.3 Statistical significance
- 5.4 A test for differences of sample means: 95% Confidence Intervals
- 5.5 Error bars in figures
- 5.6 Discussing statistics in your scientific writing
- 6 Scatter plot, trendline, and linear regression
- 7 The t-test of Means
- 8 Paired t-test
- 9 Two-Tailed and One-Tailed Tests
- 10 Variation on t-tests: ANOVA
- 11 Reporting the Results of a Statistical Test
- 12 Summary of statistical tests
- 1 Objectives
- 2 Project timeline
- 3 Background
- 4 Previous work in the BSCI 111 class
- 5 General notes about the project
- 6 About the paper
- 7 References
Nearly all journal articles are divided into the following major sections: abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, and references. Usually the sections are labeled as such, although often the introduction (and sometimes the abstract) is not labeled. Sometimes alternative section titles are used. The abstract is sometimes called the "summary", the methods are sometimes called "materials and methods", and the discussion is sometimes called "conclusions". Some journals also include the minor sections of "key words" following the abstract, and "acknowledgments" following the discussion. In some journals, the sections may be divided into subsections that are given descriptive titles. However, the general division into the six major sections is nearly universal.
The abstract is a short summary (150-200 words or less) of the important points of the paper. It does not generally include background information. There may be a very brief statement of the rationale for conducting the study. It describes what was done, but without details. It also describes the results in a summarized way that usually includes whether or not the statistical tests were significant. It usually concludes with a brief statement of the importance of the results. Abstracts do not include references. When writing a paper, the abstract is always the last part to be written.
The purpose of the abstract is to allow potential readers of a paper to find out the important points of the paper without having to actually read the paper. It should be a self-contained unit capable of being understood without the benefit of the text of the article . It essentially serves as an "advertisement" for the paper that readers use to determine whether or not they actually want to wade through the entire paper or not. Abstracts are generally freely available in electronic form and are often presented in the results of an electronic search. If searchers do not have electronic access to the journal in which the article is published, the abstract is the only means that they have to decide whether to go through the effort (going to the library to look up the paper journal, requesting a reprint from the author, buying a copy of the article from a service, requesting the article by Interlibrary Loan) of acquiring the article. Therefore it is important that the abstract accurately and succinctly presents the most important information in the article.
The introduction provides the background information necessary to understand why the described experiment was conducted. The introduction should describe previous research on the topic that has led to the unanswered questions being addressed by the experiment and should cite important previous papers that form the background for the experiment. The introduction should also state in an organized fashion the goals of the research, i.e. the particular, specific questions that will be tested in the experiments. There should be a one-to-one correspondence between questions raised in the introduction and points discussed in the conclusion section of the paper. In other words, do not raise questions in the introduction unless you are going to have some kind of answer to the question that you intend to discuss at the end of the paper.
You may have been told that every paper must have a hypothesis that can be clearly stated. That is often true, but not always. If your experiment involves a manipulation which tests a specific hypothesis, then you should clearly state that hypothesis. On the other hand, if your experiment was primarily exploratory, descriptive, or measurative, then you probably did not have an a priori hypothesis, so don't pretend that you did and make one up. (See the discussion in the introduction to Experiment 4 for more on this.) If you state a hypothesis in the introduction, it should be a general hypothesis and not a null or alternative hypothesis for a statistical test. If it is necessary to explain how a statistical test will help you evaluate your general hypothesis, explain that in the methods section.
A good introduction should be fairly heavy with citations. This indicates to the reader that the authors are informed about previous work on the topic and are not working in a vacuum. Citations also provide jumping-off points to allow the reader to explore other tangents to the subject that are not directly addressed in the paper. If the paper supports or refutes previous work, readers can look up the citations and make a comparison for themselves.
"Do not get lost in reviewing background information. Remember that the Introduction is meant to introduce the reader to your research, not summarize and evaluate all past literature on the subject (which is the purpose of a review paper). Many of the other studies you may be tempted to discuss in your Introduction are better saved for the Discussion, where they become a powerful tool for comparing and interpreting your results. Include only enough background information to allow your reader to understand why you are asking the questions you are and why your hyptheses are reasonable ones. Often, a brief explanation of the theory involved is sufficient. …
Write this section in the past or present tense, never in the future. " (Steingraber et al. 1985)
3.2.3 Methods (taken verbatim from Steingraber et al. 1985)
The function of this section is to describe all experimental procedures, including controls. The description should be complete enough to enable someone else to repeat your work. If there is more than one part to the experiment, it is a good idea to describe your methods and present your results in the same order in each section. This may not be the same order in which the experiments were performed -it is up to you to decide what order of presentation will make the most sense to your reader.
1. Explain why each procedure was done, i.e., what variable were you measuring and why? Example:
Difficult to understand : First, I removed the frog muscle and then I poured Ringer’s solution on it. Next, I attached it to the kymograph.
Improved: I removed the frog muscle and poured Ringer’s solution on it to prevent it from drying out. I then attached the muscle to the kymograph in order to determine the minimum voltage required for contraction.
2. Experimental procedures and results are narrated in the past tense (what you did, what you found, etc.) whereas conclusions from your results are given in the present tense.
3. Mathematical equations and statistical tests are considered mathematical methods and should be described in this section along with the actual experimental work.
4. Use active rather than passive voice when possible. [Note: see Section 3.1.4 for more about this.] Always use the singular "I" rather than the plural "we" when you are the only author of the paper. Throughout the paper, avoid contractions, e.g. did not vs. didn’t.
5. If any of your methods is fully described in a previous publication (yours or someone else’s), you can cite that instead of describing the procedure again.
Example: The chromosomes were counted at meiosis in the anthers with the standard acetocarmine technique of Snow (1955).
3.2.4 Results (with excerpts from Steingraber et al. 1985)
The function of this section is to summarize general trends in the data without comment, bias, or interpretation. The results of statistical tests applied to your data are reported in this section although conclusions about your original hypotheses are saved for the Discussion section.
Tables and figures should be used when they are a more efficient way to convey information than verbal description. They must be independent units, accompanied by explanatory captions that allow them to be understood by someone who has not read the text. Do not repeat in the text the information in tables and figures, but do cite them, with a summary statement when that is appropriate. Example:
Incorrect: The results are given in Figure 1.
Correct: Temperature was directly proportional to metabolic rate (Fig. 1).
Please note that the entire word "Figure" is almost never written in an article. It is nearly always abbreviated as "Fig." and capitalized. Tables are cited in the same way, although Table is not abbreviated.
Whenever possible, use a figure instead of a table. Relationships between numbers are more readily grasped when they are presented graphically rather than as columns in a table.
Data may be presented in figures and tables, but this may not substitute for a verbal summary of the findings. The text should be understandable by someone who has not seen your figures and tables.
1. All results should be presented, including those that do not support the hypothesis.
2. Statements made in the text must be supported by the results contained in figures and tables.
3. The results of statistical tests can be presented in parentheses following a verbal description.
Example: Fruit size was significantly greater in trees growing alone (t = 3.65, df = 2, p < 0.05).
Simple results of statistical tests may be reported in the text as shown in the preceding example. The results of multiple tests may be reported in a table if that increases clarity. (See Section 11 of the Statistics Manual for more details about reporting the results of statistical tests.) It is not necessary to provide a citation for a simple t-test of means, paired t-test, or linear regression. If you use other tests, you should cite the text or reference you followed to do the test. In your materials and methods section, you should report how you did the test (e.g. using the statistical analysis package of Excel).
It is NEVER appropriate to simply paste the results from statistical software into the results section of your paper. The output generally reports more information than is required and it is not in an appropriate format for a paper.
- Do not repeat information in a table that you are depicting in a graph or histogram; include a table only if it presents new information.
- It is easier to compare numbers by reading down a column rather than across a row. Therefore, list sets of data you want your reader to compare in vertical form.
- Provide each table with a number (Table 1, Table 2, etc.) and a title. The numbered title is placed above the table .
- Please see Section 11 of the Excel Reference and Statistics Manual for further information on reporting the results of statistical tests.
- These comprise graphs, histograms, and illustrations, both drawings and photographs. Provide each figure with a number (Fig. 1, Fig. 2, etc.) and a caption (or "legend") that explains what the figure shows. The numbered caption is placed below the figure . Figure legend = Figure caption.
- Figures submitted for publication must be "photo ready," i.e., they will appear just as you submit them, or photographically reduced. Therefore, when you graduate from student papers to publishable manuscripts, you must learn to prepare figures that will not embarrass you. At the present time, virtually all journals require manuscripts to be submitted electronically and it is generally assumed that all graphs and maps will be created using software rather than being created by hand. Nearly all journals have specific guidelines for the file types, resolution, and physical widths required for figures. Only in a few cases (e.g. sketched diagrams) would figures still be created by hand using ink and those figures would be scanned and labeled using graphics software. Proportions must be the same as those of the page in the journal to which the paper will be submitted.
- Graphs and Histograms: Both can be used to compare two variables. However, graphs show continuous change, whereas histograms show discrete variables only. You can compare groups of data by plotting two or even three lines on one graph, but avoid cluttered graphs that are hard to read, and do not plot unrelated trends on the same graph. For both graphs, and histograms, plot the independent variable on the horizontal (x) axis and the dependent variable on the vertical (y) axis. Label both axes, including units of measurement except in the few cases where variables are unitless, such as absorbance.
- Drawings and Photographs: These are used to illustrate organisms, experimental apparatus, models of structures, cellular and subcellular structure, and results of procedures like electrophoresis. Preparing such figures well is a lot of work and can be very expensive, so each figure must add enough to justify its preparation and publication, but good figures can greatly enhance a professional article, as your reading in biological journals has already shown.
3.2.5 Discussion (taken from Steingraber et al. 1985)
The function of this section is to analyze the data and relate them to other studies. To "analyze" means to evaluate the meaning of your results in terms of the original question or hypothesis and point out their biological significance.
1. The Discussion should contain at least:
- the relationship between the results and the original hypothesis, i.e., whether they support the hypothesis, or cause it to be rejected or modified
- an integration of your results with those of previous studies in order to arrive at explanations for the observed phenomena
- possible explanations for unexpected results and observations, phrased as hypotheses that can be tested by realistic experimental procedures, which you should describe
2. Trends that are not statistically significant can still be discussed if they are suggestive or interesting, but cannot be made the basis for conclusions as if they were significant.
3. Avoid redundancy between the Results and the Discussion section. Do not repeat detailed descriptions of the data and results in the Discussion. In some journals, Results and Discussions are joined in a single section, in order to permit a single integrated treatment with minimal repetition. This is more appropriate for short, simple articles than for longer, more complicated ones.
4. End the Discussion with a summary of the principal points you want the reader to remember. This is also the appropriate place to propose specific further study if that will serve some purpose, but do not end with the tired cliché that "this problem needs more study." All problems in biology need more study. Do not close on what you wish you had done, rather finish stating your conclusions and contributions.
The title of the paper should be the last thing that you write. That is because it should distill the essence of the paper even more than the abstract (the next to last thing that you write).
The title should contain three elements:
1. the name of the organism studied;
2. the particular aspect or system studied;
3. the variable(s) manipulated.
Do not be afraid to be grammatically creative. Here are some variations on a theme, all suitable as titles:
THE EFFECT OF TEMPERATURE ON GERMINATION OF ZEA MAYS
DOES TEMPERATURE AFFECT GERMINATION OF ZEA MAYS?
TEMPERATURE AND ZEA MAYS GERMINATION: IMPLICATIONS FOR AGRICULTURE
Sometimes it is possible to include the principal result or conclusion in the title:
HIGH TEMPERATURES REDUCE GERMINATION OF ZEA MAYS
Note for the BSCI 1510L class: to make your paper look more like a real paper, you can list all of the other group members as co-authors. However, if you do that, you should list you name first so that we know that you wrote it.
3.2.7 Literature Cited
Please refer to section 2.1 of this guide.
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What are the 5 parts of the research paper
A regular research paper usually has five main parts, though the way it’s set up can change depending on what a specific assignment or academic journal wants. Here are the basic parts;
Introduction: This part gives an overview of what the research is about, states the problem or question being studied, and explains why the study is important. It often includes background info, context, and a quick look at the research to show why this study is needed.
Literature Review: In this part, the author looks at and summarizes existing research and writings on the chosen topic. This review helps spot gaps in what we already know and explains why a new study is necessary. It also sets up the theory and hypotheses for the research.
Methodology: The methodology section describes how the research was done – the plan, methods, and steps used to collect and analyze data. It should be detailed enough for others to repeat the study.
Results: This part shares what was found in the study based on the analyzed data. The results are often shown using tables, figures, and stats. It’s important to present the data accurately and without adding personal interpretations or discussions.
Discussion: Here, the results are explained in the context of the research question and existing literature. The discussion looks at what the findings mean, acknowledges any limits to the study, and suggests where future research could go. This is where the researcher can analyze, critique, and connect the results.
Besides these main sections, research papers usually have other parts like a title page, abstract, acknowledgments, and references. The structure might change a bit depending on the subject or type of research, but these five parts are generally found in academic research papers.
What is the structure of a research paper
A research paper usually follows a set format, including these parts:
Title Page: This page has the research paper’s title, the author’s name, where they’re affiliated (like a school), and often the date.
Abstract: The abstract is a short summary of the whole research paper. It quickly talks about the research question, methods, results, and conclusions. It’s usually limited to a specific number of words.
Introduction: This part introduces what the research is about. It states the main question, gives background info, and explains why the study is important. Often, it ends with a thesis statement or research hypothesis.
Literature Review: In this section, the author looks at and talks about other research and writings on the same topic. It helps to place the study in the context of what we already know, finding gaps, and explaining why this new research is needed.
Methodology: Here, the research plan is described. It explains how data was collected and analyzed, including details like who participated, what tools were used, and what statistical methods were applied. The goal is to provide enough info so others can do the same study.
Results: The results section shows what was found in the study based on the analyzed data. Tables, figures, and stats often help present the data. This part should be objective and report the results without personal interpretations.
Discussion: The discussion explains what the results mean in the context of the research question and existing literature. It looks at the implications of the findings, talks about any study limitations, and suggests where future research could go. This is where the author analyzes and connects the results.
Conclusion: The conclusion sums up the key findings of the study and stresses their importance. It might also suggest practical uses and areas for further investigation.
References (or Bibliography): This part lists all the sources cited in the paper, following a specific citation style like APA, MLA, or Chicago, as required by academic or publication guidelines.
Appendices: Extra materials, like raw data, questionnaires, or added info, can be put in the appendices.
Remember, the requirements for each section can vary based on the guidelines given by the instructor, school, or the journal where the paper might be published. Always check the specific requirements for the research paper you’re working on.
What are the 10 common parts of a research paper list in proper order
Here are the ten main parts of a research paper, listed in the right order:
Title Page: This page has the title of the research paper, the author’s name, where they’re affiliated (like a school), and the date.
Abstract: The abstract gives a short summary of the research, covering the main question, methods, results, and conclusions.
Introduction: This part introduces what the research is about. It states the main question, gives background info, and explains why the study is important.
Literature Review: In this section, the author looks at and talks about other research and writings on the same topic. It helps place the study in the context of what we already know and explains why this new research is needed.
Methodology: Here, the research plan is described. It explains how data was collected and analyzed, including details like who participated, what tools were used, and what statistical methods were applied.
Results: The results section shows what was found in the study based on the analyzed data. This part should be objective and report the results without personal interpretations.
Discussion: The discussion explains what the results mean in the context of the research question and existing literature. It looks at the implications of the findings, talks about any study limitations, and suggests where future research could go.
References (or Bibliography): This part lists all the sources cited in the paper, following a specific citation style as required by academic or publication guidelines.
Always check the specific requirements and guidelines given for the research paper you’re working on, as they can vary based on the instructor, school, or the journal where the paper might be published.
How long should a research paper be
The length of a research paper can vary a lot, depending on factors like the academic level, the type of research, and the specific instructions from the instructor or the target journal. Here are some general guidelines;
Undergraduate Level: Research papers at the undergraduate level, usually range from 10 to 20 pages, although this can change based on the requirements of the specific course.
Master’s Level: Master’s level research papers are generally longer, often falling between 20 to 40 pages. However, the length can vary depending on the subject and the program.
Ph.D. Level: Ph.D. dissertations or research papers are typically even longer, often going beyond 50 pages and sometimes reaching several hundred pages. The length is influenced by how deep and extensive the research is.
Journal Articles: For research papers meant for academic journal publication, the length is usually specified by the journal’s guidelines. In many cases, journal articles range from 5,000 to 8,000 words, but this can differ.
It’s really important to stick to the specific guidelines given by the instructor or the target journal. If there aren’t specific guidelines, think about how complex your research is and how in-depth your analysis needs to be to properly address the research question.
Also, some instructors might specify the length in terms of word count instead of pages. In these cases, the word count can vary, but a common range might be 2,000 to 5,000 words for undergraduate papers, 5,000 to 10,000 words for master’s level papers, and 10,000 words or more for Ph.D. dissertations.
What are 3 formatting guidelines from APA
The American Psychological Association (APA) has special rules for how to set up your research paper. Here are three important rules;
Title Page: Make a title page with the title of your paper, your name, and where you’re affiliated (like your school). Put the title in the middle, and your name and school below it in the middle too. In the top right corner, put a short version of the title and the page number.
In-Text Citations: When you mention a source in your paper, use the author’s last name and the year of publication in brackets. For example, if you talk about a book by Smith from 2020, you write (Smith, 2020). If you quote directly, add the page number too, like this: (Smith, 2020, p. 45).
References Page: Make a references page at the end listing all the sources you talked about in your paper. Arrange them alphabetically by the author’s last name. For books, use this format: Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Research Title: Capital letters also appear in the subheading. Publisher. For journal articles, it’s like this: Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), page range. DOI or URL. Each entry should be indented right.
Remember, these are just a few important rules from APA. It’s crucial to check the official APA Publication Manual or the latest APA style guide for all the details and rules. Also, the rules might be a bit different for different types of sources, so pay attention to what APA says about each one.
What are the 4 major sections of a research paper
A research paper usually has four main parts;
Introduction: This part gets things started. It talks about what the research is about, gives some background info, and states the main question or idea. It’s important to show why the study matters.
Methods (or Methodology): The methods part explains how the research was done. It covers things like the plan, who took part, how data was collected, and how it was analyzed. The goal is to give enough detail so someone else could do the same study.
Results: The results section shows what was found in the research. It includes the raw data, stats, and any other info needed to answer the main question. It should be objective and focused on just reporting what happened, without adding personal thoughts.
Discussion: In the discussion part, the results are explained. It looks at what the findings mean in the context of the main question and other research. It talks about the impact of the results, mentions any study limits, and suggests where more research could go. This is where the researcher shares insights, makes conclusions, and talks about why the study is important.
Even though these four parts are common, the way they are set up can change. It depends on what the instructor, school, or journal wants. Always check the specific guidelines for the research paper you’re working on.
How do you write a reference page in APA format
In APA format, the reference page is super important in a research paper. It’s like a big list that shows all the sources mentioned in the paper. Here are the basic rules for making a reference page in APA format:
Heading: At the top, center the title “References” without making it bold, italicized, underlined, or using quotation marks.
Format for Entries: Each source follows a special format based on its type (like a book, journal article, or website).
For a book, the setup is
- Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Publisher.
For a journal article, it’s
- Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), page range. DOI or URL
Alphabetical Order: Organize the sources chronologically by the last name of the primary writer. If there’s no author, use the title for sorting, ignoring words like “A,” “An,” or “The.”
Hanging Indentation: Each entry has a hanging indentation. This means the first line starts on the left, and the following lines are indented by 0.5 inches.
Italicize Titles: Italicize the titles of bigger things like books and journals. For example: Title of the Book or Title of the Journal .
Use Proper Capitalization: Only capitalize the first word of the title, the first word after a colon in the subtitle, and any special names.
Remember these examples;
Book: Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subheading. Publisher.
Journal Article: Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), page range. DOI or URL.
To make sure you get the latest information, check the APA rules.
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What Are The Key Elements of Research Paper Structure?
Writing a well-structured research paper is not everybody’s cup of tea. One may spend months or even years conducting one good research paper. Sometimes, it might become difficult even to start writing. Let alone thinking of the structure of the research paper.
It is truly said that a well-structured research paper is able to address a specific research question. It has the capacity to question the reader’s perspective and idea.
This article is authored with the view to make its viewers understand the importance of research structure and also give out tips on how to write the research paper structure.
On the other hand, as a research paper assignment helper , we understand the importance of a strong research paper structure. Let us help you create a winning paper that will impress your professors and earn you top marks.
What Is Research Paper?
Table of Contents
A research paper is a type of academic document that explores a particular topic in-depth. It involves conducting research, gathering information, and presenting findings in a structured manner. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute knowledge, provide information, or present arguments based on evidence.
In addition, it includes an introduction, body paragraphs with supporting evidence, and a conclusion. Research papers are commonly written by students, scholars, and professionals to share their research and contribute to their respective fields of study.
What Is Research Paper Structure?
The research structure is mainly an outline of the work. The structure consists of a number of sub-sections. We will learn about each in detail as you scroll down.
One is expected to provide the research structure towards the end of the introduction chapter of the dissertation. Most research papers have more or less the same structure.
It is important for the author to first make sure that the information/data is compiled and analyzed. This step is crucial in order to get the paper structured properly. It is also helpful for a better understanding of a particular topic. Providing clear definitions is one of the main aims of creating the structure of a research paper.
Why Is Research Paper Structure Important?
- Research paper structure improves the organization and coherence of information.
- It enhances the clarity and readability of the paper for readers.
- A clear structure helps researchers effectively convey their main points and arguments.
- It makes it easy navigation and quick access to specific sections or information.
- A well-defined structure demonstrates the researcher’s ability to present information effectively, enhancing the overall quality and impact of the paper.
Top 10 Key Elements Of Research Paper Structure You Must Know
As discussed above, the key to a successful and impressive research paper is getting its structure right. The basic structure of a general research paper goes in the sequence of the title page, abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, and discussion of the same which is followed by the conclusion. References and acknowledgments are provided marking the end of the paper.
Each subsection points out a different objective for the main topic or the same point of interest. Below is a detailed description of each of the sub-sections:
1. Title page
The title page allows the reader to identify the work just by reading the title. It is the very first page any reader will come across. The title page must include the name of the author, the name of the course for which the research was performed, the name of the instructor, the date of completion, and the page number.
An individual must be able to understand the purpose of writing the research paper just by reading the title. This is the first section of the research paper structure.
The abstract of a research paper should be a short summary of the contents it includes. It should be less than 250 words. Usually, it includes the purpose of the study, significant results, and its conclusion.
Since the abstract contains small bits of information about the article, it is best to call it an overview of the paper. An article’s abstract will always be available to view online whether or not you have paid for its subscription.
After the abstract comes the introduction to the research. The introduction gives the reader all the primary information he or she requires to understand the paper. It must explain the idea of the main topic.
Explanation of the key terms, historical information, and citation of other studies revolving around the topic must follow. The introduction should be able to indicate why the research done in this particular article is different or how it is relevant to the discussion.
4. Materials and Methods
The Materials and Methods in the research paper explain to an individual how the study was conducted. Generally, it provides the reader with information like – the sampling strategy used, instruments, data collection methods, and analysis strategies.
This part of the information must be descriptive, precise, and in detail.
The results of an article should give specific information on what the findings are, and their value, with suitable data included.
It must be presented in a straightforward and factual manner. Numerical figures, graphs, and percentages should be included as well.
Discussion of an article is also known as the ‘body’. Facts are focused on in this section. It is considered the most difficult part to write.
Discussion must be put before or after the results. This section must be able to answer questions like: is the analysis matching with the calculated data, is the conclusion valid, and does the discussion prove the required point? Discuss what the results show in this particular section.
The Conclusion tells one about the final thoughts of the author. It is a paraphrased version of the overall discussion in short.
Containing an average of 100 to 200 words, it covers all the main keywords and points. It may repeat what is already noted in the discussion. It may also provide recommendations for future research.
The reference page allows the author to accept all the sources used for gathering information. The resource should be cited properly.
Examples of citations can be found on the website online. Reference to any online source that the reader will have trouble finding or understanding should be avoided for use.
Acknowledgments are used to thank any persons or institutions that made the research possible. An individual can extend their gratitude towards the person or organization under this section for helping him/her get through the research paper within the stipulated time period and guiding them.
10. Appendix (if any add-ons were available)
In some cases, an appendix in a research paper contains non-evaluative information that is not important for comprehending the research paper, such as a list of experiment encouragement, details of a secondary scanning, or programming code. This is usually found in an appendix. This is the last section of the research paper structure.
- How to write research paper outline
- How to write research paper
How Long Should A Research Paper Be?
The length of a research paper depends on the assignment requirements, the field of study, and the course level. In general, research papers can range from 5 to 30 pages or more, with the average length being 10-15 pages.
On the other hand, in many cases, instructors or journals may provide specific guidelines for the length of the paper, including the number of pages or word count. If such guidelines are not provided, it is important to consider the complexity of the topic and the amount of research required to address it sufficiently.
It is also important to remember that the length of a research paper should not be the primary focus. The research, analysis, and writing quality are much more important than the number of pages. A well-written, concise paper that effectively addresses the research question is often more valuable than a longer paper that is poorly organized and does not provide a clear argument.
So this means that you do not have to write a long and poorly organized paper. However, it is better to write a proper and well-written research paper.
Tips On How To Improve Your Research Paper Structure
Thoughts should be organized and focused. Ask yourself what idea you want to convey to the reader. Is there a message hidden in the paper? Is more research required?
These questions must be solved to help one to keep their focus on the goal. This is the first tip on how you can improve your research paper structure.
The paper must be as clear and simple as possible. The language should not be difficult to understand. The sentence structure must be short and simple.
Along with that, it is very important that all the data and facts are accurately presented.
The title and abstract are the first two sections of the paper that the reader will read. It depends on the reader to continue reading from here.
Thus, it is crucial for both the title and abstract to be eye-catching and effective at the same time. It must be able to summarize the entire paper for the reader.
Keywords are used for the purpose of indexing. Indexing is the process of finding words easily online. Words that are specific and do not already exist in the title are ideal.
Depending on the research paper, keywords that appear in the title must be often avoided.
The results should be significant and easy to understand. Attracting readers and citations will be easier if the results are exciting enough to encourage them to elaborate on what the author has discovered.
This is the last tip on how you can improve your research paper structure.
Tools And Resources To Write A Good Research Paper Structure
Research paper outline template: A template is a helpful tool that can help you to structure your research paper efficiently. With a template, you will have a clear idea of the different sections of your paper and how they should be arranged. Several outline templates are available online, and you can use them as a guide to creating your outline.
1. Library databases
Libraries are an excellent resource for finding academic sources. Many libraries have databases that you can access online, which contain a wide range of scholarly articles, books, and other materials that are relevant to your research. You can use these databases to find reliable sources for your paper.
2. Citation tools
Proper citation is crucial in academic writing. A citation tool can help you to format your citations correctly and avoid plagiarism. Several citation tools, such as EasyBib, Zotero, and Mendeley, are available. These tools can save you time and ensure your citations are accurate.
3. Writing software
Writing software can help you to organize your research and write your paper efficiently. Some popular writing software includes Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and Scrivener. These tools have features that can help you to structure your paper, such as outlining, formatting, and citation management.
4. Grammar and spell-checking tools
You must proofread your paper to ensure it’s error-free. Grammar and spell-checking tools can help you to catch any mistakes that you have missed. Some popular tools include Grammarly, Hemingway Editor, and ProWritingAid.
5. Writing guides and manuals
Several guides and manuals are available online to help you write a good research paper. Some popular ones include The Chicago Manual of Style, The MLA Handbook, and The APA Publication Manual. These guides provide detailed instructions on formatting, citation, and writing style.
These tools and resources can help you structure your research paper effectively, write it clearly, and present it professionally.
Conclusion on research paper structure
In conclusion, we have a clear insight as to what the research paper structure is. It is mainly described as the outline of the work. The research paper is written keeping nine sub-sections in mind. Without each section, the paper tends to look incomplete. Each sub-section offers a different objective for the main topic.
Most research papers usually follow the same structure. Here, we have also learned certain tips on how to improve your research paper structure. If you want to get the best research paper writing help then you get help in touch with our research paper helper .
Q1. What are the 5 parts of a research paper?
A full research paper that is in APA format reporting on experimental research will typically include the following sections: Title page, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, and References.
Q2. What are the main parts of a research paper?
There are 9 main parts in a research paper:
1. Title (cover page) 2. Introduction 3. Literature review 4. Research Methodology 5. Data analysis 6. Results 7. Conclusion 8. Reference page 9. Appendix (if any add-ons were available)
If you follow this structure, you will end up with a concise, well-organized research paper.
Q3. How to write a research paper?
If you want to write a good Research Paper then here are some tips for you: 1. Choose a topic. 2. Read and keep records. 3. Form a thesis. 4. Create a mind map or outline. 5. Read again. 6. Rethink your thesis. 7. Draft the body. 8. Revise.
Q4. How Can You Understand The Research Paper Assignment?
Completing a research paper successfully usually involves completing the tasks assigned to you. Before you begin, ensure you have a proper understanding of the assignment task sheet. Here are some tips on how you can understand the research paper assignment:
1. Determine the goal, deadline, length requirements, formatting, and submission method for the assignment. 2. You can make a bulleted list of the main points you wanted in your research paper, then go back and check off completed items as you write. 3. Read it carefully, looking for any confusion you may need to clarify with your professor. 4. You can consider your timeframe and word limit very carefully. On the other hand, it is very important to be more realistic and allow enough time to research, write, and edit.
Q5. Summarize The Major Elements Of The Paper?
Here are the major elements of the research paper structure:
1. Introduction 2. Literature Review 3. Research Methodology 4. Results 5. Discussion 6. Conclusion 7. References (or Bibliography) 8. Appendices (if applicable)
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Parts Of A Research Paper
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You can only write an irrefutable research paper after acknowledging all the parts. How many parts are available in a research paper? It deems fit that you understand all the parts in depth.
No matter how excellent your writing skills are, it takes acknowledging the different parts of a research paper to keep the readers hooked. A research paper follows the hourglass structure.
The paper must present some general information first before you can add a literature review, hypothesis , or even your problem statement.
Why do I say this?
There is no definite manner or style of crafting and writing research papers. The field of study dictates the style of the paper. However, there are commonly known parts of a research paper and are pinpointed below.
Format On How To Write Parts Of A Research Paper
Introduction, limitations of the study, methodology, literature review, the main body.
- List of references
The cover page is also known as the title page. The page presents information about the research paper’s title.
The name of the student authoring the paper is always available on this page, the course unit, and the professor tutoring the course.
The dates when the research paper was presented must appear on the page as well.
An abstract is necessary to present a general overview of the research paper. Nonetheless, not all academic research papers necessitate an abstract.
Where one is required, it sticks within a word limit of 100-300 words. Through the abstract, readers grasp the central theme of the research and its essence.
When crafting the abstract , you should avoid using footnotes. Instead, you should present the significance of the research, the method used, the research questions , and the results of your research and findings.
The abstract must be crafted carefully hence recording no mistakes. The abstract must appeal to the instructor as it’s the first thing they read apart from the title.
Your introduction helps the reader understand everything about the paper. You need to snatch the attention of the readers through your statement of the problem.
The thesis statement creates a trajectory that your research and paper follow. Endeavour to make readers understand what your topic focuses on and why it’s of great relevance to you.
How broad is the scope of your research paper? Readers ought to understand the areas that your paper focuses on and the ones it discounts.
There are so many factors that might limit your study from geographical location, time, gender, nationality, and many other factors.
As a research paper author, there is a need for you to make your research methodologies known. There are instances when you follow quantitative or qualitative research methods, and discussing the methods used makes your paper engaging.
How did you collect data? Some students interview people randomly, and others prepare and give out questionnaires.
Other researchers have written about the topic before. A literature review helps uncover what other researchers have identified.
Therefore, have a segment that presents what is already known and documented about the topic or subject matter.
The body of your research paper is the longest and showcases your arguments and findings. Therefore, when crafting the main body, you need to keep the thesis as your central area of focus.
The last thing that you need is missing the point or giving distorted and confusing information. Maintain a rational and sober argument .
The main body contains numerous citations in support of your arguments. To present a top-notch research paper, ensure to abhor meaningless parentheses.
You need to give your arguments and paper a conclusive underscore. The conclusion part must be informative and extensively stimulating.
Your hypothesis and questions appearing in your introduction must receive an answer at this point. Readers may forget the words used in the body but never on the conclusion. Therefore, endeavor to maintain an exciting conclusion.
Here’s the point,
As a result, the readers will get contented by your arguments and the research paper at large.
For the sake of your readers, you should consider adding several appendices. The appendices help readers enlarge their understanding.
The appendices materials that you can avail include questionnaires, tables, maps, a list of terms, images, lengthy statistics, charts, letters, and any other supplementary information or material relevant to the topic.
List of references
Finally, you need to have your list of references. The citations available in your paper must be cited as per their recommendations. Therefore, ensure to avail details of all your sources following alphabetical order. Ensure to follow the reference format demanded by your tutor.
Lets not forget,
Understanding the parts that make a research paper helps sharpen your skills. Therefore, understand and master all the above sections. Nonetheless, ensure to consider working on the components required by your tutor for your research paper.
An Example Showing Parts Of A Research Paper
What are the main parts of a research paper?
The mains parts of a research paper include; Abstract, Introduction, Limitation of the study, methodology, literature review, research findings and analysis, the discussion then finally bibliography/ references.
What are the parts of research introduction?
The research introduction should have the topic sentence, which presents the main idea of your paper, thesis statement, which states the primary purpose clearly, supporting sentences then finally a conclusion statement.
What are the parts of thesis?
The thesis has a basic structure, and it includes; an abstract, research methods and discussions, conclusion then finally references/ bibliography.
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Parts of a Research Paper
One of the most important aspects of science is ensuring that you get all the parts of the written research paper in the right order.
This article is a part of the guide:
- Outline Examples
- Example of a Paper
- Write a Hypothesis
Browse Full Outline
- 1 Write a Research Paper
- 2 Writing a Paper
- 3.1 Write an Outline
- 3.2 Outline Examples
- 4.1 Thesis Statement
- 4.2 Write a Hypothesis
- 5.2 Abstract
- 5.3 Introduction
- 5.4 Methods
- 5.5 Results
- 5.6 Discussion
- 5.7 Conclusion
- 5.8 Bibliography
- 6.1 Table of Contents
- 6.2 Acknowledgements
- 6.3 Appendix
- 7.1 In Text Citations
- 7.2 Footnotes
- 7.3.1 Floating Blocks
- 7.4 Example of a Paper
- 7.5 Example of a Paper 2
- 7.6.1 Citations
- 7.7.1 Writing Style
- 7.7.2 Citations
- 8.1.1 Sham Peer Review
- 8.1.2 Advantages
- 8.1.3 Disadvantages
- 8.2 Publication Bias
- 8.3.1 Journal Rejection
- 9.1 Article Writing
- 9.2 Ideas for Topics
You may have finished the best research project on earth but, if you do not write an interesting and well laid out paper, then nobody is going to take your findings seriously.
The main thing to remember with any research paper is that it is based on an hourglass structure. It begins with general information and undertaking a literature review , and becomes more specific as you nail down a research problem and hypothesis .
Finally, it again becomes more general as you try to apply your findings to the world at general.
Whilst there are a few differences between the various disciplines, with some fields placing more emphasis on certain parts than others, there is a basic underlying structure.
These steps are the building blocks of constructing a good research paper. This section outline how to lay out the parts of a research paper, including the various experimental methods and designs.
The principles for literature review and essays of all types follow the same basic principles.
For many students, writing the introduction is the first part of the process, setting down the direction of the paper and laying out exactly what the research paper is trying to achieve.
For others, the introduction is the last thing written, acting as a quick summary of the paper. As long as you have planned a good structure for the parts of a research paper, both approaches are acceptable and it is a matter of preference.
A good introduction generally consists of three distinct parts:
- You should first give a general presentation of the research problem.
- You should then lay out exactly what you are trying to achieve with this particular research project.
- You should then state your own position.
Ideally, you should try to give each section its own paragraph, but this will vary given the overall length of the paper.
1) General Presentation
Look at the benefits to be gained by the research or why the problem has not been solved yet. Perhaps nobody has thought about it, or maybe previous research threw up some interesting leads that the previous researchers did not follow up.
Another researcher may have uncovered some interesting trends, but did not manage to reach the significance level , due to experimental error or small sample sizes .
2) Purpose of the Paper
The research problem does not have to be a statement, but must at least imply what you are trying to find.
Many writers prefer to place the thesis statement or hypothesis here, which is perfectly acceptable, but most include it in the last sentences of the introduction, to give the reader a fuller picture.
3) A Statement of Intent From the Writer
The idea is that somebody will be able to gain an overall view of the paper without needing to read the whole thing. Literature reviews are time-consuming enough, so give the reader a concise idea of your intention before they commit to wading through pages of background.
In this section, you look to give a context to the research, including any relevant information learned during your literature review. You are also trying to explain why you chose this area of research, attempting to highlight why it is necessary. The second part should state the purpose of the experiment and should include the research problem. The third part should give the reader a quick summary of the form that the parts of the research paper is going to take and should include a condensed version of the discussion.
This should be the easiest part of the paper to write, as it is a run-down of the exact design and methodology used to perform the research. Obviously, the exact methodology varies depending upon the exact field and type of experiment .
There is a big methodological difference between the apparatus based research of the physical sciences and the methods and observation methods of social sciences. However, the key is to ensure that another researcher would be able to replicate the experiment to match yours as closely as possible, but still keeping the section concise.
You can assume that anybody reading your paper is familiar with the basic methods, so try not to explain every last detail. For example, an organic chemist or biochemist will be familiar with chromatography, so you only need to highlight the type of equipment used rather than explaining the whole process in detail.
In the case of a survey , if you have too many questions to cover in the method, you can always include a copy of the questionnaire in the appendix . In this case, make sure that you refer to it.
This is probably the most variable part of any research paper, and depends on the results and aims of the experiment.
For quantitative research , it is a presentation of the numerical results and data, whereas for qualitative research it should be a broader discussion of trends, without going into too much detail.
For research generating a lot of results , then it is better to include tables or graphs of the analyzed data and leave the raw data in the appendix, so that a researcher can follow up and check your calculations.
A commentary is essential to linking the results together, rather than just displaying isolated and unconnected charts and figures.
It can be quite difficult to find a good balance between the results and the discussion section, because some findings, especially in a quantitative or descriptive experiment , will fall into a grey area. Try to avoid repeating yourself too often.
It is best to try to find a middle path, where you give a general overview of the data and then expand on it in the discussion - you should try to keep your own opinions and interpretations out of the results section, saving that for the discussion later on.
This is where you elaborate on your findings, and explain what you found, adding your own personal interpretations.
Ideally, you should link the discussion back to the introduction, addressing each point individually.
It’s important to make sure that every piece of information in your discussion is directly related to the thesis statement , or you risk cluttering your findings. In keeping with the hourglass principle, you can expand on the topic later in the conclusion .
The conclusion is where you build on your discussion and try to relate your findings to other research and to the world at large.
In a short research paper, it may be a paragraph or two, or even a few lines.
In a dissertation, it may well be the most important part of the entire paper - not only does it describe the results and discussion in detail, it emphasizes the importance of the results in the field, and ties it in with the previous research.
Some research papers require a recommendations section, postulating the further directions of the research, as well as highlighting how any flaws affected the results. In this case, you should suggest any improvements that could be made to the research design .
No paper is complete without a reference list , documenting all the sources that you used for your research. This should be laid out according to APA , MLA or other specified format, allowing any interested researcher to follow up on the research.
One habit that is becoming more common, especially with online papers, is to include a reference to your own paper on the final page. Lay this out in MLA, APA and Chicago format, allowing anybody referencing your paper to copy and paste it.
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Parts of a research paper
What are the essential parts of a research paper?
Writing a research paper is one of the tasks that students find most difficult and often struggle with.
In this article, we will review the 5 parts of a research paper and look at how you can write each section of a research paper effectively. By the end, you are expected to have full knowledge on how to write a research paper from start to the end and earn a good grade.
- Hook for research paper
How to write preface for project report
- How to write a school shooting research paper, outline examples
Data analysis section of a research paper
Research analysis paper: how to analyze a research article, exploratory data analysis research paper.
To write a college research paper , a student needs to have good writing skills, knowledge of content area, good understanding of topic statement, and above all – desire for success.
What are the different parts of a research paper?
A research paper can be divided into 5 to 6 major parts depending on the discipline in question. Here is a list of the 6 most important parts of a research paper:
Literature review, methodology, results and discussion.
- Reference List/Works Cited Page
Now let’s discuss each part of a research paper listed above in details.
An introduction in a research paper is where the author introduces him/herself as well as the topic chosen for investigation or discussion. It can be a brief one but it must be able to explain what will follow in the paper.
The introduction gives the reader a general background on both the topic and why you, in particular, want to write about it. An interesting opening sentence or paragraph will “hook” readers into wanting to read your paper. It should communicate what specific subject area your paper covers by giving an overview of the research that has been done in that area.
It should also explain why this particular subject is of interest to you or your organization, and how it will benefit a specific group of readers (e.g., students, teachers). You may choose to introduce your topic using an anecdote or example, but be sure not to stray too far from the main point.
An abstract in a research paper is an introductory summary as it states the problem, presents a review of literature about the problem and also explains what is being done to solve this problem. Abstracts are usually used in scientific research articles that have been published.
Abstracts can also be considered as an abbreviated form of other papers’ entire contents. In addition, strategies for writing abstracts may vary considerably depending on the type of document written.
A hook for a research paper is that first sentence or paragraph that a reader reads to entice them into reading the whole paper. The hook can be about anything as long as it catches the reader’s attention. In addition, different publishing companies may utilize slightly different strategies for how they want their writers to develop their opening hooks.
A research paper literature review explains about related works done by other authors who have worked on a similar topic before and this part may also serve an avenue of ideas that you might want to consider using in your own work as well as bringing up some problems encountered in previous works while doing research on that particular topic which helps you avoid them at all cost when working on yours. It should not just end at explaining what has been done by other people though but it should be able to point out the gap in previous works and how are you going to fill up that gap.
The Literature Review section explains what others have written about the problem/subject matter at hand and why their work is important. The literature review itself typically consists of many paragraphs with each paragraph discussing a different concept or study related to the problem being researched. Many times, writers employ subheadings within the sections delineating particularly important concepts for easy identification by the reader.
The methodology in a research paper or research design part explains what approach will be used in researching while doing work on a particular topic. It also serves as an explanation of the techniques and methods to be used in supporting your research objective in this paper. It should not just contain information about how researches have been done before but it should also serve as a guide for other researchers who will seek assistance from your work when they get stuck while working on their own papers concerning similar topics.
- Read more – how to write the method part of a research paper .
The results section of a research paper is where the actual data gathered during research is presented. This can come as charts, tables or graphs which tell more about the problem under investigation especially if it has never been done before.
The results section is not the only place where you present your data though as it can also be presented in other sections of the paper depending on how large that particular piece of information is.
The discussion or interpretation part tells what conclusion you got from doing all those research work and this must be supported by appropriate quotes, figures and references.
It should present a summary of the whole problem being discussed so far with suggestions formulated on how to solve the problem if possible.
This part will also serve as an avenue for proposing further studies that can be conducted in order to fully understand the problems under investigation in this research work.
In the results and discussion section, the researcher explains what was found in their research. It includes descriptions of the study (e.g., how many participants were involved).
It also may include charts or graphs that show data collected during the study. The researcher should clearly explain to the reader why their results are important to understanding the problem at hand.
A research paper conclusion which simply summarizes a few ideas already mentioned earlier in different parts of this paper and may contain a few proposals or suggestions for other researchers who might seek assistance when working on their own researches concerning similar topics.
This section is often used to call for further research into an area, more information about a topic, or improved methodologies for future studies on a subject matter.
Researchers often summarize their main points here as useful reminders for readers who skim through only specific sections of an article before deciding whether or not they want to read it thoroughly.
Though a reference list is not a core part of a research paper, it is an integral part of the research paper writing process.
This section of the research paper commonly includes all of the references used in writing and supporting the ideas of a work.
It may also include relevant information about each source referenced, such as when it was written or published, its author(s), or other works that cite this one.
The reference list typically has more than five or six sources listed.
In certain disciplines, two types of bibliographies are used to note references; these are known as “author-date” (Harvard) citations and “numeric” (Vancouver) citations.
There should also be a clear distinction between the reference list and any table that is used to present numerical data or charts.
The use of two different sections to note references allows readers to quickly find information in either section without having to flip through pages of text.
In order for an author’s research paper presentation to achieve maximum impact, there must be some degree of successfully communicating ideas from the author to the audience who will ultimately read it.
This can only happen when all the right pieces are effectively arranged into place after which – they will together create both a compelling title and body that will blend well with each other.
If done right, your writing style can improve dramatically and everybody wins! The main thing here is not so about simply copying a title, but understanding the concept behind it.
When you are looking for an interesting research paper topic related to your own personal experience or view on a certain issue; try and take things out of perspective as much as possible without trying to hurt anyone’s feelings at all.
You can’t be too sure where the idea will eventually take you, but if you do get good results from putting everything together, then you can quickly conclude that what works for others most likely will work pretty well for you too!
Now you know the parts of a good research paper. Good luck with your paper writing task.
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How to write a meta analysis research paper.
- How to write the methods section of a research paper
How to Conduct Research for a Research Paper
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Parts of a Research Paper
Following are the main parts of a research paper;
Literature review, acknowledgment.
Conducting academic research isn’t something easy. Students spend several months for this purpose and then there comes a time when they are supposed to do their own research. In this regard, you can make the things easy for you if you choose to organize your thoughts before writing. Once you decide to compile data and then organize it, then the entire process of writing a research paper becomes simple for you. Stay focused and try your best to deliver your main message of research to your readers the best way you can. Go on for more research and look for research paper example , if you think it’s necessary.
One more thing, which is the most crucial to mention here is; try to aim for clarity throughout the research paper writing process. Those who start reading your paper must not stop because it is too technical to understand. Each and every part of your paper must be written in simple words so that every reader could easily understand.
Other than clarity, you must also aim at simplicity and accuracy while writing a paper. The reason is that your published article is going to be accessed by people all over the world. So, try to use simple and direct sentences. Moreover, include the accurate and reliable information only.
Keeping all these things in your mind, let’s have a look at the proper structure of research paper as these papers must be organized into some specific pre-determined sections with each having a specific goal.
In fact, this is the most vital part of research paper. It is to grab the reader’s attention basically as it determines whether the person is going to read your entire research or not. While deciding on the title for your research, you must keep in mind that it should indicate the main focus of your research. It must also contain the most important and relevant keywords (the search terms) from your paper. It let the user find your paper in the search results when searching for the related database.
There are two ways of writing titles for your paper. The first one is the descriptive way, which basically states the main focus of your research. The second way is the conclusive way, which portrays the conclusion from paper. The first listed way of writing the title i.e. the descriptive way is preferred for the reason that it speaks for itself.
- Descriptive title: ‘The effects of social media on youngsters’.
- Conclusive title: ‘Social media has badly destroyed our youngsters’
The last but not the least thing to mention here is the length of the title. It shouldn’t be either too long or too short. Approximately your title must comprise of 5 to 10 words. Don’t go for the least limit of words as it must contain all the keywords so that the people may find your paper in the search results when searching for the relevant database, as mentioned previously.
This is the section of the research paper that comes after the title. The purpose of this section is to provide the user with the brief summary of your paper. This section has equal importance as the title of the research paper. Often, after reading the research paper title, the reader may switch to its abstract to recognize if this paper is of his interest or not. Basically, abstract determine the findings of the author and this is the main plot where the reader decides if he needs to continue reading this paper or not.
Keeping all these things in mind, the best recommendation for you is to write the abstract in such a way it looks like a mini-research paper. The reason is that it could provide the reader with all the information about his interest to continue reading.
- Basic Introduction – Write a few introductory lines in the abstract to let the reader know a few background details and the investigated problem as well.
- Methods used – Don’t forget to mention the methods used in the abstract.
- Major results – Try to mention all the major results of your paper in this section. If possible, try your level best to proffer reader the results in form of quantitative information.
- Discussion – Choose to write a few lines discussing your own (author) interpretation of the presented results.
- Final summary – The last but not the least thing to mention is a brief and a final summary in this abstract portion. This is considered the most crucial abstract part and researchers are going to read this portion to realize if it is important enough for them to read it further or not.
One more thing to keep in mind while writing the abstract is that abbreviations aren’t allowed here to state. The reason is that, at this point, you haven’t yet stated your abbreviations so the reader may lose interest as he is unable to understand it. The length of the abstract is usually kept between 150 to 300 words.
This introduction portion let the reader know the background of your research first and primarily consist of the following three sections.
- 1st section of the introduction portion must state the background knowledge i.e. why this study was undertaken.
- 2nd portion of the introduction must state the nature of work being performed in your whole research. It must include the investigated variables as well as the methods utilized.
- 3rd portion of introduction, which is usually the last portion, must state the problem’s condition at the end of the research.
There are a different point of views of the people regarding introduction writing. Lots of people consider writing first two points in this section and consider the third one unnecessary. But, it is highly recommended for you to include the third portion as well. It let the reader evaluate your paper more accurately.
The author’s findings must be stated in the past tense and everything else in the present tense in this section. When it comes to its length, it is not fixed but is kept around 500 to 700 words.
It is the critical as well as the detailed section of the research paper that includes the in-depth evaluation of previous researches. It allows the reader to understand the reason why you took this particular research project and a good research paper must entail all the details behind why you took this question for research.
There are basically two functions this methods section;
- The first one is that the reader must be able to evaluate your performed work i.e. you must describe all the aspects of methodology you utilized in your study.
- The second function is that you must allow the reader to replicate the study if they desire to do so. In this regard, all of your methodologies must be described clearly so that someone could replicate your work, if desired, without referring to any other publication. This is the reason people also refer this section as ‘Method and Materials’.
These are definitely written in past tense. If there are different procedures to describe, you can make separate heading for each to make it readable.
This is usually the variable section of your research paper and it entirely depends on your results as well as your goals.
Most of the time, in short research papers, the results and discussion sections are mixed up by the authors. You must try your level best only to state the observations of your findings. You may choose to reserve the interpretations for the next section i.e. discussion section.
As you are going to state your own results so it must be written in the past tense, as you are already done with everything. All other general statements must be in present tense. If more than one result from different experiments has to be stated here, you can divide this section, as per your requirements. There is no fixed length for this section too but it is usually the short one.
A plausible interpretation of the reported data must be presented here and you have to relate these findings to the other investigator’s findings.
There are a few things which are considered important to include in this section, which are the following:
- Conclusion summary – The conclusion of data by the author i.e. the trend between variables etc.
- The relation of the author’s findings to the previously done work.
- Aberrant results – If there is an existence of any abnormality in data, which may impact the result as well, that anomaly must also be stated here and must be explained to the reader to remove all kind of ambiguities.
- Implications – Practical or theoretical implication of your work.
- The grand summary must be there at the end i.e. all the conclusions and results of the paper.
If any of your work is listed, it must be in past tense. On the other hand, current knowledge must be stated in the present tense. The last but not the least thing to mention here is the length of this section. It can vary depending upon work but is usually kept between 1500 to 1800 words.
In this section of the research paper, you need to thank all those people or institutes/organizations who added their contributions to your work in a successful manner. It isn’t supposed to be extensive enough but all of them must be acknowledged. But make sure all of the contributors have allowed you to add their name in this regard.
Its length may vary depending upon a number of contributions and isn’t fixed at all.
The purpose of this section is to provide the full citation of the referenced articles in your paper, in a specific format. A complete reference must state the name of the author, article title, the name of the journal, volume number, year of publications as well as the page numbers.
A list of the references is written at the end of the paper and its number is limited to the cited references in the paper. Alphabetical order is followed while writing references. When it comes to the exact number of references, these can’t be defined but there is a maximum limit for it. For instance, for a point, there must not be 6 references for it. On the other hand, for a research paper, 100 is the maximum limit for references.
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- 1. Seeing Your Paper as a Whole Jrobles10-11
- 2. • CHAPTER 1 THE PROBLEM AND ITS BACKGROUND • CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE • CHAPTER 3 METHOD AND PROCEDURES • CHAPTER 4 PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF DATA • CHAPTER 5 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS • Others
- 3. • Background of the Study – includes purpose and reason behind the conduct of the study. (What made you conduct the study?) Also serves as the introduction. • Statement of the Problem – the main problem that the research is trying to solve. It follows the formulation of the title and should be faithful to it. It specifically points the important questions that the study needs to answer. It also serves as the bases of the questionnaire.
- 4. • Significance of the Study – (Why conduct the study?) You have to identify who will benefit from the research and how they will be benefitted. This should match with the Recommendations. • Assumptions of the Study – the expected outcome of the research.
- 5. • Scope and Limitations of the Study – determines the coverage of the study and all the things that it will not cover in order to be specific. • Definition of Terms – defines technical terms based on how they are used in the study, specifically in the title. This aims to provide the readers or future researches with the basic terminologies that are important to understand the paper.
- 6. • This is where you will use your note cards and will serve as the foundation of your research. • This is your own work and therefore should not directly lift words from other sources. This will require your command of language and writing skills such as summarizing, paraphrasing and writing indirect speeches.
- 7. • Step 1 – Organize your note cards on how you would want them to appear in the chapter. • Step 2 – Begin writing the chapter while including the surnames of authors who provided sources for your study and the publication date of their work in parentheses. • Step 3 – Edit. Rewrite.
- 8. • Method of Research – the kind of research used by your study. This answers why the method used is appropriate for the study. • Subjects of the Study – describes your respondents: who they are, what their profile is, where they are from, etc.
- 9. • Description of Research Instrument – describes your instrument which is the questionnaire. • Data Gathering Procedure – narrates the process undergone by the study that eventually leads to the findings. • Statistical Treatment Applied - The statistical treatment that you will use which includes your sampling method and formulas to come up with findings out of the data gathered.
- 10. • Results of the Study – presents all the data gathered using the questionnaire by tabulating all the gathered information. Aside from the tables, an interpretation of each presented data should follow. These will serve as the bases of your Summary of Findings.
- 11. • Summary of Findings – summarizes the interpretation of data given in Chapter 4. These should directly answer your statement of the problem. • Conclusions – Out of your findings, your conclusions are based. This provides the answers for every statement of the problem. This is where you will prove your hypotheses and assumptions.
- 12. • Recommendations – should be directly based on the significance of the study. This also includes the recommended actions that should be done after the conduct of the study such as further assessment of the subject, focus on other factors, etc.
- 13. • Title Page – consists of the research title, names of the researchers and name of the English teacher. • Acknowledgement – a personal page where the researchers are given the privilege to extend gratitude to all people who helped in accomplishing the research.
- 14. • Table of Contents – contains the accurate paging of each part of the research paper. • List of Tables/Figures – contains the accurate paging of the tables/figures used in the study. • Bibliography – where you will use your source cards. Presents the sources using APA or MLA format. • Appendix (e.g., survey questionnaire, interview questions) – attachments
the ninth world
Research This: What Are the 5 Parts of a Research Paper?
Do you need to write a research paper to complete your high school coursework? Do you need help with identifying the different parts of an APA research paper?
Conducting research is a key step in widening your awareness and learning . It follows a scientific process, making it applicable to studies beyond educational institutions. It makes research and studies useful in all fields like business, public knowledge, and more.
Here, we’ll discuss the parts of a research paper, focusing on five key parts and their subparts. We also included some tips on how to write a good research paper. Continue below to learn more:
1. Parts of a Research Paper: The Problem and Its Background
When writing a research paper, the first thing to do is to present the problem you aim to address. Include the background of the study in this part. Discuss what drove you to conduct this research.
The background of the study also often serves as an introduction. After giving the context and purpose of your study, state the problem. Go back to this part of the research paper when writing the title and questionnaire.
The next slice of information to share is the significance of the study. What benefits does the study offer and who will it benefit? Later, when you write your recommendations, review this part.
Give the assumptions of the study. In short, think about the possible outcomes of your research. It’s a good way to communicate to the readers your desired results at the end of the research.
Next, define the scope and limitations of the study. You add more context to the study by determining its coverage. Finally, define the terms used in the study to help readers reach a deeper understanding.
2. Review of Related Literature
Once you have a background, context, and limits, present a review of the literature. It helps to avoid casting doubt on the impartiality of your study.
Among all the parts of a research paper (APA format), this section is one of the most exhausting. During this phase, you and your fellow researchers must read a lot. It’s draining if you’re not the type who likes reading but prefers experimentation.
Your goal is to look for evidence supporting or refuting your study. Provide organized data from related literature. Categorize them under various subheadings.
Keep in mind that this part is a combination of all studies. Avoid putting a simple list of individual summaries. Integrate the supporting data with your goals and expectations.
Other than summarization, paraphrase and write indirect speeches. Doing these practices help avoid plagiarizing others’ content. You must have the skill and good command of language and writing to accomplish this task.
3. Research Method and Procedures
Next in the parts of a research paper is to present the methods and procedures used in the research. Write down how you did the study as well as the research methods. Qualitative research is a good example.
Include the steps of a qualitative research procedure when writing your methods. The section must explain why the method was the best choice for the study.
Follow it with the subjects of the study. Your goal is to describe your respondents. Include important details such as who they are, their demographics, where they’re from, and more. Ensure that these details are relevant to further your study.
Put the details of the instruments used in the study under the right section. In most studies, the instrument is a questionnaire. After that, write your data-gathering procedures.
Once you have these down, discuss your statistical treatment strategy. Include your sampling method, formulas, and other treatments. If you find this part difficult, don’t hesitate to get research paper help from professionals.
4. Presentation, Analysis, and Interpretation of the Gathered Data
Fourth among the essential parts of a research paper is the presentation of all the gathered data. The most common strategy is to tabulate all the data from the questionnaires. Don’t forget to describe the results you found in your study.
If your study used both qualitative and quantitative tools, describe their separate results. Interpretations of the data must accompany the tables and descriptions. If you don’t include the interpretations of the data, your audience won’t know your tables’ meaning.
Before interpreting the gathered data, analyze it well. For example, you’re writing these parts of a historical research paper. Don’t stop at describing the type of procedures and/or software that you used.
You should also try to formulate a conclusion based on the data you gathered. This leads us to the next and final part of a research paper.
5. Summary, Conclusions, and Recommendations
Next, summarize the research paper, especially the data interpretations. Scan and reread the research paper to get a good idea of its contents. Keep the focus of the paper in mind.
In the conclusion, answer the earlier-stated problems. Here, you’ll prove or disprove your hypotheses and assumptions. Finally, include recommendations for further research, like focuses, actions, and other aspects.
Does writing a research paper seem exhausting or taxing? While it may seem that way for people who aren’t fond of writing or documenting their work, it’s essential. Students and even non-students can learn from writing research papers .
You learn how to gather and analyze data before making assumptions. Applying this in real life makes you a person with critical thinking skills. Research also promotes curiosity, the use of multiple sources, and better reading skills.
Create a Conducive and Comprehensive Research Paper Today
Those are the different parts of a research paper and their subparts. Now you know the necessary components of your research paper. Use these to guide your writing process and make informative content.
Are you looking to supplement your writing knowledge? For more educational content on research and related topics, see our other guides now.
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By William B. Davis , Madison Dong , John Keefe , Judson Jones and Bea Malsky Dec. 2, 2023
A major, 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck in the Philippine Sea on Saturday, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The temblor happened at 10:37 p.m. Philippine time, data from the agency shows. Read our coverage here .
As seismologists review available data, they may revise the earthquake's reported magnitude. Additional information collected about the earthquake may also prompt U.S.G.S. scientists to update the shake-severity map.
Aftershocks in the region
An aftershock is usually a smaller earthquake that follows a larger one in the same general area. Aftershocks are typically minor adjustments along the portion of a fault that slipped at the time of the initial earthquake.
Quakes and aftershocks within 100 miles
Aftershocks can occur days, weeks or even years after the first earthquake. These events can be of equal or larger magnitude to the initial earthquake, and they can continue to affect already damaged locations.
Source: United States Geological Survey | Notes: Shaking categories are based on the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale. When aftershock data is available, the corresponding maps and charts include earthquakes within 100 miles and seven days of the initial quake. All times above are Philippine time. Data is as of Saturday, Dec. 2 at 9:53 a.m. Eastern.