Banner

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.

  • << Previous: Evaluating Information
  • Next: Research >>
  • Last Updated: Sep 5, 2023 3:14 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.ucc.edu/research_paper

Scientific and Scholarly Writing

  • Literature Searches
  • Tracking and Citing References

Parts of a Scientific & Scholarly Paper

Introduction.

  • 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:

INTRODUCTION (Background)

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.
  • << Previous: Tracking and Citing References
  • Next: Writing Effectively >>
  • Last Updated: Dec 18, 2023 3:43 PM
  • URL: https://libraryguides.umassmed.edu/scientific-writing

what are the main parts of research paper

The Plagiarism Checker Online For Your Academic Work

Start Plagiarism Check

Editing & Proofreading for Your Research Paper

Get it proofread now

Online Printing & Binding with Free Express Delivery

Configure binding now

  • Academic essay overview
  • The writing process
  • Structuring academic essays
  • Types of academic essays
  • Academic writing overview
  • Sentence structure
  • Academic writing process
  • Improving your academic writing
  • Titles and headings
  • APA style overview
  • APA citation & referencing
  • APA structure & sections
  • Citation & referencing
  • Structure and sections
  • APA examples overview
  • Commonly used citations
  • Other examples
  • British English vs. American English
  • Chicago style overview
  • Chicago citation & referencing
  • Chicago structure & sections
  • Chicago style examples
  • Citing sources overview
  • Citation format
  • Citation examples
  • College essay overview
  • Application
  • How to write a college essay
  • Types of college essays
  • Commonly confused words
  • Definitions
  • Dissertation overview
  • Dissertation structure & sections
  • Dissertation writing process
  • Graduate school overview
  • Application & admission
  • Study abroad
  • Master degree
  • Harvard referencing overview
  • Language rules overview
  • Grammatical rules & structures
  • Parts of speech
  • Punctuation
  • Methodology overview
  • Analyzing data
  • Experiments
  • Observations
  • Inductive vs. Deductive
  • Qualitative vs. Quantitative
  • Types of validity
  • Types of reliability
  • Sampling methods
  • Theories & Concepts
  • Types of research studies
  • Types of variables
  • MLA style overview
  • MLA examples
  • MLA citation & referencing
  • MLA structure & sections
  • Plagiarism overview
  • Plagiarism checker
  • Types of plagiarism
  • Printing production overview
  • Research bias overview
  • Types of research bias
  • Example sections
  • Types of research papers
  • Research process overview
  • Problem statement
  • Research proposal
  • Research topic
  • Statistics overview
  • Levels of measurment
  • Frequency distribution
  • Measures of central tendency
  • Measures of variability
  • Hypothesis testing
  • Parameters & test statistics
  • Types of distributions
  • Correlation
  • Effect size
  • Hypothesis testing assumptions
  • Types of ANOVAs
  • Types of chi-square
  • Statistical data
  • Statistical models
  • Spelling mistakes
  • Tips overview
  • Academic writing tips
  • Dissertation tips
  • Sources tips
  • Working with sources overview
  • Evaluating sources
  • Finding sources
  • Including sources
  • Types of sources

Your Step to Success

Plagiarism Check within 10min

Printing & Binding with 3D Live Preview

Parts of a Research Paper

How do you like this article cancel reply.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Parts-of-a-Research-Paper-3-350x233-1

Inhaltsverzeichnis

  • 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)

Introduction

  • 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.

Literature Review

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 ).

Research Methodology

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.

Data Analysis

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.

Reference Page

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.

how-to-write-a-research-paper-printing-binding

Paper printing & binding

You are already done writing your research paper and need a high quality printing & binding service? Then you are right to choose BachelorPrint! Check out our 24-hour online printing service. For more information click the button below :

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:

Ireland

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.

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential, while others help us to improve this website and your experience.

  • External Media

Individual Privacy Preferences

Cookie Details Privacy Policy Imprint

Here you will find an overview of all cookies used. You can give your consent to whole categories or display further information and select certain cookies.

Accept all Save

Essential cookies enable basic functions and are necessary for the proper function of the website.

Show Cookie Information Hide Cookie Information

Statistics cookies collect information anonymously. This information helps us to understand how our visitors use our website.

Content from video platforms and social media platforms is blocked by default. If External Media cookies are accepted, access to those contents no longer requires manual consent.

Privacy Policy Imprint

  • Search This Site All UCSD Sites Faculty/Staff Search Term
  • Contact & Directions
  • Climate Statement
  • Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Adjunct Faculty
  • Non-Senate Instructors
  • Researchers
  • Psychology Grads
  • Affiliated Grads
  • New and Prospective Students
  • Honors Program
  • Experiential Learning
  • Programs & Events
  • Psi Chi / Psychology Club
  • Prospective PhD Students
  • Current PhD Students
  • Area Brown Bags
  • Colloquium Series
  • Anderson Distinguished Lecture Series
  • Speaker Videos
  • Undergraduate Program
  • Academic and Writing Resources

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.

Introduction

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).

Downloadable Resources

  • 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 ]

Further Resources

How-To Videos     

  • 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.  

External Resources

  • 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.

Back to top  

  • 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
  • Privacy Policy
  • SignUp/Login

Research Method

Home » Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Research Paper

Research Paper

Definition:

Research Paper is a written document that presents the author’s original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue.

It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new knowledge or insights to a particular field of study, and to demonstrate the author’s understanding of the existing literature and theories related to the topic.

Structure of Research Paper

The structure of a research paper typically follows a standard format, consisting of several sections that convey specific information about the research study. The following is a detailed explanation of the structure of a research paper:

The title page contains the title of the paper, the name(s) of the author(s), and the affiliation(s) of the author(s). It also includes the date of submission and possibly, the name of the journal or conference where the paper is to be published.

The abstract is a brief summary of the research paper, typically ranging from 100 to 250 words. It should include the research question, the methods used, the key findings, and the implications of the results. The abstract should be written in a concise and clear manner to allow readers to quickly grasp the essence of the research.

Introduction

The introduction section of a research paper provides background information about the research problem, the research question, and the research objectives. It also outlines the significance of the research, the research gap that it aims to fill, and the approach taken to address the research question. Finally, the introduction section ends with a clear statement of the research hypothesis or research question.

Literature Review

The literature review section of a research paper provides an overview of the existing literature on the topic of study. It includes a critical analysis and synthesis of the literature, highlighting the key concepts, themes, and debates. The literature review should also demonstrate the research gap and how the current study seeks to address it.

The methods section of a research paper describes the research design, the sample selection, the data collection and analysis procedures, and the statistical methods used to analyze the data. This section should provide sufficient detail for other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the research, using tables, graphs, and figures to illustrate the data. The findings should be presented in a clear and concise manner, with reference to the research question and hypothesis.

The discussion section of a research paper interprets the findings and discusses their implications for the research question, the literature review, and the field of study. It should also address the limitations of the study and suggest future research directions.

The conclusion section summarizes the main findings of the study, restates the research question and hypothesis, and provides a final reflection on the significance of the research.

The references section provides a list of all the sources cited in the paper, following a specific citation style such as APA, MLA or Chicago.

How to Write Research Paper

You can write Research Paper by the following guide:

  • Choose a Topic: The first step is to select a topic that interests you and is relevant to your field of study. Brainstorm ideas and narrow down to a research question that is specific and researchable.
  • Conduct a Literature Review: The literature review helps you identify the gap in the existing research and provides a basis for your research question. It also helps you to develop a theoretical framework and research hypothesis.
  • Develop a Thesis Statement : The thesis statement is the main argument of your research paper. It should be clear, concise and specific to your research question.
  • Plan your Research: Develop a research plan that outlines the methods, data sources, and data analysis procedures. This will help you to collect and analyze data effectively.
  • Collect and Analyze Data: Collect data using various methods such as surveys, interviews, observations, or experiments. Analyze data using statistical tools or other qualitative methods.
  • Organize your Paper : Organize your paper into sections such as Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. Ensure that each section is coherent and follows a logical flow.
  • Write your Paper : Start by writing the introduction, followed by the literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. Ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and follows the required formatting and citation styles.
  • Edit and Proofread your Paper: Review your paper for grammar and spelling errors, and ensure that it is well-structured and easy to read. Ask someone else to review your paper to get feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  • Cite your Sources: Ensure that you properly cite all sources used in your research paper. This is essential for giving credit to the original authors and avoiding plagiarism.

Research Paper Example

Note : The below example research paper is for illustrative purposes only and is not an actual research paper. Actual research papers may have different structures, contents, and formats depending on the field of study, research question, data collection and analysis methods, and other factors. Students should always consult with their professors or supervisors for specific guidelines and expectations for their research papers.

Research Paper Example sample for Students:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health among Young Adults

Abstract: This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults. A literature review was conducted to examine the existing research on the topic. A survey was then administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Introduction: Social media has become an integral part of modern life, particularly among young adults. While social media has many benefits, including increased communication and social connectivity, it has also been associated with negative outcomes, such as addiction, cyberbullying, and mental health problems. This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults.

Literature Review: The literature review highlights the existing research on the impact of social media use on mental health. The review shows that social media use is associated with depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health problems. The review also identifies the factors that contribute to the negative impact of social media, including social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Methods : A survey was administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The survey included questions on social media use, mental health status (measured using the DASS-21), and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis.

Results : The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Discussion : The study’s findings suggest that social media use has a negative impact on the mental health of young adults. The study highlights the need for interventions that address the factors contributing to the negative impact of social media, such as social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Conclusion : In conclusion, social media use has a significant impact on the mental health of young adults. The study’s findings underscore the need for interventions that promote healthy social media use and address the negative outcomes associated with social media use. Future research can explore the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health. Additionally, longitudinal studies can investigate the long-term effects of social media use on mental health.

Limitations : The study has some limitations, including the use of self-report measures and a cross-sectional design. The use of self-report measures may result in biased responses, and a cross-sectional design limits the ability to establish causality.

Implications: The study’s findings have implications for mental health professionals, educators, and policymakers. Mental health professionals can use the findings to develop interventions that address the negative impact of social media use on mental health. Educators can incorporate social media literacy into their curriculum to promote healthy social media use among young adults. Policymakers can use the findings to develop policies that protect young adults from the negative outcomes associated with social media use.

References :

  • Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2019). Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Preventive medicine reports, 15, 100918.
  • Primack, B. A., Shensa, A., Escobar-Viera, C. G., Barrett, E. L., Sidani, J. E., Colditz, J. B., … & James, A. E. (2017). Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: A nationally-representative study among US young adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 1-9.
  • Van der Meer, T. G., & Verhoeven, J. W. (2017). Social media and its impact on academic performance of students. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 16, 383-398.

Appendix : The survey used in this study is provided below.

Social Media and Mental Health Survey

  • How often do you use social media per day?
  • Less than 30 minutes
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • 1 to 2 hours
  • 2 to 4 hours
  • More than 4 hours
  • Which social media platforms do you use?
  • Others (Please specify)
  • How often do you experience the following on social media?
  • Social comparison (comparing yourself to others)
  • Cyberbullying
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
  • Have you ever experienced any of the following mental health problems in the past month?
  • Do you think social media use has a positive or negative impact on your mental health?
  • Very positive
  • Somewhat positive
  • Somewhat negative
  • Very negative
  • In your opinion, which factors contribute to the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Social comparison
  • In your opinion, what interventions could be effective in reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Education on healthy social media use
  • Counseling for mental health problems caused by social media
  • Social media detox programs
  • Regulation of social media use

Thank you for your participation!

Applications of Research Paper

Research papers have several applications in various fields, including:

  • Advancing knowledge: Research papers contribute to the advancement of knowledge by generating new insights, theories, and findings that can inform future research and practice. They help to answer important questions, clarify existing knowledge, and identify areas that require further investigation.
  • Informing policy: Research papers can inform policy decisions by providing evidence-based recommendations for policymakers. They can help to identify gaps in current policies, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and inform the development of new policies and regulations.
  • Improving practice: Research papers can improve practice by providing evidence-based guidance for professionals in various fields, including medicine, education, business, and psychology. They can inform the development of best practices, guidelines, and standards of care that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • Educating students : Research papers are often used as teaching tools in universities and colleges to educate students about research methods, data analysis, and academic writing. They help students to develop critical thinking skills, research skills, and communication skills that are essential for success in many careers.
  • Fostering collaboration: Research papers can foster collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers by providing a platform for sharing knowledge and ideas. They can facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships that can lead to innovative solutions to complex problems.

When to Write Research Paper

Research papers are typically written when a person has completed a research project or when they have conducted a study and have obtained data or findings that they want to share with the academic or professional community. Research papers are usually written in academic settings, such as universities, but they can also be written in professional settings, such as research organizations, government agencies, or private companies.

Here are some common situations where a person might need to write a research paper:

  • For academic purposes: Students in universities and colleges are often required to write research papers as part of their coursework, particularly in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Writing research papers helps students to develop research skills, critical thinking skills, and academic writing skills.
  • For publication: Researchers often write research papers to publish their findings in academic journals or to present their work at academic conferences. Publishing research papers is an important way to disseminate research findings to the academic community and to establish oneself as an expert in a particular field.
  • To inform policy or practice : Researchers may write research papers to inform policy decisions or to improve practice in various fields. Research findings can be used to inform the development of policies, guidelines, and best practices that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • To share new insights or ideas: Researchers may write research papers to share new insights or ideas with the academic or professional community. They may present new theories, propose new research methods, or challenge existing paradigms in their field.

Purpose of Research Paper

The purpose of a research paper is to present the results of a study or investigation in a clear, concise, and structured manner. Research papers are written to communicate new knowledge, ideas, or findings to a specific audience, such as researchers, scholars, practitioners, or policymakers. The primary purposes of a research paper are:

  • To contribute to the body of knowledge : Research papers aim to add new knowledge or insights to a particular field or discipline. They do this by reporting the results of empirical studies, reviewing and synthesizing existing literature, proposing new theories, or providing new perspectives on a topic.
  • To inform or persuade: Research papers are written to inform or persuade the reader about a particular issue, topic, or phenomenon. They present evidence and arguments to support their claims and seek to persuade the reader of the validity of their findings or recommendations.
  • To advance the field: Research papers seek to advance the field or discipline by identifying gaps in knowledge, proposing new research questions or approaches, or challenging existing assumptions or paradigms. They aim to contribute to ongoing debates and discussions within a field and to stimulate further research and inquiry.
  • To demonstrate research skills: Research papers demonstrate the author’s research skills, including their ability to design and conduct a study, collect and analyze data, and interpret and communicate findings. They also demonstrate the author’s ability to critically evaluate existing literature, synthesize information from multiple sources, and write in a clear and structured manner.

Characteristics of Research Paper

Research papers have several characteristics that distinguish them from other forms of academic or professional writing. Here are some common characteristics of research papers:

  • Evidence-based: Research papers are based on empirical evidence, which is collected through rigorous research methods such as experiments, surveys, observations, or interviews. They rely on objective data and facts to support their claims and conclusions.
  • Structured and organized: Research papers have a clear and logical structure, with sections such as introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. They are organized in a way that helps the reader to follow the argument and understand the findings.
  • Formal and objective: Research papers are written in a formal and objective tone, with an emphasis on clarity, precision, and accuracy. They avoid subjective language or personal opinions and instead rely on objective data and analysis to support their arguments.
  • Citations and references: Research papers include citations and references to acknowledge the sources of information and ideas used in the paper. They use a specific citation style, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Peer-reviewed: Research papers are often peer-reviewed, which means they are evaluated by other experts in the field before they are published. Peer-review ensures that the research is of high quality, meets ethical standards, and contributes to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Objective and unbiased: Research papers strive to be objective and unbiased in their presentation of the findings. They avoid personal biases or preconceptions and instead rely on the data and analysis to draw conclusions.

Advantages of Research Paper

Research papers have many advantages, both for the individual researcher and for the broader academic and professional community. Here are some advantages of research papers:

  • Contribution to knowledge: Research papers contribute to the body of knowledge in a particular field or discipline. They add new information, insights, and perspectives to existing literature and help advance the understanding of a particular phenomenon or issue.
  • Opportunity for intellectual growth: Research papers provide an opportunity for intellectual growth for the researcher. They require critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, which can help develop the researcher’s skills and knowledge.
  • Career advancement: Research papers can help advance the researcher’s career by demonstrating their expertise and contributions to the field. They can also lead to new research opportunities, collaborations, and funding.
  • Academic recognition: Research papers can lead to academic recognition in the form of awards, grants, or invitations to speak at conferences or events. They can also contribute to the researcher’s reputation and standing in the field.
  • Impact on policy and practice: Research papers can have a significant impact on policy and practice. They can inform policy decisions, guide practice, and lead to changes in laws, regulations, or procedures.
  • Advancement of society: Research papers can contribute to the advancement of society by addressing important issues, identifying solutions to problems, and promoting social justice and equality.

Limitations of Research Paper

Research papers also have some limitations that should be considered when interpreting their findings or implications. Here are some common limitations of research papers:

  • Limited generalizability: Research findings may not be generalizable to other populations, settings, or contexts. Studies often use specific samples or conditions that may not reflect the broader population or real-world situations.
  • Potential for bias : Research papers may be biased due to factors such as sample selection, measurement errors, or researcher biases. It is important to evaluate the quality of the research design and methods used to ensure that the findings are valid and reliable.
  • Ethical concerns: Research papers may raise ethical concerns, such as the use of vulnerable populations or invasive procedures. Researchers must adhere to ethical guidelines and obtain informed consent from participants to ensure that the research is conducted in a responsible and respectful manner.
  • Limitations of methodology: Research papers may be limited by the methodology used to collect and analyze data. For example, certain research methods may not capture the complexity or nuance of a particular phenomenon, or may not be appropriate for certain research questions.
  • Publication bias: Research papers may be subject to publication bias, where positive or significant findings are more likely to be published than negative or non-significant findings. This can skew the overall findings of a particular area of research.
  • Time and resource constraints: Research papers may be limited by time and resource constraints, which can affect the quality and scope of the research. Researchers may not have access to certain data or resources, or may be unable to conduct long-term studies due to practical limitations.

About the author

' src=

Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

You may also like

Research Paper Conclusion

Research Paper Conclusion – Writing Guide and...

Appendices

Appendices – Writing Guide, Types and Examples

Research Paper Citation

How to Cite Research Paper – All Formats and...

Research Report

Research Report – Example, Writing Guide and...

Delimitations

Delimitations in Research – Types, Examples and...

Scope of the Research

Scope of the Research – Writing Guide and...

Boston College Libraries homepage

  • 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:

Title/Cover Page

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.

Methodology

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.

Literature Review

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.

Works Cited/Bibliography

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.

  • << Previous: Choosing a Topic
  • Next: Find Books >>
  • Last Updated: Dec 5, 2023 2:26 PM
  • Subjects: Education
  • Tags: education , education_paper , education_research_paper
  • 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.

3.2.1 Abstract

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.

3.2.2 Introduction

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.

3.2.4.1 Tables

  • 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.

3.2.4.2. Figures

  • 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.

3.2.6 Title

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.

  • << Previous: 3.1 Specific details regarding scientific writing
  • Next: 4 For further information >>
  • Last Updated: Apr 19, 2023 2:37 PM
  • URL: https://researchguides.library.vanderbilt.edu/bsci1510L

Creative Commons License

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • Starting the research process

A Beginner's Guide to Starting the Research Process

Research process steps

When you have to write a thesis or dissertation , it can be hard to know where to begin, but there are some clear steps you can follow.

The research process often begins with a very broad idea for a topic you’d like to know more about. You do some preliminary research to identify a  problem . After refining your research questions , you can lay out the foundations of your research design , leading to a proposal that outlines your ideas and plans.

This article takes you through the first steps of the research process, helping you narrow down your ideas and build up a strong foundation for your research project.

Table of contents

Step 1: choose your topic, step 2: identify a problem, step 3: formulate research questions, step 4: create a research design, step 5: write a research proposal, other interesting articles.

First you have to come up with some ideas. Your thesis or dissertation topic can start out very broad. Think about the general area or field you’re interested in—maybe you already have specific research interests based on classes you’ve taken, or maybe you had to consider your topic when applying to graduate school and writing a statement of purpose .

Even if you already have a good sense of your topic, you’ll need to read widely to build background knowledge and begin narrowing down your ideas. Conduct an initial literature review to begin gathering relevant sources. As you read, take notes and try to identify problems, questions, debates, contradictions and gaps. Your aim is to narrow down from a broad area of interest to a specific niche.

Make sure to consider the practicalities: the requirements of your programme, the amount of time you have to complete the research, and how difficult it will be to access sources and data on the topic. Before moving onto the next stage, it’s a good idea to discuss the topic with your thesis supervisor.

>>Read more about narrowing down a research topic

Here's why students love Scribbr's proofreading services

Discover proofreading & editing

So you’ve settled on a topic and found a niche—but what exactly will your research investigate, and why does it matter? To give your project focus and purpose, you have to define a research problem .

The problem might be a practical issue—for example, a process or practice that isn’t working well, an area of concern in an organization’s performance, or a difficulty faced by a specific group of people in society.

Alternatively, you might choose to investigate a theoretical problem—for example, an underexplored phenomenon or relationship, a contradiction between different models or theories, or an unresolved debate among scholars.

To put the problem in context and set your objectives, you can write a problem statement . This describes who the problem affects, why research is needed, and how your research project will contribute to solving it.

>>Read more about defining a research problem

Next, based on the problem statement, you need to write one or more research questions . These target exactly what you want to find out. They might focus on describing, comparing, evaluating, or explaining the research problem.

A strong research question should be specific enough that you can answer it thoroughly using appropriate qualitative or quantitative research methods. It should also be complex enough to require in-depth investigation, analysis, and argument. Questions that can be answered with “yes/no” or with easily available facts are not complex enough for a thesis or dissertation.

In some types of research, at this stage you might also have to develop a conceptual framework and testable hypotheses .

>>See research question examples

The research design is a practical framework for answering your research questions. It involves making decisions about the type of data you need, the methods you’ll use to collect and analyze it, and the location and timescale of your research.

There are often many possible paths you can take to answering your questions. The decisions you make will partly be based on your priorities. For example, do you want to determine causes and effects, draw generalizable conclusions, or understand the details of a specific context?

You need to decide whether you will use primary or secondary data and qualitative or quantitative methods . You also need to determine the specific tools, procedures, and materials you’ll use to collect and analyze your data, as well as your criteria for selecting participants or sources.

>>Read more about creating a research design

The only proofreading tool specialized in correcting academic writing - try for free!

The academic proofreading tool has been trained on 1000s of academic texts and by native English editors. Making it the most accurate and reliable proofreading tool for students.

what are the main parts of research paper

Try for free

Finally, after completing these steps, you are ready to complete a research proposal . The proposal outlines the context, relevance, purpose, and plan of your research.

As well as outlining the background, problem statement, and research questions, the proposal should also include a literature review that shows how your project will fit into existing work on the topic. The research design section describes your approach and explains exactly what you will do.

You might have to get the proposal approved by your supervisor before you get started, and it will guide the process of writing your thesis or dissertation.

>>Read more about writing a research proposal

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

Methodology

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

Is this article helpful?

Other students also liked.

  • Writing Strong Research Questions | Criteria & Examples

What Is a Research Design | Types, Guide & Examples

  • How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

More interesting articles

  • 10 Research Question Examples to Guide Your Research Project
  • How to Choose a Dissertation Topic | 8 Steps to Follow
  • How to Define a Research Problem | Ideas & Examples
  • How to Write a Problem Statement | Guide & Examples
  • Relevance of Your Dissertation Topic | Criteria & Tips
  • Research Objectives | Definition & Examples
  • What Is a Fishbone Diagram? | Templates & Examples
  • What Is Root Cause Analysis? | Definition & Examples

What is your plagiarism score?

Enago Academy

Structure of a Research Paper: Tips to Improve Your Manuscript

' src=

You’ve spent months or years conducting your academic research. Now it’s time to write your journal article. For some, this can become a daunting task because writing is not their forte. It might become difficult to even start writing. However, once you organize your thoughts and begin writing them down, the overall task will become easier.

We provide some helpful tips for you here.

Organize Your Thoughts

Perhaps one of the most important tasks before you even begin to write is to get organized. By this point, your data is compiled and analyzed. You most likely also have many pages of “notes”. These must also be organized. Fortunately, this is much easier to do than in the past with hand-written notes. Presuming that these tasks are completed, what’s next?

Related: Ready with your title and looking forward to manuscript submission ? Check these journal selection guidelines  now!

When suggesting that you organize your thoughts, we mean to take a look at what you have compiled. Ask yourself what you are trying to convey to the reader. What is the most important message from your research? How will your results affect others? Is more research necessary?

Write your answers down and keep them where you can see them while writing. This will help you focus on your goals.

Aim for Clarity

Your paper should be presented as clearly as possible. You want your readers to understand your research. You also do not want them to stop reading because the text is too technical.

Keep in mind that your published research will be available in academic journals all over the world. This means that people of different languages will read it. Moreover, even with scientists, this could present a language barrier. According to a recent article , always remember the following points as you write:

  • Clarity : Cleary define terms; avoid nonrelevant information.
  • Simplicity : Keep sentence structure simple and direct.
  • Accuracy : Represent all data and illustrations accurately.

For example, consider the following sentence:

“Chemical x had an effect on metabolism.”

This is an ambiguous statement. It does not tell the reader much. State the results instead:

“Chemical x increased fat metabolism by 20 percent.”

All scientific research also provide significance of findings, usually presented as defined “P” values. Be sure to explain these findings using descriptive terms. For example, rather than using the words “ significant effect ,” use a more descriptive term, such as “ significant increase .”

For more tips, please also see “Tips and Techniques for Scientific Writing”. In addition, it is very important to have your paper edited by a native English speaking professional editor. There are many editing services available for academic manuscripts and publication support services.

Research Paper Structure

With the above in mind, you can now focus on structure. Scientific papers are organized into specific sections and each has a goal. We have listed them here.

  • Your title is the most important part of your paper. It draws the reader in and tells them what you are presenting. Moreover, if you think about the titles of papers that you might browse in a day and which papers you actually read, you’ll agree.
  • The title should be clear and interesting otherwise the reader will not continue reading.
  • Authors’ names and affiliations are on the title page.
  • The abstract is a summary of your research. It is nearly as important as the title because the reader will be able to quickly read through it.
  • Most journals, the abstract can become divided into very short sections to guide the reader through the summaries.
  • Keep the sentences short and focused.
  • Avoid acronyms and citations.
  • Include background information on the subject and your objectives here.
  • Describe the materials used and include the names and locations of the manufacturers.
  • For any animal studies, include where you obtained the animals and a statement of humane treatment.
  • Clearly and succinctly explain your methods so that it can be duplicated.
  • Criteria for inclusion and exclusion in the study and statistical analyses should be included.
  • Discuss your findings here.
  • Be careful to not make definitive statements .
  • Your results suggest that something is or is not true.
  • This is true even when your results prove your hypothesis.
  • Discuss what your results mean in this section.
  • Discuss any study limitations. Suggest additional studies.
  • Acknowledge all contributors.
  • All citations in the text must have a corresponding reference.
  • Check your author guidelines for format protocols.
  • In most cases, your tables and figures appear at the end of your paper or in a separate file.
  • The titles (legends) usually become listed after the reference section.
  • Be sure that you define each acronym and abbreviation in each table and figure.

Manuscript

Helpful Rules

In their article entitled, “Ten simple rules for structuring papers,” in PLOS Computational Biology , authors Mensh and Kording provided 10 helpful tips as follows:

  • Focus on a central contribution.
  • Write for those who do not know your work.
  • Use the “context-content-conclusion” approach.
  • Avoid superfluous information and use parallel structures.
  • Summarize your research in the abstract.
  • Explain the importance of your research in the introduction.
  • Explain your results in a logical sequence and support them with figures and tables.
  • Discuss any data gaps and limitations.
  • Allocate your time for the most important sections.
  • Get feedback from colleagues.

Some of these rules have been briefly discussed above; however, the study done by the authors does provide detailed explanations on all of them.

Helpful Sites

Visit the following links for more helpful information:

  • “ Some writing tips for scientific papers ”
  • “ How to Structure Your Dissertation ”
  • “ Conciseness in Academic Writing: How to Prune Sentences ”
  • “ How to Optimize Sentence Length in Academic Writing ”

So, do you follow any additional tips when structuring your research paper ? Share them with us in the comments below!

' src=

Thanks for sharing this post. Great information provided. I really appreciate your writing. I like the way you put across your ideas.

Enago, is a good sources of academics presentation and interpretation tools in research writing

Rate this article Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.

what are the main parts of research paper

Enago Academy's Most Popular

Beyond spellcheck- How Copyediting guarantees an error-free submission

  • Reporting Research

Beyond Spellcheck: How copyediting guarantees error-free submission

Submitting a manuscript is a complex and often an emotional experience for researchers. Whether it’s…

  • Old Webinars
  • Webinar Mobile App

How to Find the Right Journal and Fix Your Manuscript Before Submission

Selection of right journal Meets journal standards Plagiarism free manuscripts Rated from reviewer's POV

what are the main parts of research paper

  • Manuscripts & Grants

Research Aims and Objectives: The dynamic duo for successful research

Picture yourself on a road trip without a destination in mind — driving aimlessly, not…

what are the main parts of research paper

How Academic Editors Can Enhance the Quality of Your Manuscript

Avoiding desk rejection Detecting language errors Conveying your ideas clearly Following technical requirements

Effective Data Presentation for Submission in Top-tier Journals

Importance of presenting research data effectively How to create tables and figures How to avoid…

Top 4 Guidelines for Health and Clinical Research Report

Top 10 Questions for a Complete Literature Review

what are the main parts of research paper

Sign-up to read more

Subscribe for free to get unrestricted access to all our resources on research writing and academic publishing including:

  • 2000+ blog articles
  • 50+ Webinars
  • 10+ Expert podcasts
  • 50+ Infographics
  • 10+ Checklists
  • Research Guides

We hate spam too. We promise to protect your privacy and never spam you.

I am looking for Editing/ Proofreading services for my manuscript Tentative date of next journal submission:

what are the main parts of research paper

According to you, how can AI writing tools improve academic writing accuracy?

StatAnalytica

What Are The Key Elements of Research Paper Structure?

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.

2. Abstract

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.

3. Introduction

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.

6. Discussion

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.

7. Conclusion

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.

8. References

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.

9. Acknowledgements

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

what are the main parts of research paper

1. Organize 

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.

4. Keywords

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)

Related Posts

best way to finance car

Step by Step Guide on The Best Way to Finance Car

how to get fund for business

The Best Way on How to Get Fund For Business to Grow it Efficiently

My Paper Done

  • Services Paper editing services Paper proofreading Business papers Philosophy papers Write my paper Term papers for sale Term paper help Academic term papers Buy research papers College writing services Paper writing help Student papers Original term papers Research paper help Nursing papers for sale Psychology papers Economics papers Medical papers Blog

what are the main parts of research paper

Your Ultimate Guide To Parts of a Research Paper

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. 

159 Abortion Research Paper Topics

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Terms & Conditions Loyalty Program Privacy Policy Money-Back Policy

Copyright © 2013-2024 MyPaperDone.com

  • Foundations
  • Write Paper

Search form

  • Experiments
  • Anthropology
  • Self-Esteem
  • Social Anxiety

what are the main parts of research paper

  • Research Paper >

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
  • Introduction

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.

Reference List

what are the main parts of research paper

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.

what are the main parts of research paper

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.

  • Psychology 101
  • Flags and Countries
  • Capitals and Countries

Martyn Shuttleworth (Jun 5, 2009). Parts of a Research Paper. Retrieved Feb 10, 2024 from Explorable.com: https://explorable.com/parts-of-a-research-paper

You Are Allowed To Copy The Text

The text in this article is licensed under the Creative Commons-License Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) .

This means you're free to copy, share and adapt any parts (or all) of the text in the article, as long as you give appropriate credit and provide a link/reference to this page.

That is it. You don't need our permission to copy the article; just include a link/reference back to this page. You can use it freely (with some kind of link), and we're also okay with people reprinting in publications like books, blogs, newsletters, course-material, papers, wikipedia and presentations (with clear attribution).

Want to stay up to date? Follow us!

Check out the official book.

Learn how to construct, style and format an Academic paper and take your skills to the next level.

what are the main parts of research paper

(also available as ebook )

Save this course for later

Don't have time for it all now? No problem, save it as a course and come back to it later.

Footer bottom

  • Privacy Policy

what are the main parts of research paper

  • Subscribe to our RSS Feed
  • Like us on Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Oskar Blakstad Blog
  • Oskar Blakstad on Twitter

essaymaniacs logo

  • Place order

What are the components of a Research Paper?

author

Students and professionals write research papers and reports, yet a common worry is "what makes a research paper?". A complete research paper structure has different parts that complement one another to make the information and ideas flow so that you can achieve the aim of writing.

A typical research paper will have ten distinct arts in the following order � a cover page, a table of contents, an abstract, an introduction, a background section, a methodology section, a data analysis section, findings and discussion section, a conclusion, a references page, and an appendix section.

The best research papers are those that have all the necessary parts. Of course, they are also well-researched, well-written, and thoroughly proofread, as our research paper writers do. Without wasting time, let's look at some of the most critical parts of a research paper.

Parts of a research paper

A research paper comprises various parts, including the cover or title page, table of contents, abstract, introduction, methodology, data analysis, findings (results) and discussion, references (listed alphabetically in MLA, APA, Harvard, or Chicago), and appendices.

This research paper format is mainly used for scientific research papers and is called the IMRAD format, standing for introduction, methodology, results, and discussion.

Each of the ten parts of a research paper contributes to its flow and must demonstrate a connection with the others to achieve the goal of writing.

1. Cover page

Every research paper must have a cover page. If you write your paper without one, it will not be considered complete. The cover page is usually the first section of a research paper, which is why it contains the cover page. Its purpose is to present the reader with all the important author details. The details typically include the name of the author, the name of the university, the name of the professor, and the date the research paper was completed.

When writing the cover page of your research paper, you must follow the format required by your professor. If you don't, your cover page will be considered incorrect, affecting your grade. While a cover page is important and has details that must be included, it is the easiest part to write when writing a research paper. It shouldn't take you more than a few minutes to complete your cover page.

2. Table of contents

A typical research paper will have a table of contents immediately after the cover page. While a table of contents is usually the second part of a research paper, it is often written last. This is because it doesn't make sense to make it, yet one doesn't know what will be in the paper. Nevertheless, you can create it and update it as you write your paper.

When writing a research paper for the first time, you should create your table of contents at the end. This will reduce the likelihood of confusion and make your work easier. After writing research papers for some time, you will be better off creating a table of contents and updating it as you write your paper. This will make editing and proofreading easier for you after you are done writing your paper.

3. Abstract

The third part or section of a research paper is an abstract. By definition, an abstract is a brief summary of a scholarly work. It usually contains the most important information in the research, including the research question/objective, the data collection, the data analysis, the findings, and the conclusion. A typical research paper abstract is between one hundred to five hundred words long.

When writing an abstract for your paper, you must make sure it is brief and contains all the crucial details about the paper. You must also make sure it has a good structure that follows the structure of your paper. An abstract without a good structure is not good enough, especially for a high-level research paper.

4. Introduction

After creating a cover page, a table of contents, and an abstract, one must create the introduction for their research paper. The introduction is the first major part of a research paper, and it tells the reader what the research paper is all about in a brief and organized manner.

For example, the introduction to a research paper on the "Effects of violent video games on adolescents" should present information that introduces the reader to violent video games and some of the noted effects from literature.

A good research paper introduction begins with an attention grabber or hook that makes your readers instantly interested in reading your paper. In most cases, you can grab the readers' attention through statistics, facts, or statements related to your research paper topic .

Besides, it also contains a thesis statement that appears toward the end of the paragraph. The thesis statement is a declarative sentence that asserts your position in the paper, and it is the controlling idea or central idea of the paper. It should be specific and arguable, and supported in the entire paper.

Some people do not like writing the introduction first, and they feel they are better off writing the introduction after finishing their papers. This is okay, but it is not the best way to do it. It is best to write an introduction first to follow it and ensure your paper is always focused on what you set out to achieve in your intro.

5. Background/review of literature

A good introduction should only briefly yet concisely present information about the research. In the background section, you, as the researcher, are supposed to present all the information needed to understand the research question and the research paper.

Information found on random sites is not allowed to present background information about your research paper. The correct way to present background information about your paper is to provide a literature review (a detailed scholarly analysis of what the current research says about the topic).

The literature review should be well-done and written in such a way that it shows why the research paper is needed. You can do this by showing a gap in the literature review that your research paper can address. You can also show the critical relationships between variables in your paper.

6. Methodology

Every research paper must have a methodology section. In the section, the researcher must present and explain the research design. Without a proper methodology section, your research paper will be considered incomplete.  

This section of your paper aims to tell your reader the steps you took to do the research. You must present your methodology fully and in a structured way to ensure everything crucial about the paper is easily understood by the reader.

7. Data analysis

The methodology section is crucial to show the reader how the research was done, and the data analysis section provides details about what was discovered. A typical data analysis section will be either quantitative or qualitative.

The analysis will typically begin with explaining the essential data items and must provide details about the most critical data found during the research. The data is sometimes used directly or calculated using statistical methods to provide more insight or a more profound understanding.

Most students don't like data analysis because they feel that it is too hard, especially when it involves using specific statistical methods. Nevertheless, through proper training and practice, it should not be too difficult for anybody to master writing the data analysis section of a research paper with enough practice.

Data analysis must be done carefully to ensure accuracy. If this is not done, the results of the findings could be inaccurate, which could lower the validity and reliability of the paper being written.

8. Findings and discussion

Every research paper must have findings and a discussion section. This is where the researcher presents their findings and then compares them with the existing literature. It is also where the researcher discusses whether the findings they have made the match or do not match what is known or accepted at this time.

In this section, the researcher is also expected to talk about the significance of the findings they have made. They need to explain whether the findings match the study objectives and if they can be used for policymaking. The discussion section is also where the researcher needs to discuss any gaps they may have identified for future researchers to focus on.

Last but not least, it is also in the discussion section that the researcher needs to explain the limitations of their research. All research papers have limitations, and explaining them helps the reader to understand the current research much better.

9. Conclusion

For most students, the conclusion paragraph is perhaps the easiest part to write, and this is because writing a research paper conclusion is all about summarizing the vital information in the paper.

While a conclusion is easy to write, it must not be taken lightly. It must be written in such a way that it provides the reader with a clear and concise presentation of what the research paper has just presented. It must also clearly present the researcher's final thoughts as to the importance of the study, the usefulness of the methodology, the validity of the findings, and the significance of the research. It must also present the researcher's thoughts on areas that may need further research.

Of course, the main thing educated readers to look for in a research paper conclusion is whether the research question was successfully answered. So while there are many things to talk about in a research paper conclusion, it is crucial not to lose focus is most important.

10. References

A well-written research paper must have a references section immediately after the conclusion, and the section must include all the sources utilized in the research paper. Its purpose is to make it easy for the reader to find out more about the sources and where to find them. By presenting information about the sources used, the researcher makes it easier for the reader to assess the validity of the findings they have made in their research paper.

The references section for your research paper must begin on a separate page after the conclusion. All the sources you have used in your research must appear in your references list. The more sources you use, the longer your references section/list will be.

When creating the references section for your research paper, you must create it as per the referencing style you have been told to use. Because different referencing styles have slightly different rules for presenting references. The way, you present references for an APA research paper differs from that for an MLA research paper.

11. Appendix

Many students end their research papers after completing the references section, and they do not know that for a research paper to be truly complete, it must have an appendix. This is especially true for research papers written by senior college students.

The appendix section of a research paper is the last part of a research paper, and it presents extra information important to the research. It can include stats, figures, images, photos, raw data, interview questions, etc.

While it is imperative to include an appendix in a research paper, most professors usually don't penalize students if they do not include one. This is especially true if there is little or no information to be presented in the appendix. However, if required by your professor or as part of school policy, you must include an appendix in your research paper.

Depending on what type of research paper you are writing, you can forgo some parts. For instance, if your paper is written based on a review of literature published on a given topic and does not present new empirical research, you will forego the methodology and results section. Instead, you will extensively review the information from the literature and present a case for your topic before concluding. If in doubt, check the rubric and instructions or consult with your instructor for further guidelines.

Dos and don'ts when writing a research paper

As you can see in the section above, a research paper is something with multiple important parts. Each part is unique and presents a different aspect of the research paper. What is required in one part of the paper is very different from what is required in another.

The section above explains what is required from the cover page to the appendix. This section will discover the dos and don'ts of research paper writing. This information, plus the information in the section above, should help you to write the perfect research paper.

  • Conduct thorough research. Doing good research is key to ensuring your research paper gets a good grade, and facts and sound research should inform your paper. If you do not do good research, your paper will be ordinary and misleading. If you are writing a nursing research paper, ensure that you use peer-reviewed scholarly sources .
  • Create an outline. It is crucial to create an outline for your paper from the onset, and failure to do so could result in a poorly structured paper or missing some key elements. So make sure you create an outline before starting to write your paper.
  • Pick a good methodology. It is vital to pick a good methodology (research design) for your paper. The trick to picking a good methodology for your paper is to look at the methodologies commonly used to investigate questions similar to the question you want to investigate. A suitable methodology will help you to answer your research question, and a poor one will make it difficult or impossible to answer your research question.
  • Start early. Sometimes we underestimate the amount of work needed to complete a research paper, and therefore, we wait until the deadline is too close to start the research work . This is not wise, and it is much better to start your research work so that you have ample time to complete it and do thorough editing before submission.
  • Proofread your work. Word's spellcheck will not help you to discover all the errors in your work. So while it may tell you that you are good to go, it doesn't mean you are. You need to proofread your work twice or thrice to ensure it is error-free and easy to read and understand. Use advanced grammar checkers such as Grammarly to polish your work further.
  • Consult frequently. Whenever you feel stuck, you should consult your professor. Your professor is paid to educate you. So, do not be shy about asking them for help when you need it. Just make sure you can quickly discover more about what you want to ask them using a simple Google search.
  • Use formal language. You must use formal language from the start to the end of your research paper , and failure to do so will make your paper sound informal and make it feel and look unprofessional. If you want to be well-understood by your professor, make sure you write in a language they are familiar with � formal language.

Don'ts

  • Don't use random websites. You can get all the info you want from credible websites, journals, and books. Therefore, you should never use random websites like Wikipedia to get information for your research papers. The information on such websites is not always credible, and citing such websites usually results in penalties.
  • Don't make unnecessary generalizations. You should not make generalizations when writing a high-level academic paper such as a research paper. Because if you do, you will reduce the significance of the points you are making.
  • Don't plagiarize. When creating any scholarly work, you should research and cite all the sources you end up using. If you don't correctly cite your sources or cite them poorly, it is considered plagiarism and is often punishable in most colleges. So avoid plagiarism in your research paper.

Final Remarks

In this post, you discovered the parts of a research paper and the dos and don'ts of research paper writing. We hope the information we have shared with you here can help you write a research paper on any topic.

  • How long should a research paper be?

In case you need any research paper writing help , we are here. Essaymaniacs.com is one of the leading academic help companies with professional writers capable of writing any academic paper.

Simply order your research paper from us today, and you will get a brilliant research paper ASAP at a competitive rate.

Need a Discount to Order?

15% off first order, what you get from us.

scan

Plagiarism-free papers

Our papers are 100% original and unique to pass online plagiarism checkers.

research

Well-researched academic papers

Even when we say essays for sale, they meet academic writing conventions.

24/7 support

24/7 online support

Hit us up on live chat or Messenger for continuous help with your essays.

communication

Easy communication with writers

Order essays and begin communicating with your writer directly and anonymously.

What are the 5 parts of the research paper

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.

What is the purpose of the Introduction section in a research paper

The Introduction section of a research paper serves several crucial purposes;

  • Contextualization:  It provides background information to help readers understand the broader context of the research. This may include the historical development of the topic, relevant theoretical frameworks, or existing gaps in knowledge.
  • Problem Statement:  The introduction outlines the specific problem or question that the research aims to address. It helps to articulate the gap in current knowledge or identify a need for further investigation.
  • Justification and Significance:  The section explains why the research is important and how it contributes to the existing body of knowledge. It highlights the potential impact and significance of the study.
  • Objectives or Hypothesis:  The introduction often states the research objectives or formulates a hypothesis, providing a clear roadmap for what the study aims to achieve or test.
  • Scope and Limitations:  It defines the boundaries of the research, outlining what the study includes and excludes. This helps readers understand the context within which the research findings should be interpreted.
  • Research Questions:  The introduction may pose specific questions that the research seeks to answer. These questions guide the reader in understanding the focus and purpose of the study.
  • Overview of Methodology:  While detailed methods are typically discussed in a separate section, the introduction may provide a brief overview of the research design, methods, and data collection techniques.
  • Thesis Statement:  In some cases, the introduction concludes with a concise thesis statement that encapsulates the main argument or purpose of the research paper.

Overall, the Introduction sets the stage for the research, engaging the reader’s interest, providing necessary context, and establishing the rationale for the study. It is a critical component that helps readers understand the importance of the research and motivates them to continue reading the paper.

How should the Literature Review be structured in a research paper

The structure of a literature review in a research paper typically follows a systematic and organized approach. Here’s a general guideline on how to structure a literature review;

Introduction

  • Provide an overview of the topic and its significance.
  • Clearly state the purpose of the literature review (e.g., identifying gaps, providing background).
  • Mention the criteria used for including or excluding specific studies.

Organizing Themes or Categories

  • Group relevant literature into themes or categories based on common themes, concepts, or methodologies.
  • This could be chronological, thematic, methodological, or a combination, depending on the nature of the research.

Chronological Order  

  • If your topic has a historical development, consider presenting studies chronologically to show the evolution of ideas or research in the field.

Thematic Organization

  • Group studies based on common themes, concepts, or theoretical frameworks. Each theme could represent a section in your literature review.

Methodological Approach

  • Discuss studies based on their research methods. This can be particularly relevant if your research involves comparing or contrasting different methodologies.

Critical Analysis

  • Critically evaluate each study, discussing its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Identify patterns, inconsistencies, or gaps in the existing literature.
  • Highlight the significance of each study to your research question or topic.
  • Summarize the key findings and insights from each study.
  • Discuss how the studies relate to one another and contribute to the overall understanding of the topic.

Gaps and Limitations

  • Identify gaps in the literature and areas where further research is needed.
  • Discuss the limitations of existing studies.
  • Summarize the main points of the literature review.
  • Emphasize the contribution of the literature review to your research.
  • Provide a smooth transition to the next section of your research paper.

Remember to use clear and concise language throughout the literature review. Each section should flow logically, with a clear connection between paragraphs. Additionally, ensure that you cite all relevant studies and sources using the appropriate citation style (e.g., APA, MLA).

What information should be included in the Methodology section of a research paper

The Methodology section of a research paper provides a detailed description of the procedures and techniques used to conduct the study. It should offer sufficient information for other researchers to replicate the study and verify the results. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what information should be included in the Methodology section;

Research Design

  • Specify the overall design of the study (e.g., experimental, observational, survey, case study).
  • Justify why the chosen design is appropriate for addressing the research question.

Participants or Subjects

  • Clearly describe the characteristics of the participants (e.g., demographics, sample size).
  • Explain the criteria for participant selection and recruitment.

Sampling Procedure

  • Detail the sampling method used (e.g., random sampling, stratified sampling).
  • Provide information on how participants were recruited and consented.
  • Identify and define the independent and dependent variables.
  • Describe any control variables or confounding factors.

Instrumentation or Materials

  • Specify the tools, instruments, or materials used to collect data (e.g., surveys, questionnaires, equipment).
  • Include information on the reliability and validity of instruments, if applicable.
  • Outline the step-by-step process of data collection.
  • Include details on the experimental setup, if applicable.
  • Describe any pre-testing, training, or pilot studies conducted.

Data Collection

  • Explain how data were collected, including the timeframe.
  • Detail any procedures to ensure data accuracy and reliability.

Data Analysis

  • Specify the statistical or analytical methods used to analyze the data.
  • Justify the choice of statistical tests or analytical tools.

Ethical Considerations

  • Discuss any ethical issues and how they were addressed (e.g., informed consent, confidentiality, institutional review board approval).
  • State whether the study followed ethical guidelines and standards.

Validity and Reliability

  • Talk about the measures undertaken to guarantee the reliability and accuracy of the research.
  • Provide information on any measures taken to control extraneous variables.

Limitations:  Acknowledge any limitations of the study that may affect the generalizability of the results.

Statistical Significance:  If applicable, report the criteria used for determining statistical significance.

The Methodology section should be written in a clear and concise manner, providing enough detail for others to replicate the study. Additionally, it is crucial to adhere to the guidelines of the chosen citation style (e.g., APA, MLA) when documenting sources and references related to the methodology.

Why is the Results section important in scientific research papers

The Results section in scientific research papers is critical for several reasons;

  • Presentation of Findings:  The Results section is where researchers present the outcomes of their study. It includes raw data, measurements, observations, and any other information gathered during the research process.
  • Objectivity and Transparency:  By providing raw data and statistical analyses, the Results section ensures transparency and objectivity. Other researchers should be able to review the data and draw their own conclusions.
  • Verification and Replicability:  Results allow other researchers to verify the study’s findings. Replicability is a fundamental principle in science, and a clear presentation of results facilitates the replication of experiments or studies by other researchers.
  • Support or Refutation of Hypotheses:  The Results section is where researchers can determine whether their findings support or refute their initial hypotheses. This is a crucial step in the scientific method and contributes to the accumulation of knowledge in a particular field.
  • Basis for Discussion and Interpretation:  The data presented in the Results section serve as the foundation for the subsequent Discussion section. Researchers interpret the results, discuss their implications, and relate them to existing literature. Without clear and accurate results, the discussion lacks a solid basis.
  • Scientific Progress:  Reporting results allows the scientific community to advance. Other researchers can build upon the findings, either by confirming or challenging them, which contributes to the overall progress of scientific knowledge.
  • Peer Review Process:  The Results section is a key component in the peer review process. Other experts in the field assess the validity and significance of the results before the paper is accepted for publication.
  • Data Integrity and Research Ethics:  By presenting the raw data, researchers demonstrate the integrity of their work. It also allows for scrutiny regarding research ethics, ensuring that data collection and analysis were conducted ethically and rigorously.
  • Support for Funding and Grants:  Clear and compelling results are often necessary when seeking funding or grants. Funding agencies and institutions need to see that the research is producing meaningful and impactful results.
  • Communication of Findings to a Wider Audience:  The Results section, along with other parts of the research paper, contributes to the communication of findings to a broader audience, including scientists, educators, policymakers, and the general public.

In summary, the Results section is crucial because it is the primary means through which researchers communicate their findings to the scientific community and beyond. It plays a central role in the scientific method by providing a platform for the objective presentation and interpretation of data, fostering transparency, verification, and further research.

How do you properly format and present tables and figures in the Results section of the research paper

Properly formatting and presenting tables and figures in the Results section is essential for conveying information clearly and effectively. Here are some guidelines to follow;

Title and Numbering

  • Provide a clear and concise title for each table.
  • Number tables sequentially (e.g., Table 1, Table 2).

Headings and Subheadings

  • Use clear and descriptive column and row headings.
  • If the table is large, consider using subheadings to organize the data.

Alignment and Consistency

  • Align text consistently within columns (e.g., left-align text, center numeric data).
  • Maintain consistency in formatting throughout the table.
  • Include footnotes to explain abbreviations, symbols, or provide additional context.
  • Use superscript numbers or symbols for footnotes and explain them below the table.

Units of Measurement

  • Clearly specify units of measurement for numerical data.
  • Place units in the column or row headings or provide a separate row for units.

Formatting Numbers

  • Use consistent decimal places and significant figures.
  • Consider rounding numbers appropriately for clarity.

Empty Cells

  • Avoid leaving empty cells; use dashes or other symbols to indicate missing data.
  • Clearly state if a value is not applicable.

Reference in Text

  • Reference each table in the text and briefly discuss key findings.
  • Use the table number in parentheses (e.g., (Table 1)).

Caption and Numbering

  • Provide a descriptive caption for each figure.
  • Number figures sequentially (e.g., Figure 1, Figure 2).

Clarity of Graphics

  • Ensure that the graphic is clear, legible, and appropriately sized.
  • Use high-resolution images or create easily interpretable graphs.

Axes and Labels

  • Clearly label all axes with the appropriate units.
  • Use descriptive axis labels that convey the nature of the data.
  • Include a legend if the figure includes different elements (e.g., lines, symbols).
  • Ensure the legend is placed in a way that does not obscure the data.

Color and Contrast

  • Use color strategically, considering accessibility for readers with color vision deficiencies.
  • Ensure sufficient contrast for all elements in black-and-white printing.

Annotations

  • If necessary, add annotations to highlight specific points or trends.
  • Use arrows, labels, or other indicators for emphasis.

Consistent Style

  • Maintain a consistent style across multiple figures within the same paper.
  • Use similar fonts, colors, and scales for a cohesive presentation.
  • Reference each figure in the text and briefly discuss key findings.
  • Use the figure number in parentheses (e.g., (Figure 1)).

Remember, clarity and consistency are key. Ensure that tables and figures are easy to understand without the need for additional explanation. Additionally, follow the formatting guidelines of the specific journal or publication you are submitting to, as they may have specific requirements for tables and figures.

What is the significance of the Discussion section in a research paper

The Discussion section in a research paper holds significant importance as it allows researchers to interpret their findings, relate them to existing knowledge, and draw meaningful conclusions. Here are several key aspects highlighting the significance of the Discussion section;

  • Interpretation of Results:  The Discussion section provides an opportunity to explain and interpret the results obtained in the study. Researchers can clarify the meaning of their findings and elaborate on their implications.
  • Comparison with Previous Research:  Researchers can compare their results with existing literature to highlight similarities, differences, or advancements in knowledge. This contributes to the ongoing dialogue within the scientific community.
  • Addressing Research Questions or Hypotheses:  The Discussion section allows researchers to address the initial research questions or hypotheses stated in the introduction. They can evaluate whether their findings support or refute the proposed hypotheses.
  • Contextualizing Results:  Researchers can place their results in the broader context of the field. This involves discussing how the study contributes to existing knowledge and understanding, emphasizing its significance.
  • Identification of Patterns and Trends:  Patterns and trends observed in the data can be explored and explained in the Discussion section. Researchers can discuss the reasons behind these patterns and their implications for the research question.
  • Limitations and Potential Biases:  Acknowledging the limitations of the study is crucial in the Discussion section. Researchers can openly discuss any constraints, biases, or methodological issues that may have affected the results.
  • Alternative Explanations:  Researchers should consider alternative explanations for their findings and discuss why these alternatives were ruled out or how they might impact the interpretation of the results.
  • Implications for Future Research:  The Discussion section often includes suggestions for future research directions. Researchers can propose areas that need further exploration or recommend modifications to the study design for more robust investigations.
  • Practical and Theoretical Implications:  Researchers can discuss the practical implications of their findings, addressing how the results may be applied in real-world situations. They can also explore the theoretical implications, contributing to the development or refinement of theoretical frameworks.
  • Synthesis of Key Points:  The Discussion section serves as a synthesis of the key points of the paper, bringing together the results and their interpretation. It offers a cohesive and comprehensive understanding of the study’s outcomes.
  • Contributions to the Field:  Researchers can articulate the unique contributions of their study to the field. This is important for demonstrating the value of the research within the broader scholarly context.

In essence, the Discussion section is where researchers engage in a thoughtful and critical analysis of their results, connecting them to the wider body of knowledge and providing insights that go beyond the raw data presented in the Results section. It is a crucial component that adds depth and context to the research paper, allowing readers to fully grasp the implications and significance of the study.

What elements should be included in the Conclusion of a research paper

The Conclusion section of a research paper serves to summarize the main findings, restate the significance of the study, and offer insights derived from the research. Here are the key elements that should be included in the Conclusion;

Summary of Key Findings

  • Provide a concise recap of the main results obtained in the study.
  • Highlight the most important and relevant findings that address the research question or hypothesis.

Restatement of Research Objectives or Hypotheses

  • Remind the reader of the initial research objectives or hypotheses stated in the introduction.
  • Discuss how the findings either support or challenge these objectives.

Significance of the Study

  • Reinforce the importance and relevance of the research within the broader context of the field.
  • Clearly articulate the contribution of the study to existing knowledge and its potential impact.

Implications for Practice

  • Discuss any practical implications of the findings for real-world applications.
  • Address how the results may inform decision-making or practices in relevant areas.

Implications for Future Research

  • Suggest areas for further exploration and research based on the limitations or gaps identified in the current study.
  • Provide recommendations for researchers interested in building on the current findings.

Integration with Existing Literature

  • Connect the study’s results with existing literature and research in the field.
  • Discuss how the findings either align with or challenge previous studies.

Limitations and Caveats

  • Acknowledge and discuss the limitations of the study.
  • Provide a balanced assessment of the study’s constraints and potential sources of bias.

Reflection on Methodology

  • Reflect on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the research methodology.
  • Discuss any challenges encountered during the research process and how they may have influenced the results.

Conclusion Statement

  • Offer a conclusive statement summarizing the overall implications of the study.
  • Clearly state the main takeaway or message that readers should derive from the research.

Closing Thoughts

  • Conclude with any final thoughts, reflections, or remarks that enhance the overall understanding of the research.
  • Consider leaving the reader with a thought-provoking statement or a call to action related to the study’s findings.

Avoid New Information:  The conclusion is not the place to introduce new information or data. It should focus on summarizing and synthesizing existing content.

Brevity and Clarity

  • Keep the conclusion concise while ensuring clarity and coherence.
  • Use straightforward language to communicate key points without unnecessary complexity.

So, the Conclusion section is the final opportunity to leave a lasting impression on the reader. It should effectively wrap up the research paper by summarizing the key elements and providing a sense of closure while encouraging further consideration of the study’s implications.

How do you write an effective Abstract that summarizes the key aspects of the research

Writing an effective abstract is crucial as it serves as a concise summary of your research, providing readers with a quick overview of the study’s key aspects. Here are some guidelines to help you write an impactful abstract;

  • Understand the Purpose:  Recognize that the abstract is a standalone summary of your research, and readers may use it to decide whether to read the full paper. It should convey the main points and significance of your study.
  • Follow Structure Guidelines:  Different journals and disciplines may have specific guidelines for abstracts. Ensure that you are aware of any required structure or word limit set by the journal or conference you are submitting to.
  • Start with a Clear Context:  Begin your abstract by providing a brief context for your research. Clearly state the background or problem that your study addresses.
  • State the Research Question or Objective:  Clearly articulate the research question, objective, or hypothesis that your study aims to address. Be concise but informative.
  • Describe the Methods:  Briefly outline the research methods used in your study. Include key details such as study design, participants, materials, and procedures.
  • Present Key Results:  Summarize the main findings of your research. Highlight the most important and relevant results that answer your research question.
  • Include Quantitative Information:  If applicable, provide quantitative information such as effect sizes, statistical significance, or numerical data that convey the magnitude and importance of the results.
  • Convey Interpretation and Significance:  Interpret the results briefly and discuss their significance. Explain how your findings contribute to the existing body of knowledge in the field.
  • Highlight Key Conclusions:  Clearly state the conclusions drawn from your study. This is not the place for introducing new information; rather, it’s a summary of the primary outcomes.
  • Avoid Abbreviations and Jargon:  Keep the abstract accessible to a broad audience by avoiding unnecessary abbreviations or discipline-specific jargon. Use language that can be easily understood by readers from diverse backgrounds.
  • Be Concise and Specific:  Strive for brevity while ensuring that you cover all essential aspects of your research. Use specific and precise language to convey your points.
  • Check for Clarity and Coherence:  Ensure that the abstract flows logically and that each sentence contributes to the overall understanding of your research. Check for clarity and coherence in your writing.
  • Keywords:  Include relevant keywords in your abstract. These terms should capture the essential topics of your research and aid in the discoverability of your paper in databases and search engines.
  • Proofread Carefully:  Eliminate grammatical errors, typos, or any unclear language. A well-written abstract demonstrates attention to detail and professionalism.
  • Meet Word Limit Requirements:  If there is a word limit, adhere to it. Concision is crucial in abstract writing, and exceeding the word limit may result in important information being omitted.
  • Review and Revise:  Once you have drafted your abstract, review it critically. Ask yourself if it effectively conveys the main points of your research and if it would pique the interest of potential readers.

The abstract is often the first (and sometimes only) part of your research paper that readers will see. Therefore, crafting a clear, concise, and compelling abstract is essential for drawing attention to your work and encouraging further exploration.

What is the difference between the Abstract and the Executive Summary in a research paper

The abstract and the executive summary serve similar purposes in providing a concise overview of a document, but they are typically used in different contexts and for different types of documents. Here are the key differences between an abstract and an executive summary;

Usage:  Commonly used in academic and scholarly writing, such as research papers, articles, and conference presentations.

  • Summarizes the entire research paper, including background, methodology, results, and conclusions.
  • Generally includes information about the research question, methods, key findings, and implications.
  • Primarily aimed at an academic audience, including researchers, scholars, and students.
  • Serves as a standalone summary for individuals seeking a quick understanding of the research without reading the entire paper.

Length:  Typically limited to a specific word count or length, often ranging from 150 to 250 words for academic papers.

Keywords:  May include keywords that highlight the main topics of the research for indexing and search purposes.

Location:  Positioned at the beginning of the research paper, providing readers with a preview of the study.

Executive Summary

Usage:  More commonly found in business and professional documents, such as business plans, proposals, and reports.

  • Summarizes the key points of a longer document, focusing on the most critical information for decision-makers.
  • Often includes an overview of the purpose, methodology, major findings, recommendations, and potential actions.
  • Intended for a business or managerial audience, including executives, stakeholders, or decision-makers.
  • Aids busy professionals in quickly grasping the main points of a document without delving into the details.

Length:  Can vary in length but is generally longer than an abstract, often spanning a page or more.

Keywords:  May not always include specific keywords for indexing, as the primary focus is on communicating essential information to decision-makers.

Location:  Typically placed at the beginning of a business document, allowing executives to quickly understand the document’s purpose and key recommendations.

In summary, while both the abstract and the executive summary serve the purpose of providing a brief overview, they are tailored to different audiences and contexts. The abstract is more common in academic settings, summarizing research papers, while the executive summary is often used in business and professional documents to distill key information for decision-makers.

How should citations and references be formatted in the References or Bibliography section

The formatting of citations and references in the References or Bibliography section of a research paper depends on the citation style specified by the journal, publication, or academic institution. Different disciplines and publications may have preferences for specific citation styles, such as APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), Chicago, Harvard, or others.

Here are general guidelines for formatting citations and references in common citation styles;

  • Book:  Author, A. A. (Year of publication).  Title of work: C apital letters also appear in the subtitle. Publisher.
  • Journal Article:  Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of article.  Title of Journal, volume number (issue number), page range. DOI or URL
  • Webpage:  Author, A. A. (Year, Month Day of publication). Title of webpage. Website Name. URL
  • Book:  Author’s Last Name, First Name.  Title of Book . Publisher, Publication Year.
  • Journal Article:  Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.”  Title of Journal , vol. number, no. number, Year, pages. Database name or URL.
  • Webpage:  Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Webpage.” Website Name, publication date, URL.

Chicago Style

  • Book:  Author’s First Name Last Name.  Title of Book . Place of publication: Publisher, Year.
  • Journal Article:  Author’s First Name Last Name. “Title of Article.”  Title of Journal  vol. number, no. number (Year): pages.
  • Webpage:  Author’s First Name Last Name. “Title of Webpage.” Name of Website. URL

Harvard Style

  • Book:  Author’s Last Name, First Initial(s). (Year)  Title of Book . Place of publication: Publisher.
  • Journal Article:  Author’s Last Name, First Initial(s). (Year) ‘Title of Article.’  Title of Journal , Volume number (Issue number), Page range.
  • Webpage:  Author’s Last Name, First Initial(s). (Year) ‘Title of Webpage.’ Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).

Always check the specific guidelines provided by the journal or publication you are submitting to, as they may have variations or preferences within a particular citation style. Additionally, consider using citation management tools like Zotero, EndNote, or Mendeley to streamline the citation process and ensure accuracy.

What is the role of the Acknowledgments section in a research paper

The Acknowledgments section in a research paper serves the purpose of expressing gratitude and recognizing individuals, institutions, or organizations that contributed to the research or the development of the paper. It is a way for the authors to acknowledge the support, assistance, and resources they received during the research process. Here are the key roles of the Acknowledgments section;

  • Recognition of Contributions:  The Acknowledgments section provides an opportunity for authors to acknowledge the contributions of individuals who directly or indirectly supported the research. This can include colleagues, mentors, advisors, and peers.
  • Expression of Gratitude:  Authors use this section to express gratitude for any assistance, guidance, or resources received. It is a way to show appreciation for the collaborative and supportive efforts of others.
  • Mentioning Funding Sources:  If the research was funded by grants or scholarships, authors typically acknowledge the funding sources in this section. This includes government agencies, private foundations, or other organizations that provided financial support.
  • Recognition of Technical Assistance:  Authors may acknowledge individuals or organizations that provided technical assistance, such as help with data analysis, laboratory techniques, or specialized equipment.
  • Acknowledging Institutional Support:  Authors may express gratitude to their affiliated institutions for providing facilities, libraries, or other resources that facilitated the research.
  • Thanking Reviewers or Editors:  In some cases, authors express appreciation for the feedback and constructive criticism received from peer reviewers during the publication process. This acknowledgment is often included in the Acknowledgments or sometimes in the opening of the paper.
  • Acknowledging Personal Support:  Authors may use this section to acknowledge personal support from family members, friends, or anyone who has supported them during the research process.
  • Maintaining Professional Courtesy:  Including an Acknowledgments section is also a matter of professional courtesy. It recognizes the collaborative and communal nature of research and emphasizes the importance of acknowledging those who contributed to the work.
  • Ethical Considerations:  The Acknowledgments section can also serve as a platform for authors to clarify any potential conflicts of interest or ethical considerations related to the research.
  • Humanizing the Research Process:  By acknowledging the human aspects of the research journey, the Acknowledgments section adds a personal touch to the paper, making it more relatable and emphasizing the collective effort involved in scholarly work.

It’s essential to strike a balance in the Acknowledgments section, being specific and genuine in expressing gratitude without making it overly lengthy. While it is a place to acknowledge various forms of support, it should remain focused on those contributions that directly impacted the research and its successful completion.

How do you determine the appropriate length for each section of a research paper

Determining the appropriate length for each section of a research paper involves considering several factors, including the type of paper, the guidelines provided by the target journal or publication, and the complexity of the research. While there are no fixed rules, the following general principles can help guide you;

  • Follow Journal Guidelines:  Journals often provide specific guidelines on the preferred structure and length of each section. Always refer to the submission guidelines of the target journal to ensure that your paper adheres to their requirements.
  • Consider the Type of Paper:  The length of each section can vary based on the type of paper. For example, a review article may have a more extensive literature review section compared to an original research paper. Understand the conventions for the type of paper you are writing.
  • Adhere to Standard Structures:  Research papers typically follow standard structures such as Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. While the length of each section may vary, maintaining a coherent structure is important for readability and understanding.
  • Prioritize Key Information:  Focus on presenting key information in each section. Avoid unnecessary details and ensure that the content is relevant to the research question or objective.
  • Consider the Significance of Sections:  Sections like the Methods and Results, which present the core of your research, may require more detailed explanations. The Introduction and Conclusion, while important, may be more concise.
  • Balance and Proportion:  Aim for a balanced distribution of content across sections. Avoid overemphasizing one section at the expense of others. Each section should contribute meaningfully to the overall narrative.
  • Review Similar Publications:  Examine research papers published in the target journal or similar venues. Analyze the length of sections in these papers to get a sense of the expectations for your own paper.
  • Be Mindful of Word Limits:  Some journals or conferences set word limits for articles. Be aware of these limits and allocate space accordingly. If there is a word limit, prioritize clarity and conciseness.
  • Consider Reader Engagement:  Readers appreciate a clear and well-structured paper. Aim for sections that are informative without being overly detailed. Engage your readers and maintain their interest throughout the paper.
  • Revise and Edit:  After drafting your paper, review and edit each section critically. Remove redundancies, unnecessary details, or content that does not directly contribute to the main message of each section.
  • Seek Feedback:  Obtain feedback from peers, colleagues, or mentors. Others' perspectives can help identify areas where content could be expanded or condensed.

Note that the appropriate length for each section can vary based on the specific requirements of your research and the expectations of the target audience. Strive for clarity, coherence, and relevance in each section to ensure that your research paper effectively communicates its purpose and findings.

Should the title of a research paper be included in the Abstract

Yes, the title of a research paper is typically included in the abstract. The abstract serves as a concise summary of the entire research paper, providing readers with an overview of the study’s purpose, methods, results, and conclusions. Including the title in the abstract helps readers immediately identify the topic and focus of the research.

The standard structure of an abstract often includes the following elements;

  • Title:  The title of the research paper is usually presented at the top of the abstract. It is written in the same way it appears in the full paper.
  • Introduction or Background:  A brief statement that introduces the research question or problem addressed in the study.
  • Methods:  A summary of the research methods employed, including the study design, participants, materials, and procedures.
  • Results:  A concise presentation of the key findings of the study.
  • Conclusion or Implications:  A discussion of the study’s conclusions, implications, or potential applications.

While the abstract aims to be succinct, it should still provide enough information for readers to understand the main components and contributions of the research. The inclusion of the title ensures that readers can quickly identify the specific topic of interest and decide whether the paper aligns with their interests or research needs.

What are the key components of the Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion (IMRAD) structure

The IMRAD structure is a commonly used format in scientific and academic writing, organizing research papers into distinct sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. Each section serves a specific purpose in presenting and communicating the research. Here are the key components of each section;

The Introduction section of a research paper typically includes the following components:

Background or Context

  • Provides a brief overview of the research area, establishing the context for the study.
  • Identifies the gap or problem in existing knowledge that the research aims to address.

Research Question or Hypothesis

  • Clearly states the main research question or hypothesis that the study seeks to answer.
  • Provides focus and direction for the research.

Objectives or Aims

  • Outlines the specific objectives or aims of the study, detailing what the research intends to achieve.
  • Explains the importance of the research and its potential contributions to the field.
  • Highlights the relevance of addressing the identified gap or problem.

Review of Literature

  • Summarizes relevant literature and previous studies related to the research topic.
  • Provides the theoretical framework and context for the study.

The Methods section details the research design, participants, materials, and procedures used in the study;

Study Design

  • Describes the overall design of the research (e.g., experimental, observational, survey).
  • Justifies why the chosen design is appropriate for addressing the research question.
  • Provides information about the participants or subjects involved in the study.
  • Describes the criteria for participant selection and recruitment.
  • Explains the method used for sampling and participant recruitment.
  • Details how the sample represents the target population.
  • Identifies and defines the independent and dependent variables.
  • Describes any control variables or confounding factors.
  • Specifies the tools, instruments, or materials used for data collection.
  • Includes information on the reliability and validity of instruments.
  • Outlines the step-by-step process of data collection.
  • Includes any steps taken to ensure data accuracy and reliability.

The Results section presents the raw data and findings of the study:

Data Presentation

  • Displays the gathered information in a structured and straightforward way.
  • Utilizes tables, figures, and graphs to enhance data visualization.

Statistical Analyses

  • Describes the statistical methods used to analyze the data.
  • Presents statistical results, including significance levels.

Key Findings

  • Summarizes the main findings of the study.
  • Highlights any patterns, trends, or significant outcomes.

The Discussion section interprets the results, relates them to existing literature, and discusses their implications:

Interpretation of Results

  • Offers a detailed interpretation of the study’s findings.
  • Discusses how the results address the research question or hypothesis.

Comparison with Previous Research

  • Compares the current findings with previous studies in the field.
  • Discusses similarities, differences, or advancements in knowledge.

Limitations

  • Acknowledges any limitations or constraints of the study.
  • Addresses potential sources of bias or error.

Implications

  • Discusses the broader implications of the findings.
  • Explores the practical, theoretical, or policy implications.

Recommendations for Future Research

  • Suggests directions for future research based on the study’s limitations or gaps identified.
  • Provides guidance for researchers interested in building on the current findings.

The IMRAD structure is widely used because it provides a logical and organized framework for presenting research in a clear and systematic manner. Following this structure helps readers navigate the paper easily and understand the research process and outcomes.

How do you choose appropriate keywords for a research paper

Selecting appropriate keywords for a research paper is essential for enhancing the paper’s discoverability in databases and search engines. Here are steps to help you choose effective keywords;

  • Identify Key Concepts:  Identify the main concepts and topics addressed in your research. These concepts should represent the core elements of your study.
  • Use Specific Terms:  Choose keywords that are specific and closely related to your research. Avoid overly broad terms that may result in irrelevant search results.
  • Consider Synonyms and Variations:  Think about synonyms, alternative terms, and variations of your key concepts. Different researchers and databases may use different terminology.
  • Include Related Terms:  Consider terms that are closely related to your main concepts. This can include broader or narrower terms, related disciplines, or alternative phrasing.
  • Review Existing Literature:  Look at relevant articles and papers in your field. Identify the keywords used in these papers, as they may be suitable for your own research.
  • Check Subject Headings:  Explore the use of standardized subject headings or controlled vocabulary in the specific database or catalog you are using. These terms can help improve precision.
  • Use Thesauruses and Databases:  Consult thesauruses or controlled vocabulary lists provided by databases like PubMed, ERIC, or PsycINFO. These tools can suggest standardized terms used in the literature.
  • Think About Variations in Language:  Consider variations in language and spelling that may be used by researchers or authors in different regions or fields.
  • Include Acronyms and Abbreviations:  If applicable, include acronyms or abbreviations commonly used in your field. This ensures that researchers using these terms can find your paper.
  • Be Mindful of Trends:  Stay informed about emerging trends and terminology in your field. Include keywords that reflect the current discourse.
  • Use a Mix of Broad and Specific Terms:  Include a mix of broad and specific terms to cater to different levels of search specificity.
  • Think About Alternative Spellings:  Consider alternative spellings, particularly if certain terms may have multiple accepted spellings.
  • Use Keywords Consistently:  Ensure consistency in the use of keywords throughout your paper, including the title, abstract, and body. This helps search engines and databases index your paper accurately.
  • Test and Refine:  Test the effectiveness of your chosen keywords by conducting searches in relevant databases. If the results are too broad or narrow, adjust your keywords accordingly.
  • Include Geographic and Temporal Keywords:  If relevant, include keywords related to geographic locations or time periods. This can be important for studies with a regional or historical focus.

Collaborate and Seek Feedback:  Discuss your chosen keywords with colleagues or mentors. They may offer valuable insights and suggestions.

Remember that the goal is to use keywords that accurately represent your research and align with the terminology used by others in your field. Using a combination of precise, specific terms and broader, related concepts ensures that your paper reaches a diverse audience interested in your research area.

When is it necessary to include a supplementary materials section in a research paper

A Supplementary Materials section in a research paper is included when there is additional information or content that is important for a comprehensive understanding of the research but is too extensive or detailed to be included in the main body of the paper. Here are situations when it is necessary or advisable to include a Supplementary Materials section;

  • Extensive Data Sets:  When the dataset or raw data is extensive and detailed, it may be included as supplementary materials. This allows interested readers or researchers to access and analyze the data more thoroughly.
  • Complex Methodology Details:  If the methodology used in the study is complex and detailed, providing additional explanations, schematics, or step-by-step procedures in the Supplementary Materials section can enhance clarity without overwhelming the main text.
  • Additional Figures and Tables:  If there are numerous figures, tables, or other graphical elements that contribute to the study but may interrupt the flow of the main text, they can be placed in the Supplementary Materials.
  • Extended Literature Reviews:  In cases where the literature review is extensive but not directly tied to the main narrative, an extended literature review or additional references can be placed in the Supplementary Materials.
  • Code and Algorithms:  For studies involving computer code, algorithms, or detailed mathematical proofs, including these in the Supplementary Materials allows readers interested in the technical details to access and review them.
  • Participant Details or Additional Experiments:  If there are extensive details about participants (e.g., demographics, characteristics) or additional experiments that are relevant but not critical to the main argument, they can be included in the Supplementary Materials.
  • Supporting Information for Analyses:  Supporting information for statistical analyses, sensitivity analyses, or robustness checks can be included in the Supplementary Materials.
  • Audio-Visual Material:  For studies involving audio-visual material (e.g., sound clips, video recordings), the Supplementary Materials section is an appropriate place to include these additional resources.
  • Appendices:  Appendices that contain supplementary information, such as questionnaires, interview transcripts, or additional results, can be placed in the Supplementary Materials.
  • Ethical Approvals and Permissions:  Copies of ethical approvals, permissions, or other documentation that may be required but are not integral to the main narrative can be included in the Supplementary Materials.
  • Supplementary Text:  Additional explanations, derivations, or details that provide depth but might disrupt the main flow of the paper can be included in the Supplementary Materials.
  • Additional Results or Analyses:  If there are secondary or exploratory analyses that are interesting but not crucial to the primary findings, they can be presented in the Supplementary Materials.

In general, the Supplementary Materials section is a flexible space that allows authors to include content that supports the main argument without overwhelming the main text. However, it’s crucial to ensure that the main paper remains coherent and self-contained, with the Supplementary Materials serving as supplementary, rather than essential, information. Authors should always check the specific guidelines of the journal they are submitting to regarding the inclusion of supplementary materials.

What is the difference between a research paper and a review article, and how does it affect the structure

A research paper and a review article serve different purposes in academic writing, and they differ in terms of their objectives, content, and structure.

Research Paper

Purpose: Objective Research Contribution:  A research paper presents the findings of original research or experimentation. It aims to contribute new knowledge to a specific field or address a research question or hypothesis.

Content: Empirical Data:  Research papers typically include detailed descriptions of the study’s methodology, data collection, and analysis. They present empirical data and discuss the implications of the results.

Structure: IMRAD Structure:  Research papers often follow the IMRAD structure (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion), providing a systematic and organized presentation of the research process and outcomes.

Citations: Primary Literature:  Citations primarily include references to the original research, emphasizing the direct sources of data and information.

Audience: Specialized Audience:  Research papers are often written for a specialized audience, such as researchers, scholars, and professionals in the specific field of study.

Review Article

Purpose: Synthesis of Existing Literature:  A review article aims to summarize, evaluate, and synthesize existing literature on a specific topic. It provides an overview of the current state of knowledge in a particular area.

Content: Analysis and Evaluation:  Review articles analyze and evaluate the findings of multiple studies, offering a comprehensive perspective on the topic. They may include historical context, theoretical frameworks, and discussions of trends.

Structure: Varied Structure:  Review articles may have a more flexible structure compared to research papers. While they often include an introduction and conclusion, the body of the article may be organized thematically, chronologically, or by methodological approach.

Citations: Secondary Literature:  Citations in a review article primarily refer to existing literature, summarizing and citing multiple sources to provide a comprehensive overview.

Audience: Wider Audience:  Review articles are often written to appeal to a broader audience, including students, researchers, and professionals seeking a comprehensive understanding of a specific topic.

Structural Differences

  • Introduction:  In a research paper, the introduction clearly defines the research question or hypothesis. In a review article, the introduction provides context for the broader topic, explaining why the review is important.
  • Methods and Results:  Research papers include detailed sections on methods and results, describing the study design, data collection, and findings. Review articles do not typically have dedicated sections for methods and results but may include methodological considerations in the text.
  • Discussion:  In a research paper, the discussion interprets the study’s results and discusses their implications. In a review article, the discussion synthesizes and interprets the findings from multiple studies, offering insights and identifying gaps in the existing literature.
  • Conclusion:  The conclusion of a research paper summarizes the study’s main findings and their significance. In a review article, the conclusion often emphasizes the key themes, trends, or unresolved questions in the field.

While these distinctions are general, it’s important to note that the specific structure and requirements can vary based on the guidelines of the target journal or publication. Authors should always refer to the submission guidelines when preparing a research paper or a review article.

How do you write an effective thesis statement in the Introduction section

An effective thesis statement in the introduction serves as a concise and clear summary of the main point or claim of your research paper. It provides direction to the reader, outlining the purpose and focus of your study. Here are some guidelines on how to write an effective thesis statement in the introduction;

  • Clarity and Conciseness:  Ensure that your thesis statement is clear, concise, and directly addresses the main point of your paper. Avoid vague or ambiguous language.
  • Specificity:  Be specific about the topic or issue you are addressing. Clearly state the aspect of the subject that your paper will focus on.
  • One Main Idea:  A thesis statement should convey one main idea or argument. Avoid trying to cover too many topics or issues in a single thesis statement.
  • Declarative Statement:  Formulate your thesis as a declarative statement rather than a question. Your thesis should present a claim that you will support or argue throughout the paper.
  • Position and Argument:  Clearly express your position on the topic and provide a brief overview of the argument you will make. This helps set the tone for the rest of the paper.
  • Scope of the Paper:  Indicate the scope of your paper by mentioning the specific aspects, factors, or elements that your research will explore.
  • Preview of Main Points:  If applicable, provide a brief preview of the main points or arguments that will be developed in the body of the paper. This helps to guide the reader through your paper.
  • Avoid Ambiguity:  Steer clear of vague or general statements that could be interpreted in various ways. Your thesis should be straightforward and unambiguous.
  • Relevance:  Take into account the prospective audience’s requirements and areas of interest. Your thesis statement should resonate with your readers and make them interested in your paper.
  • Reflect Your Stance:  If your research involves taking a stance on an issue, make sure your thesis reflects your position clearly. This helps readers understand your perspective from the outset.
  • Revise and Refine:  After drafting your thesis statement, review and refine it. Ensure that it accurately reflects the content and focus of your paper.
  • Tailor to Your Paper’s Purpose:  Adjust your thesis statement based on the type of paper you are writing (e.g., argumentative, analytical, expository). Tailor it to suit the purpose of your paper.
  • Consider Length:  While a thesis statement is typically a concise sentence or two, its length may vary depending on the complexity of your topic and the length of your paper. Aim for clarity and brevity.

Here’s an example to illustrate these principles;

In an essay about the impact of social media on mental health:

Weak Thesis Statement

“Social media has both positive and negative effects on mental health."

Strong Thesis Statement

“While social media provides a platform for communication and connection, its impact on mental health is a growing concern, as evidenced by the rise in anxiety and depression rates among frequent users."

The strong thesis statement is specific, takes a clear position, and provides a glimpse into the key points that will be explored in the paper.

What is the role of the Hypothesis in the Methods section, and when is it necessary

The hypothesis in the Methods section of a research paper serves as a clear and testable statement predicting the expected outcome of your study. It is typically included in studies that follow an experimental or quantitative research design. The role of the hypothesis is to guide the research process, facilitate the design of the study, and provide a basis for statistical analysis. Here’s when and how to include a hypothesis in the Methods section;

When is it Necessary

  • Experimental or Quantitative Research:  Hypotheses are most commonly included in studies that involve experimental or quantitative research designs. These types of studies aim to measure, manipulate, or observe variables to test specific relationships.
  • Testable Predictions:  If your research involves making specific, testable predictions about the relationship between variables, a hypothesis is necessary. It provides a clear expectation of what the study aims to demonstrate or investigate.
  • Guidance for Study Design:  A hypothesis guides the design of the study by framing the research question in a way that can be empirically tested. It helps define the variables and conditions under investigation.
  • Statistical Analysis:  In quantitative research, a hypothesis is essential for statistical analysis. It allows for the use of statistical tests to determine whether the observed results are consistent with the expected outcome stated in the hypothesis.

How to Include a Hypothesis in the Methods Section

  • Placement:  The hypothesis is typically presented early in the Methods section, after the introduction of the research question or objective. It sets the stage for the reader to understand the specific aim of the study.
  • Clear Statement:  State your hypothesis clearly and concisely. Use language that is unambiguous and directly addresses the relationship or effect you are investigating.
  • Null and Alternative Hypotheses:  If applicable, include both null and alternative hypotheses. The null hypothesis represents the absence of an effect, while the alternative hypothesis states the expected effect.
  • Directionality:  If your research involves a directional prediction (e.g., an increase or decrease in a variable), specify this in your hypothesis. If the prediction is non-directional, state it as such.
  • Variables and Relationships:  Clearly define the variables involved in the hypothesis and the expected relationship between them. This helps readers understand the scope of your study.
  • Testable:  Ensure that your hypothesis is testable. This means that it should be possible to collect data and perform statistical analyses to determine whether the observed results support or reject the hypothesis.

Research Question: Does a new drug reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients?

Null Hypothesis (H0)

“The new medication had no apparent impact on blood pressure readings between those with hypertension receiving it and those receiving a placebo. "

Alternative Hypothesis (H1)

“Hypertensive patients who receive the new drug will show a significant reduction in blood pressure levels compared to those who receive a placebo."

Including a hypothesis in the Methods section provides a clear roadmap for the research, helping both researchers and readers understand the anticipated outcomes and objectives of the study. Keep in mind that not all studies require hypotheses, especially in qualitative or exploratory research where the emphasis may be on understanding phenomena rather than testing specific predictions.

How should limitations and future research directions be addressed in a research paper

Addressing limitations and proposing future research directions is an important aspect of the Discussion section in a research paper. These sections allow you to acknowledge the constraints of your study and suggest avenues for further investigation. Here are guidelines on how to effectively address limitations and future research directions;

Addressing Limitations

  • Be Transparent and Honest:  Clearly and honestly acknowledge the limitations of your study. This demonstrates transparency and helps readers understand the scope of your research.
  • Link to Methodology:  Connect limitations to specific aspects of your methodology. Discuss any constraints in data collection, sample size, experimental design, or other methodological considerations.
  • Consider External Validity:  Address external validity by discussing the generalizability of your findings. Be explicit about the population to which your results can be applied and any potential limitations in generalizing the results to broader contexts.
  • Recognize Data Limitations:  If there are limitations in the data used in your study, such as missing information or reliance on self-report measures, acknowledge these shortcomings and discuss their potential impact on the results.
  • Discuss Sampling Issues:  If your study involves a specific sample that may not be fully representative of the broader population, discuss the implications of this limitation.
  • Address Potential Biases:  Identify and discuss any biases that might have affected your study, whether they are selection biases, response biases, or other forms of bias. Be clear about the potential impact on the study’s validity.
  • Account for Confounding Variables:  If there are confounding variables that could have influenced your results, acknowledge these and discuss how they may have affected the interpretation of your findings.
  • Highlight Practical Constraints:  If your study faced practical constraints such as time, resources, or access to certain populations, discuss how these limitations might have influenced the study’s outcomes.

Proposing Future Research Directions

  • Connect to Current Findings:  Tie your future research suggestions to the current findings of your study. Identify gaps in knowledge or areas where further investigation is needed based on your results.
  • Specify Research Questions:  Clearly formulate specific research questions or hypotheses for future studies. This provides a roadmap for researchers interested in building on your work.
  • Consider Different Methodologies:  Propose different methodologies or research designs that could address the limitations of your current study. This could involve using different data collection methods, expanding the sample size, or employing new experimental approaches.
  • Explore Unanswered Questions:  Identify unanswered questions that arose during your study and propose ways to explore and answer them in future research.
  • Extend to Different Populations:  Discuss how future research could extend your findings to different populations, contexts, or settings. Consider the external validity of your study and suggest ways to enhance it.
  • Examine Long-Term Effects:  If your study was short-term or focused on immediate outcomes, suggest research directions that explore long-term effects or consequences.
  • Address Cross-Cultural Perspectives:  If applicable, propose future research that explores cross-cultural perspectives or comparisons to enhance the generalizability of findings.
  • Integrate Interdisciplinary Approaches:  Consider interdisciplinary approaches by proposing collaborations with researchers from other disciplines. This can enrich the scope and depth of future research.
  • Highlight Emerging Technologies:  If relevant, discuss how emerging technologies or methodologies could be employed in future research to address limitations and enhance the study’s robustness.
  • Encourage Replication:  Emphasize the importance of replication studies to validate and verify your findings. This contributes to the cumulative nature of scientific knowledge.

By effectively addressing limitations and proposing future research directions, you contribute to the ongoing scholarly conversation, guide fellow researchers, and demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the complexities within your field of study.

What is the meaning of a research paper outline

Types of research paper outlines

What is a research paper

What should be the length of a research paper

What is the best format to write a research paper

How to prepare a research paper outline

What are the steps for writing a research paper

How to incorporate data and statistics in research papers

What is a research paper with an example

How many pages should a research paper be

What can be the topics for a research paper

Bright Writers

Parts Of A Research Paper

  • June 26, 2020
  • Essay Guides and Topics

Here's What We'll Cover

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.

Paper writing service

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.

Most importantly,

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.

 Conclusion

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.

Essay help

  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

An examples 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.

Let Us Help You Get Better Grades

Achieve academic success with Bright Writers

Unlocking A+ Essays

Insider Tips Your Professor Won't Share

Don't leave before you grab this deal!!

Get 20% OFF your first order. Professional essays at $10 a page

Do you need better

Let us handle your essays today

Welcome to 2024! Happy New Year!

Hudson County Community College Libraries logo

Research Writing ~ How to Write a Research Paper

  • Choosing A Topic
  • Critical Thinking
  • Domain Names
  • Starting Your Research
  • Writing Tips
  • Parts of the Paper
  • Edit & Rewrite
  • Citations This link opens in a new window

Papers should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Your introductory paragraph should grab the reader's attention, state your main idea and 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 you 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, focus, and structure 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  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 writers 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. . .  from The Writing Center at UNC-Chapel Hill More about summarizing. . . from the Center for Writing Studies at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign

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.

  • << Previous: Writing Tips
  • Next: Edit & Rewrite >>
  • Last Updated: Feb 1, 2024 4:06 PM
  • URL: https://library.hccc.edu/research_paper

Gabert Library

JSQ map

NHC Library

NHC map

  • Database A-Z
  • Research Guides
  • Citation Help
  • Ask a Librarian
  • Library Instruction
  • Academic Liaisons
  • Library Staff Login
  • Privacy Policy

Parts of a Research Paper

Following are the main parts of a research paper;

Introduction

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.

Related Posts

Research paper example, how to write a motivational statement, how to write a good psychology research proposal, how to write a mechanical engineering research paper, apa research paper parts and sections, how to research a topic, how to write a personal essay, research project outline example, research paper format, what is a dissertation paper.

We are putting together a training for students on this topic. We would like to include the Parts of a Research Paper graphic. Is this your original artwork? May we use it?

The infographic is our original work and you can use it for your teaching purpose.

I want research Report

Leave a Comment Cancel Reply

Please enter an answer in digits:

Main navigation

  • For journalists
  • For faculty and staff
  • Experts guide

Making AI a partner in neuroscientific discovery

what are the main parts of research paper

  • Tweet Widget

New paper argues that Large Language Models can reveal breakthroughs humans alone cannot

The past year has seen major advances in Large Language Models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT. The ability of these models to interpret and produce human text sources (and other sequence data) has implications for people in many areas of human activity. A perspective paper published today in the journal Neuron argues that like many professionals, neuroscientists can either benefit from partnering with these powerful tools or risk being left behind.

In their previous studies, the authors showed that important preconditions are met to develop LLMs that can interpret and analyze neuroscientific data like ChatGPT interprets language. These AI models can be built for many different types of data, including neuroimaging, genetics, single-cell genomics, and even hand-written clinical reports.

In the traditional model of research, a scientist studies previous data on a topic, develops new hypotheses and tests them using experiments. Because of the massive amounts of data available, scientists often focus on a narrow field of research, such as neuroimaging or genetics. LLMs, however, can absorb more neuroscientific research than a single human ever could. In their Neuron paper, the authors argue that one day LLMs specialized in diverse areas of neuroscience could be used to communicate with one another to bridge siloed areas of neuroscience research, uncovering truths that would be impossible to find by humans alone. In the case of drug development, for example, an LLM specialized in genetics could be used along with a neuroimaging LLM to discover promising candidate molecules to stop neurodegeneration. The neuroscientist would direct these LLMs and verify their outputs.

Lead author Danilo Bzdok mentions the possibility that the scientist will, in certain cases, not always be able to fully understand the mechanism behind the biological processes discovered by these LLMs.

“We have to be open to the fact that certain things about the brain may be unknowable, or at least take a long time to understand,” he says. “Yet we might still generate insights from state-of-the-art LLMs and make clinical progress, even if we don’t fully grasp the way they reach conclusions.”

To realize the full potential of LLMs in neuroscience, Bzdok says scientists would need more infrastructure for data processing and storage than is available today at many research organizations. More importantly, it would take a cultural shift to a much more data-driven scientific approach, where studies that rely heavily on artificial intelligence and LLMs are published by leading journals and funded by public agencies. While the traditional model of strongly hypothesis-driven research remains key and is not going away, Bzdok says capitalizing on emerging LLM technologies might be important to spur the next generation of neurological treatments in cases where the old model has been less fruitful.

“To quote John Naisbitt, neuroscientists today are ‘drowning in information but starving for knowledge,’” he says. “Our ability to generate biomolecular data is eclipsing our ability to glean understanding from these systems. LLMs offer an answer to this problem. They may be able to extract, synergize and synthesize knowledge from and across neuroscience domains, a task that may or may not exceed human comprehension.”

The Neuro – The Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital – is a bilingual, world-leading destination for brain research and advanced patient care. Since its founding in 1934 by renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Wilder Penfield, it has grown to be the largest specialized neuroscience research and clinical center in Canada, and one of the largest in the world. The seamless integration of research, patient care, and training of the world’s top minds make The Neuro uniquely positioned to have a significant impact on the understanding and treatment of nervous system disorders. It was the first academic institute in the world to fully adopt Open Science, to help accelerate the generation of knowledge and discovery of novel effective treatments for brain disorders. The Neuro is a McGill University research and teaching institute and part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. For more information, please visit  www.theneuro.ca

Related Links

Contact information.

  • Research news
  • Medicine Research
  • News releases

Related Content

what are the main parts of research paper

Surprising new evidence on happiness and wealth

what are the main parts of research paper

Are environmental toxins putting future generations at risk?

RSS feed icon

Experts: International Day of Women and Girls in Science | February 11

what are the main parts of research paper

Experts: Valentine’s Day | Heart Month 2024

what are the main parts of research paper

Expert: Canada’s housing market outlook in 2024 

Department and university information, institutional communications.

Newsroom

  • Campus news
  • McGill dans la ville
  • Office of the President
  • Office of the Provost
  • McGill experts guide
  • About McGill
  • Quick facts
  • Administration

IMAGES

  1. Parts Of A College Research Paper

    what are the main parts of research paper

  2. Parts of a Research Paper

    what are the main parts of research paper

  3. Basic Parts of Research Paper Format

    what are the main parts of research paper

  4. Visualization of research paper parts

    what are the main parts of research paper

  5. How to Write a Research Paper

    what are the main parts of research paper

  6. Parts of a research paper with the format on how to write one

    what are the main parts of research paper

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Research Paper: Parts of the Paper

    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.

  2. Parts of the paper

    Parts of a Scientific & Scholarly Paper 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: TITLE

  3. Parts of a Research Paper

    There are eight main parts in a research paper: Title (cover page) Introduction Literature review Research methodology Data analysis Results Conclusion 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?

  4. Research Paper Structure

    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.

  5. Research Paper

    Literature Review The literature review section of a research paper provides an overview of the existing literature on the topic of study. It includes a critical analysis and synthesis of the literature, highlighting the key concepts, themes, and debates.

  6. How to Write a Research Paper

    Knowledge Base Research paper How to Write a Research Paper | A Beginner's Guide A research paper is a piece of academic writing that provides analysis, interpretation, and argument based on in-depth independent research.

  7. PDF The Structure of an Academic Paper

    An eye-catching, startling fact or statistic. An interesting or provocative question A definition of a key term or concept An overview of a debate, the positions on both sides A question, puzzle, or surprise An apparent problem or paradox An intriguing anecdote, quote, or observation The 'so what': Why is this important?

  8. 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: Title/Cover Page

  9. PDF Key components of a research paper

    Key components of a research paper Good research articles tend to have all of the following components, so look for them to help determine the credibility of a study. Research questions A well-defined and specific research question guides the study design.

  10. Writing a Research Paper Introduction

    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 Step 1: Introduce your topic

  11. 3.2 Components of a scientific paper

    3.2.1 Abstract. 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.

  12. PDF Parts of a Research Paper

    Research papers typically consist of a number of parts. This brief paper summarizes the main sections that would normally be found in such a paper, but does not include all, and follows American Psychological Association (APA) structure as defined in section two of its sixth edition publication manual "Manuscript Structure and Content" (2010).

  13. A Beginner's Guide to Starting the Research Process

    Step 4: Create a research design. The research design is a practical framework for answering your research questions. It involves making decisions about the type of data you need, the methods you'll use to collect and analyze it, and the location and timescale of your research. There are often many possible paths you can take to answering ...

  14. Structure of a Research Paper: Tips to Improve Your Manuscript

    Summarize your research in the abstract. Explain the importance of your research in the introduction. Explain your results in a logical sequence and support them with figures and tables. Discuss any data gaps and limitations. Allocate your time for the most important sections. Get feedback from colleagues.

  15. What Are The Key Elements of Research Paper Structure?

    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. See also A Section Wise Guidance on Research Paper Example

  16. Major Parts of a Research Paper & How to Write Them

    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.

  17. Parts of a Research Paper

    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.

  18. What are the major parts of a research paper?

    For most of the journals, the major sections are: (1) Title of the article followed by author' address indicating main and corresponding authors, (2) Abstract including the main finding of the...

  19. The 10 Main Parts of a Research Paper (A Guide)

    A research paper comprises various parts, including the cover or title page, table of contents, abstract, introduction, methodology, data analysis, findings (results) and discussion, references (listed alphabetically in MLA, APA, Harvard, or Chicago), and appendices. This research paper format is mainly used for scientific research papers and ...

  20. What are the 5 parts of the 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.

  21. Parts Of A Research Paper

    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.

  22. Parts of the Paper

    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 supporting facts and arguments.

  23. Mastering the 9 Parts of a Research Paper: Your Ultimate Guide

    Following are the main parts of a research paper; Title Abstract Introduction Literature Review Methods Results Discussion Acknowledgment References 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.

  24. Progress in physical modeling of compressible wall-bounded turbulent

    In this paper, the recent advancements on the physics and modeling of high-speed wall-bounded transitional and turbulent flows are reviewed; most parts are covered by turbulence studies. For integrity of the physical process, we first briefly review the high-speed flow transition, with the main focus on aerodynamic heating mechanisms and ...

  25. Making AI a partner in neuroscientific discovery

    New paper argues that Large Language Models can reveal breakthroughs humans alone cannot The past year has seen major advances in Large Language Models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT. The ability of these models to interpret and produce human text sources (and other sequence data) has implications for people in many areas of human activity. A perspective paper published today in the journal Neuron ...