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What is an Academic Paper? Types and Elements 

types of academic papers

Written by students, early career scholars and researchers, an academic paper presents original research findings and case studies with the aim of contributing to the existing body of knowledge on a particular subject. Characterized by their rigorous and systematic approach to research, academic papers contribute to building a researcher’s reputation as an expert within their field, with the number of citations received serving as a measure of the impact that the researcher’s work has had. Unlike other forms of writing, academic papers demand a stringent adherence to specific formats, the use of formal language, and careful attention to detail. Typically, the information shared in academic papers is presented in well-defined sections like title and abstract, introduction, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. Many types of academic papers are employed for different situations and scopes. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of academic papers. 

Types of academic papers

Academic papers are differentiated based on the context of the paper, its length and structure, its purpose and who it addresses.  

  • Research papers  are the most common type of academic paper and present original research, usually conducted by PhD students who conduct in-depth investigations in their chosen field of study.  
  • Review papers, or literature reviews are academic papers that provide a comprehensive analysis and synthesis of existing research on a specific topic. They only assess existing literature on a subject and do not involve any empirical experiment. The methodology mentioned in review papers refers to the methods used to collect research.  
  • Case studies:   Researchers create this type of academic paper when they want to undertake and present their study on particular subjects, concepts, or incidents. Typically involving reasonably in-depth analysis of a topic, case studies can be beneficial for understanding certain historical events in recent times, such as market crashes or natural disasters, especially for future uses.  
  • Position papers:   Academic   papers that present an author’s stance on a particular issue or topic are called position papers. Researchers must present facts and evidence to support their views systematically. This kind of academic paper is commonly used in policy-making and legal professions.  
  • Conference papers:  These constitute a summary of any of the above types of academic papers to a length that can be appropriately discussed at a meeting or conference. Conference papers are usually presented when researchers want to introduce a new concept or gather insights from other experts on their work.  
  • Theoretical reports:  These are articles written by researchers who are working on formulating new theories based on existing research and provide an in-depth look at a specific topic based on existing literature and theoretical foundations. 

Elements of an academic paper

Research papers are different from fiction writing as they require rigorous citations, adherence to structure and appropriate styles to be accepted in academia. Every research paper has some key elements which make it identifiable as a research paper and make the theme of the paper clearly understood, along with the process involved with the said paper. As such, these rules must be adhered to while writing academic papers. Many publishing journals will have their guidelines, so be prepared to tweak your format in accordance with those guidelines. A typical format consists of the following key elements –  

  • Title and Abstract:  The title introduces the topic of the academic paper in a catchy, concise way, while the abstract gives us a summary of the whole paper. The abstract helps readers get an idea about the paper without having to read the entire paper.  
  • Introduction:  Usually placed at the start of an academic paper, the introduction enables researchers to better understand the topic of study. It highlights the research question, the scope of the research, its context, and its relevance. 
  • Methodology:  This section of the academic paper typically constitutes its main body. Researchers must provide a detailed, step-by-step account of the methodology followed to arrive at the findings. This section is important as it helps readers understand how you arrived at your conclusions and enables them to recreate the experiment—not just to verify the findings but also perhaps to build on it in the future.  
  • Results:  Typically placed towards the later part of an academic paper, the results section is where researchers can present their research findings in an accurate and detailed manner. Experts suggest using visual tools like graphs, tables and infographics when sharing numeric data and statistics. The results must be communicated in simple, clear, unambiguous language that readers can easily understand. 
  • Discussion:   Sometimes grouped with the results section, the discussion section is where research findings are discussed in detail. Researchers discuss the implications and limitations of their work and share the potential for further research.  
  • Conclusion:  The conclusion summarizes the entire academic paper, from the introduction and methodology to the results and discussion. It reinforces key messages and highlights important concepts and themes. 
  • References : This section of the academic paper lists the sources of information mentioned in the article as a bibliography so that the reader is able to refer to the sources. Ensuring accuracy in citations is imperative to avoid allegations of plagiarism, even if it was inadvertent. 

Different types of academic papers are employed based on the context of the paper, its length and structure, its purpose, and who it addresses. While each type of academic paper has its unique features, they all share a common set of critical elements that make them identifiable as research papers. By understanding and following these essential elements, researchers can effectively communicate their research findings and make meaningful contributions to their field of study.

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Home » Academic Paper – Format, Example and Writing Guide

Academic Paper – Format, Example and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Academic Paper

Academic Paper


Academic paper is a written document that presents the findings of a research study or scholarly inquiry in a formal manner. It is typically written by researchers or scholars and is intended to communicate their research findings to their peers or the academic community at large.

Types of Academic Paper

There are several types of academic papers that are commonly assigned in academic settings, including:

  • Research papers : These are papers that involve the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data to answer a research question or test a hypothesis.
  • Review papers: These are papers that synthesize and analyze existing research on a particular topic to provide a comprehensive overview of the field.
  • Case studies: These are papers that examine a particular instance or example in-depth, often used in business or law settings.
  • Essays : These are papers that provide a well-organized argument or analysis of a topic, often used in literature or philosophy courses.
  • Lab reports : These are papers that document experiments conducted in a laboratory setting and include detailed observations, methods, results, and conclusions.
  • Thesis and dissertations : Thesis are long-form research papers that are typically required for advanced degrees, such as a Master’s or PhD.
  • White papers : These are papers that provide detailed information about a particular product, service, or issue, often used in marketing or policy settings.
  • Position papers : These are papers that present a particular point of view or stance on a controversial issue, often used in political or social settings.
  • Literature reviews : These are papers that critically evaluate and summarize the research literature on a particular topic, often used in social and health sciences.
  • Conference papers : These are papers presented at academic conferences, which typically focus on recent research and developments in a particular field.
  • Book reviews: These are papers that provide a critical analysis and evaluation of a book, often used in literature or history courses.
  • Personal statements : These are papers that are used in applications for academic programs or scholarships, in which the author describes their background, interests, and qualifications.
  • Reflection papers: These are papers in which the author reflects on their own experiences or observations related to a particular topic, often used in education or social work courses.
  • Policy papers : These are papers that provide recommendations or proposals for addressing a particular policy issue, often used in political science or public policy courses.
  • Technical reports : These are papers that provide detailed information about a technical project or process, often used in engineering or computer science settings.

Academic Paper Format

Academic papers typically follow a specific format, although it can vary depending on the discipline or journal. Here is a general outline of the components that are commonly included:

  • Title page : This should include the title of the paper, the author’s name, and their affiliation (e.g. university or organization).
  • Abstract : This is a brief summary of the paper, typically around 150-250 words. It should provide an overview of the research question, methods, results, and conclusions.
  • Introduction : This section should introduce the topic of the paper and provide some background information. It should also include a clear research question or hypothesis.
  • Literature review : This section should review the existing research on the topic and explain how the current study contributes to the field.
  • Methodology : This section should describe the methods used in the study, including the sample, measures, and procedures.
  • Results : This section should present the findings of the study, typically using tables and figures to display the data.
  • Discussion : This section should interpret the results and discuss their implications. It should also address the research question or hypothesis and explain how the findings contribute to the field.
  • Conclusion : This section should summarize the main findings and their implications, and suggest directions for future research.
  • References: This section should list all the sources cited in the paper, following a specific citation style (e.g. APA, MLA).

Example of Academic Paper

Example Sample of Academic Paper is as follows:

Title Page:

  • Running head: TITLE OF PAPER
  • Title of paper
  • Author’s name
  • Institutional affiliation
  • A brief summary of the paper’s main points, including the research question, methods, results, and conclusions
  • Should be no more than 250 words


  • Introduce the research question and provide background information
  • Discuss the significance of the research question and how it relates to previous research in the field
  • Provide a clear and concise thesis statement
  • Describe the research design, including the participants, procedures, and materials used
  • Explain how data was collected and analyzed
  • Present the findings of the study in a clear and organized manner
  • Use tables and figures to visually represent the data

Discussion :

  • Interpret the results and explain their significance
  • Discuss how the findings relate to the research question and previous research in the field
  • Identify limitations of the study and suggest directions for future research


  • List all sources cited in the paper, formatted according to APA style guidelines.

When to Write Academic Paper

There are several occasions when you might want to write an academic paper, including:

  • Coursework : In many academic programs, you’ll be required to write papers as part of your coursework. This may include essays, research papers, case studies, or other types of academic writing.
  • Conference presentations: If you’re a researcher, you may want to present your work at academic conferences. Writing an academic paper can help you organize your thoughts and prepare for your presentation.
  • Journal publications: Publishing a paper in a peer-reviewed academic journal is an important way to share your research with the broader academic community. This can help you build your reputation as a scholar and may be required for promotion or tenure.
  • Grant proposals: When applying for research funding, you may need to submit a proposal that includes a research paper outlining your research question, methodology, and expected results.
  • Thesis or dissertation: If you’re pursuing a graduate degree, you’ll likely need to write a thesis or dissertation, which will require extensive research and academic writing.

Purpose of Academic Paper

Academic papers serve several purposes, including:

  • Contribution to knowledge : One of the primary purposes of academic papers is to contribute to the existing body of knowledge on a particular topic. By conducting research and presenting new findings, scholars and researchers can build upon previous work and expand our understanding of a subject.
  • Communication: Academic papers allow researchers to communicate their findings to a wider audience, including other scholars, students, and policymakers. Through publications, academic papers can reach a broader audience and have a greater impact on society.
  • Validation and peer review: Academic papers are subjected to rigorous peer review by other experts in the field. This process helps ensure the accuracy and validity of the research and helps maintain the quality of academic work.
  • Career advancement : Publishing academic papers is often a requirement for career advancement in academia. Researchers who publish frequently are more likely to receive grants, promotions, and tenure.
  • Preservation of knowledge : Academic papers are often archived and made available for future generations to study and learn from. They can provide a record of research and scholarship that can be used to build upon in the future.
  • Development of critical thinking skills : The process of writing an academic paper requires careful analysis, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. By engaging in this process, researchers can develop their abilities to think deeply and systematically about complex topics.
  • Influence on policy: Academic papers can have a significant impact on policy decisions. Policymakers often rely on academic research to inform their decisions, and researchers who are able to communicate their findings effectively can have a real-world impact.
  • Advancement of science and technology : Many academic papers are focused on advancing science and technology. By publishing research on new technologies or breakthroughs in scientific understanding, researchers can help drive innovation and progress in these fields.
  • Education and training: Academic papers are often used as educational resources in universities and other academic settings. They can provide students with valuable insights into research methods, data analysis, and academic writing.
  • Building collaborations: Collaborations and partnerships can be built through academic papers. Researchers working on similar topics can connect through publications, leading to further research and collaboration opportunities.

Advantages of Academic Paper

Academic papers have several advantages, including:

  • Sharing knowledge : Academic papers are an effective way to share knowledge with other scholars and researchers in a particular field. Through publication, ideas and findings can be disseminated to a wider audience and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in a particular discipline.
  • Building credibility : Publishing academic papers can help researchers establish credibility and demonstrate expertise in their field. By contributing to the scholarly conversation, researchers can gain recognition and respect from their peers.
  • Facilitating collaboration: Academic papers can foster collaboration between researchers who share similar interests and can lead to new research partnerships and collaborations.
  • Providing feedback: Academic papers often go through a peer-review process, which allows for constructive feedback from other experts in the field. This feedback can help researchers refine their ideas, strengthen their arguments, and improve the quality of their work.
  • Career advancement: Publishing academic papers can be important for career advancement in academia. It is often a requirement for promotion and tenure, and can also help researchers secure funding for future research projects.
  • Preservation of knowledge : Academic papers are often archived and preserved, ensuring that the knowledge and findings they contain are accessible to future generations of researchers and scholars.

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Writing an Academic Paper: A Beginner’s Guide

Writing an Academic Paper: A Beginner’s Guide

Table of contents

academic papers have

Catherine Miller

An academic paper might be quite different from other writing you’ve done before. But never fear — with my experience of writing as an undergraduate, Master’s student, and teacher, I’m here to help you understand the ins and outs of writing an academic paper so you’ll ace your next assignment. 

Academic writing is done by scholars for an audience of other scholars. This means your audience is likely to be quite informed about your field of study, so you won’t need to start from the absolute basics. But, it also means your piece needs to be well-researched, with a clearly thought-out argument or informative literature review supported by academic sources. 

In this article, I’ll give you a step-by-step guide to putting together an academic paper that will get you a top grade. 

academic papers have

Topic Selection

If you need to write an academic paper as part of your class assignment, you might have clear instructions on what the topic needs to be. This could be a question to answer, an argument statement to support or refute, or a general topic area to research which you can then develop your own specific paper title for. Make sure you double check the grading requirements and any other guidelines provided by your teacher or institution.

If you’ve got some freedom to come up with your own ideas, spending some time reading around your subject and brainstorming potential topics could be a good place to start.

Brainstorming Ideas

It’s wise to start by reading the recommended course material, especially the key texts. If you’re not sure what the best books and articles for additional reading might be, ask your professor for some recommendations. 

As you read, keep an eye out for ideas that might be ripe for exploration. If your paper is supposed to be an argument, look out for areas of the topic that seem to generate debate. 

It’s a good idea to make notes as you go, keeping track of potential citations and the information you’ll need to include in your bibliography. Organized notes can make all the difference when it comes to putting your finished paper together! You could do this using software like Notion , Evernote , or Google Keep , a spreadsheet, or even good old pen and paper.

Selecting a Focused Topic

Most academic papers will require you to come up with an argument, and a good place to start is narrowing down your thesis statement, i.e. the main point of your paper. This needs to be a defendable statement, so picking something for the sake of being controversial might leave you in a tricky position if there aren’t enough sources to back it up. Additionally, it needs to be something focused enough to explore in a few pages, rather than needing a whole book to explain. 

For example ‘ The economic situation of 1930s Germany was the key reason for Hitler’s rise to power.’ The thesis statement takes a clear position, can be defended, and isn’t too wide-ranging. 

Your own opinion on what you’ve read will be important, but you should also engage with the existing scholarship in the field. Whether you decide to stick with the consensus, or go against the grain, you will need to have a good understanding of what others have said.

Exploring the Background Information

Once you’ve reviewed any provided course materials and recommended reading, it’s important to recognize and address any glaring gaps in your knowledge. Are there any terms you don’t understand? Do you need to build an understanding of any particular events, people, or themes? Check the citations and bibliography of your readings to find and jump off to other works to build an understanding of how scholarship on the topic has progressed. 

Finding Scholarly Sources for Research

Depending on your subject area, you may need to find and use both primary and secondary sources for your research. Primary sources may include:

  • Newspaper articles
  • Historical documents
  • Eyewitness accounts or interviews
  • Documentary materials
  • Photographs
  • Novels, plays, and/or poems 
  • Pieces of art
  • Government reports
  • Lab data/reports

Secondary sources are usually other academic papers, critical works, or books that review a range of evidence and comment upon primary sources. These can include textbooks, biographies, literary criticism, etc., depending on your field of study. 

Your college library is a great place to start your research, especially if you need to use works that are not yet available digitally. However, many academic journals are now online, meaning you can find a wealth of other papers to read and reference within a few clicks. You should check which journals your college subscribes to, and you can search sites like JSTOR and Google Scholar .

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Outline Creation

Before you start writing, it’s a good idea to create a paper outline. This will help you fix your structure, clarify your points, and can ultimately make it quicker to write up the final piece.

Read the full article -  Creating an Outline with AI .

Creating an Overall Structure

The structure of an academic paper is likely to be more complex and developed than essays you may have written for school. You will need to make your thesis statement clear and support this with both evidence and analysis, as well as refuting other, competing ideas. Your work should reach a clear conclusion that leaves your reader in no doubt of your main argument. Nailing down your thesis statement, the key supporting points, and the main points you want to refute, should provide you with an overall structure for your academic paper.

Identifying and Summarizing Key Points

As you read around the topic, you should start to find repeated ideas that will become the main themes of your work. For example, if you are exploring how a theme is presented by a particular poet, you might find five or six ways the writer handles this idea. You will need to decide which one you find most persuasive by deciding which one has the most compelling evidence. This will become your thesis statement. The other ideas can be refuted as you develop your argument.

It’s a good idea to create a summary of each main idea you want to include by boiling it down into a few sentences at most. You can use software like Wordtune Read to help you. This AI (artificial intelligence) reader automatically summarizes longer documents to make it easier for you to condense the main ideas you will later re-expand. 

As you write out your plan, these summaries will form kernels of your developed paragraphs, saving you lots of time in writing the final piece.

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Essential Steps of the Writing Process

Writing up your academic paper might feel intimidating, but once you’ve got your structure plotted out, fleshing out the bones of the argument is the fun part. Make sure you leave enough time to write the paper and review it in plenty of time before the deadline, ideally taking some time away from the paper so you can come back to it with fresh ideas (which makes it easier to see any mistakes!).

Thesis Statement

Your thesis statement should come towards the start of your academic paper. This sets up the purpose of your paper, and establishes a trail of thought that your reader should be able to follow throughout the piece. It’s good practice to return to the thesis statement regularly throughout your work, and make sure you restate it in the conclusion (paraphrased if necessary to avoid robotic repetition). 

Before you begin writing the whole paper, work on your thesis statement by condensing the main argument of your paper into just one sentence. If you’re not sure if you have enough evidence for the argument you want to make by the time you finish your plan, you might need to revise your thesis statement before you write the whole paper. Trust me: it’s easier to change the thesis before you write all the paragraphs.

Read the full article -  How to Write a Thesis Statement with AI

Writing an Introduction

The introduction of an academic paper must make your argument clear, and should be concise and free of any fluff. You need to clearly lay out your argument, but should also set the scene for your work by summarizing the major scholarship, or history of the field, which most writers do first. You should also consider if the information you include in the introduction is definitely relevant to or necessary for the rest of the piece. For example, throwing in dates or definitions at this point may well be a distraction. Someone should be able to read just your introduction and already have a clear idea of your argument.

Additionally, your introduction needs to engage the audience by giving them a hint of the argument to come and suggesting why this topic is important. From a pile of 200+ papers, will your professor enjoy reading yours? A good introduction can help you to make a great first impression.

Read the full article - A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Compelling Introductions

Body Paragraphs

Each paragraph of your paper should clearly support your thesis statement, or refute an alternative idea. Topic sentences (sentences that lay out the main point of each paragraph, before you go on to flesh out the detail) can be a good way to establish a clear thrust for each paragraph. However, it’s better to avoid formulaic or repetitive paragraph structures where you can. 

The key idea of each paragraph should be supported by evidence, which you will want to comment on, either to establish how you agree with it or to argue against it. Drawing connections between different pieces of evidence, or synthesizing and/or comparing ideas, can make your use of evidence more complex and nuanced, and therefore more effective.

Consider how the paragraphs flow into one another. Referencing the previous paragraph and setting up the purpose of the next can create a more coherent structure for your paper and therefore make it easier to follow. 

Drafting a Conclusion

The conclusion should bring the reader back to your thesis statement, and leave them in no doubt as to the strength of your argument. This is not a place to introduce new information or ideas at any length, although you may want to suggest further areas of study or research. 

Keep your conclusion concise, too. If possible, finishing with a memorable closing sentence can round off your paper with a flourish and leave a lasting impression on your audience. 

Don’t forget that revising your work is a crucial step! You should re-read your work a number of times to check if the structure and argument work well. You could try re-summarizing each paragraph, too, to make sure your points are clear. 

Once you are confident that the content of the paper is solid, it’s time to look at the technical construction of your phrases and sentences, which is where editing and proofreading come in. 

Editing and proofreading

Editing and proofreading are very important. The last thing you want to do is hand in a paper that’s difficult to read and follow because of technical errors. However, for many people, this is also an intimidating step.

One technique to try with your paper is to read it aloud. This can often highlight phrases or sentences that don’t work well or that don’t feel natural. You could also try reading your paper backwards, sentence by sentence. This forces your eye to stop skimming the page, which can lead to you missing mistakes. 

It’s not just technical features that may need editing. As you re-read, you might notice words and phrases that can be upgraded to make your ideas stronger, or to help you communicate in a more engaging way. Luckily, you don’t need to do this all yourself; a digital tool like Wordtune can help you improve your work by suggesting alternative ways to express your ideas. You can even direct it to make suggestions in a particular tone (for example, more or less formal). Wordtune will also check your work for spelling and grammar mistakes, which can also save you time and stress. 

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Including Citations

The evidence you use in your academic paper needs to be cited correctly. Check the guidelines your institution follows for citation, as there are a few different models out there. However, most models will share the following in common:

  • For each quotation from a source, provide the author’s name, date of publication, and page number (this can be in-text or as a footnote, depending on style guidelines). Some models also like you to provide the title of the text and the location of production.
  • Use quotation marks to indicate where you have taken text from another source (to avoid plagiarism) 
  • To include a bibliography at the end of your paper (a full list of works cited). This should only include the texts you have cited, and usually references the title of the academic journal or book, date of publication, volume number (if it’s a journal), page numbers (if referencing a chapter or article), publishing company and location of production.

Citing correctly is a crucial part of how to write an academic paper, but it can also be fiddly and time consuming. Keeping accurate and organized notes while you research can make this bit easier. 

Practice makes perfect

Learning how to write an academic paper is a process, so give yourself plenty of time to write your first one. As you progress in your studies, you will become more efficient and quicker at writing papers. And, don’t forget, you’re not alone! There are loads of resources out there to help you write an academic paper, including digital tools like Wordtune, online help guides, and support from your professor and institution, too. Before you know it, you’ll be turning in high quality, engaging academic papers that will help you ace your courses.

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Academic Writing: FAQs: Types of Academic Writing

  • Getting Started
  • Types of Academic Writing
  • The Writing Process
  • Proofreading and Revising

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Research Papers

What is a research paper?

A research paper requires you to form an opinion on a topic, research and gain expert knowledge on that topic, and then back up your own opinions and assertions with facts found through your thorough research.

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Types of Research Papers   This guide discusses the different types of research papers that you might encounter in an academic setting.

How to Write a Research Paper  This article provides step-by-step guidance on how to write a research paper.

Argumentative Essays

What is an argumentative essay?

In this paper, you make an argument about a topic or subject and use evidence and analysis to prove your argument. Your main argument is also called a thesis statement .

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How to Write an Argumentative Essay   This article discusses the basics of writing an argumentative paper.

Exploratory Essays

What is an exploratory essay?

An exploratory essay considers a topic or problem and explores possible solutions. This type of paper also sometimes includes background about how you have approached the topic, as well as information about your research process. Whereas other types of essays take a concrete stance on an issue and offer extensive support for that stance, the exploratory essay covers how you arrived at an idea and what research materials and methods you used to explore it.

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How to Write an Exploratory Essay   This article covers the essentials of writing an exploratory essay.

Critical Analysis Essays

What is a critical analysis essay?

A critical analysis examines and evaluates someone else’s work, such as a book, an essay, or an article. It requires two steps: a careful reading of the work and thoughtful analysis of the information presented in the work.

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How to Write a Critical Analysis Essay   This resource discusses the details of critical analysis essays and provides tips for writing one.

Literature Reviews

What is a literature review?

A literature review is an assessment of sources on a chosen topic of research. The  four main objectives  of a literature review are:

  • Studying  the references of your research area
  • Summarizing  the main arguments
  • Identifying  current gaps, stances, and issues
  • Finally,  presenting  all of the above in a text

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How to Write a Literature Review   This guide defines literature reviews and offers strategies for constructing them.

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How to write academic papers: a comprehensive guide.


The fact that the majority of students consider their academic papers as one of the most complex assignments does not seems surprising at all. Why is that so? Why are these assignments so complicated? There are a few main reasons. First of all, in order to provide a high-quality paper, one has to fulfill a whole list of subtasks, such as choosing the right topic, organizing the whole paper, finding relevant literature, conducting a research, etc… The actual writing is just one phase of the whole process. The problem with this phase is that it is not an easy task to provide the content that is concise and informative, but at the same time interesting and original. It seems that the writing talent is of great help in this process, but unfortunately, only a small percentage of students actually possess this kind of talent. Besides that, every academic term paper writing has to be done in accordance with a specific set of writing norms and rules (for example, APA or Chicago), so students should also get familiar with these.

The additional problem is that these obligations are very common, so they have a significant influence of the final grades. In the text below, a few tips and pieces of advice on how to provide a high-quality academic paper will be provided, so students should get familiar with these as they can be very beneficial for their future education.

Types of academic writing

Of course, there are different types of academic papers, depending on their content, research design, writing style, audience, etc… These are some of the most common types of academic papers.

            Research paper

This is one of the most common types of academic writing. This is a paper that requires the combination of creativity, research skill, and the knowledge of a particular topic. The creativity takes place at the beginning of the paper in which a student should elaborate the main idea of his research and explain why this domain is investigated. Although it is not always the case, these papers often include the actual research process, so a student has to collect his own data. This indicates that the research design has to be constructed. A research design contains information such as who will be the participants (i.e. the sample of a particular population), how the data will be collected, what instruments or questionnaire will be used, what kind of statistical analysis will be provided, etc… At the end, the results have to be interpreted and discussed.


            Essays don’t include the process of collecting the data, but it does include the literature review, i.e. the process of collecting relevant information on a particular topic. Of course, one should only use academic and reliable sources of information (scientific books, articles, scientific papers, etc…). There are 4 main types of essays:

  • The expository essay (the elaboration and explanation of a particular topic or idea; for example, “The main postulates of the Roman law”)
  • The persuasive essay (the writer aims to defend a certain claim or a point of view; “Why smoking is harmful?”);
  • The analytical essay (the process of analyzing a certain domain, such as a work of art, some natural process, etc…; “The influence of Homer’s Iliad on poetry”)
  • The argumentative essay (elaborating why a certain point of view is more accurate than the other ones; “Why are non-physical forms of punishment more effective than the physical ones?”)

Academic proposal

This type of academic paper can be considered as a concise version of the scientific paper. It represents detailed and elaborated plan of the research. Another important thing to mention is that it is submitted before the actual research takes place.

Writing pitfalls

Although every student has his own style and specific writing issues, there are a few very common pitfalls.

Using complex expressions

A lot of students make mistake by thinking that they will make a positive impression by using complex expressions and complicated sentences. However, the truth is usually quite the opposite; this kind of elaboration can often represent the compensation for the lack of understanding a particular construct.

Forcing productivity

In the domain of writing, productivity is tightly connected to the creativity and inspiration, and the problem with these two is that they cannot be forced. Some students believe that they should finish their paper “in one breath”, so they force themselves to write even if they are tired. The best advice is to make a short break (preferably in a physically active manner) whenever a student feels that he is getting tired and losing his focus.

Writing in Second/Third person

Academic papers are almost always written in a third person. This way the content sounds more objective, as it can be seen in these examples.

Second person: You shouldn’t smoke because it is bad for you.

Third person: Smoking should be avoided, as it can cause serious physical consequences.

Citations and References

Every academic paper has to be written in accordance with a certain set of writing rules. The three of the most common ones are APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), and Chicago. Considering that there are minor differences between these citation styles, only one of them will be further elaborated, as it is very simple to find the examples of other two citation systems online.

APA is mostly used in psychology and education domain. Here are some examples:

In-text citation:

(Author, year of publication, page number); “People are not just on looking hosts of internal mechanisms orchestrated by environmental events” (Bandura, 2001, p.4)

Author, A. A. (Year of publication).  Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle . Location: Publisher.; Amabile, T. M. (1983). The social psychology of creativity . New York: Springer-Verlag.

Author, A. (Publication Year). Article title. Periodical Title, Volume(Issue), pp.-pp.; Bruer, J. T. (1997). Education and the brain: A bridge too far. Educational researcher, 26 (8), 4-16.

Writing assignments are considered to be one of the most complex academic obligations for a good reason. In this text, some of the main domains were elaborated and a few pieces of advice were provided. With dedication and these tips in hand, it is almost certain that every student can ensure a high-quality academic paper of any kind.

About the author:

Samantha Anderson is a passionate teacher. She found her destiny in developing new educational approaches. Which she kindly shares on the blog. Her free time is dedicated to writing college essays for students in order to help them find the real purpose of it. according to Samantha’s lifestyle, rock climbing is the best thing for relaxation.

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How To: Write an Academic Paper

As you near the end of the semester, we’re going to cover the four phases of trying to get an academic paper published:

  • Selecting a venue
  • Writing the paper
  • Submitting the paper
  • Presenting the work

Of course, two of those phases — 2 and 4, writing and presenting — are also required work for this class. To be clear, since there’s always someone that misunderstands: everyone (or every group) will submit a paper about their project and a presentation of their project. So, to maximize the time y’all have to incorporate these notes into your actual work, we’re going to cover 2 and 4 first, then 1 and 3.

What is an Academic Paper?

The foundation of the scientific community is the peer review process. Under the peer review process, scientists organize conferences and journals around common themes, and researchers who believe they have something worth contributing will write papers and submit to those conferences and journals. Paper submissions are then circulated among the prominent members of the community, who then review the work. These reviews are then sent back to the author, and a decision is made on whether to accept the paper. If accepted, authors typically still get to revise the paper to incorporate the feedback, and then their submission is included in the published journal or conference proceedings. For conference papers, an author of each paper goes to the conference to give a presentation or share a poster about the paper.

So, an academic paper is an attempt to contribute to the field. Most conferences and journals have standard formats to ensure consistent style in the published results. In this class, we’re requiring final papers to be in JDF format for consistency with the rest of the class.

What does it take to contribute?

The typical academic paper will have several parts, all targeted at making sure a paper contributes to the field. The typical outline is:

  • Introduction. Some background on what it is you’re talking about. Typically, this will include a cursory literature review just to define the problem area. It will culminate in the question the paper is answering or the problem the paper is solving, typically followed by a brief summary of the contribution itself.
  • Related Work. What is the context of the work? Who else is working on the same sorts of problems or questions? How is this work different? How does this work contribute to the broader field? A strong related work section is the underappreciated foundation of a good paper: it tells the reader exactly where this contribution sits in a broader narrative. This goes back to the first few weeks of this course: the entire reason why we asked you to go so far into the literature was so you could make a case that your work contributes to the field, rather than reinventing the wheel or making the same mistakes as others.
  • The Solution. If you built something, typically what follows is a description of what you built and why it was designed the way it was.
  • Methodology. If you built something, you generally need to test it and prove some positive results before it will be accepted for a full publication (it may be accepted for a shorter, lighter contribution based on implementation alone if it’s particularly novel, but for a high-impact contribution there typically needs to be some evaluation). The methodology tells how you tested it. If, on the other hand, you were researching some question, the methodology tells the reader how you set about answering it. The important thing about the methodology is that exists separate and before the results: it tells the reader why they should trust the results.
  • The Results. What was the result of the investigation or evaluation? This is typically what the entire paper is building toward: some assertion that the solution worked or some answer to the question that was raised.
  • Limitations. Another underappreciated section of any strong paper: the limitations section clearly articulates exactly how generalizable the conclusions are. For example, if work was done in the context of a middle school, then the results may only be generalizable to middle schools. If there were clear potential lurking variables in the methodology, then those would be disclosed here. The importance of the limitations section is that it clearly and honestly articulates how far the contribution goes. In my experience, any limitation you identify will not be held against your paper, but if the reviewers have limitations you don’t acknowledge, they’ll be far more reluctant to accept the contribution. This is what separates research from advertising.
  • Conclusion. A summary, basically. Reiterate the context, the problem, the solution, the results, and the limitations.
  • Future Work. Make a bunch of false promises about what you’re going to do next. (I kid, but generally, I don’t see much value in Future Work sections: they usually raise big questions that the authors have no intent on answering, and I’ve rarely seen a paper receive feedback asking for more future work, even if none was included in the first place.)

What papers get accepted?

So what papers get accepted? In my experience, the two most impactful parts of a paper on its likelihood to be accepted are the Related Work section and the Limitations section.

First, the Related Work section sets the stage for how invested you were in this paper and this community. It’s like a nice web design or a clean animation on a video: it shows the overall level of effort put into the paper, and sets a positive (or negative) expectation in the reader. Plus, a comprehensive Related Work section raises the odds that you actually cited your reviewers, which is never a bad thing.

The Limitations section is where you build trust in your reader. Although we can describe our methodology and analysis in lots of detail, the oversight over whether it actually was executed correctly typically lies within your own university. Falsified results aren’t likely to be caught in the initial peer review process, but rather in follow-up questioning and more comprehensive reporting to funding agencies. For this reason, reviewers are often skeptical of results that seem too good to be true, or work that overclaims its applications. Science is a slow, deliberate, methodical process, and reviewers appreciate when authors proactively emphasize how far their conclusions should be taken.

Of course, the other components are all important, too: a strong methodology, a clear contribution, a nice solution, and strong results (not necessarily positive results, but interesting results). However, those tend to be what most people emphasize anyway. Related Work and Limitations are often saved for the end, and that’s where many papers find themselves rejected: authors are more interested in bragging about their work than putting it in context or delineating its impact.

What about the content track?

All of this applies pretty clearly to the Development and Research tracks, but what about the Content track? In terms of academic publication, the Content track is very similar to the Development track: the solution that you built is content rather than software, but that content still aims to accomplish a goal, and that goal can (in theory) be evaluated.

For a good example of this, consider one of my papers from Learning @ Scale . The paper was about my undergraduate MOOC that we also offer for Georgia Tech credit. The solution is a course — if it was a class project, it would sit squarely within the content track. The paper covers (a) why an online course for this is necessary, (b) what other people have done to teach this topic, (c) why this course design is different, (d) the evaluation methodology for investigating the course, (e) the results of that methodology, and (f) the limitations.

But for this class…

Note that for this class, we don’t expect everyone to have a publication-worthy paper. The hope is that many of you will have that, but that isn’t a requirement of the class. Our goal is to set the stage for some of you to potentially reach that point, but most people won’t.

Specifically, in the context of a college semester, it’s entirely reasonable that you only built something and did not have time to evaluate it. Or, you conducted some research, but the conclusions are too preliminary or the methodology too uncontrolled to make for a strong contribution. That’s perfectly fine.

So for many of you, this may seem like a silly exercise. Most projects in the class aren’t at the point of being publishable, nor should they be after only a few weeks. Maybe it’s a good experience and learning exercise, but is it really worth it?

There’s a reason for this policy, though. This class is very much modeled after the classes that Ellen Do used to teach — they, too, involved an investigation phase, proposal phase, project phase, and delivery phase. She required papers to be conference-ready, too, even if they weren’t going to be submitted for publication. Why?

What we found was that when we require everyone to turn in a publication-ready paper, ~5% of the actual papers would end up getting published! However, if we didn’t require the papers to be conference ready, and instead let that be optional, no one actually wrote conference-ready papers, no one submitted them, and no one was published. The act of requiring everyone to submit conference-ready papers led to more people actually submitting and more people getting accepted, even though the majority still never submitted.

So, for a few extra minutes of thought, we drastically raise the likelihood of some of the papers being published. We’ve seen this in the past: around a dozen projects from this class have been published. So, it’s true: for many people, selecting a conference might not be that useful an exercise. Many of you might have trouble finding a conference that really fits. That’s alright! This is an example of where one size doesn’t fit all — but by having everyone complete these steps, some people will find it fits very well.

And even for those that don’t submit for publication, this exercise still carries value. For one, the formally-formatted papers tend to just look official, even if they aren’t peer reviewed. Taking the time to format the paper well is like putting on your best outfit for a first date: it doesn’t change the underlying content, but it puts it in the best possible light and shows you want it to leave a positive impression. We also encourage you to publish your final papers at SMARTech — that isn’t peer reviewed, but it nonetheless publishes the work in a public repository.

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Google Scholar reveals its most influential papers for 2021

Early clinical observations of COVID-19 and its mortality risk factors among the most cited output, while a five-year-old AI paper continues to command attention.

academic papers have

Examples of using SSD, an object-detection algorithm described in a highly cited artificial intelligence paper. Credit: Wei Liu et al. European Conference on Computer Vision (2016)

24 August 2021

academic papers have

Wei Liu et al. European Conference on Computer Vision (2016)

Examples of using SSD, an object-detection algorithm described in a highly cited artificial intelligence paper.

COVID-19-related papers have eclipsed artificial intelligence research in the annual listing of the most highly-cited publications in the Google Scholar database. The most highly cited COVID-19 paper, published in The Lancet in early 2020, has garnered more than 30,000 citations to date (see below for paper summary).

But, in the database of almost 400 million academic papers and other scholarly literature, even it fell a long way short of the most highly cited paper of the last five years, ‘Deep Residual Learning for Image Recognition’, published in Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition by a team from Microsoft in 2016.

The five-year-old paper’s astonishing ascendancy continues, from 25,256 citations in 2019 to 49,301 citations in 2020 to 82,588 citations in 2021. We wrote about it last year here .

The 2021 Google Scholar Metrics ranking tracks papers published between 2016 and 2020, and includes citations from all articles that were indexed in Google Scholar as of July 2020. Google Scholar is the largest database in the world of its kind.

Below we describe selections from Google Scholar’s most highly-cited articles for 2021. COVID-19 research dominated new arrivals in the list, but we’re also featuring a popular AI paper from 2016, and research that provides an economical shortcut to seeing patterns of human genetic variation, also from 2016.

See our coverage of the 2019 and 2020 lists.

‘Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China’

30,529 citations

Published in February 2020, this is one of the earliest papers to describe the clinical characteristics of COVID-19. It was authored by researchers in China and doctors working in hospitals in Wuhan, the city where COVID-19 was first detected in late 2019.

The team, from institutions such as the Jin Yin-tan Hospital in Wuhan and China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing, reviewed the clinical and nursing reports, chest X-rays and lab results of the first 41 COVID-19 patients. They noted that the novel virus acts similarly to SARS and MERS, in that it causes pneumonia, but is different in that it seldom manifests as a runny nose or intestinal symptoms.

The final sentences of the paper call for robust and rapid testing, because of the likelihood of the disease spreading out of control:

“Reliable quick pathogen tests and feasible differential diagnosis based on clinical description are crucial for clinicians in their first contact with suspected patients. Because of the pandemic potential of 2019-nCoV, careful surveillance is essential to monitor its future host adaption, viral evolution, infectivity, transmissibility, and pathogenicity.”

The paper has been referenced or cited in almost 100 policy documents to date , including several released by the World Health Organization on topics such as mask-wearing and clinical care of patients with severe symptoms .

‘Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China’

New England Journal of Medicine

19,656 citations

Published online in February 2020, this study was a retrospective review of medical records for 1,099 COVID-19 cases reported to the National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China between 11 December 2019 and 29 January 2020.

The team, which included almost 40 researchers from China from institutions such as the Guangzhou Medical University in Guangzhou and Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, accessed electronic medical records from 552 hospitals in mainland China to summarise exposure risk, signs and symptoms, laboratory and radiologic findings related to COVID-19 infection.

The study garnered a lot of media attention based on the evidence it put forward that men might be more severely impacted by disease – 58% of the patient cohort were male.

However, as Sharon Begley reported for STAT , “It’s possible the apparent sex imbalance reflects patterns of travel and contacts that make men more likely to be exposed to carriers of the virus, not any inherent biological differences. It’s also possible the apparent worse disease severity in men could skew the data.”

A paper published in JAMA around the same time by researchers in the United States reported that, among hospitalized patients, there is “a slight predominance of men”.

A Nature Communications meta-analysis , published in December 2020, looked at 92 studies covering more than three million patients and concluded that, while males and females appeared to be susceptible to infection, men were 2.84 times more likely to be end up in intensive care and 1.39 times more likely to die from the disease.

‘Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective cohort study’

17,047 citations

Published in March 2020, The Lancet described this study as the first time researchers have examined risk factors associated with severe symptoms and death in hospitalised or deceased patients. Of the 191 patients studied, 137 were discharged from hospital and 54 died.

The study, by researchers from hospitals in China, also presented new data on viral shedding – information that informed early understanding of how the virus spreads and can be detected over the cause of infection.

“The extended viral shedding noted in our study has important implications for guiding decisions around isolation precautions and antiviral treatment in patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection,” said co-lead author, Bin Cao, from the China-Japan Friendship Hospital and Capital Medical University in Beijing.

“However, we need to be clear that viral shedding time should not be confused with other self-isolation guidance for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 but do not have symptoms, as this guidance is based on the incubation time of the virus.”

‘A Novel Coronavirus from Patients with Pneumonia in China, 2019’

The New England journal of medicine

16,194 citations

On 31 December 2019, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) dispatched a rapid response team to accompany health authorities in Hubei province and Wuhan city in conducting COVID-19 investigations.

This study, published in January 2020, reported the results of that investigation, including the clinical features of the pneumonia of two patients.

Described by Jose Manuel Jimenez-Guardeño, a researcher in the Department of Infectious Diseases at King's College London , UK and colleagues in an article for The Conversation as “the article that released this virus to the world”, the paper details how the virus was isolated from patients with pneumonia in Wuhan in cell cultures.

“In fact, actual photographs of SARS-CoV-2 were shown to the world for the first time here,” say Jimenez-Guardeño and his co-authors .


The study authors urged that more epidemiologic investigations were needed in order to characterize transmission modes, reproduction intervals and other characteristics of the virus to inform strategies to control and stop its spread.

‘SSD: Single Shot MultiBox Detector’

European Conference on Computer Vision

15,368 citations

A change of pace from recent COVID-19 studies, this paper, led by Wei Liu from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and published in 2016, remains one of the most highly cited in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). It describes a new method for detecting objects in images or video footage using a single deep neural network – a set of AI algorithms inspired by the neurological processes that fire in the human cerebral cortex.

The approach, called the Single Shot MultiBox Detector, or SSD, has been described as faster than Faster R-CNN – another object detection technology that was described in a very highly cited paper published in 2015 ( see our coverage here ).

SSD works by dividing the image into a grid, with each grid cell responsible for detecting objects within that part of the image. As the name indicates, the network is able to identify all objects within an image in a single pass, allowing for real-time analysis.

SSD is now one of a handful of object detection technologies that are now available. YOLO (You Only Look Once) is a similar single-shot object detection algorithm, whereas R-CNN and Faster R-CNN use a two-step approach , which involves first identifying the regions where objects might be, and then detecting them.

‘Analysis of protein-coding genetic variation in 60,706 humans’

7,696 citations

Led by Monkol Lek from the University of Sydney in Australia and Daniel MacArthur from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University , this 2016 paper presents an open-access catalogue of more than 60,000 human exome sequences (exomes are the coding portions of genes) from people of European, African, South Asian, East Asian, and Latinx ancestry.

The collection was compiled as part of the Exome Aggregation Consortium project, run by an international group of researchers with a focus on exome sequencing. As exomes only make up about 2% of the human genome , the approach has been praised for being able to highlight patterns of genetic variation, including known disease-related variants, in a more cost-effective way than whole-genome sequencing.

Presented at a 2015 genomics conference, the catalogue encompasses 7.4 million genetic variants, which can be used to identify those connected to rare diseases. “Large-scale reference datasets of human genetic variation are critical for the medical and functional interpretation of DNA sequence changes,” Lek said when the paper was published.

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April 28, 2021

Preprints: How draft academic papers have become essential in the fight against COVID

by Jonathon Alexis Coates, The Conversation

Preprints: how draft academic papers have become essential in the fight against COVID

What are preprints?

Preprints in the pandemic, a preprinted future.

Provided by The Conversation

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May 19, 2021

What is an Academic Paper?

Why academic writing is different from writing you have done in high school.

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Organizing Academic Research Papers: Choosing a Title

  • Purpose of Guide
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
  • Glossary of Research Terms
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
  • Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
  • Academic Writing Style
  • Choosing a Title
  • Making an Outline
  • Paragraph Development
  • Executive Summary
  • Background Information
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Citation Tracking
  • Content Alert Services
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Primary Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Tertiary Sources
  • What Is Scholarly vs. Popular?
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Using Non-Textual Elements
  • Limitations of the Study
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Footnotes or Endnotes?
  • Further Readings
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Dealing with Nervousness
  • Using Visual Aids
  • Grading Someone Else's Paper
  • How to Manage Group Projects
  • Multiple Book Review Essay
  • Reviewing Collected Essays
  • About Informed Consent
  • Writing Field Notes
  • Writing a Policy Memo
  • Writing a Research Proposal
  • Acknowledgements

The title summarizes the main idea or ideas of your study. A good title contains the fewest possible words that adequately describe the contents and/or purpose of your research paper.

The title is without doubt the part of a paper that is read the most, and it is usually read first . If the title is too long it usually contains too many unnecessary words, e.g., "A Study to Investigate the...." On the other hand, a title which is too short often uses words which are too general. For example, "African Politics" could be the title of a book, but it does not provide any information on the focus of a research paper.

Structure and Writing Style

The following parameters can be used to help you formulate a suitable research paper title:

  • The purpose of the research
  • The narrative tone of the paper [typically defined by the type of the research]
  • The methods used

The initial aim of a title is to capture the reader’s attention and to draw his or her attention to the research problem being investigated.

Create a Working Title Typically, the final title you submit to your professor is created after the research is complete so that the title accurately captures what was done . The working title should be developed early in the research process because it can help anchor the focus of the study in much the same way the research problem does. Referring back to the working title can help you reorient yourself back to the main purpose of the study if you feel yourself drifting off on a tangent while writing. The Final Title Effective titles in academic research papers have several characteristics.

  • Indicate accurately the subject and scope of the study.
  • Avoid using abbreviations.
  • Use words that create a positive impression and stimulate reader interest.
  • Use current nomenclature from the field of study.
  • Identify key variables, both dependent and independent.
  • May reveal how the paper will be organized.
  • Suggest a relationship between variables which supports the major hypothesis.
  • Is limited to 10 to 15 substantive words.
  • Do not include "study of," "analysis of" or similar constructions.
  • Titles are usually in the form of a phrase, but can also be in the form of a question.
  • Use correct grammar and capitalization with all first words and last words capitalized, including the first word of a subtitle. All nouns,  pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs that appear between the first and last words of the title are also capitalized.
  • In academic papers, rarely is a title followed by an exclamation mark. However, a title or subtitle can be in the form of a question.

The Subtitle Subtitles are quite common in social science research papers. Examples of why you may include a subtitle:

  • Explains or provides additional context , e.g., "Linguistic Ethnography and the Study of Welfare Institutions as a Flow of Social Practices: The Case of Residential Child Care Institutions as Paradoxical Institutions."
  • Adds substance to a literary, provocative, or imaginative title , e.g., "Listen to What I Say, Not How I Vote: Congressional Support for the President in Washington and at Home."
  • Qualifies the geographic scope of the research , e.g., "The Geopolitics of the Eastern Border of the European Union: The Case of Romania-Moldova-Ukraine."
  • Qualifies the temporal scope of the research , e.g., "A Comparison of the Progressive Era and the Depression Years: Societal Influences on Predictions of the Future of the Library, 1895-1940."
  • Focuses on investigating the ideas, theories, or work of a particular individual , e.g., "A Deliberative Conception of Politics: How Francesco Saverio Merlino Related Anarchy and Democracy."

Balch, Tucker. How to Compose a Title for Your Research Paper . Augmented Trader blog. School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Tech University;  Choosing the Proper Research Paper Titles ., 2007-2012; General Format. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University.

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The top list of academic search engines

academic search engines

1. Google Scholar

4., 5. semantic scholar, 6. baidu scholar, get the most out of academic search engines, frequently asked questions about academic search engines, related articles.

Academic search engines have become the number one resource to turn to in order to find research papers and other scholarly sources. While classic academic databases like Web of Science and Scopus are locked behind paywalls, Google Scholar and others can be accessed free of charge. In order to help you get your research done fast, we have compiled the top list of free academic search engines.

Google Scholar is the clear number one when it comes to academic search engines. It's the power of Google searches applied to research papers and patents. It not only lets you find research papers for all academic disciplines for free but also often provides links to full-text PDF files.

  • Coverage: approx. 200 million articles
  • Abstracts: only a snippet of the abstract is available
  • Related articles: ✔
  • References: ✔
  • Cited by: ✔
  • Links to full text: ✔
  • Export formats: APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, Vancouver, RIS, BibTeX

Search interface of Google Scholar

BASE is hosted at Bielefeld University in Germany. That is also where its name stems from (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine).

  • Coverage: approx. 136 million articles (contains duplicates)
  • Abstracts: ✔
  • Related articles: ✘
  • References: ✘
  • Cited by: ✘
  • Export formats: RIS, BibTeX

Search interface of Bielefeld Academic Search Engine aka BASE

CORE is an academic search engine dedicated to open-access research papers. For each search result, a link to the full-text PDF or full-text web page is provided.

  • Coverage: approx. 136 million articles
  • Links to full text: ✔ (all articles in CORE are open access)
  • Export formats: BibTeX

Search interface of the CORE academic search engine is a fantastic resource as it bundles and offers free access to search results from more than 15 U.S. federal agencies. There is no need anymore to query all those resources separately!

  • Coverage: approx. 200 million articles and reports
  • Links to full text: ✔ (available for some databases)
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Search interface of

Semantic Scholar is the new kid on the block. Its mission is to provide more relevant and impactful search results using AI-powered algorithms that find hidden connections and links between research topics.

  • Coverage: approx. 40 million articles
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Search interface of Semantic Scholar

Although Baidu Scholar's interface is in Chinese, its index contains research papers in English as well as Chinese.

  • Coverage: no detailed statistics available, approx. 100 million articles
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  • Export formats: APA, MLA, RIS, BibTeX

Search interface of Baidu Scholar

RefSeek searches more than one billion documents from academic and organizational websites. Its clean interface makes it especially easy to use for students and new researchers.

  • Coverage: no detailed statistics available, approx. 1 billion documents
  • Abstracts: only snippets of the article are available
  • Export formats: not available

Search interface of RefSeek

Consider using a reference manager like Paperpile to save, organize, and cite your references. Paperpile integrates with Google Scholar and many popular databases, so you can save references and PDFs directly to your library using the Paperpile buttons:

academic papers have

Google Scholar is an academic search engine, and it is the clear number one when it comes to academic search engines. It's the power of Google searches applied to research papers and patents. It not only let's you find research papers for all academic disciplines for free, but also often provides links to full text PDF file.

Semantic Scholar is a free, AI-powered research tool for scientific literature developed at the Allen Institute for AI. Sematic Scholar was publicly released in 2015 and uses advances in natural language processing to provide summaries for scholarly papers.

BASE , as its name suggest is an academic search engine. It is hosted at Bielefeld University in Germany and that's where it name stems from (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine).

CORE is an academic search engine dedicated to open access research papers. For each search result a link to the full text PDF or full text web page is provided. is a fantastic resource as it bundles and offers free access to search results from more than 15 U.S. federal agencies. There is no need any more to query all those resources separately!

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Understanding the keyword adoption behavior patterns of researchers from a functional structure perspective

  • Published: 10 May 2024

Cite this article

academic papers have

  • Jinqing Yang 1 ,
  • Zhifeng Liu 2 ,
  • Xiufeng Cheng 1 &
  • Guanghui Ye 1  

Researchers adopt keywords to signify the core content of papers, and the spatial distribution of these keywords within the paper can provide insight into researchers’ adoption behavior patterns. In this study, the primary purpose was to investigate how keyword adoption patterns affect academic papers’ perceived value. First, we collected 5,739 papers from the China National Knowledge Infrastructure ( CNKI ) to extract the first-level subtitles for statistically characterizing the functional structure of papers in the Library and Information Science ( LIS ) field. Second, we introduce a balance degree indicator to measure the keywords’ spatial distribution. Next, we identify researchers’ keyword adoption behavior patterns based on the keyword spatial distribution in the functional structure. Finally, we investigate the effect of keyword adoption behavior patterns on paper impact. The findings of our study reveal that: (1) In the Library and Information Science field, the balance degree values exhibit a normal distribution and are verified to be valid. (2) Depending on the keyword distribution across the four segments, the keyword adoption behaviors of researchers can be categorized into 24 distinct types. (3) The balance degree is positively correlated with both the citation and download count, and notably, the keyword spatial distribution of the Introduction and Results & Discussion sections have a significant effect on a paper’s impact. These findings have significant implications for keyword selection and the early prediction of a paper’s citation and download frequency.

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This research has been supported by the Major Program of National Fund of Philosophy and Social Science of China (Grant No. 19ZDA345), Youth Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 72304108), Natural Science Foundation of Hubei Province (Grant No. 2024AFB1019), Basic Research Program of Chinese Universities (Grant No. CCNU24ZZ140).

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Jinqing Yang, Xiufeng Cheng & Guanghui Ye

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Most academic papers have four or five sections in the LIS field and end with a “Conclusion” section. Therefore, there is a possibility that either Sects. “ Results ” or “ Discussion ” could be “Conclusion” section. The title name counts of the last sections are shown in Table  5 .

In order to analyze whether the distribution of adoption behavior patterns is biased across journals, we calculated the distribution ratio of keyword adoption behavior patterns in the 20 journals, as shown in Table  6 . The full data can be downloaded from .

In order to better observe laws of keyword adoption behavioral patterns, we calculated the average citation and download frequencies for each behavior pattern respectively, as shown in Table  7 . The Pearson’s rank-correlation coefficient of them is 0.43 ( p  = 0.03).

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Academic Literacy Is More Than Language, It's About Critical Thinking and Analysis - Universities Should Do More to Teach These Skills [analysis]

M aking the adjustment from school to university is no easy task. For instance, there's a big difference between writing a high school essay and crafting an academic paper which meets university standards.

In the decades since formal apartheid ended, South Africa's universities have become increasingly accessible to students from different socioeconomic, schooling and linguistic backgrounds. But many of these students do not have the language or literacy skills to succeed at university level.

When I talk about "language", I don't mean that their level of fluency in English is the problem. In my long experience as a researcher and practitioner in the field of academic literacy, I have seen time and again that not only non-native English speakers struggle to transition from school to university. Many students, no matter what language they speak, lack the skills of critical thinking, analysis and logical reasoning.

Academic literacy is a mode of reasoning that aims to develop university students into deep thinkers, critical readers and writers. Many universities in South Africa offer academic literacy programmes to support struggling undergraduates. On paper, these programmes are an opportunity for students to read and analyse different academic texts. Ideally they should provide students with the academic tools to cope in an ever-changing university landscape and the broader South African economy.

But, as my research and that of other academic literacy practitioners shows , many South African universities' academic literacy programmes are still promoting what researchers in this field call a " deficit model ". Here, lecturers assume that academic literacy is about teaching generic skills that can be transferred across disciplines. These skills include note-taking, structuring an academic essay and constructing sentences and paragraphs. There's also a big focus on the rules of English grammar.

While these are all useful skills, academic literacy is about so much more.

This approach does not equip students with skills that can transform their minds : critical and logical reasoning, argumentation, conceptual and analytical thinking, and problem solving.

Without these skills, undergraduate students come to believe, for instance, that disciplinary knowledge is factual and truthful and cannot be challenged. They don't learn how to critically assess and even challenge knowledge. Or they only see certain forms of knowledge as valid and scientific. In addition, they believe that some (mainly African) languages can never be used for research, teaching and learning. Pragmatically, they also don't develop the confidence to notice their own errors, attempt to address them or seek help.

I would like to share some suggestions on how to produce university graduates who can think critically.

The deficit model

Why does the deficit model still prevail in South African universities? Research ( including mine ) offers some clues.

First, academic literacy still suffers from confusion around the definition. Not everyone in higher education agrees on what it is. So, disciplinary experts and some academic literacy practitioners misrepresent it as English language support. They assume that reading and writing in English with grammatical correctness is more important than critical thinking and argumentation.

They assume that a semester or year-long academic literacy course can "fix" students who lack these basic English skills. This approach tends to target and stigmatise people whose home language isn't English, most often Black South Africans, Afrikaans speakers and students from other parts of Africa.

Another issue is that some academic literacy lecturers are not familiar with or are unconcerned about new research. They don't follow national or global scholarly debates about the discipline. That means their teaching isn't grounded in research or in new theoretical shifts.

Moreover, academic literacy practitioners and disciplinary experts do not always work together to develop the courses. This entrenches misleading views about the field, and it means academic literacy lecturers are not always aware of what's expected in different disciplines.

Doing things differently

These problems can be overcome.

Academic literacy programmes at South African universities should focus on providing students with empowering academic literacy skills that can transform their minds.

The starting point is to understand that academic literacy is a cognitive process. It helps students to think, read and write critically.

For this to happen, disciplinary boundaries and hierarchies must be disrupted. Academic literacy programmes should be designed collaboratively with disciplinary experts . This will guarantee contextual relevance. Academic literacy departments or units need to be staffed by academics who keep abreast of new research in the field. They should be familiar especially with research that focuses on the South African context.

Pineteh Angu , Associate professor, University of Pretoria

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  • Configuration of Paper Directory: - Implement a feature allowing users to easily set up and manage their paper directory, as detailed in Issue #41 .
  • Incorporate telemetry features with a clear and concise privacy statement.
  • Creation of Example Library: - Develop a feature to create an example library, helping new users quickly understand JabRef's functionality.
  • Community Engagement Tools: - Add links to the JabRef forum for support and Mastodon for community interaction.
  • Donation Prompt:- Encourage support for JabRef through a tastefully integrated donation option.
  • User Group-Specific Defaults: - Offer pre-configured default preferences catering to different user groups, such as "relaxed users" wanting all features, and "pro-users" who prefer managing BibTeX files without additional features (as per Issue #9491 ).

(These are just ideas, during the project, this needs to be refined)

Expected Outcome:

A welcome dialog with nice and welcoming UX

  • The welcome dialog should ask for: Configuration of Paper Direction, Integration of Online Services (Grobid, Telemetry), Creation of Example Library, Community Engagement Tool, Link to Donation page
  • The welcome dialog should offer some sensitive User Group-Specific Defaults: Offer pre-configured default preferences catering to different user groups, such as "relaxed users" wanting all features, and "pro-users" who prefer managing BibTeX files without additional features (as per Issue #9491 ).
  • Java, JavaFX

@koppor , @tobiasdiez

Improved SLR Support


With the ever-growing number of publications in computer science and other fields of research, conducting secondary studies becomes necessary to summarize the current state of the art. For software engineering research, Kitchenham popularized the systematic literature review (SLR) method to address this issue. The main idea is to systematically identify and analyze the majority of relevant publications on a specific topic. This is usually an activity that takes extensive manual effort. Some tool support does exist, but the full potential of tools has not been exploited yet. JabRef also offers basic functionality for systematic literature reviews that is used by a number of researchers to systematically "harvest" related work based on the fetching capabilities of JabRef. While using the feature, various additional feature requests came up. For instance, created search queries are currently transformed internally by JabRef to the query format of the publisher. It should also be possible to directly input a query at the publisher site, e.g., for IEEE or ACM. More information: Dominik Voigt, Oliver Kopp, Karoline Wild: Systematic Literature Tools: Are we there yet? ZEUS 2021: 83-88

One key aspect would be the improvement of the fetcher Infrastructure in JabRef to better adapt to new and changing Publisher/Journal websites and to offer a more direct integration. As an inspiration, see BibDesk

An advanced SLR functionality, where a researcher is supported to execute a systematic-literature-review.

We did an initial project organization at .

@koppor , @Siedlerchr , @calixtus

Project size : 350h (large) - Can also stripped down to medium.

Improved CSL Support (and more LibreOffice-JabRef improvements)

JabRef can connect to LibreOffice to offer premier reference management for LibreOffice. Currently, custom styles are supported. In this project, this support should be extended to offer support for the "Citation Style Language" files. A user should be able to choose the CSL style for the reference list and the citation style. Then, the LibreOffice document should adapt accordingly. For more information on CSL refer to . [Details: #8893 ]

In the LaTeX-world, .bst is still popular. JabRef has BST support, but currently not visible in the UI. In LibreOffice, it should be possible to select a .bst file, which is then used for rendering. [Details: #624 ]

The internal format of references is currently a JabRef-custom format. It should be changed to a format used by Zotero. See the discussion at for details. This includes: i) implementation of that format, ii) implementation of a converter from the "old" JabRef-Format to the new one. The converter could be implemented within OpenOffice (similar to JabRef_LibreOffice_Converter ).

Finally, one can work on improving the JabRef-LibreOffice-Plugin. See for ideas. For instance, it should be possible to have footnote-based citations (see ).

  • It is possible to select and change a CSL style for a LibreOffice document.
  • It is possible to select a .bst files
  • Internal format of citations changed to Zotero-Format
  • 90h (small) (if only CSL style selection and work on Zotero format)
  • 175h (medium) (CSL + .bst + Zotero + other issues fixed)

{Your own project}

You can propose another projects. JabRef offers a variaty of places where it can be improved. Think as user or talk to other users. Following places are a good start:

  • Feature requests prioritized:
  • General list of feature requests:
  • Candidates of university projects, the large ones:

General Information

  • Main Website
  • JabRef in the Media


  • Please go to our devdocs at
  • GSoC 2022 — Implement a Three Way Merge UI for merging BibTeX entries
  • GSoC 2022 - Apache Lucene Search
  • GSoC 2021 - Improve pdf support in JabRef
  • GSoC 2021 - Microsoft Word Integration
  • GSoc 2019 - Bidirectional Integration — Paper Writing — LaTeX and JabRef 5.0
  • Releasing a new version
  • Information update after a release

JabCon Archive

  • JabCon 2021
  • JabCon 2022

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