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How to Write a Research Paper: Parts of the Paper

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Parts of the Research Paper Papers should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Your introductory paragraph should grab the reader's attention, state your main idea, and indicate how you will support it. The body of the paper should expand on what you have stated in the introduction. Finally, the conclusion restates the paper's thesis and should explain what you have learned, giving a wrap up of your main ideas.

1. The Title The title should be specific and indicate the theme of the research and what ideas it addresses. Use keywords that help explain your paper's topic to the reader. Try to avoid abbreviations and jargon. Think about keywords that people would use to search for your paper and include them in your title.

2. The Abstract The abstract is used by readers to get a quick overview of your paper. Typically, they are about 200 words in length (120 words minimum to  250 words maximum). The abstract should introduce the topic and thesis, and should provide a general statement about what you have found in your research. The abstract allows you to mention each major aspect of your topic and helps readers decide whether they want to read the rest of the paper. Because it is a summary of the entire research paper, it is often written last. 

3. The Introduction The introduction should be designed to attract the reader's attention and explain the focus of the research. You will introduce your overview of the topic,  your main points of information, and why this subject is important. You can introduce the current understanding and background information about the topic. Toward the end of the introduction, you add your thesis statement, and explain how you will provide information to support your research questions. This provides the purpose and focus for the rest of the paper.

4. Thesis Statement Most papers will have a thesis statement or main idea and supporting facts/ideas/arguments. State your main idea (something of interest or something to be proven or argued for or against) as your thesis statement, and then provide your supporting facts and arguments. A thesis statement is a declarative sentence that asserts the position a paper will be taking. It also points toward the paper's development. This statement should be both specific and arguable. Generally, the thesis statement will be placed at the end of the first paragraph of your paper. The remainder of your paper will support this thesis.

Students often learn to write a thesis as a first step in the writing process, but often, after research, a writer's viewpoint may change. Therefore a thesis statement may be one of the final steps in writing. 

Examples of Thesis Statements from Purdue OWL

5. The Literature Review The purpose of the literature review is to describe past important research and how it specifically relates to the research thesis. It should be a synthesis of the previous literature and the new idea being researched. The review should examine the major theories related to the topic to date and their contributors. It should include all relevant findings from credible sources, such as academic books and peer-reviewed journal articles. You will want  to:

  • Explain how the literature helps the researcher understand the topic.
  • Try to show connections and any disparities between the literature.
  • Identify new ways to interpret prior research.
  • Reveal any gaps that exist in the literature.

More about writing a literature review. . .

6. The Discussion ​The purpose of the discussion is to interpret and describe what you have learned from your research. Make the reader understand why your topic is important. The discussion should always demonstrate what you have learned from your readings (and viewings) and how that learning has made the topic evolve, especially from the short description of main points in the introduction.Explain any new understanding or insights you have had after reading your articles and/or books. Paragraphs should use transitioning sentences to develop how one paragraph idea leads to the next. The discussion will always connect to the introduction, your thesis statement, and the literature you reviewed, but it does not simply repeat or rearrange the introduction. You want to: 

  • Demonstrate critical thinking, not just reporting back facts that you gathered.
  • If possible, tell how the topic has evolved over the past and give it's implications for the future.
  • Fully explain your main ideas with supporting information.
  • Explain why your thesis is correct giving arguments to counter points.

7. The Conclusion A concluding paragraph is a brief summary of your main ideas and restates the paper's main thesis, giving the reader the sense that the stated goal of the paper has been accomplished. What have you learned by doing this research that you didn't know before? What conclusions have you drawn? You may also want to suggest further areas of study, improvement of research possibilities, etc. to demonstrate your critical thinking regarding your research.

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Parts of a Research Paper

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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.

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Research Paper Examples

When you’re still learning about the various parts that make up a research paper, it can be useful to go through some examples of actual research papers from your exact field of study. This is probably the best way to fully grasp what is the purpose of all the different parts.

We can’t provide you universal examples of all the parts of a research paper, since some of these parts can be very different depending on your field of study.

To get a clear sense of what you should cover in each part of your paper, we recommend you to find some successful research papers in a similar field of study. Often, you may be able to refer to studies you have gathered during the initial literature review.

There are also some templates online that may be useful to look at when you’re just getting started, and trying to grasp the exact requirements for each part in your research paper:

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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.

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Scientific and Scholarly Writing

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Parts of a Scientific & Scholarly Paper

Introduction.

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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.
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Writing Research Papers

  • Research Paper Structure

Whether you are writing a B.S. Degree Research Paper or completing a research report for a Psychology course, it is highly likely that you will need to organize your research paper in accordance with American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines.  Here we discuss the structure of research papers according to APA style.

Major Sections of a Research Paper in APA Style

A complete research paper in APA style that is reporting on experimental research will typically contain a Title page, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, and References sections. 1  Many will also contain Figures and Tables and some will have an Appendix or Appendices.  These sections are detailed as follows (for a more in-depth guide, please refer to " How to Write a Research Paper in APA Style ”, a comprehensive guide developed by Prof. Emma Geller). 2

What is this paper called and who wrote it? – the first page of the paper; this includes the name of the paper, a “running head”, authors, and institutional affiliation of the authors.  The institutional affiliation is usually listed in an Author Note that is placed towards the bottom of the title page.  In some cases, the Author Note also contains an acknowledgment of any funding support and of any individuals that assisted with the research project.

One-paragraph summary of the entire study – typically no more than 250 words in length (and in many cases it is well shorter than that), the Abstract provides an overview of the study.

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.

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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.

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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.

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major parts of a 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. 

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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

Research Guide

Chapter 5 sections of a paper.

Now that you have identified your research question, have compiled the data you need, and have a clear argument and roadmap, it is time for you to write. In this Module, I will briefly explain how to develop different sections of your research paper. I devote a different chapter to the empirical section. Please take into account that these are guidelines to follow in the different section, but you need to adapt them to the specific context of your paper.

5.1 The Abstract

The abstract of a research paper contains the most critical aspects of the paper: your research question, the context (country/population/subjects and period) analyzed, the findings, and the main conclusion. You have about 250 characters to attract the attention of the readers. Many times (in fact, most of the time), readers will only read the abstract. You need to “sell” your argument and entice them to continue reading. Thus, abstracts require good and direct writing. Use journalistic style. Go straight to the point.

There are two ways in which an abstract can start:

By introducing what motivates the research question. This is relevant when some context may be needed. When there is ‘something superior’ motivating your project. Use this strategy with care, as you may confuse the reader who may have a hard time understanding your research question.

By introducing your research question. This is the best way to attract the attention of your readers, as they can understand the main objective of the paper from the beginning. When the question is clear and straightforward this is the best method to follow.

Regardless of the path you follow, make sure that the abstract only includes short sentences written in active voice and present tense. Remember: Readers are very impatient. They will only skim the papers. You should make it simple for readers to find all the necessary information.

5.2 The Introduction

The introduction represents the most important section of your research paper. Whereas your title and abstract guide the readers towards the paper, the introduction should convince them to stay and read the rest of it. This section represents your opportunity to state your research question and link it to the bigger issue (why does your research matter?), how will you respond it (your empirical methods and the theory behind), your findings, and your contribution to the literature on that issue.

I reviewed the “Introduction Formulas” guidelines by Keith Head , David Evans and Jessica B. Hoel and compiled their ideas in this document, based on what my I have seen is used in papers in political economy, and development economics.

This is not a set of rules, as papers may differ depending on the methods and specific characteristics of the field, but it can work as a guideline. An important takeaway is that the introduction will be the section that deserves most of the attention in your paper. You can write it first, but you need to go back to it as you make progress in the rest of teh paper. Keith Head puts it excellent by saying that this exercise (going back and forth) is mostly useful to remind you what are you doing in the paper and why.

5.2.1 Outline

What are the sections generally included in well-written introductions? According to the analysis of what different authors suggest, a well-written introduction includes the following sections:

  • Hook: Motivation, puzzle. (1-2 paragraphs)
  • Research Question: What is the paper doing? (1 paragraph)
  • Antecedents: (optional) How your paper is linked to the bigger issue. Theory. (1-2 paragraphs)
  • Empirical approach: Method X, country Y, dataset Z. (1-2 paragraphs)
  • Detailed results: Don’t make the readers wait. (2-3 paragraphs)
  • Mechanisms, robustness and limitations: (optional) Your results are valid and important (1 paragraph)
  • Value added: Why is your paper important? How is it contributing to the field? (1-3 paragraphs)
  • Roadmap A convention (1 paragraph)

Now, let’s describe the different sections with more detail.

5.2.1.1 1. The Hook

Your first paragraph(s) should attract the attention of the readers, showing them why your research topic is important. Some attributes here are:

  • Big issue, specific angle: This is the big problem, here is this aspect of the problem (that your research tackles)
  • Big puzzle: There is no single explanation of the problem (you will address that)
  • Major policy implemented: Here is the issue and the policy implemented (you will test if if worked)
  • Controversial debate: some argue X, others argue Y

5.2.1.2 2. Research Question

After the issue has been introduced, you need to clearly state your research question; tell the reader what does the paper researches. Some words that may work here are:

  • I (We) focus on
  • This paper asks whether
  • In this paper,
  • Given the gaps in knoweldge, this paper
  • This paper investigates

5.2.1.3 3. Antecedents (Optional section)

I included this section as optional as it is not always included, but it may help to center the paper in the literature on the field.

However, an important warning needs to be placed here. Remember that the introduction is limited and you need to use it to highlight your work and not someone else’s. So, when the section is included, it is important to:

  • Avoid discussing paper that are not part of the larger narrative that surrounds your work
  • Use it to notice the gaps that exist in the current literature and that your paper is covering

In this section, you may also want to include a description of theoretical framework of your paper and/or a short description of a story example that frames your work.

5.2.1.4 4. Empirical Approach

One of the most important sections of the paper, particularly if you are trying to infer causality. Here, you need to explain how you are going to answer the research question you introduced earlier. This section of the introduction needs to be succint but clear and indicate your methodology, case selection, and the data used.

5.2.1.5 5. Overview of the Results

Let’s be honest. A large proportion of the readers will not go over the whole article. Readers need to understand what you’re doing, how and what did you obtain in the (brief) time they will allocate to read your paper (some eager readers may go back to some sections of the paper). So, you want to introduce your results early on (another reason you may want to go back to the introduction multiple times). Highlight the results that are more interesting and link them to the context.

According to David Evans , some authors prefer to alternate between the introduction of one of the empirical strategies, to those results, and then they introduce another empirical strategy and the results. This strategy may be useful if different empirical methodologies are used.

5.2.1.6 6. Mechanisms, Robustness and Limitations (Optional Section)

If you have some ideas about what drives your results (the mechanisms involved), you may want to indicate that here. Some of the current critiques towards economics (and probably social sciences in general) has been the strong focus on establishing causation, with little regard to the context surrounding this (if you want to hear more, there is this thread from Dani Rodrick ). Agency matters and if the paper can say something about this (sometimes this goes beyond our research), you should indicate it in the introduction.

You may also want to briefly indicate how your results are valid after trying different specifications or sources of data (this is called Robustness checks). But you also want to be honest about the limitations of your research. But here, do not diminish the importance of your project. After you indicate the limitations, finish the paragraph restating the importance of your findings.

5.2.1.7 7. Value Added

A very important section in the introduction, these paragraphs help readers (and reviewers) to show why is your work important. What are the specific contributions of your paper?

This section is different from section 3 in that it points out the detailed additions you are making to the field with your research. Both sections can be connected if that fits your paper, but it is quite important that you keep the focus on the contributions of your paper, even if you discuss some literature connected to it, but always with the focus of showing what your paper adds. References (literature review) should come after in the paper.

5.2.1.8 8. Roadmap

A convention for the papers, this section needs to be kept short and outline the organization of the paper. To make it more useful, you can highlight some details that might be important in certain sections. But you want to keep this section succint (most readers skip this paragraph altogether).

5.2.2 In summary

The introduction of your paper will play a huge role in defining the future of your paper. Do not waste this opportunity and use it as well as your North Star guiding your path throughout the rest of the paper.

5.3 Context (Literature Review)

Do you need a literature review section?

5.4 Conclusion

  • 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.

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Parts of a Research Paper

One of the most important aspects of science is ensuring that you get all the parts of the written research paper in the right order.

This article is a part of the guide:

  • Outline Examples
  • Example of a Paper
  • Write a Hypothesis
  • 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

major parts of a 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.

major parts of a 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.

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Writing a Research Paper Introduction | Step-by-Step Guide

Published on September 24, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on March 27, 2023.

Writing a Research Paper Introduction

The introduction to a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:

  • Present your topic and get the reader interested
  • Provide background or summarize existing research
  • Position your own approach
  • Detail your specific research problem and problem statement
  • Give an overview of the paper’s structure

The introduction looks slightly different depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or constructs an argument by engaging with a variety of sources.

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Table of contents

Step 1: introduce your topic, step 2: describe the background, step 3: establish your research problem, step 4: specify your objective(s), step 5: map out your paper, research paper introduction examples, frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.

The first job of the introduction is to tell the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening hook.

The hook is a striking opening sentence that clearly conveys the relevance of your topic. Think of an interesting fact or statistic, a strong statement, a question, or a brief anecdote that will get the reader wondering about your topic.

For example, the following could be an effective hook for an argumentative paper about the environmental impact of cattle farming:

A more empirical paper investigating the relationship of Instagram use with body image issues in adolescent girls might use the following hook:

Don’t feel that your hook necessarily has to be deeply impressive or creative. Clarity and relevance are still more important than catchiness. The key thing is to guide the reader into your topic and situate your ideas.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

This part of the introduction differs depending on what approach your paper is taking.

In a more argumentative paper, you’ll explore some general background here. In a more empirical paper, this is the place to review previous research and establish how yours fits in.

Argumentative paper: Background information

After you’ve caught your reader’s attention, specify a bit more, providing context and narrowing down your topic.

Provide only the most relevant background information. The introduction isn’t the place to get too in-depth; if more background is essential to your paper, it can appear in the body .

Empirical paper: Describing previous research

For a paper describing original research, you’ll instead provide an overview of the most relevant research that has already been conducted. This is a sort of miniature literature review —a sketch of the current state of research into your topic, boiled down to a few sentences.

This should be informed by genuine engagement with the literature. Your search can be less extensive than in a full literature review, but a clear sense of the relevant research is crucial to inform your own work.

Begin by establishing the kinds of research that have been done, and end with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to respond to.

The next step is to clarify how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses.

Argumentative paper: Emphasize importance

In an argumentative research paper, you can simply state the problem you intend to discuss, and what is original or important about your argument.

Empirical paper: Relate to the literature

In an empirical research paper, try to lead into the problem on the basis of your discussion of the literature. Think in terms of these questions:

  • What research gap is your work intended to fill?
  • What limitations in previous work does it address?
  • What contribution to knowledge does it make?

You can make the connection between your problem and the existing research using phrases like the following.

Now you’ll get into the specifics of what you intend to find out or express in your research paper.

The way you frame your research objectives varies. An argumentative paper presents a thesis statement, while an empirical paper generally poses a research question (sometimes with a hypothesis as to the answer).

Argumentative paper: Thesis statement

The thesis statement expresses the position that the rest of the paper will present evidence and arguments for. It can be presented in one or two sentences, and should state your position clearly and directly, without providing specific arguments for it at this point.

Empirical paper: Research question and hypothesis

The research question is the question you want to answer in an empirical research paper.

Present your research question clearly and directly, with a minimum of discussion at this point. The rest of the paper will be taken up with discussing and investigating this question; here you just need to express it.

A research question can be framed either directly or indirectly.

  • This study set out to answer the following question: What effects does daily use of Instagram have on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls?
  • We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls.

If your research involved testing hypotheses , these should be stated along with your research question. They are usually presented in the past tense, since the hypothesis will already have been tested by the time you are writing up your paper.

For example, the following hypothesis might respond to the research question above:

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The final part of the introduction is often dedicated to a brief overview of the rest of the paper.

In a paper structured using the standard scientific “introduction, methods, results, discussion” format, this isn’t always necessary. But if your paper is structured in a less predictable way, it’s important to describe the shape of it for the reader.

If included, the overview should be concise, direct, and written in the present tense.

  • This paper will first discuss several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then will go on to …
  • This paper first discusses several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then goes on to …

Full examples of research paper introductions are shown in the tabs below: one for an argumentative paper, the other for an empirical paper.

  • Argumentative paper
  • Empirical paper

Are cows responsible for climate change? A recent study (RIVM, 2019) shows that cattle farmers account for two thirds of agricultural nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands. These emissions result from nitrogen in manure, which can degrade into ammonia and enter the atmosphere. The study’s calculations show that agriculture is the main source of nitrogen pollution, accounting for 46% of the country’s total emissions. By comparison, road traffic and households are responsible for 6.1% each, the industrial sector for 1%. While efforts are being made to mitigate these emissions, policymakers are reluctant to reckon with the scale of the problem. The approach presented here is a radical one, but commensurate with the issue. This paper argues that the Dutch government must stimulate and subsidize livestock farmers, especially cattle farmers, to transition to sustainable vegetable farming. It first establishes the inadequacy of current mitigation measures, then discusses the various advantages of the results proposed, and finally addresses potential objections to the plan on economic grounds.

The rise of social media has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the prevalence of body image issues among women and girls. This correlation has received significant academic attention: Various empirical studies have been conducted into Facebook usage among adolescent girls (Tiggermann & Slater, 2013; Meier & Gray, 2014). These studies have consistently found that the visual and interactive aspects of the platform have the greatest influence on body image issues. Despite this, highly visual social media (HVSM) such as Instagram have yet to be robustly researched. This paper sets out to address this research gap. We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls. It was hypothesized that daily Instagram use would be associated with an increase in body image concerns and a decrease in self-esteem ratings.

The introduction of a research paper includes several key elements:

  • A hook to catch the reader’s interest
  • Relevant background on the topic
  • Details of your research problem

and your problem statement

  • A thesis statement or research question
  • Sometimes an overview of the paper

Don’t feel that you have to write the introduction first. The introduction is often one of the last parts of the research paper you’ll write, along with the conclusion.

This is because it can be easier to introduce your paper once you’ve already written the body ; you may not have the clearest idea of your arguments until you’ve written them, and things can change during the writing process .

The way you present your research problem in your introduction varies depending on the nature of your research paper . A research paper that presents a sustained argument will usually encapsulate this argument in a thesis statement .

A research paper designed to present the results of empirical research tends to present a research question that it seeks to answer. It may also include a hypothesis —a prediction that will be confirmed or disproved by your research.

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Uncomplicated Reviews of Educational Research Methods

  • Writing a Research Report

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This review covers the basic elements of a research report. This is a general guide for what you will see in journal articles or dissertations. This format assumes a mixed methods study, but you can leave out either quantitative or qualitative sections if you only used a single methodology.

This review is divided into sections for easy reference. There are five MAJOR parts of a Research Report:

1.    Introduction 2.    Review of Literature 3.    Methods 4.    Results 5.    Discussion

As a general guide, the Introduction, Review of Literature, and Methods should be about 1/3 of your paper, Discussion 1/3, then Results 1/3.

Section 1 : Cover Sheet (APA format cover sheet) optional, if required.

Section 2: Abstract (a basic summary of the report, including sample, treatment, design, results, and implications) (≤ 150 words) optional, if required.

Section 3 : Introduction (1-3 paragraphs) •    Basic introduction •    Supportive statistics (can be from periodicals) •    Statement of Purpose •    Statement of Significance

Section 4 : Research question(s) or hypotheses •    An overall research question (optional) •    A quantitative-based (hypotheses) •    A qualitative-based (research questions) Note: You will generally have more than one, especially if using hypotheses.

Section 5: Review of Literature ▪    Should be organized by subheadings ▪    Should adequately support your study using supporting, related, and/or refuting evidence ▪    Is a synthesis, not a collection of individual summaries

Section 6: Methods ▪    Procedure: Describe data gathering or participant recruitment, including IRB approval ▪    Sample: Describe the sample or dataset, including basic demographics ▪    Setting: Describe the setting, if applicable (generally only in qualitative designs) ▪    Treatment: If applicable, describe, in detail, how you implemented the treatment ▪    Instrument: Describe, in detail, how you implemented the instrument; Describe the reliability and validity associated with the instrument ▪    Data Analysis: Describe type of procedure (t-test, interviews, etc.) and software (if used)

Section 7: Results ▪    Restate Research Question 1 (Quantitative) ▪    Describe results ▪    Restate Research Question 2 (Qualitative) ▪    Describe results

Section 8: Discussion ▪    Restate Overall Research Question ▪    Describe how the results, when taken together, answer the overall question ▪    ***Describe how the results confirm or contrast the literature you reviewed

Section 9: Recommendations (if applicable, generally related to practice)

Section 10: Limitations ▪    Discuss, in several sentences, the limitations of this study. ▪    Research Design (overall, then info about the limitations of each separately) ▪    Sample ▪    Instrument/s ▪    Other limitations

Section 11: Conclusion (A brief closing summary)

Section 12: References (APA format)

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About research rundowns.

Research Rundowns was made possible by support from the Dewar College of Education at Valdosta State University .

  • Experimental Design
  • What is Educational Research?
  • Writing Research Questions
  • Mixed Methods Research Designs
  • Qualitative Coding & Analysis
  • Qualitative Research Design
  • Correlation
  • Effect Size
  • Instrument, Validity, Reliability
  • Mean & Standard Deviation
  • Significance Testing (t-tests)
  • Steps 1-4: Finding Research
  • Steps 5-6: Analyzing & Organizing
  • Steps 7-9: Citing & Writing

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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.

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  • Last Updated: Feb 1, 2024 4:06 PM
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Finding Scholarly and Peer Reviewed Articles: Parts of a Research Article

  • Scholarly v Popular
  • Scholarly Sources Evaluation
  • Searching for Peer Reviewed Articles
  • Parts of a Research Article
  • Anatomy of a Research Article

Major Parts of a Research Article

Tutorial: elements of a research article.

  • Parts of a Research Article See explanations the components of a scientific and scholarly research article. From the Lamar Soutter Library .
  • Research Paper Structure Follow this explanation of research paper structures using the APA style. From the University of California.

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  • Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024 12:39 PM
  • URL: https://marymount.libguides.com/scholarly

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major parts of a research paper

What is Research?: Parts of a Research Article

  • The Truth about Research
  • Research Steps
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Parts of a Research Article

While each article is different, here are some common pieces you'll see in many of them...

  • The title of the article should give you some clues as to the topic it addresses.
  • The abstract allows readers to quickly review the overall content of the article. It should give you an idea of the topic of the article, while also providing any key details--such as the questions address in the article and the general results of the studies conducted.
  • The introduction introduces the general topic and provides some background information, eventually narrowing it down to the specific issues addressed in the article.
  • The literature review describes past research on the topic and relates it to the specific topic covered by the article.  Not all articles will have a literature review.
  • The methods section addresses the research design and methodology used by the author to come to the conclusions they have in this article.  This gives others the ability to replicate the study.  Not all articles will have this, since there will be many articles that don't involve an actual study.
  • The results section presents the results of any studies or analysis that has been conducted.  Not all articles will have this, either.
  • The discussion/conclusion addresses the implications or future of the field.  It may also address where future research is needed.
  • The list references or bibliography is the alphabetized list of resources used for the article.  The format of the citations is often determined by what that field's preferred format is.  Common citations formats include APA, Chicago, and MLA.  This is a necessity in an article--and it helps you identify more possible resources for your own paper.
  • Components of a Research Paper Useful site that goes more in depth on these sections.
  • Parts of a Citation A really wonderful site by the Nash Community College Library.
  • << Previous: Evaluating Sources
  • Last Updated: Jul 20, 2017 9:23 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.uno.edu/whatisresearch

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What are the components of a Research Paper?

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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?

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There is unequivocal evidence that Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate. Human activity is the principal cause.

major parts of a research paper

  • While Earth’s climate has changed throughout its history , the current warming is happening at a rate not seen in the past 10,000 years.
  • According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC ), "Since systematic scientific assessments began in the 1970s, the influence of human activity on the warming of the climate system has evolved from theory to established fact." 1
  • Scientific information taken from natural sources (such as ice cores, rocks, and tree rings) and from modern equipment (like satellites and instruments) all show the signs of a changing climate.
  • From global temperature rise to melting ice sheets, the evidence of a warming planet abounds.

The rate of change since the mid-20th century is unprecedented over millennia.

Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 800,000 years, there have been eight cycles of ice ages and warmer periods, with the end of the last ice age about 11,700 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.

CO2_graph

The current warming trend is different because it is clearly the result of human activities since the mid-1800s, and is proceeding at a rate not seen over many recent millennia. 1 It is undeniable that human activities have produced the atmospheric gases that have trapped more of the Sun’s energy in the Earth system. This extra energy has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land, and widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, and biosphere have occurred.

Earth-orbiting satellites and new technologies have helped scientists see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate all over the world. These data, collected over many years, reveal the signs and patterns of a changing climate.

Scientists demonstrated the heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases in the mid-19th century. 2 Many of the science instruments NASA uses to study our climate focus on how these gases affect the movement of infrared radiation through the atmosphere. From the measured impacts of increases in these gases, there is no question that increased greenhouse gas levels warm Earth in response.

Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.

major parts of a research paper

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that Earth’s climate responds to changes in greenhouse gas levels. Ancient evidence can also be found in tree rings, ocean sediments, coral reefs, and layers of sedimentary rocks. This ancient, or paleoclimate, evidence reveals that current warming is occurring roughly 10 times faster than the average rate of warming after an ice age. Carbon dioxide from human activities is increasing about 250 times faster than it did from natural sources after the last Ice Age. 3

The Evidence for Rapid Climate Change Is Compelling:

Sunlight over a desert-like landscape.

Global Temperature Is Rising

The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and other human activities. 4 Most of the warming occurred in the past 40 years, with the seven most recent years being the warmest. The years 2016 and 2020 are tied for the warmest year on record. 5 Image credit: Ashwin Kumar, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.

Colonies of “blade fire coral” that have lost their symbiotic algae, or “bleached,” on a reef off of Islamorada, Florida.

The Ocean Is Getting Warmer

The ocean has absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 100 meters (about 328 feet) of ocean showing warming of 0.67 degrees Fahrenheit (0.33 degrees Celsius) since 1969. 6 Earth stores 90% of the extra energy in the ocean. Image credit: Kelsey Roberts/USGS

Aerial view of ice sheets.

The Ice Sheets Are Shrinking

The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland lost an average of 279 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2019, while Antarctica lost about 148 billion tons of ice per year. 7 Image: The Antarctic Peninsula, Credit: NASA

Glacier on a mountain.

Glaciers Are Retreating

Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska, and Africa. 8 Image: Miles Glacier, Alaska Image credit: NASA

Image of snow from plane

Snow Cover Is Decreasing

Satellite observations reveal that the amount of spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased over the past five decades and the snow is melting earlier. 9 Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Norfolk flooding

Sea Level Is Rising

Global sea level rose about 8 inches (20 centimeters) in the last century. The rate in the last two decades, however, is nearly double that of the last century and accelerating slightly every year. 10 Image credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District

Arctic sea ice.

Arctic Sea Ice Is Declining

Both the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice has declined rapidly over the last several decades. 11 Credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

Flooding in a European city.

Extreme Events Are Increasing in Frequency

The number of record high temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events. 12 Image credit: Régine Fabri,  CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Unhealthy coral.

Ocean Acidification Is Increasing

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30%. 13 , 14 This increase is due to humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and hence more being absorbed into the ocean. The ocean has absorbed between 20% and 30% of total anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions in recent decades (7.2 to 10.8 billion metric tons per year). 1 5 , 16 Image credit: NOAA

1. IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, WGI, Technical Summary . B.D. Santer et.al., “A search for human influences on the thermal structure of the atmosphere.” Nature 382 (04 July 1996): 39-46. https://doi.org/10.1038/382039a0. Gabriele C. Hegerl et al., “Detecting Greenhouse-Gas-Induced Climate Change with an Optimal Fingerprint Method.” Journal of Climate 9 (October 1996): 2281-2306. https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0442(1996)009<2281:DGGICC>2.0.CO;2. V. Ramaswamy, et al., “Anthropogenic and Natural Influences in the Evolution of Lower Stratospheric Cooling.” Science 311 (24 February 2006): 1138-1141. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1122587. B.D. Santer et al., “Contributions of Anthropogenic and Natural Forcing to Recent Tropopause Height Changes.” Science 301 (25 July 2003): 479-483. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1084123. T. Westerhold et al., "An astronomically dated record of Earth’s climate and its predictability over the last 66 million years." Science 369 (11 Sept. 2020): 1383-1387. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1094123

2. In 1824, Joseph Fourier calculated that an Earth-sized planet, at our distance from the Sun, ought to be much colder. He suggested something in the atmosphere must be acting like an insulating blanket. In 1856, Eunice Foote discovered that blanket, showing that carbon dioxide and water vapor in Earth's atmosphere trap escaping infrared (heat) radiation. In the 1860s, physicist John Tyndall recognized Earth's natural greenhouse effect and suggested that slight changes in the atmospheric composition could bring about climatic variations. In 1896, a seminal paper by Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius first predicted that changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels could substantially alter the surface temperature through the greenhouse effect. In 1938, Guy Callendar connected carbon dioxide increases in Earth’s atmosphere to global warming. In 1941, Milutin Milankovic linked ice ages to Earth’s orbital characteristics. Gilbert Plass formulated the Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climate Change in 1956.

3. IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, WG1, Chapter 2 Vostok ice core data; NOAA Mauna Loa CO2 record O. Gaffney, W. Steffen, "The Anthropocene Equation." The Anthropocene Review 4, issue 1 (April 2017): 53-61. https://doi.org/abs/10.1177/2053019616688022.

4. https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/monitoring https://crudata.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/ http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp

5. https://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20170118/

6. S. Levitus, J. Antonov, T. Boyer, O Baranova, H. Garcia, R. Locarnini, A. Mishonov, J. Reagan, D. Seidov, E. Yarosh, M. Zweng, " NCEI ocean heat content, temperature anomalies, salinity anomalies, thermosteric sea level anomalies, halosteric sea level anomalies, and total steric sea level anomalies from 1955 to present calculated from in situ oceanographic subsurface profile data (NCEI Accession 0164586), Version 4.4. (2017) NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. https://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/index3.html K. von Schuckmann, L. Cheng, L,. D. Palmer, J. Hansen, C. Tassone, V. Aich, S. Adusumilli, H. Beltrami, H., T. Boyer, F. Cuesta-Valero, D. Desbruyeres, C. Domingues, A. Garcia-Garcia, P. Gentine, J. Gilson, M. Gorfer, L. Haimberger, M. Ishii, M., G. Johnson, R. Killick, B. King, G. Kirchengast, N. Kolodziejczyk, J. Lyman, B. Marzeion, M. Mayer, M. Monier, D. Monselesan, S. Purkey, D. Roemmich, A. Schweiger, S. Seneviratne, A. Shepherd, D. Slater, A. Steiner, F. Straneo, M.L. Timmermans, S. Wijffels. "Heat stored in the Earth system: where does the energy go?" Earth System Science Data 12, Issue 3 (07 September 2020): 2013-2041. https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-12-2013-2020.

7. I. Velicogna, Yara Mohajerani, A. Geruo, F. Landerer, J. Mouginot, B. Noel, E. Rignot, T. Sutterly, M. van den Broeke, M. Wessem, D. Wiese, "Continuity of Ice Sheet Mass Loss in Greenland and Antarctica From the GRACE and GRACE Follow-On Missions." Geophysical Research Letters 47, Issue 8 (28 April 2020): e2020GL087291. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL087291.

8. National Snow and Ice Data Center World Glacier Monitoring Service

9. National Snow and Ice Data Center D.A. Robinson, D. K. Hall, and T. L. Mote, "MEaSUREs Northern Hemisphere Terrestrial Snow Cover Extent Daily 25km EASE-Grid 2.0, Version 1 (2017). Boulder, Colorado USA. NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center. doi: https://doi.org/10.5067/MEASURES/CRYOSPHERE/nsidc-0530.001 . http://nsidc.org/cryosphere/sotc/snow_extent.html Rutgers University Global Snow Lab. Data History

10. R.S. Nerem, B.D. Beckley, J. T. Fasullo, B.D. Hamlington, D. Masters, and G.T. Mitchum, "Climate-change–driven accelerated sea-level rise detected in the altimeter era." PNAS 15, no. 9 (12 Feb. 2018): 2022-2025. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1717312115.

11. https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/sotc/sea_ice.html Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS, Zhang and Rothrock, 2003) http://psc.apl.washington.edu/research/projects/arctic-sea-ice-volume-anomaly/ http://psc.apl.uw.edu/research/projects/projections-of-an-ice-diminished-arctic-ocean/

12. USGCRP, 2017: Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume I [Wuebbles, D.J., D.W. Fahey, K.A. Hibbard, D.J. Dokken, B.C. Stewart, and T.K. Maycock (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, 470 pp, https://doi.org/10.7930/j0j964j6 .

13. http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/What+is+Ocean+Acidification%3F

14. http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification

15. C.L. Sabine, et al., “The Oceanic Sink for Anthropogenic CO2.” Science 305 (16 July 2004): 367-371. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1097403.

16. Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate , Technical Summary, Chapter TS.5, Changing Ocean, Marine Ecosystems, and Dependent Communities, Section 5.2.2.3. https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/chapter/technical-summary/

Header image shows clouds imitating mountains as the sun sets after midnight as seen from Denali's backcountry Unit 13 on June 14, 2019. Credit: NPS/Emily Mesner Image credit in list of evidence: Ashwin Kumar, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.

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ORIGINAL RESEARCH article

This article is part of the research topic.

Emerging Technologies for the Construction of Renewable Energy-Dominated Power System

A Method for Reducing Torque Ripple of Switched Reluctance Motor Based on Partitioned TSF Provisionally Accepted

  • 1 School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China
  • 2 BYD limited, China
  • 3 RUILI GROUP RUI'AN AUTO PARTS CO., LTD., China
  • 4 College of Automotive Engineering, Hu Nan Mechanical and Electrical Polytechnic, China

The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon.

In this paper, a new torque sharing function control strategy is proposed to reduce the torque ripple. The traditional torque ripple methods, such as exponential and linear torque allocation strategies, the torque generation capacity of each phase and the power limitation of the power converter is not taken into account, in this paper, the communication region is divided into three intervals by establishing a new partitioning standard. According to the re-established reference function of torque generation, the torque deviation caused by phase current tracking error is compensated according to the torque generation capacity. Both optimization of torque ripple suppression and copper loss minimization are taken into consideration in this paper. To verify the validity and performances of the proposed TSF methods, simulations and experiments have been implemented in a 12/8 structure SRM prototype. This method can be applied to other switched reluctance motors with different topologies. Result shows lower current tracking error and better performance of torque ripple minimization compared with the conventional two-interval compensation method.

Keywords: switched reluctance motor, Torque sharing function, Torque ripple minimization, torque control, optimization

Received: 04 Feb 2024; Accepted: 28 Mar 2024.

Copyright: © 2024 Cai, Han, Pan and Tao. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) . The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: MD, PhD. Hui Cai, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Wuhan, 430074, Hubei Province, China

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  27. Frontiers

    In this paper, a new torque sharing function control strategy is proposed to reduce the torque ripple. The traditional torque ripple methods, such as exponential and linear torque allocation strategies, the torque generation capacity of each phase and the power limitation of the power converter is not taken into account, in this paper, the communication region is divided into three intervals ...