Research paper organization is highly important in the process of writing because it greatly influences the final grade.

This is why students should pay a lot of attention to the basic parts of a research paper and understand what each point should cover. The article highlights the essential steps and recommendations for students to succeed in presenting a high quality academic paper.

Research Paper Structure: Title page

The main purpose of a title is to catch the readers’ attention and highlight the most interesting points of discussion.

So, the title should be informative, attention-grabbing, and interest-provoking. It is also important to include secondary title, if necessary, full name of the author, submission statement, and the date right after the cover title.

Research Paper Structure: Abstract

Abstract is a short summary of the paper outlining the most pertinent information about the main purpose and goals of research. In this part of a research paper, students should use succinct sentences and avoid redundancy because the main task of an abstract is to cover the basic parts of research, such as purpose of the study, brief overview of the methods, and important findings and results. It is usually written when the rest of the paper is completed. It allows the reader to learn the essentials of the study in a short period of time.

Apart from abstract structure, specific attention to the following issues:

  • Abstract should be presented as a single and concise paragraph;
  • It should accurately reflect the information reported in the research paper;
  • It should be written in past tense;
  • Correct spelling, clear sentences and phrases, proper presentation of numerical data are also among the priorities of abstract writing.

Research Paper Structure: Introduction

The opening part of the paper aims to provide readers with a hypothesis that would emphasize the importance of the given research. No more than two pages in length, an introduction should provide background information on the topic and briefly describe the actual purposes and focus of the paper. In order to produce a good introduction, students should highlight the main advantages of investigating the selected topic and explain how the research design contributes to achieving the research objectives.

Basic rules:

  • usage of a past tense except when referring to established facts;
  • one major point in organizing ideas;
  • precise statements.


Research Paper Writing: Materials and Method

This section should provide readers with enough information to understand the subject and main objectives of the research. This part of a research paper organization should reveal precise and relevant information in terms of type of research design, research methods (quantitative, qualitative, or mixed), sampling, and participants.

Basic Do’s and Don’t’s:

  • be as concise as possible;
  • use third person;
  • omit background and explanatory information;
  • avoid details that do not contribute to the value of the research.

Research Paper Writing: Results

This section illustrates the findings in an objective manner and is further used in the discussion section to interpret the obtained data. The page length depends on the amount and type of information to be reported.

Basic rules:

  • use past tense;
  • put the results in a logical order;
  • refer to each figure as “Figure 1,” “Figure 2” and number your tables;
  • do not include raw data or intermediate calculations in your paper;
  • do not present the same information more than once.

Research Paper Writing: Discussion

The main purpose of this section is to interpret the results and provide a strong support for a conclusion section, combining evidence of a research experiment with common knowledge, if necessary. In addition, this part should briefly and clearly describe the significance of findings.

Basic rules:

  • the section should not exceed five typed double-spaced pages;
  • it is necessary to use past tense when referring to work done by other researchers and present tense when; referring to generally accepted facts and principles;
  • presenting the data in appropriate depth is prioritized.

Research Paper Writing: Bibliography

Students should:

  • list the items in an alphabetical order;
  • not include a website as a reference;
  • apply to peer-reviewed articles and scientific books.

Research Paper Writing: Appendix (optional)

Appendix may serve as a valuable addition to a research paper. It might contain a letter, a map, a table. These materials are important for the reader to visualize the findings and expand their knowledge of the topic.

Important Highlights

Note that research paper structure should cover all the above-presented parts in the same order. Please, pay much attention to the sections of a research paper, as well as to the basic rules of writing those parts. The research paper is not the most difficult academic assignment. Nonetheless, it does take a lot of time! Students can save much time if they use this article as a guide to foster the process of research paper writing and learn the essentials of research paper organization.

Comments (2)

  • Kevin Sparrow Posted: February 22, 2012 in 3:40 pm

    Hi! The post is awesome) The list of things to be included into a research paper will help me check whether I’ve missed something in my paper.

  • A. J. Posted: March 6, 2012 in 3:48 pm

    Really helpful post on research paper structure! Now I have more knowledge necessary for writing A+ research paper! Thanks!