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How To Structure A Research Paper

April 24, 2018 Types of Academic Writing
How To Structure A Research Paper

When you're writing a research paper, you need to investigate facts and known theories in relation to the subject matter.

That being said, thorough research employs a lot of time, at the end of which you are going to have an extensive compilation of bare facts, theories, quotes, etc. This information may seem overwhelming, but in reality, it's similar to sorting out books on shelves. If an essay writer creates proper labels and chooses an effective tactic, the process will become simple, and logical pathways will effortlessly fall into place

Table Of Contents

Understanding Requirements

To create a properly structured work, you first need to understand the purpose of a research paper. First of all, a research paper is an in-depth exploration and investigation of a topic in which you present your own interpretation, evaluation or argument. Therefore, your aim is to create a logical chain of ideas and facts for one to understand what’s at hand.

The way you structure your content is going to dictate if the information is well received. Thus, the importance of labels such as Abstract, Introduction, Body, and Conclusion are undeniable.

The References (APA) or Works Cited (MLA) remains to be an essential part of any research paper. It serves a purpose of respecting sources you have used, as well as validating the credibility of your work.

The Research Paper Title Page

A properly formatted title page and a well-crafted abstract will make your essay sell. Since the cover page for a research paper is the first impression that a reader is going to have, it needs extra careful attention.

The two most commonly accepted formatting styles are the Modern Language Association (MLA) and American Psychological Association (APA). However, it is vital to always refer to the requirements set by your institution or instructor first. If there are none, then a selection can be made on your own.

MLA Research Paper Cover Page

The MLA research paper title page doesn’t require a separately allocated page. On the left top corner of your introductory page, you have to state the following things:

First Name and Last Name 
Your Instructor’s Name 
Course Name 

The upper-left hand section is essentially your way of providing any specific information required. If you are formatting your paper in MLA style and if your teacher did not specifically request a separate cover page - those four lines provided above are all that is necessary.

APA Research Paper Cover Page

Unlike MLA, the APA format has more requirements for a cover page. First, it requires a separate page where you have to include the following information:

TITLE: The title should be located in the center of the page. Choose your research paper title carefully and make sure it covers the main idea. In this case, every word matters, so attempt to use fewer words to describe the topic.

PERSONAL INFORMATION: At the bottom of the page, center aligned you have to include your name, the name of the institution, teacher’s name (if there is one) and the date. 

RUNNING HEAD and PAGE NUMBER: Running head is a shortened variation of your main title that is going to appear on every single page along side of the page number on the top right corner. 

Nothing is challenging about creating a title page. All that is required is being careful and properly reading the guidelines of a format when using one.

Establishing an Abstract

An abstract of a research paper is like a trailer to a movie. A well-edited trailer grabs the audience's attention, leaving a desire to know more. This is precisely your goal when writing an abstract. It is essentially an expanded version of a thesis that describes the main idea and key elements that go along to support it.

By simply reading the abstract, most can identify a good paper from a bad one. If your goal is to grab one’s attention, then you have to put in maximum effort into creating one. APA style formatting dictates that an abstract should be between 150 to 250 words.

Use this question to check the quality of your abstract:

If the abstract was the only text available, would the reader understand the message of your work?

Research Paper Introduction

Any paper’s introduction is fundamental to its core, as well as, understanding what you are bringing to the table. Your introduction will set the tone of your paper, so do not make a poor first impression. The introduction sets the tone and the pace of the work presenting main points and your way of elaborating on them.

Some wonder if a thesis is still required when you have already included an abstract. The abstract operates separately from the text of the research paper itself. Therefore you must include a thesis in your introductory paragraph.

Divide your introduction paragraph into three main parts: a general introduction, thesis statement and a transition.

A general introduction usually consists of background information about the topic in the form of quotes, interesting facts, and historical data. This presentation should be informative and captivating to read!

The expression "thesis statement" speaks for itself. Include a clear thesis that describes the main points you are going to cover.

The flow of the essay is a necessary aspect of clear information delivery. Transitions make sure that the viewer can link between points and ideas, allowing them to make a logical justification at the end.


Supporting your ideas with grounded facts is imperative to your research paper’s success. Therefore, in order to achieve that, follow a simple formula.
Idea + Explanation + Origins of the idea + Quote an expert

Describe an idea itself and follow it up with an in-depth explanation of every aspect. Then provide data regarding why this idea is significant and why it should be considered. Finally, show how those who succeeded in a field have referred to it.

This is a simple method of keeping your information intact and supporting your points. If you read other research paper examples, you will notice that most follow such a formula or a similar variation of it.

To improve your information flow, attempt to link given points if possible. Try to find a plausible connection between them and showcase this in your transition sentence.


Your conclusion is as vital to your paper as your introductory paragraph is. It functions as a summary of previously provided information. Also, the conclusion of a paper is a where apply your findings to the real world, explaining their significance, and offering a final comment or call to action.

Reference Section

The reference section is a must-have section of any paper where you are using outside sources to research your information. It is also carefully monitored by institutions to locate possible plagiarism. Be very attentive and careful when creating yours.

There are three ways of citing your sources:

MLA Style Citation Format -
Used in Humanities field

APA Style Citation Format -
Used in Sciences, Education, and Psychology fields.

Chicago Style Citation Format -
Used in History, Business, and Fine Arts fields.

When you have identified which fits you the most or what you have been instructed to use by your institution, research the detailed guidelines on how to cite any first or second sources information you have acquired.

Find Research Paper Structure a Challenge?

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