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Research Paper Format Essentials

Hello there! If you are reading this I may suggest that you’ve faced this unbearable at the first sight task. First of all, let me ensure you that it is not Ragnarök and the skies won’t fall down on you. It is obviously that research paper is not the easiest thing to write but knowing some essay hacks and subtleties you will be a success. Just remember: nothing ventured – nothing gained. Yes, you are to check and read huge amounts of information. Yes, it will take a lot of time and effort and at the end you may feel really tired and devastated for a while. But things are not that bad. If you are interested in your research paper topic and have some essay ideas to implement – you can even get a real pleasure while working on it. So keep calm and imagine yourself as a great researcher, investigator and… well, is there anything bad in being Sherlock for some time?

Research Paper Outline Format

What do you know about research paper structure? It’s a lot like usual essay but the essay outline is quite easier. Of course you can find some essay hook examples and other writing hooks without any problems, but if you’re still reading this article I will tell you about them. There are title, introduction, main body and conclusion. In research paper, there is usually a list of references at the end, after the conclusion, and sometimes some additional contents after the references. Seems simply uncomplicated, but when it comes to life 95% of people are sitting with lost and desperate faces and be like listening whole Radiohead’s discography.

The aim of this writing guide is to help you to sort out your task – to write research paper. By the way, in general all that you should know about the research paper structure is the following:

  • Most of research papers have a title so make yours.
  • A good plan is a half of your success, so plan it well. It will make your future work easier and will help to accelerate your writing progress.
  • There’s no place for different writing styles in research paper. Only simple and clear explanations purely on the topic, at least nearly 80% of your research should be like that.
  • Introduce the subject and general ideas which will be considered in main body.
  • Main body should include detailed information, examples, and references to quotations if there are any. Also, you should support your thesis and explain the real value and relevance of your writing.
  • While writing your conclusion follow your thesis, but not word in word so the reviewer wouldn’t get déjà-vu. Remember about generalizing and broadening at the end just like in essay conclusion but maybe more formal. It helps to emphasize all you’ve written previously in more common words.
  • Acknowledgment, references, supplementary data are written after the conclusion.
  • There are several styles of formatting, MLA and APA, but more detailed about them we will talk a little bit later.

Creating the Title

Most of the mere mortals may suggest that writing the title page is the easiest part of research paper. They are wrong (to some extent), because title page is the first to take the brunt of the watchful eyes of your professor, and the first impression from your writing depends exactly on this particular page. Fine dress helps to impress, right? So make your dress awesome, but don’t forget to be clever and resourceful underneath it. I hope it doesn't sound as a party-guide for dummies? Oh well, whatever.

So here is your gorgeous title complied with all the rules of good manners. Congrats, the hardest part named “beginning” is done! Usually, the next page is contents with the pages of the chapters and subheadings, and conclusion and all that boring but still necessary stuff. As for me, the best way to cope with it is auto numeration after having all the things done, so it’s my piece of advice for you. If you don’t know how to do it – just google it and feel glad about such time economy.

Alpha and Omega of Research Paper Format

Just imagine, this is how I call the introduction and the conclusion. I found it slightly pathetic, but sounds not bad, so why not. The matter is that the intro and conclusion of research paper are closely connected with each other. One follows from the other. Writing your introduction think how you will beat it in the conclusion. Which words are better for attracting reader’s attention at first and which will be better for summarizing? Most likely, such things will come to your mind during the writing process. So get your writing inspiration and create.

Introduce your topic to the reader. What is the aim of your research, what do you want to cover in it, what to discuss or explore? Describe it not in many words; usually introduction takes no more than two pages. Here you’re just actually speaking about your basic plans and expectations of your work. No special delights, no tricks or tracks.

The conclusion may be a little bit longer than intro. And, unlike the introduction, the main aim of the conclusion is to emphasize and highlight the key findings of your research. Be objective and attentive here not to write word in word repeating of the introduction. And it seems like there’s nothing to add at this point.

Main Body and What’s in it

In research paper, the main body may contain several chapters and subheadings. Their number may depend on the requirements of your professor, so discuss such moments with him beforehand. But in some cases student himself makes a plan and just agrees it with his coordinator. The next part entirely depends on the subject of your research and the points of your plan.

Following the plan will help you to follow main ideas and not to slide off the topic. So as I’ve said previously, good plan is a half of your research paper. After it you just have to find and process all the information on your topic, write everything you have learned in your own words, from time to time referring to the sources used. Carefully allocate the information on chapters and their subheadings so that everything will be harmonious and consistent. And it seems like that’s all about the main body.

Research Paper Formatting

There are two main formatting styles of academic writings – MLA and APA.
MLA (Modern Language Association) Style is the most widely used format for documentation and citation of sources in the Humanities.

APA (American Psychological Association) Style is used in general for arranging of the works related to social Sciences. This style is often used in courseworks, research reports, feasibility analyses, literature surveys etc.

So let’s have a look what are the main differences between them.

  • In MLA the title page is not always necessary, depends only on your professor’s requirements.
  • Also, first and last name of the author are written, for example: Lastname, Firstname. The Title of the Work. City, State: Publishing House. Year.
  • Major words in the title are capitalized, and the title is underlined.
  • The source page is called “Works Cited”.
  • In quotations, MLA uses the last name of the author and the number of the page.
  • No commas to separate the material or p. and pp. before page numbers.
  • In APA the title page should include 5 elements: running head, your paper’s title, your name, your University and author note (if required by professor).
  • Only the last name of the author is written, first is abbreviated to initials, for instance: Lastname, F. (Year). The Title of the Work. City, State: Publishing House.
  • Only the first word of the titles and subheadings are capitalized. Title is written in italics.
  • The source page will be named as “References”.
  • Only the last name of the author and the date mentioned in citing.
  • Use of commas. If the pages are mentioned – p. and pp. are written.

Editing and Repeating

Now you know the most of what is needed to be known about research paper, it seems. What more should I say? I hope it was useful and helpful for you, my dear student. The only thing I can add, indeed, is that the edition of your work is a very important part of writing research paper; and any other academic writing too, by the way. Before printing or sending your research-masterpiece on your professor’s e-mail, make sure that everything you have written is worth reading and spending somebody’s time on it. When I was writing my coursework I’ve read it for only-god-knows-how-many-times beforehand, and still had some mistakes and missteps to fix. Well, and only then it seemed good enough to get my honestly earned B-point in a gradebook. But I hope that knowing everything I’ve just told you, you will get the highest mark.

Rereading and double-checking of your work may seem desperately boring, but it’s really an essential part of any academic writing. Be brave, these are only the letters and words and sentences, and they like to be well-ordered and suitable. WI should say that when you will read it for the last time you may get this unbelievable feeling that everything in its right place. And this is the moment when you’ll be proud of yourself for really good reason, because you did it. Yes-yes, it’s definitely you. Maybe, it was complicated. Or vice versa, it was easy. Anyway, it is your achievement and now it’s unlocked.

So read everything once again, check it for plagiarism and mistakes to make sure that you are really a good conscientious guy and breathe with relief. Well done!

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