Writing a Research Paper: Understanding the General Research Paper Format

how to write a research paper in an hour

Writing a research paper requires just as much effort as the research you carry out for it. It would be quite frustrating to come up with enough evidence to support your research paper, and end up failing because of your presentation. Following a guideline and using the required research paper format during writing will allow people to take your work seriously, and of course, earn you higher marks. The following article will focus on providing a step by step procedure that you can apply to your term paper, a master’s thesis or a doctoral dissertation. The sections that will be discussed are:

Research Paper Format and Sections


 This is the shortest section of the research paper. Keep your title brief but relevant and remember to include your name as the author, and if you are a student, include relevant registration numbers.

How to Write a Research Paper: Crucial steps to guide you while writing a research paper


 When you go through the internet, looking for books to draw information from, you will often come across abstracts. An abstract is a quick synopsis of your paper and readers will quickly read through to determine the relevance of your document.


The abstract is the second part of a research paper format and should include a brief introduction, an explanation of the research question, the aim of the research, and a short description of the methodology, results, and discussion. Keep your abstract as brief as possible, mainly when you are provided with a word restriction. As a writer, it is your responsibility to summarize your words without leaving out relevant information. Avoid including personal opinions in the abstract to prevent wordiness.

Table of Contents

 This is a breakdown of the contents of your research paper and will help the reader move to specific pages easily. Luckily, the Table of Contents can be automatically generated, and this will save you time. Some short papers may not require a table of contents, but if you are instructed to include one, please do so.

50+ Collection of Common Research Paper Topics to Get You Started


 This part of your research paper should intrigue, engage and inform your readers. The introduction should contain a hook that persuades a reader to read the paper and a definition of the audience. When communicating to your target audience, explain to them why reading your research paper is necessary. Additionally, the introduction houses the thesis statement and hypothesis. It is also important to state how you plan to solve the research problem at hand, to convince the reader to delve more into your work.

You could also include a background to set the scene for your introduction paper through explaining previous investigations that have led up to this particular research problem. The rationale behind your research is well established as a follow-up or building up a previous research, and what you hope to achieve at the end.

Also, you can include the assumptions the research is based on, so that the reader will entirely be aware even as they read your research. Lastly, include some of the limitations of your research instead of waiting to introduce them in your discussion. All in all, try and avoid wordiness and maintain relevance all the way.



The methodology is a detailed explanation of the processes and equipment used during your research. This section is important because it gives other researchers a chance to replicate your experiment and prove that your conclusion is justified.

In this section, you can explain how you gathered samples for your research and the techniques used in the collection of the samples. Also, include explanations about the calculations performed from raw data.

If your study is based on a good research method, then you are assured that more people will validate your research paper. For this reason, it is important to give all the details in your methodology because interested parties will be asking questions and awarding marks based on your research too.

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As the title suggests, this section includes all the results of the tests carried out during your research. The information provided in this section should be honest, and brief for easy comparisons and view. Also, maintain the neutrality of the data by avoiding personal opinions.

Provision of graphs and charts in this part is vital, especially when dealing with significant figures. To reduce the bulk of the information, prevent the repetition of information. Also, remember to include negative results, because exclusion will invalidate your research paper. Try to add commentaries to link the graphs together, instead of having pages of randomly placed diagrams.

Lastly, the graphs and charts should be of reasonable size. Tiny diagrams that are difficult to view show disorganization and quickly discourage the reader. The tables, charts, and graphs should be neat and easy to read. If you have condensed your raw data, remember to include an appendix for others to follow all your calculations.


The discussion seeks to prove if the hypothesis was correct, untrue or inconclusive. Compare your results with the expectations, and note the recognize the flaws in the experiment, while suggesting what could be done in the future to improve the research.

Remember that the discussion will show the knowledge you have gathered from your experiment, and should, therefore, include the errors of the investigation. It may seem ironic, but you are expected to discuss your flaws and provide future suggestions that another researcher may pick up.


The conclusion is a summary of the whole paper. Use this section to restate the strongest arguments of your research. Also, you can include a call to action to your readers to trigger their thinking at the end of your research paper.

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Reference List

Forgetting this section will penalize your paper due to plagiarism, and therefore, you should always remember this part. Provide a list of all your citations in either the APA, MLA, or Chicago format to acknowledge the sources, and allow for copying of resources, when a person decided to include your paper in their research. The reference list also gives the readers a chance to follow up your sources for their research and validation of the sources used.

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