How to write a research paper?
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Time needed: 15 minutes.

Research Paper Outline

  1. Introduction

    The purpose of this section is to share the rationale, importance, and motivation behind the paper.

  2. Materials and Methods

    Discuss the step-by-step procedure that you have followed to arrive at the final result. And which are the instruments or the equipment that you’ve used to analyze the data?

    Describe the materials that you have used to experiment.

  3. Results and Discussion

    Here, share the findings of your research. And, describe how it helps in fulfilling that research objective.

  4. Conclusion

    The purpose of this section is to remind your readers why you started your research in the first place. Finally, you come to know what you have achieved out of it.

  5. References

    Now, you need to give due credit to all the sources that you’ve referred to either during your research or while writing this paper.

  6. Abstract

    After writing your entire research paper, you will know what are the key points that you’ve written in each of the sections that you need to include in your abstract. So, an abstract is a summary and it includes the above five points.

Table of Contents

The Introduction of a Research Paper

The Introduction section of a research paper is highly important because it’s one of the first things that researchers are going to read. So, you need to make a good impression now even before you start writing this section you need to ask yourself.

The purpose of this section is to share the rationale behind the paper. Why is your research important? Here, you’re supposed to show that by first sharing the motivation or the background of your study.

And, you will do this by either explaining the key terms by giving some historical data or some definitions. Then, you will move on to explaining the existing evidence which is the literature survey. So, you’re going to talk about what is the research that the existing researchers have done so far.

After that, you will share the research gap and now what is the research gap. The research gap is an issue that the researchers have not been able to solve so far. And, once you have established the research gap you will move on to starting the objective. This is what are you trying to achieve in this particular paper to fulfill that research gap. Then lastly, you will also state the scope of your work which sets the boundary for your research.

Materials and Methods

The next section is the materials and methods section. Here, the purpose of this section is to explain how you arrived at the final result or the final product to fulfill your objective. So, you’re going to start by describing the materials that you have used to experiment.

Then, you will discuss the step-by-step procedure that you have followed to arrive at the final result. And, once you have done that you will also talk about the instruments or the equipment that you’ve used to analyze the data.

Now, writing the materials and methods section is pretty straightforward most of the time. And, one thing that you need to take care of is the reliability of your experiment. It means that the information that you’re presenting should be written in such a way that if somebody tries to replicate your experiments, they should arrive at the same results as you.

Results and Discussion

The third section is the results and discussion section and the purpose of this section is to share the findings of your research. And, describe how it helps in fulfilling that research objective. So, you will start by sharing the data first which can be in the different forms like:

  • Visuals
  • Graphs
  • Figures
  • Tables
  • Illustration

And, then you will attach a meaning to that data which is called as result. So, let me take a very simple example to explain with an example:

You have a graph of x is equal to y = that constitutes your data but when you say that for an equal increase in x there is an equal increase in y that is called a result. Because here you’re explaining what that data means and you’re attaching a meaning to it. And when you comment on that result and link it to the research objective or the research gap that you discussed earlier, that is called a discussion.

So, remember that the results and discussion section constitute these things:

The first is your data which can be in the form of visuals, graphs, figures, and results. Here, you attach a meaning to that data, and when you comment on that result and link it to the research objective that is called your discussion.

Conclusion in Research Paper

The next section is the conclusion section. And, here the purpose of this section is to remind your readers why you started your research in the first place. Finally, you come to know what you have achieved out of it.

So, in this section, you can reiterate your objective and review the key findings of your work. After that, you’re going to talk about the broader applications or implications of your study. And tell others how your study has helped in contributing to that field.

Finally, you can also close this section by talking about the limitations of your study if any. And, then talk about the future scope and how your research can be extended further.

References at end of Research Paper

The last section included in the research paper is the references section. Now, you need to give due credit to all the sources that you’ve referred to either during your research or while writing this paper.

So, you will neatly list down all the sources following the citation style of the journal that you’re going to send your paper for publication.

Abstract

Last is the abstract section and even though it appears right on the top but it should be the last section that you write. And, why is that because an abstract is a summary of the entire article?

Once you’ve written your entire research paper, you will know what are the key points that you’ve written in each of the sections that you need to include in your abstract. So, an abstract is a summary and it includes these five points:

  • The first is the motivation or the background of your study.
  • Then there is the research objective and the problem statement of your work.
  • After that, you will share a brief overview of the methodology.
  • Next, share the key findings and the results from your study.
  • And, finally, close your abstract with the conclusion which shares the significance of your research and the broader implications of your study.

For a pro tip, please try to make your abstract as interesting as possible, because it’s based on an abstract that the researchers decide whether they want to read the rest of your paper or not. So, don’t forget to make it very interesting. So, these are the six important sections of a research paper.

Now, if you have any doubts regarding any of these sections do leave your comments below and I will try and clear your doubts for you.

By ES

English Language Teaching Professional

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