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Components Of A Research Paper

Components of a Research Paper

The list of skills that every researcher must possess should undoubtedly include the skill of writing. Without great writing skills, a researcher will never be able to get the accolades he or she worked so hard for.

No matter how great your study was; no matter how much detail went into doing your research; no matter how much data you were able to collect; no matter how much you traveled to ensure all your data was correct and accurate; all these elements have no value if you cannot present your research paper in a prescribed format to a recognized journal.

A researcher's work is considered complete only when he or she submits his paper in the prescribed format. He or she must submit the paper to a scholarly journal for publication. This article gives you the various components of a research paper.

Components of a research paper

The components of a research paper are usually dependent on the style of the journal paper and the respective academic disciplines. But, by and large, the following components are included in a research paper:

  • The Title

  • The Abstract

  • An Introduction

  • Literature Review

  • Methods used in conducting the research

  • Results of the research

  • Conclusion

  • Bibliography/References

The data in a research paper is organized such that the information flows from the general to the specific and again to the general; like the flow of sand in an hourglass. Hence, research papers are said to be written in the hourglass structure format.

Let us look at the components in a bit of detail now.

The Title – It should be specific and inform the reader of the exact problem that is being addressed and include keywords related to the literature reviews later on.

The Abstract – This gives a small review of the overall content of the research paper including a very brief introduction, a small summary of methods, a little information about the results. The abstract should be a concise summary of the entire paper. In fact, if the abstract is too long, then it can get rejected by the journal.

Usually, journals restrict the number of words for the abstract to around 200 only. Hence, a daunting challenge that you will face while writing an extract is to fit in all the required data within the number of words specified.

A great method to start writing an extract is to first draft it without worrying about the word count. Leave it for a day or two. Then look at the draft again and ruthlessly cut down all excessive data.

Introduction – This should introduce the topic in a general sense and also should provide some background information. Then, the introduction should narrow down to the specific question that is being addressed in the paper. A good introduction provides a clear focus and purpose to the entire research paper.

Literature Reviews – In this section, past research work that relates specifically to the same question that this research paper wishes to address. The literature review section should contain a detailed synthesis of all the previous research papers published along with the new idea that you are introducing in your paper.

The review should contain a detailed examination of the contributions of the previous papers along with the names of the contributors and should include all relevant and important findings other credible sources like peer-reviewed journals and academic books.

Methods used to complete the research – This section of a research paper contains all information regarding the methodology and design employed to complete the study. An accepted rule of thumb is that this section should be given in such details that the reader should be able to replicate the study if he or she wants to.

Results – As the name suggests, the results of the research study undertaken are given here. The format of the presentation of the results depends on whether the study was qualitative or quantitative in nature. The results presented here should be directly related to the problem mentioned in this paper.

Tables and graphs can be used only if the data of the study is so big that it may not be efficiently included in the text of the paper. This section should not include any discussion on the significance of the results arrived at through the research study.

Conclusion/Discussion – This section is where the significance of the results should be discussed. This section should discuss and answer the hypothesis and this answer should be validated by interpreting the results of the research study.

Here, you must also discuss how the results of this study affect and/or are related to the previous research that is mentioned and documented in the Literature Review section. You should mention any cautions regarding the findings made in the study and also what potential this study has for further research in the future.

Bibliography/References – The research paper is incomplete if this section is not filled correctly and accurately. Here, you should list out all the sources of information that you used in the papers in alphabetical order. The references would have to be formatted as per the requirement of the journal and the style of your paper. The usual referencing formats used include MLA, APA, Harvard, and others

Final Notes

Writing a research paper can be a really daunting task. We, at Prescott Papers, would love to give you a helping hand in this regard. Do not hesitate to contact us for any kind of help in writing your research paper.

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