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Research Paper Format

Research Paper Format

You are quite likely to be asked to write and submit research papers in college. A research paper is written to identify and explore social, scientific, and technical issues. Your first attempt at writing a research paper can be quite daunting.

Yet, with correct planning and organization, it is possible to create a good research paper that you professor will be impressed with even the first time. This research paper format article is aimed at giving you some tips and advice on how to go about writing your paper.

Choosing a topic

Despite being limited by the guidelines and topic question given by your professor, choosing your topic based on these guidelines and a broad question is the first step to do when writing your research paper. Ask yourself the following questions before choosing your research paper topic:

  • Is there sufficient information available on the chosen topic?

  • Is the topic unique and new enough for you to add fresh opinions of your own?

  • Is the topic relevant to my occupation or course?

Always try and choose a topic that you like and/or are interested in. The final product will definitely be a good one if you choose a topic that you passionate about. Try and choose a topic that is unique and different from the ones chosen by your coursemates. Do not hesitate to ask seniors or your teachers or your own coursemates for help if you are not getting a good topic. And finally, do not be scared of changing your topic if you realize the inappropriateness while doing research.


You can research for your topic from numerous sources including journal articles, web pages, encyclopedias, books, blog posts, interviews, and more. It is important to choose resources that accepted by your college and are authored by professionals and experts. You must find at least five reliable sources for your research paper; just one or two will not suffice.

Try and find empirical research sources. This means use those journals and articles that have been verified and vouched for by peers and other experts and professionals in the same field. You can find such sources either from the internet (reliable sources only) and from journals in your library.

Your library is a great place to collect data for your paper. College libraries have access to helpful research materials ranging from journals to magazines and newspapers to books. Your librarian is trained for research work. Hence, do not hesitate to ask him or her for help.

When looking for research materials online, keep the following points in mind:

  • Not all blogs and posts and web pages are legitimate and contain only verified facts

  • Not every information site is trustworthy or reliable

  • Usually, data website with .gov or .org or .edu are safe for use in your paper as these websites belong to the government, organizations, and schools that deal with this subject

  • If you are not finding sufficient information, use different keywords to find relevant data

  • You can use academic databases that your college has a subscription for through the computers in your college library

  • There are plenty of authentic databases that contain journals and papers dedicated to one particular field of study. Your trained librarian will be of immense help to you in this regard

When you make notes while researching, ensure you have all the relevant details of your source including title, the name of the author, date of publication, the date when you accessed the information, page number, and more. This information is very important for citing purposes. Your research paper will have no credibility if this information is not given accurately in it.

Make an outline

Your outline is like the architect's plan for the home you are going to build. The plan should ideally be highly detailed giving exact measurements of the spaces in the house and the entire layout of each room. Similarly, the outline for your research paper should contain detailed notes about what will appear in each section.

Annotate all your notes and/or photocopies of the data that you have researched. This will make the writing process very easy. Mark all the important points on your notes and put a marker there so that you can retrieve it easily. While you make annotations, add your own comments as to where and which part of the research paper this data should be placed in. Write down other ideas that keep cropping up next to the relevant notes so that you can include all the ideas together when you are writing this point in your research paper.

Organize your notes by using index cards. Keep colored index cards for each idea so that you can keep them together and retrieval also become easy. Consolidating your notes in one place will help you immensely when you actually sit down to write your paper.

While writing your outline, make a rough reference or bibliography page and changing it as and when you change the points in your paper.

Decide on the tone of the paper depending on whether it is an argumentative or an expository paper. Another thing to keep in mind while deciding the tone of the paper is the target audience. If the paper is meant for academic peers, then you need not elaborate on basic theories and ideas. However, if the paper is meant for someone who does not know the subject well, then you must necessarily take on an instructive tone and explain all theories and ideas (including the basic ones) in detail.

Develop your thesis and main points while writing the outline. Decide how you are going to conclude your paper.

Writing the paper

With the outline done in detail, the writing itself will be very easy. All you need to do to consolidate all the ideas and present in the paper in the format of the outline. Write the first draft completely and only then do the editing and revision work. Do as many revisions as you need till you are completely satisfied with the final product.

Final Notes

Writing a research paper is the ultimate skill you can gain as a good writer. The satisfaction you get when you read your final error-free paper which is a result of immense hard work and dedicated is unparalleled. When you see the great grades, this sense of satisfied is doubled.

At Prescott Papers, we offer a range of research paper services to meet all your academic needs. We can help you with the entire paper including research or help you with only certain aspects such as writing the outline or editing and proofreading or writing the abstract, etc.

College Research Paper Format Example

Writing college research papers can be a daunting challenge for even the most seasoned college student. Using a College Research Paper Format Example is a great way to understand how to format your research paper. So, here goes the format example for your reference.

Title Page

The content on the title page is centre-aligned and it contains the title of the paper, the author's name, and the affiliation.

A study of the factors that affect infant feeding practices

of mothers in the city of Beijing, China

By [name of the author], [name of the university]

[Year of publication]


The abstract will be on the next page [Page 2 of the paper] and will contain a brief, powerful, and succinct compilation of the entire paper in not more than 400 words. While the elements to be included in the abstract are dependent on the field of study, the following items are usually included:

  • The scope of your research paper

  • The purpose of your paper

  • The results of your study

  • The contents of the paper (a highly shortened version)

The abstract should include pertinent keywords used in the main paper and yet, it is a separate original document that has its own significance. The absence of a well-crafted abstract renders your research paper incomplete. Future researchers who read the abstract can decide if they find the study suitable for their own study or not.

Body Text

Under this section, you will have the introduction, the methodology, and conclusion. The methodology will include subheadings like the type of research, sampling method, respondents, and questionnaire. Allow me to use examples for each of the headings and subheadings.

Introduction The melamine controversy brought the debate of breastfeeding Vs using substitutes like infant formula under the limelight again. Going forward, your introduction must announce the topic, offer a valid context and rationale for your research work, state the research question(s), and embed the thesis statement. A well-crafted introduction should catch the reader's attention, set the tone for the entire paper, and communicate the hypothesis or the thesis statement in a highly specific and succinct manner.

You can use the funneling method of delivering information about the research question. Start off by giving a broad outline and keep narrowing it down at every stage till you reach the research question that you are going to answer in your paper.

An example of a broad introduction to the topic would be something like: Right through the last century, our perspectives about life on other planets have undergone major changes. This introduces the topic broadly. The reader will have an idea that the research paper is going to talk about life on other planets.

This section must also include reference to work that has been done till now and using this, you can explain the basis for taking up your research work and what gaps of the earlier works it will fill.

Methodology – You must include all the elements you used for conducting your research including the one, two, or more of the following:

  • Participants

  • Procedures

  • Questionnaires

  • Equipment used (if any)

Participants – You must include how many participants and all relevant details about them here. For example, 'there were 30 male participants and 20 female participants recruited by an outsourcing firm at a cost of $30 a day for their time and effort for participating in the experiment/survey.'

Equipment/Instruments UsedA 'shock generator' was employed to trick the participants into thinking they were going into shock if they did not answer questions correctly. There were labels on the 'generator' which had labels such as 30V, 50V, 200V, 450V, etc letting the participant think that their 'shock treatment' was being generated by such high powers. Half of the participants administered the shock and the other half received the shock. It was all make-believe but the participants did not know this.

I am not discussing the other points; but, the same kind of information about everything that was used to conduct the experiment or carry out the research should be provided in the methodology section.


Here, you must summarize the results obtained in the following way:

  • Decide which of the results are directly connected to the research question and include only those

  • Arrange the results in a logical order; either in chronological order or in the order of importance (ascending or descending)

  • Decide which is the best way to present the results; in the form of tables, graphs, text, or figures

  • Summarize the findings and point out the attached figures, tables etc through the text.

  • Describe those findings (if any) that are not included in the tables, figures, and graphs

  • Clearly point out the magnitude of the response or the differences in responses using percentages of change rather than actual numbers

  • Ensure accuracy and consistency of data right through the paper


Here is an example of the discussion of the results of the 'shock generator' experiment.

Most of the participants were furious at the person managing the 'shock generator. Nearly 90% of the participants continued to respond to the questioning even though they were uncomfortable. This study reflects the fact that if compelled to do so, people can be forced to harm others. This study shows that personal characteristics played a minor role in the 'forceful harming' process and the circumstances that drove such behavior played a major role. It is a commonly accepted belief that harming others was part of one's personal characteristics and hence, people who are by nature harmless and kindhearted will not, under any circumstance, harm anyone else. This study proves this belief to be baseless.'

This section should also include gaps in the research which could become the basis for future research.


This page contains all the references and quotes of earlier scholarly works used in the paper by employing the formatting style instructed by your mentor.

Final Notes

Doing a college research paper is indeed a difficult task and takes up a lot of time and energy. You can always turn to expert research paper writers at Prescott Papers who will help you with the entire process.

We will create papers that are perfect and complete in all respects by professionals and trained and qualified writers and editors. We are a specialized academic paper writing service company and can deliver all kinds of academic writing work. We also undertake rush orders.

Do not hesitate to call us for custom essays, dissertations, research papers, thesis, thesis proposals, and all your academic writing assignments. You can depend on us to deliver quality work within the promised timelines.

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