Sections of a Research Paper

The essential thing when writing a research paper is to make sure that every section follows the correct order. Writing an engaging and well-structured paper makes the reader take the findings seriously. Every research paper starts with over-all plain information and gets more detailed as you progress with the hypothesis and research problem. Research papers differ from one discipline to the other; some research emphasizes some sections than some sections. But, all research papers follow a basic outline with the following sections:

  • Abstract

The abstract gives a general summary of what the research entails.

  • Introduction

The majority of the students begin writing their research papers with the introduction outlining what the paper has to achieve. Others write it as the last thing, briefly summarizing the whole research paper. Both styles are acceptable. A well-structured introduction consists of three parts:

  1. General presentation

          Highlight the importance of the research if previous researches did not follow up on this particular problem or reason why the problem exists. Previous studies probably had small sample sizes or experimental errors.

  1. The research Paper’s purpose

          The problem must show why the research is essential and the researcher’s objective with the study.

          Many students place their hypothesis in this section, while others prefer placing it at the end of the introduction to give a clearer picture to the reader.

  1. Justification

          In this part, the writer should give the research a context of any relevant material from the literature review and why they chose this particular area of study. It should include a short form of the paper’s discussion. 

  • Method

It is a natural section of the paper that outlines the methodology used in the research and the exact design used. The part is supposed to be brief and easily understood by other researchers as much as the methodology may vary from one discipline to the other. In research with questionnaires, a student can include a copy of the poll in the appendix to avoid crowding this section.

  • Results

The part depends on the research’s objective. The results vary from one researcher to the other. Quantitative analysis has numerical data and results, while qualitative research has broader but brief discussions of styles in the study. Graph and table presentations are perfect for investigations with a lot of results, placing the raw information in the appendix. Linking the figures and charts with commentary gives the data a nice flow. It is best to provide an overview and expand on the data on the discussion section to avoid repetition.

  • Discussion  

In this section, the researcher has to elaborate and explain their finding, adding their interpretation. You have to link whatever you’ve discussed with the introduction, especially the thesis statement, to avoid cluttering your results. By following the principle of the hourglass, a student can expound on the topic in the conclusion section.

  • Conclusion

Here, the researcher expounds more on their discussion relating their results to other researches and showing its importance to the field. The researcher should suggest improvements to the design of the research piece.

  • List of references

The section is vital in making the paper complete as it documents every source of information used in the write-up. Your reference list should either follow an MLA or APA format though some might specify other styles as well. Such references allow any other researcher to follow up and build on your research.


A research paper outlay is essential for a researcher to adequately present their train of thought backed by facts for a specific course.