Writing a research paper begins after the research proposal has been submitted and approved by the thesis committee. A research paper outline has to be formatted first according to the requirements mandated by the university or college in which you are studying. Most universities and institutes
have some specific format to be followed for writing a research paper. You may be able to get them from your tutors as hand-out guidelines or in the university library. However, just as the general rule for any writing, the research paper too consists of the introduction, the body and the conclusion.
I. The Introduction in a research paper is usually divided into 8 sub-sections:
The Statement of the Problem
Definition of Terms
Methodology that should include sections like: Type of the Research; Sampling or Participants used in Research; as well as the details of the method used like questionnaire/observation/experiment
Hypothesis/Hypotheses on which the study is based
Significance of the Study
Scope and Limitations
(This Introduction Section will be explained in detail in another blog.)
II. Body of the paper: In a research paper, this is sub-divided into 2 sections:
Analysis of Data and Discussion
The Background is the historical context of the thesis and all the necessary information that is needed for understanding the context of the thesis. When there are more than one sub-parts in the thesis question, the background analysis can also be sub-divided accordingly.
The Data Analysis section should usually contain the general items of the research, the identification and definition of each item with the necessary details, it should also call attention to the similarities and differences that are to be analysed, reasoning out each point with your own arguments, but well-supported by evidence from primary as well as secondary sources and make assumptions that are logically thought out and proved by your research. The type of analysis used should also be explained with its background and its suitability for this research.
Discussion is an examination of the results that were obtained with reference to the thesis and hypotheses stated earlier, to substantiate the proof obtained from the data and their analysis. This is the crux of the thesis and should be written clearly and briefly, backing up your arguments with properly cited sources.
III. Conclusion: The conclusion in the research paper consists of the Concluding Statement and any Recommendations. The concluding summary gives a brief summary of the analysis and restates the thesis according to the results obtained. The recommendations part states your suggestions on the topic as evidenced from the research, including what further work can be done on it.
Bibliography with all the citied and referenced literature listed in the required citing style comes last, followed by any Appendices that can incorporate diagrams, tables, charts, questionnaire model and other material used in the research but are too unwieldy to be included in the main paper. The Title page according to the university requirements, contents or index with page numbers for all the sections and subsections of the paper, a short and succinct abstract of about 200-250 words and a brief acknowledgements page are the pages of the research paper that come before the Introduction and can be added later.
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