Framing the structure of research papers

Students are introduced to research paper writing at an early stage of their education itself. All students are expected to have a clear idea of how to frame research papers, by the time they get to college level. But, unfortunately, most students seem ignorant about the basic yet important aspects of research paper writing, even when they reach higher levels of education. Research papers are considered as formal documents and there are specific formats for documenting them. The structure, the presentation methods etc are of high significance and must be carried out exactly as prescribed. There are various components which form part of the structure of a research paper and each of them has specific purposes. It is necessary to understand the purpose of each of the structural components in order to frame them appropriately.

The structural components and their purposes

Structure of a research paperSome of the structural components are mandatory for all research papers and some are optional for academic papers. The inclusion of the optional components is to be as decided by the instructors. Hence, until you get the guidelines of a project in hand, you would not be able to know which all components would form part of the structure of your paper. Even so, it is ideal that you find out about the various components – optional and mandatory -of the structure of research papers and their purposes.

The mandatory components of a research paper

The mandatory components of a research paper consist of the title page, the introduction, a minimum of three body paragraphs, the conclusion and the bibliography. The title page gives information on the author, the title of the paper, the course, the instructor and the date of submission. The introduction, as is indicated by the term, introduces the topic, gives relevant background information, discusses the scope of the topic and the nature of research and states the thesis of the paper. The body paragraphs discuss the research problem, present the solution and prove the thesis. The conclusion summarizes the main points of the paper and reinstates the thesis before concluding the paper. The bibliography section lists out the details of the sources used for research.

The optional components of a research paper

There are some components which are not included in all academic research papers but are a part of many of them. The research proposal, the abstract, the methodology chapter etc are some of them. The research proposals, when included, are submitted for the purpose of gaining approval to work on a particular topic. Hence, it must contain all the available details of the research including the research problem, the thesis, the methodology and so on. The abstract is a summary of the research paper and works to give the readers an idea of what to expect inside the document. The methodology chapters detail on the methodology used for research and tools employed for the purpose. Instructors usually pick the optional components depending upon the subject, the research objective, the topic etc. You may refer to the project guidelines to ascertain which all optional components must be included in the structure of a research paper.

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