Insight into a basic research papers format: rules and suggestions

Research paper writing does not come naturally to anyone. It is a structured document written under some rigid and other not-so-rigid guidelines. The difference between a graduate and undergraduate product is that the former is lengthier and is expected to add something new to the conclusions and shed light from a newer angle on topic. Undergraduate papers are shorter and the expectation is of having done it correctly rather than of originality.

Some basic rules for writing a research paper are:

Follow the format:

  • Title
  • Introduction: A discussion about the hypothesis or question you wish to investigate. Carefully define the parameters of your research including the scope, and definitions, and their importance
  • Literature Review: The theoretical work published on the question and the relation to your research.
  • Research and case review: How you performed the research. The strategy and methodology
  • Results: What you learnt through research and analysis.
  • Conclusion: a brief summary revisiting the question and bringing together the results to tie into a neat package.
  • References/sources

Be inclusive yet concise: This is not a dissertation so you have to write concisely while being careful about including all the salient features of your work. You neither want to go on and on about any one thing, nor cut it so short as to become insufficient.

Page numbers: It seems understood, but it is a common mistake. Something as trivial as numbering the pages can be over looked or take lightly and forgotten altogether. Yet this is very important: You do not want the data or discussion out of order and incomprehensible. It is an annoyance for the reader to have to figure out the order.

Charts and/or tables: These are not only effective tools for conveying large amounts of data but are also a welcome break from paragraphs upon paragraphs of text. Use these in moderation but do not leave them out.

Font: Do not be tempted to use stylized font to add oomph to the appearance. A standard font is graceful and expected. Besides, it is the content of your paper and its structure that will get you somewhere, not curly font type. Use one and a half space unless otherwise specified. Standard margins around the page

Header and footer: This, once again, is something that can be easily overlooked. Your department may have specified what is to appear here.

Last but not the least, Cover: It is important and creates a good impression that your research paper is in a neat cover. You must state the title, your name, and date of submission, and to whom this paper is being submitted to.

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