How to structure an academic research paper in a proper way

research paper tips

The exact way an academic research paper is structured is sometimes unclear for many students who have never written one before. If you have written one and received it back from your professor full of red marks, you’ll be looking for some help to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes again.

Get clarity on your instructions

Depending on your college and/or your subject, make sure you know whether your research paper should be written in APA or MLA. If it’s neither, ask your professor about what guidelines you are to follow. Some schools have a particular criteria for all their assignments, so make sure you know what’s expected of you.

Get a template

If you’re still unclear in any way about how your research paper should be structured, a sure way to dispel any doubt is by buying a good sample paper. Writing companies keep thousands of these on hand for students who wish to use a template or just check their work.

The first 2 pages

You will need to start with a cover letter, after which you’ll be expected to write your abstract.

  • The cover letter should contain the main heading of your research assignment, as well as your name, school name, teacher’s name and subject.
  • The abstract is a short write up on why you have decided to research the topic you have. Mention what you are trying to contribute, as well as what your purpose is.

A good opening

Now comes your introduction. Let your audience know which direction you intend to take in your research, but be careful not to spoil the main parts. Also highlight your theme and make sure you stick to that theme going forward. Your reader will quickly gather what tone you are using in your introduction.

How to build your argument

Break your content into three main parts, and feel free to break those parts up into smaller ones. You should start with your theory first, then move on to giving evidence that supports your theory. After that, discuss the results of your research and name the consequences they bring to your field of study.

In conclusion

The end paragraph should reiterate what you’ve said, but in different words. Ensure that you end on a good note, assuming the reader has sided with you in your argument. Suggest further research into the topic and end with a fitting quote from an authoritative expert.