Key elements of a research paper

Key elements of a research paper

Writing a research paper is one of the main tasks in colleges. When assigned the task, many students do not know the elements of a research paper. This article highlights the 10 elements of a research paper;

What is a research paper?

A research paper is a type of writing where the writer explains what they have learned after conducting a detailed study of a topic. Writers can also give their views and opinions about the topics.

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A research paper should argue a point or analyze a perspective. When writing any type of research paper, ensure you present your thinking about the topic and back it up with other information.

What are the components of a research paper?

The components of a research paper are the major parts that make it up. A research paper is not complete if it lacks one or some of the components. To write a compelling research paper, ensure you write the components in the right order. Let us look at the elements of a good research paper.

Elements of a research paper

  1. Cover page

A cover page is the first page of a research paper. It contains the author’s name, phone number, address, date, and email. The cover page helps the reader to identify your work. It makes the research paper look professional and neat.

A title page represents the whole research paper. It is therefore important to have a well-written and formatted title page. All the information regarding the content of the article should be available on the title/cover page.

  1. Abstract

An abstract is part of writing that describes the broad overview of a research paper. It highlights the main theme and the essence of the research paper.

Your abstract should be 100 to 300 words. It should include; the research question, significance of the research, methodology used, findings, and results.

While writing an abstract, remember to take care. The first part must be interesting and impressive to the reader. This will help to motivate them to continue reading the research paper.

An abstract summarizes the whole research paper apart from the cited works and footnotes. It should begin with a brief statement of the problem then followed by the design and method of the research. It should then proceed to the major findings and finally to a conclusion and recommendations.

  1. Introduction

This is where you introduce your research topic. It is important to make your introduction interesting and engaging. This is where they get the idea of your research paper. So, if it is not interesting, they might not continue reading. State your hypothesis in the introduction and explain how you will work it out from the beginning to the end.

An introduction is one of the main components of a research paper outline. Here is a list of elements of an introduction in a research paper. When writing your introduction for the research paper, do the following;

  • Introduce your topic
  • Create some background of your context
  • Tell the reader how you plan to carry out your research
  • State your rationale
  • Explain the importance of your research
  • State the hypothesis of your research
  1. Statement of the problem

This is a key element of a research paper used as a claim to outline the problem addressed by the research. A good statement of the problem should show an existing gap in the field which opens opportunities for further studies.

How to write a problem statement for your research paper

  • State the problem
  • Describe the specific issue that your research will address
  • Explain the importance of the problem
  • Show the objectives of the research or your findings

Characteristics of a good problem statement

  • It should address the gap in the field of study
  • It should be important enough to take part in the research
  • It should open room for further research
  • The problem stated should be open to investigations through data collection
  • It should show the interest of the researcher to bring in their resources, time, and skills
  • It should be solved in an ethical way

The main intention of a statement of the problem in research is to change a general problem into a specific one. The problem statement shows that a certain issue can be solved through careful decision-making and focused research.

A persuasive statement of the problem should have three parts. This includes;

  • The ideal

This describes the ideal situation or the desired goal. It explains how things should be carried out in the research.

  • The reality

This is the second part of the problem statement. It describes any condition that can prevent the goal of the research from being achieved. It also explains how the situation lacks the ideal or the goal.

  • The consequences part

This is a part that shows how the writer proposes to improve the current situation. Also, how they intend to bring the situation close to the goals and objectives of the research.

  1. Limitations of the study

This involves the extent your research will touch. It is important to indicate as early as possible the limit your research will reach. Show how original your paper will be and the gap it will fill in other studies. This part is one of the most basic elements of a research proposal.

You can limit the scope of your study by listing the number of factors it will touch. For example; gender, time, personnel, geographic location, age nationality among many others.

  1. Methodology

Research methodology involves the techniques and specific procedures that are used to select, identify, analyze and process research information. Such elements of a research paper give the reader room to evaluate the overall reliability and validity of a study.

Data in research can be classified into four types according to the method used to collect data. This includes;

  • Observational
  • Experimental
  • Derived
  • Simulation

There are different types of research methodologies. This includes;

  • Qualitative research
  • Quantitative research
  • Descriptive research
  • Applied research
  • Analytical research
  • Exploratory research
  • Fundamental research

How to write a research methodologies element of a research paper

  • Introduce the methods to use in your research
  • Establish the connection between the research methodologies
  • Introduce the instruments for research
  • Discuss your data analysis
  • Provide the background information for your research
  • Discuss the process of sampling
  • Address the limitation of your research

Research methodology is important for a research study as it helps in developing confidence and language skills for the researcher’s local culture. Learning how to apply all the qualitative research methods helps in developing interpersonal transferrable skills required in many careers.

  1. Literature review: key elements of a research paper

A literature review is a summary of any previous research of the topic being researched. It analyzes various books, scholarly works, and other sources that may be related to the area of research. The literature review should describe, enumerate, objectively evaluate, summarize and clarify the previous research on a topic.

How to write literature review parts of a research paper

  • Narrow down your topic and select other works accordingly
  • Search for literature
  • Read and evaluate the other articles thoroughly
  • Develop subtopics from the literature by looking at developed patterns
  • Develop the purpose of the statement
  • Write your research paper
  • Review your work

Literature review in research helps in establishing and understanding the familiarity of the available research in a certain topic before conducting any research.  The literature review should help in identifying the research that has already been done.

This part of research requires a thorough study of a topic If you are caught up by other activities and do not have time to do the research, feel free to contact homework help services for help.

  1. Argument/main body of the research paper

This is the longest part of a research paper. It contains components of a research article. This is the part of a research paper where the thesis is supported by ideas. In the body, arrange and collect evidence to convince the reader about your argument.

The size of the body should depend on the size of the entire research paper. If the body is long, you should partition it into small sections using subheadings and headings.

How to write the body of a research paper

  • Use the prospectus and the outline as flexible guides
  • Come up with your essay according to the points you have composed
  • Bring up a discussion out of your sources
  • Explain, analyze, evaluate and summarize the published work, do not just report the work

To break the boredom in reading your research paper, you might include images, tables, graphs and maps to the body. The items included should be cited using the style guide that is provided for the research paper.

Write short paragraphs which are not boring to read. This does not mean that you write one-sentence paragraphs. A good paragraph should have two to three sentences with enough support for the main idea.

In the body paragraphs, you should include two parts. One part should show assertions and claims stated in the thesis statement. The second part should show the research of the writer in backing up the thesis.

The first sentences of all the body paragraphs should be a continued transition from the sentence at the end of your introduction. It should be the topic sentence that presents a point, topic or argument that is presented in the entire paragraph.

The other sentences in the body paragraphs should show the evidence in the form of discussions. This should use examples and quotations to support the topic.

The final sentences of the paragraphs should form a transition from the second sentence where the ideas are presented. Every point in the body paragraphs should support the main ideas from the introduction.

When writing a research paper, ensure that your body section is organized. Focus on presenting information logically and clearly. This will help the reader to understand the main points and the purpose of your research. The reader can also relate to how the claims made in the research paper have supported the thesis statement.

  1. Conclusion

A basic research paper should have a conclusion. In this part of the research paper, you should summarize all the information stated in the introduction and the body paragraphs. Include the following in your conclusion

  • Restate your topic of research
  • Restate your thesis statement
  • Summarize all the main points
  • State the results significance
  • Summarize your thoughts on the research
  1. Appendices

This part should contain supplementary material that is not necessary to be included in the body section. This material is however important as it helps in understanding any information that is cumbersome. This includes information that cannot be included in the main text of the research paper.  

Appendices are usually placed after the main body but before the works cited or the bibliography section. They have headings that designate them.

Materials that can be included in the appendices part include;

  • Long mathematical calculations
  • Detailed technical drawings
  • Raw data tables among other complicated details
  • Sample calculations
  • Supporting evidence
  • Drawings, technical figures, and graphs
  • Emails letters and other corresponds copies
  • Notes from observations
  • Specialized data
  • Survey instruments/questionnaires with results in the text
  • Datasheets specifications

Do not include irrelevant or vague information in the appendix section. Information in the appendix should help the reader to understand and interpret the research paper better.

Appendices should have the following characteristics

  • They should appear at the end of the research paper
  • They should have sections dividing them example; different sections for interview transcripts, results of questionnaires among others
  • Each appendix should start on a new page

To be complete, your research paper should have an appendix. The appendix should contain all the information to discourse the research problem. The main takeaway point is that information in the appendix is not essential for the research paper. If removed, the paper should not change.

Now that we have written the key components of a research paper, you may be asking yourself the importance of a research paper. So, what is the importance of a research paper? A research paper has the following benefits;

  1. It helps in facilitating learning and building knowledge
  2. It helps to increase public awareness about a topic
  • It helps to succeed in business
  1. It helps in supporting the truth and disapproving lies and misconceptions
  2. It is a way to seize and gauge opportunities
  3. It promotes confidence in writing, analyzing, reading, and sharing some variable information.
  • It provides exercise and nourishment for the mind

To sum up

If you have to write a research paper, you need to know the key elements of a research paper. You should also know how they follow each other. If you mix up the components, your research paper can confuse the readers.

A research paper has ten key elements which have been discussed in this article. You should understand what to place in each section. With the key components, it becomes easy to write a research paper.

If you still have any problem in writing a research paper or you need assistance in any part, do not worry. Contact us now.

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