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Structure of a Research Paper

Author: I. Lee
Published on: May 26, 2023
Updated on: Jul 26, 2023
Table of content
  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Table of contents
  • Body
  • References
  • Appendix
  • Additional elements
  • How to organize a research paper

Research Paper Structure
Every student, sooner or later, has to write a research paper, which is often a challenging task. In addition to studying the literature and conducting research, it is essential to write an essay and correctly describe the results. Otherwise, the teacher may reduce the grade for the work done. Moreover, it is also difficult to make a correct research paper structure because you need to understand what to write in each section and strictly adhere to the generally accepted formatting.

In this article, you will learn how to write your research paper to get the highest score from a professor by following the requirements.

Title page

The first page of your work’s structure is called the title page and contains all the essential information about you as the author, the name of the work, the university, etc. It’s like a book cover that gives you an idea of what’s inside. Different universities and colleges use different citation styles, and depending on them, the type of the title page is different.

For example, using the MLA citation style, you should not have a cover page. Instead, all information is placed before the main text at the top of the first page.

If you are writing in the Chicago style, you must include the following:

  • The paper title.
  • Your department and university or organization.
  • The professor’s name.
  • The research topic.
  • The due date is on the title page.

For each structure of a research paper, requirements may differ. Therefore, before writing a structured research paper, ask the teacher what type to use for you.

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The abstract is the short first paragraph of your paper. It should not exceed 250 words and tells the reader about your research and your work. It is an introduction that gives a summary of the entire work.

Experts advise writing this part of the research essay structure at the end when the main text of the study is ready. However, before writing, it is better to reread the work’s entire text and summarize everything you have done and what results you have received. In this way, the abstract helps the reader to understand whether they will be interested in studying your research.

Table of contents

It is also better to start writing a table of contents after the main text of the work is ready. You indicate all the components of a research paper and which page leads the reader to which chapter. The design of the table of contents may differ depending on the structure and citation style.


It is the central part of the paper. Here is all the information about the research, actions, conclusions, and results that your research paper consist of. Writing a research paper from this section is worth it because it is the most important.

It consists of an introduction, a study of the problem, a literature survey, results, and conclusions. It must be formatted appropriately and indicate all your sources for the research paper. Otherwise, you may be accused of plagiarism.

If you want to describe everything correctly and get an exemplary research paper, you can first state the essence of the research and then add a description and your thoughts on this issue. Thus, the study will be complete and interesting to review.

Introduction section

In this part of the body, you need to describe in detail the problem you are investigating and why it is essential to pay attention to this problem. Here you can tell the background and opinions on this or that subject.

This section helps you gather all the data and start writing your paper. A strong introduction also intrigues the reader and immerses them in your research. That’s why it’s so important to write it well.

Literature review

In the literature review, your task is to describe what has already been done on your research topic, what materials are available, and how different authors looked at the issue under study. The more sources you consider and describe, the more accurate and voluminous your research will be. Also, studying the literature prepares you for what you may encounter during your research and helps you better understand the problem you are studying.

Be careful: you must place the citation correctly in this part. The format may vary, but indicating all sources used will protect you from accusations of plagiarism.

Materials and methods section

One of the most important elements of a research paper. In this section, describe everything you use in the research. In addition, describe any techniques and tools that help you to investigate the topic better and that you have used.

This section helps the reader understand where you have drawn your conclusions and how to replicate your research.

Results section

It is the most interesting section because it shows the results of your work and conclusions. Therefore, describing what you got while studying the topic and what you propose to do next is crucial based on the results obtained.

Feel free to challenge other authors’ points of view in the results section because you’ve done an experiment that helped you reach those conclusions.

Discussion section

The discussion section is one of the parts of an academic paper in which you can describe the implications of your findings and encourage readers to take some action.

For example, suppose you have researched the issue of ecology. In that case, you can show how your chosen topic affects health and life and call for functional changes. Here you can also draw the reader’s attention to different points of view on the issue under study.


The conclusion is the final body of your paper. Here it is worth summarizing, recalling the problem you have investigated and the key findings you have received. There is no ready template, but the conclusion should give the reader an idea of your research paper without reading the entire text.


References are one of the research paper sections where you collect all the literature sources cited in the article. It includes books, studies, various papers, presentations, etc. The design of this list may also differ depending on the type of citation used in the work. First, collect all the titles of the documents and arrange them in the style the teacher requires.


The appendix is not available in all research papers and is not required. However, this section is added at the end if additional material is needed to understand your work: patents, code, notes, etc. If you have such materials and understand they are essential for research, place them in this section.

Additional elements

Additional elements are similar to the appendix and are also optional. It usually contains terms that need to be explained, keywords, thanks, etc. You can add this section with explanations if you use complicated words and definitions.

How to organize a research paper structure: important tips

Now, you know what sections your research paper will consist of. In order not to forget anything, you can use the following tips:

  1. Ask your teacher for quoting and formatting standards to meet expectations.
  2. Plan before writing. It will help you complete the task faster and remember everything.
  3. Start writing work with the body, and add other needed sections after the main part is ready.
  4. Check your work several times to ensure you haven’t forgotten any section.

Make a table of contents after the scientific paper structure is ready.

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