How to structure your research paper

How to structure your research paper

This article discusses some useful tips on how best to structure your research paper. A research paper is outlined in a specific way, and readers expect to read your academic paper and quickly get an idea about your research. So it is crucial to stress that you should be aiming to make it as clear, simple and to the point as possible. Academic writing is strictly formal, so don’t waste your time providing lengthy explanations to bore your readers. Be straightforward, and write your ideas as simple as you can. Research papers are usually structured in a standardized format, with specific sections.



The title quickly tells the audience what the paper is about, and what you will present. This should be impactful and descriptive. Researcher names and affiliations are also included.



The abstract is a very brief 250-300 word overall summarization of your work. Its purpose is to quickly give the read an idea about the methodology, results and implications of your work. It is highly important, since the reader would rely on the abstract to make a decision to continue reading the paper or not. You should keep the sentences in the abstract short and straightforward, since there is a limited number of words you can use here. Try to avoid the use of citations or abbreviations here.



Include a few keywords that strongly represent your work. These are usually used by indexing databases and show up to readers who have used those same keywords in their search queries. So proper choice of keywords would impact the amount of readers who would reach your paper.



The introduction usually presents a general idea of the work, and first discusses the field in general, and then zooms in to the problem of interest, and how you have attempted to resolved this problem, the results obtained, and the contribution of your results/outcome to the literature. Your main objectives should also be explicit here.


Methodology (materials and methods)

This section discusses all the steps you have taken to conduct the research, explained in as much detail as possible. Readers should be able to follow the steps taken to re-do the same procedure. So this section should be explicit and all the small details.


Results and Discussion

This section presents your results, usually in tables and figures, as well as an in-depth explanation of the results and their comparison to related work. The results should be presented clearly and concisely so that readers can easily go through them.


Limitations and recommendations for future work

The limitations of your work should be highlighted here, and possible ways to overcome them in future work.



Be sure to acknowledge your institution here if they have sponsored the research, usually through a grant.



This section is at the end of the manuscript, and lists down all of your citations to related work.


Tables, Figures and Equations

These are inserted throughout the manuscript after the paragraph that cites them. Captions should briefly explain the item and should be short.


Once your final draft paper is ready, be sure to send it to a professional manuscript proofreader/editor for eliminating and errors before publication.




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