The four main parts of a research paper are the introduction, body, conclusion, and reference page. These parts can be broken down further into smaller parts depending upon the type of research paper that is being written. Some papers require an abstract, experiment methods, and results, for example. The best research paper is thorough and provides the reader with as much information as possible on a specific topic.
The introduction is the first paragraph and may be the most important part of the paper. It should state the main point or the question that is being researched. It should also include what the author or researcher expected to find during the research, which is called a hypothesis.
The body of a research paper contains the bulk of information. The body can be separated into three parts, including the experimental methods, the results, and a discussion. The experimental methods are the steps the researcher took to answer the proposed research question. The results are the actions and reactions that took place during the experiment or the answer to the question. The discussion section is where the researcher writes about the experimental findings and how those findings relate to the original hypothesis.
The conclusion is the final section and should tie all of the parts of a research paper together. It should explain why the research conducted was important and how it relates to other research that has already been published. The conclusion is usually only one or two paragraphs in a short research paper.
The reference page should list each of the books, journals, websites, and any other publications that were used to write the paper. The reference page can also be called a bibliography. Most follow specific guidelines depending on what kind of paper is being written.
Some research papers require an abstract. It is a brief paragraph that explains the overall research. An abstract is often used to give the reader an overview of the researched question and then a short summary of the experiment methods and results. Often, abstracts require a specific word count. Even though the abstract is placed in the beginning of a research paper, it can be easier to write once the entire paper is completed.
It is important for the writer to know the preferred style before beginning to write the paper. Some popular writing styles include the Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA), or the Chicago writing style. Each has its own set of guidelines and formatting rules.