When you write a research paper and you have everything you need for it to be an exceptional paper – a good topic, a thesis statement, and well-researched information, it is equally essential that you present it in a proper format.
The format of your paper and the overall appearance is as important as the research content itself, in order to score good grades. Unlike an essay, your research paper will be lengthy and might extend up to pages upon pages, therefore it is necessary that you present it in a well-organized and well-formatted manner. Take research paper writing help online if needed.
There are several different styles that are used in formulating a research paper, and there might be different requirements set by your teacher or professor, both of which you should make sure of before writing your paper. However, the general structure of a research paper is as given below.
- Title page
The title page is always the first page of your research paper and it should remain unnumbered unless asked to do otherwise. A standard title page will contain:
- the title of your research
- details of the author – name, student number or similar academic details, and academic credentials (course of study)
- class details and name and academic credentials of the supervisor along with their institutional affiliation
- submission information – date and year.
It is the first numbered page of your research paper and is used to recognize and appreciate the help given by influential persons, institutions, in the form of direct support, which is critical to the success of the research.
- Table of contents
The table of contents follows the acknowledgements page and it should contain a list of all the sections of your research paper tagged with appropriate page numbers.
The abstract briefly sums up the summary of your research project and is usually short and precise, containing about 100 to 500 words, which is written without using paragraphs. It is written in the past tense because it describes the project that has already been done, and therefore it is written after the completion of your project. An abstract contains the following information.
- The purpose or the main objective of your research.
- The scope of the research.
- The methodology used in the research.
- The results of the research along with the specific qualitative and quantitative data.
The research paper further contains the following sections in the sequence the same as written below.
- Literature review
- Literature cited
Once you organize your research paper in an appropriate manner, it needs to be formatted according to guidelines, to make it presentable and clean. Before formatting your paper, make sure to check the formatting guidelines provided by your teacher or professor, and ask them if it isn’t provided. Some standard formatting guidelines are as given below, please refer to specific guidelines according to the paper style that you’re asked to use.
Except for the page numbers, leave a margin of one inch at the top, bottom, and both sides of the page. If your printout paper is going to be larger than 8.5 by 11 inches, do not print text in an area larger than 6.5 by 9 inches.
- Choose a normal typeface such as Times New Roman or similar, given that it’s easily readable, and in which the regular type is distinguishable from the italics.
- The font size to a standard size such as 12 points. Use double spacing in your entire paper by setting the spacing in the format menu of your word processor.
- Do not justify the texts at the right margin.
- Indent the first line of the paragraphs half an inch from the left margin.
Heading and title
- On the top left of your title page, keep the margins, type your name, instructor’s name, course details, and date, each on a new line.
- On a new line, type the title of your research keeping it center aligned. Your title should not be bold, italicized, or typed in all capital letters, and it should not end with a period.
- Use double line spacing for each line, which can be set from the format menu of your word processor.
Number all your pages on the top right corner, leaving half an inch from the top and flush with the right margin. Type your last name followed by a space before the page numbers.
Before you submit your paper, proofread it and correct any formatting or printing mistakes that you find, and create new printouts after correcting the mistakes in your document file.
To finish, bind all your pages properly together such that they don’t get separated. If you are asked to submit an electronic copy, make sure you ask your teacher or professor for any specific guidelines. While these are the general formatting tips to make the appearance of your paper properly presentable, please check the specific guidelines provided, structure and format it according to the style required.