Major Parts of a Research Paper To Know About

parts of a research paper

Whenever your instructor assigns you a research paper, he/she expects a coherently fashioned set of ideas. It’s not like an essay where you will fumble around with words and finally conclude it. That is why every student, researcher or professional should acquaint himself/herself with the parts of a scientific research paper.

The focus of this professionally crafted post is on the outline of a research paper. Here, you will find all the nitty-gritty on the sections of a research paper with hand-picked expert examples to get you started.

What are the Parts of Research Paper?

Of importance to note is that there is no general rule of thumb as to the specific research paper parts. However, these are the most common among most papers:

Title/Cover Page

It is the first page of your paper that gives the first impression to the examiner. The title page contains the running head, paper’s title, page number, author’s name, email, and other student’s affiliations.

Depending on the instructions, you can either use the APA, MLA, or Chicago style to format the title page. Below is an example of how you can develop a research paper title page with two authors having one affiliation in APA style:

Mark W. Thomas and Jane Hopkins

Harvard University, Massachusetts


Although not all research papers require an abstract, it is essential for the complicated and long scientific papers. It summarizes the entire research paper. For an abstract, the maximum word count is 200 words. Do not go beyond this or below 100 words.

The restrictive word count can be a daunting task, but with practice, one can accomplish it painstakingly. It contains the research problem, its essence, methodology, key findings and conclusions, and the meaning of the results.

Avoid citing sources in your abstract since it should focus on your original research and be self-contained. Here is a sample abstract for your inspiration:

“Underlying health conditions have been the cause of the recent coronavirus deaths. The dominant explanation for this is the weakened immune system. Previous research has primarily relied on the virus itself, thus neglecting the role of underlying illnesses. We use data from the WHO on the deaths in the USA, Italy, and South Africa. Contrary to popular belief, the rising coronavirus deaths are as a result of underlying illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and HIV/AIDS. Our findings, therefore, indicate the importance of identifying and treating such underlying health conditions.”

Introduction and Statement of the Problem

A top-notch intro will address the following:

  • An Introduction to the topic.
  • Context and background.
  • The main research problem
  • Its significance
  • Its originality
  • Your rationale.
  • Your hypothesis.

It should be as short as possible. Here is an example:

“Did you know that there are currently over 10, 000 corona-related diabetes deaths? Although many succumb to the virus without any prior illness, statistics find that 25% of the patients had diabetes. It suggests that the virus is not a friend to such patients. My research paper aims to demonstrate that coronavirus is only deadly in case of an underlying medical condition. Therefore, such people should have number one priority in hospitals.”

Limitations of the Study

They are those factors which constraint a research study and thus, its findings. An explicit acknowledgement of the limitations adds to the authenticity and reliability of your results.

They include sampling errors, time constraints, lack of prior studies on the problem, and data collection techniques.

You can use any of the following phrases for these sections of a scientific paper:

  • “This study has potential limitations.”
  • “The findings of this study have to be seen in the light of some challenges.”

Remember to discuss some possible ways of overcoming these limitations in future studies after acknowledging them.


It is one of the significant components of a research paper that highlights the rationale and strategy of the research. You should include the methods used in the field and the theories or principles behind them.

The specific techniques should lead to systematic data development. Use the following guide to write a top-grade methodology section:

  • How you collected the data
  • Research methods used (quantitative or qualitative)
  • Why you chose these methods and techniques
  • How did you use them to analyze the research question

Some of the standard research methods include interviews, questionnaires, observation, surveys etc.

Literature Review

It is a survey of the scholarly materials used, such as books and articles. A literature review provides a description, summary, and critical evaluation of these sources concerning the research question.

Situate your work concerning existing knowledge by:

  • Searching for relevant literature
  • Evaluating sources
  • Identifying themes and gaps

You can use Google scholar, your university’s library catalogue, and Boolean operators.

Main Body of Paper/Argument

It entails a collection and arrangement of the evidence coherently to persuade the reader of your argument. Since it is long, a logical organization is key to ensuring that the cases come out clearly.

The body paragraphs should be relevant, supportive of your argument and logical. Use transition phrases such as accordingly, by comparison, kindred, parallel, etc.


Of all the parts of a thesis, this is the most neglected and overlooked. However, the outcome should help the reader understand the significance of your research after reading the paper.

It is a synthesis of critical points creatively and appealingly, not merely being repetitive. You can use words such as:

  • The analysis leads to the following conclusions:
  • Broadly translated our results indicate that
  • Collectively, our findings appear consistent with

Keep it short and sweet!

Works Cited/Bibliography

For this section, use either the parts of a research paper APA or MLA depending on the instructions.


It is a section at the end that provides information too detailed for the text of the paper itself. Such information would be distracting or inappropriate.

After completing all the other sections of research paper, close with one or more appendix depending on the type of paper, you are handling.

Writing a research paper is an art that one can master by understanding its structure. However, if this is still a problem for you, we have expert writing help on all the parts of a paper. Give it a try today, and see your grades soar higher.