Research Paper Structure: Advice For College Students

From the introduction to the body, and finally the conclusion, you have to jot down a well thought APA research paper structure if you want to capture the attention of your audience. Here are top tips to help you achieve perfection when it comes to outlining a good research paper structure.

What is the Research Paper Structure?

Before you can begin sourcing for information to be used in writing an academic paper, you need to have a structure. Missing this step can have you stretching your topic to a broader area since you will be working blindly. A research paper outline helps you to limit your scope of work. The books you read, the amount of data you collect, and the length of your paper ultimately depend on the structure of a research paper. Here is a closer look at the components of a research paper.

The Cover Page

The cover page is the first leaflet that your instructor meets once they get a hold of your paper. Since the paper heading represents you, it is critical to include some information such as:

  • Your name
  • The topic
  • Your school
  • The unit identification code
  • The date

Keep in mind that the presentation of this paper should be considered a paramount task. Use a hardcover material if you are working on a final project to achieve a professional look. Otherwise, use regular coverings for end term papers.

The Introduction

This segment of the research paper outline includes a brief familiarization of the topic to the reader. The introduction should consist of a research paper thesis, which explains what the paper is addressing and supporting information that prompts the reader to keep flipping through the pages. While this should be done professionally, ensure that it is engaging to grab the audience’s attention. Come up with an astonishing hook, use facts or any other supporting data to introduce the topic to the reader.

The structure of an academic research paper should not be wordy. Keep this segment short, saving the details for the body. Write only the essential bits that will help the reader have a rough idea of what to expect inside the text.

The Research Paper Body

All that gist you have prepared by reading various sources of data should be added to the body. This is the time to elaborate on all the mini points you had written. How to structure a research paper and more so the body is critical if you want to stay in topic. Pinpoint the highlights of the question then write them down. You need to elaborate on what your topic is and what it covers. The positive and adverse effects of the issue at hand, and current trends that most people have embraced in regards to the problem. Write the results of the methods used in the research and state whether you managed to achieve the goals you had set. Most importantly, elaborate on your contribution to the current research stating clearly the importance of the results you achieved. Use as many reference sources to ensure that your body is not short of material.


The conclusion is the final bit of the paper. Each student has to learn how to draft a valid conclusion. Restate your thesis statement then remind the reader your stand on the matter in the writing. Make a rational discussion that provides a seamless merge of all the main ideas. Stay away from new ideas since you may end up confusing the reader altogether.


The first question that new students ask is, “what is an appendix?” Most research papers have appendices, but is it good to note that they are not necessary. If this part of the article were to be removed, the value or the research paper should not decrease. The appendix should only help the readers to have a deeper understanding of the matter. The appendix is usually written separately since its details are lengthy and including it in the main text may alter the consistent flow of the paper.


During the research, students use several sources of information to build up on their document. Some of these sources they reference while some they do not. Regardless of this, they have to state all the places they sourced for Intel for their papers. Students have to write a list of the names of the books together with their authors. The publishers and locations of the publication houses have to be included in a bibliography.

Tips for Making an Outline

Now that you know what a research paper structure looks like take some time to read about how to write a research paper outline.

  • Write in point form
  • Write chronologically in regards to the final format you want to achieve
  • Stick to the set objectives

Final Thoughts

Learn how to make an outline by reading journals and other documentation that touch on this subject. If you don’t have access to these, use an old research paper example and try to emulate its format.