How to Write a Research Paper (Part I: Research Paper Outline)
Last modified: October 26, 2015
Once the Research Proposal has been submitted and approved by the thesis committee, it is time to start thinking of writing the Research Paper. For this, the research paper outline has to be formatted first. Most universities and institutes have some specific format to be followed. This may be available as hand-out guidelines from the tutors or in the university library. But generally, the research paper outline consists of the introduction, the body and the conclusion.
The Introduction is usually divided into eight sub-sections:
1. The Statement of the Problem
2. Theoretical Framework
3. Definition of Terms
i. Type of the Research
ii. Sampling or Participants used in Research
iii. Details of the method used like questionnaire/observation/experiment
5. Hypothesis/Hypotheses on which the study is based
6. Literature Review
7. Significance of the Study
8. Scope and Limitations
(This Introduction Section will be explained in detail in another blog.)
The second section is the: Body of the essay. This is sub-divided into 2 sections:
1. Background and
2. Analysis of Data and Discussion
The Background should fill in the historical context of the thesis and basic information for understanding the context of the thesis. This section can be further sub-divided according to the main ideas of the thesis question and their particulars.
The Data Analysis section should establish the general items of the research, then identify and define each one with specific details, point out the comparisons and contrasts that are to be analysed, reasoning out each point with your arguments supported by evidence from primary as well as secondary sources and make assumptions that are logically thought out and evidenced from your research. The type of analysis used should also be explained with its background and its suitability for this research.
Discussion of the results that were obtained with reference to the thesis and hypotheses stated earlier to substantiate the proof obtained from the data and their analysis. This is the crux of the thesis and should be written clearly and briefly, backing up your arguments with properly cited sources.
The third and last section is the Conclusion that consists of the Concluding Statement and Recommendations. The concluding summary gives a brief summary of the analysis and restates the thesis according to the results obtained. The recommendations states your suggestions on the topic as evidenced from the research, including what further work can be done on it.
Bibliography with all the citied and referenced literature listed in the required citing style comes last, followed by any Appendices that can incorporate diagrams, tables, charts, questionnaire model and other material used in the research that are too unwieldy to be included in the main paper. The Title page according to the university requirements, Contents or Index with page numbers for all the sections and subsections of the paper, a short and succinct Abstract of about 200-250 words and a brief Acknowledgements page are the pages that come before the Introduction and can be added later.
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