The Correct Structure of Your Research Paper: Guide for Students

A research paper implies accurate analysis of facts. It may contain a lot of statistical data, so it takes much time. The complete research looks like a compilation of theses, quotes, facts, etc. Such a task is rather hard, but we think that this process is somewhat similar to sorting your files or books. If you choose a proper strategy, sorting information and sources, you’ll simplify this task significantly, and it won’t be hard to compile the final text of your research paper.

Important Requirements

Your paper should be written according to certain structure, so you need to format it, considering the purpose of the paper. It’s a study on the certain topic, which also includes your personal point, supported by arguments and facts. You need to evaluate used data and arguments, so it’s necessary to write all your thoughts in a particular order, creating a chain structure of logically connected sentences.

The structure of your paper determines whether it will be easily perceived by readers or not. That’s why we suggest you to follow a structure that consists of Abstract, Introduction part, Body Part and section of conclusions.

Another important part of any research is a section of Works Cited (MLA) or References (APA). This part of your paper helps readers to check facts, as well as to evaluate the reliability and validity of used sources.

Title Page of the Research Paper

It’s also called a cover page, and it’s of key importance, since the correct cover page, as well as good abstract, can impress your readers easily. Actually, it’s the first and the most significant impression of your entire paper, since it determines whether your readers will want to read further or not.

There are two most common standards of formatting, which are the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Modern Language Association (MLA). Different colleges and universities require different formatting standards, so you need to ask your instructor about it. If there are no defined standards, you can choose the style on your own.

Cover Page According to MLA Style

This kind of cover page isn’t actually a special page, but just a left corner on top of your introduction. Here you have to indicate your first and last name, name of your instructor, your course and date.

Here you also can write all additional information about your research. However, if your instructor doesn’t require a separate page, it’s enough to write only four things that we mentioned above.

Cover Page According to APA Style

This type of cover page is more demanding, and it’s actually a separate page. It consists of three sections:

  • Title.

Always write your title on the center of the page, and pay special attention to choosing a proper title. It must reflect the main topic of your paper. Make sure that it’s not too long; your goal is to create a brief header that will grab your readers’ attention.

  • Personal Information.

This section is placed on the bottom of the cover page. Here you need to indicate your name, instructor’s name, date and the name of your university or college.

  • Page Number and Running Head. You must write page numbers on the top right corner of every page. As for the running head, it’s a brief form of your title that will appear on every page as well.

These standards are quite clear, so you shouldn’t face any problems with formatting your title page. All you need is to follow these rules carefully and don’t miss a detail.


Imagine yourself filming a movie. Before you show the entire movie, you have to make a trailer, which is an essence of the whole work. What is a purpose of the trailer? It must grab attention and motivate people to learn more. This is exactly what your abstract does. It must be rather an expanded key thesis of your paper than a brief version of the body part.

Abstract is a thing that helps understand whether this paper is good or bad, so pay maximum attention to this part of the research. As for the length, APA format supports abstracts from 150 to 250 words long.

To make sure that your abstract is good, we suggest you to ask yourself a simple question. Imagine that these words are all that you got, and ask yourself, have you understood what this paper is about?

Introduction Part

This part of your research is the first thing that your readers see. It determines what they will think about your work and whether they will want to read more. The introduction must point out key questions raised by you and how you’re going to answer them.

Many students don’t understand why this section is required, given that you already wrote the abstract. The clue is that the abstract isn’t connected to the entire work, it’s a separated part. In turn, the introduction is the beginning of your research, and here you need to introduce your statement.

Every introduction includes three basic sections, which are a general introduction, your thesis and a transition section.

The general introduction should explain your readers why this topic is interesting and important. Here you can write some facts and quotes that will illustrate your decision to study this issue. Make sure that this part of introduction is informative enough and easy to read.

After that, you have to write your thesis, which describes your key points.

Your text should deliver information in an easy and convenient way. Don’t jump from one sentence to another; make transitions between paragraphs, so your readers could perceive the text naturally.

Body of the Paper

Every your thought must be supported by facts. This is what determines the success of your work. Writing about every idea, introduce it and then explain it. Then write about the origin of this idea and the last but not least – support the idea with quotes of well-known experts.

You must always explain why each idea is important and why your readers should take it into account. Quotes serve as a proof of the successful application of this idea.

These rules are your best way to keep your text clear and interesting. If you check out the most successful papers, you’ll see that almost all of them are written according to these rules or use them with little variations.

Don’t forget to keep your points related to each other, so your text could look holistic and logical. Write short transition sentences to help your readers understand your line of thinking.


The conclusion part is as much important as the introduction, since it will summarize all your paper and create the final impression of it. Here you can remind your readers why this issue is important and how your solutions could be used in practice.


It is a necessary section of any research paper. Here you list all used sources, so your readers could check certain information and understand what your research is based on.

There are three common citation styles, each one of them is mostly used in certain area.

  • MLA format is mostly used in Humanities field;
  • APA format is usually applied in Psychology, Education and Sciences;
  • Chicago Style is often used in Business, History and Fine Arts fields.

Usually institutions provide you with required standards, but if you got no suggestions about it, you can check the list above and find which style fits you best.

Got Problems with Research Paper Structure?

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