Key Elements of a Research Paper

Do you know that most students struggle to write a research paper? To write an effective paper, you need excellent writing skills, concentration, and enough time. You also need to know the elements of a research paper.

Students should find out “what is the importance of a research paper?” Before they start a research process. The importance of any research paper is to allow you to express an opinion about a particular subject.

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A research paper is an academic writing that involves in-depth research on a particular subject. Researchers analyze the findings of research work and draw a conclusion.

A research paper assignment enables instructors to evaluate students’ skills like research and analysis skills. Such assignments help students learn how to document information. The following is a guide on elements of a good research paper that students should learn about.

10 Elements of a research paper

A research paper has specific elements that help describe research. It is a detailed academic paper that explains the outcome of any research.

Students should write a research proposal that describes their motivation for conducting a particular study. Some elements of a research proposal are similar to elements of a research paper.

A research paper, however, is a longer and detailed document compared to a research proposal. Here are the elements of a research paper.

1.     Title page

A title page is the first part of a research paper. It should be specific and show the theme of your research.

Readers should understand the ideas a paper addresses when they look at a title page. Explain a research topic using keywords.

Avoid complicated terms, abbreviations, and jargon. A title page should contain the title of your paper, author’s name, date, email, phone number, and address.

2.     Abstract

After creating an informative title page, write a summary of your research. An abstract is an overview of a research paper.

It has approximately 120 to 250 words. Make sure an abstract is less than one page long. Describe the significance of your research, the theme, methodologies, and findings.

An abstract should be brief and informative. Do not include footnotes or citations in this section.

Make your abstract appealing to instructors and audiences. A good abstract will capture an instructor’s interest and can increase your chances of getting higher marks.

3.     Introduction paragraph

The first paragraph of a research paper introduces a topic. It states a research problem and presents a thesis statement.

Provide readers with background information about your topic. Explain what you are studying briefly and justify its significance.

An introduction paragraph should encourage readers to read a research paper. The final part of an introduction should state a thesis statement.

Make sure your introduction is concise and clear. In summary, these are elements of an introduction in a research paper.

  • A topic sentence is the first sentence of your introduction
  • A thesis statement
  • Brief reasons, facts, or details that support a research
  • A conclusion

4.     Thesis statement

The main idea of a research paper is something that can be argued. Support your thesis statement with relevant examples and evidence.

A thesis is the central idea of a research paper that guides your writing process. It asserts the position of a research paper.

Each argument you present in a research paper should support a thesis statement. Make sure your thesis is as specific as possible.

Readers can know what your paper will discuss when they read a thesis statement. The following explains the elements of a research thesis in detail.


A research paper thesis statement must be specific. It should focus on a specific area of a subject. When students choose a broad topic, they should narrow it down to something specific.

A focused subject and thesis can fit in an academic research paper. It will make your arguments solid.


A precise thesis statement will enable you to present coherent arguments about a subject. Make an exact claim about what you will discuss in the body section of a research paper.


A fact cannot be an effective thesis statement. A good thesis should be arguable.

It should have two sides. Students should support a side they choose with evidence.


The purpose of a research paper is to prove a thesis statement. Back up your thesis with evidence from credible sources and relevant examples. Examples and evidence will convince readers that the side you support is the correct one.


A thesis statement should show confidence. Avoid using phrases like “I feel.”

Such statements weaken your thesis. These phrases pass a message to readers that you are the only one who feels or believes a particular idea.

A strong thesis is authoritative. It should persuade readers to accept what you present.

5.     Study limitation

One of the parts of a research study is a limitation. Write what you plan to do in this section.

Include what might limit you when conducting research. For example, you can experience limitations of time, geographical location, or personnel. Explain how these factors affect the results of your study.

6.     Elements of a research paper: research methodology

The Methods that students use to collect and analyze data are essential research elements. These are specific methods you will use to collect and evaluate information. Data collection methods depend on the type of data you need. For example

Qualitative or quantitative methods

A qualitative data collection method uses words to answer a questionnaire or fill any data collection tool. Quantitate method uses numbers to answer a questionnaire or fill any data collection tool.

Primary or secondary methods of data collection

A primary data collection method involves collecting original data. A researcher collects data from the primary source of information. A secondary data collection method is where researchers use data that someone else has collected.

Choose descriptive and Experimental methods of data collection

A descriptive data collection method is where researchers collect measurements of an item in its current state. An experimental method of data collection is where a researcher performs experiments and records the outcome.

To analyze data, you may need to perform statistical analysis. Report the results of an evaluation on your research paper to help prove your thesis statement.

7.     Literature review

Parts of a research paper should discuss what other writers have discovered in your topic of discussion. A literature review informs readers of what is known about a subject.

It states how the known information will help in your research process. Students can look at these two types of literature reviews when writing a research paper.

Research reviews

A research review is a type of literature review that looks at published experiments and report findings. Students are required to provide an overview of what other authors have researched and written. The elements in the paper should include key writers, a hypothesis, and a research question.

Systematic literature review

A systematic literature review is also known as an evidence-based review. An evidence-based literature review is popular in the medical field. Students perform such literature reviews to find the best intervention in a particular subject.


A literature review is one of the research paper components that students need to understand. Perform in-depth research and include the correct reviews in your academic paper. The following are steps for conducting a literature review.

  • Research relevant material
  • Evaluate sources
  • Identify themes in literature, gaps, and debates
  • Write down a literature review

8.     Main body paragraphs

A body paragraph is one of the main components of a research paper outline. The longest section of a research paper is in body paragraphs.

Students provide arguments in the body section to support a thesis statement. Arguments include evidence and relevant examples that prove a particular point. Body paragraphs present relevant information that is organized logically.

Elements of a research paper: body paragraphs

A body paragraph should have a smooth flow of ideas from start to finish. When your ideas are well organized, readers can understand your reasoning.

Readers will not get confused when you present discussions. Here are elements of a research paper you should include in the body section of an academic paper.

Topic sentence

Each body paragraph in an academic paper should start with a topic sentence. A topic sentence introduces a point that you will support with relevant arguments. Discuss this point exhaustively and ensure it supports the main idea of your paper.

Evidence and examples

These are essential parts of an academic paper. When a research paper does not have relevant examples and credible evidence, a discussion becomes an opinion.

Present evidence and examples to validate a point. Evidence can be in the form of statistics, quotes, charts, or infographics. Examples help readers to understand your discussion.

Concluding sentence

A final sentence at the end of a body paragraph concludes a discussion in that paragraph. It connects the discussion to a thesis statement and transitions a reader to the next paragraph.

Transition words

Transitions help to connect the points you present in a research paper. They are important elements of a research paper that helps guide readers from one idea to the next. Transitions provide a good workflow and make reading easy.

9.     Conclusion paragraph

After presenting arguments that support your thesis statement, you need to bring the discussion to a close. A conclusion paragraph summarizes the main points in body paragraphs.

It restates a thesis statement and presents your final thoughts on a subject of discussion. The last part of your concluding paragraph should challenge readers to take action. It should also motivate them to research the topic further.

10. Bibliography

A basic research paper should have a section for a bibliography. A research paper is not complete without a section that provides a list of references.

A bibliography is a part of a research paper that lists sources of information in your discussion. These sources are presented in alphabetical order.

The best way to create a bibliography is to write down sources of information during research. When performing research and you identify a source of information, write it down.

Repeat this process each time you come across information you want to include in your research paper. Write down the title of the source of information and the name of the author.

Other information you can jot down is the name of the publisher, the location of publication, and the date of publication. These are key components of a research paper.

Tips for writing components of a research article

Students will have to write a research paper at a particular point in their academic journey. Research papers contribute to your final grade.

When an instructor is impressed with your research paper, the chances of getting a higher grade increase. It is important to learn research paper basics that will enable you to produce a compelling paper. The following are tips on how to write components of a research paper

1.     Organize your work

A research paper is a detailed academic work that takes time and effort to produce. It is important to organize how you will do research and write your paper.

Divide research work into manageable tasks. Do not try to do everything at the same time.

Allocate each task time. For example, you can allocate time for topic selection, research, and writing process tasks. Allocate time for editing, proofreading, and submission of your final draft. Make sure you finish writing your research paper before the due date.

2.     Perform in-depth research

Students produce an effective research paper when the research is in-depth. Perform preliminary research when selecting a topic.

Research a topic thoroughly before writing your paper. When you do thorough research, you will present valuable information to your readers.

3.     Select a research topic

Choose an interesting topic for your research paper. When working on an exciting topic, you are motivated to research and write about it.

An interesting subject enables you thoroughly investigate the elements of an article. It makes it possible to produce helpful information for an audience.

4.     Write notes

When researching a particular field, it is important to write down the information you discover. Write notes and sources of information you are researching. These notes will help to create an outline, first draft, and bibliography sections easily.

5.     Create an outline

An outline helps students to organize components of a research paper. A structure provides a framework that makes your writing process fast. Write down major points in a framework and expound on them later.

6.     Write your first draft

Add more information to your framework. Provide details about your main points. Include evidence, examples, and other relevant information.

7.     Edit and proofread

The final and important part of writing a research paper is to edit and proofread your work. Proofread thoroughly and make corrections before submitting a final draft.

Key takeaway

A question students should answer before they start writing a research paper is “what are the components of a research paper.” Students need to understand the different elements of a research paper and its purpose.

These elements help to organize your work and make it meaningful to readers. Each part of a research paper communicates important information about research work.

Elements of a good research paper perform a specific purpose. To learn more about these elements, talk to our experts.

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