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CPS Online Graduate Studies Research Paper (UNH Manchester Library): 7 Parts of the Research Paper

Parts of a Research Paper

There is no one right style or manner for writing an education paper. Content aside, the writing style and presentation of papers in different  fields vary greatly. Nevertheless, certain parts are common to most papers, below are outlined the 7 most common parts. Links are provided to more information about each section.

Title/Cover Page
See OWL's APA Guide for directions on how to format your title page.

Abstract
The abstract generally provides a broad overview and is never more than a page. It describes the essence, the main theme of the paper. It includes the research question posed, its significance, the methodology, and the main results or findings. Footnotes or cited works are never listed in an abstract. Remember to take great care in composing the abstract. It is your reader's first introduction to the research topic you are covering.
 
A good introduction states the main research problem and thesis argument. What precisely are you studying and why is it important? How original is it? Will it fill a gap in other studies? Never provide a lengthy justification for your topic before it has been explicitly stated.
 
Indicate as soon as possible what you intend to do, and what you are not going to attempt. You may limit the scope of your paper by any number of factors, for example, time, personnel, gender, age, geographic location, nationality, and so on.

Literature Review
The research process uncovers what other writers have written about your topic. Your education paper should include a discussion or review of what is known about the subject and how that knowledge was acquired. Once you provide the general and specific context of the existing knowledge, then you will can build on others' research through your own research  paper.
 
Discuss your research methodology. Did you employ qualitative or quantitative research methods? Did you administer a questionnaire or interview people? Any field research conducted? How did you collect data? Did you utilize library or related academic resources? etc.

 

Discussion

This is generally the longest part of the paper. It's where the author supports the thesis and builds the argument. It contains most of the citations and analysis. This section should focus on a rational development of the thesis with clear reasoning and solid argumentation at all points. A clear focus, avoiding meaningless digressions, provides the essential unity that characterizes a strong paper.

Conclusion

After spending a great deal of time and energy introducing and arguing the points in the main body of the paper, the conclusion brings everything together and underscores what it all means. A stimulating and informative conclusion leaves the reader informed and well-satisfied.

References

This link will take you to the Library's citation tools page. The key resources include: Ebsco's citation generator (part of  GSC's Discovery Service), the citation generator from UNC's Library, and the OWL APA Resources page.

Appendices
Research papers often contain one or more appendices. An appendix contains material that is appropriate for enlarging the reader's understanding, but that does not fit very well into the main body of the paper. Such material might include tables, charts, summaries, questionnaires, interview questions, lengthy statistics, maps, pictures, photographs, lists of terms, glossaries, survey instruments, letters, copies of historical documents, and many other types of supplementary material. A paper may have several appendices. They are usually designated by such headings as Appendix A, Appendix B, etc.