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How to write a research paper


A research paper is an academic document that involves analysis, interpretation, and argumentation derived from independent research. Unlike academic essays, research papers tend to be lengthier and more intricate, assessing both writing proficiency and scholarly research abilities. Crafting a research paper entails showcasing a deep understanding of the topic, interacting with diverse sources, and offering an original perspective to the discourse. Our guide will guide you through writing individual sections from abstract to conclusion.

Abstract

This concise summary allows readers to determine if they wish to delve further into the full article. Structured with an introduction, body, and conclusion, abstracts present the purpose, results and conclusions without introducing new information.

When crafting an abstract, it is advisable to write it last, after thoroughly reviewing the article to identify its main components: background, aim, approach, results, and conclusions. It is crucial to ensure that all information included in the abstract is also covered in the body of the paper, and that the abstract effectively captures the essential information of the paper. Common pitfalls to avoid when writing an abstract include using the first paragraph of the introduction as the abstract, citing sources within the abstract, referencing figures or table from the body of the paper, using the first person, or employing phrases such as “new” or “novel”. Instead, abstracts should focus on providing a clear and concise overview of the research paper’s key elements.

Introduction

In the introduction of your paper, you briefly explain why you’re writing it, providing enough background for readers to understand your experiment and its purpose. Your goals in this section are to outline the problem and your proposed solution, describe the nature and scope of the problem, review relevant literature, explain your experimental method, and summarize your main results.

It’s crucial to cite sources to support your claims and to show the significance of your work within the field. Additionally, you should highlight any gaps in existing research, pose research questions, or challenge prior work. Clearly state the purpose of your research and what makes it unique and important. Avoid repeating information from the abstract, including unnecessary background details, overstating the importance of your work, or claiming novelty without proper support from existing literature.

Methods

The purpose of this section is to provide adequate detail so that other researchers could replicate the experiment. While many readers might skip this section due to their general knowledge of the methods outlined in the Introduction, details are crucial for the scientific merit of your results.

The goals encompass precise technical specifications, quantities, and the method of preparation, along with descriptions of equipment used in a chronological order. It’s best to keep it focused, avoid putting results here, and leave out any extra information that doesn’t help the readers to understand your experiment.

Results

The results section is the heart of your paper, so it’s essential to start by summarizing your experiments and then presenting your findings. Here are the goals you should aim for: stick to factual statements supported by evidence, keep things concise without unnecessary words, avoid repeating the same data over and over, only discuss variables if they had a noticeable effect, use statistics that make sense, and avoid redundancy by not repeating information already in tables or captions. Present your results logically using tables and graphs where needed.

After presenting the results, explain their significance in relation to the research questions posed in the introduction. Make sure not to present results that you never discuss or to present them in a chronological rather than a logical order, and don’t overlook results that contradict your conclusions. Save any evaluation of the results for the discussion section. Each figure or table you include should be referred to in the text and they should only be used if they offer a clear visual representation.

Discussion

The discussion section is often the most challenging to write because you need to convey the true significance of your data without being overly lengthy. Avoid using words to hide factors or reasoning and remember that this section is not for repeating results but for interpreting them. Remember to present the principles, relationships, and generalizations revealed by your results, and address any exceptions or lack of correlations and explain why they occurred. It is important to compare your results to previous studies to determine agreement or disagreement, discussing both the theoretical implications and practical applications of your work.

Typically, the discussion progresses through stages such as summarizing the results, discussing whether they were expected or unexpected, comparing them to previous work, interpreting and explaining them, and hypothesizing about their generalizability. Be sure to address any problems or shortcomings encountered during your work and consider alternative explanations for the results. Please ensure that any results presented are thoroughly discussed, avoiding any that are left unaddressed. Keep discussions focused on topics relevant to the results at hand, avoiding unrelated tangents. When presenting results and discussions, prioritize a logical order over a chronological one. It's important not to overlook results that may contradict our conclusions, addressing them appropriately. Lastly, conclusions should always be supported by logical arguments, avoiding unsupported assertions.

Conclusion

In the conclusion section provide a brief overview of both the results and discussion sections, emphasizing the significance of the findings and conveying the main messages. Offer the most general claims supported by the evidence and provide insights into future directions for the work. Avoid duplicating information from the abstract or introduction, introducing new evidence or arguments, repeating points already discussed, or overlooking any research questions outlined in the introduction.  

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