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Parts of a research paper

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Parts of a research paper

What are the essential parts of a research paper?

Writing a research paper is one of the tasks that students find most difficult and often struggle with.

In this article, we will review the 5 parts of a research paper and look at how you can write each section of a research paper effectively. By the end, you are expected to have full knowledge on how to write a research paper from start to the end and earn a good grade.

To write a college research paper, a student needs to have good writing skills, knowledge of content area, good understanding of topic statement, and above all – desire for success.

What are the different parts of a research paper?

A research paper can be divided into 5 to 6 major parts depending on the discipline in question. Here is a list of the 6 most important parts of a research paper:

  1. Introduction
  2. Literature Review
  3. Methodology
  4. Results and Discussion
  5. Conclusion
  6. Reference List/Works Cited Page

Now let’s discuss each part of a research paper listed above in details.

parts of a research paper


An introduction in a research paper is where the author introduces him/herself as well as the topic chosen for investigation or discussion. It can be a brief one but it must be able to explain what will follow in the paper.

The introduction gives the reader a general background on both the topic and why you, in particular, want to write about it. An interesting opening sentence or paragraph will “hook” readers into wanting to read your paper. It should communicate what specific subject area your paper covers by giving an overview of the research that has been done in that area.

It should also explain why this particular subject is of interest to you or your organization, and how it will benefit a specific group of readers (e.g., students, teachers). You may choose to introduce your topic using an anecdote or example, but be sure not to stray too far from the main point.


An abstract in a research paper is an introductory summary as it states the problem, presents a review of literature about the problem and also explains what is being done to solve this problem. Abstracts are usually used in scientific research articles that have been published.

Abstracts can also be considered as an abbreviated form of other papers’ entire contents. In addition, strategies for writing abstracts may vary considerably depending on the type of document written.


A hook for a research paper is that first sentence or paragraph that a reader reads to entice them into reading the whole paper. The hook can be about anything as long as it catches the reader’s attention. In addition, different publishing companies may utilize slightly different strategies for how they want their writers to develop their opening hooks.

Literature Review

A research paper literature review explains about related works done by other authors who have worked on a similar topic before and this part may also serve an avenue of ideas that you might want to consider using in your own work as well as bringing up some problems encountered in previous works while doing research on that particular topic which helps you avoid them at all cost when working on yours. It should not just end at explaining what has been done by other people though but it should be able to point out the gap in previous works and how are you going to fill up that gap.

The Literature Review section explains what others have written about the problem/subject matter at hand and why their work is important. The literature review itself typically consists of many paragraphs with each paragraph discussing a different concept or study related to the problem being researched. Many times, writers employ subheadings within the sections delineating particularly important concepts for easy identification by the reader.


The methodology in a research paper or research design part explains what approach will be used in researching while doing work on a particular topic. It also serves as an explanation of the techniques and methods to be used in supporting your research objective in this paper. It should not just contain information about how researches have been done before but it should also serve as a guide for other researchers who will seek assistance from your work when they get stuck while working on their own papers concerning similar topics.

Results and Discussion

The results section of a research paper is where the actual data gathered during research is presented. This can come as charts, tables or graphs which tell more about the problem under investigation especially if it has never been done before.

The results section is not the only place where you present your data though as it can also be presented in other sections of the paper depending on how large that particular piece of information is.

The discussion or interpretation part tells what conclusion you got from doing all those research work and this must be supported by appropriate quotes, figures and references.

It should present a summary of the whole problem being discussed so far with suggestions formulated on how to solve the problem if possible.

This part will also serve as an avenue for proposing further studies that can be conducted in order to fully understand the problems under investigation in this research work.

In the results and discussion section, the researcher explains what was found in their research. It includes descriptions of the study (e.g., how many participants were involved).

It also may include charts or graphs that show data collected during the study. The researcher should clearly explain to the reader why their results are important to understanding the problem at hand.


A research paper conclusion which simply summarizes a few ideas already mentioned earlier in different parts of this paper and may contain a few proposals or suggestions for other researchers who might seek assistance when working on their own researches concerning similar topics.

This section is often used to call for further research into an area, more information about a topic, or improved methodologies for future studies on a subject matter.

Researchers often summarize their main points here as useful reminders for readers who skim through only specific sections of an article before deciding whether or not they want to read it thoroughly.

Reference list:

Though a reference list is not a core part of a research paper, it is an integral part of the research paper writing process.

This section of the research paper commonly includes all of the references used in writing and supporting the ideas of a work.

It may also include relevant information about each source referenced, such as when it was written or published, its author(s), or other works that cite this one.

The reference list typically has more than five or six sources listed.

In certain disciplines, two types of bibliographies are used to note references; these are known as “author-date” (Harvard) citations and “numeric” (Vancouver) citations.

There should also be a clear distinction between the reference list and any table that is used to present numerical data or charts.

The use of two different sections to note references allows readers to quickly find information in either section without having to flip through pages of text.

In order for an author’s research paper presentation to achieve maximum impact, there must be some degree of successfully communicating ideas from the author to the audience who will ultimately read it.

This can only happen when all the right pieces are effectively arranged into place after which – they will together create both a compelling title and body that will blend well with each other.

If done right, your writing style can improve dramatically and everybody wins! The main thing here is not so about simply copying a title, but understanding the concept behind it.

When you are looking for an interesting research paper topic related to your own personal experience or view on a certain issue; try and take things out of perspective as much as possible without trying to hurt anyone’s feelings at all.

You can’t be too sure where the idea will eventually take you, but if you do get good results from putting everything together, then you can quickly conclude that what works for others most likely will work pretty well for you too!

Now you know the parts of a good research paper. Good luck with your paper writing task.

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