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How to Start a Research Paper

General Formatting Guidelines

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General Overview
How to Format a Research Paper
Introduction

This section outline how to lay out the parts of a research paper, including the various experimental methods and designs. The principles for literature review and essays of all types follow the same basic principles. For many students, writing the introduction is the first part of the process, setting down the direction of the paper and laying out exactly what the research paper is trying to achieve.

For others, the introduction is the last thing written, acting as a quick summary of the paper. As long as you have planned a good structure for the parts of a research paper, both approaches are acceptable and it is a matter of preference. A good introduction generally consists of three distinct parts:. Ideally, you should try to give each section its own paragraph, but this will vary given the overall length of the paper.

Look at the benefits to be gained by the research or why the problem has not been solved yet. Perhaps nobody has thought about it, or maybe previous research threw up some interesting leads that the previous researchers did not follow up. Another researcher may have uncovered some interesting trends, but did not manage to reach the significance level , due to experimental error or small sample sizes.

The research problem does not have to be a statement, but must at least imply what you are trying to find. Many writers prefer to place the thesis statement or hypothesis here, which is perfectly acceptable, but most include it in the last sentences of the introduction, to give the reader a fuller picture. The idea is that somebody will be able to gain an overall view of the paper without needing to read the whole thing.

Literature reviews are time-consuming enough, so give the reader a concise idea of your intention before they commit to wading through pages of background. In this section, you look to give a context to the research, including any relevant information learned during your literature review.

You are also trying to explain why you chose this area of research, attempting to highlight why it is necessary. The second part should state the purpose of the experiment and should include the research problem.

The third part should give the reader a quick summary of the form that the parts of the research paper is going to take and should include a condensed version of the discussion. This should be the easiest part of the paper to write, as it is a run-down of the exact design and methodology used to perform the research. Obviously, the exact methodology varies depending upon the exact field and type of experiment. There is a big methodological difference between the apparatus based research of the physical sciences and the methods and observation methods of social sciences.

However, the key is to ensure that another researcher would be able to replicate the experiment to match yours as closely as possible, but still keeping the section concise. You can assume that anybody reading your paper is familiar with the basic methods, so try not to explain every last detail.

For example, an organic chemist or biochemist will be familiar with chromatography, so you only need to highlight the type of equipment used rather than explaining the whole process in detail. In the case of a survey , if you have too many questions to cover in the method, you can always include a copy of the questionnaire in the appendix.

You should use a clear font that is highly readable. APA recommends using 12 pt. Times New Roman font. Include a page header also known as the " running head " at the top of every page. The running head is a shortened version of your paper's title and cannot exceed 50 characters including spacing and punctuation. Your essay should include four major sections: The title page should contain the title of the paper, the author's name , and the institutional affiliation. Include the page header described above flush left with the page number flush right at the top of the page.

After consulting with publication specialists at the APA, OWL staff learned that the APA 6th edition, first printing sample papers have incorrect examples of running heads on pages after the title page. This link will take you to the APA site where you can find a complete list of all the errors in the APA's 6th edition style guide.

Type your title in upper and lowercase letters centered in the upper half of the page. APA recommends that your title be no more than 12 words in length and that it should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose.

Your title may take up one or two lines. All text on the title page, and throughout your paper, should be double-spaced. Beneath the title, type the author's name: Do not use titles Dr. Beneath the author's name, type the institutional affiliation , which should indicate the location where the author s conducted the research.

Begin a new page. Your abstract page should already include the page header described above. Learn how to construct, style and format an Academic paper and take your skills to the next level. Don't have time for it all now? No problem, save it as a course and come back to it later. Share this page on your website: This article is a part of the guide: Select from one of the other courses available: Don't miss these related articles:.

Check out our quiz-page with tests about: Back to Overview "Write a Paper". Search over articles on psychology, science, and experiments. Leave this field blank: Want to stay up to date? Check Out the Official Book Learn how to construct, style and format an Academic paper and take your skills to the next level. Read More also available as ebook. Save this course for later Don't have time for it all now? Add to my courses.

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APA Sample Paper. Media File: APA Sample Paper. Research Papers. Writing a Research Paper; Genre and the Research Paper; Choosing a Topic; Identifying Audiences; Organization and Structure; Graduate Writing Workshops: Introductions; Graduate Writing Workshops: Literature Reviews;.

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APA recommends you to use 12 pt Times New Roman as your font, since it is well readable. Nevertheless, make sure to check the guidelines for paper submission every journal has in order to prepare and structure your research work according to their wishes.

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For many students, writing the introduction is the first part of the process, setting down the direction of the paper and laying out exactly what the research paper is trying to achieve. For others, the introduction is the last thing written, acting as a . An APA Research Paper Model Thomas Delancy and Adam Solberg wrote the following research paper for a psychology class. As you review their paper.

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your paper, your name, as well as the college name. Running head: SHORT TITLE 1 Full Version of Your Paper’s Title Your Name John Jay College of Criminal Justice APA . APA Paper Formatting & Style Guidelines Your teacher may want you to format your paper using APA guidelines. If you were told to create your citations in APA format, your paper should be formatted using the APA guidelines as well.