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University information technology (uit), main navigation, formatting requirements: preliminary pages.

  • Submission Procedure
  • Policies for Theses and Dissertations
  • Coauthored Theses and Dissertations
  • Approval Requirements
  • Publication Requirements

Copyright Page

Statement of thesis/dissertation approval, dedication, frontispiece, and epigraph, table of contents and list of figures/tables, acknowledgements.

  • General Formatting Requirements
  • Parts Composed of Related Chapters
  • Headings and Subheadings
  • Tables and Figures
  • Footnote and Reference Citations
  • Appendix or Appendices
  • References or Selected Bibliography
  • Documentation Styles
  • Writing Styles
  • Print Quality
  • Accessibility in the PDF
  • Electronic Version Submitted for Thesis Release
  • Distribution of Theses and Dissertations
  • Alternate Text
  • Color Contrast
  • Accessibility Issues in Table Construction
  • Heading Space
  • Double Space
  • Single Space
  • Previously Published, Accepted, and Submitted Articles as Chapters of a Dissertation
  • Alternate Figure/Table Placement

Preliminary pages are, in order, the title page; copyright page; statement of thesis/dissertation approval; abstract; dedication (optional); frontispiece (optional); epigraph (optional); table of contents; lists of tables, figures, symbols, and abbreviations (necessary only in certain situations); and acknowledgments (optional). Table 2.1 lists all the possible preliminary sections in order and if they are required or not. 

The preliminary pages are counted in sequence (except the copyright page, which is neither counted nor numbered). Any page with a main heading on it (title page, abstract, table of contents, etc.) is counted, but no page number is typed on the page. Second pages to the abstract, table of contents, lists, and acknowledgments are numbered with lower case Roman numerals centered within the thesis margins and .5” from the bottom of the page. See the preliminary pages in this handbook for an example. 

Order of preliminary pages, indicating which are mandatory and where page numbers should be included.

Note : Page numbers in the preliminary pages appear centered on the bottom of the page in lower case Roman numerals. This differs from page numbers in the text, which appear on the top right of the page and use Arabic numerals.

SEE Sample Preliminary Pages

The title page is page i (Roman numeral) of the manuscript (page number not shown). 

The title of the thesis or dissertation is typed in all capital letters. The title should be placed in the same size and style of font as that used for major headings throughout the manuscript. If longer than 4 1/2 inches, the title should be double spaced and arranged so that it appears balanced on the page. The title should be a concise yet comprehensive description of the contents for cataloging and data retrieval purposes. Initials, abbreviations, acronyms, numerals, formulas, super/subscripts, and symbols should be used in the title with careful consideration of clarity and maximizing search results for future readers. Consult the manuscript editors if in doubt. 

The word “by” follows the title. The full legal name of the author as it appears in CIS follows after a double space. The name is not typed in all capital letters. These two lines of text are centered between the title and the statement described in the following paragraph. 

The statement “A thesis submitted to the faculty of The University of Utah in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of” appears single spaced in the middle of the title page (see Figure 2.1). For doctoral candidates, the phrasing reads “A dissertation submitted. . . ” 

The appropriate degree follows the statement. The space between the statement and the degree should be the same size that is between the author’s name and the statement. In the event the name of the degree differs from the name of the department, e.g., Master of Science in Environmental Humanities, the words “Master of Science” are placed below the statement, followed by “in” and then the degree program; the lines of the degree name and program are double spaced (see Figure 2.2). Thus, a student receiving a doctorate in history need use only the words “Doctor of Philosophy.” A student receiving a doctorate in Geophysics must put “Doctor of Philosophy in Geophysics.” 

Below the degree field, the full name of the department is listed on the title page. “The University of Utah,” is listed a double space below the department name.

The date appears on the title page a double space below “The University of Utah.” Only the month and year appear, with no punctuation separating them. The month indicates the last month in the semester the degree is granted: fall semester, December; spring semester, May; summer semester, August. 

Again, the spaces below the title, the full legal name, the statement, and the degree should be of equal size. 

The second page is the copyright page, which is uncounted and unnumbered. A copyright notice appears in every copy of the thesis or dissertation. The notice, as illustrated in Figure 2.3, is centered within the side margins and the top and bottom margins of the page. 

Copyright © Student’s Full Legal Name 2022

All Rights Reserved 

There is a double space between the two lines. 

The statement of thesis/dissertation approval is page ii (Roman numeral) of the manuscript (page number not shown). This statement is prepared as shown in Figures 2.4 (for master’s students) and 2.5 (for doctoral students). 

The statement of thesis/dissertation approval signifies that the thesis or dissertation has been approved by the committee chair and a majority of the members of the committee and by the department chair and the dean of The Graduate School. The names of any committee members who did not approve or digitally sign the forms for the thesis or dissertation are not dated. The dates entered should match the date when you received notification that the committee member electronically signed the form. 

The full name of the student, as it appears on the title page and copyright page, must be used. 

As with the digital signature forms, full legal names of committee members must be listed. The full legal names of committee members and department chair or dean can be found on your CIS page under the Committee tab. Neither degrees nor titles should be listed with the names of faculty members. No signatures are required. 

Abstract Page

The abstract is page iii, unnumbered; if there is a second page, it is page iv, and a number appears on the page. The abstract is a concise, carefully composed summary of the contents of the thesis or dissertation. In the abstract, the author defines the problem, describes the research method or design, and reports the results and conclusions. No diagrams, illustrations, subheadings, or citations appear in the abstract. The abstract is limited to 350 words (approximately 1.5 double-spaced pages). A copy of the abstract of all doctoral candidates is published in Dissertation Abstracts International. The word ABSTRACT is placed 2 inches from the top of the page in all capital letters. Following a heading space, the abstract text begins, with the first line indented the same size space as for the paragraphs in the remainder of the manuscript. The text of the abstract must be double spaced. 

If a manuscript is written in a foreign language, the abstract is in the same language, but an English version (or translation) of the abstract must precede the foreign language abstract. The two abstracts are listed as one in the table of contents. The first page of each version is unnumbered but counted. If there is a second page to each version of the abstract, the page number (lower-case Roman numeral) is centered between the left and right margins and between the bottom of the page and the top of the bottom margin. 

The dedication is an optional entry; enumeration continues in sequence, but no page number appears on the page. It follows the abstract and precedes the table of contents. Often only one or two lines, it is centered within the top and bottom margins of the page and within the thesis margins. It is not labeled “Dedication” and is not listed in the table of contents. 

Frontispiece and Epigraph

These are infrequently used entries. The frontispiece is an illustration that alerts the reader to the major theme of the thesis or dissertation. An epigraph is a quotation of unusual aptness and relevance. 

Contents or Table of Contents

The table of contents follows the abstract (or dedication if one is used). The word CONTENTS (or TABLE OF CONTENTS) is placed 2 inches from the top of the page in all capital letters. Following a heading space, the table of contents begins. The table of contents, essentially an outline of the manuscript, lists the preliminary pages beginning with the abstract (page iii). It does not list a frontispiece, dedication, or epigraph if these are used, nor is the table of contents listed in the table of contents; these pages are, however, counted. The list of figures and list of tables, if used, are included (see the Table of Contents in this handbook for a sample using numbered chapters; see Figures 2.6, 2.7, and 2.8 for additional options). 

All chapters or main sections and all first-level subheadings of the manuscript are listed in the table of contents. No lower subheadings levels are to appear in the table of contents. Beginning page numbers of each chapter or section listed are lined up with each listing by a row of evenly spaced, aligned period leaders. The numbers, titles, and subheadings of chapters or sections used in the table of contents must agree exactly in wording and capitalization with the way they appear on the actual page. 

The table of contents reflects the relationship of the chapters and subheadings. Chapter titles appear in all capital letters, as do titles of appendices. First-level subheadings can be headline style or sentence style in capitalization. Subheadings are neither underlined nor italicized in the table of contents. If the table of contents continues to a second page, it begins 1 inch from the top of the page, and it is not labeled “Table of Contents Continued.” Main headings are followed by a double space in the table of contents; all subheadings are single spaced. The words “Chapters” and “Appendices” are used as referents only, printed above the list of entries. The word “Chapter” or “Appendix” is not repeated with each entry. 

List of Figures / List of Tables

The enumeration continues in sequence; no number appears on pages with main headings (those in all caps). A list of tables, a list of figures, a list of symbols, a list of abbreviations, or a glossary may be used. All lists follow the table of contents. The title is placed 2 inches from the top edge of the page in all capital letters: LIST OF TABLES. Following a heading space, the list begins. A list of tables or a list of figures is required if there are 5 to 25 entries. Lists with fewer than 5 entries or more than 25 are not included. It is not permissible to combine a list of tables and figures. The word “Table” or “Figure” is not repeated with each entry. 

As noted for entries in the table of contents, the listing of tables and figures must agree exactly in wording, capitalization, and punctuation with the table title or figure caption. (An exception to this rule occurs if the table title appears in all capital letters on the table itself; table titles in the list of tables are not typed in all capital letters.) Capitalization styles may not be mixed. In the case of long titles or captions, the first sentence must convey the essential description of the item. The first sentence alone then is used in the list. Long captions may not be summarized. 

The table or figure number begins at the left margin and is followed by the title or caption. The page on which each table or figure appears is at the right margin. As in the table of contents, the page numbers are lined up with each entry by a row of evenly spaced, aligned periods (period leaders). If a table or figure occupies more than one page, only the initial page number is listed. If the title or caption of a table or figure appears on a part-title page preceding the table or figure, the page number in the list refers to the number of the part-title page. 

If a list continues to a second page, the second page of text begins 1 inch from the top of the page. The second page is not labeled “List of Tables Continued” or “List of Figures Continued.” Individual entries are single-spaced with a double space between each entry. 

A list of symbols and abbreviations or a glossary does not replace defining terms, symbols, or abbreviations upon their first occurrence in the text. When introducing terms, always introduce terms upon their first usage in the document. 

The enumeration continues in sequence; no number appears on the first page. Acknowledgments are optional. If a preface is used, the acknowledgments are added to the end of the preface without a separate heading. The word ACKNOWLEDGMENTS is placed 2 inches from the top of the page in all capital letters. Following a heading space, the acknowledgments begin. The text of the acknowledgments must be double spaced. In the acknowledgments, students may wish to recognize special assistance from committee members, friends, or family members who may have helped in the research, writing, or technical aspects of the thesis or dissertation. Research funding, grants, and/or permission to reprint copyrighted materials should be acknowledged. Individuals employed to prepare the manuscript are not acknowledged. 

The enumeration continues in sequence; no number appears on the first page. This is an optional entry. The word PREFACE is placed 2 inches from the top of the page in all capital letters. Following a heading space, the preface begins. The text of the preface must be double spaced. A preface includes the reasons for undertaking the study, the methods and design of the researcher, and acknowledgments. Background data and historical or other information essential to the reader’s understanding of the subject are placed in the text as an introduction, not in the preface. Theses and dissertations generally do not contain a foreword (i.e., a statement about the work by someone other than the author). 

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Thesis / dissertation formatting manual (2022).

  • Filing Fees and Student Status
  • Submission Process Overview
  • Electronic Thesis Submission
  • Paper Thesis Submission
  • Formatting Overview
  • Fonts/Typeface
  • Pagination, Margins, Spacing
  • Paper Thesis Formatting
  • Preliminary Pages Overview
  • Copyright Page
  • Dedication Page
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures (etc.)
  • Acknowledgements
  • Text and References Overview
  • Figures and Illustrations
  • Using Your Own Previously Published Materials
  • Using Copyrighted Materials by Another Author
  • Open Access and Embargoes
  • Copyright and Creative Commons
  • Ordering Print (Bound) Copies
  • Tutorials and Assistance
  • FAQ This link opens in a new window

Preliminary Pages

The Preliminary Pages require very specific wording, spacing, and layout. Templates and sample pages are provided for your reference.

Only the pages listed below may be included as part of the Preliminary Pages section, and they must appear in this order. No other pages are permitted. All pages are required except the Dedication Page. Lists of Symbols, Tables, Figures, and Illustrations are only required if applicable to the content of your manuscript. 

Note : A Signature Page is NOT a valid part of your manuscript and is not included in the submission of your thesis or dissertation. Committee signatures are now included on the “Ph.D. Form II/Signature Page” or the “Master’s Thesis/Signature Page” that you submit to the Graduate Division. 

Preliminary Pages Order

  • Title Page (no page number)
  • Copyright Page (no page number)
  • Dedication Page (optional, page number ii if included)
  • Table of Contents  (if Dedication Page is included, Table of Contents is page iii. If no Dedication, Table of Contents is page ii)
  • List(s) of Figures/Illustrations/Formulae/Terms/etc.  (required, if applicable. Each new list should begin on a new page)
  • Acknowledgements  (alt. spelling: Acknowledgments)
  • Vita  (PhD dissertations ONLY. Should not be more than 3 pages)

Pagination - Preliminary Pages

Preliminary Pages are numbered with lowercase Roman numerals.

  • The Title Page is counted in determining the total number of pages in this section but is NOT numbered.
  • The Copyright Page is not counted or numbered.
  • Your first numbered page will either be your Dedication Page if you have one, or your Table of Contents if you do not have a Dedication Page.
  • There is no page i in the manuscript. 
  • The subsequent pages are then numbered consecutively with lowercase Roman numerals through the end of the Abstract.
  • Dashes, periods, underlining, letter suffixes, other text (including last names), and other stylizations are not permitted before, after, or under your page numbers.
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Module 6: Research

Preliminary research strategies.

Gears showing the research process: define the topic, narrow the topic, gather background information, create a research question, find and evaluate sources, cite sources, and write the paper.

The first step towards writing a research paper is pretty obvious: find sources. Not everything that you find will be good, and those that are good are not always easily found.  Having an idea of what you’re looking for–what will most help you develop your essay and enforce your thesis–will help guide your process.

Example of a Research Process

A good research process should go through these steps:

  • Decide on the topic.
  • Narrow the topic in order to narrow search parameters.
  • Create a question that your research will address.
  • Generate sub-questions from your main question.
  • Determine what kind of sources are best for your argument.
  • Create a bibliography as you gather and reference sources.

Each of these is described in greater detail below.

Black and white photo of a stack of books and textbooks.

Books, books, books …Do not start research haphazardly—come up with a plan first.

A research plan should begin after you can clearly identify the focus of your argument. First, inform yourself about the basics of your topic (Wikipedia and general online searches are great starting points). Be sure you’ve read all the assigned texts and carefully read the prompt as you gather preliminary information.  This stage is sometimes called pre-research .

A broad online search will yield thousands of sources, which no one could be expected to read through. To make it easier on yourself, the next step is to narrow your focus. Think about what kind of position or stance you can take on the topic. What about it strikes you as most interesting? Refer back to the prewriting stage of the writing process, which will come in handy here.

Preliminary Search Tips

  • It is okay to start with Wikipedia as a reference, but do not use it as an official source. Look at the links and references at the bottom of the page for more ideas.
  • Use “Ctrl+F” to find certain words within a webpage in order to jump to the sections of the article that interest you.
  • Use quotation marks to narrow your search from just tanks in WWII to “Tanks in WWII” or “Tanks” in “WWII”.
  • Find specific types of websites by adding “site:.gov” or “site:.edu” or “site:.org”. You can also search for specific file types like “filetype:.pdf”.
  • Click on “Search Tools” under the search bar in Google and select “Any time” to see a list of options for time periods to help limit your search. You can find information just in the past month or year, or even for a custom range.

Google Search Tips screenshot showing the location of Search Tools below the google search bar (with the option to choose a timeframe below that) and advanced search in the right hand side of the screen under the settings option.

Use features already available through Google Search like Search Tools and Advanced Search to narrow and refine your results.

As you narrow your focus, create a list of questions that you’ll need to answer in order to write a good essay on the topic.  The research process will help you answer these questions.

Another part of your research plan should include the type of sources you want to gather. Keep track of these sources in a bibliography and jot down notes about the book, article, or document and how it will be useful to your essay. This will save you a lot of time later in the essay process–you’ll thank yourself!

  • Revision and Adaptation. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
  • The Research Process graphic. Authored by : Kim Louie for Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Organizing Your Research Plan. Provided by : Boundless. Located at : https://www.boundless.com/writing/textbooks/boundless-writing-textbook/the-research-process-2/organizing-your-research-plan-262/organizing-your-research-plan-51-1304/ . Project : Boundless Writing. License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike

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HOW TO DRAFT EXCELLENT PRELIMINARY PAGES IN RESEARCH WRITING

November 13, 2014 By Divine Nwachukwu

For a research to be termed acceptable to your research coordinator or project supervisor, the preliminary pages of the work must be all encompassing and concise enough to make great meaning. Preliminary pages are those write ups that come before the chapter one of every project or research work. Standard preliminary pages has the following features in these chronological order

  • Declaration
  • Certification
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of contents

Cover page of the research work The cover page of a research page is the first page of the work which contains:

  • The full topic of the project work.
  • The case study of the project/research work.
  • The researchers/student’s name, starting with the surname and registration number.
  • The institution of study.
  • The year and month the project work was completed.

The above specifications must be done with block letters. Below is an example of a cover page of a project work:  

APPRAISING THE ROLES OF AN ACCOUNTANT IN LOANS AND CREDIT CONTROLS MANAGEMENT (A CASE STUDY OF THE UNITED BANK OF AFRICA PLC, LAGOS BRANCH (2009-2011)

A RESEARCH PROJECT BY

OKORO MOHAMMED BOLA 10/PG/CE/BSC/DBA/100

SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, NSUKKA ENUGU STATE.

IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE AWARD OF A POSTGRADUATE DIPLOMA IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

NOVEMBER, 2015.

Declaration of the research work Every research work must be deemed original and void of plagiarism. To this effect the declaration is more of an affidavit stating in clear terms that the work is an original work and was not copied from any source.  In declaring that your work as a researcher is original, it has to be done with your full name and the full name of the researcher observer or project supervisor who guided you through the research work and the date the research was concluded. Below is an example of a declaration of a research work:

DECLARATION I declare that this project on “appraising the roles of an accountant in loans and credit controls and management” is an original work done by me under the supervision of Dr. A.A. Akai, faculty of business administration, university of Nigeria, Nsukka.

                                                                                                                                                                OKORO, MOHAMMED BOLA.                                                                 Certification of the research work As the name depicts, certification of a research work is just a confirmation that the work or research was actually embarked upon by you. In drafting your certification of the research work, it has to come with your full name beginning with your surname followed by your other names, your registration number, space for the name date and signature of your project supervisor and finally a space for the name, signature and date of the external supervisor. Below is an example of a certification of a project work:

CERTIFICATION This is to certify that this research work on “appraising the roles of accountants in loan and credit controls and management was carried out OKORO, MOHAMMED BOLA; with the registration Number: 10/PG/CE/BSC/DBA/100. We examined and found it acceptable for the award of postgraduate diploma in Business Administration, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Dr. A.A. Akai: ………………………………………………………………. Signature ………………………   Date…………………………………… Supervisor/head of accounting department

Dr. W.S. Ugwu: ………………………………………………………………. Signature ………………………   Date…………………………………… Coordinator, post graduate diploma Business administration

Dedication of the research work Dedication is one of the preliminary pages of a research work. It has to do with dedicating the complete work to loved ones or people your hold in high regard. Below is an example of a dedication of a research work:

DEDICATION This research project is dedicated first to “THE ALMIGHTY GOD” forhis enabling strength he bestowed on me in completing this work.Secondly to my wonderful wife Mrs.Okoro Mohammed Bola

Acknowledgement of the research work This is where the researcher appreciates people who contributed directly or indirectly in the actualization of the project work. Acknowledgement in a research work takes into cognizance, your project or research supervisor for availing his time to making your work a success, your parents or loved ones for morally and financially supporting you through this work and other people you may have in mind for what they did towards their direct or indirect contribution to the success of your work.Below is an example

ACKNOWLEDEGEMNT I am most grateful to God Almighty, the sole provider of knowledge, wisdom, love, mercy and grace for his protections throughout the period of the programme. I sincerely appreciate my supervisor, Dr. A.A. Akai who offered timely criticism and corrections that led me through the various stages of this project. I appreciate my parents, Mr. and Mrs. AfikaAkara, my siblings and friends for their unquantifiable love and financial assistance during this period. May God bless you all in Jesus name, Amen.

CLICK TO LEARN HOW TO WRITE AN ABSTRACT

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Writing an Educational Research Paper

Research paper sections, customary parts of an education 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 educational fields vary greatly. Nevertheless, certain parts are common to most papers, for example:

Title/Cover Page

Contains the paper's title, the author's name, address, phone number, e-mail, and the day's date.

Not every education paper requires an abstract. However, for longer, more complex papers abstracts are particularly useful. Often only 100 to 300 words, 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's the first part of the paper the instructor reads. It must impress with a strong content, good style, and general aesthetic appeal. Never write it hastily or carelessly.

Introduction and Statement of the Problem

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.

Limitations of Study

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.

Methodology

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 other libraries or archives? 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 yourself can build on others' research. The guide Writing a Literature Review will be helpful here.

Main Body of Paper/Argument

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 education paper.

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. A conclusion that makes sense, when read independently from the rest of the paper, will win praise.

Works Cited/Bibliography

See the Citation guide .

Education 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 placed after the main body of the paper but before the bibliography or works cited section. They are usually designated by such headings as Appendix A, Appendix B, and so on.

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Preliminary Research

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Developing a good research question is impossible without doing some preliminary research.  Preliminary research gives you background information on your topic, answering questions such as who, what, when and where.  This research will also help you determine controversies related to your topic and determine if there are enough sources available to cover the topic effectively.

 You will encounter and learn much more information than you will convey in your final paper. Background information will enrich your research paper but should not bog it down in trivia. For example, if you were doing a paper on Hildegaard of Bingen, you should know that she was born into a noble family in Germany in 1098 and entered a hermitage at the age of eight and became a Benedictine Abbess. This information will help you contextualize her work in your own mind but your research paper should not be a simple recitation of these facts. Your research question should take you beyond the common knowledge found in encyclopedias, but without that  common knowledge your research will lack a solid foundation.

What follows is a list of resources that you may find useful for doing preliminary research in the field of Religious Studies. Keep in mind the type of information that you will need based on your preliminary topic and where your topic falls in the topic pyramid. Remember that the pyramid is a continuum rather than a series of discrete stages, so your topic likely will draw on both columns for some resources.

Resources for Preliminary Research

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Writing Research Papers

  • Research Paper Structure

Whether you are writing a B.S. Degree Research Paper or completing a research report for a Psychology course, it is highly likely that you will need to organize your research paper in accordance with American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines.  Here we discuss the structure of research papers according to APA style.

Major Sections of a Research Paper in APA Style

A complete research paper in APA style that is reporting on experimental research will typically contain a Title page, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, and References sections. 1  Many will also contain Figures and Tables and some will have an Appendix or Appendices.  These sections are detailed as follows (for a more in-depth guide, please refer to " How to Write a Research Paper in APA Style ”, a comprehensive guide developed by Prof. Emma Geller). 2

What is this paper called and who wrote it? – the first page of the paper; this includes the name of the paper, a “running head”, authors, and institutional affiliation of the authors.  The institutional affiliation is usually listed in an Author Note that is placed towards the bottom of the title page.  In some cases, the Author Note also contains an acknowledgment of any funding support and of any individuals that assisted with the research project.

One-paragraph summary of the entire study – typically no more than 250 words in length (and in many cases it is well shorter than that), the Abstract provides an overview of the study.

Introduction

What is the topic and why is it worth studying? – the first major section of text in the paper, the Introduction commonly describes the topic under investigation, summarizes or discusses relevant prior research (for related details, please see the Writing Literature Reviews section of this website), identifies unresolved issues that the current research will address, and provides an overview of the research that is to be described in greater detail in the sections to follow.

What did you do? – a section which details how the research was performed.  It typically features a description of the participants/subjects that were involved, the study design, the materials that were used, and the study procedure.  If there were multiple experiments, then each experiment may require a separate Methods section.  A rule of thumb is that the Methods section should be sufficiently detailed for another researcher to duplicate your research.

What did you find? – a section which describes the data that was collected and the results of any statistical tests that were performed.  It may also be prefaced by a description of the analysis procedure that was used. If there were multiple experiments, then each experiment may require a separate Results section.

What is the significance of your results? – the final major section of text in the paper.  The Discussion commonly features a summary of the results that were obtained in the study, describes how those results address the topic under investigation and/or the issues that the research was designed to address, and may expand upon the implications of those findings.  Limitations and directions for future research are also commonly addressed.

List of articles and any books cited – an alphabetized list of the sources that are cited in the paper (by last name of the first author of each source).  Each reference should follow specific APA guidelines regarding author names, dates, article titles, journal titles, journal volume numbers, page numbers, book publishers, publisher locations, websites, and so on (for more information, please see the Citing References in APA Style page of this website).

Tables and Figures

Graphs and data (optional in some cases) – depending on the type of research being performed, there may be Tables and/or Figures (however, in some cases, there may be neither).  In APA style, each Table and each Figure is placed on a separate page and all Tables and Figures are included after the References.   Tables are included first, followed by Figures.   However, for some journals and undergraduate research papers (such as the B.S. Research Paper or Honors Thesis), Tables and Figures may be embedded in the text (depending on the instructor’s or editor’s policies; for more details, see "Deviations from APA Style" below).

Supplementary information (optional) – in some cases, additional information that is not critical to understanding the research paper, such as a list of experiment stimuli, details of a secondary analysis, or programming code, is provided.  This is often placed in an Appendix.

Variations of Research Papers in APA Style

Although the major sections described above are common to most research papers written in APA style, there are variations on that pattern.  These variations include: 

  • Literature reviews – when a paper is reviewing prior published research and not presenting new empirical research itself (such as in a review article, and particularly a qualitative review), then the authors may forgo any Methods and Results sections. Instead, there is a different structure such as an Introduction section followed by sections for each of the different aspects of the body of research being reviewed, and then perhaps a Discussion section. 
  • Multi-experiment papers – when there are multiple experiments, it is common to follow the Introduction with an Experiment 1 section, itself containing Methods, Results, and Discussion subsections. Then there is an Experiment 2 section with a similar structure, an Experiment 3 section with a similar structure, and so on until all experiments are covered.  Towards the end of the paper there is a General Discussion section followed by References.  Additionally, in multi-experiment papers, it is common for the Results and Discussion subsections for individual experiments to be combined into single “Results and Discussion” sections.

Departures from APA Style

In some cases, official APA style might not be followed (however, be sure to check with your editor, instructor, or other sources before deviating from standards of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association).  Such deviations may include:

  • Placement of Tables and Figures  – in some cases, to make reading through the paper easier, Tables and/or Figures are embedded in the text (for example, having a bar graph placed in the relevant Results section). The embedding of Tables and/or Figures in the text is one of the most common deviations from APA style (and is commonly allowed in B.S. Degree Research Papers and Honors Theses; however you should check with your instructor, supervisor, or editor first). 
  • Incomplete research – sometimes a B.S. Degree Research Paper in this department is written about research that is currently being planned or is in progress. In those circumstances, sometimes only an Introduction and Methods section, followed by References, is included (that is, in cases where the research itself has not formally begun).  In other cases, preliminary results are presented and noted as such in the Results section (such as in cases where the study is underway but not complete), and the Discussion section includes caveats about the in-progress nature of the research.  Again, you should check with your instructor, supervisor, or editor first.
  • Class assignments – in some classes in this department, an assignment must be written in APA style but is not exactly a traditional research paper (for instance, a student asked to write about an article that they read, and to write that report in APA style). In that case, the structure of the paper might approximate the typical sections of a research paper in APA style, but not entirely.  You should check with your instructor for further guidelines.

Workshops and Downloadable Resources

  • For in-person discussion of the process of writing research papers, please consider attending this department’s “Writing Research Papers” workshop (for dates and times, please check the undergraduate workshops calendar).

Downloadable Resources

  • How to Write APA Style Research Papers (a comprehensive guide) [ PDF ]
  • Tips for Writing APA Style Research Papers (a brief summary) [ PDF ]
  • Example APA Style Research Paper (for B.S. Degree – empirical research) [ PDF ]
  • Example APA Style Research Paper (for B.S. Degree – literature review) [ PDF ]

Further Resources

How-To Videos     

  • Writing Research Paper Videos

APA Journal Article Reporting Guidelines

  • Appelbaum, M., Cooper, H., Kline, R. B., Mayo-Wilson, E., Nezu, A. M., & Rao, S. M. (2018). Journal article reporting standards for quantitative research in psychology: The APA Publications and Communications Board task force report . American Psychologist , 73 (1), 3.
  • Levitt, H. M., Bamberg, M., Creswell, J. W., Frost, D. M., Josselson, R., & Suárez-Orozco, C. (2018). Journal article reporting standards for qualitative primary, qualitative meta-analytic, and mixed methods research in psychology: The APA Publications and Communications Board task force report . American Psychologist , 73 (1), 26.  

External Resources

  • Formatting APA Style Papers in Microsoft Word
  • How to Write an APA Style Research Paper from Hamilton University
  • WikiHow Guide to Writing APA Research Papers
  • Sample APA Formatted Paper with Comments
  • Sample APA Formatted Paper
  • Tips for Writing a Paper in APA Style

1 VandenBos, G. R. (Ed). (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) (pp. 41-60).  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

2 geller, e. (2018).  how to write an apa-style research report . [instructional materials]. , prepared by s. c. pan for ucsd psychology.

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  • Formatting Research Papers
  • Using Databases and Finding References
  • What Types of References Are Appropriate?
  • Evaluating References and Taking Notes
  • Citing References
  • Writing a Literature Review
  • Writing Process and Revising
  • Improving Scientific Writing
  • Academic Integrity and Avoiding Plagiarism
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What Are The Preliminary Parts Of A Research Paper?

So many times, people get caught up in the preliminary parts of a thing. The preliminary part of a research paper is, of course, the research. But there is so much more to it than that. Here we will outline what it is that you need to do:

  • Research: Don’t even try to lie. You already knew that research was going to be a key element of writing your paper. But don’t slack. I mean sure, use internet sources. But hit up your local library too. Use your textbook. The more sources you gather, the better your credibility.
  • Take Notes: I know you have faith in your skills of memorization, but trust me – trust me – you will forget. That is a promise. I know this from experience. You know what, if you think I’m wrong, stop reading here. Good for you. I’ll see you next time around once you’ve realized that you will forget. But, please, please take notes.
  • Write Down Your Sources. Wherever you get your information from – be it interviews, the internet, or books -- you will need them later when it comes time to cite your research paper.

Now that we’ve talked about that let’s talk more about method

Writing the Essay

  • You need an outline. It will help you to keep your thoughts clearly on paper.
  • Get Enough Sleep. I appreciate a time crunch as much as anyone. But sometimes just stepping back and taking a fresh look at the assignment can give you a whole new perspective on it.
  • Try to plan ahead. Give yourself enough time to complete the assignment.

Let’s not forget one of the most important parts of the essay: Its actual layout. Here is a brief description:

  • The introduction: In the introduction, you want to give the reader a taste of what you’re about to write about. You want to summarize without giving it all away.
  • The body. The body of your essay should be (usually) between three and five paragraphs long. This is where you will outline everything that you learned in the research portion.
  • The Conclusion. This is where you wrap it all up. You are summarizing. You want to recap all of the things that you just said.
  • Works Cited. Not all instructors will require this, but some will. Here, you will need to list all of the sources from which you gathered information while writing your essay.

You should be ready to start now. Good luck!

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HOW TO WRITE PRELIMINARY PAGES OF YOUR RESEARCH

  • September 21, 2018
  • Posted by: IGBAJI UGABI
  • Category: Academic Writing Guide

In your research your preliminary pages come before your main work; they are concise and they form   part of your project work. I will be taking you through the various pages that come before your main research in this blog post:

  • The cover page

This is the first page of your research and it I written in upper case letters. It contains the topic of your research work, your name, your registration number (that is matriculation number), and the institution of study; the year and month your research was completed. For example:

THE THEME OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND FEMINISM IN CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE’S PURPLE HIBISCUS

GEORGE WILLIAMS ADIGWE

SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY OF ARTS

NIGER DELTA UNIVERSITY, WILBERFORCE ISLAND, BAYELSA STATE

PARTIAL FULFILMENT FOR THE REQUIREMENT OF A BACHELORS OF ARTS IN ENGLISH AND LITERARY STUDIES

  • Declaration

This where you attest to the originality and authenticity of the research you have carried out. You can liken this to an affidavit so when you are declaring you simply owe up to the work. An example would be:

I declare that this project on “The Theme of Domestic Violence and Feminism in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus I an original work done by me under the supervision of Professor Saani Ngagage Atiru, department of English and Literary Studies, faculty of Arts, Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State.

Then you sign off with your name below the declaration

  • Certification

This is more like your declaration but at a deeper level. This time you are not the only one involved, your supervisor and external supervisor are also part of it. It is a confirmation that you have performed your requirement to be awarded the degree. You can see samples from your school library to know how it is written.

You probably had someone in mind while doing your research; it could be a love one or someone who has a significant influence in your life that you want to dedicate the work to.  Well, most people will dedicate it to God because it is His grace that aided you in accomplishing the work.

  • Acknowledgement

Here is where you express your gratitude to those who have helped you doing your research and also those saw you through your years in the university.  I am sure some significant things happened and you received help from unlikely sources that helped you out of crisis. Feel free to thank those persons who helped you but of course, remember your parents, siblings, supervisors, lecturers, social clubs etc.

  • Table of contents

I am sure you don’t want your reader turning to your work and wondering where to find a particular information. So, your table of content would help you structure your research. It is the arrangement of information in order of the chapters.

I have already written about how you can write a beautiful abstract. Please, check previous blog posts to read up on abstract.

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IMAGES

  1. Typical Preliminary Research Proposal

    preliminary parts of a research paper

  2. Research Paper: The Preliminary Stages

    preliminary parts of a research paper

  3. Sample Preliminary Pages

    preliminary parts of a research paper

  4. Thesis statements and controlling ideas

    preliminary parts of a research paper

  5. 🎉 Preliminary research paper. How to Write a Research Paper That Will Get You an A+. 2019-03-03

    preliminary parts of a research paper

  6. Parts of a research paper

    preliminary parts of a research paper

VIDEO

  1. The Format of the Research Paper Abbreviations

  2. Conducting Preliminary Research: First Steps in Your Writing Journey

  3. Car Dealer Responsive Landing Page Template by RockThemes

  4. Other Contents of Research proposal

  5. What is a Research

  6. Write a research paper in a WEEK (what no one tells you)

COMMENTS

  1. What Is a Preliminary Outline for a Research Paper?

    A preliminary outline for a research paper is an organized list of topics to be included in the research paper along with notes under each topic about the details to be written in the paper. Outlines can also be completed with charts and in...

  2. What Is Preliminary Research?

    Preliminary research is research that contains information that needs to be verified and its results are not conclusive. This kind of research is usually used to get an idea about a particular topic and to discover the amount of information...

  3. Maximizing Research Impact: Where to Find Free Journals for Publishing Papers

    In the world of academia, publishing research papers is an essential part of advancing knowledge and making an impact in your field. However, the process of publishing can be daunting, especially when it comes to finding reputable journals ...

  4. Formatting Requirements: Preliminary Pages

    Handbook · Overview · Title Page · Copyright Page · Statement of Thesis/Dissertation Approval · Abstract Page · Dedication, Frontispiece, and Epigraph.

  5. What are the preliminary parts of a research paper?

    Introduction and Background · Problem Statement · Purpose · Research Questions / Hypotheses (quantitative) · Conceptual/Theoretical Framework

  6. Preliminary Pages Overview

    The Preliminary Pages require very specific wording, spacing, and layout. Templates and sample pages are provided for your reference.

  7. Preliminary Research Strategies

    Gears showing the research process: define the topic, narrow the topic, gather background. The first step towards writing a research paper is pretty obvious:

  8. how to write a research paper

    the components of the research project, remember that the research process is.

  9. HOW TO DRAFT EXCELLENT PRELIMINARY PAGES IN

    The full topic of the project work. · The case study of the project/research work. · The researchers/student's name, starting with the surname and registration

  10. Writing an Educational Research Paper

    Customary Parts of an Education Research Paper · Title/Cover Page · Abstract · Introduction and Statement of the Problem · Limitations of Study.

  11. Preliminary Research

    Preliminary research gives you background information on your topic, answering questions such as who, what, when and where. This research will

  12. Research Paper Structure

    In that case, the structure of the paper might approximate the typical sections of a research paper in APA style, but not entirely

  13. Preliminary Parts Of A Research Paper

    Writing the Essay · The introduction: In the introduction, you want to give the reader a taste of what you're about to write about. You want to summarize

  14. HOW TO WRITE PRELIMINARY PAGES OF YOUR RESEARCH

    In your research your preliminary pages come before your main work; they are concise and they form part of your project work. I will be