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Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

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Research Paper

Research Paper

Definition:

Research Paper is a written document that presents the author’s original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue.

It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new knowledge or insights to a particular field of study, and to demonstrate the author’s understanding of the existing literature and theories related to the topic.

Structure of Research Paper

The structure of a research paper typically follows a standard format, consisting of several sections that convey specific information about the research study. The following is a detailed explanation of the structure of a research paper:

The title page contains the title of the paper, the name(s) of the author(s), and the affiliation(s) of the author(s). It also includes the date of submission and possibly, the name of the journal or conference where the paper is to be published.

The abstract is a brief summary of the research paper, typically ranging from 100 to 250 words. It should include the research question, the methods used, the key findings, and the implications of the results. The abstract should be written in a concise and clear manner to allow readers to quickly grasp the essence of the research.

Introduction

The introduction section of a research paper provides background information about the research problem, the research question, and the research objectives. It also outlines the significance of the research, the research gap that it aims to fill, and the approach taken to address the research question. Finally, the introduction section ends with a clear statement of the research hypothesis or research question.

Literature Review

The literature review section of a research paper provides an overview of the existing literature on the topic of study. It includes a critical analysis and synthesis of the literature, highlighting the key concepts, themes, and debates. The literature review should also demonstrate the research gap and how the current study seeks to address it.

The methods section of a research paper describes the research design, the sample selection, the data collection and analysis procedures, and the statistical methods used to analyze the data. This section should provide sufficient detail for other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the research, using tables, graphs, and figures to illustrate the data. The findings should be presented in a clear and concise manner, with reference to the research question and hypothesis.

The discussion section of a research paper interprets the findings and discusses their implications for the research question, the literature review, and the field of study. It should also address the limitations of the study and suggest future research directions.

The conclusion section summarizes the main findings of the study, restates the research question and hypothesis, and provides a final reflection on the significance of the research.

The references section provides a list of all the sources cited in the paper, following a specific citation style such as APA, MLA or Chicago.

How to Write Research Paper

You can write Research Paper by the following guide:

  • Choose a Topic: The first step is to select a topic that interests you and is relevant to your field of study. Brainstorm ideas and narrow down to a research question that is specific and researchable.
  • Conduct a Literature Review: The literature review helps you identify the gap in the existing research and provides a basis for your research question. It also helps you to develop a theoretical framework and research hypothesis.
  • Develop a Thesis Statement : The thesis statement is the main argument of your research paper. It should be clear, concise and specific to your research question.
  • Plan your Research: Develop a research plan that outlines the methods, data sources, and data analysis procedures. This will help you to collect and analyze data effectively.
  • Collect and Analyze Data: Collect data using various methods such as surveys, interviews, observations, or experiments. Analyze data using statistical tools or other qualitative methods.
  • Organize your Paper : Organize your paper into sections such as Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. Ensure that each section is coherent and follows a logical flow.
  • Write your Paper : Start by writing the introduction, followed by the literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. Ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and follows the required formatting and citation styles.
  • Edit and Proofread your Paper: Review your paper for grammar and spelling errors, and ensure that it is well-structured and easy to read. Ask someone else to review your paper to get feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  • Cite your Sources: Ensure that you properly cite all sources used in your research paper. This is essential for giving credit to the original authors and avoiding plagiarism.

Research Paper Example

Note : The below example research paper is for illustrative purposes only and is not an actual research paper. Actual research papers may have different structures, contents, and formats depending on the field of study, research question, data collection and analysis methods, and other factors. Students should always consult with their professors or supervisors for specific guidelines and expectations for their research papers.

Research Paper Example sample for Students:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health among Young Adults

Abstract: This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults. A literature review was conducted to examine the existing research on the topic. A survey was then administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Introduction: Social media has become an integral part of modern life, particularly among young adults. While social media has many benefits, including increased communication and social connectivity, it has also been associated with negative outcomes, such as addiction, cyberbullying, and mental health problems. This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults.

Literature Review: The literature review highlights the existing research on the impact of social media use on mental health. The review shows that social media use is associated with depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health problems. The review also identifies the factors that contribute to the negative impact of social media, including social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Methods : A survey was administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The survey included questions on social media use, mental health status (measured using the DASS-21), and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis.

Results : The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Discussion : The study’s findings suggest that social media use has a negative impact on the mental health of young adults. The study highlights the need for interventions that address the factors contributing to the negative impact of social media, such as social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Conclusion : In conclusion, social media use has a significant impact on the mental health of young adults. The study’s findings underscore the need for interventions that promote healthy social media use and address the negative outcomes associated with social media use. Future research can explore the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health. Additionally, longitudinal studies can investigate the long-term effects of social media use on mental health.

Limitations : The study has some limitations, including the use of self-report measures and a cross-sectional design. The use of self-report measures may result in biased responses, and a cross-sectional design limits the ability to establish causality.

Implications: The study’s findings have implications for mental health professionals, educators, and policymakers. Mental health professionals can use the findings to develop interventions that address the negative impact of social media use on mental health. Educators can incorporate social media literacy into their curriculum to promote healthy social media use among young adults. Policymakers can use the findings to develop policies that protect young adults from the negative outcomes associated with social media use.

References :

  • Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2019). Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Preventive medicine reports, 15, 100918.
  • Primack, B. A., Shensa, A., Escobar-Viera, C. G., Barrett, E. L., Sidani, J. E., Colditz, J. B., … & James, A. E. (2017). Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: A nationally-representative study among US young adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 1-9.
  • Van der Meer, T. G., & Verhoeven, J. W. (2017). Social media and its impact on academic performance of students. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 16, 383-398.

Appendix : The survey used in this study is provided below.

Social Media and Mental Health Survey

  • How often do you use social media per day?
  • Less than 30 minutes
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • 1 to 2 hours
  • 2 to 4 hours
  • More than 4 hours
  • Which social media platforms do you use?
  • Others (Please specify)
  • How often do you experience the following on social media?
  • Social comparison (comparing yourself to others)
  • Cyberbullying
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
  • Have you ever experienced any of the following mental health problems in the past month?
  • Do you think social media use has a positive or negative impact on your mental health?
  • Very positive
  • Somewhat positive
  • Somewhat negative
  • Very negative
  • In your opinion, which factors contribute to the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Social comparison
  • In your opinion, what interventions could be effective in reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Education on healthy social media use
  • Counseling for mental health problems caused by social media
  • Social media detox programs
  • Regulation of social media use

Thank you for your participation!

Applications of Research Paper

Research papers have several applications in various fields, including:

  • Advancing knowledge: Research papers contribute to the advancement of knowledge by generating new insights, theories, and findings that can inform future research and practice. They help to answer important questions, clarify existing knowledge, and identify areas that require further investigation.
  • Informing policy: Research papers can inform policy decisions by providing evidence-based recommendations for policymakers. They can help to identify gaps in current policies, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and inform the development of new policies and regulations.
  • Improving practice: Research papers can improve practice by providing evidence-based guidance for professionals in various fields, including medicine, education, business, and psychology. They can inform the development of best practices, guidelines, and standards of care that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • Educating students : Research papers are often used as teaching tools in universities and colleges to educate students about research methods, data analysis, and academic writing. They help students to develop critical thinking skills, research skills, and communication skills that are essential for success in many careers.
  • Fostering collaboration: Research papers can foster collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers by providing a platform for sharing knowledge and ideas. They can facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships that can lead to innovative solutions to complex problems.

When to Write Research Paper

Research papers are typically written when a person has completed a research project or when they have conducted a study and have obtained data or findings that they want to share with the academic or professional community. Research papers are usually written in academic settings, such as universities, but they can also be written in professional settings, such as research organizations, government agencies, or private companies.

Here are some common situations where a person might need to write a research paper:

  • For academic purposes: Students in universities and colleges are often required to write research papers as part of their coursework, particularly in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Writing research papers helps students to develop research skills, critical thinking skills, and academic writing skills.
  • For publication: Researchers often write research papers to publish their findings in academic journals or to present their work at academic conferences. Publishing research papers is an important way to disseminate research findings to the academic community and to establish oneself as an expert in a particular field.
  • To inform policy or practice : Researchers may write research papers to inform policy decisions or to improve practice in various fields. Research findings can be used to inform the development of policies, guidelines, and best practices that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • To share new insights or ideas: Researchers may write research papers to share new insights or ideas with the academic or professional community. They may present new theories, propose new research methods, or challenge existing paradigms in their field.

Purpose of Research Paper

The purpose of a research paper is to present the results of a study or investigation in a clear, concise, and structured manner. Research papers are written to communicate new knowledge, ideas, or findings to a specific audience, such as researchers, scholars, practitioners, or policymakers. The primary purposes of a research paper are:

  • To contribute to the body of knowledge : Research papers aim to add new knowledge or insights to a particular field or discipline. They do this by reporting the results of empirical studies, reviewing and synthesizing existing literature, proposing new theories, or providing new perspectives on a topic.
  • To inform or persuade: Research papers are written to inform or persuade the reader about a particular issue, topic, or phenomenon. They present evidence and arguments to support their claims and seek to persuade the reader of the validity of their findings or recommendations.
  • To advance the field: Research papers seek to advance the field or discipline by identifying gaps in knowledge, proposing new research questions or approaches, or challenging existing assumptions or paradigms. They aim to contribute to ongoing debates and discussions within a field and to stimulate further research and inquiry.
  • To demonstrate research skills: Research papers demonstrate the author’s research skills, including their ability to design and conduct a study, collect and analyze data, and interpret and communicate findings. They also demonstrate the author’s ability to critically evaluate existing literature, synthesize information from multiple sources, and write in a clear and structured manner.

Characteristics of Research Paper

Research papers have several characteristics that distinguish them from other forms of academic or professional writing. Here are some common characteristics of research papers:

  • Evidence-based: Research papers are based on empirical evidence, which is collected through rigorous research methods such as experiments, surveys, observations, or interviews. They rely on objective data and facts to support their claims and conclusions.
  • Structured and organized: Research papers have a clear and logical structure, with sections such as introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. They are organized in a way that helps the reader to follow the argument and understand the findings.
  • Formal and objective: Research papers are written in a formal and objective tone, with an emphasis on clarity, precision, and accuracy. They avoid subjective language or personal opinions and instead rely on objective data and analysis to support their arguments.
  • Citations and references: Research papers include citations and references to acknowledge the sources of information and ideas used in the paper. They use a specific citation style, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Peer-reviewed: Research papers are often peer-reviewed, which means they are evaluated by other experts in the field before they are published. Peer-review ensures that the research is of high quality, meets ethical standards, and contributes to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Objective and unbiased: Research papers strive to be objective and unbiased in their presentation of the findings. They avoid personal biases or preconceptions and instead rely on the data and analysis to draw conclusions.

Advantages of Research Paper

Research papers have many advantages, both for the individual researcher and for the broader academic and professional community. Here are some advantages of research papers:

  • Contribution to knowledge: Research papers contribute to the body of knowledge in a particular field or discipline. They add new information, insights, and perspectives to existing literature and help advance the understanding of a particular phenomenon or issue.
  • Opportunity for intellectual growth: Research papers provide an opportunity for intellectual growth for the researcher. They require critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, which can help develop the researcher’s skills and knowledge.
  • Career advancement: Research papers can help advance the researcher’s career by demonstrating their expertise and contributions to the field. They can also lead to new research opportunities, collaborations, and funding.
  • Academic recognition: Research papers can lead to academic recognition in the form of awards, grants, or invitations to speak at conferences or events. They can also contribute to the researcher’s reputation and standing in the field.
  • Impact on policy and practice: Research papers can have a significant impact on policy and practice. They can inform policy decisions, guide practice, and lead to changes in laws, regulations, or procedures.
  • Advancement of society: Research papers can contribute to the advancement of society by addressing important issues, identifying solutions to problems, and promoting social justice and equality.

Limitations of Research Paper

Research papers also have some limitations that should be considered when interpreting their findings or implications. Here are some common limitations of research papers:

  • Limited generalizability: Research findings may not be generalizable to other populations, settings, or contexts. Studies often use specific samples or conditions that may not reflect the broader population or real-world situations.
  • Potential for bias : Research papers may be biased due to factors such as sample selection, measurement errors, or researcher biases. It is important to evaluate the quality of the research design and methods used to ensure that the findings are valid and reliable.
  • Ethical concerns: Research papers may raise ethical concerns, such as the use of vulnerable populations or invasive procedures. Researchers must adhere to ethical guidelines and obtain informed consent from participants to ensure that the research is conducted in a responsible and respectful manner.
  • Limitations of methodology: Research papers may be limited by the methodology used to collect and analyze data. For example, certain research methods may not capture the complexity or nuance of a particular phenomenon, or may not be appropriate for certain research questions.
  • Publication bias: Research papers may be subject to publication bias, where positive or significant findings are more likely to be published than negative or non-significant findings. This can skew the overall findings of a particular area of research.
  • Time and resource constraints: Research papers may be limited by time and resource constraints, which can affect the quality and scope of the research. Researchers may not have access to certain data or resources, or may be unable to conduct long-term studies due to practical limitations.

About the author

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Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

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Table of contents

what are the 8 components of a research paper

Brinda Gulati

Welcome to the twilight zone of research writing. You’ve got your thesis statement and research evidence, and before you write the first draft, you need a wireframe — a structure on which your research paper can stand tall. 

When you’re looking to share your research with the wider scientific community, your discoveries and breakthroughs are important, yes. But what’s more important is that you’re able to communicate your research in an accessible format. For this, you need to publish your paper in journals. And to have your research published in a journal, you need to know how to structure a research paper.

Here, you’ll find a template of a research paper structure, a section-by-section breakdown of the eight structural elements, and actionable insights from three published researchers.

Let’s begin!

Why is the Structure of a Research Paper Important?

A research paper built on a solid structure is the literary equivalent of calcium supplements for weak bones.

Richard Smith of BMJ says, “...no amount of clever language can compensate for a weak structure."

There’s space for your voice and creativity in your research, but without a structure, your paper is as good as a beached whale — stranded and bloated.

A well-structured research paper:

  • Communicates your credibility as a student scholar in the wider academic community.
  • Facilitates accessibility for readers who may not be in your field but are interested in your research.
  • Promotes clear communication between disciplines, thereby eliminating “concept transfer” as a rate-limiting step in scientific cross-pollination.
  • Increases your chances of getting published!

Research Paper Structure Template

what are the 8 components of a research paper

Why Was My Research Paper Rejected?

A desk rejection hurts — sometimes more than stubbing your pinky toe against a table.

Oftentimes, journals will reject your research paper before sending it off for peer review if the architecture of your manuscript is shoddy. 

The JAMA Internal Medicine , for example, rejected 78% of the manuscripts it received in 2017 without review. Among the top 10 reasons? Poor presentation and poor English . (We’ve got fixes for both here, don’t you worry.)

5 Common Mistakes in a Research Paper Structure

  • Choppy transitions : Missing or abrupt transitions between sections disrupt the flow of your paper. Read our guide on transition words here. 
  • Long headings : Long headings can take away from your main points. Be concise and informative, using parallel structure throughout.
  • Disjointed thoughts : Make sure your paragraphs flow logically from one another and support your central point.
  • Misformatting : An inconsistent or incorrect layout can make your paper look unprofessional and hard to read. For font, spacing, margins, and section headings, strictly follow your target journal's guidelines.
  • Disordered floating elements : Ill-placed and unlabeled tables, figures, and appendices can disrupt your paper's structure. Label, caption, and reference all floating elements in the main text.

What Is the Structure of a Research Paper? 

The structure of a research paper closely resembles the shape of a diamond flowing from the general ➞ specific ➞ general. 

We’ll follow the IMRaD ( I ntroduction , M ethods , R esults , and D iscussion) format within the overarching “context-content-conclusion” approach:

➞ The context sets the stage for the paper where you tell your readers, “This is what we already know, and here’s why my research matters.”

➞ The content is the meat of the paper where you present your methods, results, and discussion. This is the IMRad (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion) format — the most popular way to organize the body of a research paper. 

➞ The conclusion is where you bring it home — “Here’s what we’ve learned, and here’s where it plays out in the grand scheme of things.”

Now, let’s see what this means section by section.

1. Research Paper Title

A research paper title is read first, and read the most. 

The title serves two purposes: informing readers and attracting attention . Therefore, your research paper title should be clear, descriptive, and concise . If you can, avoid technical jargon and abbreviations. Your goal is to get as many readers as possible.

In fact, research articles with shorter titles describing the results are cited more often . 

An impactful title is usually 10 words long, plus or minus three words. 

For example:

  • "Mortality in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria" (word count = 7)
  • “A Review of Practical Techniques For the Diagnosis of Malaria” (word count = 10)

2. Research Paper Abstract

In an abstract, you have to answer the two whats :

  • What has been done?
  • What are the main findings?

The abstract is the elevator pitch for your research. Is your paper worth reading? Convince the reader here. 

Example page of how to structure the abstract section of a research paper with a sentence by sentence breakdown.

✏️ NOTE : According to different journals’ guidelines, sometimes the title page and abstract section are on the same page. 

An abstract ranges from 200-300 words and doubles down on the relevance and significance of your research. Succinctly.  

This is your chance to make a second first impression. 

If you’re stuck with a blob of text and can’t seem to cut it down, a smart AI elf like Wordtune can help you write a concise abstract! The AI research assistant also offers suggestions for improved clarity and grammar so your elevator pitch doesn’t fall by the wayside. 

Sample abstract text in Wordtune with suggestions under "Editor's Notes" for better writing.

Get Wordtune for free > Get Wordtune for free >

3. Introduction Section

What does it do.

Asks the central research question.

Pre-Writing Questions For the Introduction Section

The introduction section of your research paper explains the scope, context, and importance of your project. 

I talked to Swagatama Mukherjee , a published researcher and graduate student in Neuro-Oncology studying Glioblastoma Progression. For the Introduction, she says, focus on answering three key questions:

  • What isn’t known in the field? 
  • How is that knowledge gap holding us back?
  • How does your research focus on answering this problem?

When Should You Write It?

Write it last. As you go along filling in the body of your research paper, you may find that the writing is evolving in a different direction than when you first started. 

Organizing the Introduction

Visualize the introduction as an upside-down triangle when considering the overall outline of this section. You'll need to give a broad introduction to the topic, provide background information, and then narrow it down to specific research. Finally, you'll need a focused research question, hypothesis, or thesis statement. The move is from general ➞ specific.

✨️ BONUS TIP: Use the famous CARS model by John Swales to nail this upside-down triangle. 

4. methods section.

Describes what was done to answer the research question, and how.

Write it first . Just list everything you’ve done, and go from there. How did you assign participants into groups? What kind of questionnaires have you used? How did you analyze your data? 

Write as if the reader were following an instruction manual on how to duplicate your research methodology to the letter. 

Organizing the Methods Section

Here, you’re telling the story of your research. 

Write in as much detail as possible, and in the chronological order of the experiments. Follow the order of the results, so your readers can track the gradual development of your research. Use headings and subheadings to visually format the section.

what are the 8 components of a research paper

This skeleton isn’t set in stone. The exact headings will be determined by your field of study and the journal you’re submitting to. 

✨️ BONUS TIP : Drowning in research? Ask Wordtune to summarize your PDFs for you!

5. results section .

Reports the findings of your study in connection to your research question.

Write the section only after you've written a draft of your Methods section, and before the Discussion.

This section is the star of your research paper. But don't get carried away just yet. Focus on factual, unbiased information only. Tell the reader how you're going to change the world in the next section. The Results section is strictly a no-opinions zone.

How To Organize Your Results 

A tried-and-true structure for presenting your findings is to outline your results based on the research questions outlined in the figures.

Whenever you address a research question, include the data that directly relates to that question.

What does this mean? Let’s look at an example:

Here's a sample research question:

How does the use of social media affect the academic performance of college students?

Make a statement based on the data:

College students who spent more than 3 hours per day on social media had significantly lower GPAs compared to those who spent less than 1 hour per day (M=2.8 vs. M=3.4; see Fig. 2).

You can elaborate on this finding with secondary information:

The negative impact of social media use on academic performance was more pronounced among freshmen and sophomores compared to juniors and seniors ((F>25), (S>20), (J>15), and (Sr>10); see Fig. 4).

Finally, caption your figures in the same way — use the data and your research question to construct contextual phrases. The phrases should give your readers a framework for understanding the data: 

Figure 4. Percentage of college students reporting a negative impact of social media on academic performance, by year in school.

Dos and Don’ts For The Results Section

what are the 8 components of a research paper

✔️ Related : How to Write a Research Paper (+ Free AI Research Paper Writer)

6. discussion section.

Explains the importance and implications of your findings, both in your specific area of research, as well as in a broader context. 

Pre-Writing Questions For the Discussion Section

  • What is the relationship between these results and the original question in the Introduction section?
  • How do your results compare with those of previous research? Are they supportive, extending, or contradictory to existing knowledge?
  • What is the potential impact of your findings on theory, practice, or policy in your field?
  • Are there any strengths or weaknesses in your study design, methods, or analysis? Can these factors affect how you interpret your results?
  • Based on your findings, what are the next steps or directions for research? Have you got any new questions or hypotheses?

Before the Introduction section, and after the Results section. 

Based on the pre-writing questions, five main elements can help you structure your Discussion section paragraph by paragraph:

  • Summary : Restate your research question/problem and summarize your major findings.
  • Interpretations : Identify patterns, contextualize your findings, explain unexpected results, and discuss if and how your results satisfied your hypotheses.
  • Implications: Explore if your findings challenge or support existing research, share new insights, and discuss the consequences in theory or practice.
  • Limitations : Acknowledge what your results couldn’t achieve because of research design or methodological choices.
  • Recommendations : Give concrete ideas about how further research can be conducted to explore new avenues in your field of study. 

Dos and Don’ts For the Discussion Section

what are the 8 components of a research paper

Aritra Chatterjee , a licensed clinical psychologist and published mental health researcher, advises, “If your findings are not what you expected, disclose this honestly. That’s what good research is about.”

7. Acknowledgments

Expresses gratitude to mentors, colleagues, and funding sources who’ve helped your research.

Write this section after all the parts of IMRaD are done to reflect on your research journey without getting distracted midway. 

After a lot of scientific writing, you might get stumped trying to write a few lines to say thanks. Don’t let this be the reason for a late or no-submission.

Wordtune can make a rough draft for you. 

Write a research paper draft section with AI. Prompt "Please write an Acknowledgments section" with placeholder text.

All you then have to do is edit the AI-generated content to suit your voice, and replace any text placeholders as needed:

Wordtune's AI generation in purple text, placeholder text annotated for easy reference.

8. References

Lists all the works/sources used in your research with proper citations. 

The two most important aspects of referencing are: 

  • Following the correct format; and 
  • Properly citing the sources. 

Keep a working document of the works you’ve referenced as you go along, but leave the finishing touches for last after you’ve completed the body of your research paper — the IMRaD.

Tips For Writing the References Section

The error rate of references in several scientific disciplines is 25%-54% . 

Don’t want to be a part of this statistic? We got you.

  • Choose quality over quantity : While it's tempting to pad your bibliography to seem more scholarly, this is a rookie mistake.   Samantha Summers , a museum professional based in Canada, is a published researcher in Medieval History and Critical Philanthropy studies. According to her, “Adding in a citation just to lengthen your bibliography and without engaging deeply with the cited work doesn’t make for good writing.” We ought to listen to her advice — she has three Master’s degrees to her name for a reason. 
  • Select the correct referencing guide : Always cross-check with your chosen journal’s or institution’s preference for either Harvard, MLA, APA, Chicago, or IEEE. 
  • Include recent studies and research : Aim to cite academically ripe sources — not overripe. Research from the past half-decade or so is ideal, whereas studies from the 80s or 90s run a higher risk of being stale. 
  • Use a reliable reference manager software : Swagatama recommends several free resources that have helped her get her research organized and published — Zotero and Mendeley are top contenders, followed by EndNote . 

By the end, your References section will look something like this:

References section example from a research paper with correctly numbered, cited sources, and live links.

Ready, Get, Set, Publish!

Dust yourself off, we've made it out of the twilight zone. You’ve now got the diamond of the structure of a research paper — the IMRaD format within the “context-content-conclusion” model. 

Keep this structure handy as you fill in the bones of your research paper. And if you’re stuck staring at a blinking cursor, fresh out of brain juice? 

An AI-powered writing assistant like Wordtune can help you polish your diamond, craft great abstracts, and speed through drafts! 

You've got this.

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Research Paper Structure: A Comprehensive Guide

Sumalatha G

Table of Contents

Writing a research paper is a daunting task, but understanding its structure can make the process more manageable and lead to a well-organized, coherent paper. This article provides a step-by-step approach to crafting a research paper, ensuring your work is not only informative but also structured for maximum impact.

Introduction

In any form of written communication, content structure plays a vital role in facilitating understanding. A well-structured research paper provides a framework that guides readers through the content, ensuring they grasp the main points efficiently. Without a clear structure, readers may become lost or confused, leading to a loss of interest and a failure to comprehend the intended message.

When it comes to research papers, structure is particularly important due to the complexity of the subject matter. Research papers often involve presenting and analyzing large amounts of data, theories, and arguments. Without a well-defined structure, readers may struggle to navigate through this information overload, resulting in a fragmented understanding of the topic.

How Structure Enhances Clarity and Coherence

A well-structured research paper not only helps readers follow the flow of ideas but also enhances the clarity and coherence of the content. By organizing information into sections, paragraphs, and sentences, researchers can present their thoughts logically and systematically. This logical organization allows readers to easily connect ideas, resulting in a more coherent and engaging reading experience.

One way in which structure enhances clarity is by providing a clear roadmap for readers to follow. By dividing the research paper into sections and subsections, researchers can guide readers through the different aspects of the topic. This allows readers to anticipate the flow of information and mentally prepare themselves for the upcoming content.

In addition, a well-structured research paper ensures that each paragraph serves a specific purpose and contributes to the overall argument or analysis. By clearly defining the main idea of each paragraph and providing supporting evidence or examples, researchers can avoid confusion and ensure that their points are effectively communicated.

Moreover, a structured research paper helps researchers maintain a consistent focus throughout their writing. By organizing their thoughts and ideas, researchers can ensure that they stay on track and avoid going off on tangents. This not only improves the clarity of the paper but also helps maintain the reader's interest and engagement.

Components of a Research Paper Structure

Title and abstract: the initial impression.

The title and abstract are the first elements readers encounter when accessing a research paper. The title should be concise, informative, and capture the essence of the study. For example, a title like "Exploring the Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity in Tropical Rainforests" immediately conveys the subject matter and scope of the research. The abstract, on the other hand, provides a brief overview of the research problem, methodology, and findings, enticing readers to delve further into the paper. In a well-crafted abstract, researchers may highlight key results or implications of the study, giving readers a glimpse into the value of the research.

Introduction: Setting the Stage

The introduction serves as an invitation for readers to engage with the research paper. It should provide background information on the topic, highlight the research problem, and present the research question or thesis statement. By establishing the context and relevance of the study, the introduction piques readers' interest and prepares them for the content to follow. For instance, in a study on the impact of social media on mental health, the introduction may discuss the rise of social media platforms and the growing concerns about its effects on individuals' well-being. This contextual information helps readers understand the significance of the research and why it is worth exploring further.

Furthermore, the introduction may also outline the objectives of the study, stating what the researchers aim to achieve through their research. This helps readers understand the purpose and scope of the study, setting clear expectations for what they can expect to learn from the paper.

Literature Review: Building the Foundation

The literature review is a critical component of a research paper, as it demonstrates the researcher's understanding of existing knowledge and provides a foundation for the study. It involves reviewing and analyzing relevant scholarly articles, books, and other sources to identify gaps in research and establish the need for the current study. In a comprehensive literature review, researchers may summarize key findings from previous studies, identify areas of disagreement or controversy, and highlight the limitations of existing research.

Moreover, the literature review may also discuss theoretical frameworks or conceptual models that have been used in previous studies. By examining these frameworks, researchers can identify the theoretical underpinnings of their study and explain how their research fits within the broader academic discourse. This not only adds depth to the research paper but also helps readers understand the theoretical context in which the study is situated.

Methodology: Detailing the Process

The research design, data collection methods, and analysis techniques used in the study are described in the methodology section. It should be presented clearly and concisely, allowing readers to understand how the research was conducted and evaluated. A well-described methodology ensures the study's reliability and allows other researchers to replicate or build upon the findings.

Within the methodology section, researchers may provide a detailed description of the study population or sample, explaining how participants were selected and why they were chosen. This helps readers understand the generalizability of the findings and the extent to which they can be applied to a broader population.

In addition, researchers may also discuss any ethical considerations that were taken into account during the study. This could include obtaining informed consent from participants, ensuring confidentiality and anonymity, and following ethical guidelines set by relevant professional organizations. By addressing these ethical concerns, researchers demonstrate their commitment to conducting research in an ethical and responsible manner.

Results: Presenting the Findings

The results section represents the study findings. Researchers should organize their results in a logical manner, using tables, graphs, and descriptive statistics to support their conclusions. The results should be presented objectively, without interpretation or analysis. For instance, for a study on the effectiveness of a new drug in treating a specific medical condition, researchers may present the percentage of patients who experienced positive outcomes, along with any statistical significance associated with the results.

In addition to presenting the main findings, researchers may also include supplementary data or sub-analyses that provide further insights into the research question. This could include subgroup analyses, sensitivity analyses, or additional statistical tests that help explore the robustness of the findings.

Discussion: Interpreting the Results

In the discussion section, researchers analyze and interpret the results in light of the research question or thesis statement. This is an opportunity to explore the implications of the findings, compare them with existing literature, and offer insights into the broader significance of the study. The discussion should be supported by evidence and it is advised to avoid speculation.

Researchers may also discuss the limitations of their study, acknowledging any potential biases or confounding factors that may have influenced the results. By openly addressing these limitations, researchers demonstrate their commitment to transparency and scientific rigor.

Conclusion: Wrapping It Up

The conclusion provides a concise summary of the research paper, restating the main findings and their implications. It should also reflect on the significance of the study and suggest potential avenues for future research. A well-written conclusion leaves a lasting impression on readers, highlighting the importance of the research and its potential impact. By summarizing the key takeaways from the study, researchers ensure that readers walk away with a clear understanding of the research's contribution to the field.

Tips for Organizing Your Research Paper

Starting with a strong thesis statement.

A strong and clear thesis statement serves as the backbone of your research paper. It provides focus and direction, guiding the organization of ideas and arguments throughout the paper. Take the time to craft a well-defined thesis statement that encapsulates the core message of your research.

Creating an Outline: The Blueprint of Your Paper

An outline acts as a blueprint for your research paper, ensuring a logical flow of ideas and preventing disorganization. Divide your paper into sections and subsections, noting the main points and supporting arguments for each. This will help you maintain coherence and clarity throughout the writing process.

Balancing Depth and Breadth in Your Paper

When organizing your research paper, strike a balance between delving deeply into specific points and providing a broader overview. While depth is important for thorough analysis, too much detail can overwhelm readers. Consider your target audience and their level of familiarity with the topic to determine the appropriate level of depth and breadth for your paper.

By understanding the importance of research paper structure and implementing effective organizational strategies, researchers can ensure their work is accessible, engaging, and influential. A well-structured research paper not only communicates ideas clearly but also enhances the overall impact of the study. With careful planning and attention to detail, researchers can master the art of structuring their research papers, making them a valuable contribution to their field of study.

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Structure of a Research Paper

Phillips-Wangensteen Building.

Structure of a Research Paper: IMRaD Format

I. The Title Page

  • Title: Tells the reader what to expect in the paper.
  • Author(s): Most papers are written by one or two primary authors. The remaining authors have reviewed the work and/or aided in study design or data analysis (International Committee of Medical Editors, 1997). Check the Instructions to Authors for the target journal for specifics about authorship.
  • Keywords [according to the journal]
  • Corresponding Author: Full name and affiliation for the primary contact author for persons who have questions about the research.
  • Financial & Equipment Support [if needed]: Specific information about organizations, agencies, or companies that supported the research.
  • Conflicts of Interest [if needed]: List and explain any conflicts of interest.

II. Abstract: “Structured abstract” has become the standard for research papers (introduction, objective, methods, results and conclusions), while reviews, case reports and other articles have non-structured abstracts. The abstract should be a summary/synopsis of the paper.

III. Introduction: The “why did you do the study”; setting the scene or laying the foundation or background for the paper.

IV. Methods: The “how did you do the study.” Describe the --

  • Context and setting of the study
  • Specify the study design
  • Population (patients, etc. if applicable)
  • Sampling strategy
  • Intervention (if applicable)
  • Identify the main study variables
  • Data collection instruments and procedures
  • Outline analysis methods

V. Results: The “what did you find” --

  • Report on data collection and/or recruitment
  • Participants (demographic, clinical condition, etc.)
  • Present key findings with respect to the central research question
  • Secondary findings (secondary outcomes, subgroup analyses, etc.)

VI. Discussion: Place for interpreting the results

  • Main findings of the study
  • Discuss the main results with reference to previous research
  • Policy and practice implications of the results
  • Strengths and limitations of the study

VII. Conclusions: [occasionally optional or not required]. Do not reiterate the data or discussion. Can state hunches, inferences or speculations. Offer perspectives for future work.

VIII. Acknowledgements: Names people who contributed to the work, but did not contribute sufficiently to earn authorship. You must have permission from any individuals mentioned in the acknowledgements sections. 

IX. References:  Complete citations for any articles or other materials referenced in the text of the article.

  • IMRD Cheatsheet (Carnegie Mellon) pdf.
  • Adewasi, D. (2021 June 14).  What Is IMRaD? IMRaD Format in Simple Terms! . Scientific-editing.info. 
  • Nair, P.K.R., Nair, V.D. (2014). Organization of a Research Paper: The IMRAD Format. In: Scientific Writing and Communication in Agriculture and Natural Resources. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-03101-9_2
  • Sollaci, L. B., & Pereira, M. G. (2004). The introduction, methods, results, and discussion (IMRAD) structure: a fifty-year survey.   Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA ,  92 (3), 364–367.
  • Cuschieri, S., Grech, V., & Savona-Ventura, C. (2019). WASP (Write a Scientific Paper): Structuring a scientific paper.   Early human development ,  128 , 114–117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2018.09.011
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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
  • Writing Research Papers Videos

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How to Write a Research Paper: Parts of the Paper

  • Choosing Your Topic
  • Citation & Style Guides This link opens in a new window
  • Critical Thinking
  • Evaluating Information
  • Parts of the Paper
  • Writing Tips from UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Librarian Contact

Parts of the Research Paper Papers should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Your introductory paragraph should grab the reader's attention, state your main idea, and indicate how you will support it. The body of the paper should expand on what you have stated in the introduction. Finally, the conclusion restates the paper's thesis and should explain what you have learned, giving a wrap up of your main ideas.

1. The Title The title should be specific and indicate the theme of the research and what ideas it addresses. Use keywords that help explain your paper's topic to the reader. Try to avoid abbreviations and jargon. Think about keywords that people would use to search for your paper and include them in your title.

2. The Abstract The abstract is used by readers to get a quick overview of your paper. Typically, they are about 200 words in length (120 words minimum to  250 words maximum). The abstract should introduce the topic and thesis, and should provide a general statement about what you have found in your research. The abstract allows you to mention each major aspect of your topic and helps readers decide whether they want to read the rest of the paper. Because it is a summary of the entire research paper, it is often written last. 

3. The Introduction The introduction should be designed to attract the reader's attention and explain the focus of the research. You will introduce your overview of the topic,  your main points of information, and why this subject is important. You can introduce the current understanding and background information about the topic. Toward the end of the introduction, you add your thesis statement, and explain how you will provide information to support your research questions. This provides the purpose and focus for the rest of the paper.

4. Thesis Statement Most papers will have a thesis statement or main idea and supporting facts/ideas/arguments. State your main idea (something of interest or something to be proven or argued for or against) as your thesis statement, and then provide your supporting facts and arguments. A thesis statement is a declarative sentence that asserts the position a paper will be taking. It also points toward the paper's development. This statement should be both specific and arguable. Generally, the thesis statement will be placed at the end of the first paragraph of your paper. The remainder of your paper will support this thesis.

Students often learn to write a thesis as a first step in the writing process, but often, after research, a writer's viewpoint may change. Therefore a thesis statement may be one of the final steps in writing. 

Examples of Thesis Statements from Purdue OWL

5. The Literature Review The purpose of the literature review is to describe past important research and how it specifically relates to the research thesis. It should be a synthesis of the previous literature and the new idea being researched. The review should examine the major theories related to the topic to date and their contributors. It should include all relevant findings from credible sources, such as academic books and peer-reviewed journal articles. You will want  to:

  • Explain how the literature helps the researcher understand the topic.
  • Try to show connections and any disparities between the literature.
  • Identify new ways to interpret prior research.
  • Reveal any gaps that exist in the literature.

More about writing a literature review. . .

6. The Discussion ​The purpose of the discussion is to interpret and describe what you have learned from your research. Make the reader understand why your topic is important. The discussion should always demonstrate what you have learned from your readings (and viewings) and how that learning has made the topic evolve, especially from the short description of main points in the introduction.Explain any new understanding or insights you have had after reading your articles and/or books. Paragraphs should use transitioning sentences to develop how one paragraph idea leads to the next. The discussion will always connect to the introduction, your thesis statement, and the literature you reviewed, but it does not simply repeat or rearrange the introduction. You want to: 

  • Demonstrate critical thinking, not just reporting back facts that you gathered.
  • If possible, tell how the topic has evolved over the past and give it's implications for the future.
  • Fully explain your main ideas with supporting information.
  • Explain why your thesis is correct giving arguments to counter points.

7. The Conclusion A concluding paragraph is a brief summary of your main ideas and restates the paper's main thesis, giving the reader the sense that the stated goal of the paper has been accomplished. What have you learned by doing this research that you didn't know before? What conclusions have you drawn? You may also want to suggest further areas of study, improvement of research possibilities, etc. to demonstrate your critical thinking regarding your research.

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  • Research Guides

BSCI 1510L Literature and Stats Guide: 3.2 Components of a scientific paper

  • 1 What is a scientific paper?
  • 2 Referencing and accessing papers
  • 2.1 Literature Cited
  • 2.2 Accessing Scientific Papers
  • 2.3 Traversing the web of citations
  • 2.4 Keyword Searches
  • 3 Style of scientific writing
  • 3.1 Specific details regarding scientific writing

3.2 Components of a scientific paper

  • 4 Summary of the Writing Guide and Further Information
  • Appendix A: Calculation Final Concentrations
  • 1 Formulas in Excel
  • 2 Basic operations in Excel
  • 3 Measurement and Variation
  • 3.1 Describing Quantities and Their Variation
  • 3.2 Samples Versus Populations
  • 3.3 Calculating Descriptive Statistics using Excel
  • 4 Variation and differences
  • 5 Differences in Experimental Science
  • 5.1 Aside: Commuting to Nashville
  • 5.2 P and Detecting Differences in Variable Quantities
  • 5.3 Statistical significance
  • 5.4 A test for differences of sample means: 95% Confidence Intervals
  • 5.5 Error bars in figures
  • 5.6 Discussing statistics in your scientific writing
  • 6 Scatter plot, trendline, and linear regression
  • 7 The t-test of Means
  • 8 Paired t-test
  • 9 Two-Tailed and One-Tailed Tests
  • 10 Variation on t-tests: ANOVA
  • 11 Reporting the Results of a Statistical Test
  • 12 Summary of statistical tests
  • 1 Objectives
  • 2 Project timeline
  • 3 Background
  • 4 Previous work in the BSCI 111 class
  • 5 General notes about the project
  • 6 About the paper
  • 7 References

Nearly all journal articles are divided into the following major sections: abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, and references or literature cited.   Usually the sections are labeled as such, although often the introduction (and sometimes the abstract) is not labeled.  Sometimes alternative section titles are used.  The abstract is sometimes called the "summary", the methods are sometimes called "materials and methods", and the discussion is sometimes called "conclusions".   Some journals also include the minor sections of "key words" following the abstract, and "acknowledgments" following the discussion.  In some journals, the sections may be divided into subsections that are given descriptive titles.  However, the general division into the six major sections is nearly universal.

3.2.1 Abstract

The abstract is a short summary (150-200 words or less) of the important points of the paper.  It does not generally include background information.  There may be a very brief statement of the rationale for conducting the study.  It describes what was done, but without details.  It also describes the results in a summarized way that usually includes whether or not the statistical tests were significant.  It usually concludes with a brief statement of the importance of the results.  Abstracts do not include references.  When writing a paper, the abstract is always the last part to be written.

The purpose of the abstract is to allow potential readers of a paper to find out the important points of the paper without having to actually read the paper.  It should be a self-contained unit capable of being understood without the benefit of the text of the article . It essentially serves as an "advertisement" for the paper that readers use to determine whether or not they actually want to wade through the entire paper or not.  Abstracts are generally freely available in electronic form and are often presented in the results of an electronic search.  If searchers do not have electronic access to the journal in which the article is published, the abstract is the only means that they have to decide whether to go through the effort (going to the library to look up the paper journal, requesting a reprint from the author, buying a copy of the article from a service, requesting the article by Interlibrary Loan) of acquiring the article.  Therefore it is important that the abstract accurately and succinctly presents the most important information in the article.

3.2.2 Introduction

The introduction section of a paper provides the background information necessary to understand why the described experiment was conducted.  The introduction should describe previous research on the topic that has led to the unanswered questions being addressed by the experiment and should cite important previous papers that form the background for the experiment.  The introduction should also state in an organized fashion the goals of the research, i.e. the particular, specific questions that will be tested in the experiments.  There should be a one-to-one correspondence between questions raised in the introduction and points discussed in the conclusion section of the paper.  In other words, do not raise questions in the introduction unless you are going to have some kind of answer to the question that you intend to discuss at the end of the paper. 

You may have been told that every paper must have a hypothesis that can be clearly stated.  That is often true, but not always.  If your experiment involves a manipulation which tests a specific hypothesis, then you should clearly state that hypothesis.  On the other hand, if your experiment was primarily exploratory, descriptive, or measurative, then you probably did not have an  a priori  hypothesis, so don't pretend that you did and make one up.  (See the discussion in the introduction to Experiment 5 for more on this.)  If you state a hypothesis in the introduction, it should be a general hypothesis and not a null or alternative hypothesis for a statistical test.  If it is necessary to explain how a statistical test will help you evaluate your general hypothesis, explain that in the methods section. 

A good introduction should be fairly heavy with citations.  This indicates to the reader that the authors are informed about previous work on the topic and are not working in a vacuum.  Citations also provide jumping-off points to allow the reader to explore other tangents to the subject that are not directly addressed in the paper.  If the paper supports or refutes previous work, readers can look up the citations and make a comparison for themselves. 

"Do not get lost in reviewing background information. Remember that the Introduction is meant to introduce the reader to your research, not summarize and evaluate all past literature on the subject (which is the purpose of a review paper). Many of the other studies you may be tempted to discuss in your Introduction are better saved for the Discussion, where they become a powerful tool for comparing and interpreting your results. Include only enough background information to allow your reader to understand why you are asking the questions you are and why your hypotheses are reasonable ones. Often, a brief explanation of the theory involved is sufficient.

Write this section in the past or present tense, never in the future. " (Steingraber et al. 1985)

In other words, the introduction section relates what the topic being investigated is, why it is important, what research (if any) has been done prior that is relevant to what you are trying to do, and in what ways you will be looking into this topic.

An example to think about:

This is an example of a student-derived introduction.  Read the paragraph and before you go beyond, think about the paragraph first.

"Hand-washing is one of the most effective and simplest of ways to reduce infection and disease, and thereby causing less death.  When examining the effects of soap on hands, it was the work of Sickbert-Bennett and colleagues (2005) that showed that using soap or an alcohol on the hands during hand-washing was a significant effect in removing bacteria from the human hand.  Based on the work of this, the team led by Larsen (1991) then showed that the use of computer imaging could be a more effective way to compare the amount of bacteria on a hand."

There are several aspects within this "introduction" that could use improvement.  A group of any random 4 of you could easily come up with at 10 different things to reword, revise, expand upon.

In specific, there should be one thing addressed that more than likely you did not catch when you were reading it.

The citations: Not the format, but the logical use of them.

Look again. "...the work of Sickbert-Bennett...(2005)" and then "Based on the work of this, the team led by Larsen (1991)..."

How can someone in 1991 use or base their work on something from 2005?

They cannot.  You can spend an entire hour using spellcheck and reading through and through again to find all the little things to "give it more oomph", but at the core, you still must present a clear and concise and logical thought-process.

3.2.3 Methods (taken mostly verbatim from Steingraber et al. 1985, until the version A, B,C portion)

The function of the methods section is to describe all experimental procedures, including controls.  The description should be complete enough to enable someone else to repeat your work.  If there is more than one part to the experiment, it is a good idea to describe your methods and present your results in the same order in each section. This may not be the same order in which the experiments were performed -it is up to you to decide what order of presentation will make the most sense to your reader.

1.  Explain why each procedure was done, i.e., what variable were you measuring and why? Example:

Difficult to understand :  First, I removed the frog muscle and then I poured Ringer’s solution on it. Next, I attached it to the kymograph.

Improved:   I removed the frog muscle and poured Ringer’s solution on it to prevent it from drying out. I then attached the muscle to the kymograph in order to determine the minimum voltage required for contraction.

Better:   Frog muscle was excised between attachment points to the bone. Ringer's solution was added to the excised section to prevent drying out. The muscle was attached to the kymograph in order to determine the minimum voltage required for contraction.

2.  Experimental procedures and results are narrated in the past tense (what you did, what you found, etc.) whereas conclusions from your results are given in the present tense.

3.  Mathematical equations and statistical tests are considered mathematical methods and should be described in this section along with the actual experimental work. (Show a sample calculation, state the type of test(s) performed and program used)

4.  Use active rather than passive voice when possible.  [Note: see Section 3.1.4 for more about this.]  Always use the singular "I" rather than the plural "we" when you are the only author of the paper (Methods section only).  Throughout the paper, avoid contractions, e.g. did not vs. didn’t.

5.  If any of your methods is fully described in a previous publication (yours or someone else’s), you can cite work that instead of describing the procedure again.

Example:  The chromosomes were counted at meiosis in the anthers with the standard acetocarmine technique of Snow (1955).

Below is a PARTIAL and incomplete version of a "method".  Without getting into the details of why, Version A and B are bad.  A is missing too many details and B is giving some extra details but not giving some important ones, such as the volumes used.  Version C is still not complete, but it is at least a viable method. Notice that C is also not the longest....it is possible to be detailed without being long-winded.

what are the 8 components of a research paper

In other words, the methods section is what you did in the experiment and has enough details that someone else can repeat your experiment.  If the methods section has excluded one or more important detail(s) such that the reader of the method does not know what happened, it is a 'poor' methods section.  Similarly, by giving out too many useless details a methods section can be 'poor'.

You may have multiple sub-sections within your methods (i.e., a section for media preparation, a section for where the chemicals came from, a section for the basic physical process that occurred, etc.,).  A methods section is  NEVER  a list of numbered steps.

3.2.4 Results (with excerpts from Steingraber et al. 1985)

The function of this section is to summarize general trends in the data without comment, bias, or interpretation. The results of statistical tests applied to your data are reported in this section although conclusions about your original hypotheses are saved for the Discussion section. In other words, you state "the P-value" in Results and whether below/above 0.05 and thus significant/not significant while in the Discussion you restate the P-value and then formally state what that means beyond "significant/not significant".

Tables and figures  should be used  when they are a more efficient way to convey information than verbal description. They must be independent units, accompanied by explanatory captions that allow them to be understood by someone who has not read the text. Do not repeat in the text the information in tables and figures, but do cite them, with a summary statement when that is appropriate.  Example:

Incorrect:   The results are given in Figure 1.

Correct:   Temperature was directly proportional to metabolic rate (Fig. 1).

Please note that the entire word "Figure" is almost never written in an article.  It is nearly always abbreviated as "Fig." and capitalized.  Tables are cited in the same way, although Table is not abbreviated.

Whenever possible, use a figure instead of a table. Relationships between numbers are more readily grasped when they are presented graphically rather than as columns in a table.

Data may be presented in figures and tables, but this may not substitute for a verbal summary of the findings. The text should be  understandable  by someone who has not seen your figures and tables.

1.  All results should be presented, including those that do not support the hypothesis.

2.  Statements made in the text must be supported by the results contained in figures and tables.

3.  The results of statistical tests can be presented in parentheses following a verbal description.

Example: Fruit size was significantly greater in trees growing alone (t = 3.65, df = 2, p < 0.05).

Simple results of statistical tests may be reported in the text as shown in the preceding example.  The results of multiple tests may be reported in a table if that increases clarity. (See Section 11 of the Statistics Manual for more details about reporting the results of statistical tests.)  It is not necessary to provide a citation for a simple t-test of means, paired t-test, or linear regression.  If you use other more complex (or less well-known) tests, you should cite the text or reference you followed to do the test.  In your materials and methods section, you should report how you did the test (e.g. using the statistical analysis package of Excel). 

It is NEVER appropriate to simply paste the results from statistical software into the results section of your paper.   The output generally reports more information than is required and it is not in an appropriate format for a paper. Similar, do NOT place a screenshot.  

Should you include every data point or not in the paper?  Prior to 2010 or so, most papers would probably not present the actual raw data collected, but rather show the "descriptive statistics" about their data (mean, SD, SE, CI, etc.). Often, people could simply contact the author(s) for the data and go from there.  As many journals have a significant on-line footprint now, it has become increasingly more common that the entire data could be included in the paper.  And realize why the entire raw data may not have been included in a publication. Prior to about 2010, your publication had limited  paper space  to be seen on.  If you have a sample of size of 10 or 50, you probably could show the entire data set easily in one table/figure and it not take up too much printed space. If your sample size was 500 or 5,000 or more, the size of the data alone would take pages of printed text.  Given how much the Internet and on-line publications have improved/increased in storage space, often now there will be either an embedded file to access or the author(s) will place the file on-line somewhere with an address link, such as GitHub.  Videos of the experiment are also shown as well now.

3.2.4.1 Tables

  • Do not repeat information in a table that you are depicting in a graph or histogram; include a table only if it presents new information.
  • It is easier to compare numbers by reading down a column rather than across a row. Therefore, list sets of data you want your reader to compare in vertical form.
  • Provide each table with a number (Table 1, Table 2, etc.) and a title. The numbered title is placed above the table .
  • Please see Section 11 of the Excel Reference and Statistics Manual for further information on reporting the results of statistical tests.

3.2.4.2. Figures

  • These comprise graphs, histograms, and illustrations, both drawings and photographs. Provide each figure with a number (Fig. 1, Fig. 2, etc.) and a caption (or "legend") that explains what the figure shows. The numbered caption is placed below the figure .  Figure legend = Figure caption.
  • Figures submitted for publication must be "photo ready," i.e., they will appear just as you submit them, or photographically reduced. Therefore, when you graduate from student papers to publishable manuscripts, you must learn to prepare figures that will not embarrass you. At the present time, virtually all journals require manuscripts to be submitted electronically and it is generally assumed that all graphs and maps will be created using software rather than being created by hand.  Nearly all journals have specific guidelines for the file types, resolution, and physical widths required for figures.  Only in a few cases (e.g. sketched diagrams) would figures still be created by hand using ink and those figures would be scanned and labeled using graphics software.  Proportions must be the same as those of the page in the journal to which the paper will be submitted. 
  • Graphs and Histograms: Both can be used to compare two variables. However, graphs show continuous change, whereas histograms show discrete variables only.  You can compare groups of data by plotting two or even three lines on one graph, but avoid cluttered graphs that are hard to read, and do not plot unrelated trends on the same graph. For both graphs, and histograms, plot the independent variable on the horizontal (x) axis and the dependent variable on the vertical (y) axis. Label both axes, including units of measurement except in the few cases where variables are unitless, such as absorbance.
  • Drawings and Photographs: These are used to illustrate organisms, experimental apparatus, models of structures, cellular and subcellular structure, and results of procedures like electrophoresis. Preparing such figures well is a lot of work and can be very expensive, so each figure must add enough to justify its preparation and publication, but good figures can greatly enhance a professional article, as your reading in biological journals has already shown.

3.2.5 Discussion (modified; taken from Steingraber et al. 1985)

The function of this section is to analyze the data and relate them to other studies. To "analyze" means to evaluate the meaning of your results in terms of the original question or hypothesis and point out their biological significance.

1. The Discussion should contain at least:

  • the relationship between the results and the original hypothesis, i.e., whether they support the hypothesis, or cause it to be rejected or modified
  • an integration of your results with those of previous studies in order to arrive at explanations for the observed phenomena
  • possible explanations for unexpected results and observations, phrased as hypotheses that can be tested by realistic experimental procedures, which you should describe

2. Trends that are not statistically significant can still be discussed if they are suggestive or interesting, but cannot be made the basis for conclusions as if they were significant.

3. Avoid redundancy between the Results and the Discussion section. Do not repeat detailed descriptions of the data and results in the Discussion. In some journals, Results and Discussions are joined in a single section, in order to permit a single integrated treatment with minimal repetition. This is more appropriate for short, simple articles than for longer, more complicated ones.

4.  End the Discussion with a summary of the principal points you want the reader to remember. This is also the appropriate place to propose specific further study if that will serve some purpose,  but do not end with the tired cliché  that "this problem needs more study." All problems in biology need more study. Do not close on what you wish you had done, rather finish stating your conclusions and contributions.

5.  Conclusion section.  Primarily dependent upon the complexity and depth of an experiment, there may be a formal conclusion section after the discussion section. In general, the last line or so of the discussion section should be a more or less summary statement of the overall finding of the experiment.  IF the experiment was large enough/complex enough/multiple findings uncovered, a distinct paragraph (or two) may be needed to help clarify the findings.  Again, only if the experiment scale/findings warrant a separate conclusion section.

3.2.6 Title

The title of the paper should be the last thing that you write.  That is because it should distill the essence of the paper even more than the abstract (the next to last thing that you write). 

The title should contain three elements:

1. the name of the organism studied;

2. the particular aspect or system studied;

3. the variable(s) manipulated.

Do not be afraid to be grammatically creative. Here are some variations on a theme, all suitable as titles:

THE EFFECT OF TEMPERATURE ON GERMINATION OF ZEA MAYS

DOES TEMPERATURE AFFECT GERMINATION OF ZEA MAYS?

TEMPERATURE AND ZEA MAYS GERMINATION: IMPLICATIONS FOR AGRICULTURE

Sometimes it is possible to include the principal result or conclusion in the title:

HIGH TEMPERATURES REDUCE GERMINATION OF ZEA MAYS

Note for the BSCI 1510L class: to make your paper look more like a real paper, you can list all of the other group members as co-authors.  However, if you do that, you should list you name first so that we know that you wrote it.

3.2.7 Literature Cited

Please refer to section 2.1 of this guide.

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Research papers.

  • Research Paper Basics
  • Credible Sources
  • Reading Scholarly Articles
  • Summarizing and Paraphrasing
  • Paraphrasing and Student Voice
  • Direct Quotations
  • Synthesis in Writing
  • Citing Sources

Writing research papers allows you to take a  deeper dive into a topic  while relying on credible sources   for information.  A research paper should be original work from you, the writer. This means that the vast majority of the research paper content should be your ideas, analysis, and words and should avoid an overreliance on direct quotations from outside sources.

what are the 8 components of a research paper

This research process also hones the skills that so many employers find valuable, like researching for information, applying the information, prioritizing and organizing information, and more.

Breaking the process down into  steps  will make it more manageable.

Components of a Research Paper

  • ​ Introduces the topic covered in the paper 
  • States the thesis or position to be supported   in the body of the paper
  • Usually one or two paragraphs in length
  • ​The main  part of the paper
  • Points presented in logical order to support the thesis, one point per paragraph
  • length of this section varies; usually, a minimum of three paragraphs
  • ​ Restates the thesis 
  • Reinforces significant points made in the body of the paper

Research FAQs

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Apr 26, 2024

Everything You Need to Know about the Parts of a Research Paper

Not sure where to start with your research paper or how all the parts fit together? Don't worry! From crafting a compelling title page to compiling your references, we'll demystify each section of a research paper.

Learn how to write an attention-grabbing abstract, construct a powerful introduction, and confidently present your results and discussion. With this guide, you'll gain the tools to assemble a polished and impactful piece of work.

What Are Research Papers?

A research paper is a piece of academic writing that presents an original argument or analysis based on independent, in-depth investigation into a specific topic.

Key Characteristics:

Evidence-Driven: Research papers rely on data, analysis, and interpretation of credible sources.

Focused Argument: They develop a clear thesis that is defended with logical reasoning and evidence.

Structured: Research papers follow specific organizational formats and citation styles.

Contribution to Knowledge: They aim to add something new to the existing body of knowledge within a field.

Types of Research Papers

Research papers come in various forms across academic disciplines:

Argumentative Papers : Present a compelling claim and utilize evidence to persuade readers.

Analytical Papers : Break down complex subjects, ideas, or texts, examining their components and implications.

Empirical Studies: Involve collecting and analyzing original data (through experiments, surveys, etc.) to answer specific research questions.

Literature Reviews: Synthesize existing research on a topic, highlighting key findings, debates, and areas for future exploration.

And More! Depending on the field, you may encounter case studies, reports, theoretical proposals, etc.

Defining Research Papers

Here's how research papers stand apart from other forms of writing:

Originality vs. Summary: While essays might recap existing knowledge, research papers offer new insights, arguments, or data.

Depth of Inquiry: Research papers delve deeper, going beyond basic definitions or summaries into a systematic investigation.

Scholarly Audience: Research papers are often written with a specialized academic audience in mind, employing discipline-specific language and conventions.

Important Note: The specific requirements of research papers can vary depending on the subject area, level of study (undergraduate vs. graduate), and the instructor's instructions.

Importance of Research Paper Structure

Think of structure as the backbone of your research paper. Here's why it matters for academic success:

Clarity for the Reader: A logical structure guides the reader through your research journey. They understand your thought process, easily follow your arguments, and grasp the significance of your findings.

Author's Roadmap: Structure serves as your blueprint. It helps you maintain focus, ensures you address all essential elements, and prevents you from veering off-topic.

Enhanced Persuasion: A well-structured paper builds a convincing case. Your ideas flow logically, evidence supports your claims, and your conclusion feels grounded and impactful.

Demonstration of Competence: A clear structure signals to your instructor or peers that you have a thorough understanding of research practices and scholarly writing conventions.

Is a Structured Approach Critical for the Success of Research Papers?

Yes! It's difficult to overstate the importance of structure. Here's why:

Lost in Chaos: Rambling or disorganized papers leave the reader confused and frustrated. Even the most insightful findings risk being overlooked if presented poorly.

Missed Components: Without structure, you might forget to include critical aspects, like a clear methodology section or a thorough literature review, weakening your research.

Hindered Peer Review: Reviewers rely on a standard structure to quickly assess the research's merits. A deviation can make their job harder and might negatively affect how your work is evaluated.

Benefits of a Clear Structure

Enhanced Understanding: Readers can easily follow your chain of reasoning, grasp the connection between your evidence and claims, and critically evaluate your findings.

Efficient Peer Review: A standard structure makes peer review more efficient and focused. Reviewers can easily identify strong points, areas for improvement, and contributions to the field.

Streamlined Writing: Having a structure offers clarity and direction, preventing you from getting stuck mid-flow or overlooking important elements.

Variations of Research Papers

Here's a breakdown of some common types of research papers:

Analytical Papers

Focus: Dissect a complex subject, text, or phenomenon to understand its parts, implications, or underlying meanings.

Structure: Emphasizes a clear thesis statement, systematic analysis, and in-depth exploration of different perspectives.

Example: Examining the symbolism in a literary work or analyzing the economic impact of a policy change.

Argumentative Papers

Focus: Present and defend a specific claim using evidence and logical reasoning.

Structure: Emphasizes a well-defined thesis, persuasive examples, and the anticipation and refutation of counterarguments.

Example: Arguing for the superiority of a particular scientific theory or advocating for a specific social policy.

Experimental Studies (Empirical Research)

Focus: Collect and analyze original data through a designed experiment or methodology.

Structure: Follows scientific practices, including hypothesis, methods, results, discussion, and acknowledgment of limitations.

Example: Measuring the effects of a new drug or conducting psychological experiments on behavior patterns.

Survey-Based Research

Focus: Gather information from a sample population through surveys, questionnaires, or interviews.

Structure: Emphasizes sampling methods, data collection tools, statistical analysis, and cautious interpretation of results.

Example: Investigating public opinion on a political issue or studying consumer preferences for a product.

Do All Research Papers Fit Into Standard Categories?

No. Research is fluid and dynamic. Here's why categorization can get tricky:

Hybrids Exist: Many papers mix elements. An analytical paper might also incorporate arguments to strengthen its interpretation, or an experimental paper might include a review of existing literature to contextualize its findings.

Disciplinary Differences: Fields have specific conventions. A research paper in history differs vastly in style and structure from one in biology.

Innovation: Researchers sometimes develop new structures or methodologies best suited to their unique research questions.

Comparing Research Paper Types

Each type prioritizes different aspects of the research process:

what are the 8 components of a research paper

An abstract is like a snapshot of your entire paper, providing a brief but informative overview of your research. It's often the first (and sometimes the only) section readers will engage with.

Key Functions: An effective abstract should:

Briefly state the research problem or topic

Outline your methods (briefly)

Summarize the main findings or results

Highlight the significance or implications of your work

Writing a Compelling Abstract

Here are some guidelines to make your abstract shine:

Concise and Clear: Aim for around 150-250 words. Use direct language and avoid unnecessary jargon.

Structured Approach: Even in its brevity, follow a logical flow (problem, methods, results, significance).

Keywords: Include keywords that accurately describe your research, aiding in discoverability within databases.

Self-Contained: The abstract should make sense on its own, without needing the reader to have read the full paper.

Engaging: While focused, pique the reader's interest and make them want to explore your research further.

Write it Last: Often, it's easiest to write your abstract once the rest of your paper is complete, as you can then distill the most essential elements.

Get Feedback: Ask a peer or instructor to read your abstract to ensure it's clear and accurately represents your research.

Introduction

Think of your introduction as the welcome mat for your research. Here's what it should accomplish:

Establish Context: Provide background information relevant to your specific research question. Orient the reader to the broader field or current debates surrounding the topic.

Define the Problem: Clearly outline the gap in knowledge, issue, or question your research aims to address.

State the Hypothesis: Concisely declare your research hypothesis or thesis statement – the central claim you aim to prove.

Significance: Briefly explain why your research matters. What potential contributions or implications does it hold?

Is the Introduction More Important Than Other Sections?

No. While the introduction plays a big role in initially capturing your reader's attention and setting the stage, it is just one piece of the puzzle. Here's why all sections matter:

Methodology Matters: A sound methodology section is essential for establishing the credibility of your findings. Readers need to trust your process.

Results are Key: The results section presents your hard-earned data. Without it, your research doesn't have a foundation to support your claims.

Discussion is Vital: Here's where you interpret your results, connect them back to your hypothesis, and explore the broader implications of your work.

Conclusion is the Culmination: Your conclusion reinforces your key findings, acknowledges limitations, and leaves the reader with a lasting understanding of your research contribution.

Engaging Your Audience Early

Here are some strategies to capture attention from the start:

Open with a Question: Pose a thought-provoking question directly related to your research.

Surprising Statistic: Share a relevant and eye-opening statistic that highlights the significance of your topic.

Brief anecdote: An illustrative anecdote or a vivid example can provide a compelling hook.

Challenge Assumptions: Question a common belief or assumption within your field to signal that your research offers fresh insights.

Tip: Your opening should be relevant and directly connected to your research topic. Avoid gimmicks that don't authentically lead into your core argument.

Literature Review

A literature review goes beyond simply listing past studies on a topic. It synthesizes existing knowledge, laying the foundation for your own research contribution.

Goals of a Strong Literature Review:

Demonstrate your understanding of the field and its key scholarly conversations.

Identify gaps in current knowledge that your research can address.

Position your research in relation to existing work, showing how it builds upon or challenges previous findings.

Provide theoretical context or support for your chosen methodological approach.

Synthesizing Relevant Studies

Don't just summarize – analyze! Here's how to engage with the literature critically:

Identify Trends: Look for patterns or themes across multiple studies. Are there consistent results or ongoing debates?

Note Inconsistencies: Highlight any contradictions or conflicting findings within the existing research.

Assess Methodology: Consider the strengths and limitations of different research methods used in prior studies. Can you improve upon them in your research?

Connections to Your Work: Show how each source directly relates to your research question. Explain how it supports, challenges, or informs your own study.

Tips for Effective Synthesis:

Organization is Key: Structure your literature review thematically or chronologically to present findings in a logical way.

Your Voice Matters: Avoid stringing together quotes. Analyze the literature and offer your own interpretation of the collective insights.

Cite Accurately: Follow the citation style required by your discipline to give credit and avoid plagiarism.

Methodology

Your methodology section details the step-by-step process of how you conducted your research. It allows others to understand and potentially replicate your study.

Components: A methodology section typically includes:

Research Design: The overall approach (experimental, survey-based, qualitative, etc.)

Data Collection: Description of the tools, procedures, and sources used (experiments, surveys, interviews, archival documents).

Sample Selection: Details on participants (if applicable) and how they were chosen.

Data Analysis: Methods used (statistical tests, qualitative analysis techniques).

Ethical considerations: Explain how you safeguarded participants or addressed any ethical concerns related to your research.

Designing a Robust Methodology

Here's how to make your methodology section shine:

Alignment with Research Question: Your methods should be directly chosen to answer your research question in the most effective and appropriate way.

Rigor: Demonstrate a meticulous approach, considering potential sources of bias or error and outlining steps taken to mitigate them.

Transparency: Provide enough detail for replication. Another researcher should be able to follow your method.

Justification: Explain why you chose specific methods. Connect them to established practices within your field or defend their suitability for your unique research.

Does Methodology Determine the Quality of Research Outcomes?

Absolutely! Here's why a robust methodology is important:

Reliability: A sound methodology ensures your results are consistent. If your study was repeated using your methods, similar results should be attainable.

Validity: Validity ensures you're measuring what you intend to. A strong methodology helps you draw accurate conclusions from your data that address your research question.

Credibility: Your paper will be evaluated based on the thoroughness of your procedures. A clear and rigorous methodology enhances trust in your findings.

Your results section is where you present the data collected from your research. This includes raw data, statistical analyses, summaries of observations, etc.

Key Considerations:

Clarity: Organize results logically. Use tables, graphs, or figures to enhance visual clarity when appropriate.

Objectivity: Present data without bias. Even if findings don't support your initial hypothesis, report them accurately.

Don't Interpret (Yet): Avoid discussing implications here. Focus on a clear presentation of your findings.

Interpreting Data Effectively

Your discussion or analysis section is where you make sense of your results. Here's how to ensure your interpretation is persuasive:

Connect Back to the Hypothesis: State whether your results support, refute, or partially support your hypothesis.

Use Evidence: Reference specific data points, statistics, or observations to back up your claims.

Explanatory Power: Don't merely describe what happened. Explain why you believe your data led to these results.

Context is Key: Relate your findings to the existing literature. Do they align with previous research, or do they raise new questions?

Be Transparent: Acknowledge any limitations of your data or unexpected findings, providing potential explanations.

Tips for Effective Data Discussion:

Visuals as Support: Continue using graphs or figures to illustrate trends or comparisons that reinforce your analysis.

Highlight What Matters: Don't over-discuss insignificant data points. Focus on the results that are most relevant to your research question and contribute to your overall argument.

Tell a Story: Data shouldn't feel disjointed. Weave it into a narrative that addresses your research problem and positions your findings within the broader field.

Your discussion section elevates your findings, moving from simply reporting what you discovered to exploring its significance and potential impact.

Interpret the results in relation to your research question and hypothesis.

Consider alternative explanations for unexpected findings and discuss limitations of the research.

Place your findings in the context of the broader field, connecting them to theories and the existing body of research.

Suggest implications for future research or practical applications.

Linking Results to Theory

Here's how to make your discussion section shine:

Return to the Literature Review: Did your results support a specific theory from your literature review? Challenge it? Offer a nuanced modification?

Contradictions Offer Insights: If your results contradict existing theories, don't dismiss them. Explain possible reasons for the discrepancies and how that pushes your field's understanding further.

Conceptual Contribution: How does your research add to the theoretical frameworks within your area of study?

Building Blocks: Frame your research as one piece of a larger puzzle. Explain how your work contributes to the ongoing scholarly conversation.

Tips for a Strong Discussion:

Avoid Overstating Significance: Maintain a scholarly tone and acknowledge the scope of your research. Don't claim your results revolutionize the field if it's not genuinely warranted.

Consider Future Directions: Responsible research isn't just about the past. Discuss what new questions arise based on your findings and offer avenues for potential future study.

Clarity Remains Key: Even when discussing complex ideas, use accessible language. Make your discussion meaningful to a wider audience within the field.

Conclusions

Your conclusion brings your research full circle. It's your chance to re-emphasize the most important takeaways of your work.

A Strong Conclusion Should:

Concisely restate the key research question or problem you sought to address.

Summarize your major findings and the most compelling evidence.

Briefly discuss the broader implications or contributions of your research.

Acknowledge limitations in the study (briefly).

Propose potential avenues for future research.

Can Conclusions Introduce New Research Questions?

Absolutely! Here's why this is valuable:

Sparking Curiosity: Ending with new questions emphasizes the ongoing nature of research and encourages further exploration beyond your own study.

Identifying Limitations: By highlighting where your work fell short, you guide future researchers toward filling those gaps.

Signaling Progress: Research is a continuous process of evolving knowledge. Your conclusion can be a springboard for others to expand upon your findings.

Crafting a Persuasive Conclusion

Here's how to make your conclusion impactful:

Reiterate, Don't Repeat: Remind the reader of your most significant findings, but avoid restating your thesis verbatim.

Confidence: Project a sense of conviction about the value of your work, without overstating its significance.

Clarity: Even in your conclusion, use direct language free of jargon. Leave the reader with a clear and lasting impression.

The Ripple Effect: Briefly highlight the broader relevance of your research. Why should readers beyond your niche field care?

Important: Your conclusion shouldn't introduce entirely new information or analyses. Rather, it should leave the reader pondering the implications of what you've already presented.

Giving Credit Where It's Due: Your references section lists the full details of every source you cited within your paper. This allows readers to locate those sources and acknowledges the intellectual work of others that you built upon.

Supporting Your Arguments: Credible references add weight to your claims, showing that your analysis is informed by established knowledge or reliable data.

Upholding Academic Standards: Accurate citations signal your commitment to scholarly practices and protect you from accusations of plagiarism.

Maintaining Citation Integrity

Here are the main practices to uphold:

Choose the Right Style: Follow the citation style mandated by your discipline (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.). They have strict rules on formatting and which elements to include.

Consistency is Key: Use your chosen citation style uniformly throughout your paper. Mixed styles look sloppy and unprofessional.

Accuracy Matters: Double-check the details of each citation (authors, title, publication year, page numbers, etc.). Errors undermine your credibility.

Citation Tools: Use reliable resources like:

Online citation generators

Reference management software (Zotero, EndNote, etc..)

University library guides for your required style

Important Notes:

In-Text vs. References: In-text citations (within your writing) point the reader to the full citation in your references list. Both are needed.

Citation ≠ Bibliography: A bibliography may include sources you consulted but didn't directly cite, while the references list is specifically for cited works.

Writing Effective Research Papers: A Guide

Research papers aren't merely about having brilliant ideas – they're about effectively communicating those ideas. Strong writing allows you to showcase the value and rigor of your work.

Is Effective Writing Alone Sufficient for a Successful Research Paper?

No. Strong writing is vital but not a substitute for the core components of research. Consider this:

Even brilliant findings get lost in poor writing: Disorganized papers, unclear sentences, or misuse of discipline-specific terms hinder the reader from grasping your insights.

Writing is intertwined with research: The process of writing helps you clarify your own thinking, refine your arguments, and identify potential weaknesses in your logic.

Tips for Academic Writing

Here's how to elevate your research paper writing:

Define Your Terms: especially if using specialized jargon or complex concepts.

Favor Active Voice: Use strong verbs and keep the subject of your sentences clear. (Example: "The study demonstrates..." rather than "It is demonstrated...")

Avoid Ambiguity: Choose precise language to leave no room for misinterpretation.

Transitions Are Your Friend: Guide the reader smoothly between ideas and sections using signpost words and phrases.

Logical Structure: Your paper's organization (introduction, methods, etc.) should have an intuitive flow.

One Idea per Paragraph: Avoid overly dense paragraphs. Break down complex points for readability.

Strong Argumentation

Thesis as Roadmap: Your central thesis should be apparent throughout the paper. Each section should clearly connect back to it.

Strong Evidence: Use reliable data and examples to support your claims.

Anticipate Counterarguments: Show you've considered alternative viewpoints by respectfully addressing and refuting them.

Additional Tips

Read widely in your field: Analyze how successful papers are structured and how arguments are developed.

Revise relentlessly: Give yourself time to step away from your draft and return with fresh eyes.

Seek Feedback: Ask peers, instructors, or a writing center tutor to review your work for clarity and logic.

Conclusion: Integrating the Components of Research Papers for Academic Excellence

The journey of writing a research paper is truly transformative. By mastering each component, from a rigorously crafted hypothesis to a meticulously compiled reference list, you develop the essential skills of critical thinking, communication, and scholarly inquiry. It's important to remember that these components are not isolated; they form a powerful, synergistic whole.

Let the process of writing research papers empower you. Embrace the challenge of synthesizing information, developing strong arguments, and communicating your findings with clarity and precision. Celebrate your dedication to the pursuit of knowledge and the contributions you make to your academic community and your own intellectual growth.

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Research Paper Structure – Main Sections and Parts of a Research Paper

PhD students are expected to write and publish research papers to validate their research work and findings. Writing your first research paper  can seem like a daunting task at the start but must be done to validate your work. If you are a beginner writer new to academic writing or a non-native English speaker then it might seem like a daunting process at inception. The best way to begin writing a research paper is to learn about the research paper structure needed in your field, as this may vary between fields. Producing a research paper structure first with various headings and subheadings will significantly simplify the writing process. In this blog, we explain the basic structure of a research paper and explain its various components. We elaborate on various parts and sections of a research paper. We also provide guidance to produce a research paper structure for your work through word cloud diagrams that illustrate various topics and sub-topics to be included under each section. We recommend you to refer to our other blogs on  academic writing tools ,   academic writing resources , and  academic phrase-bank , which are relevant to the topic discussed in this blog. 

1. Introduction

The Introduction section is one of the most important sections of a research paper. The introduction section should start with a brief outline of the topic and then explain the nature of the problem at hand and why it is crucial to resolve this issue. This section should contain a literature review that provides relevant background information about the topic. The literature review should touch upon seminal and pioneering works in the field and the most recent studies pertinent to your work. 

Research paper structure for introduction section

The  literature review  should end with a few lines about the research gap in the chosen domain. This is where you explain the lack of adequate research about your chosen topic and make a case for the need for more research. This is an excellent place to define the research question or hypothesis. The last part of the introduction should be about your work. Having established the research gap now, you have to explain how you intend to solve the problem and subsequently introduce your approach. You should provide a clear outline that includes both the primary and secondary aims/objectives of your work. You can end the section by providing how the rest of the paper is organized.  When you are working on the research paper structure use the word cloud diagrams as a guidance.

2. Material and Methods

The Materials and methods section of the research paper should include detailed information about the implementation details of your method. This should be written in such a way that it is reproducible by any person conducting research in the same field. This section should include all the technical details of the experimental setup, measurement procedure, and parameters of interest. It should also include details of how the methods were validated and tested prior to their use. It is recommended to use equations, figures, and tables to explain the workings of the method proposed. Add placeholders for figures and tables with dummy titles while working on the research paper structure.

Research paper structure for material and methods section

Suppose your methodology involves data collection and recruitment. In that case, you should provide information about the sample size, population characteristics, interview process, and recruitment methods. It should also include the details of the consenting procedure and inclusion and exclusion criteria. This section can end with various statistical methods used for data analysis and significance testing.

3. Results and Discussion

Results and Discussion section of the research paper should be the concluding part of your research paper. In the results section, you can explain your experiments’ outcome by presenting adequate scientific data to back up your conclusions. You must interpret the scientific data to your readers by highlighting the key findings of your work. You also provide information on any negative and unexpected findings that came out of your work. It is vital to present the data in an unbiased manner. You should also explain how the current results compare with previously published data from similar works in the literature. 

Research paper structure for results and discussion section

In the discussion section, you should summarize your work and explain how the research work objectives were achieved. You can highlight the benefits your work will bring to the overall scientific community and potential practical applications. You must not introduce any new information in this section; you can only discuss things that have already been mentioned in the paper. The discussion section must talk about your work’s limitations; no scientific work is perfect, and some drawbacks are expected. If there are any inconclusive results in your work, you can present your theories about what might have caused it. You have to end your paper with conclusions and future work . In conclusion, you can restate your aims and objectives and summarize your main findings, preferably in two or three lines. You should also lay out your plans for future work and explain how further research will benefit the research domain. Finally, you can also add ‘Acknowledgments’ and ‘References’ sections to the research paper structure for completion.

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Parts of a Research Paper

One of the most important aspects of science is ensuring that you get all the parts of the written research paper in the right order.

This article is a part of the guide:

  • Outline Examples
  • Example of a Paper
  • Write a Hypothesis
  • Introduction

Browse Full Outline

  • 1 Write a Research Paper
  • 2 Writing a Paper
  • 3.1 Write an Outline
  • 3.2 Outline Examples
  • 4.1 Thesis Statement
  • 4.2 Write a Hypothesis
  • 5.2 Abstract
  • 5.3 Introduction
  • 5.4 Methods
  • 5.5 Results
  • 5.6 Discussion
  • 5.7 Conclusion
  • 5.8 Bibliography
  • 6.1 Table of Contents
  • 6.2 Acknowledgements
  • 6.3 Appendix
  • 7.1 In Text Citations
  • 7.2 Footnotes
  • 7.3.1 Floating Blocks
  • 7.4 Example of a Paper
  • 7.5 Example of a Paper 2
  • 7.6.1 Citations
  • 7.7.1 Writing Style
  • 7.7.2 Citations
  • 8.1.1 Sham Peer Review
  • 8.1.2 Advantages
  • 8.1.3 Disadvantages
  • 8.2 Publication Bias
  • 8.3.1 Journal Rejection
  • 9.1 Article Writing
  • 9.2 Ideas for Topics

You may have finished the best research project on earth but, if you do not write an interesting and well laid out paper, then nobody is going to take your findings seriously.

The main thing to remember with any research paper is that it is based on an hourglass structure. It begins with general information and undertaking a literature review , and becomes more specific as you nail down a research problem and hypothesis .

Finally, it again becomes more general as you try to apply your findings to the world at general.

Whilst there are a few differences between the various disciplines, with some fields placing more emphasis on certain parts than others, there is a basic underlying structure.

These steps are the building blocks of constructing a good research paper. 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.

Reference List

what are the 8 components of a research paper

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:

  • You should first give a general presentation of the research problem.
  • You should then lay out exactly what you are trying to achieve with this particular research project.
  • You should then state your own position.

Ideally, you should try to give each section its own paragraph, but this will vary given the overall length of the paper.

1) General Presentation

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 .

2) Purpose of the Paper

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.

3) A Statement of Intent From the Writer

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.

what are the 8 components of a research paper

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 . In this case, make sure that you refer to it.

This is probably the most variable part of any research paper, and depends on the results and aims of the experiment.

For quantitative research , it is a presentation of the numerical results and data, whereas for qualitative research it should be a broader discussion of trends, without going into too much detail.

For research generating a lot of results , then it is better to include tables or graphs of the analyzed data and leave the raw data in the appendix, so that a researcher can follow up and check your calculations.

A commentary is essential to linking the results together, rather than just displaying isolated and unconnected charts and figures.

It can be quite difficult to find a good balance between the results and the discussion section, because some findings, especially in a quantitative or descriptive experiment , will fall into a grey area. Try to avoid repeating yourself too often.

It is best to try to find a middle path, where you give a general overview of the data and then expand on it in the discussion - you should try to keep your own opinions and interpretations out of the results section, saving that for the discussion later on.

This is where you elaborate on your findings, and explain what you found, adding your own personal interpretations.

Ideally, you should link the discussion back to the introduction, addressing each point individually.

It’s important to make sure that every piece of information in your discussion is directly related to the thesis statement , or you risk cluttering your findings. In keeping with the hourglass principle, you can expand on the topic later in the conclusion .

The conclusion is where you build on your discussion and try to relate your findings to other research and to the world at large.

In a short research paper, it may be a paragraph or two, or even a few lines.

In a dissertation, it may well be the most important part of the entire paper - not only does it describe the results and discussion in detail, it emphasizes the importance of the results in the field, and ties it in with the previous research.

Some research papers require a recommendations section, postulating the further directions of the research, as well as highlighting how any flaws affected the results. In this case, you should suggest any improvements that could be made to the research design .

No paper is complete without a reference list , documenting all the sources that you used for your research. This should be laid out according to APA , MLA or other specified format, allowing any interested researcher to follow up on the research.

One habit that is becoming more common, especially with online papers, is to include a reference to your own paper on the final page. Lay this out in MLA, APA and Chicago format, allowing anybody referencing your paper to copy and paste it.

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Online Guide to Writing and Research

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  • Online Guide to Writing

Structuring the Research Paper

Formal research structure.

These are the primary purposes for formal research:

enter the discourse, or conversation, of other writers and scholars in your field

learn how others in your field use primary and secondary resources

find and understand raw data and information

Top view of textured wooden desk prepared for work and exploration - wooden pegs, domino, cubes and puzzles with blank notepads,  paper and colourful pencils lying on it.

For the formal academic research assignment, consider an organizational pattern typically used for primary academic research.  The pattern includes the following: introduction, methods, results, discussion, and conclusions/recommendations.

Usually, research papers flow from the general to the specific and back to the general in their organization. The introduction uses a general-to-specific movement in its organization, establishing the thesis and setting the context for the conversation. The methods and results sections are more detailed and specific, providing support for the generalizations made in the introduction. The discussion section moves toward an increasingly more general discussion of the subject, leading to the conclusions and recommendations, which then generalize the conversation again.

Sections of a Formal Structure

The introduction section.

Many students will find that writing a structured  introduction  gets them started and gives them the focus needed to significantly improve their entire paper. 

Introductions usually have three parts:

presentation of the problem statement, the topic, or the research inquiry

purpose and focus of your paper

summary or overview of the writer’s position or arguments

In the first part of the introduction—the presentation of the problem or the research inquiry—state the problem or express it so that the question is implied. Then, sketch the background on the problem and review the literature on it to give your readers a context that shows them how your research inquiry fits into the conversation currently ongoing in your subject area. 

In the second part of the introduction, state your purpose and focus. Here, you may even present your actual thesis. Sometimes your purpose statement can take the place of the thesis by letting your reader know your intentions. 

The third part of the introduction, the summary or overview of the paper, briefly leads readers through the discussion, forecasting the main ideas and giving readers a blueprint for the paper. 

The following example provides a blueprint for a well-organized introduction.

Example of an Introduction

Entrepreneurial Marketing: The Critical Difference

In an article in the Harvard Business Review, John A. Welsh and Jerry F. White remind us that “a small business is not a little big business.” An entrepreneur is not a multinational conglomerate but a profit-seeking individual. To survive, he must have a different outlook and must apply different principles to his endeavors than does the president of a large or even medium-sized corporation. Not only does the scale of small and big businesses differ, but small businesses also suffer from what the Harvard Business Review article calls “resource poverty.” This is a problem and opportunity that requires an entirely different approach to marketing. Where large ad budgets are not necessary or feasible, where expensive ad production squanders limited capital, where every marketing dollar must do the work of two dollars, if not five dollars or even ten, where a person’s company, capital, and material well-being are all on the line—that is, where guerrilla marketing can save the day and secure the bottom line (Levinson, 1984, p. 9).

By reviewing the introductions to research articles in the discipline in which you are writing your research paper, you can get an idea of what is considered the norm for that discipline. Study several of these before you begin your paper so that you know what may be expected. If you are unsure of the kind of introduction your paper needs, ask your professor for more information.  The introduction is normally written in present tense.

THE METHODS SECTION

The methods section of your research paper should describe in detail what methodology and special materials if any, you used to think through or perform your research. You should include any materials you used or designed for yourself, such as questionnaires or interview questions, to generate data or information for your research paper. You want to include any methodologies that are specific to your particular field of study, such as lab procedures for a lab experiment or data-gathering instruments for field research. The methods section is usually written in the past tense.

THE RESULTS SECTION

How you present the results of your research depends on what kind of research you did, your subject matter, and your readers’ expectations. 

Quantitative information —data that can be measured—can be presented systematically and economically in tables, charts, and graphs. Quantitative information includes quantities and comparisons of sets of data. 

Qualitative information , which includes brief descriptions, explanations, or instructions, can also be presented in prose tables. This kind of descriptive or explanatory information, however, is often presented in essay-like prose or even lists.

There are specific conventions for creating tables, charts, and graphs and organizing the information they contain. In general, you should use them only when you are sure they will enlighten your readers rather than confuse them. In the accompanying explanation and discussion, always refer to the graphic by number and explain specifically what you are referring to; you can also provide a caption for the graphic. The rule of thumb for presenting a graphic is first to introduce it by name, show it, and then interpret it. The results section is usually written in the past tense.

THE DISCUSSION SECTION

Your discussion section should generalize what you have learned from your research. One way to generalize is to explain the consequences or meaning of your results and then make your points that support and refer back to the statements you made in your introduction. Your discussion should be organized so that it relates directly to your thesis. You want to avoid introducing new ideas here or discussing tangential issues not directly related to the exploration and discovery of your thesis. The discussion section, along with the introduction, is usually written in the present tense.

THE CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS SECTION

Your conclusion ties your research to your thesis, binding together all the main ideas in your thinking and writing. By presenting the logical outcome of your research and thinking, your conclusion answers your research inquiry for your reader. Your conclusions should relate directly to the ideas presented in your introduction section and should not present any new ideas.

You may be asked to present your recommendations separately in your research assignment. If so, you will want to add some elements to your conclusion section. For example, you may be asked to recommend a course of action, make a prediction, propose a solution to a problem, offer a judgment, or speculate on the implications and consequences of your ideas. The conclusions and recommendations section is usually written in the present tense.

Key Takeaways

  • For the formal academic research assignment, consider an organizational pattern typically used for primary academic research. 
  •  The pattern includes the following: introduction, methods, results, discussion, and conclusions/recommendations.

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Table of Contents: Online Guide to Writing

Chapter 1: College Writing

How Does College Writing Differ from Workplace Writing?

What Is College Writing?

Why So Much Emphasis on Writing?

Chapter 2: The Writing Process

Doing Exploratory Research

Getting from Notes to Your Draft

Introduction

Prewriting - Techniques to Get Started - Mining Your Intuition

Prewriting: Targeting Your Audience

Prewriting: Techniques to Get Started

Prewriting: Understanding Your Assignment

Rewriting: Being Your Own Critic

Rewriting: Creating a Revision Strategy

Rewriting: Getting Feedback

Rewriting: The Final Draft

Techniques to Get Started - Outlining

Techniques to Get Started - Using Systematic Techniques

Thesis Statement and Controlling Idea

Writing: Getting from Notes to Your Draft - Freewriting

Writing: Getting from Notes to Your Draft - Summarizing Your Ideas

Writing: Outlining What You Will Write

Chapter 3: Thinking Strategies

A Word About Style, Voice, and Tone

A Word About Style, Voice, and Tone: Style Through Vocabulary and Diction

Critical Strategies and Writing

Critical Strategies and Writing: Analysis

Critical Strategies and Writing: Evaluation

Critical Strategies and Writing: Persuasion

Critical Strategies and Writing: Synthesis

Developing a Paper Using Strategies

Kinds of Assignments You Will Write

Patterns for Presenting Information

Patterns for Presenting Information: Critiques

Patterns for Presenting Information: Discussing Raw Data

Patterns for Presenting Information: General-to-Specific Pattern

Patterns for Presenting Information: Problem-Cause-Solution Pattern

Patterns for Presenting Information: Specific-to-General Pattern

Patterns for Presenting Information: Summaries and Abstracts

Supporting with Research and Examples

Writing Essay Examinations

Writing Essay Examinations: Make Your Answer Relevant and Complete

Writing Essay Examinations: Organize Thinking Before Writing

Writing Essay Examinations: Read and Understand the Question

Chapter 4: The Research Process

Planning and Writing a Research Paper

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Ask a Research Question

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Cite Sources

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Collect Evidence

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Decide Your Point of View, or Role, for Your Research

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Draw Conclusions

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Find a Topic and Get an Overview

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Manage Your Resources

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Outline

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Survey the Literature

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Work Your Sources into Your Research Writing

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found? - Human Resources

Research Resources: What Are Research Resources?

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found?

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found? - Electronic Resources

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found? - Print Resources

Structuring the Research Paper: Formal Research Structure

Structuring the Research Paper: Informal Research Structure

The Nature of Research

The Research Assignment: How Should Research Sources Be Evaluated?

The Research Assignment: When Is Research Needed?

The Research Assignment: Why Perform Research?

Chapter 5: Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity

Giving Credit to Sources

Giving Credit to Sources: Copyright Laws

Giving Credit to Sources: Documentation

Giving Credit to Sources: Style Guides

Integrating Sources

Practicing Academic Integrity

Practicing Academic Integrity: Keeping Accurate Records

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material - Paraphrasing Your Source

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material - Quoting Your Source

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material - Summarizing Your Sources

Types of Documentation

Types of Documentation: Bibliographies and Source Lists

Types of Documentation: Citing World Wide Web Sources

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - APA Style

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - CSE/CBE Style

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - Chicago Style

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - MLA Style

Types of Documentation: Note Citations

Chapter 6: Using Library Resources

Finding Library Resources

Chapter 7: Assessing Your Writing

How Is Writing Graded?

How Is Writing Graded?: A General Assessment Tool

The Draft Stage

The Draft Stage: The First Draft

The Draft Stage: The Revision Process and the Final Draft

The Draft Stage: Using Feedback

The Research Stage

Using Assessment to Improve Your Writing

Chapter 8: Other Frequently Assigned Papers

Reviews and Reaction Papers: Article and Book Reviews

Reviews and Reaction Papers: Reaction Papers

Writing Arguments

Writing Arguments: Adapting the Argument Structure

Writing Arguments: Purposes of Argument

Writing Arguments: References to Consult for Writing Arguments

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Anticipate Active Opposition

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Determine Your Organization

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Develop Your Argument

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Introduce Your Argument

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - State Your Thesis or Proposition

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Write Your Conclusion

Writing Arguments: Types of Argument

Appendix A: Books to Help Improve Your Writing

Dictionaries

General Style Manuals

Researching on the Internet

Special Style Manuals

Writing Handbooks

Appendix B: Collaborative Writing and Peer Reviewing

Collaborative Writing: Assignments to Accompany the Group Project

Collaborative Writing: Informal Progress Report

Collaborative Writing: Issues to Resolve

Collaborative Writing: Methodology

Collaborative Writing: Peer Evaluation

Collaborative Writing: Tasks of Collaborative Writing Group Members

Collaborative Writing: Writing Plan

General Introduction

Peer Reviewing

Appendix C: Developing an Improvement Plan

Working with Your Instructor’s Comments and Grades

Appendix D: Writing Plan and Project Schedule

Devising a Writing Project Plan and Schedule

Reviewing Your Plan with Others

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How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline | Example

Published on August 7, 2022 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on August 15, 2023.

How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline

A research paper outline is a useful tool to aid in the writing process , providing a structure to follow with all information to be included in the paper clearly organized.

A quality outline can make writing your research paper more efficient by helping to:

  • Organize your thoughts
  • Understand the flow of information and how ideas are related
  • Ensure nothing is forgotten

A research paper outline can also give your teacher an early idea of the final product.

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Table of contents

Research paper outline example, how to write a research paper outline, formatting your research paper outline, language in research paper outlines.

  • Definition of measles
  • Rise in cases in recent years in places the disease was previously eliminated or had very low rates of infection
  • Figures: Number of cases per year on average, number in recent years. Relate to immunization
  • Symptoms and timeframes of disease
  • Risk of fatality, including statistics
  • How measles is spread
  • Immunization procedures in different regions
  • Different regions, focusing on the arguments from those against immunization
  • Immunization figures in affected regions
  • High number of cases in non-immunizing regions
  • Illnesses that can result from measles virus
  • Fatal cases of other illnesses after patient contracted measles
  • Summary of arguments of different groups
  • Summary of figures and relationship with recent immunization debate
  • Which side of the argument appears to be correct?

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Follow these steps to start your research paper outline:

  • Decide on the subject of the paper
  • Write down all the ideas you want to include or discuss
  • Organize related ideas into sub-groups
  • Arrange your ideas into a hierarchy: What should the reader learn first? What is most important? Which idea will help end your paper most effectively?
  • Create headings and subheadings that are effective
  • Format the outline in either alphanumeric, full-sentence or decimal format

There are three different kinds of research paper outline: alphanumeric, full-sentence and decimal outlines. The differences relate to formatting and style of writing.

  • Alphanumeric
  • Full-sentence

An alphanumeric outline is most commonly used. It uses Roman numerals, capitalized letters, arabic numerals, lowercase letters to organize the flow of information. Text is written with short notes rather than full sentences.

  • Sub-point of sub-point 1

Essentially the same as the alphanumeric outline, but with the text written in full sentences rather than short points.

  • Additional sub-point to conclude discussion of point of evidence introduced in point A

A decimal outline is similar in format to the alphanumeric outline, but with a different numbering system: 1, 1.1, 1.2, etc. Text is written as short notes rather than full sentences.

  • 1.1.1 Sub-point of first point
  • 1.1.2 Sub-point of first point
  • 1.2 Second point

To write an effective research paper outline, it is important to pay attention to language. This is especially important if it is one you will show to your teacher or be assessed on.

There are four main considerations: parallelism, coordination, subordination and division.

Parallelism: Be consistent with grammatical form

Parallel structure or parallelism is the repetition of a particular grammatical form within a sentence, or in this case, between points and sub-points. This simply means that if the first point is a verb , the sub-point should also be a verb.

Example of parallelism:

  • Include different regions, focusing on the different arguments from those against immunization

Coordination: Be aware of each point’s weight

Your chosen subheadings should hold the same significance as each other, as should all first sub-points, secondary sub-points, and so on.

Example of coordination:

  • Include immunization figures in affected regions
  • Illnesses that can result from the measles virus

Subordination: Work from general to specific

Subordination refers to the separation of general points from specific. Your main headings should be quite general, and each level of sub-point should become more specific.

Example of subordination:

Division: break information into sub-points.

Your headings should be divided into two or more subsections. There is no limit to how many subsections you can include under each heading, but keep in mind that the information will be structured into a paragraph during the writing stage, so you should not go overboard with the number of sub-points.

Ready to start writing or looking for guidance on a different step in the process? Read our step-by-step guide on how to write a research paper .

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Structure of a Research Paper: Tips to Improve Your Manuscript

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You’ve spent months or years conducting your academic research. Now it’s time to write your journal article. For some, this can become a daunting task because writing is not their forte. It might become difficult to even start writing. However, once you organize your thoughts and begin writing them down, the overall task will become easier.

We provide some helpful tips for you here.

Organize Your Thoughts

Perhaps one of the most important tasks before you even begin to write is to get organized. By this point, your data is compiled and analyzed. You most likely also have many pages of “notes”. These must also be organized. Fortunately, this is much easier to do than in the past with hand-written notes. Presuming that these tasks are completed, what’s next?

Related: Ready with your title and looking forward to manuscript submission ? Check these journal selection guidelines  now!

When suggesting that you organize your thoughts, we mean to take a look at what you have compiled. Ask yourself what you are trying to convey to the reader. What is the most important message from your research? How will your results affect others? Is more research necessary?

Write your answers down and keep them where you can see them while writing. This will help you focus on your goals.

Aim for Clarity

Your paper should be presented as clearly as possible. You want your readers to understand your research. You also do not want them to stop reading because the text is too technical.

Keep in mind that your published research will be available in academic journals all over the world. This means that people of different languages will read it. Moreover, even with scientists, this could present a language barrier. According to a recent article , always remember the following points as you write:

  • Clarity : Cleary define terms; avoid nonrelevant information.
  • Simplicity : Keep sentence structure simple and direct.
  • Accuracy : Represent all data and illustrations accurately.

For example, consider the following sentence:

“Chemical x had an effect on metabolism.”

This is an ambiguous statement. It does not tell the reader much. State the results instead:

“Chemical x increased fat metabolism by 20 percent.”

All scientific research also provide significance of findings, usually presented as defined “P” values. Be sure to explain these findings using descriptive terms. For example, rather than using the words “ significant effect ,” use a more descriptive term, such as “ significant increase .”

For more tips, please also see “Tips and Techniques for Scientific Writing”. In addition, it is very important to have your paper edited by a native English speaking professional editor. There are many editing services available for academic manuscripts and publication support services.

Research Paper Structure

With the above in mind, you can now focus on structure. Scientific papers are organized into specific sections and each has a goal. We have listed them here.

  • Your title is the most important part of your paper. It draws the reader in and tells them what you are presenting. Moreover, if you think about the titles of papers that you might browse in a day and which papers you actually read, you’ll agree.
  • The title should be clear and interesting otherwise the reader will not continue reading.
  • Authors’ names and affiliations are on the title page.
  • The abstract is a summary of your research. It is nearly as important as the title because the reader will be able to quickly read through it.
  • Most journals, the abstract can become divided into very short sections to guide the reader through the summaries.
  • Keep the sentences short and focused.
  • Avoid acronyms and citations.
  • Include background information on the subject and your objectives here.
  • Describe the materials used and include the names and locations of the manufacturers.
  • For any animal studies, include where you obtained the animals and a statement of humane treatment.
  • Clearly and succinctly explain your methods so that it can be duplicated.
  • Criteria for inclusion and exclusion in the study and statistical analyses should be included.
  • Discuss your findings here.
  • Be careful to not make definitive statements .
  • Your results suggest that something is or is not true.
  • This is true even when your results prove your hypothesis.
  • Discuss what your results mean in this section.
  • Discuss any study limitations. Suggest additional studies.
  • Acknowledge all contributors.
  • All citations in the text must have a corresponding reference.
  • Check your author guidelines for format protocols.
  • In most cases, your tables and figures appear at the end of your paper or in a separate file.
  • The titles (legends) usually become listed after the reference section.
  • Be sure that you define each acronym and abbreviation in each table and figure.

Manuscript

Helpful Rules

In their article entitled, “Ten simple rules for structuring papers,” in PLOS Computational Biology , authors Mensh and Kording provided 10 helpful tips as follows:

  • Focus on a central contribution.
  • Write for those who do not know your work.
  • Use the “context-content-conclusion” approach.
  • Avoid superfluous information and use parallel structures.
  • Summarize your research in the abstract.
  • Explain the importance of your research in the introduction.
  • Explain your results in a logical sequence and support them with figures and tables.
  • Discuss any data gaps and limitations.
  • Allocate your time for the most important sections.
  • Get feedback from colleagues.

Some of these rules have been briefly discussed above; however, the study done by the authors does provide detailed explanations on all of them.

Helpful Sites

Visit the following links for more helpful information:

  • “ Some writing tips for scientific papers ”
  • “ How to Structure Your Dissertation ”
  • “ Conciseness in Academic Writing: How to Prune Sentences ”
  • “ How to Optimize Sentence Length in Academic Writing ”

So, do you follow any additional tips when structuring your research paper ? Share them with us in the comments below!

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A Complete Guide on Components of A Research Paper In 2023

components of a research paper

Want to know the components of a research paper, don’t worry you are at the right place. Here in this post we will tell you a complete guide on the components of a research paper. A research paper is a written document that is created by a researcher, in which they present their findings on a particular topic. The primary aim of a research paper is to communicate the results of a study or investigation to an audience in a clear and concise manner. 

A well-written research paper follows a specific structure that helps the reader to understand the content easily. In this article, we will discuss the components of a research paper that are necessary to create a successful and effective document.

What is a Research Paper?

Table of Contents

A research paper is a written document that presents the findings of a study or investigation conducted by a researcher or group of researchers. 

The purpose of a research paper is to communicate the results of the study to a specific audience, such as academics, practitioners, or policymakers, in a clear and concise manner. 

Research papers are often used to contribute to the knowledge in a particular field or to provide solutions to a particular problem. They are typically based on primary or secondary research and may involve various methods, such as surveys, experiments, case studies, or literature reviews. 

Research papers follow a specific structure and formatting guidelines and are often published in academic journals, conferences, or other scholarly publications. 

This will be clear once we will understand the components of a research paper.

Significance of Research Paper

Research papers have significant importance in various fields and disciplines. Some of the key significance of research papers are:

Advancing knowledge: Research papers contribute to the advancement of knowledge by providing new insights, perspectives, and discoveries in a particular field. They often build upon previous research and provide a foundation for future studies.

Validating theories: Research papers provide empirical evidence that supports or refutes existing theories, which helps to establish their validity or accuracy.

Providing solutions: Research papers may provide practical solutions to real-world problems or challenges in various fields, such as healthcare, education, or business.

Enhancing critical thinking: Research papers require critical thinking and analysis, which helps researchers develop their analytical skills and improve their ability to evaluate information objectively.

Improving decision-making: Research papers can provide decision-makers, such as policymakers or business leaders, with evidence-based insights and recommendations to inform their decisions.

Establishing credibility: Research papers help researchers establish their credibility and reputation within their field by demonstrating their expertise, knowledge, and contributions to the field.

Understanding of the components of a research paper will give a better overview of its significance.

Components of A Research Paper – That You Must Know

Here is the complete list of the components of a research paper that you must know:

The title of a research paper is the first thing that readers see. It should be clear, concise, and informative. A good title should provide the reader with an idea of what the paper is about. The title should also be relevant to the research topic and capture the attention of the reader. The title should be centered on the page and in bold letters.

2. Abstract

The abstract is a brief summary of the research paper. It is usually a paragraph or two that provides a summary of the study’s purpose, methods, results, and conclusions. The abstract should be informative, clear, and concise. It should include the research question, the methodology used, the findings, and the conclusions drawn from the study. The abstract should be written in a way that is easy to understand for readers who may not have a background in the field.

3. Introduction

The introduction is the first section of the research paper. It provides background information on the research topic and establishes the context for the study. The introduction should provide an overview of the research question, the purpose of the study, and the significance of the research. It should also include a brief review of the literature on the topic and a statement of the hypothesis or research question.

4. Literature review

The literature review provides an overview of the existing research on the topic. It summarizes and synthesizes the relevant literature to establish the need for the current study. The literature review should include a critical analysis of the literature, highlighting any gaps in the research that the current study will address. It should also provide a theoretical framework for the study.

5. Methodology

The methodology section describes the methods used in the study. It provides a detailed description of the study design, sample selection, data collection, and data analysis procedures. The methodology should be written in a way that is clear and concise, allowing other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the study. It should be written in a way that is clear and easy to understand. The results should be presented in a logical and organized manner, using tables, graphs, and charts where appropriate. The results should also be discussed in relation to the research question and the literature review.

7. Discussion

The discussion section interprets the results and draws conclusions based on the findings. It should relate the results to the research question and the literature review. The discussion should also highlight the implications of the findings for future research in the field. It should be written in a way that is clear and concise, presenting the key points of the study.

8. Conclusion

The conclusion provides a summary of the research findings and the implications of the study. It should also provide recommendations for future research in the field. The conclusion should be written in a way that is clear and concise, leaving a lasting impression on the reader.

9. References

The references section provides a list of all the sources cited in the research paper. The references should be formatted according to the guidelines provided by the journal or publication.

10. Appendices

The appendices section contains any additional information that is relevant to the study but not included in the main body of the paper. This may include raw data, additional tables or graphs, or survey instruments used in the study.

  • Elements of Research
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How To Effectively Write A Research Paper?

After understanding the components of a research paper, let us determine the proper way of writing a research paper which can be a challenging task. But, there are some key steps you can take to help ensure that you write an effective paper. Here are some tips on how to write a research paper:

1. Choose a topic

Select a topic that is interesting and relevant to your field of study. Make sure that your topic is specific and well-defined, and that there is enough research available on the topic to support your paper.

2. Conduct research

Once you have chosen a topic, conduct thorough research using a variety of sources, including books, scholarly articles, and online databases. Make sure that you take detailed notes on the sources you consult, including the author, title, and publication date.

3. Create an outline

Organize your research into a logical structure by creating an outline for your paper. This will help you to ensure that your paper is well-organized and flows logically.

4. Write a strong introduction

Your introduction should grab the reader’s attention and provide background information on your topic. It should also clearly state your research question or thesis statement.

5. Develop your argument

Use the body of your paper to develop your argument and provide evidence to support your thesis statement. Make sure that you use clear and concise language and avoid jargon or overly technical terms.

6. Use proper citation

Make sure that you cite all of your sources properly using the appropriate citation style for your field of study. This will help you to avoid plagiarism and ensure that your paper is credible and well-researched.

7. Revise and edit

Once you have completed a draft of your paper, take the time to revise and edit it thoroughly. Make sure that your paper is well-organized, free of grammatical errors, and that your argument is clear and compelling.

A research paper is a complex document that requires careful planning and attention to detail. Each component of a research paper plays a crucial role in communicating the findings of the study to the audience. The title, abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, references, and appendices are all necessary components of a research paper.

The title and abstract provide a brief summary of the research topic and the key findings of the study. The introduction and literature review establish the context for the research and highlight the need for the study. The methodology section provides a detailed description of the methods used in the study, and the results section presents the findings in a clear and organized manner. The discussion section interprets the findings and draws conclusions, while the conclusion provides a summary of the study and recommendations for future research.

The references section and appendices provide additional information that supports the findings of the study. Proper formatting of these components is crucial to ensure that the research paper adheres to the guidelines provided by the journal or publication.

In summary, a well-written research paper follows a specific structure that includes several components. Each component plays an essential role in communicating the findings of the study to the audience. By paying careful attention to each component of the research paper, researchers can create an effective document that contributes to the field’s knowledge and advances future research.

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what are the 8 components of a research paper

Your Ultimate Guide To Parts of a Research Paper

parts of a research paper

Students should know the different parts of a research paper before they start the writing process. Research paper writing is an important task in the academic world. But, many learners don’t know much about the research paper structure when asked to complete this task. Essentially, many learners don’t know about the components of a research paper. Unfortunately, this can ruin the overall quality of their work.

So, what are the basic parts of a research paper? Well, there are five major sections of a research paper. These are the parts that you will find in any paper. However, the number of research paper parts can always vary depending on the nature and length of the work.

The Basic Parts of a Research Paper

Perhaps, you’re wondering, what are the 5 parts of research paper? Well, this article will answer your question. The basic parts to a research paper are the introduction, method, results, discussion, and conclusion. However, a research paper can include other parts like the abstract, discussion, and reference list.

Although a student can be writing on a single topic, each part of research paper requires specific information. That’s why different research paper sections exist. It’s, therefore, important that students learn about the information that should go to different sections of research paper.

Research Paper Introduction

The introduction is one of the most important parts of an APA research paper. This is the section that gives the paper a direction. It tells the readers what the paper will attempt to achieve. The introduction of a research paper is the section where the writer states their thesis argument and research problem. What do you intend to study and what makes it important?

An ideal introduction of a research paper should: Provide a general research problem presentation Layout what you will try to achieve with your work State your position on the topic

Perhaps, you may have always wondered, what are the major parts of an argumentative research paper? Well, the introduction is one of these sections because it tells the readers about your position on the topic.

The Methods Section of a Research Paper

This is also called the methodology part of a research paper. It states the methodology and design used to conduct research. The methodology used in every paper will vary depending on the research type and field.

For instance, social sciences use observation methods to collect data while physical sciences may use apparatus. Such variations should be considered when learning how to write a methods section of a research paper. However, the most important thing is to ensure that other researchers can replicate the performed research using similar methods for verification purposes.

The assumption is that the person that will read the paper knows the basic research methods that you use to gather information and write the paper. Therefore, don’t go into detail trying to explain the methods. For instance, biochemists or organic chemists are familiar with methods like chromatography. Therefore, you should just highlight the equipment that you used instead of explaining the entire process.

If you did a survey, include a questionnaire copy in the appendix if you included too many questions. Nevertheless, refer your readers to the questionnaire in the appendix section whenever you think it’s necessary. Use the internet to learn how to write the methods section of a research paper if still unsure about the best way to go about this section. You can also c ontact us to get professional writing help  online.  

The Results Section of a Research Paper

The content that you include in this section will depend on the aims and results of your research. If you’re writing a quantitative research paper, this section will include a presentation of numerical data and results. When writing a qualitative research paper, this section should include discussions of different trends. However, you should not go into details.

A good results section of a research paper example will include graphs or tables of analyzed data. Raw data can also be included in the appendix to enable other researchers to follow it up and check calculations. Commentary can also be included to link results together instead of displaying unconnected and isolated figures and charts. Striking a balance between the results section and the discussion section can be difficult for some students. That’s because some of the findings, especially in descriptive or quantitative research fall into the grey area. Additionally, you should avoid repetition in your results section.

Therefore, find a middle ground where you can provide a general overview of your data so that you can expand it in your discussion section. Additionally, avoid including personal interpretations and opinions into this section and keep it for the discussion part.

The Discussion Section of a Research Paper

Some people confuse the results section with the discussion section. As such, they wonder what goes in the discussion section of a research paper. Essentially, elaborating your findings in the results section will leave you with nothing to include in the discussion section. Therefore, try to just present your findings in the result section without going into details.

Just like the name suggests, the discussion section is the place where you discuss or explain your findings or results. Here, you tell readers more about what you found. You can also add personal interpretations. Your discussion should be linked to the introduction and address every initial point separately.

It’s also crucial to ensure that the information included in the discussion section is related to your thesis statement. If you don’t do that, you can cloud your findings. Essentially, the discussion section is the place where you show readers how your findings support your argument or thesis statement.

Do you want to write a paper that will impress the tutor to award you the top grade? This section should feature the most analysis and citations. It should also focus on developing your thesis rationally with a solid argument of all major points and clear reasoning. Therefore, avoid unnecessary and meaningless digressions and maintain a clear focus. Provide cohesion and unity to strengthen your research paper.

Research Paper Conclusion

This is the last major part of any research paper. It’s the section where you should build upon the discussion and refer the findings of your research to those of other researchers. The conclusion can have a single paragraph or even two. However, the conclusion can be the most important section of an entire paper when writing a dissertation. That’s because it can describe results while discussing them in detail. It can also emphasize why the results of the research project are important to the field. What’s more, it can tie the paper with previous studies.

In some papers, this section provides recommendations while calling for further research and highlighting flaws that may have affected the results of the study. Thus, this can be the section where the writer suggests improvements that can make the research design better.

Parts Of A Research Paper Explained

Though these are the major sections of a research paper, the reference list or bibliography is also very important. No research paper can be complete without a bibliography or reference list that documents the used sources. These sources should be documented according to the specified format. Thus, the format of the reference list can vary from APA to MLA, Chicago to Harvard, and other formats. Nevertheless, a research paper that features the five major sections and a reference list will be considered complete in most institutions even without the acknowledgment and abstract parts. The best way to get a high grade is to ask professionals ‘Can someone do my assignment for me now?’ and get your papers done on time. 

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What are the Parts of a Research Paper?

A research paper consists of 10 parts: cover page, table of content, abstract, introduction, methodology, data analysis, findings and discussion, conclusion, reference, and appendix section. All these parts of research paper are arranged in a way that shows flow of the paper from one section to the other.

Parts of a Research Paper

1. cover page.

A great research paper format begins with a cover page. The cover page is the first page of the research paper and contains details of the writer/author of the piece. These details include title of the paper, name of author, name of university/affiliated institution, name of professor, year, and acknowledgement if applicable.

The structure of a research paper is not complete without cover page.

Writing the cover page is quite straight forward. Look at this example of research paper cover page below. You will notice that this first page is seemingly the simplest part of writing a scholarly piece.

what are the 8 components of a research paper

2. Table of contents

Writing a table of content usually comes after the paper is complete but the author can decide to update it while typing the different the contents.

Tables of content as as research paper parts all depend on the preference of the author. Some like inserting table of contents after completing an entire research paper. Others love to see their table of contents updated frequently to avoid too much work on editing and last-minute pressure to complete the task.

Table of contents provides a list of all items in a research paper. The list of items include all main headings and sub-headings. Level I, II, III, and IV headings are written included.

There is no limit in how many levels of headings are allowed in a research paper. Depending on the formatting style, each paper may vary based on heading levels. However, the table of contents section is usually filled in a similar manner.

An example of a table of contents is shown below. This article also has a list of contents at the beginning and that can be used to give a hint.

3. Abstract

An abstract is a concise summary of a research paper. It details the research methodology including sampling methods, data collection, data analysis, results and findings, and conclusions.

Usually, a research paper will provide a one sentence objective or goal followed by methodology in the abstract. The length of the abstract ranges from 100 – 450 words depending on topic or genre of writing.

4. Introduction

In the introduction section of a research paper, the writer focusses on the topic of interest.

For instance, a research paper examining the “Effects of fast food industry on childhood obesity,” the introduction could explain the fast food industry, prevalence of childhood obesity, and other additional basic information about the topic.

5. Background/review of the literature

The background section of provides current literature findings regarding the topic or thesis. Here, the researcher reviews literature to justify why their proposed study is needed.

Perhaps there is a literature gap and further research is needed to explain the relationship between the variables of the research.

6. Methodology

The structure of a research paper is not complete without methodology (research design). Sampling methods, data collection criteria, data analysis, findings and discussion sections make up the body of a research paper.

The purpose of this section is usually to describe the steps you undertook and the participants you recruited to carry out the study.

7. Data analysis

Data analysis can be qualitative or quantitative depending on your study design. Analysis involves drawing inferences from your data by performing manipulations through statistical methods or any other approach to data analysis.

Most students usually feel that data analysis is the most complex part of a research paper because it requires accuracy and working with complex formulas.

Poor methods of data analysis could lead to inaccurate findings thus lowering the validity and reliability of your research.

8. Findings and discussion

Discussing the findings of a research study requires comparison of the outcomes with existing literature. Do the results support or disprove existing knowledge on the field? That is the main purpose of new research.

The authors can also include the relevance of the findings. Explaining what can be draw from the study outcomes and its usefulness to policymaking is needed.

Other than the two issues identified, the discussion section of a research paper also explains potential future research that new researchers may want to consider.

It is also usually important to discuss the limitations of a research paper to allow other researchers understand the context of the study findings.

Explaining the limitations of a paper shows that the outcomes of the findings might have been influence by other external factors and to what extent?

9. Conclusion

Research paper parts in the correct order are not complete without a conclusion.

The conclusion section summarizes the findings of a study and explains the researchers’ final remarks. Were the findings valid? What is the overall implication of the paper? What next for future research? Could the outcomes shape policymaking? These are some of the questions a research paper conclusion need to answer.

10. References

The reference list is provided on a fresh new page after conclusion. The more number of sources cited, the longer the list and the more rigorous the study can be considered.

Read more on different referencing styles: How to format a research paper in APA referencing style

References in an article depends on the journal publication preferences. Referencing style is also based on individual university guidelines to their students.

11. Appendix

A less fancied research paper part is the appendix. The appendix is the section containing figures and statistical information that might have been used in the research study.

It comes at the very last section of a research paper. A research paper format can be complete without appendices if the research decides to include the figures within the other earlier sections.

Disclaimer: Early release articles are not considered as final versions. Any changes will be reflected in the online version in the month the article is officially released.

Volume 30, Number 8—August 2024

Research Letter

Persistence of influenza h5n1 and h1n1 viruses in unpasteurized milk on milking unit surfaces.

Suggested citation for this article

Examining the persistence of highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) from cattle and human influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 pandemic viruses in unpasteurized milk revealed that both remain infectious on milking equipment materials for several hours. Those findings highlight the risk for H5N1 virus transmission to humans from contaminated surfaces during the milking process.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) virus was detected in US domestic dairy cattle in late March 2024, after which it spread to herds across multiple states and resulted in at least 3 confirmed human infections ( 1 ). Assessment of milk from infected dairy cows indicated that unpasteurized milk contained high levels of infectious influenza virus ( 2 ; L.C. Caserta et al., unpub. data, https://doi.org/10.1101/2024.05.22.595317 ). Exposure of dairy farm workers to contaminated unpasteurized milk during the milking process could lead to increased human H5 virus infections. Such infections could enable H5 viruses to adapt through viral evolution within humans and gain the capability for human-to-human transmission.

Illustration of milking unit surfaces tested in a study of persistence of influenza H5N1 and H1N1 viruses in unpasteurized milk. Before attaching the milking unit (claw), a dairy worker disinfects the teat ends, performs forestripping of each teat to detect abnormal milk, and then wipes each teat with a clean dry towel. Workers then attach the milking unit to the cow teats. A pulsation system opens and closes the rubber inflation liner (at left) around the teat to massage it, mimicking a human stripping action. A vacuum pump is controlled by a variable speed drive and adjusts the suction to allow milk to flow down a pipeline away from the cow into a bulk tank or directly onto a truck. Additional sources of exposure to humans include handling of raw unpasteurized milk collected separately from sick cows or during the pasteurization process. Schematic created in BioRender (https://www.biorender.com).

Figure 1 . Illustration of milking unit surfaces tested in a study of persistence of influenza H5N1 and H1N1 viruses in unpasteurized milk. Before attaching the milking unit (claw), a dairy worker disinfects...

The milking process is primarily automated and uses vacuum units, commonly referred to as clusters or claws, which are attached to the dairy cow teats to collect milk ( Figure 1 ) ( 3 ). However, several steps in the milking process require human input, including forestripping, whereby workers manually express the first 3–5 streams of milk from each teat by hand. Forestripping stimulates the teats for optimal milk letdown, improves milk quality by removing bacteria, and provides an opportunity to check for abnormal milk. The forestripping process can result in milk splatter on the floor of the milking parlor and surrounding equipment and production of milk aerosols.

After forestripping, each teat is cleaned and dried by hand before the claw is installed. During milking, a flexible rubber inflation liner housed within the stainless-steel shell of the claw opens to enable the flow of milk and closes to exert pressure on the teat to stop the flow of milk ( Figure 1 ). When the flow of milk decreases to a specific level, the claw automatically releases ( 3 ), at which point residual milk in the inflation liner could spray onto dairy workers, equipment, or the surrounding area. Of note, milking often takes place at human eye level; the human workspace is physically lower than the cows, which increases the potential for infectious milk to contact human workers’ mucus membranes. No eye or respiratory protection is currently required for dairy farm workers, but recommendations have been released ( 4 ).

Influenza virus persistence in unpasteurized milk on surfaces is unclear, but information on virus persistence is critical to understanding viral exposure risk to dairy workers during the milking process. Therefore, we analyzed the persistence of infectious influenza viruses in unpasteurized milk on surfaces commonly found in milking units, such as rubber inflation liners and stainless steel ( Figure 1 ).

For infectious strains, we used influenza A(H5N1) strain A/dairy cattle/TX/8749001/2024 or a surrogate influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 pandemic influenza virus strain, A/California/07/2009. We diluted virus 1:10 in raw unpasteurized milk and in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) as a control. As described in prior studies ( 5 – 7 ), we pipetted small droplets of diluted virus in milk or PBS onto either stainless steel or rubber inflation liner coupons inside an environmental chamber. We then collected virus samples immediately (time 0) or after 1, 3, or 5 hours to detect infectious virus by endpoint titration using a 50% tissue culture infectious dose assay ( 7 ). To mimic environmental conditions within open-air milking parlors in the Texas panhandle during March–April 2024, when the virus was detected in dairy herds, we conducted persistence studies using 70% relative humidity.

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Figure 2 . Viral titers in a study of persistence of influenza H5N1 and H1N1 viruses in unpasteurized milk on milking unit surfaces. A) Viral titers of bovine A(H5N1) virus diluted 1:10 in...

We observed that the H5N1 cattle virus remained infectious in unpasteurized milk on stainless steel and rubber inflation lining after 1 hour, whereas infectious virus in PBS fell to below the limit of detection after 1 hour ( Figure 2 , panel A). That finding indicates that unpasteurized milk containing H5N1 virus remains infectious on materials within the milking unit. To assess whether a less pathogenic influenza virus could be used as a surrogate to study viral persistence on milking unit materials, we compared viral decay between H5N1 and H1N1 in raw milk over 1 hour on rubber inflation liner and stainless-steel surfaces ( Figure 2 , panel B). The 2 viruses had similar decay rates on both surfaces, suggesting that H1N1 can be used as a surrogate for H5N1 cattle virus in studies of viral persistence in raw milk. Further experiments examining H1N1 infectiousness over longer periods revealed viral persistence in unpasteurized milk on rubber inflation liner for at least 3 hours and on stainless steel for at least 1 hour ( Figure 2 , panel C). Those results indicate that influenza virus is stable in unpasteurized milk and that influenza A virus deposited on milking equipment could remain infectious for >3 hours.

Taken together, our data provide compelling evidence that dairy farm workers are at risk for infection with H5N1 virus from surfaces contaminated during the milking process. To reduce H5N1 virus spillover from dairy cows to humans, farms should implement use of personal protective equipment, such as face shields, masks, and eye protection, for workers during milking. In addition, contaminated rubber inflation liners could be responsible for the cattle-to-cattle spread observed on dairy farms. Sanitizing the liners after milking each cow could reduce influenza virus spread between animals on farms and help curb the current outbreak.

Dr. Le Sage is a research assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Her research interests include elucidating the requirements for influenza virus transmission and assessing the pandemic potential of emerging influenza viruses.

Acknowledgments

We thank the Lakdawala lab members, Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Response (CEIRR) risk assessment pipeline meeting attendees, Rachel Duron, and Linsey Marr for useful feedback.

This project was funded in part with federal funds from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under contract no. 75N93021C00015 and a National Institutes of Health award (no. UC7AI180311) from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases supporting the operations of the University of Pittsburgh Regional Biocontainment Laboratory in the Center for Vaccine Research. H5N1 studies were performed in accordance with select agent permit no. 20230320-074008 at the University of Pittsburgh.

This article was preprinted at https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2024.05.22.24307745v1 .

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . H5N1 bird flu: current situation summary [ cited 2024 Jun 13 ]. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/avian-flu-summary.htm
  • Burrough  ER , Magstadt  DR , Petersen  B , Timmermans  SJ , Gauger  PC , Zhang  J , et al. Highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) clade 2.3.4.4b virus infection in domestic dairy cattle and cats, United States, 2024. Emerg Infect Dis . 2024 ; 30 : 1335 – 43 . DOI PubMed Google Scholar
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  • Qian  Z , Morris  DH , Avery  A , Kormuth  KA , Le Sage  V , Myerburg  MM , et al. Variability in donor lung culture and relative humidity impact the stability of 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus on nonporous surfaces. Appl Environ Microbiol . 2023 ; 89 : e0063323 . DOI PubMed Google Scholar
  • Kormuth  KA , Lin  K , Qian  Z , Myerburg  MM , Marr  LC , Lakdawala  SS . Environmental persistence of influenza viruses is dependent upon virus type and host origin. MSphere . 2019 ; 4 : e00552 – 19 . DOI PubMed Google Scholar
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  • Figure 1 . Illustration of milking unit surfaces tested in a study of persistence of influenza H5N1 and H1N1 viruses in unpasteurized milk. Before attaching the milking unit (claw), a dairy worker...
  • Figure 2 . Viral titers in a study of persistence of influenza H5N1 and H1N1 viruses in unpasteurized milk on milking unit surfaces. A) Viral titers of bovine A(H5N1) virus diluted 1:10...

Suggested citation for this article : Le Sage V, Campbell AJ, Reed DS, Duprex WP, Lakdawala SS. Persistence of influenza H5N1 and H1N1 viruses in unpasteurized milk on milking unit surfaces. Emerg Infect Dis. 2024 Aug [ date cited ]. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid3008.240775

DOI: 10.3201/eid3008.240775

Original Publication Date: June 24, 2024

1 These first authors contributed equally to this article.

Table of Contents – Volume 30, Number 8—August 2024

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Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Trump and biden: the national debt.

The national debt is on course to reach a record share of the economy under the next presidential administration, due in part to policies approved by Presidents Trump and Biden during their time in office, including executive actions and legislation passed by Congress. 

While it is important to understand the fiscal impact of the promises candidates make on the campaign trail – particularly because they reflect the candidates’ own policy preferences and are not impacted by unexpected external events or the actions of Congress – the fact that both leading candidates have served as President also allows for a comparison of their actual fiscal records. This analysis focuses on the estimated ten-year debt impact of policies approved by Presidents Trump and Biden around the time of enactment. 1 In this analysis, we find:

  • President Trump  approved $8.4 trillion of new ten-year borrowing during his full term in office, or $4.8 trillion excluding the CARES Act and other COVID relief.
  • President Biden , in his first three years and five months in office, approved $4.3 trillion of new ten-year borrowing, or $2.2 trillion excluding the American Rescue Plan.
  • President Trump approved $8.8 trillion  of gross new borrowing and $443 billion  of deficit reduction during his full presidential term. 
  • President Biden has so far approved $6.2 trillion of gross new borrowing and $1.9 trillion of deficit reduction.

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In companion analyses, we will show:

  • Roughly 77 percent  of President Trump’s approved ten-year debt came from bipartisan legislation, and 29 percent  of the net ten-year debt President Biden has approved thus far came from bipartisan legislation. The rest was from partisan actions.
  • President Trump approved $2.2 trillion of debt in his first two years in office and $6.2 trillion  ($2.6 trillion non-COVID) in his second two years. President Biden approved $4.9 trillion ($2.9 trillion non-COVID) in his first two years in office and has so far approved over $600 billion of net ten-year deficit reduction since. 
  • President Trump approved $5.9 trillion of net spending increases including interest ($2.8 trillion non-COVID) and $2.5 trillion of net tax cuts ($2.0 trillion non-COVID). President Biden has approved $4.3 trillion of net spending increases including interest ($2.3 trillion non-COVID) and roughly $0 of net tax changes ($60 billion revenue increase non-COVID).
  • Debt held by the public rose by $7.2 trillion during President Trump’s term including $5.9 trillion in the first three years and five months. Debt held by the public has grown by $6.0 trillion during President Biden’s term so far. 
  • President Trump’s executive actions added less than $20 billion to ten-year debt on net. President Biden’s executive actions have added $1.2 trillion to ten-year debt so far. 
  • The President’s budget was on average 39 days late under President Trump and 58 days late under President Biden. 

Summary Table: Executive Actions & Legislation Approved by Presidents Trump & Biden

Tax Cuts & Jobs Act +$1.9 trillion Partisan
Bipartisan Budget Acts of 2018 & 2019 +$2.1 trillion Bipartisan
ACA Tax Delays & Repeals +$539 billion Bipartisan
Health Executive Actions +$456 billion Partisan (Executive Action)
Other Legislation +$310 billion Bipartisan
New & Increased Tariffs -$443 billion Partisan (Executive Action)
CARES Act +$1.9 trillion Bipartisan
Response & Relief Act +$983 billion Bipartisan
Other COVID Relief +$756 billion Bipartisan*

     
Appropriations for FY 2022 & 2023 +$1.4 trillion Bipartisan
Honoring Our PACT Act +$520 billion Bipartisan
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law +$439 billion Bipartisan
Other Legislation +$422 billion Bipartisan
Student Debt Actions +$620 billion Partisan (Executive Action)
Other Executive Actions +$548 billion Partisan (Executive Action)
Fiscal Responsibility Act -$1.5 trillion Bipartisan
Inflation Reduction Act -$252 billion Partisan
Deficit-Reducing Executive Actions -$129 billion Partisan (Executive Action)
American Rescue Plan Act +$2.1 trillion Partisan

Note: bipartisan indicates legislation passed with votes from both political parties in either chamber of Congress. *Includes $23 billion of executive actions in the form of student debt payment pauses. 

How Much Debt Did President Trump Approve?

During his four-year term in office, President Trump approved $8.4 trillion  of new ten-year borrowing above prior law, or $4.8 trillion  when excluding the bipartisan COVID relief bills and COVID-related executive actions. Looking at all legislation and executive actions with meaningful fiscal impact, the full amount of approved ten-year borrowing includes $8.8 trillion of deficit-increasing laws and actions offset by $443 billion of deficit-reducing actions. 2

These estimates are based on scores of legislation and executive actions rather than retrospective estimates. Scores are generally made on a conventional basis, though the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) is scored dynamically. The actual debt impact of the policies was likely somewhat higher than these scores. In particular, the TCJA likely reduced revenue more than projected and saved less from repealing the individual health care mandate penalty, 3 while the Employee Retention Credit was likely far more expensive than originally estimated.

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Sources: CRFB estimates based on CBO and OMB projections.

The major actions approved by President Trump (and ten-year impact with interest) include:

  • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 ( $1.9 trillion debt increase )
  • The Bipartisan Budget Acts of 2018 and 2019 ( $2.1 trillion debt increase ) 
  • ACA Tax Delays and Repeals ( $539 billion debt increase )
  • Health Executive Actions ( $456 billion debt increase ) 
  • Other Legislation ( $310 billion debt increase )  
  • New and Increased Tariffs ( $443 billion debt reduction )
  • The CARES Act ( $1.9 trillion debt increase ) 
  • The Response & Relief Act ( $983 billion debt increase ) 
  • Other COVID Relief ( $756 billion debt increase )

How Much Debt Has President Biden Approved?

Over his first three years and five months in office, President Biden has approved $4.3 trillion  of new ten-year borrowing, or $2.2 trillion  when excluding the American Rescue Plan Act. This includes $6.2 trillion of deficit-increasing legislation and actions, offset by $1.9 trillion of legislation and actions scored as reducing the deficit.

These estimates are based on scores of legislation and executive actions rather than retrospective estimates and do not include preliminary rules, unexecuted “side deals,” or actions ruled illegal by the Supreme Court. Updated scores and in-process actions would increase the total. For example, an updated estimate would likely wipe away the $252 billion of scored savings from the Inflation Reduction Act, 4 the informal FRA side deals would reduce its savings by  about $500 billion , and the new student debt cancellation plan could cost  $250 to $750 billion .

what are the 8 components of a research paper

The major actions approved by President Biden so far (and ten-year impact with interest) include:

  • Appropriations for FY 2022 and 2023 ( $1.4 trillion debt increase ) 
  • The Honoring Our PACT Act ( $520 billion debt increase )
  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law ( $439 billion debt increase ) 
  • Other Legislation ( $422 billion debt increase )
  • Student Debt Actions ( $620 billion debt increase )
  • Other Executive Actions ( $548 billion debt increase ) 
  • The Fiscal Responsibility Act ( $1.5 trillion debt reduction )
  • The Inflation Reduction Act ( $252 billion debt reduction )
  • Deficit-Reducing Executive Actions ( $129 billion debt reduction )
  • The American Rescue Plan Act ( $2.1 trillion debt increase )

The next presidential term will present significant fiscal challenges. While past performance is not necessarily indicative of future actions, it is helpful to examine the fiscal performance from each President’s time in office for clues as to how they plan to confront these challenges or how high of a priority fiscal responsibility will be on their agendas.

Both candidates approved substantial amounts of new borrowing in their first term. President Trump approved $8.4 trillion in borrowing over a decade, while President Biden has approved $4.3 trillion so far in his first three years and five months in office. Of course, accountability also rests with Congress as a co-equal branch of government, which passed legislation constituting the majority of the fiscal impact under both presidents.

Some of this borrowing was clearly justified, particularly in the early parts of the COVID-19 pandemic when joblessness was rising rapidly and large parts of the economy were effectively shut down. However, funding classified as COVID relief explains less than half of the borrowing authorized by either President, and arguably, a meaningful portion of this COVID relief was either extraneous, excessive, poorly targeted, or otherwise unnecessary. 5

In supplemental analyses, we will compare a number of other aspects of the candidates’ fiscal records. 

During the next presidential term, the national debt is projected to reach a record share of the economy, interest costs are slated to surge, the debt limit will re-emerge, discretionary spending caps and major tax cuts are scheduled to expire, and major trust funds will be hurtling toward insolvency. 

Adding trillions more to the national debt will only worsen these challenges, just as both Presidents Trump and Biden did during their terms along with lawmakers in Congress. The country would be better served if the candidates put forward and stuck to plans to reduce the national debt, secure the trust funds, and put the budget on a sustainable long-term path.

Appendix I : Details of Policies Approved by President Trump

  • Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 ( $1.9 trillion debt increase )   – The TCJA included several tax cuts and reforms. Among those changes, the law reduced individual and corporate income tax rates, virtually eliminated the alternative minimum taxes, repealed or limited numerous deductions and tax breaks, replaced personal and dependent exemptions with an expanded standard deduction and Child Tax Credit, established a new deduction for pass-through business income, shrunk the estate tax, offered full expensing of equipment purchases, and reformed the tax treatment of international income. Most individual and estate tax changes were temporary while most corporate changes were permanent. The legislation also repealed the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate penalty. As a result of these policy changes, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected the TCJA would boost output by roughly 1 percent at peak and 0.6 percent after a decade. The estimate incorporated in this analysis includes the dynamic feedback effects of this faster growth, based on CBO’s April 2018 analysis of the bill. While it is impossible to know exactly how the bill’s fiscal impact compared to this prospective estimate, a number of factors point towards it adding significantly more to the debt, including: higher-than-expected inflation and nominal incomes and profits leading to higher revenue loss; SALT cap workarounds; increased use of bonus depreciation; and lower than expected revenue from limiting the use of pass-through losses. As a reference point, CBO’s latest estimate for extending the expiring elements of the TCJA is almost  50 percent higher than its 2018 estimate. In addition, the budgetary savings from the individual mandate penalty repeal were likely less than originally projected.
  • The Bipartisan Budget Acts of 2018 and 2019  ( $2.1 trillion debt increase )   – The Bipartisan Budget Acts (BBA) of 2018 and 2019 increased the caps on defense and nondefense discretionary spending set by the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) and further reduced through a ‘sequester’ activated after the failure of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. BBA 2018  increased the caps in FY 2018 and 2019 by a combined $296 billion,  effectively repealing the $91 billion per year sequester and further increasing spending above the BCA caps. BBA 2019 essentially codified these increases by  boosting the FY 2020 and 2021 caps by a combined $320 billion. Because the 2021 cap was the final year of the BCA caps, BBA 2019 increased baseline discretionary spending levels beyond 2021 to the new 2021 level plus inflation. Both bills also included smaller additional policies, including some partial offsets. In total, BBA 2018 added $418 billion to the ten-year debt and BBA 2019 added $1.7 trillion.
  • ACA Tax Delays and Repeals  ( $539 billion debt increase )   – Three taxes enacted by the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) – the health insurer tax, the “Cadillac tax” on high-cost health insurance, and the medical device excise tax – were delayed in a 2018 continuing resolution. They were subsequently repealed in one of the full-year funding bills for FY 2020. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimated that the health insurer tax would have raised about $150 billion over a decade, the Cadillac tax would have raised $200 billion, and the medical device excise tax would have raised $25 billion. In addition to these tax repeals, policymakers enacted roughly $70 billion of other unpaid-for policies related to health care, retirement savings, and other priorities in these two bills. Interest costs added $64 billion more.
  • Health Executive Actions  ( $456 billion debt increase )   – President Trump approved two health-related executive actions with significant costs over his term. Ending federal appropriations for the  ACA’s cost-sharing reduction payments in 2017 led insurers to raise premiums on “silver” ACA plans to fund low-income cost sharing subsidies, ultimately increasing the cost of federal subsidies by an estimated $220 billion. Meanwhile, a  2020 rule to restrict prescription drug rebates paid to pharmacy benefit managers and insurer plans was estimated to cost $177 billion. Interest costs added $59 billion more. Importantly, the rebate rule was delayed and ultimately repealed by Congress under President Biden.
  • Other Legislation ( $310 billion debt increase )   – President Trump signed a number of other deficit-increasing bills into law over the course of his term. This includes several appropriations bills for disaster relief as well as the changes to mandatory programs (CHIMPs) that boosted spending in the full-year appropriations bills enacted in his term. Additionally, President Trump signed a permanent extension of several tax “extenders,” which are tax policies that have been routinely extended for short periods. Finally, he signed the Great American Outdoors Act, which transferred certain offsetting receipts and authorized them to be spent without appropriation, and the permanent authorization of the 9/11 victims fund, which authorized funds to pay out claims to 9/11 victims.
  • Tariffs  ( $443 billion debt reduction )   – Over the course of his presidency, President Trump used his authority under the Trade Act of 1974 and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1978 to increase a number of import tariffs through executive action. Beginning in 2018, the Trump Administration announced the imposition or increase to a variety of tariffs, including on washing machines, solar panels, and steel and aluminum products. In 2019, the tariff rate on many Chinese imports was increased from 10 percent to 25 percent. Based on CBO’s estimates at the time, we estimate these tariffs will have generated over $440 billion of revenue and interest savings over a decade.
  • The CARES Act  ( $1.9 trillion debt increase ) – Enacted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the bipartisan CARES Act included expanded and extended unemployment benefits, economic relief checks of $1,200 per eligible adult and $500 per child, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to provide support to small businesses to keep employees on payroll, and emergency disaster loans and grants to businesses, industries, health care facilities, educational institutions, state and local governments, and others, among many other provisions. Based on our ongoing  tracking , the actual fiscal impact of the CARES Act was likely similar to the initial score though perhaps slightly higher overall.
  • The Response & Relief Act  ( $983 billion debt increase )   – Enacted in December 2020 as part of the omnibus appropriations bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, the  Response & Relief Act included funding for a second tranche of PPP payments and small business grants, an extension of enhanced unemployment benefits, economic relief checks of $600 per eligible person, funding support for schools and higher education institutions, vaccine and testing funding, targeted support to industries greatly impacted by COVID-19, an extension and expansion of the Employee Retention Credit, and an extension of various other COVID-related tax and spending relief programs. Based on our ongoing  tracking , the actual fiscal impact of the Response & Relief Act was likely higher than the initial score due to the significantly higher-than-expected deficit increase from the  Employee Retention Credit .
  • Other COVID Relief  ( $756 billion debt increase )   – President Trump approved several other measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. This includes the three other COVID relief laws enacted in March and April 2020: the  Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act , the  Families First Coronavirus Response Act , and the  Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act . It also includes the student loan repayment pauses enacted at the onset of COVID and extended after the CARES Act’s pause ended in October 2020. President Trump also approved  other executive actions that resulted in little deficit impact. Based on our ongoing  tracking , the actual fiscal impact of these bills were likely much higher than the initial score due to the significantly higher-than-expected revenue loss from the  Employee Retention Credit and the higher Medicaid and SNAP costs resulting from a longer-than-projected public health emergency.

Appendix II : Details of Policies Approved by President Biden So Far

  • Appropriations for FY 2022 and 2023  ( $1.4 trillion debt increase )   –President Biden signed full-year omnibus appropriations bills for  FY 2022 and  2023 , boosting nominal appropriations by 6 percent and then 9 percent. While those bills only set funding for those specific years, future-year projected levels are calculated by assuming continued inflation growth. This is consistent with the reality that appropriators generally work from the prior year’s spending levels. Based on CBO, we estimate the FY 2022 omnibus directly increased spending by $50 billion and indirectly by $519 billion above baseline, while the FY 2023 omnibus increased spending directly by $58 billion and base discretionary spending indirectly by $511 billion. Interest costs added $175 billion more. Both laws’ impacts on baseline deficits would be substantially smaller had they been scored against an updated CBO baseline that reflected actual inflation rather than projections – the bulk of the increases under both laws kept spending apace with the very-high rate of inflation for those years.
  • The Honoring Our PACT Act ( $520 billion debt increase )   – Enacted in August 2022, the PACT Act created new benefits for veterans exposed to toxic substances during their tours of duty, expanded existing health and disability benefits, and modified eligibility tests that allowed more veterans to automatically qualify for benefits. Although veterans’ health spending is generally discretionary, the PACT Act allowed the cost of the expansion to be classified as mandatory spending and allowed lawmakers to  shift existing discretionary costs to the mandatory side of the budget. Based on CBO’s score, the PACT Act increased spending by between $277 billion and $667 billion, depending on how much funding was reclassified. Our estimate reflects the midpoint (plus interest), which policymakers effectively codified in the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023. 
  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law  ( $439 billion debt increase )   – The 2021  Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act authorized more than $500 billion of direct spending and tax breaks related to surface transportation, broadband, energy and water, transit, and other infrastructure. The law also increased baseline levels of highway spending, translating to more than $50 billion in indirect costs. While lawmakers claimed that it was fully paid for at the time of passage, CBO determined that it only contained $173 billion of scorable savings, leading to $439 billion of new borrowing when interest is included.
  • Other Legislation  ( $422 billion debt increase )  –  President Biden signed several other bipartisan pieces of legislation during his first term. This includes  several   packages   of aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Gaza, additional emergency spending related to disaster relief and military readiness, $80 billion of investments and tax credits to encourage onshoring manufacturing facilities for semiconductors in the CHIPS and Science Act, and additional FY 2024 appropriations spending based on  “side deals” to the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
  • Student Debt Actions ( $620 billion debt increase )   – The Biden Administration has instituted several changes to the federal student loan program through executive actions. Most significantly, the Education Department introduced the Savings on a Valuable Education (SAVE)  income-driven repayment (IDR) program , which reduced required payments and interest accrual for those enrolled, among other changes – estimated to cost $276 billion. In addition, President Biden extended the  pause of student debt repayments and cancellation of interest for 31 months at a cost of $146 billion. And finally, President Biden enacted a number of targeted debt cancellation measures, including expansions of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and cancellation of debt borrowed for institutions that closed or were found to be fraudulent, at a cost of $145 billion. President Biden also enacted a policy to cancel up to $20,000 per borrower of student debt that would have cost an additional $330 billion (after interactions with the SAVE plan), but this was ruled illegal by the Supreme Court. Recently, the Administration introduced  an alternative debt cancellation plan that could cost between $250 and $750 billion, though it has yet to be implemented and is not counted here because our estimates only include regulations that have been finalized through the full rulemaking process.
  • Other Executive Actions  ( $548 billion debt increase )   – President Biden has also expanded deficits through other executive actions. Most significantly, he approved over $200 billion of borrowing by  changing the way Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits – also known as food stamps – are calculated and adjusted. More recently, the Administration announced a rule to limit vehicle emissions, which we estimate will add nearly $170 billion to the debt by boosting the cost of electric vehicle tax credits expanded under the IRA and reducing gas tax revenue. Other executive actions will add a combined $180 billion to the debt by expanding Medicaid enrollment, changing the way prescription drug price concessions are considered by Medicare plans, addressing the ACA’s “family glitch,” allowing states to boost Medicaid payments to managed care plans to pull in additional federal dollars, and an expansion of allowed income for Supplemental Security Income recipient households.
  • Fiscal Responsibility Act ( $1.5 trillion debt reduction )   – In June 2023, President Biden signed the bipartisan Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), which capped discretionary spending for FY 2024 and 2025, among other changes. The FRA set 2024 nondefense discretionary levels to 5 percent below the 2023 level, set defense to be 3 percent higher, and set both to grow by 1 percent between 2024 and 2025. These  caps, along with other measures, were scored to generate over $250 billion of direct savings and also reduce the baseline for future spending to generate an additional $1.1 trillion of additional savings. With interest, the FRA was estimated to reduce deficits by $1.5 trillion over a decade. Importantly, negotiators at the time agreed to a number of  “side deals” mentioned above that would reduce the FRA’s savings to roughly $1 trillion if enacted in full in future appropriations bills. A different but similar set of side deals were enacted for FY 2024 and added about $85 billion to deficits – these are included in the “other legislation” category. Additional side deals will not be counted until enacted.
  • Inflation Reduction Act  ( $252 billion debt reduction )   – In August 2022, President Biden signed the  Inflation Reduction Act (IRA ) into law, a reconciliation bill focused on energy, health care, and tax changes. The IRA established new and increased existing energy- and climate-related spending and tax credits, expanded ACA health insurance subsidies, required prescription drug negotiations and other drug pricing reforms, introduced a 15 percent corporate “book minimum tax,” established an excise tax on stock buybacks, increased funding to the IRS to close the tax gap, and made other changes. At the time of passage,  CBO and JCT estimated the IRA’s tax breaks and spending would reduce revenue and increase spending by about $500 billion, while its offsets would generate almost $740 billion. Recent estimates of the impact of repealing the IRA tax credits suggest these provisions will reduce revenue and increase spending by $260 billion higher than the official score; at the same time, the IRA’s offsets are also likely to raise more in revenue. On net, we expect a full re-estimate of the IRA would score as roughly budget neutral through 2031, excluding effects related to subsequent regulatory changes. This analysis attributes the additional cost of these regulations as executive actions.
  • Deficit-Reducing Executive Actions  ( $129 billion debt reduction )   –President Biden approved two other executive actions that would result in savings over a decade, including changes to payments for Medicare Advantage plans and a temporary stay of the subsequently repealed Trump prescription drug rebate rule.
  • American Rescue Plan Act  ( $2.1 trillion debt increase )  –  Enacted in the Spring of 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act was the final piece of legislation that contained many major components designed to provide COVID relief. It included several extensions of enhanced unemployment benefits, additional relief checks of $1,400 per person, and a slew of funding for state and local governments, educational institutions, health care providers, public health agencies, and others. The legislation also included  about $300 billion of policies that we have described as extraneous to the COVID crisis – including a pension bailout and expansions of the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, health insurance subsidies, and child care tax credit – and roughly $100 billion of offsets.

Appendix III: Methodology 

This analysis estimates the additional borrowing approved by Presidents Trump and Biden through tax and spending changes passed by Congress or contained in executive actions from their administrations. It does not estimate the amount of debt that accumulated over their terms, which partially reflects actions taken prior to their time in office and does not account for the fiscal impact of the actions approved by the President but incurred outside of his four-year term. We will publish changes in debt during their terms in a supplemental analysis.

Our analysis incorporates all major pieces of legislation and executive actions – those with more than $10 billion of ten-year budget impact – approved by Presidents Trump and Biden. Estimates rely on ten-year budget scores, as under standard convention. In order to rely on official scores wherever possible, however, all estimates are based on the ten-year budget window at the time of enactment – meaning different policies cover different time frames and thus are not purely additive or comparable.

In general, estimates rely on official estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) presented prospectively. When such scores are not available or not comprehensive, we may use estimates from the Office of Management and Budget, the regulatory agencies, or our own estimates. 

Estimates are not updated to incorporate data and results made available well after implementation; no legislation signed by either President Trump or President Biden has been re-estimated in full to incorporate observed costs or effects, and partial updates would bias the overall numbers. However, possible differences between initial scores and actual costs, including from the TCJA, the IRA, and COVID relief, are discussed throughout this paper.

Estimates incorporate impact on interest costs, which we calculate using the most recent CBO debt service tool at the time of enactment, unless interest impact is included in the estimate. Estimates are generally based on conventional scoring, but in the case of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, we incorporate macroeconomic impacts as estimated by CBO shortly after enactment.

All estimates are in nominal dollars at the time of approval, which means deficit impact from earlier budget windows generally represent a larger share of GDP per dollar due to higher price levels and output over time. 

Finally, the estimates are based on the policies as written and do not try to correct for arbitrary cliffs, side agreements, or other budget gimmicks that may create a misleading picture of the intended fiscal impact of the policy.

1 Our estimates compare ten-year estimates of each action before implementation, generally using prospective scores of policies and adding them together despite being over different windows. Although this is not a perfect apples-to-apples comparison for a variety of reasons, it allows us to rely on official numbers and continue to compare over time. See the methodology section for a more detailed explanation.

2 Many pieces of legislation with fiscal impact include tax and spending changes that both add to and reduce projected deficits. The $8.8 trillion figure is based on the net deficit impact of deficit-increasing bills, rather than the gross deficit increases within those bills. For example, the $1.9 trillion impact of the TCJA represents the combination of tax cuts, base broadening, lower spending as a result of repealing the individual mandate penalty, interest, and dynamic effects on revenue and spending.

3 The larger deficit impact from the TCJA is due to a combination of a larger nominal tax base, lower health savings from individual mandate repeal, the unexpected use of a SALT cap workaround, reduced revenue collection from the limit on pass-through losses, higher revenue loss related to bonus depreciation, and other factors.

4 Due to higher prices and output, greater demand for subsidized activities, and laxer-than-expected regulations, the IRA’s energy provisions are now expected to have a fiscal impact of  $660 billion – about two-thirds more than the original estimate of roughly $400 billion. This excludes the effects of the Administration’s vehicle emissions rule, which we’ve scored separately. At the same time, revenue collection under the IRA is also likely to be higher in light of  higher-than-projected nominal corporate profits , greater expected  voluntary tax compliance , and less-than-expected responsiveness to the buyback tax. Overall, we believe a re-estimate of the IRA would be roughly budget neutral. The emissions rule approved by President Biden would increase deficits by about $170 billion – mainly by further increasing the fiscal impact of the IRA tax credits – and is included in our tally of his executive actions.

5 In a previous analysis, we estimated that  $500 to 650 billion of COVID relief was extraneous – unrelated to the pandemic or subsequent economic fallout – including $300 to $335 billion enacted under President Trump and $200 to $315 billion under President Biden. These prior estimates are not perfectly comparable to estimates in this paper but give a sense of scale. In additional analyses, we estimated that the American Rescue plan likely  significantly overshot the output gap it was aiming to close while providing excessive relief to a number of sectors. There were also excesses and lack of targeting in earlier COVID relief packages, including as it related to  stimulus checks , the additional $600 of weekly  unemployment benefits , and the  Paycheck Protection Program.

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College of Science and Engineering

Four new CSE department heads begin in 2024-25

Portrait of four new department heads

They bring a wealth of academic, research, and leadership abilities

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (07/01/2024)—University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering Dean Andrew Alleyne has named four new department heads in the college. All bring a wealth of academic, research, and leadership abilities to their departments.

Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Professor Kevin Dorfman has been appointed as the new d epartment h ead for the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science (CEMS). Dorfman started his five-year term on July 1, 2024.

Dorfman joined the University of Minnesota faculty in January of 2006 and was quickly promoted up the ranks, receiving tenure in 2011, promotion to professor in 2015, and named a Distinguished McKnight Professor in 2020. He previously served as the director of undergraduate studies in chemical engineering from 2018-2022, where he headed a large-scale revision of the chemical engineering curriculum and saw the department through its most recent ABET accreditation. 

His research focuses on polymer physics and microfluidics, with applications in self-assembly and biotechnology. He is particularly well known for his integrated experimental and computational work on DNA confinement in nanochannels and its application towards genome mapping. Dorfman’s research has been recognized by numerous national awards including the AIChE Colburn Award, Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, NSF CAREER Award, and DARPA Young Faculty Award.

Dorfman received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Penn State and a master’s and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from MIT. 

Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Professor Archis  Ghate has been appointed as the new Department Head for the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering after a national search. Ghate will begin his five-year term on July 8, 2024. 

Ghate is an expert in operations research and most recently served as the Fluor Endowed Chair in the Department of Industrial Engineering at Clemson University. Previously, he was a professor of industrial and systems engineering at the University of Washington. He has won several research and teaching awards, including an NSF CAREER Award. 

Ghate’s research in optimization spans areas as varied as health care, transportation and logistics, manufacturing, economics, and business analytics. He also served as a principal research scientist at Amazon working on supply chain optimization technologies. 

Ghate received bachelor’s and master’s degrees, both in chemical engineering, from the Indian Institute of Technology. He also received a master’s degree in management science and engineering from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan.

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Professor Chris Hogan has been appointed as the new department head for the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Hogan started his five-year term on July 1, 2024.

Hogan, who currently holds the Carl and Janet Kuhrmeyer Chair, joined the University of Minnesota in 2009, and since then has taught fluid mechanics and heat transfer to nearly 1,000 undergraduates, advised 25+ Ph.D. students and postdoctoral associates, and served as the department’s director of graduate studies from 2015-2020. He most recently served as associate department head. 

He is a leading expert in particle science with applications including supersonic-to-hypersonic particle impacts with surfaces, condensation and coagulation, agricultural sprays, and virus aerosol sampling and control technologies. He has authored and co-authored more than 160 papers on these topics. He currently serves as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Aerosol Science . Hogan received the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering’s George W. Taylor Award for Distinguished Research in 2023.

Hogan holds a bachelor’s degree Cornell University and a Ph.D. from Washington University in Saint Louis.

School of Physics and Astronomy

Professor James Kakalios   has been appointed   as the new department head for the School of Physics and Astronomy. Kakalios started his five-year term on July 1, 2024.

Since joining the School of Physics and Astronomy in 1988, Kakalios has built a research program in experimental condensed matter physics, with particular emphasis on complex and disordered systems. His research ranges from the nano to the neuro with experimental investigations of the electronic and optical properties of nanostructured semiconductors and fluctuation phenomena in neurological systems.

During his time at the University of Minnesota, Kakalios has served as both director of undergraduate studies and director of graduate studies. He has received numerous awards and professorships including the University’s Taylor Distinguished Professorship, Andrew Gemant Award from the American Institute of Physics, and the Award for Public Engagement with Science from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is a fellow of both the American Physical Society and AAAS. 

In addition to numerous research publications, Kakalios is the author of three popular science books— The Physics of Superheroes , The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics , and The Physics of Everyday Things .

Kaklios received a bachelor’s degree from City College of New York and master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago.

Rhonda Zurn, College of Science and Engineering,  [email protected]

University Public Relations,  [email protected]

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Public Trust in Government: 1958-2024

Public trust in the federal government, which has been low for decades, has increased modestly since 2023 . As of April 2024, 22% of Americans say they trust the government in Washington to do what is right “just about always” (2%) or “most of the time” (21%). Last year, 16% said they trusted the government just about always or most of the time, which was among the lowest measures in nearly seven decades of polling.

Date.Individual pollsMoving average
5/19/2024PEW2222
6/11/2023PEW1619
5/01/2022PEW2020
4/11/2021PEW2421
8/2/2020PEW2024
4/12/2020PEW2721
3/25/2019PEW1717
12/04/2017PEW1818
4/11/2017PEW2019
10/04/2015PEW1918
7/20/2014CNN1419
2/26/2014PEW2418
11/15/2013CBS/NYT1720
10/13/2013PEW1919
5/31/2013CBS/NYT2020
2/06/2013CBS/NYT2022
1/13/2013PEW2623
10/31/2012NES2219
10/19/2011CBS/NYT1017
10/04/2011PEW2015
9/23/2011CNN1518
8/21/2011PEW1921
2/28/2011PEW2923
10/21/2010CBS/NYT2223
10/01/2010CBS/NYT1821
9/06/2010PEW2423
9/01/2010CNN2523
4/05/2010CBS/NYT2023
4/05/2010PEW2522
3/21/2010PEW2224
2/12/2010CNN2622
2/05/2010CBS/NYT1921
1/10/2010GALLUP1920
12/20/2009CNN2021
8/31/2009CBS/NYT2422
6/12/2009CBS/NYT2023
12/21/2008CNN2625
10/15/2008NES3124
10/13/2008CBS/NYT1724
7/09/2007CBS/NYT2424
1/09/2007PEW3128
10/08/2006CBS/NYT2929
9/15/2006CBS/NYT2830
2/05/2006PEW3431
1/20/2006CBS/NYT3233
1/06/2006GALLUP3232
12/02/2005CBS/NYT3232
9/11/2005PEW3131
9/09/2005CBS/NYT2930
6/19/2005GALLUP3035
10/15/2004NES4639
7/15/2004CBS/NYT4041
3/21/2004PEW3638
10/26/2003GALLUP3736
7/27/2003CBS/NYT3643
10/15/2002NES5546
9/04/2002GALLUP4646
9/02/2002CBS/NYT3840
7/13/2002CBS/NYT3840
6/17/2002GALLUP4443
1/24/2002CBS/NYT4646
12/07/2001CBS/NYT4849
10/25/2001CBS/NYT5554
10/06/2001GALLUP6049
1/17/2001CBS/NYT3144
10/31/2000CBS/NYT4038
10/15/2000NES4442
7/09/2000GALLUP4239
4/02/2000ABC/POST3138
2/14/2000PEW4034
10/03/1999CBS/NYT3036
9/14/1999CBS/NYT3833
5/16/1999PEW3133
2/21/1999PEW3131
2/12/1999ABC/POST3232
2/04/1999GALLUP3334
1/10/1999CBS/NYT3734
1/03/1999CBS/NYT3337
12/01/1998NES4033
11/15/1998PEW2630
11/01/1998CBS/NYT2426
10/26/1998CBS/NYT2628
8/10/1998ABC/POST3431
2/22/1998PEW3435
2/01/1998GALLUP3933
1/25/1998CBS/NYT2632
1/19/1998ABC/POST3132
10/31/1997PEW3931
8/27/1997ABC/POST2231
6/01/1997GALLUP3226
1/14/1997CBS/NYT2327
11/02/1996CBS/NYT2527
10/15/1996NES3328
5/12/1996GALLUP2731
5/06/1996ABC/POST3429
11/19/1995ABC/POST2527
8/07/1995GALLUP2222
8/05/1995CBS/NYT2021
3/19/1995ABC/POST2220
2/22/1995CBS/NYT1821
12/01/1994NES2221
10/29/1994CBS/NYT2222
10/23/1994ABC/POST2220
6/06/1994GALLUP1719
1/30/1994GALLUP1920
1/20/1994ABC/POST2422
3/24/1993GALLUP2225
1/17/1993ABC/POST2825
1/14/1993CBS/NYT2425
10/23/1992CBS/NYT2225
10/15/1992NES2925
6/08/1992GALLUP2329
10/20/1991ABC/POST3535
3/06/1991CBS/NYT4742
3/01/1991ABC/POST4546
1/27/1991ABC/POST4640
12/01/1990NES2833
10/28/1990CBS/NYT2532
9/06/1990ABC/POST4235
1/16/1990ABC/POST3838
6/29/1989CBS/NYT3539
1/15/1989CBS/NYT4441
11/10/1988CBS/NYT4443
10/15/1988NES4141
1/23/1988ABC/POST3940
10/18/1987CBS/NYT4143
6/01/1987ABC/POST4743
3/01/1987CBS/NYT4244
1/21/1987CBS/NYT4343
1/19/1987ABC/POST4442
12/01/1986NES3944
11/30/1986CBS/NYT4943
9/09/1986ABC/POST4044
1/19/1986CBS/NYT4244
11/06/1985CBS/NYT4943
7/29/1985ABC/POST3842
3/21/1985ABC/POST3740
2/27/1985CBS/NYT4642
2/22/1985ABC/POST4345
11/14/1984CBS/NYT4644
10/15/1984NES4441
12/01/1982NES3339
11/07/1980CBS/NYT3932
10/15/1980NES2530
3/12/1980CBS/NYT2627
11/03/1979CBS/NYT3028
12/01/1978NES2931
10/23/1977CBS/NYT3332
4/25/1977CBS/NYT3534
10/15/1976NES3336
9/05/1976CBS/NYT4035
6/15/1976CBS/NYT3335
3/01/1976GALLUP3334
2/08/1976CBS/NYT3635
12/01/1974NES3636
10/15/1972NES5353
12/01/1970NES5454
10/15/1968NES6262
12/01/1966NES6565
10/15/1964NES7777
12/01/1958NES7373

When the National Election Study began asking about trust in government in 1958, about three-quarters of Americans trusted the federal government to do the right thing almost always or most of the time.

Trust in government began eroding during the 1960s, amid the escalation of the Vietnam War, and the decline continued in the 1970s with the Watergate scandal and worsening economic struggles.

Confidence in government recovered in the mid-1980s before falling again in the mid-’90s. But as the economy grew in the late 1990s, so too did trust in government. Public trust reached a three-decade high shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks but declined quickly after. Since 2007, the shares saying they can trust the government always or most of the time have not been higher than 30%.

Today, 35% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say they trust the federal government just about always or most of the time, compared with 11% of Republicans and Republican leaners.

Democrats report slightly more trust in the federal government today than a year ago. Republicans’ views have been relatively unchanged over this period.

Since the 1970s, trust in government has been consistently higher among members of the party that controls the White House than among the opposition party.

Republicans have often been more reactive than Democrats to changes in political leadership, with Republicans expressing much lower levels of trust during Democratic presidencies. Democrats’ attitudes have tended to be somewhat more consistent, regardless of which party controls the White House.

However, Republican and Democratic shifts in attitudes from the end of Donald Trump’s presidency to the start of Joe Biden’s were roughly the same magnitude.

Date.Democrat/Lean DemRepublican/Lean Rep
5/19/2024PEW3511
6/11/2023PEW258
5/1/2022PEW299
4/11/2021PEW369
8/2/2020PEW1228
4/12/2020PEW1836
3/25/2019PEW1421
12/04/2017PEW1522
4/11/2017PEW1528
10/04/2015PEW2611
7/20/2014CNN1711
2/26/2014PEW3216
11/15/2013CBS/NYT318
10/13/2013PEW2710
5/31/2013CBS/NYT308
2/06/2013CBS/NYT348
1/13/2013PEW3715
10/31/2012NES2916
10/19/2011CBS/NYT138
10/04/2011PEW2712
9/23/2011CNN2011
8/21/2011PEW2513
3/01/2011PEW3424
10/21/2010CBS/NYT367
10/01/2010CBS/NYT2713
9/06/2010PEW3513
9/01/2010CNN3118
4/05/2010CBS/NYT2714
3/21/2010PEW3213
2/12/2010CNN3418
2/05/2010CBS/NYT319
1/10/2010GALLUP2316
12/20/2009CNN2516
8/31/2009CBS/NYT3412
6/12/2009CBS/NYT3510
12/21/2008CNN3022
10/15/2008NES3431
10/13/2008CBS/NYT1219
7/09/2007CBS/NYT1831
1/09/2007PEW2243
10/08/2006CBS/NYT2050
9/15/2006CBS/NYT2044
2/05/2006PEW2053
1/20/2006CBS/NYT2351
1/06/2006GALLUP2044
12/02/2005CBS/NYT1952
9/11/2005PEW1949
9/09/2005CBS/NYT2142
6/19/2005GALLUP2436
10/15/2004NES3561
3/21/2004PEW2455
10/26/2003GALLUP3542
7/27/2003CBS/NYT2551
10/15/2002NES5263
9/04/2002GALLUP3855
9/02/2002CBS/NYT3252
7/13/2002CBS/NYT3445
6/17/2002GALLUP3355
1/24/2002CBS/NYT3956
12/07/2001CBS/NYT3960
10/25/2001CBS/NYT4770
10/06/2001GALLUP5268
1/17/2001CBS/NYT2638
10/15/2000NES4843
7/09/2000GALLUP4241
4/02/2000ABC/POST3824
2/14/2000PEW4637
10/03/1999CBS/NYT3127
9/14/1999CBS/NYT4235
5/16/1999PEW3630
2/21/1999PEW3525
2/12/1999ABC/POST4121
2/04/1999GALLUP3829
1/10/1999CBS/NYT4233
1/03/1999CBS/NYT3729
12/01/1998NES4535
11/19/1998PEW3123
11/01/1998CBS/NYT2822
10/26/1998CBS/NYT2825
8/10/1998ABC/POST4030
2/22/1998PEW4228
2/01/1998GALLUP5226
1/25/1998CBS/NYT3122
10/31/1997PEW4632
6/01/1997GALLUP3925
1/14/1997CBS/NYT2920
11/02/1996CBS/NYT3120
10/15/1996NES4027
5/12/1996GALLUP3220
5/06/1996ABC/POST4135
11/19/1995ABC/POST2726
8/07/1995GALLUP2421
8/05/1995CBS/NYT2020
3/19/1995ABC/POST2720
2/22/1995CBS/NYT1819
12/01/1994NES2618
10/29/1994CBS/NYT2619
10/23/1994ABC/POST2716
6/06/1994GALLUP2311
1/30/1994GALLUP2514
1/20/1994ABC/POST3018
3/24/1993GALLUP3211
1/17/1993ABC/POST3225
1/14/1993CBS/NYT2621
10/23/1992CBS/NYT1731
10/15/1992NES3134
6/08/1992GALLUP1731
10/20/1991ABC/POST3141
3/06/1991CBS/NYT4056
3/01/1991ABC/POST4152
12/01/1990NES2632
10/28/1990CBS/NYT2131
9/06/1990ABC/POST3748
1/16/1990ABC/POST3246
6/29/1989CBS/NYT2745
1/15/1989CBS/NYT3754
11/10/1988CBS/NYT3658
10/15/1988NES3551
1/23/1988ABC/POST3151
10/18/1987CBS/NYT3647
6/01/1987ABC/POST3859
3/01/1987CBS/NYT3454
1/21/1987CBS/NYT3651
1/19/1987ABC/POST3951
12/01/1986NES3153
11/30/1986CBS/NYT3763
9/09/1986ABC/POST3051
1/19/1986CBS/NYT3651
11/06/1985CBS/NYT4259
7/29/1985ABC/POST3048
3/21/1985ABC/POST2949
2/22/1985ABC/POST3062
11/14/1984CBS/NYT3659
10/15/1984NES4150
12/01/1982NES3241
11/07/1980CBS/NYT4042
10/15/1980NES3123
3/12/1980CBS/NYT3022
11/03/1979CBS/NYT3228
12/01/1978NES3326
10/23/1977CBS/NYT4025
4/25/1977CBS/NYT3734
10/15/1976NES3042
9/05/1976CBS/NYT3845
6/15/1976CBS/NYT3636
3/01/1976GALLUP3140
12/01/1974NES3638
10/15/1972NES4862
12/01/1970NES5261
10/15/1968NES6660
12/01/1966NES7154
10/15/1964NES8073
12/01/1958NES7179
Date.Liberal Dem/Lean DemCons-Moderate Dem/Lean DemModerate-Lib Rep/Lean RepConservative Rep/Lean Rep
5/19/2024PEW3336177
6/11/2023PEW2327144
5/1/2022PEW2632137
4/11/2021PEW3140165
8/2/2020PEW8163127
4/12/2020PEW12223737
3/25/2019PEW13152120
12/04/2017PEW15162620
4/11/2017PEW15163226
10/04/2015PEW2825149
7/20/2014CNN1916157
2/26/2014PEW31332113
11/15/2013CBS/NYT3825135
10/13/2013PEW2527167
5/31/2013CBS/NYT3030164
2/06/2013CBS/NYT353497
1/13/2013PEW34371714
10/31/2012NES26321815
10/19/2011CBS/NYT913117
10/04/2011PEW3025149
9/23/2011CNN30161111
8/21/2011PEW26241810
3/01/2011PEW36333218
10/21/2010CBS/NYT3735124
10/01/2010CBS/NYT34221016
9/06/2010PEW39311910
9/01/2010CNN36302811
4/05/2010CBS/NYT3721237
3/21/2010PEW36311911
2/12/2010CNN3634259
2/05/2010CBS/NYT3132137
1/10/2010GALLUP29222012
12/20/2009CNN31231813
8/31/2009CBS/NYT38301410
6/12/2009CBS/NYT4234138
12/21/2008CNN36282817
10/15/2008NES37344828
10/13/2008CBS/NYT16122612
7/09/2007CBS/NYT14213828
1/09/2007PEW15254145
10/08/2006CBS/NYT14225051
9/15/2006CBS/NYT11234444
2/05/2006PEW13235254
1/20/2006CBS/NYT27215250
1/06/2006GALLUP10263356
12/02/2005CBS/NYT16216047
9/11/2005PEW13223954
9/09/2005CBS/NYT12264641
6/19/2005GALLUP25243141
10/15/2004NES24396359
3/21/2004PEW23245356
10/26/2003GALLUP23393152
7/27/2003CBS/NYT21275547
10/15/2002NES53566661
9/04/2002GALLUP31405060
9/02/2002CBS/NYT32325553
7/13/2002CBS/NYT37335042
6/17/2002GALLUP30365955
1/24/2002CBS/NYT38395854
12/07/2001CBS/NYT34436158
10/06/2001GALLUP46556669
1/17/2001CBS/NYT33244133
10/15/2000NES58525444
7/09/2000GALLUP41425035
4/02/2000ABC/POST38392820
10/03/1999CBS/NYT26332924
9/14/1999CBS/NYT38454227
2/12/1999ABC/POST40432616
2/04/1999GALLUP36403327
1/10/1999CBS/NYT39444028
1/03/1999CBS/NYT34393126
12/01/1998NES45463934
11/01/1998CBS/NYT28282322
10/26/1998CBS/NYT30282226
8/10/1998ABC/POST38352427
2/01/1998GALLUP55523323
1/25/1998CBS/NYT24312419
6/01/1997GALLUP41383121
1/14/1997CBS/NYT30282514
11/02/1996CBS/NYT30322119
10/15/1996NES38393025
5/12/1996GALLUP25352518
5/06/1996ABC/POST41413933
11/19/1995ABC/POST26272628
8/07/1995GALLUP16271725
8/05/1995CBS/NYT21191923
3/19/1995ABC/POST24282217
2/22/1995CBS/NYT20182217
12/01/1994NES22282116
10/29/1994CBS/NYT26272315
10/23/1994ABC/POST32252211
6/06/1994GALLUP1626159
1/30/1994GALLUP20271812
1/20/1994ABC/POST26312510
1/17/1993ABC/POST30332822
1/14/1993CBS/NYT17302020
10/23/1992CBS/NYT20153032
10/15/1992NES26333731
6/08/1992GALLUP13193130
10/20/1991ABC/POST25334239
3/06/1991CBS/NYT46395756
3/01/1991ABC/POST39415450
12/01/1990NES27263133
9/06/1990ABC/POST34394945
1/16/1990ABC/POST28345039
6/29/1989CBS/NYT27273855
1/15/1989CBS/NYT33385654
11/10/1988CBS/NYT24406552
10/15/1988NES34355251
1/23/1988ABC/POST30315449
10/18/1987CBS/NYT34374749
6/01/1987ABC/POST34416055
1/21/1987CBS/NYT34375448
1/19/1987ABC/POST37385251
12/01/1986NES25365353
9/09/1986ABC/POST25345544
1/19/1986CBS/NYT34385152
11/06/1985CBS/NYT42436056
7/29/1985ABC/POST26335341
3/21/1985ABC/POST27295248
2/22/1985ABC/POST28336263
10/15/1984NES34475246
12/01/1982NES29354838
11/07/1980CBS/NYT38424441
10/15/1980NES34282818
3/12/1980CBS/NYT31292518
11/03/1979CBS/NYT34312826
12/01/1978NES38332424
10/23/1977CBS/NYT41413216
4/25/1977CBS/NYT41383336
10/15/1976NES27344941
9/05/1976CBS/NYT33424545
6/15/1976CBS/NYT35353934
12/01/1974NES36403940
10/15/1972NES44536266

Among Asian, Hispanic and Black adults, 36%, 30% and 27% respectively say they trust the federal government “most of the time” or “just about always” – higher levels of trust than among White adults (19%).

During the last Democratic administration, Black and Hispanic adults similarly expressed more trust in government than White adults. Throughout most recent Republican administrations, White Americans were substantially more likely than Black Americans to express trust in the federal government to do the right thing.

Date.HispanicBlackWhiteAsian
5/19/2024PEW30271936
6/11/2023PEW23211323
5/1/2022PEW29241637
4/11/2021PEW36371829
8/2/2020PEW28151827
4/12/2020PEW292726
3/25/2019PEW28917
12/04/2017PEW231517
4/11/2017PEW241320
10/04/2015PEW282315
7/20/2014CNN9
2/26/2014PEW332622
11/15/2013CBS/NYT12
10/13/2013PEW212417
5/31/2013CBS/NYT15
2/06/2013CBS/NYT3915
1/13/2013PEW443820
10/31/2012NES383816
10/19/2011CBS/NYT15158
10/04/2011PEW292517
9/23/2011CNN10
8/21/2011PEW283515
3/01/2011PEW282530
10/21/2010CBS/NYT4015
10/01/2010CBS/NYT17
9/06/2010PEW373720
9/01/2010CNN21
4/05/2010CBS/NYT18
3/21/2010PEW263720
2/12/2010CNN22
2/05/2010CBS/NYT16
1/10/2010GALLUP16
12/20/2009CNN2118
8/31/2009CBS/NYT21
6/12/2009CBS/NYT16
12/21/2008CNN22
10/15/2008NES342830
10/13/2008CBS/NYT18
7/09/2007CBS/NYT1125
1/09/2007PEW352032
10/08/2006CBS/NYT31
9/15/2006CBS/NYT31
2/05/2006PEW2636
1/20/2006CBS/NYT1934
1/06/2006GALLUP33
12/02/2005CBS/NYT35
9/11/2005PEW1232
9/09/2005CBS/NYT1229
6/19/2005GALLUP32
10/15/2004NES3450
3/21/2004PEW1741
10/26/2003GALLUP39
7/27/2003CBS/NYT1937
10/15/2002NES4158
9/04/2002GALLUP46
9/02/2002CBS/NYT39
7/13/2002CBS/NYT39
6/17/2002GALLUP48
1/24/2002CBS/NYT48
12/07/2001CBS/NYT51
10/25/2001CBS/NYT60
10/06/2001GALLUP61
1/17/2001CBS/NYT33
10/15/2000NES3246
7/09/2000GALLUP41
4/02/2000ABC/POST28
2/14/2000PEW3640
10/03/1999CBS/NYT28
9/14/1999CBS/NYT3039
5/16/1999PEW2831
2/21/1999PEW3231
2/12/1999ABC/POST32
2/04/1999GALLUP33
1/10/1999CBS/NYT3735
1/03/1999CBS/NYT3931
12/01/1998NES573638
11/19/1998PEW2726
11/01/1998CBS/NYT2922
10/26/1998CBS/NYT2625
8/10/1998ABC/POST33
2/22/1998PEW4233
2/01/1998GALLUP36
1/25/1998CBS/NYT25
10/31/1997PEW3938
6/01/1997GALLUP3132
1/14/1997CBS/NYT1524
11/02/1996CBS/NYT313024
10/15/1996NES3532
5/12/1996GALLUP24
5/06/1996ABC/POST34
11/19/1995ABC/POST26
8/07/1995GALLUP22
8/05/1995CBS/NYT2419
3/19/1995ABC/POST2721
2/22/1995CBS/NYT2017
12/01/1994NES2220
10/29/1994CBS/NYT1622
10/23/1994ABC/POST21
6/06/1994GALLUP15
1/30/1994GALLUP17
1/20/1994ABC/POST3421
3/24/1993GALLUP20
1/17/1993ABC/POST4525
1/14/1993CBS/NYT2224
10/23/1992CBS/NYT2123
10/15/1992NES372728
6/08/1992GALLUP23
10/20/1991ABC/POST2936
3/06/1991CBS/NYT3049
3/01/1991ABC/POST3546
12/01/1990NES392227
10/28/1990CBS/NYT2625
9/06/1990ABC/POST3943
1/16/1990ABC/POST3538
6/29/1989CBS/NYT2636
1/15/1989CBS/NYT3346
11/10/1988CBS/NYT3345
10/15/1988NES2543
1/23/1988ABC/POST2941
10/18/1987CBS/NYT3241
6/01/1987ABC/POST3449
3/01/1987CBS/NYT2045
1/21/1987CBS/NYT2746
1/19/1987ABC/POST3147
12/01/1986NES2142
11/30/1986CBS/NYT2352
9/09/1986ABC/POST2642
1/19/1986CBS/NYT2245
11/06/1985CBS/NYT3452
7/29/1985ABC/POST2240
3/21/1985ABC/POST2940
2/22/1985ABC/POST2446
10/15/1984NES3346
12/01/1982NES2634
11/07/1980CBS/NYT3040
10/15/1980NES2625
3/12/1980CBS/NYT3524
11/03/1979CBS/NYT3629
12/01/1978NES2929
10/23/1977CBS/NYT2834
4/25/1977CBS/NYT3435
10/15/1976NES2235
6/15/1976CBS/NYT3534
3/01/1976GALLUP2334
12/01/1974NES1938
10/15/1972NES3256
12/01/1970NES4055
10/15/1968NES6261
12/01/1966NES6565
10/15/1964NES7777
12/01/1958NES6274

Note: For full question wording, refer to the topline . White, Black and Asian American adults include those who report being one race and are not Hispanic. Hispanics are of any race. Estimates for Asian adults are representative of English speakers only.

Sources: Pew Research Center, National Election Studies, Gallup, ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, and CNN Polls. Data from 2020 and later comes from Pew Research Center’s online American Trends Panel; prior data is from telephone surveys. Details about changes in survey mode can be found in this 2020 report . Read more about the Center’s polling methodology . For analysis by party and race/ethnicity, selected datasets were obtained from searches of the iPOLL Databank provided by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research .

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ABOUT PEW RESEARCH CENTER  Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of  The Pew Charitable Trusts .

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  • DOI: 10.3390/applbiosci3020014
  • Corpus ID: 269672279

Impact of Salinity Fluctuations on Dunaliella salina Biomass Production

  • Angelica Naka , Midori Kurahashi
  • Published in Applied Biosciences 8 May 2024
  • Environmental Science, Biology

18 References

Sedimentation rate of dunaliella salina in dark conditions, perspectives on microalgal co₂-emission mitigation systems--a review., genomic adaptations of the green alga dunaliella salina to life under high salinity, mass cultivation of dunaliella salina in a flat plate photobioreactor and its effective harvesting., microalgae for biotechnological applications: cultivation, harvesting and biomass processing, microalgal biomass as a fermentation feedstock for bioethanol production, microalgae biorefinery: high value products perspectives., microalgae-based biorefineries: challenges and future trends to produce carbohydrate enriched biomass, high-added value products and bioactive compounds, bioplastic production from microalgae: a review, sustainable aquaculture and animal feed from microalgae – nutritive value and techno-functional components, related papers.

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