What are the main sections of a research paper?


A research paper by definition requires the student to show evidence that they have conducted some research. To do this they will include quotations from relevant and reputable sources. In order to inform the reader as to the source of the quotations, appropriate citation is required. Just how you present this citation of references will depend on the format you have chosen.

But this is just a simple example of one of the sections of a research paper. The other sections are as follows.

  • The introduction which includes the thesis statement.
  • The body paragraphs which contain the main points and supporting data.
  • The conclusion.
  • The bibliography and citation of references.

One excellent tip in helping you create the best quality research paper is to consider each of the main sections as being a separate essay. Of course each of the sections is linked and is a part of the whole and should support other sections. But if you concentrate on a section at a time, provided you understand the purpose of that section, you can polish and get it to the highest standard possible. Then, when all sections have been treated like that, the sum of the parts is an excellent piece of work.

You must include the thesis statement in your introduction. This is a vital component of one of the main sections of your research paper. The body paragraphs will vary in number according to the number of words in your research paper and the amount of information you wish to present. But the golden rule is that only one main point is stated in each body paragraph.

The conclusion is a summary of all that has gone before. Under no circumstances do you introduce new material in the conclusion. It needs to be as succinct as possible and will reinforce all that has been stated previously. It is certainly a main section of a research paper.

And then we come to the appendices or the bibliography or the citation of references. Depending on the requirements of the format you have chosen, these are also a main section. There are rules on how to present the information in these sections and you should do all you can to understand them and use them as required. Understanding the purpose of each main section is essential. With that understanding comes your attention to detail and the end result is a first-class research paper.