The Main Elements Of A Research Paper: A Detailed Manual

Although a research paper will vary depending on the topic, there are a few essential elements that are common to every research paper. By learning use these elements in their writing, students can make sure that they submit a high-quality, A+ essay to their class.

The Abstract

An abstract is basically a short summary of the research paper. If someone is looking through an academic database, they will only see the title, keywords and abstract. From this information, the reader will have to determine if it is worth the time to actually download the file.

Building the Introduction

Before the literature review, students must include an introduction. This essential element in the research paper will introduce the student's thesis statement and provide background information about the subject. In essence, the introduction is the portion of the document that is supposed to get the reader interested in the essay.

Literature Review

A literature review is one of the main elements of a research paper. Within the review, the writer must discuss the current state of the field and how the current literature relates to their topic.


The methods section is designed to demonstrate the techniques that the student used to get their results. They may discuss some of the materials and data they used or the way that an experiment was conducted.


In the results section, the student must over the things that they have learned from their research. If the thesis statement was incorrect, the student will cover some of the reasons why in the results. In addition, the student can discuss any problems with the methods used or other issues.


The conclusion is the portion of the document that brings everything together. In this section, the student will restate their thesis and discuss any limitations to the study. In addition, the student may want to include some ideas for future studies about the topic.

Bibliography and Sources

At the end of the document, the student will need to attach all of their sources. They should make sure that they have attached their sources in the correct format. Additionally, students will need to list any source that they have quoted or pulled data from. If the source is not quoted, it constitutes plagiarism. Students can look up tips on writing the bibliography in a writing guide or they can use an example essay to structure their bibliography.