We usually think conducting research is important. If our results our promising, we can write the paper anyhow as the results are going to speak for themselves. I was under this impression for a long time until I faced 12 rejections to get my paper published. I learned the hard way that research writing is as important as conducting research.
In this article, I am going to share with you 6 important sections of a research paper, the purpose of each of these sections and the content you should write under each one of them. You can either watch the video or continue reading the post below.
It is the first section of a research paper and it's important because it's one of the first things researchers would read, so you need to make a good impression. Before you start writing the introduction, you need to understand what is the purpose of this section and why are you even writing it. The purpose of the introduction section is to provide the rationale behind the paper and share why your research is important. Below are the points you need to include in this section:
Background: Share historical data, give definitions or explain key terms.
Literature Survey: Share existing evidence of research conducted in the field
Research Gap: Highlight Issues that existing research has not been able to solve yet
Objective: State how your paper is trying to fill in that research gap
Scope: Set the boundary for your research
2. Materials & Methods
The purpose of this section is to explain to your audience the steps you have taken to arrive at the final result or the final product of your research to fulfil that objective. Include the following points in this section:
Materials: List down all the materials used to conduct the experiment
Procedure: Write the step-by-step procedure to arrive at the final result
Data Analysis: Equipment or instrument used to measure or analyze the data.
One thing here that’s important and you need to remember is the reliability of your Materials and Methods. It means that the information should be presented in such a way that if someone tries to repeat your experiments, they should arrive at the same results as you. This established your credibility as a researcher.
3. Results & Discussion
The purpose of this section is to share the findings from your experiments and how these findings will help in overcoming the research gap. In this section, you will present following information:
Data: Visuals, pictures, graphs, tables, or illustrations.
Results: Meaning of the data.
For example, if I have a graph of x = y, that constitutes my data. But when I say that for an equal increase in x, there is an equal increase in y, I am attaching a meaning to that data and that is called as result.
Discussion: Comment on the result in relation to the research objective
The purpose of this section is to remind your readers why you started your research in the first place and finally what you have achieved out of it. So in this section, you will include the following points:
Reiteration: Repeat the objective and review the key findings from your work
Significance: Highlight the broader implications or applications of study and contribution to the research field
Limitations: Share the limitations of the study if any (optional)
Future scope: Provide recommendations for future work
The last section you will see on your research paper would be the references section. Here, you need to give due credit to all the sources or the literature that you have referred to during the course of your research and while writing your paper. You will list down all the sources neatly using a citation style followed by the journal you would be sending your paper to for publication.
Last but not the least is the abstract session of the research paper. Even though it appears right on the top, it should be the last section you write. This is because an abstract is a summary of your research paper and once you have written your entire paper, you will know the key points from all the sections and would be able to draft your abstract very easily. So an abstract includes a summary of the following 5 points:
Motivation or background
Problem statement or Objective
One thing you should remember when writing your abstract is to make it as interesting as possible. This is because readers decide based on your abstract whether they want to read the rest of your paper or not.
So, these are 6 important sections of a research paper. If you have any questions regarding any of them, do leave your comments below, and I will answer them for you. Thank you and wish you all the best for your research paper!