Basic structure of a paper in academics
Writing an essay or paper is something that almost every student is going to experience at some point in their academic career. There are many different types of papers that you may be asked to write. Unless otherwise instructed there is a basic essay structure that can be used as a general outline when writing your paper. It can easily be slightly modified as need requires to suit individual purposes. The following serves as a good basic outline when writing an essay:
- Introduction – Identify focus and purpose of the paper. Outline the scope, or areas that the paper will cover. State your thesis.
- Body -Present argument supporting your thesis. As a general rule, one paragraph per point. Each paragraph should state the point, and the rest of the paragraph supports the first sentence.
- Conclusion – Restate your thesis and summarize your argument.
This is a simple but effective structure of a paper that works in many situations. Variations will occur mainly in the body, depending on the way you wish to present your argument. Besides, the use of content keywords will tell what specifically the topic is and what area of the topic should be focused on.
Structuring a research paper
Structuring a research paper follows a slightly more detailed and strict outline than the basic structure of a paper. This is partly in order for a paper to be easily scanned and in part encourages proper research procedure. The following is the basic outline for a research paper:
- Introduction – 1) Presentation of the research inquiry 2) Purpose and focus of the paper 3) Summary of the writers position. The introduction is basically a mini version of the research paper itself. It is highly structured and often actually written last.
- Methodology – The methods and means of measurement that were used in conducting your research
- Results section – Presents the results of your research
- Discussion section – Discussion of the results, consequences etc.
- Conclusion – Sums up your research and brings everything together. Recommend a course of action.
- Reference section – Documentation of resources
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Tips for the best structure of a paper
Follow these basic tips to provide the best structure for your paper
- Consider how you want to present your argument. By comparison? Cause and effect? The organization of your writing in the body of your paper depends on how you argue your thesis.
- Organize your argument in the way that best suits you, not how the source material was presented
- Make sure each of your paragraphs is organized. Open each with a statement and support it in the following sentences.
- Review your paper. Do your points follow a logical sequence that supports your thesis?
A well structured paper will tell the reader what the paper is about, and state your position. It will then provide a logical argument supporting your stance, arriving at a clear conclusion.
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