A Guide to Structuring Research Paper Essays

A research paper essay structure is largely determined by the topic you’re investigating, your intended audience, and the length of your paper. Your professor may provide you with a template or a guide, in which case, you will simply need to modify that template to suit your needs. If they don’t give you a template or guide, you’ll have to design your paper from scratch. Don’t worry though because we’re here to help you out.

In this article we’ll be looking at the general essay structure for research papers. We’ll also be looking at each element of your reseach paper essay. This will help you understand how to structure your paper step-by-step and ease the writing process.

What is a Research Paper?

A research paper is a type of academic writing in which empirical evidence is used to outline, evaluate, or interpret an outcome. This type of paper is closely similar to analytical essay. The only difference is that research papers emphasize statistical data and preexisting research. They also follow strict guidelines for citations.

Research papers are a fundamental element of modern science and the most effective way to share information across a wide network. They are commonly used in education, economics, and business research.

The majority of research papers favor formal, even bland language that eliminates bias. Researchers state their findings plainly and with substantial evidence so that others may use the paper in their own research.

Common Elements of a Research Essay


The introduction should begin with a statement about the topic being discussed. It’s where you explain the significance of the topic or problem at hand and how you intend to address or resolve it.


It is important to include the main points of your research in your essay’s body paragraphs. Inform the reader of the subject in detail so they can understand what is being discussed. Do not forget to present evidence related to the issue and the analysis of the research you have done.


The results section of your essay should tackle two important points: what you’ve learned, and what it means for the topic in question. Give some reasoning from a scientific perspective and provide evidence to back it up. Be clear and concise and focus on the specifics of what you’ve learned.


In your discussion, provide some of your own thoughts and observations as you wrap up your ideas and conclusions. There are limitless ways to do this, so don’t be afraid to experiment for ideas. You can finish by answering an opening question or by asking readers to continue their search for the subject through discussion.


End your essay with a strong conclusion. Decide on what you want the audience to take away from your essay, how readers should think about the issue and how it may affect them. Make sure to tie the conclusion back to your introduction in some way. You can also cite how other researchers can further your study.

Research Paper Essay Structure Sample

I. Introduction

a. Motivation – Why is this topic significant?

b. Objectives – What are the goals of your study or essay?

c. Thesis Statement – The claim of your essay

  • An organizational overview of the essay (if applicable)

II. Body

a. Literature review

  • Synthesize rather than summarize your source material
  • Explain how your research will fit in with the academic conversation that is being conducted

b. Method and Analysis (What you did in your study)

  • The scope of analysis
  • Methods used for first major task
  • Methods used for the second major task, and so on.

III. Results

[Note: Sometimes this section is combined with your Discussion]

  • Results of first major task
  • Results of second major task, and so on

IV. Discussion

  • Compare results with literature reviewed
  • Provide a case study on how your contributions have affected the field

V. Conclusion

a. Summarize the objectives and approach of your essay

b. What are the major findings?

c. Importance or implications of the findings

d. Describe further research that can be conducted

To Wrap Up

A research paper is an opportunity to provide an in-depth and reasoned argument based on your research findings. This kind of paper requires a lot of research and documentation. Use this research paper essay structure sample to properly arrange your information and make it understandable for readers.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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