If you’re at the research paper structuring stage, it means you’ve conducted your research and gathered your points. You’re now ready to write the actual paper, which can be daunting for students who don’t find writing easy. Getting started with writing an academic essay can be tricky, but it gets easier if you structure it.

Structuring has to do with organizing your thoughts and sectioning them; this makes the writing easier. So now that you’re ready to write your paper, we’re here to guide you on how to structure it.

Research paper sections: what does a research paper consist of?

Research papers typically consist of three main sections: the introduction, materials and methods, and results and discussions. Research paper structure is sometimes abbreviated as IMRAD to make remembering easier. Although these three are the main section, there are other sections that a research paper must have. The other research paper parts include your abstract, which is the summary of our paper; you’ll write this after writing the others.

The introduction starts with a brief topic outline, a statement of the problem, and why solving the issue is essential. This section also covers the literature review providing relevant background information about the research title. You will need to consult other pioneering and seminal works and recent studies related to your work for this section.

The materials and methods section includes the details of your research methods. It includes all the technical details of the parameters of interest, measurement procedure, and experimental setup. You should write it in a way that makes the work reproducible by someone else conducting research in the same field.

The Results and Discussion section is the concluding part of the paper, explaining your outcome through adequate scientific data presentation. It includes interpreting the scientific data you gathered, providing information on negative and unexpected findings, and presenting data without bias.

How to structure a research paper for college students

The structure of a research paper depends on what format or style you’re writing in. Unfortunately, many students are often confused about the proper academic paper structure and formatting and whether or not it is essential. While academic paper structuring may seem stiff, it serves a purpose; it helps you find information quickly.

  • Title: this is the first page and should include your details (your name, institution, and submission date). It should also include a running head, a shortened version of your topic, at most fifty characters long, and the page number.
  • Abstract: a one-paragraph summary of your paper, no more than 250 words, providing an overview of your study.
  • Introduction: the first main section of the paper; it describes your research topic, summarizes it, or discusses relevant prior studies. It also identifies research problems that your paper will address and provides a general overview of the study to be expanded on later.
  • Methodology: this section details how you conducted your research; it features the subject description, study design, used materials, and the study procedure. You’d need different methods sections if you conducted multiple experiments.
  • Results: this section outlines your findings and the results of the statistical tests you performed.
  • Discussion: this section discusses the facts and figures you listed in the Results section; it is the paper’s last significant section.
  • References: this section will contain a list of the books and articles you cited in your essay in alphabetical order. Each reference should follow the specified formatting guidelines your institution uses – for example, APA.
  • Figures and Tables: this section is optional; it depends on the type of research you’re performing. Place each table and figure on a separate page after the references; the tables come first.
  • Appendix: also optional, the appendix contains extra information not critical to understanding the paper.

Tips for sectioning the parts of a research article

Here are some helpful tips to guide you in sectioning your research article:

  • Present your paper as clearly as possible to help your readers understand your research.
  • Define complex terms clearly, leaving out irrelevant information.
  • Keep your sentence structure direct but straightforward.
  • Represent your illustrations and data as accurately as possible; avoid using ambiguous statements.


Structuring your research paper begins with organizing your thoughts and deciding what goes where. Next, you’ll need to consider how your results will affect readers, what message you’re trying to convey, and whether you need more research or not. Once you can order your points, structuring and writing the paper will be a joy ride – or something close.