Research Paper Format Introduction Body Conclusion Of Paper

First and last impressions are important in any part of life, especially in writing. This is why the introduction and conclusion of any paper - whether it be a simple essay or a long research paper - are essential. Introductions and conclusions are just as important as the body of your paper. The introduction is what makes the reader want to continue reading your paper. The conclusion is what makes your paper stick in the reader's mind.

Introductions

Your introductory paragraph should include:

1) Hook: Description, illustration, narration or dialogue that pulls the reader into your paper topic. This should be interesting and specific.

2) Transition: Sentence that connects the hook with the thesis.

3) Thesis: Sentence (or two) that summarizes the overall main point of the paper. The thesis should answer the prompt question.

The examples below show are several ways to write a good introduction or opening to your paper. One example shows you how to paraphrase in your introduction. This will help you to understand the idea of writing sequences with that use a hook, transition and thesis statement.

 

» Thesis Statement Opening

This is the traditional style of opening a paper. This is a "mini-summary" of your paper.

For example:

      Gallaudet University, the only liberal arts college for deaf students in the world, is world-renowned in the field of deafness and education of the deaf. Gallaudet is also proud of its charter which was signed by President Abraham Lincoln in year of 1864. All of this happened in Gallaudet's history, An enormous part of Gallaudet's legacy comes from its rich history and the fame to two men: Amos Kendall and Edward Miner Gallaudet.

Hook: a specific example or story that interests the reader and introduces the topic.

Transition: connects the hook to the thesis statement

Thesis: summarizes the overall claim of the paper

 

» Opening with a Story (Anecdote)

A good way of catching your reader's attention is by sharing a story that sets up your paper. Sharing a story gives a paper a more personal feel and helps make your reader comfortable.

This example was borrowed from Jack Gannon's The Week the World Heard Gallaudet (1989):

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      Astrid Goodstein, a Gallaudet faculty member, entered the beauty salon for her regular appointment proudly wearing her DPN button. ("I was married to that button that week!" she later confided.) When Sandy, her regular hairdresser, saw the button, he spoke and gestured, "Never! Never! Never!" Offended, Astrid turned around and headed for the door, but stopped short of leaving. She decided to keep her appointment, confessing later that at that moment her sense of principles had lost out to her vanity. Later she realized that her hairdresser had thought she was pushing for a deaf U.S. President.

Hook: a specific example or story that interests the reader and introduces the topic.

Transition: connects the hook to the thesis statement

Thesis: summarizes the overall claim of the paper

 

» Specific Detail Opening

Giving specific details about your subject appeals to your reader's curiosity and helps establish a visual picture of what your paper is about.

For example:

      Hands flying, green eyes flashing, and spittle spraying Jenny howled at her younger sister Emma. People walked by gawking at the spectacle as Jenny's grunts emanated through the mall. Emma sucked at her thumb trying to appear nonchalant. Jenny's blond hair stood almost on end. Her hands seemed to fly so fast that her signs could barely be understood. Jenny was angry. Very angry.

Hook: a specific example or story that interests the reader and introduces the topic.

Transition: connects the hook to the thesis statement

Thesis: summarizes the overall claim of the paper

 

» Open with a Quotation

Another method of writing an introduction is to open with a quotation. This method makes your introduction more interactive and more appealing to your reader.

For example:

      "People paid more attention to the way I talked than what I said!" exclaimed the woman from Brooklyn, New York in the movie American Tongues. This young woman’s home dialect interferes with people taking her seriously because they see her as a cartoonish stereotype of a New Yorker. The effects on this woman indicate the widespread judgment that occurs about nonstandard dialects. People around America judge those with nonstandard dialects because of _____________ and _____________. This type of judgment can even cause some to be ashamed of or try to change their language identity.*

Hook: a specific example or story that interests the reader and introduces the topic.

Transition: connects the hook to the thesis statement

Thesis: summarizes the overall claim of the paper

 

» Open with an Interesting Statistic

Statistics that grab the reader help to make an effective introduction.

For example:

      American Sign Language is the second most preferred foreign language in the United States. 50% of all deaf and hard of hearing people use ASL.* ASL is beginning to be provided by the Foreign Language Departments of many universities and high schools around the nation.


*The statistics are not accurate. They were invented as an example.

Hook: a specific example or story that interests the reader and introduces the topic.

Transition: connects the hook to the thesis statement

Thesis: summarizes the overall claim of the paper

 

» Question Openings

Possibly the easiest opening is one that presents one or more questions to be answered in the paper. This is effective because questions are usually what the reader has in mind when he or she sees your topic.

For example:

      Is ASL a language? Can ASL be written? Do you have to be born deaf to understand ASL completely? To answer these questions, one must first understand exactly what ASL is. In this paper, I attempt to explain this as well as answer my own questions.

Hook: a specific example or story that interests the reader and introduces the topic.

Transition: connects the hook to the thesis statement

Thesis: summarizes the overall claim of the paper

 

Source: *Writing an Introduction for a More Formal Essay. (2012). Retrieved April 25, 2012, from http://flightline.highline.edu/wswyt/Writing91/handouts/hook_trans_thesis.htm

 

Conclusions

The conclusion to any paper is the final impression that can be made. It is the last opportunity to get your point across to the reader and leave the reader feeling as if he or she learned something. Leaving a paper "dangling" without a proper conclusion can seriously devalue what was said in the body itself. Here are a few effective ways to conclude or close your paper.

» Summary Closing

Many times conclusions are simple re-statements of the thesis. Many times these conclusions are much like their introductions (see Thesis Statement Opening).

For example:

      Because of a charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln and because of the work of two men, Amos Kendall and Edward Miner Gallaudet, Gallaudet University is what it is today - the place where people from all over the world can find information about deafness and deaf education. Gallaudet and the deaf community truly owe these three men for without them, we might still be "deaf and dumb."

» Close with a Logical Conclusion

This is a good closing for argumentative or opinion papers that present two or more sides of an issue. The conclusion drawn as a result of the research is presented here in the final paragraphs.

For example:

      As one can see from reading the information presented, mainstreaming deaf students isn't always as effective as educating them in a segregated classroom. Deaf students learn better in a more one-on-one basis like they can find in a school or program specially designed for them. Mainstreaming lacks such a design; deaf students get lost in the mainstream.

» Real or Rhetorical Question Closings

This method of concluding a paper is one step short of giving a logical conclusion. Rather than handing the conclusion over, you can leave the reader with a question that causes him or her to draw his own conclusions.

For example:

      Why, then, are schools for the deaf becoming a dying species?

» Close with a Speculation or Opinion

This is a good style for instances when the writer was unable to come up with an answer or a clear decision about whatever it was he or she was researching.

For example:

      Through all of my research, all of the people I interviewed, all of the institutions I visited, not one person could give me a clear-cut answer to my question. Can all deaf people be educated in the same manner? I couldn't find the "right" answer. I hope you, the reader, will have better luck.

» Close with a Recommendation

A good conclusion is when the writer suggests that the reader do something in the way of support for a cause or a plea for them to take action.

For example:

      American Sign Language is a fast growing language in America. More and more universities and colleges are offering it as part of their curriculum and some are even requiring it as part of their program. This writer suggests that anyone who has a chance to learn this beautiful language should grab that opportunity.

 



 

Regardless of the nature of your research, if you are writing a paper an outline will help you to not only organize your thoughts, it will also serve as the template for your entire paper. An outline for a research paper is a visual reminder to include all of the pertinent details of your research into your essay or paper. It is essentially a skeletal version of the true paper, and will guide you through the entire process.

Initially, separating your essay, research or other paper into various components (Introduction, Body, Conclusion, etc.) will help you to stay better organized and reduce the risk of important information being forgotten or unintentionally omitted. Furthermore, breaking the essay down into these parts will allow you to address specific parts individually and lessen the chances of feeling overwhelmed or like you might be in over your head.

The structure of your outline will be similar regardless of whether you are writing a scientific paper or something more general. Interestingly, the structure of a research outline is nearly identical to that of a research paper template.  In order to better acquaint yourself with the structure of an outline, check out sample research papers online. The USC Guide to Making an Outline will also help you.

Relatively straightforward, right? However, the part to remember is that each part serves a specific purpose and how you arrange information in your outline will drive how your paper reads upon completion.

The Introduction is one of the most important elements of any great research paper, and interestingly enough, often written LAST. This is because the purpose of the introduction is to grab the attention of the reader, this is done by presenting the reader with the topic, and using the thesis statement as an opportunity to ‘hook’ the attention of the reader.

The Body is the heartiest part of the essay, it includes many fact-rich paragraphs or subsections and will allow you to build upon your thesis statement by providing facts to support your argument. This section should not only elaborate on your opening statement, but also provide insight into the methods used to conduct your research and also include investigative points or answers to questions pondered.

You will also want to consider using a literature overview. This is achieved by documenting the literary sources used to support your theories and hypothesis. The topic of your paper and the selected literature should be adjacent.

If you used any sort of data validation, this will typically follow the methodology and literature sections. This is where you will highlight your results and mention other variables that you’ve uncovered in your research. You might choose to use graphs or tables, but remember to explain these to your readers.

Lastly, you will write your Conclusion. The conclusion typically does not offer new information, but rather summarizes the main points addressed in the paper. It is mandatory to also reiterate the thesis statement and mention any future research.

There are a number of sources you can turn to for research paper examples and, depending on your field of study, a plethora of potential high quality topics exist to pull your subject matter from.

As you will learn from looking any good research paper example, writing a great paper involves so much more than simply throwing a bunch of text and citations into a word processor and hoping for the best.

A passing grade means not only thoroughly researching your topic and ensuring that all of your sources are accurately cited, it also means ensuring that your research essay is properly formatted. The following guideline will help you to create finished paper that not only reads like it was professionally written – but also looks like it!

1. Paper

Use clean, good quality 8 1/2″ x 11″ white paper, one side only.

2. Margins

Leave margins of your essay 1″ (2.5 cm) at the top, bottom, left and right sides of each and every page. 1″ is about 10 typed spaces.  Exception is made for page numbers which are placed 1/2″ (1.25 cm) from the top upper-right hand corner, flushed to the right margin.

3. Title Page

A title page is not essential for a research paper unless specifically requested by your teacher. The MLA Handbook provides a general guideline on writing a research paper and documenting sources. In case of conflict, you should always follow guidelines set down by your teacher.

If you don’t have a title page, you may begin 1″ from the top of the first page of your essay and start typing your name flushed against the left margin. Then under your name, on separate lines, double-spaced, and flushed against the left margin, type your teacher’s name, your course code, and the date.

If your teacher prefers the first page of your essay not be numbered, you will begin numbering with page 2.

Double-space after the date. On a new line, center the title of your essay. If you have a long title, double-space between lines of the title.

Example:
Jones 1
Tracy Jones
Ms. K. Smith
NRW-3A1-01
16 January 2006
Gun Control: Pros and Cons
Do not type your title all in capital letters. Do not put quotations marks before and after the title. Do not underline the title, or put a period at the end of the title. Proper names of people and places as well as important words should be capitalized in the title, but prepositions and conjunctions are normally shown in lower case letters, e.g. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The same rule applies to headings and subheadings as well.

Follow the same capitalization rules for acronyms as you normally would in writing a text of the essay, e.g. FBI would be all in capitals as it is the acronym for Federal Bureau of Investigations. When using an acronym, especially an uncommon one, you must indicate what the letters stand for at the first occurrence in your essay. Example: The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is nearly finished converting from using standard desktop PCs to blade PCs.

If a Title Page is a requirement for your assignment, begin on a new page. Use a format preferred by your teacher. Otherwise, center each line and double-space every line on a blank page: name of school (optional), title of paper in upper and lower case, course code, course name (optional), teacher’s name, your first and last name, and date.

Your separate title page should appear as follows:
Gun Control: Pros and Cons
NRW-3A1-01
Ms. K. Smith
Tracy Jones
16 January 2006
The following example shows what NOT to do for a title page:
TITLE OF ESSAY: “GUN CONTROL: PROS AND CONS”
COURSE CODE: “NRW-3A1-01”
TO MY TEACHER: “MS. KATIE ELIZABETH SMITH”
FROM YOUR STUDENT: “TRACY MARIA CHRISTINA CARMELA JONES”
ASSIGNMENT DUE DATE: “MONDAY, JANUARY THE SIXTEENTH, IN THE YEAR 2006”
It is not necessary to describe or explain the title page by adding the words: Title, Course Code, To, From, or Due Date. More is not better. Minimal information providing simple identification is adequate.

4. Numbering Pages and Paragraphs

Number your pages consecutively throughout the essay in the upper right hand corner, flush against the right margin and 1/2″ from the top. The MLA Handbook recommends that you type your last name just before the page number in case the pages get misplaced (134). On page 4 of your essay, for example, your top right-hand corner should show: Jones 4

Page numbers must be written in Arabic numerals. Do not add anything fancy to decorate a page number. Do not underline it, enclose it between hyphens, parentheses, asterisks, or precede it with “Page”, “Pg.”, “P.”, or add a period after the number. In other words, DO NOT use any of the following:

PAGE 4, Page 4, Pg. 4, P 4, pg. 4, p. 4, #4, ~ 4 ~, – 4 -, * 4*, (4), “4”, 4, or 4.

Simply write: 4

Remember, there is no period after the page number.

If you are submitting your essay to your teacher via e-mail, he or she may prefer that you number all your paragraphs consecutively with reference points by adding [1] at the beginning of your 1st paragraph, [2] before your 2nd paragraph, and so forth. Electronic submission of documents is becoming more common as e-mail is being used widely. This system will facilitate the citation of sources by identifying a specific paragraph for reference very quickly.

5. Spacing Between Lines

Whether your essay is handwritten, typed or printed, the entire essay should be double-spaced between lines along with 1″ margin on all sides for your teacher to write comments.

Spacing Between Words

In general, leave one space between words and one space after every comma, semi-colon, or colon. Traditionally, two spaces are required at the end of every sentence whether the sentence ends with a period, a question mark, or an exclamation mark. Although it is not wrong to leave two spaces after a period, it is quite acceptable nowadays to leave only one space after each punctuation mark. However, NO space should be left in front of a punctuation mark; for example, the following would be incorrect: op. cit. or “Why me?”

For details on how to place tables, illustrations, figures, musical notations, labels, captions, etc. in your essay, please see the MLA Handbook (134-137).

6. Indentation

If a handwritten essay is acceptable to your teacher, remember to double-space all lines, and begin each paragraph with an indentation of 1″ from the left margin. Use the width of your thumb as a rough guide.

If you are using a typewriter or a word processor on a computer, indent 5 spaces or 1/2″ at the beginning of each paragraph. Indent set-off quotations 10 spaces or 1″ from the left margin.

Your instructor may give you a choice to indent or not to indent your paragraphs. No matter whichever one you choose to use, you must be consistent throughout your essay.

If you are NOT indenting, you will start each paragraph flush to the left margin. It is essential that you double-space between lines and quadruple-space between paragraphs. When paragraphs are not indented, it is difficult for a reader to see where a new paragraph begins, hence quadruple-space is called for between paragraphs. Set-off quotations should still be indented 10 spaces or 1″ from the left margin.

7. Right Justify and Automatic Hyphens:

Do not right justify your entire essay and do not automatically format hyphens if you are using a word processor to type your essay. Left justify or justify your essay and type in the hyphens yourself where needed. Left justification is preferred as it will not leave big gaps between words.

8. Titles of Books, Magazines, Newspapers, or Journals

When used within the text of your paper, titles of all full-length works such as novels, plays, or books, should be underlined, e.g. Shakespeare’s Theater.

Put in quotation marks titles of shorter works, such as newspaper, journal, and magazine articles, chapters of books or essays, e.g.: “Giving Back to the Earth: Western Helps Make a Difference in India.”

For all title citations, every word, except articles (“a”, “an”, “the”), prepositions (such as “in”, “on”, “under”, “over”), and conjunctions (such as “and”, “because”, “but”, “however”), should be capitalized, unless they occur at the beginning of the title or subtitle, e.g.: “And Now for Something Completely Different: A Hedgehog Hospital.”

Look it up in a dictionary whenever you are not sure whether a word is being used as a preposition, a conjunction, a noun, a verb, or an adverb. The word “near”, for instance, may be an adverb, an adjective, a verb, or a preposition depending on the context in which it is used.

For complicated details on how to cite titles and quotations within titles, sacred texts, shortened titles, exceptions to the rule, etc. please consult the MLA Handbook (102-109).

9. Writing an Essay All in Capital Letters:

DO NOT WRITE OR TYPE EVERYTHING ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS EVEN THOUGH THIS SAVES YOU TIME AND EFFORT NOT TO HAVE TO USE THE SHIFT KEY REPEATEDLY OR TO HAVE TO FIGURE OUT WHEN OR WHEN NOT TO USE CAPITAL LETTERS.SOME PEOPLE WRITE EVERYTHING IN CAPITAL LETTERS BECAUSE THEY HAD NEVER LEARNED TO WRITE SENTENCES IN UPPER AND LOWER-CASE LETTERS PROPERLY WHEN THEY WERE IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.OTHER PEOPLE WRITE ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS BECAUSE THEY WANT TO MAKE WHAT THEY WRITE APPEAR IMPORTANT.READING A PAPER ALL WRITTEN IN CAPITAL LETTERS,ESPECIALLY ONE WITHOUT SPACES AFTER PUNCTUATION MARKS,SLOWS DOWN READING SPEED AND MAY EVEN REDUCE READER COMPREHENSION,BESIDES BEING EXTREMELY ANNOYING TO THE READER.REMEMBER THAT THE PURPOSE OF WRITING ANYTHING IS TO COMMUNICATE.MOST OF US ARE NOT CONDITIONED TO READ ALL TEXT IN CAPITAL LETTERS.WORD PROCESSORS ALSO TREAT WORDS STUCK TOGETHER WITHOUT SPACES AS SINGLE WORDS CAUSING OTHER PROBLEMS.

10. Table of Contents

A short essay or research paper requires no Table of Contents.

If your written report or research paper is extremely long, it may be helpful to include a Table of Contents showing the page number where each section begins.

For those writing a lengthy document, i.e. a book, here is the suggested order for placing items in a Table of Contents:

Acknowledgements, Foreword, Introduction, Body (Parts I, II, III), Summary or Conclusion, Afterword, Explanatory Notes, Appendices, Contact Organizations, Glossary, Endnotes (if not using Footnotes or Parenthetical citations), Bibliography, Index.

A less involved Table of Contents may include simply the following sections: Introduction, Body (use main section headings), Conclusion (or Summary), Works Cited (or References), along with the corresponding page number where each section begins.

Example:

CONTENTS

Introduction …………………………………………………………………  1
Government …………………………………………………………………  3
Economy ……………………………………………………………………… 6
Arts and Entertainment ……………………………………………….. 10
Conclusion ………………………………………………………………….. 14
Works Cited ………………………………………………………………… 15

11. End of Essay

No special word, phrase or fancy symbol is needed to mark the end of your essay. A period at the end of your last sentence is all that is needed.

12. Keeping Essay Together

Sheets of paper should be stapled at the upper left-hand corner. Use a paper clip if no stapler is available. Do not use a pin or fold the paper. Unless specifically requested by your teacher, do not hand in your paper in a folder, a binder, a plastic jacket, rolled up with an elastic band around it, or tied with a ribbon or a string. Do not spray perfume or cologne on your paper or use scented paper. And NEVER hand in your research or term paper in loose sheets even if the sheets are numbered and neatly placed in an envelope or folder.

The condition of the paper you hand in is an indication of the respect you have for yourself and the respect you have for your teacher. Before handing in your paper, ask yourself, “Is this the VERY BEST that I can do?”

Final Note on Your Essay

The topics used for each research paper are inherently different, and even identical topics will appear to be unique based on the viewpoints and educational level of the author. Regardless of your grade level or the topic you’ve been assigned, a research paper outline can help you turn in a great essay. It should include a bulleted list of subheadings and headings, be sure to include as much detail as possible. Crossing out each section as you finish it will help you to stay thorough.

Here is a sample research paper outline.

INTRODUCTION

  1. A quick overview or introduction of the topic or issue
  2. The methodology being used
  3. The thesis statement
  4. A full review of every source used and all of the corresponding literature
  5. A brief explanation of the relevance of the research

BODY

  1. Detailed and thorough information about the main points of the argument
  2. Use as many paragraphs as necessary. Each paragraph should represent a different point.

CONCLUSION

  1. Brief summary of all of the main points or facts mentioned in the body.
  2. Reiteration of the thesis statement
  3. Closing remark or thought.

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