Structure of a Research Paper

Ink welcomes submissions from all departments on campus. It is expected that the author use the guidelines and conventions followed in the discipline for structuring a research paper.

This page outlines the general guidelines for each section of a research paper. The author may wish to consult this page as a checklist before submitting. The guidelines closely follow the conventions that many disciplines have adopted for the structure of a research paper; however, these are only suggestions. The organization of the research paper is ultimately decided by the author and the faculty mentor.

Title Page

The title page should contain the:

  1. name(s) of the author(s)
  2. name and position of the mentor
  3. name of the program or course in which the research was completed
  4. department in which the research was conducted
  5. contact information of both author(s) and mentor(s)
  6. date of completion


The abstract should be less than 250 words. It should indicate the:

  1. problem to be investigated
  2. purpose of the study
  3. methods
  4. major results
  5. interpretations and implications of the results


The introduction should provide the reader with all the background information needed to understand the paper. The author should explain key terms, give historical information on the problem studied, and cite other studies that have obtained relevant results.

Manuscript Body

This section contains the “core” of the paper. Ideally, it should be broken down into further sections such as methods and materials, results, discussion, and conclusion. The author should use his or her discretion in dividing the body in the most natural way.


The references page should acknowledge all the resources used for obtaining information. The resource should be cited according to either APA or CBE guidelines. Examples of citations can be found on the submissions page of the website.


This section is devoted to thanking any persons or institutions that made the research possible.