Scholarly Research Paper Format

Overview and Purpose

The Scholarly Paper's purpose is to demonstrate your ability to synthesize technical information in a coherent form. The document you write is intended to reflect the level of expertise and understanding that you have acquired after the first year in Graduate School; for further information on this, see the content section.

Telecommunications professionals, like most engineers and executives, will inevitably be called upon to compose technical or business document. The Scholarly Paper is intended to prepare you to write a "Working Paper" or trade publication. To this end, the paper should adhere to a style of proper academic writing and citations.

The paper should be an excellent addition to your job-hunting portfolio and it should accurately convey to an interviewer your understanding of telecommunications and professionalism.


The Scholarly Paper should include the following sections and parts:

  • Title page with an appropriate and brief title, abstract, signed honor pledge
    • Abstract, a one paragraph (50-200 words) summary of the paper that states why the topic is important and what is being covered in the paper
  • Introduction which presents the background for the subject of the paper
  • Sections, one or more, that provide the main content of the paper
  • Conclusion which briefly summarizes (one or two paragraphs) what the paper accomplished 
  • List of References in proper citation style.

The format of the Scholarly Paper should adhere to the following:

  • Length: The body of the paper should be 8-10 pages in length, excluding the title page, list of references, and diagrams/images
  • Font: Times New Roman, 12-point font
  • Spacing: Double-spaced
  • Margins: 1" (one inch) on each side

References and Citations:

  • References must follow the IEEE Style Guide
  • Include at least three distinct professional-grade references
  • Internet links are not adequate citation formats. Internet addresses frequently change; an organization may change its domain once it’s bought out, or it may simply change its archiving procedures or formats. Sometimes an organization will cease to make some of its publications openly available, requiring disbursement or membership to access those files. The reader should be able to locate the paper’s source (journal, magazine, conference, etc.) and then decide to what lengths they will go to access a legitimate copy of that paper.
  • The title and author are not enough for any search engine to find the paper. The reader may sometimes find a number of on-line copies of papers with that title and those authors (legitimate and otherwise), but may still not be able to discern what was the publishing source. Some papers have the publishing organization written in their margins, but not all do. Was it originally a white paper, or perhaps a brochure? Was it an article in a journal or a conference proceeding? Was the paper peer-reviewed before publication? The reader must be allowed to discern the credibility of the paper by verifying its legitimate source.

Additional Tips:

  • Define any acronyms and/or technical jargon when they are first introduced in your paper

Scholarly Paper Topic Approval Form:

  • Citations list in the Topic Approval Form must also follow the IEEE Style Guide
  • Include at least three distinct professional-grade references
  • Most common reason for topic rejection: Incorrectly formatted references!

Format Downloads

Microsoft Word Scholarly Paper Template

Title Page Example


You may choose your own topic within the guidelines stated here. Your topic should relate either to the business or engineering aspects you have learned within the ENTS program. For example, a topic discusses in a course may provide a starting point from which a student may delve deeper. If you choose to do this, make sure that your choice is suitable for the Scholarly Paper and follows the spirit and depth of knowledge as described in the overview section. Note: Authors must verify that the Scholarly Paper does not overlap with any paper previously submitted for academic purposes.

You don't need to conduct original research. An investigation into the topic using a variety of credible sources should be enough. You should consult and cite a minimum of three distinct, professional-grade references.

How Do I Get Started With Content?

Authors have a variety of methods for putting their ideas together. Here is one method:

  1. Read the first paper that you are using as a source, the one you think is the most important for your topic.
  2. Set the paper aside and think about what you’ve learned.
  3. Make a bulleted list from memory of all the items you’ve learned that are interesting or important enough to be candidates for your paper.
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 for all your sources you use as references, adding new bullets to your first list.
  5. Now, group all the bullets by subject. At this point, you’ll have some idea of how many sections your paper will have and a rough idea as to their titles.
  6. Arrange the different groups of bullets in an order that you envision will give proper flow to your paper. Now you can write the section titles.
  7. For each section, read over the bullets and replace each bullet item with paragraphs (possibly many paragraphs) that convey the meaning of your understanding of that bullet, allowing the ideas to flow with continuity.
  8. Revise the entire paper, checking for flow and continuity within and between sections.

Typical Setbacks Because of Content

A common problem is that students don't display the expertise that they've achieved by now in either wireless communications or network theory in their Scholarly Paper. The topic is often fine, but the student writes at a level which is too shallow, and a lay person could have written it. You've worked hard for a year; you should advertise all that you've learned. Remember that the reviewer is expecting to see the depth and level of expertise of a graduate student. Recall that the purpose of this paper is for you to convey that you've achieved the technical maturity to seriously delve into your paper's subject, formulate an opinion, and effectively communicate it.

Amongst students who write their Scholarly Paper around business topics, many find that they have difficulty using evidence to demonstrate their assertions. In academic writing, you must provide support for your claims to add substance to your argument. Assertions must be demonstrated with examples from reputable industry sources. Several writing resources provide information about academic writing and the use of evidence in your writing. 

If your reviewer says that the paper is too shallow, you should consider whether the problem may stem from the primary sources that you're citing. The clearest example is if most sources are Wikipedia articles, on-line product descriptions, or any other kind of sources with insufficient depth. You can find hints to avoid this common pitfall in the citations section, below.

Another possible cause for this problem is that you may spend a very large number of pages introducing very basic material, and then devote very little space to the actual topic which is supposed to be the main subject. Consider an example of such an error:

Suppose a submission proposes a comparison between two technologies. Say that in this paper, out of its four sections, three are devoted to background material and only one is devoted to the actual comparison. In this example, much effort is placed on the introductory material, but then the section that carries the actual topic is only a single table or a referenced image with perhaps one or two paragraphs of text. 

Utilizing Tables, Images, or Lists

It is often useful to copy another paper's table, or an image which provides an easy summary of the subject you're discussing. (Remember to properly cite these, when you do this, as detailed in the format section.)

A mistake is to delegate the entire explanation to a reproduced table, image, or a bullet list. The following example cites an image from a paper, then it shows what you shouldn't do, and then it says what you should do:

For example, say you choose to cite "The LTE Link-Layer Design," by Anna Larmo, et al. (IEEE Communications Magazine, April 2009, Volume: 47 , Issue: 4 Page: 52- 59), and you choose to copy the image describing the User Plane Protocol Stack (Figure 2) into your Scholarly Paper (with proper citation).

You should not write, "For LTE, the user plane protocol stack is described in the following figure," (even if you cite the source), and then leave it at that. Why? It is not acceptable because with no further contribution, you're not furnishing your own understanding of anything.

You should do one of two things: (1) Either copy the figure, add the proper citation, and add at least one paragraph with your own understanding of the figure, or (2) if you'd rather not include that explanation in your own words, then you might say, "For information about the user plane protocol stack, readers are referred to Figure 2 of "The LTE Link-Layer Design," by Anna Larmo, et al. (IEEE Communications Magazine, April 2009, Volume: 47, Issue: 4 Page: 52- 59)." In case (2), you cannot copy that image into your Scholarly Paper (because you're not talking about it).

In summary, you may reproduce tables or images only if you also include an active contribution of your own understanding in direct relation to the object you copied.


A minimum of three, distinct, professional-quality references should be consulted. You have access to a large number of peer-reviewed articles and publications through the University of Maryland's Libraries' Research Port.

Where Can I Find Good Sources?

One method to easily choose professional-quality articles is to make use of Google Scholar from any internet browser. You may enter the topic on which you wish to write papers, and Google Scholar will allow you to further narrow your search by selecting the range of dates on the left-hand side.

It's often a good idea to favor articles which have many citations to their credit (which is right below the search item, titled "Cited by"). A large number of citations means that many authors have found that article to be understandable and citation worthy. In the Google Scholar example below, you can see where red arrow shows the number of citations:

You may further narrow your search in Google Scholar by specifying the publication, such as, for example, the IEEE Communications Magazine.

Once you've chosen a few candidate articles, you may enter the citation details that Google Scholar yields (like author, title, journal, year, etc.) into the UM Libraries' Research Port to download the full article free of charge (popular databases, like IEEE Xplore Digital Library, usually charge a fee for downloading, however UM tuition provides students a free portal for thousands of databases). You will have to login as a student and provide your directory ID and password to take advantage of this library service. 

Hints for Sources

This section provides some hints on what type of publications might be helpful, and which ones may not be so helpful:

  • Technical Magazines usually explore the development of new technologies, how current technologies are evolving within the consumer world, emerging standards, etc. They are often considered a very strong source where each article is passed through stringent review and editing processes. The subjects they cover usually are broad, and they do not often present proofs, extensive mathematical analysis, or long sequences of formulas. Examples include IEEE Spectrum, IEEE Communications Magazine, IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, and IEEE Vehicular Technology Magazine.
  • Technical books and texts are considered very strong sources, since they are passed through a rigorous review and editing process.
  • Trade magazines are sponsored by vendors, so you will often find biased opinions, but they also have sufficient technical content to rely on as a source. Examples include RCR Wireless (sponsored by Powerwave Technologies), and Wireless Week (Advantage Business Media owned)
  • Any conference proceedings are considered strong sources where each article is passed through a peer review process. Time-to-publish tends to be short, so subjects are usually cutting-edge. The subjects it covers may often be too narrow for the scope of the Scholarly Paper. Most articles do contain proofs, which are usually outside the scope of the Scholarly Paper. They will usually have mathematical analysis, and usually contain sequences of formulas, which are usually not in the nature of a typical Scholarly Paper. However, introduction and background sections of conference proceedings may be a good source. Examples include the IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference (VTC) Proceedings or the IEEE Conference on Computer Communications (INFOCOM) Proceedings.
  • Any journal is considered a very strong source, where each article is passed through peer review processes. The subjects they cover may often be too narrow for the scope of the Scholarly Paper. Most articles do contain many proofs, which are usually outside the scope of the Scholarly Paper. They will usually have mathematical analysis, and usually contain sequences of formulas, which are usually not in the nature of a typical Scholarly Paper. However, again, introduction and background sections of journal papers may be a good source. Examples include IEEE Transactions on Communications, IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, or some variation of Elsevier Letters.

It is important to note that these are very informal hints, and not guidelines; that is to say, they should not be interpreted as rules or, in any way, do they reflect the expectations of the faculty reviewers.

For example, you might find an article from IEEE Communications Letters that contains an extensive mathematical sequence that is immaterial for your Scholarly Paper, yet it may also contain very insightful Introduction and Background sections that you may find an excellent source for citing.

Typical Setbacks Because of Citations

Common problems for cited sources are that the source may not be fixed, or the author is employing direct quotation, or all the cited works' content are too shallow (see the content section).

You should feel free to additionally include any number of sources that may, each by themselves, be deemed shallow; this is perfectly acceptable if you feel that some part of that source is valuable for clarity. However, the Scholarly Paper guidelines list that a minimum of three professional-quality sources are required.

The following sections detail selections that weaken a paper's choices of sources, like using a non-fixed source (Wikipedia), employing direct quotes, or basing a paper on very dated material.

Do Not Use Wikipedia as a Reference

Wikipedia is not a fixed source because the content frequently changes and gets replaced. Many professionals refer to Wikipedia for casual consultations, but it cannot be used as a reference in a professional-grade work.

The reason for this is that your readers should be able to follow your sources to confirm what you've written or to pursue the subject in more detail on their own; therefore, the content of your sources should be fixed. Wikipedia's material, by design, evolves as different contributors change and (hopefully) improve the material. Therefore if you cite information from, say, paragraph 3 of the Wikipedia entry for LTE, there is no guarantee that this paragraph will have not been deleted the next day.

Wikipedia or any source where content is fluid and easily changed, without editing or peer review, is not deemed a professional-grade source.

There is a simple way to get around this problem: check what references Wikipedia is using and then read those sources and extract your information from there. For example, if you are reading a Wikipedia entry on LTE, and you find information that is pertinent to your paper, you can check Wiki's reference by clicking on the small reference number and then the link it provides. If it's not from an open database, then use your University of Maryland Libraries Research Port to find that article and read it, just as described in the citations section. You may then use that article as a reference.

Avoid Direct Quotes

If you were writing about European Renaissance Drama, then it would be reasonable to include a direct quote, for example:

In his play, "The Merchant of Venice," dramatist William Shakespeare's main character, Portia, explains how mercy comes freely, and is most present in the mightiest:

"The quality of mercy is not strain'd; 
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven 
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: 
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. 
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes 
The throned monarch better than his crown; "

(Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1, lines 184-9)

But you're writing a paper dealing with science or technology, so direct quotes are not advisable. If you wish to convey the same idea as another author, then you should paraphrase and add a reference. See the academic integrity section for more information.

Avoid Old Sources 

Referencing old material is not specifically wrong, but if you're writing a professional grade paper about technology, you should stay away from sources that may be viewed as dated. Stick to sources no older than ten years unless there's a solid reason for citing that original work. This guideline doesn't apply to textbooks, which can be older.

Academic Integrity

What is academic dishonesty, and how do we avoid it?

The simplest definition is pretty straight forward: Referencing or including another person’s work (written text, pictures, diagrams, ideas, etc.) without proper citation constitutes academic dishonesty. 

But the problem of paraphrasing versus plagiarism can be less clear: Representing the words or ideas of another person's as one's own, even with citations is academic dishonesty. This one needs a little more explanation and some examples, which is all provided in this section.

In all academic work including the Scholarly Paper, students must follow the University of Maryland's Code of Academic Integrity.  For more information about academic integrity, please consult the Office of Student Conduct. The Scholarly Paper must consist of original work by the student.   

Confusion Between Paraphrasing and Plagiarism

For any University of Maryland student, plagiarism is defined as representing the words or ideas of another person's as one's own in any academic exercise.

It is strongly recommended that all students read the following examples, since the university employs a number of mechanisms to detect plagiarism and the normal sanction for a graduate student is dismissal (expulsion or suspension with grade "XF" in the course) from the University.

It is important to note that you may inadvertently commit plagiarism, even though you've taken pains to include frequent citations.

What Plagiarism Looks Like

The examples below show attempts to paraphrase an excerpt from a paper. The first attempt shows word-for-word plagiarism, the second attempt shows patchwork plagiarism, and the third attemptshows acceptable paraphrasing. Note that there are many, many variations for plagiarism, however these serve as examples to convey the general idea. 

The Original Excerpt

Say Steve is writing a paper about location-based applications in wireless personal devices and he wishes to paraphrase this excerpt from the article "Mobile Crowdsensing: Current State and Future Challenges" by Raghu et al from the IEEE Communications Magazine (November, 2011, vol. 49, issue 11, pp. 32-39):

"Various sensors such as GPS, accelerometer, microphone and camera are available on mobile devices. The operating system (OS) allows applications to access the sensors and extract raw sensing data from them. However, depending on the nature of the raw data and the needs of applications, the physical readings from sensors may not be suitable for the direct consumption of applications. Many times, some local analytics performing certain primitive processing of the raw data on the device are needed. They produce intermediate results, which are sent to the back-end for further processing and consumption. For example, in a pothole detection [5] application, a local analytic computes spikes from 3-axis acceleration sensor data to determine potential potholes."

Word-for-Word Plagiarism

Word-for-word plagiarism of the original excerpt looks like this:

Mobile devices include many sensors such as microphone, accelerometer, camera, and GPS [1]. The operating system (OS) permits the applications to access information from the sensors and thus obtain sensing data [1]. Depending on the characteristics of the data and each applications' needs, the sensor readings may not be in the proper format for each application to be able to use it [1]. Often, the device needs some local processing performing primitive analysis of the data [1]. This local processing produces midway results, which are transmitted to the back-end for more processing and, finally, consumption [1]. Consider the following example from [2], which describes an application that detects potholes. Here, a local processor detects spikes using data from a three-dimensional acceleration sensor, and determines possible potholes [1].

[1] Raghu K. Ganti, Fan Ye, and Hui Lei, "Mobile Crowdsensing: Current State and Future Challenges," IEEE Communications Magazine, vol. 49, issue 11, pp. 32-39, November 2011.

[2] P. Mohan, V. Padmanabhan, and R. Ramjee, "Nericell: RICH monitoring of Road and Traffic Conditions Using Mobile Smartphones," Proc. ACM SenSys, 2008, pp. 323�"36

This is plagiarism. Note that even though Steve took pains to include a citation after each sentence, it is still plagiarism. Steve largely copied the original work's ideas, and sentence structure (reordering the words in the sentences) and passed it as his own work.

Note that the citation tags do not prevent this from being plagiarism. Why? Because the audience is reading a (supposedly) independent work (by Steve), and therefore expects that, though Steve's foundations for making his claims are based on some other source of information, the substance he or she is reading comes from Steve, which in this case does not (it comes from the source). 

Line-by-Line Word Reordering

This manner of plagiarism is also called "patchwork paraphrasing" or "patchwork plagiarism." Using the original excerpt, it might look something like this: 

Mobile devices include many sensors such as the following:

  1. GPS
  2. accelerometer
  3. microphone
  4. camera

The sensors send their data to the applications through the operating system. It should be noted that the sensor readings may not be in an adequate format for an application's direct usage, which depends on the characteristics of the sensor data and the needs of each application. It is expected that the device may require some local processing which will endeavor to perform data analysis of the information received from the sensors. The intermediate results are transmitted to the back-end for additional processing, and are then deemed ready to be used by the application. There are examples in literature where they describe applications such as pothole detectors. In such an example, a processor which is embedded into the device constructs local calculations which detect spikes by using data from accelerometers, and thus, detect lurking potholes. [1,2]

[1] Raghu K. Ganti, Fan Ye, and Hui Lei, "Mobile Crowdsensing: Current State and Future Challenges," IEEE Communications Magazine, vol. 49, issue 11, pp. 32-39, November 2011.

[2] P. Mohan, V. Padmanabhan, and R. Ramjee, "Nericell: RICH monitoring of Road and Traffic Conditions Using Mobile Smartphones," Proc. ACM SenSys, 2008, pp. 323�"36

This is plagiarism because this section extracts pieces of the original work and simply merges them with Steve's own words. The fact that the words are re-ordered, or replaced by synonyms does not detract from the fact that Steve is presenting these ideas as his own, when, in fact, they have been lifted from the source. Steve's contribution is not (as it should be) Steve's own understanding of this concept reworded into his own language and adapted to the context of Steve's paper. Instead, this example shows that Steve's contribution is to utilize a thesaurus and manipulate grammar with sufficient dexterity to say exactly what the source says, but make it look different.

Correct Paraphrasing or Summary

A correct example of how to paraphrase or summarize the original excerpt could be:

Location and direction of movement information, such as that provided by a GPS receiver, accelerometers, and gyroscopes, among other sensors are commonly available on mobile devices. This data can be exploited by mobile applications, though sometimes the raw data collected from these sensors may require some local processing to transform it into a form that is expedient for each application [1].

[1] Raghu K. Ganti, Fan Ye, and Hui Lei, "Mobile Crowdsensing: Current State and Future Challenges," IEEE Communications Magazine, vol. 49, issue 11, pp. 32-39, November 2011.

It is important to note that Steve's paraphrasing is in no way an identical reflection of the original source's paragraph. On the contrary, Steve here chooses to reflect his understanding of the original source, in Steve's own words, and molded to the context of his own paper.

Since this business of paraphrasing can be delicate, here are more examples that compare proper paraphrasing to patchwork paraphrasing and direct plagiarism.

University of Wisconsin at Madison Writing Center
Purdue University
Purdue University (2)

Writing & English

There are many resources here to help you make sure that your paper is written in proper English that is grammatically correct and syntactically sound. It's an excellent idea to have other people proofread and edit a few drafts before going over it yourself and finally submitting it.

The following sections provide advice, list resources at your disposal, and describe common pitfalls.

Quick and Easy Error Detection

Many text editors have integrated spelling error detection and even grammatical error detection. The proficiency of these error detectors varies widely from product to product. One editor that has an adequate error detector for first drafts is Microsoft Word, which is available to the University of Maryland students.

By simply copying and pasting the first draft of your work into Microsoft Word, the spelling errors should appear underlined in red, like this:

A grammatical error may not always be detected, and sometimes the mechanism does not underline all the problematic words, but it will probably underline the most likely sources of the problem in green, like this:

Note that this will be very much a first draft of corrections for the paper's spelling and grammar. To prepare the Scholarly Paper for submission, you are strongly advised to take full advantage of the many resources at your disposal.

Typical Setbacks Because of Language, Form, or Grammar

Make sure that your Scholarly Paper does not display poor writing skills and/or typographical errors. The reader (reviewer) should be able to understand the meaning of every sentence in the Scholarly Paper.

The paper should be in the form of a professional-grade work (hint: don't use bulleted lists to convey understanding; bulleted lists may convey information, but not understanding... this is detailed below).

Subject and Predicate: Create a Sentence

Every sentence must have a verb (action word) and a subject (the object the sentence is about). Sentence fragments do not convey your meaning to the reader.

The University of Wisconsin at Madison's Writing Center has a good web page that explains this with examples, here.

What do we mean with "fragments"? Fragment constructs are often seen in the context of novels, such as the following example:

The class became boring. Very boring.

Here, the author uses this construct for humor. In this snippet, the author almost assumes a first-person narrative, so the reader imagines that the writer was very bored in a class. A fragment without a verb, such as "Very boring," as seen in this example, is not suitable for professional-grade or technical papers.

Papers should not have sentences lacking a full-construct of subject and predicate. All students are strongly advised to take advantage of the many writing assistance resources available to them and listed in the writing resources.

Avoid Bulleted Lists

Bulleted lists are a useful tool to allow readers to extract information quickly. The problem is that the purpose of the required Scholarly Paper is not to convey data. If a reader wants data, he or she should retrieve it from the original sources which are cited in your Scholarly Paper. The purpose of the Scholarly Paper, by contrast, is to convey understanding.

There are times when you may wish to expand on your observations, speculations, or analysis related to a piece of data; in such cases, it is suitable to either copy a table from the source, or create a short bulleted list with the data (suitably cited in both cases), for quick reference. However, you should use the table or bulleted list as a supporting element to your own sentences, remarks, or analysis about it.

A Scholarly Paper must never have entire sections comprised solely of long bulleted lists.

Bulleted lists can be a very useful tool for when you're beginning to put your ideas together for the paper; a bulleted list is a good start for an outline of your Scholarly Paper. Here is an example of how this could work:

You can begin by listing all the ideas and points you want to make in your paper in bullets. Next, group the bullets by subject (so the paper is properly organized).

After you've grouped your bullets by subject, you may consider creating a section for each group of bullets and thinking up a proper section title for each group.

Finally, replace the bulleted items with paragraphs and sentences. Give the paper fluidity, so the reader doesn't find him or herself jumping from one subject to another, without connections.

Writing Resources

For Advanced Polishing

The Scholarly Paper is both an excellent opportunity for you to hone your skills for communicating in the professional world, and a good addition to your job-hunting portfolio. The more it is technically sound and the more it is an effective communication tool... the better it reflects on you.

Authors who want to go the extra mile in terms of polishing their written English may want to read the book "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White; you can find it in the UM libraries (UMCP McKeldin Library Stacks; PE1408 .S772 2000).

Structure of a Research Paper

While academic disciplines vary on the exact format and style of journal articles in their field, most articles contain similar content and are divided in parts that typically follow the same logical flow.  Following is a list of the parts commonly found in research articles.  

  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion/Conclusion
  • References/Bibliography

Research papers are organized so that the information flow resembles an hourglass in that it goes from general  to specific and then back to general again.  The introduction and literature review sections will introduce the problem and provide general information. The methods and results will provide specific, detailed information about this research project and the discussion/conclusion will discuss the findings in a larger context. The following section will describe each of these parts in more detail.  Additional information can be found in the Resources section of this module and in the Suggested Readings.


The title should be specific and indicate the problem the research project addresses using keywords that will be helpful in literature reviews in the future.


The abstract is used by readers to quickly review the overall content of the paper.  Journals typically place strict word limits on abstracts, such as 200 words, making them a challenge to write.  The abstract should provide a complete synopsis of the research paper and should introduce the topic and the specific research question, provide a statement regarding methodology and should provide a general statement about the results and the findings.  Because it is really a summary of the entire research paper, it is often written last.


The introduction begins by introducing the broad overall topic and providing basic background information.  It then narrows down to the specific research question relating to this topic.  It provides the purpose and focus for the rest of the paper and sets up the justification for the research.

Literature Review

The purpose of the literature review is to describe past important research and it relate it specifically to the research problem.  It should be a synthesis of the previous literature and the new idea being researched.  The review should examine the major theories related to the topic to date and their contributors.  It should include all relevant findings from credible sources, such as academic books and peer-reviewed journal articles.


The methods section will describe the research design and methodology used to complete to the study.  The general rule of thumb is that readers should be provided with enough detail to replicate the study.


In this section, the results of the analysis are presented.  How the results are presented will depend upon whether the research study was quantitative or qualitative in nature.  This section should focus only on results that are directly related to the research or the problem. Graphs and tables should only be used when there is too much data to efficiently include it within the text.  This section should present the results, but not discuss their significance.


This section should be a discussion of the results and the implications on the field, as well as other fields. The hypothesis should be answered and validated by the interpretation of the results.  This section should also discuss how the results relate to previous research mentioned in the literature review, any cautions about the findings, and potential for future research.


The research paper is not complete without the list of references. This section should be an alphabetized list of all the academic sources of information utilized in the paper.  The format of the references will match the format and style used in the paper.  Common formats include APA, MLA, Harvard and so forth.


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