This page offers information on the primary parts to a paper including: the thesis statement, introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion and documentation.
The thesis statement is sometimes called the focus statement, and papers may also contain a purpose statement. Thesis statements are absolutely critical for writing a well focused and organized paper. Do not attempt to write a paper without first creating a thesis statement. For help understanding what a thesis statement is and how to create one, please click on the links below.
The Thesis Statement (From Guide to Grammar and Writing)
Developing a Thesis Statement (From University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Thesis Statements (From University of Illinois- Urbana/Champaign)
Writer's Guidebook - Writing a Research Paper
Research papers contain components that not every literary work contains. In a research paper you will find the standard intro, thesis, body, conclusion, and citations/references as you would in most papers, but you may also need to include an abstract and annotated bibliography. Additionally, you may be asked to write a literature review.
If you are unsure of what is required for your assignment then be sure to ask your professor. Your research paper may not contain any of these components or it may need to include some or all of them.
Sometimes you may be asked to write a literature review as part of your research paper and other times the assignment may be to write a literature review. Either way the following links will be useful in understanding what a literature review is and how to go about writing one.
Review of Literature (From University of Wisconsin-Madison)
How to Write a Literature Review (From University of California-Santa Cruz)
There are several types of annotated bibliographies, so it is important to understand which type of annotated bibliography you are expected to write before you can begin doing so. For more information on what an annotated bibliography is, types of annotated bibliographies, and how to write one, please view the links below.
Annotated Bibliographies (From University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Annotated Bibliographies: Content Analysis (From Colorado State University)
Abstracts are commonly included in research assignments, so make sure to find out from your professor if your assignment requires one. Please view the links below to find out what an abstract is and how to write one.
Writing Abstracts (From Colorado State University)
Abstracts (From University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Plagiarism & Paraphrasing
Writing a paper using ideas and knowledge from outside sources (anything that is not your own and that is not common knowledge) can lead to plagiarism if not documented properly or paraphrased appropriately. For more information on what plagiarism is, how to document sources, and how to properly paraphrase, please view the links below.
Plagarism: What it is and how to avoid it (From GSU)
Avoiding Plagiarism (From Purdue OWL)
Vital Details of a Well-Developed Paper—Paraphrasing Section
Research writing should include paraphrased and summarized information, where the writer incorporates the primary concepts within third-party sources using his or her own words. For more information, please reference the PDF file below, which provides more descriptive details on how to properly paraphrase cited information.
Mastering the Paraphrase
For information on the other critical components of a research paper, please see: Parts of a Paper
For a general overview of things to consider when writing a research paper, please visit: http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/PlanResearchPaper.html