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13.1 Formatting a Research Paper
- Identify the major components of a research paper written using American Psychological Association (APA) style.
- Apply general APA style and formatting conventions in a research paper.
In this chapter, you will learn how to use APA style , the documentation and formatting style followed by the American Psychological Association, as well as MLA style , from the Modern Language Association. There are a few major formatting styles used in academic texts, including AMA, Chicago, and Turabian:
- AMA (American Medical Association) for medicine, health, and biological sciences
- APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the social sciences
- Chicago—a common style used in everyday publications like magazines, newspapers, and books
- MLA (Modern Language Association) for English, literature, arts, and humanities
- Turabian—another common style designed for its universal application across all subjects and disciplines
While all the formatting and citation styles have their own use and applications, in this chapter we focus our attention on the two styles you are most likely to use in your academic studies: APA and MLA.
If you find that the rules of proper source documentation are difficult to keep straight, you are not alone. Writing a good research paper is, in and of itself, a major intellectual challenge. Having to follow detailed citation and formatting guidelines as well may seem like just one more task to add to an already-too-long list of requirements.
Following these guidelines, however, serves several important purposes. First, it signals to your readers that your paper should be taken seriously as a student’s contribution to a given academic or professional field; it is the literary equivalent of wearing a tailored suit to a job interview. Second, it shows that you respect other people’s work enough to give them proper credit for it. Finally, it helps your reader find additional materials if he or she wishes to learn more about your topic.
Furthermore, producing a letter-perfect APA-style paper need not be burdensome. Yes, it requires careful attention to detail. However, you can simplify the process if you keep these broad guidelines in mind:
- Work ahead whenever you can. Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” includes tips for keeping track of your sources early in the research process, which will save time later on.
- Get it right the first time. Apply APA guidelines as you write, so you will not have much to correct during the editing stage. Again, putting in a little extra time early on can save time later.
- Use the resources available to you. In addition to the guidelines provided in this chapter, you may wish to consult the APA website at http://www.apa.org or the Purdue University Online Writing lab at http://owl.english.purdue.edu , which regularly updates its online style guidelines.
General Formatting Guidelines
This chapter provides detailed guidelines for using the citation and formatting conventions developed by the American Psychological Association, or APA. Writers in disciplines as diverse as astrophysics, biology, psychology, and education follow APA style. The major components of a paper written in APA style are listed in the following box.
These are the major components of an APA-style paper:
Body, which includes the following:
- Headings and, if necessary, subheadings to organize the content
- In-text citations of research sources
- References page
All these components must be saved in one document, not as separate documents.
The title page of your paper includes the following information:
- Title of the paper
- Author’s name
- Name of the institution with which the author is affiliated
- Header at the top of the page with the paper title (in capital letters) and the page number (If the title is lengthy, you may use a shortened form of it in the header.)
List the first three elements in the order given in the previous list, centered about one third of the way down from the top of the page. Use the headers and footers tool of your word-processing program to add the header, with the title text at the left and the page number in the upper-right corner. Your title page should look like the following example.
The next page of your paper provides an abstract , or brief summary of your findings. An abstract does not need to be provided in every paper, but an abstract should be used in papers that include a hypothesis. A good abstract is concise—about one hundred fifty to two hundred fifty words—and is written in an objective, impersonal style. Your writing voice will not be as apparent here as in the body of your paper. When writing the abstract, take a just-the-facts approach, and summarize your research question and your findings in a few sentences.
In Chapter 12 “Writing a Research Paper” , you read a paper written by a student named Jorge, who researched the effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets. Read Jorge’s abstract. Note how it sums up the major ideas in his paper without going into excessive detail.
Write an abstract summarizing your paper. Briefly introduce the topic, state your findings, and sum up what conclusions you can draw from your research. Use the word count feature of your word-processing program to make sure your abstract does not exceed one hundred fifty words.
Depending on your field of study, you may sometimes write research papers that present extensive primary research, such as your own experiment or survey. In your abstract, summarize your research question and your findings, and briefly indicate how your study relates to prior research in the field.
Margins, Pagination, and Headings
APA style requirements also address specific formatting concerns, such as margins, pagination, and heading styles, within the body of the paper. Review the following APA guidelines.
Use these general guidelines to format the paper:
- Set the top, bottom, and side margins of your paper at 1 inch.
- Use double-spaced text throughout your paper.
- Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, in a legible size (10- to 12-point).
- Use continuous pagination throughout the paper, including the title page and the references section. Page numbers appear flush right within your header.
- Section headings and subsection headings within the body of your paper use different types of formatting depending on the level of information you are presenting. Additional details from Jorge’s paper are provided.
Begin formatting the final draft of your paper according to APA guidelines. You may work with an existing document or set up a new document if you choose. Include the following:
- Your title page
- The abstract you created in Note 13.8 “Exercise 1”
- Correct headers and page numbers for your title page and abstract
APA style uses section headings to organize information, making it easy for the reader to follow the writer’s train of thought and to know immediately what major topics are covered. Depending on the length and complexity of the paper, its major sections may also be divided into subsections, sub-subsections, and so on. These smaller sections, in turn, use different heading styles to indicate different levels of information. In essence, you are using headings to create a hierarchy of information.
The following heading styles used in APA formatting are listed in order of greatest to least importance:
- Section headings use centered, boldface type. Headings use title case, with important words in the heading capitalized.
- Subsection headings use left-aligned, boldface type. Headings use title case.
- The third level uses left-aligned, indented, boldface type. Headings use a capital letter only for the first word, and they end in a period.
- The fourth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are boldfaced and italicized.
- The fifth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are italicized and not boldfaced.
Visually, the hierarchy of information is organized as indicated in Table 13.1 “Section Headings” .
Table 13.1 Section Headings
A college research paper may not use all the heading levels shown in Table 13.1 “Section Headings” , but you are likely to encounter them in academic journal articles that use APA style. For a brief paper, you may find that level 1 headings suffice. Longer or more complex papers may need level 2 headings or other lower-level headings to organize information clearly. Use your outline to craft your major section headings and determine whether any subtopics are substantial enough to require additional levels of headings.
Working with the document you developed in Note 13.11 “Exercise 2” , begin setting up the heading structure of the final draft of your research paper according to APA guidelines. Include your title and at least two to three major section headings, and follow the formatting guidelines provided above. If your major sections should be broken into subsections, add those headings as well. Use your outline to help you.
Because Jorge used only level 1 headings, his Exercise 3 would look like the following:
Throughout the body of your paper, include a citation whenever you quote or paraphrase material from your research sources. As you learned in Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” , the purpose of citations is twofold: to give credit to others for their ideas and to allow your reader to follow up and learn more about the topic if desired. Your in-text citations provide basic information about your source; each source you cite will have a longer entry in the references section that provides more detailed information.
In-text citations must provide the name of the author or authors and the year the source was published. (When a given source does not list an individual author, you may provide the source title or the name of the organization that published the material instead.) When directly quoting a source, it is also required that you include the page number where the quote appears in your citation.
This information may be included within the sentence or in a parenthetical reference at the end of the sentence, as in these examples.
Epstein (2010) points out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).
Here, the writer names the source author when introducing the quote and provides the publication date in parentheses after the author’s name. The page number appears in parentheses after the closing quotation marks and before the period that ends the sentence.
Addiction researchers caution that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (Epstein, 2010, p. 137).
Here, the writer provides a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence that includes the author’s name, the year of publication, and the page number separated by commas. Again, the parenthetical citation is placed after the closing quotation marks and before the period at the end of the sentence.
As noted in the book Junk Food, Junk Science (Epstein, 2010, p. 137), “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive.”
Here, the writer chose to mention the source title in the sentence (an optional piece of information to include) and followed the title with a parenthetical citation. Note that the parenthetical citation is placed before the comma that signals the end of the introductory phrase.
David Epstein’s book Junk Food, Junk Science (2010) pointed out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).
Another variation is to introduce the author and the source title in your sentence and include the publication date and page number in parentheses within the sentence or at the end of the sentence. As long as you have included the essential information, you can choose the option that works best for that particular sentence and source.
Citing a book with a single author is usually a straightforward task. Of course, your research may require that you cite many other types of sources, such as books or articles with more than one author or sources with no individual author listed. You may also need to cite sources available in both print and online and nonprint sources, such as websites and personal interviews. Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , Section 13.2 “Citing and Referencing Techniques” and Section 13.3 “Creating a References Section” provide extensive guidelines for citing a variety of source types.
Writing at Work
APA is just one of several different styles with its own guidelines for documentation, formatting, and language usage. Depending on your field of interest, you may be exposed to additional styles, such as the following:
- MLA style. Determined by the Modern Languages Association and used for papers in literature, languages, and other disciplines in the humanities.
- Chicago style. Outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style and sometimes used for papers in the humanities and the sciences; many professional organizations use this style for publications as well.
- Associated Press (AP) style. Used by professional journalists.
The brief citations included in the body of your paper correspond to the more detailed citations provided at the end of the paper in the references section. In-text citations provide basic information—the author’s name, the publication date, and the page number if necessary—while the references section provides more extensive bibliographical information. Again, this information allows your reader to follow up on the sources you cited and do additional reading about the topic if desired.
The specific format of entries in the list of references varies slightly for different source types, but the entries generally include the following information:
- The name(s) of the author(s) or institution that wrote the source
- The year of publication and, where applicable, the exact date of publication
- The full title of the source
- For books, the city of publication
- For articles or essays, the name of the periodical or book in which the article or essay appears
- For magazine and journal articles, the volume number, issue number, and pages where the article appears
- For sources on the web, the URL where the source is located
The references page is double spaced and lists entries in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. If an entry continues for more than one line, the second line and each subsequent line are indented five spaces. Review the following example. ( Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , Section 13.3 “Creating a References Section” provides extensive guidelines for formatting reference entries for different types of sources.)
In APA style, book and article titles are formatted in sentence case, not title case. Sentence case means that only the first word is capitalized, along with any proper nouns.
- Following proper citation and formatting guidelines helps writers ensure that their work will be taken seriously, give proper credit to other authors for their work, and provide valuable information to readers.
- Working ahead and taking care to cite sources correctly the first time are ways writers can save time during the editing stage of writing a research paper.
- APA papers usually include an abstract that concisely summarizes the paper.
- APA papers use a specific headings structure to provide a clear hierarchy of information.
- In APA papers, in-text citations usually include the name(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication.
- In-text citations correspond to entries in the references section, which provide detailed bibliographical information about a source.
Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
How to Format a Scientific Paper
Written by Joanna Kimmerly-Smith
You've done the research. You've carefully recorded your lab results and compiled a list of relevant sources. You've even written a draft of your scientific, technical, or medical paper, hoping to get published in a reputable journal. But how do you format your paper to ensure that every detail is correct? If you're a scientific researcher or co-author looking to get your research published, read on to find out how to format your paper.
While it's true that you'll eventually need to tailor your research for your target journal, which will provide specific author guidelines for formatting the paper (see, for example, author guidelines for publications by Elsevier , PLOS ONE , and mBio ), there are some formatting rules that are useful to know for your initial draft. This article will explore some of the formatting rules that apply to all scientific writing, helping you to follow the correct order of sections ( IMRaD ), understand the requirements of each section, find resources for standard terminology and units of measurement, and prepare your scientific paper for publication.
The four main elements of a scientific paper can be represented by the acronym IMRaD: introduction, methods, results, and discussion. Other sections, along with a suggested length,* are listed in the table below.
* Length guidelines are taken from https://www.elsevier.com/connect/11-steps-to-structuring-a-science-paper-editors-will-take-seriously#step6 .
Now, let's go through the main sections you might have to prepare to format your paper.
On the first page of the paper, you must present the title of the paper along with the authors' names, institutional affiliations, and contact information. The corresponding author(s) (i.e., the one[s] who will be in contact with the reviewers) must be specified, usually with a footnote or an asterisk (*), and their full contact details (e.g., email address and phone number) must be provided. For example:
Dr. Clara A. Bell 1, * and Dr. Scott C. Smith 2
1 University of Areopagitica, Department of Biology, Sometown, Somecountry
2 Leviathan University, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, Sometown, Somecountry
- If you are unsure of how to classify author roles (i.e., who did what), guidelines are available online. For example, American Geophysical Union (AGU) journals now recommend using Contributor Roles Taxonomy (CRediT), an online taxonomy for author contributions.
In this summary of your research, you must state your subject (i.e., what you did) and encapsulate the main findings and conclusions of your paper.
- Do not add citations in an abstract (the reader might not be able to access your reference list).
- Avoid using acronyms and abbreviations in the abstract, as the reader may not be familiar with them. Use full terms instead.
Below the abstract, include a list of key terms to help other researchers locate your study. Note that "keywords" is one word (with no space) and is followed by a colon:
Keywords : paper format, scientific writing.
- Check whether "Keywords" should be italicized and whether each term should be capitalized.
- Check the use of punctuation (e.g., commas versus semicolons, the use of the period at the end).
- Some journals (e.g., IEEE ) provide a taxonomy of keywords. This aids in the classification of your research.
This is the reader's first impression of your paper, so it should be clear and concise. Include relevant background information on your topic, using in-text citations as necessary. Report new developments in the field, and state how your research fills gaps in the existing research. Focus on the specific problem you are addressing, along with its possible solutions, and outline the limitations of your study. You can also include a research question, hypothesis, and/or objectives at the end of this section.
- Organize your information from broad to narrow (general to particular). However, don't start too broad; keep the information relevant.
- You can use in-text citations in this section to situate your research within the body of literature.
This is the part of your paper that explains how the research was done. You should relate your research procedures in a clear, logical order (i.e., the order in which you conducted the research) so that other researchers can reproduce your results. Simply refer to the established methods you used, but describe any procedures that are original to your study in more detail.
- Identify the specific instruments you used in your research by including the manufacturer’s name and location in parentheses.
- Stay consistent with the order in which information is presented (e.g., quantity, temperature, stirring speed, refrigeration period).
Now that you've explained how you gathered your research, you've got to report what you actually found. In this section, outline the main findings of your research. You need not include too many details, particularly if you are using tables and figures. While writing this section, be consistent and use the smallest number of words necessary to convey your statistics.
- Use appendices or supplementary materials if you have too much data.
- Use headings to help the reader follow along, particularly if your data are repetitive (but check whether your style guide allows you to use them).
In this section, you interpret your findings for the reader in relation to previous research and the literature as a whole. Present your general conclusions, including an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the research and the implications of your findings. Resolve the hypothesis and/or research question you identified in the introduction.
- Use in-text citations to support your discussion.
- Do not repeat the information you presented in the results or the introduction unless it is necessary for a discussion of the overall implications of the research.
This section is sometimes included in the last paragraph of the discussion. Explain how your research fits within your field of study, and identify areas for future research.
- Keep this section short.
Write a brief paragraph giving credit to any institution responsible for funding the study (e.g., through a fellowship or grant) and any individual(s) who contributed to the manuscript (e.g., technical advisors or editors).
- Check whether your journal uses standard identifiers for funding agencies (e.g., Elsevier's Funder Registry ).
Conflicts of Interest/Originality Statement
Some journals require a statement attesting that your research is original and that you have no conflicts of interest (i.e., ulterior motives or ways in which you could benefit from the publication of your research). This section only needs to be a sentence or two long.
Here you list citation information for each source you used (i.e., author names, date of publication, title of paper/chapter, title of journal/book, and publisher name and location). The list of references can be in alphabetical order (author–date style of citation) or in the order in which the sources are presented in the paper (numbered citations). Follow your style guide; if no guidelines are provided, choose a citation format and be consistent .
- While doing your final proofread, ensure that the reference list entries are consistent with the in-text citations (i.e., no missing or conflicting information).
- Many citation styles use a hanging indent and may be alphabetized. Use the styles in Microsoft Word to aid you in citation format.
- Use EndNote , Mendeley , Zotero , RefWorks , or another similar reference manager to create, store, and utilize bibliographic information.
In this optional section, you can present nonessential information that further clarifies a point without burdening the body of the paper. That is, if you have too much data to fit in a (relatively) short research paper, move anything that's not essential to this section.
- Note that this section is uncommon in published papers. Before submission, check whether your journal allows for supplementary data, and don't put any essential information in this section.
Beyond IMRaD: Formatting the Details
Aside from the overall format of your paper, there are still other details to watch out for. The sections below cover how to present your terminology, equations, tables and figures, measurements, and statistics consistently based on the conventions of scientific writing.
Stay consistent with the terms you use. Generally, short forms can be used once the full term has been introduced:
- full terms versus acronyms (e.g., deoxyribonucleic acid versus DNA);
- English names versus Greek letters (e.g., alpha versus α); and
- species names versus short forms (e.g., Staphylococcus aureus versus S. aureus ).
One way to ensure consistency is to use standard scientific terminology. You can refer to the following resources, but if you're not sure which guidelines are preferred, check with your target journal.
- For gene classification, use GeneCards , The Mouse Genome Informatics Database , and/or genenames.org .
- For chemical nomenclature, refer to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Compendium of Chemical Terminology (the Gold Book ) and the IUPAC–IUB Combined Commission on Biochemical Nomenclature .
- For marine species names, use the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) or the European Register of Marine Species (ERMS) .
Italics must be used correctly for scientific terminology. Here are a couple of formatting tips:
- Species names, which are usually in Greek or Latin, are italicized (e.g., Staphylococcus aureus ).
- Genes are italicized, but proteins aren't.
Whether in mathematical, scientific, or technical papers, equations follow a conventional format. Here are some tips for formatting your calculations:
- Number each equation you present in the text, inserting the number in parentheses.
X + Y = 1 (1)
- Check whether your target journal requires you to capitalize the word "Equation" or use parentheses for the equation number when you refer to equations within the text.
In Equation 1, X represents . . .
In equation (1), X represents . . .
(Note also that you should use italics for variables.)
- Try using MathType or Equation Editor in Microsoft Word to type your equations, but use Unicode characters when typing single variables or mathematical operators (e.g., x, ≥, or ±) in running text. This makes it easier to edit your text and format your equations before publication.
- In line with the above tip, remember to save your math equations as editable text and not as images in case changes need to be made before publication.
Tables and Figures
Do you have any tables, graphs, or images in your research? If so, you should become familiar with the rules for referring to tables and figures in your scientific paper. Some examples are presented below.
- Capitalize the titles of specific tables and figures when you refer to them in the text (e.g., "see Table 3"; "in Figure 4").
- In tables, stay consistent with the use of title case (i.e., Capitalizing Each Word) and sentence case (i.e., Capitalizing the first word).
- In figure captions, stay consistent with the use of punctuation, italics, and capitalization. For example:
Figure 1. Classification of author roles.
Figure 2: taxonomy of paper keywords
Although every journal has slightly different formatting guidelines, most agree that the gold standard for units of measurement is the International System of Units (SI) . Wherever possible, use the SI. Here are some other tips for formatting units of measurement:
- Add spaces before units of measurement. For example, 2.5 mL not 2.5mL.
- Be consistent with your units of measure (especially date and time). For example, 3 hours or 3 h.
When presenting statistical information, you must provide enough specific information to accurately describe the relationships among your data. Nothing is more frustrating to a reviewer than vague sentences about a variable being significant without any supporting details. The author guidelines for the journal Nature recommend that the following be included for statistical testing: the name of each statistical analysis, along with its n value; an explanation of why the test was used and what is being compared; and the specific alpha levels and P values for each test.
Angel Borja, writing for Elsevier publications, described the statistical rules for article formatting as follows:
- Indicate the statistical tests used with all relevant parameters.
- Use mean and standard deviation to report normally distributed data.
- Use median and interpercentile range to report skewed data.
- For numbers, use two significant digits unless more precision is necessary.
- Never use percentages for very small samples.
Remember, you must be prepared to justify your findings and conclusions, and one of the best ways to do this is through factual accuracy and the acknowledgment of opposing interpretations, data, and/or points of view.
Even though you may not look forward to the process of formatting your research paper, it's important to present your findings clearly, consistently, and professionally. With the right paper format, your chances of publication increase, and your research will be more likely to make an impact in your field. Don't underestimate the details. They are the backbone of scientific writing and research.
One last tip: Before you submit your research, consider using our academic editing service for expert help with paper formatting, editing, and proofreading. We can tailor your paper to specific journal guidelines at your request.
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Joanna's passion for English literature (proven by her M.A. thesis on Jane Austen) is matched by her passion to help others with their writing (shown by her role as an in-house editor with Scribendi). She enjoys lively discussions about plot, character, and nerdy TV shows with her husband, and she loves singing almost as much as she loves reading. Isn't music another language after all?
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How to Write a Research Paper | A Beginner's Guide
A research paper is a piece of academic writing that provides analysis, interpretation, and argument based on in-depth independent research.
Research papers are similar to academic essays , but they are usually longer and more detailed assignments, designed to assess not only your writing skills but also your skills in scholarly research. Writing a research paper requires you to demonstrate a strong knowledge of your topic, engage with a variety of sources, and make an original contribution to the debate.
This step-by-step guide takes you through the entire writing process, from understanding your assignment to proofreading your final draft.
Table of contents
Understand the assignment, choose a research paper topic, conduct preliminary research, develop a thesis statement, create a research paper outline, write a first draft of the research paper, write the introduction, write a compelling body of text, write the conclusion, the second draft, the revision process, research paper checklist, free lecture slides.
Completing a research paper successfully means accomplishing the specific tasks set out for you. Before you start, make sure you thoroughly understanding the assignment task sheet:
- Read it carefully, looking for anything confusing you might need to clarify with your professor.
- Identify the assignment goal, deadline, length specifications, formatting, and submission method.
- Make a bulleted list of the key points, then go back and cross completed items off as you’re writing.
Carefully consider your timeframe and word limit: be realistic, and plan enough time to research, write, and edit.
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There are many ways to generate an idea for a research paper, from brainstorming with pen and paper to talking it through with a fellow student or professor.
You can try free writing, which involves taking a broad topic and writing continuously for two or three minutes to identify absolutely anything relevant that could be interesting.
You can also gain inspiration from other research. The discussion or recommendations sections of research papers often include ideas for other specific topics that require further examination.
Once you have a broad subject area, narrow it down to choose a topic that interests you, m eets the criteria of your assignment, and i s possible to research. Aim for ideas that are both original and specific:
- A paper following the chronology of World War II would not be original or specific enough.
- A paper on the experience of Danish citizens living close to the German border during World War II would be specific and could be original enough.
Note any discussions that seem important to the topic, and try to find an issue that you can focus your paper around. Use a variety of sources , including journals, books, and reliable websites, to ensure you do not miss anything glaring.
Do not only verify the ideas you have in mind, but look for sources that contradict your point of view.
- Is there anything people seem to overlook in the sources you research?
- Are there any heated debates you can address?
- Do you have a unique take on your topic?
- Have there been some recent developments that build on the extant research?
In this stage, you might find it helpful to formulate some research questions to help guide you. To write research questions, try to finish the following sentence: “I want to know how/what/why…”
A thesis statement is a statement of your central argument — it establishes the purpose and position of your paper. If you started with a research question, the thesis statement should answer it. It should also show what evidence and reasoning you’ll use to support that answer.
The thesis statement should be concise, contentious, and coherent. That means it should briefly summarize your argument in a sentence or two, make a claim that requires further evidence or analysis, and make a coherent point that relates to every part of the paper.
You will probably revise and refine the thesis statement as you do more research, but it can serve as a guide throughout the writing process. Every paragraph should aim to support and develop this central claim.
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
A research paper outline is essentially a list of the key topics, arguments, and evidence you want to include, divided into sections with headings so that you know roughly what the paper will look like before you start writing.
A structure outline can help make the writing process much more efficient, so it’s worth dedicating some time to create one.
Your first draft won’t be perfect — you can polish later on. Your priorities at this stage are as follows:
- Maintaining forward momentum — write now, perfect later.
- Paying attention to clear organization and logical ordering of paragraphs and sentences, which will help when you come to the second draft.
- Expressing your ideas as clearly as possible, so you know what you were trying to say when you come back to the text.
You do not need to start by writing the introduction. Begin where it feels most natural for you — some prefer to finish the most difficult sections first, while others choose to start with the easiest part. If you created an outline, use it as a map while you work.
Do not delete large sections of text. If you begin to dislike something you have written or find it doesn’t quite fit, move it to a different document, but don’t lose it completely — you never know if it might come in useful later.
Paragraphs are the basic building blocks of research papers. Each one should focus on a single claim or idea that helps to establish the overall argument or purpose of the paper.
George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language” has had an enduring impact on thought about the relationship between politics and language. This impact is particularly obvious in light of the various critical review articles that have recently referenced the essay. For example, consider Mark Falcoff’s 2009 article in The National Review Online, “The Perversion of Language; or, Orwell Revisited,” in which he analyzes several common words (“activist,” “civil-rights leader,” “diversity,” and more). Falcoff’s close analysis of the ambiguity built into political language intentionally mirrors Orwell’s own point-by-point analysis of the political language of his day. Even 63 years after its publication, Orwell’s essay is emulated by contemporary thinkers.
It’s also important to keep track of citations at this stage to avoid accidental plagiarism . Each time you use a source, make sure to take note of where the information came from.
You can use our free citation generators to automatically create citations and save your reference list as you go.
APA Citation Generator MLA Citation Generator
The research paper introduction should address three questions: What, why, and how? After finishing the introduction, the reader should know what the paper is about, why it is worth reading, and how you’ll build your arguments.
What? Be specific about the topic of the paper, introduce the background, and define key terms or concepts.
Why? This is the most important, but also the most difficult, part of the introduction. Try to provide brief answers to the following questions: What new material or insight are you offering? What important issues does your essay help define or answer?
How? To let the reader know what to expect from the rest of the paper, the introduction should include a “map” of what will be discussed, briefly presenting the key elements of the paper in chronological order.
The major struggle faced by most writers is how to organize the information presented in the paper, which is one reason an outline is so useful. However, remember that the outline is only a guide and, when writing, you can be flexible with the order in which the information and arguments are presented.
One way to stay on track is to use your thesis statement and topic sentences . Check:
- topic sentences against the thesis statement;
- topic sentences against each other, for similarities and logical ordering;
- and each sentence against the topic sentence of that paragraph.
Be aware of paragraphs that seem to cover the same things. If two paragraphs discuss something similar, they must approach that topic in different ways. Aim to create smooth transitions between sentences, paragraphs, and sections.
The research paper conclusion is designed to help your reader out of the paper’s argument, giving them a sense of finality.
Trace the course of the paper, emphasizing how it all comes together to prove your thesis statement. Give the paper a sense of finality by making sure the reader understands how you’ve settled the issues raised in the introduction.
You might also discuss the more general consequences of the argument, outline what the paper offers to future students of the topic, and suggest any questions the paper’s argument raises but cannot or does not try to answer.
You should not :
- Offer new arguments or essential information
- Take up any more space than necessary
- Begin with stock phrases that signal you are ending the paper (e.g. “In conclusion”)
There are four main considerations when it comes to the second draft.
- Check how your vision of the paper lines up with the first draft and, more importantly, that your paper still answers the assignment.
- Identify any assumptions that might require (more substantial) justification, keeping your reader’s perspective foremost in mind. Remove these points if you cannot substantiate them further.
- Be open to rearranging your ideas. Check whether any sections feel out of place and whether your ideas could be better organized.
- If you find that old ideas do not fit as well as you anticipated, you should cut them out or condense them. You might also find that new and well-suited ideas occurred to you during the writing of the first draft — now is the time to make them part of the paper.
The goal during the revision and proofreading process is to ensure you have completed all the necessary tasks and that the paper is as well-articulated as possible.
- Confirm that your paper completes every task specified in your assignment sheet.
- Check for logical organization and flow of paragraphs.
- Check paragraphs against the introduction and thesis statement.
Check the content of each paragraph, making sure that:
- each sentence helps support the topic sentence.
- no unnecessary or irrelevant information is present.
- all technical terms your audience might not know are identified.
Next, think about sentence structure , grammatical errors, and formatting . Check that you have correctly used transition words and phrases to show the connections between your ideas. Look for typos, cut unnecessary words, and check for consistency in aspects such as heading formatting and spellings .
Finally, you need to make sure your paper is correctly formatted according to the rules of the citation style you are using. For example, you might need to include an MLA heading or create an APA title page .
Scribbr’s professional editors can help with the revision process with our award-winning proofreading services.
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Checklist: Research paper
I have followed all instructions in the assignment sheet.
My introduction presents my topic in an engaging way and provides necessary background information.
My introduction presents a clear, focused research problem and/or thesis statement .
My paper is logically organized using paragraphs and (if relevant) section headings .
Each paragraph is clearly focused on one central idea, expressed in a clear topic sentence .
Each paragraph is relevant to my research problem or thesis statement.
I have used appropriate transitions to clarify the connections between sections, paragraphs, and sentences.
My conclusion provides a concise answer to the research question or emphasizes how the thesis has been supported.
My conclusion shows how my research has contributed to knowledge or understanding of my topic.
My conclusion does not present any new points or information essential to my argument.
I have provided an in-text citation every time I refer to ideas or information from a source.
I have included a reference list at the end of my paper, consistently formatted according to a specific citation style .
I have thoroughly revised my paper and addressed any feedback from my professor or supervisor.
I have followed all formatting guidelines (page numbers, headers, spacing, etc.).
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APA Sample Paper
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Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.
Note: This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), which released in October 2019. The equivalent resource for the older APA 6 style can be found here .
Media Files: APA Sample Student Paper , APA Sample Professional Paper
This resource is enhanced by Acrobat PDF files. Download the free Acrobat Reader
Note: The APA Publication Manual, 7 th Edition specifies different formatting conventions for student and professional papers (i.e., papers written for credit in a course and papers intended for scholarly publication). These differences mostly extend to the title page and running head. Crucially, citation practices do not differ between the two styles of paper.
However, for your convenience, we have provided two versions of our APA 7 sample paper below: one in student style and one in professional style.
Note: For accessibility purposes, we have used "Track Changes" to make comments along the margins of these samples. Those authored by [AF] denote explanations of formatting and [AWC] denote directions for writing and citing in APA 7.
APA 7 Student Paper:
Apa 7 professional paper:.
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Writing Research Papers
- Formatting Research Papers
Research papers written in APA style should follow the formatting rules specified in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . Most research papers that are written for psychology courses at UCSD, including the B.S. Degree Research Paper and the Honors Thesis, have to follow APA format. Here we discuss the formatting of research papers according to APA style.
How to Format a Research Paper in APA Style
For the most accurate and comprehensive information on formatting papers in APA style, we recommend referring directly to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Reputable online sources (e.g., the official APA Style website and the Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s guide to APA style) are also recommended.
According to the Publication Manual, the major sections and components of APA style research papers should adhere to the following guidelines. Note that how closely these guidelines are followed may vary depending on the course and instructor.
General Formatting Rules
- Papers should have at least 1-in. margins on all sides. 1
- All text should be double spaced . 1
- Times New Roman, 12 point font is preferred. 1
- All lines of text should be flush-left and should not be justified, except where noted in the Manual. 1
- The first line of every paragraph should be indented. Exceptions to the indenting rule are the Abstract, quotations, titles and headings, as well as Tables and Figures. 1
- Pages should be numbered at the top right, with the title page numbered page 1, the Abstract numbered page 2, and the text starting on page 3. 1
- An abbreviated title called the Running Head should be placed at the top of each page, flush-left in uppercase letters. 1
- Two spaces should be used after punctuation marks at the end of each sentence (in other words, there should be two spaces after the period that ends each sentence). 2
Formatting the Title Page
- The title should be typed in the upper half of the title page, centered, and with the first letters of all but minor words capitalized. 3
- The name(s) of the author(s) should be typed below the title and followed with the institutional affiliation(s) of the author(s). 3
- An Author Note should appear below the aforementioned items. The Author Note can have up to four paragraphs. These respectively describe the author(s)’ departmental and institutional affiliation, any changes in affiliation, acknowledgments, and contact information. 3
Formatting the Abstract
- The Abstract typically should not exceed 250 words. 4
- The Abstract should be placed on a separate page, with the label Abstract appearing at the top center of that page and followed by the text of the Abstract. 4
- The Abstract should not be indented. 4
Formatting the Main Body of Text
- The main body of text should begin on a separate page after the Abstract. 5
- It should begin with the Introduction section. 5
- The Introduction section should be titled with the title of the research paper and not the word “Introduction.” The title should appear at the top of the page, centered, and should not be bolded. 5
- The remainder of the text should be flush-left, with each new paragraph indented except where noted above (see General Formatting Rules ). 5
- Each of the subsequent sections of the paper should be prefaced with a heading. APA guidelines specify different heading formats (for more information on Levels of Headings , see below). 5
- The references section should begin on a separate page after the main body of text. 6
- It should begin with the word “References” placed at the top of the page and centered. 6
- All references should be listed in alphabetical order by the last name of the first author of each reference. 6
- All references should be double-spaced and should use a hanging indent format wherein the first line of each reference is flush-left and all subsequent lines of that reference are indented (with that pattern repeating for each reference). 6
- All references should use the appropriate APA reference format (for more information, please see the Citing References section of this website). 6
Levels of Headings in APA Style
As of the sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (released in 2010), the five possible levels of heading in APA-formatted manuscripts are: 7
- Level 1: centered, bold, on a separate line, and the first letters of all but minor words capitalized.
- Level 2: flush-left, bold, on a separate line, and the first letters of all but minor words capitalized.
- Level 3: indented, bold, as a paragraph heading (the first part of a paragraph; regular text follows on the same line), and in lowercase letters ending with a period.
- Level 4: indented, bold, italicized, as a paragraph heading (the first part of a paragraph; regular text follows on the same line), and in lowercase letters ending with a period.
- Level 5: indented, not bold, italicized, as a paragraph heading (the first part of a paragraph; regular text follows on the same line), and in lowercase letters ending with a period.
Depending on the structure of your research paper, some or all of the five levels of headings may be used. The headings have a “hierarchical nested structure” where Level 1 is the highest and Level 5 is the lowest. For example, you may have a research paper which uses all five levels of heading as follows:
- How to Write APA Style Research Papers (a comprehensive guide) [ PDF ]
- Tips for Writing APA Style Research Papers (a brief summary) [ PDF ]
- Example APA Style Research Paper (for B.S. Degree – empirical research) [ PDF ]
- Example APA Style Research Paper (for B.S. Degree – literature review) [ PDF ]
- Writing Research Paper Videos
- APA Style Guide from the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)
- APA Tutorial on the Basics of APA Style
- EasyBib Guide to Writing and Citing in APA Format
- Sample APA Formatted Paper
- Sample APA Formatted Paper with Comments
- Tips for Writing a Paper in APA Style
1 VandenBos, G. R. (Ed). (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) (pp. 228-229). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
2 vandenbos, g. r. (ed). (2010). (pp. 87-88). , 3 vandenbos, g. r. (ed). (2010). (pp. 23-25). , 4 vandenbos, g. r. (ed). (2010). (pp. 25-27)., 5 vandenbos, g. r. (ed). (2010). (pp. 41-49). , 6 vandenbos, g. r. (ed). (2010). (pp. 37-38, 49-51). , 7 vandenbos, g. r. (ed). (2010). (p. 62). .
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- Research Paper Structure
- Using Databases and Finding References
- What Types of References Are Appropriate?
- Evaluating References and Taking Notes
- Citing References
- Writing a Literature Review
- Writing Process and Revising
- Improving Scientific Writing
- Academic Integrity and Avoiding Plagiarism
- Writing Research Papers Videos
Formatting a Research Paper in Word: Home
- Resources for Visually Impaired
This page will help you set up a Microsoft Word document to write an MLA or APA research paper. It includes keystroke commands where possible.
Keyboard shortcuts from Microsoft
Header for MLA Style
(ALT + N, H spacebar)
- To create the header, click on the Insert tab on the toolbar.
(Alt+N, N, U) , T (selects top of page from menu options), Enter , Right align (Ctrl+R), Type Last name and a space
- Click page number in the Header & Footer box. Choose Top of Page in the drop down menu, and select Plain Number 3.
- While your cursor is still on the page number, type your last name and a space.
Format Font to Times New Roman, size 12
Alt+A to select all font, Ctrl+D to open font dialog box, type Times, tab twice to get to size box, type 12, then Enter to close box and header.
- Highlight all text if needed, then on the Home tab, in the Font section, select Times New Roman, size 12.
To Close Header
(Alt+J, H, C)
- Click on Close Header & Footer or double-click on the body of the document
To Edit Header
(Alt+N, H, Alt+E)
- Open header & footer box or double click in header space
Header for APA Style
In all caps, enter your running head, which is a short version of your title.
Page Set up
Format font to times new roman, size 12, double space lines.
Alt+K, arrow down to 2.0, enter
- On Home Tab, in the Paragraph section, choose 2.0 or Double for line spacing.
Alt+P, S, A, type the number zero, enter
- On Home Tab, in the Paragraph section, enter 0 (zero) for space before and after paragraphs.
Set Margins to 1 inch
Alt+P opens Page Layout, Alt+M online Margins, use arrows to select Normal Template. Enter.
- Under Layout Tab, open Margins and select Normal.
To Save this Format as the Default
Your information and title of paper, left align text (this should be the default).
- Under Home tab, in the Paragraph box, click Left Align icon
- Your first and last name <Enter>
- Your Instructor's name <Enter>
- Class name and course number <Enter>
- Date in format day, month, year <Enter>
Title of Paper
Center Align Text using Ctrl+C
Type the title of your paper, capitalizing the first letter of the of the first word and then the first letter of every word except conjunctions, prepositions, and articles. <Enter>
Note: You will need to left align text (Ctrl+L) before beginning body of the paper.
Body of Text
Make sure you have already completed the Page Set up.
If your preceding line was center justified, left align the text with Ctrl+L or using the Left Align icon on the toolbar.
Indent first line of paragraphs
You can tab to indent the first line of the paragraphs OR
Alt+O, P to open paragraph dialogue box, Alt+S to chose Special indentation. From dropdown, select First Line. Enter.
- On Home Tab, in the Paragraph section, under Indentation, in Special, use dropdown to select First Line.
Indenting block quotations
- (Alt+P, I, L) type .5 to indent by 1/2 inch. <enter> Or, with text highlighted, click the Increase indent button in the Paragraph settings section of the Home or Layout tab.
- Type your block quotation.
- To cancel indenting the block quotation, change the indent back to 0 using (Alt+P, I, L), 0. <enter> OR click the decrease indent to return back to the left margin.
Works Cited or References List
Start a new page.
- On the Insert tab, in the Pages section, slick on the Page Break icon
Center the title of the section
Ctrl+E, type "Works Cited" for MLA or "References" for APA, <enter> (return to Left alignment with Ctrl+L)
- On the Home Tab, in the Paragraph section, click the Center Align icon
- Type Works Cited for MLA or References for APA
- Return to Left Alignment using the Left Align icon
Format page for hanging indent
Alt+H, P, G opens paragraph dialog box, Tab to Special Indent, Arrow down to Hanging indent, <enter>
- On Home Tab, in the Paragraph section, under Indentation, in Special, use dropdown to select Hanging Indent <OK>
Alphabetize your Works Cited
This feature enables you to quickly alphabetize your works cited section. However, be aware that it does not ignore citations starting with A, An, or The, as you should according to MLA and APA style. Therefore, if any of your citations start with these words, you will need to manually move them into place.
- Select the text you want to sort.
- On the Home tab, in the Paragraph section, click the Alphabetize icon.
Preformatted Word Documents
- MLA Document Formatted This Word document is formatted in MLA style. Download this document then replace the text with your own text.
- APA Document Formatted Word document in APA format, including a cover page, was adapted from a document from Evergreen Valley College. Download this paper and replace the text with your own.
- Next: Resources for Visually Impaired >>
- Last Updated: Jul 14, 2023 9:56 AM
- URL: https://research.library.gsu.edu/format
WRITING A SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ARTICLE | Format for the paper | Edit your paper! | Useful books | FORMAT FOR THE PAPER Scientific research articles provide a method for scientists to communicate with other scientists about the results of their research. A standard format is used for these articles, in which the author presents the research in an orderly, logical manner. This doesn't necessarily reflect the order in which you did or thought about the work. This format is: | Title | Authors | Introduction | Materials and Methods | Results (with Tables and Figures ) | Discussion | Acknowledgments | Literature Cited | TITLE Make your title specific enough to describe the contents of the paper, but not so technical that only specialists will understand. The title should be appropriate for the intended audience. The title usually describes the subject matter of the article: Effect of Smoking on Academic Performance" Sometimes a title that summarizes the results is more effective: Students Who Smoke Get Lower Grades" AUTHORS 1. The person who did the work and wrote the paper is generally listed as the first author of a research paper. 2. For published articles, other people who made substantial contributions to the work are also listed as authors. Ask your mentor's permission before including his/her name as co-author. ABSTRACT 1. An abstract, or summary, is published together with a research article, giving the reader a "preview" of what's to come. Such abstracts may also be published separately in bibliographical sources, such as Biologic al Abstracts. They allow other scientists to quickly scan the large scientific literature, and decide which articles they want to read in depth. The abstract should be a little less technical than the article itself; you don't want to dissuade your potent ial audience from reading your paper. 2. Your abstract should be one paragraph, of 100-250 words, which summarizes the purpose, methods, results and conclusions of the paper. 3. It is not easy to include all this information in just a few words. Start by writing a summary that includes whatever you think is important, and then gradually prune it down to size by removing unnecessary words, while still retaini ng the necessary concepts. 3. Don't use abbreviations or citations in the abstract. It should be able to stand alone without any footnotes. INTRODUCTION What question did you ask in your experiment? Why is it interesting? The introduction summarizes the relevant literature so that the reader will understand why you were interested in the question you asked. One to fo ur paragraphs should be enough. End with a sentence explaining the specific question you asked in this experiment. MATERIALS AND METHODS 1. How did you answer this question? There should be enough information here to allow another scientist to repeat your experiment. Look at other papers that have been published in your field to get some idea of what is included in this section. 2. If you had a complicated protocol, it may helpful to include a diagram, table or flowchart to explain the methods you used. 3. Do not put results in this section. You may, however, include preliminary results that were used to design the main experiment that you are reporting on. ("In a preliminary study, I observed the owls for one week, and found that 73 % of their locomotor activity occurred during the night, and so I conducted all subsequent experiments between 11 pm and 6 am.") 4. Mention relevant ethical considerations. If you used human subjects, did they consent to participate. If you used animals, what measures did you take to minimize pain? RESULTS 1. This is where you present the results you've gotten. Use graphs and tables if appropriate, but also summarize your main findings in the text. Do NOT discuss the results or speculate as to why something happened; t hat goes in th e Discussion. 2. You don't necessarily have to include all the data you've gotten during the semester. This isn't a diary. 3. Use appropriate methods of showing data. Don't try to manipulate the data to make it look like you did more than you actually did. "The drug cured 1/3 of the infected mice, another 1/3 were not affected, and the third mouse got away." TABLES AND GRAPHS 1. If you present your data in a table or graph, include a title describing what's in the table ("Enzyme activity at various temperatures", not "My results".) For graphs, you should also label the x and y axes. 2. Don't use a table or graph just to be "fancy". If you can summarize the information in one sentence, then a table or graph is not necessary. DISCUSSION 1. Highlight the most significant results, but don't just repeat what you've written in the Results section. How do these results relate to the original question? Do the data support your hypothesis? Are your results consistent with what other investigators have reported? If your results were unexpected, try to explain why. Is there another way to interpret your results? What further research would be necessary to answer the questions raised by your results? How do y our results fit into the big picture? 2. End with a one-sentence summary of your conclusion, emphasizing why it is relevant. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This section is optional. You can thank those who either helped with the experiments, or made other important contributions, such as discussing the protocol, commenting on the manuscript, or buying you pizza. REFERENCES (LITERATURE CITED) There are several possible ways to organize this section. Here is one commonly used way: 1. In the text, cite the literature in the appropriate places: Scarlet (1990) thought that the gene was present only in yeast, but it has since been identified in the platypus (Indigo and Mauve, 1994) and wombat (Magenta, et al., 1995). 2. In the References section list citations in alphabetical order. Indigo, A. C., and Mauve, B. E. 1994. Queer place for qwerty: gene isolation from the platypus. Science 275, 1213-1214. Magenta, S. T., Sepia, X., and Turquoise, U. 1995. Wombat genetics. In: Widiculous Wombats, Violet, Q., ed. New York: Columbia University Press. p 123-145. Scarlet, S.L. 1990. Isolation of qwerty gene from S. cerevisae. Journal of Unusual Results 36, 26-31. EDIT YOUR PAPER!!! "In my writing, I average about ten pages a day. Unfortunately, they're all the same page." Michael Alley, The Craft of Scientific Writing A major part of any writing assignment consists of re-writing. Write accurately Scientific writing must be accurate. Although writing instructors may tell you not to use the same word twice in a sentence, it's okay for scientific writing, which must be accurate. (A student who tried not to repeat the word "hamster" produced this confusing sentence: "When I put the hamster in a cage with the other animals, the little mammals began to play.") Make sure you say what you mean. Instead of: The rats were injected with the drug. (sounds like a syringe was filled with drug and ground-up rats and both were injected together) Write: I injected the drug into the rat.
- Be careful with commonly confused words:
Temperature has an effect on the reaction. Temperature affects the reaction.
I used solutions in various concentrations. (The solutions were 5 mg/ml, 10 mg/ml, and 15 mg/ml) I used solutions in varying concentrations. (The concentrations I used changed; sometimes they were 5 mg/ml, other times they were 15 mg/ml.)
Less food (can't count numbers of food) Fewer animals (can count numbers of animals)
A large amount of food (can't count them) A large number of animals (can count them)
The erythrocytes, which are in the blood, contain hemoglobin. The erythrocytes that are in the blood contain hemoglobin. (Wrong. This sentence implies that there are erythrocytes elsewhere that don't contain hemoglobin.)
1. Write at a level that's appropriate for your audience.
"Like a pigeon, something to admire as long as it isn't over your head." Anonymous
2. Use the active voice. It's clearer and more concise than the passive voice.
Instead of: An increased appetite was manifested by the rats and an increase in body weight was measured. Write: The rats ate more and gained weight.
3. Use the first person.
Instead of: It is thought Write: I think
Instead of: The samples were analyzed Write: I analyzed the samples
4. Avoid dangling participles.
"After incubating at 30 degrees C, we examined the petri plates." (You must've been pretty warm in there.)
1. Use verbs instead of abstract nouns
Instead of: take into consideration Write: consider
2. Use strong verbs instead of "to be"
Instead of: The enzyme was found to be the active agent in catalyzing... Write: The enzyme catalyzed...
3. Use short words.
Instead of: Write: possess have sufficient enough utilize use demonstrate show assistance help terminate end
4. Use concise terms.
Instead of: Write: prior to before due to the fact that because in a considerable number of cases often the vast majority of most during the time that when in close proximity to near it has long been known that I'm too lazy to look up the reference
5. Use short sentences. A sentence made of more than 40 words should probably be rewritten as two sentences.
"The conjunction 'and' commonly serves to indicate that the writer's mind still functions even when no signs of the phenomenon are noticeable." Rudolf Virchow, 1928
Check your grammar, spelling and punctuation
1. Use a spellchecker, but be aware that they don't catch all mistakes.
"When we consider the animal as a hole,..." Student's paper
2. Your spellchecker may not recognize scientific terms. For the correct spelling, try Biotech's Life Science Dictionary or one of the technical dictionaries on the reference shelf in the Biology or Health Sciences libraries.
3. Don't, use, unnecessary, commas.
4. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
Victoria E. McMillan, Writing Papers in the Biological Sciences , Bedford Books, Boston, 1997 The best. On sale for about $18 at Labyrinth Books, 112th Street. On reserve in Biology Library
Jan A. Pechenik, A Short Guide to Writing About Biology , Boston: Little, Brown, 1987
Harrison W. Ambrose, III & Katharine Peckham Ambrose, A Handbook of Biological Investigation , 4th edition, Hunter Textbooks Inc, Winston-Salem, 1987 Particularly useful if you need to use statistics to analyze your data. Copy on Reference shelf in Biology Library.
Robert S. Day, How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper , 4th edition, Oryx Press, Phoenix, 1994. Earlier editions also good. A bit more advanced, intended for those writing papers for publication. Fun to read. Several copies available in Columbia libraries.
William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White, The Elements of Style , 3rd ed. Macmillan, New York, 1987. Several copies available in Columbia libraries. Strunk's first edition is available on-line.
Home » Research Paper Format – Types, Examples and Templates
Research Paper Format – Types, Examples and Templates
Table of Contents
Research paper format is an essential aspect of academic writing that plays a crucial role in the communication of research findings . The format of a research paper depends on various factors such as the discipline, style guide, and purpose of the research. It includes guidelines for the structure, citation style, referencing , and other elements of the paper that contribute to its overall presentation and coherence. Adhering to the appropriate research paper format is vital for ensuring that the research is accurately and effectively communicated to the intended audience. In this era of information, it is essential to understand the different research paper formats and their guidelines to communicate research effectively, accurately, and with the required level of detail. This post aims to provide an overview of some of the common research paper formats used in academic writing.
Research Paper Formats
Research Paper Formats are as follows:
- APA (American Psychological Association) format
- MLA (Modern Language Association) format
- Chicago/Turabian style
- IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) format
- AMA (American Medical Association) style
- Harvard style
- Vancouver style
- ACS (American Chemical Society) style
- ASA (American Sociological Association) style
- APSA (American Political Science Association) style
APA (American Psychological Association) Format
Here is a general APA format for a research paper:
- Title Page: The title page should include the title of your paper, your name, and your institutional affiliation. It should also include a running head, which is a shortened version of the title, and a page number in the upper right-hand corner.
- Abstract : The abstract is a brief summary of your paper, typically 150-250 words. It should include the purpose of your research, the main findings, and any implications or conclusions that can be drawn.
- Introduction: The introduction should provide background information on your topic, state the purpose of your research, and present your research question or hypothesis. It should also include a brief literature review that discusses previous research on your topic.
- Methods: The methods section should describe the procedures you used to collect and analyze your data. It should include information on the participants, the materials and instruments used, and the statistical analyses performed.
- Results: The results section should present the findings of your research in a clear and concise manner. Use tables and figures to help illustrate your results.
- Discussion : The discussion section should interpret your results and relate them back to your research question or hypothesis. It should also discuss the implications of your findings and any limitations of your study.
- References : The references section should include a list of all sources cited in your paper. Follow APA formatting guidelines for your citations and references.
Some additional tips for formatting your APA research paper:
- Use 12-point Times New Roman font throughout the paper.
- Double-space all text, including the references.
- Use 1-inch margins on all sides of the page.
- Indent the first line of each paragraph by 0.5 inches.
- Use a hanging indent for the references (the first line should be flush with the left margin, and all subsequent lines should be indented).
- Number all pages, including the title page and references page, in the upper right-hand corner.
APA Research Paper Format Template
APA Research Paper Format Template is as follows:
- Title of the paper
- Author’s name
- Institutional affiliation
- A brief summary of the main points of the paper, including the research question, methods, findings, and conclusions. The abstract should be no more than 250 words.
- Background information on the topic of the research paper
- Research question or hypothesis
- Significance of the study
- Overview of the research methods and design
- Brief summary of the main findings
- Participants: description of the sample population, including the number of participants and their characteristics (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.)
- Materials: description of any materials used in the study (e.g., survey questions, experimental apparatus)
- Procedure: detailed description of the steps taken to conduct the study
- Presentation of the findings of the study, including statistical analyses if applicable
- Tables and figures may be included to illustrate the results
- Interpretation of the results in light of the research question and hypothesis
- Implications of the study for the field
- Limitations of the study
- Suggestions for future research
- A list of all sources cited in the paper, in APA format
- 12-point font (Times New Roman or Arial)
- 1-inch margins on all sides
- Page numbers in the top right corner
- Headings and subheadings should be used to organize the paper
- The first line of each paragraph should be indented
- Quotations of 40 or more words should be set off in a block quote with no quotation marks
- In-text citations should include the author’s last name and year of publication (e.g., Smith, 2019)
APA Research Paper Format Example
APA Research Paper Format Example is as follows:
The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health
University of XYZ
This study examines the relationship between social media use and mental health among college students. Data was collected through a survey of 500 students at the University of XYZ. Results suggest that social media use is significantly related to symptoms of depression and anxiety, and that the negative effects of social media are greater among frequent users.
Social media has become an increasingly important aspect of modern life, especially among young adults. While social media can have many positive effects, such as connecting people across distances and sharing information, there is growing concern about its impact on mental health. This study aims to examine the relationship between social media use and mental health among college students.
Participants: Participants were 500 college students at the University of XYZ, recruited through online advertisements and flyers posted on campus. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 25, with a mean age of 20.5 years. The sample was 60% female, 40% male, and 5% identified as non-binary or gender non-conforming.
Data was collected through an online survey administered through Qualtrics. The survey consisted of several measures, including the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) for depression symptoms, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) for anxiety symptoms, and questions about social media use.
Participants were asked to complete the online survey at their convenience. The survey took approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, correlations, and multiple regression analysis.
Results indicated that social media use was significantly related to symptoms of depression (r = .32, p < .001) and anxiety (r = .29, p < .001). Regression analysis indicated that frequency of social media use was a significant predictor of both depression symptoms (β = .24, p < .001) and anxiety symptoms (β = .20, p < .001), even when controlling for age, gender, and other relevant factors.
The results of this study suggest that social media use is associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety among college students. The negative effects of social media are greater among frequent users. These findings have important implications for mental health professionals and educators, who should consider addressing the potential negative effects of social media use in their work with young adults.
References should be listed in alphabetical order according to the author’s last name. For example:
- Chou, H. T. G., & Edge, N. (2012). “They are happier and having better lives than I am”: The impact of using Facebook on perceptions of others’ lives. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15(2), 117-121.
- Twenge, J. M., Joiner, T. E., Rogers, M. L., & Martin, G. N. (2018). Increases in depressive symptoms, suicide-related outcomes, and suicide rates among U.S. adolescents after 2010 and links to increased new media screen time. Clinical Psychological Science, 6(1), 3-17.
Note: This is just a sample Example do not use this in your assignment.
MLA (Modern Language Association) Format
MLA (Modern Language Association) Format is as follows:
- Page Layout : Use 8.5 x 11-inch white paper, with 1-inch margins on all sides. The font should be 12-point Times New Roman or a similar serif font.
- Heading and Title : The first page of your research paper should include a heading and a title. The heading should include your name, your instructor’s name, the course title, and the date. The title should be centered and in title case (capitalizing the first letter of each important word).
- In-Text Citations : Use parenthetical citations to indicate the source of your information. The citation should include the author’s last name and the page number(s) of the source. For example: (Smith 23).
- Works Cited Page : At the end of your paper, include a Works Cited page that lists all the sources you used in your research. Each entry should include the author’s name, the title of the work, the publication information, and the medium of publication.
- Formatting Quotations : Use double quotation marks for short quotations and block quotations for longer quotations. Indent the entire quotation five spaces from the left margin.
- Formatting the Body : Use a clear and readable font and double-space your text throughout. The first line of each paragraph should be indented one-half inch from the left margin.
MLA Research Paper Template
MLA Research Paper Format Template is as follows:
- Use 8.5 x 11 inch white paper.
- Use a 12-point font, such as Times New Roman.
- Use double-spacing throughout the entire paper, including the title page and works cited page.
- Set the margins to 1 inch on all sides.
- Use page numbers in the upper right corner, beginning with the first page of text.
- Include a centered title for the research paper, using title case (capitalizing the first letter of each important word).
- Include your name, instructor’s name, course name, and date in the upper left corner, double-spaced.
- When quoting or paraphrasing information from sources, include an in-text citation within the text of your paper.
- Use the author’s last name and the page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence, before the punctuation mark.
- If the author’s name is mentioned in the sentence, only include the page number in parentheses.
Works Cited Page
- List all sources cited in alphabetical order by the author’s last name.
- Each entry should include the author’s name, title of the work, publication information, and medium of publication.
- Use italics for book and journal titles, and quotation marks for article and chapter titles.
- For online sources, include the date of access and the URL.
Here is an example of how the first page of a research paper in MLA format should look:
Headings and Subheadings
- Use headings and subheadings to organize your paper and make it easier to read.
- Use numerals to number your headings and subheadings (e.g. 1, 2, 3), and capitalize the first letter of each word.
- The main heading should be centered and in boldface type, while subheadings should be left-aligned and in italics.
- Use only one space after each period or punctuation mark.
- Use quotation marks to indicate direct quotes from a source.
- If the quote is more than four lines, format it as a block quote, indented one inch from the left margin and without quotation marks.
- Use ellipses (…) to indicate omitted words from a quote, and brackets ([…]) to indicate added words.
Works Cited Examples
- Book: Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Year.
- Journal Article: Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, volume number, issue number, publication date, page numbers.
- Website: Last Name, First Name. “Title of Webpage.” Title of Website, publication date, URL. Accessed date.
Here is an example of how a works cited entry for a book should look:
Smith, John. The Art of Writing Research Papers. Penguin, 2021.
MLA Research Paper Example
MLA Research Paper Format Example is as follows:
Your Professor’s Name
Course Name and Number
Date (in Day Month Year format)
Word Count (not including title page or Works Cited)
Title: The Impact of Video Games on Aggression Levels
Video games have become a popular form of entertainment among people of all ages. However, the impact of video games on aggression levels has been a subject of debate among scholars and researchers. While some argue that video games promote aggression and violent behavior, others argue that there is no clear link between video games and aggression levels. This research paper aims to explore the impact of video games on aggression levels among young adults.
The debate on the impact of video games on aggression levels has been ongoing for several years. According to the American Psychological Association, exposure to violent media, including video games, can increase aggression levels in children and adolescents. However, some researchers argue that there is no clear evidence to support this claim. Several studies have been conducted to examine the impact of video games on aggression levels, but the results have been mixed.
This research paper used a quantitative research approach to examine the impact of video games on aggression levels among young adults. A sample of 100 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 was selected for the study. The participants were asked to complete a questionnaire that measured their aggression levels and their video game habits.
The results of the study showed that there was a significant correlation between video game habits and aggression levels among young adults. The participants who reported playing violent video games for more than 5 hours per week had higher aggression levels than those who played less than 5 hours per week. The study also found that male participants were more likely to play violent video games and had higher aggression levels than female participants.
The findings of this study support the claim that video games can increase aggression levels among young adults. However, it is important to note that the study only examined the impact of video games on aggression levels and did not take into account other factors that may contribute to aggressive behavior. It is also important to note that not all video games promote violence and aggression, and some games may have a positive impact on cognitive and social skills.
In conclusion, this research paper provides evidence to support the claim that video games can increase aggression levels among young adults. However, it is important to conduct further research to examine the impact of video games on other aspects of behavior and to explore the potential benefits of video games. Parents and educators should be aware of the potential impact of video games on aggression levels and should encourage young adults to engage in a variety of activities that promote cognitive and social skills.
- American Psychological Association. (2017). Violent Video Games: Myths, Facts, and Unanswered Questions. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2017/08/violent-video-games
- Ferguson, C. J. (2015). Do Angry Birds make for angry children? A meta-analysis of video game influences on children’s and adolescents’ aggression, mental health, prosocial behavior, and academic performance. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(5), 646-666.
- Gentile, D. A., Swing, E. L., Lim, C. G., & Khoo, A. (2012). Video game playing, attention problems, and impulsiveness: Evidence of bidirectional causality. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 1(1), 62-70.
- Greitemeyer, T. (2014). Effects of prosocial video games on prosocial behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106(4), 530-548.
Chicago/Turabian Formate is as follows:
- Margins : Use 1-inch margins on all sides of the paper.
- Font : Use a readable font such as Times New Roman or Arial, and use a 12-point font size.
- Page numbering : Number all pages in the upper right-hand corner, beginning with the first page of text. Use Arabic numerals.
- Title page: Include a title page with the title of the paper, your name, course title and number, instructor’s name, and the date. The title should be centered on the page and in title case (capitalize the first letter of each word).
- Headings: Use headings to organize your paper. The first level of headings should be centered and in boldface or italics. The second level of headings should be left-aligned and in boldface or italics. Use as many levels of headings as necessary to organize your paper.
- In-text citations : Use footnotes or endnotes to cite sources within the text of your paper. The first citation for each source should be a full citation, and subsequent citations can be shortened. Use superscript numbers to indicate footnotes or endnotes.
- Bibliography : Include a bibliography at the end of your paper, listing all sources cited in your paper. The bibliography should be in alphabetical order by the author’s last name, and each entry should include the author’s name, title of the work, publication information, and date of publication.
- Formatting of quotations: Use block quotations for quotations that are longer than four lines. Indent the entire quotation one inch from the left margin, and do not use quotation marks. Single-space the quotation, and double-space between paragraphs.
- Tables and figures: Use tables and figures to present data and illustrations. Number each table and figure sequentially, and provide a brief title for each. Place tables and figures as close as possible to the text that refers to them.
- Spelling and grammar : Use correct spelling and grammar throughout your paper. Proofread carefully for errors.
Chicago/Turabian Research Paper Template
Chicago/Turabian Research Paper Template is as folows:
Title of Paper
Name of Student
A. Background Information
B. Research Question
C. Thesis Statement
II. Literature Review
A. Overview of Existing Literature
B. Analysis of Key Literature
C. Identification of Gaps in Literature
A. Research Design
B. Data Collection
C. Data Analysis
A. Presentation of Findings
B. Analysis of Findings
C. Discussion of Implications
A. Summary of Findings
B. Implications for Future Research
B. In-Text Citations
VII. Appendices (if necessary)
A. Data Tables
C. Additional Supporting Materials
Chicago/Turabian Research Paper Example
Title: The Impact of Social Media on Political Engagement
Name: John Smith
Class: POLS 101
Professor: Dr. Jane Doe
Date: April 8, 2023
Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. People use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to connect with friends and family, share their opinions, and stay informed about current events. With the rise of social media, there has been a growing interest in understanding its impact on various aspects of society, including political engagement. In this paper, I will examine the relationship between social media use and political engagement, specifically focusing on how social media influences political participation and political attitudes.
II. Literature Review:
There is a growing body of literature on the impact of social media on political engagement. Some scholars argue that social media has a positive effect on political participation by providing new channels for political communication and mobilization (Delli Carpini & Keeter, 1996; Putnam, 2000). Others, however, suggest that social media can have a negative impact on political engagement by creating filter bubbles that reinforce existing beliefs and discourage political dialogue (Pariser, 2011; Sunstein, 2001).
To examine the relationship between social media use and political engagement, I conducted a survey of 500 college students. The survey included questions about social media use, political participation, and political attitudes. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis.
The results of the survey indicate that social media use is positively associated with political participation. Specifically, respondents who reported using social media to discuss politics were more likely to have participated in a political campaign, attended a political rally, or contacted a political representative. Additionally, social media use was found to be associated with more positive attitudes towards political engagement, such as increased trust in government and belief in the effectiveness of political action.
The findings of this study suggest that social media has a positive impact on political engagement, by providing new opportunities for political communication and mobilization. However, there is also a need for caution, as social media can also create filter bubbles that reinforce existing beliefs and discourage political dialogue. Future research should continue to explore the complex relationship between social media and political engagement, and develop strategies to harness the potential benefits of social media while mitigating its potential negative effects.
- Delli Carpini, M. X., & Keeter, S. (1996). What Americans know about politics and why it matters. Yale University Press.
- Pariser, E. (2011). The filter bubble: What the Internet is hiding from you. Penguin.
- Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. Simon & Schuster.
- Sunstein, C. R. (2001). Republic.com. Princeton University Press.
IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Format
IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Research Paper Format is as follows:
- Title : A concise and informative title that accurately reflects the content of the paper.
- Abstract : A brief summary of the paper, typically no more than 250 words, that includes the purpose of the study, the methods used, the key findings, and the main conclusions.
- Introduction : An overview of the background, context, and motivation for the research, including a clear statement of the problem being addressed and the objectives of the study.
- Literature review: A critical analysis of the relevant research and scholarship on the topic, including a discussion of any gaps or limitations in the existing literature.
- Methodology : A detailed description of the methods used to collect and analyze data, including any experiments or simulations, data collection instruments or procedures, and statistical analyses.
- Results : A clear and concise presentation of the findings, including any relevant tables, graphs, or figures.
- Discussion : A detailed interpretation of the results, including a comparison of the findings with previous research, a discussion of the implications of the results, and any recommendations for future research.
- Conclusion : A summary of the key findings and main conclusions of the study.
- References : A list of all sources cited in the paper, formatted according to IEEE guidelines.
In addition to these elements, an IEEE research paper should also follow certain formatting guidelines, including using 12-point font, double-spaced text, and numbered headings and subheadings. Additionally, any tables, figures, or equations should be clearly labeled and referenced in the text.
AMA (American Medical Association) Style
AMA (American Medical Association) Style Research Paper Format:
- Title Page: This page includes the title of the paper, the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and any acknowledgments or disclaimers.
- Abstract: The abstract is a brief summary of the paper that outlines the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions of the study. It is typically limited to 250 words or less.
- Introduction: The introduction provides a background of the research problem, defines the research question, and outlines the objectives and hypotheses of the study.
- Methods: The methods section describes the research design, participants, procedures, and instruments used to collect and analyze data.
- Results: The results section presents the findings of the study in a clear and concise manner, using graphs, tables, and charts where appropriate.
- Discussion: The discussion section interprets the results, explains their significance, and relates them to previous research in the field.
- Conclusion: The conclusion summarizes the main points of the paper, discusses the implications of the findings, and suggests future research directions.
- References: The reference list includes all sources cited in the paper, listed in alphabetical order by author’s last name.
In addition to these sections, the AMA format requires that authors follow specific guidelines for citing sources in the text and formatting their references. The AMA style uses a superscript number system for in-text citations and provides specific formats for different types of sources, such as books, journal articles, and websites.
Harvard Style Research Paper format is as follows:
- Title page: This should include the title of your paper, your name, the name of your institution, and the date of submission.
- Abstract : This is a brief summary of your paper, usually no more than 250 words. It should outline the main points of your research and highlight your findings.
- Introduction : This section should introduce your research topic, provide background information, and outline your research question or thesis statement.
- Literature review: This section should review the relevant literature on your topic, including previous research studies, academic articles, and other sources.
- Methodology : This section should describe the methods you used to conduct your research, including any data collection methods, research instruments, and sampling techniques.
- Results : This section should present your findings in a clear and concise manner, using tables, graphs, and other visual aids if necessary.
- Discussion : This section should interpret your findings and relate them to the broader research question or thesis statement. You should also discuss the implications of your research and suggest areas for future study.
- Conclusion : This section should summarize your main findings and provide a final statement on the significance of your research.
- References : This is a list of all the sources you cited in your paper, presented in alphabetical order by author name. Each citation should include the author’s name, the title of the source, the publication date, and other relevant information.
In addition to these sections, a Harvard Style research paper may also include a table of contents, appendices, and other supplementary materials as needed. It is important to follow the specific formatting guidelines provided by your instructor or academic institution when preparing your research paper in Harvard Style.
Vancouver Style Research Paper format is as follows:
The Vancouver citation style is commonly used in the biomedical sciences and is known for its use of numbered references. Here is a basic format for a research paper using the Vancouver citation style:
- Title page: Include the title of your paper, your name, the name of your institution, and the date.
- Abstract : This is a brief summary of your research paper, usually no more than 250 words.
- Introduction : Provide some background information on your topic and state the purpose of your research.
- Methods : Describe the methods you used to conduct your research, including the study design, data collection, and statistical analysis.
- Results : Present your findings in a clear and concise manner, using tables and figures as needed.
- Discussion : Interpret your results and explain their significance. Also, discuss any limitations of your study and suggest directions for future research.
- References : List all of the sources you cited in your paper in numerical order. Each reference should include the author’s name, the title of the article or book, the name of the journal or publisher, the year of publication, and the page numbers.
ACS (American Chemical Society) Style
ACS (American Chemical Society) Style Research Paper format is as follows:
The American Chemical Society (ACS) Style is a citation style commonly used in chemistry and related fields. When formatting a research paper in ACS Style, here are some guidelines to follow:
- Paper Size and Margins : Use standard 8.5″ x 11″ paper with 1-inch margins on all sides.
- Font: Use a 12-point serif font (such as Times New Roman) for the main text. The title should be in bold and a larger font size.
- Title Page : The title page should include the title of the paper, the authors’ names and affiliations, and the date of submission. The title should be centered on the page and written in bold font. The authors’ names should be centered below the title, followed by their affiliations and the date.
- Abstract : The abstract should be a brief summary of the paper, no more than 250 words. It should be on a separate page and include the title of the paper, the authors’ names and affiliations, and the text of the abstract.
- Main Text : The main text should be organized into sections with headings that clearly indicate the content of each section. The introduction should provide background information and state the research question or hypothesis. The methods section should describe the procedures used in the study. The results section should present the findings of the study, and the discussion section should interpret the results and provide conclusions.
- References: Use the ACS Style guide to format the references cited in the paper. In-text citations should be numbered sequentially throughout the text and listed in numerical order at the end of the paper.
- Figures and Tables: Figures and tables should be numbered sequentially and referenced in the text. Each should have a descriptive caption that explains its content. Figures should be submitted in a high-quality electronic format.
- Supporting Information: Additional information such as data, graphs, and videos may be included as supporting information. This should be included in a separate file and referenced in the main text.
- Acknowledgments : Acknowledge any funding sources or individuals who contributed to the research.
ASA (American Sociological Association) Style
ASA (American Sociological Association) Style Research Paper format is as follows:
- Title Page: The title page of an ASA style research paper should include the title of the paper, the author’s name, and the institutional affiliation. The title should be centered and should be in title case (the first letter of each major word should be capitalized).
- Abstract: An abstract is a brief summary of the paper that should appear on a separate page immediately following the title page. The abstract should be no more than 200 words in length and should summarize the main points of the paper.
- Main Body: The main body of the paper should begin on a new page following the abstract page. The paper should be double-spaced, with 1-inch margins on all sides, and should be written in 12-point Times New Roman font. The main body of the paper should include an introduction, a literature review, a methodology section, results, and a discussion.
- References : The reference section should appear on a separate page at the end of the paper. All sources cited in the paper should be listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. Each reference should include the author’s name, the title of the work, the publication information, and the date of publication.
- Appendices : Appendices are optional and should only be included if they contain information that is relevant to the study but too lengthy to be included in the main body of the paper. If you include appendices, each one should be labeled with a letter (e.g., Appendix A, Appendix B, etc.) and should be referenced in the main body of the paper.
APSA (American Political Science Association) Style
APSA (American Political Science Association) Style Research Paper format is as follows:
- Title Page: The title page should include the title of the paper, the author’s name, the name of the course or instructor, and the date.
- Abstract : An abstract is typically not required in APSA style papers, but if one is included, it should be brief and summarize the main points of the paper.
- Introduction : The introduction should provide an overview of the research topic, the research question, and the main argument or thesis of the paper.
- Literature Review : The literature review should summarize the existing research on the topic and provide a context for the research question.
- Methods : The methods section should describe the research methods used in the paper, including data collection and analysis.
- Results : The results section should present the findings of the research.
- Discussion : The discussion section should interpret the results and connect them back to the research question and argument.
- Conclusion : The conclusion should summarize the main findings and implications of the research.
- References : The reference list should include all sources cited in the paper, formatted according to APSA style guidelines.
In-text citations in APSA style use parenthetical citation, which includes the author’s last name, publication year, and page number(s) if applicable. For example, (Smith 2010, 25).
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Guide to Research Paper Format – Sections, Styles, and More
09 Feb 2021
Writing research papers is a fundamental part of your studies, apart from serving as an avenue to contribute your quota to the general pool of knowledge. Plus, it’s a visual reminder of everything you've learned.
However, as every student knows, getting used to different formats is not that easy and, for many, a real headache. Sure, you could buy a research paper that is already formatted. But we want to give you another possibility and are going to explain all the styles in one guide. You’ll learn:
- which style is the most suitable for which field of studies;
- comprehensive ASA, Chicago, MLA and APA guidelines, with details of each composing element.
Ready? Let’s start!
Choosing the Right Research Paper Style
When you begin your research paper, you need to choose which style to follow. Now, you should know that each style has its unique set of formatting rules and conventions. We will take an in-depth look at that in the rest of the article. Before that, with our essay writing company , we want to tell you something about these styles. Who uses them? What do their acronyms mean?
Let’s start with the APA style research paper format. It stands for American Psychological Association, and it is frequently used in social sciences and psychology. It places a strong emphasis on clarity and conciseness in writing.
MLA (Modern Language Association), on the other hand, is commonly found in disciplines like literature and linguistics. The focus of the research paper MLA format is on source credibility.
Chicago style is a more complex scientific paper format and has two main variants: 1) Notes and Bibliography; 2) Author-date. It’s very versatile and widely used across various disciplines, including history and the arts. It's characterized by extensive footnotes or endnotes and a comprehensive bibliography.
ASA (American Sociological Association) is the go-to citation style guide for sociology and related fields. This college paper format prioritizes clarity in presenting complex sociological concepts and encourages the use of in-text citations rather than extensive footnotes.
Research Paper Formatting Guidelines
When you start formatting research papers, remember that details are crucial. Now, we are going to talk about some of these details and compare the four formatting styles we have presented so far.
Note that the font doesn't always have to be Times New Roman. However, if it is, the font size has to be always 12.
Remember, these are basic guidelines, and the specifications can vary depending on the version of the style guide or specific journal/departmental preferences. It's always best to consult the latest edition of the respective style manual for detailed and accurate formatting instructions.
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APA Paper Format: Main Features
Let’s start with the APA (American Psychological Association) standard research paper format, one of the most popular formatting styles used by students and researchers all over the world. One of the characteristics that students prefer about it is the lack of footnotes, unlike what happens with Chicago. This allows for more fluent and faster writing, although it sometimes might be more annoying to read.
Your APA paper should start with a title page. The APA paper Title Page should be concise and informative. It must contain a page number, paper title, institutional affiliation, instructor's name, and submission date.
In the header of each page, except the title page, include a running head. This is a shortened version of your paper's title. It should not exceed 50 characters. It should be on the left in uppercase letters, with the page number being on the right.
APA employs a specific hierarchy of headings to organize content effectively. These include headings like "Introduction," "Methods," "Results," and "Discussion." The proper heading for paper has 5 levels, and each is formatted differently. Through this, you can navigate your research paper structure more easily.
This is a 250-word max summary that provides a brief overview of your research problem, methodology, and results. It must be placed on a separate page labeled “Abstract” (centered and bold), followed by the text written in a unique paragraph. Reading various abstract sections is useful for deciding if the topic is relevant to one’s interests.
APA style uses the author-date citation system. When referencing another work within your paper, include the author's last name and the publication year in parentheses (Smith, 2022) . For direct quotations (with quotation marks), provide page numbers as well (Smith, 2022, p. 45) .
The reference list is placed at the end of your paper and provides detailed citations for all sources referenced within your work. The title “References” must be centered and bold at the top of the page. Each entry includes author, year of publication, title, and source (which must be italicized). The rules are very strict and change depending on what you’re citing.
Let’s see some examples:
Books: Hall, E. T., & Hall, M. R. (1990). Understanding Cultural Differences . Intercultural Press, INC.
Article from online journal : Hsieh, H. C. L. (2014). Evaluating the Effects of Cultural Preferences on Website Use. Cross-Cultural Design , 162–173. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-07308-8_16
Website : Liu, F. (2021). Modify Your Design for Global Audiences: Crosscultural UX Design . Nielsen Norman Group. https://www.nngroup.com/articles/crosscultural-design/
Use of Numbers
When it comes to numbers, you are supposed to spell out numbers below 10 and use numerals for numbers 10 and above. However, use numerals for measurements, percentages, and dates.
Here are some illustrative examples:
Example: three cats, 15 dogs
Beginning a Sentence, Title, or Heading: Always spell out the number if it starts a sentence, title, or heading, regardless of its size.
Example: "Fifty-two participants were involved in the study."
Common Fractions: These should be spelled out.
Example: two-thirds, one-quarter
Percentages: Use numerals to represent percentages, followed by the word “percent” for numbers under 10% and the "%" symbol for numbers 10% and above.
Example: 5 percent, 15%
Decimal Quantities: Always use numerals with decimals.
Example: 3.45, 0.89
Age: Always use numerals to represent age.
Example: 5 years old, 65-year-old woman
Specific Units of Measurement: Use numerals when you're specifying any units of measurement.
Example: 6 mg, 9 km
Scores and Points: Use numerals.
Example: scored 7 out of 10
Money: Use numerals for all exact amounts of money.
Example: $5, £100
Group Numbers: For specific, exact numbers representing a group or sample size, use numerals.
Example: 5 out of 10 students, group of 12 participants
Date formats in an APA research paper vary depending on context. Use the day-month-year academic research paper format in-text citations and the year-month-day format of a research essay references.
Dates: Always use numerals for dates.
Example: April 3, 2000
Time: Except for noon and midnight, use numbers to represent time.
Example: 3 a.m., 2:30 p.m.
Feel free to check a full guide on writing paper in APA style to be sure.
URLs and DOIs
When referencing online sources, include the full URL in the reference page for web pages that aren't easily located. Use a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) whenever available instead of a URL. Always ensure that hyperlinks are active and accessible. Though it’s formally required to include " http:// " or " https:// ", make sure that your instructor’s guidelines don’t say otherwise.
MLA Paper Format: Useful Guideline for Humanities
Learning how to format a research paper in MLA for your project is essential, especially if your research paper is centered on literature and language. Created by the Modern Language Association, this research paper format type enjoys wide acceptance in arts and humanities.
You must use a legible 12-point font, often Times New Roman. You should maintain 1-inch margins on all sides for a polished appearance. Finally, double-space the text and indent the beginning of each paragraph.
Unlike APA style, MLA doesn't require a separate title page. Instead, your name, instructor's name, course, and date should appear on the left-aligned first page of your paper.
If your name is on the left, the page header will be on the right. This means that on each page, and not just the first one, you’ll have to write your last name and page number. It might look weird to those who are used to APA, but it should be something like this: "Smith 1."
MLA employs a very straightforward author-page format for citations in-text. When referencing a source within your paper, include the author's last name and the page number (Smith 45) . For sources with no page numbers, omit the page number (Smith) .
Works Cited Page
Your research paper layout should end with the Works Cited page. Like any reference page, it contains all the sources you've cited in your work. Entries should be arranged in alphabetical order by the author's last name, double-space all items and, if more than one citation is present, indent them by 0.5inch.
Endnotes and Footnotes
MLA discourages the use of endnotes and footnotes for citation purposes. Instead, you should incorporate information into the main text or use parenthetical citations, for example (Burroughs 66) . Endnotes or footnotes may be used for explanatory or supplementary content but you should only use one of them. In both cases, number them consecutively.
Aside from common abbreviations like "et al." (and others), "ibid." (in the same place), and “e.g.”, abbreviations interest various other parts of the text.
These are some examples:
- Months in dates (e.g., 18 Feb. 2021)
- Time (2 am)
- Units of measurement (271cm)
- Publisher names (Oxford University Press > Oxford UP)
Usage-wise, never begin a sentence using an abbreviation. Finally, remember to be consistent when using them, especially concerning acronyms (like MLA). Declare its meaning first (Modern Language Association), then never switch back from the acronym.
In MLA, dates are typically formatted as day-month-year, abbreviating the month when composed by 5 or more letters (e.g., “15 June 2022” and “3 Feb. 1991”) . In the Works Cited page, the specific format of a research paper may vary depending on the source type.
While including URLs is not mandatory in MLA, it can be advisable to use a permalink when the source is unstable, like a webpage or a social media post. Ensure the URL is accessible and accurate, but don’t provide a direct hyperlink, omit the “ http:// ” or “ https:// ” part and enclose it in angle brackets,< www.example.com >. Similarly to APA, always give preference to a DOI over a URL.
In MLA citation, the concept of "containers" plays a central role in helping readers locate your sources accurately. The primary container is the larger work that houses your source. For example, if you're citing an article from a scholarly journal, the journal itself is the primary container. Sometimes, though, your source may be within another work, like an essay in an edited collection. In such cases, the edited collection becomes the secondary container.
Chicago Formatting Style
Chicago is possibly the most complex style. Yet, it’s also considered to be the most elegant one and will give your paper a very intellectual vibe. It is known for its two main systems: the Notes and Bibliography system and the Author-Date system. Chicago style, and its twin Turabian, often requires a title format with specific details, a standard paper and double line spacing. However, you can choose the have larger margins. Font choice instead is flexible.
The title page in Chicago should include the title centered about one-third of the way down the page, followed by your name and the course details. The title page for research pape r sets the stage for the reader, offering a glimpse of the key information of your research.
Footnotes and Endnotes
Chicago is renowned for its extensive use of footnotes or endnotes. Footnotes are placed at the bottom of the page (about three spaces below the text, separated by a 1.5-inch-long line), use the same font as the text but with a smaller size. Endnotes keep the same format as footnotes but are collected at the end of the paper. These notes are used for citations, explanations, or supplementary information.
Bibliography or Reference List
Here, the differences between the two systems start to emerge. The Notes and Bibliography system has a bibliography at the end of the paper or book, while the Author-Date system’s research paper template has a reference list. They both show the same kind of information (Author, title, publisher, year) but with some slight differences:
- Notes (in the footer) : 1. John Doe, The Book of Examples , 1st ed. (New Orleans: Free Press, 1969), 34-35.
- Bibliography : Doe, John. The Book of Examples . New Orleans: Free Press, 1969.
- Author-Date : Doe, John. 1969. The Book of Examples . New Orleans: Free Press.
As for their use, Notes and Bibliography is commonly used in humanities, arts, and history disciplines. Author-Date is favored in natural and social sciences.
There’s also the choice of using an annotated bibliography to provide extra information about your sources. Basically, you can explain why you chose them and what’s their impact on your research. As for formatting, indent the text one line after the source and keep it within 200 words.
Page numbers are typically placed at the top right corner of each page, 1inch from the top and the side of the paper.
Use of "Ibid."
"Ibid." is a commonly used abbreviation in the Chicago research paper writing format. It's employed to reference the same source in consecutive citations.
First citation: Smith, John. Title of Book. Publisher, 2020, p. 45.
Second citation: Ibid.
The main rule of Chicago capitalization in titles is that you should capitalize major words like nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs. Most conjunctions need to be in lowercase letters. Also, the first and last word of each title and subtitle must be capitalized, whatever it is.
When citing online sources in Chicago, include the URL or DOI when available. The format and presentation of these elements follow the Chicago manual style guide and give preference to DOI whenever possible.
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ASA Format Standards
Created by the American Sociological Association, this style is commonly used by sociological students. Let’s dive into this sociology research paper formatting outline , and see what are its key elements. This style is heavily influenced by APA and the main striking difference lies in the use of footnotes. Let’s analyse it in more detail.
ASA style requires a separate title page including title, author's name, and institutional affiliation. The elements are centered at the top of the page, and could also include extra information such as class and professor’s name or acknowledgements.
In ASA style, in-text citations use the author's last name and the publication year in parentheses (Smith 2022) . When quoting directly, include page numbers like this (Smith 2022:45) . Pay close attention to the subtle differences between ASA and MLA. If you are confident with one, make sure to closely check the general guidelines of the other.
The reference list is at the end of the research paper, as usual. Here, you can write all the sources you cited in the literature review and the rest of the paper. ASA employs a reference list at the end of the paper, providing detailed citations for all sources cited within your work. Entries should follow ASA guidelines meticulously, as they are pretty similar to other styles.
When you use ASA, you should put footnotes only to write additional content that could better explain something you wrote in the body. For example, to explain research methods. The sources, as mentioned, will be listed only at the end of the paper.
ASA uses a three-level system when it comes to heading. Each level of the research paper headings will be different. A first-level heading for a research paper is left-justified and all-capitalized. The second level is in italics and uses a title case. The third level only has the first word capitalized. For example:
- First : HOW TO WRITE AN INTRODUCTION
- Second : How to Write an Introduction
- Third : How to write an introduction
Use of "et al."
ASA allows the use of et al. when citing sources with multiple authors (three or more). It simplifies citations by replacing lengthy lists of authors' names with et al. (Smith et al. 2022) .
When citing online sources in ASA style, use a DOI whenever possible and rely on URLs as a second choice. Acting as a permalink, the DOI grants stability and persistent access to the source.
As for formatting, follow this example:
Only research papers that are formatted flawlessly are accepted by reputable journals, whatever their thesis statement is. And if you consider that you can only rise through the academic ranks and file by the number of publications in such journals, the format for a research essay is crucial.
In this style guide on writing a research paper , we have gone through the four main types of paper formats, hoping to have succeeded in showing their differences and similarities. We have also emphasized how crucial it is to have an eye on the guidelines of your chosen style as you refine your paper.
Now it’s your turn, choose your style and write the research paper that will change your academic journey!
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Formatting Research Paper Headings and Subheadings
Different style guides have different rules regarding the formatting of headings and subheadings in a paper, but what information you should actually put into your subheadings is a different question and often up to personal taste. Here we quickly summarize general guidelines, different approaches, and what not to do when choosing headings for a research paper.
Does it matter how I name my sections and subsections?
The main sections of a research paper have general headers and are often journal-specific, but some (e.g., the methods and discussion section) can really benefit from subsections with clear and informative headers. The things to keep in mind are thus the general style your paper is supposed to follow (e.g., APA, MLA), the specific guidelines the journal you want to submit to lists in their author instructions , and your personal style (e.g., how much information you want the reader to get from just reading your subsection headers).
Table of Contents:
- Style Guides: Rules on Headings and Subheadings
- What Sections and Subsections Do You Need?
- How Should You Name Your Sections and Subsections?
- Avoid These Common Mistakes
Style Guides: Research Paper Heading and Subheading Format
Headers identify the content within the different sections of your paper and should be as descriptive and concise as possible. That is why the main sections of research articles always have the same or very similar headers ( Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion ), with no or only small differences between journals. However, you also need to divide the content of some of these sections (e.g., the method section) into smaller subsections (e.g., Participants, Experimental Design, and Statistical Analysis ), and make sure you follow specific journal formatting styles when doing so.
If the journal you submit to follows APA style , for example, you are allowed to use up to five levels of headings, depending on the length of your paper, the complexity of your work, and your personal preference. To clearly indicate how each subsection fits into the rest of the text, every header level has a different format – but note that headers are usually not numbered because the different formatting already reflects the text hierarchy.
APA style headings example structure
Level 1 Centered, Bold, Title Case
Text begins as a new paragraph.
Level 2 Left-aligned, Bold, Title Case
Level 3 Left-aligned, Bold Italic, Title Case
Level 4 Indented, Bold, Title Case, Period . Text begins on the same
line and continues as a regular paragraph.
Level 5 Indented, Bold Italic, Title Case, Period. Text begins on the
same line and continues as a regular paragraph.
If you only need one section header (e.g. Methods ) and one level of subsection headers (e.g., Participants, Experimental Design, and Statistical Analysis ), use Level 1 and Level 2 headers. If you need three levels of headings, use Levels 1, 2, and 3 (and so on). Do not skip levels or combine them in a different way.
If you write a paper in Chicago style or MLA style , then you don’t need to follow such exact rules for headings and subheadings. Your structure just has to be consistent with the general formatting guidelines of both styles (12-pts Times New Roman font, double-spaced text, 0.5-inch indentation for every new paragraph) and consistent throughout your paper. Make sure the different formatting levels indicate a hierarchy (e.g., boldface for level 1 and italics for level 2, or a larger font size for level 1 and smaller font size for level 2). The main specifics regarding Chicago and MLA headings and subheadings are that they should be written in title case (major words capitalized, most minor words lowercase) and not end in a period. Both styles allow you, however, to number your sections and subsections, for example with an Arabic number and a period, followed by a space and then the section name.
MLA paper headings example structure
2. Material and Methods
2.1 Subject Recruitment
2.2 Experimental Procedure
2.3 Statistical Analysis
3.1 Experiment 1
3.2 Experiment 2
What research paper headings do you need?
Your paper obviously needs to contain the main sections ( Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, and maybe Conclusion ) and you need to make sure that you name them according to the target journal style (have a look at the author guidelines if you are unsure what the journal style is). The differences between journals are subtle, but some want you to combine the results and discussion sections, for example, while others don’t want you to have a separate conclusion section. You also need to check whether the target journal has specific rules on subsections (or no subsections) within these main sections. The introduction section should usually not be subdivided (but some journals do not mind), while the method section, for example, always needs to have clear subsections.
How to Name Your Sections and Subsections
The method section subheadings should be short and descriptive, but how you subdivide this section depends on the structure you choose to present your work – which can be chronological (e.g., Experiment 1, Experiment 2 ) or follow your main topics (e.g., Visual Experiment, Behavioral Experiment, Questionnaire ). Have a look at this article on how to write the methods for a research paper if you need input on what the best structure for your work is. The method subheadings should only be keywords that tell the reader what information is following, not summaries or conclusions. That means that “ Subject Recruitment ” is a good methods section subheading, but “ Subjects Were Screened Using Questionnaires ” is not.
The subheadings for the result section should then follow the general structure of your method section, but here you can choose what information you want to put in every subheading. Some authors keep it simple and just subdivide their result section into experiments or measures like the method section, but others use the headings to summarize their findings so that the reader is prepared for the details that follow. You could, for example, simply name your subsections “ Anxiety Levels ” and “ Social Behavior ,” if those are the measures you studied and explained in the method section.
Or, you could provide the reader with a glimpse into the results of the analyses you are going to describe, and instead name these subsections “ Anxiety-Like Behaviors in Mutant Mice ” and “ Normal Social Behaviors in Mutant Mice .” While keeping headings short and simple is always a good idea, such mini-summaries can make your result section much clearer and easier to follow. Just make sure that the target journal you want to submit to does not have a rule against that.
Common Heading and Subheading Mistakes
Subheadings are not sentences.
If your heading reads like a full sentence, then you can most probably omit the verb or generally rephrase to shorten it. That also means a heading should not contain punctuation except maybe colons or question marks – definitely don’t put a period at the end, except when you have reached heading level 4 in the APA formatting style (see above) and the rules say so.
Always check your numbering, for example for spaces and periods before and after numbers (e.g., 3.2. vs 3.2 ), because readability depends on such features. But also make sure that your headings are consistent in structure and content: Switching between short keyword headings (e.g., “ Experiment 2 ”) and summary headings (e.g., “ Mice Do not Recognize People ”) is confusing and never a good idea. Ideally, subheadings within a section all have a similar structure. If your first subsection is called “ Mice Do not Recognize People ,” then “ People Do not Recognize Mice” is a better subheader for the next subsection than “Do People Recognize Mice? ”, because consistency is more important in a research paper than creativity.
Don’t overdo it
Not every paragraph or every argument needs a subheading. Only use subheadings within a bigger section if you have more than one point to make per heading level, and if subdividing the section really makes the structure clearer overall.
Before submitting your journal manuscript to academic publishers, be sure to get English editing services , including manuscript editing or paper editing from a trusted source. And receive instant proofreading with Wordvice AI, our ai online editor , which provides unlimited editing while drafting your research work.
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- Citation Styles
What citation style to use for science [Updated 2023]
What citation style should you use for a science paper? In this post, we explore the most frequently used citation styles for science. We cover APA, IEEE, ACS, and others and provide examples of each style.
APA (American Psychological Association) style is a citation format used in the social sciences, education, and engineering, as well as in the sciences. APA consists of two elements: in-text citations and a reference list.
It uses an author-date system, in which the author’s last name and year of publication are put in parentheses (e.g. Smith 2003). These parenthetical citations refer the reader to a list at the end of the paper, which includes information about each source.
APA style resources
🌐 Official APA style guidelines
🗂 APA style guide
📝 APA citation generator
APA style examples
Here is an example of an in-text citation in APA style:
In recent years, much debate has been stirred regarding volcanic soil (Avşar et al., 2018) .
Here is a bibliography entry in APA style:
Avşar, E., Ulusay, R., Aydan, Ö., & Mutlutürk, M . ( 2015 ). On the Difficulties of Geotechnical Sampling and practical Estimates of the Strength of a weakly bonded Volcanic Soil . Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment , 74 ( 4 ), 1375–1394 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s10064-014-0710-9
Chicago style is another form of citation used for science papers and journals. It has two formats: a notes and bibliography system and an author-date system.
The notes and bibliography system is mostly used for the humanities, whereas the author-date system is used in science and business. The latter uses in-text citations formed by the author's last name and date of publication. A bibliography at the end of the paper lists the full information for all references.
Chicago style resources
🌐 Official Chicago style guidelines
🗂 Chicago style guide
📝 Chicago citation generator
Chicago style examples
Here is an in-text citation in Chicago style:
However, a research proved this theory right (Hofman and Rick 2018, 65-115) .
Here is a bibliography entry in Chicago style:
Hofman, Courtney A., and Torben C. Rick . “ Ancient Biological Invasions and Island Ecosystems: Tracking Translocations of Wild Plants and Animals .” Journal of Archaeological Research 26 , no. 1 ( 2018 ): 65–115 . doi.org/10.1007/s10814-017-9105-3 .
CSE style is the standard format used in the physical and life sciences. This style features three types of citation systems: citation-sequence, name-year, and citation-name.
• Name-Year : In-text citations of this type feature the author’s last name and the year of publication in brackets. A bibliography at the end lists all references in full.
• Citation-Sequence : Every source is assigned a superscript number that is used as an in-text reference. The bibliography at the end lists all numbers with their references in the order in which they appeared in the text.
• Citation-Name : The reference list is organized alphabetically by authors’ last names; each name is assigned a number which can be placed in superscript as an in-text reference.
CSE style resources
🌐 Official CSE style guidelines
📝 CSE citation generator
CSE style examples
Here is an example of an in-text citation in CSE name-year style:
Therefore, the translocation of wild plants was tracked (Hofman and Rick 2018) .
Here is a bibliography entry in CSE name-year style:
Hofman CA, Rick TC. 2018. Ancient Biological Invasions and Island Ecosystems: Tracking Translocations of Wild Plants and Animals. J. Archaeol. [accessed 2019 Mar 11]; 26(1): 65–11. doi.org/10.1007/s10814-017-9105-3.
AIP style, as its title suggests, is commonly applied in physics and astronomy papers. This style has a numbered citation system , which uses superscript numbers to show in-text citations. These numbers correspond to a list of sources at the end of the paper.
AIP style resources
🌐 Official AIP style guidelines
🗂 AIP style guide
📝 AIP citation generator
AIP style examples
Here is an in-text citation in AIP style:
A similar study was carried out in 2015 ¹ .
Here is a bibliography entry in AIP style:
¹ H.D. Young and R.A. Freedman, Sears & Zemansky's University Physics (Addison-Wesley, San Francisco, CA, 2015) p. 160
ACS style is the standard citation style for chemistry. This style uses both numeric and author-date citations systems. The numbered in-text citations can have either a superscript number or a number in italics. Full references for each source are listed at the end of the paper.
ACS style resources
🌐 Official ACS style guidelines
🗂 ACS style guide
📝 ACS citation generator
ACS style examples
Here is an in-text citation in ACS author-date style:
The opposing side was given first (Brown et al., 2017) .
Here is a bibliography entry in ACS author-date style:
Brown, T.E.; LeMay H.E.; Bursten, B.E.; Murphy, C.; Woodward, P.; Stoltzfus M.E. Chemistry: The Central Science in SI Units . Pearson: New York, 2017.
IEEE style is used for engineering and science papers. This style uses a numeric, in-text citation format, with a number in square brackets. This number corresponds to a reference list entry at the end of the paper.
IEEE style resources
🌐 Official IEEE style guidelines
🗂 IEEE style guide
📝 IEEE citation generator
IEEE style examples
Here is an example of an in-text citation in IEEE style:
As seen in a multi-camera study  ...
Here is a bibliography entry in IEEE style:
 E. Nuger and B. Benhabib, “Multi-Camera Active-Vision for Markerless Shape Recovery of Unknown Deforming Objects,” J. Intell. Rob. Syst. , vol. 92, no. 2, pp. 223–264, Oct. 2018.
Frequently Asked Questions about citation styles used in science
The most frequently used citation style in the sciences is APA (American Psychological Association) style.
There are two major types of citation systems you can use: author-date or numeric. Numeric citation styles tend to be preferred for science disciplines.
Yes, you have to add a bibliography or reference list citing all sources mentioned in your scientific paper.
Some of the most popular scientific journals are: Science Magazine , Nature , and The Lancet .
Title pages for science papers must follow the format of the citation style that you’re using. For example, in APA style you need to include a title, running head, a name, and other details. Visit our guide on title pages to learn more.
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- Indian J Orthop
- v.53(3); May-Jun 2019
Formatting References for Scientific Manuscripts
Srinivas b s kambhampati.
Sri Dhaatri Orthopaedic, Maternity and Gynaecology Center, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India
1 Department of Orthopaedics, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India
While references are an essential and integral part of a scientific manuscript, format and style of references are as varied as the number of journals currently present. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors in their latest recommendations for publication, 1 advice authors to quote original references whenever possible. We would recommend the readers to go through these guidelines as they are given in sufficient detail to submit a good set of references including styling. Other resources for citing references include the PubMed section 2 which gives samples of formatting of different reference types and the eBook: Citing Medicine, 3 published by the U. S. National Library of Medicine, which gives assistance and rules to authors, editors, publishers and librarians for formatting of references for different reference types.
References are formatted in two basic styles – the Vancouver style which is numeric (more commonly used in medical journals) and Harvard which uses author-date style (more commonly used in natural and Social sciences journals). 4 Parts and order of the parts cited differ on what the author is citing (reference type) and the journal that is being submitted to. The most common types of references include journal article, book, book section or chapter, dissertation, monograph, and webpage. As an example, for a journal article, the parts of a reference in the sequence include authors, article title, journal title, date of publication, volume, issue, and location/pagination. Each journal has its own modification of the format for each part and the punctuation marks, or their lack of, between the parts. Formatting style in each part of a reference could involve placement of selected punctuation marks, bold and italics enhancements, alphabetical order or sequential ordering of references and style of citing in the text, making the combination of variations that create a unique reference style as large in number as the number of journals currently published. It is not clear why such a system has evolved, but it requires considerable attention to detail to get the formatting correct and is time-consuming for the author. The tradition of the journal has been thought as one of the reasons. 4 In manuscripts submitted for the Indian Journal of Orthopaedics (IJO), the reference section carries the most formatting errors committed by authors.
The advantage of having a constant style within a journal is two-fold, apart from an esthetic appearance of references across all articles published by the journal. Ease of reading the references at the end of each article and ease of finding reference part by the reader if he/she is used to the format and plans to look up the reference. As a student/professional in the medical field, one would require attention to finer details of his/her research work as well as in their clinical practice and hence exercising attention to the references would help improve those skills. Such a wide variation in the styles of references has also benefitted some software companies who deal with reference managers (RMs). Some RMs are free for use, and the authors are advised to use different RMs to see which one suits their needs best. While some RMs are cloud based, others are computer based and do not require an internet connection while some others are cloud and computer based. The variation in the style of references across journals appears unlikely to be standardized to a single universal format in the near future.
The Citation Style Language (CSL) is an XML-based computer language developed to standardize formatting of citations and references in manuscripts submitting to journals. They are text application editable files which are imported into RMs. An increasing number of RMs use CSL to help users format their list of references according to individual journal guidelines. However, not all journals are supported by CSL files.
There are two main repositories for access to CSL files – One by GitHub 5 and the other by Zotero 6 developed by Corporation for Digital Scholarship and Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. These contain more than 8500 styles of references. Authors using Zotero, Mendeley, RefWorks, Papers, CrossRef, Bibliography, and some 42 other RMs can use these CSL files to manage references within them. IJO did not have a CSL file until now in both the repositories. In this scenario, there are a few options for the authors preparing references for a manuscript. First, to type and style references manually which would take a long time and prone to human errors. Second, a CSL file similar to IJO may be selected from the repository and used and later manually edited, if any needed. However, this involves searching for an exact match of style for a journal registered in the repository of CSL files. Third, there are RMs with inbuilt options to format references while citing in the text. This option is independent of CSL. The disadvantage here is that the author is bound by the list of reference styles already loaded within the software. They may not be able to add new formats. Fourth, some RMs allow authors to prepare a style, but this would take some time to prepare if the style is not already inbuilt. As a fifth option, a CSL file that is close to IJO may be chosen, and the code of this file tweaked with minor editing to convert it for use with IJO. To do that, the author must be familiar with programming or editing of HTML/XML files since HTML is a language that is closer to XML.
Zotero's repository 7 website has a user-friendly interface in which such searches are easier to perform. It has 9357 styles stored in the repository at the time of writing this article on March 17, 2019. There are 1924 unique styles through which one can search if their required journal is listed. Zotero draws CSL files from GitHub into their repository. Hence, if a file is created in GitHub, it is drawn into Zotero by default. CSL Project 8 is a website sponsored by four well known RMs. These are Zotero, Mendeley, 9 Papers, 10 and RefWorks. 11 This website gives detailed specifications and documentation of CSL language if one is interested in coding these files. If one is proficient with XML, they can create a style and submit it to the GitHub website for others to benefit. Editing is easier if one uses the Zotero RM as it has an inbuilt option to edit style. It can be done even in other managers or with the use of a standard text editing application in Windows or Mac operating systems. Once a new CSL file is developed, in order to publish it, it has to be validated by CSL validator website 12 and submitted at the GitHub site for accepting into the repository. Even finer details like number of author names before et al. while formatting reference, punctuation marks and their placement, style of each part of the reference and each style of the reference, etc., can be edited accurately.
Once developed, the output of references and citations is remarkably consistent, and too much time need not be directed to editing the punctuation marks and styling of the references and citations while preparing the manuscript. The only hurdle after this would be to get full details of the references reliably and accurately into the RM database while importing the references. The author needs to check that the references were properly imported into the database. If verified, they may be used any number of times with precision. With appropriate selection, the citing as well as the list of references can be formatted according to the journal that is being considered, for submission. Those who are already using RMs may be well aware of the advantages and the time such CSL files can save while preparing a manuscript.
We are happy to inform that a CSL file for IJO has now been created in the GitHub repository 1 and Zotero Styles repository 3 and it can be used by authors using the RMs listed in the CSL website and benefit from its use. The direct link of the file in the repository is given 13 [ Figure 1 ]. Basic users of RMs may download it through their RMs by selecting Indian Journal of Orthopaedics option. Advanced users who know where to place this file may access using the weblink given. Examples of reference style and citation for IJO are given in Figure 2 .
Screenshot of browser shows the web address and search words used to retrieve Citation Style Language file for Indian Journal of Orthopaedics
Examples of format of references and their citation in text for the Indian Journal of Orthopaedics
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The best AI tools for writing a research paper
Research papers may be the most dreaded of academic assignments, even before you hit the Master’s or PhD level, never mind your post-grad career. Thankfully there are now a number of generative AI tools that can speed up research writing, and we’ve gathered some of the better ones into a handy list.
While you’ll see some familiar names on here, it’s worth reminding everyone that in an academic environment, AI can potentially be a minefield. Some uses of it are considered cheating or otherwise unethical, especially if you plagiarize content. When that worry is eliminated, you still need to doublecheck the style, grammar, facts, and/or sources of any AI output.
Grammarly’s main purpose is of course correcting spelling, grammar, and punctuation. But it can also recommend changes to the tone or formality of your language, and most importantly for research papers, there’s a beta citation generator. That feature supports APA, MLA, and Chicago styles, so as a student at least, you should be covered.
Note that while there’s a free version of Grammarly, you’ll need to upgrade to a Premium plan to get things like full-sentence rewrites, formatting help, and plagiarism detection. The upgraded version can even help with English fluency if that’s a second language and you’re not used to cultural conventions. Premium further bumps up the number of AI prompts you can use from 100 per month to 1,000.
This tool focuses exclusively on paper discovery. On top of enabling manual searches and a personal library, though, it can also recommend related papers and authors, and update you on the latest material connected to your research. If you like, you can collaborate with others, or check out a visual map of a paper’s links.
The best part is that ResearchRabbit is entirely supported by donations, so if you’re a struggling grad student, there’s no need to pay for the convenience. Go ahead and save your cash for food, rent, and student loans.
Scholarcy promises to do the hard part with a lot of outside source material — summarize it so you get the gist. The tool is said to work with books and papers alike, and extract vital information such as findings, limitations, and data analyses. The result is a flashcard, but with links to sources, and the ability to choose what appears. If you need the tables from scientific papers, for instance, you can force Scholarcy to include them.
An extension for Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge supports open repositories like arXiv and biorXiv. In fact you can use this for free, though you’re limited to small- to medium-sized documents, and you’ll need to sign up for a subscription if you want to save summaries to your Scholarcy Library. A subscription also gets you sharing, annotation, and export options, as well as the ability to import from Dropbox, Google Drive, or custom RSS feeds.
While Scite might in some ways serve same purpose as ResearchRabbit — hunting down papers — it goes a lot further. You can ask it general knowledge questions and get answers with cited sources, or doublecheck the sources for claims you’ve read elsewhere, such as ChatGPT . When searching for material, you can apply numerous filters including authorship, institutional affiliation, or how many citations mention, support, or contrast a particular paper.
You can even check how often your own material is being cited, or get aggregate insights and notifications based on your collections. It’s serious stuff, and once your trial period expires, you’ll need to pay $144 per year or $20 per month unless you’re lucky enough to fall under a university or corporate plan.
If Scite can be considered a step up from ResearchRabbit, the same might be said about Trinka versus Grammarly. Trinka is specifically aimed at fixing academic and technical writing, including style, grammar, and jargon issues. It’s based on the APA and AMA style guides, and it always aims for a formal tone.
There’s a host of additional features here, including paraphrasing, citation and plagiarism checking, and analysis to find an ideal journal to publish in. Plug-ins are available for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Microsoft Word. A Safari plug-in is promised sometime in the future.
If all you want is small-scale help with grammar, paraphrasing, and plagiarism, there’s a free version of Trinka which supports Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. You’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan, however, if you want to lift usage caps and take advantage of Word integration.
The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers
- MANUSCRIPT PREPARATION
- MANUSCRIPT AND PROOF MARKUP
- SAMPLE CORRESPONDENCE
- EDITORIAL OFFICE PRACTICES (PDF)
- PROMOTING INTEGRITY IN SCIENTIFIC JOURNAL PUBLICATIONS
- SCIENTIFIC STYLE AND FORMAT CITATION QUICK GUIDE
Scientific Style and Format Citation Quick Guide
Scientific Style and Format presents three systems for referring to references (also known as citations) within the text of a journal article, book, or other scientific publication: 1) citation–sequence; 2) name–year; and 3) citation–name. These abbreviated references are called in-text references. They refer to a list of references at the end of the document.
The system of in-text references that you use will determine the order of references at the end of your document. These end references have essentially the same format in all three systems, except for the placement of the date of publication in the name–year system.
Though Scientific Style and Format now uses citation–sequence for its own references, each system is widely used in scientific publishing. Consult your publisher to determine which system you will need to follow.
Click on the tabs below for more information and to see some common examples of materials cited in each style, including examples of electronic sources. For numerous specific examples, see Chapter 29 of the 8th edition of Scientific Style and Format .
Citation–Sequence and Citation–Name
The following examples illustrate the citation–sequence and citation–name systems. The two systems are identical except for the order of references. In both systems, numbers within the text refer to the end references.
In citation–sequence, the end references are listed in the sequence in which they first appear within the text. For example, if a reference by Smith is the first one mentioned in the text, then the complete reference to the Smith work will be number 1 in the end references. The same number is used for subsequent in-text references to the same document.
In citation–name, the end references are listed alphabetically by author. Multiple works by the same author are listed alphabetically by title. The references are numbered in that sequence, such that a work authored by Adam is number 1, Brown is number 2, and so on. Numbers assigned to the end references are used for the in-text references regardless of the sequence in which they appear in the text of the work. For example, if a work by Zielinski is number 56 in the reference list, each in-text reference to Zielinski will be number 56 also.
List authors in the order in which they appear in the original text, followed by a period. Periods also follow article and journal title and volume or issue information. Separate the date from volume and issue by a semicolon. The location (usually the page range for the article) is preceded by a colon.
Author(s). Article title. Journal title. Date;volume(issue):location.
Journal titles are generally abbreviated according to the List of Title Word Abbreviations maintained by the ISSN International Centre. See Appendix 29.1 in Scientific Style and Format for more information.
For articles with more than 1 author, names are separated by a comma.
Smart N, Fang ZY, Marwick TH. A practical guide to exercise training for heart failure patients. J Card Fail. 2003;9(1):49–58.
For articles with more than 10 authors, list the first 10 followed by “et al.”
Pizzi C, Caraglia M, Cianciulli M, Fabbrocini A, Libroia A, Matano E, Contegiacomo A, Del Prete S, Abbruzzese A, Martignetti A, et al. Low-dose recombinant IL-2 induces psychological changes: monitoring by Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). Anticancer Res. 2002;22(2A):727–732.
Volume with no issue or other subdivision
Laskowski DA. Physical and chemical properties of pyrethroids. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol. 2002;174:49–170.
Volume with issue and supplement
Gardos G, Cole JO, Haskell D, Marby D, Paine SS, Moore P. The natural history of tardive dyskinesia. J Clin Pharmacol. 1988;8(4 Suppl):31S–37S
Volume with supplement but no issue
Heemskerk J, Tobin AJ, Ravina B. From chemical to drug: neurodegeneration drug screening and the ethics of clinical trials. Nat Neurosci. 2002;5 Suppl:1027–1029.
Multiple issue numbers
Ramstrom O, Bunyapaiboonsri T, Lohmann S, Lehn JM. Chemical biology of dynamic combinatorial libraries. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2002;1572(2–3):178–186.
Issue with no volume
Sabatier R. Reorienting health and social services. AIDS STD Health Promot Exch. 1995;(4):1–3.
Separate information about author(s), title, edition, and publication by periods. The basic format is as follows:
Author(s). Title. Edition. Place of publication: publisher; date. Extent. Notes.
Extent can include information about pagination or number of volumes and is considered optional. Notes can include information of interest to the reader, such as language of publication other than English; such notes are optional.
Essential notes provide information about location, such as a URL for online works. See Chapter 29 for more information.
For books with more than 1 author, names are separated by a comma.
Ferrozzi F, Garlaschi G, Bova D. CT of metastases. New York (NY): Springer; 2000.
For books with more than 10 authors, list the first 10 followed by “et al.”
Wenger NK, Sivarajan Froelicher E, Smith LK, Ades PA, Berra K, Blumenthal JA, Certo CME, Dattilo AM, Davis D, DeBusk RF, et al. Cardiac rehabilitation. Rockville (MD): Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (US); 1995.
Organization as author
Advanced Life Support Group. Acute medical emergencies: the practical approach. London (England): BMJ Books; 2001.
Author(s) plus editor(s) or translator(s)
Klarsfeld A, Revah F. The biology of death: origins of mortality. Brady L, translator. Ithaca (NY): Cornell University Press; 2003.
Luzikov VN. Mitochondrial biogenesis and breakdown. Galkin AV, translator; Roodyn DB, editor. New York (NY): Consultants Bureau; 1985.
Chapter or other part of a book, same author(s)
Gawande A. The checklist manifesto: how to get things right. New York (NY): Metropolitan Books; 2010. Chapter 3, The end of the master builder; p. 48–71.
Chapter or other part of a book, different authors
Rapley R. Recombinant DNA and genetic analysis. In: Wilson K, Walker J, editors. Principles and techniques of biochemistry and molecular biology. 7th ed. New York (NY): Cambridge University Press; 2010. p. 195–262.
Multivolume work as a whole
Alkire LG, editor. Periodical title abbreviations. 16th ed. Detroit (MI): Thompson Gale; 2006. 2 vol. Vol. 1, By abbreviation; vol. 2, By title.
Dissertations and Theses
Lutz M. 1903: American nervousness and the economy of cultural change [dissertation]. [Stanford (CA)]: Stanford University; 1989.
Blanco EE, Meade JC, Richards WD, inventors; Ophthalmic Ventures, assignee. Surgical stapling system. United States patent US 4,969,591. 1990 Nov 13.
Weiss R. Study shows problems in cloning people: researchers find replicating primates will be harder than other mammals. Washington Post (Home Ed.). 2003 Apr 11;Sect. A:12 (col. 1).
Indicate a copyright date with a lowercase “c”.
Johnson D, editor. Surgical techniques in orthopaedics: anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction [DVD]. Rosemont (IL): American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; c2002. 1 DVD.
Websites and Other Online Formats
References to websites and other online formats follow the same general principles as for printed references, with the addition of a date of update/revision (if available) along with an access date and a URL.
Title of Homepage. Edition. Place of publication: publisher; date of publication [date updated; date accessed]. Notes.
If no date of publication can be determined, use a copyright date (if available), preceded by “c”. Include the URL in the notes.
APSnet: plant pathology. St Paul (MN): American Phytopathological Association; c1994–2005 [accessed 2005 Jun 20]. http://www.apsnet.org/.
Online journal article
Author(s) of article. Title of article. Title of journal (edition). Date of publication [date updated; date accessed];volume(issue):location. Notes.
A DOI (Digital Object Identifier) may be included in the notes in addition to a URL, if available:
Savage E, Ramsay M, White J, Beard S, Lawson H, Hunjan R, Brown D. Mumps outbreaks across England and Wales in 2004: observational study. BMJ. 2005 [accessed 2005 May 31];330(7500):1119–1120. http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/reprint/330/7500/1119. doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7500.1119.
Author(s). Title of book. Edition. Place of publication: publisher; date of publication [date updated; date accessed]. Notes.
Brogden KA, Guthmille JM, editors. Polymicrobial diseases. Washington (DC): ASM Press; 2002 [accessed February 28, 2014]. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2475/.
Author’s name. Title of post [descriptive word]. Title of blog. Date of publication. [accessed date]. URL.
Fogarty M. Formatting titles on Twitter and Facebook [blog]. Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. 2012 Aug 14. [accessed 2012 Oct 19]. http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/formatting-titles-on-twitter-and-facebook.aspx.
Forthcoming or Unpublished Material
Not all forthcoming or unpublished sources are suitable for inclusion in reference lists. Check with your publisher if in doubt.
Forthcoming journal article or book
Farley T, Galves A, Dickinson LM, Perez MJ. Stress, coping, and health: a comparison of Mexican immigrants, Mexican-Americans, and non-Hispanic whites. J Immigr Health. Forthcoming 2005 Jul.
Goldstein DS. Adrenaline and the inner world: an introduction to scientific integrative medicine. Baltimore (MD): Johns Hopkins University Press. Forthcoming 2006.
Paper or poster presented at meeting
Unpublished presentations are cited as follows:
Antani S, Long LR, Thoma GR, Lee DJ. Anatomical shape representation in spine x-ray images. Paper presented at: VIIP 2003. Proceedings of the 3rd IASTED International Conference on Visualization, Imaging and Image Processing; 2003 Sep 8–10; Benalmadena, Spain.
Charles L, Gordner R. Analysis of MedlinePlus en Español customer service requests. Poster session presented at: Futuro magnifico! Celebrating our diversity. MLA ’05: Medical Library Association Annual Meeting; 2005 May 14–19; San Antonio, TX.
References to published presentations are cited much like contributions to books, with the addition of information about the date and place of the conference. See Chapter 29 for more information.
References to personal communication are placed in running text rather than as formal end references.
Permission is usually required and should be acknowledged in an “Acknowledgment” or “Notes” section at the end of the document.
. . . and most of these meningiomas proved to be inoperable (2003 letter from RS Grant to me; unreferenced, see “Notes”) while a few were not.
The following examples illustrate the name–year system. In this system (sometimes called the Harvard system), in-text references consist of the surname of the author or authors and the year of publication of the document. End references are unnumbered and appear in alphabetical order by author and year of publication, with multiple works by the same author listed in chronological order.
Each example of an end reference is accompanied here by an example of a corresponding in-text reference. For more details and many more examples, see Chapter 29 of Scientific Style and Format .
For the end reference, list authors in the order in which they appear in the original text. The year of publication follows the author list. Use periods to separate each element, including author(s), date of publication, article and journal title, and volume or issue information. Location (usually the page range for the article) is preceded by a colon.
Author(s). Date. Article title. Journal title. Volume(issue):location.
For the in-text reference, use parentheses and list author(s) by surname followed by year of publication.
For articles with 2 authors, names are separated by a comma in the end reference but by “and” in the in-text reference.
Mazan MR, Hoffman AM. 2001. Effects of aerosolized albuterol on physiologic responses to exercise in standardbreds. Am J Vet Res. 62(11):1812–1817.
(Mazan and Hoffman 2001)
For articles with 3 to 10 authors, list all authors in the end reference; in the in-text reference, list only the first, followed by “et al.”
Smart N, Fang ZY, Marwick TH. 2003. A practical guide to exercise training for heart failure patients. J Card Fail. 9(1):49–58.
(Smart et al. 2003)
For articles with more than 10 authors, list the first 10 in the end reference, followed by “et al.”
Pizzi C, Caraglia M, Cianciulli M, Fabbrocini A, Libroia A, Matano E, Contegiacomo A, Del Prete S, Abbruzzese A, Martignetti A, et al. 2002. Low-dose recombinant IL-2 induces psychological changes: monitoring by Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). Anticancer Res. 22(2A):727–732.
(Pizzi et al. 2002)
Laskowski DA. 2002. Physical and chemical properties of pyrethroids. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol. 174:49–170.
Gardos G, Cole JO, Haskell D, Marby D, Paine SS, Moore P. 1988. The natural history of tardive dyskinesia. J Clin Pharmacol. 8(4 Suppl):31S–37S.
(Gardos et al. 1988)
Heemskerk J, Tobin AJ, Ravina B. 2002. From chemical to drug: neurodegeneration drug screening and the ethics of clinical trials. Nat Neurosci. 5 Suppl:1027–1029.
(Heemskerk et al. 2002)
Ramstrom O, Bunyapaiboonsri T, Lohmann S, Lehn JM. 2002. Chemical biology of dynamic combinatorial libraries. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1572(2–3):178–186.
(Ramstrom et al. 2002)
Sabatier R. 1995. Reorienting health and social services. AIDS STD Health Promot Exch. (4):1–3.
In the end reference, separate information about author(s), date, title, edition, and publication by periods. The basic format is as follows:
Author(s). Date. Title. Edition. Place of publication: publisher. Extent. Notes.
Extent can include information about pagination or number of volumes and is considered optional. Notes can include information of interest to the reader, such as language of publication other than English; such notes are optional. Essential notes provide information about location, such as a URL for online works. See Chapter 29 for more information.
For books with 2 authors, names are separated by a comma in the end reference but by “and” in the in-text reference.
Leboffe MJ, Pierce BE. 2010. Microbiology: laboratory theory and application. Englewood (CO): Morton Publishing Company.
(Leboffe and Pierce 2010)
For books with 3 to 10 authors, list all authors in the end reference; in the in-text reference, list only the first, followed by “et al.”
Ferrozzi F, Garlaschi G, Bova D. 2000. CT of metastases. New York (NY): Springer.
(Ferrozzi et al. 2000)
For books with more than 10 authors, list the first 10 in the end reference, followed by “et al.”
Wenger NK, Sivarajan Froelicher E, Smith LK, Ades PA, Berra K, Blumenthal JA, Certo CME, Dattilo AM, Davis D, DeBusk RF, et al. 1995. Cardiac rehabilitation. Rockville (MD): Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (US).
(Wenger et al. 1995)
[ALSG] Advanced Life Support Group. 2001. Acute medical emergencies: the practical approach. London (England): BMJ Books.
Klarsfeld A, Revah F. 2003. The biology of death: origins of mortality. Brady L, translator. Ithaca (NY): Cornell University Press.
Luzikov VN. 1985. Mitochondrial biogenesis and breakdown. Galkin AV, translator; Roodyn DB, editor. New York (NY): Consultants Bureau.
(Klarsfeld and Revah 2003)
Gawande A. 2010. The checklist manifesto: how to get things right. New York (NY): Metropolitan Books. Chapter 3, The end of the master builder; p. 48–71.
Rapley R. 2010. Recombinant DNA and genetic analysis. In: Wilson K, Walker J, editors. Principles and techniques of biochemistry and molecular biology. 7th ed. New York (NY): Cambridge University Press. p. 195–262.
Alkire LG, editor. 2006. Periodical title abbreviations. 16th ed. Detroit (MI): Thompson Gale. 2 vol. Vol. 1, By abbreviation; vol. 2, By title.
Lutz M. 1989. 1903: American nervousness and the economy of cultural change [dissertation]. [Stanford (CA)]: Stanford University.
Blanco EE, Meade JC, Richards WD, inventors; Ophthalmic Ventures, assignee. 1990 Nov 13. Surgical stapling system. United States patent US 4,969,591.
(Blanco et al. 1990)
Weiss R. 2003 Apr 11. Study shows problems in cloning people: researchers find replicating primates will be harder than other mammals. Washington Post (Home Ed.). Sect. A:12 (col. 1).
Johnson D, editor. c2002. Surgical techniques in orthopaedics: anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction [DVD]. Rosemont (IL): American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 1 DVD.
Format for end reference:
Title of Homepage. Date of publication. Edition. Place of publication: publisher; [date updated; date accessed]. Notes.
APSnet: plant pathology online. c1994–2005. St Paul (MN): American Phytopathological Association; [accessed 2005 Jun 20]. http://www.apsnet.org/.
For the in-text reference, include only the first word or two of the title (enough to distinguish it from other titles in the reference list), followed by an ellipsis.
(APSnet . . . c1994–2005)
Author(s) of article. Date of publication. Title of article. Title of journal (edition). [date updated; date accessed];Volume(issue):location. Notes.
Savage E, Ramsay M, White J, Beard S, Lawson H, Hunjan R, Brown D. 2005. Mumps outbreaks across England and Wales in 2004: observational study. BMJ. [accessed 2005 May 31];330(7500):1119–1120. http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/reprint/330/7500/1119. doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7500.1119.
(Savage et al. 2005)
Author(s). Date of publication. Title of book. Edition. Place of publication: publisher; [date updated; date accessed]. Notes.
Brogden KA, Guthmille JM, editors. 2002. Polymicrobial diseases. Washington (DC): ASM Press; [accessed February 28, 2014]. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2475/.
(Brogden and Guthmille 2002)
Author’s name. Date of publication. Title of post [descriptive word]. Title of blog. [accessed date]. URL.
Fogarty M. 2012 Aug 14. Formatting titles on Twitter and Facebook [blog]. Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. [accessed 2012 Oct 19]. http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/formatting-titles-on-twitter-and-facebook.aspx.
Farley T, Galves A, Dickinson LM, Perez MJ. Forthcoming 2005 Jul. Stress, coping, and health: a comparison of Mexican immigrants, Mexican-Americans, and non-Hispanic whites. J Immigr Health.
(Farley et al. 2005)
Goldstein DS. Forthcoming 2006. Adrenaline and the inner world: an introduction to scientific integrative medicine. Baltimore (MD): Johns Hopkins University Press.
Antani S, Long LR, Thoma GR, Lee DJ. 2003. Anatomical shape representation in spine x-ray images. Paper presented at: VIIP 2003. Proceedings of the 3rd IASTED International Conference on Visualization, Imaging and Image Processing; Benalmadena, Spain.
Charles L, Gordner R. 2005. Analysis of MedlinePlus en Español customer service requests. Poster session presented at: Futuro magnifico! Celebrating our diversity. MLA ’05: Medical Library Association Annual Meeting; San Antonio, TX.
(Atani et al. 2003)
(Charles and Gordner 2005)
References to personal communication are placed in running text rather than as formal end references. Permission is usually required and should be acknowledged in an “Acknowledgment” or “Notes” section at the end of the document.
Scientific Style and Format, 8th Edition text © 2014 by the Council of Science Editors. Scientific Style and Format Online © 2014 by the Council of Science Editors.
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How to Format a Scientific Research Paper: A Step-by-Step Guide
Short answer how to format a scientific research paper:
To properly format a scientific research paper, adhere to specific guidelines. Use an appropriate font and size, organize content with sections (e.g., abstract, introduction), cite sources accurately using proper referencing styles like APA or MLA, include figures/tables with captions, and proofread thoroughly for grammar/spelling errors. Follow any journal-specific formatting requirements if submitting your paper for publication.
How should I structure the sections of my scientific research paper?
Writing a scientific research paper can be overwhelming, but organizing it into clear and logical sections will help you effectively convey your findings. Here’s how to structure the various components of your paper:
1. Introduction: Provide background information on your topic and state your research objective succinctly.
2. Methods: Clearly explain the procedures undertaken in conducting your study without including unnecessary details or anecdotes.
3. Results: Present factual data obtained from experiments or analyses, using graphs or tables if necessary for better understanding.
4. Discussion: Analyze and interpret your results with reference to existing literature, highlighting their significance and limitations.
5. Conclusion: Summarize key findings, restate objectives/goals briefly, discuss implications for further studies/application areas related to this field.
Next steps: – Revise multiple times making sure that each section flows logically into the next one – Use subheadings within main sections whenever appropriate
In summary, structuring a scientific research paper involves an introduction providing context; methods outlining experiment procedure; results displaying raw data; discussion analyzing interpretations & adding/acknowledging limitations while concluding with summaries emphasizing outcomes’ importance & future applications
– This question focuses on the commonly encountered challenge of organizing and structuring different sections within a scientific research paper. It seeks guidance regarding how to arrange components like abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusion, acknowledgments, and references.
Organizing and structuring different sections within a scientific research paper can be a challenging task. However, with proper guidance, you can effectively arrange components like abstracts, introductions, methods, results, discussions, conclusions acknowledgments and references.
1. While writing your research paper, 2-4 – Keep the following tips in mind: 1) Start with an informative abstract that summarizes your study concisely . 2) Introduce the topic clearly in the introduction to provide necessary background information for readers. 3) Describing materials used and methodology employed is crucial to allow replication of experiments or studies.
3. The “Results” section should present findings objectively without interpretation or speculation regarding their significance.
4. In the discussion section, – Interpret your results critically – Compare them to previous research – Recognize limitations Such analysis provides context while explaining implications more thoroughly than simply presenting data alone.
5. Now let’s delve deeper into each component:
a) Abstract: A brief summary highlighting important aspects of your study including objectives pursued , methods adopted & significant outcomes achieved (150-250 words).
b) Introduction: Set up a strong foundation by introducing relevant concepts/ideas related prior work done on this topic specify hypothesis/objectives anticipated output /goal(s)
c) Methods : Provide detailed description of materials utilized techniques protocols followed since it allows reproduction validation evidence
Results : Highlight any key observations patterns correlations found during experimentation only facts figures no interpretations opinions conjecture
f) Discussion: Analyze explain interpret trends relationships inconsistencies observed connect back original purpose discuss practical implications limitation invite further exploration alternative explanations hypotheses
g): Conclusion : Summarize main points made throughout emphasize why they matter make sure conclusion respects scope novelty even simultaneously encompassing broader appeals
6.Arranging these components may vary based on journal guidelines but generally follows logical flow from introducing problem(to revealing what was learned as final step). Overall, it helps reader to clearly understand your research journey.
What is the preferred citation style for referencing sources in a scientific research paper?
When writing a scientific research paper, it is important to properly cite your sources. The preferred citation style for referencing sources in a scientific research paper depends on the field of study and the specific journal or publication you are submitting to. However, there are some common citation styles that scientists often use:
1. APA (American Psychological Association): This style is commonly used in social sciences and includes author-date citations within the text, along with a reference list at the end.
2. MLA (Modern Language Association): Predominantly used in humanities subjects such as literature and languages; it also utilizes an author-page format for in-text citations.
3. AMA (American Medical Association): Commonly employed by those working in medical fields; this style employs number superscripts for each source cited within parentheses or brackets throughout the document .
4.Harvard Style: A widely-used method across disciplines which provides brief parenthetical references including authors’ last names and years of publications alongside detailed bibliography sections arranged alphabetically by surname.
It’s essential to consult guidelines provided by your target journal when choosing a citation style so that you adhere appropriately while maintaining consistency throughout your paper. Overall, determining what preferred citation style suits best boils down to discipline specifics reviewed through chosen journals’ instructions!
– Many researchers inquire about which citation style is recommended when citing references in their scientific papers. They may seek clarification regarding APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), Chicago/Turabian Style or other specific formats depending on their field of study and target journal requirements.
Many researchers often wonder which citation style is recommended for their scientific papers. They may be confused about whether to use APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian Style or other specific formats depending on the requirements of their field of study and target journal.
Here are a few key points to consider when choosing a citation style:
1. Familiarity: Researchers should choose a citation style they are familiar with and have experience using. This will make the referencing process more efficient.
2. Field of Study: Different disciplines often prefer different citing styles. For example, APA is commonly used in social sciences while MLA is popular in humanities subjects like literature and languages.
3. Journal Requirements: Many journals specify which formatting guidelines authors should follow for citations within articles submitted for publication. These guidelines take precedence over personal preferences or general norms.
Choosing the right citation style ensures consistency throughout your paper and helps maintain scholarly standards by clearly attributing ideas to their original sources.
In conclusion, selecting an appropriate citation style depends on factors such as familiarity with the format, discipline-specific conventions, and journal requirements.
- Terms And Conditions
The Effect of Public Science on Corporate R&D
We study the relationships between corporate R&D and three components of public science: knowledge, human capital, and invention. We identify the relationships through firm-specific exposure to changes in federal agency R\&D budgets that are driven by the political composition of congressional appropriations subcommittees. Our results indicate that R&D by established firms, which account for more than three-quarters of business R&D, is affected by scientific knowledge produced by universities only when the latter is embodied in inventions or PhD scientists. Human capital trained by universities fosters innovation in firms. However, inventions from universities and public research institutes substitute for corporate inventions and reduce the demand for internal research by corporations, perhaps reflecting downstream competition from startups that commercialize university inventions. Moreover, abstract knowledge advances per se elicit little or no response. Our findings question the belief that public science represents a non-rival public good that feeds into corporate R&D through knowledge spillovers.
We gratefully acknowledge support from The Henry Crown Institute of Business Research, the Fuqua School of Business, Qualcomm, and the Sloan Foundation. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Israel Science Foundation: “Corporate Ownership, Corporate Structure and Corporate Science: Evidence from Corporate R&D in America in the Twentieth Century” (grant #963/2020), Collaborator (with Yishay Yafeh, PI) 2020
MARC RIS BibTeΧ
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- The DISCERN dataset used in the paper.
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