Writing an Effective Research Paper with 11 Major Sections

Research Paper Writing

Allow me to take you on a journey back to the early days of my academic career when the internet was still in its infancy and access to resources was limited. It was during my MTech program, over 25 years ago, that I embarked on my first research paper—an endeavour that would shape my understanding of the intricacies of academic writing.

In those days, the landscape of academic research was vastly different. Discussion forums were scarce, and accessing the work of other researchers and academicians was a daunting task. As I grappled with the challenge of writing my first research paper, I found myself in uncharted territory, unsure of where to begin.

Fortunately, I had the guidance of a supportive supervisor who recognized the importance of immersing oneself in the world of academic literature. Armed with a stack of research papers, both from established scholars and from his own body of work, he urged me to dive deep into the realm of scholarly writing.

In those initial days, understanding the nuances of research papers proved to be a formidable task. Despite belonging to my domain, the dense prose and detailed discussions left me perplexed. I questioned the necessity of abstracts and conclusions that seemed to echo each other, and I struggled to grasp the significance of citations and presentation styles.

However, as I persevered through the process of paper reading and summarization, a gradual transformation began to take place. Each day brought new insights and revelations, as I delved deeper into the intricacies of academic discourse. Through deliberate discussions with my guide and participation in paper writing workshops alongside my classmates, the pieces of the puzzle started to fall into place.

I came to realize that research paper writing is both an art and a science—a delicate balance of meticulous detail and compelling narrative. Like a master storyteller, a researcher must weave together the threads of their study, creating a narrative that captivates readers and leads them on a journey of discovery.

As I honed my skills in paper writing, I began to appreciate the importance of acknowledging previous contributions in the field, adhering to ethical standards, and presenting findings in a clear and concise manner. With each paper I read and each draft I penned, I grew more adept at navigating the complex landscape of academic publishing.

In the end, my journey through the world of research paper writing culminated in the presentation of my work at a prestigious institute—an experience that not only expanded my network but also propelled my research forward on the path to completing my PhD.

Join me as we unravel the art and science of research paper writing, exploring the eleven major sections that comprise an effective research paper. Together, we will delve into the intricacies of each section, uncovering the secrets to crafting a paper that leaves a lasting impact on the academic community.


Research publications are essential for a researcher to publicize his/her work and get noticed in the research community. Journals and conferences are the media through which publications can be made available to the world.

According to research from the University of Ottawa, the total number of scientific papers published since 1665 is around 75 million by 2017, and approximately 2.5 million new scientific papers are published each year.

 A research paper is a write-up of the research findings out of the research carried out by a researcher or a group of researchers in a specific domain of interest. Research papers are all about organizing ideas in a linear, understandable format for the research community who are working in the same domain of interest.

A research paper has the following template or skeleton which one needs to follow while writing a research paper.


Template of a Research Paper

  • Paper Title
  • Author Details like  Author Name, Affiliation and Email ID
  • Abstract
  • Keywords
  • Introduction
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References

How to Write Research Paper Title

Research Paper Title
Research Paper Title

Research paper titles remain in the mind of a researcher even after he finishes reading your research paper. If the researcher feels the paper is attractive then the title enters the bibliography or on Mendeley’s account of the researcher.  The researcher cites the same paper in his journals and thesis and indirectly helps the author to increase his paper citation counts.

The point is, whether your paper finds a place in his literature survey when the same researcher writes a paper and submits it to a reputed journal. For this to happen,  remembering your name and something about the research paper title will both be crucial. Without these signals, your work will be untouched in other scholars’ bibliography or remains untouched among other papers on the Web.

But the sad part is, most of the researchers choose totally ambiguous and difficult-to-remember type titles. In fact, many researchers believe that giving simple, easy-to-understand research paper titles is belittling themselves in the eyes of other reputed researchers.

The hard truth is, the simpler your title, the easier it finds a place in the citation list and possibly increases your h-index value. The title must be clear and specific. It should be easily understandable by the target audience and reflect the research paper’s main objective. Moreover, it should not be a sentence. You can refer to my blog post on “writing research paper title” for more details and examples.

How to Write Author Details in a Research Paper?

Author Details in Research Paper

The author’s first name and last name are sufficient.  Salutations like Dr / Mr / Prof etc are highly discouraged. Provide personal email id over official as you may change your organizations during the course of your career.

The names of the authors are normally listed in a research article according to the order in which they contributed to the work. The most substantial contributions were made by the first author, who is typically the senior researcher or the primary investigator.

“Last name, First name Initial(s)” should be used to format the names. As an illustration, “Rajpurohit, Vijay S.”

If there are many authors, their names should be included, with commas between them, on either the cover page or the first page of the paper. For instance, “Smith, John D., Jane M. Jones, and Michael J. Brown.”

Asterisks (*) or other symbols should be used to indicate the corresponding author when there are multiple authors on the research paper. Contact information, including an email address, phone number, and address, should also be included.

It’s also crucial to adhere to the particular requirements or fashion of the magazine or conference you are submitting your paper, as they can have their own formatting requirements for author names.

How to Write an Abstract Section of a Research Paper?

An abstract is a concise explanation of a research paper’s problem, methods, primary findings, and conclusions.

A paper’s main points can be summed up in an abstract. It is a single paragraph that ranges in length from 200 to 300 words. It provides a preview that draws attention to essential elements.

Only abstracts are included in many conference proceedings books for indexing. Many journal editorial boards merely read the abstracts of submitted publications.

The abstract establishes the tone for the remainder of the work for the referees and a select few readers who desire to read it in its entirety. There is a considerable probability that your work will be rejected before the reviewer has had a chance to read the entire content if the abstract does not grab their attention.

Therefore, it is the author’s responsibility to make sure the abstract accurately summarises the full paper. Additionally, even after it has been published, readers will likely access your work through electronic searches as the first and only result. As a result, beyond its abstract, the paper doesn’t exist for the great majority of readers.

Key portions of many publications in the social sciences, sciences of nature, and sciences of engineering are: Background (Introduction); Methods; Results; and Discussion are the key portions of many publications in the social sciences, sciences of nature, and sciences of engineering.

Typically, the abstract of an IMRaD study or presentation is one or two paragraphs long. Usually, this kind of abstract writing involves

Describe the purpose and importance of the research in the first 25% of the text (Background)

The Methodology used is covered in the next 25% of the text.

The next 35% of the article discusses the findings (Results)

The research’s findings are covered in the final 15% of the abstract.

For more details on writing abstract, visit my blog post on “How to write abstract in 10 simple steps

How to write Keywords for the Research Paper?

keywords in research paper
Writing Keywords for Research Paper

The phrases or words that best describe your research paper are its keywords. They boost the number of references you get and make your paper searchable (and simple to find!). In order to facilitate the discovery of your article, it is necessary to include domain- and methodology-related keywords in your research.

Making a researcher’s research paper accessible to the research community on the first few search page results of Google is a difficult undertaking. Researchers will be encouraged to download, refer to, and cite papers in their work if they appear in search results. This will aid the researcher in raising his citation totals and substantially enhancing his research profile.

Although the researcher has no direct influence over the journal search rating on the Google search engine where the study has been published, there is one straightforward way to help the article rank higher. One component of a research paper where the researcher has the opportunity to influence the article’s position on Google is the keyword listing section.

Therefore, keywords are essential for sifting through the vast number of available information. One of the criteria used to look for an article in a database or search engine is a keyword, which returns a number of results ranked by relevance.

The amount of pertinent keywords used in a document directly relates to how high up in the order it appears. Then, how can we ensure that our study paper stands out from the vast volume of online content and appears higher in search results? Of course, selecting appropriate and pertinent keywords is the solution.
The goal of using keywords in a research article is to make it easier for other researchers to locate your work when they are doing a search on the subject. Because they are used for indexing, choosing the right keywords is essential. Selecting the right keywords will make it easier for people to find and quote your content.

An author-selected list of keywords typically follows an abstract in a research article. The article’s domain, subdomain, topic, study purpose, etc. are all defined by its keywords. When deciding where and when to display your paper to scholars looking for articles similar to yours, the majority of search engines, citation indexing databases, or journal websites use keywords.

Using keywords will make it easier for readers to find your work and will boost the number of citations it gets. Selecting and including pertinent keywords is therefore essential, as is filtering out the vast bulk of undesired content.

To illustrate the value of keywords, let’s look at an example. In a paper titled “New methods in Leaf Image processing using Machine Learning Techniques,” it is discussed how machine learning-based image processing techniques can be used to discover leaf spot diseases such as bacterial blight at an early stage.

Suitable keywords for such a paper can  include the following 

  • Backpropagation Network, CNN ( From Machine Learning concepts)
  • Image Filtering, Image Convolution (From Image Processing concept)
  • Leaf Spot disease names Bacterial Blight, Anthracnose etc. ( From Domain concept) 

How to Write the Introduction Section of the Research Paper?

Introduction Section
Writing Introduction Section of a Research Paper

After the abstract and keywords sections, the introduction part is the next section. Writing the introduction section, however, should always come after the technique and results sections have been finished. The issue space and the solution space are linked in the introduction section. The first step in writing a research paper introduction, just as when writing a novel or story, is to expose the reader to the background (survey), the main problems that need to be resolved (research topic), various roles (methods), and the central subject of the narrative (the proposed method). You must state your goal to tackle the challenge in the opening section.

You must describe the need for your work, its importance, and how it might alter the direction of future research. Your writing should have enough substance to draw readers in and keep them engaged.

After the abstract and keywords sections, the introduction part is the next section. Writing the introduction section, however, should always come after the technique and results sections have been finished. The issue space and the solution space are linked in the introduction section.

The first step in writing a research paper introduction, just as when writing a novel or story, is to expose the reader to the background (survey), the main problems that need to be resolved (research topic), various roles (methods), and the central subject of the narrative (the proposed method).

You must state your goal to tackle the challenge in the opening section. You must describe the need for your work, its importance, and how it might alter the direction of future research. Your writing should have enough charm to draw readers in and keep them engaged.

Unlike the abstract, the introduction does not have a hard word count, but it should still be as brief as possible. A strong introduction provides a “lead” that encourages the reader to learn more about the study field by outlining how the research challenge has been addressed by various scholars (literature survey).

An introduction has three invisible sections namely

  1. History or background of the research
  2. Survey of the relevant papers
  3. Problem formulation and methodology used to solve the problem

The inverse pyramid writing style should be used for these sections. The history part ought to be as general and research-focused as feasible. Research gaps in the field of study should be more specifically addressed in surveys of the research publications. One of the research gaps the researcher plans to solve should be the emphasis of the problem formulation and technique, together with the approach the researcher will use.

For more details on the introduction section, you can visit my blog post here

How to Write the Method Section of the Research Paper?

method section
Writing Method Section of Research Paper

Any research paper’s method section serves as its central argument. The method section describes the steps taken to get the results through the use of new or modified versions of traditional approaches. A block diagram often opens the method section.

A research paper’s methodology section outlines the specific procedures used to carry out the study. Details regarding the methods should include their definition and characterization, as well as an explanation of the approaches you used and a detailed description of the steps taken to choose, gather, and analyze the data.

The rationale behind selecting a certain approach or technique should be completely explained in the method section of a research paper. Additionally, whether you plan to collect primary or secondary data, it is imperative that you outline the precise research methodologies you will employ.

The approaches you select should be clearly related to the overall research strategy, and you must explain the rationale behind your decision as well as how the procedures advance your understanding of the goal of your study.

  • Which research methods did you use?
  • Why did you choose these methods and techniques?
  • How did you collect the data or how did you generate the data?
  • How did you use these methods for analyzing the research question or problem?

The three sections listed below can be recognized for drafting the research technique in question based on the questions.

1. Selection of research method and justification
2. Data Collection or generation
3. Experimental setup

For more details on how to write method section, visit my blog post here.

How to Write Results Section of a Research Paper?

results section
Writing Results Section of Research Paper

The third major portion of your research paper, titled “Results,” is usually the most crucial because it includes the actual findings of your experiment. The outcome section contains the actual findings of your study, as opposed to the other sections’ plans, hopes, and interpretations.

One should endeavour to describe their findings in the results section without attempting to understand or assess them. The main findings of the experiment, any problems you encountered during data collecting, and any other noteworthy trends in the data are all explained in the results section.

We typically utilise visual components like graphs and tables to make it simpler to grasp the results since we want to communicate our data in the most understandable way possible. The information should be given logically, starting with the hypothesis and going in the order of the procedure section.

The negative outcomes must be mentioned since they will support the discussion section in a subsequent part. The discussion part is where the results section’s significance is explained.

For more information on how to write a results section visit my blog post here.

How to Write the Discussion Section of a Research Paper?

Research Project
Writing Discussion Section of Research Paper

The analysis of your research study is presented in the discussion section. For readers who are interested in studying the analysis of the findings, it must be presented in a clear and captivating manner. It is the result of your laborious efforts to write the hypothesis, gather and organize the data, analyze the graphs statistically, and create the summary.

A research paper’s discussion part serves the primary objective of outlining each and every step taken from the start of the investigation to the conclusion. As a result, it is crucial for a researcher to comprehend how to compose a research paper’s discussion part.

This section goes into more detail regarding the strategy or methodology used by the researcher to address the given issue.

For more information and examples, see my blog post on “writing  discussion section

How to Write the Conclusion Section of a Research Section?

Conclusion Section
Writing Conclusion Section of a Research Paper

A strong conclusion in a research paper might provide the final reflection on the importance of the study and potential future research topics. The interpretation of the study’s objectives is sometimes regarded as the most challenging aspect of research paper writing.

A writer may frequently believe that the discussion portion has covered everything and that there is nothing more to say in the conclusion section. The conclusion, which should be the strongest section of the research paper, should serve as a summary of the entire study and be easily recalled by readers as a possible direction for future research. A strong conclusion will significantly broaden the paper’s focus and engage the audience. In order to entice readers and make the material more interesting, it must not be emotionally charged.

The conclusion section needs to be written in an engaging but academic style. The use of third parties or remark on the study domain is permissible, but emotional praise is definitely forbidden. A research paper’s conclusion section may be of varying length. Typically, how long it depends on how long the article is overall.

A lengthy research paper can need a conclusion that takes up one or two pages. In research papers published for conferences or journals, the conclusion may only require one or two paragraphs totalling 200–300 words. Do not skimp on the quality of the conclusion as you complete your research article and rush to submit it to a journal or conference.

Many researchers will study this section to identify potential limitations and future research paths. 

For more details on writing the conclusion section please visit my blog post here.

How to Write the Acknowledgment Section of a Research Paper?

Writing Acknowledgment Section of Research Paper

The acknowledgement section in a research paper is where the author thanks any people or organizations who provided assistance with the research and writing. This can include the organizations that provided the cash, the colleagues or mentors who offered advice, and any other people or groups that helped the project be completed successfully. It usually appears before the references and appendices at the end of the essay. An acknowledgement section should have a formal and grateful tone.


How to write the References Section of a Research Paper?

IEEE Reference Format
Writing Reference Section of Research Paper

A reference section in a research paper is a brief citation of the published information’s source that includes enough information for readers to find a copy of the source. A reference’s format will vary depending on the type of source material (books, articles, electronic documents, etc.) it refers to. This section contains a list of all the research articles that the researcher used as sources for his literature review.

For more information and examples, see my blog post on “Writing Research Paper References in IEEE Format.” Always provide a thorough description of the publication of any pertinent text you read in the list of references you keep for the research work you are conducting whenever you read material for your writing or research.
These particulars should contain:
* Exact Title of the content {specifying as is the capital letters, abbreviations, quotations if they are used in the Title}.
* Name, Surname (s), and Initials (s) of all the writer (s) without omitting any author details.
* If the paper is published in a journal then the name, volume, year, and page numbers of the journal in which the article is published.
* If it is a  News Paper Document, the newspaper Title and the Volume number along with the date
* If it is a Chapter of the Book, then  the Title of the chapter, page numbers,  Editors and Publisher (s) of the book  along with the   year of publication
* If it is a  Book, then the Title of the book,  Editors and Publisher (s) of the book along with the edition and year of publication.

Example of a Research Paper

Below is  a sample Research paper  for your Reference

What Tools are used to Write Research Papers?

There are a variety of tools and software available to help writers with the research paper writing process. Here are some commonly used tools:
Word processing software: Word processing software like Microsoft Word or Google Docs is essential for writing, formatting, and organizing a research paper.
Reference management software: Software such as Zotero, Mendeley, or EndNote can help you manage your references, citations, and bibliographies.
Grammar and spell-check tools: Tools such as Grammarly or Hemingway can help identify errors in grammar, spelling, and sentence structure.
Plagiarism checkers: Tools like Turnitin or Grammarly can help you identify any instances of plagiarism in your paper.
Data analysis software: Programs such as Excel or SPSS can help you analyze and visualize data.
Mind-mapping software: Software such as MindMeister or Coggle can help you organize your ideas and develop a structure for your paper.
Collaborative writing tools: Tools such as Google Docs or Dropbox Paper allow multiple authors to collaborate and edit a document simultaneously.
Academic search engines: Tools such as Google Scholar, JSTOR, or Scopus can help you find and access scholarly articles and research papers.
These tools can save you time and help you produce a high-quality research paper. However, it is important to remember that these tools are meant to assist you, not replace your critical thinking and writing skills.

What is the Next Step, After Finishing Writing the Research Paper?

After writing a research paper, there are several important steps that you should take before submitting it for publication.

Firstly, proofreading is crucial to ensure that your paper is free of errors and is well-organized.

Secondly, it is important to avoid submitting your paper to predatory conferences and journals, which may exploit authors by charging high publication fees and offering low-quality peer reviews.

When looking for a good journal to submit your paper to, consider factors such as the scope and focus of the journal, its impact factor, and the rigor of its peer review process.

Understanding the journal ranking system can also help you identify the most reputable journals in your field.

Once your paper has been accepted, you will need to prepare a camera-ready copy that meets the journal’s formatting requirements.

It is also important to understand the importance of copyright transfer and exclusive rights, which can impact your ability to reuse or distribute your work in the future.

It is important to avoid plagiarism by carefully citing and referencing all sources used in your paper.

Finally, by tweaking your paper slightly, you may be able to submit it to multiple conferences, but be sure to check the submission guidelines and avoid submitting identical papers to different venues.

Taking these steps can help ensure that your research is published in a reputable venue and has a lasting impact in your field.


Writing a research paper can be a daunting task, but by following the steps outlined in this article, it becomes a manageable and rewarding experience. It all starts with a well-crafted paper title that sets the tone for the entire paper, followed by a concise and informative abstract that summarizes the key findings. The author’s details, including the name, affiliation, and email address, ensure that readers can reach out for further inquiries or collaboration.

The introduction provides a clear and compelling opening statement, followed by a sound methodology that lays out the research design and data collection process. The results section presents the research findings, which are then discussed in detail in the discussion section. The conclusion summarizes the main findings and provides a final analysis of the research’s significance.

Finally, a well-researched reference list gives credit to the sources that informed the research and provide readers with additional reading material. Overall, by carefully following the steps outlined in this article, anyone can produce a high-quality research paper that contributes to the field and stands out as a valuable contribution to the academic community.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I write a research paper first or identify a journal and write a research paper?

In general, it’s recommended to identify the target journal before you start writing your research paper. Here’s a suggested approach:
It’s worth noting that the process may vary slightly depending on the field and the specific requirements of each journal. It’s always a good idea to carefully review the guidelines of your target journal and seek guidance from your advisor or colleagues who have experience in publishing research papers.

How many authors can be there in a research paper?

There is no fixed limit on the number of authors that can be included in a research paper. The number of authors typically depends on the nature of the research, the level of collaboration involved, and the guidelines of the journal where the paper will be submitted.

What is the ideal number of references for a research paper?

The ideal number of references in a research paper can vary based on the length and complexity of the paper. While there is no definitive rule, the following are general guidelines that can be considered:
Short research papers or conference papers (4-6 pages): Aim for around 10-20 references to provide sufficient support and context for the research.
Standard research papers (8-12 pages): Typically, around 20-40 references would be appropriate. This allows for a more comprehensive review of relevant literature.
Longer research papers (more than 12 pages): As the length increases, the number of references can also increase. In such cases, 40 or more references can be considered, depending on the depth and breadth of the research.

What should be the ideal length of the research paper for journal, National Conference, or International Conference?

The ideal length of a research paper can vary depending on the specific guidelines of the journal or conference you are targeting. However, here are some general guidelines for the ideal length of research papers:
Journal articles: Journal article lengths can vary significantly across different disciplines and journals. In general, research papers in journals are typically between 6 to 30 pages, including references. However, it’s important to carefully review the guidelines of your target journal, as they often specify the preferred length or provide a range.
National conferences: National conference papers are usually shorter in length compared to journal articles. They typically range from 4 to 8 pages, including references. Again, it’s crucial to consult the specific guidelines of the conference you are submitting to, as they may have specific requirements regarding the maximum length allowed.
International conferences: International conference papers can have varying lengths depending on the conference and field of study. They typically range from 6 to 12 pages, including references. However, similar to national conferences, it’s essential to carefully review the conference guidelines for the recommended length.

Whether a survey paper or a literature review paper is considered a research paper?

Yes, a survey paper is considered a type of research paper. A survey paper aims to provide a comprehensive and systematic review of existing research and literature on a specific topic or field. It synthesizes and summarizes the findings, methodologies, and contributions of multiple studies to give readers an overview of the current state of knowledge in that area.
While traditional research papers often focus on presenting original research and findings, survey papers focus on surveying and analyzing the existing body of work. They are valuable for researchers and readers who want to gain a deeper understanding of a particular field, identify trends, highlight research gaps, or get an overview of the different approaches and methodologies used.
Survey papers typically involve a rigorous literature review process, where the author collects, analyzes, and synthesizes relevant research articles, conference papers, book chapters, and other scholarly sources. The paper’s structure usually includes an introduction, background information, an overview of the existing literature, analysis and discussion of the reviewed studies, and conclusions.

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Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit
Author: Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit
Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit is a researcher in Computer Science. He loves to educate researchers and research scholars on Research Paper Writing, Thesis Writing, Research Grants, Patenting Research Work and the latest Research-related issues. You can reach him @ [email protected]