Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.

- Zora Neale Hurston

Basic Guide to Writing and Structuring Academic Papers

Most students hit a brick wall when it comes to starting an engaging academic paper. Typically, not every student who is great at writing essays from high school tends to carry on such skills into colleges. This is simply because the manner of writing is at a much higher level. Hence, it is natural for college students to seek assistance in writing an academic paper.

Academic papers writing is an essential skill needed for success in higher education and most career fields. There are basic processes involved in structuring and writing academic research projects. It involves doing a lot of extensive research, studying, planning, content and structural changes, editing, formatting, and proofreading.

It is natural to look at all these and become a bit overwhelmed, but not to worry, academic writing is a skill every student can gradually learn and come to master. This written guide aims to explain all the details needed to succeed in academic writing. However, before we progress, let’s get acquainted with the idea behind academic papers.

What is an Academic Research Paper?

An academic research paper is a type of writing that begins with a thesis that aims to persuade opinion or offer a solution to a problem based on research and evidence. It differs from an article or a blog mainly because it does not foster personal opinion. Instead, it is strictly aimed at providing insights on an idea or solution based on presented facts.

An academic research paper should provide the reader with an informed argument that is obtained from what the writer knows, thinks, or feels about a subject. This can come in the form of a question that is answered or through the help of a thesis statement.

Parts of an Academic Paper

Every academic paper has three basic components. The introduction and thesis statement, the body, and the conclusion.

  • Thesis statement: A thesis statement is used to portray the main idea of your research paper. It expresses the objective of your paper, presents a point of view, and gives an answer to the research question.
  • Introduction: Introductions are a very important part of your academic research paper. They introduce your idea as an argument to your reader while holding their attention throughout the paper till its conclusion. In the introduction, it is best to start with a statement that piques attention and provides background information on the topic.
  • Body: The body is the core of your academic paper writing. Each paragraph in the body is introduced with a topic sentence to present the paragraph’s main idea and express the writer’s point of view. When structuring a research paper, it is important to accurately connect each paragraph of the body to reveal the true message of the writing explicitly.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion is arguably one of the most important parts of academic writing because readers typically remember the first and last parts of a piece they read. It is the final opportunity to make an impression and show the importance of what you have written thus far.

Average Length of a Research Paper

The average length of a research paper is about 6 to 7 pages. Each page would have at least up to two to three paragraphs in that structure.

However, the length of a research paper can be affected by factors like academic paper structure and your professor’s expectations. In terms of the number of words written, a research paper is about an average of 4200 words, excluding the references and abstract sections.

How Many Paragraphs Are in a Research Paper?

There are about three to five sentences per paragraph in a research paper. Paragraphs are usually proportional to the paper and are used strategically depending on the volume of discussion required. For example, a 10-page research paper should have up to 22 paragraphs, and a five-page research paper should have at least ten paragraphs.

Academic Papers Format

In writing an academic research paper, there are specific formats you must follow. Usually, the essential steps of the writing process in an academic paper go as follows.

  • First, you select an interesting topic, which could be gotten from the Internet or your professor
  • Conduct research and create a strong thesis statement
  • Create your introduction and conclude with the thesis statement
  • Write the body
  • Proceed to the conclusion
  • Add your references or citations (ensure they are credible)

In conclusion, academic writing is typically tedious, but with the right tools and proper guidance, you can be well on your way to creating a well-written research piece.