All research papers typically have the same format. You need an introduction, the body, and then a conclusion. This is a very basic structure, and as you get older, and your classes become more complicated, this structure will remain the same, but there may be additional sections added to it. Never fear, it's mostly more of the same.
Here are five things that you should know:
You should know it by now, but in case you're new to research papers or just need a reminder, here it is!
Introduction – explain your topic and include your thesis statement.
Body – consists of several paragraphs, each with new topic/idea and information that supports it.
Analysis – your research and data/information, along with your assessment of both things.
Conclusion – Restating your thesis and summarizing your findings.
You want everything to be in its rightful place. If your thoughts and ideas are disorganized, that will show in your paper. The structure is meant to help you, so let that be your guide.
It's a basic outline of your paper. In a way, it's a very short summary. Whether you are answering a question or proving an argument, you should always go back to your statement and make sure that you have addressed it correctly. This will also help you stay on topic and not stray from your goal.
If the information that supports your paper is not solid, this will have a very negative effect on your grade. Your data should support your idea, but if there is not enough of it – or if it is weak – then it will be viewed poorly. You should explain your evidence, and that evidence has to prove your thesis statement.
There is such a thing as bad sources. Make sure that yours are credible. You should not use any general sources. Any information you gather should be in-depth and relevant to your research. Don't use sources just for the sake of space. If they're not used well, they shouldn't be used at all.
Another common issue is the improper format of such sources. Cite them, always use quotations and keep the text exactly as you found it originally.