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Research Guides

Conducting Literature Reviews: Outlining Your Research Paper

Research Paper Outline

The traditional structure and organization of your Research Paper will usually incorporate the following sections:

I. Title Page – Include name, title of project, Faculty Advisor’s name, and project’s time frame.

II. Abstract – Provide an overview of the paper. The abstract should not exceed 300 words.

III. Introduction – A brief overview of the paper including a summary of the background leading to the research question or purpose of the paper.

IV. Purpose Statement or Research Question(s) – If more than one purpose or question is applicable, limit the description to one brief paragraph each.

V. Literature Review – Identify and review literature and previous research applicable to the paper topic. This section should include a synthesis and discussion of the reviewed literature to identify strengths, weaknesses, trends, opportunities, etc. The review should provide the basis for the paper.

VI. Methodology – Describe the methodology utilized in the development of the paper. This might include the design, setting, participants, intervention, and main outcome measures of the Capstone Project, or it might provide details regarding sampling, measurement, data collection, and analysis of research.

VII. Results – Present the results of the Capstone Project. Explain the product of the effort put forth.

VIII. Discussion – Discuss, in detail, the results. Place the results in the context of the existing base of knowledge on the topic, and discuss limitations.

IX. Conclusion – Provide discrete conclusions supported by evidence. Express any further study or effort implied by the conclusions, and give equal attention to positive and negative conclusions.

X. References – Properly and consistently cite references in a reputable format of the student’s choice.

XI. Appendices – Support materials may include IRB letters, survey/interview instruments, letters of support, data analysis coding sheets, or others.