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- Research Paper Format | APA, MLA, & Chicago Templates
Research Paper Format | APA, MLA, & Chicago Templates
Published on November 19, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on January 20, 2023.
The formatting of a research paper is different depending on which style guide you’re following. In addition to citations , APA, MLA, and Chicago provide format guidelines for things like font choices, page layout, format of headings and the format of the reference page.
Scribbr offers free Microsoft Word templates for the most common formats. Simply download and get started on your paper.
APA | MLA | Chicago author-date | Chicago notes & bibliography
- Generate an automatic table of contents
- Generate a list of tables and figures
- Ensure consistent paragraph formatting
- Insert page numbering
Table of contents
Formatting an apa paper, formatting an mla paper, formatting a chicago paper, frequently asked questions about research paper formatting.
The main guidelines for formatting a paper in APA Style are as follows:
- Use a standard font like 12 pt Times New Roman or 11 pt Arial.
- Set 1 inch page margins.
- Apply double line spacing.
- If submitting for publication, insert a APA running head on every page.
- Indent every new paragraph ½ inch.
Watch the video below for a quick guide to setting up the format in Google Docs.
The image below shows how to format an APA Style title page for a student paper.
If you are submitting a paper for publication, APA requires you to include a running head on each page. The image below shows you how this should be formatted.
For student papers, no running head is required unless you have been instructed to include one.
APA provides guidelines for formatting up to five levels of heading within your paper. Level 1 headings are the most general, level 5 the most specific.
APA Style citation requires (author-date) APA in-text citations throughout the text and an APA Style reference page at the end. The image below shows how the reference page should be formatted.
Note that the format of reference entries is different depending on the source type. You can easily create your citations and reference list using the free APA Citation Generator.
Generate APA citations for free
The main guidelines for writing an MLA style paper are as follows:
- Use an easily readable font like 12 pt Times New Roman.
- Use title case capitalization for headings .
Check out the video below to see how to set up the format in Google Docs.
On the first page of an MLA paper, a heading appears above your title, featuring some key information:
- Your full name
- Your instructor’s or supervisor’s name
- The course name or number
- The due date of the assignment
A header appears at the top of each page in your paper, including your surname and the page number.
Works Cited page
MLA in-text citations appear wherever you refer to a source in your text. The MLA Works Cited page appears at the end of your text, listing all the sources used. It is formatted as shown below.
You can easily create your MLA citations and save your Works Cited list with the free MLA Citation Generator.
Generate MLA citations for free
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The main guidelines for writing a paper in Chicago style (also known as Turabian style) are:
- Use a standard font like 12 pt Times New Roman.
- Use 1 inch margins or larger.
- Place page numbers in the top right or bottom center.
Chicago doesn’t require a title page , but if you want to include one, Turabian (based on Chicago) presents some guidelines. Lay out the title page as shown below.
Bibliography or reference list
Chicago offers two citation styles : author-date citations plus a reference list, or footnote citations plus a bibliography. Choose one style or the other and use it consistently.
The reference list or bibliography appears at the end of the paper. Both styles present this page similarly in terms of formatting, as shown below.
To format a paper in APA Style , follow these guidelines:
- Use a standard font like 12 pt Times New Roman or 11 pt Arial
- Set 1 inch page margins
- Apply double line spacing
- Include a title page
- If submitting for publication, insert a running head on every page
- Indent every new paragraph ½ inch
- Apply APA heading styles
- Cite your sources with APA in-text citations
- List all sources cited on a reference page at the end
The main guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style are as follows:
- Use an easily readable font like 12 pt Times New Roman
- Include a four-line MLA heading on the first page
- Center the paper’s title
- Use title case capitalization for headings
- Cite your sources with MLA in-text citations
- List all sources cited on a Works Cited page at the end
The main guidelines for formatting a paper in Chicago style are to:
- Use a standard font like 12 pt Times New Roman
- Use 1 inch margins or larger
- Place page numbers in the top right or bottom center
- Cite your sources with author-date citations or Chicago footnotes
- Include a bibliography or reference list
To automatically generate accurate Chicago references, you can use Scribbr’s free Chicago reference generator .
Cite this Scribbr article
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Caulfield, J. (2023, January 20). Research Paper Format | APA, MLA, & Chicago Templates. Scribbr. Retrieved March 2, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/research-paper/research-paper-format/
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Writing Research Papers
- Research Paper Structure
Whether you are writing a B.S. Degree Research Paper or completing a research report for a Psychology course, it is highly likely that you will need to organize your research paper in accordance with American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines. Here we discuss the structure of research papers according to APA style.
Major Sections of a Research Paper in APA Style
A complete research paper in APA style that is reporting on experimental research will typically contain a Title page, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, and References sections. 1 Many will also contain Figures and Tables and some will have an Appendix or Appendices. These sections are detailed as follows (for a more in-depth guide, please refer to " How to Write a Research Paper in APA Style ”, a comprehensive guide developed by Prof. Emma Geller). 2
What is this paper called and who wrote it? – the first page of the paper; this includes the name of the paper, a “running head”, authors, and institutional affiliation of the authors. The institutional affiliation is usually listed in an Author Note that is placed towards the bottom of the title page. In some cases, the Author Note also contains an acknowledgment of any funding support and of any individuals that assisted with the research project.
One-paragraph summary of the entire study – typically no more than 250 words in length (and in many cases it is well shorter than that), the Abstract provides an overview of the study.
What is the topic and why is it worth studying? – the first major section of text in the paper, the Introduction commonly describes the topic under investigation, summarizes or discusses relevant prior research (for related details, please see the Writing Literature Reviews section of this website), identifies unresolved issues that the current research will address, and provides an overview of the research that is to be described in greater detail in the sections to follow.
What did you do? – a section which details how the research was performed. It typically features a description of the participants/subjects that were involved, the study design, the materials that were used, and the study procedure. If there were multiple experiments, then each experiment may require a separate Methods section. A rule of thumb is that the Methods section should be sufficiently detailed for another researcher to duplicate your research.
What did you find? – a section which describes the data that was collected and the results of any statistical tests that were performed. It may also be prefaced by a description of the analysis procedure that was used. If there were multiple experiments, then each experiment may require a separate Results section.
What is the significance of your results? – the final major section of text in the paper. The Discussion commonly features a summary of the results that were obtained in the study, describes how those results address the topic under investigation and/or the issues that the research was designed to address, and may expand upon the implications of those findings. Limitations and directions for future research are also commonly addressed.
List of articles and any books cited – an alphabetized list of the sources that are cited in the paper (by last name of the first author of each source). Each reference should follow specific APA guidelines regarding author names, dates, article titles, journal titles, journal volume numbers, page numbers, book publishers, publisher locations, websites, and so on (for more information, please see the Citing References in APA Style page of this website).
Tables and Figures
Graphs and data (optional in some cases) – depending on the type of research being performed, there may be Tables and/or Figures (however, in some cases, there may be neither). In APA style, each Table and each Figure is placed on a separate page and all Tables and Figures are included after the References. Tables are included first, followed by Figures. However, for some journals and undergraduate research papers (such as the B.S. Research Paper or Honors Thesis), Tables and Figures may be embedded in the text (depending on the instructor’s or editor’s policies; for more details, see "Deviations from APA Style" below).
Supplementary information (optional) – in some cases, additional information that is not critical to understanding the research paper, such as a list of experiment stimuli, details of a secondary analysis, or programming code, is provided. This is often placed in an Appendix.
Variations of Research Papers in APA Style
Although the major sections described above are common to most research papers written in APA style, there are variations on that pattern. These variations include:
- Literature reviews – when a paper is reviewing prior published research and not presenting new empirical research itself (such as in a review article, and particularly a qualitative review), then the authors may forgo any Methods and Results sections. Instead, there is a different structure such as an Introduction section followed by sections for each of the different aspects of the body of research being reviewed, and then perhaps a Discussion section.
- Multi-experiment papers – when there are multiple experiments, it is common to follow the Introduction with an Experiment 1 section, itself containing Methods, Results, and Discussion subsections. Then there is an Experiment 2 section with a similar structure, an Experiment 3 section with a similar structure, and so on until all experiments are covered. Towards the end of the paper there is a General Discussion section followed by References. Additionally, in multi-experiment papers, it is common for the Results and Discussion subsections for individual experiments to be combined into single “Results and Discussion” sections.
Departures from APA Style
In some cases, official APA style might not be followed (however, be sure to check with your editor, instructor, or other sources before deviating from standards of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association). Such deviations may include:
- Placement of Tables and Figures – in some cases, to make reading through the paper easier, Tables and/or Figures are embedded in the text (for example, having a bar graph placed in the relevant Results section). The embedding of Tables and/or Figures in the text is one of the most common deviations from APA style (and is commonly allowed in B.S. Degree Research Papers and Honors Theses; however you should check with your instructor, supervisor, or editor first).
- Incomplete research – sometimes a B.S. Degree Research Paper in this department is written about research that is currently being planned or is in progress. In those circumstances, sometimes only an Introduction and Methods section, followed by References, is included (that is, in cases where the research itself has not formally begun). In other cases, preliminary results are presented and noted as such in the Results section (such as in cases where the study is underway but not complete), and the Discussion section includes caveats about the in-progress nature of the research. Again, you should check with your instructor, supervisor, or editor first.
- Class assignments – in some classes in this department, an assignment must be written in APA style but is not exactly a traditional research paper (for instance, a student asked to write about an article that they read, and to write that report in APA style). In that case, the structure of the paper might approximate the typical sections of a research paper in APA style, but not entirely. You should check with your instructor for further guidelines.
Workshops and Downloadable Resources
- For in-person discussion of the process of writing research papers, please consider attending this department’s “Writing Research Papers” workshop (for dates and times, please check the undergraduate workshops calendar).
- 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 Journal Article Reporting Guidelines
- Appelbaum, M., Cooper, H., Kline, R. B., Mayo-Wilson, E., Nezu, A. M., & Rao, S. M. (2018). Journal article reporting standards for quantitative research in psychology: The APA Publications and Communications Board task force report . American Psychologist , 73 (1), 3.
- Levitt, H. M., Bamberg, M., Creswell, J. W., Frost, D. M., Josselson, R., & Suárez-Orozco, C. (2018). Journal article reporting standards for qualitative primary, qualitative meta-analytic, and mixed methods research in psychology: The APA Publications and Communications Board task force report . American Psychologist , 73 (1), 26.
- Formatting APA Style Papers in Microsoft Word
- How to Write an APA Style Research Paper from Hamilton University
- WikiHow Guide to Writing APA Research Papers
- Sample APA Formatted Paper with Comments
- Sample APA Formatted Paper
- Tips for Writing a Paper in APA Style
1 VandenBos, G. R. (Ed). (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) (pp. 41-60). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
2 geller, e. (2018). how to write an apa-style research report . [instructional materials]. , prepared by s. c. pan for ucsd psychology.
Back to top
- Formatting Research Papers
- 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
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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 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
How to Write a Research Paper Outline In 7 Steps
A research paper outline is a supporting document that lists all the topics to include in a paper in the intended order, usually divided by paragraphs. The typical outline of a research paper also consists of other details like subtopics and evidential sources to help the writer stay organized. Some even have individual sentence topics and early ideas for phrasing.
Want to know how to write a research paper outline? This guide explains step by step what to include and how to write one yourself, including research paper outline examples.
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What is a research paper outline?
The outline is an integral part of how to write a research paper . The main purpose of a research paper outline is to structure the topics, data, and all other inclusions in the paper (like direct quotes) so you stay organized and don’t forget anything.
Conventionally, writers compose outlines after choosing a thesis statement and sourcing research evidence, but before writing the first draft . Making structural changes is far more efficient in the outlining phase than after you write the first draft; you can remove certain topics early on without wasting time writing them and add new topics before the drafting phase so you can write everything all at once.
The typical outline of a research paper is broken up into sections and paragraphs , listing each paragraph’s topic and the related evidence or data to include therein. The depth of detail can change depending on your writing style or the requirements of the paper, as we explain below.
Are there different kinds of research paper outlines?
In short, you decide what details to include in your research paper outline, although the requirements of the assignment influence what’s necessary. For example, a basic college research paper outline for a one-page assignment might contain only a list of four or five paragraph topics, whereas a formal research paper for a scientific study might outline each sentence in all five parts of a research paper: introduction, review of literature, methods, results, and discussion.
Research paper outlines can be one level, two level, and so on, depending on their intricacy. One-level outlines display just the section headings or main topics, while four-level outlines get very detailed with paragraph and sentence breakdowns.
There are three popular formats for research paper outlines: alphanumeric , full sentence , and decimal . Below, we’ll explain the details of each and illustrate their differences with the research paper outline examples, focused on the same topic: “Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James: Who’s the Best Basketball Player?”
Alphanumeric research paper outline
Alphanumeric is the most common outline format—with main topics listed as Roman numerals, subtopics as capital letters, specific points for each subtopic as Arabic numerals, and further details for individual points as lowercase letters.
You would write the information in quick blurbs—just a few words—instead of complete sentences.
Alphanumeric research paper outline example
I. Michael Jordan
A. Career Highlights
1. Six NBA Championships
a. Six NBA Finals MVP
2. US Olympics Basketball Team
a. 1984 Gold Medalist
b. 1992 Gold Medalist
3. Fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections
a. Three NBA All-Star Game MVP Awards
1. Record-holder scoring average
a. Regular season (30.12 points per game)
b. Playoffs (33.45 points per game)
2. Other accolades
a. 1996 Space Jam
b. Owner of Charlotte Hornets
II. LeBron James
1. Four NBA Championships
a. Four NBA Finals MVP
a. 2008 Gold Medalist
b. 2012 Gold Medalist
3. Eighteen NBA All-Star Game selections
a. LeBron James Family Foundation
b. Social activism
a. 2021 Space Jam
b. First player to accumulate $1 billion as an active player
III. Analysis and Discussion
A. Of course, Michael Jordan is better
Full-sentence research paper outline
Full-sentence research paper outlines have the same organization as alphanumeric outlines—with main topics listed as Roman numerals, subtopics as capital letters, subtopic points as Arabic numerals, and details for each point as lowercase letters.
However, the significant difference is that you would write the information in incomplete sentences instead of quick blurbs. The advantage is that your outline is more specific and easier to share with colleagues when working as a team. The disadvantage is that it takes a little longer to write.
Full-sentence research paper outline example
I. Michael Jordan is often considered the greatest basketball player of all time.
A. Jordan’s career in basketball is full of accomplishments and accolades.
1. During his career, Jordan won six NBA Championships.
a. Jordan was named NBA Finals MVP all six times he was eligible.
2. Jordan twice played for the US Olympics Basketball Team.
a. Jordan’s first Olympics was in 1984 when he won the gold medal.
b. Jordan won a second gold medal as part of the 1992 “Dream Team.”
3. Jordan was selected to play in the NBA All-Star Game fourteen times.
a. Jordan won the NBA All-Star Game MVP Award three times.
B. Jordan’s legacy encompasses achievements on and off the court.
1. Jordan still holds a couple of significant records in the NBA.
a. Jordan holds the record for the highest average of points per game during the regular season (30.12 points per game).
b. Jordan also holds the record for the highest average of points per game in the playoffs (33.45 points per game).
2. Jordan has notable success even when not playing basketball.
a. Jordan starred in the original 1996 film Space Jam.
b. Today, Jordan owns the Charlotte Hornets.
II. LeBron James is often considered Jordan’s strongest rival for the greatest basketball player.
A. James’s career mimics, and in some cases surpasses, that of Jordan’s career.
1. During his career, James won four NBA Championships.
a. James was named NBA Finals MVP all four times he was eligible.
2. Like Jordan, James twice played for the US Olympics Basketball Team.
a. James won the 2008 gold medal as part of the US basketball team.
b. James won the gold medal again in 2012.
3. James was selected to play in the NBA All-Star Game eighteen times.
a. James won the NBA All-Star Game MVP Award three times.
B. James has a rich life outside of basketball as well.
1. More than Jordan, James is known for his philanthropic work.
a. James started the LeBron James Family Foundation charity.
b. James fearlessly took public stances on controversial social issues.
2. Aside from charity, James has a few other distinctions from his lifetime.
a. James starred in the 2021 Space Jam remake.
b. James is the first NBA player to accumulate $1 billion as a player.
III. Considering the highlights of both athletes’ careers, who is better?
A. Of course, Michael Jordan is better.
Decimal research paper outline
Decimal research paper outlines forgo the alphanumeric system and instead use a system of numbers with increasing decimal points—with main topics listed as whole numbers (1 or 1.0), subtopics with one decimal point (1.1), points under a subtopic with two decimal points (1.1.1), and further details with three decimal points (188.8.131.52).
Each new piece of information uses the subsequent number (1.1.1, 1.1.2, etc.), so you always know where you are in the outline. You would write the content for each line in quick blurbs, just like the original alphanumeric formal.
Decimal research paper outlines are the most thorough but can get complicated. They’re recommended for writers who prefer technical precision or for lengthy outlines with many topics and subtopics.
Decimal research paper outline example
1 Michael Jordan
1.1 Career Highlights
1.1.1. Six NBA Championships
1.1.2 US Olympics Basketball Team
1.1.3 Fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections
1.2.1 Record-holder scoring average
1.2.2 Other accolades
2 LeBron James
2.1 Career Highlights
2.1.1 Four NBA Championships
2.1.2 US Olympics Basketball Team
2.1.3 Eighteen NBA All-Star Game selection
2.2.2 Other accolades
3 Analysis and Discussion
3.1 Of course, Michael Jordan is better
7 steps to follow when outlining a research paper
1 choose your thesis and gather sources.
Your outline is not the first step in writing a research paper. Before that, you first need to choose a thesis and then gather primary and secondary sources to back it up.
Your thesis is essentially what the research paper is about. Your thesis is given to you in some assignments, but sometimes, as with independent research, you’ll have to develop one on your own.
Once you’ve settled on a thesis, you’ll need evidence to support it. Collect all the relevant sources and data early on so that you know what to write about. Researching often reveals new aspects of your topic that you hadn’t known about before. It may dispel any misinterpretations you have—better to find out you’re wrong sooner rather than later. For help on how to cite your sources, use our free Citation Generator .
Keep in mind that the outline is just one part of writing a research paper. If you want to read more advice, take a look at our full guide on how to write a research paper .
2 Make a list of all the topics, subtopics, and points you want to cover
Go through your research and note each topic, subtopic, and supporting point. Be sure to keep related information together. Remember that everything you discuss in your paper should relate to your thesis, so omit anything that seems tangential.
If you’ve highlighted any specific passages or quotes from your sources, feel free to include them too. They aren’t necessary for all research paper outlines, but they save you time when you’re in the middle of writing your first draft.
3 Choose the best type of research paper outline for the assignment
Choose the type of research paper outline that best matches your topic, the assignment’s length, and the complexity of your paper. Simple papers only require simple outlines, but more advanced topics with lots of research can benefit from more detailed outlines.
Consider whether you’re sharing your outline with other team members or whether you’re writing it solo. Likewise, consider the length and amount of topics. The decimal format can help organize long papers, but feel free to stick with alphanumeric if it makes you comfortable.
4 Consider the structure and sequence of your topics
Before actually writing the research paper outline, think long and hard about the order in which you present your topics. What is the most logical sequence? What structure would communicate most clearly to your readers, who may be unfamiliar with these topics?
Keep in mind that some topics only make sense if they come after other topics. Before presenting new findings or revelations, you may want to add background or contextual information first. All other factors being equal, a chronological sequence is often the most logical structure.
5 Create the framework for your outline
Rather than writing your research paper outline entirely at once, start with just the framework. Try putting the main topics in order without yet including any subtopics or supporting points.
Starting with the framework gives you a clear look at the backbone of your research paper. Now would be a good time to rearrange the order if there’s a problem or add a new topic if you find something is missing. It’s never too late to go back and conduct more research to flesh out the areas you feel are lacking.
6 Add in more details
After you’re satisfied with the framework, go ahead and add the details. Most research paper outlines benefit from including the paragraph structure , so feel free to add lines about your topic sentence, development/support sentences, and conclusion for each paragraph.
If you want to get meticulous, you can add a few notes about sentence structure . Be careful of getting too detailed, though—otherwise, you’re writing a first draft instead of an outline!
7 Revise to improve structure
Finally, check your completed outline to see if there’s room for improvement. This is your last chance before you begin the first draft.
Double-check that all your topics are presented in the optimal order for your reader. Also, look over your research notes again to see if you’ve forgotten anything. Once your outline is the way you want it, it’s time to begin writing your research paper.
Research paper outline FAQs
What is a research paper outline.
A research paper outline is a supporting document that defines the structure of a research paper. The author creates the outline before the first draft to stay on track when writing .
How is a research paper outline structured?
Research paper outlines are generally divided into sections, paragraphs, and individual sentences or points. The amount of detail in a research paper outline varies depending on the writer’s style, the assignment requirements, and the complexity of the topic.
What are the different formats of research paper outlines?
Three popular formats for research paper outlines are alphanumeric , full sentence , and decimal .
Order of Pages
All papers, including student papers, generally include a title page, text, and references. They may include additional elements such as tables and figures depending on the assignment. Student papers generally do not include an abstract unless requested.
Arrange the pages of an APA Style paper in this order:
This guidance has been expanded from the 6th edition.
In general, start each section on a new page. However, the order of pages is flexible in these cases:
- tables and figures: Embed tables and figures within the text after they are first mentioned (or “called out”), or place each table and then each figure on separate pages after the references. If an embedded table or figure appears on the same page as text, place it at either the top or the bottom of the page, and insert a blank double-spaced line to separate the table or figure from the adjacent text.
- footnotes: Use the footnotes function of your word-processing program to insert a footnote at the bottom of the page of text on which the footnote appears, or list footnotes together on a separate page after the references.
Papers such as dissertations and theses may require additional elements not listed here. Follow the institutional or departmental guidelines of your university to order the pages of a dissertation or thesis.
From the APA Style blog
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A new APA Style webinar, “A Step-by-Step Guide for APA Style Student Papers,” taking place on September 10, 2020, will provide detailed guidance on creating, formatting, and organizing APA Style student papers.
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- What is the correct order of a common research paper?
An abstract, introduction, review of literature, study methods, results and analysis, discussion, limits, future scope, and references are the primary components of a research report. Additional components may include a table or figure to help communicate information about a particular topic. Written reports often follow this same format.
The correct order for a research paper follows these steps : abstract, introduction, literature review, study method, results, discussion/analysis, reference list.
While this may seem like a simple list , it is important to note that papers can be any length; therefore, the order of items on the list should be adjusted accordingly.
For example, if you were writing about a recent news event, you would probably begin with an overview of the topic followed by a summary of the main points .
This would be appropriate since both the abstract and the introduction are short enough to fit on a single page.
You could also choose to start with a study methods section since this involves describing the procedure you used to collect and analyze data.
Last, you could choose to end with a discussion/analysis section since this type of paper usually explores several different ideas within the field and offers some conclusions based on what was learned during the study process.
Table of Contents
What are the 10 parts of a common research paper in the correct order, what is the purpose of each of the sections in a typical research article, what is the most important part of research reports, what should a research article contain, what are the three main parts of a research paper, what are the five major sections of a research article.
What are the right sections of a typical research paper?
- Title/Cover Page.
- Contains the paper’s title, the author’s name, address, phone number, e-mail, and the day’s date. Abstract.
- Introduction and Statement of the Problem.
- Limitations of Study.
- Discuss your research methodology.
- Main Body of Paper/Argument.
A typical research paper has the following sections: introduction, methodology, findings, and discussion. Each segment focuses on a distinct goal. Discussion of what they think the results signify. Introduction Provides a brief overview of the topic. Methodology Describes how data will be collected and analyzed. Findings Present the main results of the study. Conclusion Summarizes the key takeaways from the paper.
An abstract is a summary of an article's content presented in a concise format . It usually covers the topic of the article and provides readers with a preview of what they can expect to find within. Like the title page of a book, the abstract pages of a journal or conference proceedings contain important information about the work being published or presented.
The introduction should provide the reader with a clear understanding of the problem or issue that the study aims to address. It should also explain why this study is necessary and relevant. The introduction should not be longer than one page. If the introduction is too long, it may split up into different papers .
This section should describe the design of the study, including any experimental procedures used. It should also include a description of the sample size and demographics of the participants.
Title, Abstract, Introduction (Statement of Problem, Scope, Literature/Previous work) Results, Analysis/Interpretation of Results, Conclusion, References. Of all these, the most important part of a research paper is the results, for that is the major contribution of the author to knowledge. The introduction, scope, literature review, and conclusions are also important but less so than the results.
The statement of problem is the first thing readers should understand about your research . It tells them what question you intend to answer with your study and why that question is significant. The scope is even more important than the statement of problem because it tells readers how broad or narrow your study will be. A narrow scope limits the field that can be examined; a broad scope allows for a lot of variation within the specified parameters. The literature review describes previous research on the same topic or similar topics. This information helps readers understand what has already been discovered and provides a foundation for new findings. Conclusions are the last thing readers see in a research paper but they are probably the most important aspect because they summarize the main points made by the authors throughout the paper.
References are essential for any researcher to know where their work comes from and other relevant papers. They are also helpful to researchers who want to build upon or criticize previous work. Finally, references provide evidence of original thought and creative thinking which is an important quality for scientists.
Nonetheless, many elements are shared by all publications, such as:
Major Sections of an APA Research Paper A comprehensive research paper in APA style that reports on experimental study would normally have a title page , an abstract, an introduction, methods, results, discussion, and references.
The title page should include the following: the name of the author(s), the original language of the publication (if other than English), the date of publication, and your name as the publisher/editor. Authors' names should be printed in capital letters and centered between the pages with the rest of the text aligned to the left margin. Use footnotes instead if the author's name is not clearly identified in the text. Label the top of each page of the print version with the date it was printed/created. Include this information in the header section of the document using the page number system explained below.
On the title page , you should list all authors' names and affiliations. If one author has more than one affiliation, list all addresses. Print or type each address separately at the bottom of the page following the reference list. You should also include a short biography of each author.
The abstract is a brief summary of the paper's content prepared by researchers for readers who are not familiar with all the details of the report. It should give readers a general idea of what the paper will cover. The abstract should be no more than 200 words.
The following key components are found in nearly all journal articles : abstract, introduction, methodology, results, discussion, and references. Each section plays an important role in evaluating studies that use scientific methods.
The abstract is a brief summary of the article's content and conclusions. It should be concise (no more than 200 words) and clearly written so that it can be understood by those who are not familiar with the topic. Abstracts are often used by science journal editors to help them decide which articles to publish. They are also provided to readers in general knowledge databases like PubMed to help them find relevant articles quickly.
The introduction describes the background of the problem being addressed by the study and discusses related work done previously on the topic. The purpose of this section is to provide context for the reader by explaining why the new study is necessary and how its findings will contribute to the field.
Methodology provides information about the research design and data collection procedures used by the study's authors. This section should also include any statistical tests performed as well as a description of their precision (i.e., how reliable are the results). Methodology is essential for other researchers to evaluate the quality of your work and to conduct their own studies using similar or different research designs.
About Article Author
Roger Lyons is a writer and editor. He has a degree in English Literature from Boston College, and enjoys reading, grammar, and comma rules. His favorite topics are writing prompts, deep analysis of literature, and the golden rules of writing.
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Deciding the order of authors on a paper
Authorship in Research
Dr. Shazia Khanam
In my earlier post on authorship, I had discussed ICMJE guidelines that help researchers in deciding whether a contributor qualifies to be an author or not. In this post, I am going to discuss the order in which author names should be included in a multi-author paper. The order of authors on a scientific paper needs to be determined after careful deliberation. Prior to deciding the author order, it is important to understand the concept of a first and a corresponding author.
Who should be the first author?
The first author is usually the person who has made the most significant intellectual contribution to the work, in terms designing the study, acquiring and analyzing data from experiments, and writing the manuscript. The importance of the first author is reflected in the common practice of referring to a paper by the first author’s name e.g. ‘Jones et al. report that…’ Publishing a paper as the first author is very crucial for the scientific career of a Ph.D. student.
Most Ph.D. programs worldwide require a Ph.D. student to have at least one first-authored paper in order to qualify for a degree. So an authorship dispute would be inevitable if two Ph.D. students were to work on the same project for their degree. For post-doctoral researchers and senior professors, publishing first-authored papers is important for receiving funding and getting promoted or re-hired. Thus, the first name in an author list is the most sought-after position in a scientific publication.
After the first author, the subsequent authors are usually listed as per their contribution to the research, starting with the one who contributed the most to the least. However, sometimes multiple authors may have contributed equally, in which case the order of author names does not matter, and you can inform the journal editor of this. In order to avoid any authorship dispute, it is a good practice to discuss authorship and the order of authors at the beginning of the project itself, and keep a record of each of the contributors involved throughout the project.
What is the role of a corresponding author?
At the time of submission of a manuscript, journals require you to choose one of the authors as the corresponding author . The corresponding author is the one who receives all notifications from the journal including manuscript status, reviewers’ comments, and the final decision. Although journals usually perceive the role of a corresponding author as purely administrative, this role is associated with seniority in some cultures. The corresponding author is often the group leader or a senior researcher whose contact address is not likely to change in the near future. In cases where the main contributor of the study is also the group leader, he or she can be both the first and corresponding author for the study.
- What corresponding authors are expected to do after journal submission
- 5 Pre-submission tips for corresponding authors
- Can the corresponding authors and order of authors be changed in the revised paper?
- Can I write to the editor if I'm the first author but not the corresponding author?
- Corresponding author assigns co-authors without their knowledge: A case study
- How to submit a paper with two corresponding authors if the online submission system doesn't allow this?
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Published on: Oct 16, 2013
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Authorship: An evolving concept
Basics of authorship in academic publishing
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Steps in Writing a Research Paper
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A series of steps, starting with developing a research question and working thesis, will lead you through writing a research paper. As you move through these steps and actually create the research paper, you may find that you can't move through all of them in chronological order, and that's o.k. In fact, you may change the order of the steps depending on the subject, your knowledge of the subject, and your sources. For example, sometimes you need to do just a bit of background research and reading before you can develop a research question. Sometimes you need to go back and find additional sources to corroborate your viewpoint. The research writing steps that we offer represent a general, ideal, movement through the research writing process. In reality, writers often repeat or circle back as needed.
Hey, wait a minute . . . why did we say "ideal?" In our opinion, these steps represent the best way to move through the writing process because they ask you to think and develop a research question before you actually do a lot of research. The one big mess that you can get into, as a student, comes from doing too much unfocused research before identifying your own viewpoint, the one that you will eventually need to support. If you do too much unfocused research first, then the tendency is to try to include all of it in the paper. The result is a hodgepodge of information that's not focused, developed fully, or indicative of your own thoughts. It's also not efficient to do too much research before you really know what you're looking for. Try it our way--develop that research question first--to cut out a lot of research paper mess.
These steps will lead you through writing a research paper:
- One Big Mess...
- Developing a Research Question
- Thesis Characteristics
- Finding Sources
- Evaluating Sources
- Taking Notes
- Working with Quotations
- Writing Summaries & Paraphrases
- Building the Essay Draft
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- Revising and Proofreading the Draft
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How to Format Your Research Paper
This table describes how to format your research paper using either the MLA or APA guidelines. Be sure to follow any additional instructions that your teacher provides.
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Parts of a Research Paper
One of the most important aspects of science is ensuring that you get all the parts of the written research paper in the right order.
This article is a part of the guide:
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Browse Full Outline
- 1 Write a Research Paper
- 2 Writing a Paper
- 3.1 Write an Outline
- 3.2 Outline Examples
- 4.1 Thesis Statement
- 4.2 Write a Hypothesis
- 5.2 Abstract
- 5.3 Introduction
- 5.4 Methods
- 5.5 Results
- 5.6 Discussion
- 5.7 Conclusion
- 5.8 Bibliography
- 6.1 Table of Contents
- 6.2 Acknowledgements
- 6.3 Appendix
- 7.1 In Text Citations
- 7.2 Footnotes
- 7.3.1 Floating Blocks
- 7.4 Example of a Paper
- 7.5 Example of a Paper 2
- 7.6.1 Citations
- 7.7.1 Writing Style
- 7.7.2 Citations
- 8.1.1 Sham Peer Review
- 8.1.2 Advantages
- 8.1.3 Disadvantages
- 8.2 Publication Bias
- 8.3.1 Journal Rejection
- 9.1 Article Writing
- 9.2 Ideas for Topics
You may have finished the best research project on earth but, if you do not write an interesting and well laid out paper, then nobody is going to take your findings seriously.
The main thing to remember with any research paper is that it is based on an hourglass structure. It begins with general information and undertaking a literature review , and becomes more specific as you nail down a research problem and hypothesis .
Finally, it again becomes more general as you try to apply your findings to the world at general.
Whilst there are a few differences between the various disciplines, with some fields placing more emphasis on certain parts than others, there is a basic underlying structure.
These steps are the building blocks of constructing a good research paper. This section outline how to lay out the parts of a research paper, including the various experimental methods and designs.
The principles for literature review and essays of all types follow the same basic principles.
For many students, writing the introduction is the first part of the process, setting down the direction of the paper and laying out exactly what the research paper is trying to achieve.
For others, the introduction is the last thing written, acting as a quick summary of the paper. As long as you have planned a good structure for the parts of a research paper, both approaches are acceptable and it is a matter of preference.
A good introduction generally consists of three distinct parts:
- You should first give a general presentation of the research problem.
- You should then lay out exactly what you are trying to achieve with this particular research project.
- You should then state your own position.
Ideally, you should try to give each section its own paragraph, but this will vary given the overall length of the paper.
1) General Presentation
Look at the benefits to be gained by the research or why the problem has not been solved yet. Perhaps nobody has thought about it, or maybe previous research threw up some interesting leads that the previous researchers did not follow up.
Another researcher may have uncovered some interesting trends, but did not manage to reach the significance level , due to experimental error or small sample sizes .
2) Purpose of the Paper
The research problem does not have to be a statement, but must at least imply what you are trying to find.
Many writers prefer to place the thesis statement or hypothesis here, which is perfectly acceptable, but most include it in the last sentences of the introduction, to give the reader a fuller picture.
3) A Statement of Intent From the Writer
The idea is that somebody will be able to gain an overall view of the paper without needing to read the whole thing. Literature reviews are time-consuming enough, so give the reader a concise idea of your intention before they commit to wading through pages of background.
In this section, you look to give a context to the research, including any relevant information learned during your literature review. You are also trying to explain why you chose this area of research, attempting to highlight why it is necessary. The second part should state the purpose of the experiment and should include the research problem. The third part should give the reader a quick summary of the form that the parts of the research paper is going to take and should include a condensed version of the discussion.
This should be the easiest part of the paper to write, as it is a run-down of the exact design and methodology used to perform the research. Obviously, the exact methodology varies depending upon the exact field and type of experiment .
There is a big methodological difference between the apparatus based research of the physical sciences and the methods and observation methods of social sciences. However, the key is to ensure that another researcher would be able to replicate the experiment to match yours as closely as possible, but still keeping the section concise.
You can assume that anybody reading your paper is familiar with the basic methods, so try not to explain every last detail. For example, an organic chemist or biochemist will be familiar with chromatography, so you only need to highlight the type of equipment used rather than explaining the whole process in detail.
In the case of a survey , if you have too many questions to cover in the method, you can always include a copy of the questionnaire in the appendix . In this case, make sure that you refer to it.
This is probably the most variable part of any research paper, and depends on the results and aims of the experiment.
For quantitative research , it is a presentation of the numerical results and data, whereas for qualitative research it should be a broader discussion of trends, without going into too much detail.
For research generating a lot of results , then it is better to include tables or graphs of the analyzed data and leave the raw data in the appendix, so that a researcher can follow up and check your calculations.
A commentary is essential to linking the results together, rather than just displaying isolated and unconnected charts and figures.
It can be quite difficult to find a good balance between the results and the discussion section, because some findings, especially in a quantitative or descriptive experiment , will fall into a grey area. Try to avoid repeating yourself too often.
It is best to try to find a middle path, where you give a general overview of the data and then expand on it in the discussion - you should try to keep your own opinions and interpretations out of the results section, saving that for the discussion later on.
This is where you elaborate on your findings, and explain what you found, adding your own personal interpretations.
Ideally, you should link the discussion back to the introduction, addressing each point individually.
It’s important to make sure that every piece of information in your discussion is directly related to the thesis statement , or you risk cluttering your findings. In keeping with the hourglass principle, you can expand on the topic later in the conclusion .
The conclusion is where you build on your discussion and try to relate your findings to other research and to the world at large.
In a short research paper, it may be a paragraph or two, or even a few lines.
In a dissertation, it may well be the most important part of the entire paper - not only does it describe the results and discussion in detail, it emphasizes the importance of the results in the field, and ties it in with the previous research.
Some research papers require a recommendations section, postulating the further directions of the research, as well as highlighting how any flaws affected the results. In this case, you should suggest any improvements that could be made to the research design .
No paper is complete without a reference list , documenting all the sources that you used for your research. This should be laid out according to APA , MLA or other specified format, allowing any interested researcher to follow up on the research.
One habit that is becoming more common, especially with online papers, is to include a reference to your own paper on the final page. Lay this out in MLA, APA and Chicago format, allowing anybody referencing your paper to copy and paste it.
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- Independent and Dependent Variables
- Glossary of Research Terms
- Narrowing a Topic Idea
- Broadening a Topic Idea
- Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
- Academic Writing Style
- Choosing a Title
- Making an Outline
- Paragraph Development
- Research Process Video Series
- Executive Summary
- The C.A.R.S. Model
- Background Information
- The Research Problem/Question
- Theoretical Framework
- Citation Tracking
- Content Alert Services
- Evaluating Sources
- Primary Sources
- Secondary Sources
- Tiertiary Sources
- Scholarly vs. Popular Publications
- Qualitative Methods
- Quantitative Methods
- Using Non-Textual Elements
- Limitations of the Study
- Common Grammar Mistakes
- Writing Concisely
- Avoiding Plagiarism
- Footnotes or Endnotes?
- Further Readings
Reading a Scholarly Article or Research Paper
Identifying a research problem to investigate usually requires a preliminary search for and review of the literature so as to gain an understanding about how scholars have examined a topic. Scholars rarely structure research studies in a way that can be followed like a story; they are complex and detail-intensive and often written in a descriptive and conclusive narrative form. However, in the social and behavioral sciences, journal articles and stand-alone research reports are generally organized in a consistent format that makes it easier to compare and contrast studies and to interpret their contents.
General Reading Strategies
W hen you first read an article or research paper, focus on asking specific questions about each section. This strategy can help with overall comprehension and with understanding how the content relates [or does not relate] to the problem you want to investigate. As you review more and more studies, the process of understanding and critically evaluating the research will become easier because the content of what you review will begin to coalescence around common themes and patterns of analysis. Below are recommendations on how to read each section of a research paper effectively. Note that the sections to read are out of order from how you will find them organized in a journal article or research paper.
The abstract summarizes the background, methods, results, discussion, and conclusions of a scholarly article or research paper. Use the abstract to filter out sources that may have appeared useful when you began searching for information but, in reality, are not relevant. Questions to consider when reading the abstract are:
- Is this study related to my question or area of research?
- What is this study about and why is it being done ?
- What is the working hypothesis or underlying thesis?
- What is the primary finding of the study?
- Are there words or terminology that I can use to either narrow or broaden the parameters of my search for more information?
If, after reading the abstract, you believe the paper may be useful, focus on examining the research problem and identifying the questions the author is trying to address. This information is usually located within the first few paragraphs of the introduction. Look for information about how and in what way this relates to what you are investigating. In addition to the research problem, the introduction should provide the main argument and theoretical framework of the study and, in the last paragraphs of the introduction, describe what the author(s) intend to accomplish. Questions to consider when reading the introduction include:
- What is this study trying to prove or disprove?
- What is the author(s) trying to test or demonstrate?
- What do we already know about this topic and what gaps does this study try to fill or contribute a new understanding to the research problem?
- Why should I care about what is being investigated?
- Will this study tell me anything new related to the research problem I am investigating?
3. Literature Review
The literature review describes what is already known about a topic. Read the literature review to obtain a big picture perspective about how the topic has been studied and to begin the process of seeing where your potential study fits within this domain of prior research. Questions to consider when reading the literature review include:
- W hat other research has been conducted about this topic and what are the main themes that have emerged?
- What does prior research reveal about what is already known about the topic and what remains to be discovered?
- What have been the most important past findings about the research problem?
- How has prior research led the author(s) to conduct this particular study?
- Is there any prior research that is unique or groundbreaking?
- Are there any studies I could use as a model for designing and organizing my own study?
The discussion and conclusion are usually the last two sections of text in a scholarly article or research report. They reveal how the author(s) interpreted the findings of their research and presented recommendations or courses of action based on those findings. Often in the conclusion, the author(s) highlight recommendations for further research that can be used to develop your own study. Questions to consider when reading the discussion and conclusion sections include:
- What is the overall meaning of the study and why is this important? [i.e., how have the author(s) addressed the " So What? " question].
- What do you find to be the most important ways that the findings have been interpreted?
- What are the weaknesses in their argument?
- Do you believe conclusions about the significance of the study and its findings are valid?
- What limitations of the study do the author(s) describe and how might this help formulate my own research?
- Does the conclusion contain any recommendations for future research?
The methods section describes the materials, techniques, and procedures for gathering information used to examine the research problem. If what you have read so far closely supports your understanding of the topic, then move on to examining how the author(s) gathered information during the research process. Questions to consider when reading the methods section include:
- Did the study use qualitative [based on interviews, observations, content analysis], quantitative [based on statistical analysis], or a mixed-methods approach to examining the research problem?
- What was the type of information or data used?
- Could this method of analysis be repeated and can I adopt the same approach?
- Is enough information available to repeat the study or should new data be found to expand or improve understanding of the research problem?
After reading the above sections, you should have a clear understanding of the general findings of the study. Therefore, read the results section to identify how key findings were discussed in relation to the research problem. If any non-textual elements [e.g., graphs, charts, tables, etc.] are confusing, focus on the explanations about them in the text. Questions to consider when reading the results section include:
- W hat did the author(s) find and how did they find it?
- Does the author(s) highlight any findings as most significant?
- Are the results presented in a factual and unbiased way?
- Does the analysis of results in the discussion section agree with how the results are presented?
- Is all the data present and did the author(s) adequately address gaps?
- What conclusions do you formulate from this data and does it match with the author's conclusions?
The references list the sources used by the author(s) to document what prior research and information was used when conducting the study. After reviewing the article or research paper, use the references to identify additional sources of information on the topic and to examine critically how these sources supported the overall research agenda. Questions to consider when reading the references include:
- Do the sources cited by the author(s) reflect a diversity of disciplinary viewpoints, i.e., are the sources all from a particular field of study or do the sources reflect multiple areas of study?
- Are there any unique or interesting sources that could be incorporated into my study?
- What other authors are respected in this field, i.e., who has multiple works cited or is cited most often by others?
- What other research should I review to clarify any remaining issues or that I need more information about?
NOTE : A final strategy in reviewing research is to copy and paste the title of the source [journal article, book, research report] into Google Scholar . If it appears, look for a "cited by" followed by a hyperlinked number [e.g., Cited by 45]. This number indicates how many times the study has been subsequently cited in other, more recently published works. This can be an effective means of expanding your review of pertinent literature based on a study you have found useful. The same strategies described above can be applied to reading articles you find in the list of cited by references.
Specific Reading Strategies
Effectively reading scholarly research is an acquired skill that involves attention to detail and an ability to comprehend complex ideas, data, and theoretical concepts in a way that applies logically to the research problem you are investigating. Here are some specific reading strategies to consider.
As You are Reading
- Focus on information that is most relevant to the research problem; skim over the other parts.
- As noted above, read content out of order! This isn't a novel; you want to start with the spoiler to quickly assess the relevance of the study.
- Think critically about what you read and seek to build your own arguments; not everything may be entirely valid, examined effectively, or thoroughly investigated.
- Look up the definitions of unfamiliar words, concepts, or terminology. A good scholarly source is Credo Reference .
Taking notes as you read will save time when you go back to examine your sources. Here are some suggestions:
- Mark or highlight important text as you read [e.g., you can use the highlight text feature in a PDF document]
- Take notes in the margins [e.g., Adobe Reader offers pop-up sticky notes].
- Highlight important quotations; consider using different colors to differentiate between quotes and other types of important text.
- Summarize key points about the study at the end of the paper. To save time, these can be in the form of a concise bulleted list of statements [e.g., intro has provides historical background; lit review has important sources; good conclusions].
Write down thoughts that come to mind that may help clarify your understanding of the research problem. Here are some examples of questions to ask yourself:
- Do I understand all of the terminology and key concepts?
- Do I understand the parts of this study most relevant to my topic?
- What specific problem does the research address and why is it important?
- Are there any issues or perspectives the author(s) did not consider?
- Do I have any reason to question the validity or reliability of this research?
- How do the findings relate to my research interests and to other works which I have read?
Adapted from text originally created by Holly Burt, Behavioral Sciences Librarian, USC Libraries, April 2018.
Another Reading Tip
When is it Important to Read the Entire Article or Research Paper
Laubepin argues, "Very few articles in a field are so important that every word needs to be read carefully." However, this implies that some studies are worth reading carefully. As painful and time-consuming as it may seem, there are valid reasons for reading a study in its entirety. Here are some examples:
- Studies Published Very Recently -- the author(s) of a well written study will provide a survey of the most important or impactful prior research in the literature review section. This can lay a foundation for understanding how scholars in the past addressed the research problem. In addition, the most recently published sources will highlight what is currently known and what gaps in understanding currently exist about a topic, usually in the form of the need for further research in the conclusion] .
- Surveys of the Research Problem -- some papers provide a comprehensive analytical overview of the research problem. Reading this type of study can help you understand underlying issues and discover why scholars have chosen to investigate the topic. This is particularly important if the study was published very recently because the author(s) should cite all or most of the key prior research on the topic. Note that, if it is a long-standing problem, there may be studies that specifically review the literature to identify gaps that remain. These studies often include the word review in their title [e.g., Hügel, Stephan, and Anna R. Davies. "Public Participation, Engagement, and Climate Change Adaptation: A Review of the Research Literature." Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 11 (2020): https://doi.org/10.1002/ wcc.645].
- Highly Cited -- if you keep coming across the same citation to a study, this implies it was foundational in establishing an understanding of the research problem or the study had a significant impact within the literature [positive or negative]. Carefully reading a highly cited source can help you understand how the topic emerged and motivated scholars to further investigate the problem.
- Historical Overview -- knowing the historical background of a research problem may not be the focus of your analysis, but carefully reading a study that provides a thorough description and analysis of the history behind an event, issue, or phenomenon can add important context to understanding the topic and what aspect of the problem you may want to examine further.
- Innovative Design -- some studies are significant because the author(s) designed a unique or innovative approach to researching the problem. This may justify reading the entire study because it can motivate you to think creatively about pursuing an alternative or non-traditional approach to examining your topic of interest.
- Cross-disciplinary Approach -- reviewing studies produced outside of your discipline is an essential component of investigating research problems in the social sciences. Consider reading a study that was conducted by author(s) based in a different discipline [e.g., an anthropologist studying political cultures; a study of hiring practices in companies published in a sociology journal]. This approach can generate a new understanding or a unique perspective about the topic .
Laubepin, Frederique. How to Read (and Understand) a Social Science Journal Article . Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ISPSR), 2013; Shon, Phillip Chong Ho. How to Read Journal Articles in the Social Sciences: A Very Practical Guide for Students . 2nd edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2015; Lockhart, Tara, and Mary Soliday. "The Critical Place of Reading in Writing Transfer (and Beyond): A Report of Student Experiences." Pedagogy 16 (2016): 23-37; Maguire, Moira, Ann Everitt Reynolds, and Brid Delahunt. "Reading to Be: The Role of Academic Reading in Emergent Academic and Professional Student Identities." Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice 17 (2020): 5-12.
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How to Order Authors in Scientific Papers
It’s rare that an article is authored by only one or two people anymore. In fact, the average original research paper has five authors these days. The growing list of collaborative research projects raises important questions regarding the author order for research manuscripts and the impact an author list has on readers’ perceptions.
With a handful of authors, a group might be inclined to create an author name list based on the amount of work contributed. What happens, though, when you have a long list of authors? It would be impractical to rank the authors by their relative contributions. Additionally, what if the authors contribute relatively equal amounts of work? Similarly, if a study was interdisciplinary (and many are these days), how can one individual’s contribution be deemed more significant than another’s?
Why does author order matter?
Although an author list should only reflect those who have made substantial contributions to a research project and its draft manuscript (see, for example, the authorship guidelines of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors ), we’d be remiss to say that author order doesn’t matter. In theory, everyone on the list should be credited equally since it takes a team to successfully complete a project; however, due to industry customs and other practical limitations, some authors will always be more visible than others.
The following are some notable implications regarding author order.
- The “first author” is a coveted position because of its increased visibility. This author is the first name readers will see, and because of various citation rules, publications are usually referred to by the name of the first author only. In-text or bibliographic referencing rules, for example, often reduce all other named authors to “et al.” Since employers use first-authorship to evaluate academic personnel for employment, promotion, and tenure, and since graduate students often need a number of first-author publications to earn their degree, being the lead author on a manuscript is crucial for many researchers, especially early in their career.
- The last author position is traditionally reserved for the supervisor or principal investigator. As such, this person receives much of the credit when the research goes well and the flak when things go wrong. The last author may also be the corresponding author, the person who is the primary contact for journal editors (the first author could, however, fill this role as well, especially if they contributed most to the work).
- Given that there is no uniform rule about author order, readers may find it difficult to assess the nature of an author’s contribution to a research project. To address this issue, some journals, particularly medical ones, nowadays insist on detailed author contribution notes (make sure you check the target journal guidelines before submission to find out how the journal you are planning to submit to handles this). Nevertheless, even this does little to counter how strongly citation rules have enhanced the attention first-named authors receive.
Common Methods for Listing Authors
The following are some common methods for establishing author order lists.
- Relative contribution. As mentioned above, the most common way authors are listed is by relative contribution. The author who made the most substantial contribution to the work described in an article and did most of the underlying research should be listed as the first author. The others are ranked in descending order of contribution. However, in many disciplines, such as the life sciences, the last author in a group is the principal investigator or “senior author”—the person who often provides ideas based on their earlier research and supervised the current work.
- Alphabetical list . Certain fields, particularly those involving large group projects, employ other methods . For example, high-energy particle physics teams list authors alphabetically.
- Multiple “first” authors . Additional “first” authors (so-called “co-first authors”) can be noted by an asterisk or other symbols accompanied by an explanatory note. This practice is common in interdisciplinary studies; however, as we explained above, the first name listed on a paper will still enjoy more visibility than any other “first” author.
- Multiple “last” authors . Similar to recognizing several first authors, multiple last authors can be recognized via typographical symbols and footnotes. This practice arose as some journals wanted to increase accountability by requiring senior lab members to review all data and interpretations produced in their labs instead of being awarded automatic last-authorship on every publication by someone in their group.
- Negotiated order . If you were thinking you could avoid politics by drowning yourself in research, you’re sorely mistaken. While there are relatively clear guidelines and practices for designating first and last authors, there’s no overriding convention for the middle authors. The list can be decided by negotiation, so sharpen those persuasive argument skills!
As you can see, choosing the right author order can be quite complicated. Therefore, we urge researchers to consider these factors early in the research process and to confirm this order during the English proofreading process, whether you self-edit or received manuscript editing or paper editing services , all of which should be done before submission to a journal. Don’t wait until the manuscript is drafted before you decide on the author order in your paper. All the parties involved will need to agree on the author list before submission, and no one will want to delay submission because of a disagreement about who should be included on the author list, and in what order (along with other journal manuscript authorship issues).
On top of that, journals sometimes have clear rules about changing authors or even authorship order during the review process, might not encourage it, and might require detailed statements explaining the specific contribution of every new/old author, official statements of agreement of all authors, and/or a corrigendum to be submitted, all of which can further delay the publication process. We recommend periodically revisiting the named author issue during the drafting stage to make sure that everyone is on the same page and that the list is updated to appropriately reflect changes in team composition or contributions to a research project.
Electronics Research Paper Topics
This list of electronics research paper topics provides the list of 30 potential topics for research papers and an overview article on the history of electronics.
1. Applications of Superconductivity
The 1986 Applied Superconductivity Conference proclaimed, ‘‘Applied superconductivity has come of age.’’ The claim reflected only 25 years of development, but was justifiable due to significant worldwide interest and investment. For example, the 1976 annual budget for superconducting systems exceeded $30 million in the U.S., with similar efforts in Europe and Japan. By 1986 the technology had matured impressively into applications for the energy industry, the military, transportation, high-energy physics, electronics, and medicine. The announcement of high-temperature superconductivity just two months later brought about a new round of dramatic developments.
2. Discovery of Superconductivity
As the twenty-first century began, an array of superconducting applications in high-speed electronics, medical imaging, levitated transportation, and electric power systems are either having, or will soon have, an impact on the daily life of millions. Surprisingly, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the discovery of superconductivity was completely unanticipated and unimagined.
In 1911, three years after liquefying helium, H. Kammerlingh Onnes of the University of Leiden discovered superconductivity while investigating the temperature-dependent resistance of metals below 4.2Kelvin. Later reporting on experiments conducted in 1911, he described the disappearance of the resistance of mercury, stating, ‘‘Within some hundredths of a degree came a sudden fall, not foreseen [by existing theories of resistance]. Mercury has passed into a new state, which . . . may be called the superconductive state.’’
3. Electric Motors
The main types of electric motors that drove twentieth century technology were developed toward the end of the nineteenth century, with direct current (DC) motors being introduced before alternating current (AC) ones. Most important initially was the ‘‘series’’ DC motor, used in electric trolleys and trains from the 1880s onward. The series motor exerts maximum torque on starting and then accelerates to its full running speed, the ideal characteristic for traction work. Where speed control independent of the load is required in such applications as crane and lift drives, the ‘‘shunt’’ DC motor is more suitable.
4. Electronic Calculators
The electronic calculator is usually inexpensive and pocket-sized, using solar cells for its power and having a gray liquid crystal display (LCD) to show the numbers. Depending on the sophistication, the calculator might simply perform the basic mathematical functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) or might include scientific functions (square, log, trig). For a slightly higher cost, the calculator will probably include programmable scientific and business functions. At the end of the twentieth century, the electronic calculator was as commonplace as a screwdriver and helped people deal with all types of mathematics on an everyday basis. Its birth and growth were early steps on the road to today’s world of computing.
5. Electronic Communications
The broad use of digital electronic message communications in most societies by the end of the 20th century can be attributed to a myriad of reasons. Diffusion was incremental and evolutionary. Digital communication technology was seeded by large-scale funding for military projects that broke technological ground, however social needs and use drove systems in unexpected ways and made it popular because these needs were embraced. Key technological developments happened long before diffusion into society, and it was only after popularity of the personal computer that global and widespread use became commonplace. The Internet was an important medium in this regard, however the popular uses of it were well established long before its success. Collaborative developments with open, mutually agreed standards were key factors in broader diffusion of the low-level transmission of digital data, and provided resistance to technological lock-in by any commercial player. By the twenty-first century, the concept of interpersonal electronic messaging was accepted as normal and taken for granted by millions around the world, where infrastructural and political freedoms permitted. As a result, traditional lines of information control and mass broadcasting were challenged, although it remains to be seen what, if any, long-term impact this will have on society.
6. Electronic Control Technology
The advancement of electrical engineering in the twentieth century made a fundamental change in control technology. New electronic devices including vacuum tubes (valves) and transistors were used to replace electromechanical elements in conventional controllers and to develop new types of controllers. In these practices, engineers discovered basic principles of control theory that could be further applied to design electronic control systems.
7. Fax Machine
Fax technology was especially useful for international commercial communication, which was traditionally the realm of the Telex machine, which only relayed Western alpha-numeric content. A fax machine could transmit a page of information regardless of what information it contained, and this led to rapid and widespread adoption in developing Asian countries during the 1980s. With the proliferation of the Internet and electronic e-mail in the last decade of the twentieth century, fax technology became less used for correspondence. At the close of the 20th century, the fax machine was still widely used internationally for the transmission of documents of all forms, with the ‘‘hard copy’’ aspect giving many a sense of permanence that other electronic communication lacked.
8. Hall Effect Devices
The ‘‘Hall effect,’’ discovered in 1879 by American physicist Edwin H. Hall, is the electrical potential produced when a magnetic field is perpendicular to a conductor or semiconductor that is carrying current. This potential is a product of the buildup of charges in that conductor. The magnetic field makes a transverse force on the charge carriers, resulting in the charge being moved to one of the sides of the conductor. Between the sides of the conductor, measurable voltage is yielded from the interaction and balancing of the polarized charge and the magnetic influence.
Hall effect devices are commonly used as magnetic field sensors, or alternatively if a known magnetic field is applied, the sensor can be used to measure the current in a conductor, without actually plugging into it (‘‘contactless potentiometers’’). Hall sensors can also be used as magnetically controlled switches, and as a contactless method of detecting rotation and position, sensing ferrous objects.
9. Infrared Detectors
Infrared detectors rely on the change of a physical characteristic to sense illumination by infrared radiation (i.e., radiation having a wavelength longer than that of visible light). The origins of such detectors lie in the nineteenth century, although their development, variety and applications exploded during the twentieth century. William Herschel (c. 1800) employed a thermometer to detect this ‘‘radiant heat’’; Macedonio Melloni, (c. 1850) invented the ‘‘thermochrose’’ to display spatial differences of irradiation as color patterns on a temperature-sensitive surface; and in 1882 William Abney found that photographic film could be sensitized to respond to wavelengths beyond the red end of the spectrum. Most infrared detectors, however, convert infrared radiation into an electrical signal via a variety of physical effects. Here, too, 19th century innovations continued in use well into the 21st century.
10. Integrated Circuits Design and Use
Integrated circuits (ICs) are electronic devices designed to integrate a large number of microscopic electronic components, normally connected by wires in circuits, within the same substrate material. According to the American engineer Jack S. Kilby, they are the realization of the so-called ‘‘monolithic idea’’: building an entire circuit out of silicon or germanium. ICs are made out of these materials because of their properties as semiconductors— materials that have a degree of electrical conductivity between that of a conductor such as metal and that of an insulator (having almost no conductivity at low temperatures). A piece of silicon containing one circuit is called a die or chip. Thus, ICs are known also as microchips. Advances in semiconductor technology in the 1960s (the miniaturization revolution) meant that the number of transistors on a single chip doubled every two years, and led to lowered microprocessor costs and the introduction of consumer products such as handheld calculators.
11. Integrated Circuits Fabrication
The fabrication of integrated circuits (ICs) is a complicated process that consists primarily of the transfer of a circuit design onto a piece of silicon (the silicon wafer). Using a photolithographic technique, the areas of the silicon wafer to be imprinted with electric circuitry are covered with glass plates (photomasks), irradiated with ultraviolet light, and treated with chemicals in order to shape a circuit’s pattern. On the whole, IC manufacture consists of four main stages:
- Preparation of a design
- Preparation of photomasks and silicon wafers
- Testing and packaging
Preparing an IC design consists of drafting the circuit’s electronic functions within the silicon board. This process has radically changed over the years due to the increasing complexity of design and the number of electronic components contained within the same IC. For example, in 1971, the Intel 4004 microprocessor was designed by just three engineers, while in the 1990s the Intel Pentium was designed by a team of 100 engineers. Moreover, the early designs were produced with traditional drafting techniques, while from the late 1970s onward the introduction of computer-aided design (CAD) techniques completely changed the design stage. Computers are used to check the design and simulate the operations of perspective ICs in order to optimize their performance. Thus, the IC drafted design can be modified up to 400 times before going into production.
12. Josephson Junction Devices
One of the most important implications of quantum physics is the existence of so-called tunneling phenomena in which elementary particles are able to cross an energy barrier on subatomic scales that it would not be possible for them to traverse were they subject to the laws of classical mechanics. In 1973 the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Brian Josephson, Ivan Giaever and Leo Esaki for their work in this field. Josephson’s contribution consisted of a number of important theoretical predictions made while a doctoral student at Cambridge University. His work was confirmed experimentally within a year of its publication in 1961, and practical applications were commercialized within ten years.
13. Laser Applications
Lasers are employed in virtually every sector of the modern world including industry, commerce, transportation, medicine, education, science, and in many consumer devices such as CD players and laser printers. The intensity of lasers makes them ideal cutting tools since their highly focused beam cuts more accurately than machined instruments and leaves surrounding materials unaffected. Surgeons, for example, have employed carbon dioxide or argon lasers in soft tissue surgery since the early 1970s. These lasers produce infrared wavelengths of energy that are absorbed by water. Water in tissues is rapidly heated and vaporized, resulting in disintegration of the tissue. Visible wavelengths (argon ion laser) coagulate tissue. Far-ultraviolet wavelengths (higher photon energy, as produced by excimer lasers) break down molecular bonds in target tissue and ‘‘ablate’’ tissue without heating. Excimer lasers have been used in corneal surgery since 1984. Short pulses only affect the surface area of interest and not deeper tissues. The extremely small size of the beam, coupled with optical fibers, enables today’s surgeons to conduct surgery deep inside the human body often without a single cut on the exterior. Blue lasers, developed in 1994 by Shuji Nakamura of Nichia Chemical Industries of Japan, promise even more precision than the dominant red lasers currently used and will further revolutionize surgical cutting techniques.
14. Laser Theory and Operation
Lasers (an acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) provide intense, focused beams of light whose unique properties enable them to be employed in a wide range of applications in the modern world. The key idea underlying lasers originated with Albert Einstein who published a paper in 1916 on Planck’s distribution law, within which he described what happens when additional energy is introduced into an atom. Atoms have a heavy and positively charged nucleus surrounded by groups of extremely light and negatively charged electrons. Electrons orbit the atom in a series of ‘‘fixed’’ levels based upon the degree of electromagnetic attraction between each single electron and the nucleus. Various orbital levels also represent different energy levels. Normally electrons remain as close to the nucleus as their energy level permits, with the consequence that an atom’s overall energy level is minimized. Einstein realized that when energy is introduced to an atom; for example, through an atomic collision or through electrical stimulation, one or more electrons become excited and move to a higher energy level. This condition exists temporarily before the electron returns to its former energy level. When this decay phenomenon occurs, a photon of light is emitted. Einstein understood that since the energy transitions within the atom are always identical, the energy and the wavelength of the stimulated photon of light are also predictable; that is, a specific type of transition within an atom will yield a photon of light of a specific wavelength. Hendrick Kramers and Werner Heisenberg obtained a series of more extensive calculations of the effects of these stimulated emissions over the next decade. The first empirical evidence supporting these theoretical calculations occurred between 1926 and 1930 in a series of experiments involving electrical discharges in neon.
15. Lasers in Optoelectronics
Optoelectronics, the field combining optics and electronics, is dependent on semiconductor (diode) lasers for its existence. Mass use of semiconductor lasers has emerged with the advent of CD and DVD technologies, but it is the telecommunications sector that has primarily driven the development of lasers for optoelectronic systems. Lasers are used to transmit voice, data, or video signals down fiber-optic cables.
While the success of lasers within telecommunication systems seems unquestioned thanks to their utility in long-distance large-capacity, point-to-point links, these lasers also find use in many other applications and are ubiquitous in the developed world. Their small physical size, low power operation, ease of modulation (via simple input current variation) and small beam size mean that these lasers are now part of our everyday world, from CDs and DVDs, to supermarket checkouts and cosmetic medicine.
16. Light Emitting Diodes
Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, are semiconductor devices that emit monochromatic light once an electric current passes through it. The color of light emitted from LEDs depends not on the color of the bulb, but on the emission’s wavelength. Typically made of inorganic materials like gallium or silicon, LEDs have found frequent use as ‘‘pilot,’’ or indicator, lights for electronic devices. Unlike incandescent light bulbs, which generate light from ‘‘heat glow,’’ LEDs create light more efficiently and are generally more durable than traditional light sources.
17. Lighting Techniques
In 1900 electric lighting in the home was a rarity. Carbon filament incandescent lamps had been around for 20 years, but few households had electricity. Arc lamps were used in streets and large buildings such as railway stations. Domestic lighting was by candle, oil and gas.
The stages of the lightning techniques evolution are the following:
- Non-Electric Lighting
- Electric Lighting: Filament Lamps
- Electric Lighting: Discharge Lamps
- Electric Lighting: Fluorescent Lamps
- Electric Lighting: LED Lamps
18. Mechanical and Electromechanical Calculators
The widespread use of calculating devices in the twentieth century is intimately linked to the rise of large corporations and to the increasing role of mathematical calculation in science and engineering. In the business setting, calculators were used to efficiently process financial information. In science and engineering, calculators speeded up routine calculations. The manufacture and sale of calculators was a widespread industry, with major firms in most industrialized nations. However, the manufacture of mechanical calculators declined very rapidly in the 1970s with the introduction of electronic calculators, and firms either diversified into other product lines or went out of business. By the end of the twentieth century, slide rules, adding machines, and other mechanical calculators were no longer being manufactured.
19. Mobile (Cell) Telephones
In the last two decades of the twentieth century, mobile or cell phones developed from a minority communication tool, characterized by its prevalence in the 1980s among young professionals, to a pervasive cultural object. In many developed countries, more than three quarters of the population owned a cell phone by the end of the 20th century.
Cell phone technology is a highly evolved form of the personal radio systems used by truck drivers (citizens band, or CB, radio) and police forces in which receiver/transmitter units communicate with one another or a base antenna. Such systems work adequately over short distances with a low volume of traffic but cannot be expanded to cope with mass communication due to the limited space (bandwidth) available in the electromagnetic spectrum. Transmitting and receiving on one frequency, they allow for talking or listening but not both simultaneously.
For mobile radio systems to make the step up to effective telephony, a large number of two-way conversations needed to be accommodated, requiring a duplex channel (two separate frequencies, taking up double the bandwidth). In order to establish national mobile phone networks without limiting capacity or the range of travel of handsets, a number of technological improvements had to occur.
The photocopier, copier, or copying machine, as it is variously known, is a staple of modern life. Copies by the billions are produced not only in the office but also on machines available to the public in libraries, copy shops, stationery stores, supermarkets, and a wide variety of other commercial facilities. Modern xerographic copiers, produced by a number of manufacturers, are available as desktop models suitable for the home as well as the small office. Many modern copiers reproduce in color as well as black and white, and office models can rival printing presses in speed of operation.
21. Photosensitive Detectors
Sensing radiation from ultraviolet to optical wavelengths and beyond is an important part of many devices. Whether analyzing the emission of radiation, chemical solutions, detecting lidar signals, fiber-optic communication systems, or imaging of medical ionizing radiation, detectors are the final link in any optoelectronic experiment or process.
Detectors fall into two groups: thermal detectors (where radiation is absorbed and the resulting temperature change is used to generate an electrical output) and photon (quantum) detectors. The operation of photon detectors is based on the photoelectric effect, in which the radiation is absorbed within a metal or semiconductor by direct interaction with electrons, which are excited to a higher energy level. Under the effect of an electric field these carriers move and produce a measurable electric current. The photon detectors show a selective wavelength-dependent response per unit incident radiation power.
22. Public and Private Lighting
At the turn of the 20th century, lighting was in a state of flux. In technical terms, a number of emerging lighting technologies jostled for economic dominance. In social terms, changing standards of illumination began to transform cities, the workplace, and the home. In design terms, the study of illumination as a science, as an engineering profession, and as an applied art was becoming firmly established. In the last decades of the 20th century, the technological and social choices in lighting attained considerable stability both technically and socially. Newer forms of compact fluorescent lighting, despite their greater efficiency, have not significantly replaced incandescent bulbs in homes owing to higher initial cost. Low-pressure sodium lamps, on the other hand, have been adopted increasingly for street and architectural lighting owing to lower replacement and maintenance costs. As with fluorescent lighting in the 1950s, recent lighting technologies have found niche markets rather than displacing incandescents, which have now been the dominant lighting system for well over a century.
23. Quantum Electronic Devices
Quantum theory, developed during the 1920s to explain the behavior of atoms and the absorption and emission of light, is thought to apply to every kind of physical system, from individual elementary particles to macroscopic systems such as lasers. In lasers, stimulated transitions between discrete or quantized energy levels is a quantum electronic phenomena (discussed in the entry Lasers, Theory and Operation). Stimulated transitions are also the central phenomena in atomic clocks. Semiconductor devices such as the transistor also rely on the arrangement of quantum energy levels into a valence band and a conduction band separated by an energy gap, but advanced quantum semiconductor devices were not possible until advances in fabrication techniques such as molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) developed in the 1960s made it possible to grow extremely pure single crystal semiconductor structures one atomic layer at a time.
In most electronic devices and integrated circuits, quantum phenomena such as quantum tunneling and electron diffraction—where electrons behave not as particles but as waves—are of no significance, since the device is much larger than the wavelength of the electron (around 100 nanometers, where one nanometer is 109 meters or about 4 atoms wide). Since the early 1980s however, researchers have been aware that as the overall device size of field effect transistors decreased, small-scale quantum mechanical effects between components, plus the limitations of materials and fabrication techniques, would sooner or later inhibit further reduction in the size of conventional semiconductor transistors. Thus to produce devices on ever-smaller integrated circuits (down to 25 nanometers in length), conventional microelectronic devices would have to be replaced with new device concepts that take advantage of the quantum mechanical effects that dominate on the nanometer scale, rather than function in despite of them. Such solid state ‘‘nanoelectronics’’ offers the potential for increased speed and density of information processing, but mass fabrication on this small scale presented formidable challenges at the end of the 20th century.
24. Quartz Clocks and Watches
The wristwatch and the domestic clock were completely reinvented with all-new electronic components beginning about 1960. In the new electronic timepieces, a tiny sliver of vibrating quartz in an electrical circuit provides the time base and replaces the traditional mechanical oscillator, the swinging pendulum in the clock or the balance wheel in the watch. Instead of an unwinding spring or a falling weight, batteries power these quartz clocks and watches, and integrated circuits substitute for intricate mechanical gear trains.
25. Radio-Frequency Electronics
Radio was originally conceived as a means for interpersonal communications, either person-toperson, or person-to-people, using analog waveforms containing either Morse code or actual sound. The use of radio frequencies (RF) designed to carry digital data in the form of binary code rather than voice and to replace physical wired connections between devices began in the 1970s, but the technology was not commercialized until the 1990s through digital cellular phone networks known as personal communications services (PCS) and an emerging group of wireless data network technologies just reaching commercial viability. The first of these is a so-called wireless personal area network (WPAN) technology known as Bluetooth. There are also two wireless local area networks (WLANs), generally grouped under the name Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity): (1) Wi-Fi, also known by its Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) designation 802.11b, and (2) Wi-Fi5 (802.11a).
Rectifiers are electronic devices that are used to control the flow of current. They do this by having conducting and nonconducting states that depend on the polarity of the applied voltage. A major function in electronics is the conversion from alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) where the output is only one-half (either positive or negative) of the input. Rectifiers that are currently, or have been, in use include: point-contact diodes, plate rectifiers, thermionic diodes, and semiconductor diodes. There are various ways in which rectifiers may be classified in terms of the signals they encounter; this contribution will consider two extremes—high frequency and heavy current—that make significantly different demands on device design.
27. Strobe Flashes
Scarcely a dozen years after photography was announced to the world in 1839, William Henry Fox Talbot produced the first known flash photograph. Talbot, the new art’s co-inventor, fastened a printed paper onto a disk, set it spinning as fast as possible, and then discharged a spark to expose a glass plate negative. The words on the paper could be read on the photograph. Talbot believed that the potential for combining electric sparks and photography was unlimited. In 1852, he pronounced, ‘‘It is in our power to obtain the pictures of all moving objects, no matter in how rapid motion they may be, provided we have the means of sufficiently illuminating them with a sudden electric flash.’’
The electronic stroboscope fulfills Talbot’s prediction. It is a repeating, short-duration light source used primarily for visual observation and photography of high-speed phenomena. The intensity of the light emitted from strobes also makes them useful as signal lights on communication towers, airport runways, emergency vehicles, and more. Though ‘‘stroboscope’’ actually refers to a repeating flash and ‘‘electronic flash’’ denotes a single burst, both types are commonly called ‘‘strobes.’’
Early experiments in transistor technology were based on the analogy between the semiconductor and the vacuum tube: the ability to both amplify and effectively switch an electrical signal on or off (rectification). By 1940, Russell Ohl at Bell Telephone Laboratories, among others, had found that impure silicon had both positive (ptype material with holes) and negative (n-type) regions. When a junction is created between n-type material and p-type material, electrons on the ntype side are attracted across the junction to fill holes in the other layer. In this way, the n-type semiconductor becomes positively charged and the p-type becomes negatively charged. Holes move in the opposite direction, thus reinforcing the voltage built up at the junction. The key point is that current flows from one side to the other when a positive voltage is applied to the layers (‘‘forward biased’’).
29. Travelling Wave Tubes
One of the most important devices for the amplification of radio-frequency (RF) signals— which range in frequency from 3 kilohertz to 300 gigahertz—is the traveling wave tube (TWT). When matched with its power supply unit, or electronic power conditioner (EPC), the combination is known as a traveling wave tube amplifier (TWTA). The amplification of RF signals is important in many aspects of science and technology, since the ability to increase the strength of a very low-power input signal is fundamental to all types of long-range communications, radar and electronic warfare.
30. Vacuum Tubes/Valves
The vacuum tube has its roots in the late nineteenth century when Thomas A. Edison conducted experiments with electric bulbs in 1883. Edison’s light bulbs consisted of a conducting filament mounted in a glass bulb. Passing electricity through the filament caused it to heat up and radiate light. A vacuum in the tube prevented the filament from burning up. Edison noted that electric current would flow from the bulb filament to a positively charged metal plate inside the tube. This phenomenon, the one-way flow of current, was called the Edison Effect. Edison himself could not explain the filament’s behavior. He felt this effect was interesting but unimportant and patented it as a matter of course. It was only fifteen years later that Joseph John Thomson, a physics professor at the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., discovered the electron and understood the significance of what was occurring in the tube. He identified the filament rays as a stream of particles, now called electrons. In a range of papers from 1901 to 1916, O.W. Richardson explained the electron behavior. Today the Edison Effect is known as thermionic emission.
History of Electronics
Few of the basic tasks that electronic technologies perform, such as communication, computation, amplification, or automatic control, are unique to electronics. Most were anticipated by the designers of mechanical or electromechanical technologies in earlier years. What distinguishes electronic communication, computation, and control is often linked to the instantaneous action of the devices, the delicacy of their actions compared to mechanical systems, their high reliability, or their tiny size.
The electronics systems introduced between the late nineteenth century and the end of the twentieth century can be roughly divided into the applications related to communications (including telegraphy, telephony, broadcasting, and remote detection) and the more recently developed fields involving digital information and computation. In recent years these two fields have tended to converge, but it is still useful to consider them separately for a discussion of their history.
The origins of electronics as distinguished from other electrical technologies can be traced to 1880 and the work of Thomas Edison. While investigating the phenomenon of the blackening of the inside surface of electric light bulbs, Edison built an experimental bulb that included a third, unused wire in addition to the two wires supporting the filament. When the lamp was operating, Edison detected a flow of electricity from the filament to the third wire, through the evacuated space in the bulb. He was unable to explain the phenomenon, and although he thought it would be useful in telegraphy, he failed to commercialize it. It went unexplained for about 20 years, until the advent of wireless telegraphic transmission by radio waves. John Ambrose Fleming, an experimenter in radio, not only explained the Edison effect but used it to detect radio waves. Fleming’s ‘‘valve’’ as he called it, acted like a one-way valve for electric waves, and could be used in a circuit to convert radio waves to electric pulses so that that incoming Morse code signals could be heard through a sounder or earphone.
As in the case of the Fleming valve, many early electronic devices were used first in the field of communications, mainly to enhance existing forms of technology. Initially, for example, telephony (1870s) and radio (1890s) were accomplished using ordinary electrical and electromechanical circuits, but eventually both were transformed through the use of electronic devices. Many inventors in the late nineteenth century sought a functional telephone ‘‘relay’’; that is, something to refresh a degraded telephone signal to allow long distance telephony. Several people simultaneously recognized the possibility of developing a relay based on the Fleming valve. The American inventor Lee de Forest was one of the first to announce an electronic amplifier using a modified Fleming valve, which he called the Audion. While he initially saw it as a detector and amplifier of radio waves, its successful commercialization occurred first in the telephone industry. The sound quality and long-distance capability of telephony was enhanced and extended after the introduction of the first electronic amplifier circuits in 1907. In the U.S., where vast geographic distances separated the population, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) introduced improved vacuum tube amplifiers in 1913, which were later used to establish the first coast-to-coast telephone service in 1915 (an overland distance of nearly 5000 kilometers).
These vacuum tubes soon saw many other uses, such as a public-address systems constructed as early as 1920, and radio transmitters and receivers. The convergence of telephony and radio in the form of voice broadcasting was technically possible before the advent of electronics, but its application was greatly enhanced through the use of electronics both in the radio transmitter and in the receiver.
World War I saw the applications of electronics diversify somewhat to include military applications. Mostly, these were modifications of existing telegraph, telephone, and radio systems, but applications such as ground-to-air radio telephony were novel. The pressing need for large numbers of electronic components, especially vacuum tubes suitable for military use, stimulated changes in their design and manufacture and contributed to improving quality and falling prices. After the war, the expanded capacity of the vacuum tube industry contributed to a boom in low-cost consumer radio receivers. Yet because of the withdrawal of the military stimulus and the onset of the Great Depression, the pace of change slowed in the 1930s. One notable exception was in the field of television. Radio broadcasting became such a phenomenal commercial success that engineers and businessmen were envisioning how ‘‘pictures with sound’’ would replace ordinary broadcasting, even in the early 1930s. Germany, Great Britain, and the U.S. all had rudimentary television systems in place by 1939, although World War II would bring nearly a complete halt to these early TV broadcasts.
World War II saw another period of rapid change, this one much more dramatic than that of World War I. Not only were radio communications systems again greatly improved, but for the first time the field of electronics engineering came to encompass much more than communication. While it was the atomic bomb that is most commonly cited as the major technological outcome of World War II, radar should probably be called the weapon that won the war. To describe radar as a weapon is somewhat inaccurate, but there is no doubt that it had profound effects upon the way that naval, aerial, and ground combat was conducted. Using radio waves as a sort of searchlight, radar could act as an artificial eye capable of seeing through clouds or fog, over the horizon, or in the dark. Furthermore, it substituted for existing methods of calculating the distance and speed of targets. Radar’s success hinged on the development of new electronic components, particularly new kinds of vacuum tubes such as the klystron and magnetron, which were oriented toward the generation of microwaves. Subsidized by military agencies on both sides of the Atlantic (as well as Japan) during World War II, radar sets were eventually installed in aircraft and ships, used in ground stations, and even built into artillery shells. The remarkable engineering effort that was launched to make radar systems smaller, more energy efficient, and more reliable would mark the beginning of an international research program in electronics miniaturization that continues today. Radar technology also had many unexpected applications elsewhere, such as the use of microwave beams as a substitute for long-distance telephone cables. Microwave communication is also used extensively today for satellite-to-earth communication.
The second major outcome of electronics research during World War II was the effort to build an electronic computer. Mechanical adders and calculators were widely used in science, business, and government by the early twentieth century, and had reached an advanced state of design. Yet the problems peculiar to wartime, especially the rapid calculation of mountains of ballistics data, drove engineers to look for ways to speed up the machines. At the same time, some sought a calculator that could be reprogrammed as computational needs changed. While computers played a role in the war, it was not until the postwar period that they came into their own. In addition, computer research during World War II contributed little to the development of vacuum tubes, although in later years computer research would drive certain areas of semiconductor electron device research.
While the forces of the free market are not to be discounted, the role of the military in electronics development during World War II was of paramount importance. More-or-less continuous military support for research in electronic devices and systems persisted during the second half of the twentieth century too, and many more new technologies emerged from this effort. The sustained effort to develop more compact, rugged devices such as those demanded by military systems would converge with computer development during the 1950s, especially after the invention of the transistor in late 1947.
The transistor was not a product of the war, and in fact its development started in the 1930s and was delayed by the war effort. A transistor is simply a very small substitute for a vacuum tube, but beyond that it is an almost entirely new sort of device. At the time of its invention, its energy efficiency, reliability, and diminutive size suggested new possibilities for electronic systems. The most famous of these possibilities was related to computers and systems derived from or related to computers, such as robotics or industrial automation. The impetus for the transistor was a desire within the telephone industry to create an energy-efficient, reliable substitute for the vacuum tube. Once introduced, the military pressed hard to accelerate its development, as the need emerged for improved electronic navigational devices for aircraft and missiles.
There were many unanticipated results of the substitution of transistors for vacuum tubes. Because they were so energy efficient, transistors made it much more practical to design battery powered systems. The small transistor radio (known in some countries simply as ‘‘the transistor’’), introduced in the 1950s, is credited with helping to popularize rock and roll music. It is also worth noting that many developing countries could not easily provide broadcasting services until the diffusion of battery operated transistor receivers because of the lack of central station electric power. The use of the transistor also allowed designers to enhance existing automotive radios and tape players, contributing eventually to a greatly expanded culture of in-car listening. There were other important outcomes as well; transistor manufacture provided access to the global electronics market for Asian radio manufacturers, who improved manufacturing methods to undercut their U.S. competitors during the 1950s and 1960s. Further, the transistor’s high reliability nearly eliminated the profession of television and radio repair, which had supported tens of thousands of technicians in the U.S. alone before about 1980.
However, for all its remarkable features, the transistor also had its limitations; while it was an essential part of nearly every cutting-edge technology of the postwar period, it was easily outperformed by the older technology of vacuum tubes in some areas. The high-power microwave transmitting devices in communications satellites and spacecraft, for example, nearly all relied on special vacuum tubes through the end of the twentieth century, because of the physical limitations of semiconductor devices. For the most part, however, the transistor made the vacuum tube obsolete by about 1960.
The attention paid to the transistor in the 1950s and 1960s made the phrase ‘‘solid-state’’ familiar to the general public, and the new device spawned many new companies. However, its overall impact pales in comparison to its successor—the integrated circuit. Integrated circuits emerged in the late 1950s, were immediately adopted by the military for small computer and communications systems, and were then used in civilian computers and related applications from the 1960s. Integrated circuits consist of multiple transistors fabricated simultaneously from layers of semiconductor and other materials. The transistors, interconnecting ‘‘wires,’’ and many of the necessary circuit elements such as capacitors and resistors are fabricated on the ‘‘chip.’’ Such a circuit eliminates much of the laborious process of assembling an electronic system such as a computer by hand, and results in a much smaller product. The ability to miniaturize components through integrated circuit fabrication techniques would lead to circuits so vanishingly small that it became difficult to connect them to the systems of which they were a part. The plastic housings or ‘‘packages’’ containing today’s microprocessor chips measure just a few centimeters on a side, and yet the actual circuits inside are much smaller. Some of the most complex chips made today contain many millions of transistors, plus millions more solid-state resistors and other passive components.
While used extensively in military and aerospace applications, the integrated circuit became famous as a component in computer systems. The logic and memory circuits of digital computers, which have been the focus of much research, consist mainly of switching devices. Computers were first constructed in the 1930s with electromechanical relays as switching devices, then with vacuum tubes, transistors, and finally integrated circuits. Most early computers used off-the-shelf tubes and transistors, but with the advent of the integrated circuit, designers began to call for components designed especially for computers. It was clear to engineers at the time that all the circuits necessary to build a computer could be placed on one chip (or a small set of chips), and in fact, the desire to create a ‘‘computer on a chip’’ led to the microprocessor, introduced around 1970. The commercial impetus underlying later generations of computer chip design was not simply miniaturization (although there are important exceptions) or energy efficiency, but also the speed of operation, reliability, and lower cost. However, the inherent energy efficiency and small size of the resulting systems did enable the construction of smaller computers, and the incorporation of programmable controllers (special purpose computers) into a wide variety of other technologies. The recent merging of the computer (or computer-like systems) with so many other technologies makes it difficult to summarize the current status of digital electronic systems. As the twentieth century drew to a close, computer chips were widely in use in communications and entertainment devices, in industrial robots, in automobiles, in household appliances, in telephone calling cards, in traffic signals, and in a myriad other places. The rapid evolution of the computer during the last 50 years of the twentieth century was reflected by the near-meaninglessness of its name, which no longer adequately described its functions.
From an engineering perspective, not only did electronics begin to inhabit, in an almost symbiotic fashion, other technological systems after about 1950, but these electronics systems were increasingly dominated by the use of semiconductor technology. After virtually supplanting the vacuum tube in the 1950s, the semiconductor-based transistor became the technology of choice for most subsequent electronics development projects. Yet semiconducting alloys and compounds proved remarkably versatile in applications at first unrelated to transistors and chips. The laser, for example, was originally operated in a large vacuum chamber and depended on ionized gas for its operation. By the 1960s, laser research was focused on the remarkable ability of certain semiconducting materials to accomplish the same task as the ion chamber version. Today semiconductor devices are used not only as the basis of amplifiers and switches, but also for sensing light, heat, and pressure, for emitting light (as in lasers or video displays), for generating electricity (as in solar cells), and even for mechanical motion (as in micromechanical systems or MEMS).
However, semiconductor devices in ‘‘discrete’’ forms such as transistors, would probably not have had the remarkable impact of the integrated circuit. By the 1970s, when the manufacturing techniques for integrated circuits allowed high volume production, low cost, tiny size, relatively small energy needs, and enormous complexity; electronics entered a new phase of its history, having a chief characteristic of allowing electronic systems to be retrofitted into existing technologies. Low-cost microprocessors, for example, which were available from the late 1970s onward, were used to sense data from their environment, measure it, and use it to control various technological systems from coffee machines to video tape recorders. Even the human body is increasingly invaded by electronics; at the end of the twentieth century, several researchers announced the first microchips for implantation directly in the body. They were to be used to store information for retrieval by external sensors or to help deliver subcutaneous drugs. The integrated circuit has thus become part of innumerable technological and biological systems.
It is this remarkable flexibility of application that enabled designers of electronic systems to make electronics the defining technology of the late twentieth century, eclipsing both the mechanical technologies associated with the industrial revolution and the electrical and information technologies of the so-called second industrial revolution. While many in the post-World War II era once referred to an ‘‘atomic age,’’ it was in fact an era in which daily life was increasingly dominated by electronics.
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Writing an Educational Research Paper
Research paper sections, customary parts of an education research paper.
There is no one right style or manner for writing an education paper. Content aside, the writing style and presentation of papers in different educational fields vary greatly. Nevertheless, certain parts are common to most papers, for example:
Contains the paper's title, the author's name, address, phone number, e-mail, and the day's date.
Not every education paper requires an abstract. However, for longer, more complex papers abstracts are particularly useful. Often only 100 to 300 words, the abstract generally provides a broad overview and is never more than a page. It describes the essence, the main theme of the paper. It includes the research question posed, its significance, the methodology, and the main results or findings. Footnotes or cited works are never listed in an abstract. Remember to take great care in composing the abstract. It's the first part of the paper the instructor reads. It must impress with a strong content, good style, and general aesthetic appeal. Never write it hastily or carelessly.
Introduction and Statement of the Problem
A good introduction states the main research problem and thesis argument. What precisely are you studying and why is it important? How original is it? Will it fill a gap in other studies? Never provide a lengthy justification for your topic before it has been explicitly stated.
Limitations of Study
Indicate as soon as possible what you intend to do, and what you are not going to attempt. You may limit the scope of your paper by any number of factors, for example, time, personnel, gender, age, geographic location, nationality, and so on.
Discuss your research methodology. Did you employ qualitative or quantitative research methods? Did you administer a questionnaire or interview people? Any field research conducted? How did you collect data? Did you utilize other libraries or archives? And so on.
The research process uncovers what other writers have written about your topic. Your education paper should include a discussion or review of what is known about the subject and how that knowledge was acquired. Once you provide the general and specific context of the existing knowledge, then you yourself can build on others' research. The guide Writing a Literature Review will be helpful here.
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This is generally the longest part of the paper. It's where the author supports the thesis and builds the argument. It contains most of the citations and analysis. This section should focus on a rational development of the thesis with clear reasoning and solid argumentation at all points. A clear focus, avoiding meaningless digressions, provides the essential unity that characterizes a strong education paper.
After spending a great deal of time and energy introducing and arguing the points in the main body of the paper, the conclusion brings everything together and underscores what it all means. A stimulating and informative conclusion leaves the reader informed and well-satisfied. A conclusion that makes sense, when read independently from the rest of the paper, will win praise.
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Education research papers often contain one or more appendices. An appendix contains material that is appropriate for enlarging the reader's understanding, but that does not fit very well into the main body of the paper. Such material might include tables, charts, summaries, questionnaires, interview questions, lengthy statistics, maps, pictures, photographs, lists of terms, glossaries, survey instruments, letters, copies of historical documents, and many other types of supplementary material. A paper may have several appendices. They are usually placed after the main body of the paper but before the bibliography or works cited section. They are usually designated by such headings as Appendix A, Appendix B, and so on.
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How to Write a Research Paper
Updated August 24, 2022
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If you’re a college student, you will probably have to write at least one college-level research paper before you graduate. Writing a good research paper can be daunting if you have never done it before. We’re here to help.
This guide walks you through everything you need to do to write an effective, impactful research paper . . . and get the good grade you’re after!
Here are the steps and resources you need to write a strong research paper, as well as a checklist to go over to be sure you wrote a good paper. Research writing can be a challenge, but with a little practice, it can become an important part of your academic and professional toolkit.
The following steps will help you write a research paper, starting with nothing but an assignment or prompt and ending up with a well-crafted essay. The steps are:
- Step 1: Get familiar with the assignment
- Step 2: Pick a topic
Step 3: Research
- Step 4: Organize research
- Step 5: Form a thesis
- Step 6: Create an outline
Step 7: Write
- Step 8: Edit for content
- Step 9: Edit for grammar
- Step 10: Re-read and submit your paper
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Step 1: Get Familiar with the Assignment
This may sound obvious, but it’s very important to understand what your teacher or professor is asking for before you start writing your research paper. Many students skip this step, and then wonder why they receive a low grade on a paper they worked hard on or were excited about. It’s often because they didn’t read the instructions.
Spend time going over the assignment. Look at everything your instructor has provided you with. Carefully read the writing assignment, prompts, grading rubric, or any other materials you’ve received. It might even be helpful to highlight and take notes on the assignment. Take time to understand exactly what you are being asked to write and how you will be graded on it. And if you aren’t sure, ask! Ask your teacher for clarification before you even pick a topic. That way, you will be sure you are on the right track.
Step 2: Pick a Topic
Once you understand what you’re being asked to write in your research paper, it’s time to decide what to write about. This can be daunting, but don’t get too bent out of shape. It can be very helpful to write about something you’re interested in or passionate about, but don’t worry about choosing the perfect topic. In many cases, a controversial topic can be ideal, so that you can exercise your ability to objectively explain differing positions, and even defend one if the assignment calls for that.
Use the guidelines given by your instructor to help pick your paper topic. If you have a topic that you love, but you’re having trouble fitting it into the guidelines, choose another topic. It will be easier on you in the long run to write about a topic that fits the assignment. It’s important to be engaged in the topic you’re writing about it, but you don’t have to love it. It’s also good to realize that you can use this research writing assignment as an opportunity to learn about something new. You will be somewhat of an expert in the topic by the end of this process, but you don’t have to know everything right now.
And now what you have been waiting for — research! This step is pretty flexible; different people will research for a paper in different ways. However, it’s important to stay focused and move pretty quickly. After all, you still have to write your research paper.
Several key things to remember as you research are: 1) skim, 2) find reliable resources, and 3) don’t ignore information.
First off, skimming. You don’t have to read in-full everything ever written about your topic. In fact, you probably can’t. Get comfortable reading through things quickly. Learn how to identify key points and arguments without getting bogged down and reading every word.
Next, find reliable resources. Although this may run contrary to what you’ve been told, you can use Wikipedia to write a research paper. But, you cannot use that as a final source. You can use general sources like Wikipedia to get familiar with a topic, find keywords that can further drive your research, and quickly understand large amounts of information. But, for the information you use in your paper, you have to find reliable resources.
Take what you have learned from a Google search or Wikipedia article and dig deeper. Check out the sources on the article, use keywords from your internet search to search an academic database, or ask an expert whether or not what you learned is valid and if it is, where you can find a reliable source stating the same thing. So, just to be clear: you can use Wikipedia as a starting point in your research, but you should not cite Wikipedia as one of the primary sources for your research paper.
Finally, don’t ignore information. You can find an article that says anything you want it to say. Did researchers recently discover that octopus DNA is made of alien DNA from outer space? Are the spires on the Cinderella Castle at Disney World removable in case of a hurricane? Did a cook attempt to assassinate George Washington by feeding him poisoned tomatoes? You can find articles testifying that all three of the previous claims are true; however, when you dig deeper, it’s clear that they’re not. Just because you find one article stating that something is true, that does not necessarily mean it is a proven fact that you can use in your research.
Work to understand all of the different viewpoints and schools of thought on your topic. This can be done by reading a variety of articles, reading a book or article that gives an overview of the topic and incorporates different points of view, or talking to an expert who can explain the topic in depth.
Step 4: Organize Your Research
So you have all of this information, now what to do with it? Step four is all about getting organized. Like research, different people have different preferences here. It can also depend on your assignment. Some sort of bibliography (literally “book writing,” this is a list of the books, articles, and other sources you have used in your research) is helpful when it comes to organizing your research.
If your teacher requires you to turn in a bibliography with your research paper (think back to step #1; you ought to already know exactly what the assignment is by now!), create a bibliography that meets the requirements for the paper. If you are just making one just for yourself, think about how you would like to organize your research. It might make sense to bookmark resources on your web browser or make a digital bibliography that allows you to link the resources you found. You might prefer a printed list of your resources or you might want to write down all you have learned that is relevant to your project on notecards or sticky notes and organize your research paper on a table or the floor.
Step 5: Form a Thesis
Now that you understand what you’ve been asked to do, have chosen a topic that fits the assignment, and have researched and organized that research, you’re ready to articulate your own opinion, argument, or assertion. Even if you aren’t arguing for or against anything, your paper needs a thesis. A thesis is a short statement that you — as researcher and author — put forward for the readers of your paper as what you are trying to explain or prove.
A starting point when writing a thesis might be to write a one-sentence answer to the question: what is your paper about? The answer might be something like the following examples:
- My paper explains the relationship between dogs and humans.
- It’s about university policies on freshman living on campus.
- I wrote about views on marriage in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice .
See, that wasn’t so hard. But, what is important to remember, is that this is just a starting point. Many students stop right there, and then don’t understand why their instructor graded them poorly on their thesis statement. A thesis needs to be definitive, and should not be about you. So, you might change the above answers to statements like:
The relationship between dogs and humans goes both ways; not only are dogs man’s best friend, but human interactions have influenced the way that modern dogs’ behavior and anatomy.
Many universities require freshmen students to live on campus for their first year, which keeps students out of trouble, helps students get better grades, and increases their likelihood of staying in school.
In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, marriage is seen as a number of things, including as a social mobility tool, as a mistake, and as a beneficial partnership .
Can you see the differences between the first set of sentences and the second set of thesis statements? It might take a few tries, but work to eliminate words and phrases like “I think,” or “My paper is about.”
It is also very important not to be too vague. Don’t be afraid to make a strong statement. If you look at the above examples, each of them makes a specific point about the topic. Another key to crafting a strong thesis statement is making sure that your thesis is arguable. That doesn’t mean it’s controversial or particularly opinionated, but it does mean that someone could disagree.
For example, someone might argue that humans haven’t influenced dogs all that much, that requiring freshman students to live on campus isn’t a good thing, or that marriage in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is all about romance. (Another way to check whether or not your statement is arguable: Is Pride and Prejudice a book? Yes. So the statement, “Pride and Prejudice is a book written by Jane Austen,” doesn’t work as a thesis because no one could disagree. There is no point in writing an entire essay about that obvious fact.) Checking whether or not someone could argue with your thesis statement is a good way to make sure you have written a strong, specific thesis statement that will guide you as you write your paper and earn a good grade for your efforts.
After you have worked to create a specific, arguable, definitive thesis statement, this is another place that it could be helpful to check in with your professor, a writing center tutor, or another trusted educator or mentor. Show them your thesis statement and ask them if they think itis a powerful thesis that you will guide you as you build your essay.
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Step 6: Create an Outline
Like a bibliography, the way that you create your outline may depend on your assignment. If your teacher asked you to turn in an outline, be sure to make an outline that follows the example, guidelines, or requirements you have been given. If you aren’t required to write an outline, it can still be a helpful tool as you build your research paper.
Creating an outline is really about structuring your paper. Don’t be too formulaic, but it can be helpful to follow patterns and guides. In high school you might have written three- or five-paragraph essays, and it’s okay to use those same patterns for a college research paper, but be sure that whatever format you choose makes sense for your paper. If you have two main points in your thesis, three or five main sections might not work for your research paper. If the assignment asks you to introduce a topic, explain different opinions on the topic, and then choose and explain your opinion, then your paper probably needs three main sections, one for each of those objectives.
As you create an outline, think critically about what you are trying to explain or communicate in your research paper and what structure allows you to do that in a clear, organized way. It usually makes sense to have an introduction and conclusion, but what goes between will vary based on the contents of your essay.
The outlining stage of producing your argument is a great time to think about bad forms of argumentation you should avoid. If you aren’t familiar with logical fallacies, take some time to review the most common fallacies ; your grade could depend on it!
And then, finally, it’s time to actually write your paper. You might feel like you should have started writing sooner, but, rest assured: the work you have done up to this point is important. It will help you create a strong, clear, interesting research paper.
As you write, don’t be a perfectionist. Don’t worry about finding the perfect words, using the perfect grammar, or crafting the perfect title. There is time to perfect your research paper as you edit. Right now, you just need to write.
It might be helpful to look over your research before you start writing, but don’t write directly from your research. If you’re looking back and forth between your resources and your paper as you begin writing, it’s easy to copy ideas without really creating your own work. You have done a lot of work already, so trust that and work from memory as you write your research paper. It’s okay to look up a specific quote or statistic, but in general your ideas should be your own at this point.
Working from your own ideas will help you avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is the uncredited use of someone else’s words or ideas, whether you meant to use them without credit or not. This sounds scary, but it doesn’t have to be. If you follow the steps outlined in this guide, you can be confident that you’ve created your own essay that builds on the ideas, writing, and work of others, without stealing, copying, or plagiarising.
If you quote something word-for-word, you need to cite your source. Use quotation marks and mention the source of the quote. You will also need to include more information about the quote on a Works Cited or References page. If you paraphrase, that is, you don’t use the exact words, but do use someone’s idea, it’s still important to give credit. You don’t need quotation marks here, but it is important to mention where the idea comes from.
If something is a common fact (generally accepted if you can find the fact stated, without credit, in three or more credible sources), you don’t need to mention where the idea comes from. For example, Bill Gates is a billionaire who founded Microsoft. That is a common fact; you can find it stated in numerous trustworthy sources. But if your paper is about the why behind Bill Gates’ wealth, fame, and success, then you’re going to need to credit and cite specific quotes and statistics, as well as theories about why the Microsoft billionaire is so successful.
Step 8: Edit for Content
Now that you’ve got a paper written, take a moment to congratulate yourself. You have done a lot of work to get to this point! And then, get back to work. You still need to edit your paper before it’s ready to turn in. Remember how you weren’t supposed to worry about being perfect? You still don’t need to worry, but it is time to make your paper as perfect as you possibly can.
Start by editing for content. This means thinking about structure, organization, wording, and length. You carefully organized your paper when you created an outline. Now that you have written your paper, does that organization still make sense? If so, great. If not, what do you need to move around? Look carefully at how you’ve worded your sentences. Did you communicate what you meant to get across? Can you make your paper clearer or easier to understand? This is also a good point to think back to Step 1. Does your paper include everything the assignment asked for? If not, where can you include the missing pieces?
If your paper is too long or too short, now is the time to cut it down or build it up to an acceptable length. Don’t just delete your conclusion because your paper is too long. Don’t waste your time playing with the font size and margins to try to make your essay longer. Be careful and thoughtful about these edits. If you need to take something out, what makes sense to cut and how can you re-organize your paper so that it maintains a strong structure? If you need to lengthen your paper, don’t just randomly add words or repeat things you have already said. Think about where you could expand or what you can add that fits in with the rest of your paper, further develops the ideas you are presenting, or adds valuable information to your research paper.
Once you have made all the changes you think necessary, read back through your paper again to be sure it all makes sense. Especially when working on a computer, it is easy to leave or delete a word, sentence, or paragraph that you didn’t mean to. If you are tired of looking at your research paper, give it to a friend, mentor, or teacher and ask them to take a look at your paper and let you know what they think of the content.
Step 9: Edit for Grammar
It is also important to edit for grammar. This might seem daunting, but there are lots of tools and resources that can help. Check out resources like Grammarly or Strunk and White’s Elements of Style if you’re unsure of what to do with commas, semicolons, or run-on sentences.
Like editing for content, editing for grammar might take a few run-throughs. If you need to take a break, that’s fine. It can even help you come back to your paper feeling more focused, which is key to catching and fixing mistakes.
Step 10: Re-read and Submit your Research Paper
Once you’ve finished Steps 1–9, it’s definitely time to take a break. Give your paper a day or two (or an hour or two, if you are running short on time) and give it a final read-through. It can be helpful to print a copy of your paper and read a hard-copy if you have only read through it on a screen thus far. You might notice mistakes or formatting issues that your eyes missed while reading on your computer. Once you have read your research paper for a final time and double checked that your paper does everything the assignment is asking for, it is time to submit.
Be sure to follow any instructions you have been given about turning in your research paper. Also give yourself time to troubleshoot if things go wrong. If you try to print your paper five minutes before class starts, what are you going to do if your printer is out of toner? If you are supposed to submit your paper online at midnight and the wifi is down when you login to submit your assignment at 11:58 PM, even though that is unfortunate, it is still something you could have avoided by logging on with enough time to solve any problems that arise before the deadline. Your teacher will appreciate and respect your preparedness, and it will likely impact your grades positively.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your instructor for help, but be reasonable and responsible about it. If you log on the day before and see that the place where you are supposed to turn in your assignment is locked or unavailable, send your teacher an email so that they can help you submit your paper before it is due. Just don’t expect them to help you in the middle of the night, on a weekend, or minutes before an assignment is due. Some instructors might, but you are just lucky at that point. If you prepare and give yourself time to turn in an assignment, you don’t have to count on getting lucky about whether or not your professor is sitting at their computer and available to help you at the very moment you email them.
Your Teacher or Professor
When writing a research paper for a teacher or professor, it is important to step back and think about why they asked you to write this essay in the first place. More than likely, they are giving you an opportunity to learn something. Learning often involves trial-and-error, making mistakes, and asking lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask a question; in fact, don’t be afraid to ask your instructor lots of questions! However, do remember to be respectful of them, their time, and efforts. It is important to follow any directions that you have been given by your teacher or professor, to take responsibility and not expect them to do your work for you, and to listen to the answers and advice they share with you. Working with your teacher and asking them for help is an often overlooked resource when it comes to writing research papers. Be sure to take advantage of this help; your paper will be all the better for it.
Another often-overlooked resource is the research librarian. Did you know that, in addition to tons of books and online materials, college and university libraries often have staff whose job it is to help answer your questions? Research librarians specialize in research (it might sound obvious, but take a second to get excited about how much this could help you and your research paper!). These librarians usually specialize in particular fields and subjects, so you can get specific, expert help that pertains to your topic. They can help you search for resources, connect you with experts in the field your researching, or give you suggestions about the direction of your research and writing.
In addition to research librarians, many college and university libraries often house writing centers. While research librarians can help you more with your research, writing center staff can help you actually write your research paper. You can usually schedule an online or in-person appointment with a tutor or instructor that will help you through any step of the writing process. You might want to visit a writing center early on as you develop the concept for your paper, in the middle as you struggle to think of how to discuss one of your key points, or right before you turn in your paper to be sure it’s in near-perfect shape before it goes to your professor for a grade. Many professors even give you extra credit for taking advantage of writing center services. Win-win!
As mentioned earlier in this guide, you can use Wikipedia for introductory research. But, because Wikipedia articles can be edited by anyone and therefore aren’t 100% credible, your professor will likely frown on citing it as a source for your research paper. So, do not use Wikipedia as a primary source for your research paper. When it comes to writing research papers, the references section of a Wikipedia page is one of your best friends. Just like you should be citing your sources at the end of your research paper, Wikipedia articles link to their primary sources. You can use the list of references to find books, articles, and other material that can help you find reliable, relevant primary sources for use in your research.
Your instructor may require you to use peer-reviewed academic articles as some or all of the sources for your research paper. As a college student, you probably have access to a number of academic databases that you can use to find scholarly articles. If you are unsure of how to search for articles in an academic database, it’s worth asking your professor or a research librarian to help you learn. This skill will be a useful one to have, and you will be easily finding trustworthy, interesting sources in no time.
OWL at Purdue
This is not a nocturnal bird that lives at a university in Indiana, but rather the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University. This online resource offers a number of helpful writing materials, including information on how to cite sources, grammar rules, choosing a topic, and even how to write a research paper. You can search for specific help, or browse resources by category. This free website is a must-visit online resource when writing a college research paper.
Grammarly is like a super-powered spell checker. It’s a free Chrome extension that allows you to edit your writing. You can copy and paste your paper into the Grammarly editor and get spelling and grammar advice that is easy to implement. If you’re looking for additional help or want to use the software without leaving Microsoft Office, check out Grammarly Premium or Grammarly for Microsoft Office. However, it’s important to remember when using this software (or any spelling or grammar checker!) that it is a computer and therefore doesn’t always understand your writing. You need to go over each suggestion made by the software and make sure that it is indeed correcting an error or improving a sentence and not changing something that you meant to say. That being said, Grammarly is great at catching errors and provides easy-to-understand explanations of spelling and grammar suggestions so you can knowledgeably make changes to your research paper.
The Elements of Style — William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
Style guides may be mostly a thing of the past. You have probably used a spell checker or Googled where to put a comma, but you may never have opened a style guide. However, this book, The Elements of Style, has helpful advice and information about writing. If you are looking for guidance when it comes to editing your paper, picking up a copy of this book may be just what you need. The book consists of different sections, some with specific grammar and writing rules and definitions and others with general writing advice. One rule that is worth knowing, even if you don’t read The Elements of Style is Rule #17: “Omit needless words.” Keep that in mind as you edit your paper; it will help you craft a clear, strong, concise research paper that your teacher will enjoy reading (and even grading!).
Style Guides (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.)
You might feel like we keep saying this (we do . . . ), but it’s for a good reason: know what your research paper assignment is asking for. That is especially important when it comes to formatting your paper. There are several different formatting styles and each has specific rules and guidelines. The main three are MLA, APA, and Chicago. Your instructor likely gave you instructions on which style to use, and if not you can ask which they prefer. Each style has a different name for the list of sources you attach at the end of your paper, different rules about headers and page numbers, etc. Many teachers will deduct points from your grade if you don’t adhere to the style they have asked you to for your research paper; some teachers may not accept the paper at all. You can find more information about whatever style you are working with in a style guide or from OWL at Purdue.
If you are crafting a paper from scratch, start by reading through the above steps to learn how to write a strong research paper. If you have already written a paper, go over this checklist to ensure that it is ready to turn in.
- Does your paper fulfill all of the requirements that the assignment asked for? (If not, or if you are unsure, look back at Step 1.)
- Did you stick to a topic that fits the assignment? (Reference Step two as you think through topic selection.)
- Are your sources credible, reliable, and logical? (Look at Steps three and four for help reflecting on your research.)
- Do you have a clear, arguable thesis statement? (For help with thesis statements, take a look at Step 5.)
- Is your paper organized in a logical way that is easy to understand? (When thinking about outline and structure, see Step 6.)
- Did you plagiarize? (If you have any doubts, check out Step 7.)
- Did you proofread for content and grammar improvements and errors? (See Steps eight and nine for more information about proofreading and editing.)
- Is your paper properly formatted? (See Step one and check out the resources section for information about being sure your paper is formatted correctly.)
- Are you prepared to submit correctly? (Read Step 10 for a few last pieces of advice before you turn in your research paper.)
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Stanford University School of Medicine blog
Who’s on first? Duking out scientific paper authorship order
It's been over 80 years, but Abbott and Costello's famous comedic skit " Who's on First" lives on in our collective memories. Their increasingly ridiculous conversation about baseball and the name of the player on first base can still reliably produce a giggle in many circles.
But in the lab , questions about order can be anything but a laughing matter -- particularly when it comes to the list of authors on a scientific paper. Many nonscientists don't realize that, traditionally, the most important places on the roster are the first -- indicating the person who conceived of and performed most of the research discussed in the paper -- and the last -- a hallowed place reserved for the senior scientist in whose laboratory the research was conducted.
In the biomedical research world, having many "first authorship" papers is largely seen as an indication of a scientist's skill and tenacity; researchers with many "senior authorship" papers often garner a reputation of strong leadership and high productivity.
But as the National Institutes of Health and other funders increasingly reward collaborative research, and scientific projects grow more complex, determining authorship order is becoming less clear. Some are even venturing outside the lab to do so.
Authorship smash down
Recently Stanford researcher Garry Nolan , PhD, tweeted about an unconventional way two researchers in his laboratory who had each contributed equally to a study decided who should be listed first on the print version of the paper.
The researchers, graduate students Bokai Zhu and Yunhao Bai , played three games of Mario Kart's Super Smash Bros. ; the winner, Bai, was awarded top billing, and was permitted to list himself as the first author on his resume (called a curriculum vitae , or CV, in science circles). A footnote to the authorship list notes that Zhu and Bai contributed equally to the paper's contents and can consider themselves co-first authors on their CVs.
"All the important results are already in the paper itself . We thought, why not use this opportunity to have some fun?" Zhu said, in a recent conversation with my colleague Lisa Kim for her new video series " 90 seconds with Lisa Kim ."
"As science has become more multidisciplinary and collaborative, it becomes more difficult to determine who should receive credit for a group's findings," Nolan said. "It's not unusual for a scientific paper to have a dozen or more authors from multiple labs or institutions, and assigning authorship order becomes increasingly difficult."
In response, scientists like Zhu and Bai are becoming more creative. As on their paper, footnotes are increasingly used in print or online versions of a study to indicate authors (both first and last) who contributed equally to the paper's findings. "There's also a movement toward agreeing that each co-first or co-last author may list themselves as first or last author on their own CV," Nolan said.
Agreeing to ... agree
But as long as the "first or last" rubric remains, researchers are going to have to come to ways to agree. Much hinges on the ability of the authors to collaboratively decide whose careers could benefit the most from the extra boost. Sometimes that might mean that a lab leader cedes last authorship to a senior lab member who will soon be launching a job hunt, or for a postdoctoral researcher to allow a soon-to-graduate PhD student to list themselves first.
"To me, a key purpose of an academic institution is to advance the careers of your students, teach them the ways of science, and hopefully impart some wisdom while also doing important scientific work," Nolan said. "If a funding institution is going to demand cooperation and collaboration, we as scientists need to adapt. Right now, it depends on people being gracious."
Or, perhaps, a friendly video game smackdown? Maybe next time they'll play Mario Super Sluggers , instead!
Photo by Ryan Quintal
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Lastly, there was the fugitive slave clause in Article 4 Section 2: “No Person held to Service or Labor in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.” This is saying that if a slave escapes into another state, even a free one, it has to be returned to the person they work for. This is pro-slavery because it’s supporting the slave owners in retrieving their escaped slaves. It is preventing the slaves from becoming free; it is guaranteeing that they stay slaves.
The Constitution Dbq
This Act was not included in the Constitution so the issue was forced onto the government to try and solve, which would later cause some exceeding tension with decisions made. Popular soverignty was big on the deciding factor in whether or not slavery would prevail in the states. While a majority of the Northern states and new decided on not having slavery due to the decision as a whole, the South was unhappy with this and asked for tighter laws to persecute runaway slaves. In reference to the Fugitive Slave Law, Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, "As soon as the Constitution ordans an immoral law, it ordains disunion...The Union is at an end as soon as an immoral law is enacted" (Doc D) which highlights the fact that what the politicians had done was against the moral insight of most of the country. Yet another citizen, William Lloyd Garrison who was active in the abolitionist movement, stated " “The Constitution which subjects them [slaves] to hopeless bondage is one that we cannot swear to support”
Manifest Destiny Problems
The North and South were already divided prior to the surge of exploration and conquering known as Manifest Destiny, which was largely fueled by new inventions, such as trains and the telegraph. The North had an economy quite contrary to that of the South. The North was industrializing, and the industry was quickly booming, producing many goods and boosting the North’s’ economy. The South, on the other hand, depended on its constant, slow, agricultural growth. This divide was dwarfed by the main problem that was always a challenge for the United States to deal with. Manifest Destiny caused the United States to expand beyond its current borders, causing new problems and sectionalism that ultimately set the United States up for war.
To What Extent Was The Compromise Of 1850
(b) The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 - Stirred up a storm of opposition in the North. Northerners who aided the slave to escape were liable to heavy fines and jail sentences. Fugitive Slave Law was the most argumentable part of the Compromise of 1850 and caused many abolitionists to increase their efforts against slavery and also increased the Underground Railroad
Mississippi's Black Code Dbq
The “Black Codes” improved the lives of former slaves in the South in several ways; however, many of Mississippi’s Black Codes control the lives of African Americans extremely strictly. For example, in Section 1, African Americans are allowed to own land and may acquire personal property to the same extent of whites. Although the state gave former slaves civil rights, there were regulations to the laws. For instance, as the section continues, it states, “… the provisions of this section shall not allow any freedman, free negro, or mulatto to rent or lease any land except in cities or towns, in which places the local authorities shall control such matters.” This shows that the lives of African Americans were improving, however, at the same time, it was not improving were such laws in place.
Examples Of The Virginia Statute Of Religious Liberty
When we finally got our independence the people were scared. They were scared about how things would work. They were scared about how the newly formed government would protect the rights/liberties if its citizens.
Slavery Vs Tariffs
In the 1700’s, the Northern and Southern regions of the United States had developed two distinct economies. In the South, large plantations and farms owned by wealthy men growing cash crops such as cotton, tobacco, and indigo were responsible for the majority of the economy. These plantations and farms used slaves to substitute for the necessary labor as it was a much cheaper and more accessible alternative. Trade and business were predominantly conducted overseas with Great Britain and other European nations. Towards the North, however, people thrived off of a more diverse and industrial economy; some also worked as farmers, but more were merchants, bankers, and laborers who manufactured goods. With a larger working body, the North’s economy
Fugit Slave Act Research Paper
The Fugitive Slave Act was passed by U.S. Congress on September 18, 1850, as part of the Compromise of 1850 between Southern slave-holders and Northern free-soilers (people who worked to prevent slavery in the western territories). It was a law requiring that all escaped slaves be returned to their masters, upon capture. This included citizens of free states, who were expected to cooperate in this law. This law also imposed penalties on anyone who aided the escape of runaway slaves. By 1787, many Northern states had abolished slavery; this included Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Southern politicians began to fear that these new free states would become harbors for runaway slaves. Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, which was, in many ways, similar to the Fugitive Slave Clause, but included a more detailed description of how the law was to be put into play. More importantly, this law declared that slave owners had the right to search for escaped slaves within the borders of free states. By the mid-1800s, thousands of slaves had escaped to free states through networks like the Underground Railroad. With this, Southern politicians began to push for a heavier set of laws; Congress passed a revised Fugitive Slave Act in 1850. This new policy had much stricter rules
Fugitive Slave Law Abolition
One of the most controversial issues of the mid-nineteenth century was that of slavery. In September of 1850 the Fugitive Slave Law began as part of the Compromise of 1850, which provided for the return of runaway slaves to their owners. The Fugitive Slave Law caused a significant increase in abolitionist activity in the form of writing and riots. In response to the Fugitive Slave Law, common citizens starting backing the abolitionist movement with writing and text. As stated by the History Channels America: The Story of US, “Ordinary people were outraged by the new law...abolitionist newspapers and literature spread like wildfire.” (History). For example, anti-slavery magazines such as ‘The Slave’s friend’ were widely popular. Anger
Compromise Of Slavery
Much of America was overtaken by slavery for nearly two hundred and fifty years, dating back to the 1600’s in Jamestown, Virginia. In the 1850’s, slavery was widespread across the Southern states viewing blacks as inferior, which made the action morally acceptable in their eyes. Within the Compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act was established, allowing slave catchers to travel into free states to capture runaway slaves and stating that private citizens must assist in capturing the slaves or else they’d be fined or jailed. Harriet Beecher Stowe, American author and abolitionist, found the idea of taking part in such a wrongful system as the one that was put into effect by the compromise, to be completely immoral and wanted nothing to
The Purpose Of Slavery In The Constitution
Despite the fact that the Constitution did not employ the term “slavery”, Article IV provided for the return of persons who escaped from their masters “held to service or labor” such as fugitive slaves. After 20 years of the confirmation of the Constitution in 1808, Article I provided the end of the slave trade. Many questions were left non responsed by the Constitution, especially, about the statue of slavery in the new territories obtained by the United States. (ibid)
Analysis Of The Fugitive Slave Law Of 1850
(a) Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, stirred up a storm of opposition in the North. The fleeing slaves could not testify in their own behalf and they were denied a jury trial. The federal commissioner who handled the case of a fugitive would receive five dollars if the slaves were freed and ten dollars if not. Freedom-loving northerners who aided the slave to escape were liable to heavy fines and jail sentences and Northerns also considered the “Man-Stealing Law”. The North didn 't like the Fugitive slave law because they were against slavery and North states were free, but the South states were slaves and southerners dislike the Northern struggle to enforcing it; because they wanted their slaves returned. The Underground Railroad was becoming more
More about Prigg And Fugitives Research Paper
- United States
- American Civil War
- United States Constitution
- Slavery in the United States
- Southern United States
- DOI: 10.21070/prozima.v6i2.1566
- Corpus ID: 256125626
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Research on profit allocation of agricultural products co-delivery based on modified interval shapley value.
2. literature review, 3. research methods, 3.1. the influencing factors of joint distribution of benefits, 3.1.1. resource investment, 3.1.2. distribution operation, 3.1.3. risk taking, 3.2. profit distribution model based on multi-weight interval shapley value method is constructed, 3.2.1. initial shapley value method profit allocation model, 3.2.2. multi-weight interval shapley value method profit distribution model, 4. case study, 4.1. data exporting, 4.1.1. sharing the operating cost of the distribution site, 4.1.2. equipment costs, 4.1.3. vehicle expenses, 4.1.4. manpower costs, 4.1.5. risk cost, 4.1.6. other costs, 4.1.7. sharing distribution revenue, 4.2. initial profit allocation, 4.3. distribution of benefits after modification, 4.3.1. determine the weight of each influencing factor, 4.3.2. profit distribution of multi-weight interval shapley value method, 4.4. result analysis, 4.5. analysis of the impact of the change in distribution business volume, 5. conclusions, author contributions, institutional review board statement, informed consent statement, data availability statement, conflicts of interest.
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Share and Cite
Wang, C.; Zhou, Z.; Yu, X.; Chen, J.; Li, P.; Wang, Z. Research on Profit Allocation of Agricultural Products Co-Delivery Based on Modified Interval Shapley Value. Sustainability 2023 , 15 , 3303. https://doi.org/10.3390/su15043303
Wang C, Zhou Z, Yu X, Chen J, Li P, Wang Z. Research on Profit Allocation of Agricultural Products Co-Delivery Based on Modified Interval Shapley Value. Sustainability . 2023; 15(4):3303. https://doi.org/10.3390/su15043303
Wang, Chenglin, Zhicheng Zhou, Xiaohui Yu, Jintao Chen, Pengnan Li, and Ziqi Wang. 2023. "Research on Profit Allocation of Agricultural Products Co-Delivery Based on Modified Interval Shapley Value" Sustainability 15, no. 4: 3303. https://doi.org/10.3390/su15043303
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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.
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A complete research paper in APA style that is reporting on experimental research will typically contain a Title page, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, and References sections. 1 Many will also contain Figures and Tables and some will have an Appendix or Appendices.
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These steps will lead you through writing a research paper: One Big Mess... Developing a Research Question Developing a Research Thesis Thesis Characteristics Finding Sources Evaluating Sources Taking Notes Working with Quotations Writing Summaries & Paraphrases Building the Essay Draft Documenting Sources Documentation Formats
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RESEARCH TITLE Names in Alphabetical Order (Given Name, M.I, Surname) (Given Name, M.I, Surname) (Given Name, M.I, Surname) (SECTION STRAND) Research Paper in Practical Research 2 Senior High School Department National University, Fairview, Philippines Research Adviser Abstract Many papers in the social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering sciences follow IMRaD structure: their main ...
Method. This should be the easiest part of the paper to write, as it is a run-down of the exact design and methodology used to perform the research. Obviously, the exact methodology varies depending upon the exact field and type of experiment.. There is a big methodological difference between the apparatus based research of the physical sciences and the methods and observation methods of ...
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This list of electronics research paper topics provides the list of 30 potential topics for research papers and an overview article on the history of electronics. 1. Applications of Superconductivity. The 1986 Applied Superconductivity Conference proclaimed, ''Applied superconductivity has come of age.''. The claim reflected only 25 ...
Authorship. ORI Introduction to RCR: Chapter 9. Authorship and Publication. The names that appear at the beginning of a paper serve one important purpose. They let others know who conducted the research and should get credit for it. It is important to know who conducted the research in case there are questions about methods, data, and the ...
It describes the essence, the main theme of the paper. It includes the research question posed, its significance, the methodology, and the main results or findings. Footnotes or cited works are never listed in an abstract. Remember to take great care in composing the abstract. It's the first part of the paper the instructor reads.
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In the biomedical research world, having many "first authorship" papers is largely seen as an indication of a scientist's skill and tenacity; researchers with many "senior authorship" papers often garner a reputation of strong leadership and high productivity.
Prigg And Fugitives Research Paper. 156 Words1 Page. In northern states that strongly opposed slavery, laws were passed in order to undermine federal law; liberty laws placed the burden of proof on masters in cases concerning alleged fugitive slaves. Such law was enacted in Pennsylvania in 1826, requiring state certification before alleged ...
The purpose of this research is to build an order information system using the DFD method and apply the design of an online ordering information system at UD Brandan Donuts (WEB). The research uses the data flow diagram (DFD) method to design the system flow and uses the implementation of a software program, Xampp in designing a website (WEB).
In this paper, B, C, and D, the three large and representative logistics enterprises in the joint distribution alliance led by the black dealer enterprise (A), are selected as the research objects, and the joint distribution business of the four enterprises within a fixed time is selected for calculation and analysis in order to realize the ...