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Steps to a High Quality Paper: Learning the Basic Structure of an Essay

When you are writing an essay, the structure of your essay varies based on the type of essay you are writing. There are many formats of writing a research paper. Some of these methods are: APA, Harvard, Turbian and Chicago among others. APA is the most commonly used styles. Many schools and institutions have adopted it as the reference method. It was developed to help in psychology papers though today even scientists are using it. APA stands for American Psychology Association. The following are the most important parts that should be included in a research paper.

  • Cover page
  • Abstract (also known as executive summary)
  • Introduction
  • Background of the study (it includes the literature review).
  • Body
  • Conclusion
  • Reference page
  • Appendix

If on the other hand you are writing an experimental research, you might decide to include the following sections. Remember that different schools have their own requirements when writing a report.

  • Cover Page (this includes a specific format adopted by the school).
  • Executive summary (abstract).
  • Table of Contents (TOC).
  • Introduction.
  • Literature review
  • Method of study also known as methodology.
  • Results
  • Explanation (or discussion).
  • Conclusion.
  • Recommendations.
  • References
  • Appendix

Citations are very important in any report. This is simply because with a report, you are not allowed to provide your own opinion. You are supposed to use other people’s materials to make your argument strong. If a particular writer disagrees with your hypothesis, you should show what he said. If he agrees with your statement, you should also include it to make your argument strong. Therefore, in-text citations should be used in accordance to the set guidelines in the APA manual which can be found online. All authors who are included in the in-text citations should be referenced in the reference page. You should also double check with the APA manual on the best way to reference tables, charts and figures so that you can abide in the rules. You don’t need to do lose marks because of simple mistakes which can easily be avoided. If you have used figures, tables and abbreviations as is common with many researches, you need to provide a list of these items in the beginning of the report. If you don’t understand how to go about it, you can refer to your tutor who will offer you an explanation of what to do. You should not do a report without consulting your tutor.

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