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MISST Subject Guide: Paper Organization

This guide provides resources on writing papers, using databases, and citing sources.

Parts of a Research Paper

1. Introduction

This can be the most difficult part of writing. Some students find that it's best to write the introduction last. Your introduction should contain:

  • An opening to capture your reader's interest.
  • Your research question.
  • The thesis statement with your arguments.

A good introduction is a road map for your readers. It will tell your readers exactly what will be in your paper.


2. Thesis Statement

The last one or two sentences of your introduction. This tells your reader exactly what you will be focusing on in your paper.

For example:

"At least 25 percent of the federal budget should be spent on helping upgrade business to clean technologies, researching renewable energy sources, and planting more trees in order to control or eliminate pollution."

This statement tells us that the paper will discuss why the federal budget should be spent on upgrading businesses, researching energy sources, and planting trees.

3. Body Paragraphs

Each paragraph should have a topic sentence, a quote or a paraphrase, your analysis of how the quote relates to your argument, and a transition to the next paragraph.

               1. A topic sentence is the first sentence of the paragraph. It tells the reader what the paragraph is about.

               2. After the topic sentence, quote or paraphrase one of your sources. Include an introduction to the quote.

               3. Your paragraph should contain your analysis of this quote and explain how it relates to your thesis.

               4. Your last sentence should be a transition to the next paragraph.

4. Conclusion

The conclusion should not repeat the introduction or the thesis statement. It should tell your reader why the topic is important. Do not just restate the points in the thesis. Show how all of the points relate to each other.

5. References Page

A list of all of your references in APA format.


Example Student Paper