Professor V. Torres
RESEARCH PAPER FORMAT GUIDE
The format of a research paper can vary, given the nature of the study and the discipline. The format that will be
required in my courses for research papers is the following:
I. INTRODUCTION. The introduction provides a brief, but clear, description of the research topic. What is the
general area of research? Why is the topic of interest? What are the core questions that are of concern to researchers
and/or a specific community? What makes the topic and the questions of importance to researchers and/or policy
makers? What is/are your hypothesis(es)? [3/4 page to 1 PAGE]. The questions posed here are only to serve as
guidance , to get you thinking about the type of information that should be included – DO NOT SIMPLY
ANSWER THE QUESTIONS IN YOUR INTRODUCTION.
II. RESEARCH & LITERATURE REVIEW. Who are a few of the major researchers and what are some of the
major studies in the general area of your research interest? What is the nature of the research that has been done and
what are the questions that these researchers are seeking to answer? Is there a debate over answers and research
methods in your specific research area of interest? How do you wish to frame your study? [2.5-3 PAGES]. DO NOT
SIMPLY CUT AND PASTE YOUR ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY. You can use sections of your annotated
bibliography, but you must organize them in a coherent and cohesive manner.
III. RE-STATEMENT OF YOUR CORE QUESTIONS AND HYPOTHESIS(ES).
Re-state and elaborate your core questions, i.e., the questions that will guide your research. State and explain the
hypothesis(es) or propositions (i.e., what do you expect to find and why) that can answer these core questions. [1
paragraph to 1/2 -1 PAGE]
IV. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND STRATEGY.
How do you plan to carry out your research project? What data bases/sources are available to carry out your
research? What kind of data will you collect (Qualitative vs. Quantitative)? What research tools will be utilized (i.e.,
surveys, interviews, census, archival, observations, etc.)? What are the steps to be taken and the timeline within
which the data collection will be complete? How will you analyze your data? [1/4 - 1/2 page PAGES]
What did you find? In this section report your raw data. Provide the statistical data, charts, tables, diagrams, quotes,
etc. [2-3 PAGES]
VI. DATA ANALYSIS/DISCUSSION.
What do your results mean? What is the general picture that emerges from the data? This is the section where you
analyze (interpret) your raw data; i.e., make sense of the data. Discuss your research questions and hypothesis(es) in
relation to your findings. Were your questions answered? Do the data support your hypothesis? How or why not?
Provide a synopsis of your research project. Re-state your core questions and hypothesis(es) and discuss them in
relation to the literature and to your results. What are some of the implications of your results and conclusion(s) (for
both the existing research field and for the public policy arena) ? What were some of the limitations of your research
project? How can future studies approach this research problem/question(s)? [1 PAGE].
Place any charts, diagrams, tables, etc. or other material that you think may be useful or of interest to the reader.
[NOT PART OF THE REQUIRED NUMBER OF PAGES]
Provide a complete bibliography that includes some of the major studies that have been conducted in your particular
research area; relevant data bases/sources; and any other material that you consulted for your research project.[NO
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