What Is the Structure of an Academic Paper?

It is 3 am, you have just finished your fifth cup of coffee, and you dully stare at your laptop. You still have ten more pages of your research paper to write and no mental capacity to do it. Finally, you ask yourself, “Why have I done this to myself?”

A bit dramatic, huh? But we all have been in this sort of situation. Procrastinating complex tasks you don’t know how to start is totally normal. And there is only one way to overcome it: breaking down your monstrous task into smaller units.

In your academic papers, you also have to come up with a clear structure. To help you out, we have gathered the most common building blocks of research papers. In this article, we will give you insights into what you should write in each of them.

Stay tuned!

Before You Start Working on Your Academic Paper

Student life comes hand in hand with many activities you want to try and assignments that were due yesterday. So, time management, as well as prioritization, are of utmost importance during your studies.

It is also a good idea to delegate tasks that you don’t have time to perform to experts. For example, an essay writing service EssayHub is a platform where you can get your academic papers completed by professional writers. So, do not miss such an opportunity.

However, if you have an essential assignment that your studies depend on, it is time to start.

No matter what the specific requirements of your university are, your paper still needs a clear structure. The structure depends on the type of writing (essay, research paper, etc.)

However, the vast majority of academic writings adhere to the model called IMRAD. This is an acronym that comprises an introduction, methods & materials, results, discussion, and conclusions. Also, your research paper should include the aim and research question, but these blocks are highly specific for each and every piece of academic writing.

So, we will focus on building blocks within the IMRAD model in more detail.


An introduction is aimed at making your research interesting for others. Thus, make sure that your intro corresponds to the following requirements:

  • it starts with the general context: you should lead a reader to your specific topic gradually rather than start from your research questions;
  • it provides all critical information that is required to understand the importance of your research aim;
  • it explains what is to be done and what results you expect to get.

Some researchers place the aim and research questions after the introduction. However, it is also acceptable to place these building blocks before your intro. No matter what option you choose, the following aspect you need to pay attention to is your methods and materials.

Methods and Materials

In this section, you should indicate how you have carried out your research. What was done to achieve your aim and find answers to your research questions?

After going through your methods and materials section, your reader should clearly understand how you got your results. For instance, write that you base your research on a series of interviews and their analysis. Indicate how you came up with the question list and what analysis method you use. However, do not go into too much detail: your readers do not need to know how many times you went to the library.

The analysis stage is the link between the methods and materials section and the results section. So, let’s figure out what you should write in the results block.


The results section presents the outcomes of your research without interpreting them. The research questions will help you write this section: present your findings on each question you posed earlier. Such an approach will make your text consistent and coherent.

It is also a good idea to add tables and charts to the result section to visualize the results and make them more understandable.


This section is probably the most important in your research paper. Here, you should analyze all your previous findings.

It is a good idea to keep these questions in mind while writing the discussion chapter.

  • What do the results of your research imply?
  • How could the method affect the results?
  • What are the key strengths and weaknesses of your research? How did they affect the results?
  • How can your results influence future developments in the field?
  • What research should be conducted in your field in the future, and why?


During writing this chapter, you have to ensure that all the sections of your paper are logically connected. The conclusions section is not, however, a repetition of your results and findings. You can arrange it as a reflection of your introduction. In the introduction, you indicate what you want to do, and in the conclusion, you show how you succeeded.

Such an approach helps tie your paper together and logically guide your reader from your expectations to your actual results.

Wrapping Up

The clear structure is of prime importance when it comes to writing a thorough research paper. So, keep in mind the information you should indicate in the introduction, methods & materials, results, discussion, and conclusion sections. Make sure that all the parts are logically connected and present all the critical data to make your aim understandable.

Good luck with your research paper!

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