Guide To Research Paper Format – Structure, Styles And More

Do you often find yourself buried in academic work without the ability to meet your teacher’s individual requirements? University is very demanding and this is a common struggle. Writing a research paper is a serious task that requires the highest attention to detail. Not only should your arguments be logical and well founded in facts, but the formatting is another critical component. Whether you have a lack of time, motivation or just aren’t sure how to put together a research paper, we at PapersOwl are here to help. Below you’ll find an extensive research paper guide to format your assignment along with the peculiarities of the common style guides to ensure you hand in your work with the confidence of getting a good grade.  

What is a research paper format?

In the quest for your diploma you’ve certainly come across many methods to structure your work. So if you’re asking the structure for a research paper or essay we’ll show you how they differ in their academic paper format. While a standard essay will have an introduction, conclusion, and a body your work will differ to accommodate a scientific study.

Know how to structure your paper

  • 12-point Times New Roman
  • 0″ between paragraphs
  • 1″ margin all around
  • double spaced (275 words/page) / single-spaced (550 words/page)
  • 0.5″ first line of a paragraph
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PapersOwl editors can also format your paper according to your specific requirements.

Right Structure

What is the proper research paper setup?

The outline for research paper, is specific to academic work and requires set standards so other scientists can reference your work for their own initiatives. As a result your research paper outline should also follow suit to ensure you meet the expectations of your field of study. So let’s take a look at the research paper structure.

Title page

Your title page identifies who you are, where you study, and what the topic of your paper is about. Here it is essential to create an interesting title for your research essay that is short and gives insight to the contents of your work. The reader should be able to quickly determine if your text is useful so that they can move onto the abstract.   

It should be noted that different citation styles have their own requirements for writing a paper. Our guide on writing a research paper details how to structure the title page. For more information on formatting specifics, scroll down to the how to’s for your reference.   


Your abstract is much like the back cover of a novel. In this section you should give a synopsis of your work in a succinct way that tells the story of your research. You state why you conducted your study, how it is important, and state a few key findings of your work – all in 200 words or less.


After your title and abstract interests your reader, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty. Developing a strong introduction is key to getting a high grade. If you want your teachers to look favorably on your work, write a good hook to garner interest. Show that your work is serious with a fascinating quote or a surprising figure that will beg for an answer. You can then draft a thesis statement to declare your position on your topic.

Research formatting body

This is where your research paper format outline really comes into play to deliver strong results. With the right preparation you can organize your ideas and ensure each topic gets the attention it deserves. You’ll easily be able to spot any weaknesses and open ending questions in your paper. Take this guidance to develop compelling arguments, as well any counter-arguments with your studies. As you develop your paper you’ll find a central tendency for your paper to follow. Start the body with a lead in from your introduction. Your initial paragraphs should be wide in scope and narrow down on sub-topics as the reader journeys through your work.


The grand finale of your work. Go out with a bang summarizing the main components of your work and drive home a call to action. Many students wrap up their papers with a weak conclusion. But with the right organization, a powerful conclusion should almost write itself. Be sure not to introduce any new concepts, although, part of a call to action could state areas for future research.

What are the different formats of research paper?

Scientific work comes from many disciplines and is not only limited to lab work. While many biologists and engineers conduct research, there are also social sciences such as psychology and business. As a result several academic writing standards have evolved to accommodate the needs of many spheres. So whether you need a sociology paper outline in ASA or buy marketing research paper in APA, here is a hit list of the common styles you’ll find in academia. When you get your assignment be sure to ask your teacher the citation format and follow these guidelines.


This style is popular in social sciences such as psychology and business. The primary feature of the APA style is to include what is known as a running head. This part is a type of header at the top of each paper. It will include an abbreviated title of the work as well as the page number. On the title page of an APA paper, you will prefix this heading with the words Running head for identification. The title page will include your paper’s full title in the absolute center and followed by your name and institution, also centered. APA requires 1” margins all around and the use of a 12pt font – Times New Roman is default. Citations can be inline indicating the author’s name and year of the publication. All cited works are included in a references list at the end of your paper.


When writing for the humanities, this format is almost guaranteed. It does not require a running head like APA, but does mandate the use of a legible font, again a 12pt Times New Roman font is recommended. For citations, MLA requires the author’s name as well as the page to find the citation. A list of all citations in your paper will appear at the end in a bibliography. Also, the first word of each paragraph should be indented an additional 1/2” in addition to the required 1” margins on all sides.  


ASA formatting is very similar to APA. It includes a running head in the same format as well as a similar setup for the title page. However, it diverges where it recommends a 12pt Arial font. You’ll also need to include a word-count of your text (including any footnotes and the bibliography). This style is also more liberal with margins, requiring 1 and 1/4” on both sides.


With the Chicago style, you should use a 12pt Times New Roman font throughout. Like MLA place 1” margins on all sides and the start of new paragraphs should have an additional 1/2” indent. On the title page, do not use any bold or italics and also include your professor’s name. Chicago makes use of footnotes, which should be numbered as they are used and a full list at the end of the publication should also be included.


This style shares many features from Chicago, where it was derived. The citation format makes use of notes and bibliography citations. Notes are the same as footnotes in the aforementioned style whereas bibliography are cited works. In line references use the author date method enclosed in apprentices. This style does not mandate a specific font but does state it should be easily legible. The title page should indicate the main title and subtitle dead center and the course, name and date centered at the bottom. This format also mandates 1” margins on all sides.

Need qualified writer for research paper?

Scientific work is some of the most demanding work students face but can be the most interesting and rewarding. Often times the rules of how to do things can be a hurdle to enjoying your academic life. For this, you can follow these tips to properly structure your papers so you don’t risk failing. Or if you’re in a bind, reach out to our writers who are always ready to help you out.

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