Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Notes on Research Paper Format

For those doing quantitative research, use the following format:

Literature Cited

Section Headings

Main Section Headings:all caps, centered, at the beginning of the section, and double spaced from the lines above and below. Do no underline the section heading ot put a colon at the end.

Subheadings: first letter capitalized, left justified, bold italics


The title should be centered at the top of the page (do not use a title page).
The author's name and institutional affiliation are double-spaced form and centered below the title.


Kuan: Bamboo Art Installation Using Guerilla Approach 

Romuel Aloizues Zuniga Apuya
Humanities Division, University of the Philippine Cebu


Summarizes in one paragraph the major aspects of the entire paper.

Order of information of your abstract:

1. State the purpose in the first or second sentence.
2. Describe the basic methodology without excessive detail.
3. Report the major findings such as key quantitative results or trends
4. Sate the implication or application of your findings.

Use past tense. Maximum length should be 200-300 words, in a single paragraph, should not contain abbreviations, illustrations, figures, tables, etc.


Your introduction should answer the following questions:

  • What was I studying?
  • Why was it an important question?
  • What did we know about it before I did the study?
  • How will this study advance our knowledge?

Order of information of your introduction:

  1. Begin your introduction by identifying the subject area of interest. 
  2. Provide a brief review of pertinent literature--contains a general review of the primary research literature (with citations) but should not include very specific explanations that you will probably discuss greater in the discussion. 
  3. State the purpose or hypothesis thate you investigated--avoid using words "hypothesis" or "null hypothesis." Use pat statements like, "the purpose of this study was to . . ." or "We investigated three possible mechanisms to explain the . . ."
  4. State the rationale of your approach to the problem studied--why did you choose this kind of research design or method? Do not discuss the actual techniques. 


Explains how you carried out your study.

Use the past tense.The methods section is not a step-by-step, directive, protocol as you might see in your lab manual.

For those who adopted an experimental design, please follow the order of information for your methods:

  1. Describe the organism(s) used in the study--how and where they were collected, size, how they were handled before the experiment 
  2. For laboratory studies you need not report the date and location of the study unless it is relevant. If you have performed experiments at a particular location or lab because it is the only place to do it, then you should note that in your methods and identify the lab or facility. 
  3. Describe the protocol for your study in sufficient detail so that other scientist can repeat your work. When using standard lab or field methods and instrumentation, it is not necessary to explain the procedures or equipment used since other scientist are already familiar with them. You may want to identify certain equipment by vendor name and brand or category if it is not found in most labs. When using a method described in another published source, save time and words by providing the relevant citation source. 
  4. Describe how the data were summarized and analyzed. 


Objectively present your key results

Begins with text, reporting the key results and referring to your figures and tables as you proceed.

Use the past tense. Avoid repetitive paragraph structures.Do not interpret your data here.

Tables and Figures Formatting:

  • Tables and figures are assigned numbers and in the sequence that your refer to them in the text. 
    • The first table your refer is Table 1, the next is Table 2, and so forth. 
  • Each table or figure must include a brief description of the results presented and other necessary information in a legend. 
    • Table legends go above the table. 
    • Figure legends go below the figure.

When referring to a figure from the text, "Figure" is abbreviated as "Fig." For example, Fig. 1. Table is never abbreviated.

The body of the results section is text-based presentation of the key findings--they might include obvious trends, important references, similarities, correlations, maximums, minimumns, etc.

Do not reiterate each value from a Figure or Table.

Do not report raw data when they can be summarized as means, percents, etc.


Interprets your results in light of what was already known about the subject of the investigation, and to explain our new understanding of the problem.

Questions the discussion section needs to answer:
  • Do your results provide answers to your hypotheses?
  • Do your findings agree or contradict with previous studies? 
  • What is your new understanding of the problem you investigated?
  • What would be the next step in your study? 
  • Do not waste entire sentences restating your results. If you need to remind the reader of the result, make sure that it leads or is the introductory phrase to your interpretation. 
Relate your work to the findings of other studies.

Literature Cited

Gives an alphabetical listing (by the first author's last name) of references that you actually cited in your paper.

Do not label this section as "bibliography." A bibliography contains references that you may have read but have not specifically cited in the text.


Contains the information that is non-essential to understanding the paper.

Each appendix should identified by a Roman numeral in sequence. For example "Apenndix I," "Appendix II," and so forth. Each appendix should contain a different material.

Material that might be put in an appendix:
  • questionnaire
  • maps
  • photographs
  • explanation of formulas
  • specialized computer programs
  • full generic names of chemicals or compounds
  • diagrams of specialized apparati
  • Figures and tables, should be numbered in a separate sequence from those found in the body of the paper. 
Source: http://abacus.bates.edu/~ganderso/biology/resources/writing/HTWsections.html

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