• Conclusion

        Some types of papers, such reviews of other written works, end with a Conclusion section. In a review-type text, your Conclusion should summarize the main points of the reviewed material, as well as the main points from your own evaluation of that material. Your Conclusion should summarize your thesis statement and main supporting points without repeating them word for word.

        In longer works such as theses, it is possible for each chapter to have its own Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion sections. In such theses, you can use a Conclusion chapter or section to summarize the entire work. A Conclusion can also point to further topics for discussion that are related to the thesis statement, or perhaps give suggestions for future research.

        In the Conclusion, you should avoid bringing up new information, nor should you repeat sentences word by word from the rest of the text. Focus instead on the overall arguments.

      • Discussion

        The Discussion section is perhaps the most important section of a research paper. Here, one should recapitulate the major results (without repeating them all), and discuss the implications of these results – that is, discuss what these results mean for the field of study. The Discussion section should also point out what the strengths (and limitations) of the study were. The Discussion should sum up the study and situate it in the context of other related studies in the same field. A good way to end a Discussion in a student paper is to point out areas of further study, such as in a Future Work section.

      • Disposition

        In some longer student texts, it can be useful to describe the text’s organizational structure. Writing out a text’s structure tells the reader what to expect, and gives the writer a chance to motivate the overall organization. This disposition is usually found at the end of the Introduction.

      • Feedback / Review

        In an academic setting, you are not expected to take a text at face value, but rather to evaluate and critique it. Your evaluation sometimes means giving feedback directly to the author, which often takes the form of writing a peer review. Being able to evaluate a text depends on your critical reading skills; learning how to translate that evaluation into a written response depends upon understanding the difference between critiquing (which is the point of feedback) and criticizing (which is not the point of feedback).

        Whereas criticizing means that you focus on pointing out things you consider negative in an essay, critiquing involves providing a reflective evaluation that brings up both strengths and aspects that could need revision.

        The exact focus of your feedback may vary according to the assignment at hand, but useful constructive feedback is always clear, focused, and coherent. Be sure to mention both the strong points of the text, as well as points that could be improved. Make sure you give specific examples from the text so as to make it easier for the writer to understand your comments.

      • Future work

        For many types of papers, especially research papers, or papers in applied fields like engineering, it’s a good idea to explicitly describe the implications of the work, that is, what the next steps of this study could be. Often this description can be emphasized by being set off in its own section. This future work section is almost always part of the Discussion section, either as part of a more general conclusion section, or it may be used instead of a formal Conclusion section.

      • Introduction

        The Introduction minimally contains background information and a statement of the purpose; in some fields, the questions to be addressed, as well as the boundaries of the research, are also mentioned.

        The most common way to structure an introduction is to start out by setting the topic of the text in the larger context. This background information is then followed by a statement of the purpose of the essay, which is sometimes expressed as a thesis statement. The research questions may be explicitly set out.

        After having read the introduction, the reader should understand what the purpose of your study is. That is, what it is that you aim to do in this study.

        After having read the introduction, the reader should also understand why your study is worthwhile. Explaining the relevance of your study is sometimes called answering the “so what?” question. That is, you have to explain to the reader why she should care about your study. What is the point of this study? How does this study contribute to our general knowledge and to the research field?

        The Introduction as a whole is usually written in the present tense, although a review of background material may be written in past tense.

      • Limitations

        In some fields, and in some types of reports, it is common practice to lay out the limitations or boundaries of the research. In some types of work, such as student papers, these limitations are often listed in a sub-section of the Introduction section. Limitations often include a critique of source material, and they may also contain a warning for the reader not to over-interpret results or apply those results to an unrelated field or study.

      • Materials

        A Materials section should report the primary sources of information used during the course of the research. In the sciences, this section includes chemicals and machinery employed by the experimental methods, and is therefore usually reported as a combined Materials and Methods section. In some cases Materials may be a separate section, but if a list of the sources used for the research is long and complicated, these materials are often listed as an Appendix.

      • Methods

        The Methods section describes the means by which the research was conducted; that is to say, it describes how the empirical information was gathered. A Methods section can also explain the theory upon which the research was based, and describe how this theoretical approach was put into practice. When applicable, this section should also include information about ethical considerations. The Methods section is usually written in the past tense.

        In the sciences, the methods used should be described in enough detail for the reader to be able to replicate the research. This section usually also lists the materials used in the experiments, and therefore a combined Materials and Methods section is often used.

      • Methods and Results

        In computer sciences, a Methods section is often broken into two parts, namely theory (often mathematical algorithms) and implementation (how those algorithms were used). Because experimental results in this field are often simply the outcome of the implementation, a Results section sometimes follows immediately after the implementation is described.

        Methods in a computer science paper should not simply be a list of different approaches that either worked or did not work; in general, you should describe only the method(s) that worked. For Results, full code should not be reported; rather, use explanatory diagrams or code snippets. Failed approaches, secondary results, or raw code (if appropriate for the assignment) can be reported in an Appendix.

      • Proposal

        For some text types, such as designs for future studies or class projects, writers are asked submit a proposal. A proposal is much like an Introduction in three ways: 1) it should explain the problem to be solved, 2) it should set the proposed research into a larger context, and 3) it should demonstrate why the proposed study is worthwhile. The proposed project may be carried out in reality, in which case the proposal is written before the study is conducted, and it will therefore be written (at least partly) in the future tense.

      • Research questions

        The question or questions motivating the research should always be stated in a research paper. These questions might be asked in running text, for example in a Statement of Purpose section, or they could form a separate subsection of the Introduction. For the writer, listing the research questions can be a useful tool for structuring the paper and helping to maintain focus while writing. In turn, being able to see the exact questions helps readers form their expectations for the text.

        In experimental sciences, the explicit hypotheses (that is, the predicted results of specific experiments) can also be stated. These hypotheses could all be given in the Introduction, or they could be given before describing individual experiments, depending on the length and type of text.

      • Response/rebuttal to feedback/peer review

        In an academic setting, one is not expected to take a text at face value, but rather to evaluate it. Such an evalution should in turn be acknowledged by the original author, and after receiving a peer review, one is often expected to submit a response to the evaluation. Like writing itself, responding appropriately to feedback is a skill to be practiced and learned.

        A response to a peer review should explicitly address any concerns mentioned. You may disagree with a particular concern and you are free to say so (that is, you may rebut the reviewer’s claims), but if that is the case, you should also present a convincing argument as to why you disagree. At the same time, your response should be respectfully written. In a professional context, a well-written response to peer review can make the difference between a contribution being accepted for publication, or not.

      • Statement of purpose

        A statement of purpose presents the purpose, scope, and direction of the text. It indicates what the specific focus of the text will be, but, unlike the thesis statement, it does not present the conclusions drawn from the study. The statement of purpose usually, but not always, appears towards the end of the introduction. Such a statement may also be introduced by words like aims, goals, or contributions.

        The aim of this study is to examine the use of irony in John Henry’s novel The Muskets of Fort Ticonderoga.

        The main purpose of the paper is to analyse Viking Age runic artefacts and to classify artefacts and inscriptions by means of applying a gender perspective.

      • Summary

        The Summary is a short description of another text, in which the text’s central ideas are identified. In some fields, and for some shorter assignments such as Lab Reports, a Summary may take the place of an Abstract, and be presented at or near the beginning of the text. A longer, more formal work like a thesis may have both an Abstract (at the beginning) and a Summary (at the end).

        A Summary is a short description of a text’s central ideas. A Summary may be a stand-alone text or one or more summaries may be given as part of a larger text; for example, a long text like a thesis may have a Summary for each chapter. A thesis can have both an abstract (at the beginning) and a Summary (usually at the end). For some types of texts (for example, lab reports), a Summary may have been assigned instead of an abstract. A Summary can in theory be of nearly any length (for instance, it could be a one-sentence review to start a chapter in a thesis), and it may be written by someone other than the author for a specific purpose (for instance, an assignment could require only a Summary of the methods used in several papers).

        An abstract can be thought of as a special type of Summary. Abstracts are usually required to have a specific length (for instance, 1-2 paragraphs and 150–300 words), and they are almost always written by the author of the text in order to give an overview of the research and its findings.