How Long Should a Research Paper Be? Data from 61,519 Examples

I analyzed a random sample of 61,519 full-text research papers, uploaded to PubMed Central between the years 2016 and 2021, in order to answer the questions:

What is the typical overall length of a research paper? and how long should each section be?

I used the BioC API to download the data (see the References section below).

Here’s a summary of the key findings

1- The median length of a research paper is 4,133 words (equivalent to 166 sentences or 34 paragraphs), excluding the abstract and references, with 90% of papers being between 2,023 and 8,284 words.

2- A typical article is divided in the following way:

  • Introduction section: 14.6% of the total word count.
  • Methods section: 29.7% of the total word count.
  • Results section: 26.2% of the total word count.
  • Discussion section: 29.4% of the total word count.

Notice that the Materials and methods is the longest section of a professionally written article. So always write this section in enough depth to provide the readers with the necessary details that allow them to replicate your study if they wanted to without requiring further information.

Overall length of a research paper

Let’s start by looking at the maximum word count allowed in some of the well-known journals. Note that the numbers reported in this table include the Abstract , Figure legends and References unless otherwise specified:

[1] excluding figure legends [2] excluding references

⚠ Note A review paper is either a systematic review or a meta-analysis, and an original research paper refers to either an observational or an experimental study conducted by the authors themselves.

Notice the large variability between these journals: The maximum number of words allowed ranges between 3,000 and 9,000 words.

Next, let’s look at our data.

Here’s a table that describes the length of a research paper in our sample:

90% of research papers have a word count between 2,023 and 8,284. So it will be a little weird to see a word count outside of this range.

Our data also agree that a typical review paper is a little bit longer than a typical original research paper but not by much (3,858 vs 3,708 words).

Length of each section in a research article

The median article with an IMRaD structure (i.e. contains the following sections: Introduction , Methods , Results and Discussion ) is in general characterized by a short 553 words introduction. And the methods, results and discussion sections are about twice the size of the introduction:

For more information, see:

  • How Long Should a Research Title Be? Data from 104,161 Examples
  • How Long Should the Abstract Be? Data 61,429 from Examples
  • How Long Should the Introduction of a Research Paper Be? Data from 61,518 Examples
  • How Long Should the Methods Section Be? Data from 61,514 Examples
  • How Long Should the Results Section Be? Data from 61,458 Examples
  • How Long Should the Discussion Section Be? Data from 61,517 Examples
  • Length of a Conclusion Section: Analysis of 47,810 Examples
  • Comeau DC, Wei CH, Islamaj Doğan R, and Lu Z. PMC text mining subset in BioC: about 3 million full text articles and growing,  Bioinformatics , btz070, 2019.

how long is a research paper words

How Long Should a Research Paper Be?

how long is a research paper words

How Long Should A Research Paper Be? An Overview

In short, research paper's average length can range from 1,500 words for research proposals and case studies - all the way to 100,000 words for large dissertations.

Research, by its nature of being complex, requires a careful and thorough elucidation of facts, notions, information, and the like - which is all reflected in its most optimal length.

Thus, one of the critical points that you need to focus on when writing either a complex research paper or a less complex research paper is your objective and how you can relay the latter in a particular context. Say you are writing a book review. Since you will only need to synthesize information from other sources to solidify your claim about a certain topic, you will perhaps use paraphrasing techniques, which offer a relatively lower word count when compared to a full-blown descriptive research paper.

Even when both types of research differ in word counts, they can effectively attain their objectives, given the different contexts in which they are written and constructed. 

Certainly, when asked about how long is a research paper, it surely depends on the objective or the type of research you will be using. Carrying out these objectives will warrant you to do certain paper writing tasks and techniques that are not necessarily long or short when you compare them to other research types. 

At Studyfy, we care for the attainment of your research objectives. We understand that achieving such will contribute to the success of your research completion. While maintaining the ideal word count for a research paper, you are in a meaningful position to understand the various elements that can enrich your paper, even if it looks overwhelming.

How Long Should the Introduction of a Research Paper Be?

The research introduction section most likely occupies approximately 30-40% of the entire research paper.

The introduction of a regular academic paper can total 1750-2000 words depending on the research type and complexity of the research niche or topic. That is why, in writing this section, you must enrich the content of your paper while maintaining readability and coherence for the benefit of your readers.

The introduction houses the background of the study. This is the part of the paper where the entire context of the paper is established. We all know that the research context is important as it helps the readers understand why the paper is even conducted in the first place. Thus, the impression of having a well-established context can only be found in the introduction. Now that we know the gravity of creating a good introduction, let us now ask how long this section should be.

Generally speaking, the paper’s introduction is the longest among all the sections. Aside from establishing the context, the introduction must house the historical underpinnings of the study (important for case studies and ethnographic research), salient information about all the variables in the study (including their relationship with other variables), and related literature and studies that can provide insight into the novelty and peculiarities of the current research project.

To better understand the general composition of your research introduction, you may refer to the breakdown of this section below:

  • Context Establishment and Introduction of Key Terms. In this subsection, you will articulate the background (historical, social, economic, psychological, etc.) of the study, including the ecosystem and the niche of your study interest. Furthermore, key terms found as variables in your study must be properly defined operationally and theoretically, if necessary. This comprises 20% of the introduction, or about 350-500 words.
  • Related Literature and Studies. This is the subsection where you will criticize and integrate existing literature and studies to highlight the research gap that you intend to fill in. This comprises 25% of the introduction or about 450-600 words.
  • Thesis statement. This part of the introduction can only be a paragraph or a couple of sentences, as this needs to be straightforward in relaying the identified research gap of the researchers. This comprises 5% of the introduction or about 90-100 words.
  • Objectives or Research Questions. This subsection should outline the aims of the study, especially highlighting the inquiries that concern the relationship between the variables and how the research will progress to fill in the identified gaps. This comprises 5% of the introduction or about 90-100 words.

Theoretical and/or Conceptual Framework. These frameworks, when better assisted with a visual representation, guide the entire research process and provide a structure for understanding the relationship between the variables in the study. This comprises 10% of the introduction or about 180-200 words.

how long is a research paper words

Elements of Good Research Writing Process– While Maintaining the Ideal Word Count!

  • Clarity of Purpose . All types of writing, whether long or short, have its clarity of purpose as the heart of the text. In research, it is manifested through the inclusion of a research question or hypothesis. A good research paper does not repeat these elements without a purpose in mind. Though they can be emphasized throughout the development of the paper, the manner of doing it must be in a logical and purposeful way. 

To guide you in writing process of doing so, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the research question or hypothesis clearly stated?
  • Does the introduction provide a clear overview of the purpose of the study?
  • Does the purpose of the study repeat purposefully in the latter sections of the paper?
  • Does the purpose of the study repeat logically in the latter sections of the paper?

2. Literature Review . When appending related literature and studies to your paper, the question must not revolve around whether you have supplied a lot of these pieces of information, making your article wordy and ideal. While the literature review adds a significant ‘chunk’ to your paper, with some paper formats even allotting a specific section for it, we must carefully consider what and how we can integrate them. It subsequently entails a critical analysis of a piece of literature or study and logically places it beside information that you desire to contest. As they say, a good literature review identifies knowledge gaps, highlights the author’s familiarity with the topic, and provides an overview of the research areas that show a disparity of agreement. In order to have these characteristics, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have I integrated relevant literature in my review?
  • Have I placed it logically within a specific piece of information based on my presumption?
  • Do they identify a concept or piece of information that is otherwise unknown to the field?
  • Have I critically analyzed existing research to identify the research gap?

3. Logical Flow. Research will not be whole without its parts. Researchers must know how to tie everything together and ensure that each part is functional in itself and supplements with other parts. When dealing with a large body of text, the logical flow of the paper might be a considerable concern. Along with the confusion brought about by the wordiness and complexity of the topic, your readers might get lost because of incoherence and inconsistencies with the presentation of ideas, leading to them not reading your paper any further. Thus, while ensuring that you get the word count that you want, you might want to ask yourself these questions first:

  • Does the introduction progress logically from the general background to the specific research question?
  • Do the transition devices between sections and individual paragraphs of the body facilitate a smooth flow of ideas?
  • Is there a clear hierarchy of ideas, with each paragraph contributing to the overall argument?
  • Have I organized ideas in a way that makes the document easy to track?
  • Have I pursued a logical sequence of presenting information?

4. Language Use and Style. Developing an academic language throughout your paper and maintaining a formal style of paper writing are all the more important in research writing process, and mind you, it can also help you increase your word count in a sustainable way! Incorporating this form of language and style into your paper entails more than just adding incoherent or overly manufactured words that may be viewed as fillers.

Strategies and known practices are said to hit multiple objectives without compromising the quality of the paper. You may expand your points by providing detailed explanations, introducing sufficient pieces of evidence that supports your claims, addressing counterargument through the presentation of related literature or studies, or clarifying complex concepts through chunking. To better understand these techniques, some of these questions might be helpful for you:

  • Is the language clear and concise?
  • Have I avoided unnecessary jargon or complex sentences or paragraphs?
  • Have I avoided repetition or redundancy in the document?
  • Have I expanded on key points by providing more detailed explanations and examples?
  • Have I discussed nuances, variations, or exceptions to your results?
  • Have I clarified some complex concepts or theories by chunking them into more detailed explanations?

How Long Should a Paragraph Be in a Research Paper?

For the research paper introduction section, a typical paragraph count will be 12-15, excluding the literature review section. Each subsection has 1-2 individual paragraphs. The mentioned section, on the other hand, can have paragraphs totaling 10-20. The conclusion section, on the other hand, is considered ideal if it has 5-7 paragraphs. 

The paragraph count differs from one research type to another and even from one paper section to another. While it is worth deciding how long should a paragraph be in a research paper, it is more important to take note of the importance of ideas that should be included in each paragraph within a certain section. Take the review of the literature section as an example. The number of literature in the paper is said to be equal to the number of paragraphs allotted for the section. The reason lies in the uniformity of importance these pieces of literature hold, provided that they are closely associated with the research gap. 

Do you feel like you need to pay for a research paper in hopes of finding a model article with the right paragraph count? Look no further, as Studyfy has its in-house research paper writing service that houses professionals and experts for your academic paper writing help. Its reasonable price– no deadline markup nor additional hidden charges– is tantamount to the expertise each writer has put into their work.

How Long Should a Conclusion Be in a Research Paper?

A concluding section, then, must only comprise 5% of the total word count of the paper, translating to approximately 400 words. This measly allocation may put you into a flimsy situation, especially if you do not know how to manage your vocabulary well and you keep on adding filler words that can sacrifice the importance of this section. Ditch the nonsense and construct your conclusion in a concise yet enriching way.

In concluding a research paper, it is important to always synthesize the big chunks of information examined in the data analysis and discussion. As worn out as the reader may look after reaching this point, the conclusion must act as a “mellow point” for them, entrusting them only with important pointers of the study. Sometimes, the conclusion part of the paper, even though less wordy than its preceding sections, may be difficult to construct, as you still need to have a basis– a scaffold– to refer to, and synthesizing, just like analyzing and evaluating data, is just as hard and laborious.

Through its superb essay writing services , plus applying top-notch quality assurance to academic papers like research articles, Studyfy can help you achieve the best for last with an effective, meaningful, and content-rich conclusion. Your readers will not think twice about using your study as a model for their own works!

How Long is a Research Paper in terms of its Various Types?

As mentioned in the first part of the article, the word count of an academic paper is dependent on the type of research you wish to conduct. While the general word count has been given, we cannot deny the fact that this threshold is only an estimation. There might be a time when you are tasked to create a research article that is different from a standard IMRAD-structured (Introduction, Methodology, Results, Analysis, Discussion) research paper. You are in for a treat, as we will provide you with a cheat sheet for the word count of several types of write-ups in the realm of research:

how long is a research paper words

Research Proposal

Specific Purpose/s: A preliminary outline that contains the research question, minimal literature review, methodology, and significance of the research undertaking.

"Word Count Range: 1500-3000 words"

Review Article

Specific Purpose/s: Review bodies of literature about an overarching topic or niche, analyze a particular section, synthesize according to certain themes, and identify knowledge gaps from the findings.

"Word Count Range: 5000-10,000 words"


Specific Purpose/s: Involves the use of statistical analyses of multiple studies to provide a quantitative synthesis of the evidence.

"Word Count Range: 5000-15,000 words"

Specific Purpose/s: Presents an in-depth and intrusive analysis of a specific case, one which aims to illustrate a broader concept or novel phenomenon.

"Word Count Range: 1500-5000 words"

Conference Paper

Specific Purpose/s: Presents a brief introduction, salient research findings, and implications connected to a given theme by a conference or colloquium.

"Word Count Range: 2000-5000 words"


Specific Purpose/s: Regarded as a terminal scholarly requirement for doctorate students, this is an in-depth discussion of an otherwise original research finding, often written in chapters. It contributes significantly to the body of knowledge of a particular study of interest.

"Word Count Range: 50,000-100,000 words (depending on the institution)"

Are you contemplating buying research papers of different types? Studyfy got your back! Its roster of writers and editing experts leaves no space for errors, ensuring that both quality and quantity– that’s right: content and word count are not compromised. The variety of expertise within ensures that all research and scholarly works are delivered to your liking. Pay less– no hidden charges and markups while you enjoy the best quality of writing with Studyfy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the introduction in a research paper.

AThe introduction takes up about 30-40% of the entire paper since the context and research background should be specified and further discussed. For a general academic paper with 4000 words, the introduction must be approximately 1500 words. You can do the math for the rest!

How long is a research paper, considering that there are many of them?

There is no one-size-fits-all guideline in determining the word count of a plethora of research papers in the world. Although there is an accepted word count range for each research type (as presented in the previous section), there are several factors that should likewise be considered in determining the word count: specific guidelines set by the institution you are working with, the complexity of the topic, audience, and depth of analysis. 

Do I have to include all of the prescribed subsections of the introduction to increase the word count?

While the prescribed subsections have significant functions in the research paper introduction, some of them are not required to be included. The decisions depend on the type of research you wish to conduct and the external guidelines that you might need to follow. Some disciplines, such as social sciences, require a research article to have a theoretical framework, whereas others do not. Some research papers follow the standard IMRAD paper format that infuses the literature review section into the introduction, while the Germanic Thesis paper format, for example, regards the former as a separate section.

How do I increase my word count without compromising the quality of my research paper?

The dilemma of choosing quality over quantity has long been debunked: you do not have to choose in the first place. All you need is a set of writing strategies and techniques that will target those two birds using one stone. You may provide more detail to some ambiguous or novel terms. You can add additional works of literature to some concepts that promote abstraction. You may include examples or empirical pieces of evidence to create a more concrete representation of a concept or theory. Lastly, you may use subheadings to efficiently allocate word count for your chosen discussion topics.

Why is it important to track the word count of a research paper?

There are various reasons why we need to do it. Some institutions that publish scholarly journals follow certain guidelines in word count as one of the primary requirements. A specified limit enables researchers to allocate the number of words to several sections of their writing efficiently. Most institutions also use paper length as a predictor of publication cost. The longer the word count is, the costlier the publication will be. Lastly, reading engagement is affected by word count, as readers tend to shy away from reading an article that is long, boring, and insubstantial. 

Can a writing service help me achieve my goals of writing within the right word count range?

Certainly! Studyfy offers several academic services, including writing services and research papers for sale . Understanding your various writing needs, writers can cater to the needed style, word count, formatting, and any other aspects so that you can have the best quality write-up without having to fear extra charges and big markups.

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Home » Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Research Paper

Research Paper


Research Paper is a written document that presents the author’s original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue.

It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new knowledge or insights to a particular field of study, and to demonstrate the author’s understanding of the existing literature and theories related to the topic.

Structure of Research Paper

The structure of a research paper typically follows a standard format, consisting of several sections that convey specific information about the research study. The following is a detailed explanation of the structure of a research paper:

The title page contains the title of the paper, the name(s) of the author(s), and the affiliation(s) of the author(s). It also includes the date of submission and possibly, the name of the journal or conference where the paper is to be published.

The abstract is a brief summary of the research paper, typically ranging from 100 to 250 words. It should include the research question, the methods used, the key findings, and the implications of the results. The abstract should be written in a concise and clear manner to allow readers to quickly grasp the essence of the research.


The introduction section of a research paper provides background information about the research problem, the research question, and the research objectives. It also outlines the significance of the research, the research gap that it aims to fill, and the approach taken to address the research question. Finally, the introduction section ends with a clear statement of the research hypothesis or research question.

Literature Review

The literature review section of a research paper provides an overview of the existing literature on the topic of study. It includes a critical analysis and synthesis of the literature, highlighting the key concepts, themes, and debates. The literature review should also demonstrate the research gap and how the current study seeks to address it.

The methods section of a research paper describes the research design, the sample selection, the data collection and analysis procedures, and the statistical methods used to analyze the data. This section should provide sufficient detail for other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the research, using tables, graphs, and figures to illustrate the data. The findings should be presented in a clear and concise manner, with reference to the research question and hypothesis.

The discussion section of a research paper interprets the findings and discusses their implications for the research question, the literature review, and the field of study. It should also address the limitations of the study and suggest future research directions.

The conclusion section summarizes the main findings of the study, restates the research question and hypothesis, and provides a final reflection on the significance of the research.

The references section provides a list of all the sources cited in the paper, following a specific citation style such as APA, MLA or Chicago.

How to Write Research Paper

You can write Research Paper by the following guide:

  • Choose a Topic: The first step is to select a topic that interests you and is relevant to your field of study. Brainstorm ideas and narrow down to a research question that is specific and researchable.
  • Conduct a Literature Review: The literature review helps you identify the gap in the existing research and provides a basis for your research question. It also helps you to develop a theoretical framework and research hypothesis.
  • Develop a Thesis Statement : The thesis statement is the main argument of your research paper. It should be clear, concise and specific to your research question.
  • Plan your Research: Develop a research plan that outlines the methods, data sources, and data analysis procedures. This will help you to collect and analyze data effectively.
  • Collect and Analyze Data: Collect data using various methods such as surveys, interviews, observations, or experiments. Analyze data using statistical tools or other qualitative methods.
  • Organize your Paper : Organize your paper into sections such as Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. Ensure that each section is coherent and follows a logical flow.
  • Write your Paper : Start by writing the introduction, followed by the literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. Ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and follows the required formatting and citation styles.
  • Edit and Proofread your Paper: Review your paper for grammar and spelling errors, and ensure that it is well-structured and easy to read. Ask someone else to review your paper to get feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  • Cite your Sources: Ensure that you properly cite all sources used in your research paper. This is essential for giving credit to the original authors and avoiding plagiarism.

Research Paper Example

Note : The below example research paper is for illustrative purposes only and is not an actual research paper. Actual research papers may have different structures, contents, and formats depending on the field of study, research question, data collection and analysis methods, and other factors. Students should always consult with their professors or supervisors for specific guidelines and expectations for their research papers.

Research Paper Example sample for Students:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health among Young Adults

Abstract: This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults. A literature review was conducted to examine the existing research on the topic. A survey was then administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Introduction: Social media has become an integral part of modern life, particularly among young adults. While social media has many benefits, including increased communication and social connectivity, it has also been associated with negative outcomes, such as addiction, cyberbullying, and mental health problems. This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults.

Literature Review: The literature review highlights the existing research on the impact of social media use on mental health. The review shows that social media use is associated with depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health problems. The review also identifies the factors that contribute to the negative impact of social media, including social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Methods : A survey was administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The survey included questions on social media use, mental health status (measured using the DASS-21), and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis.

Results : The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Discussion : The study’s findings suggest that social media use has a negative impact on the mental health of young adults. The study highlights the need for interventions that address the factors contributing to the negative impact of social media, such as social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Conclusion : In conclusion, social media use has a significant impact on the mental health of young adults. The study’s findings underscore the need for interventions that promote healthy social media use and address the negative outcomes associated with social media use. Future research can explore the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health. Additionally, longitudinal studies can investigate the long-term effects of social media use on mental health.

Limitations : The study has some limitations, including the use of self-report measures and a cross-sectional design. The use of self-report measures may result in biased responses, and a cross-sectional design limits the ability to establish causality.

Implications: The study’s findings have implications for mental health professionals, educators, and policymakers. Mental health professionals can use the findings to develop interventions that address the negative impact of social media use on mental health. Educators can incorporate social media literacy into their curriculum to promote healthy social media use among young adults. Policymakers can use the findings to develop policies that protect young adults from the negative outcomes associated with social media use.

References :

  • Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2019). Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Preventive medicine reports, 15, 100918.
  • Primack, B. A., Shensa, A., Escobar-Viera, C. G., Barrett, E. L., Sidani, J. E., Colditz, J. B., … & James, A. E. (2017). Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: A nationally-representative study among US young adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 1-9.
  • Van der Meer, T. G., & Verhoeven, J. W. (2017). Social media and its impact on academic performance of students. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 16, 383-398.

Appendix : The survey used in this study is provided below.

Social Media and Mental Health Survey

  • How often do you use social media per day?
  • Less than 30 minutes
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • 1 to 2 hours
  • 2 to 4 hours
  • More than 4 hours
  • Which social media platforms do you use?
  • Others (Please specify)
  • How often do you experience the following on social media?
  • Social comparison (comparing yourself to others)
  • Cyberbullying
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
  • Have you ever experienced any of the following mental health problems in the past month?
  • Do you think social media use has a positive or negative impact on your mental health?
  • Very positive
  • Somewhat positive
  • Somewhat negative
  • Very negative
  • In your opinion, which factors contribute to the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Social comparison
  • In your opinion, what interventions could be effective in reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Education on healthy social media use
  • Counseling for mental health problems caused by social media
  • Social media detox programs
  • Regulation of social media use

Thank you for your participation!

Applications of Research Paper

Research papers have several applications in various fields, including:

  • Advancing knowledge: Research papers contribute to the advancement of knowledge by generating new insights, theories, and findings that can inform future research and practice. They help to answer important questions, clarify existing knowledge, and identify areas that require further investigation.
  • Informing policy: Research papers can inform policy decisions by providing evidence-based recommendations for policymakers. They can help to identify gaps in current policies, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and inform the development of new policies and regulations.
  • Improving practice: Research papers can improve practice by providing evidence-based guidance for professionals in various fields, including medicine, education, business, and psychology. They can inform the development of best practices, guidelines, and standards of care that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • Educating students : Research papers are often used as teaching tools in universities and colleges to educate students about research methods, data analysis, and academic writing. They help students to develop critical thinking skills, research skills, and communication skills that are essential for success in many careers.
  • Fostering collaboration: Research papers can foster collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers by providing a platform for sharing knowledge and ideas. They can facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships that can lead to innovative solutions to complex problems.

When to Write Research Paper

Research papers are typically written when a person has completed a research project or when they have conducted a study and have obtained data or findings that they want to share with the academic or professional community. Research papers are usually written in academic settings, such as universities, but they can also be written in professional settings, such as research organizations, government agencies, or private companies.

Here are some common situations where a person might need to write a research paper:

  • For academic purposes: Students in universities and colleges are often required to write research papers as part of their coursework, particularly in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Writing research papers helps students to develop research skills, critical thinking skills, and academic writing skills.
  • For publication: Researchers often write research papers to publish their findings in academic journals or to present their work at academic conferences. Publishing research papers is an important way to disseminate research findings to the academic community and to establish oneself as an expert in a particular field.
  • To inform policy or practice : Researchers may write research papers to inform policy decisions or to improve practice in various fields. Research findings can be used to inform the development of policies, guidelines, and best practices that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • To share new insights or ideas: Researchers may write research papers to share new insights or ideas with the academic or professional community. They may present new theories, propose new research methods, or challenge existing paradigms in their field.

Purpose of Research Paper

The purpose of a research paper is to present the results of a study or investigation in a clear, concise, and structured manner. Research papers are written to communicate new knowledge, ideas, or findings to a specific audience, such as researchers, scholars, practitioners, or policymakers. The primary purposes of a research paper are:

  • To contribute to the body of knowledge : Research papers aim to add new knowledge or insights to a particular field or discipline. They do this by reporting the results of empirical studies, reviewing and synthesizing existing literature, proposing new theories, or providing new perspectives on a topic.
  • To inform or persuade: Research papers are written to inform or persuade the reader about a particular issue, topic, or phenomenon. They present evidence and arguments to support their claims and seek to persuade the reader of the validity of their findings or recommendations.
  • To advance the field: Research papers seek to advance the field or discipline by identifying gaps in knowledge, proposing new research questions or approaches, or challenging existing assumptions or paradigms. They aim to contribute to ongoing debates and discussions within a field and to stimulate further research and inquiry.
  • To demonstrate research skills: Research papers demonstrate the author’s research skills, including their ability to design and conduct a study, collect and analyze data, and interpret and communicate findings. They also demonstrate the author’s ability to critically evaluate existing literature, synthesize information from multiple sources, and write in a clear and structured manner.

Characteristics of Research Paper

Research papers have several characteristics that distinguish them from other forms of academic or professional writing. Here are some common characteristics of research papers:

  • Evidence-based: Research papers are based on empirical evidence, which is collected through rigorous research methods such as experiments, surveys, observations, or interviews. They rely on objective data and facts to support their claims and conclusions.
  • Structured and organized: Research papers have a clear and logical structure, with sections such as introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. They are organized in a way that helps the reader to follow the argument and understand the findings.
  • Formal and objective: Research papers are written in a formal and objective tone, with an emphasis on clarity, precision, and accuracy. They avoid subjective language or personal opinions and instead rely on objective data and analysis to support their arguments.
  • Citations and references: Research papers include citations and references to acknowledge the sources of information and ideas used in the paper. They use a specific citation style, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Peer-reviewed: Research papers are often peer-reviewed, which means they are evaluated by other experts in the field before they are published. Peer-review ensures that the research is of high quality, meets ethical standards, and contributes to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Objective and unbiased: Research papers strive to be objective and unbiased in their presentation of the findings. They avoid personal biases or preconceptions and instead rely on the data and analysis to draw conclusions.

Advantages of Research Paper

Research papers have many advantages, both for the individual researcher and for the broader academic and professional community. Here are some advantages of research papers:

  • Contribution to knowledge: Research papers contribute to the body of knowledge in a particular field or discipline. They add new information, insights, and perspectives to existing literature and help advance the understanding of a particular phenomenon or issue.
  • Opportunity for intellectual growth: Research papers provide an opportunity for intellectual growth for the researcher. They require critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, which can help develop the researcher’s skills and knowledge.
  • Career advancement: Research papers can help advance the researcher’s career by demonstrating their expertise and contributions to the field. They can also lead to new research opportunities, collaborations, and funding.
  • Academic recognition: Research papers can lead to academic recognition in the form of awards, grants, or invitations to speak at conferences or events. They can also contribute to the researcher’s reputation and standing in the field.
  • Impact on policy and practice: Research papers can have a significant impact on policy and practice. They can inform policy decisions, guide practice, and lead to changes in laws, regulations, or procedures.
  • Advancement of society: Research papers can contribute to the advancement of society by addressing important issues, identifying solutions to problems, and promoting social justice and equality.

Limitations of Research Paper

Research papers also have some limitations that should be considered when interpreting their findings or implications. Here are some common limitations of research papers:

  • Limited generalizability: Research findings may not be generalizable to other populations, settings, or contexts. Studies often use specific samples or conditions that may not reflect the broader population or real-world situations.
  • Potential for bias : Research papers may be biased due to factors such as sample selection, measurement errors, or researcher biases. It is important to evaluate the quality of the research design and methods used to ensure that the findings are valid and reliable.
  • Ethical concerns: Research papers may raise ethical concerns, such as the use of vulnerable populations or invasive procedures. Researchers must adhere to ethical guidelines and obtain informed consent from participants to ensure that the research is conducted in a responsible and respectful manner.
  • Limitations of methodology: Research papers may be limited by the methodology used to collect and analyze data. For example, certain research methods may not capture the complexity or nuance of a particular phenomenon, or may not be appropriate for certain research questions.
  • Publication bias: Research papers may be subject to publication bias, where positive or significant findings are more likely to be published than negative or non-significant findings. This can skew the overall findings of a particular area of research.
  • Time and resource constraints: Research papers may be limited by time and resource constraints, which can affect the quality and scope of the research. Researchers may not have access to certain data or resources, or may be unable to conduct long-term studies due to practical limitations.

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How Long Should A Research Paper Be?

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You must have known what research looks like. It has a particular structure that should be followed at any cost since it is the criteria for  writing a research paper . Several questions come into the mind of students such as how to write a research paper, how long should a research paper be, etc.

That’s why we have brought a series of research writing and addressing different questions related to it. This blog aims to answer queries about the duration your research should ideally take, including insights on how to write an 8-page paper effectively. Although it depends upon the guidelines given by your teacher, there is also a standard length of research writing. Let’s dive in and learn everything about the ideal word count of any research.

Table of Contents

What is a Research Paper?

A research paper is an essay that is based on your investigational work you have completed or will complete on just one or many specific topics of a specific discipline. Research or investigation essays are lengthy depending on the scope and extensive nature of the topic.

It’s just an analysis of the topic from your own perspective. A student or a reader present facts and their theories in front of the audience to inform them about the specific subject matter. If you dont know how long is a research paper, here we will take you on a deeper tour to help you understand these essays thoroughly.

What is the Standard Length of a Research Paper?

Discussing the standard length of a paper, it’s important to note that it varies depending on the specific instructions given to each student and the structural requirements related to their chosen finance research topics . It is never a fixed one for all types of papers yet, there are some conditions and possibilities because of which the word count varies.

Research that has a thesis statement only requires 2 to 3 arguments to be proved and will be summed up in 500 to 700 words. After providing the introduction and a little background on the research, you can directly shift to mentioning the arguments and claims so you may prove the statement and complete the research.

Some research requires detailed analysis and interpretation of the findings. This kind of paper has several stages such as introduction, background, thesis statement, objective, research questions, literature review, research methodology, data collection, discussion, findings, conclusion, and bibliography. Such research easily crosses 5000 words because it is important to discuss everything about the topic.

So it entirely depends upon the structure you are following to write the research. It could be as long as just 500 words, or 5000 words, and even more. It all varies therefore you must be prepared for writing a paper no matter how long it should be.

How long is introduction in research paper?

Many students wonder how long should an introduction be in a research paper? The simple answer to this query is as short as possible that justify the requirements and employ all the methods that are necessary for coveying your message.

Typically, a standard length of introductory paragraph is 300-500 words. If your topic needs more than the standard word count than always ask for suggestion from your professor on first priority. We hope now you know how long should an introduction be for a research paper. 

Why Considering Length of a Research Paper is Important

Identifying the length of research is important because of so many reasons. You might have never realized the significance of considering how long a paper should be, so here we go with some of the vital reasons.

1. Going Extra May Ruin Your Research

You cannot write more than is required in research. If you are doing so then you are automatically ignoring the quality measures of writing a paper. If you are writing more than words than is required then there are chances you are going to submit a poor quality research work.

2. Sticking to the Guidelines is Important

When your guidelines have mentioned 1000 words maximum and you are submitting research of 2000 words, you already know what wrong you have done. If you are not sticking to the guidelines it will result in deduction of marks, fall in grades, and repetition of the class course.

3. Having a Balance is Good

It is necessary to keep a balance between the word count of all the headings. Without this much-needed balance, you might end up submitting a poor paper that has a longer introduction, and a shorter explanation of the findings. That’s why attaining a balance is important in your research word count.

4. Delivering Quality Research is the Criteria

When you are delivering quality content, you will be appreciated no matter what. If you consider the length of your research, you are one step forward in delivering quality research work to your teacher.

How Long Should a Research Paper Be?

This question is valid and one of the frequently asked questions by the students of high school and college. It is also important to know before you start working on your paper. Don’t forget to read the instructions provided by your teacher, however, we have more suggestions for you regarding the length of the research.

how long should a research paper be

1. It All Depends On Your Teacher First

Your teacher indeed decides what should be the ideal length of your research. They have given some guidelines to you and you need to follow them. The teachers always know the best and they will suggest to you how long your essay should be.

Some teachers have kept a certain word limit for the paper while others provide you complete freedom to write as long as you want. It is necessary to figure out what’s best for your research. In high schools, a standard length of any research is a maximum of 7 to 8 pages while the minimum should be 5 pages.

2. Check How Much Length is Required to Justify Your Statement

Sometimes it is based on the  thesis for research paper . From the part of the abstract to the conclusion, there must be a balance between the word count of every heading. It is your responsibility as a writer to track the word count when you are trying to justify your thesis by giving several arguments and claims.

If you have decided how many arguments it will take to prove your thesis, then you have already finalized the length of your research. All you have to do is prepare everything in advance and see if you are proving your point within 5 or 8 pages.

3. It Shouldn’t Miss Any Point

A researcher must be discussing all the standard details that could justify the purpose of writing the paper. It must have all the headings properly discussed. Since all the points must be 100% clear in the research, deciding on a word limit in the very beginning could be a little hard.

But it is not impossible to identify by making an outline and checking how many pages will be covered in writing about a certain topic. All you have to do is take care that no point is missing in the research. Cutting the research short and trying to discuss facts to the exact point won’t help unless you are entirely explaining every aspect as required.

How Long a Research Paper Should be in Words?

You have learned something about the ideal length of research. When it comes to the word count, the criterion is a bit different. For example, if you need a  Ph.D. research paper help , you must know the word count, typically between 70,000 to 80,000 words. As you suggest a specific word count for every heading, it is easier to guess how many words are required to summarize every title.

1. Assign Word Count To Each Heading

It is easier to assign a specific word count to every heading and then see what’s the total word length of the paper. For instance, you have to decide how many words will be used to cover your introduction section. A literature review is a second longer part after the discussion in every research so it is necessary to make an outline in advance and see what is the ideal length of every heading.

By giving a suggested word count to each heading you will make a clear pathway to follow during the complete research. It will be automatically easier for you to see how many words will be written to explain everything in your research thoroughly.

There are several sections in research that require certain word counts. Let’s see what word count is usually subjected to every heading.

An  abstract for a research paper  is the first main part that summarizes the research from the beginning to the conclusion. It contains the thesis, methodology, findings, and conclusion. So to explain the complete research in a few sentences, roughly 100 to 200 words will be required. So you may keep in mind the word count for an abstract is a maximum of 200 words.

● Introduction

An introduction is also a major part of the research and it is easily covered within 300 words maximum. Nothing else is required to explain terminologies or theories in this section.  However, there are many opinion on this topic and each have different answers. That’s the prime reason students spend day and night on google looking for answers on their questions such as how long should introduction be for research paper. In short, 300 to 500 words are more than enough to state your thoughts in an into section and persuade your readers.

● Literature Review

The literature review is the second-longest section in any research. It contains a reference to the past research done in a similar field by other researchers. Every research must have 5 to 8 or even more past papers discussed in it. Therefore the ideal word count for this section is 500 to 1000 words.

● Methodology

The methodology section also has subcategories in which you have to explain the method of research, data collection, population, research implications, research Instrument, etc. It will take around 300 to 400 words and 100 words extra if you are discussing a theoretical framework too.

● Discussion and Interpretation

This is the longest part of any research since you have to explain all the findings and tell your readers how successfully you have managed to prove your thesis. This part is as long as 500 to 1000 or even 1500 words depending upon the results and the explanation required.

● Conclusion

A conclusion is a not so lengthy part of the paper. It is usually done within only 100 or 150 words maximum. It is that simple and thus it doesn’t need so many words to finish the argument and put a full stop.

2. Form a Paper Outline

Forming a paper outline in advance will also help you in understanding how many words you may need to cover every heading. This is one of the best ideas for assigning a particular word count to every heading of the paper.

As you’ll create a paper outline, you will get an instant idea of how many words you have to write in total to complete the research. Following this strategy will surely help you won’t be puzzled later during the writing process.

3. Ask Your Instructor

It is always a good idea to ask your teacher or instructor before following any word count technique. They have assigned you a paper so they can provide you with a better guideline to write your paper. It is the easiest method of identifying the word count of your research as it’s something recommended by an expert. Your job will become much easier and simpler by just seeking advice from your teacher.

How Long a Research Paper Should be for Middle School?

A middle school student is just starting with the research work and they are at the initial stages of learning how to conduct research. To understand how long a paper should be for middle school, you need to do some work.

1. Seek Expert Help

It is always better to seek help from an expert to decide the word limit of your essay when you’re a high school student. It could be your teacher or any senior student who will help you and guide how many pages you should write for your research. It is suggested to write 4 to 5 pages when you are a middle school student in writing a paper.

2. Do Research

It is always important to do some research and find out what’s best for your paper. Google is always open to helping students in learning new things without any limit. You can open the Google search engine, write down your query in the search bar and click on it.

Next, you will have everything to read and understand how a paper for middle school will work. By doing so you will automatically get an in-depth idea of crafting research for the initial level project.

After analyzing everything you can easily guess what should be the length of any research written by a middle school student. In pages, it is suggested to write 3 to 5 pages, but in words, it is recommended to write  400 to 500 words only. You can also hire a professional paper writing service to aid you in the process.

As it’s a new thing for the students to perform, they might get nervous easily. That’s why starting slow and taking baby steps towards learning research writing will help a lot.

How long Should a Research Paper be for High School?

High school is a different stage than middle school. You are mature, better at studies, and even more creative than before. This stage comes with its challenges and one of them is writing the research. If you are a new high school student we bet you don’t know much about paper writing at this level.

When a high school student writes a research paper, it’s usually written within 500 to 1000 words. It could be more than this word count or just 5 to 6 pages. The teacher’s instructions do matter a lot in this aspect and without them, you can’t understand the criteria of research writing. It takes a lot of research, consultation, and creativity to write a paper that stands out. The competition is even tougher in high schools so you know how tough it can get to  write a research paper fast .

Your research will decide if you are going to pass the school or not. Many students stay stuck in a class because they are incapable of submitting a brilliant research paper. Most of the time it’s because they don’t know the standard guidelines for writing a paper.

They usually end up ignoring the pattern, writing incorrect information, or exceeding or limiting the length assigned for the research. So it’s better to keep in mind what is the better approach for research writing and how a high school student can learn to write it.

How Long Should a Research Paper be for College?

Have you ever thought about how long your research should be when you have finally reached college? It is the final stage of your education and writing research in this phase will require a lot of preparation. In college, you have to write the longest research papers because it is the standard of a paper written by a college student.

So how exactly long should research be for college? It starts with roughly 3000 words and goes up to 15000 words. 15000 words is a lot but students who are working on their thesis need a lot of details to justify and complete their research. Without doing this they are not getting passed at any cost so now you know why it is so important.

Different sections of the paper require their particular word count. It is sometimes difficult to identify but your teachers will always be there to guide you. Sometimes students are given the entire freedom to keep their essay length on their own. It helps them understand how easily they can prove their thesis either in a few or a lot of pages.

For newcomers in college unsure about the ideal length for research papers, utilizing Google is a great option to delve deeper into the nuances of research writing. It’s particularly helpful in exploring various guidelines related to history research topics . A lot of content is already published on the web which teaches the students almost everything they need.

We hope you know how long is a research paper, no matter if you are writing one for your middle school, high school, or college. All of them have different requirements and basic criteria that should be followed. We also hope this blog has helped you learn everything about deciding the word count or overall length of your research.

Our comment section is always open for your discussion and feedback. If you want to  get in touch  with us or discuss the topic more, just leave a comment in the given box. We would love to hear from our readers and see what they have in their minds after reading our blog.

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How To Write A Research Paper

Step-By-Step Tutorial With Examples + FREE Template

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Expert Reviewer: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | March 2024

For many students, crafting a strong research paper from scratch can feel like a daunting task – and rightly so! In this post, we’ll unpack what a research paper is, what it needs to do , and how to write one – in three easy steps. 🙂 

Overview: Writing A Research Paper

What (exactly) is a research paper.

  • How to write a research paper
  • Stage 1 : Topic & literature search
  • Stage 2 : Structure & outline
  • Stage 3 : Iterative writing
  • Key takeaways

Let’s start by asking the most important question, “ What is a research paper? ”.

Simply put, a research paper is a scholarly written work where the writer (that’s you!) answers a specific question (this is called a research question ) through evidence-based arguments . Evidence-based is the keyword here. In other words, a research paper is different from an essay or other writing assignments that draw from the writer’s personal opinions or experiences. With a research paper, it’s all about building your arguments based on evidence (we’ll talk more about that evidence a little later).

Now, it’s worth noting that there are many different types of research papers , including analytical papers (the type I just described), argumentative papers, and interpretative papers. Here, we’ll focus on analytical papers , as these are some of the most common – but if you’re keen to learn about other types of research papers, be sure to check out the rest of the blog .

With that basic foundation laid, let’s get down to business and look at how to write a research paper .

Research Paper Template

Overview: The 3-Stage Process

While there are, of course, many potential approaches you can take to write a research paper, there are typically three stages to the writing process. So, in this tutorial, we’ll present a straightforward three-step process that we use when working with students at Grad Coach.

These three steps are:

  • Finding a research topic and reviewing the existing literature
  • Developing a provisional structure and outline for your paper, and
  • Writing up your initial draft and then refining it iteratively

Let’s dig into each of these.

Need a helping hand?

how long is a research paper words

Step 1: Find a topic and review the literature

As we mentioned earlier, in a research paper, you, as the researcher, will try to answer a question . More specifically, that’s called a research question , and it sets the direction of your entire paper. What’s important to understand though is that you’ll need to answer that research question with the help of high-quality sources – for example, journal articles, government reports, case studies, and so on. We’ll circle back to this in a minute.

The first stage of the research process is deciding on what your research question will be and then reviewing the existing literature (in other words, past studies and papers) to see what they say about that specific research question. In some cases, your professor may provide you with a predetermined research question (or set of questions). However, in many cases, you’ll need to find your own research question within a certain topic area.

Finding a strong research question hinges on identifying a meaningful research gap – in other words, an area that’s lacking in existing research. There’s a lot to unpack here, so if you wanna learn more, check out the plain-language explainer video below.

Once you’ve figured out which question (or questions) you’ll attempt to answer in your research paper, you’ll need to do a deep dive into the existing literature – this is called a “ literature search ”. Again, there are many ways to go about this, but your most likely starting point will be Google Scholar .

If you’re new to Google Scholar, think of it as Google for the academic world. You can start by simply entering a few different keywords that are relevant to your research question and it will then present a host of articles for you to review. What you want to pay close attention to here is the number of citations for each paper – the more citations a paper has, the more credible it is (generally speaking – there are some exceptions, of course).

how to use google scholar

Ideally, what you’re looking for are well-cited papers that are highly relevant to your topic. That said, keep in mind that citations are a cumulative metric , so older papers will often have more citations than newer papers – just because they’ve been around for longer. So, don’t fixate on this metric in isolation – relevance and recency are also very important.

Beyond Google Scholar, you’ll also definitely want to check out academic databases and aggregators such as Science Direct, PubMed, JStor and so on. These will often overlap with the results that you find in Google Scholar, but they can also reveal some hidden gems – so, be sure to check them out.

Once you’ve worked your way through all the literature, you’ll want to catalogue all this information in some sort of spreadsheet so that you can easily recall who said what, when and within what context. If you’d like, we’ve got a free literature spreadsheet that helps you do exactly that.

Don’t fixate on an article’s citation count in isolation - relevance (to your research question) and recency are also very important.

Step 2: Develop a structure and outline

With your research question pinned down and your literature digested and catalogued, it’s time to move on to planning your actual research paper .

It might sound obvious, but it’s really important to have some sort of rough outline in place before you start writing your paper. So often, we see students eagerly rushing into the writing phase, only to land up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on in multiple

Now, the secret here is to not get caught up in the fine details . Realistically, all you need at this stage is a bullet-point list that describes (in broad strokes) what you’ll discuss and in what order. It’s also useful to remember that you’re not glued to this outline – in all likelihood, you’ll chop and change some sections once you start writing, and that’s perfectly okay. What’s important is that you have some sort of roadmap in place from the start.

You need to have a rough outline in place before you start writing your paper - or you’ll end up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on.

At this stage you might be wondering, “ But how should I structure my research paper? ”. Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here, but in general, a research paper will consist of a few relatively standardised components:

  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology

Let’s take a look at each of these.

First up is the introduction section . As the name suggests, the purpose of the introduction is to set the scene for your research paper. There are usually (at least) four ingredients that go into this section – these are the background to the topic, the research problem and resultant research question , and the justification or rationale. If you’re interested, the video below unpacks the introduction section in more detail. 

The next section of your research paper will typically be your literature review . Remember all that literature you worked through earlier? Well, this is where you’ll present your interpretation of all that content . You’ll do this by writing about recent trends, developments, and arguments within the literature – but more specifically, those that are relevant to your research question . The literature review can oftentimes seem a little daunting, even to seasoned researchers, so be sure to check out our extensive collection of literature review content here .

With the introduction and lit review out of the way, the next section of your paper is the research methodology . In a nutshell, the methodology section should describe to your reader what you did (beyond just reviewing the existing literature) to answer your research question. For example, what data did you collect, how did you collect that data, how did you analyse that data and so on? For each choice, you’ll also need to justify why you chose to do it that way, and what the strengths and weaknesses of your approach were.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that for some research papers, this aspect of the project may be a lot simpler . For example, you may only need to draw on secondary sources (in other words, existing data sets). In some cases, you may just be asked to draw your conclusions from the literature search itself (in other words, there may be no data analysis at all). But, if you are required to collect and analyse data, you’ll need to pay a lot of attention to the methodology section. The video below provides an example of what the methodology section might look like.

By this stage of your paper, you will have explained what your research question is, what the existing literature has to say about that question, and how you analysed additional data to try to answer your question. So, the natural next step is to present your analysis of that data . This section is usually called the “results” or “analysis” section and this is where you’ll showcase your findings.

Depending on your school’s requirements, you may need to present and interpret the data in one section – or you might split the presentation and the interpretation into two sections. In the latter case, your “results” section will just describe the data, and the “discussion” is where you’ll interpret that data and explicitly link your analysis back to your research question. If you’re not sure which approach to take, check in with your professor or take a look at past papers to see what the norms are for your programme.

Alright – once you’ve presented and discussed your results, it’s time to wrap it up . This usually takes the form of the “ conclusion ” section. In the conclusion, you’ll need to highlight the key takeaways from your study and close the loop by explicitly answering your research question. Again, the exact requirements here will vary depending on your programme (and you may not even need a conclusion section at all) – so be sure to check with your professor if you’re unsure.

Step 3: Write and refine

Finally, it’s time to get writing. All too often though, students hit a brick wall right about here… So, how do you avoid this happening to you?

Well, there’s a lot to be said when it comes to writing a research paper (or any sort of academic piece), but we’ll share three practical tips to help you get started.

First and foremost , it’s essential to approach your writing as an iterative process. In other words, you need to start with a really messy first draft and then polish it over multiple rounds of editing. Don’t waste your time trying to write a perfect research paper in one go. Instead, take the pressure off yourself by adopting an iterative approach.

Secondly , it’s important to always lean towards critical writing , rather than descriptive writing. What does this mean? Well, at the simplest level, descriptive writing focuses on the “ what ”, while critical writing digs into the “ so what ” – in other words, the implications. If you’re not familiar with these two types of writing, don’t worry! You can find a plain-language explanation here.

Last but not least, you’ll need to get your referencing right. Specifically, you’ll need to provide credible, correctly formatted citations for the statements you make. We see students making referencing mistakes all the time and it costs them dearly. The good news is that you can easily avoid this by using a simple reference manager . If you don’t have one, check out our video about Mendeley, an easy (and free) reference management tool that you can start using today.

Recap: Key Takeaways

We’ve covered a lot of ground here. To recap, the three steps to writing a high-quality research paper are:

  • To choose a research question and review the literature
  • To plan your paper structure and draft an outline
  • To take an iterative approach to writing, focusing on critical writing and strong referencing

Remember, this is just a b ig-picture overview of the research paper development process and there’s a lot more nuance to unpack. So, be sure to grab a copy of our free research paper template to learn more about how to write a research paper.

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The Length of a Research Paper: Guidelines.

Research papers are an important part of academia and students need to understand the guidelines for writing them. This article will provide an overview of key factors in determining the length of a research paper, including sources used, number of topics covered, use of visual aids or tables, as well as formatting requirements. By understanding these considerations readers can be better informed when setting out to write their own research paper.

I. Introduction

Ii. understanding the basics of research papers, iii. determining appropriate length for a research paper, iv. variables affecting the desired length of a paper, v. establishing relevant guidelines for achieving optimal word counts, vi. balancing substance and style in writing longer assignments, vii .conclusion.

Scientific writing has long been a standard format for the exchange of ideas and knowledge. Whether it be an essay, a dissertation or even an entire book, research papers have provided us with valuable insight into our world. With their detailed analysis and concise explanation of findings, these documents can often provide answers to previously unanswered questions.

In order for a research paper to fulfill its purpose though, they must adhere to certain guidelines as well as having appropriate length: Research Papers should generally not exceed 15 double-spaced pages (not including title page). This size enables readers to absorb the information without becoming too overwhelmed by facts. By following this suggested limitation on word count – it helps ensure that authors convey their points in a clear and organized fashion . It also encourages writers to stay focused on the main idea which in turn creates more impactful work.

Clarifying the Elements of a Research Paper Writing an effective research paper requires both mastering an area of knowledge and honing one’s writing skills. It is important to remember that the basic elements of any successful paper should remain consistent across all subject areas. The following sections will provide guidance on how best to craft each element for maximum impact.

The first step in constructing a research paper is to develop its structure. To achieve this, it can be helpful to break down the project into three main parts: introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Additionally, papers should typically be no longer than 10-15 pages double-spaced with standard margins (1 inch) and font size (12 point). Furthermore, these documents need several essential components such as references cited from relevant sources throughout as well as clear organization utilizing headings or subheadings when necessary.

When organizing ideas within each section it may help clarify points by utilizing some key strategies like citing evidence from reputable outside sources while connecting those items back toward your thesis statement; creating logical argument flow through transitions between individual claims; always writing in third person unless instructed otherwise; using cohesive sentence structures that communicate purposeful meaning without leading readers astray due to unclear phrasing; and avoiding contractions or slang words which could make arguments appear less authoritative.

It’s essential for researchers to be aware of the expectations for their research paper before they begin writing. Many professors specify certain guidelines for length, and this is a key factor in determining how much content should be included in your paper.

  • Start by considering its purpose . Is it an assignment requiring students to summarize a particular topic or current event? If so, you’ll likely need about two pages. Are you tasked with providing an analysis on existing data or ideas? Here, three-to-five pages might be more appropriate. Once you determine the purpose of your work, make sure that your chosen length adheres accordingly.

In general research papers can range anywhere from 5–15+ pages , depending on what kind of information needs to be presented and discussed. A short essay will usually have at least three body paragraphs—each one discussing different points—while longer essays may require up to 10+ body sections. In addition, appendices can also provide supplemental support when needed; these are generally not taken into account as part of the main page count but should always adhere within departmental regulations if required by instructors.

Amount of Detail Required

When determining the desired length of a paper, it is important to consider how much detail is necessary for each section. Depending on the research topic and its complexity, more or less information may be required in order to support your argument. As such, there should be an appropriate balance between presenting enough evidence to make a strong case while avoiding unnecessary verbiage. If this balance isn’t struck appropriately then papers can become excessively long or lack persuasive power.

Length Expectations

Although expectations for paper lengths vary by discipline and academic level, typically they range from 5-20 pages (1200-5000 words). Undergraduate students often write shorter papers than graduate students; however any kind of research paper will generally require adequate development of ideas and sufficient supporting arguments. Ultimately though if professors have specified page requirements you should ensure that your work meets those criteria as closely as possible without sacrificing quality.

Optimal Word Count Strategies

When it comes to writing research papers, word counts are key. Too many words can weigh down the reader and lead to disinterest; conversely, too few make the paper seem incomplete or lacking evidence. To ensure that a research paper achieves optimal length without sacrificing quality of content, there are some important guidelines for authors to consider.

The ideal range for most academic essays is between 1500-2000 words. Of course this may vary depending on specific requirements from individual instructors or schools but in general this range will suffice. While this is an acceptable amount of text, writers should not simply strive for quantity – high-quality content remains paramount when crafting any scholarly article! Writers must aim for succinctness while still communicating their ideas clearly and providing necessary support with reliable data sources and citations wherever needed. Additionally, sections within longer works such as dissertations should adhere to established minimums/maximums so as not take up too much or too little space overall.

Presenting Substance and Style It is important for longer assignments to be both informative and well-written. Students must put in effort to create a seamless balance between the substance of their writing and its style. To make sure that the assignment meets these requirements, they should pay attention to certain guidelines.

  • Research: Be sure you’ve done enough research for your paper—try not to leave any gaps or unanswered questions.
  • Structure: Ensure that each section of your paper has an appropriate structure; it should have a clear beginning, middle, and end.

For instance, research papers require accurate facts as well as comprehensive analyses on relevant topics. Before starting such a project, students must determine how long it ought to be so that all parts of the topic can fit into one document without sacrificing quality or accuracy. Most college essays are typically expected at least 5 pages with 10–20 sources used in support of claims made within them.

  • Editing: Make sure there is no unnecessary repetition in order words choice throughout your work.

Bringing It All Together Research papers are a great way to make your voice heard, develop your writing skills, and hone in on the important details of complex topics. Before embarking on this journey into academic exploration, it’s essential to understand some basics about research paper structure and length.

The typical research paper follows an outline of introduction, body paragraphs (including methodologies or models used), results/analysis/conclusion sections – all within roughly 10-20 pages for undergraduate work. While there is no hard rule that applies across disciplines, this should provide enough guidance as you get started with any project! When choosing a topic for your paper ensure its something interesting that you can reasonably tackle within the desired page limit so as not to overwhelm yourself or be unclear when communicating information.

Taking note of these components will help start off any assignment successfully while keeping organization top-of-mind throughout the entire process. As mentioned before having good time management skills and understanding how much content fits in what amount of space is key – ensuring neither too little nor too much material presented relative to other parts such as introduction or conclusion sections. With careful attention paid along each step from proposal drafting through final edits; anyone can produce an effective research paper whether undergraduates’ seeking higher grades or seasoned professionals publishing white papers alike!

The length of a research paper is an important consideration when it comes to producing a high-quality document. This article has outlined the various guidelines for determining the appropriate length for your project, so that you can approach your research with confidence and produce the best possible outcome. With these considerations in mind, one should be equipped with all of the knowledge necessary to successfully create their ideal academic piece.

never stop your research process

What is the normal research paper length.

Research papers are popular for frightening students due to the many hours and hard effort needed. Fortunately, there are several ways to assist you through them. One of them is by understanding the basics, like how to conduct research and the standard length of a research paper.

You’ll discover that if you know the research paper length and how much research you’ll have to do, they’re not that unpleasant to undertake.

In this article, you’ll find the general guidelines for the length of an academic research paper. We’ll also look at the research paper paragraph length and how many pages you can fit your research into.

How many words should a research paper be?

First, let’s begin with the average word count of the research.

How many words are sufficient? A thousand? Or a lot more? To be clear, there’s no general answer specific to all fields. Factors like topics chosen, fields of study, and instructions from an academic professional come into play.

However, a research paper can be between 4000 to 6000 words on average. In some fields, that may get up to 8000 or even more.

How long is a research paper in high school?

How many pages is a research paper in high school? Research papers are often called term papers, and most high school instructors expect their pupils to produce 3 to 5 pages of them.

They are usually given during a semester and sometimes may be up to 5 and 7 pages long if they are final papers.

How long is a short research paper?

A short research paper can be between 2000 to 3000 words long. These are often seen in high school research papers mentioned above. In fewer cases, they can be for college studies.

How long is a research paper: length guide

The length of a research paper varies depending on the stage of education, course of study, and departmental guidelines. In addition, of course, the volume of relevant findings and the length of your conclusion and discussion can also play a part. But these are often personal factors.

However, academic pieces like essays are usually shorter than research papers or theses.

Your research paper assignment will often come with straightforward guidelines on the pages or word count range it is expected to fall within.

For instance, you could be given a paper that should fall between 4500–5000 words or 20–25 pages. If you’re not given a specific range or limit, don’t forget to confirm with your instructor.

A research paper is often divided into:

  • Introduction : 15% of the final word count.
  • Methods : 35% of the final word count.
  • Analysis and Results : 30% of the final word count.
  • Discussion : 20% of the final word count.

To answer the question, “how long is a typical research paper?” We intend to look at them through various lenses. The ideal length of a research paper should be up to 8000 words. That means without the references and abstract sections, and you should have over 150 sentences and 30 paragraphs.

Research Paper Guide

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Research Paper Writing - A Step by Step Guide

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How to Write a Research Methodology for a Research Paper

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the prospect of writing a research paper? Do complex guidelines and the sheer volume of work leave you feeling stuck?

The pressure to produce a well-researched paper can be daunting, often overshadowing the excitement of exploring new ideas.

But fret not!

In this blog, we'll guide you through the research paper writing process with simplicity and clarity. We'll also provide you with step-by-step instructions and valuable insights on how to write an effective research paper.

Let’s get started.

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  • 1. What is a Research Paper?
  • 2. How to Write a Research Paper?
  • 3. Research Paper Examples
  • 4. Research Paper Writing Checklist

What is a Research Paper?

A research paper is a scholarly document that presents a systematic and structured exploration of a specific topic, issue, or question. 

It is a formal academic piece of writing that synthesizes existing knowledge, incorporates original research or analysis, and offers well-supported conclusions or insights. 

Research papers are typically written by students, academics, or researchers and serve to contribute to the body of knowledge in a particular field of study.

How Long Should A Research Paper be?

Generically,  a research paper typically falls within the range of 6,000 to 8,000 words, which is equivalent to approximately 15-20 pages double-spaced with standard formatting. 

However, for different academic levels, here is a general idea:

  • Undergraduate Research Paper : Around 10-15 pages (double-spaced).
  • Master's Thesis : 50-100 pages or more, depending on the institution and discipline.
  • Doctoral Dissertation : 150-300 pages or more, depending on the field and research depth.

How to Write a Research Paper?

Writing a research paper is a structured and methodical process that involves several essential steps. 

Following these guidelines will help you produce a well-organized and academically sound research paper.

How to Start a Research Paper?

A good research paper must follow a proper structure and format. The first important step in the writing process is to start your paper perfectly. 

1. Understand the Research Paper Requirements

To succeed in your research paper assignment, it's crucial to comprehend the topic and the paper's structure requirements fully. Here are key steps to enhance your understanding:

  • Read Instructions : Thoroughly read assignment instructions. Seek clarification from your professor if any parts are unclear.
  • Identify Purpose : Understand the main purpose of your research paper, whether it's informing or persuading readers.
  • Note Key Details: Take note of essential details, including the deadline, word count, submission method, and required formatting style.
  • List Key Points : Create a list of key points you need to cover in your paper.
  • Set a Timeline : Plan a schedule for starting, writing, and editing your research paper.

2. Consider the Target Audience

Consider your audience's knowledge and expertise level as it influences writing style, word choice, and the depth of information required:

  • For master's level research, expect an expert audience.
  • Undergraduate papers can cater to both general and expert readers.

3. Choose the Right Research Paper Topic

Selecting the right topic is crucial. If you have the option to choose, follow these steps:

  • Brainstorm Ideas : Generate ideas for your topic. Seek input from professors or specialists for a unique approach.
  • Freewrite : Use freewriting to narrow down a broad topic.
  • Review Research Work : Find inspiration in other research papers, especially in their discussion and recommendation sections.
  • Challenge and Interest : Choose a challenging research paper topic that piques your interest and can engage your audience.
  • Specificity : Avoid overly technical or general topics. Opt for an original, specific idea aligned with your research paper's criteria.

4. Conduct Thorough Research

Thorough research is vital for finding relevant ideas, focus, and direction. Ask these questions:

  • Gap in Research : Is there a gap in previous research on your topic?
  • Recent Developments : Are there recent developments in your subject?
  • Debates : Are there ongoing debates related to your topic?
  • Unique Perspective : Do you possess a unique perspective on the topic?

5. Developing a Strong Thesis Statement

After research, create a strong, concise thesis statement. It should serve as the central argument, stating the purpose and position of your paper. 

Support it with solid evidence and reasoning. Ensure your thesis is clear concise, and guides your writing throughout the research paper process.

If you’re struggling in starting your paper, check out this guide on how to start a research paper!

Preparing a Research Paper Proposal

A research proposal is vital for framing your research project. To create an effective research proposal, address these key questions:

  • What is your research objective?
  • Why is this research necessary?
  • How will you approach it?

A well-structured research proposal includes these sections:

  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Background and significance
  • Literature review
  • Research design and methods
  • Hypothesis and discussion

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Writing the First Draft

In the first draft, your focus is on:

  • Translating ideas into arguments
  • Adding detail and structureUnderstanding the paper's overall flow
  • Adhering to the research paper format
  • Maintaining clear organization
  • Properly explaining ideas and findings
  • Ensuring flexibility for future adjustments
  • Providing proper citations

1. Create a Research Paper Outline

An organized research paper outline is crucial for planning your structure and content. It serves as a roadmap for your writing process. Here are some components of an effective outline:

  • Table of Contents
  • Literature Review
  • Bibliography

2. Writing an Abstract

The abstract is a concise summary of your paper. Keep it between 150 and 250 words, highlighting key points from each section.

3. Writing a Research Paper Introduction

The introduction should answer 'What,' 'Why,' and 'How' questions:

  • What : Clearly specify the topic, historical context, and key terms.
  • Why : Discuss the significance of your research.
  • How : Outline the main elements to be covered.

4. Crafting a Literature Review

In the literature review , discuss existing research on your topic. Locate and analyze scholarly articles, highlighting their relevance to your study. Present the past, present, and expected future of the issue.

5. Methodology

Methodology outlines how you conducted your research and collected data. It should be detailed enough that another researcher could replicate your study. In this section, you should include:

  • Study Design : Describe the type of study (e.g., experimental, observational, survey) and its rationale.
  • Participants : Provide information about the number, characteristics, and selection criteria of the participants.
  • Data Collection: Explain the instruments, tools, or techniques used to gather data. Include details such as questionnaires, surveys, interviews, or experiments.
  • Procedure : Describe the step-by-step process of your research, including how data was collected and any ethical considerations.
  • Data Analysis: Specify the statistical or analytical methods used to process and interpret the data.

The Results section presents the findings of your study. It should be factual and data-driven, without interpretation. Include:

  • Data Presentation: Use tables, figures, and charts to present your data clearly.
  • Descriptive Statistics : Report essential statistical measures like means, standard deviations, or percentages.
  • Inferential Statistics: Use appropriate statistical tests to analyze your data.
  • Textual Description : Summarize the key findings and refer to tables or figures where necessary.

7. Discussion

This is where you interpret your results, discuss their implications, and relate them to your research question. Include:

  • Interpretation : Explain the meaning and significance of your findings.
  • Comparison to Existing Research : Compare your results to previous studies and explain how they align or differ.
  • Limitations : Address the limitations of your study and potential sources of bias.
  • Future Research : Suggest areas for future research or improvements to your methodology.

8. Writing a Research Paper Conclusion

In the conclusion:

  • Summarize your paper
  • Reiterate how you addressed the main idea and research questions
  • Avoid introducing new information
  • Suggest potential future research

9. Bibliography

The Bibliography (or References) section lists all the sources you cited in your paper. It should follow a specific citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago). Arrange your sources alphabetically and format them according to the style guidelines.

10. Appendix

The Appendix is an optional section where you can include supplementary material that supports your research but is too detailed or extensive to include in the main body of the paper. 

Examples of content for the appendix might include raw data, additional charts, questionnaires, or extended descriptions of methods.

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Writing the Second Draft

Once you've roughly organized your thoughts in the first draft, proceed to craft the second draft of your paper. 

Consider the following aspects to perfect your second draft:

  • Effectively Address the Main Argument : Review your paper to ensure you've effectively addressed the main argument or research problem statement.
  • Identify Assumptions : Identify any assumptions that may need inclusion or clarification in your paper.
  • Logical Structure : Rearrange and structure your ideas logically to enhance the paper's flow.
  • Trim Irrelevant Ideas : Remove any outdated or irrelevant ideas from the first draft and introduce fresh, unique approaches.
  • Create a Work Cited List : Start compiling a list of works cited according to your chosen citation style guide.

Revising and Proofreading

The final step in the writing process involves revising and proofreading to ensure your paper is well-developed and error-free. 

Confirm the following aspects:

  • Meeting Requirements : Verify if your paper meets all the specified requirements.
  • Logical Paragraph Order : Check for a logical order of paragraphs and ideas.
  • Eliminate Irrelevant Details : Remove any irrelevant or extra details.
  • Grammar and Punctuation : Look for grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors.
  • Sentence Structure : Identify and rectify any issues with sentence structures.
  • Consistency : Ensure consistency in font, headings, page numbers, and formatting throughout the paper.
  • Proper Referencing : Confirm that all sources are correctly referenced following the guidelines of your chosen citation style.

Research Paper Examples

Examples serve as valuable templates and guides, showcasing various formatting styles, organization, and approaches to research paper writing. 

In this section, we will provide you with research paper examples for your reference and a deeper understanding of how to structure and present your own research. 

Research Paper Example

Research Paper Sample

APA Style Research Paper

MLA Style Research Paper

How to Write a Research Paper pdf

How to Write a Research Paper sample

How to Write a Research Paper for journal publication

How to Write a Research Paper format

If you want more examples for research papers, check out our blog about research paper examples !

Research Paper Writing Checklist

This stage often refers to the phase of conducting research for your paper. This checklist will help you ensure that you cover all the necessary steps during this phase:

In summary, this guide will assist you in writing a perfect research paper. However, we understand that it may be quite challenging for students who lack strong writing and research skills.

At, we will assist you with any type of writing, whether it be research paper or thesis writing. 

You can hire an expert writer for your research papers from our legit essay writing service . 

So why wait? Contact us with “ write my research paper ” requests, and let us handle the rest!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to write a research paper using chatgpt.

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While ChatGPT can assist in the writing process, it should not replace scholarly research, or critical analysis. Avoid relying solely on ChatGPT for factual information, and always verify data through authoritative sources. Use it as a complementary tool rather than the primary source for your research paper.

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Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

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Research Paper Example

How Long Should a Research Paper Be?

Table of contents.

When it comes to academic writing, one of the most common questions asked is: How long should a research paper be? This question is essential, as the length can impact not only the scope but also the quality of the paper. In this article, we’ll explore various elements that come into play when deciding the length of a research paper. We’ll delve into the components, their specific lengths, and the average time required to compile an excellent research paper.

What is a Research Paper?

A research paper is a type of academic paper where the author conducts original research on a specific topic, interprets the findings, and then summarizes, argues, or presents the information. This form of academic writing requires in-depth analysis and a thorough literature review to establish credibility and relevance.

How Many Pages Should a Research Paper Be?

The number of pages in a research paper can vary significantly depending on the level of study, subject matter, and specific requirements set by the course or academic journal. High school papers may range from 5-20 pages, college-level papers from 10-30 pages, and graduate theses can be significantly longer, even reaching 100+ pages for Ph.D. dissertations. The spacing, citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago), and number of words also affect the paper’s length.

Components of a Research Paper

A research paper typically consists of several key components, each with its importance:

  • Title Page: The title page includes the paper’s title, author’s name, and institutional affiliation. This section is generally short but should be formatted according to the relevant citation style.
  • Abstract: The abstract provides a concise summary of the research paper, often limited to 150-250 words, depending on the journal or academic requirements.
  • Introduction: The intro presents the background, research question, and thesis statement. It sets the context and outlines the main points of the paper.
  • Literature Review: This section reviews existing research related to your topic, offering a critical analysis of previous studies and identifying gaps your research aims to fill.
  • Methods Section: The methodology details the procedures for collecting and analyzing data. This part should be explicit enough for another researcher to replicate your study.
  • Results Section: Here, the findings of the research are presented in a structured manner, often supported by tables and graphs.
  • Discussion Section: The discussion interprets the results, linking them to the research question and existing literature. It may also propose areas for future research.
  • Conclusion: This section summarizes the main points and restates the thesis in light of the research findings.
  • References Section: The references page lists all cited works in the paper, formatted according to the specific citation style being used.
  • Appendices: The appendices provide additional data or material that is supplementary but not essential to the main text.

How Long Should Each Component Be?

The length of each component depends on the overall length and complexity of the research paper. As a general guideline, the abstract might be 150-250 words, the introduction and conclusion around 10% of the entire paper each, literature review and methodology sections could be a few pages each, and the results and discussion sections might take up the rest of the paper.

What Is the Average Research Paper Length?

The average length of a research paper varies widely depending on the field, level, and journal specifications. However, most academic papers range from 10-20 pages.

How Long Does It Take to Write a Research Paper?

The time it takes to write a research paper can vary significantly. For college students or researchers familiar with the topic and the research process, it may take a few weeks. However, if it is your first time, it might take longer, possibly a few months. This time includes researching, writing the first draft, revising, proofreading, and finalizing the paper.

What Are The Main Elements Of An Effective Summary For Research Papers?

An effective summary, often in the form of an abstract, should include the research question, methodology, main findings, and conclusions. It must be concise while encapsulating the essential aspects of the paper.

How Many Words Should a Research Paper Be?

The word count for a research paper depends on several factors, such as academic level, field of study, and specific guidelines. However, research papers commonly range from 2,500 to 10,000 words.

Top 9 Tools Needed to Write Long Research Papers

Speechify text to speech.

Cost : Free to try

Speechify Text to Speech is a groundbreaking tool that has revolutionized the way individuals consume text-based content. By leveraging advanced text-to-speech technology, Speechify transforms written text into lifelike spoken words, making it incredibly useful for those with reading disabilities, visual impairments, or simply those who prefer auditory learning. Its adaptive capabilities ensure seamless integration with a wide range of devices and platforms, offering users the flexibility to listen on-the-go.

Top 5 Speechify TTS Features :

  • High-Quality Voices : Speechify offers a variety of high-quality, lifelike voices across multiple languages. This ensures that users have a natural listening experience, making it easier to understand and engage with the content.
  • Seamless Integration : Speechify can integrate with various platforms and devices, including web browsers, smartphones, and more. This means users can easily convert text from websites, emails, PDFs, and other sources into speech almost instantly.
  • Speed Control : Users have the ability to adjust the playback speed according to their preference, making it possible to either quickly skim through content or delve deep into it at a slower pace.
  • Offline Listening : One of the significant features of Speechify is the ability to save and listen to converted text offline, ensuring uninterrupted access to content even without an internet connection.
  • Highlighting Text : As the text is read aloud, Speechify highlights the corresponding section, allowing users to visually track the content being spoken. This simultaneous visual and auditory input can enhance comprehension and retention for many users.

Cost : Free basic version; premium plans start at $11.66/month.

Grammarly is a crucial tool for academic writing, helping with everything from grammar errors to plagiarism. Its real-time feedback can make the difference between a rough first draft and a polished piece of original research. Grammarly is particularly helpful for students whose first language is not English.

Grammarly also offers a word count feature that can help you gauge how long your research paper is turning out. This can be particularly useful if you’re writing a term paper with a strict word limit. It supports different citation styles like APA, MLA, and Chicago, which are critical for formatting in-text citations and references section correctly.

Top 5 Features

  • Grammar and spelling check
  • Plagiarism detection
  • Tone and style analysis
  • Word count tracker
  • Sentence structure analysis

Cost : Free with optional paid storage.

Zotero stands as one of the best tools for managing references for your research paper. Forget the hassle of manually writing down your citations; Zotero automates this process. The tool helps you organize your research material and is excellent for keeping track of your literature review articles and journal citations.

Zotero is not just a one-stop-shop for citation needs. It also offers collaborative features, making it suitable for team research projects. Its cross-platform support ensures you can switch between devices without losing your saved citations. The tool is a must-have for both high school and college students undertaking research papers.

  • Citation and bibliography creation
  • Research organization
  • Cross-platform support
  • Browser extension for easy source capture
  • Collaboration features

4. Microsoft Word

Cost : Part of Microsoft Office Suite, pricing starts at $69.99/year.

Microsoft Word is perhaps the most traditional yet indispensable tool for academic writing. Most people are familiar with its basic functionalities, but Word also offers advanced features that can aid in the writing process of your research paper. From setting up your title page to managing page numbers and appendices, the software has it all.

The tool also helps in inserting in-text citations, endnotes, and footnotes. One of the underutilized features is the “Review” tab, which helps in tracking changes, something essential for revising and re-writing. Word is an all-rounder and has stood the test of time when it comes to academic writing, from your first time doing a paper to your last.

  • Robust text editor
  • In-built templates
  • Spelling and grammar check
  • Wide range of formatting options including APA, MLA, and Chicago

5. Scrivener

Cost : One-time payment of $49 for macOS and Windows, $19.99 for iOS.

Scrivener is a powerful tool that excels in helping you organize complex projects. While Microsoft Word is sufficient for shorter papers, Scrivener shines when you’re working on a longer research paper or thesis. Its corkboard view allows you to see the structure of your entire paper, from the intro to the results and discussion sections.

The software offers templates designed for academic papers, making it easier to start your project without worrying about formatting. It has a split-screen feature, allowing you to refer to your research or another section of your paper while writing. The tool’s writing statistics can help you track your progress and set goals, helping you spend less time worrying about how long your research paper should be.

  • Draft and manuscript organization
  • Research storage
  • Templates for academic papers
  • Split-screen feature
  • Writing statistics and goals

6. Turnitin

Cost : Typically purchased by educational institutions; individual pricing not publicly listed.

Turnitin is often the go-to tool for educational institutions when it comes to checking the originality of academic papers. It is not just a plagiarism checker; it’s a comprehensive solution for academic integrity. Turnitin provides an originality report that can be invaluable for both students and educators in identifying unintended plagiarism.

The tool also includes a Feedback Studio feature, where professors can leave comments or grade the paper. This is particularly useful for improving your writing in real-time. Moreover, Turnitin’s peer review capabilities are great for collaborative projects and can be beneficial in graduate-level research where multiple stakeholders are involved.

  • Feedback studio for grading and comments
  • Peer review capabilities
  • Originality reports
  • Grammar and spell check

7. Google Scholar

Cost : Free.

Google Scholar serves as an excellent tool for conducting the literature review part of your research paper. Unlike standard search engines, Google Scholar focuses solely on academic publications, including articles, theses, and conference papers. It’s a free resource, making it accessible for students at all levels, from high school to postgraduate.

One standout feature of Google Scholar is its “Cited by” function, which allows you to see how many times a particular paper has been cited. This can provide a good idea of the paper’s relevance and impact in the academic community. The service also allows you to export citations in various styles such as MLA, APA, and Chicago, simplifying the often complex task of creating a references section.

  • Comprehensive academic search engine
  • Cited by feature
  • Related articles feature
  • Citation export
  • Legal case and patent search

8. Evernote

Cost : Free with optional paid plans starting at $7.99/month.

Evernote is a note-taking app that can be particularly useful when you’re in the research phase of your paper. The tool’s web clipper extension allows you to save articles, PDFs, or even just parts of web pages, turning your Evernote into a digital research library. It’s excellent for gathering material for your literature review, methodology, or any other section of your paper.

Evernote isn’t just for research; it’s also an effective organizational tool. You can create separate notebooks for different research papers or subjects, tag your notes for easy searching, and even share them with classmates or co-authors. The cross-platform syncing means your notes follow you, whether you’re at the library, at home, or on the go.

  • Note-taking and organization
  • Web clipper for research
  • Cross-platform syncing
  • Searchable handwritten notes

9. Mendeley

Cost : Free with optional paid plans for more storage.

Mendeley is a reference management tool that also functions as a social network for researchers. The software can store your research papers and other documents, keeping them accessible and organized. For any academic paper, especially those requiring extensive literature review, this feature is invaluable.

Mendeley offers a Word plugin that helps you insert citations and generate bibliographies in real-time as you write your research paper. The collaboration feature enables you to connect with other researchers, an excellent way to share resources, or get feedback on your research paper. Given its extensive features, Mendeley is not just a tool but an academic community that can guide you through your academic writing process.

  • Reference management
  • PDF annotator
  • Collaboration and networking with researchers
  • Citation plug-in for Word
  • Researcher profiles

How Long Should a Research Paper Take?

The time required to write a research paper depends on several factors, including your familiarity with the topic, research requirements, and writing skills. It could range from a few weeks to several months.

Can I Write a Research Paper in 1 Day?

While it’s technically possible to write a research paper in one day, the quality will likely suffer, risking plagiarism and inadequate research.

How Long Does It Take to Write a 20-Page Research Paper?

A 20-page research paper could take several weeks to a couple of months to write, depending on the level of depth and research required.

How Long Does It Take to Write a Research Paper for College?

Writing a research paper for college typically takes a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on the complexity and research requirements.

By understanding the different factors that contribute to the length and time required for a research paper, you’ll be better equipped to produce high-quality academic writing. Keep this guide handy to navigate through your research paper journey effectively.

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Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

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How to Add Length to a Research Paper: Tips and Tricks

When writing research papers most students struggle with two things the most: making their papers shorter and making them longer. We will focus on the latter, because if your paper isn’t long enough you will not have enough content to make good edits, or even make anything shorter. When you’re starting out, the struggle is often with adding length.Then as you mature as a student the more difficult challenge becomes removing content from papers and editing for clarity. Don’t get discouraged if you are facing the need to add length, it takes a long time to get to the point of automatically writing too much. Dave talks in his vlog below about his own experiences adding length to research papers when when he was first started out:

This post was written by Stephanie A. Bosco-Ruggiero (PhD candidate in Social Work at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service) and Jessica Russell ( freelance writer) on behalf of Dave Maslach for the R3ciprocity project (Check out the YouTube Channel or the writing feedback software ). R3ciprocity helps students, faculty, and research folk by providing a real and authentic look into doing research. It provides solutions and hope to researchers around the world.

There are many different ways of writing a research paper and your professor will have his/her own rubric for what must be included and how the paper will be graded. Graduate level research papers may tend to be more like lengthy literature reviews where you review and synthesize what is already known about your topic. At the doctoral level (or graduate level), you may be proposing an actual research study. Still other papers have their own requirements and rubrics. ( If you like this post, you might want to read this one on how professors grade papers. )

There are many places where you can add content to different types of papers. It is actually more difficult to make a research paper shorter, but there are simple tricks to make your research paper longer. This post discusses some tips and tricks for adding length to doctoral level research papers, in particular, but it also will help you find ways to add length to other types of papers as well, including at the graduate level.  

Choosing a good topic may be a process, not the first step

It is important that you’ve chosen a good research topic. By making sure to do many of the following things we describe when writing, you’ll find out if you have chosen well. Sometimes taking these steps will cause you to change your path, and sometimes (hopefully more often) it will truly help you not only add length to your paper, but get into the really important aspects of what you want and need to say. 

What should I write in the introduction ?

Most research papers begin with an introduction, but this section should only be two to four paragraphs. You really don’t want to go on and on in the beginning of the paper because it really is for summarizing your topic, what the aim of your study is, and perhaps why it is important to look at this issue or research question. You can say more in the background and/or literature review about the context, state of the art in practice, or what knowledge there is to date on this topic. Here are some tips for writing more about the context of your study in one of the earlier sections of your paper (e.g. background, aims and scope literature review, etc.)

What is the context of your research?

Write about the who, what, when, where, how, and why of your problem, issue, or phenomenon. Write 2-3 sentences for each W or the how. Who does it affect, who can affect the outcomes, who needs to be involved? What is the objective or the strategy of your paper? What has happened before, what is happening now, and what could be happening in the future? Where is this problem or issue occurring, and where are its effects happening most? Where is this topic needed and who needs to be discussing it? And why is that? Why is it happening, why should we care, and why has this topic not been at the forefront? These are just some of the questions you can ask yourself to flesh out the context  of your research questions and research paper. 

Why is your research or topic important ?

Write about why this issue or problem is important and what the potential implications are of your study. After writing a few sentences about who, what, where, and why, you will start to see where you can expand upon what you’ve already started to discuss about context. Why is this study or research topic important, who does it affect, where are the implications most evident, and what needs to happen in order to affect change? Then switch those questions around to consider more views on the topic. Dig deep into every avenue of thought and hypothesis on this topic. This alone will give you something to write about.  (Here is a great blog post on choosing research topics that you should read) .

What are your research questions and hypotheses?

This the place where brevity is best. You do not want to provide detail to back up your hypotheses in this section. Your hypotheses emerge from your review of the literature and your knowledge of the field. Your research questions are expanded on in your background and literature review. You have taken a journey toward developing specific research questions and hypotheses if you are proposing a study. Your research questions and hypotheses may be refined several times, but that is ok. Just make sure they are clear and to the point. 

What is your literature review telling you about what is known and what you might find (if you are doing a study)?

The background and literature sections of your paper are great places for discussing the context of the study or phenomenon and for expanding on what is known in the field about this topic, and /or what the different hypotheses or trains of thought are about how it works or why it is relevant. Your literature review should not be a simple list (like an annotated bibliography) of studies that have preceded yours and what the findings were. Rather it should synthesize similar findings, discuss emerging themes, and show how knowledge to date about the subject suggests your hypothesis might be true. If you need help with literature reviews, you might want to read this blog post:

What Is A Literature Review (In A PhD Or Graduate School)? A How to Guide

You might also want to discuss similar theories about the phenomenon, as well as what is not yet known and needs to be studied. There is a lot to write about when looking at the literature and history of your topic, but be careful not to list every study or paper known to man about the topic. Look back about ten years and highlight the most important studies or information. As you mature as a student, this is the section where you tend to write too much and can edit down.

Write a detailed description of 1-2 pages about how things are thought to work. Focus on what is known. When we work from what we know, we can see the gaps that need to be addressed. Do more research if you are struggling on the history and current events relevant to your topic. Search different sources to learn up to the date details on current happenings in your field of study. As you are covering this, more questions and thoughts about the topic will pop into your head. Make sure to take notes and jot down ideas, even if they are small. You never know which thought will lead to a few pages of content. Make sure you establish why your research question and study are necessary and important.

Which theories provide the foundation for your research questions, hypotheses or study?

Your paper may require you to propose or critique a theory. Write where, what, and why the theory is important. Aim for writing 2-3 sentences for each W. Your theory, or someone else’s theory, is the basis of why you’re studying this topic. Start off with a few sentences and then expand upon each sentence. As you are writing, you will develop ideas you may not have thought about initially. It is important to really get into the meat of your theory. Your paper is meant to prove your theory, or it will disprove it as you’re working and cause you to take new avenues and thought patterns to figure out what needs to change. 

Note why you have not chosen a different theory to focus on. It helps to talk about why your theory is important. Why are you writing this, why do you believe in it and why others should read your paper. What is it about this theory that made it something you chose to write about, chose to study and research? And why should others take notice and consider everything you’re saying? Why should it lead to others choosing this to research and study? What led you down this path, what were some of the topics that you didn’t choose, but steered your research towards this theory? 

Where can you go deeper with your analysis ?

Look for multiple levels of analysis. What happens when you zoom in and zoom out of what you are looking at? A great example Dave talks about is looking at your hand. It’s a hand, you know it has bones and muscles and tendons, so he says, “ I can look at my hand and I can see it as a hand but I can think about it in terms of the molecular structure that’s behind it. I can think of it in terms of cells that are behind it. You know, I can think of it in terms of the different wrinkles and wrinkle patterns; I have lots of fingerprint patterns. ” The multiple levels of analysis he is describing will give you a rich, multifaceted, understanding and written description of your topic. Writing a paragraph or two about each level of analysis of your topic and/or a theory will really tease out the details and add length and clarity to your paper. 

Where can you define for clarity and understanding ?

Write definitions for each of the ideas you introduce in your paper. Each definition will add one paragraph to the paper. Not everyone who reads your paper is an expert on your theory or topic. It is often helpful to add definitions both to aid understanding and for adding length. Just make sure not to add superfluous definitions to add length where no additional understanding is really needed. Ask yourself if you weren’t in this field, talking about this topic regularly, what would you need to understand better in order to understand the whole? Define those topics and ideas, expand upon those topics and ideas with the intention of making them more clear to the reader and as a basis for topical understanding. 

Have you described your research methods thoroughly ?

Why is the method that you are using important and the best method for addressing your research question? How is it different from other methods? What are the key assumptions in your research method? Why can’t you use another method? It’s important to keep notes about your methods. These notes will help you describe your methods, conduct your research and discuss the importance of your methods. You can talk about how other methods vary as well as how other methods failed to yield satisfying answers. Explain how different methods led you to your current method and why the changes were necessary. Spend time discussing how you came to where you are now in your research and what brought you to this place. Taking time to expand on these thoughts in your paper to add length and detail, and to document the evolution in your thinking about how to approach this study. 

What do you think? Write it down 

Not everything has to be cited. If you have a clever idea that is novel, about 75% of your paper will have citations but 25% of your paper will be original . Record your sources and make good citations. But make sure to expand upon your thought patterns on the topic. Yes, you have chosen a research topic and are required to write about it, but you are here for a reason. You have chosen your topic, perhaps created a theory or hypothesis, and are at the point of writing about all you’ve learned. Don’t just talk about what others say, think, and have done. Talk about all the ideas you’ve thought about (take notes!) along the way. 

Research sparks ideas and creativity. This provides avenues for new thoughts and theories. Research sparks more research. Learning and discovering new ways to do things, change things, save lives, increase productivity, provide meaning, and spark more in the minds and lives of others are half of the reasons you do what you do. Talk about what you think about everything you’ve learned and where you think there are more avenues for further study. 

Dave says that you know your own ideas. He says it’s important to look for ways that you can add things that are uniquely your own insights because not everything has to be cited in a research paper. The general rule is you want 60-80% of your content to be based on others’ ideas and work. The remaining 20-40% is your own thinking, theorizing, and synthesizing. You can go on a tangent sometimes about different things, and talk about those different things that you find interesting. It will add to the particular context so if you do that you’re going to have a much more original paper and it’s going to seem a little more clever because nobody else is talking about these ideas. 

Discussion: Have you described several mechanisms that might explain what you are looking at ?

There might be several reasons for the change you have observed or are trying to explain. You are seeing change or certain information in your work. Take time to describe those mechanisms, but also look at different mechanisms that might help you and others understand what you are seeing. Looking at it from different viewpoints or through another lens will give you a better understanding of the who, what, where and why of your topic. Considering other mechanisms can help you as you do the research because then you are really thinking about what is happening and why. And, what you may not have considered before or dismissed off hand will become important, not only to your theory, but to your research in general. 

There are many places where you can add length to a paper. At the doctoral level especially, great detail is expected. Just do not write your paper as if you are trying to think of things to say or write about. It will be obvious. You have enough to talk about, even if you don’t realize it at first, to have a paper with sufficient depth and breadth.

If you enjoyed this post, check out these other posts at

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How Long Should a Research Paper be: From Intro to conclusion

research paper length

research paper length

You may be wondering how long your research paper should be? Well, you are not alone. Many students are always asking about the optimal term paper length. This challenge can be further heightened when your instructor has not provided you with the page limit or word count.

Research papers are quite complex because they are academic writings based on your original research on a specific topic. This is why getting our paper writing help can be useful to get that A.

No matter the method you choose, your paper should contain your analysis and interpretation of the findings to be complete.

how long is a research paper words

When considering all those factors, students often wonder how long their research papers should be. Let’s explore this in detail.

Easy navigation table

How Long Should each part of a Research Paper be

Ideally, the most optimal length of a research paper is around 5 pages for short papers and 10 pages for long ones. However, the exact length of your term paper is best determined by your instructor and his instructions.

The same is determined by a number of factors, including the extent and depth of your subject.

Factors Determining the Length of a Paper

The question of how long a research paper should be can be difficult to respond to because it depends on several factors. The most important factors that determine the length of your term paper include;

Factors determining optimal research paper length

  • The subject of your research
  • The number of topics emerging from the subject,
  • Number and complexity of the subtopics,
  • The magnitude of your findings
  • The extent of your discussions and conclusions.

All those factors held constant; it is possible to estimate the length of a less complex research paper if it is demarcated into sections that include the outline, introduction, individual paragraphs, conclusion, and reference page.

Those are the basic components of a typical research paper . Let’s have a look at how long each section should be.

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How a Term Paper Outline Should be

An outline is an important part of your research paper. It provides the structure of your paper. It organizes the contents of your term paper into sections.

However, the outline does not contain details about your paper. It only highlights the topics to be covered and the issues to be tackled within those topics.

Term paper outline list

A format of an outline should include the following;

  • An Introduction
  • The issue that is being tackled
  • A literature review
  • Methodology
  • Results and discussion
  • Conclusion and recommendation

There are brief full-sentence descriptions under the five sections that act as guidelines for your research paper. Therefore, the outline should not exceed 2 pages for short research papers and between 4 to 5 pages for longer papers with 15 to 20 pages.

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Optimal Length of a Research Paper Introduction

As we have noted, the length of your term paper depends on the topic and its contents. This applies to the introduction. For a typical 5-page research paper, your introduction should not exceed half a page.

However, if you are writing a long essay of 15 pages or more, the introduction may span to a page or several paragraphs. Since most of the research papers given to undergraduate college students are not lengthy, the introduction should not exceed a page.

Recommended length of Individual paragraphs in research paper

conducting research

Even though no definitive rules determine the length of individual paragraphs in a paper, the most recommended length is between 90 words and 130 words. Any paragraph below 90 words is deemed too short to sustain an argument, while one with over 130 words is deemed over-argued.

At the same, it is important to note that the length of the paper determines its length. When the paper is short, then the paragraphs should be short.

If the research paper is long, then the paragraphs should be longer. However, a paragraph should contain more than four sentences. For some topics like childhood obesity , the paragraphs may take longer to incorporate data and statistics in your paper.

Since individual paragraphs should focus on one idea, the length of the paragraph should be determined by the supporting text.

If your idea requires a lot of support in the form of illustrations, examples, statistics, paraphrases, quotes, definitions, causes, and effects, then the paragraph will be longer.

In case the idea presented by the individual paragraph is straightforward and does not require a lot of supporting evidence, then it will be shorter.

The paragraphs add content to the outline. The outline provides topics, subtopics, and guidelines, while the paragraphs add content and further explanations.

How Long Should a Conclusion be

writing the conclusion

A conclusion is a very important part of your research paper. This is because you, as the author of your paper, are wrapping up everything you have discussed in your paper.

Basically, the length of the conclusion is determined by your paper’s length.

The longer the paper, the longer the conclusion, and the shorter it is, the shorter the conclusion. A conclusion should not be below 3 sentences. It will take a few hours to write all these components of your paper.

Even though this is the case, an effective conclusion should have the following characteristics.

Characteristics of a Good Term Paper Conclusion

  • Restatement of the topic of your research
  • Restatement of your thesis. This statement should not be identical to what you wrote in the introduction.
  • Provide a summary of your main points. Do not provide any new information.
  • You can also add up the points to further explain the significance of your points.
  • Make a call to action if it is appropriate or significant to your paper.
  • Respond to the “so what” question. This requires you to explain the context of your paper and why it matters to the readers.

From this, it is evident that the conclusion is very important in your research paper. You may not include all of the above, but it is important to restate your paper’s topic, thesis, and main points. Check our research paper writing guide to learn more about how to write these parts.

How Long should the Reference Page be?

The reference page length completely depends on the number of sources you have used in your paper. Your paper may be lengthy with few sources, while others can be shorter with more.

A good term paper should have a reference page listing all your information sources. Provided that you list the sources in the right referencing format, like APA and MLA , the length of the reference page is not definitive.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long should a term paper be for high school.

Most teachers in high schools require their students to submit 3 to 5-page research papers. Those are the normal research papers assigned within the semester. However, final research papers like the English 102 papers are between 5 and 7 pages.

What is the optimal graduate paper length?

Even though the topic of the graduate paper determines its length, such papers are considerably longer. This is because they tackle complex topics requiring in-depth explanations, citations, examples, etc. They can be between 7 and 15 pages. They can also exceed the count.

How long should a term paper be for middle school?

The research papers written by students in middle school are considerably shorter than those given to college or graduate school students. The normal papers written within the semester are between 1 and 2 pages, while the final papers are between 2 and 4.

How long should a literature review be for a research paper?

The length of a literature review depends on the purpose and the audience of the term paper. In most of the research papers in college, the literature review should not exceed two pages. For longer papers of more than 10 pages, it can be between 2 and 3 pages.

How to write a term paper fast

To write a research paper fast, begin by selecting a topic. This is followed by researching the topic and working on a thesis. Write the structure of your paper by creating an outline.

Follow the outline and write the paper by beginning with an introduction and ending with a conclusion. Finally, proofread your paper to correct errors. Read our checklist on how to revise your paper to a final copy.

What are the most common types of research paper formats

You must select a specific style when formatting a research or term paper. The most common formats for research papers are MLA, APA, Chicago, and Harvard.

Each format dictates the style of the paper, the spacing, the in-text citation style, and the reference page style. You can get all these done if you get someone to write your homework at a very reasonable cost.

What is the average length of an academic journal article

Most academic journal articles span 20 to 25 pages when they have a one-and-half line spacing. If the academic journals are double-spaced, they can be between 25 and 30 pages. The journal’s word count ranges from 4000 to 7000 words.

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how long is a research paper words


how long is a research paper words

How Long Is a Research Paper? Let’s Find Out

The length of your paper ranks high among various factors to consider in academic writing. It is thus common for students to get confused when they are presented with a research paper that does not prescribe a word limit.

How long is a research paper? This article will analyse various factors you should consider to determine the length of your paper. 

How long should a research paper be?

The average length of a paper ranges between 4000 to 6000 words. However, research papers may carry up to ten thousand words depending on their complexity. A complex research topic brings about multiple issues to be studied and longer arguments in a bid to acknowledge existing work in your field.

As such, your research paper length is also affected by the availability of resources. A wider number of counterarguments presents more arguments for your paper, resulting in a longer document. The documents may also add to your literature review chapter, further lengthening your paper. 

How many pages is a research paper

On average, a research paper ranges between 15 to 50 pages. As indicated earlier, the length of your paper is affected by the complexity of your topic. As such, some disciplines may require a longer document while shorter papers suffice in other disciplines. 

When going about your research paper, we recommend that you start off with research and then you develop an outline. Afterward, share the outline with your committee for input on areas you may address further and the arguments to omit.

This will help you gauge the length of your paper, without stuffing your research paper with filler words. Also, check previous tasks in your faculty to determine the word count range of previous papers within your field. 

Why are research papers so long?

The research paper length ranks on the higher end of the spectrum for academic papers. This is because your research paper comprises multiple chapters that require evidence-backed arguments.

The literature review, for instance, puts into consideration various publications relating to your topic. This allows you to highlight a research gap and argue the necessity of researching the identified gap.

This is followed by an introduction where you highlight the background study of your topic and your thesis. Your methodology further analyses more resources in a bid to legitimize your research and enable the replicability of your research.

Afterward, your paper presents your results and supplements other studies to design your arguments. This tedious approach to argument brings about copious amounts of words, thus making a research paper longer than typical essays. 

Average research paper length: how long should each chapter be? 

The length of your dissertation chapters varies depending on your total word count. A longer paper may have more words in each chapter compared to shorter research papers. A great way to divide the word count among various chapters in your paper is to follow the percentages approach.

The abstract of your paper should range between 300-500 words. As such, use precise sentences to capture all essential bits of information needed for a quality abstract. The other portions of your paper should contribute to the total wordcount as follows:

  • Literature review – 25% to 30%
  • Introduction – 15%-20%
  • Methodology – 10%-25%
  • Results – 10%-15%
  • Discussion – 25%-30%
  • Conclusion – 10%-15%

You can use the outline to approximate the length of your paper and thus determine how long various chapters should be. We however recommend that you focus on the quality and completeness of arguments in your paper as opposed to chasing a word limit.

What contributes to the final word count of a paper?

After establishing the answer to the question: how long should a thesis be? Most students usually work to include every word from the title page to the appendix in this word count.

If a word limit has been provided by your tutor, it covers all sections of the paper except the title page, references, and appendices. As such, your word count is estimated by the number of words in various chapters that are formative to your research. 

We hope that this guide has cleared any issues you were facing regarding your research paper length. Feel free to engage our experts for assistance in editing your paper to ensure success in your academic journey. The experienced writers ensure that your paper captures the imagination of the reader. If you’re also seeking assistance with other assignments, you can rely on them to deliver exceptional results. If you are wondering “Can they do my python homework ?” we assure you, “Yes, they can.”

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Abstract: This work introduces an efficient method to scale Transformer-based Large Language Models (LLMs) to infinitely long inputs with bounded memory and computation. A key component in our proposed approach is a new attention technique dubbed Infini-attention. The Infini-attention incorporates a compressive memory into the vanilla attention mechanism and builds in both masked local attention and long-term linear attention mechanisms in a single Transformer block. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach on long-context language modeling benchmarks, 1M sequence length passkey context block retrieval and 500K length book summarization tasks with 1B and 8B LLMs. Our approach introduces minimal bounded memory parameters and enables fast streaming inference for LLMs.

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Frequently asked questions

How long is a dissertation.

Dissertation word counts vary widely across different fields, institutions, and levels of education:

  • An undergraduate dissertation is typically 8,000–15,000 words
  • A master’s dissertation is typically 12,000–50,000 words
  • A PhD thesis is typically book-length: 70,000–100,000 words

However, none of these are strict guidelines – your word count may be lower or higher than the numbers stated here. Always check the guidelines provided by your university to determine how long your own dissertation should be.

Frequently asked questions: Dissertation

A dissertation prospectus or proposal describes what or who you plan to research for your dissertation. It delves into why, when, where, and how you will do your research, as well as helps you choose a type of research to pursue. You should also determine whether you plan to pursue qualitative or quantitative methods and what your research design will look like.

It should outline all of the decisions you have taken about your project, from your dissertation topic to your hypotheses and research objectives , ready to be approved by your supervisor or committee.

Note that some departments require a defense component, where you present your prospectus to your committee orally.

A thesis is typically written by students finishing up a bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Some educational institutions, particularly in the liberal arts, have mandatory theses, but they are often not mandatory to graduate from bachelor’s degrees. It is more common for a thesis to be a graduation requirement from a Master’s degree.

Even if not mandatory, you may want to consider writing a thesis if you:

  • Plan to attend graduate school soon
  • Have a particular topic you’d like to study more in-depth
  • Are considering a career in research
  • Would like a capstone experience to tie up your academic experience

The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation should include the following:

  • A restatement of your research question
  • A summary of your key arguments and/or results
  • A short discussion of the implications of your research

The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5–7% of your overall word count.

For a stronger dissertation conclusion , avoid including:

  • Important evidence or analysis that wasn’t mentioned in the discussion section and results section
  • Generic concluding phrases (e.g. “In conclusion …”)
  • Weak statements that undermine your argument (e.g., “There are good points on both sides of this issue.”)

Your conclusion should leave the reader with a strong, decisive impression of your work.

While it may be tempting to present new arguments or evidence in your thesis or disseration conclusion , especially if you have a particularly striking argument you’d like to finish your analysis with, you shouldn’t. Theses and dissertations follow a more formal structure than this.

All your findings and arguments should be presented in the body of the text (more specifically in the discussion section and results section .) The conclusion is meant to summarize and reflect on the evidence and arguments you have already presented, not introduce new ones.

A theoretical framework can sometimes be integrated into a  literature review chapter , but it can also be included as its own chapter or section in your dissertation . As a rule of thumb, if your research involves dealing with a lot of complex theories, it’s a good idea to include a separate theoretical framework chapter.

A literature review and a theoretical framework are not the same thing and cannot be used interchangeably. While a theoretical framework describes the theoretical underpinnings of your work, a literature review critically evaluates existing research relating to your topic. You’ll likely need both in your dissertation .

While a theoretical framework describes the theoretical underpinnings of your work based on existing research, a conceptual framework allows you to draw your own conclusions, mapping out the variables you may use in your study and the interplay between them.

A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.

Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation , such as:

  • Your anticipated title
  • Your abstract
  • Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review , research methods , avenues for future research, etc.)

When you mention different chapters within your text, it’s considered best to use Roman numerals for most citation styles. However, the most important thing here is to remain consistent whenever using numbers in your dissertation .

In most styles, the title page is used purely to provide information and doesn’t include any images. Ask your supervisor if you are allowed to include an image on the title page before doing so. If you do decide to include one, make sure to check whether you need permission from the creator of the image.

Include a note directly beneath the image acknowledging where it comes from, beginning with the word “ Note .” (italicized and followed by a period). Include a citation and copyright attribution . Don’t title, number, or label the image as a figure , since it doesn’t appear in your main text.

Definitional terms often fall into the category of common knowledge , meaning that they don’t necessarily have to be cited. This guidance can apply to your thesis or dissertation glossary as well.

However, if you’d prefer to cite your sources , you can follow guidance for citing dictionary entries in MLA or APA style for your glossary.

A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. In contrast, an index is a list of the contents of your work organized by page number.

The title page of your thesis or dissertation goes first, before all other content or lists that you may choose to include.

The title page of your thesis or dissertation should include your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date.

Glossaries are not mandatory, but if you use a lot of technical or field-specific terms, it may improve readability to add one to your thesis or dissertation. Your educational institution may also require them, so be sure to check their specific guidelines.

A glossary or “glossary of terms” is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. Your glossary only needs to include terms that your reader may not be familiar with, and is intended to enhance their understanding of your work.

A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. In contrast, dictionaries are more general collections of words.

An abbreviation is a shortened version of an existing word, such as Dr. for Doctor. In contrast, an acronym uses the first letter of each word to create a wholly new word, such as UNESCO (an acronym for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

As a rule of thumb, write the explanation in full the first time you use an acronym or abbreviation. You can then proceed with the shortened version. However, if the abbreviation is very common (like PC, USA, or DNA), then you can use the abbreviated version from the get-go.

Be sure to add each abbreviation in your list of abbreviations !

If you only used a few abbreviations in your thesis or dissertation , you don’t necessarily need to include a list of abbreviations .

If your abbreviations are numerous, or if you think they won’t be known to your audience, it’s never a bad idea to add one. They can also improve readability, minimizing confusion about abbreviations unfamiliar to your reader.

A list of abbreviations is a list of all the abbreviations that you used in your thesis or dissertation. It should appear at the beginning of your document, with items in alphabetical order, just after your table of contents .

Your list of tables and figures should go directly after your table of contents in your thesis or dissertation.

Lists of figures and tables are often not required, and aren’t particularly common. They specifically aren’t required for APA-Style, though you should be careful to follow their other guidelines for figures and tables .

If you have many figures and tables in your thesis or dissertation, include one may help you stay organized. Your educational institution may require them, so be sure to check their guidelines.

A list of figures and tables compiles all of the figures and tables that you used in your thesis or dissertation and displays them with the page number where they can be found.

The table of contents in a thesis or dissertation always goes between your abstract and your introduction .

You may acknowledge God in your dissertation acknowledgements , but be sure to follow academic convention by also thanking the members of academia, as well as family, colleagues, and friends who helped you.

A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other  academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .

An  annotated bibliography is a list of  source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a  paper .  

In a thesis or dissertation, the discussion is an in-depth exploration of the results, going into detail about the meaning of your findings and citing relevant sources to put them in context.

The conclusion is more shorter and more general: it concisely answers your main research question and makes recommendations based on your overall findings.

In the discussion , you explore the meaning and relevance of your research results , explaining how they fit with existing research and theory. Discuss:

  • Your  interpretations : what do the results tell us?
  • The  implications : why do the results matter?
  • The  limitation s : what can’t the results tell us?

The results chapter or section simply and objectively reports what you found, without speculating on why you found these results. The discussion interprets the meaning of the results, puts them in context, and explains why they matter.

In qualitative research , results and discussion are sometimes combined. But in quantitative research , it’s considered important to separate the objective results from your interpretation of them.

Results are usually written in the past tense , because they are describing the outcome of completed actions.

The results chapter of a thesis or dissertation presents your research results concisely and objectively.

In quantitative research , for each question or hypothesis , state:

  • The type of analysis used
  • Relevant results in the form of descriptive and inferential statistics
  • Whether or not the alternative hypothesis was supported

In qualitative research , for each question or theme, describe:

  • Recurring patterns
  • Significant or representative individual responses
  • Relevant quotations from the data

Don’t interpret or speculate in the results chapter.

To automatically insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:

  • Apply heading styles throughout the document.
  • In the references section in the ribbon, locate the Table of Contents group.
  • Click the arrow next to the Table of Contents icon and select Custom Table of Contents.
  • Select which levels of headings you would like to include in the table of contents.

Make sure to update your table of contents if you move text or change headings. To update, simply right click and select Update Field.

All level 1 and 2 headings should be included in your table of contents . That means the titles of your chapters and the main sections within them.

The contents should also include all appendices and the lists of tables and figures, if applicable, as well as your reference list .

Do not include the acknowledgements or abstract in the table of contents.

The abstract appears on its own page in the thesis or dissertation , after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

An abstract for a thesis or dissertation is usually around 200–300 words. There’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check your university’s requirements.

In a thesis or dissertation, the acknowledgements should usually be no longer than one page. There is no minimum length.

The acknowledgements are generally included at the very beginning of your thesis , directly after the title page and before the abstract .

Yes, it’s important to thank your supervisor(s) in the acknowledgements section of your thesis or dissertation .

Even if you feel your supervisor did not contribute greatly to the final product, you must acknowledge them, if only for a very brief thank you. If you do not include your supervisor, it may be seen as a snub.

In the acknowledgements of your thesis or dissertation, you should first thank those who helped you academically or professionally, such as your supervisor, funders, and other academics.

Then you can include personal thanks to friends, family members, or anyone else who supported you during the process.

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You can find all the citation styles and locales used in the Scribbr Citation Generator in our publicly accessible repository on Github .

What Is Long COVID? Understanding the Pandemic’s Mysterious Fallout

BY BROOKS LEITNER April 15, 2024

Long COVID Dispatches from the Front Lines with Lisa Sanders, MD and a headshot of Lisa Sanders

Just weeks after the first cases of COVID-19 hit U.S. shores, an op-ed appeared in The New York Times titled “We Need to Talk About What Coronavirus Recoveries Look Like: They're a lot more complicated than most people realize.” The author, Fiona Lowenstein, is a writer and yoga teacher living in New York City, who wrote about her own illness and the symptoms she was left with once she was released from the hospital. “In the weeks since I was hospitalized for the coronavirus , the same question has flooded my email inbox, texts and direct messages: Are you better yet? I don’t yet know how to answer.”

She was better, she wrote on April 13, 2020 , but she wasn’t well. And others she was in touch with were having the same issue. Unlike most diseases, Long COVID was first described not by doctors, but by the patients themselves. Even the term “Long COVID” was coined by a patient. Dr. Elisa Perego, an honorary research fellow at University College in London, came up with the hashtag #LongCOVID when tweeting about her own experience with the post-COVID syndrome. The term went viral and suddenly social media, and then the media itself, was full of these stories.

Complaints like "I can't seem to concentrate anymore" or "I'm constantly fatigued throughout the day" became increasingly common, seemingly appearing out of nowhere. With nothing abnormal turning up from their many thorough lab tests, patients and their physicians were left feeling helpless and frustrated.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined Long COVID as the "continuation or development of new symptoms three months after the initial SARS-CoV-2 infection, with these symptoms lasting for at least two months with no other explanation." This deliberately broad definition reflects the complex nature of this syndrome. We now understand that these symptoms are wide-ranging, including heart palpitations, cough, nausea, fatigue, cognitive impairment (commonly referred to as "brain fog"), and more. Also, many who experience Long COVID following an acute infection face an elevated risk of such medical complications as blood clots and (type 2) diabetes.

As of March 2024 , it’s estimated that about 17% of patients who get COVID-19 will go on to develop post-acute COVID-19 syndrome, the medical term for Long COVID. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that Long COVID disproportionately affects women, and individuals between the ages of 40 and 49 have the highest reported rates of developing this post-acute infection syndrome.

Long COVID represents a new clinical challenge

illustration of a person next to a sars-cov-2 virus

Ebony Dix, MD , a Yale School of Medicine (YSM) assistant professor of psychiatry and the medical director of the geriatric psychiatry inpatient unit at Yale New Haven Hospital, said: "Unfortunately, it is not easy to say who is going to get Long COVID and who isn't." She also emphasized that "it can be overlooked and attributed to a preexisting condition. Sometimes the only thing that patients have in their history is a positive COVID test."

Dr. Dix recalled a patient she treated in the COVID psychiatry unit whose unanticipated clinical decline began with increasing fatigue during physical therapy sessions, ultimately necessitating more care over several weeks. Dr. Dix noted, "Long COVID requires time for things to settle down. It might take several months to get back to baseline." Making timely changes to a patient’s treatment plans was essential to helping her patients get back to good health, she said.

A major challenge with Long COVID is how difficult it can be to diagnose. Determining whether new-onset symptoms, such as fatigue or weakness, are related to an underlying condition or entirely attributed to a prior COVID infection is the greatest challenge for those who care for these patients. This is, in large part, due to the lack of research surrounding the topic.

Defining a basis for Long COVID with clinical research

Inderjit Singh, MBChB , a YSM assistant professor specializing in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine, and director of the Pulmonary Vascular Program, is actively engaged in clinical trials aimed at uncovering the fundamental underpinnings of Long COVID. In one research study, patients suffering from unexplained fatigue and shortness of breath undergo exhaustive exercise testing. In order to be enrolled in this study, patients need to have already completed a substantial work-up, including an echocardiogram, pulmonary function testing, chest CT scans, and more, all which result in no alternative diagnosis.

Through this work, a significant revelation emerged. They observed that patients grappling with Long COVID and facing exercise difficulties were unable to efficiently extract oxygen from their bloodstream during physical exertion. This discovery identifies a specific cause underlying the biological underpinnings of Long COVID.

Recognizing the impracticality of conducting comprehensive exercise tests for every Long COVID patient, Dr. Singh, along with other researchers, is focused on the identification of blood-based markers to assess the severity of Long COVID. For example, a research group, led by Akiko Iwasaki, PhD , Sterling Professor of Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, and director of the Center for Infection & Immunity at YSM, most recently created a new method to classify Long COVID severity with circulating immune markers.

Further investigations conducted by Dr. Singh's team identified distinctive protein signatures in the blood of Long COVID patients, which correlated with the degree of Long COVID severity. Researchers identified two major and distinct blood profiles among the patients. Some of them exhibited blood profiles indicating that excessive inflammation played a prominent role in their condition, while others displayed profiles indicative of impaired metabolism. Dr. Singh raises a pressing question: "Do we prioritize treating the inflammation or addressing the metabolic defects?"

Although his research findings and those of his peers are progressively unraveling the mysteries of Long COVID, he acknowledges that "significant challenges persist in defining this syndrome.”

Why does Long COVID happen?

The symptoms of Long COVID can vary significantly from one patient to another. Some individuals may be so fatigued that they find it difficult to get out of bed each morning. Others experience heart palpitations, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or brain fog. This broad spectrum of symptoms—more than 200 documented—has led to various hypotheses about the underlying mechanisms at play.

Researchers currently believe that the impairment of a spectrum of key bodily functions may contribute to these diverse symptoms. These potential mechanisms include compromised immune system function, damage to blood vessels, and direct harm to the brain and nervous system. Importantly, it's likely that most patients experience symptoms arising from multiple underlying causes, which complicates both the diagnosis and treatment of Long COVID.

How can Long COVID be treated?

While the diagnosis and treatment of Long COVID remain challenging, the landscape of treatment options is evolving. At Yale’s Multidisciplinary Long COVID Care Center, a team, including respiratory therapists, physical therapists, and clinical social workers, along with an internist, work together to provide a comprehensive evaluation of each patient. Treatment approaches can vary widely and may encompass medications, supplements, physical therapy, or other interventions. Each regimen is designed to meet the specific presentation of Long COVID in each patient.

Dr. Singh’s apt summarization of the situation? "I don't think there's a magic bullet for it." Effective management of Long COVID necessitates a multidisciplinary approach that harnesses the expertise of a wide variety of specialists, working together to provide tailored care and support for these patients.

Brooks Leitner is an MD/PhD candidate at Yale School of Medicine.

The last word from Lisa Sanders, MD:

I’m the internist who sees patients at Yale New Haven Health’s Multidisciplinary Long COVID Care Center. In our clinic, patients are examined by a variety of specialists to determine the best next steps for these complex patients. Sometimes that entails more testing. Often patients have had extensive testing even before they arrive, and far too often—when all the tests are normal—both doctors and patients worry that their symptoms are “all in their head.”

One of our first tasks is to reassure patients that many parts of Long COVID don’t show up on tests. We don’t know enough about the cause of many of these symptoms to create a test for them. The problem is not with the patient with the symptoms, but of the science surrounding them.

If any good can be said to come out of this pandemic, it will be a better understanding of Long COVID and many of the other post-acute infection syndromes that have existed as long as the infections themselves.

If you’d like to share your experience with Long COVID for possible use in a future post (under a pseudonym), write to us at: LongCovid [email protected]

Information provided in Yale Medicine content is for general informational purposes only. It should never be used as a substitute for medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. Always seek the individual advice of your health care provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition.

More news from Yale Medicine

coronavirus variant JN.1


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