wpe41.gif (23084 bytes)CIS5394: Decision Making and Expert Systems
(Current Issues in CIS)
Spring 2004

The Research Paper Components


What it does --

The INTRODUCTION establishes the broad area of concern that the paper will cover (i.e., it is the Problem Statement).  It contains the controlling question and sets up a logical framework for the reader to follow.  It acknowledges assumptions made by the researcher and states whether these were found to be true or false according to the research conducted.

The INTRODUCTION sets the tone and the voice for the paper.  Since this is a formal research paper there are a set of expectations for the writer to meet.

Write in 3rd person.  That means that the writer will will refer to himself/herself as "the author" or "the researcher" not as "I."  

Avoid slang terms.  Jargon, the specialized language of the area you are researching, will need to be defined. 

Make the writing interesting to the reader even though the tone is driven by formal language expectation.

Literature Review:

What it does -

As we noted earlier, a research paper is grounded in theory or previous study. This is where you describe those previous studies.

You don't have to fully outline each previous study. A simple sentence or so explaining what the authors found will suffice.

REMEMBER, the point of discussing previous research is to demonstrate your logic. That means that all of the previous research MUST somehow be related to your research.

Make sure you cite each of the works discussed (see Citations).


What it does -

This is really the  BODY of the paper.  It follows the framework laid out in the Introduction and develops each component.

Each of the Secondary Questions will have its own section.  The assumptions made for each Secondary Question will need to be addressed and how each was proven or refuted. 

This is where you describe your solution to the problem

This is the core of your paper.


What it does -

The CONCLUSION, by definition, ends the paper.

This is where you provide a summary of your paper.

You should also summarize some of the limitations of your paper (what you didn't do). The intent is to show what future research might be performed.


What it does -

Provides a complete list of all citations made in the paper.

The list MUST be alphabetized by the last name of the first author

Every reference made MUST be included here

NO reference can be included here if it is NOT used in the paper


What it does -

Includes additional material which is used to support your paper, but was not appropriate in the body of the paper

May include tables and figures which did not fit in the body of the text itself


  This page was last updated on 01/19/04.