How to Write Main Parts of a Research Paper

Approach a research paper like a math formula; the magic in a good paper with strong main parts lies in a precise thesis statement and a linear outline. Linear in such that the writer is making sure that the outline goes step-by-step and is detailed, so writing the paper is guided by this outline; much like a map to a location. Do not be afraid to change direction with edits to the outline or the thesis statement if roadblocks are encountered.

The Thesis Statement

At the junior high level, the thesis statement should reflect how many paragraphs the instructor wants the paper to be. If the thesis statement reads like this: Removing sugar from your diet will result in weight loss, a healthier heart, and a longer life. Then this paper would be five paragraphs:

  • Introduction
  • Weight loss
  • Healthier heart
  • A longer life
  • Conclusion

The main parts are numbers 1, 2, and 3. At the upper levels, each of these main body ideas would consist of several more developed paragraphs.


In the introduction include:

  • Background information
  • A strong quote or two (hook)
  • The thesis statement


In the conclusion, include the following:

  • An universal statement
  • A restatement of the thesis statement

Main Parts

The main parts will thoroughly discuss each idea with quotes, data, research, case studies, and stories to support the thesis. This research should be carefully meshed with the author’s own ideas. MLA in-text citations are a must.

The Outline

The outline follows the thesis statement. Have the children build the outline before they begin to write. A well-written outline can make for a successful paper. A weak outline will result in a weak research paper. Take them to the library for research, as well as have them conduct research on their own. Stress validity and credibility in their sources. Some fine academic resources are: JStor, SIRS, and Questia (note, some of these require membership of activation fees). And do check the progress often. Giving out a date/steps due worksheet, so the items due and when they are due, are not a surprise.

A few odds and ends

Make sure to use all the MLA rules and also:

  • Allow no first or second person
  • Use formal language
  • Cite according to the MLA rules
  • Have a Works Cited page
  • Do not allow contractions

It’s a Snap

Like anything else with many moving parts, learning to write the main parts of a research paper will get easier with time and repetition. The secret lies in a strong thesis, thorough research, and a detailed outline.

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