Does more sleep make the human body more productive?
Section 1: Introduction (3/4 to 1 page)
One way to think about the structure of an introduction is by relating it to an “upside-down Christmas tree” or a wine glass. In the first paragraph, start broad for your readers. What do your readers need to know about your selected topic? You will slowly become more specific, ending on your specific research question. (Your research question will be your “tree topper” or base of the wine glass.) It may be helpful to write your beginning paragraph first then write your final paragraph. After these two are written, you can connect the two with an additional “stepping stone” paragraph.
- Motivate your topic. Give readers some background in case they are unfamiliar with your topic.
- Provide some research to motivate your work. (Research articles, newspaper articles, etc.) (3 to 5 sources)
- Finish up this section by addressing your specific question.
Section 2: Data (1/4 to 1/2 page)
In this section, you will briefly describe the data that you used and how you analyzed it. Was a survey created and passed out among your classmates? Did you find a dataset online? Did you perform an experiment? If so, how did you do it? You should provide just enough information so that someone else could recreate your work. You must include descriptive statistics of your dataset. This may include bar plots, histograms, box plots, etc. along with some statements of your data’s characteristics.
Section 3: Analysis (3/4 to 1 page)
In this section, you will present your results. This should include any graphs, plots, tables, etc. that will help you make your point. In addition to these results, you will include a few paragraphs to guide your readers (what do you want your readers to see in your results? You should write, in words, what your data show). Be sure that your graphs, plots, tables, etc. are properly formatted!
Section 4: Conclusions (1/2 page)
Finally, you will conclude you paper by summing up your findings. Relate what you found back to your original research question. Be sure to address the following here:
- Do your results enforce or refute your original research question? What do you know now that you didn’t know before the study/experiment?
- What are the limitations of your work? (Perhaps your sample size was small or you were only able to survey college-aged students.)
- Include a few sentences addressing what could be studied next. Does your original question lead to another? Wrap up your paper in a couple of sentences. (Even though it is only a couple of sentences, this is one of the hardest parts to write!)