How long should a research paper be? The length of a research paper ranks among the common rules for writing academic papers. unfortunately, many students struggle to decide the number of words to write in a paper when the tutor leaves this information from the writing instructions.
Often, students are offered the trite advice to write as many words as are necessary to express one’s ideas with clarity. Does this imply that a four-hundred page would be accepted by your faculty? Also, could a ten-page essay be considered the ideal paper length if it covers all the relevant details?
Read on for answers to various questions regarding the AP research paper length to overcome any confusion you had regarding your research paper.
How long is a research paper?
The length of a research paper may vary depending on the faculty instructions and the complexity of the topic in discussion. Complex topics may require intricate research and detailed research methods to derive meaningful results and thus yield a longer paper than their simpler counterparts.
Common research papers range between fifty to a hundred pages. Although the page count may not be stipulated in the research paper guidelines, you can approximate the ideal length by checking previous papers submitted to your faculty and faculty instructions for research papers.
However, don’t focus on reaching a particular word count. instead, use the word count as a guide for your research, identifying the number of issues that you ought to discuss within your paper.
Length of research paper sections
The research paper is divided into sections including the abstract, the literature review, an introduction, a methods section, a results section, a discussion, and a conclusion.
Research paper abstract length
The abstract is a crucial part meant to give your reader a gist of your overall arguments. This section should thus sum your essay to five or six sentences and tackle key phrases for easy ranking on search engines.
The abstract should range between 200- 300 words to avoid irrelevant information. We recommend that you write your abstract last and that you consult outlines for various sections to identify the gaps in your research, the methods used and their relevance, results, and their implications to your field.
Literature review length
The literature review should make up around 25% to 30% of your total paper length. This section bears great importance in structuring your topic and highlighting the gaps you intend to address within the larger topic.
Research paper intro length
Like the abstract, your introduction serves to make the reader aware of the scope of your research paper. Contrary to the abstract, however, the introduction is focused on the background information, and establishing your research questions and thesis statement.
Your introduction may thus take up 10 percent of your total word count, allowing you to orient your reader to your points of view and justification for your research and the selected research methods.
Methods and results length
The methods and result section make up between fifteen and twenty-five percent of your research paper length. Unlike other sections, these chapters should be stated directly to ensure easy replication of your research.
The discussion should make up the bulk of your paper as this section carries your arguments about the topic. This chapter thus makes up between twenty-five and thirty percent of your total word count.
Longer papers may be chunked into subsections to make your paper easy to read and to organize ideas in a manner that is easy for a reader to follow.
The conclusion ties up your key arguments and recommendations in between five and ten percent of your total word count.
Research paper paragraph length
Like all written work, academic papers should be split into paragraphs to ensure easy readability. Ideally, each paragraph of your paper should carry between sixty and eighty words.
How to add length to a research paper
If you fall short of your word count, it does not always imply that you change your topic. there are multiple ways through which you can expand your paper’s word count without compromising your paper’s meaning.
Some of these methods include:
- Expanding various contraptions e.g., can’t, won’t. etc.
- Writing out numbers within your work in words.
- Performing further research to expand on ideas that have been expressed shallowly.
- Adding transitional phrases to each paragraph of your essay.