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“Research is seeing what everybody else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought.”

– Albert Szent-Györgyi

How Long Is a Research Paper: from Introduction to Conclusion

Among various factors, the word count of a research paper is key to consider for a good score. However, determining the ideal word count when your tutor has not stated it in the instructions may prove a challenging task for a beginner.

This article will analyse the length of an academic paper and highlight various tips to add length to your research paper. 

How long should a research paper be?

A standard research paper should range between 4000 and 9000 words. This word range allows you to fully analyse the subject matter and present a quality argument backed by credible resources.

Complex topics may however exceed this word count with some doctorate-level papers spanning up to 15, 000 words. In most assignments, gauge the instructions of the tutor to determine the word range that’s recommended for your paper. 

Also, ensure that your paper does not exceed your word count by more than 10%. 

How to organize a research paper

Research is only the first phase of writing your academic research paper. Organizing these ideas to make a logical argument is the key step that ensures optimal performance in your paper. 

Some of the steps that we recommend when organizing a research paper include:

  1. Formulate your introduction

The introduction is the initial section that your reader encounters when reading your paper. This section should thus cover your thesis, the main finding of your research, and your key hypothesis. 

This part should hook your reader into reading your paper and end with a transition section linking it with the second part. 

  1. Organize your key points into sections

Outlining your paper is a vital step in writing a research paper. Often, the research presents a wide assortment of ideas that may apply to your topic.

The outline connects these ideas into a logical piece, allowing you to develop your argument and also to gauge the sections that require further research. Ideas within your outline should build upon each other and complement the key point in your argument.

  1. Sort your body paragraphs

When making your outline, ensure that each paragraph carries a unique idea that further pushes the analysis of your topic. The paragraph should start with a topic sentence followed by the facts and a sentence connecting the idea to the thesis.

This will allow you to clearly show your ideas in each paragraph, avoiding confusion among your leaders. After you’ve written the paragraphs, peruse the content in each section and sort the body paragraphs into portions that ensure a smooth transition among the ideas contained in your paper. 

  1. Make your conclusion

The conclusion should wrap up your argument and restate your key argument and the thesis statement. You may also consider highlighting the impact of your paper, recommendations for future research, and recommend various strategies for putting your recommendations into action. 

How to add length to a research paper

Ask any professor and they will tell you that stuffing your paper with frivolous words to reach the word count does little to ensure a decent score. Some of the best ways to reach the recommended research paper length include:

  • Add details – a paper that is short of reaching the word count usually hints that you’ve not properly covered your argument. As such, this may hint that you need to go back to the drawing board and analyse more arguments that you could include in your paper. 

    For this, you should search for ideas relating to your topic and expand on ideas you had previously approached shallowly.

  • Expand your thesis – a failure to reach the word count may also hint that you’ve selected a narrow topic that can be exhausted with fewer words than those prescribed by your tutor. When you fall short of the word count by a big margin, consider selecting a broader topic relating to your topic. 
  • Tackle various counterarguments – you may also consider adding some counterarguments to your work and debunking these arguments with the evidence gathered from your sources. 
  • Use examples – another method to extend the research paper pages length is to add examples for various ideas. This not only helps you avoid confusion but also to reach your word count.