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How to Structure the Table of Contents for a Research Paper

How to Structure the Table of Contents for a Research Paper

  • 4-minute read
  • 16th July 2023

So you’ve made it to the important step of writing the table of contents for your paper. Congratulations on making it this far! Whether you’re writing a research paper or a dissertation , the table of contents not only provides the reader with guidance on where to find the sections of your paper, but it also signals that a quality piece of research is to follow. Here, we will provide detailed instructions on how to structure the table of contents for your research paper.

Steps to Create a Table of Contents

  • Insert the table of contents after the title page.

Within the structure of your research paper , you should place the table of contents after the title page but before the introduction or the beginning of the content. If your research paper includes an abstract or an acknowledgements section , place the table of contents after it.

  • List all the paper’s sections and subsections in chronological order.

Depending on the complexity of your paper, this list will include chapters (first-level headings), chapter sections (second-level headings), and perhaps subsections (third-level headings). If you have a chapter outline , it will come in handy during this step. You should include the bibliography and all appendices in your table of contents. If you have more than a few charts and figures (more often the case in a dissertation than in a research paper), you should add them to a separate list of charts and figures that immediately follows the table of contents. (Check out our FAQs below for additional guidance on items that should not be in your table of contents.)

  • Paginate each section.

Label each section and subsection with the page number it begins on. Be sure to do a check after you’ve made your final edits to ensure that you don’t need to update the page numbers.

  • Format your table of contents.

The way you format your table of contents will depend on the style guide you use for the rest of your paper. For example, there are table of contents formatting guidelines for Turabian/Chicago and MLA styles, and although the APA recommends checking with your instructor for formatting instructions (always a good rule of thumb), you can also create a table of contents for a research paper that follows APA style .

  • Add hyperlinks if you like.

Depending on the word processing software you’re using, you may also be able to hyperlink the sections of your table of contents for easier navigation through your paper. (Instructions for this feature are available for both Microsoft Word and Google Docs .)

To summarize, the following steps will help you create a clear and concise table of contents to guide readers through your research paper:

1. Insert the table of contents after the title page.

2. List all the sections and subsections in chronological order.

3. Paginate each section.

4. Format the table of contents according to your style guide.

5. Add optional hyperlinks.

If you’d like help formatting and proofreading your research paper , check out some of our services. You can even submit a sample for free . Best of luck writing your research paper table of contents!

What is a table of contents?

A table of contents is a listing of each section of a document in chronological order, accompanied by the page number where the section begins. A table of contents gives the reader an overview of the contents of a document, as well as providing guidance on where to find each section.

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What should I include in my table of contents?

If your paper contains any of the following sections, they should be included in your table of contents:

●  Chapters, chapter sections, and subsections

●  Introduction

●  Conclusion

●  Appendices

●  Bibliography

Although recommendations may differ among institutions, you generally should not include the following in your table of contents:

●  Title page

●  Abstract

●  Acknowledgements

●  Forward or preface

If you have several charts, figures, or tables, consider creating a separate list for them that will immediately follow the table of contents. Also, you don’t need to include the table of contents itself in your table of contents.

Is there more than one way to format a table of contents?

Yes! In addition to following any recommendations from your instructor or institution, you should follow the stipulations of your style guide .

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  • Preparing my thesis
  • Incorporating your published work in your thesis
  • Examples of thesis and chapter formats when including publications

The following examples are acceptable ways of formatting your thesis and chapters when including one or more publications.

Essential requirements

All theses with publications must have the following:

  • Declaration
  • Preface – noting collaborations, and contributions to authorship
  • Acknowledgements
  • Table of contents
  • List of tables, figures & illustrations
  • Main text/chapters
  • Bibliography or list of references

Main text examples

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Literature review
  • Chapter 3: Methods
  • Chapter 4: Paper 1 & general discussion
  • Chapter 5: Paper 2
  • Chapter 6: Regular thesis chapter – results
  • Chapter 7 : Regular thesis chapter/general discussion tying in published and unpublished work
  • Chapter 8: Conclusion
  • Appendices - May include CD, DVD or other material, also reviews & methods papers
  • Chapter 2: Methods
  • Chapter 3: Paper 1
  • Chapter 4: Regular thesis chapter
  • Chapter 6: Regular thesis chapter, final preliminary study
  • Chapter 7: General discussion
  • Chapter 5: Regular thesis chapter
  • Chapter 6: Regular thesis chapter
  • Chapter 7: Regular thesis chapter, final preliminary study
  • Chapter 8: General discussion
  • Chapter 4: Paper 2 - e.g. data paper, including meta analyses
  • Chapter 5: Paper 3
  • Chapter 6: Paper 4
  • Chapter 7: Paper 5
  • Chapter 3: Major paper
  • Chapter 4: Normal thesis chapter, final preliminary study
  • Chapter 5: General discussion

Chapter examples

  • Introduction – including specific aims and hypotheses
  • Introduction – including specific aims, hypotheses
  • Methods – results (including validation, preliminary) not included in the paper
  • Results (including validation, preliminary) not included in paper
  • Discussion – expansion of paper discussion, further method development
  • Resources for candidates
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13.1 Formatting a Research Paper

Learning objectives.

  • Identify the major components of a research paper written using American Psychological Association (APA) style.
  • Apply general APA style and formatting conventions in a research paper.

In this chapter, you will learn how to use APA style , the documentation and formatting style followed by the American Psychological Association, as well as MLA style , from the Modern Language Association. There are a few major formatting styles used in academic texts, including AMA, Chicago, and Turabian:

  • AMA (American Medical Association) for medicine, health, and biological sciences
  • APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the social sciences
  • Chicago—a common style used in everyday publications like magazines, newspapers, and books
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) for English, literature, arts, and humanities
  • Turabian—another common style designed for its universal application across all subjects and disciplines

While all the formatting and citation styles have their own use and applications, in this chapter we focus our attention on the two styles you are most likely to use in your academic studies: APA and MLA.

If you find that the rules of proper source documentation are difficult to keep straight, you are not alone. Writing a good research paper is, in and of itself, a major intellectual challenge. Having to follow detailed citation and formatting guidelines as well may seem like just one more task to add to an already-too-long list of requirements.

Following these guidelines, however, serves several important purposes. First, it signals to your readers that your paper should be taken seriously as a student’s contribution to a given academic or professional field; it is the literary equivalent of wearing a tailored suit to a job interview. Second, it shows that you respect other people’s work enough to give them proper credit for it. Finally, it helps your reader find additional materials if he or she wishes to learn more about your topic.

Furthermore, producing a letter-perfect APA-style paper need not be burdensome. Yes, it requires careful attention to detail. However, you can simplify the process if you keep these broad guidelines in mind:

  • Work ahead whenever you can. Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” includes tips for keeping track of your sources early in the research process, which will save time later on.
  • Get it right the first time. Apply APA guidelines as you write, so you will not have much to correct during the editing stage. Again, putting in a little extra time early on can save time later.
  • Use the resources available to you. In addition to the guidelines provided in this chapter, you may wish to consult the APA website at http://www.apa.org or the Purdue University Online Writing lab at http://owl.english.purdue.edu , which regularly updates its online style guidelines.

General Formatting Guidelines

This chapter provides detailed guidelines for using the citation and formatting conventions developed by the American Psychological Association, or APA. Writers in disciplines as diverse as astrophysics, biology, psychology, and education follow APA style. The major components of a paper written in APA style are listed in the following box.

These are the major components of an APA-style paper:

Body, which includes the following:

  • Headings and, if necessary, subheadings to organize the content
  • In-text citations of research sources
  • References page

All these components must be saved in one document, not as separate documents.

The title page of your paper includes the following information:

  • Title of the paper
  • Author’s name
  • Name of the institution with which the author is affiliated
  • Header at the top of the page with the paper title (in capital letters) and the page number (If the title is lengthy, you may use a shortened form of it in the header.)

List the first three elements in the order given in the previous list, centered about one third of the way down from the top of the page. Use the headers and footers tool of your word-processing program to add the header, with the title text at the left and the page number in the upper-right corner. Your title page should look like the following example.

Beyond the Hype: Evaluating Low-Carb Diets cover page

The next page of your paper provides an abstract , or brief summary of your findings. An abstract does not need to be provided in every paper, but an abstract should be used in papers that include a hypothesis. A good abstract is concise—about one hundred fifty to two hundred fifty words—and is written in an objective, impersonal style. Your writing voice will not be as apparent here as in the body of your paper. When writing the abstract, take a just-the-facts approach, and summarize your research question and your findings in a few sentences.

In Chapter 12 “Writing a Research Paper” , you read a paper written by a student named Jorge, who researched the effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets. Read Jorge’s abstract. Note how it sums up the major ideas in his paper without going into excessive detail.

Beyond the Hype: Abstract

Write an abstract summarizing your paper. Briefly introduce the topic, state your findings, and sum up what conclusions you can draw from your research. Use the word count feature of your word-processing program to make sure your abstract does not exceed one hundred fifty words.

Depending on your field of study, you may sometimes write research papers that present extensive primary research, such as your own experiment or survey. In your abstract, summarize your research question and your findings, and briefly indicate how your study relates to prior research in the field.

Margins, Pagination, and Headings

APA style requirements also address specific formatting concerns, such as margins, pagination, and heading styles, within the body of the paper. Review the following APA guidelines.

Use these general guidelines to format the paper:

  • Set the top, bottom, and side margins of your paper at 1 inch.
  • Use double-spaced text throughout your paper.
  • Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, in a legible size (10- to 12-point).
  • Use continuous pagination throughout the paper, including the title page and the references section. Page numbers appear flush right within your header.
  • Section headings and subsection headings within the body of your paper use different types of formatting depending on the level of information you are presenting. Additional details from Jorge’s paper are provided.

Cover Page

Begin formatting the final draft of your paper according to APA guidelines. You may work with an existing document or set up a new document if you choose. Include the following:

  • Your title page
  • The abstract you created in Note 13.8 “Exercise 1”
  • Correct headers and page numbers for your title page and abstract

APA style uses section headings to organize information, making it easy for the reader to follow the writer’s train of thought and to know immediately what major topics are covered. Depending on the length and complexity of the paper, its major sections may also be divided into subsections, sub-subsections, and so on. These smaller sections, in turn, use different heading styles to indicate different levels of information. In essence, you are using headings to create a hierarchy of information.

The following heading styles used in APA formatting are listed in order of greatest to least importance:

  • Section headings use centered, boldface type. Headings use title case, with important words in the heading capitalized.
  • Subsection headings use left-aligned, boldface type. Headings use title case.
  • The third level uses left-aligned, indented, boldface type. Headings use a capital letter only for the first word, and they end in a period.
  • The fourth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are boldfaced and italicized.
  • The fifth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are italicized and not boldfaced.

Visually, the hierarchy of information is organized as indicated in Table 13.1 “Section Headings” .

Table 13.1 Section Headings

A college research paper may not use all the heading levels shown in Table 13.1 “Section Headings” , but you are likely to encounter them in academic journal articles that use APA style. For a brief paper, you may find that level 1 headings suffice. Longer or more complex papers may need level 2 headings or other lower-level headings to organize information clearly. Use your outline to craft your major section headings and determine whether any subtopics are substantial enough to require additional levels of headings.

Working with the document you developed in Note 13.11 “Exercise 2” , begin setting up the heading structure of the final draft of your research paper according to APA guidelines. Include your title and at least two to three major section headings, and follow the formatting guidelines provided above. If your major sections should be broken into subsections, add those headings as well. Use your outline to help you.

Because Jorge used only level 1 headings, his Exercise 3 would look like the following:

Citation Guidelines

In-text citations.

Throughout the body of your paper, include a citation whenever you quote or paraphrase material from your research sources. As you learned in Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” , the purpose of citations is twofold: to give credit to others for their ideas and to allow your reader to follow up and learn more about the topic if desired. Your in-text citations provide basic information about your source; each source you cite will have a longer entry in the references section that provides more detailed information.

In-text citations must provide the name of the author or authors and the year the source was published. (When a given source does not list an individual author, you may provide the source title or the name of the organization that published the material instead.) When directly quoting a source, it is also required that you include the page number where the quote appears in your citation.

This information may be included within the sentence or in a parenthetical reference at the end of the sentence, as in these examples.

Epstein (2010) points out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).

Here, the writer names the source author when introducing the quote and provides the publication date in parentheses after the author’s name. The page number appears in parentheses after the closing quotation marks and before the period that ends the sentence.

Addiction researchers caution that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (Epstein, 2010, p. 137).

Here, the writer provides a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence that includes the author’s name, the year of publication, and the page number separated by commas. Again, the parenthetical citation is placed after the closing quotation marks and before the period at the end of the sentence.

As noted in the book Junk Food, Junk Science (Epstein, 2010, p. 137), “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive.”

Here, the writer chose to mention the source title in the sentence (an optional piece of information to include) and followed the title with a parenthetical citation. Note that the parenthetical citation is placed before the comma that signals the end of the introductory phrase.

David Epstein’s book Junk Food, Junk Science (2010) pointed out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).

Another variation is to introduce the author and the source title in your sentence and include the publication date and page number in parentheses within the sentence or at the end of the sentence. As long as you have included the essential information, you can choose the option that works best for that particular sentence and source.

Citing a book with a single author is usually a straightforward task. Of course, your research may require that you cite many other types of sources, such as books or articles with more than one author or sources with no individual author listed. You may also need to cite sources available in both print and online and nonprint sources, such as websites and personal interviews. Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , Section 13.2 “Citing and Referencing Techniques” and Section 13.3 “Creating a References Section” provide extensive guidelines for citing a variety of source types.

Writing at Work

APA is just one of several different styles with its own guidelines for documentation, formatting, and language usage. Depending on your field of interest, you may be exposed to additional styles, such as the following:

  • MLA style. Determined by the Modern Languages Association and used for papers in literature, languages, and other disciplines in the humanities.
  • Chicago style. Outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style and sometimes used for papers in the humanities and the sciences; many professional organizations use this style for publications as well.
  • Associated Press (AP) style. Used by professional journalists.

References List

The brief citations included in the body of your paper correspond to the more detailed citations provided at the end of the paper in the references section. In-text citations provide basic information—the author’s name, the publication date, and the page number if necessary—while the references section provides more extensive bibliographical information. Again, this information allows your reader to follow up on the sources you cited and do additional reading about the topic if desired.

The specific format of entries in the list of references varies slightly for different source types, but the entries generally include the following information:

  • The name(s) of the author(s) or institution that wrote the source
  • The year of publication and, where applicable, the exact date of publication
  • The full title of the source
  • For books, the city of publication
  • For articles or essays, the name of the periodical or book in which the article or essay appears
  • For magazine and journal articles, the volume number, issue number, and pages where the article appears
  • For sources on the web, the URL where the source is located

The references page is double spaced and lists entries in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. If an entry continues for more than one line, the second line and each subsequent line are indented five spaces. Review the following example. ( Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , Section 13.3 “Creating a References Section” provides extensive guidelines for formatting reference entries for different types of sources.)

References Section

In APA style, book and article titles are formatted in sentence case, not title case. Sentence case means that only the first word is capitalized, along with any proper nouns.

Key Takeaways

  • Following proper citation and formatting guidelines helps writers ensure that their work will be taken seriously, give proper credit to other authors for their work, and provide valuable information to readers.
  • Working ahead and taking care to cite sources correctly the first time are ways writers can save time during the editing stage of writing a research paper.
  • APA papers usually include an abstract that concisely summarizes the paper.
  • APA papers use a specific headings structure to provide a clear hierarchy of information.
  • In APA papers, in-text citations usually include the name(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication.
  • In-text citations correspond to entries in the references section, which provide detailed bibliographical information about a source.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Research Paper

Matt Ellis

Few things strike more fear in academics than the accursed research paper , a term synonymous with long hours and hard work. Luckily there’s a secret to help you get through them. As long as you know how to write a research paper properly, you’ll find they’re not so bad . . . or at least less painful. 

In this guide we concisely explain how to write an academic research paper step by step. We’ll cover areas like how to start a research paper, how to write a research paper outline, how to use citations and evidence, and how to write a conclusion for a research paper. 

But before we get into the details, let’s take a look at what a research paper is and how it’s different from other  writing . 

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What is a research paper?

A research paper is a type of  academic writing that provides an in-depth analysis, evaluation, or interpretation of a single topic, based on empirical evidence. Research papers are similar to analytical essays, except that research papers emphasize the use of statistical data and preexisting research, along with a strict code for citations. 

Research papers are a bedrock of modern science and the most effective way to share information across a wide network. However, most people are familiar with research papers from school; college courses often use them to test a student’s knowledge of a particular area or their research skills in general. 

Considering their gravity, research papers favor formal, even bland language that strips the writing of any bias. Researchers state their findings plainly and with corresponding evidence so that other researchers can consequently use the paper in their own research. 

Keep in mind that writing a research paper is different from  writing a research proposal . Essentially, research proposals are to acquire the funding needed to get the data to write a research paper. 

How long should a research paper be? 

The length of a research paper depends on the topic or assignment. Typically, research papers run around 4,000–6,000 words, but it’s common to see short papers around 2,000 words or long papers over 10,000 words. 

If you’re writing a paper for school, the recommended length should be provided in the assignment. Otherwise, let your topic dictate the length: Complicated topics or extensive research will require more explanation. 

How to write a research paper in 9 steps

Below is a step-by-step guide to writing a research paper, catered specifically for students rather than professional researchers. While some steps may not apply to your particular assignment, think of this as more of a general guideline to keep you on track. 

1 Understand the assignment

For some of you this goes without saying, but you might be surprised at how many students start a research paper without even reading the assignment guidelines. 

So your first step should be to review the assignment and carefully read the writing prompt. Specifically, look for technical requirements such as length , formatting requirements (single- vs. double-spacing, indentations, etc.) and citation style . Also pay attention to the particulars, such as whether or not you need to  write an abstract or include a cover page. 

Once you understand the assignment, the next steps in how to write a research paper follow the usual  writing process , more or less. There are some extra steps involved because research papers have extra rules, but the gist of the writing process is the same. 

2 Choose your topic

In open-ended assignments, the student must choose their own topic. While it may seem simple enough, choosing a topic is actually the most important decision you’ll make in writing a research paper, since it determines everything that follows. 

Your top priority in how to choose a research paper topic is whether it will provide enough content and substance for an entire research paper. You’ll want to choose a topic with enough data and complexity to enable a rich discussion. However, you also want to avoid general topics and instead stick with topics specific enough that you can cover all the relevant information without cutting too much.  

3 Gather preliminary research

The sooner you start researching, the better—after all, it’s called a research paper for a reason.

To refine your topic and prepare your thesis statement, find out what research is available for your topic as soon as possible. Early research can help dispel any misconceptions you have about the topic and reveal the best paths and approaches to find more material. 

Typically, you can find sources either online or in a library. If you’re searching online, make sure you use credible sources like science journals or academic papers. Some search engines—mentioned below in the Tools and resources section—allow you to browse only accredited sources and academic databases. 

Keep in mind the  difference between primary and secondary sources as you search. Primary sources are firsthand accounts, like published articles or autobiographies; secondary sources are more removed, like critical reviews or secondhand biographies. 

When gathering your research, it’s better to skim sources instead of reading each potential source fully. If a source seems useful, set it aside to give it a full read later. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck poring over sources that you ultimately won’t use, and that time could be better spent finding a worthwhile source. 

Sometimes you’re required to submit a  literature review , which explains your sources and presents them to an authority for confirmation. Even if no literature review is required, it’s still helpful to compile an early list of potential sources—you’ll be glad you did later.  

4 Write a thesis statement

Using what you found in your preliminary research, write a  thesis statement that succinctly summarizes what your research paper will be about. This is usually the first sentence in your paper, making it your reader’s introduction to the topic. 

A thesis statement is the best answer for how to start a research paper. Aside from preparing your reader, the thesis statement also makes it easier for other researchers to assess whether or not your paper is useful to them for their own research. Likewise, you should read the thesis statements of other research papers to decide how useful they are to you. 

A good thesis statement mentions all the important parts of the discussion without disclosing too many of the details. If you’re having trouble putting it into words, try to phrase your topic as a question and then answer it . 

For example, if your research paper topic is about separating students with ADHD from other students, you’d first ask yourself, “Does separating students with ADHD improve their learning?” The answer—based on your preliminary research—is a good basis for your thesis statement. 

5 Determine supporting evidence

At this stage of how to write an academic research paper, it’s time to knuckle down and do the actual research. Here’s when you go through all the sources you collected earlier and find the specific information you’d like to use in your paper. 

Normally, you find your supporting evidence by reading each source and taking notes. Isolate only the information that’s directly relevant to your topic; don’t bog down your paper with tangents or unnecessary context, however interesting they may be. And always write down page numbers , not only for you to find the information later, but also because you’ll need them for your citations. 

Aside from highlighting text and writing notes, another common tactic is to use bibliography cards . These are simple index cards with a fact or direct quotation on one side and the bibliographical information (source citation, page numbers, subtopic category) on the other. While bibliography cards are not necessary, some students find them useful for staying organized, especially when it’s time to write an outline. 

6 Write a research paper outline

A lot of students want to know how to write a research paper outline. More than informal essays, research papers require a methodical and systematic structure to make sure all issues are addressed, and that makes outlines especially important. 

First make a list of all the important categories and subtopics you need to cover—an outline for your outline! Consider all the information you gathered when compiling your supporting evidence and ask yourself what the best way to separate and categorize everything is. 

Once you have a list of what you want to talk about, consider the best order to present the information. Which subtopics are related and should go next to each other? Are there any subtopics that don’t make sense if they’re presented out of sequence? If your information is fairly straightforward, feel free to take a chronological approach and present the information in the order it happened. 

Because research papers can get complicated, consider breaking your outline into paragraphs. For starters, this helps you stay organized if you have a lot of information to cover. Moreover, it gives you greater control over the flow and direction of the research paper. It’s always better to fix structural problems in the outline phase than later after everything’s already been written. 

Don’t forget to include your supporting evidence in the outline as well. Chances are you’ll have a lot you want to include, so putting it in your outline helps prevent some things from falling through the cracks. 

7 Write the first draft

Once your outline is finished, it’s time to start actually writing your research paper. This is by far the longest and most involved step, but if you’ve properly prepared your sources and written a thorough outline, everything should run smoothly. 

If you don’t know how to write an introduction for a research paper, the beginning can be difficult. That’s why writing your  thesis statement beforehand is crucial. Open with your thesis statement and then fill out the rest of your introduction with the secondary information—save the details for the body of your research paper, which comes next. 

The body contains the bulk of your research paper. Unlike  essays , research papers usually divide the body into sections with separate headers to facilitate browsing and scanning. Use the divisions in your outline as a guide. 

Follow along your outline and go paragraph by paragraph. Because this is just the first draft, don’t worry about getting each word perfect . Later you’ll be able to revise and fine-tune your writing, but for now focus simply on saying everything that needs to be said. In other words, it’s OK to make mistakes since you’ll go back later to correct them. 

One of the most common problems with writing long works like research papers is connecting paragraphs to each other. The longer your writing is, the harder it is to tie everything together smoothly. Use  transition sentences to improve the flow of your paper, especially for the first and last sentences in a paragraph. 

Even after the body is written, you still need to know how to write a conclusion for a research paper. Just like  an essay conclusion , your research paper conclusion should restate your thesis , reiterate your main evidence , and summarize your findings in a way that’s easy to understand. 

Don’t add any new information in your conclusion, but feel free to say your own personal perspective or interpretation if it helps the reader understand the big picture. 

8 Cite your sources correctly

Citations are part of what sets research papers apart from more casual nonfiction like personal essays . Citing your sources both validates your data and also links your research paper to the greater scientific community. Because of their importance, citations must follow precise formatting rules . . . problem is, there’s more than one set of rules!

You need to check with the assignment to see which formatting style is required. Typically, academic research papers follow one of two formatting styles for citing sources:

  • MLA (Modern Language Association)
  • APA (American Psychological Association)

The links above explain the specific formatting guidelines for each style, along with an automatic citation generator to help you get started. 

In addition to MLA and APA styles, you occasionally see requirements for  CMOS (The Chicago Manual of Style),  AMA (American Medical Association) and  IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). 

Citations may seem confusing at first with all their rules and specific information. However, once you get the hang of them, you’ll be able to properly cite your sources without even thinking about it. Keep in mind that each formatting style has specific guidelines for citing just about any kind of source, including photos , websites , speeches , and YouTube videos .

9 Edit and proofread

Last but not least, you want to go through your research paper to correct all the mistakes by  proofreading . We recommend going over it twice: once for structural issues such as adding/deleting parts or rearranging paragraphs and once for word choice, grammatical, and spelling mistakes. Doing two different editing sessions helps you focus on one area at a time instead of doing them both at once. 

To help you catch everything, here’s a quick checklist to keep in mind while you edit:

Structural edit:

  • Is your thesis statement clear and concise?
  • Is your paper well-organized, and does it flow from beginning to end with logical transitions?
  • Do your ideas follow a logical sequence in each paragraph?
  • Have you used concrete details and facts and avoided generalizations?
  • Do your arguments support and prove your thesis?
  • Have you avoided repetition?
  • Are your sources properly cited?
  • Have you checked for accidental plagiarism?

Word choice, grammar, and spelling edit:

  • Is your language clear and specific?
  • Do your sentences flow smoothly and clearly? 
  • Have you avoided  filler words and phrases ?
  • Have you checked for proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation? 

Some people find it useful to read their paper out loud to catch problems they might miss when reading in their head. Another solution is to have someone else read your paper and point out areas for improvement and/or technical mistakes. 

Revising is a separate skill from writing, and being good at one doesn’t necessarily make you good at the other. If you want to improve your revision skills, read our  guide on self-editing , which includes a more complete checklist and advanced tips on improving your revisions. 

Technical issues like grammatical mistakes and misspelled words can be handled effortlessly if you use a spellchecker with your word processor, or even better, a digital writing assistant that also suggests improvements for word choice and tone, like Grammarly (we explain more in the Tools and resources section below). 

Tools and resources

If you want to know more about how to write a research paper, or if you want some help with each step, take a look at the tools and resources below. 

Google Scholar

This is Google’s own search engine, which is dedicated exclusively to academic papers. It’s a great way to find new research and sources. Plus, it’s free to use. 

Zotero is a freemium, open-source research manager, a cross between an organizational CMS and a search engine for academic research. With it, you can browse the internet for research sources relevant to your topic and share them easily with colleagues. Also, it automatically generates citations. 


Writing long research papers is always a strain on your attention span. If you have trouble avoiding distractions during those long stretches, FocusWriter might be able to help. FocusWriter is a minimalist word processor that removes all the distracting icons and sticks only to what you type. You’re also free to choose your own customized backgrounds, with other special features like timed alarms, daily goals, and optional typewriter sound effects. 

Google Charts

This useful and free tool from Google lets you create simple charts and graphs based on whatever data you input. Charts and graphs are excellent visual aids for expressing numeric data, a perfect complement if you need to explain complicated evidential research. 

Grammarly goes way beyond grammar, helping you hone word choice, checking your text for plagiarism, detecting your tone, and more. For foreign-language learners, it can make your English sound more fluent, and even those who speak English as their primary language benefit from Grammarly’s suggestions. 

Research paper FAQs

A research paper is a piece of academic writing that analyzes, evaluates, or interprets a single topic with empirical evidence and statistical data. 

When will I need to write a research paper in college?

Many college courses use research papers to test a student’s knowledge of a particular topic or their research skills in general. While research papers depend on the course or professor, you can expect to write at least a few before graduation. 

How do I determine a topic for my research paper?

If the topic is not assigned, try to find a topic that’s general enough to provide ample evidence but specific enough that you’re able to cover all the basics. If possible, choose a topic you’re personally interested in—it makes the work easier. 

Where can I conduct research for my paper?

Today most research is conducted either online or in libraries. Some topics might benefit from old periodicals like newspapers or magazines, as well as visual media like documentaries. Museums, parks, and historical monuments can also be useful. 

How do I cite sources for a research paper?

The correct formatting for citations depends on which style you’re using, so check the assignment guidelines. Most school research reports use either  MLA or  APA styles, although there are others. 

This article was originally written by Karen Hertzberg in 2017. It’s been updated to include new information.

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Online Guide to Writing and Research Chapter 4: The Research Process

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  • Online Guide to Writing

The Nature of Research

  • Why Perform Research?
  • When Is Research Needed?
  • How Should Research Sources Be Evaluated?
  • What Are Research Resources?
  • Human Resources
  • Print Resources
  • Electronic Resources
  • Find a Topic and Get an Overview
  • Survey the Literature
  • Ask a Research Question
  • Manage Your Resources
  • Work Your Sources into Your Research Writing
  • Cite Sources
  • Decide Your Point of View, or Role, for Your Research
  • Collect Evidence
  • Draw Conclusions
  • Informal Research Structure
  • Formal Research Structure

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Table of Contents: Online Guide to Writing

Chapter 1: College Writing

How Does College Writing Differ from Workplace Writing?

What Is College Writing?

Why So Much Emphasis on Writing?

Chapter 2: The Writing Process

Doing Exploratory Research

Getting from Notes to Your Draft


Prewriting - Techniques to Get Started - Mining Your Intuition

Prewriting: Targeting Your Audience

Prewriting: Techniques to Get Started

Prewriting: Understanding Your Assignment

Rewriting: Being Your Own Critic

Rewriting: Creating a Revision Strategy

Rewriting: Getting Feedback

Rewriting: The Final Draft

Techniques to Get Started - Outlining

Techniques to Get Started - Using Systematic Techniques

Thesis Statement and Controlling Idea

Writing: Getting from Notes to Your Draft - Freewriting

Writing: Getting from Notes to Your Draft - Summarizing Your Ideas

Writing: Outlining What You Will Write

Chapter 3: Thinking Strategies

A Word About Style, Voice, and Tone

A Word About Style, Voice, and Tone: Style Through Vocabulary and Diction

Critical Strategies and Writing

Critical Strategies and Writing: Analysis

Critical Strategies and Writing: Evaluation

Critical Strategies and Writing: Persuasion

Critical Strategies and Writing: Synthesis

Developing a Paper Using Strategies

Kinds of Assignments You Will Write

Patterns for Presenting Information

Patterns for Presenting Information: Critiques

Patterns for Presenting Information: Discussing Raw Data

Patterns for Presenting Information: General-to-Specific Pattern

Patterns for Presenting Information: Problem-Cause-Solution Pattern

Patterns for Presenting Information: Specific-to-General Pattern

Patterns for Presenting Information: Summaries and Abstracts

Supporting with Research and Examples

Writing Essay Examinations

Writing Essay Examinations: Make Your Answer Relevant and Complete

Writing Essay Examinations: Organize Thinking Before Writing

Writing Essay Examinations: Read and Understand the Question

Chapter 4: The Research Process

Planning and Writing a Research Paper

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Ask a Research Question

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Cite Sources

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Collect Evidence

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Decide Your Point of View, or Role, for Your Research

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Draw Conclusions

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Find a Topic and Get an Overview

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Manage Your Resources

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Outline

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Survey the Literature

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Work Your Sources into Your Research Writing

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found? - Human Resources

Research Resources: What Are Research Resources?

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found?

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found? - Electronic Resources

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found? - Print Resources

Structuring the Research Paper: Formal Research Structure

Structuring the Research Paper: Informal Research Structure

The Research Assignment: How Should Research Sources Be Evaluated?

The Research Assignment: When Is Research Needed?

The Research Assignment: Why Perform Research?

Chapter 5: Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity

Giving Credit to Sources

Giving Credit to Sources: Copyright Laws

Giving Credit to Sources: Documentation

Giving Credit to Sources: Style Guides

Integrating Sources

Practicing Academic Integrity

Practicing Academic Integrity: Keeping Accurate Records

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material - Paraphrasing Your Source

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material - Quoting Your Source

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material - Summarizing Your Sources

Types of Documentation

Types of Documentation: Bibliographies and Source Lists

Types of Documentation: Citing World Wide Web Sources

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - APA Style

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - CSE/CBE Style

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - Chicago Style

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - MLA Style

Types of Documentation: Note Citations

Chapter 6: Using Library Resources

Finding Library Resources

Chapter 7: Assessing Your Writing

How Is Writing Graded?

How Is Writing Graded?: A General Assessment Tool

The Draft Stage

The Draft Stage: The First Draft

The Draft Stage: The Revision Process and the Final Draft

The Draft Stage: Using Feedback

The Research Stage

Using Assessment to Improve Your Writing

Chapter 8: Other Frequently Assigned Papers

Reviews and Reaction Papers: Article and Book Reviews

Reviews and Reaction Papers: Reaction Papers

Writing Arguments

Writing Arguments: Adapting the Argument Structure

Writing Arguments: Purposes of Argument

Writing Arguments: References to Consult for Writing Arguments

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Anticipate Active Opposition

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Determine Your Organization

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Develop Your Argument

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Introduce Your Argument

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - State Your Thesis or Proposition

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Write Your Conclusion

Writing Arguments: Types of Argument

Appendix A: Books to Help Improve Your Writing


General Style Manuals

Researching on the Internet

Special Style Manuals

Writing Handbooks

Appendix B: Collaborative Writing and Peer Reviewing

Collaborative Writing: Assignments to Accompany the Group Project

Collaborative Writing: Informal Progress Report

Collaborative Writing: Issues to Resolve

Collaborative Writing: Methodology

Collaborative Writing: Peer Evaluation

Collaborative Writing: Tasks of Collaborative Writing Group Members

Collaborative Writing: Writing Plan

General Introduction

Peer Reviewing

Appendix C: Developing an Improvement Plan

Working with Your Instructor’s Comments and Grades

Appendix D: Writing Plan and Project Schedule

Devising a Writing Project Plan and Schedule

Reviewing Your Plan with Others

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Research Method

Home » Chapter Summary & Overview – Writing Guide and Examples

Chapter Summary & Overview – Writing Guide and Examples

Table of Contents

Chapter Summary

Chapter Summary

Chapter summary is a brief overview of the key points or events covered in a specific chapter of a book, academic paper, or other written work. It typically includes a concise description of the main ideas, arguments, or themes explored in the chapter, as well as any important supporting details or evidence .

Chapter summaries are often used as study aids, providing readers with a quick way to review and understand the content of a particular section of a longer work. They may also be included as part of a book’s table of contents or used as a promotional tool to entice potential readers.

How to Write Chapter Summary

Writing a chapter summary involves condensing the content of a chapter into a shorter, more concise form while still retaining its essential meaning. Here are some steps to help you write a chapter summary:

  • Read the chapter carefully: Before summarizing a chapter, it is important to read it thoroughly to ensure that you understand the main ideas and points being made.
  • Identify the main ideas: Identify the main ideas and arguments that the chapter is presenting. These may be explicit, or they may be implicit and require some interpretation on your part.
  • Make notes: Take notes while reading to help you keep track of the main ideas and arguments. Write down key phrases, important quotes, and any examples or evidence that support the main points.
  • Create an outline : Once you have identified the main ideas and arguments, create an outline for your summary. This will help you organize your thoughts and ensure that you include all the important points.
  • Write the summary : Using your notes and outline, write a summary of the chapter. Start with a brief introduction that provides context for the chapter, then summarize the main ideas and arguments, and end with a conclusion that ties everything together.
  • Edit and revise: After you have written the summary, review it carefully to ensure that it is accurate and concise. Make any necessary edits or revisions to improve the clarity and readability of the summary.
  • Check for plagiarism : Finally, check your summary for plagiarism. Make sure that you have not copied any content directly from the chapter without proper citation.

Chapter Summary in Research Paper

In a Research Paper , a Chapter Summary is a brief description of the main points or findings covered in a particular chapter. The summary is typically included at the beginning or end of each chapter and serves as a guide for the reader to quickly understand the content of that chapter.

Here is an example of a chapter summary from a research paper on climate change:

Chapter 2: The Science of Climate Change

In this chapter, we provide an overview of the scientific consensus on climate change. We begin by discussing the greenhouse effect and the role of greenhouse gases in trapping heat in the atmosphere. We then review the evidence for climate change, including temperature records, sea level rise, and changes in the behavior of plants and animals. Finally, we examine the potential impacts of climate change on human society and the natural world. Overall, this chapter provides a foundation for understanding the scientific basis for climate change and the urgency of taking action to address this global challenge.

Chapter Summary in Thesis

In a Thesis , the Chapter Summary is a section that provides a brief overview of the main points covered in each chapter of the thesis. It is usually included at the beginning or end of each chapter and is intended to help the reader understand the key concepts and ideas presented in the chapter.

For example, in a thesis on computer science field, a chapter summary for a chapter on “Machine Learning Algorithms” might include:

Chapter 3: Machine Learning Algorithms

This chapter explores the use of machine learning algorithms in solving complex problems in computer science. We begin by discussing the basics of machine learning, including supervised and unsupervised learning, as well as different types of algorithms such as decision trees, neural networks, and support vector machines. We then present a case study on the application of machine learning algorithms in image recognition, demonstrating how these algorithms can improve accuracy and reduce error rates. Finally, we discuss the limitations and challenges of using machine learning algorithms, including issues of bias and overfitting. Overall, this chapter highlights the potential of machine learning algorithms to revolutionize the field of computer science and drive innovation in a wide range of industries.

Examples of Chapter Summary

Some Examples of Chapter Summary are as follows:

Research Title: “The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health: A Review of the Literature”

Chapter Summary:

Chapter 1: Introduction

This chapter provides an overview of the research problem, which is the impact of social media on mental health. It presents the purpose of the study, the research questions, and the methodology used to conduct the research.

Research Title : “The Effects of Exercise on Cognitive Functioning in Older Adults: A Meta-Analysis”

Chapter 2: Literature Review

This chapter reviews the existing literature on the effects of exercise on cognitive functioning in older adults. It provides an overview of the theoretical framework and previous research findings related to the topic. The chapter concludes with a summary of the research gaps and limitations.

Research Title: “The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership Effectiveness: A Case Study of Successful Business Leaders”

Chapter 3: Methodology

This chapter presents the research methodology used in the study, which is a case study approach. It describes the selection criteria for the participants and the data collection methods used. The chapter also provides a detailed explanation of the data analysis techniques used in the study.

Research Title: “Factors Influencing Employee Engagement in the Workplace: A Systematic Review”

Chapter 4: Results and Discussion

This chapter presents the findings of the systematic review on the factors influencing employee engagement in the workplace. It provides a detailed analysis of the results, including the strengths and limitations of the studies reviewed. The chapter also discusses the implications of the findings for practice and future research.

Purpose of Chapter Summary

Some Purposes of the Chapter Summary are as follows:

  • Comprehension : A chapter summary can help readers understand the main points of a chapter or book. It can help readers remember important details, keep track of the plot or argument, and connect the key ideas.
  • Review : A chapter summary can be a useful tool for reviewing the material covered in a chapter. It can help readers review the content quickly and efficiently, and it can also serve as a reference for future study.
  • Study aid: A chapter summary can be used as a study aid, especially for students who are preparing for exams or writing papers. It can help students organize their thoughts and focus on the most important information.
  • Teaching tool: A chapter summary can be a useful teaching tool for educators. It can help teachers introduce key concepts and ideas, facilitate class discussion, and assess student understanding.
  • Communication : A chapter summary can be used as a way to communicate the main ideas of a chapter or book to others. It can be used in presentations, reports, and other forms of communication to convey important information quickly and concisely.
  • Time-saving : A chapter summary can save time for busy readers who may not have the time to read an entire book or chapter in detail. By providing a brief overview of the main points, a chapter summary can help readers determine whether a book or chapter is worth further reading.
  • Accessibility : A chapter summary can make complex or technical information more accessible to a wider audience. It can help break down complex ideas into simpler terms and provide a clear and concise explanation of key concepts.
  • Analysis : A chapter summary can be used as a starting point for analysis and discussion. It can help readers identify themes, motifs, and other literary devices used in the chapter or book, and it can serve as a jumping-off point for further analysis.
  • Personal growth : A chapter summary can be used for personal growth and development. It can help readers gain new insights, learn new skills, and develop a deeper understanding of the world around them.

When to Write Chapter Summary

Chapter summaries are usually written after you have finished reading a chapter or a book. Writing a chapter summary can be useful for several reasons, including:

  • Retention : Summarizing a chapter helps you to better retain the information you have read.
  • Studying : Chapter summaries can be a useful study tool when preparing for exams or writing papers.
  • Review : When you need to review a book or chapter quickly, a summary can help you to refresh your memory.
  • Analysis : Summarizing a chapter can help you to identify the main themes and ideas of a book, which can be useful when analyzing it.

Advantages of Chapter Summary

Chapter summaries have several advantages:

  • Helps with retention : Summarizing the key points of a chapter can help you remember important information better. By condensing the information, you can identify the main ideas and focus on the most relevant points.
  • Saves time : Instead of re-reading the entire chapter when you need to review information, a summary can help you quickly refresh your memory. It can also save time during note-taking and studying.
  • Provides an overview : A summary can give you a quick overview of the chapter’s content and help you identify the main themes and ideas. This can help you understand the broader context of the material.
  • Helps with comprehension : Summarizing the content of a chapter can help you better understand the material. It can also help you identify any areas where you might need more clarification or further study.
  • Useful for review: Chapter summaries can be a useful review tool before exams or when writing papers. They can help you organize your thoughts and review key concepts and ideas.
  • Facilitates discussion: When working in a group, chapter summaries can help facilitate discussion and ensure that everyone is on the same page. It can also help to identify areas of confusion or disagreement.
  • Supports active reading : Creating a summary requires active reading, which means that you are engaging with the material and thinking critically about it. This can help you develop stronger reading and critical thinking skills.
  • Enables comparison : When reading multiple sources on a topic, creating summaries of each chapter can help you compare and contrast the information presented. This can help you identify differences and similarities in the arguments and ideas presented.
  • Helpful for long texts: In longer books or texts, chapter summaries can be especially helpful. They can help you break down the material into manageable chunks and make it easier to digest.

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Last updated on: Oct 25, 2023

Research Paper Example

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Do you spend time staring at the screen and thinking about how to approach a monstrous  research paper ?

If yes, you are not alone.

Research papers are no less than a curse for high school and college students.

It takes time, effort, and expertise to craft a striking research paper.

Every other person craves to master the magic of producing impressive research papers.

Continue with the guide to investigate the mysterious nature of different types of research through examples.

Research Paper Example for Different Formats

An academic paper doesn't have to be boring. You can use an anecdote, a provocative question, or a quote to begin the introduction.

Learning from introductions written in professional college papers is the best strategy.

Have a look at the expertise of the writer in the following example.

Social Media and Social Media Marketing: A Literature Review

APA Research Paper Example

While writing research papers, you must pay attention to the required format.

Follow the example when the instructor mentions the  APA format .

Effects of Food Deprivation of Concentration and Preserverance

Research Paper Example APA 7th Edition

Research Paper Example MLA

Once you are done with APA format, let’s practice the art of writing quality MLA papers.

Found Voices: Carl Sagan

We have provided you with a top-notch research paper example in  MLA format  here.

Research Paper Example Chicago

Chicago style  is not very common, but it is important to learn. Few institutions require this style for research papers, but it is essential to learn. The content and citations in the research paper are formatted like this example.

Chicago Research Paper Sample

Research Paper Example Harvard

To learn how a research paper is written using the  Harvard citation style , carefully examine this example. Note the structure of the cover page and other pages.

Harvard Research Paper Sample

Examples for Different Research Paper Parts

A research paper has different parts. Each part is important for the overall success of the paper. Chapters in a research paper must be written correctly, using a certain format and structure.

The following are examples of how different sections of the research paper can be written.

Example of Research Proposal

What is the first step to starting a research paper?

Submitting the research proposal!

It involves several sections that take a toll on beginners.

Here is a detailed guide to help you  write a research proposal .

Are you a beginner or do you lack experience? Don’t worry.

The following example of a research paper is the perfect place to get started.

View Research Proposal Example Here

Research Paper Example Abstract

After submitting the research proposal, prepare to write a seasoned  abstract  section.

The abstract delivers the bigger picture by revealing the purpose of the research.

A common mistake students make is writing it the same way a summary is written.

It is not merely a summary but an analysis of the whole research project. Still confused?

Read the abstract mentioned in the following research to get a better idea.

Affirmative Action: What Do We Know? - Abstract Example

Literature Review Research Paper Example

What if a novice person reads your research paper?

He will never understand the critical elements involved in the research paper.

To enlighten him, focus on the  literature review  section. This section offers an extensive analysis of the past research conducted on the paper topics.

It is relatively easier than other sections of the paper.

Take a closer look at the paper below to find out.

Methods Section of Research Paper Example

While writing research papers, excellent papers focus a great deal on the methodology.

Yes, the research sample and methodology define the fate of the papers.

Are you facing trouble going through the methodology section?

Relax and let comprehensive sample research papers clear your doubts.

View Methods Section of Research Paper Here

Research Paper Conclusion Example

The conclusion leaves the last impression on the reader.

“Who cares for the last impression? It’s always the first.”

Don’t be fooled!

The conclusion sets the tone of the whole research paper properly.

A key list of elements must be present in conclusion to make it crisp and remarkable.

The Conclusion: Your Paper's Final Impression

View the sample paper and identify the points you thought were never a part of the conclusion.


Get Quick AI Research Help!

Research Paper Examples for Different Fields

Research papers can be about any subject that needs a detailed study. The following examples show how research papers are written for different subjects.

History Research Paper Sample

Many Faces of Generalisimo Fransisco Franco

Sociology Research Paper Sample

A Descriptive Statistical Analysis within the State of Virginia

Science Fair Research Paper Sample

What Do I Need To Do For The Science Fair?

Psychology Research Paper Sample

The Effects of Food Deprivation on Concentration and Preserverance

Art History Research Paper Sample

European Art History: A Primer

Scientific Research Paper Example

We have discussed several elements of research papers through examples.

Research Proposal!

Introduction in Research Paper!

Read on to move towards advanced versions of information.

Scientific research paper

Let's have a look at the template and an example to elaborate on concepts.

It includes:

  • Introduction
  • Related Work
  • Research Methodology
  • Experiments
  • Results and Discussion
  • Conclusion & Future Work
  • Acknowledgment

The name itself sounds terrifying to many students. Make no mistake; it sure is dangerous when touched without practice.

Students become afraid and hence aspire to locate an outstanding essay paper writer to get their papers done.

Detailed, high-quality, and credible sources and samples are a must to be shared here.

Science Fair Paper Format

Example of Methodology in Research Paper

The words methodology, procedure, and approach are the same. They indicate the approach pursued by the researcher while conducting research to accomplish the goal through research.

The methodology is the bloodline of the research paper.

A practical or assumed procedure is used to conduct the methodology.

The Effects of Immediate Feedback Devices in High School Chemistry Classes

See the way the researcher has shared participants and limits in the methodology section of the example.

Research Paper Example for Different Levels

The process of writing a research paper is based on a set of steps. The process will seem daunting if you are unaware of the basic steps. Start writing your research paper by taking the following steps:

  • Choose a Topic
  • Create a thesis statement
  • Do in-depth research for the research study
  • Create an outline

You will find writing a research paper much easier once you have a plan.

No matter which level you are writing at, your research paper needs to be well structured.

Research Paper Example Outline

Before you plan on writing a well-researched paper, make a rough draft.

Brainstorm again and again!

Pour all of your ideas into the basket of the outline.

What will it include?

A standard is not set but follow the  research paper outline  example below:

View Research Paper Outline Example Here

This example outlines the following elements:

  • Thesis Statement
  • Methodology

Utilize this standard of outline in your research papers to polish your paper. Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you write a research paper according to this format.

Good Research Paper Examples for Students

Theoretically, good research paper examples will meet the objectives of the research.

Always remember! The first goal of the research paper is to explain ideas, goals, and theory as clearly as water.

Yes, leave no room for confusion of any sort.

Fiscal Research Center - Action Plan

Qualitative Research Paper Example

Research Paper Example Introduction

How to Write a Research Paper Example?

Research Paper Example for High School

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Research Paper Conclusion

“Who cares for the last impression? It's always the first.”

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A key list of elements must be present in the conclusion to make it crisp and remarkable.

Critical Research Paper

To write a research paper remarkably, include the following ingredients in it:

  • Justification of the Experimental Design
  • Analysis of Results
  • Validation of the Study

How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper

Theoretical Framework Examples

The theoretical framework is the key to establish credibility in research papers.

Read the purpose of the theoretical framework before following it in the research paper.

The researcher offers a guide through a theoretical framework.

  • Philosophical view
  • Conceptual Analysis
  • Benefits of the Research

An in-depth analysis of theoretical framework examples research paper is underlined in the sample below.

View Theoretical Framework Example Here

Now that you have explored the research paper examples, you can start working on your research project. Hopefully, these examples will help you understand the writing process for a research paper.

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Frequently asked questions

How should you refer to chapters in your thesis or dissertation.

When you mention different chapters within your text, it’s considered best to use Roman numerals for most citation styles. However, the most important thing here is to remain consistent whenever using numbers in your dissertation .

Frequently asked questions: Dissertation

Dissertation word counts vary widely across different fields, institutions, and levels of education:

  • An undergraduate dissertation is typically 8,000–15,000 words
  • A master’s dissertation is typically 12,000–50,000 words
  • A PhD thesis is typically book-length: 70,000–100,000 words

However, none of these are strict guidelines – your word count may be lower or higher than the numbers stated here. Always check the guidelines provided by your university to determine how long your own dissertation should be.

A dissertation prospectus or proposal describes what or who you plan to research for your dissertation. It delves into why, when, where, and how you will do your research, as well as helps you choose a type of research to pursue. You should also determine whether you plan to pursue qualitative or quantitative methods and what your research design will look like.

It should outline all of the decisions you have taken about your project, from your dissertation topic to your hypotheses and research objectives , ready to be approved by your supervisor or committee.

Note that some departments require a defense component, where you present your prospectus to your committee orally.

A thesis is typically written by students finishing up a bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Some educational institutions, particularly in the liberal arts, have mandatory theses, but they are often not mandatory to graduate from bachelor’s degrees. It is more common for a thesis to be a graduation requirement from a Master’s degree.

Even if not mandatory, you may want to consider writing a thesis if you:

  • Plan to attend graduate school soon
  • Have a particular topic you’d like to study more in-depth
  • Are considering a career in research
  • Would like a capstone experience to tie up your academic experience

The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation should include the following:

  • A restatement of your research question
  • A summary of your key arguments and/or results
  • A short discussion of the implications of your research

The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5–7% of your overall word count.

For a stronger dissertation conclusion , avoid including:

  • Important evidence or analysis that wasn’t mentioned in the discussion section and results section
  • Generic concluding phrases (e.g. “In conclusion …”)
  • Weak statements that undermine your argument (e.g., “There are good points on both sides of this issue.”)

Your conclusion should leave the reader with a strong, decisive impression of your work.

While it may be tempting to present new arguments or evidence in your thesis or disseration conclusion , especially if you have a particularly striking argument you’d like to finish your analysis with, you shouldn’t. Theses and dissertations follow a more formal structure than this.

All your findings and arguments should be presented in the body of the text (more specifically in the discussion section and results section .) The conclusion is meant to summarize and reflect on the evidence and arguments you have already presented, not introduce new ones.

A theoretical framework can sometimes be integrated into a  literature review chapter , but it can also be included as its own chapter or section in your dissertation . As a rule of thumb, if your research involves dealing with a lot of complex theories, it’s a good idea to include a separate theoretical framework chapter.

A literature review and a theoretical framework are not the same thing and cannot be used interchangeably. While a theoretical framework describes the theoretical underpinnings of your work, a literature review critically evaluates existing research relating to your topic. You’ll likely need both in your dissertation .

While a theoretical framework describes the theoretical underpinnings of your work based on existing research, a conceptual framework allows you to draw your own conclusions, mapping out the variables you may use in your study and the interplay between them.

A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.

Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation , such as:

  • Your anticipated title
  • Your abstract
  • Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review , research methods , avenues for future research, etc.)

In most styles, the title page is used purely to provide information and doesn’t include any images. Ask your supervisor if you are allowed to include an image on the title page before doing so. If you do decide to include one, make sure to check whether you need permission from the creator of the image.

Include a note directly beneath the image acknowledging where it comes from, beginning with the word “ Note .” (italicized and followed by a period). Include a citation and copyright attribution . Don’t title, number, or label the image as a figure , since it doesn’t appear in your main text.

Definitional terms often fall into the category of common knowledge , meaning that they don’t necessarily have to be cited. This guidance can apply to your thesis or dissertation glossary as well.

However, if you’d prefer to cite your sources , you can follow guidance for citing dictionary entries in MLA or APA style for your glossary.

A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. In contrast, an index is a list of the contents of your work organized by page number.

The title page of your thesis or dissertation goes first, before all other content or lists that you may choose to include.

The title page of your thesis or dissertation should include your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date.

Glossaries are not mandatory, but if you use a lot of technical or field-specific terms, it may improve readability to add one to your thesis or dissertation. Your educational institution may also require them, so be sure to check their specific guidelines.

A glossary or “glossary of terms” is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. Your glossary only needs to include terms that your reader may not be familiar with, and is intended to enhance their understanding of your work.

A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. In contrast, dictionaries are more general collections of words.

An abbreviation is a shortened version of an existing word, such as Dr. for Doctor. In contrast, an acronym uses the first letter of each word to create a wholly new word, such as UNESCO (an acronym for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

As a rule of thumb, write the explanation in full the first time you use an acronym or abbreviation. You can then proceed with the shortened version. However, if the abbreviation is very common (like PC, USA, or DNA), then you can use the abbreviated version from the get-go.

Be sure to add each abbreviation in your list of abbreviations !

If you only used a few abbreviations in your thesis or dissertation , you don’t necessarily need to include a list of abbreviations .

If your abbreviations are numerous, or if you think they won’t be known to your audience, it’s never a bad idea to add one. They can also improve readability, minimizing confusion about abbreviations unfamiliar to your reader.

A list of abbreviations is a list of all the abbreviations that you used in your thesis or dissertation. It should appear at the beginning of your document, with items in alphabetical order, just after your table of contents .

Your list of tables and figures should go directly after your table of contents in your thesis or dissertation.

Lists of figures and tables are often not required, and aren’t particularly common. They specifically aren’t required for APA-Style, though you should be careful to follow their other guidelines for figures and tables .

If you have many figures and tables in your thesis or dissertation, include one may help you stay organized. Your educational institution may require them, so be sure to check their guidelines.

A list of figures and tables compiles all of the figures and tables that you used in your thesis or dissertation and displays them with the page number where they can be found.

The table of contents in a thesis or dissertation always goes between your abstract and your introduction .

You may acknowledge God in your dissertation acknowledgements , but be sure to follow academic convention by also thanking the members of academia, as well as family, colleagues, and friends who helped you.

A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other  academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .

An  annotated bibliography is a list of  source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a  paper .  

In a thesis or dissertation, the discussion is an in-depth exploration of the results, going into detail about the meaning of your findings and citing relevant sources to put them in context.

The conclusion is more shorter and more general: it concisely answers your main research question and makes recommendations based on your overall findings.

In the discussion , you explore the meaning and relevance of your research results , explaining how they fit with existing research and theory. Discuss:

  • Your  interpretations : what do the results tell us?
  • The  implications : why do the results matter?
  • The  limitation s : what can’t the results tell us?

The results chapter or section simply and objectively reports what you found, without speculating on why you found these results. The discussion interprets the meaning of the results, puts them in context, and explains why they matter.

In qualitative research , results and discussion are sometimes combined. But in quantitative research , it’s considered important to separate the objective results from your interpretation of them.

Results are usually written in the past tense , because they are describing the outcome of completed actions.

The results chapter of a thesis or dissertation presents your research results concisely and objectively.

In quantitative research , for each question or hypothesis , state:

  • The type of analysis used
  • Relevant results in the form of descriptive and inferential statistics
  • Whether or not the alternative hypothesis was supported

In qualitative research , for each question or theme, describe:

  • Recurring patterns
  • Significant or representative individual responses
  • Relevant quotations from the data

Don’t interpret or speculate in the results chapter.

To automatically insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:

  • Apply heading styles throughout the document.
  • In the references section in the ribbon, locate the Table of Contents group.
  • Click the arrow next to the Table of Contents icon and select Custom Table of Contents.
  • Select which levels of headings you would like to include in the table of contents.

Make sure to update your table of contents if you move text or change headings. To update, simply right click and select Update Field.

All level 1 and 2 headings should be included in your table of contents . That means the titles of your chapters and the main sections within them.

The contents should also include all appendices and the lists of tables and figures, if applicable, as well as your reference list .

Do not include the acknowledgements or abstract in the table of contents.

The abstract appears on its own page in the thesis or dissertation , after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .

An abstract for a thesis or dissertation is usually around 200–300 words. There’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check your university’s requirements.

In a thesis or dissertation, the acknowledgements should usually be no longer than one page. There is no minimum length.

The acknowledgements are generally included at the very beginning of your thesis , directly after the title page and before the abstract .

Yes, it’s important to thank your supervisor(s) in the acknowledgements section of your thesis or dissertation .

Even if you feel your supervisor did not contribute greatly to the final product, you must acknowledge them, if only for a very brief thank you. If you do not include your supervisor, it may be seen as a snub.

In the acknowledgements of your thesis or dissertation, you should first thank those who helped you academically or professionally, such as your supervisor, funders, and other academics.

Then you can include personal thanks to friends, family members, or anyone else who supported you during the process.

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How to Write a Research Paper – A Complete Guide

You must have heard about Research Paper , right? But do you ever think about to write one? If yes, then you must come across various questions like, “What are the approaches for writing a Research Paper” or “What is the format of a Research Paper?” or many more. No worries!! In this article we will guide you about all the aspects of writing a Research Paper.


Firstly, let us understand what exactly a research paper is. A research paper is a piece of document written by students, professionals or others on a particular topic with a deep and genuine research study. However, writing a research paper is not a kind of task that has to be done in a few days. It takes a lot of research work and study. But you must note that the skills that you develop while writing a research paper will be very helpful to you in achieving your career goals. The approaches for Writing an Effective Research paper are listed below:

1. Choose the Topic

The first step while writing a research paper is to decide the topic. You can pen down various topics and can choose one of them as per your relevancy. While looking for a topic, you can ask several questions to yourself as – “Am I comfortable with this domain?” or “Will I be able to do deep research study of this topic?” or “What innovative stuff I can provide in this particular field?” , etc. And if you find a positive response from your side, go for that topic. Also, discuss the topic with your mentors and guides to know the worthiness of the topic.

2. Narrowing the Topic

After choosing the topic, you must check whether it is quite specific or general. If the topic is very broad, then you have to explore more to narrow down the topic as the research paper should be more topic-specific rather than being generic. You can consult with your mentor and guide regarding this.

3. Gather the Information

Here the most important part comes! You must have to dive into the world of research study. In today’s era, the Internet is the best source to get any information. Although, all the information provided on the Internet is not reliable so you have to explore more and more from various sources. It must be remembered that the research strategy should be in specific directions and meet the required objectives. There are various other sources from where you can get the relevant information as you can discuss it with your mentors, study the journals, etc.

4. Filtration and Drafting of Information

Once you have done with the information gathering process, now you have a lot of information about the topic. So what you have to do is deeply analyze the information and filter it down. You have to avoid all the unnecessary stuff for a genuine research paper. After filtration, there is a need to draft all the information in a structured way for final writing (it can be formal or informal) . In the drafting process, all the aspects are covered like information accuracy, no spelling error, no unnecessary information, etc. Also, proofread it once to check the relevancy of the content with the topic.

Now, you have to write all this gathered information in the Research Paper Outline which consists of:

Apart from the Research Paper, for any type of content, the title is the primary thing that grabs the attention of the readers. In numerous instances, the readers decide whether to read your article or not just by looking at the title. The title of the research paper should be very catchy and expressive. It must signify the main objective of the research paper in just a few words. A research paper generally has a title length of around 15-20 words. Also, try to avoid unnecessary phrases from the title such as ‘Research based on…’ or ‘Paper for…’ , etc.

2. Abstract

The abstract is like a summary of your research paper. It helps the reader to understand what the research paper is all about by briefly explaining the key findings documented in the research paper. The word length of it should be around 200-250 words.

3. Introduction

The ‘Introduction’ section must have adequate information about the topic which thoroughly depicts the purpose of your study. The topic should be clearly explained and the reason for the study of that particular topic can be described in this section. Also, try to explain the points that why your research paper is worth to study for your readers. Keep an eye on spelling and grammar mistakes and maintain the simplicity and accuracy of sentences and phrases.

4. Procedures and Methods

This section is the core of the Research Paper as your actual study work, research findings, methodologies, approaches and all are stated here. Be specific about your topic and try to avoid unnecessary information. You can use tables, flowcharts, pie charts, etc. for showing the statistics.

The ‘Result’ section consists of all the outcomes of your research. Here, all the outcomes of the research procedure are stated and noted down for further process. Analyze and filter the data obtained after performing research procedures and make it presentable in the form of tables, graphs or charts. The word length of this section can be varied as per the rest of the sections.

6. Conclusion

The ‘Conclusion’ section leads back to the introduction section as whatever you stated there, now you have to describe it evidently that how you achieved it. It will be based on the outcomes of the research study and methodologies (which you have already mentioned in the ‘Result’ section) . It is a summarization of the outcomes of your research work.

7. Recommendation

The ‘Recommendation’ section is not mandatory and it is created as per the requirement and relevancy with your research paper. But keep in mind that whatever you mention in this section, it must be logical and based on your research analysis. You just can’t throw random things, that you think might be useful, in this section.

In context of Research Paper , it will be beneficial to understand the scenario of ‘Scholarly Articles’ . Scholarly Articles refers to those journal articles which are written by scholars or someone who is an expert in a particular field. If you are looking for a research document for a specific topic, these articles prove to be very helpful and much more relevant. You can find these articles on Google Scholar .

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  • How did the long bow contribute to English military dominance?
  • What caused the stock market crash of 2008?
  • How did Cleopatra come to power in Egypt what did she do during her reign?
  • How has airport security intensified since September 11 th , 2001?
  • What is life like inside of a beehive ?
  • Where did hip hop originate and who were its founders?
  • What makes the platypus a unique and interesting mammal?
  • How does tobacco use affect the human body?
  • How do computer viruses spread and in what ways do they affect computers?
  • What is daily life like for a Buddhist monk ?
  • What are the origins of the conflict in Darfur ?
  • How did gunpowder change warfare?
  • In what ways do Wal-Mart stores affect local economies?
  • How were cats and dogs domesticated and for what purposes?
  • What do historians know about ninjas ?
  • How has the music industry been affected by the internet and digital downloading?
  • What were the circumstances surrounding the death of Osama Bin Laden ?
  • What was the women’s suffrage movement and how did it change America?
  • What efforts are being taken to protect endangered wildlife ?
  • How much does the war on drugs cost Americans each year?
  • How is text messaging affecting teen literacy?
  • Are humans still evolving ?
  • What technologies are available to home owners to help them conserve energy ?
  • How have oil spills affected the planet and what steps are being taken to prevent them?
  • What was the Magna Carta and how did it change England?
  • What is the curse of the pharaohs?
  • Why was Socrates executed?
  • What nonlethal weapons are used by police to subdue rioters?
  • How does the prison population in America compare to other nations?
  • How did ancient sailors navigate the globe?
  • Can gamblers ever acquire a statistical advantage over the house in casino games?
  • What is alchemy and how has it been attempted?
  • How are black holes formed?
  • How was the assassination of Abraham Lincoln plotted and executed?
  • Do the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks?
  • How do submarines work?
  • Do lie detector tests accurately determine truthful statements?
  • How did Cold War tension affect the US and the world?
  • What happened to the lost settlers at Roanoke ?
  • How does a hybrid car save energy?
  • What ingredients can be found inside of a hotdog ?
  • How did Julius Caesar affect Rome?
  • What are some common sleep disorders and how are they treated?
  • How did the Freedom Riders change society?
  • How is internet censorship used in China and around the world?
  • What was the code of the Bushido and how did it affect samurai warriors ?
  • What are the risks of artificial tanning or prolonged exposure to the sun?
  • What programs are available to help war veterans get back into society?
  • What steps are involved in creating a movie or television show?
  • How have the film and music industries dealt with piracy ?
  • How did Joan of Arc change history?
  • What responsibilities do secret service agents have?
  • How does a shark hunt?
  • What dangers and hardships did Lewis and Clark face when exploring the Midwest?
  • Has the Patriot Act prevented or stopped terrorist acts in America?
  • Do states that allow citizens to carry guns have higher or lower crime rates?
  • How are the Great Depression and the Great Recession similar and different?
  • What are the dangers of scuba diving and underwater exploration?
  • How does the human brain store and retrieve memories ?
  • What was the Manhattan Project and what impact did it have on the world?
  • How does stealth technology shield aircraft from radar?
  • What causes tornadoes ?
  • Why did Martin Luther protest against the Catholic Church?
  • How does a search engine work?
  • What are the current capabilities and future goals of genetic engineers ?
  • How did the Roman Empire fall?
  • What obstacles faced scientists in breaking the sound barrier ?
  • How did the black plague affect Europe?
  • What happened to Amelia Earhart ?
  • What are the dangers and hazards of using nuclear power ?
  • How did Genghis Khan conquer Persia?
  • What architectural marvels were found in Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire ?
  • From where does spam email come and can we stop it?
  • How does night vision work?
  • How did journalists influence US war efforts in Vietnam ?
  • What are the benefits and hazards of medical marijuana ?
  • What causes desert mirages and how do they affect wanderers?
  • What was the cultural significance of the first moon landing ?
  • What are sinkholes and how are they formed?
  • Have any psychics ever solved crimes or prevented them from occurring?
  • Who is Vlad the Impaler and what is his connection to Count Dracula ?
  • What are the risks of climate change and global warming ?
  • What treatments are available to people infected with HIV and are they effective?
  • Who was a greater inventor, Leonardo di Vinci or Thomas Edison ?
  • How are the Chinese and American economies similar and different?
  • Why was communism unsuccessful in so many countries?
  • In what ways do video games affect children and teenagers?

This is an image of a young woman in a library. She is sitting at a desk with a pile of books and looking toward the ceiling. She appears to be in deep thought.


I like using this website when I assist kids with learning as a lot of these topics are quickly covered in the school systems. Thankyou

Mackenah Nicole Molina

Wow! I always have trouble deiciding what to do a research project on but this list has totally solved that. Now my only problem is choosing what idea on this list I should do first!

Most of these my teacher rejected because apparently ‘these aren’t grade level topics, and I doubt they interest you”

I’m sorry to hear that. Sounds like you will have a potentially valuable character-building experience in the short-term.

Edwin Augusto Galindo Cuba


research kid

I need one about animals, please. I have been challenged to a animal research project, Due Friday. I have no clue what to research! somebody help, thanks for reading!

You can do one on bats

For international studies you can do Defense and Security.

This was very helpful.

Research on Ben Franklin? I think THAT will get a real charge out of everyone (hehehehegetit)

Mandy Maher

“Is it possible to colonize Mars?”

maddy burney

these are silly topics

thx for making this real.

more gaming questions!!!!!!

Is it still considered stealing if you don’t get caught?

Yes, yes it is still considered stealing.

I need topics on memes

Mary Nnamani

Please I need project topics on Language Literature

Marcella Vallarino

I would appreciate a list of survey questions for middle school grades 6-8

I need a research topics about public sector management


publish research that are interesting please……

hey can you do one on the burmiueda triangle

Anybody know video games effect kids,and,teens. There Fun!!


I need a topic about woman history if any of u can find 1 please that would be great!

You could research about the history of the astronauts, and of human past (WWI, WWII, etc.)

so about women? Manitoba Women Win the Right to Vote in Municipal Elections, The First Women, January 23, 1849: Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman to graduate from medical school and become a doctor in the United States, Rosa Parks Civil Rights Equal Pay. I have way more. so if you need more just ask.

communism is good

what are you a communist?!?!

Did FDR know about the upcoming attack on Pearl Harbor on 07 DEC 1941.

do you know how babies are born

Christine Singu

kindly assist with a research topic in the field of accounting or auditing

need more about US army

Please can yiu give me a topic in education

I think one should be how can music/Video games can affect the life for people

or How Do Video Games Affect Teenagers?

zimbabwe leader

I think a good topic is supporting the confederate flag!

Need a research topic within the context of students union government and dues payments

do more weird ones plz

joyce alcantara

Hi pls po can you give me a topic relate for humanities pls thank u.

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Research Paper Topics: 200 Best Picks

chapters for research paper

Did you know that the world's largest desert is not the sandy expanse of the Sahara but rather the icy wilderness of Antarctica? It's a captivating fact that challenges our conventional understanding of deserts. While we typically associate deserts with endless dunes and scorching heat, Antarctica, with its bone-chilling cold and vast stretches of barren ice, meets the technical criteria of a desert. This fascinating paradox showcases the complexity of our natural world and serves as a reminder that there's always more to discover, even in the most unexpected places. In much the same way, choosing research paper topics can lead us to unexpected insights and open new intellectual horizons.

Research Paper Topics: Short Description

Are you struggling to find the perfect essay topics that ignite your academic passion? Look no further! Dive into our comprehensive guide, where you'll uncover a curated list of 200 of the best research paper topics spanning across various subjects. Whether your interests lie in the realms of science, humanities, technology, or the arts, we've got you covered. Let this invaluable resource be your compass on your scholarly journey, helping you identify that ideal topic that not only sparks your curiosity but also propels your academic pursuits to new heights.

What Are Good Research Topics

Choosing a research topic is akin to setting off on a thrilling expedition. You want to venture into uncharted territory, but you also need a compass to keep you on track. So, what makes a research topic good? Let's uncover the secrets from our ' write my paper ' experts:

What Are Good Research Topics

1. Relevance is Key : The best research topics often intersect with real-world issues. They're questions waiting to be answered or problems in need of solutions. For instance, in the realm of environmental science, 'The Impact of Microplastics on Marine Ecosystems' is a hot topic because it addresses a pressing global concern.

2. Passion Igniters : Good research topic ideas align with your personal interests. If you're fascinated by artificial intelligence, delving into 'Ethical Dilemmas in AI Development' won't feel like a chore; it'll be a captivating journey.

3. Unexplored Avenues : Look for gaps in existing research. The most exciting discoveries often happen where no one has tread before. If everyone's talking about 'The Effects of Climate Change,' maybe you can explore 'Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Vulnerable Communities' - a less explored path with immense potential.

4. Scope Matters : Consider the scope of your project. A topic too broad might lead to superficial research, while one too narrow can be limiting. Strike a balance. Instead of 'The History of World Literature,' try 'The Influence of Japanese Haiku Poetry on Modern American Literature.'

5. Controversy and Debate : Controversial topics can be both intriguing and polarizing. 'Should Genetic Editing in Humans Be Regulated?' is bound to stir passionate discussions, making it an excellent choice for thought-provoking research projects.

6. Fresh Perspectives : Seek topics that allow for diverse viewpoints. 'The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health' can be approached from psychological, sociological, and even technological angles, providing a rich landscape for exploration.

7. Feasibility : Finally, consider the resources and time you have at your disposal. Some interesting research topics might require extensive fieldwork or access to expensive equipment. Opt for a topic that's feasible within your constraints.

Selecting the Right Research Paper Topic

Picking research paper topics can be as easy as pie if you follow these simple steps:

How to Select the Right Research Paper Topic

1. Think About What You Like:

Start by thinking about what you really like or are curious about. It could be anything – from animals to space, movies to history. Imagine writing about something that makes you excited!

2. See What's Already Been Done:

Look around a bit. Find out if others have written about your topic before. This is like checking out the map to see where others have gone. You want to find your own path.

3. Make It More Specific:

Once you know how to research a topic , it's time to narrow down your topic. Instead of talking about 'animals,' you could focus on 'endangered pandas.' This is like choosing a trail in the forest instead of wandering all over.

4. Ask for Help:

Talk to your teacher or friends about your idea. They might have cool suggestions or tips. It's like having buddies on your adventure who know the way.

5. Check Your Tools:

Before you start, make sure you have every tool you need. It's like checking if you have the right gear before going camping. Make sure you have books or internet access for research and enough time to finish.

After settling on a topic, you can easily order essay from our skilled writers, who will expertly manage it on your behalf!

Research Paper Topics on Math

These research papers reflect the diverse and evolving nature of mathematics and its applications in various fields. Researchers in mathematics continue to make significant contributions, pushing the boundaries of knowledge and technology.

  • Quantum Computing Algorithms: Investigating the development of quantum algorithms for solving complex mathematical problems and their potential impact on cryptography and computational mathematics.
  • Topological Data Analysis: Exploring the applications of topological methods in data analysis, particularly in fields like neuroscience, biology, and materials science.
  • Machine Learning and Mathematics: Analyzing the mathematical foundations of machine learning algorithms, including deep learning and neural networks.
  • Homotopy Type Theory: Investigating the connections between homotopy theory, category theory, and type theory and their role in the foundations of mathematics.
  • Number Theory and Cryptography: Exploring recent advances in number theory and their applications in modern cryptography, including post-quantum cryptography.
  • Differential Equations in Epidemiology: Studying the role of differential equations in modeling the spread of infectious diseases, as highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Graph Theory and Network Analysis: Investigating new algorithms and techniques in graph theory for analyzing complex networks, such as social networks and transportation networks.
  • Mathematics of Machine Vision: Examining the mathematical principles behind computer vision and image processing techniques, including object recognition and image reconstruction.
  • Algebraic Geometry and Robotics: Exploring the intersections of algebraic geometry and robotics, particularly in the context of robot motion planning and control.
  • Combinatorial Optimization in Operations Research: Analyzing recent developments in combinatorial optimization algorithms and their applications in solving complex real-world problems in logistics, transportation, and resource allocation.

Research Paper Topics on Science

These are great research paper topics that highlight the dynamic and interdisciplinary nature of scientific research, showcasing the ongoing efforts to understand and address complex global challenges.

  • CRISPR-Cas9 Gene Editing Technology: Investigating recent developments and ethical considerations surrounding CRISPR-based gene editing techniques.
  • Quantum Computing and Quantum Information: Exploring the latest advancements in quantum computing hardware, algorithms, and their potential applications in fields like cryptography and materials science.
  • Artificial Intelligence in Drug Discovery: Analyzing the use of machine learning and AI algorithms for identifying potential drug candidates and accelerating the drug discovery process.
  • Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life: Discussing recent discoveries related to extremophiles, exoplanets, and the potential for life beyond Earth.
  • Climate Change and Oceanography: Examining the impact of climate change on ocean ecosystems, including rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and changes in marine biodiversity.
  • Neuroscience and Brain-Computer Interfaces: Investigating the development of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) and their applications in healthcare, communication, and assistive technologies.
  • Particle Physics and the Search for Dark Matter: Discussing recent experiments and theories related to dark matter, one of the most significant mysteries in modern physics.
  • Synthetic Biology and Bioengineering: Exploring the latest advancements in synthetic biology, including the design of artificial organisms and bioengineering for medical and environmental applications.
  • Renewable Energy Technologies: Analyzing recent breakthroughs in renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and advanced energy storage systems.
  • Artificial Photosynthesis: Investigating the development of artificial photosynthesis systems for sustainable energy production and carbon dioxide reduction.

Research Paper Topics on Business

These business research paper topics reflect the ever-changing landscape of the business world, where innovation, ethics, and global challenges play significant roles in shaping business practices and strategies.

  • Sustainability in Business: Examining strategies for integrating sustainability practices into corporate operations and measuring their impact on profitability and social responsibility.
  • E-commerce and Online Marketplaces: Investigating the growth of e-commerce, including the role of online marketplaces, consumer behavior, and the future of traditional brick-and-mortar retail.
  • Entrepreneurship and Startup Ecosystems: Analyzing the factors contributing to the success of startup ecosystems, including access to capital, mentorship, and government policies.
  • Digital Marketing Trends: Exploring recent developments in digital marketing, such as influencer marketing, content marketing, and the use of AI in marketing campaigns.
  • Global Supply Chain Management: Studying the challenges and opportunities in global supply chains, including risk management, sustainability, and the impact of disruptive events.
  • Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility: Examining ethical dilemmas in business, corporate governance, and the social responsibility of corporations.
  • Financial Technology (Fintech): Investigating the impact of fintech innovations, including digital banking, cryptocurrency, and peer-to-peer lending, on traditional financial institutions and markets.
  • Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: Analyzing the benefits and challenges of fostering diverse and inclusive work environments and their impact on employee performance and organizational success.
  • Data Analytics and Business Intelligence: Exploring the use of data analytics and business intelligence tools to make informed decisions, improve operations, and gain a competitive advantage.
  • Corporate Innovation and Open Innovation Strategies: Investigating how companies foster innovation by collaborating with external partners, startups, and customers, and the impact of open innovation on corporate success and competitiveness.

Research Paper Topics on Psychology

Explore fascinating subjects like mental health, cognitive processes, and the intricacies of human behavior with these psychology research paper topics:

  • Mental Health Stigma: Analyzing the impact of stigma on individuals seeking treatment for mental health disorders and strategies to reduce stigma in society.
  • Social Media and Mental Health: Investigating the relationship between social media use, mental health outcomes, and potential interventions for healthier online behavior.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Exploring the latest research on PTSD, including treatment modalities, risk factors, and the neurobiology of trauma.
  • Positive Psychology and Well-being: Examining the science of well-being, happiness, and positive emotions and their practical applications in therapy and everyday life.
  • Childhood Development and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Investigating the long-term effects of adverse childhood experiences on mental health and strategies for prevention and intervention.
  • Psychology of Sleep: Analyzing the importance of sleep in mental health, the consequences of sleep disorders, and effective treatments for improving sleep quality.
  • Substance Abuse and Addiction: Studying the psychological factors contributing to substance abuse, addiction treatment approaches, and the impact of addiction on individuals and society.
  • Cross-Cultural Psychology: Exploring cultural variations in psychological processes, including cognition, emotion, and behavior, and their implications for mental health and therapy.
  • Neuroplasticity and Rehabilitation: Investigating the brain's ability to adapt and recover after injury, with a focus on rehabilitation techniques for conditions like stroke and traumatic brain injury.
  • Psychological Resilience: Examining factors that contribute to psychological resilience in the face of adversity, trauma, or stress and interventions to enhance resilience.

Research Paper Topics on Literature

Explore the world of words and uncover the deeper meanings behind the texts with the following topic suggestions:

  • Postcolonial Literature and Identity: Analyzing the theme of identity and its intersection with postcolonialism in works of literature from former colonies.
  • Feminism in Classic Literature: Exploring feminist themes, characters, and narratives in classic literature and their relevance in contemporary society.
  • Dystopian Literature and Social Commentary: Investigating how dystopian literature serves as a commentary on current social, political, and technological issues.
  • Literature and Environmentalism: Analyzing how literature portrays environmental concerns, climate change, and humanity's relationship with the natural world.
  • Adaptation of Literature to Film: Examining the challenges and artistic choices involved in adapting literary works into successful films.
  • Literature of the Harlem Renaissance: Studying the cultural and artistic movement known as the Harlem Renaissance, with a focus on key literary figures and their contributions.
  • Magical Realism in Latin American Literature: Exploring the use of magical realism in the works of authors like Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende.
  • Literature and Mental Health: Investigating the portrayal of mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, in contemporary literature and their impact on stigmatization.
  • Literature and Technology: Analyzing how literature reflects the influence of technology on society, communication, and human relationships.
  • Literature and Social Justice: Examining literature's role in advocating for social justice, civil rights, and equity, with a focus on diverse voices and marginalized communities.

Research Paper Topics on Environment

Discover the planet's pressing issues with these critical topics:

  • Climate Change Mitigation Strategies: Investigating innovative approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, including renewable energy adoption, carbon capture and storage, and sustainable transportation.
  • Biodiversity Conservation and Restoration: Analyzing conservation efforts to protect endangered species, restore ecosystems, and enhance biodiversity in the face of habitat loss and climate change.
  • Plastic Pollution and Marine Ecosystems: Exploring the impact of plastic pollution on marine life, ecosystems, and potential solutions for reducing plastic waste in oceans.
  • Urban Sustainability: Studying sustainable urban planning, green infrastructure, and policies to create environmentally friendly and resilient cities.
  • Water Resource Management: Investigating strategies for sustainable water resource management, including groundwater replenishment, watershed protection, and water-efficient technologies.
  • Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture: Analyzing methods to improve food production while minimizing environmental impacts, such as organic farming, precision agriculture, and alternative protein sources.
  • Ecosystem Services and Valuation: Exploring the value of ecosystem services (e.g., clean air, water, pollination) and methods to incorporate them into decision-making and policy development.
  • Land Use Change and Deforestation: Studying the drivers of deforestation, land degradation, and the conservation of forests and natural landscapes.
  • Environmental Justice: Investigating environmental inequalities, including the disproportionate impacts of pollution and climate change on marginalized communities and strategies for achieving environmental justice.
  • Green Technology and Innovation: Analyzing emerging green technologies, such as sustainable materials, clean energy innovations, and eco-friendly transportation solutions.

Looking to Add a Dash of Humor to Your Academic Journey?

Well, why not order our collection of funny research paper topics and let the hilarity begin? Your grades will thank you later!

Research Paper Topics on Biology

Let's delve into the fascinating realms of genetics, ecology, and the intricate workings of living organisms:

  • The Human Microbiome: Exploring the role of the microbiome in human health, including its impact on digestion, immunity, and its potential in treating various diseases.
  • Evolutionary Adaptations to Climate Change: Analyzing how species are adapting or struggling to adapt to changing environmental conditions due to climate change.
  • Neurobiology of Addiction: Investigating the neurobiological mechanisms underlying addiction and potential targets for treatment and prevention.
  • Conservation Biology: Analyzing strategies for the conservation of endangered species and ecosystems, with a focus on the role of protected areas and habitat restoration.
  • Emerging Infectious Diseases: Exploring the biology of newly emerging infectious diseases, their origins, and strategies for prevention and control.
  • Plant Genetics and Crop Improvement: Investigating genetic engineering and breeding techniques to improve crop yield, resistance to pests, and nutritional content.
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases: Studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and potential therapeutic approaches.
  • Synthetic Biology: Analyzing the field of synthetic biology, including the design and construction of novel biological systems and their applications in medicine, energy production, and biotechnology.
  • Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Investigating the relationship between biodiversity and the services ecosystems provide to humanity, such as pollination, water purification, and climate regulation.
  • Epigenetics and Environmental Influences: Exploring the role of epigenetic modifications in gene expression and how environmental factors can impact these modifications, potentially leading to heritable traits or diseases.

Research Paper Topics on Health and Medicine

The following health research paper topics reflect the dynamic and evolving nature of the health and medicine field.

  • Vaccine Hesitancy: Understanding and addressing concerns about vaccines.
  • Telemedicine and Telehealth: The growth of remote healthcare services and their impact on patient care.
  • Personalized Medicine: Tailoring medical treatments to individual genetics and characteristics.
  • Cancer Immunotherapy: Advancements in using the immune system to treat cancer.
  • Antibiotic Resistance: Strategies to combat the growing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics.
  • Health Disparities: Addressing disparities in healthcare access and outcomes among different populations.
  • Aging Population: Healthcare challenges and innovations in an aging society.
  • Nutrition and Obesity: Research on the effects of diet on health and strategies to combat obesity.
  • Artificial Organs and 3D Printing: Advancements in creating artificial organs and tissues.
  • Precision Nutrition: Customized dietary recommendations based on an individual's genetics and health status.

Research Paper Topics on Education

Shape the future of learning with these education research paper topics, where you can delve into current challenges, innovations, and strategies in the world of education:

  • Critical Digital Literacy Education: Exploring the importance of teaching critical digital literacy skills to students, including media literacy, online safety, and ethical online behavior.
  • Educational Neuroscience and Learning: Studying the intersection of neuroscience and education to better understand how the brain learns and applying this knowledge to improve teaching methods and curriculum design.
  • Personalized Learning Environments: Analyzing the implementation of personalized learning environments, including adaptive learning platforms and customized learning pathways, to enhance student engagement and achievement.
  • The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Education: Investigating the use of AI-driven tools and platforms for personalized tutoring, assessment, and content creation in educational settings.
  • Global Citizenship Education: Exploring strategies for integrating global citizenship education into curricula to promote cross-cultural understanding, social justice, and environmental sustainability.
  • Homeschooling and Educational Equity: Examining the growth of homeschooling and its potential impact on educational equity, including regulations, resources, and outcomes for homeschooled students.
  • Teacher Well-being and Burnout: Studying the factors contributing to teacher burnout and stress, along with strategies and policies to improve teacher well-being and retention.
  • Environmental Education and Sustainability: Analyzing the role of education in fostering environmental awareness and sustainable practices, including green curricula and school sustainability initiatives.
  • Early Career Teacher Support: Investigating mentorship programs, induction strategies, and professional development opportunities to support and retain early career teachers in the education profession.
  • Education Equity in the Digital Divide Era: Investigating strategies to bridge the digital divide and ensure equitable access to technology and online resources for all students, particularly in underserved communities.

Research Paper Topics on Sports

Let's dive into the realm of athleticism with the following topics, exploring diverse aspects of sports science.

  • Concussions in Sports: Analyzing the long-term effects of concussions, prevention strategies, and advances in concussion diagnosis and management in various sports.
  • The Impact of Sports on Mental Health: Investigating the relationship between sports participation, mental well-being, and strategies to promote mental health among athletes.
  • Gender Equity in Sports: Exploring gender disparities in sports, including pay gaps, opportunities, and challenges for female athletes, coaches, and administrators.
  • Sports Psychology and Peak Performance: Studying the psychological factors that influence athletes' performance, including motivation, confidence, and stress management.
  • Sports and Social Change: Analyzing the role of sports in promoting social justice, diversity, and inclusion, including athlete activism and the impact on broader societal issues.
  • Youth Sports and Long-Term Development: Investigating the effects of youth sports participation on character development, physical fitness, and future success in sports and life.
  • Sports Nutrition and Performance: Examining the role of nutrition, dietary supplements, and hydration in optimizing athletic performance and recovery.
  • Sports and Technology: Exploring the use of technology, including wearables, video analysis, and data analytics, in sports training, performance analysis, and injury prevention.
  • Sports Medicine and Injury Prevention: Studying the latest advancements in sports medicine, rehabilitation techniques, and injury prevention strategies for athletes.
  • Sports and Technology Ethics: Investigating ethical issues related to the use of emerging technologies such as genetic enhancements, AI-driven performance analysis, and virtual reality training in sports.

In the world of academia, the journey of selecting a research paper topic is one that should not be taken lightly. It's a voyage that can both fascinate and inspire as your chosen subject becomes a canvas for your curiosity and passion. Remember, we're here to guide you not only in finding intriguing research paper ideas but also in mastering how to write a reflective essay that captures the essence of your academic exploration!

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Sociology Research Topics: Key Considerations and Ideas

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Topics for Research Papers: Diverse Research Ideas Across Disciplines

09 Jun 2021

When students approach the final stage of their academic journey, they immediately begin to think about the need to develop their research project to add to their college curriculum. To do this, students start searching for the best research paper topics. From then on, many insecurities and doubts will haunt the minds of these college education students who will have a big job ahead of them with the best research paper topic. 

To help students during this challenging phase of their education, we can help them explore various interesting research paper topics, figure out which one aligns with their interests, and start working on it well ahead of the deadline.                    

Why Is the Choice of Subject in Research Papers So Important?  

The final project of a student who is in college is a research paper. However, the student needs to start working on it before the end of their program. It is known that the sooner you begin this process, the more time and tranquility you will find to develop it. Therefore, a research paper will review what experts on a given subject have published in the literature, making the student choose and defend a point of view concerning a thesis statement. Writing one successfully requires surveys and data to back your idea or topic and choose a good research paper topic.

How to Choose a Research Paper Topic?

Choosing a research paper topic is a crucial step in the research process . It's important to select a topic that interests you, aligns with your academic goals, and is feasible to research. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to pick a good research paper topic :

  • Pick a subject that you're passionate about! If you're passionate about your subject, the research process will be more relevant, and you will have more research topic ideas.
  • Concentrate on a doable topic.
  • You will only be able to focus if your topic is narrow enough. 
  • Examine the subject selection instructions provided in your assignment—request advice from your lecturer or TA.
  • Always refer to important materials and notes about classes so that you are up to date on the topic.
  • Brainstorm research topics with a friend. They will be able to help you write your emphasis and raise concerns that will not be present at the time of your presentation.
  • Consider the following questions for your research topic ideas: who, what, when, where, and why:
  • WHY did you choose this particular topic? What piques your curiosity about it?
  • WHO are the sources of information, and who is impacted?
  • WHAT are the most important questions about this subject?
  • WHERE does your topic matter most: locally, nationally, or internationally?
  • WHEN did your topic become important? Is this a current issue or one from the past?

Business Research Paper Topics

A study of the business is current and significant. It allows data and information to be collected about commercial relationships worldwide. In this way, students can delve deeper into an important economics and professional development topic, finding solutions and discussing results. Sometimes, one can get research paper writing help to assist in situations where it is inconvenient. Some examples of these business research paper topics include:

  • The influence of employee benefits on representative efficiency.
  • The difficulties of managing workgroup conflict.
  • Start-ups: Examining the challenges that arise during the early stages of a business.
  • How to work with open and closed systems in business.
  • Workgroups' ability to evolve to meet the needs of the future.
  • Inter-authoritative networks and leadership strategies.
  • Product and service improvements made in significant cooperation.
  • How to manage an organization's emergencies.
  • The effect of full quality management practices on client retention and satisfaction.
  • Effective time management as a tool for authoritative endurance.

Media and Communications Research Paper Topics

The research work developed in the area of the media manages to provide students with information about mass communication and its importance. With the advent of the internet and all its nuances, it is increasingly important to develop studies and research to understand the effects of media and communication in the social context. Some communication research topics can explore include:

  • The influence of the media on real-life relationships.
  • The role of the media in the expression of social issues.
  • Consequences of mass media on society's ethical well-being.
  • The advantages of using the media to anticipate a crisis.
  • How the media infringes on citizens' rights.
  • What role does the media play in spreading awareness?
  • The significance of trustworthy ads.
  • The impact of the media on a country's political elite.
  • Is the media good or harmful to the economy?
  • What role does the media play in technological advancement?

Psychology Research Paper Topics

Many subjects can be approached within the theme of psychology. It is an area of science that allows us to carry out different studies with various themes and views. However, the student must be able to choose an important topic for the psychology and academic context. Your teacher's attention is drawn to an engaging and novel topic. Here are some ideas for you:

  • What impact do violent video games have on children's brain development?
  • Do violent cartoons impact our children's behavior and mental health?
  • What impact does divorce have on a child's emotional blooming?
  • An introverted child's social anxiety and sadness.
  • How does bullying affect high school or college students' social interactions?
  • When a person is in love, how does the brain work?
  • Differences in the way a man's and a woman's brains work
  • Is there a link between PTSD and Alzheimer's disease?
  • Sleep paralysis causes and effects
  • What is the best way to deal with multiple personality disorders?

Argumentative Research Paper Topics

The student must choose an argumentative research paper topic because you will have to defend a thesis during the work. By opting for a good research paper topic of your interest, you will base yourself on various materials already published on the subject to develop your thoughts and arguments to defend your initial idea chosen as the main subject of your work.

  • The role of government in addressing income inequality.
  • The pros and cons of school uniform policies.
  • Analyzing the effects of violent video games on behavior.
  • The effectiveness of abstinence-only sex education programs.
  • The impact of fast food advertising on childhood obesity.
  • The role of government in regulating online privacy.
  • The pros and cons of school voucher programs.
  • Examining the impact of standardized testing on education.
  • The ethics of capital punishment for juveniles.
  • The ethics of human organ trafficking.

Controversial Topics for Research Paper

  • High times or high risks? The legalization of recreational marijuana use.
  • Locked and loaded: The endless debate on gun control policies.
  • To kill or not to kill: The ongoing debate on capital punishment.
  • Drones in the crosshairs: Balancing security and privacy.
  • The ethics of human cloning and genetic engineering.
  • Vaccination controversies: Mandates, exemptions, and public health.
  • Affirmative action under scrutiny: Equity in college admissions.
  • The ethics of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
  • Balancing surveillance and civil liberties.
  • Nuclear power and weapons: Weighing the benefits and risks.
  • Solitary confinement: Cruel punishment or necessary measure?
  • Rise of the machines: Artificial intelligence, employment, and ethics.
  • Animals in entertainment: Whose amusement at what cost?
  • Privacy vs. security: Government surveillance and individual rights.
  • Playing God: The ethics of human gene editing and designer babies.
  • Statues and symbols: The controversy surrounding Confederate memorials.
  • Fracking unveiled: The controversy surrounding hydraulic fracturing.

Easy Research Paper Topics

  • The effects of fast food consumption on health.
  • The benefits of reading for personal development.
  • Strategies for stress reduction in everyday life.
  • The role of family in child development.
  • The history of famous inventions.
  • Strategies for effective communication in relationships.
  • The history and impact of social movements.
  • The influence of advertising on consumer choices.
  • Strategies for healthy eating on a budget.
  • The importance of setting goals in life.

Research Topic in Natural Sciences

  • The impact of ocean acidification on marine life
  • Exploring the genetic diversity of soil microbes and their influence on crop health.
  • Studying the impacts of emerging contaminants on freshwater ecosystems.
  • Understanding the dynamics of emerging zoonotic diseases in wildlife populations.
  • The use of CRISPR in gene editing.
  • The use of drones in disaster response.
  • The effects of light pollution on nocturnal insect communities in urban areas.
  • Natural toxins in plants: mechanisms, benefits, and risks in agriculture.
  • Climate change and its effects on algal blooms and water quality in 2023.
  • The ecological significance of wetland restoration efforts in 2023.

Sociology Research Paper Topics

The sociology discipline is responsible for studying human behavior within society. These studies will address how people behave in social relationships and groups and how cultures and customs emerge. The possibilities for research are endless regarding sociology's enormous reach and continually changing societal trends. Choose the best easy sociology research topics for yourself. Some topic ideas are:

  • Is emotional intelligence as crucial as everyone claims?
  • Is there a misconception that males are better professionals than women?
  • Is homeschooling a hindrance to children's socialization?
  • Abuse marriages have both causes and effects.
  • We spend too much time on our phones.
  • The ethics of animal experimentation.
  • Is recycling beneficial to the environment?
  • In the United States, is there a stereotype about Mexicans?
  • Racial preconceptions ruin people.
  • The need for sex education.

Family Research Paper Topics

It's not always easy to research family issues. This is mainly because some students may be coming from pleased families. Thus, many concepts might be difficult to comprehend. However, this field of study has the potential to significantly improve the psychological climate in many households throughout the world. Some topics one can research include:

  • In the family, there has been sexual abuse. The escape plan and organizations that can assist.
  • Resolving religious issues in families.
  • Is it possible to rescue oneself from substance abuse in a family if others engage?
  • Saving family connections while not inheriting the family business.
  • Balancing between family support and allowing young adults to experience living on their own in the transition to adulthood.
  • A relationship that is toxic and abusive. Breaking up with a toxic spouse has psychological ramifications.
  • Children and adults go through phases of grieving after losing a family member. How can we cope as a group?
  • What issues might parents confront when fostering a child?
  • When does teen misbehavior become more than a normal desire for independence?
  • A generational divide exists. The moral and cultural differences. Is this typical?

Discrimination Research Paper Topics

It is undeniable the massive impact that discrimination has in the society of the past and also of the present. Therefore, articles on discrimination and race relations must be the subject of academic research. Research papers on it can probe and proffer solutions through data found. Much research in this area can be developed, addressing relations of age, religion, race, sexual orientation, and any existing social conflict. Some topics to explore are:

  • Colorism as a kind of discrimination.
  • Discrimination Against Muslims in the Workplace.
  • Discrimination Against Asian Americans in Colleges.
  • Discrimination in the Workplace.
  • Discrimination against people of color as a result of racial profiling.
  • Discrimination Against Muslims in the Workplace is an issue that has to be addressed.
  • Discrimination in the Workplace: How to Manage in an Inclusive Environment.
  • Discrimination, social exclusion, and violence against LGBT people are issues that the LGBT community faces.
  • Discrimination and Equality Struggle.
  • Discrimination based on age in the workplace.

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Law Research Paper Topics

Another fundamental form of research is legal research. It is a significant topic and one that allows us to have different approaches and points of view. Each country and each historical time will give us an even greater immersion in laws and legal conduct.

The law can be divided into 21 major areas. Just choose one of them to be the topic of your law research . Some areas of law are constitutional law, environmental law, and criminal law, among others. Some good topics include:

  • What are the benefits of business rules for institutions and organizations?
  • What is business law's actual nature?
  • What do we know about the classification of business rules and the legal regulation of non-consensual adoption in the United States?
  • How does the law handle marriage and divorce for mentally ill people?
  • The cultural influence of transgender marriage and its legal status in different countries.
  • The environment and private property.
  • Equal protection under the law and the principle of equality.
  • The financial pyramid's legal aspects.
  • Environment-related crimes.
  • Exchange Commission and Securities.

Environmental Research Paper Topics

To improve our relationship with nature and preserve it, it is necessary to carry out a lot of debate and research in this area. In this way, we will learn about the importance of ecology and the environment in the lives of all living beings. Developing work on this subject means containing the adverse effects of globalization, industrialization, and the use of nature. This way, we can save ecosystems, avoiding irreparable losses to our planet. Some environment research paper topics  are:

  • Analysis and proposed remedies for lung cancer and radon.
  • The negative impact of acid rain on aquatic life and natural resources.
  • What can we do to protect wildlife from being killed by acid rain?
  • What role did prehistoric creatures have in today's ecosystems?
  • The repercussion of air pollution and global warming on human health.
  • Can recycling assist people worldwide in improving their health?
  • What can be done to protect coral reefs from being destroyed?
  • How much are garbage and pesticides to blame for our soil contamination?
  • How big is the problem of ocean acidification?
  • Permafrost melting and its impact on climate change.

Education Research Paper Topics

It is known that improving the educational system worldwide is imperative, better serving students and society. However, how can we do this? This type of research aims to make education more efficient and accessible for everyone. Some topics to consider are:

  • Will one of the aims of modern education be the growth of emotional intelligence?
  • Discrimination in education and its impact on students' futures.
  • Mentally ill persons need to be educated and socialized. There are some similarities and some variances.
  • Education and censorship. Do we want to protect the pupils, or do we want to help them learn what they need to know?
  • How do students in inclusive classrooms perform compared to students in non-inclusive classes?
  • Is it still necessary to have grades in today's education?
  • Education and incentive: how to pique the interest of students.
  • In what ways may modern education be compared to traditional schooling?
  • Bullying and a negative psychological climate in the classroom. Its influence on educational quality.
  • The importance of discipline in education and how it affects the learning process.

Science and Technology Research Paper Topics

We can see many positive technical advances in the world these days. However, some have negative consequences. Students must prioritize topics that influence many people's lives and help develop technological research. At the same time, look at the advantages and preservation of technology in today's world. Some technology topics include:

  • What effect does alcohol intake have on athletes who are training?
  • What influence does ADCC activity research have on HIV treatment?
  • What function does CDfT-Cell Subsets play in HIV patient progression?
  • What is the most significant technical breakthrough of the twentieth century?
  • Is it possible for tech to ever replace human intelligence?
  • What impact does tech play in genetic engineering's advancement?
  • Can microbial factories help solve the raw metals shortage?
  • Is the paleo diet representative of ancient life? Is it the best diet for people?
  • Is Europe's objection to genetically modified crops motivated by science or economic considerations?
  • Could molecular biology study into uncommon genetic abnormalities possibly lead to new insights into cancer and other diseases?

College Research Paper Topics

Developing research about the dilemmas faced daily by many students within the university environment is also extremely important. In this way, it becomes possible to analyze more objectively all social relations within the college, the influence of social media, the academic development of students, and especially the results that will be reaped in their profession in the future. The education system is an extensive topic with possibilities to develop easy research paper topics. In addition, it is an environment you are probably already familiar with, thus facilitating the data and information collection process. Some topics about it:

  • The importance of higher education in a professional career for middle ages people.
  • What are the main reasons that lead students to drop out of college?
  • Why should people study foreign languages in college?
  • The influence of the digital world on the university world.
  • College and the financial hardship faced by many students.
  • Doubts about choosing the right college.
  • How to enter the job market after completing college.
  • What are the main differences between public and private colleges?
  • The effects of cyberbullying in the university context.
  • What is the ideal human behaviour in the university environment?

Health Research Paper Topics

Academic work must be developed in Health subjects, seeking to understand better the dynamics of health in different world countries and how this influences people's lives to have physical well-being. We have recently seen the impact of the Covid-19 virus pandemic on our planet. We have seen the collapse of many health systems in many countries' human relationships. In addition, we also saw despair and suffering in many families with mental health problems. Therefore, we see how necessary it is to develop research projects that help consolidate better care for the population, promoting health and preventing the emergence of new diseases, especially in third-world countries. Some health research paper topics are:

  • Support for family members who have lost loved ones to COVID-19.
  • Adolescent violence as a public health problem.
  • Assistance for people with disabilities living in rural areas.
  • Adolescent mental health in public health.
  • The evolution of the human body over the years.
  • Health problems caused by the use of pesticides.
  • How does social media addiction influence people's health?
  • Obesity as a public health problem.
  • Health education in schools and through social media.
  • How does water quality interfere with public health?

Politics Research Paper Topics

Another research paper topic is politics. Politics is a topic that directly or indirectly involves the lives of all world inhabitants. Through it, we seek our rights, have the strength to fight for our ideologies, and become citizens. Here are some politics research paper topics :

  • Policies to face global warming.
  • The presence of politics within the education system.
  • The influences of the cultural industry in the constitution of public policies.
  • Political relations during World War I and World War II.
  • The importance of feminism in the political achievement of women's right to vote.
  • Best professional writers on political topics.
  • Public policy related to an all-female working environment.
  • The importance of public policies that make people aware of drug use.
  • The emergence of extremist political ideologies in the 21st century.
  • The importance of democracy in politics.

History Research Paper Topics

History is essential for humanity to understand the facts that occurred and their relationship with time. From history, we can develop several exciting research topics as it can investigate what men did, thought, felt, and set in all social dynamics thousands of years ago. Historical knowledge is capable of helping to understand human beings, their attitudes, and their evolution. Some history research paper topics are:

  • The historical development of the electoral college.
  • Major terrorist attacks throughout history.
  • The historical and social importance of gender psychology.
  • The changes that came with the end of the Soviet Union.
  • The progression of the minimum wage over the years.
  • The worldwide impacts of the war between Russia and Ukraine.
  • The emergence of offshore bank accounts work and their social impact.
  • The Mayan Civilization and Its Cultural Legacy.
  • The history of dictatorships in South America and funding from the United States.
  • The democratization of access to course material at History College.

Music Research Paper Topics

Music has been present in humanity since the most remote times. Through music, people can express themselves, have fun, relax, and express their opinions. As it is a vast topic, it is possible to do extensive research. Music also allows you to find funny research paper topics to develop. We selected a few good research paper topics here:

  • The evolution of the music industry globally.
  • The influence of music in the treatment of depression.
  • The importance of still producing and listening to traditional music.
  • The presence of music in film.
  • The main legacies of classical music.
  • Songs about self-esteem that encourage obese people.
  • School development through music.
  • The aid of artificial intelligence in the creation of new songs.
  • The effects of music on brain development.
  • Songs that address controversial topics and their importance.

Literature Research Paper Topics

Literature is everything that involves the art of the word. We consider literature an instrument capable of making us communicate and interact socially. With literature, we can transmit knowledge, emotions, and stories, and that's why literature has many good research topics. Literature can provide us with the most interesting research topics. Here are some research paper ideas.

  • Literature as a tool of corporate social responsibility.
  • The first forms of literature found.
  • The use of social media as a way to propagate literature.
  • A sensitive approach to child abuse in the literature.
  • Are people switching from literature to social media?
  • The change of literature after the Industrial Revolution.
  • Literature as a way to protect children online.
  • The development of scientific literature for standardized tests in science.
  • Literature review on computer science.
  • The importance of developing a thesis statement in literature.

After Choosing the Research Topic

Well, after finding great research paper topics, you will decide which one you like the most and which you are more comfortable writing about. So, once you've decided which college research paper topics to cover in your thesis, it's time to start writing. It is important, right at the beginning, to define your main research question to start researching websites, books, articles, etc. A tip is always to opt for a broader research question, so your first research will have a greater amount of material on your research topics, which will make it easier when choosing an approach and focusing on the main subject of your thesis. Before starting the process of submitting research papers, it is important that an advisor can read and review your text on the chosen research topics.

Closing Thoughts

When you have to choose your research paper topic, there are tons of ideas you can use to embark on your research journey. It is very important that you first carry out thorough research about a good research paper topic so that you can start writing your thesis statement. You can read materials online to know if the topic you want to write on is relevant and has enough data. I hope you can take advantage of all our tips to develop your research papers. The most important thing to consider is that you need to like the topic you choose for a good research paper because it'll help make writing fun.

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 https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jani-Nothling 2/publication/331360194_Epigenetic_alterations_associated_with_childhood_trauma_and_adult_mental_health_outcomes_A_systematic_review/links/64a7fbce8de7ed28ba821819/Epigenetic-alterations-associated-with-childhood-trauma-and-adult-mental-health-outcomes-A-systematic-review.pdf



Answer & Explanation

The lasting impacts of childhood trauma have been well established through previous research. Drawing on the studies identified, it appears that exposure to adverse childhood experiences, particularly abuse and neglect, are associated with alterations in epigenetic markers that mediate gene expression and stress response systems in the body. These alterations likely contribute to vulnerabilities for psychiatric disorders and impaired functioning across diverse domains in adulthood.

Nothling et al. (2019) conducted a systematic review examining the relatively novel area of research concerning epigenetic markers associated with childhood trauma. They identified 17 studies meeting inclusion criteria reporting on DNA methylation or histone modifications in relation to traumatic experiences early in life. Across the various assessments of gene regulation, trauma was consistently linked to dysregulation of the stress response system, including hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis genes like NR3C1 and FKBP5. Disruption of these crucial stress mediators could plausibly disrupt normal development and confer vulnerability to stress-emergent psychiatric conditions.

Horvitz et al. (2001) took a unique prospective approach by tracking a sample of individuals with documented childhood abuse/neglect cases into adulthood. Through matching with non-abused peers, they were able to control for pre-existing factors like family dysfunction. Intriguingly, even 25-30 years post-exposure, victims demonstrated significantly higher rates of depression, suicide attempts, drug dependence, and other mental illnesses than the comparison group. This powerfully illustrates trauma's potential to durably reshape development with consequences persisting into older age.

Copeland et al. (2018) stands out for its immense scale and scope, following over 1400 children longitudinally from ages 9-16 and again at ages 19, 21, 25, and 30. Using this wealth of repeated observations, they modeled complex trajectories between cumulative trauma load, psychiatric symptomatology, and dysfunction across crucial life domains. Even after accounting for adversities pre-dating the first reported trauma, trauma history still emerged as a potent independent predictor. This largescale generalizability helps address some limitations of smaller epidemiological investigations.

In synthesizing these reports, strong evidence emerges that childhood trauma initiates stable epigenetic alterations priming disturbed stress physiology and mental health vulnerability stretching into the adult years. Future work should aim to elucidate specific epigenetic pathways and trajectories depending on trauma characteristics like timing, duration, and biology of exposed individuals. Furthering knowledge in this realm holds promise for pioneering advanced prevention and highly-tailored intervention strategies to curb suffering across generations. With additional research, a more comprehensive biopsychosocial model of trauma's lifelong reverberations may come into focus.

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  • Data Descriptor
  • Open access
  • Published: 01 June 2023

SciSciNet: A large-scale open data lake for the science of science research

  • Zihang Lin   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-4262-6354 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
  • Yian Yin   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-3018-4544 1 , 2 , 3 , 5 ,
  • Lu Liu 1 , 2 , 3 &
  • Dashun Wang   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-7054-2206 1 , 2 , 3 , 5  

Scientific Data volume  10 , Article number:  315 ( 2023 ) Cite this article

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The science of science has attracted growing research interests, partly due to the increasing availability of large-scale datasets capturing the innerworkings of science. These datasets, and the numerous linkages among them, enable researchers to ask a range of fascinating questions about how science works and where innovation occurs. Yet as datasets grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to track available sources and linkages across datasets. Here we present SciSciNet, a large-scale open data lake for the science of science research, covering over 134M scientific publications and millions of external linkages to funding and public uses. We offer detailed documentation of pre-processing steps and analytical choices in constructing the data lake. We further supplement the data lake by computing frequently used measures in the literature, illustrating how researchers may contribute collectively to enriching the data lake. Overall, this data lake serves as an initial but useful resource for the field, by lowering the barrier to entry, reducing duplication of efforts in data processing and measurements, improving the robustness and replicability of empirical claims, and broadening the diversity and representation of ideas in the field.

Background & Summary

Modern databases capturing the innerworkings of science have been growing exponentially over the past decades, offering new opportunities to study scientific production and use at larger scales and finer resolution than previously possible. Fuelled in part by the increasing availability of large-scale datasets, the science of science community turns scientific methods on science itself 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , helping us understand in a quantitative fashion a range of important questions that are central to scientific progress—and of great interest to scientists themselves—from the evolution of individual scientific careers 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 to collaborations 19 , 20 , 21 , 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 and science institutions 26 , 27 , 28 to the evolution of science 2 , 3 , 5 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 34 to the nature of scientific progress and impact 35 , 36 , 37 , 38 , 39 , 40 , 41 , 42 , 43 , 44 , 45 , 46 , 47 , 48 , 49 , 50 , 51 , 52 , 53 , 54 , – 55 .

Scholarly big data have flourished over the past decade, with several large-scale initiatives providing researchers free access to data. For example, CiteSeerX 56 , one of the earliest digital library search engines, offers a large-scale scientific library focusing on the literature in computer and information science. Building on a series of advanced data mining techniques, AMiner 57 indexes and integrates a wide range of data about academic social networks 58 . Crossref ( https://www.crossref.org/ ) 59 , as well as other initiatives in the open metadata community, have collected metadata such as Digital Object Identifier (DOI) in each publication record and linked them to a broad body of event data covering scholarly discussions. OpenAlex ( https://openalex.org/ ) 60 , based on Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG) 61 , 62 , 63 , aims to build a large-scale open catalog for the global research system, incorporating scholarly entities and their connections across multiple datasets. In addition to data on scientific publications and citations capturing within-science dynamics, researchers have also tracked interactions between science and other socioeconomic spheres by tracing, for example, how science is referenced in patented inventions 64 , 65 , 66 , regarding both front-page and in-text citations from patents to publications 67 , 68 . Table  1 summarizes several exemplary datasets commonly used in the science of science literature, with information on their coverage and accessibility.

The rapid growth of the science of science community 69 , 70 , 71 , combined with its interdisciplinary nature, raises several key challenges confronting researchers in the field. First, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of available datasets and their potential linkages across disparate sources, raising the question of whether there are research questions that are underexplored simply due to a lack of awareness of the data. Second, as data and their linkages become more complex, there are substantial data pre-processing steps involved prior to analyses. Many of these steps are often too detailed to document in publications, with researchers making their own analytical choices when processing the data. Third, as tools and techniques used in the science of science grow in sophistication, measurements on these datasets can be computationally involved, requiring substantial investment of time and resources to compute these measures.

All these challenges highlight the need for a common data resource designed for research purposes, which could benefit the community in several important ways. First, it provides a large-scale empirical basis for research, helping to strengthen the level of evidence supporting new findings as well as increase the replicability and robustness of these findings. Second, it helps to reduce duplication of efforts across the community in data preprocessing and common measurements. Third, by compiling various datasets, linkages, and measurements, the data resource significantly lowers the barrier to entry, hence has the potential to broaden the diversity and representation of new ideas in the field.

To support these needs in the community, we present SciSciNet, a large-scale open data lake for the science of science research. The data lake not only incorporates databases that capture scientific publications, researchers, and institutions, but also tracks their linkages to related entities, ranging from upstream funding sources like NIH and NSF to downstream public uses, including references of scientific publications in patents, clinical trials, and media and social media mentions (see Fig.  1 and Table  2 for more details of entities and their relationships). Building on this collection of linked databases, we further calculate a series of commonly used measurements in the science of science, providing benchmark measures to facilitate further investigations while illustrating how researchers can further contribute collectively to the data lake. Finally, we validate the data lake using multiple approaches, including internal data validation, cross-database verification, as well as reproducing canonical results in the literature.

figure 1

The entity relationship diagram of SciSciNet. SciSciNet includes “SciSciNet_Papers” as the main data table, with linkages to other tables capturing data from a range of sources. For clarity, here we show a subset of the tables (see Data Records section for a more comprehensive view of the tables). PK represents primary key, and FK represents foreign key.

The data lake, SciSciNet, is freely available at Figshare 72 . At the core of the data lake is the Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG) dataset 61 , 62 , 63 . The MAG data is one of the largest and most comprehensive bibliometrics data in the world, and a popular dataset for the science of science research. However, MAG was sunset by Microsoft at the end of 2021. Since then, there have also been several important efforts in the community to ensure the continuity of data and services. For example, there are mirror datasets 73 available online for MAG, and the OpenAlex ( https://openalex.org ) initiative builds on the MAG data, and not only makes it open to all but also provides continuous updates 60 . While these efforts have minimized potential disruptions, the sunsetting of MAG has also accelerated the need to construct open data resources designed for research purposes. Indeed, large-scale systematic datasets for the science of science mostly come in the form of raw data, which requires further data pre-processing and filtering operations to extract fine-grained research data with high quality. It usually takes substantial efforts and expertise to clean the data, and many of these steps are often too detailed to document in publications, with researchers making their own analytical choices. It thus suggests that there is value in constructing an open data lake, which aims to continue to extend the usefulness of MAG, with substantial data pre-processing steps documented. Moreover, the data lake links together several disparate sources and pre-computed measures commonly used in the literature, serving as an open data resource for researchers interested in the quantitative studies of science and innovation.

Importantly, the curated data lake is not meant to be exhaustive; rather it represents an initial step toward a common data resource to which researchers across the community can collectively contribute. Indeed, as more data and measurements in the science of science become available, researchers can help to contribute to the continuous improvement of this data lake by adding new data, measurements, and linkages, thereby further increasing the utility of the data lake. For example, if a new paper reports a new measurement, the authors could publish a data file linking the new measurement with SciSciNet IDs, which would make it much easier for future researchers to build on their work.

Data selection and curation from MAG

The Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG) dataset 61 , 62 , 63 covers a wide range of publication records, authors, institutions, and citation records among publications. MAG has a rich set of prominent features, including the application of advanced machine learning algorithms to classify fields of study in large-scale publication records, identify paper families, and disambiguate authors and affiliations. Here we use the edition released on December 6 th , 2021 by MAG, in total covering 270,694,050 publication records.

The extensive nature of the MAG data highlights a common challenge. Indeed, using the raw data for research often requires substantial pre-processing and data-cleaning steps to arrive at a research-ready database. For example, one may need to perform a series of data selection and curation operations, including the selection of scientific publications with reliable sources, aggregation of family papers, and redistribution of citation and reference counts. After going through these steps, one may generate a curated publication data table, which serves as the primary scientific publication data table in SciSciNet (Table  3 , “SciSciNet_Papers”). However, each of these steps requires us to make specific analytical choices, but given the detailed nature of these steps, the specific choices made through these steps have remained difficult to document through research publications.

Here we document in detail the various procedures we took in constructing the data lake. From the original publication data in MAG, we use MAG Paper ID as the primary key, and consider a subset of main attributes, including DOI (Digital Object Identifier), document type and publication year. As we are mainly interested in scientific publications within MAG, we first remove paper records whose document type is marked as patent. We also remove those with neither document type nor DOI information. Each scientific publication in the database may be represented by different entities (e.g., preprint and conference), indicated as a paper “family” in MAG. To avoid duplication, we aggregate all papers in the same family into one primary paper. We also do not include retracted papers in the primary paper table in SciSciNet. Instead, we include records of retracted papers and affiliated papers in paper families in another data table “SciSciNet_PaperDetails” (Table  8 ) linked to the primary paper table, recording information of DOIs, titles, original venue names, and original counts for citations and references in MAG. Following these steps, the primary data table “SciSciNet_Papers” contains 134,129,188 publication records with unique primary paper ids, including 90,764,813 journal papers, 4,629,342 books, 3,932,366 book chapters, 5,123,597 conference papers, 145,594 datasets, 3,083,949 repositories, 5,998,509 thesis papers, and 20,451,018 other papers with DOI information.

For consistency, we recalculate the citation and reference counts within the subset of 134 M primary papers, such that each citation or reference record is also included in this subset and can be found in “SciSciNet_PaperReferences” (Table  5 ). For papers in the same family, we aggregate their citations and references into the primary paper and drop duplicated citation pairs. Building on the updated citations, we recalculate the number of references and citations for each primary paper.

MAG also contains information of authors, institutions, and fields. While author disambiguation 58 , 74 , 75 , 76 , 77 , 78 , 79 remains a major challenge, we adopt the author disambiguation method from MAG and create an author table, which offers a baseline for future studies of individual careers. We also supplement the author table with empirical name-gender associations to support gender research 80 , drawing from work by Van Buskirk et al . 80 ; this allows us to build “SciSciNet_Authors_Gender” (Table  9 ) with 134,197,162 author records including their full names.

For fields, we use the fields of study records from MAG and focus on the records related to the selected primary papers (19 Level-0 fields and 292 Level-1 fields, Table  6 ). We incorporate this information into two tables, the “SciSciNet_PaperAuthorAffiliations” (Table  4 ) and “SciSciNet_PaperFields” (Table  7 ), with 413,869,501 and 277,494,994 records, respectively.

We further use the information of “PaperExtendedAttributes” table from MAG to construct high-quality linkages between MAG Paper ID and PubMed Identifier (PMID). We drop duplicate links by only keeping the MAG primary paper record (if one PMID was linked to multiple MAG Paper IDs) or the latest updated PubMed record (if one MAG Paper ID was linked to multiple PMIDs), obtaining 31,230,206 primary MAG Paper ID-PMID linkages (95.6% of the original records) to further support linkage with external sources.

Together, the resulting SciSciNet includes 134,129,188 publications (Table  3 ), 134,197,162 authors (Table  9 ), 26,998 institutions (Table  10 ), 49,066 journals (Tables  21 ), 4,551 conference series (Tables  22 ), 19 top-level fields of study, 292 subfields (Table  6 ), and the internal links between them, including 1,588,739,703 paper-references records (Table  5 ), 413,869,501 paper-author-affiliations records (Table  4 ), and 277,494,994 paper-fields records (Table  7 ).

Linking publication data with external sources

While the main paper table captures citation relationships among scientific publications, there has been growing interest in studying how science interacts with other socioeconomic institutions 35 , 36 , 41 , 55 , 81 , 82 . Here, we further trace references of scientific publications in data sources that go beyond publication datasets, tracking the linkage between papers to their upstream funding supports and downstream uses in public domains. Specifically, here we link papers to the grants they acknowledge in NSF and NIH, as well as public uses of science by tracking references of scientific publications in patents, clinical trials, and news and social media.

NIH funding

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the largest public funder for biomedical research in the world. The recent decade has witnessed increasing interest in understanding the role of NIH funding for the advancement of biomedicine 81 , 82 and its impact on individual career development 83 , 84 . NIH ExPORTER provides bulk NIH RePORTER ( https://report.nih.gov/ ) data on research projects funded by the NIH and other major HHS operating divisions. The database also provides link tables (updated on May 16, 2021) that connects funded projects with resulting publications over the past four decades.

To construct the funded project-paper linkages between SciSciNet Paper ID and NIH Project Number, we use the PMID of MAG papers (from our previously curated “PaperExtendedAttributes” table based on MAG) as the intermediate key, matching more than 98.9% of the original NIH link table records to primary Paper ID in SciSciNet. After dropping duplicate records, we end up with a collection of 6,013,187 records (Table  11 ), linking 2,636,061 scientific papers (identified by primary MAG Paper IDs) to 379,014 NIH projects (identified by core NIH-funded project numbers).

NSF funding

Beyond biomedical research, the National Science Foundation (NSF) funds approximately 25% of all federally supported basic research conducted by the United States’ colleges and universities across virtually all fields of science and engineering. NSF provides downloadable information on research projects it has funded, including awardee, total award amount, investigator, and so forth, but no information on funded research publications. While Federal RePORTER offers downloadable files on NSF awards with links to supported publications (662,072 NSF award-publication records by 2019), it only covers a limited time period and has been retired by March 2022. To obtain a more comprehensive coverage of records linking NSF awards to supported papers, we crawl the webpages of all NSF awards to retrieve information on their resulting publications. In particular, we first created a comprehensive list of all NSF award numbers from https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/download.jsp . We then iterate over this list to download the entire webpage document of each NSF award (from the URL https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID  = [Award number]), and use “Publications as a result of this research” column to identify scientific publications related to this award. We then extract paper titles and relevant information provided by using the Python library ElementTree to navigate and parse the webpage document structurally. We end up collecting 489,446 NSF awards since 1959 (Table  20 ), including linkages between 131,545 awards and 1,350,915 scientific publications.

To process information crawled from NSF.gov, which is presented as raw text strings, we design a text-based multi-level matching process to link NSF awards to SciSciNet scientific publications:

For records with DOI information in the raw texts of funded research publications, we perform an exact match with SciSciNet primary papers through DOI. If the DOI in an NSF publication record matched that of one primary paper, we create a linkage between the NSF Award Number and the primary Paper ID. We matched 458,463 records from NSF awards to SciSciNet primary papers, where each DOI appeared only once in the entire primary paper table, thus enabling association with a unique Paper ID (exact match). After dropping duplicates where the same DOI appears repeatedly in the same NSF award, we yield 350,611 records (26.0%) from NSF awards to SciSciNet primary papers.

To process the rest of the records, we then use the title information of each article for further matching. After extracting the title from NSF records and performing a standardization procedure (e.g., converting each letter into lowercase and removing punctuation marks, extra spaces, tabs, and newline characters), our exact matches between paper titles in the NSF award data and SciSciNet primary paper data yield 246,701 unique matches (18.3% in total) in this step.

We further develop a search engine for records that have not been matched in the preceding steps. Here we use Elasticsearch, a free and open search and analytics engine, to index detailed information (paper title, author, journal or conference name, and publication year) of all SciSciNet primary papers. We then feed raw texts of the crawled NSF publications into the system and obtain results with the top two highest scores associated with the indexed primary papers. Similar to a previous study 55 , we use scores of the second matched primary papers as a null model, and then identify the first matched primary paper as a match if its score is significantly higher than the right-tail cutoff of the second score distribution ( P  = 0.05). Following this procedure, we match the remaining 467,159 records (34.6%) from the two previous steps with significantly higher scores (Fig.  2a ). Note that this procedure likely represents a conservative strategy that prioritizes precision over recall. Manually inspecting the rest of potential matchings, we find that those with large differences between the top two Z-scores (Fig.  2b ) are also likely to be correct matches. To this end, we also include these heuristic links, together with the difference of their Z-scores, as fuzzy matching linkages between SciSciNet papers and NSF awards.

figure 2

Matching NSF reference string to MAG records. ( a ) Distribution of Z-scores for papers matched in ElasticSearch with the first and second highest scores. The vertical red line denotes the right-tail cutoff of the second score distribution ( P  = 0.05). ( b ) Distribution of pairwise Z-score differences for papers matched in search engine but with the first score no higher than the right-tail cutoff of the second score distribution ( P  = 0.05).

We further supplement these matchings with information from Crossref data dump, an independent dataset that links publications to over 30 K funders including NSF. We collect all paper-grant pairs where the funder is identified as NSF. We then use the raw grant number from Crossref and link paper records between Crossref and SciSciNet using DOIs. We obtain 305,314 records after cleaning, including 196,509 SciSciNet primary papers with DOIs matching to 83,162 NSF awards.

By combining records collected from all these steps, we collect 1,130,641 unique linkages with high confidence levels and 178,877 additional possible linkages from fuzzy matches (Table  12 ). Together these links connect 148,148 NSF awards and 929,258 SciSciNet primary papers.

Patent citations to science

The process in which knowledge transfers from science to marketplace applications has received much attention in science and innovation literature 35 , 41 , 85 , 86 , 87 , 88 . The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) makes patenting activity data publicly accessible, with the PatentsView platform providing extensive metadata including as related to patent assignees, inventors, and lawyers, along with patents’ internal citations and full-text information. The European Patent Office (EPO) also provides open access to patent data containing rich attributes.

Building on recent advances in linking papers to patents 35 , 67 , 68 , Marx and Fuegi developed a large-scale dataset of over 40 M citations from USPTO and EPO patents to scientific publications in MAG. Using this corpus (Version v34 as of December 24, 2021), we merge 392 K patent citation received by affiliated MAG papers to their respective primary IDs in the same paper family. Dropping possible duplicate records with the same pair of primary Paper ID and Patent ID results in 38,740,313 paper-patent citation pairs between 2,360,587 patents from USPTO and EPO and 4,627,035 primary papers in SciSciNet (Table  15 ).

Clinical trials citations to science

Understanding bench-to-bed-side translation is essential for biomedical research 81 , 89 . ClinicalTrials.gov provides publicly available clinical study records covering 50 U.S. states and 220 countries, sourced from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI) makes available clinical trials data through a database for Aggregate Analysis of ClinicalTrials.gov (AACT), an aggregated relational database helping researchers better study drugs, policies, publications, and other related items to clinical trials.

Overall, the data covers 686,524 records linking clinical trials to background or result papers (as of January 26th, 2022). We select 480,893 records with papers as reference background supporting clinical trials, of which 451,357 records contain 63,281 unique trials matching to 345,797 reference papers with PMIDs. Similar to the process of linking scientific publications to NIH-funded projects, we again establish linkages between SciSciNet primary Paper ID and NCT Number (National Clinical Trial Number) via PMID, aided by the curated “PaperExtendedAttributes” table as the intermediary. After standardizing the data format of the intermediate index PMID to merge publications and clinical trials, we obtain 438,220 paper-clinical linkages between 61,447 NCT clinical trials and 337,430 SciSciNet primary papers (Table  13 ).

News and social mentions of science

Understanding how science is mentioned in media has been another important research direction in the science of science community 44 , 90 . The Newsfeed mentions in Crossref Event Data link scientific papers in Crossref 59 with DOIs to news articles or blog posts in RSS and Atom feeds, providing access to the latest scientific news mentions from multiple sources, including Scientific American , The Guardian , Vox , The New York Times , and others. Also, Twitter mentions in Crossref Event Data link scientific papers to tweets created by Twitter users, offering an opportunity to explore scientific mentions in Twitter.

We use the Crossref Event API to collect 947,160 records between 325,396 scientific publications and 387,578 webpages from news blogs or posts (from April 5 th , 2017 to January 16 th , 2022) and 59,593,281 records between 4,661,465 scientific publications and 58,099,519 tweets (from February 7 th , 2017 to January 17 th , 2022).

For both news media and social media mentions, we further link Crossref’s publication records to SciSciNet’s primary papers. To do so, we first normalize the DOI format of these data records and converted all alphabetic characters to lowercase. We use normalized DOI as the intermediate index, as detailed below:

For news media mentions, we construct linkages between primary Paper ID and Newsfeed Object ID (i.e., the webpage of news articles or blog posts) by inner joining normalized DOIs. We successfully link 899,323 records from scientific publications to news webpages in the Newsfeed list, accounting for 94.9% of the total records. The same news mention may be collected multiple times. After removing duplicate records, we end up with 595,241 records, linking 307,959 papers to 370,065 webpages from Newsfeed (Table  17 ).

Similarly, for social media mentions, we connect primary Paper IDs with Tweet IDs through inner joining normalized DOIs, yielding 56,121,135 records, more than 94% of the total records. After dropping duplicate records, we keep 55,846,550 records, linking 4,329,443 papers to 53,053,505 tweets (Table  16 ).

We also provide metadata of paper-news linkages, including the mention time and the detailed mention information in Newsfeed, to better support future research on this topic (Table  18 ). Similarly, we also offer the metadata of paper-tweet links, including the mention time and the original collected Tweet ID so that interested researchers can merge with further information from Twitter using the Tweet ID (Table  19 ).

Nobel Prize data from the dataset of publication records for Nobel laureates

We integrate a recent dataset by Li et al . 91 in the data lake, containing the publication records of Nobel laureates in science from 1900 to 2016, including both Nobel prize-winning works and other papers produced in their careers. After mapping affiliated MAG Paper IDs to primary ones, we obtain 87,316 publication records of Nobel laureates in SciSciNet primary paper Table (20,434 in physics, 38,133 in chemistry, and 28,749 in physiology/medicine, Table  14 ).

Calculation of commonly used measurements

Using the constructed dataset, we further calculate a range of commonly used measurements of scientific ideas, impacts, careers, and collaborations. Interested readers can find more details and validations of these measurements in the literature 15 , 19 , 20 , 46 , 47 , 48 , 92 , 93 , 94 , 95 , 96 , 97 , 98 .


The number of researchers and institutions in a scientific paper.

Building on team science literature 19 , 27 , we calculate the number of authors and the number of institutions for each paper as recorded in our data lake. We group papers by primary Paper ID in the selected “SciSciNet_PaperAuthorAffiliations” table and aggregate the unique counts of Author IDs and Affiliation IDs as the number of researchers (team size) and institutions, respectively.

Five-year citations ( c 5 ), ten-year citations ( c 10 ), normalized citation ( c f ), and hit paper

The number of citations of a paper evolves over time 46 , 48 , 99 , 100 . Here we calculate c 5 and c 10 , defined as the number of citations a paper received within 5 years and 10 years of publication, respectively. For the primary papers, we calculate c 5 for all papers published up to 2016 (As the last version of MAG publication data is available until 2021) by counting the number of citation pairs with time difference less than or equal to 5 years. Similarly, we calculate c 10 for all papers published up to 2011.

To compare citation counts across disciplines and time, Radicchi et al . 48 proposed the relative citation indicator c f , as the total number of citations c divided by the average number of citations c 0 in the same field and the same year. Here we calculate the normalized citation indicator for each categorized paper in both top-level fields and subfields, known as Level-0 fields (19 in total) and Level-1 fields (292 in total) categorized by MAG, respectively. Note that each paper may be associated with multiple fields, hence here we report calculated normalized citations for each paper-field pair in the “SciSciNet_PaperFields” data table.

Another citation-based measure widely used in the science of science literature 16 , 19 , 83 is “hit papers”, defined as papers in the top 5% of citations within the same field and year. Similar to our calculation of c f , we use the same grouping by fields and years, and identify all papers with citations greater than the top 5% citation threshold. We also perform similar operations for the top 1% and top 10% hit papers.

Citation dynamics

A model developed by Wang, Song, and Barabási (the WSB model) 46 captures the long-term citation dynamics of individual papers after incorporating three fundamental mechanisms, including preferential attachment, aging, and fitness. The model predicts the cumulative citations received by paper i at time t after publication: \({c}_{i}^{t}=m\left[{e}^{{{\rm{\lambda }}}_{i}\Phi \left(\frac{lnt-{{\rm{\mu }}}_{i}}{{{\rm{\sigma }}}_{i}}\right)}-1\right]\) , where Φ ( x ) is the standard cumulative normal distribution of x , m captures the average number of references per paper, and μ i , σ i , and λ i indicate the immediacy, longevity, and fitness parameters characterizing paper i , respectively.

We implement the WSB model with prior for papers published in the fields of math and physics. Following the method proposed by Shen et al . 92 , we adopt the Bayesian approach to calculate the conjugate prior, which follows a gamma distribution. The method allows us to better predict the long-term impact through the posterior estimation of λ i , while helping to avoid potential overfitting problems. Fitting this model to empirical data, we compute the immediacy μ i , the longevity σ i , and the ultimate impact \({c}_{{\rm{i}}}^{\infty }={\rm{m}}\left[{e}^{{{\rm{\lambda }}}_{i}}-1\right]\) for all math and physics papers with at least 10 citations within 10 years after publication (published no later than 2011). To facilitate research on citation dynamics across different fields 48 , we have also used the same procedure to fit the citation sequences for papers that have received at least 10 citations within 10 years across all fields of study from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Sleeping beauty coefficient

Sometimes it may take years or even decades for papers to gain attention from the scientific community, a phenomenon known as the “Sleeping Beauty” in science 93 . The sleeping beauty coefficient B is defined as \({\rm{B}}={\sum }_{t=0}^{{t}_{m}}\frac{\frac{{c}_{{t}_{m}}-{c}_{0}}{{t}_{m}}\cdot t+{c}_{0}-{c}_{t}}{{\rm{\max }}\left(1,{c}_{t}\right)}\) , where the paper receives its maximum yearly citation \({c}_{{t}_{m}}\) in year t m and c 0 in the year of publication. Here we calculate the sleeping beauty coefficient from yearly citation records of a paper. We match the publication years for each citing-cited paper pair published in journals and then aggregate yearly citations since publication for each cited paper. Next, we group the “SciSciNet_PaperReferences” table by each cited paper and compute the coefficient B , along with the awakening time. As a result, we obtain 52,699,363 records with sleeping beauty coefficients for journal articles with at least one citation.

Novelty and conventionality

Research shows that the highest-impact papers in science tend to be grounded in exceptionally conventional combinations of prior work yet simultaneously feature an intrusion of atypical combinations 47 . Here following this work 47 , we calculate the novelty and conventionality score of each paper by computing the Z-score for each combination of journal pairs. We further calculate the distribution of journal pair Z-scores by traversing all possible duos of references cited by a particular paper. A paper’s median Z-score characterizes the median conventionality of the paper, whereas a paper’s 10 th percentile Z-score captures the tail novelty of the paper’s atypical combinations.

More specifically, we first use the information of publication years for each citing-cited paper pair both published in journals and shuffle the reference records within the citing-cited year group to generate 10 randomized citation networks, while controlling the naturally skewed citation distributions. We then traverse each focal paper published in the same year. We further aggregate the frequency of reference journal pairs for papers in the real citation network and 10 randomized citation networks, calculating the Z-score of each reference journal pair for papers published in the same year. Finally, for each focal paper, we obtain its 10 th percentile and median of the Z-scores distribution, yielding 44,143,650 publication records with novelty and conventionality measures for journal papers from 1950 to 2021.

Disruption score

Disruption index quantifies the extent to which a paper disrupts or develops the existing literature 20 , 51 . Disruption, or D , is calculated through citation networks. For a given paper, one can separate its future citations into two types. One type only cites the focal paper itself while ignoring all the references that the paper builds upon, and the other is to cite both the focal paper and its references. D is expressed as: \({\rm{D}}={{\rm{p}}}_{{\rm{i}}}-{{\rm{p}}}_{{\rm{j}}}=\frac{{n}_{i}-{n}_{j}}{{n}_{i}+{n}_{j}+{n}_{k}}\) , where n i is the number of subsequent works that only cite the focal paper, n j is the number of subsequent works that cite both the focal paper and its references, and n k is the number of subsequent works that cite the references of the focal paper only. Following this definition, we calculate the disruption scores for all the papers that have at least one forward and backward citation (48,581,274 in total).

The number of NSF and NIH supporting grants

For external linkages from scientific publications to upstream supporting funding sources, we calculate the number of NSF/NIH grants associated with each primary paper in SciSciNet.

The number of patent citations, Newsfeed mentions, Twitter mentions, and clinical trial citations

For external linkages from scientific publications to downstream public uses of science, we also calculate the number of citations each primary paper in SciSciNet received from domains that go beyond science, including patents from USPTO and EPO, news and social media mentions from Newsfeed and Twitter, and clinical trials from ClinicalTrials.gov.

Individual- and Institutional-level measures


Scientific productivity is a widely used measure for quantifying individual careers 9 , 15 . Here we aggregate the unique primary Paper ID in SciSciNet, after grouping the records in the “SciSciNet_PaperAuthorAffiliations” data table by Author ID or Affiliation ID and calculate the number of publications produced by the same author or affiliation.

H-index is a popular metric to estimate a researcher’s career impact. The index of a scientist is h , if h of her papers have at least h citations and each of the remaining papers have less than h citations 94 , 101 . Here we compile the full publication list associated with each author, sort these papers by their total number of citations in descending order, and calculate the maximum value that satisfies the condition above as the H-index. By repeating the same procedure on each research institution, we also provide an institution-level H-index as well.

Scientific impact

Building on our c 10 measure at the paper level, here we further calculate the average c 10 (< c 10 >) for each author and affiliation, which offers a proxy to individual and institutional level scientific impact. Similarly, we calculate the average log c 10 (<log c 10 >), which is closely related to the Q parameter 15 of individual scientific impact.

Here we group by Author and Affiliation ID in the “PaperAuthorAffiliations” table, and then aggregate c 10 and log c 10 (pre-calculated at the paper level) of all papers published by the same id. Following previous works 15 , 16 , 102 , to avoid taking logarithm of zeros, we increase c 10 by one when calculating the <log c 10 >.

Name-gender associations

The availability of big data also enables a range of studies focusing on gender disparities, ranging from scientific publications and careers 17 , 103 , 104 , 105 , 106 to collaboration patterns 25 , 107 and the effects of the pandemic on women scientists 45 , 108 , 109 , 110 . Here we apply the method from a recent statistical model 80 to infer author gender based on their first names in the original author table. The method feeds unique author names into a cultural consensus model of name-gender associations incorporating 36 separate sources across over 150 countries. Note that for all the 134,197,162 authors, 23.26% of the authors (31,224,458) have only the first initials, which are excluded from the inference. By fine-tuning the annotated names from these data sources following the original method, we obtain 409,809 unique names with max uncertainty threshold set to 0.26 and 85% of the sample classified. Finally, we merge these name-gender inference records into the original SciSciNet_Authors table, resulting a SciSciNet_Authors_Gender table, which contains 86,286,037 authors with inferred probability that indicates a name belongs to an individual gendered female, denoted as P(gf), as well as the number of inference source datasets and empirical counts. Together, by combining new statistical models with our systematic authorship information, this new table provides name-gender information, useful in studying gender-related questions. It is important to note that such name-based gender inference algorithms, including the one used here as well as other popular tools such as genderize.io , have limitations and are necessarily imperfect. The limitations should be considered carefully when applying these methods 96 .

Data Records

The data lake, SciSciNet, is freely available at Figshare 72 .

Data structure

Table  2 presents the size and descriptions of these data files.

Table  3 contains information about “SciSciNet_Papers”, which is the data lake’s primary paper table, containing information on the primary scientific publications, including Paper ID, DOI, and others, along with the Journal ID or Conference Series ID, which can link papers to corresponding journals or conference series that take place regularly. The short description in each data field includes the corresponding explanation of that field.

Tables  4 – 22 include the data fields and corresponding descriptions of each data table. Each data field specified is clear from its index name. An ID of the data field in a data table can be linked, if this field has the same ID name as another field in another table. Further, the data link tables provide linkages from scientific publications to external socioeconomic institutions. For example, the paper with primary “PaperID” as “246319838”, which studied the hereditary spastic paraplegia 111 , lead to three core NIH project number “R01NS033645”, “R01NS036177”, and “R01NS038713” in the Table  11 “SciSciNet_Link_NIH”. We can not only extract detailed information and metrics of the paper in the data lake (e.g., title from Table  8 “SciSciNet_PaperDetails”, or citation counts from the primary paper Table  3 “SciSciNet_Papers”) but also obtain further information of the funded-projects, such as the total funding amount, from NIH RePORTER ( https://report.nih.gov ).

Descriptive statistics

Next, we present a set of descriptive statistics derived from the data lake. Figure  3a–c show the distribution of papers across 19 top-level fields, the exponential growth of scientific publications in SciSciNet over time, and the average team size of papers by field over time.

figure 3

Summary statistics of scientific publications in SciSciNet. ( a ) The number of publications in 19 top-level fields. For clarity we aggregated the field classification into the top level (e.g., a paper is counted as a physics paper if it is associated with physics or any other subfields of physics). ( b ) The exponential growth of science over time. ( c ) Average team size by field from 1950 to 2020. The bold black line is for papers in all the 19 top-level fields. Each colored line indicates each of the 19 fields (color coded according to (a)).

Building on the external linkages we constructed, Fig.  4a–f show the distribution of paper-level upstream funding sources from NIH and NSF, and downstream applications and mentions of science, including USPTO/EPO patents, clinical trials, news mentions from Newsfeed, and social media mentions from Twitter.

figure 4

Linking scientific publications with socioeconomic institutions. Panels ( a, b and d, e ) show the distribution of paper-level downstream applications ( a : Twitter mentions; b : Newsfeed mentions; d : Patents; e : Clinical trials). Panels ( c and f ) show the distribution of supporting scientific grants from NIH ( c ) and NSF ( f ).

Figure  5 presents the probability distributions of various commonly used metrics in the science of science using our data lake, which are broadly consistent with the original studies in the literature.

figure 5

Commonly used metrics in SciSciNet. ( a ) The distribution of disruption score for 48,581,274 papers 20 (50,000 bins in total). ( b ) Cumulative distribution function (CDF) of 44,143,650 journal papers’ 10 th percentile and median Z-scores 47 . ( c ) Distribution of \({e}^{{\rm{\langle }}log{c}_{\mathrm{10}}{\rm{\rangle }}}\) for scholars 15 with at least 10 publications in SciSciNet. The red line corresponds to a log-normal fit with μ = 2.14 and σ  = 1.14. ( d ) Survival distribution function of sleeping beauty coefficients 93 for 52,699,363 papers, with a power-law fit: exponent α  = 2.40. ( e ) Data collapse for a selected subset of papers with more than 30 citations within 30 years across journals in physics in the 1960s, based on WSB model 46 . The red line corresponds to the cumulative distribution function of the standard normal distribution.

Technical Validation

Validation of publication and citation records.

As we select the primary papers from the original MAG dataset, we have re-counted the citations and references within the subset of primary papers. To test the reliability of updated citation and reference counts in SciSciNet, here we compare the two versions (i.e., raw MAG counts and redistributed SciSciNet counts), by calculating the Spearman correlation coefficients for both citations and references. The Spearman correlation coefficients are 0.991 for citations and 0.994 for references, indicating that these metrics are highly correlated before and after the redistribution process.

We also examine the coverage of our publication data through a cross-validation with an external dataset, Dimensions 112 . By using DOI as a standardized identifier, we find that the two databases contain a similar number of papers, with 106,517,016 papers in Dimensions and 98,795,857 papers in SciSciNet associated with unique DOIs. We further compare the overlap of the two databases, finding the two data sources share a vast majority of papers in common (84,936,278 papers with common DOIs, accounting for 79.74% of Dimensions and 85.97% of SciSciNet).

Further, the citation information recorded by the two datasets appears highly consistent. Within the 84.9 M papers we matched with common DOIs, SciSciNet records a similar, yet slightly higher number of citations on average (16.75), compared with Dimensions (14.64). Our comparison also reveals a high degree of consistency in paper-level citation counts between the two independent corpora, with a Spearman correlation coefficient 0.946 and a concordance coefficient 98 , 113 of 0.940. Together, these validations provide further support for the coverage of the data lake.

Validation of external data linkages

We further perform additional cross-validation to understand the reliability of data linkages from scientific publications to external data sources. Here we focus more on the NSF-SciSciNet publications linkages we created from raw data collection to final data linkage. We also use the same approach to validate the NIH-SciSciNet publications linkages.

Here we compare the distribution and coverage of paper-grants linkages between SciSciNet and Dimensions—one of the state-of-the-art commercial databases in publication-grant linkages 112 . Figure  6a,b present the distribution of the number of papers matched to each NSF award and NIH grant, showing that our open-source approach offers a comparable degree of coverage. We further perform individual grant level analysis, by comparing the number of papers matched to each grant reported by the two sources (Fig.  6c,d ), again finding high degrees of consistency (Spearman correlation coefficient: 0.973 for NIH grants and 0.714 for NSF grants).

figure 6

Validation of data linkages between SciSciNet and Dimensions. Panels ( a, b ), The distribution of number of papers matched to each NIH and NSF grant, respectively. Panels ( c, d ), The number of papers matched to each NIH and NSF grant, respectively. All panels are based on data in a 20-year period (2000–2020).

We further calculate the confusion matrices of linkage from SciSciNet and Dimensions. By connecting the two datasets through paper DOIs and NSF/NIH grant project numbers, we compare their overlaps and differences in grant-paper pairs. For NSF, the confusion matrix is shown in Table  23 . The two datasets provide a similar level of coverage, with Dimensions containing 670,770 pairs and SciSciNet containing 632,568 pairs. 78.9% pairs in Dimensions (and 83.7% pairs in SciSciNet) can be found in the other dataset, documenting a high degree of consistency between the two sources. While there are data links contained in Dimensions that are not in SciSciNet, we also find that there exists a similar amount of data records in SciSciNet but not in Dimensions. Table  24 shows the confusion matrix of NIH grant-paper pairs between the two datasets. Again, the two datasets share a vast majority of grant-paper pairs in common, and 95.3% pairs in Dimensions (and 99.7% pairs in SciSciNet) can also be found in the other dataset. These validations further support the overall quality and coverage of data linkages in SciSciNet.

Validation of calculations of commonly used measurements

We also seek to validate the calculated metrics included in SciSciNet. In addition to manual inspection of independent data samples during data processing, along with presenting the corresponding distributions of indicators in the Descriptive statistics section, which capture general patterns, we further double-check the calculation results of these popular measurements in SciSciNet by reproducing canonical results in the science of science under a series of standardized and transparent processes.

For disruption scores, we plot the median disruption percentile and average citations on different team sizes for 48,581,274 publications with at least one citation and reference record in SciSciNet. As shown in Fig.  7a , when team size increases, the disruption percentile decreases while the average citations increase, which is consistent with the empirical findings that small teams disrupt whereas large teams develop 20 . In addition, the probability of being among the top 5% disruptive publications is negatively correlated with the team size, while the probability of being among the most impactful publications increases is positively correlated with the team size (Fig.  7b ). These results demonstrate the consistency with results obtained in the literature.

figure 7

Calculating commonly used measurements in the science of science literature. ( a, b ), Small teams disrupt while large teams develop in SciSciNet. ( c ), The cumulative distribution functions (CDFs) of proportion of external citations for papers with high (top 10,000, B > 307.55), medium (from 10,001 st to top 2% SBs, 33< B < = 307.55); and low (B < = 33) sleeping beauty indexes. ( d ), The probability of a 5% hit paper, conditional on novelty and conventionality for all journal articles in SciSciNet from 1950 to 2000.

The combinations of conventional wisdom and atypical knowledge tend to predict a higher citation impact 47 . Here we repeat the original analysis by categorizing papers based on (1) median conventionality: whether the median score of a paper is in the upper half and (2) tail novelty: whether the paper is within the top 10 th percentile of novelty score. We then identified hit papers (within the subset of our analysis), defined as papers rank in the top 5% of ten-year citations within the same top-level field and year. The four quadrants in Fig.  7d suggest that papers with high median conventionality and high tail novelty present a higher hit rate of 7.32%, within the selection of SciSciNet papers published from 1950 to 2000. Also, papers with high median conventionality but low tail novelty show a hit rate of 4.18%, roughly similar to the baseline rate of 5%, while those with low median conventionality but high tail novelty display a hit rate of 6.48%. Meanwhile, papers with both low median conventionality and low tail novelty exhibit a hit rate of 3.55%. These results are broadly consistent with the canonical results reported in 47 .

In Fig.  5e , we select 36,802 physics papers published in the 1960s with more than 30 citations within 30 years of publication. By rescaling their citation dynamics using the fitted parameters, we find a remarkable collapse of rescaled citation dynamics which appears robust across fields and decades. We further validate the predictive power of the model with prior based on Shen et al . 92 , by calculating the out-of-sample prediction accuracy. We find that with a training period of 15 years, the predictive accuracy (defined as a strict absolute tolerance threshold of 0.1) stays above 0.65 for 10 years after the training period, and the Mean Absolute Percentage Error (MAPE) is less than 0.1. The MAPE stays less than 0.15 for 20 years after the training period.

Sleeping beauty

We first fit the distribution of the sleeping beauty coefficients in SciSciNet (Fig.  5d ) to a power-law form using maximum likelihood estimation 114 , obtaining a power-law exponent α  = 2.40 and minimum value B m  = 23.59. By using fine-grained subfield information provided by MAG, we further calculate the proportion of external citations. Consistent with the original study 93 , we find that papers with high B scores are more likely to have a higher proportion of external citations from other fields (Fig.  7c ).

Usage Notes

Note that, recognizing the recent surge of interest in quantitative understanding of science 95 , 97 , 98 , 115 , 116 , the measurements currently covered in the data lake are not meant to be comprehensive; rather they serve as examples to illustrate how researchers from the broader community can collectively contribute and enrich the data lake. There are also limitations of the data lake that readers should keep in mind when using the data lake. For example, our grant-publication linkage is focused on scientific papers supported by NSF and NIH; patent-publication linkage is limited to citations from USPTO and EPO patents; clinical trial-publication linkage is derived from clinitrials.gov (where the geographical distribution may be heterogenous across countries, Table  25 ); and media-publication linkage is based on sources tracked by Crossref. Further, while our data linkages are based on state-of-the-art methods of data extraction and cleaning, as with any matching, the methods are necessarily imperfect and may be further improved through integration with complementary commercial products such as Altmetric and Dimensions. Finally, our data inherently represents a static snapshot, drawing primarily from the final edition of MAG (Dec 2021 version). While this snapshot is already sufficient in answering many of the research questions that arise in the field, future work may engage in continuous improvement and update of the data lake to maximize its potential.

Overall, this data lake serves as an initial step for serving the community in studying publications, funding, and broader impact. At the same time, there are also several promising directions for future work expanding the present effort. For example, the rapid development in natural language processing (NLP) models and techniques, accompanied by the increasing availability of text information from scientific articles, offers new opportunities to collect and curate more detailed content information. For example, one can link SciSciNet to other sources such as OpenAlex or Semantic Scholar to analyze large-scale data of abstract, full-text, or text-based embeddings. Such efforts will not only enrich the metadata associated with each paper, but also enable more precise identification and linkage of bio/chemical entities studied in these papers 117 . Further, although platforms like MAG have implemented advanced algorithms for name disambiguation and topic/field classification at scale, these algorithms are inherently imperfect and not necessarily consistent across datasets, hence it is essential to further validate and improve the accuracy of name disambiguation and topic classifications 118 . Related, in this paper we primarily focus on paper-level linkages across different datasets. Using these linkages as intermediary information, one can further construct and enrich individual-level profiles, allowing us to combine professional information (e.g., education background, grants, publications, and other broad impact) of researchers with important demographic dimensions (e.g., gender, age, race, and ethnicity). Finally, the data lake could contribute to an ecosystem for the collective community of the science of science. For example, there are synergies with the development of related programming packages, such as pySciSci 119 . By making the data lake fully open, we also hope it inspires other researchers to contribute to the data lake and enrich its coverage. For example, when a research team publishes a new measure, they could put out a data file that computes their measure based on SciSciNet, effectively adding a new column to the data lake. Lastly, science forms a complex social system and often offers an insightful lens to examine broader social science questions, suggesting that the SciSciNet may see greater utility by benefiting adjacent fields such as computational social science 120 , 121 , network science 122 , 123 , complex systems 124 , and more 125 .

Code availability

The source code for data selection and curation, data linkage, and metrics calculation is available at https://github.com/kellogg-cssi/SciSciNet .

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The authors thank Alanna Lazarowich, Krisztina Eleki, Jiazhen Liu, Huawei Shen, Benjamin F. Jones, Brian Uzzi, Alex Gates, Daniel Larremore, YY Ahn, Lutz Bornmann, Ludo Waltman, Vincent Traag, Caroline Wagner, and all members of the Center for Science of Science and Innovation (CSSI) at Northwestern University for their help. This work is supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under award number FA955017-1-0089 and FA9550-19-1-0354, National Science Foundation grant SBE 1829344, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation G-2019-12485, and Peter G. Peterson Foundation 21048. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.

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Lin, Z., Yin, Y., Liu, L. et al. SciSciNet: A large-scale open data lake for the science of science research. Sci Data 10 , 315 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-023-02198-9

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1. views of data privacy risks, personal data and digital privacy laws.

Online privacy is complex, encompassing debates over law enforcement’s data access, government regulation and what information companies can collect. This chapter examines Americans’ perspectives on these issues and highlights how views vary across different groups, particularly by education and age. 

When managing their privacy online, most Americans say they trust themselves to make the right decisions about their personal information (78%), and a majority are skeptical that anything they do will make a difference (61%).

Bar charts showing that Most trust themselves to make the right decisions about their personal information online, but a majority also are skeptical anything they do will make a difference

Far fewer mention being overwhelmed by figuring out what they need to do (37%) or say privacy is not that big of a deal to them (29%).

Another 21% are confident that those with access to their personal information will do what is right.

Education differences

  • 81% of those with at least some college experience say they trust themselves to make the right decisions about their personal information online, compared with 72% of those with a high school diploma or less.
  • 67% of those with at least some college are skeptical that anything they do to manage their online privacy will make a difference, compared with half of those with a high school diploma or less formal education.

On the other hand, those with a high school education or less are more likely than those with some college experience or more to say that privacy isn’t that big of a deal to them and that they are confident that those who have access to their personal information will do the right thing.

Personal data and information

About 4 in 10 Americans are very worried about their information being sold or stolen, but this varies by race and ethnicity

The survey also explores the concerns people have about data collection and security – specifically, how they feel about three scenarios around companies, law enforcement and identity theft.

Roughly four-in-ten Americans say they are very worried about companies selling their information to others without them knowing (42%) or people stealing their identity or personal information (38%). Fewer are apprehensive about law enforcement monitoring what they do online (15%).

Racial and ethnic differences

However, some of these shares are higher among Hispanic, Black or Asian adults: 1

  • Roughly half of Hispanic, Black or Asian adults are very worried about people stealing their identity or personal information, compared with a third of White adults.
  • About one-in-five of each group are very worried about law enforcement monitoring their online activity; 10% of White adults say this.

Feelings of concern, confusion and a lack of control over one’s data

Americans are largely concerned and feel little control or understanding of how companies and the government collect, use data about them

A majority of Americans say they are concerned, lack control and have a limited understanding about how the data collected about them is used. This is true whether it’s the government or companies using their data. Similar sentiments were expressed in 2019, when we last asked about this .

Concern is high: 81% say they feel very or somewhat concerned with how companies use the data they collect about them. Fully 71% say the same regarding the government’s use of data.

People don’t feel in control: Roughly three-quarters or more feel they have very little or no control over the data collected about them by companies (73%) or the government (79%).

Understanding is low: Americans also say they don’t understand what these actors are doing with the data collected about them. Majorities say they have very little or no understanding of this, whether by the government (77%) or companies (67%).

Americans are now less knowledgeable than before about how companies are using their personal data. The share who say they don’t understand this has risen from 59% in 2019 to 67% in 2023.

They have also grown more concerned about how the government uses the data it collects about them, with the share expressing concern up from 64% to 71% over this same period.

While these sentiments have not changed significantly since 2019 among Democrats and those who lean toward the Democratic Party, Republicans and GOP leaners have grown more wary of government data collection. Today, 77% of Republicans say they are concerned about how the government uses data it collects about them, up from 63% four years earlier.

Growing shares say they don’t understand data privacy laws

Privacy laws and regulation

Americans are less knowledgeable about data privacy laws today than in the past.

Today, 72% of Americans say they have little to no understanding about the laws and regulations that are currently in place to protect their data privacy. This is up from 63% in 2019.

By comparison, the shares who say they understand some or a great deal about these laws decreased from 37% in 2019 to 27% in 2023.

Americans largely favor more regulation to protect personal information

Broad partisan support for more regulation of how consumer data is used

Overall, 72% say there should be more government regulation of what companies can do with their customers’ personal information. Just 7% say there should be less regulation. Another 18% say it should stay about the same.

Views by political affiliation

There is broad partisan support for greater involvement by the government in regulating consumer data. 

A majority of Democrats and Republicans say there should be more government regulation for how companies treat users’ personal information (78% vs. 68%).

These findings are largely on par with a 2019 Center survey that showed strong support for increased regulations across parties.

Trust in social media executives

A table showing most Americans don’t trust social media CEOs to handle users’ data responsibly, for example, by publicly taking responsibility for mistakes when they misuse or compromise it

Majorities of Americans say they have little to no trust that leaders of social media companies will publicly admit mistakes regarding consumer data being misused or compromised (77%), that these leaders will not sell users’ personal data to others without their consent (76%), and that leaders would be held accountable by the government if they were to misuse or compromise users’ personal data (71%).

This includes notable shares who have no trust at all in those who are running social media sites. For example, 46% say they have no trust at all in executives of social media companies to not sell users’ data without their consent.

Children’s online privacy: Concerns and responsibility

About 9 in 10 Americans are concerned that social media sites and apps know kids’ personal information

Most Americans say they are concerned about social media sites knowing personal information about children (89%), advertisers using data about what children do online to target ads to them (85%) and online games tracking what children are doing on them (84%).

Concern is widespread, with no statistically significant differences between those with and without children.

Majority of Americans say parents and technology companies should have a great deal of responsibility for protecting children’s online privacy

Another key question is who should be responsible for the actual protection of kids’ online privacy.

Fully 85% say parents bear a great deal of responsibility for protecting children’s online privacy. Roughly six-in-ten say the same about technology companies, and an even smaller share believe the government should have a great deal of responsibility. 

Law enforcement and surveillance

The survey also measured how acceptable Americans think it is for law enforcement to use surveillance tools during criminal investigations.

Older adults are more likely than younger adults to support law enforcement tracking locations, breaking into people’s phones during an investigation

Roughly three-quarters of Americans say it’s very or somewhat acceptable for law enforcement to obtain footage from cameras people install at their residences during a criminal investigation or use information from cellphone towers to track where someone is.

About one-in-ten Americans say they aren’t sure how they feel about law enforcement doing each of these things.

Age differences

Older adults are much more likely than younger adults to say it’s at least somewhat acceptable for law enforcement to take each of these actions in criminal investigations. 

For example, 88% of those 65 and older say it’s acceptable for law enforcement to obtain footage from cameras people install at their residences, compared with 57% of those ages 18 to 29.

In the case of a criminal investigation:

  • White adults are more likely than Hispanic and Black adults to think it’s acceptable for law enforcement to use information from cellphone towers to track people’s locations and to break the passcode on a user’s phone to get access to its contents.
  • White and Hispanic adults are more likely than Black adults to say it’s acceptable to require third parties to turn over users’ private chats, messages or calls.

AI and data collection

Majority of Americans say it’s unacceptable to use AI to determine public assistance eligibility, but views are mixed for smart speakers analyzing voices

Artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to collect and analyze people’s personal information. Some Americans are wary of companies using AI in this way.

Fully 55% of adults say using computer programs to determine who should be eligible for public assistance is unacceptable. Roughly a quarter say it’s an acceptable use of AI.

Roughly half (48%) think it is unacceptable for social media companies to analyze what people do on their sites to deliver personalized content. Still, 41% are supportive of this.

Views are mixed when it comes to smart speakers analyzing people’s voices to learn who is speaking. Statistically equal shares say it’s unacceptable and acceptable (44% and 42%, respectively).

And some Americans – ranging from 10% to 17% – are uncertain about whether these uses are acceptable or not.

  • 49% of adults 50 and older say it’s unacceptable for a smart speaker to analyze people’s voices to learn to recognize who’s speaking. This share drops to four-in-ten among adults under 50.
  • Similarly, 56% of those 50 and older say social media companies analyzing what people do on their sites to deliver personalized content is unacceptable. But 41% of those under 50 say the same.
  • There are no differences between those under 50 and those 50 and older over whether computer programs should be used to determine eligibility for public assistance.

Trust in companies that use AI

Most Americans who have heard of AI don’t trust companies to use it responsibly and say it will lead to unease and unintended uses

In addition to understanding people’s comfort level with certain uses of AI, the survey also measured the public’s attitudes toward companies that are utilizing AI in their products.

Among those who have heard of AI:

  • 70% say they have little to no trust in companies to make responsible decisions about how they use AI in their products.
  • Roughly eight-in-ten say the information will be used in ways people are not comfortable with or that were not originally intended.
  • Views are more mixed regarding the potential that using AI to analyze personal details could make life easier. A majority of those who have heard of AI say this will happen (62%). Regarding differences by age, adults under 50 are more optimistic than those 50 and older (70% vs. 54%). 
  • 87% of those with a college degree or higher say companies will use AI to analyze personal details in ways people would not be comfortable with. Some 82% of those with some college experience and 74% with a high school diploma or less say the same.
  • 88% of those with a bachelor’s degree or more say companies will use this information in ways that were not originally intended. This share drops to 80% among those with some college experience and 71% among those with a high school diploma or less.
  • About three-quarters of those with a college degree or more (74%) say this information will be used in ways that could make people’s lives easier. But this share drops to 60% among those with some college experience and 52% among those with a high school diploma or less.
  • This survey includes a total sample size of 364 Asian adults. The sample primarily includes English-speaking Asian adults and, therefore, it may not be representative of the overall Asian adult population. Despite this limitation, it is important to report the views of Asian adults on the topics in this study. As always, Asian adults’ responses are incorporated into the general population figures throughout this report. Asian adults are shown as a separate group when the question was asked of the full sample. Because of the relatively small sample size and a reduction in precision due to weighting, results are not shown separately for Asian adults for questions that were only asked of a random half of respondents (Form 1/Form 2). ↩
  • Half of respondents were asked the questions above, and the other half received the same questions with the added context of it being a “criminal investigation where public safety is at risk.” Differences in response were largely modest. See Appendix A for these findings. ↩

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Geological Survey research 1964, Chapter B

This collection of 46 short papers is one of a series to be released as chapters of Geological Survey Research 1964. The papers report on scientific and economic results of current work by members of the Geologic and Water Resources Divisions of the U.S. Geological Survey. Some of the papers present results of completed parts of continuing investigations; others announce new discoveries or preliminary results of investigations that will be discussed in greater detail in reports to be published in the future. Still others are scientific notes of limited scope, and short papers on techniques and instrumentation.

Chapter A of this series will be published later in the year, and will present a summary of results of work done during the present fiscal year.

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