A Standard Format For A High School Research Paper

Right around the time you get into high school, you will need to improve on or start to develop your essay writing skills, specifically those required to do a research paper. Some educational programs begin to instill these skills in students as early as middle school, but there are still thousands of students who reach high school without the comfort or confidence to work on writing assignments of this scope and length.

What Is a Standard Research Paper Format?

There are three major formatting styles that provide the guidelines to the vast majority of academic research papers: ALA, Chicago, and MLA. These three styles oversee most disciplines and are considered the “safe” choices when needing to apply a standard format.

But this doesn’t tell the whole story. Research papers in the humanities take on different approaches to study that the sections you see in these documents don’t resemble the quantitative or qualitative approaches that sciences take. This difference makes it enough to shy away from something that could be considered as a standard.

So, then what are you going to do? The first thing you need to do is determine precisely what the purpose of your research paper is. Who are you writing for? What discipline are you writing in? What subject are you discussing? These questions will help you narrow your options to the closest thing to a standard that is appropriate for your assignment goals.

Why Is Format So Important to Have?

Historically, the basic format for a research paper includes more parts than the standard 3 or 5 paragraph format (e.g., introduction, body, and conclusion). Research papers require an explanation and approach for the study being conducted, as well as a description of available studies placing the current work in context.

Research papers are also the primary sources used by academics conducting their own studies and having a single standardized format facilitates the process of “reading” or “reviewing” others’ works in a quick and efficient manner. Just head down to the school library and skim through a few published works; once you get used to the format you will be able to browse each document with ease.

What is the Best Format to Use in High School?

At the high school level, you might want to limit your options to the following three: traditional report, MLA, and APA. Traditional and MLA are the most common but if you are working in any of the sciences you will be required to use APA. Make sure you check with your instructor before starting to be on the safe side.

Your instructor can also provide you with or point you to important resources where you can find templates, guides, tips and more. Start early so that you don’t have to make tough decisions at the last minute. And always get a second opinion: ask a friend or parent to review your work before submittal.

Further help is available. No one expects you to learn and master these skills overnight and it’s important to understand that getting reliable assistance when you need it is essential to academic success. Check out our free resources or give us a call to find out about all of the great ways we can help you reach your goals.

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