Important components of a research paper

In present era of globalization, academic institutions are trying hard to get global recognition. For most of the ranking frameworks and global accreditations such as AACSB, EQUIS, AMBA, research is an important component. Therefore, most of the academic institutions have started giving emphasis on quality research by their faculty members. Due to this change in academic environment, for faculty promotions and recruitments, research publications in top ranking journals is becoming an important criterion. 

Publication in top journals has now become very tough due to exponential growth in research papers submissions. In most of the top ranking journals of ABDC, ABS, FT 50, UT Dallas, acceptance rate is lesser than five percent. Most of the research papers submitted to such top ranking journals are desk rejected by Editors. Major reason for rejection of manuscript is unstructured presentation. Usually, research paper should describe all components of research in comprehensive manner and in a simple language for easy understanding of audience. Major components of research paper are selection of title, abstract, introduction, literature review, research methodology, results, discussion, managerial implications, conclusion, limitations and future scope.

Title selection is first step for writing a quality research paper. Usually title should specifically predict about content of the manuscript.  Second component of research paper is abstract. Abstract should be crisp. Usually size of abstract should be around 200 words. It should be able to provide maximum information in limited words. Abstract should briefly describe objectives of study, research methods used in the study, major findings and implications. At the end of abstract, authors should give four to five keywords. Key words facilitate searching of articles by other researchers. After abstract, next component of research paper is introduction. Introduction should set the initial tone for research paper. Introduction should provide background information about the topic of research, reasons why present study is being carried out based on significant research gaps, research objectives and research questions, scope of research, uniqueness and novelty of study and last paragraph of introduction should be on organization of complete paper. Length of introduction should not exceed one fifth of total size of the research paper. 

Next component of research paper is literature review. Purpose of literature review is to synthesize prior research related to topic of the paper. Based on previous studies, authors should try to identify research gaps to prove uniqueness of the study. Most of the researchers make mistake in this part, as problem of study is not identified based on research gaps and papers get desk rejected by editors.  Authors should prefer to refer latest research papers at least for ten years. If authors are targeting to a particular journal, it should be ensured that no paper from that journal in identified research area is left for review. Next component of paper is research methodology. It should be well-written, clear, and logically organized. It should be tied up with research objectives of the paper. There may be different kind of research methods such as case study based, empirical studies or modelling based. Authors should clearly justify use of specific methodology. It is also desirable that different steps of research methodology are given in form of a flow chart.

After research methodology, results section should be described. Results section should clearly describe all findings in sequential manner.  As far as possible findings should be presented in the form of tables and figures without any repetition. Authors should describe the results honestly without distortion of the data. After results section, discussion of findings is done. Findings should be interpreted in context to research questions mentioned in the paper. Findings should be also compared with previous studies done in the same area. Usually authors ignore the discussion section after describing the results. After discussion, authors should also give managerial implications of findings.  If implications of study are not significant for academia and industry, chances of paper acceptance are usually less. Lastly authors should give conclusion of study. In this section, authors should briefly restate about objectives, major findings, unique contribution, limitations and future scope of the study. At the end, it is recommended that authors should try to maintain flow of contents in the whole paper for better readability. 



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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