Vital Elements of the Research Paper Paragraph Structure

It is absolutely important to have effective paragraphs in all kinds of writing and academic papers. Your paragraphs should guide the reader through the discussion or analysis by aiding to explain and substantiate, as well as support your argument or thesis statement. As a general rule that guides in preparing the right structure for research paper paragraphs, you should ensure that each paragraph only discusses a single main idea or point. An effective academic paper paragraph structure is made up of three sections: a claim, evidence, and an analysis part.

  • Claim
    The claim in a paragraph of an academic paper is also referred to as the topic sentence. It is your means of announcing the key focus of the paragraph. The claim should inform the reader what the paragraph is all about. A good approach is to consider your claims as a mini argument that supports your paper’s thesis or key argument. Your claims or topic sentences need to be arguable or in other terms they should be debatable assertions that you shall attempt to “prove” by providing evidence.
  • Evidence
    The evidence section is also another important part of the paragraph in any academic paper because it helps to “prove” your claims and assertions to your reader. Any academic research paper structure is not proper if the paragraphs are missing the evidence part. If your paper has incorporated secondary sources of research, your evidence can be information from books, articles, magazines and other publications, and electronic sources. You can present your evidence in the form of paraphrased material, direct quotations, statistical data, and any other information you got from the secondary sources that supports your claim.
  • Analysis
    The analysis section is another essential component of a paragraph in academic writing. The analysis part also serves to express your concluding observations. It is a way of “winding up” all the information that you presented in the claim and evidence sections of the paragraph. The analysis should offer an explanation of why or how the evidence you presented supports your topic sentence or claim and why it supports the key argument or main thesis of the research paper. It is always advisable to conclude the paragraph with your personal analysis or observation of the information instead of with evidence.

Remember that without the three sections, claim, evidence, and analysis, your paragraph is incomplete and the overall quality of your academic paper will be compromised.