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A Quick Guide to Writing a Research Paper Table of Contents


A table of contents is a page that shows all the parts of a research paper and their page numbers. Short academic papers like essays don’t require adding a table of contents. However, students are obliged to add such pages to their larger papers. If you’re going to write your first serious paper and need to know what to include in your table of contents, you should read the following tips.

  1. Introduction.
  2. First, you need to indicate on what page starts your introduction. Given that an introduction shouldn’t have any subheadings and be very long, you don’t need to add anything else.

  3. Body.
  4. Then, you need to indicate your body headings. Usually, big parts of the body may consist of a few smaller sections, so you should also indicate all the subheadings and their corresponding page numbers.

  5. Conclusion.
  6. This part is similar to the introduction. Your conclusion should cover only a couple of pages, so there is no need for subheadings. Just indicate the page where your conclusion begins.

  7. References.
  8. The last item you should indicate in your research paper table of contents is your references.

When it comes to formatting your table of contents, you should use one of the good programs for text writing. This will help you make your table of contents meet the requirements of your college or university. Seek detailed guidelines for each program on the Internet.

You may also look at some table of contents examples. To find decent and reliable examples, you may approach these sources:

  • Your instructor.
  • The person who gave you this assignment should definitely have sample papers that will be useful for you.

  • Your college library.
  • The library of your college or university is one of the best sources. It stores plenty of good academic papers that are formatted to meet all the requirements of your college or university.

  • Your college electronic database.
  • This source is similar to the library, but it stores papers in the electronic format. It shouldn’t be difficult for you to download examples for your table of contents from the database.

  • Academic writing centers.
  • These organizations that provide students with help related to academic writing can also give you reliable examples for your table of contents.

  • Your college friends.
  • Your elder college friends may provide you with their old works that contain tables of contents.

If you follow this quick guide, you won’t have any problems with creating a table of contents for your research paper.



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