Step-by-Step Guide on How to Write a Research Paper in Physics

Physics research papers are unlike other papers you will find in other disciplines. There are a few matters of rigid structures that are often completely unfamiliar to even those students that have written several research papers in other sciences. There are five components to a physics research paper, which are generally handled in the same way. In order they are the title block, the abstract, the body paragraphs, the reference list and the figures/tables section, and a reference list which is applied at the end.

Here’s a step by step guide to writing a physics research paper:

  • Title Block: Your title block makes up your first page and should include the title of the research paper, an author’s list of everyone who made a major contribution, the school or institution affiliation, and the date of submission. Your instructor may have a different format for you to follow, but this is generally the most widely used form to format a title block.

  • Abstract: The main purpose of this section is to summarize your results and conclusions. It gives your audience an opportunity to quickly skim what your study is, what your methods where, and what your findings were. Your audience can then decide if this research is relevant to its own work and decide to proceed with studying your research paper or passing for another study.

  • The Body Paragraphs: Your body paragraphs make up the largest part of your research paper and will include the purpose of your study as well as the methods used. You will also use this section to address any problems that arose and what you did to work around them to finish your study. You will also provide your results and interpretation of results.

  • The Figures/Tables Section: This section may be something you are already experienced with, especially if you’ve written physics lab reports in the past. Figures and tables are always included after your complete body paragraphs section because there is no way of knowing that you could properly format all of this information within the relevant piece in your body paragraphs. What you should do instead is cite a figure or a table within your text with a note such as “See figure 1.2” and include all of this information in successive pages at the end of your report.

  • The Reference List: Like in other types of research papers, this list consists of all works consulted in your research. Don’t forget to reference every book, article, or study. Physics is a very precise discipline and any instance of plagiarism can have grave consequences for even those students who unintentionally forget to properly apply credit.

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