What Is the Normal Research Paper Length?

The length of an essay is a crucial guideline for many tutors and institutions. Besides limiting your essay to relevant arguments, word count limitations help you to overcome the stress of determining the extent to which you should analyse various arguments within your paper.

Unfortunately, there are tons of consequences associated wither with exceeding or coming short of the research paper length. Sometimes, your tutor may fail to specify the word count of a paper, prompting the question: How many words should a research paper be?

Read on for an analysis of the typical word count and a guideline on the length of various sections within a research paper. 

How long is a research paper

The length of a research paper is influenced by factors including the level of study and the approach taken to investigate your topic. At lower levels, research papers are based on theoretical research and thus span fewer words compared to higher-level papers which require extensive research. 

Research papers may span between ten pages to hundreds of pages. However, ensure to consult your tutor or essay guidelines to establish the range to which you should limit your essay. In case the word count for a paper has not been specified, we recommend that you consult previous papers in your field to determine the preferred length of your essay.

Alternatively, develop a meticulous plan, limiting your outline to the relevant arguments for your topic. This allows you to exhaust your argument, ensuring that you capture all essential details of your essay argument. 

How long is a research paper in high school?

High school papers require little in the way of experiments and are thus shorter as they do not require sections for the analysis and interpretation of research data. High school papers comprise an introduction, a body section, and a conclusion.

The introduction of a high school research paper makes up 15% of the total word count. this section should tackle the background of your topic to justify your study and also introduce your thesis. 

The methods section shows your research approach and the justification behind various sources on which you based your claims. This section makes up 30% of your total paper word count. The results of a high school research paper present your findings, setting a base for your claims. As such, this part should be properly articulated and makes up about 26% of your paper’s word count.

The discussion and conclusion section outlines your claims with the relevant support from your sources. 

How long is a short research paper

Short research papers range between five to ten pages. These essays rarely require complex research methods, and thus need little in the way of data analysis and interpretation. 

Often, these essays are assigned as high school assignments or for short assignments in college. These papers help build critical analysis in a student, developing writing skills that come in handy in the latter years of their academics and research careers. 

How long is a typical research paper in college?

Research papers for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees are more demanding than their high school counterparts. These papers may span hundreds of pages depending on the experiments and arguments on which your paper is based. 

Unlike the high school paper format, the college research paper comprises sections like:

  • The abstract – 300 words
  • The introduction – 10%
  • Literature review – 20%
  • Methods – 20%
  • Results – 10%
  • Discussion – 25%
  • Conclusion – 5%

The methods, literature review, and discussion make up the bulk of your college research papers. these sections help you to bring focus to the research questions and to support your claims regarding a thesis statement. 

Final take

We hope that this article has sufficiently answered the question: How long is a research paper? If you are still confused with various aspects of your essay, reach out to our expert team for custom assistance.

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