The three most important parts of a quantitative research article are, in order of importance, the research question, bibliography, and the abstract.
A research question is the most important part of a quantitative research article for many reasons. First, the research question guides the researcher since it is one of the initial methodological steps completed when undertaking a research project (Roth, 1999). The questions simply ask about some aspect that people can relate to, or care about. Once stated, the researcher goes on to develop it from findings of other research, from a practical perspective, or from theory.
A research question is important as it builds on what other people know already. The question is designed in such a way that can be understood by many people, or, the question presents an issue that many people can relate to, such as “Does education play a role in reducing juvenile delinquents’ return to crime?” From this general viewpoint, the researcher goes ahead and builds on this question using relevant research methodologies, hence, the research question guides the researcher throughout the exercise. In short, the whole research work is guided by the research question, i.e. the research primarily answers the research question, and hence is a very important part of a quantitative research article.
The bibliography, sometimes known as references, is a list of external resources that aided the researcher in completing the project. The reference section of a research paper is very important as it explains many concepts that are not available in the paper, for instance, readers can refer to the references to read further on the topic at hand. Once a reference section is given in the paper, it absolves the researcher of any accusations and offences of plagiarism. Plagiarism equates to academic dishonesty and is a very serious academic offence that leads to severe penalties, creating a correct reference list ensures that such instances do not occur.
A bibliography page indicates the level of research that was done, and the degree of comprehension of the topic, in fact, a glance at the contents of this section shows how well versed the researcher is on the topic. The section also shows the researcher’s level of comprehension of research methods since there are many different ways of formatting the bibliography page, such as APA, MLA, or Turabian formats.
Although it comes at the beginning of the paper, the abstract section is written last after the researcher has gone through the project in totality. The abstract is a brief summary of the whole research paper and is typically 150-200 words long (Lester, 2005). This section acts as an attention grabber and includes the most important points presented in the paper. An abstract informs readers of the objective of the study, which is a fundamental requirement of any research. In addition, it informs readers of the research methodologies that were employed throughout the project to support the thesis statement and answer the research question(s).
As in the bibliography section, a single glance at the abstract can determine the standard of a research paper for this is a representation of the whole paper. Therefore, the abstract can be said to be a reader’s first impression and may decide whether a person proceeds to read the rest of the paper, that is, it sells a paper. Hence, it must be written clearly and according to the current research methods.
Lester, J. D. (2005). Research paper handbook: your complete guide. Tucson, AZ: Good Year Books.
Roth, A. J. (1999). The Research Paper: Process, Form, and Content. Florence, KY: Cengage Heinle.