Contents of the research paper

To make it easier for the reader to navigate in a large volume of text, a table of contents is added to various printed works, in which page numbers are indicated. The content of the research paper is required by the standard if the number of pages exceeds ten.

How to write a table of contents in the research paper

The contents of the research paper include all structural elements of the work, starting with the introduction (the title page and the table of contents are not indicated in the list). We list what should be in the table of contents of the research paper:

  1. Introduction
  2. Title of the first chapter.
  3. Title of the second chapter.
  4. The title of the third chapter (if there is one. If there are more chapters, the names of the fourth, fifth and other chapters must also be written in the contents of the report).
  5. Conclusion
  6. Bibliography.
  7. Applications

In the research paper, chapters can be divided into paragraphs (although due to the small amount of work you can do without this) – in this case, the table of contents takes on a two-level hierarchical structure (for each chapter, the paragraphs included in it are indicated).

When compiling the table of contents, the components of the main part of the research paper are numbered (no dot is placed after the number), but the introduction, conclusion and list of references are not. There is no dot after the name, even if the name is a complete sentence.

Example 1


  1. The concept of demand
  2. Law of demand
  3. Factors determining the demand in a market economy
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In addition to the names of the structural parts of the work, the pages are indicated on which these parts begin – this is where the table of contents differs from the plan. Accordingly, before you draw up the contents of the research paper, you need to write the research paper itself.

How to draw up a table of contents of the research paper

How you need to make a table of contents in the research paper directly depends on how the research paper itself is drawn up. When making the table of contents, the same font is used as in the main text, and the same indents.

Example 2

So, if the text is typed in 14 type Times New Roman font with line spacing one and a half spacing, with zero spacing before and after the paragraph, with indentation of the red line 1.25 cm – exactly the same parameters are used for the table of contents.

If in the text of the work headings are highlighted in capital letters (INTRODUCTION, CONCLUSION), then they should also look in the table of contents. The exception is the use of effects for the font – bold, italics, underline. They are not used in the table of contents, even if they were used in the text.

The names of the elements are aligned to the left, and the page numbers are aligned to the right (numbers should not “jump”). A placeholder (most often dots) can be used between the title and the corresponding page to facilitate readability.

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Whether to use a placeholder is determined by the department, the standard does not contain clear requirements. Therefore, in order to make the table of contents of the essay correct, it is best to ask the teacher for a sample.

Example 3

Often students have the question of how to write the heading correctly – “Table of Contents” or “Content”. In the research paper, the word “table of contents” is more appropriate, since “content” refers to collections consisting of dissimilar parts (collections of conference materials or control, including separate tasks), and not to holistic research.

How to make a table of contents of the research paper

You can manually type a table of contents and specify pages. But this method has disadvantages:

  • It’s difficult to carefully align the titles on one edge and the pages on the other. One of the sides of the sheet is uneven. You have to use auxiliary tools – present the table of contents in the form of a table, in the first column of which the name is written, and in the second – the page number.
  • When you make changes to the text, as a result of which the beginning of the element is transferred to another page, the table of contents ceases to correspond to reality. There is a need to carefully double-check page numbers before printing. A mistake is widespread when part of the numbers is corrected and part is overlooked (the first chapter has increased – you need to change the page number not only for the second chapter, but also for the third, and for the conclusion, and for the list of sources).
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In text editors (MS Word, OpenOffice.Org Writer and their analogues) there are tools for preparing an autocomplete table of contents. In order for the table of contents to be compiled by itself, you must first set styles for the headings (headings of the first and second levels).

The “Table of Contents” block in MS Word is located on the “Links” tab. By opening the drop-down list, you can see examples of the contents of the table of contents and choose from them suitable for the research paper. If none of the proposed options meets your needs, you can specify your own font and paragraph parameters, or download additional templates from the site.