Although the research paper format is fairly standardized, writing guidelines may vary not only among academic institutions but also among individual professors. Pay attention to any how-to handouts you’ve received, and don’t forget to check your university’s writing lab for more resources.
If you have two main points in your thesis, three or five main sections might not work for your research paper. If the assignment asks you to introduce a topic, explain different opinions on the topic, and then choose and explain your opinion, then your paper probably needs three main sections, one for each of those objectives.
Working with your teacher and asking them for help is an often overlooked resource when it comes to writing research papers. Be sure to take advantage of this help; your paper will be all the better for it.
Work to understand all of the different viewpoints and schools of thought on your topic. This can be done by reading a variety of articles, reading a book or article that gives an overview of the topic and incorporates different points of view, or talking to an expert who can explain the topic in depth.
It definitely is meticulous because of the intensive research that comes with it, but if you really look at the big picture of it, a research paper just needs a few basic tips for it to be less challenging for individuals that are struggling.