Hi! This is Meghan Lynn Allen for About.com, and today we'll discuss elements of a research paper.Let's start by talking about the thesis statement. Your thesis statement is generally included at the end of the introductory paragraph. It's one sentence that sums up the idea of the research paper. It could answer a question or propose a point. Thesis statements in a research paper generally take the form of a problem that needs to be solved. And before you can offer how to solve that problem, you need to talk about the problem. Your introduction may be one or more paragraphs, and it will conclude with the thesis statement.In your basic five paragraph research essay, you may have three paragraphs to support the introduction and the thesis statement. And this is where a research paper differs. The body and paragraphs of the research paper not only support the thesis statement, but also show opposing opinions, and prove why those opposing opinions are invalid.After you've formulated the introductory paragraph and the body paragraphs for your research paper, you need to sum it up with a conclusion. This may also be one or more paragraphs just like your introduction, and it needs to have a strong finish. Summarize all of your main points, the opposition or analysis, as well as a summary statement to finish the paper.Before you sit down to write that research paper, you want to know the style that it's required to be written in. The two most popular are the MLA (Modern Language Association) and the APA (American Psychological Association). Be sure to check with your teacher or professor before choosing a style. One of the most important parts of a research paper, which is graded just as heavily as the research paper itself, is the citation of your sources. At the end of the paper, you'll need to cite the sources which you addressed, quoted, or referred to in the body of the paper.Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.