Math Research Paper: Structuring Your Writing
All research papers have the potential to be challenging assignments. In addition to their somewhat inherently challenging nature, those research papers assigned for very specialized courses can present students with even greater difficulties. Hard sciences and mathematics research papers are well-known for giving students headaches, and for good reason. They incorporate all of the typical challenges that research paper assignments are known for and additionally require that students learn the conventions and requirements for their respective disciplines.
Mathematics Research Papers and Structure
The major challenge posed by mathematics research paper assignments is to employ what is known as mathematical writing. Mathematical writing is, like all research paper writing, intended to communicate the author’s ideas to a specific audience. However, it is judged quite strictly based upon its adherence to formal logic and the ability to provide convincing mathematical proofs. In addition to these stringent requirements, a mathematics research paper must also engage its audience just as any other research paper would. That means presenting a good foundation in the topic at hand and creating a pleasant and informative structure to present the author’s ideas.
Major Sections of a Mathematics Research Paper
Most mathematics research papers include several basic sections. These may be labeled differently by your instructor, but they will almost assuredly be included.
- Relevance to Future Research
“Context” places your research question into a greater context in the field of mathematics and helps the reader to ascertain the topic of the paper and prepare themselves for understanding your subject matter. You’ll discuss the literature already available on the research question you’ve posed and point out how your personal perspective and methods differ from those of the past. You’ll explore the topic in general and how it relates to other mathematical questions, allowing your reader to gain a feel for your topic’s importance.
Here you will continue discussing your topic as you did in “Context,” but you will delve more deeply into the specifics surrounding your question and your reasons for pursuing it.
The body of the work is where you discuss your research and results themselves, divided into appropriate subsections. These divisions depend largely upon the exact nature of your work.
Finally, in your conclusion to the paper, you will describe the implications your research may have on future research. The results you’ve gathered may help to shape the work of future researchers—like your reader!
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