What To Know About The Format Of A Research Paper Table Of Contents


When it comes to formatting a long writing assignment like a research paper one of the most important components you should consider adding is a table of contents (TOC). Even if your professor doesn’t require you to put in a table of contents, it is tremendously helpful in helping your reader navigate through a long work and enjoy doing so. Here a few things you should know about the format of a research paper table of contents:

  • It Will Help You Organize Your Sections
  • One of the biggest problems that come with working on an assignment this large is that the content you’ve gathered can quickly become disorganized. Creating an outline is certainly helpful, but so is creating a table of contents keep your information in its appropriate place. Don’t forget to add sub-sections for greater organization and clarity. Not only will you be able to easily sort through and rearrange information for greater effect, but your reader can be better prepared to take in all of that information.

  • Navigation to Specific Sections is Easier
  • When educators and other academics read through a research paper either for interest or for work-related pursuits, they tend to only read specific sections. As where one person might want to look at only the results section, another person might want to review the methodologies or research findings. In these cases a table of contents is absolutely necessary in order to save someone else’s time and effort spent.

  • TOC Can be Formatted Automatically
  • Don’t forget that you can automatically put in a table of contents by using the features available on most computer writing programs. The processes might be slightly different from program to program but you should be able to apply a TOC without much problem. Even though things are automatic, however, be sure that you do go section by section and page by page to ensure that information has been separated accurately.

  • It Will Give Your Work a Professional Look
  • The last thing you should know about putting in a TOC is that it will give your work a very professional look, which means you could get a few extra points towards that high classroom grade. If you aren’t sure about what elements to add to your TOC and are concerned that you may be more along the flashy side, take a look at how other research papers are formatted in academic journals. These samples should be a valuable resources for how to put in a TOC the correct way.