Generally speaking, there is no set number of paragraphs for any length of research paper, or any other type of writing, for that matter, nor is there a set number of sentences per paragraphs. For a paper of the length you're describing, you would plan on an introduction and conclusion that might be a third to half a page long, and probably seven to ten paragraphs in between. The length of your work will be...
Generally speaking, there is no set number of paragraphs for any length of research paper, or any other type of writing, for that matter, nor is there a set number of sentences per paragraphs. For a paper of the length you're describing, you would plan on an introduction and conclusion that might be a third to half a page long, and probably seven to ten paragraphs in between. The length of your work will be affected by the topic, the type and number of direct quotes you include, method of citation employed, and, as elementary as it sounds, your choice of vocabulary, because more sophisticated language, particularly specialized vocabulary, will likely include longer terminology.
That being said, I've found that when an instructor (including myself) gives a desired length for an assignment, it is meant (or should be) as more of a guideline than a set-in-stone requirement, intended to give the student a general idea of the depth of information the instructor expects to see presented. By saying a paper should be five pages, the instructor hopes to stave off the underachiever who turns in a most superficial examination of the topic in, say, two pages, as well as the overachiever who might be tempted, in the name of earning a good grade, to write something in the tradition of the doctoral thesis.
By the same token, the number of paragraphs you end up with will vary according to your topic and writing style. A paper of this length will likely have paragraphs that range from five to eight or nine sentences; fewer than five sentences in a paragraph from the paper's body might be an indicator that more detail is needed, while more than nine or ten sentences might indicate that too much information is being attempted in one paragraph and the writer needs to do some editing or breaking of the paragraph into two or more.
I would advise accumulating whatever research you'll be using and write out a first draft with little or no thought to polishing just yet--simply get everything on paper, forming your paragraphs without too much angst, so that you have a starting place. From there, you can sit back and evaluate if you are in the five page area in terms of length; you can ascertain where there might be holes in your research or ideas, requiring more information be added, or where you perhaps have an overabundance of material, which may cause you to either cut some of the extraneous material, or possibly refine or adjust your original topic to account for the proliferation of information.
posted by b33j to Education (16 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a full-time university mature-age student, but I'm studying from a distance, so my access to lecturers and other students is minimal. The last two semesters I achieved a perfect GPA, but I've since doubled my study load and I'm finding my current methods aren't working so well for me. So what I want to know is including research time, how long would writing a 1500 word essay take you? Is there a particular way that you structure your time, like, if you don't have all the resources you want after looking for X time, too bad?
Study guides I've read seem to indicate that the percentage the assignment is worth of your final mark gives you an estimated time to commence (ie 40% start 4 weeks before it's due, 10% write it in the week it's due), but they don't indicate how much time per week to spend on it.
I think I'm ready to not aim for that perfect GPA anymore, so you can factor that into what's a reasonable amount of time, if you like.
At this point of my current assignment, I"m only at 750 words, and I've already invested 14 hours.