research paper

Generic Research Paper Outlines
Generic Outline #1
The following outline is appropriate for research papers covering specific hardware or
software products or well-defined classes of such products. It is generally appropriate to
products that have already been brought to market and for which clear alternatives exist.
Examples might include specific operating systems, web server software, computer
systems, printers, etc.
Introduction/Background
– What is the nature of the product or technology?
– What is its development history?
– For what may it be used (needs addressed and/or functions performed)?
Technical Description
– Describe the technical details of the product or technology (how does it work)?
– Define technical terms and provide necessary background information.
– Provide examples of use (if appropriate).
Comparisons
Compare to similar products and/or technologies addressing similar needs:
– Costs
– Performance
– Capabilities and limitations
Recommendations
State the conditions under which the product/technology should be used and/or chosen
over competing alternatives. Be as definite and explicit as possible.
COMT 1173 – 90 Research Project Page 4 of 4
Generic Research Paper Outlines – Continued
Generic Outline #2
Outline #2 is designed for topics covering specific technologies that have not yet been
incorporated into significant numbers of commercial products. Detailed comparisons of
cost, benefit, and performance are not required. The paper should concentrate on the class
of needs that the technology seeks to address, likely performance and cost characteristics,
and the prognosis for commercial products based upon the technology. Where
appropriate, comparisons of cost, capability, and performance should be made to existing
technologies that satisfy similar needs. For example, a paper on holographic storage
should describe its technical details and prognosticate about its eventual release in
commercial products and the characteristics of those products. Comparisons should be
made to current data storage technologies with which holographic storage might
ultimately compete (e.g., DVD-ROM).
Introduction/Background
– What is the nature of the technology?
– What is its development history?
– For what may it be used (needs addressed and/or functions performed)?
Technical Description
– Describe the technical details of the technology (how does it work)?
– Define technical terms and provide necessary background information.
– Provide examples of use (if appropriate).
– Describe the current state of development:
o What research/development remains to be completed?
o When will initial products based on the technology be released?
Comparisons
Compare to existing technologies that address similar needs:
– Cost estimates
– Performance estimates
– Capabilities and limitations
Recommendations
Estimate the year in which commercial products will be introduced.
Explicitly state the cost/performance characteristics that will be required to make the
technology a viable alternative to existing technologies

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