A research paper needs to be written in the style required by your school department. This could be MLA, APA, Chicago, etc. See the style requirements under Style Guides on this site.
You must have a research question that you can write into a thesis statement and write a hypothesis that you tested. The paper is about your research and the results of your research.
A research paper will have the following components:
- Title page
- Table of Contents
You will need to format your research according to the style used by your department or university. Your paper will include section headings, in-text citations, footnotes, illustrations and tables.
This site gives guidelines for MLA and APA styles: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_research_paper_format.shtml
This site gives a brief description of each section of the paper: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/biology/ug/research/paper.html