Research paper: 11 tips for writing it right
Academic research paper is written after deep research and analysis of the results. This guide is for you if you’re worried that good research will take a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. If you use outdated tools and methods, you will need to spend hours studying relevant and less relevant literature, sorting it out, and writing and rewriting the work.
Or, you can streamline the process and spend much less effort. The following tips will help you improve your results:
1. Clearly articulate the research paper topic.
Yogi Berra, a famous baseball player, once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you will end up in the wrong place.” This argument is crucial to the research procedure. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you might end up wasting time researching appropriate but pointless information. Try to formulate a straightforward research question from the beginning. Pick a broad topic, do a quick preliminary research before asking a specific question.
A good research question should be:
Poor choices: Why is healthy eating important?
The right question is: Is there a link between a healthy lifestyle and personal performance?
Wrong Choice: Who Was the Most Significant Writer?
Correct question: How did Shakespeare influence the use of extended monologues in Melville’s Moby Dick?
- Scientifically researchable
Wrong choice: Why is a father like that and a son?
Revised question: What are the implications of an authoritative parenting style on a child’s self-esteem and creativity?
2. Use academic search engines.
If you want to conduct your research online. The following search engines will save you a lot of time:
- iSEEK Education
- Microsoft Academic Search
If you want to go even further with online research, this list of the top 100 open access libraries will help you.
3. Data management
While you are doing your research, it is essential to avoid the trap of feeling lost. If you find an article that you especially liked, save the link to it; otherwise, you may spend a lot of time trying to find it again, thinking that it is the best resource you could find.
However, with the help of modern data management tools, you can easily save all the necessary information and even sort it out and sort it:
4. Make your research paper introduction compelling.
Grab the reader’s attention with exciting statistics, shocking facts, or quotes from famous people. The main body of the research paper discusses the relevance of a particular study. Play with your readers’ doubts or selfishness to try to reach their hearts.
5. Plan your word count
The general rule of thumb is to spend up to 10 per cent of your total words on an introduction and conclusion. So if you know the recommended word count, you can make appropriate decisions about the word count to be included in other sections.
6. Consider the purpose of the sections.
- The conclusion should be short. It is a summary of your research work. It should be documented after your project is done.
- The introduction should provide background information, indicate the importance of researching the topic, and formulate the main research questions.
- One should include current views on the subject in the literature review.
- The methodology represents specific methods and tools used in the study and includes an appropriate sample.
- In conclusion, only the results are given (without any comments on them).
- Discussion of the analysis results establishes the relationship between any of the different facts.
- The limitations shed light on possible imperfections in research design and procedures.
- The conclusion briefly summarizes the main points and is a mirror of your introduction.
- Be sure to highlight the value of your research work and also mention areas for further research.
7. Review the literature
Collecting sources and just a few words about each of them is the wrong technique. Before writing your literature review, divide your sources into groups according to the authors’ positions. Make sure to include conflicting opinions and highlight gaps in the existing literature. This will make your work complete.
8. Use clichés for different sections
You will forget about the writing block if you use the following list of academic clichés for different parts of your academic research papers:
In recent years, there has been an increased interest in X;
Over the past decade, there has been a sharp increase in X;
Recently, X has been carefully studied;
Previously / In the past, the primary purpose of X was to be/be in …
X is an increasingly important area in …;
In the new computerized world, X has become a central issue.
- Literature review:
Researchers have studied the impact;
A significant amount of literature has been published;
Over the past decades, much more information about X has become available;
Much of the literature has researched …;
Previous studies have shown that …;
Several studies have found that …
- Results and discussion:
The results showed that …;
Among the likely explanations for this phenomenon …;
The results of the experiment indicate that …;
The most striking finding that emerges from observation is that …;
The data obtained are consistent with (contradict) the results of previous studies.
This study showed that …;
The second important takeaway is …;
The results of this study show that …;
This data can contribute to a deeper understanding of the problem …;
This research makes an important contribution to …
9. Cite your resources correctly.
When referring to sources, it is not worth using the style guide as it is an outdated method; instead, consider using free online citation generators:
10. Use fluency
If you cannot make any progress in your research paper at a certain point, try writing fluently. Write the space as if you were explaining your main points to a friend. This can improve the flow of thought for your work, as well as logical reasoning.
11. “Write drunk, edit sober.”
This quote is erroneously attributed to Hemingway, but there is no official evidence that he ever said or wrote this. However, it makes a lot of sense. Put your work aside for a while, then come back to it later with a fresh mind and eliminate any typos, grammatical and stylistic errors.