The world of academic research is evolving rapidly, especially with the rise of online research. Virtually all students now write on a computer and do research online. This blog offers insights and tips that can help researchers (especially students) plan and successfully execute the publication of their research papers.
- Tip #1
Understanding Why Academic Research Exists & What Its Purpose Is
Instructors ask students to write a research paper for several reasons –
- Research Teaches Methods Of Discovery
- Researching a subject invites you to discover what you know about the subject and what others can teach you.
- Beyond reading, it often requires you to venture into the field for interviews, observations, and experimentation.
- The process tests your curiosity as you explore a complex topic.
- You may not arrive at definitive answers or solutions, but you will come to understand the different points of view on a subject.
- In your final article, you will synthesize your ideas and findings with the knowledge and opinions of others.
- Research Teaches Inquiry Skills
- A research project requires that you investigate a topic, grasp the gist of it, and disclose your findings.
- Your success will depend on your negotiation of a range of sources of information, from reference books found in the library to computer databases and from special archival collections to the most recent articles in printed periodicals.
- The internet, with its bounty of information, will challenge you to find reliable sources.
- If you conduct research through observation, interviews, surveys, and laboratory experiments, you will discover additional methods of investigation.
- Research Leads To The Development Of Techniques Based On Inquiry
- With guidance from your instructor, you research should look to expand upon your own knowledge as well as to enrich the data available for future research by others.
- Participating in an online international conference 2022 will help you meet professionals who can offer you more insight into this.
- Research Strengthens Professional Skills
- Many career fields rely on inquiry and investigation for the purpose of fact-finding.
- Researchers work in a broad range of disciplines, including the physical and life sciences of biology, chemistry and physics.
- Engineering sciences in aerospace, computer science, and automotive production must build on past research while forging brand new manufacturing trends.
- Social scientists in the disciplines of economics, sociology, psychology, and political science promote the progress of society through investigative studies.
- Research professionals are at the forefront of scientific and technological developments, and their work leads to new drugs, consumer products, industrial processes and many other developments.
- Research Teaches Critical Thinking
- By sifting through the evidence on your topic, you’ll learn to distinguish between helpful information and unsubstantiated or ill-conceived commentary.
- Some sources, such as the Internet, will offer timely and reliable information, but may also lure you in with undocumented and useless opinions.
- Research Teaches Logic
- Much like a judge in the courtroom, you must make insightful judgments about issues surrounding a specific topic.
- Your decisions, indeed, will be based on the wisdom gained through research on the subject.
- Your article and your readers will rely on your logical response to your reading, observations, interviews, and tests.
- Research Teaches The Basic Ingredients Of Argument
- In the vast majority of cases, a research paper requires you to make a claim and back it up with sound reasoning and real evidence.
- If you make an argument about a certain concept, you’ll have to learn to anticipate challenges to your theory and back up your claim with evidence.
- Tip #2
- Getting A Firm Grasp On The Conventions Of Academic Writing
- The writing sought in each discipline follows certain conventions, that is, adherance to specific formats is needed for citing sources and designing pages.
- These rules standardize the many articles written globally by millions of scholars like yourself.
- The MLA (Modern Language Association) and the Society of Language and Literature Scholars, has a set forth guidelines generally known as the MLA style.
- Likewise, the American Psychological Association has its own APA style.
- Other research groups prefer a footnote system, while others make use of a numbering system.
- These variations aren’t meant to confuse; they have evolved within disciplines as the choice style.
- Determining Which Style Of Documentation To Use
- Numerous composition instructors will ask you to use the MLA style, but they are just as likely to ask for the APA style if your subject is in one of the social sciences.
- Similarly, your art history teacher might expect the footnote style, but might as well ask for the APA style.
- Ask your instructor early on which style to use and plan accordingly.
- Irrespective Of The Style Chosen, Your Writing Must Seek To Advance The Substantive Issues & Inquiry
- Keep in mind three key investigative conventions of making a claim and establishing a thesis –
Rank the main issues of your study and provide a detailed analysis of each to defend your thesis.
Provide well-reasoned proposals and statements that are supported by facts, details and evidence with appropriate documentation.
Relate the implications of your findings to the merits of the study.
- Tip #3
- Understand What Constitutes Plagiarism & To Avoid It
- The most crucial convention of academic writing is the principle of offering proper credit to the work of others.
- Plagiarism is defined as claiming another person’s words or ideas as your own.
- Plagiarism is a serious violation of ethical standards for academic writing, and most colleges and universities impose strict penalties, including academic probation or expulsion, on students guilty of plagiarism.
- Most schools publish an official student code of conduct (sometimes called an academic integrity policy), and you spend time acquainting yourself with the guidelines in this document as it applies to your research and writing.
- While some students will knowingly copy entire passages from outside sources into their work without any documentation, others will purchase research papers from various sources.
- These intentional acts of academic deception are the most egregious forms of plagiarism.
- Unintentional plagiarism, however, is always a violation of academic integrity.
- Unacknowledged use of another person’s phrases, expressions, or terminology is plagiarism, so offer a citation and make use of quotation marks to show exactly where you draw inspiration from others’ work.
- Similarly, unacknowledged use of another person’s theories, research, or approach is also plagiarism, so write careful paraphrases.
- Avoid Unintentional Plagiarism
The guidelines listed below will help you avoid unintentional plagiarism.
Let readers know when you’re borrowing from a source by introducing a quotation or a paraphrase with the name of its author.
- Quotation Marks
Put everything quoted in quotes, whether they be entire sentences, phrases, or just a few words.
Offer citations to indicate the source of paraphrases as you do for quotes.
- Quotations & Notes In Parentheses
Use one of documentation styles (MLA, APA, CMS or CSE) to offer specific in-text citations for every source according to the conventions of the discipline in which you are writing.
- Works Cited Or Reference Pages
Offer a full bibliographic entry at the end of your article for each source you use, consistent with documentation style standards you use.
- To know more about why you should avoid plagiarism (both intentional and unintentional) register for an upcoming conference 2022.
- Tip #4
Devise A Realistic Research Calendar
Establishing a timeline at the start of a research project helps you stay on course and reminds you to adhere to the fundamental steps in the process. Begin by write the dates next to each step that you’ve planned out and stick to the schedule.
- Find & Narrow A Topic
- Your topic should have a built-in question or argument so you can interpret an issue and cite opinions found in your course materials.
- Write A Thesis & A Research Proposal
- Although you don’t have to create a formal research proposal, you should prepare some sort of strategy to help direct and organize your research before you begin reading in-depth.
- Read & Create A Working Bibliography
- Preliminary reading lays the foundation for your research, helping you discover the quantity and quality of sources available.
- If you can’t find much, your topic of interest may be too narrow.
- If you discover too many sources, your topic is too broad and should be narrowed down.
- Create Notes
- Start typing notes in a digital or printed research journal. Some notes will be summaries, some will be carefully selected quotes from sources, and some will be paraphrases written in your own voice.
- Consult with experienced researchers to learn their techniques for effective note-taking.
- Organize & Describe
- You may need to create a formal plan and come up with formal outlines and additional concepts for organizing your ideas.
- Write Your Research Paper
- As you write, let your instructor scan the draft for feedback and advice.
- He or she might see other complications in your research and also avoid coming to any simplistic conclusions.
- Writing is also a peer review stage, where one or two classmates review your work.
- Learn about the peer-review process.
- Get to know about common research paper writing issues and take steps to avoid them.
- Also, look up the best fast publishing journals in your discipline and write such that your manuscript will be easily accepted and published by them.
- Paper Formatting
- A proper document design places your article in the format required for your discipline, such as the numbering system for a science project or the APA style for an educational article.
- Consult with experienced research authors from your discipline or go through research papers in your discipline to get to know the paper formatting conventions you should be following.
- Writing A List Of Your References
- You will need to list in the appropriate format the different sources used in your study.
- Editing & Proofreading
- Towards the very end of the project, you should be thorough in reviewing the manuscript and making any necessary corrections.
- Using computers, you can check spelling and certain aspects of style.
- Ask your mentors for guidance on reviewing and editing.
- Submitting The Manuscript
- Like all writers, at some point, you will need to publish your paper in a Scopus journal (or a journal indexed in any other reputable journal-indexing database) and release it to the public, which may be your instructor, or classmates, or perhaps a larger audience.
- Plan well in advance so you can meet this final deadline.
- You can present the document in different ways –
- on paper,
- by e-mail to your instructor,
- on a USB key, or
- in a dropbox or on your own website.
- Tip #5
Connect Your Personal Ideas To A Scientific Problem
- Try to make the connection between your interests and the issues inherent in the subject.
- For example, a college student whose mother became seriously addicted to the Internet wrote an article based on the personal experiences of her dysfunctional family.
- She has worked in the discipline of sociology and consulted journals in this field.
- Another student, who worked in a discount store, developed a research project on discount shopping and its effects on small-town merchants.
- She has worked in the discipline of marketing and business management, reading relevant literature in these fields.
- Start with two activities –
- Connect your experiences to academic and academic problems disciplines.
- Speculate on the topic by listing issues, asking questions, writing freely, and using other idea-generating techniques.
- Speculate On Your Subject To Discover Ideas & Focus On The Problems
At some point, you might need to sit down, relax, and use your imagination to contemplate the questions and issues worth investigating. Ideas can be conceived of in the following ways –
- To write freely, just focus on one topic and write whatever comes to mind.
- Don’t worry about grammar, style, or calligraphy, but keep writing non-stop for a page or so to develop helpful phrases, similes, personal anecdotes, and specific thoughts that help pinpoint areas of concern.
- Ad Keywords
- Keep a list of words, the basic terms you see in the literature. These can help guide the direction of your search.
- Register for an abroad online conference to learn more about this topic.
- Organize The Keywords In A Rough Outline
- Writing a preliminary outline at the start of the project can help you see if the topic truly has any substance so you can sustain it for the required duration.
- At this point, the researcher should recognize the hierarchy of major and minor issues.
- This initial ranking of ideas would expand and mature in depth during the research process.
- Another method to discover the hierarchy of your main topics and sub-topics is to group ideas around a central topic.
- The group of related topics can generate a multitude of interconnected ideas.
- Limitation By Comparison
- The comparison limits a discussion to specific differences.
- Any two works, any two people, or any two groups can serve as a foundation for a comparative study.
- Scholars compare the merits of free verse with those of formal verse.
- Tip #6
Ask Tons Of Questions
- Research is a process of finding answers to questions.
- Therefore, the most effective researchers are those who learn to ask questions and seek answers.
- Raising questions about the topic can provide clear boundaries for the document.
- Expand your imagination with questions to develop a clear theme.
- Any conference with Scopus publication clearance is bound to feature experts who can offer you more insight on this.
- Tip #7
Talk To Others To Refine Your Topic
- Conduct Personal Interviews & Discussions
- Like some researchers, you may need to formally consult with an expert on the topic or explore a topic informally while having coffee or over a meal, with a colleague, friend, or mentor.
- Ask people in your community for their thoughts and their reactions to your general topic.
- Informal conversations that contribute to your understanding of the topic do not need to be documented.
- Nevertheless, the conscientious writer will credit a formal interview if the person approves.
- Online Discussion Groups
- What are others saying about your topic?
- You could share ideas and messages with other researchers interested in your topic.
- Someone may answer a question or point out an interesting aspect that hasn’t occurred to you.
- With focus groups, you have the choice –
- Classroom email groups that participate in online discussions about various problems.
- Online course with discussion room.
- Internet discussion groups.
- Real-time chat with online participants, even with audio and video, in some cases.
- Many instructors may set up informal discussion lists in class and expect you to participate online with other students.
- In other cases, the instructor may suggest you investigate a specific site.
- You can find many discussion groups, but how you use them is critical to your academic success.
- Rather than chatting, solicit ideas and get answers to your questions about your research topic.
- Explore Ideas With Others
- You can also –
- Consult your instructor
- Discuss your topic with classmates
- Listen to the concerns of others
- Lead a discussion or interview
- Join a computer discussion group
- Take careful notes
- Adjust your search accordingly.
- You can also –
- Talking to others can also help you catch wind of fast scopus publishing journals that are relatively unknown.
- Tip #8
Use Online Searches To Narrow Down Your Topic
- The internet offers a quick and easy way to find a topic and narrow it down to academic standards. For now, use subject directories and keyword searches.
- Using An Online Subject Directory Resource
- Most search engines have a subject directory that organizes sources by subject.
- For example, Yahoo! Directory organizes online sources into broad categories such as arts and humanities, education, social sciences, and more.
- If you started with a subject such as “alternative medicine”, you would quickly realize that your subject is too broad.
- The Yahoo directory lists over forty subtopics for “alternative medicine”.
- The directory can help you identify a narrower topic, such as aromatherapy or meditation, which you may be able to search more effectively.
- As you want to present an academic study on your topic, you can also search online using Google Scholar.
- This web-based program can guide your research in many disciplines through articles, theses, books, and abstracts submitted by academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities, and other websites.
- Google Scholar helps you find relevant work in the world of academic research.
- Albeit, the Internet has made it difficult to apply traditional ratings to an electronic article – is it authoritative, accurate, current, objective, timely, and complete in coverage?
- Some Internet sites promote special interests, some sites market products or sprinkle the site with banners to merchant sites and sales articles, some sites are personal home pages, and then numerous websites offer objective news and scholarly knowledge.
- The answers –
- Access reliable databases available in your library, such as InfoTrac, ERIC, ProQuest, and EBSCOhost. These are scrutinized sites that offer information filtered by editorial boards and peer reviews. You can check them out from remote locations at home or in the dorm by logging into your library electronically.
- Look for articles on the Internet that appeared first in print. These will, in most cases, have been reviewed by an editorial board.
- Search for a reputable sponsor, particularly a university, museum, or professional organization.
- Using An Internet Keyword Search Engine
- Making use of Google or a similar search engine allows you to look up keywords related to your topic.
- A keyword search for “Manuscripts of American History,” for instance, leads to the Library of Congress page.
- This page allows users to scour the Library’s manuscript collection by keyword, name and subject, date, or subject.
- Subject headings include military history, diplomacy, foreign policy, and women’s history, which would help find sources leading to a more focused topic.
- Any 2022 international conference worth its salt will address this topic, so find such an event and participate in it to learn more.
- Tip #9
Use Your Library’s Electronic Catalog To Find A Topic
- Instructors expect you to cite data from a few books, and the library’s book index will recommend topics and confirm that your topic has been covered with extensive study in book form, not just on the internet or in journals.
- Referred to by different names in each library (eg Acorn, Felix, Access), the electronic index lists all the books housed in the library, along with other useful items.
- It does not index magazine and journal articles, but it will tell you which periodicals are in the library and whether they’re in print or microform.
- Like electronic databases, the index will help you find a workable topic by quickly guiding you from broad topics to subtopics and finally to specific books.
- If you’re going to the shelves to find a book, take the time to examine nearby books on the same shelf, as they’ll likely be about the same subject.
- With your work topic in hand, do exploratory readings in books to enhance your understanding of the topic.
- Tip #10
Development Of A Thesis Statement, Enthymeme, Or Hypothesis
- A central statement will usually control the direction and content of an essay, so as soon as possible, start thinking in terms of the main idea. Each has a distinct mission –
- A thesis statement advances a conclusion that the author will defend – Contrary to what some philosophers claim, human beings have always taken part in wars.
- An enthymeme uses a because clause to claim a point that the author will defend – There never was a “good savage,” as such, because even prehistoric human beings waged frequent wars for many reasons.
- A hypothesis is a theory that has to be tested in the laboratory, in literature, and/or through field research to prove its validity: human beings are driven by biological instincts toward the physical reversal of perceived enemies.
A thesis statement develops your topic into a scientific proposition, a proposition that you will try to prove and defend in your paper. It doesn’t state the obvious, like “Langston Hughes was a great Harlem poet.” This sentence will not provoke academic discussion because your readers know that any published poet has talent. The writer must narrow down and isolate a problem by finding a critical point.
- Tip #11
- Writing A Proper Research Proposal
- A research proposal is presented in either of the following two forms –
- as a short paragraph to recognize the project for yourself and your instructor, or
- a formal multi-page report that offers background information, your rationale for carrying out the study, a review of the literature, your methods, and the conclusions you wish to prove.
- A research proposal is presented in either of the following two forms –
- The Short Proposal
- A short proposal recognizes five essential ingredients of your work –
- The specific subject
- The purpose of the article (explain, analyze or argue)
- The target audience (general or specialized)
- Your voice as an author (informant or advocate)
- The preliminary thesis statement or the opening hypothesis.
- A short proposal recognizes five essential ingredients of your work –
- Address Your Readers
- Identify Your Audience
- Have you visualized your audience, their expertise, and their expectations?
- Your perception of the reader will have an impact on your voice, your style, and your choice of words.
- Identify Your Discipline
- Readers from each discipline will bring different expectations to your article with respect to material content, language, design, and format.
- Meet The Needs Of Your Readers
- Are you saying something valid?
- Something new?
- Don’t bore the reader with known facts from an encyclopedia. (This last danger is why many instructors discourage using an encyclopedia as a source.)
- Engage and even challenge your readers.
- Find an interesting or alternative point-of-view.
- For example, a story about farm life can become a difficult examination of chemical contamination due to industrial sprawl in rural areas, and an interpretation of a novel can become an examination of the prison system rather than a routine speech on a theme or characterization.
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