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Research is the methodical investigation into a subject in order to discover facts, to establish or revise a theory, or to develop a plan of action based on the facts discovered. The findings and conclusions of such an investigation appear in the research paper. The term ‘research paper’ refers to a particular genre of academic writing, in which the writer’s own interpretation, evaluation, or argument on a specific issue is given prominence.
A research paper involves surveying a field of knowledge in order to find the best possible information in that field. Such information is then utilised to present a competent argument on a topic. Hence a research paper requires a presentation of one’s own thinking backed up by others’ ideas and information. In short, a research paper is:
- focused on a specific issue or problem,
- a presentation of facts that are based upon extensive reading and extraction of information from several sources, and
- original in selection of literature, evaluation, expression and conclusion.
Waht are the Qualities of a Good Research Paper?
Whatever may be the types of research works and studies, one thing that is important is that they all meet on the common ground of systematic method employed by them. One expects systematic research to satisfy certain criteria. Usually a research is considered good when it is:
- Systematic: It means that research is structured with specified steps to be taken in a specified sequence in accordance with the well defined set of rules. Systematic characteristic of the research does not rule out (discard, prevent) creative thinking but it certainly does reject the use of guessing and intuition arriving at conclusions.
- Logical: This implies that research is guided by the rules of logical reasoning and the logical process of induction and deduction are of great value in carrying out research. Induction is the process of reasoning from a part to the whole whereas deduction is the process of reasoning from the premise. In fact, logical reasoning makes research more meaningful in the context of decision making.
- Empirical/Tangible: It implies that research is related basically to one or more aspects of a real situation and deals with concrete data that provides a basis for external validity to research results.
- Replicable: Replicability is one of the most important yardsticks for judging the quality of a research. The researcher’s presentation and explanation of the system, logic, and data collection should be designed in such a way that the reader is able to replicate the study.
- Reductive: A good research can reduce the confusion of facts that language and language teaching frequently present.
- Comprehensive: A research can be considered good if it has the ability encompass all important parts of the topic into a complete picture. But it should not present excessive detail which may hamper the development of the thought.
- Prolific: It suggests that a good research builds on, but also offers something new to, previous research. It should have the potential to suggest directions for future research.
- Relevant: A good researcher will be able to extract relevant information from large amounts of info. Complete research will have the core information, or sets of core information, which together answers the question directly, and the contextual information, which determines whether or not the core research is applicable to given circumstances. That is, the research must be relevant.
- Well-executed: The researcher should also be able to convey the research in an accessible format that is, the research must be easy to make use of.
How to Summarize a Research Paper
How to Summarize a Research Paper. In summarizing a research paper, keep in mind that a research paper has several parts. The parts of the research paper will serve as your outline for creating your summary. It is presumed that you have already read the whole text of the article, otherwise you will barely have any idea about what you want to write. Here are several tips on how to summarize a research paper.
- A research paper may have an abstract which basically tells the reader about what to expect from the article. If the research paper contains an abstract, it can serve as your most basic yet most concise summary of the entire research paper.
- If there is no abstract, go the introduction of the research paper. Identify the purpose and the background of the research. These things will serve as your introduction for your summary. The introductory part of the research paper typically includes the thesis.
- Go to the literature review and list down the main arguments of the reviewed literature in the research paper, whether they be in support of or against the article you are summarizing.
- Identify the methodology used and the reason why the author chose that methodology. This usually refers to the methods, calculations or experiments applied to the variables in the research.
- Write down the data analysis done by the author. This typically includes the method used in the research in getting the needed data from the methodology.
- Briefly list down the results of the data analysis. Results may include the outcome of the experiment, the end-products or the effects observed at the end of the data analysis.
- Provide a short summary of the discussion of the results in the research paper. It basically includes the possible suggestions on how to improve the research or on how to conduct future research based on the given research.
- Reiterate the conclusion made by the author.
A few more tips:
- DO NOT give your opinion about the research paper. Remember, you are writing a summary and NOT a position paper.
- DO NOT give unnecessary remarks that are not a part of the research. Write only what is written in the article and, more importantly, stick to the point.
- BE as brief yet concise as possible.
You may want to know how to summarize an essay, a book or other articles.
What are the Parts of a Research Paper
In writing a research paper, take careful note of its parts. The research paper has at least nine essential parts although, of course, there may be additional parts depending on the discretion of your instructor. The basic principle to consider in writing a research paper is that you should first consider and familiarize yourself with the “works” of others and then try to compare them with your ideas.
1. Title Page
Oftentimes referred to as the cover page, this section is where you indicate the title of your research, your name, institutional information and a few other relevant information prescribed by your instructor.
Introduce to your reader the “problem” by providing a brief background of your research. Include the basic reasons how and why you came-up with the problem, and the probable solutions that you can offer. In general, the introduction summarizes the purpose of the research paper.
3. Literature Review
This section is where you will be providing all the relevant readings from previous works. Provide brief summaries or descriptions of the works of other authors. Make sure that your research materials are from credible sources such as academic books and peer-reviewed journals. Also, make sure that your reading materials are directly relevant to the topic of your research paper. The literature review typically includes the names of the authors, the titles of their works and the year of the publication of these works.
This section is where you will be providing the methods that you will be using in your research. Typical methodologies include laboratory experiments, statistical or mathematical calculations/computations, and comparison of existing literature.
5. Data Analysis
This section is where you will be analyzing the data that you have obtained from the methodological operation that you have chosen. Depending on the type of your research paper, data analysis instruments and operations may vary. Common data analysis methods include but are not limited to SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) which is a form of a qualitative data analysis.
This section is where you will be presenting the actual results of the analysis that you have made based on your chosen methodology.
This is where you will be discussing more of the results of your research, its implications on other fields as well as the possible improvements that can be made in order to further develop the concerns of your research. This is also the section where you need to present the importance of your study and how it will be able to contribute to the field.
Provide the conclusion to your research paper. While it is important to restate your general thesis in this section, it is also important to include a brief restatement of the other parts of the research paper such as the methodology, data analysis and results.
9. Reference Page
This section is where you list down all the academic materials you have used as sources of information in your research paper. Typical reference formats/styles include but are not limited to APA 5th, Harvard, MLA and Chicago/Turabian.
The Basic Outline of a Paper
The following outline shows a basic format for most academic papers. No matter what length the paper needs to be, it should still follow the format of having an introduction, body, and conclusion. Read over what typically goes in each section of the paper.
You will need to brainstorm what you want to include in order to answer your research question before you begin to write your outline.
Sample Preliminary Outline (this is a first step in organizing your thoughts)
Sample Outline (your final product should be modeled after this format)
Your Outline will be uploaded to www.turnitin.com!
The introduction should have some of the following elements, depending on the type of paper:
- Start with an attention grabber: a short story, example, statistic, or historical context that introduces the paper topic
- Give an overview of any issues involved with the subject
- Define of any key terminology need to understand the topic
- Quote or paraphrase sources revealing the controversial nature of the subject (argumentative papers only)
- Highlight background information on the topic needed to understand the direction writemyresearchpapersite.com of the paper
- Write an antithesis paragraph, presenting the primary opposing views (argumentative paper only)
The introduction must end with a THESIS statement (a 1 to 2 sentences in length):
- Tell what the overall paper will focus on
- Briefly outline the main points in the paper
- Clearly present the main points of the paper as listed in the thesis
- Give strong examples, details, and explanations to support each main points
- If an argumentative paper, address any counterarguments and refute those arguments
- If a research paper, use strong evidence from sources—paraphrases, summaries, and quotations that support the main points
- Restate your thesis from the introduction in different words
- Briefly summarize each main point found in the body of the paper (avoid going over 2 sentences for each point)
- Give a statement of the consequences of not embracing the position (argumentative paper only)
- End with a strong clincher statement: an appropriate, meaningful final sentence that ties the whole point of the paper together (may refer back to the attention grabber)
? Decide on the thesis and main points first
? You do not need to start writing your paper with the introduction
? Try writing the thesis and body first; then go back and figure out how to best introduce the body and conclude the paper
? Use transitions between main points and between examples within the main points
? Always keep your thesis in the forefront of your mind while writing; everything in your paper must point back to the thesis