Following are some do's and don'ts that one should follow while writing a research paper:
- Use language such that the ideas are presented clearly without any ambiguity. Do not write stories.
- Present your ideas and methods used in the research. Use to the point observations to justify your research.
- Make sure the data, figures, formula etc you are using is correct. Check the sources from where you might have taken the data.
- Try to write in a sequence so that the readers can understand the flow of the research carried out.
- Ensure you have carried out your tests with sufficient number of test cases.
- Maintain all the sources and carefully, mention all of them. Cite the references properly.
- Use plain and simple style of writing. Do not use “flowery” language. Readers will prefer simple and understandable language rather than high vocabulary words.
- Check for nay spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors.
- Do not make use of words like “in my opinion” or “I believe” or “I think”. Instead, use words like, “It is recommended”.
- Don’t use first person pronouns ("I", "we", "me", "us", "my", and "our").
- Do not start sentences with “Well,…just don’t”
- Do not make up stories and add unnecessary details just to increase the length of the paper or to justify any point.
- Do not make general statements. Present you findings without giving too many overview from different papers and sources.
- Do not exceed the mentioned word limit. Follow the guidelines specified.
- Do not cite Wikipedia as a reference.
- Do not forget to mention the references of the source for supporting material.
Now, let's look into some of the important tips for writing a effective research paper...
Tips for Writing a Good Research Paper
Before starting to write a research paper, keep a clear mind for the topic that you have chosen. Sometimes, you might get results that may not be in conformity with the result you are expecting. Don’t get disheartened. Because one needs utmost sincerity while writing a research paper.
Following are the steps generally involved in writing a research paper:
- Step 1: Carefully choose the topic after a detailed study
- Step 2: Select reliable and relevant sources of data
- Step 3: Define your Thesis statement
- Step 4: Create an outline of your study
- Step 5: After completing the first draft version of the paper, read it thoroughly. Re-write wherever required
- Step 6: Proofread your paper, make sure all the relevant references of data have been added
Step 1: Carefully choose the topic after a detailed study
Choose a topic that will keep you motivated and has relevance in context to the field, for which you are planning to write. Try writing about something for which you will remain dedicated all along during the different phases of research. Do not select a vague topic but keep it concise and to the point.
Step 2: Select relevant and reliable sources of data
The first place where people usually find information now is the Internet. But please be careful of the websites you visit. Do check their authenticity. Try visiting the sites that are famous and well-known. This will reduce the chances of information being manipulated.
There is a lot of print material available where you can lay your hands on like, government publications, reports, periodicals, newspapers, university research reports.
Read the content thoroughly and scan which one will be useful for the research. Keep a note of the various sources from where you are collecting information. We will have to add the references as part of the research paper.
Step 3: Define your Thesis statement
A thesis idea acts as a theme on which the paper is based. The whole concept revolves around the concept of the thesis. It should generally be stated in the Introduction of the paper. Before writing the final thesis statement, you should collect, organize, analyze the data and information and draw proper inferences. Do not make too generic and confusing statements. Try keeping it original, that is, not copying it from other places. Thesis should cover the following points:
- Explain what will be expected from the paper
- Present your opinion, which will later be validated through experiments
Step 4: Create an outline of your study.
A research paper generally, has the following structure:
- Title Page (Includes the title of the paper, name of the author, name of university or the current work organization and the date of publication)
- Abstract (Brief summary of the paper – usually up to 250 words)
- Introduction (Brief information which serves as the background on the topic; something which acts as an opening to the main content)
- Manuscript Body (Usually, broken into several sections like, Methods, Experiments Carried out, Results, Outcome, Conclusion)
- Tables, figures and appendix (Optional)
Following such an outline helps in putting the ideas into writing. Some format might change here and there, but the essence remains the same. This will help in understanding what has already been done and what is left to be done.
Step 5: After completing the first draft version of the paper, read it thoroughly. Re-write wherever required
Go through the paper multiple times to make sure that there are no mistakes. Ensure that the correct figures have been quoted. Following are few checkpoints which can be cross checked:
- Is the thesis statement correct and holds valid?
- Has the correct outline been followed?
- Are results presented in the proper sequence?
- Is the thesis proved with valid inputs?
- Have all the references been quoted?
Step 6: Proofread your paper, make sure all the relevant references of data have been included
Give a final reading to the paper ensuring that all the important information, experiments, results and conclusion has been included. Check for any grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors. Make sure that all the sources have been captured. And finally try to submit your paper before the deadline so that there is no last minute rush.
In this article, discussed the dos and don'ts of writing research papers. We have also highlighted essential tips for writing a good scientific research paper.