Getting Acquainted with the Research Paper: Dos and Don’ts

Although educationists are aware that not all jobs require research, they also know there is much a student can learn by following the research process. This is why a research paper is often required in both high school and college.

But because the research is not done very often, it is something students are not comfortable with, making it a project they dread.  So read on to learn tips on what to do and not to do in your paper.

What to do and not to do in the main sections of the paper

Abstract

– DO summarize the key points of the paper for easy reading.

– DO keep the language easy to read.

– Do NOT include acronyms or big terms that need defining as they won’t fit here.

– Do NOT go beyond 500 words as the abstract should be short.

Introduction

– DO include interesting facts about the context to hook your reader.

– DO mention who can benefit from your research.

– DO present a clear thesis statement.

– Do NOT bore the reader with too many background details.

– Do NOT forget to properly cite references, especially if you quote someone.

Methodology

– DO include all the steps taken, including the data collection method and the theoretical framework used.

– DO explain why certain variables were included while others were not.

– Do NOT mention any tables or figures yet as these belong in the analysis and discussion.

– Do NOT insert any interpretations or analyses yet.

Analysis and Discussion

– DO cite and discuss the findings in connection to the theories and studies you found in your literature review.

– DO label your tables and figures so that your reader does not get confused.

– DO include findings that contradict your expected results.  The objective of the research is to discover the “truth,” not prove your point.

– Do NOT stray from the order of your research paper problems so that the paper is organized and easy to follow.

– Do NOT present all tables and survey results as they take up too much space. Instead, reference the appendix if the table or chart is not that important.

Conclusion

– DO summarize the important discoveries so that the reader can easily recall what happened.

– DO address whether your thesis statement was supported or not.

– DO give a call for action based on your results.

– Do NOT repeat all the facts and figures (although you can briefly mention a key figure if it helps).

– Do NOT rush the creation of your conclusion.  Take time to make it right.

References and Appendix

– DO cite all references you consulted.

– DO include the research instruments (surveys, questionnaires, tests) you used in your research as well as the raw data (as researchers may want to see them).

Summary

Though the research paper can be challenging to create, it doesn’t have to be that difficult.  Consider the dos and don’ts above to minimize mistakes so that you can have an excellent research paper.