While a thesis starts with a Hypothesis and ends by either validating or repudiating it, a Research Paper may either propose a Hypothesis or examine various ones as possible areas for study.
How to write a Research Paper: Begin with the collection of existing knowledge on the topic. Read these carefully and arrive at tentative ideas for your Paper Look for gaps in information or weakness in argument. Read further or re-read what is already read.
At this stage it would be helpful to access information from the Internet and check books in specialized libraries. The National Library, the Library of National Parliament (Congress in the U.S.) or of major technical Associations, Trade bodies etc. can help. Prepare your first draft.
Document all the sources of information to be relied upon. List them in an alphabetical order, and collect them in an annexure. Now give a second look at your draft. Let your senior colleague or Mentor examine it for cohesion and originality of thought. Revise, if need be.
Now, hand it over to a Publisher’s Editor to proof read for grammatical errors, bad grammar, syntax etc. It is time now for the final version to be made.
Referencing and Citations in Research Papers
A research paper is a document of substance in which a significant research is captured. The purpose of research paper writing is to highlight the efforts of a researcher. The researcher might have contributed to some academic field by doing a valuable research. So, this research is brought to light by writing an important paper termed as research paper.
Few sections of research paper
There are few sections in a research paper that makes it easy to read. Firstly, there is an introduction section that describes the topic of research. Secondly, a method section is given which tells us about the research methodology used in the given research. Thirdly, there is a section for data analysis for the research data. Finally, a discussion section is given which concludes the research paper.
An important aspect of writing a Research Paper is the references and citations to be given in support of one’s theme of the Paper. These elements are very critical in bestowing credibility to the Paper.
The citations used in the introduction or Review of Literature, shows how seriously you have approached the subject matter, the extent of reading you have done to understand the issues involved, and what areas deserve a new study.
How are we to provide the citations? There used to be a lot of confusion and unnecessary disputes on this issue. In general it is an agreed practice now that the writer will indicate or at an appropriate page, the reference convention adopted in the work.
The most common practice followed is to mention the AUTHOR (by Surname), Title of the work, Name of Publisher and edition, .if there are more than one, and the year of publication. If the work cited is a collection of articles by different authors, mention the Editor(s), or the first two authors and say it all.
Some real complications arise in citing information downloaded from the internet. Here, mention not only the source Website, but also the date when downloaded. This is because many web sites may wind up, rename or even disappear after some time.
The rest of the details, as for printed matter, will need to be given. When we cite an article that appeared in a particular issue of a regularly published Journal, the Name of the Journal, its Book Volume Number, Issue number and pages in which the quoted text appears, should follow the name of the author(s).
Even though a full-fledged Annexure of references made is given with the article, it is a normal courtesy to give a footnote on the relevant page itself to avoid inconvenience to the reader.
Plagiarism and Research Papers
A Research Paper is a work of intellectual nature by a scholar. It is therefore expected that the author would honestly acknowledge all the ideas and documents she/he is relying on for the presentation of the principal theme of the Paper, which have been borrowed from the works of others.
Presenting others’ ideas or words as one’s is called plagiarism. Hence it is very important that a person writing a Research Paper should check the draft of the paper with a well-read colleague, senior or Mentor. These days, we can take advantage of certain Software available in the market.
Dupe Cop, Copy Scape etc. are some examples of this kind of Software. Here, we need to be careful. These machines are as blind as the people who use them.
There is a statistical chance that the words used by some author in the past in connection with the subject matter discussed in our paper may exactly tally with a sentence or two written by us. There is no need to panic. This can happen due to limited vocabulary available to express the exact idea.
It may even happen that our own previous writing on the subject may be cited by the software as pre-existing work and highlighted as duplication. In either case, the problem can be solved by citing the earlier work and giving due credit to the first author. While writing a research paper there is also the easier option of rephrasing the sentences, clearly indicating the source of the first work.