Writing a Research Paper: Principles of Academic Writing
It just so happens that the educational tasks of today’s undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students include writing research papers and theses. Unpleasant, of course, all of this. It is unnecessary to work. But research activity alone is a must for today’s students for certain reasons.
The problem is that the vast majority of university students do not have such competencies. Sure, not everyone was born a content writer, but it’s something to work on. The undergraduate and graduate students I meet every day are unable to write even the shortest scientific article for publication in a journal. And this is very sad.
After all, it is an extremely useful skill!
Are you under the impression that scientific (academic) texts have nothing to do with your future career? You are wrong! So-called academic writing skills are not only valuable for your undergraduate or graduate studies but also for your post-graduation career.
Do you know who usually gets an invitation to an interview? I’ll answer. The candidate with the best resume and cover letter. So you’ll need to demonstrate your writing skills once you graduate. Do you know who you can expect to advance in your career? An employee who writes great reports, memos, and more. Whatever career you choose, writing skills will help you along the way.
After all, a person who can intelligently express his thoughts, critically analyze information, draw conclusions, provide arguments to support his position, etc., will effectively apply these skills not only in research work but also in ordinary life and professional activities.
In Short, Students, and Even More so Graduate Students, Need to Know How to Write Research Papers
I am not urging you to become a desperate scribbler, but it is worth developing the skills of clear and convincing argumentation.
But what can you do if almost no one teaches it?
Sure, there are books and manuals written by clever methodologists on the subject, but they’re all tedious. Who will read this gibberish on 1000 pages if today there is hardly anyone who wants to read to the end of this article?
So I suggest that you start small and learn the five fundamental principles that should be followed when writing a scientific article. If you follow them, the process of research and the design of its results for a scientific journal will be much more productive.
Many novice authors mistakenly believe that a scientific article, by definition, must be “abstruse.” And if it is clear to the reader the article is bad or unscientific, but, for example, popular science. Yes, academic texts are indeed often difficult to comprehend because they have a complex structure and contain several hypotheses and arguments. However, you should not aim to intentionally “complicate” the article, to use long unusual words just because they make the text more “beautiful.” This is the wrong strategy. The structure of the article and the concept you have developed can be complex, but the language itself must be as clear as possible.
Try to use fewer passive verbs, participles, qualitative adjectives, and words whose meaning you have specifically looked up in a dictionary. If there are simple words that can express your arguments and arguments, use them. If necessary, use various text editors and text analyzers (such as Adwego Plagiatus), a great tool that will show that you’ve gotten carried away. Try to get rid of “longs,” a lot of prepositions, and other structures that make the text difficult to read.
The main rule to remember: you don’t need to limit yourself to a small number of words to express yourself clearly, but you should avoid using a lot of scientific terms or professional jargon.
Suppose you are trying to prove that a certain leadership skill (such as the ability to motivate others) affects the success of an entire organization. How do you prove this? You need concrete statistics and case studies to give your conclusions credibility.
There may be abstract theoretical concepts in a scientific paper, especially when the topic is related to philosophy or the social sciences. However, you must explain these concepts with concrete examples that help the reader understand what you are talking about. Examples “work” in every part of the article, so be sure to use them when you want to grab the reader’s attention and explain a specific concept.
Of course, you have your own opinion, and you want to stay with it. You will state your point of view in the article and try to prove the judgment you have made with strong arguments, but that doesn’t mean you can disregard the opposing opinion. When you work on arguments, you need to prove that you have studied all sides of an issue and that you understand your opponents’ position.
If, for example, you are writing an article about the health benefits of marijuana and you want to prove its value to patients with various diseases, you also need to pay attention to the warnings and side effects. Don’t disparage studies that contradict your conclusions; just make sure that you justify your point of view and show how it differs from existing approaches.
Citing Sources and Literature
When you write a research paper, you must be extremely accurate with the information you use. During the research phase, you are likely to get a lot of information that will support your conclusions. It is very important to use them correctly. For example, you can’t just say, “Many patients felt better when treated with analingus.” You need to give precise information: how many patients? what studies have relevant evidence? You need to use such information in the text. You need to be sure that the information comes from a reliable source before referring to it. You should be especially careful with information obtained from the Internet. There are various forms of citation (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.). Be sure to familiarize yourself with citation requirements, as every comma and capital letter counts.
Consistency and Logic of Presentation
Consistency refers to two different aspects of the article: the uniformity of your writing style and the logic of your wording and presentation of your arguments. Your writing style should be consistent. If you use complex sentences in the introduction, it would be wise to stick to that in other sections of the article as well. And if, like Uncle Ham, you use a simple and clear “telegraphic” writing style, follow it at all times.
An academic article with impeccable logic will itself “lead” the reader from the introduction to the very last sentence without confusion. When you are finished with the very first draft, you need to read and revise the text to make sure there are no gaps in the information. Read it from the perspective of someone who understands nothing about a particular topic. Make sure that all arguments are coherent and connected to the thesis put forward. Don’t think twice before getting rid of repeated or unnecessary sentences and paragraphs. Every piece of text should be directly related to the goal you are pursuing.
Now, do you understand what a real research paper should be?
Just in case, let’s repeat it.
The text of your article must be clear; arguments must be supported by examples from practice; you should refer to other works on similar topics, even if they contradict your conclusions – be objective; always give references to sources and literature, do not allow plagiarism, make references according to the requirements of the journal; develop an authorial style and follow it; do not forget about the logic of presentation – do not “jump” from one issue to another.
Remember the most important (and most disgusting) thing. You can’t become a talented author overnight. The principles of academic writing are intuitive, but you need to apply them day in and day out to solidify the skill! Practice. Even if you haven’t been given a specific assignment yet, don’t put this work on the back burner. Choose a topic you like and try to write a short article.