5 common mistakes students make when writing a research paper
Research is essential for a good education. The act of researching is educational and helps shape several skills such as critical thinking and data collection. All these skills end up helping a lot in university and beyond. Students are encouraged from the outset to devote part of their lives to research. One cannot become a capable researcher in a short period of time, but continuity in effort can certainly make things easier in the future.
However, students often do their research incorrectly, which is reflected in the poor quality of the research papers they produce. Even Ph.D. Candidates are prone to a number of common mistakes related to paper writing. If you are a student reading this, stay with me. I know that research is an essential part of your education and research work is a much-needed asset on your CV. Assuming you are serious about your future, you should read what I have written for you below. There are a number of common mistakes students make when writing research papers, and I’m going to help you identify them.
So pay attention to the below:
- Jump to a topic without literature research
Even I did that when I was younger at university. I would choose Google keywords and the topic that sounds easier to me. Back then, I wasn’t really concentrating on the contribution part. All I wanted was a topic with lots of literature online and in the library. Little did I know that this is a wrong method and you might end up with an issue that you are not comfortable with at all. A literature search is therefore very necessary. It is a prerequisite for deciding on a research topic. If you don’t know what a literature review is, it is essentially a review of the available literature and using the information gathered to formulate your topic.
- Not finding out the problem
A problem statement is something you can’t start your research with. You have researched intensively and decided on a topic. However, you may be asked why you chose the topic in the first place. There is literature, okay, but the main question is whether your research contributes to finding a solution. In simpler terms, after doing your research, have you found an area in the topic where a problem persists and do you intend to offer a plausible solution to it? Your research must have a purpose and a problem provides you with just that. There is a problem that needs to be addressed and your research will take a step forward.
- Blindly selecting reference material
Any research paper you read contains a wealth of reference material. If you happen to read a good research paper, you’ll notice how picky the author is in choosing references. This is because there are too many inauthentic, poorly written, copied papers available, especially online, and referencing any of these papers will degrade the quality of your paper. Always opt for authentic reference material: for example, choose articles from peer-reviewed and indexed journals; Avoid referencing very old articles for support etc. Don’t think that typing random keywords into the search engine and using references from whatever you get will help you find a good article to create.
- Tries to plagiarize
Plagiarism is a threat in academia. Copying research results and failing to cite sources is unacceptable. Higher education regulators around the world reprimand plagiarism, and uncovering such a case can have serious consequences, including losing your job. Students are often tempted to plagiarize, but they should note that educational institutions have started to implement anti-plagiarism checking software and related mechanisms. Consider writing your own research. Even if you’re not offering anything new, make sure you’ve given credit to the sources that helped you write your work.
- patience is lacking
Yes, you have to accept that research is time consuming. Each head of your research paper should take a good number of days to complete. Simply reading literature and noting what is available without establishing causal-effect relationships in your research, among other things, only makes the whole undertaking pointless. You must be patient to produce quality research.
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