Academic Research Guide

Table of Contents

Academic Research Guide

Every discipline has its own conventions, but there are some rules that are applicable in case of academic writing. The following tips are some of the most important points to remember when approaching any college-level writing project.

Remember that writing is a process

  • Pre-writing
  • Planning
  • Drafting
  • Revising
  • Editing
  • Proofreading

Know your audience and purpose before you begin writing

  • Are you writing for your classmates? Experts in the field? Your professor? Depending upon your audience, you will need to adjust how you include terminology, explanations, examples, and definitions.
  • Are you writing to inform? To persuade? To argue? To reflect? Be sure you are clear about your purpose before writing; this will make the writing process more efficient and help ensure you fulfill all of the assignment’s requirements.

Include a clear, concise thesis

  • Your thesis should: (1) state the topic to be discussed, (2) convey the essay’s purpose, (3) indicate your perspective on the topic, (4) use specific language, (5) provide a “roadmap” for the rest of the paper (indicate supporting points and the order in which they’ll be addressed). A thesis is not “In this paper I will discuss . . . .” The thesis should be a direct statement of your perspective on the topic
  • If you struggle with writing thesis statements, try answering the question: “What is the most important thing I want my reader to know after he/she reads my paper?” Or, fill in the blank: “What it all boils down to is ______________.”

Use an appropriate academic tone

  • Don’t use second person. That means don’t use the following words: you, your, yourself, yourselves, and don’t address the reader directly as if you are writing a letter or having a conversation.
  • Remember that writing is more formal than conversation: avoid slang, jargon, and conversational terms.

Properly cite all sources

  • Be sure you understand the conventions of APA, MLA, or the citation style your instructor requires.
  • If you use a source’s exact words, set them off with quotation marks and cite the source(s).
  • If you borrow an idea from a source—even if you say it in your own words—cite the source(s) that provided the information.

Use transitions to connect ideas

  • Each time you begin writing about a new idea, include a phrase or sentence that shows how the new idea relates to the one you just finished discussing.
  • Include a sentence at the end of one paragraph or the beginning of the next that explains how the ideas in one paragraph relate to the ideas in the next paragraph.

Include a topic sentence for each paragraph

  • The first sentence of each paragraph should indicate what the rest of the paragraph is about. It is not always the FIRST sentence. Each paragraph should have a topic sentence, which is a sentence indicating the main idea of the paragraph. The other sentences in the paragraph should back up that idea. DO not cram your paragraphs full of competing main ideas.
  • Think of the topic sentence as an explanation of the paragraph’s main idea.

Avoid fragments and run-ons

  • The easiest way to make sure you are using correct, complete sentences is to be certain you have one complete idea per sentence.
  • Make sure each statement in your paper has a subject (the who or what doing the action), and a verb (the action).
  • Review punctuation rules so you know the proper uses of commas, semicolons, colons, periods, etc.

Read your work out loud

  • Reading your work out loud is one of the best ways to catch mistakes, fix awkward sentences, and test whether what you have written makes sense

The role of research in an academic institution is significant for its development and sustainability and it is imperative to have knowledge-driven growth based on innovation. The quest for knowledge is the basic principle behind research. The quality of research work directly translates to the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom, thereby benefiting the students, the society and the country. Research must always be of high quality in order to produce knowledge that is applicable outside of the research setting. Furthermore, the results of the study may have implications for policy and future project implementation.The main purpose of research is to inform action, to prove a theory, and contribute to developing knowledge in a field or study. There are many benefits of research which are discussed below: -

  • Research is a tool for facilitating learning and building knowledge.
  • Research is a means to understand various issues and increase public awareness.
  • Research is a means to find, seize, and gauge opportunities.
  • Research is an aid to business success.
  • Research is a seed to Love Reading, Writing, Analyzing, and Sharing Valuable Information.
  • Research is a way to prove lies and to support truths.
  • Research is a nourishment and exercise for the mind.

Different types of Sources to dig out information

The source is the text or other work that provides the information that is being used (whereas the actual mention of the source that is being used is called a reference). In order to use sources efficiently and in a correct manner, writers must be able to identify the nature of each source and the reason for using it.Sources can be divided into three types, depending on their proximity to the subject of study; Primary source, secondary source, and tertiary source.

  • Primary Sources- Primary Source is a document or result that is being reported first hand. In other words, primary sources are original sources, not interpretations made by someone else. Interviews, diaries, works of fiction, official document, numeric data, and objects such as legal texts and census data are all regarded as primary sources.
  • Secondary Sources- Secondary sources value, discuss or comment on the primary source, or on sources analogous to the primary source that is being analyzed. Biographies, research articles, and monographs are some examples of secondary sources.
  • Tertiary Sources- A tertiary source is a source that summarises or compiles facts and knowledge produced by someone else. Tertiary sources are often some kind of assemblage of primary and secondary sources. They are convenient for quick access to summarised facts, but not all sources that belong to this category are considered suitable for scholarly writing. Textbooks, study guides, journals, websites, internets, and encyclopedia are some of the examples of tertiary sources.

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