Executive Education

5 Common Mistakes Students Do While Writing A Research Paper 

Research is vital to good education. The act of researching is educational and helps shape multiple skills such as critical reasoning and data gathering. All of these skills end up helping a great deal in university and beyond. Students are encouraged from the very beginning of their university life to dedicate some time of their lives to research. You cannot become an able researcher in a short period, but continuity in efforts can certainly make things easier in the future.
That being said, students often end up researching wrong, and this gets reflected in the poor quality of research papers they write. Even Ph.D. candidates are prone to a number of common mistakes pertaining to paper-writing. If you are a student and are reading this, stay with me. I know that research is integral to your education, and research papers are much-needed brownie points in your resume. Provided that you are serious about your future you should read what I have written down for you below. There are a number of mistakes that are commonly made by students while writing research papers and I will help you identify those.

So, watch out for the ones mentioned below:

  1. Hopping on a topic without a literature review
    This is something even I used to do back in my younger days at university. I would Google keywords and choose the topic that sounded easier to me. Back in those days, I wasn’t really focused 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 a topic you are totally not comfortable with. A literature review is, therefore, very necessary. It is a prerequisite to deciding a topic to research on. If you don’t know what a literature review is, it is essentially a review of available literature and using the information gathered to frame your topic.
  2. Not figuring out the Statement of Problem
    A Statement of Problem is something you cannot start your research with. You have researched considerably and have decided on a topic. But, you may be asked why you chose the topic in the first place. There is literature available, alright but the main question is whether your research will contribute to solution-finding. In simpler terms, upon having researched, have you found an area in the subject where a problem persists and you intend to offer a plausible solution to the same? Your research must have an aim and a statement of problem offers you exactly that. There is a problem that needs to be addressed, and your research will be a step forward.
  3. Blindly choosing reference material
    Any research paper you read will have a plethora of reference material. If you happen to read a good research paper, you will notice how selective the author is regarding the references he chooses. It is so because there are too many unauthentic, poorly written, copy-pasted papers available, especially online, and referral to any of these papers impacts the quality of your paper. Always go for reference material that is authentic: for example, pick articles from refereed, peer-reviewed, and indexed journals; avoid referring to very old papers for support, etc. Do not think that randomly inputting keywords on the search engine and taking references from whatever material you get will help you make a good paper.
  4. Tempted to plagiarize
    Plagiarism is a menace in the academic world. The act of copying research and failing to give acknowledgment to the sources is unacceptable. Regulators of higher education across the globe reprimand plagiarism, and detection of any such case can result in serious consequences which include losing your job. Students are often tempted to plagiarize but they should note that educational institutions have started implementing anti-plagiarism check software and related mechanism. Consider writing your own research. Even if you are not offering anything novel, ensure that you have given due credit to the sources that helped you write your paper.
  5. Lacking patience
    Yes, you need to accept the fact that research papers are time-consuming. Every head of your research paper should take a good number of days. Simply reading literature and noting down whatever there is without establishing, inter alia, causal-effect relationship in your research just makes the entire endeavor pointless. You must keep patience in order to produce quality research.
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Anna Papadopoulos
Anna Papadopoulos is a senior money, wealth, and asset management reporter at CEOWORLD magazine, covering consumer issues, investing and financial communities + author of the CEOWORLD magazine newsletter, writing about money with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. You can follow CEOWORLD magazine on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or connect on LinkedIn for musings on money, wealth, asset management, millionaires, and billionaires. Email her at info@ceoworld.biz.