Define Your Methodology
If you are in higher education, then your research paper will have to start with the usual introduction, title page and abstract. However, after your introduction and your hypothesis or thesis statement, you will have to define your research methodology. This is where you explain how you did your research and you justify why you did your research. Your job is to search through a series of methodologies until you find one that suits your cause. In most cases, it means finding a research methodology where reading other academic texts is a suitable form of research.
Make Your Hypothesis Or Thesis
At the start of your research paper, probably in the introduction, you are going to have to explain what your research paper is all about. You have to give the reader a clue as to what you are researching or what you hope to prove. In a way, you are going to have to sell your research paper to the reader without telling any lies. If you are not 100% sure what your research will turn up, then it may be a good idea to say so. You may also explain that you are testing something that you already know to be untrue because testing currently accepted knowledge is all part of the scientific process.
Your Research Process
If you are taking one of the hard science qualifications, then your research may involve practical work. Luckily, your professor will have spent many hours explaining how to conduct your practical work and how to conduct fair tests. It is up to you to conduct your tests in that manner and then make correct notes. Quick or rushed recording may throw your entire research into question.
If your research doesn’t include a practical side, then you will mostly have to pull information from academic sources. It is very important that you make it clear where each piece of information came from.
- Show where each idea came from
- Show where each point came from
- Back up each idea
- Back up each point
- Only use academically credible sources
Making Your Points And Making Other Points
If you enter a piece of information into your research paper that you got from another source, then you need to cite that source so that people may check your work. However, if you are entering your own idea or your own opinion, then you may still need to find sources. You may need to find sources that back up your idea or your opinion.
When you write an essay, there may be many opportunities to enter your own ideas, thoughts and points without having to find sources to back you up. However, if you want to score well with your research paper, it is often better to enter your own thought or idea and then find other sources that reinforce your idea. You may also like to find other writers and academic works that present the same idea as you. If your idea is truly unique and you cannot find it elsewhere, then you still need to prove to the reader that it is a good idea by finding statements and sources that reinforce your idea.
Make Sure You Know What You Are Referencing
A common trick is to add references into your research paper without fully reading the referenced material. However, some professors will look over your bibliography and check to see if the work you reference is actually related to what you are writing about. In addition, many professors know which sources you are most likely to use and many have already read the source material that you are referencing, which means they can spot if you arbitrarily added a reference for the sake of adding one.
Conclusion - Do More Sources Mean More Marks?
In the real world, it doesn’t matter how many sources you use just so long as the sources are academically credible. However, if you are a student living in the real world, then you have to accommodate human error and laziness. Don’t forget that your professor who marks your work, or the teacher’s assistant who marks your work, is human. If that human sees three or more sources referenced on each page, then that person may believe that you put a lot of effort into the research paper and mark your paper a little higher. If that same person sees two sources on all of your paper, then he or she may think you did very little research and mark your paper lower.
Written by Frank Dehoyos
Publish Date: Jul 13, 2017