The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

There are lies, damned lies, and statistics. —Mark Twain

What this handout is about

The purpose of this handout is to help you use statistics to make your argument as effectively as possible.

Introduction

Numbers are power. Apparently freed of all the squishiness and ambiguity of words, numbers and statistics are powerful pieces of evidence that can effectively strengthen any argument. But statistics are not a panacea. As simple and straightforward as these little numbers promise to be, statistics, if not used carefully, can create more problems than they solve.

Many writers lack a firm grasp of the statistics they are using. The average reader does not know how to properly evaluate and interpret the statistics they read. The main reason behind the poor use of statistics is a lack of understanding about what statistics can and cannot do. Many people think that statistics can speak for themselves. But numbers are as ambiguous as words and need just as much explanation.

In many ways, this problem is quite similar to that experienced with direct quotes. Too often, quotes are expected to do all the work and are treated as part of the argument, rather than a piece of evidence requiring interpretation (see our handout on how to quote .) But if you leave the interpretation up to the reader, who knows what sort of off-the-wall interpretations may result? The only way to avoid this danger is to supply the interpretation yourself.

But before we start writing statistics, let’s actually read a few.

Reading statistics

As stated before, numbers are powerful. This is one of the reasons why statistics can be such persuasive pieces of evidence. However, this same power can also make numbers and statistics intimidating. That is, we too often accept them as gospel, without ever questioning their veracity or appropriateness. While this may seem like a positive trait when you plug them into your paper and pray for your reader to submit to their power, remember that before we are writers of statistics, we are readers. And to be effective readers means asking the hard questions. Below you will find a useful set of hard questions to ask of the numbers you find.

1. Does your evidence come from reliable sources?

This is an important question not only with statistics, but with any evidence you use in your papers. As we will see in this handout, there are many ways statistics can be played with and misrepresented in order to produce a desired outcome. Therefore, you want to take your statistics from reliable sources (for more information on finding reliable sources, please see our handout on evaluating print sources ). This is not to say that reliable sources are infallible, but only that they are probably less likely to use deceptive practices. With a credible source, you may not need to worry as much about the questions that follow. Still, remember that reading statistics is a bit like being in the middle of a war: trust no one; suspect everyone.

2. What is the data’s background?

Data and statistics do not just fall from heaven fully formed. They are always the product of research. Therefore, to understand the statistics, you should also know where they come from. For example, if the statistics come from a survey or poll, some questions to ask include:

  • Who asked the questions in the survey/poll?
  • What, exactly, were the questions?
  • Who interpreted the data?
  • What issue prompted the survey/poll?
  • What (policy/procedure) potentially hinges on the results of the poll?
  • Who stands to gain from particular interpretations of the data?

All these questions help you orient yourself toward possible biases or weaknesses in the data you are reading. The goal of this exercise is not to find “pure, objective” data but to make any biases explicit, in order to more accurately interpret the evidence.

3. Are all data reported?

In most cases, the answer to this question is easy: no, they aren’t. Therefore, a better way to think about this issue is to ask whether all data have been presented in context. But it is much more complicated when you consider the bigger issue, which is whether the text or source presents enough evidence for you to draw your own conclusion. A reliable source should not exclude data that contradicts or weakens the information presented.

An example can be found on the evening news. If you think about ice storms, which make life so difficult in the winter, you will certainly remember the newscasters warning people to stay off the roads because they are so treacherous. To verify this point, they tell you that the Highway Patrol has already reported 25 accidents during the day. Their intention is to scare you into staying home with this number. While this number sounds high, some studies have found that the number of accidents actually goes down on days with severe weather. Why is that? One possible explanation is that with fewer people on the road, even with the dangerous conditions, the number of accidents will be less than on an “average” day. The critical lesson here is that even when the general interpretation is “accurate,” the data may not actually be evidence for the particular interpretation. This means you have no way to verify if the interpretation is in fact correct.

There is generally a comparison implied in the use of statistics. How can you make a valid comparison without having all the facts? Good question. You may have to look to another source or sources to find all the data you need.

4. Have the data been interpreted correctly?

If the author gives you their statistics, it is always wise to interpret them yourself. That is, while it is useful to read and understand the author’s interpretation, it is merely that—an interpretation. It is not the final word on the matter. Furthermore, sometimes authors (including you, so be careful) can use perfectly good statistics and come up with perfectly bad interpretations. Here are two common mistakes to watch out for:

  • Confusing correlation with causation. Just because two things vary together does not mean that one of them is causing the other. It could be nothing more than a coincidence, or both could be caused by a third factor. Such a relationship is called spurious.The classic example is a study that found that the more firefighters sent to put out a fire, the more damage the fire did. Yikes! I thought firefighters were supposed to make things better, not worse! But before we start shutting down fire stations, it might be useful to entertain alternative explanations. This seemingly contradictory finding can be easily explained by pointing to a third factor that causes both: the size of the fire. The lesson here? Correlation does not equal causation. So it is important not only to think about showing that two variables co-vary, but also about the causal mechanism.
  • Ignoring the margin of error. When survey results are reported, they frequently include a margin of error. You might see this written as “a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.” What does this mean? The simple story is that surveys are normally generated from samples of a larger population, and thus they are never exact. There is always a confidence interval within which the general population is expected to fall. Thus, if I say that the number of UNC students who find it difficult to use statistics in their writing is 60%, plus or minus 4%, that means, assuming the normal confidence interval of 95%, that with 95% certainty we can say that the actual number is between 56% and 64%.

Why does this matter? Because if after introducing this handout to the students of UNC, a new poll finds that only 56%, plus or minus 3%, are having difficulty with statistics, I could go to the Writing Center director and ask for a raise, since I have made a significant contribution to the writing skills of the students on campus. However, she would no doubt point out that a) this may be a spurious relationship (see above) and b) the actual change is not significant because it falls within the margin of error for the original results. The lesson here? Margins of error matter, so you cannot just compare simple percentages.

Finally, you should keep in mind that the source you are actually looking at may not be the original source of your data. That is, if you find an essay that quotes a number of statistics in support of its argument, often the author of the essay is using someone else’s data. Thus, you need to consider not only your source, but the author’s sources as well.

Writing statistics

As you write with statistics, remember your own experience as a reader of statistics. Don’t forget how frustrated you were when you came across unclear statistics and how thankful you were to read well-presented ones. It is a sign of respect to your reader to be as clear and straightforward as you can be with your numbers. Nobody likes to be played for a fool. Thus, even if you think that changing the numbers just a little bit will help your argument, do not give in to the temptation.

As you begin writing, keep the following in mind. First, your reader will want to know the answers to the same questions that we discussed above. Second, you want to present your statistics in a clear, unambiguous manner. Below you will find a list of some common pitfalls in the world of statistics, along with suggestions for avoiding them.

1. The mistake of the “average” writer

Nobody wants to be average. Moreover, nobody wants to just see the word “average” in a piece of writing. Why? Because nobody knows exactly what it means. There are not one, not two, but three different definitions of “average” in statistics, and when you use the word, your reader has only a 33.3% chance of guessing correctly which one you mean.

For the following definitions, please refer to this set of numbers: 5, 5, 5, 8, 12, 14, 21, 33, 38

  • Mean (arithmetic mean) This may be the most average definition of average (whatever that means). This is the weighted average—a total of all numbers included divided by the quantity of numbers represented. Thus the mean of the above set of numbers is 5+5+5+8+12+14+21+33+38, all divided by 9, which equals 15.644444444444 (Wow! That is a lot of numbers after the decimal—what do we do about that? Precision is a good thing, but too much of it is over the top; it does not necessarily make your argument any stronger. Consider the reasonable amount of precision based on your input and round accordingly. In this case, 15.6 should do the trick.)
  • Median Depending on whether you have an odd or even set of numbers, the median is either a) the number midway through an odd set of numbers or b) a value halfway between the two middle numbers in an even set. For the above set (an odd set of 9 numbers), the median is 12. (5, 5, 5, 8 < 12 < 14, 21, 33, 38)
  • Mode The mode is the number or value that occurs most frequently in a series. If, by some cruel twist of fate, two or more values occur with the same frequency, then you take the mean of the values. For our set, the mode would be 5, since it occurs 3 times, whereas all other numbers occur only once.

As you can see, the numbers can vary considerably, as can their significance. Therefore, the writer should always inform the reader which average they are using. Otherwise, confusion will inevitably ensue.

2. Match your facts with your questions

Be sure that your statistics actually apply to the point/argument you are making. If we return to our discussion of averages, depending on the question you are interesting in answering, you should use the proper statistics.

Perhaps an example would help illustrate this point. Your professor hands back the midterm. The grades are distributed as follows:

Grade # Received
100 4
98 5
95 2
63 4
58 6

The professor felt that the test must have been too easy, because the average (median) grade was a 95.

When a colleague asked her about how the midterm grades came out, she answered, knowing that her classes were gaining a reputation for being “too easy,” that the average (mean) grade was an 80.

When your parents ask you how you can justify doing so poorly on the midterm, you answer, “Don’t worry about my 63. It is not as bad as it sounds. The average (mode) grade was a 58.”

I will leave it up to you to decide whether these choices are appropriate. Selecting the appropriate facts or statistics will help your argument immensely. Not only will they actually support your point, but they will not undermine the legitimacy of your position. Think about how your parents will react when they learn from the professor that the average (median) grade was 95! The best way to maintain precision is to specify which of the three forms of “average” you are using.

3. Show the entire picture

Sometimes, you may misrepresent your evidence by accident and misunderstanding. Other times, however, misrepresentation may be slightly less innocent. This can be seen most readily in visual aids. Do not shape and “massage” the representation so that it “best supports” your argument. This can be achieved by presenting charts/graphs in numerous different ways. Either the range can be shortened (to cut out data points which do not fit, e.g., starting a time series too late or ending it too soon), or the scale can be manipulated so that small changes look big and vice versa. Furthermore, do not fiddle with the proportions, either vertically or horizontally. The fact that USA Today seems to get away with these techniques does not make them OK for an academic argument.

Charts A, B, and C all use the same data points, but the stories they seem to be telling are quite different. Chart A shows a mild increase, followed by a slow decline. Chart B, on the other hand, reveals a steep jump, with a sharp drop-off immediately following. Conversely, Chart C seems to demonstrate that there was virtually no change over time. These variations are a product of changing the scale of the chart. One way to alleviate this problem is to supplement the chart by using the actual numbers in your text, in the spirit of full disclosure.

Another point of concern can be seen in Charts D and E. Both use the same data as charts A, B, and C for the years 1985-2000, but additional time points, using two hypothetical sets of data, have been added back to 1965. Given the different trends leading up to 1985, consider how the significance of recent events can change. In Chart D, the downward trend from 1990 to 2000 is going against a long-term upward trend, whereas in Chart E, it is merely the continuation of a larger downward trend after a brief upward turn.

One of the difficulties with visual aids is that there is no hard and fast rule about how much to include and what to exclude. Judgment is always involved. In general, be sure to present your visual aids so that your readers can draw their own conclusions from the facts and verify your assertions. If what you have cut out could affect the reader’s interpretation of your data, then you might consider keeping it.

4. Give bases of all percentages

Because percentages are always derived from a specific base, they are meaningless until associated with a base. So even if I tell you that after this reading this handout, you will be 23% more persuasive as a writer, that is not a very meaningful assertion because you have no idea what it is based on—23% more persuasive than what?

Let’s look at crime rates to see how this works. Suppose we have two cities, Springfield and Shelbyville. In Springfield, the murder rate has gone up 75%, while in Shelbyville, the rate has only increased by 10%. Which city is having a bigger murder problem? Well, that’s obvious, right? It has to be Springfield. After all, 75% is bigger than 10%.

Hold on a second, because this is actually much less clear than it looks. In order to really know which city has a worse problem, we have to look at the actual numbers. If I told you that Springfield had 4 murders last year and 7 this year, and Shelbyville had 30 murders last year and 33 murders this year, would you change your answer? Maybe, since 33 murders are significantly more than 7. One would certainly feel safer in Springfield, right?

Not so fast, because we still do not have all the facts. We have to make the comparison between the two based on equivalent standards. To do that, we have to look at the per capita rate (often given in rates per 100,000 people per year). If Springfield has 700 residents while Shelbyville has 3.3 million, then Springfield has a murder rate of 1,000 per 100,000 people, and Shelbyville’s rate is merely 1 per 100,000. Gadzooks! The residents of Springfield are dropping like flies. I think I’ll stick with nice, safe Shelbyville, thank you very much.

Percentages are really no different from any other form of statistics: they gain their meaning only through their context. Consequently, percentages should be presented in context so that readers can draw their own conclusions as you emphasize facts important to your argument. Remember, if your statistics really do support your point, then you should have no fear of revealing the larger context that frames them.

Important questions to ask (and answer) about statistics

  • Is the question being asked relevant?
  • Do the data come from reliable sources?
  • Margin of error/confidence interval—when is a change really a change?
  • Are all data reported, or just the best/worst?
  • Are the data presented in context?
  • Have the data been interpreted correctly?
  • Does the author confuse correlation with causation?

Now that you have learned the lessons of statistics, you have two options. Use this knowledge to manipulate your numbers to your advantage, or use this knowledge to better understand and use statistics to make accurate and fair arguments. The choice is yours. Nine out of ten writers, however, prefer the latter, and the other one later regrets their decision.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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How to Find Statistics for a Research Paper

Last Updated: March 10, 2024 References

This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . Jennifer Mueller is a wikiHow Content Creator. She specializes in reviewing, fact-checking, and evaluating wikiHow's content to ensure thoroughness and accuracy. Jennifer holds a JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2006. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 24,895 times.

When you're writing a research paper, particularly in social sciences such as political science or sociology, statistics can help you back up your conclusions with solid data. You typically can find relevant statistics using online sources. However, it's important to accurately assess the reliability of the source. You also need to understand whether the statistics you've found strengthen or undermine your arguments or conclusions before you incorporate them into your writing. [1] X Research source [2] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source

Identifying the Data You Need

Step 1 Outline your points or arguments.

  • For example, if you're writing a research paper for a sociology class on the effect of crime in inner cities, you may want to make the point that high school graduation rates decrease as the rate of violent crime increases.
  • To support that point, you would need data about high school graduation rates in specific inner cities, as well as violent crime rates in the same areas.
  • From that data, you would want to find statistics that show the trends in those two rates. Then you can compare those statistics to reach a correlation that would (potentially) support your point.

Step 2 Do some background research.

  • Background research also can clue you in to words or phrases that are commonly used by academics, researchers, and statisticians examining the same issues you're discussing in your research paper.
  • A basic familiarity with your topic can help you identify additional statistics that you might not have thought of before.
  • For example, in reading about the effect of violent crime in inner cities, you may find an article discussing how children coming from high-crime neighborhoods have higher rates of PTSD than children who grow up in peaceful suburbs.
  • The issue of PTSD is something you potentially could weave into your research paper, although you'd have to do more digging into the source of the statistics themselves.
  • Keep in mind when you're reading on background, this isn't necessarily limited to material that you might use as a source for your research paper. You're just trying to familiarize yourself with the subject generally.

Step 3 Distinguish between descriptive and inferential statistics.

  • With a descriptive statistic, those who collected the data got information for every person included in a specific, limited group.
  • "Only 2 percent of the students in McKinley High School's senior class have red hair" is an example of a descriptive statistic. All the students in the senior class have been accounted for, and the statistic describes only that group.
  • However, if the statisticians used the county high school's senior class as a representative sample of the county as a whole, the result would be an inferential statistic.
  • The inferential version would be phrased "According to our study, approximately 2 percent of the people in McKinley County have red hair." The statisticians didn't check the hair color of every person who lived in the county.

Step 4 Brainstorm search terms.

  • Finding the best key words can be an art form. Using what you learned from your background research, try to use words academics or other researchers in the field use when discussing your topic.
  • You not only want to search for specific words, but also synonyms for those words. You also might search for both broader categories and narrower examples of related phenomena.
  • For example, "violent crime" is a broad category that may include crimes such as assault, rape, and murder. You may not be able to find statistics that specifically track violent crime generally, but you should be able to find statistics on the murder rate in a given area.
  • If you're looking for statistics related to a particular geographic area, you'll need to be flexible there as well. For example, if you can't find statistics that relate solely to a particular neighborhood, you may want to expand outward to the city or even the county.

Step 5 Locate relevant studies and polls.

  • While you can run a general internet search using your key words to potentially find statistics you can use in your research paper, knowing specific sources can help you find reliable statistics more quickly.
  • For example, if you're looking for statistics related to various demographics in the United States, the U.S. government has many statistics available at www.usa.gov/statistics.
  • You also can check the U.S. Census Bureau's website to retrieve census statistics and data.
  • The NationMaster website collects data from the CIA World Factbook and other sources to create a wealth of statistics comparing different countries on a number of measures.

Evaluating Sources

Step 1 Judge the source's reliability.

  • Find out who was responsible for collecting the data, and why. If the organization or group behind the data collection and creation of the statistics has an ideological or political mission, their statistics may be suspect.
  • Essentially, if someone is creating statistics to support a particular position or prove their arguments, you cannot trust those statistics. There are many ways raw data can be manipulated to show trends or correlations that don't necessarily reflect reality.
  • Government sources typically are highly reliable, as are most university studies. However, even with university studies you want to see if the study was funded in whole or in part by a group or organization with an ideological or political motivation or bias.

Step 2 Understand the background of the data.

  • To explore the background adequately, use the journalistic standard of the "5 w's" – who, what, when, where, and why.
  • This means you'll want to find out who carried out the study (or, in the case of a poll, who asked the questions), what questions were asked, when was the study or poll conducted, and why the study or poll was conducted.
  • The answers to these questions will help you understand the purpose of the statistical research that was conducted, and whether it would be helpful in your own research paper.

Step 3 Interpret the statistics yourself.

  • You may find the statistics set forth in a report that describes these statistics and what they mean.
  • However, just because someone else has explained the meaning of the statistics doesn't mean you should necessarily take their word for it.
  • Draw on your understanding of the background of the study or poll, and look at the interpretation the author presents critically.
  • Remove the statistics themselves from the text of the report, for example by copying them into a table. Then you can interpret them on your own without being distracted by the author's interpretation.
  • If you create a table of your own from a statistical report, make sure you label it accurately so you can cite the source of the statistics later if you decide to include them in your research paper.

Step 4 Use caution when producing your own statistics.

  • If you're looking at raw data, you may need to actually calculate the statistics yourself. If you don't have any experience with statistics, talk to someone who does.
  • Your teacher or professor may be able to help you understand how to calculate the statistics correctly.
  • Even if you have access to a statistics program, there's no guarantee that the result you get actually will be accurate unless you know what information to provide the program. Remember the common phrase with computer programs: "Garbage in, garbage out."
  • Don't assume you can just divide two numbers to get a percentage, for example. There are other probability elements that must be taken into account.

Writing with Statistics

Step 1 Use statistical terms correctly.

  • For example, the word "average" is one you often see in everyday writing. However, when you're writing about statistics, the word "average" could mean up to three different things.
  • The word "average" can be used to mean the median (the middle value in the set of data), the mean (the result when you add all the values in the set and then divide by the quantity of numbers in the set), or the mode (the number or value in the set that occurs most frequently).
  • Therefore, if you read "average," you need to know which of these definitions is meant.
  • You also want to make sure that any two or more statistics you're comparing are using the same definition of "average." Not doing so could lead to a significant misinterpretation of your statistics and what they mean in the context of your research.

Step 2 Focus on presentation and readability.

  • Charts and graphs also can be useful even when you are referencing the statistics within your text. Using graphical elements can break up the text and enhance reader understanding.
  • Tables, charts, and graphs can be especially beneficial if you ultimately will have to give a presentation of your research paper, either to your class or to teachers or professors.
  • As difficult as statistics are to follow in print, they can be even more difficult to follow when someone is merely telling them to you.
  • To test the readability of the statistics in your paper, read those paragraphs out loud to yourself. If you find yourself stumbling over them or getting confused as you read, it's likely anyone else will stumble too when reading them for the first time.

Step 3 Choose statistics that support your arguments.

  • This often has as much to do with how you describe the statistics as the specific statistics you use.
  • Keep in mind that numbers themselves are neutral – it is your interpretation of those numbers that gives them meaning.

Step 4 Present the data in context.

  • For example, if you present the statistic that the murder rate in one neighborhood increased by 500 percent, and in the same period high school graduation rates decreased by 300 percent, these numbers are virtually meaningless without context.
  • You don't know what a 500 percent increase entails unless you know what the rate was before the period measured by the statistic.
  • When you say "500 percent," it sounds like a large amount, but if there was only one murder before the period measured by the statistic, then what you're actually saying is that during that period there were five murders.
  • Additionally, your statistics may be more meaningful if you can compare them to similar statistics in other areas.
  • Think of it in terms of a scientific experiment. If scientists are studying the effects of a particular drug to treat a disease, they also include a control group that doesn't take the drug. Comparing the test group to the control group helps show the drug's effectiveness.

Step 5 Cite the source for your statistics correctly.

  • For example, you might write "According to the FBI, violent crime in McKinley County increased by 37 percent between the years 2000 and 2012."
  • A textual citation provides immediate authority to the statistics you're using, allowing your readers to trust the statistics and move on to the next point.
  • On the other hand, if you don't state where the statistics came from, your reader may be too busy mentally questioning the source of your statistics to fully grasp the point you're trying to make.

Expert Q&A

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  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/672/1/
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/statistics/
  • ↑ https://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats
  • ↑ https://www.usa.gov/statistics
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/672/02/
  • ↑ http://libguides.lib.msu.edu/datastats
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/672/06/
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/672/04/

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How to Present Data and Statistics in Your Research Paper: Language Matters 

How to present data and statistics in your research paper

Statistics is an inexact science as it is based on probabilities rather than certainties. However, the language used to present data and statistics in your thesis or research paper needs to be accurate to avoid misunderstandings when your work is read by others. If the written descriptions of your data and statistics are not clear and accurate, experienced researchers may lose confidence in your entire study and dismiss your results, no matter how compelling they may be. 

The presentation of data in research and effective communication of statistical results requires writers to be very careful in their word choices. You must be confident that you understand the analysis you performed and the meaning of the results to really know how to present the data and statistics in your research paper effectively. Here are some terms and concepts that are often misused and may be confusing to early career researchers. 

Averages, the measures of the central tendency of a dataset, can be calculated in several different ways. The word “average” in non-scholarly writings typically refers to the arithmetic mean. However, the median and mode are two other frequently used measures. In your research paper, it is critical to state exactly what measure you are using. Therefore, don’t report an average but a mean, median, or mode. 

Percentages

Percentages are commonly used in presentations of data in research. They can indicate concentrations, probabilities, or comparisons, and they are frequently used to report changes in values. For example, the annual crime rate increased by 25%. However, unless you have a basis for this number, it’s difficult to judge the meaningfulness of this increase 1 . Did the number of crimes increase from 4 incidents to 5 or from 4,000 incidents to 5,000? Be sure to include enough information for the reader to understand the context.  

In addition, when used for comparison, make sure your comparison is complete. For instance, if the temperature was 17% higher in 2022, be sure to include that it was 17% higher than the temperature in 2017. 

Descriptive vs. inferential statistics

Descriptive statistics deal with populations, while inferential statistics deal with samples. A population is a group of objects or measurements that includes all possible instances, and a sample is a subset of that population. For example, you measure the mass of all the 1.1 kg jars of peanut butter at your favorite grocery store and report the mean and standard deviation. These are descriptive statistics for this population of peanut butter jars. However, if you then say that this is the mean of all such jars of peanut butter produced, you are engaging in inferential statistics because you now have measured only a sample of jars. You are inferring a characteristic of a population based on a sample. Inferential statistics are usually reported with a margin of error or confidence interval, such as 1.1 ± .02 kg. 

how to write statistics in a research paper

A hypothesis is a testable statement about the relationship between two or more groups or variables that forms the basis of the scientific method. The appropriate language around the topic of hypotheses and hypothesis testing can be confusing for even seasoned researchers. 

The alternative hypothesis is generally the researcher’s prediction for the study, and the null hypothesis is the negation of the alternative hypothesis. The aim of the study is to find evidence to reject the null hypothesis, which supports the truth of the alternative hypothesis. 

When writing up the results of your hypothesis test, it is important to understand exactly what the results mean. Remember, hypothesis testing can never “prove” anything – it merely provides evidence for either rejecting or not rejecting the null hypothesis. Also, be careful that you don’t overgeneralize the meaning of the results. Just because you find evidence that the null hypothesis can be rejected in this case does not mean the same is true under all conditions. 

Tips for effectively presenting statistics in academic writing

Presenting your data and statistical results can be very challenging. For researchers without extensive experience or statistical training, writing this part of the study report can be especially daunting. Here are some things to keep in mind when presenting your data and statistical results 1 . 

  • If you don’t completely understand a statistical procedure, do not attempt to write it up without guidance from an expert. This is the most important thing you can do. 
  • Keep your audience in mind. When you present your data and statistical results, think about how familiar your readers may be with the analysis and include the amount of detail needed for them to be comfortable 2 .  
  • Use tables and graphics to illustrate your results more clearly and make your writing more understandable. 

We hope the points above help answer the question of how to present data and statistics in your research paper correctly. All the best! 

  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center. Statistics. https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/statistics/ [Accessed October 10, 2022] 
  • Purdue University Online Writing Lab. Writing with statistics. https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/using_research/writing_with_statistics/index.html [Accessed October 10, 2022] 

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Confusing Elements of a Research Paper That Trip Up Most Academics

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  • How to write a research paper

Last updated

11 January 2024

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With proper planning, knowledge, and framework, completing a research paper can be a fulfilling and exciting experience. 

Though it might initially sound slightly intimidating, this guide will help you embrace the challenge. 

By documenting your findings, you can inspire others and make a difference in your field. Here's how you can make your research paper unique and comprehensive.

  • What is a research paper?

Research papers allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of a particular topic. These papers are usually lengthier and more detailed than typical essays, requiring deeper insight into the chosen topic.

To write a research paper, you must first choose a topic that interests you and is relevant to the field of study. Once you’ve selected your topic, gathering as many relevant resources as possible, including books, scholarly articles, credible websites, and other academic materials, is essential. You must then read and analyze these sources, summarizing their key points and identifying gaps in the current research.

You can formulate your ideas and opinions once you thoroughly understand the existing research. To get there might involve conducting original research, gathering data, or analyzing existing data sets. It could also involve presenting an original argument or interpretation of the existing research.

Writing a successful research paper involves presenting your findings clearly and engagingly, which might involve using charts, graphs, or other visual aids to present your data and using concise language to explain your findings. You must also ensure your paper adheres to relevant academic formatting guidelines, including proper citations and references.

Overall, writing a research paper requires a significant amount of time, effort, and attention to detail. However, it is also an enriching experience that allows you to delve deeply into a subject that interests you and contribute to the existing body of knowledge in your chosen field.

  • How long should a research paper be?

Research papers are deep dives into a topic. Therefore, they tend to be longer pieces of work than essays or opinion pieces. 

However, a suitable length depends on the complexity of the topic and your level of expertise. For instance, are you a first-year college student or an experienced professional? 

Also, remember that the best research papers provide valuable information for the benefit of others. Therefore, the quality of information matters most, not necessarily the length. Being concise is valuable.

Following these best practice steps will help keep your process simple and productive:

1. Gaining a deep understanding of any expectations

Before diving into your intended topic or beginning the research phase, take some time to orient yourself. Suppose there’s a specific topic assigned to you. In that case, it’s essential to deeply understand the question and organize your planning and approach in response. Pay attention to the key requirements and ensure you align your writing accordingly. 

This preparation step entails

Deeply understanding the task or assignment

Being clear about the expected format and length

Familiarizing yourself with the citation and referencing requirements 

Understanding any defined limits for your research contribution

Where applicable, speaking to your professor or research supervisor for further clarification

2. Choose your research topic

Select a research topic that aligns with both your interests and available resources. Ideally, focus on a field where you possess significant experience and analytical skills. In crafting your research paper, it's crucial to go beyond summarizing existing data and contribute fresh insights to the chosen area.

Consider narrowing your focus to a specific aspect of the topic. For example, if exploring the link between technology and mental health, delve into how social media use during the pandemic impacts the well-being of college students. Conducting interviews and surveys with students could provide firsthand data and unique perspectives, adding substantial value to the existing knowledge.

When finalizing your topic, adhere to legal and ethical norms in the relevant area (this ensures the integrity of your research, protects participants' rights, upholds intellectual property standards, and ensures transparency and accountability). Following these principles not only maintains the credibility of your work but also builds trust within your academic or professional community.

For instance, in writing about medical research, consider legal and ethical norms , including patient confidentiality laws and informed consent requirements. Similarly, if analyzing user data on social media platforms, be mindful of data privacy regulations, ensuring compliance with laws governing personal information collection and use. Aligning with legal and ethical standards not only avoids potential issues but also underscores the responsible conduct of your research.

3. Gather preliminary research

Once you’ve landed on your topic, it’s time to explore it further. You’ll want to discover more about available resources and existing research relevant to your assignment at this stage. 

This exploratory phase is vital as you may discover issues with your original idea or realize you have insufficient resources to explore the topic effectively. This key bit of groundwork allows you to redirect your research topic in a different, more feasible, or more relevant direction if necessary. 

Spending ample time at this stage ensures you gather everything you need, learn as much as you can about the topic, and discover gaps where the topic has yet to be sufficiently covered, offering an opportunity to research it further. 

4. Define your research question

To produce a well-structured and focused paper, it is imperative to formulate a clear and precise research question that will guide your work. Your research question must be informed by the existing literature and tailored to the scope and objectives of your project. By refining your focus, you can produce a thoughtful and engaging paper that effectively communicates your ideas to your readers.

5. Write a thesis statement

A thesis statement is a one-to-two-sentence summary of your research paper's main argument or direction. It serves as an overall guide to summarize the overall intent of the research paper for you and anyone wanting to know more about the research.

A strong thesis statement is:

Concise and clear: Explain your case in simple sentences (avoid covering multiple ideas). It might help to think of this section as an elevator pitch.

Specific: Ensure that there is no ambiguity in your statement and that your summary covers the points argued in the paper.

Debatable: A thesis statement puts forward a specific argument––it is not merely a statement but a debatable point that can be analyzed and discussed.

Here are three thesis statement examples from different disciplines:

Psychology thesis example: "We're studying adults aged 25-40 to see if taking short breaks for mindfulness can help with stress. Our goal is to find practical ways to manage anxiety better."

Environmental science thesis example: "This research paper looks into how having more city parks might make the air cleaner and keep people healthier. I want to find out if more green spaces means breathing fewer carcinogens in big cities."

UX research thesis example: "This study focuses on improving mobile banking for older adults using ethnographic research, eye-tracking analysis, and interactive prototyping. We investigate the usefulness of eye-tracking analysis with older individuals, aiming to spark debate and offer fresh perspectives on UX design and digital inclusivity for the aging population."

6. Conduct in-depth research

A research paper doesn’t just include research that you’ve uncovered from other papers and studies but your fresh insights, too. You will seek to become an expert on your topic––understanding the nuances in the current leading theories. You will analyze existing research and add your thinking and discoveries.  It's crucial to conduct well-designed research that is rigorous, robust, and based on reliable sources. Suppose a research paper lacks evidence or is biased. In that case, it won't benefit the academic community or the general public. Therefore, examining the topic thoroughly and furthering its understanding through high-quality research is essential. That usually means conducting new research. Depending on the area under investigation, you may conduct surveys, interviews, diary studies , or observational research to uncover new insights or bolster current claims.

7. Determine supporting evidence

Not every piece of research you’ve discovered will be relevant to your research paper. It’s important to categorize the most meaningful evidence to include alongside your discoveries. It's important to include evidence that doesn't support your claims to avoid exclusion bias and ensure a fair research paper.

8. Write a research paper outline

Before diving in and writing the whole paper, start with an outline. It will help you to see if more research is needed, and it will provide a framework by which to write a more compelling paper. Your supervisor may even request an outline to approve before beginning to write the first draft of the full paper. An outline will include your topic, thesis statement, key headings, short summaries of the research, and your arguments.

9. Write your first draft

Once you feel confident about your outline and sources, it’s time to write your first draft. While penning a long piece of content can be intimidating, if you’ve laid the groundwork, you will have a structure to help you move steadily through each section. To keep up motivation and inspiration, it’s often best to keep the pace quick. Stopping for long periods can interrupt your flow and make jumping back in harder than writing when things are fresh in your mind.

10. Cite your sources correctly

It's always a good practice to give credit where it's due, and the same goes for citing any works that have influenced your paper. Building your arguments on credible references adds value and authenticity to your research. In the formatting guidelines section, you’ll find an overview of different citation styles (MLA, CMOS, or APA), which will help you meet any publishing or academic requirements and strengthen your paper's credibility. It is essential to follow the guidelines provided by your school or the publication you are submitting to ensure the accuracy and relevance of your citations.

11. Ensure your work is original

It is crucial to ensure the originality of your paper, as plagiarism can lead to serious consequences. To avoid plagiarism, you should use proper paraphrasing and quoting techniques. Paraphrasing is rewriting a text in your own words while maintaining the original meaning. Quoting involves directly citing the source. Giving credit to the original author or source is essential whenever you borrow their ideas or words. You can also use plagiarism detection tools such as Scribbr or Grammarly to check the originality of your paper. These tools compare your draft writing to a vast database of online sources. If you find any accidental plagiarism, you should correct it immediately by rephrasing or citing the source.

12. Revise, edit, and proofread

One of the essential qualities of excellent writers is their ability to understand the importance of editing and proofreading. Even though it's tempting to call it a day once you've finished your writing, editing your work can significantly improve its quality. It's natural to overlook the weaker areas when you've just finished writing a paper. Therefore, it's best to take a break of a day or two, or even up to a week, to refresh your mind. This way, you can return to your work with a new perspective. After some breathing room, you can spot any inconsistencies, spelling and grammar errors, typos, or missing citations and correct them. 

  • The best research paper format 

The format of your research paper should align with the requirements set forth by your college, school, or target publication. 

There is no one “best” format, per se. Depending on the stated requirements, you may need to include the following elements:

Title page: The title page of a research paper typically includes the title, author's name, and institutional affiliation and may include additional information such as a course name or instructor's name. 

Table of contents: Include a table of contents to make it easy for readers to find specific sections of your paper.

Abstract: The abstract is a summary of the purpose of the paper.

Methods : In this section, describe the research methods used. This may include collecting data , conducting interviews, or doing field research .

Results: Summarize the conclusions you drew from your research in this section.

Discussion: In this section, discuss the implications of your research . Be sure to mention any significant limitations to your approach and suggest areas for further research.

Tables, charts, and illustrations: Use tables, charts, and illustrations to help convey your research findings and make them easier to understand.

Works cited or reference page: Include a works cited or reference page to give credit to the sources that you used to conduct your research.

Bibliography: Provide a list of all the sources you consulted while conducting your research.

Dedication and acknowledgments : Optionally, you may include a dedication and acknowledgments section to thank individuals who helped you with your research.

  • General style and formatting guidelines

Formatting your research paper means you can submit it to your college, journal, or other publications in compliance with their criteria.

Research papers tend to follow the American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), or Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) guidelines.

Here’s how each style guide is typically used:

Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS):

CMOS is a versatile style guide used for various types of writing. It's known for its flexibility and use in the humanities. CMOS provides guidelines for citations, formatting, and overall writing style. It allows for both footnotes and in-text citations, giving writers options based on their preferences or publication requirements.

American Psychological Association (APA):

APA is common in the social sciences. It’s hailed for its clarity and emphasis on precision. It has specific rules for citing sources, creating references, and formatting papers. APA style uses in-text citations with an accompanying reference list. It's designed to convey information efficiently and is widely used in academic and scientific writing.

Modern Language Association (MLA):

MLA is widely used in the humanities, especially literature and language studies. It emphasizes the author-page format for in-text citations and provides guidelines for creating a "Works Cited" page. MLA is known for its focus on the author's name and the literary works cited. It’s frequently used in disciplines that prioritize literary analysis and critical thinking.

To confirm you're using the latest style guide, check the official website or publisher's site for updates, consult academic resources, and verify the guide's publication date. Online platforms and educational resources may also provide summaries and alerts about any revisions or additions to the style guide.

Citing sources

When working on your research paper, it's important to cite the sources you used properly. Your citation style will guide you through this process. Generally, there are three parts to citing sources in your research paper: 

First, provide a brief citation in the body of your essay. This is also known as a parenthetical or in-text citation. 

Second, include a full citation in the Reference list at the end of your paper. Different types of citations include in-text citations, footnotes, and reference lists. 

In-text citations include the author's surname and the date of the citation. 

Footnotes appear at the bottom of each page of your research paper. They may also be summarized within a reference list at the end of the paper. 

A reference list includes all of the research used within the paper at the end of the document. It should include the author, date, paper title, and publisher listed in the order that aligns with your citation style.

10 research paper writing tips:

Following some best practices is essential to writing a research paper that contributes to your field of study and creates a positive impact.

These tactics will help you structure your argument effectively and ensure your work benefits others:

Clear and precise language:  Ensure your language is unambiguous. Use academic language appropriately, but keep it simple. Also, provide clear takeaways for your audience.

Effective idea separation:  Organize the vast amount of information and sources in your paper with paragraphs and titles. Create easily digestible sections for your readers to navigate through.

Compelling intro:  Craft an engaging introduction that captures your reader's interest. Hook your audience and motivate them to continue reading.

Thorough revision and editing:  Take the time to review and edit your paper comprehensively. Use tools like Grammarly to detect and correct small, overlooked errors.

Thesis precision:  Develop a clear and concise thesis statement that guides your paper. Ensure that your thesis aligns with your research's overall purpose and contribution.

Logical flow of ideas:  Maintain a logical progression throughout the paper. Use transitions effectively to connect different sections and maintain coherence.

Critical evaluation of sources:  Evaluate and critically assess the relevance and reliability of your sources. Ensure that your research is based on credible and up-to-date information.

Thematic consistency:  Maintain a consistent theme throughout the paper. Ensure that all sections contribute cohesively to the overall argument.

Relevant supporting evidence:  Provide concise and relevant evidence to support your arguments. Avoid unnecessary details that may distract from the main points.

Embrace counterarguments:  Acknowledge and address opposing views to strengthen your position. Show that you have considered alternative arguments in your field.

7 research tips 

If you want your paper to not only be well-written but also contribute to the progress of human knowledge, consider these tips to take your paper to the next level:

Selecting the appropriate topic: The topic you select should align with your area of expertise, comply with the requirements of your project, and have sufficient resources for a comprehensive investigation.

Use academic databases: Academic databases such as PubMed, Google Scholar, and JSTOR offer a wealth of research papers that can help you discover everything you need to know about your chosen topic.

Critically evaluate sources: It is important not to accept research findings at face value. Instead, it is crucial to critically analyze the information to avoid jumping to conclusions or overlooking important details. A well-written research paper requires a critical analysis with thorough reasoning to support claims.

Diversify your sources: Expand your research horizons by exploring a variety of sources beyond the standard databases. Utilize books, conference proceedings, and interviews to gather diverse perspectives and enrich your understanding of the topic.

Take detailed notes: Detailed note-taking is crucial during research and can help you form the outline and body of your paper.

Stay up on trends: Keep abreast of the latest developments in your field by regularly checking for recent publications. Subscribe to newsletters, follow relevant journals, and attend conferences to stay informed about emerging trends and advancements. 

Engage in peer review: Seek feedback from peers or mentors to ensure the rigor and validity of your research . Peer review helps identify potential weaknesses in your methodology and strengthens the overall credibility of your findings.

  • The real-world impact of research papers

Writing a research paper is more than an academic or business exercise. The experience provides an opportunity to explore a subject in-depth, broaden one's understanding, and arrive at meaningful conclusions. With careful planning, dedication, and hard work, writing a research paper can be a fulfilling and enriching experience contributing to advancing knowledge.

How do I publish my research paper? 

Many academics wish to publish their research papers. While challenging, your paper might get traction if it covers new and well-written information. To publish your research paper, find a target publication, thoroughly read their guidelines, format your paper accordingly, and send it to them per their instructions. You may need to include a cover letter, too. After submission, your paper may be peer-reviewed by experts to assess its legitimacy, quality, originality, and methodology. Following review, you will be informed by the publication whether they have accepted or rejected your paper. 

What is a good opening sentence for a research paper? 

Beginning your research paper with a compelling introduction can ensure readers are interested in going further. A relevant quote, a compelling statistic, or a bold argument can start the paper and hook your reader. Remember, though, that the most important aspect of a research paper is the quality of the information––not necessarily your ability to storytell, so ensure anything you write aligns with your goals.

Research paper vs. a research proposal—what’s the difference?

While some may confuse research papers and proposals, they are different documents. 

A research proposal comes before a research paper. It is a detailed document that outlines an intended area of exploration. It includes the research topic, methodology, timeline, sources, and potential conclusions. Research proposals are often required when seeking approval to conduct research. 

A research paper is a summary of research findings. A research paper follows a structured format to present those findings and construct an argument or conclusion.

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How To Write A Statistics Research Paper?

Haiden Malecot

Table of Contents

Statistics Research Paper

Naturally, all-encompassing information about the slightest details of the statistical paper writing cannot be stuffed into one guideline. Still, we will provide a glimpse of the basics of the stats research paper.

What is a stats research paper?

One of the main problems of stats academic research papers is that not all students understand what it is. Put it bluntly, it is an essay that provides an analysis of the gathered statistical data to induce the key points of a specified research issue. Thus, the author of the paper creates a construct of the topic by explaining the statistical data.

Writing a statistics research paper is quite challenging because the sources of data for statistical analysis are quite numerous. These are data mining, biostatistics, quality control, surveys, statistical modelling, etc.

Collecting data for the college research paper analysis is another headache. Research papers of this type call for the data taken from the most reliable and relevant sources because no indeterminate information is inadmissible here.

How to create the perfect statistics research paper example?

If you want to create the paper that can serve as a research paper writing example of well-written statistics research paper example, then here is a guideline that will help you to master this task.

Select the topic

Obviously, work can’t be written without a topic. Therefore, it is essential to come up with the theme that promises interesting statistics, and a possibility to gather enough data for the research. Access to the reliable sources of the research data is also a must.

If you are not confident about the availability of several sources concerning the chosen topic, you’d better choose something else.

Remember to jot down all the needed information for the proper referencing when you use a resource

Data collection

The duration of this stage depends on the number of data sources and the chosen methodology of the data collection. Mind that once you have chosen the method, you should stick to it. Naturally, it is essential to explain your choice of the methodology in your statistics research paper.

Outlining the paper

Creating a rough draft of the paper is your chance to save some time and nerves. Once you’ve done it, you get a clear picture of what to write about and what points should be worked through.

The intro section

This is, perhaps, the most important part of the paper. As this is the most scientific paper from all the papers you will have to write in your studies, it calls for the most logical and clear approach. Thus, your intro should consist of:

  • Opening remarks about the field of the research.
  • Credits to other researchers who worked on this theme.
  • The scientific motivation for the new research .
  • An explanation of why existing researches are not sufficient.
  • The thesis statement , aka the core idea of the text.

The body of the text (research report, as they say in statistics)

Believe it or not, but many professional writers start such papers from the body. Here you have to place the Methodology Section where you establish the methods of data collection and the results of it. Usually, all main graphs or charts are placed here as a way to convey the results. All additional materials are gathered in the appendices.

The next paragraph of the paper will be the Evaluation of the gathered data . And that’s where the knowledge on how to read statistics in a research paper can come in handy. If you have no clue how to do it, you’re in trouble, to be honest. At least, you should know three concepts: odds ratios, confidence intervals, and p values. You can start searching for them on the web or in B.S.Everitt’s Dictionary of Statistics.

And the last section of the body is Discussion . Here, as the name suggests, you have to discuss the analysis and the results of the research.

The conclusion

This section requires only several sentences where you summarise the findings and highlight the importance of the research. You may also include a suggestion on how to continue or deepen the research of the issue.

Tips on how to write a statistics paper example

Here are some life hacks and shortcuts that you may use to boost your paper:

  • Many sources where you take the statistical data , do offer it with the interpretation. Do not waste time on calculations and take the interpretation from there.
  • Visuals are the must: always include a graph, chart, or a table to visualize your words.
  • If you do not know the statistical procedure and how to interpret the results , never use it in the paper.
  • Always put the statistics at the end of the sentence.
  • If your paper requires the presentation of your calculations and you are not confident with it, ask a pro to help you.
  • Different types of statistical data require proper formatting. Cite statistics properly according to the chosen format.

…Final thoughts

We hope that our guideline on how to write a statistics paper example unveiled the mystery of writing such papers.

But, in the case you still dread stats essays, here is a sound solution: entrust your task to the professionals! Order a paper at trustworthy writing service and enjoy saved time and the great result.

Psst… You can hand this work to a writer and have a completely stress-free evening. It would take like 3 minutes. And your perfect statistics research paper would be done on time!

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Examples

Data Analysis in Research

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how to write statistics in a research paper

Data analysis in research involves systematically applying statistical and logical techniques to describe, illustrate, condense, and evaluate data. It is a crucial step that enables researchers to identify patterns, relationships, and trends within the data, transforming raw information into valuable insights. Through methods such as descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, and qualitative analysis, researchers can interpret their findings, draw conclusions, and support decision-making processes. An effective data analysis plan and robust methodology ensure the accuracy and reliability of research outcomes, ultimately contributing to the advancement of knowledge across various fields.

What is Data Analysis in Research?

Data analysis in research involves using statistical and logical techniques to describe, summarize, and compare collected data. This includes inspecting, cleaning, transforming, and modeling data to find useful information and support decision-making. Quantitative data provides measurable insights, and a solid research design ensures accuracy and reliability. This process helps validate hypotheses, identify patterns, and make informed conclusions, making it a crucial step in the scientific method.

Examples of Data analysis in Research

  • Survey Analysis : Researchers collect survey responses from a sample population to gauge opinions, behaviors, or characteristics. Using descriptive statistics, they summarize the data through means, medians, and modes, and then inferential statistics to generalize findings to a larger population.
  • Experimental Analysis : In scientific experiments, researchers manipulate one or more variables to observe the effect on a dependent variable. Data is analyzed using methods such as ANOVA or regression analysis to determine if changes in the independent variable(s) significantly affect the dependent variable.
  • Content Analysis : Qualitative research often involves analyzing textual data, such as interview transcripts or open-ended survey responses. Researchers code the data to identify recurring themes, patterns, and categories, providing a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
  • Correlation Studies : Researchers explore the relationship between two or more variables using correlation coefficients. For example, a study might examine the correlation between hours of study and academic performance to identify if there is a significant positive relationship.
  • Longitudinal Analysis : This type of analysis involves collecting data from the same subjects over a period of time. Researchers analyze this data to observe changes and developments, such as studying the long-term effects of a specific educational intervention on student achievement.
  • Meta-Analysis : By combining data from multiple studies, researchers perform a meta-analysis to increase the overall sample size and enhance the reliability of findings. This method helps in synthesizing research results to draw broader conclusions about a particular topic or intervention.

Data analysis in Qualitative Research

Data analysis in qualitative research involves systematically examining non-numeric data, such as interviews, observations, and textual materials, to identify patterns, themes, and meanings. Here are some key steps and methods used in qualitative data analysis:

  • Coding : Researchers categorize the data by assigning labels or codes to specific segments of the text. These codes represent themes or concepts relevant to the research question.
  • Thematic Analysis : This method involves identifying and analyzing patterns or themes within the data. Researchers review coded data to find recurring topics and construct a coherent narrative around these themes.
  • Content Analysis : A systematic approach to categorize verbal or behavioral data to classify, summarize, and tabulate the data. This method often involves counting the frequency of specific words or phrases.
  • Narrative Analysis : Researchers focus on the stories and experiences shared by participants, analyzing the structure, content, and context of the narratives to understand how individuals make sense of their experiences.
  • Grounded Theory : This method involves generating a theory based on the data collected. Researchers collect and analyze data simultaneously, continually refining and adjusting their theoretical framework as new data emerges.
  • Discourse Analysis : Examining language use and communication patterns within the data, researchers analyze how language constructs social realities and power relationships.
  • Case Study Analysis : An in-depth analysis of a single case or multiple cases, exploring the complexities and unique aspects of each case to gain a deeper understanding of the phenomenon under study.

Data analysis in Quantitative Research

Data analysis in quantitative research involves the systematic application of statistical techniques to numerical data to identify patterns, relationships, and trends. Here are some common methods used in quantitative data analysis:

  • Descriptive Statistics : This includes measures such as mean, median, mode, standard deviation, and range, which summarize and describe the main features of a data set.
  • Inferential Statistics : Techniques like t-tests, chi-square tests, and ANOVA (Analysis of Variance) are used to make inferences or generalizations about a population based on a sample.
  • Regression Analysis : This method examines the relationship between dependent and independent variables. Simple linear regression analyzes the relationship between two variables, while multiple regression examines the relationship between one dependent variable and several independent variables.
  • Correlation Analysis : Researchers use correlation coefficients to measure the strength and direction of the relationship between two variables.
  • Factor Analysis : This technique is used to identify underlying relationships between variables by grouping them into factors based on their correlations.
  • Cluster Analysis : A method used to group a set of objects or cases into clusters, where objects in the same cluster are more similar to each other than to those in other clusters.
  • Hypothesis Testing : This involves testing an assumption or hypothesis about a population parameter. Common tests include z-tests, t-tests, and chi-square tests, which help determine if there is enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis.
  • Time Series Analysis : This method analyzes data points collected or recorded at specific time intervals to identify trends, cycles, and seasonal variations.
  • Multivariate Analysis : Techniques like MANOVA (Multivariate Analysis of Variance) and PCA (Principal Component Analysis) are used to analyze data that involves multiple variables to understand their effect and relationships.
  • Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) : A multivariate statistical analysis technique that is used to analyze structural relationships. This method is a combination of factor analysis and multiple regression analysis and is used to analyze the structural relationship between measured variables and latent constructs.

Data analysis in Research Methodology

Data analysis in research methodology involves the process of systematically applying statistical and logical techniques to describe, condense, recap, and evaluate data. Here are the key components and methods involved:

  • Data Preparation : This step includes collecting, cleaning, and organizing raw data. Researchers ensure data quality by handling missing values, removing duplicates, and correcting errors.
  • Descriptive Analysis : Researchers use descriptive statistics to summarize the basic features of the data. This includes measures such as mean, median, mode, standard deviation, and graphical representations like histograms and pie charts.
  • Inferential Analysis : This involves using statistical tests to make inferences about the population from which the sample was drawn. Common techniques include t-tests, chi-square tests, ANOVA, and regression analysis.
  • Qualitative Data Analysis : For non-numeric data, researchers employ methods like coding, thematic analysis, content analysis, narrative analysis, and discourse analysis to identify patterns and themes.
  • Quantitative Data Analysis : For numeric data, researchers apply statistical methods such as correlation, regression, factor analysis, cluster analysis, and time series analysis to identify relationships and trends.
  • Hypothesis Testing : Researchers test hypotheses using statistical methods to determine whether there is enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis. This involves calculating p-values and confidence intervals.
  • Data Interpretation : This step involves interpreting the results of the data analysis. Researchers draw conclusions based on the statistical findings and relate them back to the research questions and objectives.
  • Validation and Reliability : Ensuring the validity and reliability of the analysis is crucial. Researchers check for consistency in the results and use methods like cross-validation and reliability testing to confirm their findings.
  • Visualization : Effective data visualization techniques, such as charts, graphs, and plots, are used to present the data in a clear and understandable manner, aiding in the interpretation and communication of results.
  • Reporting : The final step involves reporting the results in a structured format, often including an introduction, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. This report should clearly convey the findings and their implications for the research question.

Types of Data analysis in Research

Types of Data analysis in Research

  • Purpose : To summarize and describe the main features of a dataset.
  • Methods : Mean, median, mode, standard deviation, frequency distributions, and graphical representations like histograms and pie charts.
  • Example : Calculating the average test scores of students in a class.
  • Purpose : To make inferences or generalizations about a population based on a sample.
  • Methods : T-tests, chi-square tests, ANOVA (Analysis of Variance), regression analysis, and confidence intervals.
  • Example : Testing whether a new teaching method significantly affects student performance compared to a traditional method.
  • Purpose : To analyze data sets to find patterns, anomalies, and test hypotheses.
  • Methods : Visualization techniques like box plots, scatter plots, and heat maps; summary statistics.
  • Example : Visualizing the relationship between hours of study and exam scores using a scatter plot.
  • Purpose : To make predictions about future outcomes based on historical data.
  • Methods : Regression analysis, machine learning algorithms (e.g., decision trees, neural networks), and time series analysis.
  • Example : Predicting student graduation rates based on their academic performance and demographic data.
  • Purpose : To provide recommendations for decision-making based on data analysis.
  • Methods : Optimization algorithms, simulation, and decision analysis.
  • Example : Suggesting the best course of action for improving student retention rates based on various predictive factors.
  • Purpose : To identify and understand cause-and-effect relationships.
  • Methods : Controlled experiments, regression analysis, path analysis, and structural equation modeling (SEM).
  • Example : Determining the impact of a specific intervention, like a new curriculum, on student learning outcomes.
  • Purpose : To understand the specific mechanisms through which variables affect one another.
  • Methods : Detailed modeling and simulation, often used in scientific research to understand biological or physical processes.
  • Example : Studying how a specific drug interacts with biological pathways to affect patient health.

How to write Data analysis in Research

Data analysis is crucial for interpreting collected data and drawing meaningful conclusions. Follow these steps to write an effective data analysis section in your research.

1. Prepare Your Data

Ensure your data is clean and organized:

  • Remove duplicates and irrelevant data.
  • Check for errors and correct them.
  • Categorize data if necessary.

2. Choose the Right Analysis Method

Select a method that fits your data type and research question:

  • Quantitative Data : Use statistical analysis such as t-tests, ANOVA, regression analysis.
  • Qualitative Data : Use thematic analysis, content analysis, or narrative analysis.

3. Describe Your Analytical Techniques

Clearly explain the methods you used:

  • Software and Tools : Mention any software (e.g., SPSS, NVivo) used.
  • Statistical Tests : Detail the statistical tests applied, such as chi-square tests or correlation analysis.
  • Qualitative Techniques : Describe coding and theme identification processes.

4. Present Your Findings

Organize your findings logically:

  • Use Tables and Figures : Display data in tables, graphs, and charts for clarity.
  • Summarize Key Results : Highlight the most significant findings.
  • Include Relevant Statistics : Report p-values, confidence intervals, means, and standard deviations.

5. Interpret the Results

Explain what your findings mean in the context of your research:

  • Compare with Hypotheses : State whether the results support your hypotheses.
  • Relate to Literature : Compare your results with previous studies.
  • Discuss Implications : Explain the significance of your findings.

6. Discuss Limitations

Acknowledge any limitations in your data or analysis:

  • Sample Size : Note if the sample size was small.
  • Biases : Mention any potential biases in data collection.
  • External Factors : Discuss any factors that might have influenced the results.

7. Conclude with a Summary

Wrap up your data analysis section:

  • Restate Key Findings : Briefly summarize the main results.
  • Future Research : Suggest areas for further investigation.

Importance of Data analysis in Research

Data analysis is a fundamental component of the research process. Here are five key points highlighting its importance:

  • Enhances Accuracy and Reliability Data analysis ensures that research findings are accurate and reliable. By using statistical techniques, researchers can minimize errors and biases, ensuring that the results are dependable.
  • Facilitates Informed Decision-Making Through data analysis, researchers can make informed decisions based on empirical evidence. This is crucial in fields like healthcare, business, and social sciences, where decisions impact policies, strategies, and outcomes.
  • Identifies Trends and Patterns Analyzing data helps researchers uncover trends and patterns that might not be immediately visible. These insights can lead to new hypotheses and areas of study, advancing knowledge in the field.
  • Supports Hypothesis Testing Data analysis is vital for testing hypotheses. Researchers can use statistical methods to determine whether their hypotheses are supported or refuted, which is essential for validating theories and advancing scientific understanding.
  • Provides a Basis for Predictions By analyzing current and historical data, researchers can develop models that predict future outcomes. This predictive capability is valuable in numerous fields, including economics, climate science, and public health.

FAQ’s

What is the difference between qualitative and quantitative data analysis.

Qualitative analysis focuses on non-numerical data to understand concepts, while quantitative analysis deals with numerical data to identify patterns and relationships.

What is descriptive statistics?

Descriptive statistics summarize and describe the features of a data set, including measures like mean, median, mode, and standard deviation.

What is inferential statistics?

Inferential statistics use sample data to make generalizations about a larger population, often through hypothesis testing and confidence intervals.

What is regression analysis?

Regression analysis examines the relationship between dependent and independent variables, helping to predict outcomes and understand variable impacts.

What is the role of software in data analysis?

Software like SPSS, R, and Excel facilitate data analysis by providing tools for statistical calculations, visualization, and data management.

What are data visualization techniques?

Data visualization techniques include charts, graphs, and maps, which help in presenting data insights clearly and effectively.

What is data cleaning?

Data cleaning involves removing errors, inconsistencies, and missing values from a data set to ensure accuracy and reliability in analysis.

What is the significance of sample size in data analysis?

Sample size affects the accuracy and generalizability of results; larger samples generally provide more reliable insights.

How does correlation differ from causation?

Correlation indicates a relationship between variables, while causation implies one variable directly affects the other.

What are the ethical considerations in data analysis?

Ethical considerations include ensuring data privacy, obtaining informed consent, and avoiding data manipulation or misrepresentation.

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Writing a Research Paper Introduction | Step-by-Step Guide

Published on September 24, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on March 27, 2023.

Writing a Research Paper Introduction

The introduction to a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:

  • Present your topic and get the reader interested
  • Provide background or summarize existing research
  • Position your own approach
  • Detail your specific research problem and problem statement
  • Give an overview of the paper’s structure

The introduction looks slightly different depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or constructs an argument by engaging with a variety of sources.

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Table of contents

Step 1: introduce your topic, step 2: describe the background, step 3: establish your research problem, step 4: specify your objective(s), step 5: map out your paper, research paper introduction examples, frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.

The first job of the introduction is to tell the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening hook.

The hook is a striking opening sentence that clearly conveys the relevance of your topic. Think of an interesting fact or statistic, a strong statement, a question, or a brief anecdote that will get the reader wondering about your topic.

For example, the following could be an effective hook for an argumentative paper about the environmental impact of cattle farming:

A more empirical paper investigating the relationship of Instagram use with body image issues in adolescent girls might use the following hook:

Don’t feel that your hook necessarily has to be deeply impressive or creative. Clarity and relevance are still more important than catchiness. The key thing is to guide the reader into your topic and situate your ideas.

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This part of the introduction differs depending on what approach your paper is taking.

In a more argumentative paper, you’ll explore some general background here. In a more empirical paper, this is the place to review previous research and establish how yours fits in.

Argumentative paper: Background information

After you’ve caught your reader’s attention, specify a bit more, providing context and narrowing down your topic.

Provide only the most relevant background information. The introduction isn’t the place to get too in-depth; if more background is essential to your paper, it can appear in the body .

Empirical paper: Describing previous research

For a paper describing original research, you’ll instead provide an overview of the most relevant research that has already been conducted. This is a sort of miniature literature review —a sketch of the current state of research into your topic, boiled down to a few sentences.

This should be informed by genuine engagement with the literature. Your search can be less extensive than in a full literature review, but a clear sense of the relevant research is crucial to inform your own work.

Begin by establishing the kinds of research that have been done, and end with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to respond to.

The next step is to clarify how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses.

Argumentative paper: Emphasize importance

In an argumentative research paper, you can simply state the problem you intend to discuss, and what is original or important about your argument.

Empirical paper: Relate to the literature

In an empirical research paper, try to lead into the problem on the basis of your discussion of the literature. Think in terms of these questions:

  • What research gap is your work intended to fill?
  • What limitations in previous work does it address?
  • What contribution to knowledge does it make?

You can make the connection between your problem and the existing research using phrases like the following.

Although has been studied in detail, insufficient attention has been paid to . You will address a previously overlooked aspect of your topic.
The implications of study deserve to be explored further. You will build on something suggested by a previous study, exploring it in greater depth.
It is generally assumed that . However, this paper suggests that … You will depart from the consensus on your topic, establishing a new position.

Now you’ll get into the specifics of what you intend to find out or express in your research paper.

The way you frame your research objectives varies. An argumentative paper presents a thesis statement, while an empirical paper generally poses a research question (sometimes with a hypothesis as to the answer).

Argumentative paper: Thesis statement

The thesis statement expresses the position that the rest of the paper will present evidence and arguments for. It can be presented in one or two sentences, and should state your position clearly and directly, without providing specific arguments for it at this point.

Empirical paper: Research question and hypothesis

The research question is the question you want to answer in an empirical research paper.

Present your research question clearly and directly, with a minimum of discussion at this point. The rest of the paper will be taken up with discussing and investigating this question; here you just need to express it.

A research question can be framed either directly or indirectly.

  • This study set out to answer the following question: What effects does daily use of Instagram have on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls?
  • We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls.

If your research involved testing hypotheses , these should be stated along with your research question. They are usually presented in the past tense, since the hypothesis will already have been tested by the time you are writing up your paper.

For example, the following hypothesis might respond to the research question above:

The final part of the introduction is often dedicated to a brief overview of the rest of the paper.

In a paper structured using the standard scientific “introduction, methods, results, discussion” format, this isn’t always necessary. But if your paper is structured in a less predictable way, it’s important to describe the shape of it for the reader.

If included, the overview should be concise, direct, and written in the present tense.

  • This paper will first discuss several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then will go on to …
  • This paper first discusses several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then goes on to …

Full examples of research paper introductions are shown in the tabs below: one for an argumentative paper, the other for an empirical paper.

  • Argumentative paper
  • Empirical paper

Are cows responsible for climate change? A recent study (RIVM, 2019) shows that cattle farmers account for two thirds of agricultural nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands. These emissions result from nitrogen in manure, which can degrade into ammonia and enter the atmosphere. The study’s calculations show that agriculture is the main source of nitrogen pollution, accounting for 46% of the country’s total emissions. By comparison, road traffic and households are responsible for 6.1% each, the industrial sector for 1%. While efforts are being made to mitigate these emissions, policymakers are reluctant to reckon with the scale of the problem. The approach presented here is a radical one, but commensurate with the issue. This paper argues that the Dutch government must stimulate and subsidize livestock farmers, especially cattle farmers, to transition to sustainable vegetable farming. It first establishes the inadequacy of current mitigation measures, then discusses the various advantages of the results proposed, and finally addresses potential objections to the plan on economic grounds.

The rise of social media has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the prevalence of body image issues among women and girls. This correlation has received significant academic attention: Various empirical studies have been conducted into Facebook usage among adolescent girls (Tiggermann & Slater, 2013; Meier & Gray, 2014). These studies have consistently found that the visual and interactive aspects of the platform have the greatest influence on body image issues. Despite this, highly visual social media (HVSM) such as Instagram have yet to be robustly researched. This paper sets out to address this research gap. We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls. It was hypothesized that daily Instagram use would be associated with an increase in body image concerns and a decrease in self-esteem ratings.

The introduction of a research paper includes several key elements:

  • A hook to catch the reader’s interest
  • Relevant background on the topic
  • Details of your research problem

and your problem statement

  • A thesis statement or research question
  • Sometimes an overview of the paper

Don’t feel that you have to write the introduction first. The introduction is often one of the last parts of the research paper you’ll write, along with the conclusion.

This is because it can be easier to introduce your paper once you’ve already written the body ; you may not have the clearest idea of your arguments until you’ve written them, and things can change during the writing process .

The way you present your research problem in your introduction varies depending on the nature of your research paper . A research paper that presents a sustained argument will usually encapsulate this argument in a thesis statement .

A research paper designed to present the results of empirical research tends to present a research question that it seeks to answer. It may also include a hypothesis —a prediction that will be confirmed or disproved by your research.

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How to Write a Research Paper [Steps & Examples]

As a student, you are often required to complete numerous academic tasks, which can demand a lot of extra effort. Writing a research paper is one of these tasks. If researching for the topic isn't challenging enough, writing it down in a specific format adds another layer of difficulty. Having gone through this myself, I want to help you have a smoother journey in writing your research paper. I'll guide you through everything you need to know about writing a research paper, including how to write a research paper and all the necessary factors you need to consider while writing one.

Order for Preparation of your research paper

Before beginning your research paper, start planning how you will organize your paper. Follow the specific order I have laid out to ensure you assemble everything correctly, cover all necessary components, and write more effectively. This method will help you avoid missing important elements and improve the overall quality of your paper.

Figures and Tables

Assemble all necessary visual aids to support your data and findings. Ensure they are labeled correctly and referenced appropriately in your text.

Detail the procedures and techniques used in your research. This section should be thorough enough to allow others to replicate your study.

Summarize the findings of your research without interpretation. Use figures and tables to illustrate your data clearly.

Interpret the results, discussing their implications and how they relate to your research question. Address any limitations and suggest areas for future research.

Summarize the key points of your research, restating the significance of your findings and their broader impact.

Introduction

Introduce the topic, provide background information, and state the research problem or hypothesis. Explain the purpose and scope of your study.

Write a concise summary of your research, including the objective, methods, results, and conclusion. Keep it brief and to the point.

Create a clear and informative title that accurately reflects the content and focus of your research paper.

Identify key terms related to your research that will help others find your paper in searches.

Acknowledgements

Thank those who contributed to your research, including funding sources, advisors, and any other significant supporters.

Compile a complete list of all sources cited in your paper, formatted according to the required citation style. Ensure every reference is accurate and complete.

Types of Research Papers

There are multiple types of research papers, each with distinct characteristics, purposes, and structures. Knowing which type of research paper is required for your assignment is crucial, as each demands different preparation and writing strategies. Here, we will delve into three prominent types: argumentative, analytical, and compare and contrast papers. We will discuss their characteristics, suitability, and provide detailed examples to illustrate their application.

A.Argumentative Papers

Characteristics:

An argumentative or persuasive paper is designed to present a balanced view of a controversial issue, but ultimately aims to persuade the reader to adopt the writer's perspective. The key characteristics of this type of paper include:

Purpose: The primary goal is to convince the reader to support a particular stance on an issue. This is achieved by presenting arguments, evidence, and refuting opposing viewpoints.

Structure: Typically structured into an introduction, a presentation of both sides of the issue, a refutation of the opposing arguments, and a conclusion that reinforces the writer’s position.

Tone: While the tone should be logical and factual, it should not be overly emotional. Arguments must be supported with solid evidence, such as statistics, expert opinions, and factual data.

Suitability:

Argumentative papers are suitable for topics that have clear, opposing viewpoints. They are often used in debates, policy discussions, and essays aimed at influencing public opinion or academic discourse.

Topic: "Should governments implement universal basic income?"

Pro Side: Universal basic income provides financial security, reduces poverty, and can lead to a more equitable society.

Con Side: It could discourage work, lead to higher government expenditure, and might not be a sustainable long-term solution.

Argument: After presenting both sides, the paper would argue that the benefits of reducing poverty and financial insecurity outweigh the potential drawbacks, using evidence from various studies and real-world examples.

Writing Tips:

Clearly articulate your position on the issue from the beginning.

Present balanced arguments by including credible sources that support both sides.

Refute counterarguments effectively with logical reasoning and evidence.

Maintain a factual and logical tone, avoiding excessive emotional appeals.

B.Analytical Papers

An analytical research paper is focused on breaking down a topic into its core components, examining various perspectives, and drawing conclusions based on this analysis. The main characteristics include:

Purpose: To pose a research question, collect data from various sources, analyze different viewpoints, and synthesize the information to arrive at a personal conclusion.

Structure: Includes an introduction with a clear research question, a literature review that summarizes existing research, a detailed analysis, and a conclusion that summarizes findings.

Tone: Objective and neutral, avoiding personal bias or opinion. The focus is on data and logical analysis.

Analytical research papers are ideal for topics that require detailed examination and evaluation of various aspects. They are common in disciplines such as social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences, where deep analysis of existing research is crucial.

Topic: "The impact of social media on mental health."

Research Question: How does social media usage affect mental well-being among teenagers?

Analysis: Examine studies that show both positive (e.g., social support) and negative (e.g., anxiety and depression) impacts of social media. Analyze the methodologies and findings of these studies.

Conclusion: Based on the analysis, conclude whether the overall impact is more beneficial or harmful, remaining neutral and presenting evidence without personal bias.

Maintain an objective and neutral tone throughout the paper.

Synthesize information from multiple sources, ensuring a comprehensive analysis.

Develop a clear thesis based on the findings from your analysis.

Avoid inserting personal opinions or biases.

C.Compare and Contrast Papers

Compare and contrast papers are used to analyze the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. The key characteristics include:

Purpose: To identify and examine the similarities and differences between two or more subjects, providing a comprehensive understanding of their relationship.

Structure: Can be organized in two ways:

Point-by-Point: Each paragraph covers a specific point of comparison or contrast.

Subject-by-Subject: Each subject is discussed separately, followed by a comparison or contrast.

Tone: Informative and balanced, aiming to provide a thorough and unbiased comparison.

Compare and contrast papers are suitable for topics where it is important to understand the distinctions and similarities between elements. They are commonly used in literature, history, and various comparative studies.

Topic: "Compare and contrast the leadership styles of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X."

Comparison Points: Philosophies (non-violence vs. militant activism), methods (peaceful protests vs. more radical approaches), and impacts on the Civil Rights Movement.

Analysis: Describe each leader's philosophy and method, then analyze how these influenced their effectiveness and legacy.

Conclusion: Summarize the key similarities and differences, and discuss how both leaders contributed uniquely to the movement.

Provide equal and balanced coverage to each subject.

Use clear criteria for comparison, ensuring logical and coherent analysis.

Highlight both similarities and differences, ensuring a nuanced understanding of the subjects.

Maintain an informative tone, focusing on objective analysis rather than personal preference.

How to Write A Research Paper [Higher Efficiency & Better Results]

Conduct Preliminary Research

Before we get started with the research, it's important to gather relevant information related to it. This process, also known as the primary research method, helps researchers gain preliminary knowledge about the topic and identify research gaps. Whenever I begin researching a topic, I usually utilize Google and Google Scholar. Another excellent resource for conducting primary research is campus libraries, as they provide a wealth of great articles that can assist with your research.

Now, let's see how WPS Office and AIPal can be great research partners:

Let's say that I have some PDFs which I have gathered from different sources. With WPS Office, these PDFs can be directly uploaded not just to extract key points but also to interact with the PDF with special help from WPS AI.

Step 1: Let's open the PDF article or research paper that we have downloaded on WPS Office.

Step 2: Now, click on the WPS AI widget at the top right corner of the screen.

Step 3: This will open the WPS PDF AI pane on the right side of the screen. Click on "Upload".

Step 4: Once the upload is complete, WPS PDF AI will return with the key points from the PDF article, which can then be copied to a fresh new document on WPS Writer.

Step 5: To interact further with the document, click on the "Inquiry" tab to talk with WPS AI and get more information on the contents of the PDF.

Research is incomplete without a Google search, but what exactly should you search for? AIPal can help you with these answers. AIPal is a Chrome extension that can help researchers make their Google searches and interactions with Chrome more effective and efficient. If you haven't installed AIPal on Chrome yet, go ahead and download the extension; it's completely free to use:

Step 1: Let's search for a term on Google related to our research.

Step 2: An AIPal widget will appear right next to the Google search bar, click on it.

Step 3: Upon clicking it, an AIPal window will pop up. In this window, you will find a more refined answer for your searched term, along with links most relevant to your search, providing a more refined search experience.

WPS AI can also be used to extract more information with the help of WPS Writer.

Step 1: We might have some information saved in a Word document, either from lectures or during preliminary research. We can use WPS AI within Writer to gain more insights.

Step 2: Select the entire text you want to summarize or understand better.

Step 3: Once the text is selected, a hover menu will appear. Click on the "WPS AI" icon in this menu.

Step 4: From the list of options, click on "Explain" to understand the content more deeply, or click on "Summarize" to shorten the paragraph.

Step 5: The results will be displayed in a small WPS AI window.

Develop the Thesis statement

To develop a strong thesis statement, start by formulating a central question your paper will address. For example, if your topic is about the impact of social media on mental health, your thesis statement might be:

"Social media use has a detrimental effect on mental health by increasing anxiety, depression, and loneliness among teenagers."

This statement is concise, contentious, and sets the stage for your research. With WPS AI, you can use the "Improve" feature to refine your thesis statement, ensuring it is clear, coherent, and impactful.

Write the First draft

Begin your first draft by focusing on maintaining forward momentum and clearly organizing your thoughts. Follow your outline as a guide, but be flexible if new ideas emerge. Here's a brief outline to get you started:

Using WPS AI’s "Make Longer" feature, you can quickly elaborate key ideas and points of your studies and articles into a descriptive format to include in your draft, saving time and ensuring clarity.

Compose Introduction, Body and Conclusion paragraphs

When writing a research paper, it’s essential to transform your key points into detailed, descriptive paragraphs. WPS AI can help you streamline this process by enhancing your key points, ensuring each section of your paper is well-developed and coherent. Here’s how you can use WPS AI to compose your introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs:

Let's return to the draft and start composing our introduction. The introduction should provide the background of the research paper and introduce readers to what the research paper will explore.

If your introduction feels too brief or lacks depth, use WPS AI’s "Make Longer" feature to expand on key points, adding necessary details and enhancing the overall narrative.

Once the introduction is completed, the next step is to start writing the body paragraphs and the conclusion of our research paper. Remember, the body paragraphs will incorporate everything about your research: methodologies, challenges, results, and takeaways.

If this paragraph is too lengthy or repetitive, WPS AI’s "Make Shorter" feature can help you condense it without losing essential information.

Write the Second Draft

In the second draft, refine your arguments, ensure logical flow, and check for clarity. Focus on eliminating any unnecessary information, ensuring each paragraph supports your thesis statement, and improving transitions between ideas. Incorporate feedback from peers or advisors, and ensure all citations are accurate and properly formatted. The second draft should be more polished and coherent, presenting your research in a clear and compelling manner.

WPS AI’s "Improve Writing" feature can be particularly useful here to enhance the overall quality and readability of your paper.

WPS Spellcheck can assist you in correcting spelling and grammatical errors, ensuring your paper is polished and professional. This tool helps you avoid common mistakes and enhances the readability of your paper, making a significant difference in the overall quality.

Bonus Tips: How to Get Inspiration for your Research Paper- WPS AI

WPS Office is a phenomenal office suite that students find to be a major blessing. Not only is it a free office suite equipped with advanced features that make it competitive in the market, but it also includes a powerful AI that automates and enhances many tasks, including writing a research paper. In addition to improving readability with its AI Proofreader tool, WPS AI offers two features, "Insight" and "Inquiry", that can help you gather information and inspiration for your research paper:

Insight Feature:

The Insight feature provides deep insights and information on various topics and fields. It analyzes literature to extract key viewpoints, trends, and research directions. For instance, if you're writing a research paper on the impact of social media on mental health, you can use the Insight feature to gather a comprehensive overview of the latest studies, key arguments, and emerging trends in this field. This helps you build a solid foundation for your paper and ensure you are covering all relevant aspects.

Inquiry Feature:

The Inquiry feature allows you to ask specific questions related to your research topic. This helps you gather necessary background information and refine your research focus effectively. For example, if you need detailed information on how social media usage affects teenagers' self-esteem, you can use the Inquiry feature to ask targeted questions and receive relevant answers based on the latest research.

FAQs about writing a research paper

1. can any source be used for academic research.

No, it's essential to use credible and relevant sources. Here is why:

Developing a Strong Argument: Your research paper relies on evidence to substantiate its claims. Using unreliable sources can undermine your argument and harm the credibility of your paper.

Avoiding Inaccurate Information: The internet is abundant with data, but not all sources can be considered reliable. Credible sources guarantee accuracy.

2. How can I avoid plagiarism?

To avoid plagiarism, follow these steps:

Keep Records of Your Sources: Maintain a record of all the sources you use while researching. This helps you remember where you found specific ideas or phrases and ensures proper attribution.

Quote and Paraphrase Correctly: When writing a paper, use quotation marks for exact words from a source and cite them properly. When paraphrasing, restate the idea in your own words and include a citation to acknowledge the original source.

Utilize a Plagiarism Checker: Use a plagiarism detection tool before submitting your paper. This will help identify unintentional plagiarism, ensuring your paper is original and properly referenced.

3. How can I cite sources properly?

Adhere to the citation style guide (e.g., APA, MLA) specified by your instructor or journal. Properly citing all sources both within the text and in the bibliography or references section is essential for maintaining academic integrity and providing clear credit to the original authors. This practice also helps readers locate and verify the sources you've used in your research.

4. How long should a research paper be?

The length of a research paper depends on its topic and specific requirements. Generally, research papers vary between 4,000 to 6,000 words, with shorter papers around 2,000 words and longer ones exceeding 10,000 words. Adhering to the length requirements provided for academic assignments is essential. More intricate subjects or extensive research often require more thorough explanations, which can impact the overall length of the paper.

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Statistics and Visuals

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Don't be afraid to use graphics. Statistics can contain a lot of information. Visuals can display a lot of information in a manner that can be quickly understood. The same thing applies to tables. For example:

It' s hard to read! Imagine trying to make sense of this. Instead, provide your data in a table for easy reading:

Group A Group B Group C Group D
Mean 10.5 12.3 15.9 21.3
S.D. 2.1 1.2 1.8 2.5

A table is much easier to read than blocks of text. It can help sort the information for both you and your readers. It also makes group comparisons easy. For example, suppose you want to point out to the reader the difference between group A and group D (perhaps this was a new weight training program comparing the number of 80 lbs. dumbbell reps).

Group B Group C
Mean 12.3 15.9
S.D. 1.2 1.8

Or, you could do this:

Group A Group B Group C Group D
Mean 10.5 * 12.3 15.9 21.3 *
S.D. 2.1 1.2 1.8 2.5

Don't be afraid to bold, use asterisks, or otherwise highlight important groups or comparisons.

Graphs are an excellent alternative to tables, and they are used by virtually everyone in every field. Papers and articles are like faces. Graphics are like makeup. Makeup is always good in small doses, but don't over apply, or you will end up looking worse than if you didn't use any make up at all. Use visuals, but be careful not to over use them. This is a good example of a visual using the data from the previous table:

Visual display of the tables presented earlier in the article—columns are displayed A-D.

Visual Graph of Data

Consider distributions of information for a moment. Imagine that we are teaching a class and displaying the students' first homework grades to the students for their benefit. This is one of the ways we could display their homework grades.

A graph with too much information - there are twenty small bars of color with no labels.

Poor example of a graph.

In this graph, each of these bars represents a student (each student gets a different color). This is an example of using too much make-up. While the graph does convey a lot of information, it is hard to read. The following graph is much better, and it actually gives you some useful information regarding the class:

Image that presents information in terms of percent of students who scored a 1-10, not by each student as above.

Better graph of student scores

Now we can clearly see that one person did really poorly, but that most people were clustered between 70-90%. In the first graph of student scores, we can't really 'see' the distribution, but in this second graph we have a much clearer image of the distribution of scores.

IMAGES

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COMMENTS

  1. Reporting Statistics in APA Style

    Formatting statistical terms. When reporting statistical results, present information in easily understandable ways.You can use a mix of text, tables, and figures to present data effectively when you have a lot of numbers to report. In your main text, use helpful words like "respectively" or "in order" to aid understanding when listing several statistics in a sequence.

  2. The Beginner's Guide to Statistical Analysis

    Step 1: Write your hypotheses and plan your research design. To collect valid data for statistical analysis, you first need to specify your hypotheses and plan out your research design. Writing statistical hypotheses. The goal of research is often to investigate a relationship between variables within a population. You start with a prediction ...

  3. Writing with Descriptive Statistics

    If you include statistics that many of your readers would not understand, consider adding the statistics in a footnote or appendix that explains it in more detail. This handout explains how to write with statistics including quick tips, writing descriptive statistics, writing inferential statistics, and using visuals with statistics.

  4. Introduction

    This handout contains the following information: Overview and Introduction: A brief introduction to statistics and how to write with them. Quick Tips: An overall list of dos and don'ts about writing statistics. Descriptive Statistics: Statistics that are used to describe data. Writing Descriptive Statistics: Tips on writing descriptive statistics.

  5. PDF Anatomy of a Statistics Paper (with examples)

    important writing you will do for the paper. IMHO your reader will either be interested and continuing on with your paper, or... A scholarly introduction is respectful of the literature. In my experience, the introduction is part of a paper that I will outline relatively early in the process, but will nish and repeatedly edit at the end of the ...

  6. How to Write Statistics Research Paper

    Prepare and add supporting materials that will help you illustrate findings: graphs, diagrams, charts, tables, etc. You can use them in a paper's body or add them as an appendix; these elements will support your points and serve as extra proof for your findings. Last but not least: Write a concluding paragraph for your statistics research paper.

  7. Numbers and Statistics

    Numbers & Statistics. Writers often need to discuss numbers and statistics in their manuscripts, and it can be a challenge to determine how to represent these in the most readable way. APA 7 contains detailed guidelines for how to write numbers and statistics, and the most common are listed below. These guidelines, however, are not exhaustive ...

  8. How to Write Statistics Research Paper

    How to write a statistics research paper: Steps. State the problem. Collect the data. Write an introductory paragraph. Craft an abstract. Describe your methodology. Present your findings: evaluate and illustrate. Revise and proofread. Takeaways.

  9. Statistics

    That is, if you find an essay that quotes a number of statistics in support of its argument, often the author of the essay is using someone else's data. Thus, you need to consider not only your source, but the author's sources as well. Writing statistics. As you write with statistics, remember your own experience as a reader of statistics.

  10. How To Write a Statistical Research Paper: Tips, Topics, Outline

    Explain the importance of what you are doing. You can also include suggestions for future work. Make sure to restate what you mentioned in the introduction and touch a little bit on the method used to collect and analyze your data. In short, sum up everything you've written in your essay.

  11. Descriptive Statistics

    Types of descriptive statistics. There are 3 main types of descriptive statistics: The distribution concerns the frequency of each value. The central tendency concerns the averages of the values. The variability or dispersion concerns how spread out the values are. You can apply these to assess only one variable at a time, in univariate ...

  12. How to Find Statistics for a Research Paper: 14 Steps

    Identifying the Data You Need. 1. Outline your points or arguments. Before you can figure out what kind of statistics you need, you should have a sense of what your research paper is about. A basic outline of the points you want to make or hypotheses you're trying to prove can help you narrow your focus. [3]

  13. How to Present Data and Statistics in Your Research Paper: Language

    This is the most important thing you can do. Keep your audience in mind. When you present your data and statistical results, think about how familiar your readers may be with the analysis and include the amount of detail needed for them to be comfortable 2 . Use tables and graphics to illustrate your results more clearly and make your writing ...

  14. How to Write a Research Paper

    First, provide a brief citation in the body of your essay. This is also known as a parenthetical or in-text citation. Second, include a full citation in the Reference list at the end of your paper. Different types of citations include in-text citations, footnotes, and reference lists.

  15. How To Write A Statistics Research Paper?

    Here you have to place the Methodology Section where you establish the methods of data collection and the results of it. Usually, all main graphs or charts are placed here as a way to convey the results. All additional materials are gathered in the appendices. The next paragraph of the paper will be the Evaluation of the gathered data. And that ...

  16. Descriptive Statistics

    Measures of Central Tendency and Other Commonly Used Descriptive Statistics. The mean, median, and the mode are all measures of central tendency. They attempt to describe what the typical data point might look like. In essence, they are all different forms of 'the average.'. When writing statistics, you never want to say 'average' because it is ...

  17. How to Write a Statistics Research Paper: A Complete Guide

    In this statistics research paper writing guide, we will cover all the factors that define whether your research paper succeeds or fails. Choice of Topic. This is, unmistakably, one of the most important stages of your work - a poorly chosen topic means harder work and worse results. That's why you cannot approach this step carelessly.

  18. How to Write a Research Paper

    Create a research paper outline. Write a first draft of the research paper. Write the introduction. Write a compelling body of text. Write the conclusion. The second draft. The revision process. Research paper checklist. Free lecture slides.

  19. PDF 7th Edition Numbers and Statistics Guide

    Numbers and Statistics Guide Numbers see Publication Manual Sections 6.32-6.35 for guidelines on using numerals vs. words • Use numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.) for the following: ° numbers 10 and above; see exceptions in the next section ° numbers used in statistics (e.g., 2.45, 3 times as many, 2 x 2 design) ° numbers used with units of ...

  20. Data Analysis in Research

    How to write Data analysis in Research. Data analysis is crucial for interpreting collected data and drawing meaningful conclusions. Follow these steps to write an effective data analysis section in your research. 1. Prepare Your Data. Ensure your data is clean and organized: Remove duplicates and irrelevant data. Check for errors and correct them.

  21. Writing with Inferential Statistics

    Note that different fields have their own way of writing with statistics—please refer to your field's style guide for specific guidelines. When using a complicated inferential procedure that your readers would be unfamiliar with, explain it. It may be necessary to go over it in detail. You may want to cite who used it first, and why they used ...

  22. Writing a Research Paper Introduction

    Step 1: Introduce your topic. Step 2: Describe the background. Step 3: Establish your research problem. Step 4: Specify your objective (s) Step 5: Map out your paper. Research paper introduction examples. Frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.

  23. How to Write a Research Paper [Steps & Examples]

    As a student, you are often required to complete numerous academic tasks, which can demand a lot of extra effort. Writing a research paper is one of these tasks. If researching for the topic isn't challenging enough, writing it down in a specific format adds another layer of difficulty. Having gone through this myself, I want to help you have a smoother journey in writing your research paper.

  24. How to Write a Research Paper Introduction in 4 Steps

    Steps to write a research paper introduction. By following the steps below, you can learn how to write an introduction for a research paper that helps readers "shake hands" with your topic. In each step, thinking about the answers to key questions can help you reach your readers. 1. Get your readers' attention

  25. Statistics and Visuals

    In the first graph of student scores, we can't really 'see' the distribution, but in this second graph we have a much clearer image of the distribution of scores. This handout explains how to write with statistics including quick tips, writing descriptive statistics, writing inferential statistics, and using visuals with statistics.