what is the benefits of writing research paper

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Benefits of Writing a Quality Research Paper

  • April 2, 2021

Benefits of Writing a Quality Research Paper

Contributed by ACHS alumni Melissa Abbott, MS, CPT, NC

Why It’s Important?

You have just been informed that you’re going to write a research paper, and you have no idea how you are going to start the writing process and develop a quality research paper. You may even doubt that you can take on such a challenge. I’m here today to say YES you absolutely can do this! The following writing tips and support strategies offered below are important incentives and motivations involved in the writing process, for your career, and future goals. The writing process involves your body, mind, and spirit. It is all included because you put all your energy and immerse your whole being into it.

Here’s the exciting part, can you imagine having your paper being read by several hundred maybe even thousands of other academic professionals, researchers, and scientists from around the world? It is one of the most incredible feelings to achieve a status of recognition from your hard work in research and the passion(s) you have in holistic health from your peers. Scientists, doctors, holistic professionals in every domain, researchers, collaborators looking for you, your knowledge, and expertise. Sound too good to be true, nope, it happened to me and I hope that it can happen for you too!

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The significant impact and support that I received in my first class at ACHS, RES501 : Assessment and Integration of Research Online, with Professor Dr. Nicole Betschman, was empowering. Dr. Betschman armed and mentored us with the best skills and writing techniques, coping strategies for our anxiety and doubts, and outlines to produce quality research and writing. However, she said one thing that stuck out in my mind throughout my studies at ACHS, register with an online platform where you can post your papers for others to read and get yourself noticed in your chosen field of interest. I did just that and since posting my very first paper to ResearchGate (researchgate.com), it has garnered over 1,000+ reads from others in my area of concentration who have emailed me to ask me questions, inquire about my future projects, and offers of potential future collaborations. [ View current Faculty supporting students in research studies. ]

Listed below are just a few of the many benefits to writing a quality research paper:

  • Recognition from peers in your field of work for all your hard work and showing pride for your academic institution.
  • Collaboration with others in your field of expertise from around the world and the potential for research jobs or job recruitment offers.
  • Opportunities for growing your business and career while contributing and supporting your field of interest.
  • A showcase of your accomplishments and research papers on your resume or curriculum vitae that highlights your chosen area of expertise to potential employers, clinical trials, and research collaborations.

Woman typing on computer with notebook next to her

How to start the writing process?

You may be asking yourself … where do I begin, how do I pick a topic, what do I research? Let me help by offering a few strategies or “tools” for your writing “toolbox” to get you in the headspace to explore these brainstorming questions.

1. Sit comfortably with a notebook, make a cup of tea, turn on a diffuser with a blend that promotes increased focus and cognitive awareness, put on some background music, create a space for exploration with little to no distraction, and remember to take several deep breaths during your research sessions. We tend to hold our breath when we’re deep in the research and writing process. This always helps refocus the brainstorming process as well as reduce your stress and anxiety accumulating in your body, mind, and spirit. I do understand these feelings and they can distract you from your best intentions.

what is the benefits of writing research paper

2. I highly recommend that you pick a topic and formulate your hypothesis on something you already know well, or an area of interest that supports your future career goals, or on a health condition a friend, family, or that you are challenged with; this is a great place to start. My first paper that received all the recognition came from years of personal experience which made the writing process so much easier. This takes so much of the anxiety away from picking a topic at random. If you are invested in the subject you will want to produce a quality paper with integrity that resulted from years of your experiences and knowledge. You are worth it!

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3. Time management is key to staying on task and your module assignments in class. I recommend blocking out two-hour intervals on your research then take a break, walk away, go outside, stretch, go for a walk, get a snack. This also permits you to do other things without getting anxious that you haven’t finished other tasks or responsibilities. These intermissions create more space to return with fresh eyes, mindset, and less tension in your body from sitting. Or even better yet, use a standing desk!

4. Creating a few folders; one on your desktop and one in your bookmarks, where you will collect and manage the content for each component of your research paper helps with the organization of each of the sections involved in a scholarly research paper. Then you can add multiple subfolders for each part of the paper. For example, I had a folder entitled, RES501 Thesis, then subfolders entitled Introduction, Methods, Discussion, Results, and Conclusions. I had one folder titled Notes so that I could cut and paste notes from the highlights taken from research articles and journals that help me to formulate my findings, data interpretations, and key points. One last thing that helped was keeping a file titled Books/Citations so they are all in one place and you don’t have to go looking for them afterward. Another way to decrease your anxiety and stress!

5. I also recommend creating two bookmarks to collect all the supportive websites, journals, and resource materials so you don’t have to look for them each time you need them. For example, I had one bookmark entitled, Research Platforms, where I had links to PubMed, Elsevier, Google Scholar, LIRN, Oxford, and BMC. Then I had a second one entitled, Writing Tools, where I had American Psychological Association (APA) publication manual, Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL), and citation checkers such as Citation Machine and Cite This For Me.

Shelf of library books

Keep all your supportive tools at your fingertips. Use highlights of different colors to capture the key points within the articles and journals you collect so you are less likely to forget where you read specific data to support your hypothesis. More importantly, it is my hope these tools and tips from personal experiences help support you on your writing adventure and the journey your academic career takes you. It is a very exciting time and it brings great opportunities for success, increased confidence, and empowers you to continue working hard at what you love.

When you find yourself in a writing slump, feel your anxiety increasing or you’re just having a bad day, it is okay to ask for help and support from your fellow peers, your professors, your home support team, they all want you to succeed. I want you to succeed and if you would like to discuss some strategies or need help from a fellow researcher please don’t hesitate to reach out and email me. I would be thrilled to help you produce the best paper you can while being true to yourself and your vision. Be well and happy writing!

Melissa Abbott

Earn an Accredited Online Degree. Click here to learn more.

References: [1] American Psychological Association (APA), (2021). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). Retrieved from https:// apastyle.apa.org/ products/publication-manual-7th-edition [2] Citation Machine® – write smarter. (n.d.). Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://www.citationmachine.net/ [3] Save time and improve your marks With CITETHISFORME, the No. 1 citation tool. (n.d.). Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://www.citethisforme.com/ [4] Purdue Writing Lab. (n.d.). Purdue owl // Purdue Writing lab. Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://owl.purdue.edu/ owl/purdue_owl.html

what is the benefits of writing research paper

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Research Method

Home » Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Research Paper

Research Paper

Definition:

Research Paper is a written document that presents the author’s original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue.

It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new knowledge or insights to a particular field of study, and to demonstrate the author’s understanding of the existing literature and theories related to the topic.

Structure of Research Paper

The structure of a research paper typically follows a standard format, consisting of several sections that convey specific information about the research study. The following is a detailed explanation of the structure of a research paper:

The title page contains the title of the paper, the name(s) of the author(s), and the affiliation(s) of the author(s). It also includes the date of submission and possibly, the name of the journal or conference where the paper is to be published.

The abstract is a brief summary of the research paper, typically ranging from 100 to 250 words. It should include the research question, the methods used, the key findings, and the implications of the results. The abstract should be written in a concise and clear manner to allow readers to quickly grasp the essence of the research.

Introduction

The introduction section of a research paper provides background information about the research problem, the research question, and the research objectives. It also outlines the significance of the research, the research gap that it aims to fill, and the approach taken to address the research question. Finally, the introduction section ends with a clear statement of the research hypothesis or research question.

Literature Review

The literature review section of a research paper provides an overview of the existing literature on the topic of study. It includes a critical analysis and synthesis of the literature, highlighting the key concepts, themes, and debates. The literature review should also demonstrate the research gap and how the current study seeks to address it.

The methods section of a research paper describes the research design, the sample selection, the data collection and analysis procedures, and the statistical methods used to analyze the data. This section should provide sufficient detail for other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the research, using tables, graphs, and figures to illustrate the data. The findings should be presented in a clear and concise manner, with reference to the research question and hypothesis.

The discussion section of a research paper interprets the findings and discusses their implications for the research question, the literature review, and the field of study. It should also address the limitations of the study and suggest future research directions.

The conclusion section summarizes the main findings of the study, restates the research question and hypothesis, and provides a final reflection on the significance of the research.

The references section provides a list of all the sources cited in the paper, following a specific citation style such as APA, MLA or Chicago.

How to Write Research Paper

You can write Research Paper by the following guide:

  • Choose a Topic: The first step is to select a topic that interests you and is relevant to your field of study. Brainstorm ideas and narrow down to a research question that is specific and researchable.
  • Conduct a Literature Review: The literature review helps you identify the gap in the existing research and provides a basis for your research question. It also helps you to develop a theoretical framework and research hypothesis.
  • Develop a Thesis Statement : The thesis statement is the main argument of your research paper. It should be clear, concise and specific to your research question.
  • Plan your Research: Develop a research plan that outlines the methods, data sources, and data analysis procedures. This will help you to collect and analyze data effectively.
  • Collect and Analyze Data: Collect data using various methods such as surveys, interviews, observations, or experiments. Analyze data using statistical tools or other qualitative methods.
  • Organize your Paper : Organize your paper into sections such as Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. Ensure that each section is coherent and follows a logical flow.
  • Write your Paper : Start by writing the introduction, followed by the literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. Ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and follows the required formatting and citation styles.
  • Edit and Proofread your Paper: Review your paper for grammar and spelling errors, and ensure that it is well-structured and easy to read. Ask someone else to review your paper to get feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  • Cite your Sources: Ensure that you properly cite all sources used in your research paper. This is essential for giving credit to the original authors and avoiding plagiarism.

Research Paper Example

Note : The below example research paper is for illustrative purposes only and is not an actual research paper. Actual research papers may have different structures, contents, and formats depending on the field of study, research question, data collection and analysis methods, and other factors. Students should always consult with their professors or supervisors for specific guidelines and expectations for their research papers.

Research Paper Example sample for Students:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health among Young Adults

Abstract: This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults. A literature review was conducted to examine the existing research on the topic. A survey was then administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Introduction: Social media has become an integral part of modern life, particularly among young adults. While social media has many benefits, including increased communication and social connectivity, it has also been associated with negative outcomes, such as addiction, cyberbullying, and mental health problems. This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults.

Literature Review: The literature review highlights the existing research on the impact of social media use on mental health. The review shows that social media use is associated with depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health problems. The review also identifies the factors that contribute to the negative impact of social media, including social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Methods : A survey was administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The survey included questions on social media use, mental health status (measured using the DASS-21), and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis.

Results : The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Discussion : The study’s findings suggest that social media use has a negative impact on the mental health of young adults. The study highlights the need for interventions that address the factors contributing to the negative impact of social media, such as social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Conclusion : In conclusion, social media use has a significant impact on the mental health of young adults. The study’s findings underscore the need for interventions that promote healthy social media use and address the negative outcomes associated with social media use. Future research can explore the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health. Additionally, longitudinal studies can investigate the long-term effects of social media use on mental health.

Limitations : The study has some limitations, including the use of self-report measures and a cross-sectional design. The use of self-report measures may result in biased responses, and a cross-sectional design limits the ability to establish causality.

Implications: The study’s findings have implications for mental health professionals, educators, and policymakers. Mental health professionals can use the findings to develop interventions that address the negative impact of social media use on mental health. Educators can incorporate social media literacy into their curriculum to promote healthy social media use among young adults. Policymakers can use the findings to develop policies that protect young adults from the negative outcomes associated with social media use.

References :

  • Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2019). Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Preventive medicine reports, 15, 100918.
  • Primack, B. A., Shensa, A., Escobar-Viera, C. G., Barrett, E. L., Sidani, J. E., Colditz, J. B., … & James, A. E. (2017). Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: A nationally-representative study among US young adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 1-9.
  • Van der Meer, T. G., & Verhoeven, J. W. (2017). Social media and its impact on academic performance of students. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 16, 383-398.

Appendix : The survey used in this study is provided below.

Social Media and Mental Health Survey

  • How often do you use social media per day?
  • Less than 30 minutes
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • 1 to 2 hours
  • 2 to 4 hours
  • More than 4 hours
  • Which social media platforms do you use?
  • Others (Please specify)
  • How often do you experience the following on social media?
  • Social comparison (comparing yourself to others)
  • Cyberbullying
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
  • Have you ever experienced any of the following mental health problems in the past month?
  • Do you think social media use has a positive or negative impact on your mental health?
  • Very positive
  • Somewhat positive
  • Somewhat negative
  • Very negative
  • In your opinion, which factors contribute to the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Social comparison
  • In your opinion, what interventions could be effective in reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Education on healthy social media use
  • Counseling for mental health problems caused by social media
  • Social media detox programs
  • Regulation of social media use

Thank you for your participation!

Applications of Research Paper

Research papers have several applications in various fields, including:

  • Advancing knowledge: Research papers contribute to the advancement of knowledge by generating new insights, theories, and findings that can inform future research and practice. They help to answer important questions, clarify existing knowledge, and identify areas that require further investigation.
  • Informing policy: Research papers can inform policy decisions by providing evidence-based recommendations for policymakers. They can help to identify gaps in current policies, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and inform the development of new policies and regulations.
  • Improving practice: Research papers can improve practice by providing evidence-based guidance for professionals in various fields, including medicine, education, business, and psychology. They can inform the development of best practices, guidelines, and standards of care that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • Educating students : Research papers are often used as teaching tools in universities and colleges to educate students about research methods, data analysis, and academic writing. They help students to develop critical thinking skills, research skills, and communication skills that are essential for success in many careers.
  • Fostering collaboration: Research papers can foster collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers by providing a platform for sharing knowledge and ideas. They can facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships that can lead to innovative solutions to complex problems.

When to Write Research Paper

Research papers are typically written when a person has completed a research project or when they have conducted a study and have obtained data or findings that they want to share with the academic or professional community. Research papers are usually written in academic settings, such as universities, but they can also be written in professional settings, such as research organizations, government agencies, or private companies.

Here are some common situations where a person might need to write a research paper:

  • For academic purposes: Students in universities and colleges are often required to write research papers as part of their coursework, particularly in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Writing research papers helps students to develop research skills, critical thinking skills, and academic writing skills.
  • For publication: Researchers often write research papers to publish their findings in academic journals or to present their work at academic conferences. Publishing research papers is an important way to disseminate research findings to the academic community and to establish oneself as an expert in a particular field.
  • To inform policy or practice : Researchers may write research papers to inform policy decisions or to improve practice in various fields. Research findings can be used to inform the development of policies, guidelines, and best practices that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • To share new insights or ideas: Researchers may write research papers to share new insights or ideas with the academic or professional community. They may present new theories, propose new research methods, or challenge existing paradigms in their field.

Purpose of Research Paper

The purpose of a research paper is to present the results of a study or investigation in a clear, concise, and structured manner. Research papers are written to communicate new knowledge, ideas, or findings to a specific audience, such as researchers, scholars, practitioners, or policymakers. The primary purposes of a research paper are:

  • To contribute to the body of knowledge : Research papers aim to add new knowledge or insights to a particular field or discipline. They do this by reporting the results of empirical studies, reviewing and synthesizing existing literature, proposing new theories, or providing new perspectives on a topic.
  • To inform or persuade: Research papers are written to inform or persuade the reader about a particular issue, topic, or phenomenon. They present evidence and arguments to support their claims and seek to persuade the reader of the validity of their findings or recommendations.
  • To advance the field: Research papers seek to advance the field or discipline by identifying gaps in knowledge, proposing new research questions or approaches, or challenging existing assumptions or paradigms. They aim to contribute to ongoing debates and discussions within a field and to stimulate further research and inquiry.
  • To demonstrate research skills: Research papers demonstrate the author’s research skills, including their ability to design and conduct a study, collect and analyze data, and interpret and communicate findings. They also demonstrate the author’s ability to critically evaluate existing literature, synthesize information from multiple sources, and write in a clear and structured manner.

Characteristics of Research Paper

Research papers have several characteristics that distinguish them from other forms of academic or professional writing. Here are some common characteristics of research papers:

  • Evidence-based: Research papers are based on empirical evidence, which is collected through rigorous research methods such as experiments, surveys, observations, or interviews. They rely on objective data and facts to support their claims and conclusions.
  • Structured and organized: Research papers have a clear and logical structure, with sections such as introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. They are organized in a way that helps the reader to follow the argument and understand the findings.
  • Formal and objective: Research papers are written in a formal and objective tone, with an emphasis on clarity, precision, and accuracy. They avoid subjective language or personal opinions and instead rely on objective data and analysis to support their arguments.
  • Citations and references: Research papers include citations and references to acknowledge the sources of information and ideas used in the paper. They use a specific citation style, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Peer-reviewed: Research papers are often peer-reviewed, which means they are evaluated by other experts in the field before they are published. Peer-review ensures that the research is of high quality, meets ethical standards, and contributes to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Objective and unbiased: Research papers strive to be objective and unbiased in their presentation of the findings. They avoid personal biases or preconceptions and instead rely on the data and analysis to draw conclusions.

Advantages of Research Paper

Research papers have many advantages, both for the individual researcher and for the broader academic and professional community. Here are some advantages of research papers:

  • Contribution to knowledge: Research papers contribute to the body of knowledge in a particular field or discipline. They add new information, insights, and perspectives to existing literature and help advance the understanding of a particular phenomenon or issue.
  • Opportunity for intellectual growth: Research papers provide an opportunity for intellectual growth for the researcher. They require critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, which can help develop the researcher’s skills and knowledge.
  • Career advancement: Research papers can help advance the researcher’s career by demonstrating their expertise and contributions to the field. They can also lead to new research opportunities, collaborations, and funding.
  • Academic recognition: Research papers can lead to academic recognition in the form of awards, grants, or invitations to speak at conferences or events. They can also contribute to the researcher’s reputation and standing in the field.
  • Impact on policy and practice: Research papers can have a significant impact on policy and practice. They can inform policy decisions, guide practice, and lead to changes in laws, regulations, or procedures.
  • Advancement of society: Research papers can contribute to the advancement of society by addressing important issues, identifying solutions to problems, and promoting social justice and equality.

Limitations of Research Paper

Research papers also have some limitations that should be considered when interpreting their findings or implications. Here are some common limitations of research papers:

  • Limited generalizability: Research findings may not be generalizable to other populations, settings, or contexts. Studies often use specific samples or conditions that may not reflect the broader population or real-world situations.
  • Potential for bias : Research papers may be biased due to factors such as sample selection, measurement errors, or researcher biases. It is important to evaluate the quality of the research design and methods used to ensure that the findings are valid and reliable.
  • Ethical concerns: Research papers may raise ethical concerns, such as the use of vulnerable populations or invasive procedures. Researchers must adhere to ethical guidelines and obtain informed consent from participants to ensure that the research is conducted in a responsible and respectful manner.
  • Limitations of methodology: Research papers may be limited by the methodology used to collect and analyze data. For example, certain research methods may not capture the complexity or nuance of a particular phenomenon, or may not be appropriate for certain research questions.
  • Publication bias: Research papers may be subject to publication bias, where positive or significant findings are more likely to be published than negative or non-significant findings. This can skew the overall findings of a particular area of research.
  • Time and resource constraints: Research papers may be limited by time and resource constraints, which can affect the quality and scope of the research. Researchers may not have access to certain data or resources, or may be unable to conduct long-term studies due to practical limitations.

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what is the benefits of writing research paper

How to Write a Research Paper

Use the links below to jump directly to any section of this guide:

Research Paper Fundamentals

How to choose a topic or question, how to create a working hypothesis or thesis, common research paper methodologies, how to gather and organize evidence , how to write an outline for your research paper, how to write a rough draft, how to revise your draft, how to produce a final draft, resources for teachers .

It is not fair to say that no one writes anymore. Just about everyone writes text messages, brief emails, or social media posts every single day. Yet, most people don't have a lot of practice with the formal, organized writing required for a good academic research paper. This guide contains links to a variety of resources that can help demystify the process. Some of these resources are intended for teachers; they contain exercises, activities, and teaching strategies. Other resources are intended for direct use by students who are struggling to write papers, or are looking for tips to make the process go more smoothly.

The resources in this section are designed to help students understand the different types of research papers, the general research process, and how to manage their time. Below, you'll find links from university writing centers, the trusted Purdue Online Writing Lab, and more.

What is an Academic Research Paper?

"Genre and the Research Paper" (Purdue OWL)

There are different types of research papers. Different types of scholarly questions will lend themselves to one format or another. This is a brief introduction to the two main genres of research paper: analytic and argumentative. 

"7 Most Popular Types of Research Papers" (Personal-writer.com)

This resource discusses formats that high school students commonly encounter, such as the compare and contrast essay and the definitional essay. Please note that the inclusion of this link is not an endorsement of this company's paid service.

How to Prepare and Plan Out Writing a Research Paper

Teachers can give their students a step-by-step guide like these to help them understand the different steps of the research paper process. These guides can be combined with the time management tools in the next subsection to help students come up with customized calendars for completing their papers.

"Ten Steps for Writing Research Papers" (American University)  

This resource from American University is a comprehensive guide to the research paper writing process, and includes examples of proper research questions and thesis topics.

"Steps in Writing a Research Paper" (SUNY Empire State College)

This guide breaks the research paper process into 11 steps. Each "step" links to a separate page, which describes the work entailed in completing it.

How to Manage Time Effectively

The links below will help students determine how much time is necessary to complete a paper. If your sources are not available online or at your local library, you'll need to leave extra time for the Interlibrary Loan process. Remember that, even if you do not need to consult secondary sources, you'll still need to leave yourself ample time to organize your thoughts.

"Research Paper Planner: Timeline" (Baylor University)

This interactive resource from Baylor University creates a suggested writing schedule based on how much time a student has to work on the assignment.

"Research Paper Planner" (UCLA)

UCLA's library offers this step-by-step guide to the research paper writing process, which also includes a suggested planning calendar.

There's a reason teachers spend a long time talking about choosing a good topic. Without a good topic and a well-formulated research question, it is almost impossible to write a clear and organized paper. The resources below will help you generate ideas and formulate precise questions.

"How to Select a Research Topic" (Univ. of Michigan-Flint)

This resource is designed for college students who are struggling to come up with an appropriate topic. A student who uses this resource and still feels unsure about his or her topic should consult the course instructor for further personalized assistance.

"25 Interesting Research Paper Topics to Get You Started" (Kibin)

This resource, which is probably most appropriate for high school students, provides a list of specific topics to help get students started. It is broken into subsections, such as "paper topics on local issues."

"Writing a Good Research Question" (Grand Canyon University)

This introduction to research questions includes some embedded videos, as well as links to scholarly articles on research questions. This resource would be most appropriate for teachers who are planning lessons on research paper fundamentals.

"How to Write a Research Question the Right Way" (Kibin)

This student-focused resource provides more detail on writing research questions. The language is accessible, and there are embedded videos and examples of good and bad questions.

It is important to have a rough hypothesis or thesis in mind at the beginning of the research process. People who have a sense of what they want to say will have an easier time sorting through scholarly sources and other information. The key, of course, is not to become too wedded to the draft hypothesis or thesis. Just about every working thesis gets changed during the research process.

CrashCourse Video: "Sociology Research Methods" (YouTube)

Although this video is tailored to sociology students, it is applicable to students in a variety of social science disciplines. This video does a good job demonstrating the connection between the brainstorming that goes into selecting a research question and the formulation of a working hypothesis.

"How to Write a Thesis Statement for an Analytical Essay" (YouTube)

Students writing analytical essays will not develop the same type of working hypothesis as students who are writing research papers in other disciplines. For these students, developing the working thesis may happen as a part of the rough draft (see the relevant section below). 

"Research Hypothesis" (Oakland Univ.)

This resource provides some examples of hypotheses in social science disciplines like Political Science and Criminal Justice. These sample hypotheses may also be useful for students in other soft social sciences and humanities disciplines like History.

When grading a research paper, instructors look for a consistent methodology. This section will help you understand different methodological approaches used in research papers. Students will get the most out of these resources if they use them to help prepare for conversations with teachers or discussions in class.

"Types of Research Designs" (USC)

A "research design," used for complex papers, is related to the paper's method. This resource contains introductions to a variety of popular research designs in the social sciences. Although it is not the most intuitive site to read, the information here is very valuable. 

"Major Research Methods" (YouTube)

Although this video is a bit on the dry side, it provides a comprehensive overview of the major research methodologies in a format that might be more accessible to students who have struggled with textbooks or other written resources.

"Humanities Research Strategies" (USC)

This is a portal where students can learn about four methodological approaches for humanities papers: Historical Methodologies, Textual Criticism, Conceptual Analysis, and the Synoptic method.

"Selected Major Social Science Research Methods: Overview" (National Academies Press)

This appendix from the book  Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy , printed by National Academies Press, introduces some methods used in social science papers.

"Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: 6. The Methodology" (USC)

This resource from the University of Southern California's library contains tips for writing a methodology section in a research paper.

How to Determine the Best Methodology for You

Anyone who is new to writing research papers should be sure to select a method in consultation with their instructor. These resources can be used to help prepare for that discussion. They may also be used on their own by more advanced students.

"Choosing Appropriate Research Methodologies" (Palgrave Study Skills)

This friendly and approachable resource from Palgrave Macmillan can be used by students who are just starting to think about appropriate methodologies.

"How to Choose Your Research Methods" (NFER (UK))

This is another approachable resource students can use to help narrow down the most appropriate methods for their research projects.

The resources in this section introduce the process of gathering scholarly sources and collecting evidence. You'll find a range of material here, from introductory guides to advanced explications best suited to college students. Please consult the LitCharts  How to Do Academic Research guide for a more comprehensive list of resources devoted to finding scholarly literature.

Google Scholar

Students who have access to library websites with detailed research guides should start there, but people who do not have access to those resources can begin their search for secondary literature here.

"Gathering Appropriate Information" (Texas Gateway)

This resource from the Texas Gateway for online resources introduces students to the research process, and contains interactive exercises. The level of complexity is suitable for middle school, high school, and introductory college classrooms.

"An Overview of Quantitative and Qualitative Data Collection Methods" (NSF)

This PDF from the National Science Foundation goes into detail about best practices and pitfalls in data collection across multiple types of methodologies.

"Social Science Methods for Data Collection and Analysis" (Swiss FIT)

This resource is appropriate for advanced undergraduates or teachers looking to create lessons on research design and data collection. It covers techniques for gathering data via interviews, observations, and other methods.

"Collecting Data by In-depth Interviewing" (Leeds Univ.)

This resource contains enough information about conducting interviews to make it useful for teachers who want to create a lesson plan, but is also accessible enough for college juniors or seniors to make use of it on their own.

There is no "one size fits all" outlining technique. Some students might devote all their energy and attention to the outline in order to avoid the paper. Other students may benefit from being made to sit down and organize their thoughts into a lengthy sentence outline. The resources in this section include strategies and templates for multiple types of outlines. 

"Topic vs. Sentence Outlines" (UC Berkeley)

This resource introduces two basic approaches to outlining: the shorter topic-based approach, and the longer, more detailed sentence-based approach. This resource also contains videos on how to develop paper paragraphs from the sentence-based outline.

"Types of Outlines and Samples" (Purdue OWL)

The Purdue Online Writing Lab's guide is a slightly less detailed discussion of different types of outlines. It contains several sample outlines.

"Writing An Outline" (Austin C.C.)

This resource from a community college contains sample outlines from an American history class that students can use as models.

"How to Structure an Outline for a College Paper" (YouTube)

This brief (sub-2 minute) video from the ExpertVillage YouTube channel provides a model of outline writing for students who are struggling with the idea.

"Outlining" (Harvard)

This is a good resource to consult after completing a draft outline. It offers suggestions for making sure your outline avoids things like unnecessary repetition.

As with outlines, rough drafts can take on many different forms. These resources introduce teachers and students to the various approaches to writing a rough draft. This section also includes resources that will help you cite your sources appropriately according to the MLA, Chicago, and APA style manuals.

"Creating a Rough Draft for a Research Paper" (Univ. of Minnesota)

This resource is useful for teachers in particular, as it provides some suggested exercises to help students with writing a basic rough draft. 

Rough Draft Assignment (Duke of Definition)

This sample assignment, with a brief list of tips, was developed by a high school teacher who runs a very successful and well-reviewed page of educational resources.

"Creating the First Draft of Your Research Paper" (Concordia Univ.)

This resource will be helpful for perfectionists or procrastinators, as it opens by discussing the problem of avoiding writing. It also provides a short list of suggestions meant to get students writing.

Using Proper Citations

There is no such thing as a rough draft of a scholarly citation. These links to the three major citation guides will ensure that your citations follow the correct format. Please consult the LitCharts How to Cite Your Sources guide for more resources.

Chicago Manual of Style Citation Guide

Some call  The Chicago Manual of Style , which was first published in 1906, "the editors' Bible." The manual is now in its 17th edition, and is popular in the social sciences, historical journals, and some other fields in the humanities.

APA Citation Guide

According to the American Psychological Association, this guide was developed to aid reading comprehension, clarity of communication, and to reduce bias in language in the social and behavioral sciences. Its first full edition was published in 1952, and it is now in its sixth edition.

MLA Citation Guide

The Modern Language Association style is used most commonly within the liberal arts and humanities. The  MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing  was first published in 1985 and (as of 2008) is in its third edition.

Any professional scholar will tell you that the best research papers are made in the revision stage. No matter how strong your research question or working thesis, it is not possible to write a truly outstanding paper without devoting energy to revision. These resources provide examples of revision exercises for the classroom, as well as tips for students working independently.

"The Art of Revision" (Univ. of Arizona)

This resource provides a wealth of information and suggestions for both students and teachers. There is a list of suggested exercises that teachers might use in class, along with a revision checklist that is useful for teachers and students alike.

"Script for Workshop on Revision" (Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt's guide for leading a 50-minute revision workshop can serve as a model for teachers who wish to guide students through the revision process during classtime. 

"Revising Your Paper" (Univ. of Washington)

This detailed handout was designed for students who are beginning the revision process. It discusses different approaches and methods for revision, and also includes a detailed list of things students should look for while they revise.

"Revising Drafts" (UNC Writing Center)

This resource is designed for students and suggests things to look for during the revision process. It provides steps for the process and has a FAQ for students who have questions about why it is important to revise.

Conferencing with Writing Tutors and Instructors

No writer is so good that he or she can't benefit from meeting with instructors or peer tutors. These resources from university writing, learning, and communication centers provide suggestions for how to get the most out of these one-on-one meetings.

"Getting Feedback" (UNC Writing Center)

This very helpful resource talks about how to ask for feedback during the entire writing process. It contains possible questions that students might ask when developing an outline, during the revision process, and after the final draft has been graded.

"Prepare for Your Tutoring Session" (Otis College of Art and Design)

This guide from a university's student learning center contains a lot of helpful tips for getting the most out of working with a writing tutor.

"The Importance of Asking Your Professor" (Univ. of Waterloo)

This article from the university's Writing and Communication Centre's blog contains some suggestions for how and when to get help from professors and Teaching Assistants.

Once you've revised your first draft, you're well on your way to handing in a polished paper. These resources—each of them produced by writing professionals at colleges and universities—outline the steps required in order to produce a final draft. You'll find proofreading tips and checklists in text and video form.

"Developing a Final Draft of a Research Paper" (Univ. of Minnesota)

While this resource contains suggestions for revision, it also features a couple of helpful checklists for the last stages of completing a final draft.

Basic Final Draft Tips and Checklist (Univ. of Maryland-University College)

This short and accessible resource, part of UMUC's very thorough online guide to writing and research, contains a very basic checklist for students who are getting ready to turn in their final drafts.

Final Draft Checklist (Everett C.C.)

This is another accessible final draft checklist, appropriate for both high school and college students. It suggests reading your essay aloud at least once.

"How to Proofread Your Final Draft" (YouTube)

This video (approximately 5 minutes), produced by Eastern Washington University, gives students tips on proofreading final drafts.

"Proofreading Tips" (Georgia Southern-Armstrong)

This guide will help students learn how to spot common errors in their papers. It suggests focusing on content and editing for grammar and mechanics.

This final set of resources is intended specifically for high school and college instructors. It provides links to unit plans and classroom exercises that can help improve students' research and writing skills. You'll find resources that give an overview of the process, along with activities that focus on how to begin and how to carry out research. 

"Research Paper Complete Resources Pack" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This packet of assignments, rubrics, and other resources is designed for high school students. The resources in this packet are aligned to Common Core standards.

"Research Paper—Complete Unit" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This packet of assignments, notes, PowerPoints, and other resources has a 4/4 rating with over 700 ratings. It is designed for high school teachers, but might also be useful to college instructors who work with freshmen.

"Teaching Students to Write Good Papers" (Yale)

This resource from Yale's Center for Teaching and Learning is designed for college instructors, and it includes links to appropriate activities and exercises.

"Research Paper Writing: An Overview" (CUNY Brooklyn)

CUNY Brooklyn offers this complete lesson plan for introducing students to research papers. It includes an accompanying set of PowerPoint slides.

"Lesson Plan: How to Begin Writing a Research Paper" (San Jose State Univ.)

This lesson plan is designed for students in the health sciences, so teachers will have to modify it for their own needs. It includes a breakdown of the brainstorming, topic selection, and research question process. 

"Quantitative Techniques for Social Science Research" (Univ. of Pittsburgh)

This is a set of PowerPoint slides that can be used to introduce students to a variety of quantitative methods used in the social sciences.

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A Practical Guide to Writing Quantitative and Qualitative Research Questions and Hypotheses in Scholarly Articles

Edward barroga.

1 Department of General Education, Graduate School of Nursing Science, St. Luke’s International University, Tokyo, Japan.

Glafera Janet Matanguihan

2 Department of Biological Sciences, Messiah University, Mechanicsburg, PA, USA.

The development of research questions and the subsequent hypotheses are prerequisites to defining the main research purpose and specific objectives of a study. Consequently, these objectives determine the study design and research outcome. The development of research questions is a process based on knowledge of current trends, cutting-edge studies, and technological advances in the research field. Excellent research questions are focused and require a comprehensive literature search and in-depth understanding of the problem being investigated. Initially, research questions may be written as descriptive questions which could be developed into inferential questions. These questions must be specific and concise to provide a clear foundation for developing hypotheses. Hypotheses are more formal predictions about the research outcomes. These specify the possible results that may or may not be expected regarding the relationship between groups. Thus, research questions and hypotheses clarify the main purpose and specific objectives of the study, which in turn dictate the design of the study, its direction, and outcome. Studies developed from good research questions and hypotheses will have trustworthy outcomes with wide-ranging social and health implications.

INTRODUCTION

Scientific research is usually initiated by posing evidenced-based research questions which are then explicitly restated as hypotheses. 1 , 2 The hypotheses provide directions to guide the study, solutions, explanations, and expected results. 3 , 4 Both research questions and hypotheses are essentially formulated based on conventional theories and real-world processes, which allow the inception of novel studies and the ethical testing of ideas. 5 , 6

It is crucial to have knowledge of both quantitative and qualitative research 2 as both types of research involve writing research questions and hypotheses. 7 However, these crucial elements of research are sometimes overlooked; if not overlooked, then framed without the forethought and meticulous attention it needs. Planning and careful consideration are needed when developing quantitative or qualitative research, particularly when conceptualizing research questions and hypotheses. 4

There is a continuing need to support researchers in the creation of innovative research questions and hypotheses, as well as for journal articles that carefully review these elements. 1 When research questions and hypotheses are not carefully thought of, unethical studies and poor outcomes usually ensue. Carefully formulated research questions and hypotheses define well-founded objectives, which in turn determine the appropriate design, course, and outcome of the study. This article then aims to discuss in detail the various aspects of crafting research questions and hypotheses, with the goal of guiding researchers as they develop their own. Examples from the authors and peer-reviewed scientific articles in the healthcare field are provided to illustrate key points.

DEFINITIONS AND RELATIONSHIP OF RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND HYPOTHESES

A research question is what a study aims to answer after data analysis and interpretation. The answer is written in length in the discussion section of the paper. Thus, the research question gives a preview of the different parts and variables of the study meant to address the problem posed in the research question. 1 An excellent research question clarifies the research writing while facilitating understanding of the research topic, objective, scope, and limitations of the study. 5

On the other hand, a research hypothesis is an educated statement of an expected outcome. This statement is based on background research and current knowledge. 8 , 9 The research hypothesis makes a specific prediction about a new phenomenon 10 or a formal statement on the expected relationship between an independent variable and a dependent variable. 3 , 11 It provides a tentative answer to the research question to be tested or explored. 4

Hypotheses employ reasoning to predict a theory-based outcome. 10 These can also be developed from theories by focusing on components of theories that have not yet been observed. 10 The validity of hypotheses is often based on the testability of the prediction made in a reproducible experiment. 8

Conversely, hypotheses can also be rephrased as research questions. Several hypotheses based on existing theories and knowledge may be needed to answer a research question. Developing ethical research questions and hypotheses creates a research design that has logical relationships among variables. These relationships serve as a solid foundation for the conduct of the study. 4 , 11 Haphazardly constructed research questions can result in poorly formulated hypotheses and improper study designs, leading to unreliable results. Thus, the formulations of relevant research questions and verifiable hypotheses are crucial when beginning research. 12

CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND HYPOTHESES

Excellent research questions are specific and focused. These integrate collective data and observations to confirm or refute the subsequent hypotheses. Well-constructed hypotheses are based on previous reports and verify the research context. These are realistic, in-depth, sufficiently complex, and reproducible. More importantly, these hypotheses can be addressed and tested. 13

There are several characteristics of well-developed hypotheses. Good hypotheses are 1) empirically testable 7 , 10 , 11 , 13 ; 2) backed by preliminary evidence 9 ; 3) testable by ethical research 7 , 9 ; 4) based on original ideas 9 ; 5) have evidenced-based logical reasoning 10 ; and 6) can be predicted. 11 Good hypotheses can infer ethical and positive implications, indicating the presence of a relationship or effect relevant to the research theme. 7 , 11 These are initially developed from a general theory and branch into specific hypotheses by deductive reasoning. In the absence of a theory to base the hypotheses, inductive reasoning based on specific observations or findings form more general hypotheses. 10

TYPES OF RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND HYPOTHESES

Research questions and hypotheses are developed according to the type of research, which can be broadly classified into quantitative and qualitative research. We provide a summary of the types of research questions and hypotheses under quantitative and qualitative research categories in Table 1 .

Research questions in quantitative research

In quantitative research, research questions inquire about the relationships among variables being investigated and are usually framed at the start of the study. These are precise and typically linked to the subject population, dependent and independent variables, and research design. 1 Research questions may also attempt to describe the behavior of a population in relation to one or more variables, or describe the characteristics of variables to be measured ( descriptive research questions ). 1 , 5 , 14 These questions may also aim to discover differences between groups within the context of an outcome variable ( comparative research questions ), 1 , 5 , 14 or elucidate trends and interactions among variables ( relationship research questions ). 1 , 5 We provide examples of descriptive, comparative, and relationship research questions in quantitative research in Table 2 .

Hypotheses in quantitative research

In quantitative research, hypotheses predict the expected relationships among variables. 15 Relationships among variables that can be predicted include 1) between a single dependent variable and a single independent variable ( simple hypothesis ) or 2) between two or more independent and dependent variables ( complex hypothesis ). 4 , 11 Hypotheses may also specify the expected direction to be followed and imply an intellectual commitment to a particular outcome ( directional hypothesis ) 4 . On the other hand, hypotheses may not predict the exact direction and are used in the absence of a theory, or when findings contradict previous studies ( non-directional hypothesis ). 4 In addition, hypotheses can 1) define interdependency between variables ( associative hypothesis ), 4 2) propose an effect on the dependent variable from manipulation of the independent variable ( causal hypothesis ), 4 3) state a negative relationship between two variables ( null hypothesis ), 4 , 11 , 15 4) replace the working hypothesis if rejected ( alternative hypothesis ), 15 explain the relationship of phenomena to possibly generate a theory ( working hypothesis ), 11 5) involve quantifiable variables that can be tested statistically ( statistical hypothesis ), 11 6) or express a relationship whose interlinks can be verified logically ( logical hypothesis ). 11 We provide examples of simple, complex, directional, non-directional, associative, causal, null, alternative, working, statistical, and logical hypotheses in quantitative research, as well as the definition of quantitative hypothesis-testing research in Table 3 .

Research questions in qualitative research

Unlike research questions in quantitative research, research questions in qualitative research are usually continuously reviewed and reformulated. The central question and associated subquestions are stated more than the hypotheses. 15 The central question broadly explores a complex set of factors surrounding the central phenomenon, aiming to present the varied perspectives of participants. 15

There are varied goals for which qualitative research questions are developed. These questions can function in several ways, such as to 1) identify and describe existing conditions ( contextual research question s); 2) describe a phenomenon ( descriptive research questions ); 3) assess the effectiveness of existing methods, protocols, theories, or procedures ( evaluation research questions ); 4) examine a phenomenon or analyze the reasons or relationships between subjects or phenomena ( explanatory research questions ); or 5) focus on unknown aspects of a particular topic ( exploratory research questions ). 5 In addition, some qualitative research questions provide new ideas for the development of theories and actions ( generative research questions ) or advance specific ideologies of a position ( ideological research questions ). 1 Other qualitative research questions may build on a body of existing literature and become working guidelines ( ethnographic research questions ). Research questions may also be broadly stated without specific reference to the existing literature or a typology of questions ( phenomenological research questions ), may be directed towards generating a theory of some process ( grounded theory questions ), or may address a description of the case and the emerging themes ( qualitative case study questions ). 15 We provide examples of contextual, descriptive, evaluation, explanatory, exploratory, generative, ideological, ethnographic, phenomenological, grounded theory, and qualitative case study research questions in qualitative research in Table 4 , and the definition of qualitative hypothesis-generating research in Table 5 .

Qualitative studies usually pose at least one central research question and several subquestions starting with How or What . These research questions use exploratory verbs such as explore or describe . These also focus on one central phenomenon of interest, and may mention the participants and research site. 15

Hypotheses in qualitative research

Hypotheses in qualitative research are stated in the form of a clear statement concerning the problem to be investigated. Unlike in quantitative research where hypotheses are usually developed to be tested, qualitative research can lead to both hypothesis-testing and hypothesis-generating outcomes. 2 When studies require both quantitative and qualitative research questions, this suggests an integrative process between both research methods wherein a single mixed-methods research question can be developed. 1

FRAMEWORKS FOR DEVELOPING RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND HYPOTHESES

Research questions followed by hypotheses should be developed before the start of the study. 1 , 12 , 14 It is crucial to develop feasible research questions on a topic that is interesting to both the researcher and the scientific community. This can be achieved by a meticulous review of previous and current studies to establish a novel topic. Specific areas are subsequently focused on to generate ethical research questions. The relevance of the research questions is evaluated in terms of clarity of the resulting data, specificity of the methodology, objectivity of the outcome, depth of the research, and impact of the study. 1 , 5 These aspects constitute the FINER criteria (i.e., Feasible, Interesting, Novel, Ethical, and Relevant). 1 Clarity and effectiveness are achieved if research questions meet the FINER criteria. In addition to the FINER criteria, Ratan et al. described focus, complexity, novelty, feasibility, and measurability for evaluating the effectiveness of research questions. 14

The PICOT and PEO frameworks are also used when developing research questions. 1 The following elements are addressed in these frameworks, PICOT: P-population/patients/problem, I-intervention or indicator being studied, C-comparison group, O-outcome of interest, and T-timeframe of the study; PEO: P-population being studied, E-exposure to preexisting conditions, and O-outcome of interest. 1 Research questions are also considered good if these meet the “FINERMAPS” framework: Feasible, Interesting, Novel, Ethical, Relevant, Manageable, Appropriate, Potential value/publishable, and Systematic. 14

As we indicated earlier, research questions and hypotheses that are not carefully formulated result in unethical studies or poor outcomes. To illustrate this, we provide some examples of ambiguous research question and hypotheses that result in unclear and weak research objectives in quantitative research ( Table 6 ) 16 and qualitative research ( Table 7 ) 17 , and how to transform these ambiguous research question(s) and hypothesis(es) into clear and good statements.

a These statements were composed for comparison and illustrative purposes only.

b These statements are direct quotes from Higashihara and Horiuchi. 16

a This statement is a direct quote from Shimoda et al. 17

The other statements were composed for comparison and illustrative purposes only.

CONSTRUCTING RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND HYPOTHESES

To construct effective research questions and hypotheses, it is very important to 1) clarify the background and 2) identify the research problem at the outset of the research, within a specific timeframe. 9 Then, 3) review or conduct preliminary research to collect all available knowledge about the possible research questions by studying theories and previous studies. 18 Afterwards, 4) construct research questions to investigate the research problem. Identify variables to be accessed from the research questions 4 and make operational definitions of constructs from the research problem and questions. Thereafter, 5) construct specific deductive or inductive predictions in the form of hypotheses. 4 Finally, 6) state the study aims . This general flow for constructing effective research questions and hypotheses prior to conducting research is shown in Fig. 1 .

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Research questions are used more frequently in qualitative research than objectives or hypotheses. 3 These questions seek to discover, understand, explore or describe experiences by asking “What” or “How.” The questions are open-ended to elicit a description rather than to relate variables or compare groups. The questions are continually reviewed, reformulated, and changed during the qualitative study. 3 Research questions are also used more frequently in survey projects than hypotheses in experiments in quantitative research to compare variables and their relationships.

Hypotheses are constructed based on the variables identified and as an if-then statement, following the template, ‘If a specific action is taken, then a certain outcome is expected.’ At this stage, some ideas regarding expectations from the research to be conducted must be drawn. 18 Then, the variables to be manipulated (independent) and influenced (dependent) are defined. 4 Thereafter, the hypothesis is stated and refined, and reproducible data tailored to the hypothesis are identified, collected, and analyzed. 4 The hypotheses must be testable and specific, 18 and should describe the variables and their relationships, the specific group being studied, and the predicted research outcome. 18 Hypotheses construction involves a testable proposition to be deduced from theory, and independent and dependent variables to be separated and measured separately. 3 Therefore, good hypotheses must be based on good research questions constructed at the start of a study or trial. 12

In summary, research questions are constructed after establishing the background of the study. Hypotheses are then developed based on the research questions. Thus, it is crucial to have excellent research questions to generate superior hypotheses. In turn, these would determine the research objectives and the design of the study, and ultimately, the outcome of the research. 12 Algorithms for building research questions and hypotheses are shown in Fig. 2 for quantitative research and in Fig. 3 for qualitative research.

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EXAMPLES OF RESEARCH QUESTIONS FROM PUBLISHED ARTICLES

  • EXAMPLE 1. Descriptive research question (quantitative research)
  • - Presents research variables to be assessed (distinct phenotypes and subphenotypes)
  • “BACKGROUND: Since COVID-19 was identified, its clinical and biological heterogeneity has been recognized. Identifying COVID-19 phenotypes might help guide basic, clinical, and translational research efforts.
  • RESEARCH QUESTION: Does the clinical spectrum of patients with COVID-19 contain distinct phenotypes and subphenotypes? ” 19
  • EXAMPLE 2. Relationship research question (quantitative research)
  • - Shows interactions between dependent variable (static postural control) and independent variable (peripheral visual field loss)
  • “Background: Integration of visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive sensations contributes to postural control. People with peripheral visual field loss have serious postural instability. However, the directional specificity of postural stability and sensory reweighting caused by gradual peripheral visual field loss remain unclear.
  • Research question: What are the effects of peripheral visual field loss on static postural control ?” 20
  • EXAMPLE 3. Comparative research question (quantitative research)
  • - Clarifies the difference among groups with an outcome variable (patients enrolled in COMPERA with moderate PH or severe PH in COPD) and another group without the outcome variable (patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH))
  • “BACKGROUND: Pulmonary hypertension (PH) in COPD is a poorly investigated clinical condition.
  • RESEARCH QUESTION: Which factors determine the outcome of PH in COPD?
  • STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: We analyzed the characteristics and outcome of patients enrolled in the Comparative, Prospective Registry of Newly Initiated Therapies for Pulmonary Hypertension (COMPERA) with moderate or severe PH in COPD as defined during the 6th PH World Symposium who received medical therapy for PH and compared them with patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) .” 21
  • EXAMPLE 4. Exploratory research question (qualitative research)
  • - Explores areas that have not been fully investigated (perspectives of families and children who receive care in clinic-based child obesity treatment) to have a deeper understanding of the research problem
  • “Problem: Interventions for children with obesity lead to only modest improvements in BMI and long-term outcomes, and data are limited on the perspectives of families of children with obesity in clinic-based treatment. This scoping review seeks to answer the question: What is known about the perspectives of families and children who receive care in clinic-based child obesity treatment? This review aims to explore the scope of perspectives reported by families of children with obesity who have received individualized outpatient clinic-based obesity treatment.” 22
  • EXAMPLE 5. Relationship research question (quantitative research)
  • - Defines interactions between dependent variable (use of ankle strategies) and independent variable (changes in muscle tone)
  • “Background: To maintain an upright standing posture against external disturbances, the human body mainly employs two types of postural control strategies: “ankle strategy” and “hip strategy.” While it has been reported that the magnitude of the disturbance alters the use of postural control strategies, it has not been elucidated how the level of muscle tone, one of the crucial parameters of bodily function, determines the use of each strategy. We have previously confirmed using forward dynamics simulations of human musculoskeletal models that an increased muscle tone promotes the use of ankle strategies. The objective of the present study was to experimentally evaluate a hypothesis: an increased muscle tone promotes the use of ankle strategies. Research question: Do changes in the muscle tone affect the use of ankle strategies ?” 23

EXAMPLES OF HYPOTHESES IN PUBLISHED ARTICLES

  • EXAMPLE 1. Working hypothesis (quantitative research)
  • - A hypothesis that is initially accepted for further research to produce a feasible theory
  • “As fever may have benefit in shortening the duration of viral illness, it is plausible to hypothesize that the antipyretic efficacy of ibuprofen may be hindering the benefits of a fever response when taken during the early stages of COVID-19 illness .” 24
  • “In conclusion, it is plausible to hypothesize that the antipyretic efficacy of ibuprofen may be hindering the benefits of a fever response . The difference in perceived safety of these agents in COVID-19 illness could be related to the more potent efficacy to reduce fever with ibuprofen compared to acetaminophen. Compelling data on the benefit of fever warrant further research and review to determine when to treat or withhold ibuprofen for early stage fever for COVID-19 and other related viral illnesses .” 24
  • EXAMPLE 2. Exploratory hypothesis (qualitative research)
  • - Explores particular areas deeper to clarify subjective experience and develop a formal hypothesis potentially testable in a future quantitative approach
  • “We hypothesized that when thinking about a past experience of help-seeking, a self distancing prompt would cause increased help-seeking intentions and more favorable help-seeking outcome expectations .” 25
  • “Conclusion
  • Although a priori hypotheses were not supported, further research is warranted as results indicate the potential for using self-distancing approaches to increasing help-seeking among some people with depressive symptomatology.” 25
  • EXAMPLE 3. Hypothesis-generating research to establish a framework for hypothesis testing (qualitative research)
  • “We hypothesize that compassionate care is beneficial for patients (better outcomes), healthcare systems and payers (lower costs), and healthcare providers (lower burnout). ” 26
  • Compassionomics is the branch of knowledge and scientific study of the effects of compassionate healthcare. Our main hypotheses are that compassionate healthcare is beneficial for (1) patients, by improving clinical outcomes, (2) healthcare systems and payers, by supporting financial sustainability, and (3) HCPs, by lowering burnout and promoting resilience and well-being. The purpose of this paper is to establish a scientific framework for testing the hypotheses above . If these hypotheses are confirmed through rigorous research, compassionomics will belong in the science of evidence-based medicine, with major implications for all healthcare domains.” 26
  • EXAMPLE 4. Statistical hypothesis (quantitative research)
  • - An assumption is made about the relationship among several population characteristics ( gender differences in sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of adults with ADHD ). Validity is tested by statistical experiment or analysis ( chi-square test, Students t-test, and logistic regression analysis)
  • “Our research investigated gender differences in sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of adults with ADHD in a Japanese clinical sample. Due to unique Japanese cultural ideals and expectations of women's behavior that are in opposition to ADHD symptoms, we hypothesized that women with ADHD experience more difficulties and present more dysfunctions than men . We tested the following hypotheses: first, women with ADHD have more comorbidities than men with ADHD; second, women with ADHD experience more social hardships than men, such as having less full-time employment and being more likely to be divorced.” 27
  • “Statistical Analysis
  • ( text omitted ) Between-gender comparisons were made using the chi-squared test for categorical variables and Students t-test for continuous variables…( text omitted ). A logistic regression analysis was performed for employment status, marital status, and comorbidity to evaluate the independent effects of gender on these dependent variables.” 27

EXAMPLES OF HYPOTHESIS AS WRITTEN IN PUBLISHED ARTICLES IN RELATION TO OTHER PARTS

  • EXAMPLE 1. Background, hypotheses, and aims are provided
  • “Pregnant women need skilled care during pregnancy and childbirth, but that skilled care is often delayed in some countries …( text omitted ). The focused antenatal care (FANC) model of WHO recommends that nurses provide information or counseling to all pregnant women …( text omitted ). Job aids are visual support materials that provide the right kind of information using graphics and words in a simple and yet effective manner. When nurses are not highly trained or have many work details to attend to, these job aids can serve as a content reminder for the nurses and can be used for educating their patients (Jennings, Yebadokpo, Affo, & Agbogbe, 2010) ( text omitted ). Importantly, additional evidence is needed to confirm how job aids can further improve the quality of ANC counseling by health workers in maternal care …( text omitted )” 28
  • “ This has led us to hypothesize that the quality of ANC counseling would be better if supported by job aids. Consequently, a better quality of ANC counseling is expected to produce higher levels of awareness concerning the danger signs of pregnancy and a more favorable impression of the caring behavior of nurses .” 28
  • “This study aimed to examine the differences in the responses of pregnant women to a job aid-supported intervention during ANC visit in terms of 1) their understanding of the danger signs of pregnancy and 2) their impression of the caring behaviors of nurses to pregnant women in rural Tanzania.” 28
  • EXAMPLE 2. Background, hypotheses, and aims are provided
  • “We conducted a two-arm randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate and compare changes in salivary cortisol and oxytocin levels of first-time pregnant women between experimental and control groups. The women in the experimental group touched and held an infant for 30 min (experimental intervention protocol), whereas those in the control group watched a DVD movie of an infant (control intervention protocol). The primary outcome was salivary cortisol level and the secondary outcome was salivary oxytocin level.” 29
  • “ We hypothesize that at 30 min after touching and holding an infant, the salivary cortisol level will significantly decrease and the salivary oxytocin level will increase in the experimental group compared with the control group .” 29
  • EXAMPLE 3. Background, aim, and hypothesis are provided
  • “In countries where the maternal mortality ratio remains high, antenatal education to increase Birth Preparedness and Complication Readiness (BPCR) is considered one of the top priorities [1]. BPCR includes birth plans during the antenatal period, such as the birthplace, birth attendant, transportation, health facility for complications, expenses, and birth materials, as well as family coordination to achieve such birth plans. In Tanzania, although increasing, only about half of all pregnant women attend an antenatal clinic more than four times [4]. Moreover, the information provided during antenatal care (ANC) is insufficient. In the resource-poor settings, antenatal group education is a potential approach because of the limited time for individual counseling at antenatal clinics.” 30
  • “This study aimed to evaluate an antenatal group education program among pregnant women and their families with respect to birth-preparedness and maternal and infant outcomes in rural villages of Tanzania.” 30
  • “ The study hypothesis was if Tanzanian pregnant women and their families received a family-oriented antenatal group education, they would (1) have a higher level of BPCR, (2) attend antenatal clinic four or more times, (3) give birth in a health facility, (4) have less complications of women at birth, and (5) have less complications and deaths of infants than those who did not receive the education .” 30

Research questions and hypotheses are crucial components to any type of research, whether quantitative or qualitative. These questions should be developed at the very beginning of the study. Excellent research questions lead to superior hypotheses, which, like a compass, set the direction of research, and can often determine the successful conduct of the study. Many research studies have floundered because the development of research questions and subsequent hypotheses was not given the thought and meticulous attention needed. The development of research questions and hypotheses is an iterative process based on extensive knowledge of the literature and insightful grasp of the knowledge gap. Focused, concise, and specific research questions provide a strong foundation for constructing hypotheses which serve as formal predictions about the research outcomes. Research questions and hypotheses are crucial elements of research that should not be overlooked. They should be carefully thought of and constructed when planning research. This avoids unethical studies and poor outcomes by defining well-founded objectives that determine the design, course, and outcome of the study.

Disclosure: The authors have no potential conflicts of interest to disclose.

Author Contributions:

  • Conceptualization: Barroga E, Matanguihan GJ.
  • Methodology: Barroga E, Matanguihan GJ.
  • Writing - original draft: Barroga E, Matanguihan GJ.
  • Writing - review & editing: Barroga E, Matanguihan GJ.

what is the benefits of writing research paper

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Uncovering the Benefits of Research Papers for Students

Research papers have been a mainstay of university education for decades, but their true value is often overlooked. This article aims to shed light on the ways in which research papers can be beneficial to students’ learning experiences and academic success. From providing an opportunity for deep exploration into particular topics, to giving students vital experience with scholarly writing conventions, this paper will demonstrate how research assignments aid in developing skills that are invaluable both during and after college-level study. The importance of such tasks cannot be underestimated; they offer great rewards if taken seriously by those willing to invest time and effort into producing quality work.

1. Introduction to the Benefits of Research Papers for Students

2. advantages of research paper writing in enhancing cognitive development, 3. developing analytical skills through research paper writing, 4. facilitating information retention and recall through structured academic assignments, 5. building effective communication strategies with comprehensive analysis outputs, 6. broadening worldview perspectives by exploring new sources of knowledge, 7. conclusion: merits and implications of engaging in purposeful research activity.

An Essential Tool for Student Success

Research papers are a powerful tool for students, providing them with the opportunity to apply and extend their knowledge of their subject matter in concrete ways. Writing research papers helps cultivate vital skills like critical thinking, evaluating evidence, synthesis of ideas and information gathering. Additionally, when it comes to academic success in any field – both undergraduate and graduate studies – researchers agree that having a few solid research projects under your belt is essential.

When done well and thoroughly investigated from different angles, completing an effective research paper allows students to not only present fresh new ideas but also gain valuable experience in effectively communicating those ideas through written communication. It also gives the student practice at delving deeply into one particular topic; this can be invaluable if they decide to continue on their path into higher education or even eventually pursue postgraduate degrees such as doctoral programs. The ability to think critically about what constitutes valid sources of data — including books or journals articles — will serve all students well throughout their educational journeys.

Writing research papers can offer a range of positive cognitive benefits for students, such as improved critical thinking skills, better decision making abilities and more well-rounded knowledge. It also enables students to become familiar with the way that scientific evidence is used to support arguments and conclusions.

  • Strengthening writing proficiency: In this type of academic paper, the quality of writing plays an essential role in its success. Research paper allows students to craft their own content by utilizing sources from reliable authors or journals; they can build on them through their own interpretation or assessment. Additionally, it gives scope for practicing grammar rules and exploring various types of argumentation.
  • Refining analytical capacities: In order to write a successful research paper one has to engage with multiple disciplines related data – which require different methods for collection & analysis – while developing strong organizational skills at the same time. All these tasks put together helps increase analytical capabilities among students.

Fostering Analytical Thinking

  • Composing research papers can give students the chance to hone their analytical skills. As they gain experience in crafting these documents, learners build a comprehensive set of abilities that are useful for any academic or professional pursuit.

By writing research papers, students must develop an understanding of how to sort through large amounts of information and select only what is relevant. This requires keen discernment as well as attention to detail. Additionally, when creating arguments supported by evidence from reliable sources such as peer-reviewed journal articles, students learn how to make persuasive statements while also being objective and impartial. All these capacities help equip them with sophisticated critical thinking skills necessary not just for advanced study but also for life beyond university.

  • In addition to enhancing analytical thought processes, preparing research projects gives pupils the opportunity delve deep into topics they may find interesting yet have never been able explore before.

Investigating new areas allows college scholars broaden their horizons further than course materials provide; this encourages independent inquiry and creative problem solving–essential qualities employers seek out in potential employees who demonstrate resourcefulness on the job even without instructions or supervision. These assets developed through researching for paper assignments often prove essential both personally and professionally down the road.

To ensure that students are equipped with the best tools to enhance information retention and recall, it is important to assign structured academic assignments. By engaging in research papers for instance, students can develop various skills such as understanding complex concepts through critical analysis. Additionally, this will help them cultivate a strong foundation for synthesizing large amounts of data.

  • Research Papers:

Writing research papers provides an invaluable opportunity for students to hone their analytical thinking capabilities while also strengthening their writing aptitude. Research-based activities encourage deep engagement with materials which can enable better assimilation of facts and improve one’s capacity for remembering acquired knowledge over longer periods of time. It is essential that teachers provide comprehensive guidance when assigning such tasks; enabling learners by providing exemplar templates or samples helps facilitate success within the class setting. Ultimately, allowing pupils some creative freedom within project specifications encourages independent exploration and experimentation – fostering meaningful connections between existing resources and freshly discovered material thus enhancing information retrieval processes further down the line.

Developing efficient communication strategies requires comprehensive analysis outputs. Having accurate data to understand customer preferences, behaviors, and market trends is essential for any organization or individual hoping to achieve success. Research papers provide students with the latest information on emerging topics of interest in their field of study as well as deep insights into specific areas.

  • Research Papers : Being up-to-date with new technologies, current developments in research and innovative solutions are key components when constructing effective communication strategies. Research papers help students gain knowledge about a particular subject matter by presenting facts and evidence from reliable sources.
  • Analysis Outputs : Analysis outputs involve gathering relevant data related to a topic and analyzing them systematically through graphs, charts, tables etc., enabling readers to draw meaningful conclusions. Such rigorous processes provide students insight into complex phenomena that allow them to develop well thought out opinions which can be used for planning various aspects such as marketing campaigns.

As students move further into their educational journeys, one of the most crucial steps for them to take is that of broadening and deepening their worldview perspectives. By exploring new sources of knowledge – such as books from diverse authors, magazines in foreign languages, or research papers on contemporary topics – they can gain a more comprehensive understanding of how people think across different countries and cultures.

  • Books: A great way to begin is with reading books from authors around the world. This will help young minds develop an appreciation for stories outside their own experiences while also providing insights into different ways of life through fiction and non-fiction pieces alike.
  • Magazines: Periodicals are another source that offer vibrant takes on culture both at home and abroad. Reading articles penned by international journalists about events happening in far-away places can be extremely eye opening — as can studying periodicals published by those living in other nations.

Moreover, researching scientific journals or even entire academic fields related to global issues adds layers upon layers of learning opportunities for students looking to expand their viewpoints. For instance ,if a student has an interest in economics ,they could look up recent research papers dedicated to economic trends within emerging markets like India or Brazil. . Such pursuits have real implications too; not only do they provide newfound perspective but also give students tangible skills which may come useful during job applications later down the line.

Advocating a Sense of Purpose Purposeful research activity can be an invaluable tool for student success in the world beyond academia. Engaging with research not only encourages students to deepen their knowledge within a subject, but also challenges them to develop valuable skills that may have wider implications throughout their lives. By engaging with purposeful activities, students are better equipped to think critically and form well-thought out conclusions; such capabilities help bolster confidence in decision making and equip them with the tools needed for successful futures.

Furthermore, by investing time and effort into researching a particular topic or idea, students come away from this experience armed with new facts which they may use during job interviews when applying for university courses or internships. Moreover, it helps motivate young adults towards establishing ambitions while honing an array of competencies such as communication abilities: both written through crafting detailed essays on pertinent topics at hand as well as verbal through articulating complex ideas effectively whilst debating opinions within peers.

  • It encourages individuals to go deeper than just surface level information.
  • Provides insight into how academic concepts translate into real life applications.

Therefore, engaging in meaningful research activities provides numerous rewards; these comprise intellectual stimulation and professional growth that ultimately serves countless potential benefits including uncovering previously unknown career paths and developing critical thinking abilities necessary in all aspects of modern society.

In conclusion, research papers can be incredibly beneficial to students. Not only do they foster creativity and provide opportunities for exploration of a given subject in-depth, but also help improve writing skills, increase critical thinking abilities, and aid in the development of communication skills. Furthermore, through their ability to highlight personal strengths and weaknesses while exploring topics from various angles or perspectives depending on the student’s interest level or aptitude allows them to have greater control over their learning experience. Ultimately then this highlights that with careful guidance by instructors or supervisors during the process of researching paper writing can serve as an effective form of learning that has great potential benefit for any student seeking further growth academically.

What Is a Research Paper?

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Olivia Valdes was the Associate Editorial Director for ThoughtCo. She worked with Dotdash Meredith from 2017 to 2021.

what is the benefits of writing research paper

  • B.A., American Studies, Yale University

A research paper is a common form of academic writing . Research papers require students and academics to locate information about a topic (that is, to conduct research ), take a stand on that topic, and provide support (or evidence) for that position in an organized report.

The term research paper may also refer to a scholarly article that contains the results of original research or an evaluation of research conducted by others. Most scholarly articles must undergo a process of peer review before they can be accepted for publication in an academic journal.

Define Your Research Question

The first step in writing a research paper is defining your research question . Has your instructor assigned a specific topic? If so, great—you've got this step covered. If not, review the guidelines of the assignment. Your instructor has likely provided several general subjects for your consideration. Your research paper should focus on a specific angle on one of these subjects. Spend some time mulling over your options before deciding which one you'd like to explore more deeply.

Try to choose a research question that interests you. The research process is time-consuming, and you'll be significantly more motivated if you have a genuine desire to learn more about the topic. You should also consider whether you have access to all of the resources necessary to conduct thorough research on your topic, such as primary and secondary sources .

Create a Research Strategy 

Approach the research process systematically by creating a research strategy. First, review your library's website. What resources are available? Where will you find them? Do any resources require a special process to gain access? Start gathering those resources—especially those that may be difficult to access—as soon as possible.

Second, make an appointment with a reference librarian . A reference librarian is nothing short of a research superhero. He or she will listen to your research question, offer suggestions for how to focus your research, and direct you toward valuable sources that directly relate to your topic.

Evaluate Sources

Now that you've gathered a wide array of sources, it's time to evaluate them. First, consider the reliability of the information. Where is the information coming from? What is the origin of the source? Second, assess the  relevance  of the information. How does this information relate to your research question? Does it support, refute, or add context to your position? How does it relate to the other sources you'll be using in your paper? Once you have determined that your sources are both reliable and relevant, you can proceed confidently to the writing phase. 

Why Write Research Papers? 

The research process is one of the most taxing academic tasks you'll be asked to complete. Luckily, the value of writing a research paper goes beyond that A+ you hope to receive. Here are just some of the benefits of research papers. 

  • Learning Scholarly Conventions:  Writing a research paper is a crash course in the stylistic conventions of scholarly writing. During the research and writing process, you'll learn how to document your research, cite sources appropriately, format an academic paper, maintain an academic tone, and more.
  • Organizing Information: In a way, research is nothing more than a massive organizational project. The information available to you is near-infinite, and it's your job to review that information, narrow it down, categorize it, and present it in a clear, relevant format. This process requires attention to detail and major brainpower.
  • Managing Time: Research papers put your time management  skills to the test. Every step of the research and writing process takes time, and it's up to you to set aside the time you'll need to complete each step of the task. Maximize your efficiency by creating a research schedule and inserting blocks of "research time" into your calendar as soon as you receive the assignment. 
  • Exploring Your Chosen Subject:  We couldn't forget the best part of research papers—learning about something that truly excites you. No matter what topic you choose, you're bound to come away from the research process with new ideas and countless nuggets of fascinating information. 

The best research papers are the result of genuine interest and a thorough research process. With these ideas in mind, go forth and research. Welcome to the scholarly conversation!

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7 Powerful Tips for Writing a Research Paper

Embarking on the journey of writing a research paper can be both exciting and daunting. To help navigate this process effectively, incorporating powerful tips can make a significant difference in the quality and efficiency of your work. In this guide, we will explore seven key strategies that can elevate your research paper writing skills to new heights. From structuring your paper to conducting thorough research and refining your writing style, each tip is designed to empower you in crafting a compelling and well-researched document. Whether you are a seasoned researcher or a student new to the world of academic writing, these tips are tailored to enhance your approach and ensure that your research paper stands out. By implementing these strategies, you can streamline your writing process, improve the clarity of your arguments, and ultimately produce a paper that is both engaging and impactful. Let’s delve into these seven powerful tips that will set you on the path to research paper success.

Strategies for Writing a Research Paper

Writing a research paper is a fundamental aspect of academic life, requiring a blend of critical thinking, research skills, and effective communication. To excel in this task, it is crucial to employ effective strategies that not only enhance the quality of your paper but also streamline the writing process. One of the most vital strategies is setting realistic timeframes and word limits. By allocating specific timeframes for research, outlining, drafting, and revising, you can ensure that each stage receives adequate attention and that you do not rush through any crucial step. Moreover, establishing word limits for each section can help maintain focus and conciseness, ensuring that your paper is clear and to the point.

Leveraging AI Tools

Leveraging AI tools can significantly boost your research paper writing process. AI tools can assist in various ways, such as generating topic ideas, conducting in-depth research, and even suggesting relevant sources. Additionally, these tools can aid in citation management, ensuring that your paper adheres to the required formatting style. By incorporating AI into your workflow, you can save time on manual tasks and allocate more energy to the actual writing and analysis.

Creating a Structured Outline

Creating a structured outline is another indispensable strategy for writing a research paper. An outline serves as a roadmap, guiding you through the logical progression of your arguments and ensuring that your paper maintains a coherent structure. It can also help you identify any gaps in your research or arguments early on, allowing you to address them before delving into the writing process. Furthermore, an outline provides a visual representation of your paper, making it easier to rearrange sections or add new insights as needed.

Seeking Feedback and Revising

To further enhance the quality of your research paper, consider seeking feedback from peers or mentors. Constructive criticism can help you identify blind spots, refine your arguments, and improve the overall clarity of your paper. Additionally, revisiting and revising your paper multiple times can uncover hidden errors or inconsistencies, ensuring that your final submission is polished and professional. By implementing these strategies and continuously refining your writing process, you can elevate the quality of your research papers and become a more proficient academic writer.

Writing a Research Paper: A Comprehensive Guide

Writing a research paper is a fundamental aspect of academic life, requiring a systematic approach to ensure a well-structured and well-researched final product. The process involves several key steps that, when followed diligently, can lead to a successful outcome. Let’s delve deeper into the key steps in the research paper writing process:.

Conducting In-Depth Research

Research forms the backbone of any good research paper. It is essential to delve deep into the chosen topic, explore various perspectives, and gather a wide range of sources to support your arguments. Utilize academic databases, libraries, and credible online sources to gather relevant information. Taking detailed notes during this phase can help in organizing your thoughts and ideas effectively.

Drafting and Revising Your Paper

Once you have gathered ample research material, it’s time to start drafting your paper. Begin by creating a clear and concise outline that outlines the main sections of your paper and the key points you want to address. Use this outline as a roadmap to guide your writing process. When drafting the paper, focus on presenting your ideas logically and coherently. After completing the initial draft, take time to revise and refine your work. Pay attention to the overall structure, clarity of arguments, and the flow of ideas. Revising multiple times is crucial to ensure that your paper is well-polished and effectively communicates your research findings.

Ensuring Proper Formatting and Citations

Proper formatting and accurate citations are essential components of a research paper. Different academic disciplines follow specific formatting styles such as APA, MLA, Chicago, or Harvard. It is important to familiarize yourself with the requirements of the chosen style guide and apply them consistently throughout your paper. In addition to formatting, citing all sources used in your paper is crucial to avoid plagiarism and give credit to the original authors. Include both in-text citations within the body of your paper and a detailed bibliography or works cited page at the end.

Reviewing and Proofreading

Before finalizing your research paper, it is imperative to review it thoroughly for any errors or inconsistencies. Proofread the entire document for grammatical mistakes, typos, and formatting issues. Additionally, consider seeking feedback from peers, professors, or academic mentors to gain valuable insights and suggestions for improvement. Taking the time to review and refine your paper can significantly enhance its quality and credibility.

By following these key steps diligently, you can navigate the research paper writing process with confidence and produce a high-quality paper that demonstrates your research skills and academic prowess.

Tips for Enhancing Your Research Paper

When it comes to enhancing your research paper, there are several key tips to keep in mind. Firstly, it is crucial to avoid procrastination and last-minute rushes. By starting your research early and setting aside dedicated time for each stage of the writing process, you can ensure that you have ample time to conduct thorough research and refine your arguments. Procrastination often leads to rushed work, which can compromise the quality of your paper and result in overlooked errors. Setting a realistic timeline with milestones can help you stay on track and manage your time effectively.

Seeking Feedback and Clarifications

Seeking feedback and clarifications from your peers, professors, or academic advisors is another essential step in the research paper writing process. Constructive criticism can help you identify blind spots in your paper and improve its overall quality. Moreover, engaging in discussions with others can provide fresh perspectives and insights that you may have overlooked. It is important to approach feedback with an open mind and be willing to make revisions based on the suggestions you receive.

Maintaining Academic Integrity

Additionally, maintaining academic integrity is paramount in any research endeavor. Always cite your sources properly, avoid plagiarism, and adhere to ethical guidelines in your research. Academic integrity not only upholds the credibility of your work but also respects the intellectual contributions of others. Furthermore, consider the ethical implications of your research and ensure that your methods and findings are presented transparently.

Thorough Literature Review

To further enhance your research paper, consider the importance of a thorough literature review. A comprehensive literature review not only demonstrates your understanding of the existing research in your field but also helps you identify gaps where your study can contribute. Make sure to critically analyze and synthesize the literature to provide a solid foundation for your research.

Paper Organization and Structure

Additionally, pay attention to the organization and structure of your paper. A well-structured paper with clear headings, subheadings, and a logical flow of ideas can make it easier for readers to follow your arguments. Don’t forget to proofread your paper multiple times to catch any grammatical errors, typos, or formatting issues.

Visual Presentation

Lastly, consider the visual presentation of your paper. Utilize graphs, charts, and tables where appropriate to enhance the clarity of your data and findings. Remember, a visually appealing and well-organized research paper can leave a lasting impression on your readers and reviewers, ultimately contributing to the overall impact of your work.

Mastering the art of writing a compelling research paper involves implementing these 7 powerful tips. Remember, clarity, organization, and precision are key elements in crafting a successful academic paper. To further enhance your skills in scientific writing, consider honing your abstract writing abilities. Visit. How to Write a Scientific Abstract For a detailed guide on creating impactful abstracts that engage readers and effectively summarize your research findings. Strengthen your academic writing prowess by practicing and refining your abstract-writing skills. Happy writing!.

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13.1 Formatting a Research Paper

Learning objectives.

  • Identify the major components of a research paper written using American Psychological Association (APA) style.
  • Apply general APA style and formatting conventions in a research paper.

In this chapter, you will learn how to use APA style , the documentation and formatting style followed by the American Psychological Association, as well as MLA style , from the Modern Language Association. There are a few major formatting styles used in academic texts, including AMA, Chicago, and Turabian:

  • AMA (American Medical Association) for medicine, health, and biological sciences
  • APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the social sciences
  • Chicago—a common style used in everyday publications like magazines, newspapers, and books
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) for English, literature, arts, and humanities
  • Turabian—another common style designed for its universal application across all subjects and disciplines

While all the formatting and citation styles have their own use and applications, in this chapter we focus our attention on the two styles you are most likely to use in your academic studies: APA and MLA.

If you find that the rules of proper source documentation are difficult to keep straight, you are not alone. Writing a good research paper is, in and of itself, a major intellectual challenge. Having to follow detailed citation and formatting guidelines as well may seem like just one more task to add to an already-too-long list of requirements.

Following these guidelines, however, serves several important purposes. First, it signals to your readers that your paper should be taken seriously as a student’s contribution to a given academic or professional field; it is the literary equivalent of wearing a tailored suit to a job interview. Second, it shows that you respect other people’s work enough to give them proper credit for it. Finally, it helps your reader find additional materials if he or she wishes to learn more about your topic.

Furthermore, producing a letter-perfect APA-style paper need not be burdensome. Yes, it requires careful attention to detail. However, you can simplify the process if you keep these broad guidelines in mind:

  • Work ahead whenever you can. Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” includes tips for keeping track of your sources early in the research process, which will save time later on.
  • Get it right the first time. Apply APA guidelines as you write, so you will not have much to correct during the editing stage. Again, putting in a little extra time early on can save time later.
  • Use the resources available to you. In addition to the guidelines provided in this chapter, you may wish to consult the APA website at http://www.apa.org or the Purdue University Online Writing lab at http://owl.english.purdue.edu , which regularly updates its online style guidelines.

General Formatting Guidelines

This chapter provides detailed guidelines for using the citation and formatting conventions developed by the American Psychological Association, or APA. Writers in disciplines as diverse as astrophysics, biology, psychology, and education follow APA style. The major components of a paper written in APA style are listed in the following box.

These are the major components of an APA-style paper:

Body, which includes the following:

  • Headings and, if necessary, subheadings to organize the content
  • In-text citations of research sources
  • References page

All these components must be saved in one document, not as separate documents.

The title page of your paper includes the following information:

  • Title of the paper
  • Author’s name
  • Name of the institution with which the author is affiliated
  • Header at the top of the page with the paper title (in capital letters) and the page number (If the title is lengthy, you may use a shortened form of it in the header.)

List the first three elements in the order given in the previous list, centered about one third of the way down from the top of the page. Use the headers and footers tool of your word-processing program to add the header, with the title text at the left and the page number in the upper-right corner. Your title page should look like the following example.

Beyond the Hype: Evaluating Low-Carb Diets cover page

The next page of your paper provides an abstract , or brief summary of your findings. An abstract does not need to be provided in every paper, but an abstract should be used in papers that include a hypothesis. A good abstract is concise—about one hundred fifty to two hundred fifty words—and is written in an objective, impersonal style. Your writing voice will not be as apparent here as in the body of your paper. When writing the abstract, take a just-the-facts approach, and summarize your research question and your findings in a few sentences.

In Chapter 12 “Writing a Research Paper” , you read a paper written by a student named Jorge, who researched the effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets. Read Jorge’s abstract. Note how it sums up the major ideas in his paper without going into excessive detail.

Beyond the Hype: Abstract

Write an abstract summarizing your paper. Briefly introduce the topic, state your findings, and sum up what conclusions you can draw from your research. Use the word count feature of your word-processing program to make sure your abstract does not exceed one hundred fifty words.

Depending on your field of study, you may sometimes write research papers that present extensive primary research, such as your own experiment or survey. In your abstract, summarize your research question and your findings, and briefly indicate how your study relates to prior research in the field.

Margins, Pagination, and Headings

APA style requirements also address specific formatting concerns, such as margins, pagination, and heading styles, within the body of the paper. Review the following APA guidelines.

Use these general guidelines to format the paper:

  • Set the top, bottom, and side margins of your paper at 1 inch.
  • Use double-spaced text throughout your paper.
  • Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, in a legible size (10- to 12-point).
  • Use continuous pagination throughout the paper, including the title page and the references section. Page numbers appear flush right within your header.
  • Section headings and subsection headings within the body of your paper use different types of formatting depending on the level of information you are presenting. Additional details from Jorge’s paper are provided.

Cover Page

Begin formatting the final draft of your paper according to APA guidelines. You may work with an existing document or set up a new document if you choose. Include the following:

  • Your title page
  • The abstract you created in Note 13.8 “Exercise 1”
  • Correct headers and page numbers for your title page and abstract

APA style uses section headings to organize information, making it easy for the reader to follow the writer’s train of thought and to know immediately what major topics are covered. Depending on the length and complexity of the paper, its major sections may also be divided into subsections, sub-subsections, and so on. These smaller sections, in turn, use different heading styles to indicate different levels of information. In essence, you are using headings to create a hierarchy of information.

The following heading styles used in APA formatting are listed in order of greatest to least importance:

  • Section headings use centered, boldface type. Headings use title case, with important words in the heading capitalized.
  • Subsection headings use left-aligned, boldface type. Headings use title case.
  • The third level uses left-aligned, indented, boldface type. Headings use a capital letter only for the first word, and they end in a period.
  • The fourth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are boldfaced and italicized.
  • The fifth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are italicized and not boldfaced.

Visually, the hierarchy of information is organized as indicated in Table 13.1 “Section Headings” .

Table 13.1 Section Headings

A college research paper may not use all the heading levels shown in Table 13.1 “Section Headings” , but you are likely to encounter them in academic journal articles that use APA style. For a brief paper, you may find that level 1 headings suffice. Longer or more complex papers may need level 2 headings or other lower-level headings to organize information clearly. Use your outline to craft your major section headings and determine whether any subtopics are substantial enough to require additional levels of headings.

Working with the document you developed in Note 13.11 “Exercise 2” , begin setting up the heading structure of the final draft of your research paper according to APA guidelines. Include your title and at least two to three major section headings, and follow the formatting guidelines provided above. If your major sections should be broken into subsections, add those headings as well. Use your outline to help you.

Because Jorge used only level 1 headings, his Exercise 3 would look like the following:

Citation Guidelines

In-text citations.

Throughout the body of your paper, include a citation whenever you quote or paraphrase material from your research sources. As you learned in Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” , the purpose of citations is twofold: to give credit to others for their ideas and to allow your reader to follow up and learn more about the topic if desired. Your in-text citations provide basic information about your source; each source you cite will have a longer entry in the references section that provides more detailed information.

In-text citations must provide the name of the author or authors and the year the source was published. (When a given source does not list an individual author, you may provide the source title or the name of the organization that published the material instead.) When directly quoting a source, it is also required that you include the page number where the quote appears in your citation.

This information may be included within the sentence or in a parenthetical reference at the end of the sentence, as in these examples.

Epstein (2010) points out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).

Here, the writer names the source author when introducing the quote and provides the publication date in parentheses after the author’s name. The page number appears in parentheses after the closing quotation marks and before the period that ends the sentence.

Addiction researchers caution that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (Epstein, 2010, p. 137).

Here, the writer provides a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence that includes the author’s name, the year of publication, and the page number separated by commas. Again, the parenthetical citation is placed after the closing quotation marks and before the period at the end of the sentence.

As noted in the book Junk Food, Junk Science (Epstein, 2010, p. 137), “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive.”

Here, the writer chose to mention the source title in the sentence (an optional piece of information to include) and followed the title with a parenthetical citation. Note that the parenthetical citation is placed before the comma that signals the end of the introductory phrase.

David Epstein’s book Junk Food, Junk Science (2010) pointed out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).

Another variation is to introduce the author and the source title in your sentence and include the publication date and page number in parentheses within the sentence or at the end of the sentence. As long as you have included the essential information, you can choose the option that works best for that particular sentence and source.

Citing a book with a single author is usually a straightforward task. Of course, your research may require that you cite many other types of sources, such as books or articles with more than one author or sources with no individual author listed. You may also need to cite sources available in both print and online and nonprint sources, such as websites and personal interviews. Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , Section 13.2 “Citing and Referencing Techniques” and Section 13.3 “Creating a References Section” provide extensive guidelines for citing a variety of source types.

Writing at Work

APA is just one of several different styles with its own guidelines for documentation, formatting, and language usage. Depending on your field of interest, you may be exposed to additional styles, such as the following:

  • MLA style. Determined by the Modern Languages Association and used for papers in literature, languages, and other disciplines in the humanities.
  • Chicago style. Outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style and sometimes used for papers in the humanities and the sciences; many professional organizations use this style for publications as well.
  • Associated Press (AP) style. Used by professional journalists.

References List

The brief citations included in the body of your paper correspond to the more detailed citations provided at the end of the paper in the references section. In-text citations provide basic information—the author’s name, the publication date, and the page number if necessary—while the references section provides more extensive bibliographical information. Again, this information allows your reader to follow up on the sources you cited and do additional reading about the topic if desired.

The specific format of entries in the list of references varies slightly for different source types, but the entries generally include the following information:

  • The name(s) of the author(s) or institution that wrote the source
  • The year of publication and, where applicable, the exact date of publication
  • The full title of the source
  • For books, the city of publication
  • For articles or essays, the name of the periodical or book in which the article or essay appears
  • For magazine and journal articles, the volume number, issue number, and pages where the article appears
  • For sources on the web, the URL where the source is located

The references page is double spaced and lists entries in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. If an entry continues for more than one line, the second line and each subsequent line are indented five spaces. Review the following example. ( Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , Section 13.3 “Creating a References Section” provides extensive guidelines for formatting reference entries for different types of sources.)

References Section

In APA style, book and article titles are formatted in sentence case, not title case. Sentence case means that only the first word is capitalized, along with any proper nouns.

Key Takeaways

  • Following proper citation and formatting guidelines helps writers ensure that their work will be taken seriously, give proper credit to other authors for their work, and provide valuable information to readers.
  • Working ahead and taking care to cite sources correctly the first time are ways writers can save time during the editing stage of writing a research paper.
  • APA papers usually include an abstract that concisely summarizes the paper.
  • APA papers use a specific headings structure to provide a clear hierarchy of information.
  • In APA papers, in-text citations usually include the name(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication.
  • In-text citations correspond to entries in the references section, which provide detailed bibliographical information about a source.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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A Process Approach to Writing Research Papers

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(adapted from Research Paper Guide, Point Loma Nazarene University, 2010) 

Step 1: Be a Strategic Reader and Scholar 

Even before your paper is assigned, use the tools you have been given by your instructor and GSI, and create tools you can use later. 

See the handout “Be a Strategic Reader and Scholar” for more information.

Step 2: Understand the Assignment 

  • Free topic choice or assigned?
  • Type of paper: Informative? Persuasive? Other?
  • Any terminology in assignment not clear?
  • Library research needed or required? How much?
  • What style of citation is required?
  • Can you break the assignment into parts?
  • When will you do each part?
  • Are you required or allowed to collaborate with other members of the class?
  • Other special directions or requirements?

Step 3: Select a Topic 

  • interests you
  • you know something about
  • you can research easily
  • Write out topic and brainstorm.
  • Select your paper’s specific topic from this brainstorming list.
  • In a sentence or short paragraph, describe what you think your paper is about.

Step 4: Initial Planning, Investigation, and Outlining 

  • the nature of your audience
  • ideas & information you already possess
  • sources you can consult
  • background reading you should do

Make a rough outline, a guide for your research to keep you on the subject while you work. 

Step 5: Accumulate Research Materials 

  • Use cards, Word, Post-its, or Excel to organize.
  • Organize your bibliography records first.
  • Organize notes next (one idea per document— direct quotations, paraphrases, your own ideas).
  • Arrange your notes under the main headings of your tentative outline. If necessary, print out documents and literally cut and paste (scissors and tape) them together by heading.

Step 6: Make a Final Outline to Guide Writing 

  • Reorganize and fill in tentative outline.
  • Organize notes to correspond to outline. 
  • As you decide where you will use outside resources in your paper, make notes in your outline to refer to your numbered notecards, attach post-its to your printed outline, or note the use of outside resources in a different font or text color from the rest of your outline. 
  • In both Steps 6 and 7, it is important to maintain a clear distinction between your own words and ideas and those of others.

Step 7: Write the Paper 

  • Use your outline to guide you.
  • Write quickly—capture flow of ideas—deal with proofreading later.
  • Put aside overnight or longer, if possible.

Step 8: Revise and Proofread 

  • Check organization—reorganize paragraphs and add transitions where necessary.
  • Make sure all researched information is documented.
  • Rework introduction and conclusion.
  • Work on sentences—check spelling, punctuation, word choice, etc.
  • Read out loud to check for flow.

Carolyn Swalina, Writing Program Coordinator  Student Learning Center, University of California, Berkeley ©2011 UC Regents

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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ResearchBrains : The Benefits Of Researchbrains | PhD Assistance | Research Implementation

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ResearchBrains : The Benefits Of Researchbrains | PhD Assistance | Research Implementation

Benefits of Publishing a Research Paper

Benefits of Publishing Research Paper

Publishing your research paper is a form of acknowledging your work in your field. It is a way of presenting your work and your contribution in front of the whole world. It guarantees that you have experience, exposure, expertise, and views recognized in the field of research. Let’s discuss a few points on how publishing your research paper is going to be beneficial for you as a high school student or an undergrad.

1. Improves writing and research

In the process of doing research, writing, editing, and publishing an article for the first time, valuable feedback will be provided, giving you an idea of where you need to improve and where your strengths are. For a professional career and graduate studies, writing skills are helpful.

2. Experience with the Scholarly Publication Process

The publication is required in many disciplines. It is something that we will use in our future career. It also provides a connection to and understanding of the field.

3. Build connections and networks

You meet people and build a lot of connections and networks during a research project. It’s very important and very beneficial. Similarly, when you publish your work, you meet a lot of different people from different journals. A lot of students submit their projects and thesis for review and are returned with many questions and corrections. The way you present and document your hard work and all the data you have collected is a very important criterion for journals. Often it is seen that a publication may be rejected by a well-known journal but may be accepted by a less known or less impact journal. During this process, you learn a lot and build connections that can help you in your future work and career.

4. Professionalize the undergraduate experience

Publishing papers/projects will provide a level of professionalization to a resume that many undergraduates still need to have. Publishing a paper will also be helpful as a writing sample for graduate school applications. It will signal to the graduate school committee that serious steps were taken to pursue research interests.

5. Inform a future career path

Publishing a paper might help inform a future career path, and opportunities have yet to be considered. After completing their undergraduate degree, it piques students’ interest in publishing as the next step. Working with other students and faculty will allow students to enter a scholarly community that helps them decide their future plans.

6. Higher Education

With the growing competition in higher education, research gives you an upper hand in the crowd. Every school and college has a different selection process. A published research paper shows that you have academic excellence. Hands-on research at an early age brings many benefits, and you learn many skills and values. Colleges select candidates based on the potential and abilities displayed in the applied field. Experience in research and a published paper as a high school student or an undergrad adds a big advantage to your profile. So the earlier you begin, the faster you can achieve your goal. There are many other benefits to publishing the research paper that you will realize as you go further. For example

  • Experience the scholarly publication process.
  • Be eligible to share your work in conferences and seminars.
  • Help you set a mark in the research world.
  • Prove your area of interest and genre of expertise.
  • Be eligible to obtain scholarships and funding for your work.
  • Display leadership and initiative.
  • Gain access to better work opportunities, etc.

7. To earn money

Master’s and Ph.D. students’ CVs need outstanding information that attracts employers. In this regard, some published papers in peer-reviewed journals will attract employers in academia and the research industry. Research and publishing in journals are very important Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of academicians or researchers in many universities in different countries. Hence, to earn more, you have to research and publish because promotion to a higher level always brings extra money into your pocket.

Research would allow you to explore in deep and help reach a conclusion, which could be right or wrong, but as you have read a lot, you have learned a lot. Your subconscious mind will store the knowledge that you have learned from research on an issue. Thus, you will be an expert in some particular areas that would develop your confidence to make viable arguments with colleagues and peers, who will admire you and give you a promotion, especially when you are in academia. So, doing research and publishing papers in journals creates the opportunity to earn money!

8. To Get Scholarship

There are many scholarships for masters and Ph.D. courses in the universities, especially in developed countries in the UK, Europe, Australia, Japan, USA, Canada, and Middle Eastern countries. However, if you have at least one research paper published in a peer-reviewed journal, your application will be preferred by the scholarship selection team. It is because you have already shown your passion and hard work regarding research. So to secure a good scholarship, you should have at least 2-3 published papers in peer-reviewed journals.

9. To be an Independent and Critical Thinker

A published research paper in a journal indicates to a prospective employer that you have excellent powers of endurance. Developing a research paper requires an investment of a long time in being independent and critical of the issue. Thus, the article shows that you can think independently and critically and complete a long project, i.e., a research paper of many pages.

10. To Developing Communication Skills and Network

When a master’s or Ph.D. student writes a paper, he or she reads many articles of many authors, and sometimes he or she has to email them or even call them. As a result, it becomes easier for them to develop academic and research communication skills. This eventually gives an excellent opportunity to create and establish a network with intellectual people around the world.

Furthermore, in writing and developing a detailed research paper, master’s and Ph.D. students can practically develop analytical and networking skills by themselves that are globally sought-after and incredibly beneficial.

11. To develop determination

People often say that they are determined, but they are actually not. However, if you write a research paper and publish it finally, it shows your determination to achieve something by exploring more than hundreds of research papers. In the publication process, a student has to revise and resubmit papers to get acceptance. The entire process takes a long time and positive determination. Sometimes, they feel broken and frustrated, but they feel successful if they finally get the paper published. Hence, doing research and getting published a research paper makes a master’s and Ph.D. student determined. This ultimately makes every master’s and Ph.D. student determine what employers look for in the applicants.

Now you know the importance of publishing research papers in peer-reviewed journals. Yes, you also know the importance of peer-reviewed articles in your CV. So, do research and publish. All the best!

https://www.lawordo.com/benefits-of-publishing-research-papers/

https://xelerateacademics.com/2020/07/28/benefits-of-publishing-your-research-paper/

https://rpajournals.com/the-importance-of-publishing-research-papers-for-masters-phd-student/

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What are the advantages of publishing a research paper?

What are the advantages of publishing a research paper?

Publishing a research paper can have many advantages for researchers, including: Career advancement, professional recognition, opportunities for collaboration, increased visibility, impact on society, credibility and trust, professional development, inspiration for future research, and contribution to the field. It can help researchers to establish themselves as experts in their field, open doors to new opportunities, and contribute to the advancement of knowledge and understanding in a specific field.

  • Career Advancement: Publishing a research paper is often a requirement for academic promotions and tenure. It can also help researchers to establish themselves as experts in their field and to gain recognition for their work. This can lead to new opportunities for advancement and can help researchers to build a reputation for high-quality research.
  • Professional recognition: Publishing a research paper in a reputable journal can lead to professional recognition and prestige, both within the academic community and outside of it. This can open doors to new opportunities, such as funding, collaborations, and speaking engagements.
  • Opportunities for collaboration: Publishing a research paper can lead to opportunities for collaboration with other researchers and institutions, both within the researcher’s field and across different fields. This can help to further the research and accelerate progress.
  • Increased visibility: Publishing a research paper can increase visibility for the researcher and their work, which can lead to new opportunities, funding, and collaborations.
  • Impact on society: Publishing a research paper can have a positive impact on society by contributing to the advancement of knowledge and understanding in a specific field. This can lead to new discoveries, technologies, and understanding that can improve people’s lives.
  • Credibility and trust: Publishing research papers in reputable journals lends credibility to the researcher and the research, and can increase public trust in the researcher and their work. This can help the researcher to secure funding, collaborations, and other opportunities.
  • Professional development: Publishing a research paper is a process that requires the researcher to conduct a thorough literature review, to understand the research methodologies and the ethical considerations, it helps the researcher to develop their skills and knowledge in their field.
  • Inspiration for future research: Publishing a research paper can inspire future research by identifying gaps in the literature or by suggesting new directions for research. This can help researchers to identify new opportunities for investigation and to stay at the forefront of their field.
  • Contribution to the field: Publishing a research paper adds to the body of knowledge in the field. It helps researchers and practitioners to understand the current state of research and knowledge in the field and it helps to advance the field.

Overall, publishing a research paper can be a valuable experience for researchers, providing opportunities for career advancement, professional recognition, collaboration, and impact on society. It can also help researchers to develop their skills and knowledge, and to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in their field.

What is the difference between a Research Paper and a Review Paper?

What is doi, what do you need to do during production of your research paper, ways to support your academic wellbeing which preparing the research paper/article, how to improve your research paper writing skills, is doi compulsory to publish a research paper in a journal, in what ways does research paper give weight to career development, how to develop a research paper from scratch, how plagiarism report plays crucial role in research paper publication.

what is the benefits of writing research paper

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AI-assisted writing is quietly booming in academic journals. Here’s why that’s OK

what is the benefits of writing research paper

Lecturer in Bioethics, Monash University & Honorary fellow, Melbourne Law School, Monash University

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If you search Google Scholar for the phrase “ as an AI language model ”, you’ll find plenty of AI research literature and also some rather suspicious results. For example, one paper on agricultural technology says:

As an AI language model, I don’t have direct access to current research articles or studies. However, I can provide you with an overview of some recent trends and advancements …

Obvious gaffes like this aren’t the only signs that researchers are increasingly turning to generative AI tools when writing up their research. A recent study examined the frequency of certain words in academic writing (such as “commendable”, “meticulously” and “intricate”), and found they became far more common after the launch of ChatGPT – so much so that 1% of all journal articles published in 2023 may have contained AI-generated text.

(Why do AI models overuse these words? There is speculation it’s because they are more common in English as spoken in Nigeria, where key elements of model training often occur.)

The aforementioned study also looks at preliminary data from 2024, which indicates that AI writing assistance is only becoming more common. Is this a crisis for modern scholarship, or a boon for academic productivity?

Who should take credit for AI writing?

Many people are worried by the use of AI in academic papers. Indeed, the practice has been described as “ contaminating ” scholarly literature.

Some argue that using AI output amounts to plagiarism. If your ideas are copy-pasted from ChatGPT, it is questionable whether you really deserve credit for them.

But there are important differences between “plagiarising” text authored by humans and text authored by AI. Those who plagiarise humans’ work receive credit for ideas that ought to have gone to the original author.

By contrast, it is debatable whether AI systems like ChatGPT can have ideas, let alone deserve credit for them. An AI tool is more like your phone’s autocomplete function than a human researcher.

The question of bias

Another worry is that AI outputs might be biased in ways that could seep into the scholarly record. Infamously, older language models tended to portray people who are female, black and/or gay in distinctly unflattering ways, compared with people who are male, white and/or straight.

This kind of bias is less pronounced in the current version of ChatGPT.

However, other studies have found a different kind of bias in ChatGPT and other large language models : a tendency to reflect a left-liberal political ideology.

Any such bias could subtly distort scholarly writing produced using these tools.

The hallucination problem

The most serious worry relates to a well-known limitation of generative AI systems: that they often make serious mistakes.

For example, when I asked ChatGPT-4 to generate an ASCII image of a mushroom, it provided me with the following output.

It then confidently told me I could use this image of a “mushroom” for my own purposes.

These kinds of overconfident mistakes have been referred to as “ AI hallucinations ” and “ AI bullshit ”. While it is easy to spot that the above ASCII image looks nothing like a mushroom (and quite a bit like a snail), it may be much harder to identify any mistakes ChatGPT makes when surveying scientific literature or describing the state of a philosophical debate.

Unlike (most) humans, AI systems are fundamentally unconcerned with the truth of what they say. If used carelessly, their hallucinations could corrupt the scholarly record.

Should AI-produced text be banned?

One response to the rise of text generators has been to ban them outright. For example, Science – one of the world’s most influential academic journals – disallows any use of AI-generated text .

I see two problems with this approach.

The first problem is a practical one: current tools for detecting AI-generated text are highly unreliable. This includes the detector created by ChatGPT’s own developers, which was taken offline after it was found to have only a 26% accuracy rate (and a 9% false positive rate ). Humans also make mistakes when assessing whether something was written by AI.

It is also possible to circumvent AI text detectors. Online communities are actively exploring how to prompt ChatGPT in ways that allow the user to evade detection. Human users can also superficially rewrite AI outputs, effectively scrubbing away the traces of AI (like its overuse of the words “commendable”, “meticulously” and “intricate”).

The second problem is that banning generative AI outright prevents us from realising these technologies’ benefits. Used well, generative AI can boost academic productivity by streamlining the writing process. In this way, it could help further human knowledge. Ideally, we should try to reap these benefits while avoiding the problems.

The problem is poor quality control, not AI

The most serious problem with AI is the risk of introducing unnoticed errors, leading to sloppy scholarship. Instead of banning AI, we should try to ensure that mistaken, implausible or biased claims cannot make it onto the academic record.

After all, humans can also produce writing with serious errors, and mechanisms such as peer review often fail to prevent its publication.

We need to get better at ensuring academic papers are free from serious mistakes, regardless of whether these mistakes are caused by careless use of AI or sloppy human scholarship. Not only is this more achievable than policing AI usage, it will improve the standards of academic research as a whole.

This would be (as ChatGPT might say) a commendable and meticulously intricate solution.

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Why Writing by Hand Is Better for Memory and Learning

Engaging the fine motor system to produce letters by hand has positive effects on learning and memory

By Charlotte Hu

Child laying on his bed writing.

Studies continue to show pluses to writing by hand.

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Handwriting notes in class might seem like an anachronism as smartphones and other digital technology subsume every aspect of learning across schools and universities. But a steady stream of research continues to suggest that taking notes the traditional way—with pen and paper or even stylus and tablet—is still the best way to learn, especially for young children. And now scientists are finally zeroing in on why.

A recent study in Frontiers in Psychology monitored brain activity in students taking notes and found that those writing by hand had higher levels of electrical activity across a wide range of interconnected brain regions responsible for movement, vision, sensory processing and memory. The findings add to a growing body of evidence that has many experts speaking up about the importance of teaching children to handwrite words and draw pictures.

Differences in Brain Activity

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The new research, by Audrey van der Meer and Ruud van der Weel at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), builds on a foundational 2014 study . That work suggested that people taking notes by computer were typing without thinking, says van der Meer , a professor of neuropsychology at NTNU. “It’s very tempting to type down everything that the lecturer is saying,” she says. “It kind of goes in through your ears and comes out through your fingertips, but you don’t process the incoming information.” But when taking notes by hand, it’s often impossible to write everything down; students have to actively pay attention to the incoming information and process it—prioritize it, consolidate it and try to relate it to things they’ve learned before. This conscious action of building onto existing knowledge can make it easier to stay engaged and grasp new concepts .

To understand specific brain activity differences during the two note-taking approaches, the NTNU researchers tweaked the 2014 study’s basic setup. They sewed electrodes into a hairnet with 256 sensors that recorded the brain activity of 36 students as they wrote or typed 15 words from the game Pictionary that were displayed on a screen.

When students wrote the words by hand, the sensors picked up widespread connectivity across many brain regions. Typing, however, led to minimal activity, if any, in the same areas. Handwriting activated connection patterns spanning visual regions, regions that receive and process sensory information and the motor cortex. The latter handles body movement and sensorimotor integration, which helps the brain use environmental inputs to inform a person’s next action.

“When you are typing, the same simple movement of your fingers is involved in producing every letter, whereas when you’re writing by hand, you immediately feel that the bodily feeling of producing A is entirely different from producing a B,” van der Meer says. She notes that children who have learned to read and write by tapping on a digital tablet “often have difficulty distinguishing letters that look a lot like each other or that are mirror images of each other, like the b and the d.”

Reinforcing Memory and Learning Pathways

Sophia Vinci-Booher , an assistant professor of educational neuroscience at Vanderbilt University who was not involved in the new study, says its findings are exciting and consistent with past research. “You can see that in tasks that really lock the motor and sensory systems together, such as in handwriting, there’s this really clear tie between this motor action being accomplished and the visual and conceptual recognition being created,” she says. “As you’re drawing a letter or writing a word, you’re taking this perceptual understanding of something and using your motor system to create it.” That creation is then fed back into the visual system, where it’s processed again—strengthening the connection between an action and the images or words associated with it. It’s similar to imagining something and then creating it: when you materialize something from your imagination (by writing it, drawing it or building it), this reinforces the imagined concept and helps it stick in your memory.

The phenomenon of boosting memory by producing something tangible has been well studied. Previous research has found that when people are asked to write, draw or act out a word that they’re reading, they have to focus more on what they’re doing with the received information. Transferring verbal information to a different form, such as a written format, also involves activating motor programs in the brain to create a specific sequence of hand motions, explains Yadurshana Sivashankar , a cognitive neuroscience graduate student at the University of Waterloo in Ontario who studies movement and memory. But handwriting requires more of the brain’s motor programs than typing. “When you’re writing the word ‘the,’ the actual movements of the hand relate to the structures of the word to some extent,” says Sivashankar, who was not involved in the new study.

For example, participants in a 2021 study by Sivashankar memorized a list of action verbs more accurately if they performed the corresponding action than if they performed an unrelated action or none at all. “Drawing information and enacting information is helpful because you have to think about information and you have to produce something that’s meaningful,” she says. And by transforming the information, you pave and deepen these interconnections across the brain’s vast neural networks, making it “much easier to access that information.”

The Importance of Handwriting Lessons for Kids

Across many contexts, studies have shown that kids appear to learn better when they’re asked to produce letters or other visual items using their fingers and hands in a coordinated way—one that can’t be replicated by clicking a mouse or tapping buttons on a screen or keyboard. Vinci-Booher’s research has also found that the action of handwriting appears to engage different brain regions at different levels than other standard learning experiences, such as reading or observing. Her work has also shown that handwriting improves letter recognition in preschool children, and the effects of learning through writing “last longer than other learning experiences that might engage attention at a similar level,” Vinci-Booher says. Additionally, she thinks it’s possible that engaging the motor system is how children learn how to break “ mirror invariance ” (registering mirror images as identical) and begin to decipher things such as the difference between the lowercase b and p.

Vinci-Booher says the new study opens up bigger questions about the way we learn, such as how brain region connections change over time and when these connections are most important in learning. She and other experts say, however, that the new findings don’t mean technology is a disadvantage in the classroom. Laptops, smartphones and other such devices can be more efficient for writing essays or conducting research and can offer more equitable access to educational resources. Problems occur when people rely on technology too much , Sivashankar says. People are increasingly delegating thought processes to digital devices, an act called “ cognitive offloading ”—using smartphones to remember tasks, taking a photo instead of memorizing information or depending on a GPS to navigate. “It’s helpful, but we think the constant offloading means it’s less work for the brain,” Sivashankar says. “If we’re not actively using these areas, then they are going to deteriorate over time, whether it’s memory or motor skills.”

Van der Meer says some officials in Norway are inching toward implementing completely digital schools . She claims first grade teachers there have told her their incoming students barely know how to hold a pencil now—which suggests they weren’t coloring pictures or assembling puzzles in nursery school. Van der Meer says they’re missing out on opportunities that can help stimulate their growing brains.

“I think there’s a very strong case for engaging children in drawing and handwriting activities, especially in preschool and kindergarten when they’re first learning about letters,” Vinci-Booher says. “There’s something about engaging the fine motor system and production activities that really impacts learning.”

A version of this article entitled “Hands-on” was adapted for inclusion in the May 2024 issue of Scientific American.

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Research Paper Structure 101: From Title Page to Appendices

Research Paper Structure: The Complete Guide

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A professional writer with ten years of experience and a Ph.D. in Modern History, Catharine Tawil writes engaging and insightful papers for academic exchange. With deep insight into the impact of historical events on the present, she provides a unique perspective in giving students a feel for the past. Her writing educates and stimulates critical thinking, making her a treasure to those wading through the complexities of history.

A research paper is an academic work depicting the design and results of a study. It can be an academic assignment in undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Moreover, it is an integral requirement in doctoral programs, where postgrads’ research papers are published in reputable journals to add credibility to their research findings. 

Ordering different parts of a research paper is critical for fulfilling academic standards, streamlining your writing, and avoiding distractions and sidetracks. Although outlining may seem like a waste of time, it is the most efficient use of your time at the pre-writing stage, as it will help you order your thoughts and ideas and develop a plan of action to follow throughout the study. 

In this post, we’ll cover the basics of the research paper formatting, provide a basic template of a research paper structure, and provide a detailed description of each section, including the title page and abstract, introduction and literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. You can skip to a specific section if you have questions or concerns about it or check out the full article for an in-depth understanding of the full structure. 

Essential Components of a Research Paper

Unlike other types of academic assignments, research papers have a structure more complex than a simple trio of introduction, body, and conclusion. You are expected to follow the established academic norms and include specific information for your paper to have any scientific value. The basic research paper structure example comprises the following parts:

Introduction

  • Literature review

Methodology

  • Acknowledgments

Please note that some sections of a research paper outlined above are optional. For example, you only need to include appendices if you wish to share a large volume of data that would make the paper unwieldy. You can also adjust this research paper setup to fit your study and word count requirements better. For instance, you can combine the results and discussion sections or the introduction and literature review.

Formatting Requirements

Although the research paper structure is basically the same for all fields of study and topics, the papers can look drastically different when following research paper formatting guidelines of various formatting styles, be it Chicago, MLA, or APA. You must learn the appropriate style at the onset of the writing process, so remember to ask your academic advisor about it if there’s no mention of the formatting style within general requirements.

Once you know which research paper formatting style to use, get your hands on the relevant formatting guidebook. You can find most of the requirements online or sign out a book from a college library. Considering most formatting guidebooks are huge, focus on the main aspects that can make or break your paper, such as:

  • Margins, font, and spacing. Most research paper format guidelines require 1-inch margins on all sides, a legible font of at least 12 pt, and double-spaced lines. 
  • Page numbering. Requirements vary, but typically, you’ll need to include page numbers in the upper right-hand corner, half an inch from the corner.
  • Headings and subheadings. Refer to MLA or APA handbooks to learn specific research paper headings requirements or ask your professor, as the guidelines differ greatly. 
  • In-text citations and reference list. In most cases, research paper in-text citations require the name of the main author along with the page number or the publication year. Reference list formatting varies across different styles, but you can use automatic citation generators to speed up the formatting process.

With formatting requirements out of the way, let’s now focus on individual components of a research paper to help you understand what each section should contain to be well received.

Title Page and Abstract

The research paper title page format depends on the required formatting style:

  • MLA does not require a separate title page (unless specifically requested). Instead, in the upper left-hand corner of the first page, type your name, your instructor’s name, course name, and date (each on a new line, double-spaced). After that, center the title of the page and include its text.
  • APA requires a separate title page, which should include the title of the paper, your name and affiliation, as well as the course name and number, your instructor’s name, and the assignment’s due date. 

A research paper abstract is brief summary of the main points of the research paper. Depending on the formatting style, it can be from 100 to 250 words long, highlighting the research objective, key methodology, and results highlights. An abstract should help readers decide if your work is worth reading at a glance. 

An APA research paper organization requires an abstract on a separate page, with the “Abstract” heading and the paper’s summary (without indent). Below the abstract, type “Keywords:” (in italics) and list the keywords researchers would use to find your paper in the library or online. 

The opening section of the research paper outline gives students pause because they never know what the introduction should entail. If you’re stuck with writer’s block and don’t know how to start the paper, answer these four questions, and you’ll have all the major pieces necessary for the introduction:

  • What’s the context of the problem? Open with a general view of the issue and its current state without going into too much detail (that’s what the literature review is for). The background information should fit within one or two paragraphs and lead directly to the next point. 
  • What is the issue? The problem statement or question is the core of this part of the research paper structure. Think of it as a thesis statement for an essay. Everything you write in other sections of a research paper should always tie to your problem statement.
  • How do you plan to solve the problem? You can formulate research objectives or hypotheses that your study will try to achieve or prove. Short papers typically have one hypothesis, while longer works usually have two or more related objectives.
  • How will your study improve the issue? The answer can circle back to the background you laid out at the beginning of the research paper introduction and highlight the benefits (and potential drawbacks and limitations) of your research. It’s the major “selling point” of the study, which should explain why anyone should care about it. 

You can always leave the introduction for last and tackle it once the rest of the paper is done. That’s especially helpful if you use writer’s block as an excuse to procrastinate and put off writing other parts of a research paper.

Literature Review

The primary objective of a research paper literature review is to provide context and prove the relevance of your topic, as specified in the introduction. To that end, you need to find credible, objective, and relevant sources and synthesize any data pertaining to your research. It’s important to avoid simple paraphrasing or summarization of reference data and instead provide its analysis and synthesize your own hypothesis.

Aside from the similarities found in references, this part of the research paper structure should also focus on discrepancies, contradictions, and knowledge gaps. These will prove your study has merit and can resolve the existing issues. Moreover, the knowledge gaps will help lead up to your main research question, which you may repeat near the end of the literature review.

Depending on the topic of your study, you can organize the literature review:

  • Chronologically. You can go from the oldest sources published to the latest or from the latest events to situations long past. This approach is often the easiest, but it doesn’t fit all topics and fields of study.
  • Thematically. If you wish to cover two or more aspects of the issue, you can dedicate a subsection to each and analyze them together in the final subsection of the literature review. This is the most popular approach, as it can work for most topics.
  • Methodologically. If you want to focus on the differences and similarities in research methodology, you can split the literature review into several subsections, devoting each one to a single methodology. This approach works for select subjects and can make the most of systemic studies. 

If you’re working on an empirical study, you can stop there, but if your work is mostly theoretical, this stage of the research paper writing process could also involve developing a theoretical framework. It will help put your findings and results into perspective.

Although it may seem simple at first glance, a literature review takes a long time, most of which you’ll spend looking for reliable sources. Luckily, you can easily outsource this task. All you need to do is say, “Write my paper for me”, and our experts will take over ASAP. 

The research paper methodology section is an integral part of the piece, as it helps ensure the reproducibility of your results and increases your credibility. This part should answer two main questions:

  • What? What did your study involve? What resources, software, materials, or samples did you use? What were the ethical considerations of your research?
  • How? How much time did your study take? How did you choose participants? How did you collect data and analyze it?

Keep these questions in mind when working out a research design, picking data collection procedures and analysis techniques. If you rely on standard methods, a quick description with a citation would be enough for the methodology part of the research paper structure. But if you employ a unique approach, make sure to describe it in minute detail to ensure anyone can repeat the process and achieve the same results. 

For obvious reasons, the methodology section will differ greatly depending on your field of study and topic. For example, qualitative and quantitative research methods are vastly different. At the same time, quantitative analysis of sociology or linguistics research will be nothing like analyzing blood tests for nursing students or analyzing the success of a marketing campaign for a business and management class. While the tools (i.e., programming language or table processing software) may be similar, the application will be different, and you should highlight these distinctions in your methodology section. 

Although you can put off working on this section of the structure of a research paper, it can be helpful to put your methodology on paper before embarking on the study. A clear idea of the protocols you plan to employ should keep your study on track and minimize methodological errors. 

The research paper results present the study findings as the ultimate product of your research. Instead of the raw data, you can present analysis results and visual aids in the form of tables, figures, and graphs, provide statistical analysis results, and refer interested readers to appendices containing raw data.

Remember to follow the formatting style requirements for tables and figures, which differ for APA and MLA. The same applies to lists and other visual aids. You should also ensure these materials do not destroy your paper’s readability. For example, a three-page table is much more difficult to grasp than a couple of charts highlighting the same data. Moreover, if you plan to present your findings on a poster or a PowerPoint presentation, it pays to work out the best way to present your insights that will fit all formats, including print and projection.

It’s important to draw the line between the results and discussion parts of the research paper structure. The first presents analysis, while the latter relies on interpretations (or implications) of that analysis. Understanding the distinction can be quite challenging, especially if you’re working out the structure of a research paper for the first time.

Discussion and Conclusion

The research paper discussion connects the introduction and research question with the study results. Instead of merely analyzing data, this section should explain whether your initial hypothesis was correct or not. Moreover, the final section, along with the research paper conclusion, should cover the implications of the findings and their potential practical and theoretical applications. This part can also include the limitations of the study and the need for further research if you feel that it could be useful.

It may seem counterproductive, but you shouldn’t shy away from shortcomings, mistakes, and negative results achieved in your study. Instead of waiting for uncomfortable questions from your instructor, present the bad along with the good and hypothesize potential ways of correcting errors or minimizing the negative influences. In some cases, negative results can be just as valuable (if not more so) than positive findings.

Remember to include the research paper references and appendices after the conclusion to wrap up your work and make it better with careful editing, proofreading, and formatting.

What is the purpose of a research paper?

The main objective is to present and share research insights and discoveries, which you should account for when structuring a research paper. Adding literature review and methodology sections is critical for highlighting the study’s relevance and ensuring its reproducibility.

How do I structure the different sections of a research paper?

Structuring a research paper means adding an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. You can organize each of these sections thematically or chronologically or use a funnel structure, going from the broad context strokes to a narrow view of the problem.

What are the key formatting guidelines for a research paper?

Specific requirements for the structure of a research paper outline and its contents depend on the preferred formatting style. However, at its core, each formatting style focuses on readability. That’s where 12 pt to 14 pt font size and double line spacing come from. Refer to the relevant formatting style handbook for specific recommendations. 

How do I effectively write the introduction and literature review?

The introduction is a critical part of the research paper structure that should include your primary research objective (or question), hypotheses, and the study’s relevance. A literature review is designed to support the claims you make within the introduction by generously using reference data. 

What is the difference between the results and discussion sections?

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Why writing by hand beats typing for thinking and learning

Jonathan Lambert

A close-up of a woman's hand writing in a notebook.

If you're like many digitally savvy Americans, it has likely been a while since you've spent much time writing by hand.

The laborious process of tracing out our thoughts, letter by letter, on the page is becoming a relic of the past in our screen-dominated world, where text messages and thumb-typed grocery lists have replaced handwritten letters and sticky notes. Electronic keyboards offer obvious efficiency benefits that have undoubtedly boosted our productivity — imagine having to write all your emails longhand.

To keep up, many schools are introducing computers as early as preschool, meaning some kids may learn the basics of typing before writing by hand.

But giving up this slower, more tactile way of expressing ourselves may come at a significant cost, according to a growing body of research that's uncovering the surprising cognitive benefits of taking pen to paper, or even stylus to iPad — for both children and adults.

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In kids, studies show that tracing out ABCs, as opposed to typing them, leads to better and longer-lasting recognition and understanding of letters. Writing by hand also improves memory and recall of words, laying down the foundations of literacy and learning. In adults, taking notes by hand during a lecture, instead of typing, can lead to better conceptual understanding of material.

"There's actually some very important things going on during the embodied experience of writing by hand," says Ramesh Balasubramaniam , a neuroscientist at the University of California, Merced. "It has important cognitive benefits."

While those benefits have long been recognized by some (for instance, many authors, including Jennifer Egan and Neil Gaiman , draft their stories by hand to stoke creativity), scientists have only recently started investigating why writing by hand has these effects.

A slew of recent brain imaging research suggests handwriting's power stems from the relative complexity of the process and how it forces different brain systems to work together to reproduce the shapes of letters in our heads onto the page.

Your brain on handwriting

Both handwriting and typing involve moving our hands and fingers to create words on a page. But handwriting, it turns out, requires a lot more fine-tuned coordination between the motor and visual systems. This seems to more deeply engage the brain in ways that support learning.

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"Handwriting is probably among the most complex motor skills that the brain is capable of," says Marieke Longcamp , a cognitive neuroscientist at Aix-Marseille Université.

Gripping a pen nimbly enough to write is a complicated task, as it requires your brain to continuously monitor the pressure that each finger exerts on the pen. Then, your motor system has to delicately modify that pressure to re-create each letter of the words in your head on the page.

"Your fingers have to each do something different to produce a recognizable letter," says Sophia Vinci-Booher , an educational neuroscientist at Vanderbilt University. Adding to the complexity, your visual system must continuously process that letter as it's formed. With each stroke, your brain compares the unfolding script with mental models of the letters and words, making adjustments to fingers in real time to create the letters' shapes, says Vinci-Booher.

That's not true for typing.

To type "tap" your fingers don't have to trace out the form of the letters — they just make three relatively simple and uniform movements. In comparison, it takes a lot more brainpower, as well as cross-talk between brain areas, to write than type.

Recent brain imaging studies bolster this idea. A study published in January found that when students write by hand, brain areas involved in motor and visual information processing " sync up " with areas crucial to memory formation, firing at frequencies associated with learning.

"We don't see that [synchronized activity] in typewriting at all," says Audrey van der Meer , a psychologist and study co-author at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. She suggests that writing by hand is a neurobiologically richer process and that this richness may confer some cognitive benefits.

Other experts agree. "There seems to be something fundamental about engaging your body to produce these shapes," says Robert Wiley , a cognitive psychologist at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. "It lets you make associations between your body and what you're seeing and hearing," he says, which might give the mind more footholds for accessing a given concept or idea.

Those extra footholds are especially important for learning in kids, but they may give adults a leg up too. Wiley and others worry that ditching handwriting for typing could have serious consequences for how we all learn and think.

What might be lost as handwriting wanes

The clearest consequence of screens and keyboards replacing pen and paper might be on kids' ability to learn the building blocks of literacy — letters.

"Letter recognition in early childhood is actually one of the best predictors of later reading and math attainment," says Vinci-Booher. Her work suggests the process of learning to write letters by hand is crucial for learning to read them.

"When kids write letters, they're just messy," she says. As kids practice writing "A," each iteration is different, and that variability helps solidify their conceptual understanding of the letter.

Research suggests kids learn to recognize letters better when seeing variable handwritten examples, compared with uniform typed examples.

This helps develop areas of the brain used during reading in older children and adults, Vinci-Booher found.

"This could be one of the ways that early experiences actually translate to long-term life outcomes," she says. "These visually demanding, fine motor actions bake in neural communication patterns that are really important for learning later on."

Ditching handwriting instruction could mean that those skills don't get developed as well, which could impair kids' ability to learn down the road.

"If young children are not receiving any handwriting training, which is very good brain stimulation, then their brains simply won't reach their full potential," says van der Meer. "It's scary to think of the potential consequences."

Many states are trying to avoid these risks by mandating cursive instruction. This year, California started requiring elementary school students to learn cursive , and similar bills are moving through state legislatures in several states, including Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina and Wisconsin. (So far, evidence suggests that it's the writing by hand that matters, not whether it's print or cursive.)

Slowing down and processing information

For adults, one of the main benefits of writing by hand is that it simply forces us to slow down.

During a meeting or lecture, it's possible to type what you're hearing verbatim. But often, "you're not actually processing that information — you're just typing in the blind," says van der Meer. "If you take notes by hand, you can't write everything down," she says.

The relative slowness of the medium forces you to process the information, writing key words or phrases and using drawing or arrows to work through ideas, she says. "You make the information your own," she says, which helps it stick in the brain.

Such connections and integration are still possible when typing, but they need to be made more intentionally. And sometimes, efficiency wins out. "When you're writing a long essay, it's obviously much more practical to use a keyboard," says van der Meer.

Still, given our long history of using our hands to mark meaning in the world, some scientists worry about the more diffuse consequences of offloading our thinking to computers.

"We're foisting a lot of our knowledge, extending our cognition, to other devices, so it's only natural that we've started using these other agents to do our writing for us," says Balasubramaniam.

It's possible that this might free up our minds to do other kinds of hard thinking, he says. Or we might be sacrificing a fundamental process that's crucial for the kinds of immersive cognitive experiences that enable us to learn and think at our full potential.

Balasubramaniam stresses, however, that we don't have to ditch digital tools to harness the power of handwriting. So far, research suggests that scribbling with a stylus on a screen activates the same brain pathways as etching ink on paper. It's the movement that counts, he says, not its final form.

Jonathan Lambert is a Washington, D.C.-based freelance journalist who covers science, health and policy.

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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

Glossary of research terms.

  • Purpose of Guide
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  • Independent and Dependent Variables
  • Reading Research Effectively
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
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This glossary is intended to assist you in understanding commonly used terms and concepts when reading, interpreting, and evaluating scholarly research. Also included are common words and phrases defined within the context of how they apply to research in the social and behavioral sciences.

  • Acculturation -- refers to the process of adapting to another culture, particularly in reference to blending in with the majority population [e.g., an immigrant adopting American customs]. However, acculturation also implies that both cultures add something to one another, but still remain distinct groups unto themselves.
  • Accuracy -- a term used in survey research to refer to the match between the target population and the sample.
  • Affective Measures -- procedures or devices used to obtain quantified descriptions of an individual's feelings, emotional states, or dispositions.
  • Aggregate -- a total created from smaller units. For instance, the population of a county is an aggregate of the populations of the cities, rural areas, etc. that comprise the county. As a verb, it refers to total data from smaller units into a large unit.
  • Anonymity -- a research condition in which no one, including the researcher, knows the identities of research participants.
  • Baseline -- a control measurement carried out before an experimental treatment.
  • Behaviorism -- school of psychological thought concerned with the observable, tangible, objective facts of behavior, rather than with subjective phenomena such as thoughts, emotions, or impulses. Contemporary behaviorism also emphasizes the study of mental states such as feelings and fantasies to the extent that they can be directly observed and measured.
  • Beliefs -- ideas, doctrines, tenets, etc. that are accepted as true on grounds which are not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof.
  • Benchmarking -- systematically measuring and comparing the operations and outcomes of organizations, systems, processes, etc., against agreed upon "best-in-class" frames of reference.
  • Bias -- a loss of balance and accuracy in the use of research methods. It can appear in research via the sampling frame, random sampling, or non-response. It can also occur at other stages in research, such as while interviewing, in the design of questions, or in the way data are analyzed and presented. Bias means that the research findings will not be representative of, or generalizable to, a wider population.
  • Case Study -- the collection and presentation of detailed information about a particular participant or small group, frequently including data derived from the subjects themselves.
  • Causal Hypothesis -- a statement hypothesizing that the independent variable affects the dependent variable in some way.
  • Causal Relationship -- the relationship established that shows that an independent variable, and nothing else, causes a change in a dependent variable. It also establishes how much of a change is shown in the dependent variable.
  • Causality -- the relation between cause and effect.
  • Central Tendency -- any way of describing or characterizing typical, average, or common values in some distribution.
  • Chi-square Analysis -- a common non-parametric statistical test which compares an expected proportion or ratio to an actual proportion or ratio.
  • Claim -- a statement, similar to a hypothesis, which is made in response to the research question and that is affirmed with evidence based on research.
  • Classification -- ordering of related phenomena into categories, groups, or systems according to characteristics or attributes.
  • Cluster Analysis -- a method of statistical analysis where data that share a common trait are grouped together. The data is collected in a way that allows the data collector to group data according to certain characteristics.
  • Cohort Analysis -- group by group analytic treatment of individuals having a statistical factor in common to each group. Group members share a particular characteristic [e.g., born in a given year] or a common experience [e.g., entering a college at a given time].
  • Confidentiality -- a research condition in which no one except the researcher(s) knows the identities of the participants in a study. It refers to the treatment of information that a participant has disclosed to the researcher in a relationship of trust and with the expectation that it will not be revealed to others in ways that violate the original consent agreement, unless permission is granted by the participant.
  • Confirmability Objectivity -- the findings of the study could be confirmed by another person conducting the same study.
  • Construct -- refers to any of the following: something that exists theoretically but is not directly observable; a concept developed [constructed] for describing relations among phenomena or for other research purposes; or, a theoretical definition in which concepts are defined in terms of other concepts. For example, intelligence cannot be directly observed or measured; it is a construct.
  • Construct Validity -- seeks an agreement between a theoretical concept and a specific measuring device, such as observation.
  • Constructivism -- the idea that reality is socially constructed. It is the view that reality cannot be understood outside of the way humans interact and that the idea that knowledge is constructed, not discovered. Constructivists believe that learning is more active and self-directed than either behaviorism or cognitive theory would postulate.
  • Content Analysis -- the systematic, objective, and quantitative description of the manifest or latent content of print or nonprint communications.
  • Context Sensitivity -- awareness by a qualitative researcher of factors such as values and beliefs that influence cultural behaviors.
  • Control Group -- the group in an experimental design that receives either no treatment or a different treatment from the experimental group. This group can thus be compared to the experimental group.
  • Controlled Experiment -- an experimental design with two or more randomly selected groups [an experimental group and control group] in which the researcher controls or introduces the independent variable and measures the dependent variable at least two times [pre- and post-test measurements].
  • Correlation -- a common statistical analysis, usually abbreviated as r, that measures the degree of relationship between pairs of interval variables in a sample. The range of correlation is from -1.00 to zero to +1.00. Also, a non-cause and effect relationship between two variables.
  • Covariate -- a product of the correlation of two related variables times their standard deviations. Used in true experiments to measure the difference of treatment between them.
  • Credibility -- a researcher's ability to demonstrate that the object of a study is accurately identified and described based on the way in which the study was conducted.
  • Critical Theory -- an evaluative approach to social science research, associated with Germany's neo-Marxist “Frankfurt School,” that aims to criticize as well as analyze society, opposing the political orthodoxy of modern communism. Its goal is to promote human emancipatory forces and to expose ideas and systems that impede them.
  • Data -- factual information [as measurements or statistics] used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation.
  • Data Mining -- the process of analyzing data from different perspectives and summarizing it into useful information, often to discover patterns and/or systematic relationships among variables.
  • Data Quality -- this is the degree to which the collected data [results of measurement or observation] meet the standards of quality to be considered valid [trustworthy] and  reliable [dependable].
  • Deductive -- a form of reasoning in which conclusions are formulated about particulars from general or universal premises.
  • Dependability -- being able to account for changes in the design of the study and the changing conditions surrounding what was studied.
  • Dependent Variable -- a variable that varies due, at least in part, to the impact of the independent variable. In other words, its value “depends” on the value of the independent variable. For example, in the variables “gender” and “academic major,” academic major is the dependent variable, meaning that your major cannot determine whether you are male or female, but your gender might indirectly lead you to favor one major over another.
  • Deviation -- the distance between the mean and a particular data point in a given distribution.
  • Discourse Community -- a community of scholars and researchers in a given field who respond to and communicate to each other through published articles in the community's journals and presentations at conventions. All members of the discourse community adhere to certain conventions for the presentation of their theories and research.
  • Discrete Variable -- a variable that is measured solely in whole units, such as, gender and number of siblings.
  • Distribution -- the range of values of a particular variable.
  • Effect Size -- the amount of change in a dependent variable that can be attributed to manipulations of the independent variable. A large effect size exists when the value of the dependent variable is strongly influenced by the independent variable. It is the mean difference on a variable between experimental and control groups divided by the standard deviation on that variable of the pooled groups or of the control group alone.
  • Emancipatory Research -- research is conducted on and with people from marginalized groups or communities. It is led by a researcher or research team who is either an indigenous or external insider; is interpreted within intellectual frameworks of that group; and, is conducted largely for the purpose of empowering members of that community and improving services for them. It also engages members of the community as co-constructors or validators of knowledge.
  • Empirical Research -- the process of developing systematized knowledge gained from observations that are formulated to support insights and generalizations about the phenomena being researched.
  • Epistemology -- concerns knowledge construction; asks what constitutes knowledge and how knowledge is validated.
  • Ethnography -- method to study groups and/or cultures over a period of time. The goal of this type of research is to comprehend the particular group/culture through immersion into the culture or group. Research is completed through various methods but, since the researcher is immersed within the group for an extended period of time, more detailed information is usually collected during the research.
  • Expectancy Effect -- any unconscious or conscious cues that convey to the participant in a study how the researcher wants them to respond. Expecting someone to behave in a particular way has been shown to promote the expected behavior. Expectancy effects can be minimized by using standardized interactions with subjects, automated data-gathering methods, and double blind protocols.
  • External Validity -- the extent to which the results of a study are generalizable or transferable.
  • Factor Analysis -- a statistical test that explores relationships among data. The test explores which variables in a data set are most related to each other. In a carefully constructed survey, for example, factor analysis can yield information on patterns of responses, not simply data on a single response. Larger tendencies may then be interpreted, indicating behavior trends rather than simply responses to specific questions.
  • Field Studies -- academic or other investigative studies undertaken in a natural setting, rather than in laboratories, classrooms, or other structured environments.
  • Focus Groups -- small, roundtable discussion groups charged with examining specific topics or problems, including possible options or solutions. Focus groups usually consist of 4-12 participants, guided by moderators to keep the discussion flowing and to collect and report the results.
  • Framework -- the structure and support that may be used as both the launching point and the on-going guidelines for investigating a research problem.
  • Generalizability -- the extent to which research findings and conclusions conducted on a specific study to groups or situations can be applied to the population at large.
  • Grey Literature -- research produced by organizations outside of commercial and academic publishing that publish materials, such as, working papers, research reports, and briefing papers.
  • Grounded Theory -- practice of developing other theories that emerge from observing a group. Theories are grounded in the group's observable experiences, but researchers add their own insight into why those experiences exist.
  • Group Behavior -- behaviors of a group as a whole, as well as the behavior of an individual as influenced by his or her membership in a group.
  • Hypothesis -- a tentative explanation based on theory to predict a causal relationship between variables.
  • Independent Variable -- the conditions of an experiment that are systematically manipulated by the researcher. A variable that is not impacted by the dependent variable, and that itself impacts the dependent variable. In the earlier example of "gender" and "academic major," (see Dependent Variable) gender is the independent variable.
  • Individualism -- a theory or policy having primary regard for the liberty, rights, or independent actions of individuals.
  • Inductive -- a form of reasoning in which a generalized conclusion is formulated from particular instances.
  • Inductive Analysis -- a form of analysis based on inductive reasoning; a researcher using inductive analysis starts with answers, but formulates questions throughout the research process.
  • Insiderness -- a concept in qualitative research that refers to the degree to which a researcher has access to and an understanding of persons, places, or things within a group or community based on being a member of that group or community.
  • Internal Consistency -- the extent to which all questions or items assess the same characteristic, skill, or quality.
  • Internal Validity -- the rigor with which the study was conducted [e.g., the study's design, the care taken to conduct measurements, and decisions concerning what was and was not measured]. It is also the extent to which the designers of a study have taken into account alternative explanations for any causal relationships they explore. In studies that do not explore causal relationships, only the first of these definitions should be considered when assessing internal validity.
  • Life History -- a record of an event/events in a respondent's life told [written down, but increasingly audio or video recorded] by the respondent from his/her own perspective in his/her own words. A life history is different from a "research story" in that it covers a longer time span, perhaps a complete life, or a significant period in a life.
  • Margin of Error -- the permittable or acceptable deviation from the target or a specific value. The allowance for slight error or miscalculation or changing circumstances in a study.
  • Measurement -- process of obtaining a numerical description of the extent to which persons, organizations, or things possess specified characteristics.
  • Meta-Analysis -- an analysis combining the results of several studies that address a set of related hypotheses.
  • Methodology -- a theory or analysis of how research does and should proceed.
  • Methods -- systematic approaches to the conduct of an operation or process. It includes steps of procedure, application of techniques, systems of reasoning or analysis, and the modes of inquiry employed by a discipline.
  • Mixed-Methods -- a research approach that uses two or more methods from both the quantitative and qualitative research categories. It is also referred to as blended methods, combined methods, or methodological triangulation.
  • Modeling -- the creation of a physical or computer analogy to understand a particular phenomenon. Modeling helps in estimating the relative magnitude of various factors involved in a phenomenon. A successful model can be shown to account for unexpected behavior that has been observed, to predict certain behaviors, which can then be tested experimentally, and to demonstrate that a given theory cannot account for certain phenomenon.
  • Models -- representations of objects, principles, processes, or ideas often used for imitation or emulation.
  • Naturalistic Observation -- observation of behaviors and events in natural settings without experimental manipulation or other forms of interference.
  • Norm -- the norm in statistics is the average or usual performance. For example, students usually complete their high school graduation requirements when they are 18 years old. Even though some students graduate when they are younger or older, the norm is that any given student will graduate when he or she is 18 years old.
  • Null Hypothesis -- the proposition, to be tested statistically, that the experimental intervention has "no effect," meaning that the treatment and control groups will not differ as a result of the intervention. Investigators usually hope that the data will demonstrate some effect from the intervention, thus allowing the investigator to reject the null hypothesis.
  • Ontology -- a discipline of philosophy that explores the science of what is, the kinds and structures of objects, properties, events, processes, and relations in every area of reality.
  • Panel Study -- a longitudinal study in which a group of individuals is interviewed at intervals over a period of time.
  • Participant -- individuals whose physiological and/or behavioral characteristics and responses are the object of study in a research project.
  • Peer-Review -- the process in which the author of a book, article, or other type of publication submits his or her work to experts in the field for critical evaluation, usually prior to publication. This is standard procedure in publishing scholarly research.
  • Phenomenology -- a qualitative research approach concerned with understanding certain group behaviors from that group's point of view.
  • Philosophy -- critical examination of the grounds for fundamental beliefs and analysis of the basic concepts, doctrines, or practices that express such beliefs.
  • Phonology -- the study of the ways in which speech sounds form systems and patterns in language.
  • Policy -- governing principles that serve as guidelines or rules for decision making and action in a given area.
  • Policy Analysis -- systematic study of the nature, rationale, cost, impact, effectiveness, implications, etc., of existing or alternative policies, using the theories and methodologies of relevant social science disciplines.
  • Population -- the target group under investigation. The population is the entire set under consideration. Samples are drawn from populations.
  • Position Papers -- statements of official or organizational viewpoints, often recommending a particular course of action or response to a situation.
  • Positivism -- a doctrine in the philosophy of science, positivism argues that science can only deal with observable entities known directly to experience. The positivist aims to construct general laws, or theories, which express relationships between phenomena. Observation and experiment is used to show whether the phenomena fit the theory.
  • Predictive Measurement -- use of tests, inventories, or other measures to determine or estimate future events, conditions, outcomes, or trends.
  • Principal Investigator -- the scientist or scholar with primary responsibility for the design and conduct of a research project.
  • Probability -- the chance that a phenomenon will occur randomly. As a statistical measure, it is shown as p [the "p" factor].
  • Questionnaire -- structured sets of questions on specified subjects that are used to gather information, attitudes, or opinions.
  • Random Sampling -- a process used in research to draw a sample of a population strictly by chance, yielding no discernible pattern beyond chance. Random sampling can be accomplished by first numbering the population, then selecting the sample according to a table of random numbers or using a random-number computer generator. The sample is said to be random because there is no regular or discernible pattern or order. Random sample selection is used under the assumption that sufficiently large samples assigned randomly will exhibit a distribution comparable to that of the population from which the sample is drawn. The random assignment of participants increases the probability that differences observed between participant groups are the result of the experimental intervention.
  • Reliability -- the degree to which a measure yields consistent results. If the measuring instrument [e.g., survey] is reliable, then administering it to similar groups would yield similar results. Reliability is a prerequisite for validity. An unreliable indicator cannot produce trustworthy results.
  • Representative Sample -- sample in which the participants closely match the characteristics of the population, and thus, all segments of the population are represented in the sample. A representative sample allows results to be generalized from the sample to the population.
  • Rigor -- degree to which research methods are scrupulously and meticulously carried out in order to recognize important influences occurring in an experimental study.
  • Sample -- the population researched in a particular study. Usually, attempts are made to select a "sample population" that is considered representative of groups of people to whom results will be generalized or transferred. In studies that use inferential statistics to analyze results or which are designed to be generalizable, sample size is critical, generally the larger the number in the sample, the higher the likelihood of a representative distribution of the population.
  • Sampling Error -- the degree to which the results from the sample deviate from those that would be obtained from the entire population, because of random error in the selection of respondent and the corresponding reduction in reliability.
  • Saturation -- a situation in which data analysis begins to reveal repetition and redundancy and when new data tend to confirm existing findings rather than expand upon them.
  • Semantics -- the relationship between symbols and meaning in a linguistic system. Also, the cuing system that connects what is written in the text to what is stored in the reader's prior knowledge.
  • Social Theories -- theories about the structure, organization, and functioning of human societies.
  • Sociolinguistics -- the study of language in society and, more specifically, the study of language varieties, their functions, and their speakers.
  • Standard Deviation -- a measure of variation that indicates the typical distance between the scores of a distribution and the mean; it is determined by taking the square root of the average of the squared deviations in a given distribution. It can be used to indicate the proportion of data within certain ranges of scale values when the distribution conforms closely to the normal curve.
  • Statistical Analysis -- application of statistical processes and theory to the compilation, presentation, discussion, and interpretation of numerical data.
  • Statistical Bias -- characteristics of an experimental or sampling design, or the mathematical treatment of data, that systematically affects the results of a study so as to produce incorrect, unjustified, or inappropriate inferences or conclusions.
  • Statistical Significance -- the probability that the difference between the outcomes of the control and experimental group are great enough that it is unlikely due solely to chance. The probability that the null hypothesis can be rejected at a predetermined significance level [0.05 or 0.01].
  • Statistical Tests -- researchers use statistical tests to make quantitative decisions about whether a study's data indicate a significant effect from the intervention and allow the researcher to reject the null hypothesis. That is, statistical tests show whether the differences between the outcomes of the control and experimental groups are great enough to be statistically significant. If differences are found to be statistically significant, it means that the probability [likelihood] that these differences occurred solely due to chance is relatively low. Most researchers agree that a significance value of .05 or less [i.e., there is a 95% probability that the differences are real] sufficiently determines significance.
  • Subcultures -- ethnic, regional, economic, or social groups exhibiting characteristic patterns of behavior sufficient to distinguish them from the larger society to which they belong.
  • Testing -- the act of gathering and processing information about individuals' ability, skill, understanding, or knowledge under controlled conditions.
  • Theory -- a general explanation about a specific behavior or set of events that is based on known principles and serves to organize related events in a meaningful way. A theory is not as specific as a hypothesis.
  • Treatment -- the stimulus given to a dependent variable.
  • Trend Samples -- method of sampling different groups of people at different points in time from the same population.
  • Triangulation -- a multi-method or pluralistic approach, using different methods in order to focus on the research topic from different viewpoints and to produce a multi-faceted set of data. Also used to check the validity of findings from any one method.
  • Unit of Analysis -- the basic observable entity or phenomenon being analyzed by a study and for which data are collected in the form of variables.
  • Validity -- the degree to which a study accurately reflects or assesses the specific concept that the researcher is attempting to measure. A method can be reliable, consistently measuring the same thing, but not valid.
  • Variable -- any characteristic or trait that can vary from one person to another [race, gender, academic major] or for one person over time [age, political beliefs].
  • Weighted Scores -- scores in which the components are modified by different multipliers to reflect their relative importance.
  • White Paper -- an authoritative report that often states the position or philosophy about a social, political, or other subject, or a general explanation of an architecture, framework, or product technology written by a group of researchers. A white paper seeks to contain unbiased information and analysis regarding a business or policy problem that the researchers may be facing.

Elliot, Mark, Fairweather, Ian, Olsen, Wendy Kay, and Pampaka, Maria. A Dictionary of Social Research Methods. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2016; Free Social Science Dictionary. Socialsciencedictionary.com [2008]. Glossary. Institutional Review Board. Colorado College; Glossary of Key Terms. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Glossary A-Z. Education.com; Glossary of Research Terms. Research Mindedness Virtual Learning Resource. Centre for Human Servive Technology. University of Southampton; Miller, Robert L. and Brewer, John D. The A-Z of Social Research: A Dictionary of Key Social Science Research Concepts London: SAGE, 2003; Jupp, Victor. The SAGE Dictionary of Social and Cultural Research Methods . London: Sage, 2006.

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How Does Writing Fit Into the ‘Science of Reading’?

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In one sense, the national conversation about what it will take to make sure all children become strong readers has been wildly successful: States are passing legislation supporting evidence-based teaching approaches , and school districts are rushing to supply training. Publishers are under pressure to drop older materials . And for the first time in years, an instructional issue—reading—is headlining education media coverage.

In the middle of all that, though, the focus on the “science of reading” has elided its twin component in literacy instruction: writing.

Writing is intrinsically important for all students to learn—after all, it is the primary way beyond speech that humans communicate. But more than that, research suggests that teaching students to write in an integrated fashion with reading is not only efficient, it’s effective.

Yet writing is often underplayed in the elementary grades. Too often, it is separated from schools’ reading block. Writing is not assessed as frequently as reading, and principals, worried about reading-exam scores, direct teachers to focus on one often at the expense of the other. Finally, beyond the English/language arts block, kids often aren’t asked to do much writing in early grades.

“Sometimes, in an early-literacy classroom, you’ll hear a teacher say, ‘It’s time to pick up your pencils,’” said Wiley Blevins, an author and literacy consultant who provides training in schools. “But your pencils should be in your hand almost the entire morning.”

Strikingly, many of the critiques that reading researchers have made against the “balanced literacy” approach that has held sway in schools for decades could equally apply to writing instruction: Foundational writing skills—like phonics and language structure—have not generally been taught systematically or explicitly.

And like the “find the main idea” strategies commonly taught in reading comprehension, writing instruction has tended to focus on content-neutral tasks, rather than deepening students’ connections to the content they learn.

Education Week wants to bring more attention to these connections in the stories that make up this special collection . But first, we want to delve deeper into the case for including writing in every step of the elementary curriculum.

Why has writing been missing from the reading conversation?

Much like the body of knowledge on how children learn to read words, it is also settled science that reading and writing draw on shared knowledge, even though they have traditionally been segmented in instruction.

“The body of research is substantial in both number of studies and quality of studies. There’s no question that reading and writing share a lot of real estate, they depend on a lot of the same knowledge and skills,” said Timothy Shanahan, an emeritus professor of education at the University of Illinois Chicago. “Pick your spot: text structure, vocabulary, sound-symbol relationships, ‘world knowledge.’”

The reasons for the bifurcation in reading and writing are legion. One is that the two fields have typically been studied separately. (Researchers studying writing usually didn’t examine whether a writing intervention, for instance, also aided students’ reading abilities—and vice versa.)

Some scholars also finger the dominance of the federally commissioned National Reading Panel report, which in 2000 outlined key instructional components of learning to read. The review didn’t examine the connection of writing to reading.

Looking even further back yields insights, too. Penmanship and spelling were historically the only parts of writing that were taught, and when writing reappeared in the latter half of the 20th century, it tended to focus on “process writing,” emphasizing personal experience and story generation over other genres. Only when the Common Core State Standards appeared in 2010 did the emphasis shift to writing about nonfiction texts and across subjects—the idea that students should be writing about what they’ve learned.

And finally, teaching writing is hard. Few studies document what preparation teachers receive to teach writing, but in surveys, many teachers say they received little training in their college education courses. That’s probably why only a little over half of teachers, in one 2016 survey, said that they enjoyed teaching writing.

Writing should begin in the early grades

These factors all work against what is probably the most important conclusion from the research over the last few decades: Students in the early-elementary grades need lots of varied opportunities to write.

“Students need support in their writing,” said Dana Robertson, an associate professor of reading and literacy education at the school of education at Virginia Tech who also studies how instructional change takes root in schools. “They need to be taught explicitly the skills and strategies of writing and they need to see the connections of reading, writing, and knowledge development.”

While research supports some fundamental tenets of writing instruction—that it should be structured, for instance, and involve drafting and revising—it hasn’t yet pointed to a specific teaching recipe that works best.

One of the challenges, the researchers note, is that while reading curricula have improved over the years, they still don’t typically provide many supports for students—or teachers, for that matter—for writing. Teachers often have to supplement with additions that don’t always mesh well with their core, grade-level content instruction.

“We have a lot of activities in writing we know are good,” Shanahan said. “We don’t really have a yearlong elementary-school-level curriculum in writing. That just doesn’t exist the way it does in reading.”

Nevertheless, practitioners like Blevins work writing into every reading lesson, even in the earliest grades. And all the components that make up a solid reading program can be enhanced through writing activities.

4 Key Things to Know About How Reading and Writing Interlock

Want a quick summary of what research tells us about the instructional connections between reading and writing?

1. Reading and writing are intimately connected.

Research on the connections began in the early 1980s and has grown more robust with time.

Among the newest and most important additions are three research syntheses conducted by Steve Graham, a professor at the University of Arizona, and his research partners. One of them examined whether writing instruction also led to improvements in students’ reading ability; a second examined the inverse question. Both found significant positive effects for reading and writing.

A third meta-analysis gets one step closer to classroom instruction. Graham and partners examined 47 studies of instructional programs that balanced both reading and writing—no program could feature more than 60 percent of one or the other. The results showed generally positive effects on both reading and writing measures.

2. Writing matters even at the earliest grades, when students are learning to read.

Studies show that the prewriting students do in early education carries meaningful signals about their decoding, spelling, and reading comprehension later on. Reading experts say that students should be supported in writing almost as soon as they begin reading, and evidence suggests that both spelling and handwriting are connected to the ability to connect speech to print and to oral language development.

3. Like reading, writing must be taught explicitly.

Writing is a complex task that demands much of students’ cognitive resources. Researchers generally agree that writing must be explicitly taught—rather than left up to students to “figure out” the rules on their own.

There isn’t as much research about how precisely to do this. One 2019 review, in fact, found significant overlap among the dozen writing programs studied, and concluded that all showed signs of boosting learning. Debates abound about the amount of structure students need and in what sequence, such as whether they need to master sentence construction before moving onto paragraphs and lengthier texts.

But in general, students should be guided on how to construct sentences and paragraphs, and they should have access to models and exemplars, the research suggests. They also need to understand the iterative nature of writing, including how to draft and revise.

A number of different writing frameworks incorporating various degrees of structure and modeling are available, though most of them have not been studied empirically.

4. Writing can help students learn content—and make sense of it.

Much of reading comprehension depends on helping students absorb “world knowledge”—think arts, ancient cultures, literature, and science—so that they can make sense of increasingly sophisticated texts and ideas as their reading improves. Writing can enhance students’ content learning, too, and should be emphasized rather than taking a back seat to the more commonly taught stories and personal reflections.

Graham and colleagues conducted another meta-analysis of nearly 60 studies looking at this idea of “writing to learn” in mathematics, science, and social studies. The studies included a mix of higher-order assignments, like analyses and argumentative writing, and lower-level ones, like summarizing and explaining. The study found that across all three disciplines, writing about the content improved student learning.

If students are doing work on phonemic awareness—the ability to recognize sounds—they shouldn’t merely manipulate sounds orally; they can put them on the page using letters. If students are learning how to decode, they can also encode—record written letters and words while they say the sounds out loud.

And students can write as they begin learning about language structure. When Blevins’ students are mainly working with decodable texts with controlled vocabularies, writing can support their knowledge about how texts and narratives work: how sentences are put together and how they can be pulled apart and reconstructed. Teachers can prompt them in these tasks, asking them to rephrase a sentence as a question, split up two sentences, or combine them.

“Young kids are writing these mile-long sentences that become second nature. We set a higher bar, and they are fully capable of doing it. We can demystify a bit some of that complex text if we develop early on how to talk about sentences—how they’re created, how they’re joined,” Blevins said. “There are all these things you can do that are helpful to develop an understanding of how sentences work and to get lots of practice.”

As students progress through the elementary grades, this structured work grows more sophisticated. They need to be taught both sentence and paragraph structure , and they need to learn how different writing purposes and genres—narrative, persuasive, analytical—demand different approaches. Most of all, the research indicates, students need opportunities to write at length often.

Using writing to support students’ exploration of content

Reading is far more than foundational skills, of course. It means introducing students to rich content and the specialized vocabulary in each discipline and then ensuring that they read, discuss, analyze, and write about those ideas. The work to systematically build students’ knowledge begins in the early grades and progresses throughout their K-12 experience.

Here again, available evidence suggests that writing can be a useful tool to help students explore, deepen, and draw connections in this content. With the proper supports, writing can be a method for students to retell and analyze what they’ve learned in discussions of content and literature throughout the school day —in addition to their creative writing.

This “writing to learn” approach need not wait for students to master foundational skills. In the K-2 grades especially, much content is learned through teacher read-alouds and conversation that include more complex vocabulary and ideas than the texts students are capable of reading. But that should not preclude students from writing about this content, experts say.

“We do a read-aloud or a media piece and we write about what we learned. It’s just a part of how you’re responding, or sharing, what you’ve learned across texts; it’s not a separate thing from reading,” Blevins said. “If I am doing read-alouds on a concept—on animal habitats, for example—my decodable texts will be on animals. And students are able to include some of these more sophisticated ideas and language in their writing, because we’ve elevated the conversations around these texts.”

In this set of stories , Education Week examines the connections between elementary-level reading and writing in three areas— encoding , language and text structure , and content-area learning . But there are so many more examples.

Please write us to share yours when you’ve finished.

Want to read more about the research that informed this story? Here’s a bibliography to start you off.

Berninger V. W., Abbott, R. D., Abbott, S. P., Graham S., & Richards T. (2002). Writing and reading: Connections between language by hand and language by eye. J ournal of Learning Disabilities. Special Issue: The Language of Written Language, 35(1), 39–56 Berninger, Virginia, Robert D. Abbott, Janine Jones, Beverly J. Wolf, Laura Gould, Marci Anderson-Younstrom, Shirley Shimada, Kenn Apel. (2006) “Early development of language by hand: composing, reading, listening, and speaking connections; three letter-writing modes; and fast mapping in spelling.” Developmental Neuropsychology, 29(1), pp. 61-92 Cabell, Sonia Q, Laura S. Tortorelli, and Hope K. Gerde (2013). “How Do I Write…? Scaffolding Preschoolers’ Early Writing Skills.” The Reading Teacher, 66(8), pp. 650-659. Gerde, H.K., Bingham, G.E. & Wasik, B.A. (2012). “Writing in Early Childhood Classrooms: Guidance for Best Practices.” Early Childhood Education Journal 40, 351–359 (2012) Gilbert, Jennifer, and Steve Graham. (2010). “Teaching Writing to Elementary Students in Grades 4–6: A National Survey.” The Elementary School Journal 110(44) Graham, Steve, et al. (2017). “Effectiveness of Literacy Programs Balancing Reading and Writing Instruction: A Meta-Analysis.” Reading Research Quarterly, 53(3) pp. 279–304 Graham, Steve, and Michael Hebert. (2011). “Writing to Read: A Meta-Analysis of the Impact of Writing and Writing Instruction on Reading.” Harvard Educational Review (2011) 81(4): 710–744. Graham, Steve. (2020). “The Sciences of Reading and Writing Must Become More Fully Integrated.” Reading Research Quarterly, 55(S1) pp. S35–S44 Graham, Steve, Sharlene A. Kiuhara, and Meade MacKay. (2020).”The Effects of Writing on Learning in Science, Social Studies, and Mathematics: A Meta-Analysis.” Review of Educational Research April 2020, Vol 90, No. 2, pp. 179–226 Shanahan, Timothy. “History of Writing and Reading Connections.” in Shanahan, Timothy. (2016). “Relationships between reading and writing development.” In C. MacArthur, S. Graham, & J. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Handbook of writing research (2nd ed., pp. 194–207). New York, NY: Guilford. Slavin, Robert, Lake, C., Inns, A., Baye, A., Dachet, D., & Haslam, J. (2019). “A quantitative synthesis of research on writing approaches in grades 2 to 12.” London: Education Endowment Foundation. Troia, Gary. (2014). Evidence-based practices for writing instruction (Document No. IC-5). Retrieved from University of Florida, Collaboration for Effective Educator, Development, Accountability, and Reform Center website: http://ceedar.education.ufl.edu/tools/innovation-configuration/ Troia, Gary, and Steve Graham. (2016).“Common Core Writing and Language Standards and Aligned State Assessments: A National Survey of Teacher Beliefs and Attitudes.” Reading and Writing 29(9).

A version of this article appeared in the January 25, 2023 edition of Education Week as How Does Writing Fit Into the ‘Science of Reading’?

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    The typical approach to the research paper -- the generic term for pretty much all academic writing -- is to assign it as a summative assessment at the end of the semester. Faculty members normally give students a couple of weeks to research a topic, acquire new knowledge and communicate that knowledge in a perfectly formatted 20-page paper.

  13. PDF ACADEMIC WRITING

    - The Writing Process: These features show all the steps taken to write a paper, allowing you to follow it from initial idea to published article. - Into the Essay: Excerpts from actual papers show the ideas from the chapters in action because you learn to write best by getting examples rather than instructions. Much of my approach to ...

  14. Writing a Research Paper Introduction

    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.

  15. 7 Powerful Tips for Writing a Research Paper

    Conclusion. Mastering the art of writing a compelling research paper involves implementing these 7 powerful tips. Remember, clarity, organization, and precision are key elements in crafting a successful academic paper. To further enhance your skills in scientific writing, consider honing your abstract writing abilities. Visit.

  16. 13.1 Formatting a Research Paper

    Set the top, bottom, and side margins of your paper at 1 inch. Use double-spaced text throughout your paper. Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, in a legible size (10- to 12-point). Use continuous pagination throughout the paper, including the title page and the references section.

  17. PDF The Benefits of Writing

    Somewhat more research has investigated the benefits of writing to emotional well being. James Pennebaker, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Texas-Austin has undertaken a series of investigations into the benefits of writing (Pennebaker, 2004), including its ability to heal emotional wounds. Short-term, focused writing can, accord-

  18. What is a research paper: a comprehensive overview

    Writing a research paper is about exploring a topic or issue and adding to a field of study. This participation requires recognizing a gap in the literature, creating a research topic, undertaking extensive research, and presenting the findings in a way that enriches academic discourse. Many benefits come from writing a research paper.

  19. A Process Approach to Writing Research Papers

    Step 5: Accumulate Research Materials. Use cards, Word, Post-its, or Excel to organize. Organize your bibliography records first. Organize notes next (one idea per document— direct quotations, paraphrases, your own ideas). Arrange your notes under the main headings of your tentative outline.

  20. Benefits of Publishing a Research Paper

    An abstract is a concise description of the research article. It is typically one paragraph length (about 6-7 sentences, 150-250 words). An effective abstract accomplishes several things: In order to determine whether to read the complete work, an abstract enables readers to quickly understand the substance or essential of your paper or article. An abstract […]

  21. What are the advantages of publishing a research paper?

    Increased visibility: Publishing a research paper can increase visibility for the researcher and their work, which can lead to new opportunities, funding, and collaborations. Impact on society: Publishing a research paper can have a positive impact on society by contributing to the advancement of knowledge and understanding in a specific field.

  22. What is the benefit of using sources of information for writing a

    1 Answer to this question. Answer: Actually, using sources of information - in other words, referencing - is not just beneficial for writing a research paper, it's essential to it. There doesn't seem to be any form of a scientific article that may not require some amount of referencing, even a perspective piece or a letter to the editor.

  23. AI-assisted writing is quietly booming in academic journals. Here's why

    The second problem is that banning generative AI outright prevents us from realising these technologies' benefits. Used well, generative AI can by streamlining the writing process. In this way ...

  24. What is the importance of writing a research paper?

    Research papers are an excellent platform to disseminate a novel finding to a general or focused audience, which may be interested in replicating the experiments; identifying novel applications for the finding, etc., as well as to popularize your research to the world and prevent duplication of the study. Writing a research paper is the primary ...

  25. Why Writing by Hand Is Better for Memory and Learning

    But a steady stream of research continues to suggest that taking notes the traditional way—with pen and paper or even stylus and tablet—is still the best way to learn, especially for young ...

  26. Research Paper Structure 101: From Title Page to Appendices

    The research paper title page format depends on the required formatting style: MLA does not require a separate title page (unless specifically requested). Instead, in the upper left-hand corner of the first page, type your name, your instructor's name, course name, and date (each on a new line, double-spaced).

  27. As schools reconsider cursive, research homes in on handwriting's ...

    As schools reconsider cursive, research homes in on handwriting's brain benefits : Shots - Health News Researchers are learning that handwriting engages the brain in ways typing can't match ...

  28. Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

    Grey Literature-- research produced by organizations outside of commercial and academic publishing that publish materials, such as, working papers, research reports, and briefing papers. Grounded Theory-- practice of developing other theories that emerge from observing a group. Theories are grounded in the group's observable experiences, but ...

  29. How Does Writing Fit Into the 'Science of Reading'?

    Writing is intrinsically important for all students to learn—after all, it is the primary way beyond speech that humans communicate. But more than that, research suggests that teaching students ...

  30. UCLA Mindful

    About UCLA Mindful. The mission of UCLA Mindful is to foster mindful awareness across the lifespan through education and research to promote well-being and a more compassionate society. Mindful awareness (mindfulness) can be defined as paying attention to present-moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is.