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Scope of the Research – Writing Guide and Examples

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Scope of the Research

Scope of the Research

Scope of research refers to the range of topics, areas, and subjects that a research project intends to cover. It is the extent and limitations of the study, defining what is included and excluded in the research.

The scope of a research project depends on various factors, such as the research questions , objectives , methodology, and available resources. It is essential to define the scope of the research project clearly to avoid confusion and ensure that the study addresses the intended research questions.

How to Write Scope of the Research

Writing the scope of the research involves identifying the specific boundaries and limitations of the study. Here are some steps you can follow to write a clear and concise scope of the research:

  • Identify the research question: Start by identifying the specific question that you want to answer through your research . This will help you focus your research and define the scope more clearly.
  • Define the objectives: Once you have identified the research question, define the objectives of your study. What specific goals do you want to achieve through your research?
  • Determine the population and sample: Identify the population or group of people that you will be studying, as well as the sample size and selection criteria. This will help you narrow down the scope of your research and ensure that your findings are applicable to the intended audience.
  • Identify the variables: Determine the variables that will be measured or analyzed in your research. This could include demographic variables, independent variables , dependent variables , or any other relevant factors.
  • Define the timeframe: Determine the timeframe for your study, including the start and end date, as well as any specific time intervals that will be measured.
  • Determine the geographical scope: If your research is location-specific, define the geographical scope of your study. This could include specific regions, cities, or neighborhoods that you will be focusing on.
  • Outline the limitations: Finally, outline any limitations or constraints of your research, such as time, resources, or access to data. This will help readers understand the scope and applicability of your research findings.

Examples of the Scope of the Research

Some Examples of the Scope of the Research are as follows:

Title : “Investigating the impact of artificial intelligence on job automation in the IT industry”

Scope of Research:

This study aims to explore the impact of artificial intelligence on job automation in the IT industry. The research will involve a qualitative analysis of job postings, identifying tasks that can be automated using AI. The study will also assess the potential implications of job automation on the workforce, including job displacement, job creation, and changes in job requirements.

Title : “Developing a machine learning model for predicting cyberattacks on corporate networks”

This study will develop a machine learning model for predicting cyberattacks on corporate networks. The research will involve collecting and analyzing network traffic data, identifying patterns and trends that are indicative of cyberattacks. The study aims to build an accurate and reliable predictive model that can help organizations identify and prevent cyberattacks before they occur.

Title: “Assessing the usability of a mobile app for managing personal finances”

This study will assess the usability of a mobile app for managing personal finances. The research will involve conducting a usability test with a group of participants, evaluating the app’s ease of use, efficiency, and user satisfaction. The study aims to identify areas of the app that need improvement, and to provide recommendations for enhancing its usability and user experience.

Title : “Exploring the effects of mindfulness meditation on stress reduction among college students”

This study aims to investigate the impact of mindfulness meditation on reducing stress levels among college students. The research will involve a randomized controlled trial with two groups: a treatment group that receives mindfulness meditation training and a control group that receives no intervention. The study will examine changes in stress levels, as measured by self-report questionnaires, before and after the intervention.

Title: “Investigating the impact of social media on body image dissatisfaction among young adults”

This study will explore the relationship between social media use and body image dissatisfaction among young adults. The research will involve a cross-sectional survey of participants aged 18-25, assessing their social media use, body image perceptions, and self-esteem. The study aims to identify any correlations between social media use and body image dissatisfaction, and to determine if certain social media platforms or types of content are particularly harmful.

When to Write Scope of the Research

Here is a guide on When to Write the Scope of the Research:

  • Before starting your research project, it’s important to clearly define the scope of your study. This will help you stay focused on your research question and avoid getting sidetracked by irrelevant information.
  • The scope of the research should be determined by the research question or problem statement. It should outline what you intend to investigate and what you will not be investigating.
  • The scope should also take into consideration any limitations of the study, such as time, resources, or access to data. This will help you realistically plan and execute your research.
  • Writing the scope of the research early in the research process can also help you refine your research question and identify any gaps in the existing literature that your study can address.
  • It’s important to revisit the scope of the research throughout the research process to ensure that you stay on track and make any necessary adjustments.
  • The scope of the research should be clearly communicated in the research proposal or study protocol to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the research objectives and limitations.
  • The scope of the research should also be reflected in the research design, methods, and analysis plan. This will ensure that the research is conducted in a systematic and rigorous manner that is aligned with the research objectives.
  • The scope of the research should be written in a clear and concise manner, using language that is accessible to all stakeholders, including those who may not be familiar with the research topic or methodology.
  • When writing the scope of the research, it’s important to be transparent about any assumptions or biases that may influence the research findings. This will help ensure that the research is conducted in an ethical and responsible manner.
  • The scope of the research should be reviewed and approved by the research supervisor, committee members, or other relevant stakeholders. This will ensure that the research is feasible, relevant, and contributes to the field of study.
  • Finally, the scope of the research should be clearly stated in the research report or dissertation to provide context for the research findings and conclusions. This will help readers understand the significance of the research and its contribution to the field of study.

Purpose of Scope of the Research

Purposes of Scope of the Research are as follows:

  • Defines the boundaries and extent of the study.
  • Determines the specific objectives and research questions to be addressed.
  • Provides direction and focus for the research.
  • Helps to identify the relevant theories, concepts, and variables to be studied.
  • Enables the researcher to select the appropriate research methodology and techniques.
  • Allows for the allocation of resources (time, money, personnel) to the research.
  • Establishes the criteria for the selection of the sample and data collection methods.
  • Facilitates the interpretation and generalization of the results.
  • Ensures the ethical considerations and constraints are addressed.
  • Provides a framework for the presentation and dissemination of the research findings.

Advantages of Scope of the Research

Here are some advantages of having a well-defined scope of research:

  • Provides clarity and focus: Defining the scope of research helps to provide clarity and focus to the study. This ensures that the research stays on track and does not deviate from its intended purpose.
  • Helps to manage resources: Knowing the scope of research allows researchers to allocate resources effectively. This includes managing time, budget, and personnel required to conduct the study.
  • Improves the quality of research: A well-defined scope of research helps to ensure that the study is designed to achieve specific objectives. This helps to improve the quality of the research by reducing the likelihood of errors or bias.
  • Facilitates communication: A clear scope of research enables researchers to communicate the goals and objectives of the study to stakeholders, such as funding agencies or participants. This facilitates understanding and enhances cooperation.
  • Enables replication : A well-defined scope of research makes it easier to replicate the study in the future. This allows other researchers to validate the findings and build upon them, leading to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Increases the relevance of research: Defining the scope of research helps to ensure that the study is relevant to the problem or issue being investigated. This increases the likelihood that the findings will be useful and applicable to real-world situations.
  • Reduces the risk of scope creep : Scope creep occurs when the research expands beyond the original scope, leading to an increase in the time, cost, and resources required to complete the study. A clear definition of the scope of research helps to reduce the risk of scope creep by establishing boundaries and limitations.
  • Enhances the credibility of research: A well-defined scope of research helps to enhance the credibility of the study by ensuring that it is designed to achieve specific objectives and answer specific research questions. This makes it easier for others to assess the validity and reliability of the study.
  • Provides a framework for decision-making : A clear scope of research provides a framework for decision-making throughout the research process. This includes decisions related to data collection, analysis, and interpretation.

Scope of the Research Vs Scope of the Project

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  • How to write a research paper

Last updated

11 January 2024

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

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

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

  • What is a research paper?

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

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

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

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

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

  • How long should a research paper be?

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

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

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

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

1. Gaining a deep understanding of any expectations

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

This preparation step entails

Deeply understanding the task or assignment

Being clear about the expected format and length

Familiarizing yourself with the citation and referencing requirements 

Understanding any defined limits for your research contribution

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

2. Choose your research topic

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

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

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

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

3. Gather preliminary research

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

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

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

4. Define your research question

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

5. Write a thesis statement

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

A strong thesis statement is:

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

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

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

Here are three thesis statement examples from different disciplines:

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

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

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

6. Conduct in-depth research

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

7. Determine supporting evidence

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

8. Write a research paper outline

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

9. Write your first draft

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

10. Cite your sources correctly

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

11. Ensure your work is original

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

12. Revise, edit, and proofread

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

  • The best research paper format 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • General style and formatting guidelines

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

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

Here’s how each style guide is typically used:

Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS):

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

American Psychological Association (APA):

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

Modern Language Association (MLA):

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

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

Citing sources

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 research paper writing tips:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 research tips 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • The real-world impact of research papers

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

How do I publish my research paper? 

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

What is a good opening sentence for a research paper? 

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Write About Your Research Interests 101

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Wondering how to write about your research interests without loosing all your hair from stress in the process? Don’t worry – you have the power to make it an enjoyable – and enlightening – process! If you’re keen to secure admission into your dream graduate program, then tailoring your application to align with your passion for research is absolutely essential.

In this blog post, we take a deep dive into what exactly goes into writing about one’s research interests and provide invaluable guidance on how to do so to stand out from the competition. By taking the time and putting some thought into crafting this vital component of your application, you will be setting yourself up for success. So get ready because here come our top tips on how to write with flair about your most passionate research pursuits!

Understanding the purpose of your statement of purpose

Many prospective graduate students apply to graduate school without having a clear idea of how to write about their research interests nor having determined which topics or questions they would like to explore during their studies. This is a fairly normal situation. Many of my clients struggle with this challenge. While some people are concerned that they may be held to their still-developing thoughts, others have not yet truly invested time into the thought process.

Yet, no need to panic. The best way to decrease the anxiety related to learning how to write about your research interests is to take a step back and consider the purpose of your statement of purpose.

It’s important to realize that you are applying to graduate school to learn more, and your statement of purpose should never be about what you already know. The purpose of your statement of purpose is to provide a glimpse into your research interests at a particular moment in time . It is meant to demonstrate your research potential and it should not be seen as the presentation of a long-term commitment to research a precise set of ideas or questions.

So take a deep breath and relax! When starting to write your thesis, nobody will suddenly appear out of nowhere with your SOP or research interest statement in hand, accusing you of lying. As you navigate your way through graduate school, your understanding and perspectives will inevitably expand in countless ways. Many prospective students end up working on something entirely different than what they wrote about in their SOP.

And believe us, nobody gets sued or judged for changing their mind. In fact, admissions committees expect applicants’ ideas to take a slightly different or brand-new direction as they take more courses and become more knowledgeable of their target field, so there is no need to worry if you are unsure how committed you are to your current research interests.

Yet, not being clear on what your research interests are can be problematic, as the research process and field of study that you choose will ideally be an area in which you are passionate about and have at least some knowledge, so it is important to take the time to research and explore various topics before applying. The goal is to commit for the time being to a certain set of questions or a topic .

Keep in mind that admissions committees are more concerned with how the applicant communicates their research interests than with any specific content of the research itself. Furthermore, since many programs require students to pursue individualized study plans or take part in interdisciplinary collaborations during their studies, applicants need to demonstrate their ability to communicate and collaborate effectively.

Thus, admissions committees are looking for applicants that can present their research interests in a compelling way and illustrate how they can add value to the program.

To make a good impression on the admissions committee, you need to emphasize your comprehensive understanding of and passion for your field. Learning how to write about your research interests is all about learning to showcase these qualities in detail, thus demonstrating that you have what it takes to excel in research work. If your statement does not include any pertinent experience or qualifications, then you might come across as inexperienced. To avoid this issue and make a convincing argument for why you are well-suited to the chosen career path, be sure to provide specifics on what makes the field exciting for you and back it up with relevant background information.

how to write area of research

What are admissions committees considering when looking at your research interests

Graduate admissions committees consider a variety of factors when evaluating an applicant’s research interest statement. Most notably, they assess the depth and breadth of the student’s knowledge in their chosen field or discipline and their ability to communicate why their research interests are relevant to that particular area.

They also look at how well an applicant understands current literature in the field, the research methods and approaches they plan to take, and their overall commitment to pursuing a graduate degree. In addition, committees may evaluate an applicant’s creativity in developing new research ideas or questions as well as their ability to collaborate with other faculty members or students.

Finally, the committee will consider how well an applicant can articulate a clear vision for their future research plans, indicating their interest in long-term scholarship. Taking these factors into account, graduate admissions committees gain an understanding of how well an applicant is suited to pursue a graduate program and contribute to the university’s overall research strength.

how to write area of research

Writing about your research interests might involve… preliminary research!

When writing your statement of purpose, it is important to narrow your research interests as much as possible. Start by researching and familiarizing yourself with the particular field or program you are interested in. Ask yourself questions such as, What kind of research is currently being done? What topics are most commonly discussed? What topics are most relevant to your goals and interests?

Once you have a better understanding of the field, start by focusing on specific topics, ideas, or questions that you are passionate about. You can do this by asking yourself what kind of research requires your unique skillset. What kind of research questions do you find yourself most drawn to? What innovative ideas or solutions can you bring to the field?

If you are still not clear about which tangent to follow in your SOP, take the time to begin familiarizing yourself with the ongoing questions and issues in your field: read recent journal publications, and attend conferences when applicable. Additionally, reading related literature reviews will enable you to construct a language-based framework for expressing your ideas that aligns with prevailing trends and discourse.

how to write area of research

By asking yourself these questions, you can narrow your research interests and better define the scope of your research interests. This will help you present yourself as a well-rounded and knowledgeable candidate for the program.

When writing about your research interests for an admissions committee, it is important to be concise and clear. First, create a brief overview of the research topic that you are interested in. When possible, provide examples of how your research interests overlap with the topics being explored by the program or institution for which you are applying. Demonstrate a strong understanding of the research methods and theories that apply to the topic. Additionally, if you have already conducted any research in this area, provide a summary of the findings. Finally, outline your long-term research goals and explain why they fit within the context of the program.

how to write area of research

Learning how to write about your research interests is also learning to define your goals

Connecting your research interests to achievable goals is an important part of writing a statement of purpose. It helps to demonstrate that you have thought through the research project and how it can be accomplished in the timeframe of PhD studies. By including realistic, achievable goals, it also shows that you understand what is possible and have considered the potential obstacles that may arise. It is important to avoid being overly ambitious in your statement of purpose as this can lead to unrealistic expectations and a loss of focus, potentially leading to failure to achieve the desired outcomes.

Additionally, presenting achievable goals in your statement of purpose demonstrates that you are confident in what you are proposing, yet also realistic about the challenges that need to be overcome. By doing so, you will provide a strong indication that your research project is well-planned and worth investing in.

how to write area of research

It is also important to demonstrate that your research interests are well-aligned with the graduate program you are applying to. This can be done by researching the faculty members and research groups of the university or program and looking for professors whose research focuses on topics related to yours. Once you have identified a few faculty members or research projects of interest, you can begin to explain how your research interests dovetail with their work. In doing so, you can demonstrate that your research is compatible with the program’s offerings and that it will contribute positively to the program’s research goals.

Finally, connecting your research interests to your career goals is essential. Your research will allow you to gain expertise, develop ideas, and build knowledge. This experience can be used to create meaningful connections between courses taken during the program and career paths that may come afterward. Additionally, it can serve as a way to form relationships and build networks that may help you establish a successful career. Make sure to share your short-term and long-term goals after graduation are clearly connected to your interests.

In conclusion

In this blog post, we explored the importance of properly conveying your research interests when writing a graduate school essay. The ability to do so can make all the difference between having your application being accepted and overlooked in the shuffle.

While learning about how to write about your research interests may seem like an especially daunting task, it doesn’t have to be with a little preparation and understanding. We hope you found this post helpful in demystifying the process of writing about your research interests when applying to graduate schools. If after reading our post you are still feeling overwhelmed to write up a stunning graduate school essay that showcases your research interests, fear not! I am here to help and take some of the stress of applying away.

The Admit Lab’s mission is to empower you with the tools needed for success by making sure your story stands out. So don’t waste any more time – check out our graduate essay services today! Got questions? Sign up for a consultation or send us a copy of your draft for an assessment, it’s FREE!

With a Master’s from McGill University and a Ph.D. from New York University, Dr. Philippe Barr is the founder of The Admit Lab . As a tenure-track professor, Dr. Barr spent a decade teaching and serving on several graduate admission committees at UNC-Chapel Hill before turning to full-time consulting. With more than seven years of experience as a graduate school admissions consultant, Dr. Barr has stewarded the candidate journey across multiple master’s and Ph.D. programs and helped hundreds of students get admitted to top-tier graduate programs all over the world .

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how to write area of research

December 8, 2023

How to Write About Your Research Interests

how to write area of research

The most common challenge that my master’s and PhD applicant clients face when writing a statement of research interests or a statement of purpose (SOP) is how to describe in concrete terms what their research interests and goals are. This is understandable. Their ideas are still evolving, and some worry that they’ll later be held to the ideas they stated in their applications, as though they were chiseled in stone. Others simply haven’t yet thought those ideas through very much. 

Take a deep breath! By the time you begin writing your thesis, I promise that no one will pop up and wave your SOP or research interests statement around, saying, “But that’s not what you said here!” Everyone knows that your knowledge and ideas will develop throughout your grad program. 

Here are the two things that a great statement of research interests or SOP will do:

  • It  will clearly illustrate to the admissions committee that you possess a depth of interest and comprehension in your field and that you understand what goes into research. You will sound naïve if you talk about ideas that are too vague or nebulous, or ones that cannot be addressed adequately through your discipline.  
  • It will explain any relevant background you have in this field, why you find it compelling, and  why you are well suited for this career track . 

Four questions to help you find your statement focus

To narrow your interests into something that is concrete enough for you to be able to write about convincingly, without being overly general, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the broad research questions/issues that interest you? Create a summary of your interests that you can work with, and describe your interests in a sentence – or a paragraph, at most.  
  • Within those broad areas of interest, can you begin to focus on more specific questions? If you’re not sure what the current questions/problems are in your field, now is the time to start catching up. Read recent journal publications, and go to conferences if you can. Reading the literature in your field will also give you a sense of how to frame your ideas in the language of your field.  
  • Have you done any research in this field already? If so, do you intend to build on your previous work in grad school or go in a new direction?  
  • How will your research contribute to the field?

Understanding how to present your goals

Some projects described in SOPs are achievable in the short term, while others are big enough to last a career. If your interests/goals fall into this latter category, acknowledge your ambitions, and try to identify some element of your interests that you can pursue as a first step.

Once you have demonstrated your skills (and past experience) in your field, you will be better equipped to define your next steps. 

Focusing your interests will also involve doing more detailed research about the programs to which you plan to apply. For example, consider the following questions:

  • Who might be your research supervisor?  
  • How do your interests relate to the work this scholar or these scholars are doing now?  
  • How would you contribute to the department and to the discipline?

Your SOP will also address your post-degree, longer-term goals. Consider this: do you envision yourself pursuing a career in research/academia? (For many PhD programs, this remains the department’s formal expectation, even though many PhDs find employment outside the academy.) If you’re applying for a master’s degree, be prepared to discuss what your future plans are and how the degree will help you. 

Working on your SOP or statement of research interests?

Your SOP needs to be direct, informative, and… well… purposeful! When you choose Accepted, we match you with a dedicated advisor who will help you create an SOP that best reflects your experiences, goals, and intense desire to attend your target graduate school program. And did you know that Accepted’s clients have received millions of dollars in scholarship offers? Don’t delay – get started now by checking out our  Graduate School Application Services .

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For 25 years, Accepted has helped applicants gain acceptance to top undergraduate and graduate programs. Our expert team of admissions consultants features former admissions directors, PhDs, and professional writers who have advised clients to acceptance at top programs worldwide, including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Princeton, Penn, Columbia, Oxford, Cambridge, INSEAD, MIT, Caltech, UC Berkeley, and Northwestern. Want an admissions expert to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!

Related Resources:

  • STEM Applicants: Why Your Statement of Purpose is So Important
  • Three Must-Have Elements of a Good Statement of Purpose
  • Writing Your Career Goals Essay

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Research statement, what is a research statement.

The research statement (or statement of research interests) is a common component of academic job applications. It is a summary of your research accomplishments, current work, and future direction and potential of your work.

The statement can discuss specific issues such as:

  • funding history and potential
  • requirements for laboratory equipment and space and other resources
  • potential research and industrial collaborations
  • how your research contributes to your field
  • future direction of your research

The research statement should be technical, but should be intelligible to all members of the department, including those outside your subdiscipline. So keep the “big picture” in mind. The strongest research statements present a readable, compelling, and realistic research agenda that fits well with the needs, facilities, and goals of the department.

Research statements can be weakened by:

  • overly ambitious proposals
  • lack of clear direction
  • lack of big-picture focus
  • inadequate attention to the needs and facilities of the department or position

Why a Research Statement?

  • It conveys to search committees the pieces of your professional identity and charts the course of your scholarly journey.
  • It communicates a sense that your research will follow logically from what you have done and that it will be different, important, and innovative.
  • It gives a context for your research interests—Why does your research matter? The so what?
  • It combines your achievements and current work with the proposal for upcoming research.
  • areas of specialty and expertise
  • potential to get funding
  • academic strengths and abilities
  • compatibility with the department or school
  • ability to think and communicate like a serious scholar and/or scientist

Formatting of Research Statements

The goal of the research statement is to introduce yourself to a search committee, which will probably contain scientists both in and outside your field, and get them excited about your research. To encourage people to read it:

  • make it one or two pages, three at most
  • use informative section headings and subheadings
  • use bullets
  • use an easily readable font size
  • make the margins a reasonable size

Organization of Research Statements

Think of the overarching theme guiding your main research subject area. Write an essay that lays out:

  • The main theme(s) and why it is important and what specific skills you use to attack the problem.
  • A few specific examples of problems you have already solved with success to build credibility and inform people outside your field about what you do.
  • A discussion of the future direction of your research. This section should be really exciting to people both in and outside your field. Don’t sell yourself short; if you think your research could lead to answers for big important questions, say so!
  • A final paragraph that gives a good overall impression of your research.

Writing Research Statements

  • Avoid jargon. Make sure that you describe your research in language that many people outside your specific subject area can understand. Ask people both in and outside your field to read it before you send your application. A search committee won’t get excited about something they can’t understand.
  • Write as clearly, concisely, and concretely as you can.
  • Keep it at a summary level; give more detail in the job talk.
  • Ask others to proofread it. Be sure there are no spelling errors.
  • Convince the search committee not only that you are knowledgeable, but that you are the right person to carry out the research.
  • Include information that sets you apart (e.g., publication in  Science, Nature,  or a prestigious journal in your field).
  • What excites you about your research? Sound fresh.
  • Include preliminary results and how to build on results.
  • Point out how current faculty may become future partners.
  • Acknowledge the work of others.
  • Use language that shows you are an independent researcher.
  • BUT focus on your research work, not yourself.
  • Include potential funding partners and industrial collaborations. Be creative!
  • Provide a summary of your research.
  • Put in background material to give the context/relevance/significance of your research.
  • List major findings, outcomes, and implications.
  • Describe both current and planned (future) research.
  • Communicate a sense that your research will follow logically from what you have done and that it will be unique, significant, and innovative (and easy to fund).

Describe Your Future Goals or Research Plans

  • Major problem(s) you want to focus on in your research.
  • The problem’s relevance and significance to the field.
  • Your specific goals for the next three to five years, including potential impact and outcomes.
  • If you know what a particular agency funds, you can name the agency and briefly outline a proposal.
  • Give broad enough goals so that if one area doesn’t get funded, you can pursue other research goals and funding.

Identify Potential Funding Sources

  • Almost every institution wants to know whether you’ll be able to get external funding for research.
  • Try to provide some possible sources of funding for the research, such as NIH, NSF, foundations, private agencies.
  • Mention past funding, if appropriate.

Be Realistic

There is a delicate balance between a realistic research statement where you promise to work on problems you really think you can solve and over-reaching or dabbling in too many subject areas. Select an over-arching theme for your research statement and leave miscellaneous ideas or projects out. Everyone knows that you will work on more than what you mention in this statement.

Consider Also Preparing a Longer Version

  • A longer version (five–15 pages) can be brought to your interview. (Check with your advisor to see if this is necessary.)
  • You may be asked to describe research plans and budget in detail at the campus interview. Be prepared.
  • Include laboratory needs (how much budget you need for equipment, how many grad assistants, etc.) to start up the research.

Samples of Research Statements

To find sample research statements with content specific to your discipline, search on the internet for your discipline + “Research Statement.”

  • University of Pennsylvania Sample Research Statement
  • Advice on writing a Research Statement (Plan) from the journal  Science

How to Write a Killer Research Interest Statement

A young man making a top-notch sign to his eyes to represent writing a research interest statement.

Listen to one of our scientific editorial team members read this article. Click here to access more audio articles or subscribe.

A research interest statement, essential for academic job applications, should concisely outline past, current, and future research within 1–3 pages. It must include a compelling introduction, detailed research plans, alignment with the targeted lab or department, and a strong conclusion. Personalization for each application, clear and concise writing, and incorporating feedback are key. For faculty roles, emphasize long-term goals and potential research contributions.

The day will come when your job contract ends or you feel like applying for a new and exciting position. You may feel a bit lost preparing all the documents you need for that new job post but don’t worry, help is out there!

When applying for a PhD, post-doc , or faculty position, you will need to provide your curriculum vitae (CV), including the contact information of two or more references, sometimes specific certificates (e.g., language certificate), and a research interest statement. A statement of research interests is a 1–3 page document (if the required length is not clearly stated) that describes your research until now, your interests, and your future plans.

Why Do You Need a Research Interest Statement?

This document is helpful for the lab/department that wants to hire you, as well as for yourself. A potential employer will learn about:

  • your interests and experience;
  • your passion for research;
  • the match between your interests and the employer’s research;
  • your ability to think logically;
  • your independence from your supervisor;
  • the extent of your writing skills (important for paper and grant writing).

You will have the chance to:

  • think about and define your future plans and research interests;
  • gain confidence, and visualize your future career path.

Depending on where you are applying and for what position, there will be some differences in the requirements for the research interest statement. Sometimes you’ll need to produce a separate file, which is often required for faculty positions, and other times you can simply include your statement within your CV. Let’s start by defining what to do when applying for a PhD or post-doc position.

Research Interest Statement for PhD or Post-doc Positions

When the research interest statement is part of your CV, aim for one page or around 400 words. Pay attention: do not rewrite your CV—instead, clearly define your research interests. Highlight your scientific skills, your passion, and your ideas!

How to Write a Statement of Research Interests

How should you structure it? Think about how you would tell a story or write your thesis. You need an introduction, a main paragraph, future research ideas, and a conclusion.


This summarizes the contents and guides the reader through your application.

Main Paragraph

This is the core of your statement. It contains your recent and current research, as well as your planned future research. If you have worked on several projects, make the connection between them. Write about how you became interested in what you have done and why it still interests you.

Capture your reader’s attention by telling a story, and your statement will be easy to remember. In this section, you can briefly describe any important recognition, such as papers, presentations, awards, and grants.

An important tip: your statement will be more powerful if you place your work in a broader context. Let your reader visualize the ‘big picture’.

Future Prospective Research

This describes your short-term goals (2–5 years). This section will differ depending on whether you’re applying for a PhD or post-doc position. For the former, write about additional technical skills you are planning to learn or how you want to broaden your knowledge in a certain field.

For the latter, try to be a bit more detailed and include how you plan to develop as an independent scientist. State how your research goals will align with the employer’s research, which collaborations you could bring to the department, and which departments on campus you could benefit from working with.

Use one sentence that essentially says why you deserve the job.

Research Interest Statement for Faculty Positions

Applying for faculty positions requires a bit more detail, and sometimes the research interest statement has a precise length (2–5 pages). The structure above is still valid; however, you will need to add long-term goals (5+ years).

You can think of it as comparable to writing a grant application . Include some preliminary data, if you can, and be detailed and precise. It’s crucial, in this case, to be able to visualize the ‘big picture’ without being too vague!

How will your research bring innovation into the field? Make sure you mention any potential funding your research could bring to the department and which laboratory equipment and space the department should provide you with.

You can mention any common campus facilities you plan to use. Include the potential applications of your research; collaborations with industrial partners can strengthen your application.

Important Reminders

Customize your statement.

A very common mistake is to use a basic template for each application. Your application will be better if you customize your statement.

Highlight Why You Are a Good Match for the Lab

Describe the match between your experience and interests and the lab/department you are applying for.

Sometimes it can seem really difficult to find a suitable match, but don’t despair; you need just one or two points of contact between your research/interests and the employer’s research.

Focus on Format

Write clearly, and be concise. Use single or 1.5 line spacing, short bullet lists, and clear subject headings. The clearer your statement, the more powerful your application!

Give it Time

One last tip: give yourself time to write. Leave the statement in your drawer for a few days and come back to it. This will help you obtain a different perspective on what you wrote. If you can, send your statement to friends and colleagues to get suggestions. Someone who isn’t from your field can also bring helpful insights.

Crafting Your Research Interest Statement Summarized

Creating an effective research interest statement for academic positions demands a well-structured approach, showcasing your research journey from past accomplishments to future goals.

This crucial document must be tailored for each application to demonstrate a clear alignment with the intended department or lab. Emphasizing clarity, conciseness, and compelling storytelling, with a strong opening and conclusion is vital.

For faculty roles, detailing long-term ambitions and potential contributions is key. A meticulously crafted research interest statement serves as a powerful tool in your academic career progression.

I hope this article will help you with your applications. Remember: stay calm and keep writing!

Additional Resources

Writing A Research Statement . Carnegie Mellon University Global Communication Center.

Originally published June 21, 2017. Reviewed and updated January 2021. Reviewed and updated November 2023.


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Do these apply to post-bachelor positions as well?

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Yes, I would so say. It might be more than required but it would definitely impress!

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  • Graduate School

Research Interest Statement Samples That Worked

Research Interest Statement Sample

A good research interest statement sample can be hard to find. Still, it can also be a beneficial tool for writing one and preparing for a grad school application or post-graduate position. Your research interest statement is one of the key components of your application to get into grad school . In a few cases, admissions committees have used it instead of an interview, so it is important to write a strong essay. We’ve provided research interest statement samples for you in this blog post. We have also included several tips that will help you write a strong statement to help improve your chances of getting accepted into your dream program. 

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

Article Contents 13 min read

What is a research interest statement.

A research interest statement is essential for most graduate school, post-graduate, and academic job applications. Sometimes, it may be referred to it as a " statement of intent " or "description of research interests." While they are similar, research interest statement may require some additional information. Generally, your statement will pride a brief overview of your research background, including your past research experience, the current state of your research, and the future research you'd like to complete, including any required equipment and collaborations. It is usually written in the form of a short essay. Still, of course, different graduate programs can have specific requirements, so make sure to check the program you are applying to and read the particular instructions that they give to ensure your research interest statement meets their requirements. 

Your research statement plays a big role in the committee's decision. Ultimately, they are trying to figure out if you, as a person, and your research, would be a good fit for their program. A strong statement can help you convince them of this by showing your passion for research, your research interests and experience, the connection between your interests and the program, and the extent of your writing skills which is really important for paper and grant writing, and thus for earning money for your research!

Undergraduate programs are centered around classes, but graduate and post-graduate programs are all about your research and what your research contributes to your discipline of choice. That is why a research interest statement is so important, because it is essentially a way for you to share this information with the program that you have chosen.

Writing a strong statement can be helpful to you, as well. Having to explain your research and talk about your goals coherently will give you a chance to define your future research and career plans, as well as academic interests.

What Should Your Research Interest Statement Include?

The exact requirements of the research interest statement can vary depending on where you are applying and for what position. Most faculty positions will need you to produce a separate file for your statement, and most of the time, for an academic program, you can simply include your statement within your CV for graduate school .  

Need to prepare your grad school CV? This video has helpful advice for you:

Unless otherwise stated by the program or faculty that you are applying to, your statement should be one to two pages long or between 600 and 1000 words. If you are including your description of interest statements on your resume, then it would be ideal to keep it between 400 and 600 words. Most programs will give you guidelines for the research interest statement so make sure you follow those. They rarely include a specific question or prompt but they might ask for a particular detail to be included in your interest statement. For example, a university’s requirements may look something like this: “In your statement of interest, you should detail your study and/or research interests and reasons for seeking admission. You must identify a faculty member from the Anthropology of Department with whom you are interested in being your advisor. The length of a statement of intent should be 2 pages in length (single-spaced, Times New Roman font size 12 point)”

Your statement should include a brief history of your past research. It should tell the committee what you have previously set out to answer with your research projects, what you found, and if it led to any academic publications or collaborations. It should also address your current research. What questions are you actively trying to solve? You will need to tell the committee if you’ve made any progress, what you have found, if you are connecting your research to the larger academic conversation and what the larger implications of your work actually are. Finally, you want to talk about the future of your research. What further questions do you want to solve? How do you intend to find answers to these questions? What are the broader implications of your potential results, and how can the institution you are applying to help you?

Before we show you some examples, let's go over a few essential things that you need to keep in mind while writing your research interest statement to make sure it is strong. 


Give Yourself Ample Time: Much like with other components of your application, like your CV or a graduate school interview question , preparation is the key to success. You should give yourself enough time to thoroughly research the program or faculty you are applying to, gather all the information or documents that can aid you in writing, and then write and rewrite as many times as you need to. Give yourself at least 6 weeks to draft, redraft, and finalize your statement. You may also want to consider investing in a graduate school admissions consultant as they have more experience writing these types of essays and may see things that you can’t.

Research the Program/Faculty: The purpose of your research interest statement is to tell the committee all about your research plans, how it will contribute to the field and convince them that not only is their institution is the best place for it, but that you will be an asset to them as a candidate. To do this, you need to know what kind of candidate they are looking for, what kind of research they have been interested in in the past, and if there is anything particular that they require in the research interest statement. Remember, expectations for research statements can vary among disciplines and universities, so it is essential that you write for the right audience.

The Format / Writing Style

Your research statement should be in an academic essay format. It needs to be concise, well-organized, and easy to read. For graduate school, PhD or post-doc positions, your research interest statement will usually be a part of your resume. We recommend that you stick to the following things when it comes to the format:

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The Content

Introduction: This is a functional academic document, unlike college essays or personal statements, so you want to go straight to the point and focus on the key information that needs to be conveyed. You want to use this paragraph to tell the committee why you are writing this statement. In other words, you should clearly state what kind of research you are interested in pursuing at the institution in question and explain why you are drawn to the subject. 

Body: This is your “why and how” paragraphs. In 2 or 3 paragraphs, you should expand on your interest, background, accomplishments, and plans in the field of research. Depending on your level of experience, you may use this time to talk about your previous or current research. If you do not have much experience, then you may use this paragraph to talk about any skills or academic achievements that could be relevant. 

Conclusion: To conclude, you should restate your interest and tie it back to the research you intend to continue at the university. Be specific about the direction you’d like to take the research in, who you’d like to work with, and what the institution has that would help you. We also suggest including a concise statement that reiterates your unique suitability for the program, and what you can contribute to it and your chosen field.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Being Too Personal: Often, students will confuse the statement of purpose and the research interest statement or letter of intent. It is essential to understand the difference between these two documents because some programs will ask for both of these documents. There is quite a bit of overlap between the two essays, so they are very easy to mix up. Both documents ask applicants to focus on their research interests, relevant past academic & professional experiences, and their long-term goals in the field. However, a statement of purpose is more of a personal statement that describes your journey and overall suitability for a program. In contrast, a research interest statement is a more formal academic document specific to the research you intend to pursue in a program. It will include many details such as the faculty members you want to work with, the program facilities and resources you wish to use, etc.

Not Following Guidelines: As mentioned earlier, these statements can vary depending on the discipline and the faculty. It is crucial that you review all the institution's guidelines and follow them. Some schools will have a specific word count, others may simply give you a maximum and minimum word count. Others may even have a specific prompt or question that you will need to answer with your essay. You want to make sure that you are following the instructions provided by the program. 

Using Too Much Jargon: Your statement will be read by people who are most likely knowledgeable, but they might not be from your specific field or specialty. We understand that it may not be possible to be clear about your research without using a few niche words, but try to keep them at a minimum and avoid using acronyms that are not well known outside of your specialty.

Having One Generic Statement: The requirements of your research statement are different from one school to another, and you should tailor your letter to the program you are writing to. We know that the research and experience you are talking about are still the same, but the qualities and aspects of that experience you play up should help you appeal to the school you are applying to. For example, if you are applying to a very collaborative program, you should highlight your collaborations and your experience working as part of a team.

Looking for tips on getting into grad school? This infographic is for you:

Research of Interest Statement Samples

Below are sample research interest statements for reference: 

Research Statement of Interest 1

Jennifer Doe

As the child of an immigrant, I have always been fascinated by the relationship between identity, geographic territory, and economic development. With the rise of globalization, there is a broader effort in the social sciences to study the link between cultural identity, human mobility, and economic development in the contemporary world. I hope that my research will contribute to this as well. I am applying to the X University Global Anthropology program, as it is the best place for me to explore my research interests and channel them towards my long-term goals. I believe that my undergraduate education and the research experience it gave me have prepared me to undertake advanced research projects, thus making me an excellent candidate for this program.

I spent the first two years of undergraduate studies taking psychology courses. I went to university knowing that I wanted to learn about human behavior and culture. I was thirsty for information, but I did not know what kind of information just yet. It wasn’t until I took an elective anthropology class in my second year and started discussing identity in anthropology that something clicked. Unlike many other social sciences, anthropology explores the different ways that cultures affect human behavior and that connected right away with my experience as an immigrant. I have been passionate about the subject ever since, and I intend on spending my career exploring this topic further.

In the long run, I am interested in understanding how geography affects the construction of one’s cultural identity, especially when it comes to immigrants. Literature already exists on the topic, but most of it examines the upper levels of this process of social reproduction, concentrating on the roles of governments and associations in promoting ties between migrants and their homelands. Prof. Jane Doe Smith is one of the anthropologists researching the transnational migration experience, and I hope to have the opportunity to work with her at X University.

I was fortunate to be part of a summer research experience as an undergraduate, which took place in several west African countries, including Mali, Senegal, and Nigeria. Dr. Sam Smith was leading the research, and my time on his team allowed me to gain hands-on experience in research while living abroad. One of the things that I did almost daily was interview the subjects in a controlled environment, and sometimes I got to be a part of traditional ceremonies. I learnt how to observe without being intrusive and how to interact with clinical subjects. The experience only strengthened my curiosity and conviction that today more than ever, we need to understand what identity is and the different factors that can affect it.

I enrolled in several challenging research-oriented courses such as Applied Statistical Inference for the Behavioral Sciences, Principles of Measurement, and more throughout my degree. I was also able to work as a research lab assistant for one of my mentors, Mr. Jonathan Smith. I worked with him while he studied the relationship between identity, culture and “self.” My main duties were to assist in the creating of surveys and other assessment materials, administer written and verbal tests to participants, create literature reviews for potential resources, create summaries of findings for analysis and other office duties such as reserving testing rooms. This particular experience allowed me to get some hands-on experience with data collection, data analysis, report preparation and the creation of data summaries.

I know that there is a lot more that I can learn from the X University. I have seen the exemplary work in anthropology and other social studies done by the staff and alumni of this school. It has inspired and convinced me beyond the shadow of a doubt that pursuing my graduate studies in your program meets my personal, academic, and professional goals objectives.

My advanced research skills, passion for anthropology and clinical research, as well as my academic proficiency make me the ideal candidate for X University's Clinical Global Anthropology Master’s program. I believe that X University’s rigorous curriculum and facilities make it the perfect place for me, my long-term career goals and my research commitments. 

Jamie Medicine

I am applying to the brain and development master's program of X university because it is one of the few universities that not only has a program that combines the two disciplines that I majored in my undergraduate studies: Psychology and Linguistics; but also because it is a program that I know would allow me to grow as a researcher, contribute to my chosen fields and achieve my long-term career goals. My research is motivated by two of my favorite things: language and music. To be more specific, hip-hop music. In 20xx, Rollingstone magazine published an article stating that hip hop was now more popular than rock and roll. The rise in popularity of this initially very niche genre has sparked a conversation in specific academic fields such as psychology, sociology, linguistics, and English about the use of language within it but also the effects that it can have on those who listen to it. I hope to one day contribute to that conversation by studying the relationship between hip-hop music and vocabulary development, and I believe that pursuing this particular research interest at X university is the best way for me to do that.

There are many potential places this research may lead me and many potential topics I may explore. Furthermore, there are many things that it would allow us to learn about the effect that music has on our brains and society at large.

I was fortunate enough to work under Dr. Jane D. Smith at the University of X for two years while conducting her recently published study on vocabulary instruction for children with a developmental language disorder. During my time in her lab, I interviewed participants and put together evaluation materials for them. I was also responsible for data entry, analysis, and summarizing. This experience gave me the skills and the knowledge that allowed me to exceed expectations for my final research project in undergraduate school.

One of my undergraduate degree requirements was to complete a small independent study under the supervision of a professor. I chose to study music's effect on children's vocabulary development. Several studies look for ways to decrease the million-word gap, and I wanted to see if this thing that I am so passionate about, music, had any effect at all. I compiled multiple literature reviews and analyzed their results, and I found that there is indeed a correlation between the number of words that a child spoke and the amount of music that they were exposed to. 

This research is currently being explored on a larger scale by Prof. John Doe at X university and learning from him is one of the many reasons I have applied to this program. I took several research methodology courses throughout my degree, and I would love to enroll in the Applied Statistics for Psychology course he is currently teaching to build upon the foundational knowledge I already have. There are several other faculty members in the brain and language department with whom learning from would be a dream come true. In addition to that, working with them is a real possibility because the research they are currently doing and the research I hope to pursue are greatly matched.

I genuinely believe that X university has the curriculum and facilities that I need to meet my long-term goals and research commitments. I also believe that my academic achievements, eagerness to learn, and passion make me the perfect candidate for your program. 

Interested in some tips to help you manage grad school once you're there? Check out this video :

It is essentially an essay that provides a brief overview of your research experience and goals. This includes your past research experience, the current state of your research, and the future research you'd like to complete. It is also sometimes referred to as a "statement of intent" or "description of research interests."

This statement tells the admissions committee more about you as an applicant. It gives you the opportunity to tell them more about your research (past, present, and future) and show them that you are a good fit for their institution.

No. Some graduate school programs might ask for a statement of purpose and a writing sample instead, or they could ask for none of the above. You should always check the requirements of the specific program that you’re applying to.

Generally, your statement should be 400 to 1000 words or about two pages long. That said, most programs will give you guidelines so make sure you check those and follow them.

You certainly can but we do not recommend it. You should always tailor your statement to the program you are applying to. Remember that the aim is to convince the admissions committee that you are a good fit for their school so make sure you highlight the qualities and values that they care about.

We recommend that you doublecheck the information provided by your chosen program as they often have specific instructions for the format of the letter. If none exist, make sure that the format of your document is pleasing to the eye. Stick to easily legible fonts, a decent font size, spacing, margins, etc.  Also, it is best to keep the content of the letter concise and professional.

We recommend giving yourself at least 6 weeks to write your statement. This will give you ample time to brainstorm, write a strong letter, read it again and edit it as many times as necessary. It also gives you enough time to get expert eyes on your letter and work with them to improve it if you wish.

No. Research interest statements are often required for post-graduate school applications and for other positions in academic faculties.

Absolutely! You can always reach out to admissions professionals, such as graduate school admissions consultants or grad school essays tutors .

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hello, thanks for providing guide line for Research Interest statement, the important aspect of scholarship application. Kindly guide me, What should be the title of the Research Statement. Thanks

Hi Sadia! Check the requirements of your school first. They might provide some info on whether a title is even needed. 

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how to write area of research


Meetings help us connect with our peers and have insightful discussions. ASCB Photo.

Often in our scientific careers we are faced with the question of how to choose an area of research to pursue. As a graduate student picking a laboratory in which to do a PhD, a postdoctoral researcher wanting to pursue a career in science, or even as a principal investigator running a laboratory, we are sometimes required to focus or change direction to a new area of biological research. These decisions may be daunting as we have to devote a significant number of years in our chosen research field and it is important to be confident about the field before diving in with a lot of time and money.

Below are a few tips to help with picking a research area!

  • Read scientific literature: Published scientific literature gives a good idea about the research field and the big unanswered questions that are left to be studied. Scientific reviews on the topic are often useful to understand the big discoveries in the field and the anticipated future studies that will provide more information. It is also important to know if the research area has sufficient unanswered questions that will be interesting to funding agencies. Try to understand if the field has long-term potential. Scientists often work on certain research areas for decades and so thinking ahead about hypothetical questions and probable answers is one key to success.
  • Attend conferences/seminars: Attending both large and small meetings help us connect with our peers and have insightful discussions. Meetings also have poster sessions on various topics that may be useful to learn about the different research areas out there. Such meetings are also a good place to learn about technical details or new experimental strategies, which are often important when forging into a different field.
  • Brainstorm ideas with peers: When looking for a research laboratory it is important to find something that interests you. Working on an interesting question will help you go the extra mile and aid in making significant discoveries. Talk to your peers about their experiences and the pros/cons in their research field. Peers can also help review research grants and their experience and perspectives may provide useful feedback.
  • Define focused questions in the research area: Research areas can be very broad. It is easy to digress into multiple directions without focus. Before diving into the research, decide on a few hypotheses and preliminary experiments. Having more than one hypothesis will be important in case the primary hypothesis does not hold. Once experiments work and the project progresses, remember to stay focused. As part of your scientific growth, learn to think of tangential experiments that may be useful projects for other members of the laboratory.
  • Ensure the research is fundable: To continue doing research it is essential to have funding. Before delving into the research define the significance of the proposed research. It is always useful if discoveries can, in the future, cure or treat diseases. Significance also helps us explain our research to non­scientists and family, so that they can relate to the research and understand what we study. Public outreach will help get more funding and aid in conducting more research.

Ultimately research has to pique your interest and stimulate answers to tough questions. Good luck choosing a research laboratory or changing scientific directions!

Comment below if you have additional suggestions!

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description of study area

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Description of the study area is the act of describing the characteristics, qualities and physical features of an area, location, neighbourhood, city or community that is being studied or investigated for research purposes. Describing a study area is an important part of research, not just to the researcher, but to all concerned both now and in the future.

The study area is sometimes referred to as a study site in research, some higher institutions refer to the description of the study area as the “ profile of the study area “. To properly give a detailed description of an area, the researcher should have an in-depth knowledge of the study area in the project , and this can only be possible by reviewing other related materials in the form of published Journals, textbooks, etc., by academicians within a particular field of study or when the researcher is familiar with the neighbourhood or area in question.

In a dissertation, the description of a study area usually comes under Chapter Three (in most cases) except in some institutions with special formats for presenting research papers. But the key point is that the captions on whichever chapter this subject is mentioned are usually written as “A Brief Description of Study Area” . This is not to limit the information provided but to apply some sort of concision in that it should be skillfully couched to enable a good flow in the presentation without creating confusion.

In summary, there are three aspects to the description of study area – (brief) (description) (study area)

The fact that it is termed brief does not necessarily mean it shouldn’t be detailed.

Your description should cover a broad spectrum of information; this would include location, geography, climatic condition, social infrastructure, vegetation, density, humidity, temperature, topography, terrain and so on.

The study area should be your area of coverage that is, your case study. Introducing information from other areas or regions will have no significance on the subject matter, hence your primary focus would be on the area your research is covering. At this point, you are expected to include maps of the study area (in colour).

What you’re expected to write is a detailed description of your study area to give your reader an idea of what your study area looks like. Get Samples 

Depending on the research topic, the pattern of describing the study area could vary;

If a project topic is focused on investigating issues or problems that concern a state or province the description will bother around everything that makes up the location. For example “ Evaluation of the Issues Affecting Girl-Child Education in FCT Abuja ” is a broad topic that focuses on FCT-Abuja as a case study, hence to describe the study area which in this case is FCT-Abuja, adequate data on everything that makes up or best describes Abuja as a Federal Capital Territory has to be brought in and properly described. The description should include the vegetation in Abuja, the population of Abuja, Abuja’s topography, its climatic condition, the culture of people living in Abuja, the terrain (that is, the flatness or sloppiness of Roads in Abuja), the nature of business, market data, rainfall, electricity, common food, the number of ethnic group in the territory, religion of residents among others.

The essence of the description of the study area is to enable an outsider to have an idea of the area or neighbourhood that is being researched, this knowledge will also help the readers to understand the body of your work and try to envision what your study is trying to pass across. It will also influence people’s judgment of the topic being researched.

description of study area

If the project topic is centred on a particular catchment or neighbourhood for example “ A Critical Examination of Facilities Management Strategy on Public Properties – A Case Study of Central Bank of Nigeria Staff Quarters ” the description will take a different shape. In this case, it should include a brief summary of the neighborhood where the CBN staff quarters are located followed by a broad description of the CBN staff quarters environment and premises. Let’s look at the following example;

“ The CBN staff quarters is a large purpose-built residential estate for senior, intermediate and junior CBN staff members. It is properly fenced around its perimeter solid block walls with a giant double two-way gate at the main entrance and another small pedestrian gate by the side. The estate comprises of the following; 16 Blocks of 8 units of 2bedroom flats each totalling 128 flats, 12 Block of 8 units of 3bedroom flats each totalling another 97 flats, and 6 Blocks of 6 units of 3bedroom flats each totalling 36 flats with additional buildings at the rear for intermediate and junior staff. The senior staff also have a large garage for parking vehicles .”

In addition, a detailed description of the site and construction details of the buildings will beef up your work. For example:

“ The site is rectangular, it has a flat or table surface and properly drains off water during heavy downpours. The site measures approximately 22.32 hectares .”

The construction details should encompass; the type of floor, wall, doors, windows, ceiling, fittings, roof and the materials used in constructing them. For example, a brief description of the floor can be written like this “ The floor is made of mass concrete on hardcore filling well rammed over consolidated laterite and finished with terrazzo material ” The other building components (windows, doors, ceiling, wall, fitting and roof) should have their description proper done like the “floor”.

The facilities in the CBN staff estate should also come in the description. A short write-up can be done to explain to the reader or supervisor the available facilities installed and used in the CBN staff quarters, for example, “ The facilities provided in the CBN staff quarters are; water treatment plant, cameras, sewage treatment plant, generator house, heavy duty generator set to illuminate the premises, pumping machine (Sumo) to circulate water to all apartments, borehole, external lighting points and lawn tennis court for exercise .”

Sometimes an institution could be a case study of a project. Let’s use this project topic as an example “ An Analysis of the Maintenance and Management Problem of the University of Lagos Hostel Buildings ”.

To describe this study area the following sub-headings should be developed and expanded:

This involves the description of the University’s location, including the city and local government area where it is situated.

The History, Origin and Growth of the Study Area:

Tracing the historical background of the University of Lagos, its various campuses, colleges (college of medicine), the total size of the school premises, total number of staff and students (undergraduates and postgraduate students), annual enrollment of students, the various faculties and departments and other facilities attached to the universities and subsidiary campuses or learning institutions within and outside the state, or country is paramount.

Important : Make sure to include a colour map in your description to guide your readers and supervisor further.

description of study area


Frequently asked questions about the description of study area., what is the general description of the study area.

There is no such thing as a general description of the study area, the pattern of describing a particular area might differ from the way other areas are described. This is dependent on the type and nature of the area that is going to be described. No two locations have the same features, hence you cannot give a written account of locations A and B the same way, which is why the researcher will need to either visit the area of the study or source materials with comprehensive and recent information on a particular area to be described in the research paper.

Examples of areas of study?

The determination of a study area is dependent on the type or nature of the researchable problem that the researcher wants to solve. For example, an ideal study area for “Impact of indiscriminate dumps on children’s health” would be a neighbourhood that experiences a high volume of indiscriminate dumps such as ghettos, slum neighbourhoods, high-density or populated neighbourhoods etc.

Also, if a project topic is   “Impact of social media on junior secondary school subjects” the area of study will comprise a certain number of junior secondary schools in a particular area not necessarily the entire State, Region or Province. The area of study must be connected with the project topic, this is because the research problem is first identified before developing a topic around the problem. So, the research has to identify a problem, search for areas affected by the identified problem and then develop a topic that captures the problem and the area of study.

The following can represent an area of study; Primary and Secondary Schools, Communities, Organizations, Provinces, Streets, Local Government Areas, hospitals, Banks, TV and Radio Stations, Government Agencies, Military Barracks, Police Stations, Specialized Buildings, Events, Shrines, Layouts etc.

Some people may want to carry out simple research about their home or certain areas or components in their home, this could be academic or personal research about an identified problem in the home. Hence, examples of study areas at home would include, the premises, building structures, the environment, farmland or plantation farm, auxiliary facilities, recreational areas in the home, pool sites, cooking or baking area etc. depending on the project topic.

What is a study area in research?

Study areas are locations where a researcher plans to carry out an in-depth study about a topic or existing problem. This is usually indicated in the research proposal for the supervisor to vet and approve. If approved, the researcher or student is expected to visit the study area to observe and gather information related to the existing problem in that neighbourhood. A study area is also referred to as a study site or research site.

What is the importance of the study area in research?

The importance of the study area cannot be over-emphasized. I have taken time to explain this question in the article “ Reasons for Choosing a Study Area in Research ”.

Must a description of the study area in a project be broad?

No.  I mentioned earlier in this article that most research papers or projects require a brief description of your study area, so you could write a brief account of your study area in about one to three pages depending on how vast the area is. You don’t need to write more than is required, just provide the relevant information needed and you’re good.

Get complete samples of the Description of Study Areas here  

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I am interested in your website. Currently I am preparing my thesis for completion of my MBA n Marketing. Thank you for your help.

Thank you Zelalem, you can send a message if you need further guide. I wish you success!

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What if I choose a Senior high school in Enugu state? Am I going to write about the school or the State itself?

If your project topic is about a particular high school then the description should focus on the School itself not the State.

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very good concept. Really I appreciate it.

Awesome, thanks Ray.

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Helpful information .Thanks

Thank you Peres Bett.

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How to write description of the study Area

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This is great information just as I wanted it to be. thanks a lot man

Thanks Richard.

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What important information should I include in the research area description? Regard Telkom University

What’s your study area?

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My study area is Mbabane in Eswatini. However, am doing my thesis in an Asian University. Should my focus be with the Town or the entire Eswatini?

You may not be able to cover the entire Eswatini. So, delimit your study area to Mbabane. By the way, what’s your Thesis topic?

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  • USC Libraries
  • Research Guides

Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

  • 8. The Discussion
  • Purpose of Guide
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
  • Independent and Dependent Variables
  • Glossary of Research Terms
  • Reading Research Effectively
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
  • Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
  • Academic Writing Style
  • Applying Critical Thinking
  • Choosing a Title
  • Making an Outline
  • Paragraph Development
  • Research Process Video Series
  • Executive Summary
  • The C.A.R.S. Model
  • Background Information
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Citation Tracking
  • Content Alert Services
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Primary Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Tiertiary Sources
  • Scholarly vs. Popular Publications
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Insiderness
  • Using Non-Textual Elements
  • Limitations of the Study
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Writing Concisely
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Footnotes or Endnotes?
  • Further Readings
  • Generative AI and Writing
  • USC Libraries Tutorials and Other Guides
  • Bibliography

The purpose of the discussion section is to interpret and describe the significance of your findings in relation to what was already known about the research problem being investigated and to explain any new understanding or insights that emerged as a result of your research. The discussion will always connect to the introduction by way of the research questions or hypotheses you posed and the literature you reviewed, but the discussion does not simply repeat or rearrange the first parts of your paper; the discussion clearly explains how your study advanced the reader's understanding of the research problem from where you left them at the end of your review of prior research.

Annesley, Thomas M. “The Discussion Section: Your Closing Argument.” Clinical Chemistry 56 (November 2010): 1671-1674; Peacock, Matthew. “Communicative Moves in the Discussion Section of Research Articles.” System 30 (December 2002): 479-497.

Importance of a Good Discussion

The discussion section is often considered the most important part of your research paper because it:

  • Most effectively demonstrates your ability as a researcher to think critically about an issue, to develop creative solutions to problems based upon a logical synthesis of the findings, and to formulate a deeper, more profound understanding of the research problem under investigation;
  • Presents the underlying meaning of your research, notes possible implications in other areas of study, and explores possible improvements that can be made in order to further develop the concerns of your research;
  • Highlights the importance of your study and how it can contribute to understanding the research problem within the field of study;
  • Presents how the findings from your study revealed and helped fill gaps in the literature that had not been previously exposed or adequately described; and,
  • Engages the reader in thinking critically about issues based on an evidence-based interpretation of findings; it is not governed strictly by objective reporting of information.

Annesley Thomas M. “The Discussion Section: Your Closing Argument.” Clinical Chemistry 56 (November 2010): 1671-1674; Bitchener, John and Helen Basturkmen. “Perceptions of the Difficulties of Postgraduate L2 Thesis Students Writing the Discussion Section.” Journal of English for Academic Purposes 5 (January 2006): 4-18; Kretchmer, Paul. Fourteen Steps to Writing an Effective Discussion Section. San Francisco Edit, 2003-2008.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  General Rules

These are the general rules you should adopt when composing your discussion of the results :

  • Do not be verbose or repetitive; be concise and make your points clearly
  • Avoid the use of jargon or undefined technical language
  • Follow a logical stream of thought; in general, interpret and discuss the significance of your findings in the same sequence you described them in your results section [a notable exception is to begin by highlighting an unexpected result or a finding that can grab the reader's attention]
  • Use the present verb tense, especially for established facts; however, refer to specific works or prior studies in the past tense
  • If needed, use subheadings to help organize your discussion or to categorize your interpretations into themes

II.  The Content

The content of the discussion section of your paper most often includes :

  • Explanation of results : Comment on whether or not the results were expected for each set of findings; go into greater depth to explain findings that were unexpected or especially profound. If appropriate, note any unusual or unanticipated patterns or trends that emerged from your results and explain their meaning in relation to the research problem.
  • References to previous research : Either compare your results with the findings from other studies or use the studies to support a claim. This can include re-visiting key sources already cited in your literature review section, or, save them to cite later in the discussion section if they are more important to compare with your results instead of being a part of the general literature review of prior research used to provide context and background information. Note that you can make this decision to highlight specific studies after you have begun writing the discussion section.
  • Deduction : A claim for how the results can be applied more generally. For example, describing lessons learned, proposing recommendations that can help improve a situation, or highlighting best practices.
  • Hypothesis : A more general claim or possible conclusion arising from the results [which may be proved or disproved in subsequent research]. This can be framed as new research questions that emerged as a consequence of your analysis.

III.  Organization and Structure

Keep the following sequential points in mind as you organize and write the discussion section of your paper:

  • Think of your discussion as an inverted pyramid. Organize the discussion from the general to the specific, linking your findings to the literature, then to theory, then to practice [if appropriate].
  • Use the same key terms, narrative style, and verb tense [present] that you used when describing the research problem in your introduction.
  • Begin by briefly re-stating the research problem you were investigating and answer all of the research questions underpinning the problem that you posed in the introduction.
  • Describe the patterns, principles, and relationships shown by each major findings and place them in proper perspective. The sequence of this information is important; first state the answer, then the relevant results, then cite the work of others. If appropriate, refer the reader to a figure or table to help enhance the interpretation of the data [either within the text or as an appendix].
  • Regardless of where it's mentioned, a good discussion section includes analysis of any unexpected findings. This part of the discussion should begin with a description of the unanticipated finding, followed by a brief interpretation as to why you believe it appeared and, if necessary, its possible significance in relation to the overall study. If more than one unexpected finding emerged during the study, describe each of them in the order they appeared as you gathered or analyzed the data. As noted, the exception to discussing findings in the same order you described them in the results section would be to begin by highlighting the implications of a particularly unexpected or significant finding that emerged from the study, followed by a discussion of the remaining findings.
  • Before concluding the discussion, identify potential limitations and weaknesses if you do not plan to do so in the conclusion of the paper. Comment on their relative importance in relation to your overall interpretation of the results and, if necessary, note how they may affect the validity of your findings. Avoid using an apologetic tone; however, be honest and self-critical [e.g., in retrospect, had you included a particular question in a survey instrument, additional data could have been revealed].
  • The discussion section should end with a concise summary of the principal implications of the findings regardless of their significance. Give a brief explanation about why you believe the findings and conclusions of your study are important and how they support broader knowledge or understanding of the research problem. This can be followed by any recommendations for further research. However, do not offer recommendations which could have been easily addressed within the study. This would demonstrate to the reader that you have inadequately examined and interpreted the data.

IV.  Overall Objectives

The objectives of your discussion section should include the following: I.  Reiterate the Research Problem/State the Major Findings

Briefly reiterate the research problem or problems you are investigating and the methods you used to investigate them, then move quickly to describe the major findings of the study. You should write a direct, declarative, and succinct proclamation of the study results, usually in one paragraph.

II.  Explain the Meaning of the Findings and Why They are Important

No one has thought as long and hard about your study as you have. Systematically explain the underlying meaning of your findings and state why you believe they are significant. After reading the discussion section, you want the reader to think critically about the results and why they are important. You don’t want to force the reader to go through the paper multiple times to figure out what it all means. If applicable, begin this part of the section by repeating what you consider to be your most significant or unanticipated finding first, then systematically review each finding. Otherwise, follow the general order you reported the findings presented in the results section.

III.  Relate the Findings to Similar Studies

No study in the social sciences is so novel or possesses such a restricted focus that it has absolutely no relation to previously published research. The discussion section should relate your results to those found in other studies, particularly if questions raised from prior studies served as the motivation for your research. This is important because comparing and contrasting the findings of other studies helps to support the overall importance of your results and it highlights how and in what ways your study differs from other research about the topic. Note that any significant or unanticipated finding is often because there was no prior research to indicate the finding could occur. If there is prior research to indicate this, you need to explain why it was significant or unanticipated. IV.  Consider Alternative Explanations of the Findings

It is important to remember that the purpose of research in the social sciences is to discover and not to prove . When writing the discussion section, you should carefully consider all possible explanations for the study results, rather than just those that fit your hypothesis or prior assumptions and biases. This is especially important when describing the discovery of significant or unanticipated findings.

V.  Acknowledge the Study’s Limitations

It is far better for you to identify and acknowledge your study’s limitations than to have them pointed out by your professor! Note any unanswered questions or issues your study could not address and describe the generalizability of your results to other situations. If a limitation is applicable to the method chosen to gather information, then describe in detail the problems you encountered and why. VI.  Make Suggestions for Further Research

You may choose to conclude the discussion section by making suggestions for further research [as opposed to offering suggestions in the conclusion of your paper]. Although your study can offer important insights about the research problem, this is where you can address other questions related to the problem that remain unanswered or highlight hidden issues that were revealed as a result of conducting your research. You should frame your suggestions by linking the need for further research to the limitations of your study [e.g., in future studies, the survey instrument should include more questions that ask..."] or linking to critical issues revealed from the data that were not considered initially in your research.

NOTE: Besides the literature review section, the preponderance of references to sources is usually found in the discussion section . A few historical references may be helpful for perspective, but most of the references should be relatively recent and included to aid in the interpretation of your results, to support the significance of a finding, and/or to place a finding within a particular context. If a study that you cited does not support your findings, don't ignore it--clearly explain why your research findings differ from theirs.

V.  Problems to Avoid

  • Do not waste time restating your results . Should you need to remind the reader of a finding to be discussed, use "bridge sentences" that relate the result to the interpretation. An example would be: “In the case of determining available housing to single women with children in rural areas of Texas, the findings suggest that access to good schools is important...," then move on to further explaining this finding and its implications.
  • As noted, recommendations for further research can be included in either the discussion or conclusion of your paper, but do not repeat your recommendations in the both sections. Think about the overall narrative flow of your paper to determine where best to locate this information. However, if your findings raise a lot of new questions or issues, consider including suggestions for further research in the discussion section.
  • Do not introduce new results in the discussion section. Be wary of mistaking the reiteration of a specific finding for an interpretation because it may confuse the reader. The description of findings [results section] and the interpretation of their significance [discussion section] should be distinct parts of your paper. If you choose to combine the results section and the discussion section into a single narrative, you must be clear in how you report the information discovered and your own interpretation of each finding. This approach is not recommended if you lack experience writing college-level research papers.
  • Use of the first person pronoun is generally acceptable. Using first person singular pronouns can help emphasize a point or illustrate a contrasting finding. However, keep in mind that too much use of the first person can actually distract the reader from the main points [i.e., I know you're telling me this--just tell me!].

Analyzing vs. Summarizing. Department of English Writing Guide. George Mason University; Discussion. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College; Hess, Dean R. "How to Write an Effective Discussion." Respiratory Care 49 (October 2004); Kretchmer, Paul. Fourteen Steps to Writing to Writing an Effective Discussion Section. San Francisco Edit, 2003-2008; The Lab Report. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Sauaia, A. et al. "The Anatomy of an Article: The Discussion Section: "How Does the Article I Read Today Change What I Will Recommend to my Patients Tomorrow?” The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery 74 (June 2013): 1599-1602; Research Limitations & Future Research . Lund Research Ltd., 2012; Summary: Using it Wisely. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Schafer, Mickey S. Writing the Discussion. Writing in Psychology course syllabus. University of Florida; Yellin, Linda L. A Sociology Writer's Guide . Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, 2009.

Writing Tip

Don’t Over-Interpret the Results!

Interpretation is a subjective exercise. As such, you should always approach the selection and interpretation of your findings introspectively and to think critically about the possibility of judgmental biases unintentionally entering into discussions about the significance of your work. With this in mind, be careful that you do not read more into the findings than can be supported by the evidence you have gathered. Remember that the data are the data: nothing more, nothing less.

MacCoun, Robert J. "Biases in the Interpretation and Use of Research Results." Annual Review of Psychology 49 (February 1998): 259-287; Ward, Paulet al, editors. The Oxford Handbook of Expertise . Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Another Writing Tip

Don't Write Two Results Sections!

One of the most common mistakes that you can make when discussing the results of your study is to present a superficial interpretation of the findings that more or less re-states the results section of your paper. Obviously, you must refer to your results when discussing them, but focus on the interpretation of those results and their significance in relation to the research problem, not the data itself.

Azar, Beth. "Discussing Your Findings."  American Psychological Association gradPSYCH Magazine (January 2006).

Yet Another Writing Tip

Avoid Unwarranted Speculation!

The discussion section should remain focused on the findings of your study. For example, if the purpose of your research was to measure the impact of foreign aid on increasing access to education among disadvantaged children in Bangladesh, it would not be appropriate to speculate about how your findings might apply to populations in other countries without drawing from existing studies to support your claim or if analysis of other countries was not a part of your original research design. If you feel compelled to speculate, do so in the form of describing possible implications or explaining possible impacts. Be certain that you clearly identify your comments as speculation or as a suggestion for where further research is needed. Sometimes your professor will encourage you to expand your discussion of the results in this way, while others don’t care what your opinion is beyond your effort to interpret the data in relation to the research problem.

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  • Last Updated: May 15, 2024 9:53 AM
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Selecting Research Area

Selecting a research area is the very first step in writing your dissertation. It is important for you to choose a research area that is interesting to you professionally, as well as, personally. Experienced researchers note that “a topic in which you are only vaguely interested at the start is likely to become a topic in which you have no interest and with which you will fail to produce your best work” [1] . Ideally, your research area should relate to your future career path and have a potential to contribute to the achievement of your career objectives.

Selecting Research Area

The importance of selecting a relevant research area that is appropriate for dissertation is often underestimated by many students. This decision cannot be made in haste. Ideally, you should start considering different options at the beginning of the term. However, even when there are only few weeks left before the deadline and you have not chosen a particular topic yet, there is no need to panic.

There are few areas in business studies that can offer interesting topics due to their relevance to business and dynamic nature. The following is the list of research areas and topics that can prove to be insightful in terms of assisting you to choose your own dissertation topic.

Globalization can be a relevant topic for many business and economics dissertations. Forces of globalization are nowadays greater than ever before and dissertations can address the implications of these forces on various aspects of business.

Following are few examples of research areas in globalization:

  • A study of implications of COVID-19 pandemic on economic globalization
  • Impacts of globalization on marketing strategies of beverage manufacturing companies: a case study of The Coca-Cola Company
  • Effects of labour migration within EU on the formation of multicultural teams in UK organizations
  • A study into advantages and disadvantages of various entry strategies to Chinese market
  • A critical analysis of the effects of globalization on US-based businesses

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is also one of the most popular topics at present and it is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. CSR refers to additional responsibilities of business organizations towards society apart from profit maximization. There is a high level of controversy involved in CSR. This is because businesses can be socially responsible only at the expense of their primary objective of profit maximization.

Perspective researches in the area of CSR may include the following:

  • The impacts of CSR programs and initiatives on brand image: a case study of McDonald’s India
  • A critical analysis of argument of mandatory CSR for private sector organizations in Australia
  • A study into contradictions between CSR programs and initiatives and business practices: a case study of Philip Morris Philippines
  • A critical analysis into the role of CSR as an effective marketing tool
  • A study into the role of workplace ethics for improving brand image

Social Media and viral marketing relate to increasing numbers of various social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube etc. Increasing levels of popularity of social media among various age groups create tremendous potential for businesses in terms of attracting new customers.

The following can be listed as potential studies in the area of social media:

  • A critical analysis of the use of social media as a marketing strategy: a case study of Burger King Malaysia
  • An assessment of the role of Instagram as an effective platform for viral marketing campaigns
  • A study into the sustainability of TikTok as a marketing tool in the future
  • An investigation into the new ways of customer relationship management in mobile marketing environment: a case study of catering industry in South Africa
  • A study into integration of Twitter social networking website within integrated marketing communication strategy: a case study of Microsoft Corporation

Culture and cultural differences in organizations offer many research opportunities as well. Increasing importance of culture is directly related to intensifying forces of globalization in a way that globalization forces are fuelling the formation of cross-cultural teams in organizations.

Perspective researches in the area of culture and cultural differences in organizations may include the following:

  • The impact of cross-cultural differences on organizational communication: a case study of BP plc
  • A study into skills and competencies needed to manage multicultural teams in Singapore
  • The role of cross-cultural differences on perception of marketing communication messages in the global marketplace: a case study of Apple Inc.
  • Effects of organizational culture on achieving its aims and objectives: a case study of Virgin Atlantic
  • A critical analysis into the emergence of global culture and its implications in local automobile manufacturers in Germany

Leadership and leadership in organizations has been a popular topic among researchers for many decades by now. However, the importance of this topic may be greater now than ever before. This is because rapid technological developments, forces of globalization and a set of other factors have caused markets to become highly competitive. Accordingly, leadership is important in order to enhance competitive advantages of organizations in many ways.

The following studies can be conducted in the area of leadership:

  • Born or bred: revisiting The Great Man theory of leadership in the 21 st century
  • A study of effectiveness of servant leadership style in public sector organizations in Hong Kong
  • Creativity as the main trait for modern leaders: a critical analysis
  • A study into the importance of role models in contributing to long-term growth of private sector organizations: a case study of Tata Group, India
  • A critical analysis of leadership skills and competencies for E-Commerce organizations

COVID-19 pandemic and its macro and micro-economic implications can also make for a good dissertation topic. Pandemic-related crisis has been like nothing the world has seen before and it is changing international business immensely and perhaps, irreversibly as well.

The following are few examples for pandemic crisis-related topics:

  • A study into potential implications of COVID-19 pandemic into foreign direct investment in China
  • A critical assessment of effects of COVID-19 pandemic into sharing economy: a case study of AirBnb.
  • The role of COVID-19 pandemic in causing shifts in working patterns: a critical analysis

Moreover, dissertations can be written in a wide range of additional areas such as customer services, supply-chain management, consumer behaviour, human resources management, catering and hospitality, strategic management etc. depending on your professional and personal interests.

[1] Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2012) “Research Methods for Business Students” 6th edition, Pearson Education Limited.

Selecting Research Area

John Dudovskiy

Essential Rules for Academic Writing: A Beginner’s Guide

Unlock the key rules for academic writing: from structure to citations. Master scholarly communication with expert insights.

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Mastering the art of academic writing is a fundamental skill that empowers students and researchers to express their ideas, convey complex concepts, and contribute meaningfully to their respective fields. However, for beginners venturing into the realm of scholarly writing, navigating the intricacies of this formal discourse can be a daunting task.

“Essential Rules for Academic Writing: A Beginner’s Guide” serves as a beacon of guidance, illuminating the path for aspiring scholars as they embark on their academic journey. This comprehensive article offers invaluable insights into the fundamental principles and key rules that underpin successful academic writing, providing a strong foundation for those new to the craft.

What Is Academic Writing?

Academic writing refers to a formal style of writing that is prevalent in academic settings such as universities, research institutions, and scholarly publications. It is a mode of communication used by students, researchers, and scholars to convey their ideas, present research findings, and engage in intellectual discourse within their respective fields of study.

Related article: 11 Best Grammar Checker Tools For Academic Writing

Unlike other forms of writing, academic writing adheres to specific conventions and standards that prioritize clarity, precision, objectivity, and critical thinking. It is characterized by a rigorous approach to presenting arguments, supporting claims with evidence, and adhering to the principles of logic and reasoning.

Academic writing encompasses a wide range of genres, including essays, research papers, literature reviews, theses, dissertations, conference papers, and journal articles. Regardless of the specific genre, academic writing typically follows a structured format, includes proper citation and referencing, and adheres to established academic style guides such as APA (American Psychological Association) or MLA (Modern Language Association).

Types Of Academic Writing

Here’s a table summarizing the different types of academic writing, along with their definitions, purposes and typical structures:

Also read: Words To Use In Essays: Amplifying Your Academic Writing

General Rules For Academic Writing

Here are some general rules for academic writing: by adhering to these general guidelines, you can enhance the clarity, effectiveness, and professionalism of your academic writing, ensuring that your ideas are communicated with precision and impact.

Clarity and Precision

Academic writing demands clarity and precision in the expression of ideas. Use clear and concise language to communicate your thoughts effectively. Avoid ambiguous or vague statements, and strive for a logical flow of ideas within your writing.

Audience Awareness

Consider your intended audience when writing academically. Be aware of their background knowledge and familiarity with the topic. Adapt your writing style and level of technicality accordingly, ensuring that your content is accessible and understandable to your readers.

Use Formal Language

Academic writing requires a formal tone and language. Avoid colloquialisms, slang, and overly informal expressions. Instead, employ a vocabulary appropriate to the academic context, using specialized terms when necessary.

Structure and Organization

Structure your writing in a logical and coherent manner. Use clear headings, subheadings, and paragraphs to guide the reader through your work. Ensure that your ideas are well-organized and presented in a cohesive manner, with each paragraph or section contributing to the overall argument or discussion.

Evidence-Based Reasoning

Support your arguments and claims with credible evidence. Reference authoritative sources and cite them appropriately to establish the foundation for your ideas. Use empirical data, scholarly research, and reputable references to strengthen the validity and reliability of your work.

Critical Thinking

Academic writing encourages critical thinking and analysis. Engage with the existing literature, identify strengths and weaknesses in the arguments, and develop your own well-reasoned perspective. Challenge assumptions, evaluate alternative viewpoints, and provide well-supported arguments.

Proper Referencing and Citation

Maintain academic integrity by properly referencing and citing all sources used in your writing. Follow the specific citation style required by your academic institution or field, such as APA , MLA , or Chicago style . Accurate referencing gives credit to the original authors, allows readers to verify your sources, and demonstrates your commitment to scholarly integrity.

Revision and Proofreading

Academic writing involves a process of revision and proofreading. Review your work for clarity, coherence, grammar, and spelling errors. Ensure that your writing is free from typographical mistakes and inconsistencies. Seek feedback from peers, instructors, or writing centers to enhance the quality of your work.

Also read: What Is Proofreading And How To Harness Its Benefits?

How To Improve The Academic Writing

To enhance your academic writing skills, it is crucial to engage in regular practice and give careful consideration to various aspects. Here are some essential focal points to pay attention to in order to improve your academic writing:


  • Proper use of commas, periods, question marks, and exclamation marks to enhance clarity and meaning in sentences.
  • Effective use of semicolons and colons to join related independent clauses and introduce lists or explanations.
  • Understanding the role of dashes and hyphens to indicate interruptions or join words in compound adjectives.


  • Capitalize proper nouns, including names of people, places, institutions, and specific titles or terms.
  • Follow capitalization rules for titles, capitalizing the first and last words, as well as major words within the title.
  • Ensure consistency in capitalization within headings and subheadings.

Grammar and Sentence Structure

  • Ensure subject-verb agreement, ensuring that the subject and verb agree in number and person.
  • Use proper tenses and maintain consistency in verb tense usage within a paragraph or section.
  • Write clear and unambiguous sentences, avoiding run-on sentences, fragments, or unclear pronoun references.

Academic Conventions

  • Apply appropriate formatting and font style as per the guidelines of the specific academic institution or style guide.
  • Use headings and subheadings correctly, following a consistent hierarchy and formatting style.
  • Use abbreviations appropriately and consistently, following the accepted conventions in the field.
  • Adhere to specific guidelines for tables, figures, and graphs, including proper numbering, labeling, and citation.

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13.3: Tips for Developing Research Questions

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This section by Liza Long remixes some material from “Developing a Research Question” from Clark College Libraries, http://www.gavilan.edu/library/LIB99/unit3narrowingtopic_lesson09.html . Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0.

What is exploratory research?

Exploratory research starts with a question. But it’s not just any question. Exploratory research uses high quality sources to answer a narrow, focused research question. This type of writing is objective, meaning that the author does not take sides. These types of papers are common in college courses. You may write an exploratory research essay in a first-year composition course, but the skills you learn will transfer to much longer research papers in your major, then perhaps on to a master’s thesis and a doctoral dissertation.

The purpose of exploratory research writing is to inform the reader, and generally, your audience will be an academic one.

How Do I Choose a Topic?

In some courses, your instructor may assign you a topic or a range of topics that you can choose from. But in many other courses, you may have an open topic assignment. Choosing a narrowed, focused topic for your research question will be important to your success. Start by using exploring strategies (brainstorm, cluster, list, freewrite, question) about topics that interest you. The topic should be something that you care about because you will be spending quite a bit of time on it in the next few weeks.

After you’ve generated several possible broader topics, you’ll need to narrow and focus one of your topics. One way to narrow your topic is to do a little background research on the Internet. What sorts of questions have others asked about your topic? Are there any new angles that you can explore? While you should not cite Wikipedia as a source in an academic paper, it can be a great place to do some background research to help you narrow and focus your topic.

This brief video provide a quick guide to the process of developing a narrowed, focused research question that is appropriate for an academic audience:

“Developing a Research Question” by Steely Library NKU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International

As we see, developing the research question is one of the most important and challenging parts of exploratory research.

The video gives us some examples of common problems with research questions:

  • Too narrow: When was the Civil War?
  • Too broad: Why was the Civil War important?
  • Too vague: Is television a bad influence? (on whom? What types of programs? What do you mean by “bad”?)
  • A question that can’t be answered by academic research: What happens when we die?

After you’ve decided on a topic idea, you can follow the steps below to narrow and focus our topic and develop an effective research question.

Step One: Do Some Background Research

Collecting a little background information on your topic idea can to help you define and focus your interest into an appropriate topic for an exploratory research essay. You can also find out if your topic is something you want to spend some time with, and if it’s something you can research.

  • Jot down a few keywords (terms) related to your topic, then perform some basic searches. Some excellent ideas for collecting background information include the following:
  • Scan a few articles in a reliable subject-area or specialized encyclopedias, or online databases the provide REFERENCE overviews.(Like Opposing Viewpoints, CQ Researcher, and Points of View Reference Center). You will find these in the library and online through your library’s web site.
  • Try out your keywords in a search engine, such as Google, but don’t go too deep. Remember, you’re just getting a feel for your topic, not doing the research.
  • In doing your preliminary research, if you discover that this topic has possibilities, take the time to add additional words to your keyword list.

Collecting background information is not the same as conducting research. At this point you’re just getting a general “feel” for your topic. An hour spent on this step may save you countless hours later.

Step Two: Focus Your Topic

Once you have a topic that you like, you’ll probably need to focus it or narrow it down. Most students start out with topics that are much too broad for their assignments. If your topic is too broad, your research will be much more difficult, and you’ll waste time looking for information that you won’t use.

For example, if you try searching for information on global warming, you will quickly be overwhelmed. Global warming is a large subject, covering a variety of disciplines, topics and issues. How can you narrow this topic?

Brainstorm again.

Jot down all the ideas and questions you might already have about the topic:

  • What do you know about global warming? What don’t you know?
  • Is there a geographical area you want to focus on?
  • Are there individuals or organizations involved in this issue?
  • Environmental
  • Human element.

It may help to set up a table or chart moving from the general topic to narrower topics:

Brainstorming a Topic

If the chart is too formal for you, you might like making a mindmap or concept map . A whiteboard or a big piece of paper are all you need to make a mindmap. Here’s the same information as above, but in a mindmap:

The secret to mindmapping is to free yourself from rules. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or formatting. Just jot down ideas until you can’t think of anymore, then go back and make connections between the ideas. If an idea appeals to you, make it the center idea on a new piece of paper and brainstorm more details.

Step Three: Turn Your Topic Into a Research Question

Dig into your topic to find the question.

Once you’ve narrowed your topic to something workable, you need to restate it as a question. A question requires an answer, and research is all about the search for answers.

Here’s an example:

Broad Topic: global warming

Focused Topic: global warming and world health

Possible Research Questions:

How will changes in the world climate increase health risks for people worldwide?

  • What should the U.S. government do to prepare for an increase in climate-related diseases?
  • What is the role of the World Health Organization in response to increasing diseases?

Once you have a research question, break it into even smaller questions:

  • What climate changes are expected?
  • What diseases are most sensitive to climate change?
  • What areas of the world are most at risk?
  • What statistics are there to prove that health risks are increasing?
  • … etc.

You can see that research is basically a quest to find answers to the questions you are asking.

Here is the same activity as above, using the “sticky note” technique:

What Kinds of Sources Should I Use for Exploratory Research?

With this kind of paper, your sources matter. It’s important to rely on high-quality sources. In many cases, your instructor may want you to use at least a few peer-reviewed journal articles. These types of articles often review existing scholarly literature, provide original research, give case studies, or provide expert commentary or perspectives.

The two types of sources you may consider are primary sources and secondary sources. Always make sure you check in with your instructor and read your assignment instructions carefully so that you find and use the right kinds of sources.

Primary sources serve as an original source of information about the topic. In journalism, a primary source can be a person with direct knowledge of a situation, or a document written by such a person. Examples of primary sources include personal interviews, your own original research, newspaper articles, media (such as photos or videos), and primary texts like novels or the Declaration of Independence.

Secondary sources are documents or recordings that discuss information originally presented elsewhere. A secondary source contrasts with a primary source, which is an original source of the information being discussed. A secondary source is one that gives information about a primary source. In this source, the original information is selected, modified and arranged in a suitable format. Secondary sources involve generalization, analysis, interpretation, or evaluation of the original information.

Examples of secondary sources include books and academic journal articles. Your instructor may also allow you to use high-quality journalism sources such as articles in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, or similar publications, for your assignments. Google Scholar is one way to search for peer-reviewed journal articles (though you should never pay for a source!).

As you begin your research, you may also want to spend some time with your campus librarian to explore resources that are available to help you. For example, as we saw above, CQ Researcher is a database that many college libraries provide. These current-event focused articles can provide you with an objective overview of a potential topic and point you in the right direction for more specific academic sources that you can use in your paper.

Research Question Checklist

These questions will help you to make sure you’ve developed an appropriate research question for your exploratory research essay.

  • Does the question deal with a topic that interests me enough to provide my own thoughts and opinions?
  • Can the research question be answered easily through research?
  • Is the scope of this question something that can be answered in a relatively short 1500-2500 word essay?
  • What kinds of information do I need to answer my question? For example, if I decide to research the effects of smartphone use on Millennial romantic relationships, I might need the following types of information:
  • Statistics on Millennial smartphone use
  • Statistics on Millennial romantic relationships
  • Anecdotal evidence (stories about Millennial smartphone use)
  • What sources will have the type of information that I need to answer the research question (journals, books, Internet resources, government documents, people)?
  • How will I access the sources I need?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you probably have developed an appropriate research question for your essay.

How to Write a Research Paper 

How to Write a Research Paper 

  • Smodin Editorial Team
  • Updated: May 17, 2024

Most students hate writing research papers. The process can often feel long, tedious, and sometimes outright boring. Nevertheless, these assignments are vital to a student’s academic journey. Want to learn how to write a research paper that captures the depth of the subject and maintains the reader’s interest? If so, this guide is for you.

Today, we’ll show you how to assemble a well-organized research paper to help you make the grade. You can transform any topic into a compelling research paper with a thoughtful approach to your research and a persuasive argument.

In this guide, we’ll provide seven simple but practical tips to help demystify the process and guide you on your way. We’ll also explain how AI tools can expedite the research and writing process so you can focus on critical thinking.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear roadmap for tackling these essays. You will also learn how to tackle them quickly and efficiently. With time and dedication, you’ll soon master the art of research paper writing.

Ready to get started?

What Is a Research Paper?

A research paper is a comprehensive essay that gives a detailed analysis, interpretation, or argument based on your own independent research. In higher-level academic settings, it goes beyond a simple summarization and includes a deep inquiry into the topic or topics.

The term “research paper” is a broad term that can be applied to many different forms of academic writing. The goal is to combine your thoughts with the findings from peer-reviewed scholarly literature.

By the time your essay is done, you should have provided your reader with a new perspective or challenged existing findings. This demonstrates your mastery of the subject and contributes to ongoing scholarly debates.

7 Tips for Writing a Research Paper

Often, getting started is the most challenging part of a research paper. While the process can seem daunting, breaking it down into manageable steps can make it easier to manage. The following are seven tips for getting your ideas out of your head and onto the page.

1. Understand Your Assignment

It may sound simple, but the first step in writing a successful research paper is to read the assignment. Sit down, take a few moments of your time, and go through the instructions so you fully understand your assignment.

Misinterpreting the assignment can not only lead to a significant waste of time but also affect your grade. No matter how patient your teacher or professor may be, ignoring basic instructions is often inexcusable.

If you read the instructions and are still confused, ask for clarification before you start writing. If that’s impossible, you can use tools like Smodin’s AI chat to help. Smodin can help highlight critical requirements that you may overlook.

This initial investment ensures that all your future efforts will be focused and efficient. Remember, thinking is just as important as actually writing the essay, and it can also pave the wave for a smoother writing process.

2. Gather Research Materials

Now comes the fun part: doing the research. As you gather research materials, always use credible sources, such as academic journals or peer-reviewed papers. Only use search engines that filter for accredited sources and academic databases so you can ensure your information is reliable.

To optimize your time, you must learn to master the art of skimming. If a source seems relevant and valuable, save it and review it later. The last thing you want to do is waste time on material that won’t make it into the final paper.

To speed up the process even more, consider using Smodin’s AI summarizer . This tool can help summarize large texts, highlighting key information relevant to your topic. By systematically gathering and filing research materials early in the writing process, you build a strong foundation for your thesis.

3. Write Your Thesis

Creating a solid thesis statement is the most important thing you can do to bring structure and focus to your research paper. Your thesis should express the main point of your argument in one or two simple sentences. Remember, when you create your thesis, you’re setting the tone and direction for the entire paper.

Of course, you can’t just pull a winning thesis out of thin air. Start by brainstorming potential thesis ideas based on your preliminary research. And don’t overthink things; sometimes, the most straightforward ideas are often the best.

You want a thesis that is specific enough to be manageable within the scope of your paper but broad enough to allow for a unique discussion. Your thesis should challenge existing expectations and provide the reader with fresh insight into the topic. Use your thesis to hook the reader in the opening paragraph and keep them engaged until the very last word.

4. Write Your Outline

An outline is an often overlooked but essential tool for organizing your thoughts and structuring your paper. Many students skip the outline because it feels like doing double work, but a strong outline will save you work in the long run.

Here’s how to effectively structure your outline.

  • Introduction: List your thesis statement and outline the main questions your essay will answer.
  • Literature Review: Outline the key literature you plan to discuss and explain how it will relate to your thesis.
  • Methodology: Explain the research methods you will use to gather and analyze the information.
  • Discussion: Plan how you will interpret the results and their implications for your thesis.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the content above to elucidate your thesis fully.

To further streamline this process, consider using Smodin’s Research Writer. This tool offers a feature that allows you to generate and tweak an outline to your liking based on the initial input you provide. You can adjust this outline to fit your research findings better and ensure that your paper remains well-organized and focused.

5. Write a Rough Draft

Once your outline is in place, you can begin the writing process. Remember, when you write a rough draft, it isn’t meant to be perfect. Instead, use it as a working document where you can experiment with and rearrange your arguments and evidence.

Don’t worry too much about grammar, style, or syntax as you write your rough draft. Focus on getting your ideas down on paper and flush out your thesis arguments. You can always refine and rearrange the content the next time around.

Follow the basic structure of your outline but with the freedom to explore different ways of expressing your thoughts. Smodin’s Essay Writer offers a powerful solution for those struggling with starting or structuring their drafts.

After you approve the outline, Smodin can generate an essay based on your initial inputs. This feature can help you quickly create a comprehensive draft, which you can then review and refine. You can even use the power of AI to create multiple rough drafts from which to choose.

6. Add or Subtract Supporting Evidence

Once you have a rough draft, but before you start the final revision, it’s time to do a little cleanup. In this phase, you need to review all your supporting evidence. You want to ensure that there is nothing redundant and that you haven’t overlooked any crucial details.

Many students struggle to make the required word count for an essay and resort to padding their writing with redundant statements. Instead of adding unnecessary content, focus on expanding your analysis to provide deeper insights.

A good essay, regardless of the topic or format, needs to be streamlined. It should convey clear, convincing, relevant information supporting your thesis. If you find some information doesn’t do that, consider tweaking your sources.

Include a variety of sources, including studies, data, and quotes from scholars or other experts. Remember, you’re not just strengthening your argument but demonstrating the depth of your research.

If you want comprehensive feedback on your essay without going to a writing center or pestering your professor, use Smodin. The AI Chat can look at your draft and offer suggestions for improvement.

7. Revise, Cite, and Submit

The final stages of crafting a research paper involve revision, citation, and final review. You must ensure your paper is polished, professionally presented, and plagiarism-free. Of course, integrating Smodin’s AI tools can significantly streamline this process and enhance the quality of your final submission.

Start by using Smodin’s Rewriter tool. This AI-powered feature can help rephrase and refine your draft to improve overall readability. If a specific section of your essay just “doesn’t sound right,” the AI can suggest alternative sentence structures and word choices.

Proper citation is a must for all academic papers. Thankfully, thanks to Smodin’s Research Paper app, this once tedious process is easier than ever. The AI ensures all sources are accurately cited according to the required style guide (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.).

Plagiarism Checker:

All students need to realize that accidental plagiarism can happen. That’s why using a Plagiarism Checker to scan your essay before you submit it is always useful. Smodin’s Plagiarism Checker can highlight areas of concern so you can adjust accordingly.

Final Submission

After revising, rephrasing, and ensuring all citations are in order, use Smodin’s AI Content Detector to give your paper one last review. This tool can help you analyze your paper’s overall quality and readability so you can make any final tweaks or improvements.

Mastering Research Papers

Mastering the art of the research paper cannot be overstated, whether you’re in high school, college, or postgraduate studies. You can confidently prepare your research paper for submission by leveraging the AI tools listed above.

Research papers help refine your abilities to think critically and write persuasively. The skills you develop here will serve you well beyond the walls of the classroom. Communicating complex ideas clearly and effectively is one of the most powerful tools you can possess.

With the advancements of AI tools like Smodin , writing a research paper has become more accessible than ever before. These technologies streamline the process of organizing, writing, and revising your work. Write with confidence, knowing your best work is yet to come!

Players and umpires link arms for a moment of silence for victims of gender-based violence ahead of a Round 8 AFL game

A minute’s silence is fine but when it comes to violence against women, being quiet isn’t enough

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Associate Professor Sport Management and Sport Integrity Lead, University of Canberra

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Editor of the feminist academic blog BroadAgenda at the Faculty of Business, Government and Law at University of Canberra., University of Canberra

Disclosure statement

The University of Canberra and Sport Integrity Australia have an MoU in place to support a number of research projects, including a research project titled: "Online Harm: Women working in the sports industry."

Ginger Gorman does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Sport has a role to play in creating a culture of respect, yet women in sport are often seen as “less than” on almost every measure: salaries, sponsorship, broadcasting, leadership, access, media, coaching, officiating, uniforms and support.

Research shows three out of four Australian men are gender equality supporters, but very few (17%) prioritise taking any action.

As Australia grapples with a “ national crisis ” of violence against women, what can men in sport do to help?

What does the research tell us?

Rigid gender norms can play a part in fuelling male violence against women and children. And sport is an arena, excuse the pun, where rigid gender norms flourish.

When it comes to sport and gendered violence, a special level of toxic attack and misogyny is reserved for women who “dare” to play , watch and work in sport , and this is particularly heightened for women of colour and/or presumed to be from the LGBTQI+ community, whether identifying or not.

Sport also regularly promotes alcohol and gambling, with evident impacts on women and children – whenever there are big sporting events, violence against women by spectators increases .

Players, coaches, commentators and officials repeatedly avoid sanctions, or get a slap on the wrist, and go on to secure leadership roles in sport, sometimes despite allegations of serious gender-based offences.

The message this sends to younger players and fans is that misogyny is acceptable and that “heroes” are beyond reproach. This green-lights sexism , and completely undermines any messages around equality.

Tracey Gaudry has held a trifecta of roles relevant to this discussion. Not only was she previously a former champion cyclist, and former CEO of Hawthorn Football Club, she has also been Respect Victoria’s CEO.

Back in 2020 she nailed the confluence of issues :

“Gender inequality is a driver of violence against women and it can start out small. Because sport comes from a male-dominant origin, those things build up over time and become a natural part of the sporting system and an assumed part.”

What are sports codes and teams doing?

Professional sport organisations and clubs have been trying to address abusive behaviour towards women for decades. Both the AFL and NRL began developing respect and responsibility programs and policies 20 years ago, yet the abuse, and the headlines, continue – against both women in the game, and at home.

There are also opportunities for clubs to take action even if their governing bodies don’t. Semi-professional rugby league club the Redfern All Blacks, for example, are showing leadership: players who are alleged to be perpetrators are banned from playing until they’re prepared to talk about it openly, and prove they are committed to changing their behaviour.

Education is also vital.

At the elite level, most codes are trying to educate those within their sports – the NRL’s Voice Against Violence program, led by Our Watch, is the same organisation the AFL has recently partnered with .

The NRL also implements the “Change the Story” framework in partnership with ANROWS and VicHealth, which includes a zero tolerance education program for juniors transitioning into seniors.

What more should be done?

The AFL’s recent minute silence gesture to support women affected by violence does not go far enough.

Men, especially those in leadership positions, can take action by actively dishonouring the men who have abused women.

Some of the men we celebrate around the country for their service as players, presidents, life members and coaches have been abusive towards women and children.

Recently, the AFL demanded Wayne Carey – who has a long history of domestic violence allegations and assault convictions – be denied his NSW Hall of Fame Legend status . The next step is to see Carey struck off his club and AFL honour rolls.

The same treatment should apply to other convicted abusers such as Jarrod Hayne and Ben Cousins – the list goes on.

To take a stand on violence against women, award winners who have been convicted for, or admitted to, abuse against women should be explicitly called out with an asterisk next to their names – “dishonoured for abuse against women”.

And current and future awards must be ineligible to abusers. Serious crimes should mean a life ban for all roles in sport.

If there is a criminal conviction, or an admission of disrespectful behaviour (abuse, sexism, racism, ableism or homophobia), then action must immediately be taken to strip them of their privileges.

What about the grey area of allegations?

One tricky challenge for sport organisations is how to deal with allegations that don’t result in criminal convictions.

The legal system has systematically failed to protect women from sexual predators, so we can’t rely solely on a conviction to act.

In 2019, the NRL introduced a discretionary “no fault, stand down” rule for players charged with serious criminal offences, and/or offences involving women and children. Under this rule, players must stand down from matches until the matter is resolved.

All sports should, as a baseline starting point, be following suit.

Where to from here?

It’s time sport organisations and fans acknowledged two things can be true: good, even great, athletes, coaches or administrators can be bad humans.

Sporting codes need a zero-tolerance approach for abuse of women which should apply to fans, players, coaches, umpires, referees and administrators.

All codes should strongly consider implementing the “no fault, stand down” rule similar to the NRL. Perpetrators should not be allowed back into high-profile roles. Supporters must also be held to account – if fans can be banned for racism , they can be banned for sexism.

At all levels and across all sports, we must send the message from the ground up: misogyny is unacceptable and the consequence for your bad behaviour is that you are no longer welcome.

  • Violence against women
  • Sport and violence
  • gender rights
  • Sport and Society

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The latest on the massive solar storm

By Angela Fritz, Elise Hammond and Chris Lau, CNN

Incredible lighthouse picture from Maine

From CNN's Chris Lau

A long-exposure photo shows the aurora borealis over Portland, Maine, on May 10.

Among a flurry of surreal images capturing the dazzling auroras is one taken by Benjamin Williamson of a lighthouse in Portland, Maine.

"It's one of the most incredible things I've ever seen, the awe and wonder," Williamson told CNN.

He said he used a long-exposure technique to snap the shot, but did not edit it.

Watch the full interview with Williamson here .

Things could be about to ramp up

If you still haven't seen the aurora, hold on for another 30 minutes to an hour, according to CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.

The next wave of coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, which cause the aurora, is about to arrive, he said.

"Just wait a minute because things are going to start to ramp up here," he said, adding that the increase could arrive "anytime now." "When it comes, get outside, get ready, put your coat on."

For those who are too busy to witness the phenomenon tonight, Myers said the aurora is expected to last three nights.

Why does the aurora last for a weekend?

By CNN's Chris Lau

The northern lights can be seen from Eaton Rapids, Michigan, on May 10.

Generally, it takes just eight minutes for light to travel 93 million miles to the Earth from the sun, but astrophysicist Janna Levin said the energized particles causing the current wave of aurora travel a lot slower, causing the phenomenon to last for the weekend.

"Some of these mass ejections are trillions of kilograms," she said. "They're slower. So they're taking longer, but still hours, maybe tens of hours."

Here's how the solar storm looks in the South and on the East Coast

The aurora was visible across the East Coast and in the South Friday.

Here's how it looked in Chester, South Carolina.

Down in Florida, waves of color swam through the sky.

Up north in New Jersey, a purple-ish haze could be seen in the sky.

Will solar storms get more intense and risky in the future?

The answer is probably not in the short term, according to astrophysicist Hakeem Oluseyi.

He said scientists study what is constantly happening on the surface of the sun and have found a pattern.

“Geological data shows us that in the past the sun was way more active than it is today. It has cycles where it goes very quiet ... and you have events that show that the solar activity was much, much greater,” he told CNN. “So there's no evidence that we're going to see those big maxima this cycle." 

But the astrophysicist also spoke of a caveat - the limitations of modern science.

“Even though it's predictable in the short term, we still don't quite understand what creates the magnetic fields in the sun,” he said, adding: “That's why NASA has so many satellites looking at the sun.”

In Pictures: Auroras light the sky during rare solar storm

From CNN Digital's Photo Team

The northern lights glow in the night sky in Brandenburg, Germany, on May 10.

A series of solar flares and coronal mass ejections from the sun are creating dazzling auroras across the globe .

The rare solar storm may also disrupt communications. The last time a solar storm of this magnitude reached Earth was in October 2003, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center.

See more photos of the aurora from tonight.

Behind dazzling aurora could lie “real danger,” Bill Nye the Science Guy says

Bill Nye the Science Guy speaks to CNN on Friday, May 10.

The massive solar storm could present “a real danger,” especially with the modern world relying so much on electricity, according to Bill Nye the Science Guy , a science educator and engineer.

Scientists are warning an increase in solar flares and coronal mass ejections from the sun have the potential to disrupt communication on Earth into the weekend. Solar flares can affect communications and GPS almost immediately because they disrupt Earth’s ionosphere, or part of the upper atmosphere. Energetic particles released by the sun can also disrupt electronics on spacecraft and affect astronauts without proper protection within 20 minutes to several hours.

In comparison to tonight's event, Nye drew comparisons with another incident in 1859, known as the Carrington Event, when telegraph communications were severely affected.

“The other thing, everybody, that is a real danger to our technological society, different from 1859, is how much we depend on electricity and our electronics and so on,” Nye said. "None of us really in the developed world could go very long without electricity."

He noted that there are systems in place to minimize the impact, but “stuff might go wrong,” stressing that not all transformers are equipped to withstand such a solar event.

“It depends on the strength of the event and it depends on how much of our infrastructures are prepared for this the sort of thing,” he said.

Bill Nye breaks down significance of the solar storm | CNN

Bill Nye breaks down significance of the solar storm | CNN

This post has been updated with more details on solar flares' impact on electronics.

Here's where clouds will block the view of the northern lights in the US

From CNN's Angela Fritz

An infrared satellite image taken around 10:30 p.m. ET.

After an incredibly stormy week, most of the Lower 48 has clear skies to see the northern lights. But there are some areas where clouds and rainy weather are spoiling the view.

A deck of clouds is blocking the sky in the Northeast, from parts of Virginia into Maine, as an area of low pressure spins off the East Coast.

In the Midwest, the aurora will be hard to see through thick clouds in parts of Wisconsin, Michigan — including the Upper Peninsula — and Illinois.

A stripe of clouds is tracking across Texas, including Dallas-Forth Worth, and into Louisiana.

And in the Southwest, patchy clouds across the the Four Corners region could make the northern lights difficult to spot.

Aurora seen at least as far south as Georgia

Barely visible to the naked eye, the aurora can be seen in Atlanta in the 10 p.m. ET hour. 

It is easier to see through photographs using a long exposure. The photos below, taken by CNN's Eric Zerkel and Emily Smith, used 3- and 10-second exposures.

Aurora seen in Atlanta around 10:15 p.m. ET.

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Money blog: 'Good news' as major drop in energy bills predicted in July

A significant drop in energy prices has been forecast for July. Read about this and all the latest consumer and personal finance news in the Money blog - and leave a comment or your money problem in the box below.

Friday 17 May 2024 14:30, UK

  • 'Good news' as major drop in household energy bills predicted
  • 'Seismic shift' as number of bank branch closures passes 6,000
  • How much it costs to send your children to private school - as figures reveal major change
  • New Greggs stores to open in these locations
  • Drivers hit by 'unfairly high margins' on fuel

Essential reads

  • Lowest buy-to-let mortgage rates revealed
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  • The rise of Michelin starred 'fast food'
  • Basically...  What is PIP - and what could government changes mean?
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  • Cheap Eats:  Michelin-star chef reveals his top steals in London - including an unbeatable sub sandwich
  • Money Problem: My workplace wants to pay us by the minute - what can I do?
  • Best of the Money blog - an archive

Ask a question or make a comment

A hotel part-owned by Gary Neville and other ex-Manchester United legends has been named one of the best places to work in hospitality. 

Each year, The Caterer releases its top 30 best places for employees in the sector, with the top six featuring some familiar names.

The list is compiled via anonymous employee survey - with no input from managers or owners. 

Hotel Football, the only hotel with a rooftop five-a-side pitch, was among the top six venues selected by employees across the UK. 

The hotel's benefits package was particularly well-praised by those who work there - given that it "prioritises the financial wellbeing of employees during the cost of living challenge".

Management at the hotel, which is situated next to Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium, was also praised for enhanced maternity, paternity, parental and adoption leave policies and a strong belief in diversity and inclusion. 

The other five to make up the top six are The Biltmore in Mayfair, Cycas Hospitality (which has 18 locations across the UK), Dalata (which boasts some 1,000 employees), Gleneagles Hotel in Edinburgh and Nobu Hotel in Shoreditch, London. 

The energy price cap is set to fall by about 7% in July, a leading thinktank has said. 

Cornwall Insights said: "For a typical dual fuel household, we predict the July price cap to be £1,574 per annum" - a drop from £1,690.

Looking further ahead, it forecasted the cap to rise again slightly in October, before falling again in January next year. 

Reacting to the news, Uswitch said the predicted drop was "clearly good news". 

"The future still remains uncertain, and with the price cap changing every three months – currently expected to rise in October before falling slightly in January –  it's crucial not to be complacent," Richard Neudegg, director of regulation, said. 

However, "a predicted 7% drop in energy prices in July is clearly good news, with the price cap looking likely to hit its lowest level in over two years", he said. 

He also urged  households who want to lock in rates for price certainty to run a comparison to see what energy tariffs are available to them.

"There are many 12-month fixed tariffs available at rates cheaper than the current price cap, and even some that are 2% below these new predicted July rates," he said. 

Cristiano Ronaldo has topped Forbes' list of highest-paid athletes for the fourth time in his career.

Ronaldo became the world's highest-paid athlete after his move to Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr and Forbes said the 39-year-old's estimated total earnings were around $260m (£205m) - an all-time high for a football player.

His on-field earnings amounted to $200m (£158m) while off-field he earned $60m (£47m) thanks to sponsorship deals where brands make use of his 629 million Instagram followers.

Spanish golfer Jon Rahm took second place following his switch to Saudi-backed LIV Golf.

Rahm earned $218m (£172m) and joins Ronaldo as the only two athletes to earn over $200m.

Third on the list is record eight-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi, who switched to Major League Soccer team Inter Miami, which helped the Argentine World Cup winner earn $135m (£107m).

The 36-year-old earned $65m (£51m) in on-field earnings but $70m (£55m) off it from deals with major sponsors such as Adidas and Apple.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James came in fourth at $128m (£101m), while fellow NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks made fifth with $111m (£88m).

France football captain Kylian Mbappe dropped down to sixth with $110m (£87m).

French striker Karim Benzema, who also moved to Saudi Arabia, is eighth on the list with $106m (£84m), followed by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry with $102m (£80m).

Lamar Jackson is the only NFL player on the list, in 10th place with $101m (£80m), thanks to the signing bonus negotiated into his new Baltimore Ravens contract last year.

The number of new pupils joining private schools has fallen by  2.7% since last year, according to the latest figures.

Data from the Independent Schools Council (ISC) shows families are now paying more than £18,000 a year on average to send their children to private school.

This is an 8% rise in school fees for the 2023-2024 academic year compared with the year before.

But as fees soar, figures show a 2.7% drop in the number of new pupil applications - this is the biggest fall since the ISC started collecting data in 2011.

Every Friday we get an overview of the mortgage market with independent experts from  Moneyfactscompare.co.uk . Today, finance expert Rachel Springall outlines what's been happening within the buy-to-let market…

A handful of lenders moved to tweak the fixed rates they charge on buy-to-let mortgages over the past week. 

Paragon Bank launched some new "portfolio" and "green" fixed mortgages, and Aldermore pulled its limited edition five-year fixed rates, max 65% loan-to-value. 

Buckinghamshire Building Society also launched new deals onto the market, and Claire Askham, head of mortgage sales said: "The decision to increase our BTL lending to 80% represents a positive move for the sector as we continue to see landlords appraising their portfolios through divesting, refinancing and taking advantage of a variety of property-related opportunities as they arise."

Week on week, there has been minor moves to the overall average fixed buy-to-let rates, with the two-year remaining unchanged at 5.62% and the five-year falling by 0.02% to 5.59%.

This week the lowest two-year fix for buy-to-let customers at 75% loan-to-value comes from Metro Bank, priced at 4.19%, which charges a percentage booking fee of 5.00% of the mortgage advance and is available to second-time buyers and remortgage customers borrowing a maximum of £2m. 

There is another option from the same lender which carries an incentive package just for remortgage customers, but it has a lower maximum advance of £1.5m.

If you are looking to borrow more, then Suffolk Building Society has the lowest two-year fix for buy-to-let customers at 80% loan-to-value priced at 4.79% for second-time buyers and remortgage customers. 

The deal charges a percentage completion fee of 3.00% of the mortgage advance as well as a flat £199 booking fee.

Remortgage customers will receive a free valuation and free legal fees incentive.

A five-year fixed buy-to-let mortgage may be more appealing for you to guarantee your monthly repayments for longer. 

If you looking to borrow at 75% loan-to-value, HSBC has a deal for remortgage customers priced at 4.33%, which carries a free valuation and free legal fees incentive package but charges a flat £3,999 product fee.

If you are looking to borrow more, then Furness Building Society has the lowest five-year fixed buy-to-let deal at 80% loan-to-value priced at 5.39% for second-time buyers and remortgage customers. It charges a booking fee of £995 and includes an £250 cashback incentive. 

Remortgage customers will also receive a free valuation. This deal also happens to be a Best Buy for a five-year fixed deal at 80% loan-to-value.

Best Buy alternatives

The lowest buy-to-let rates may carry both a flat product fee and an arrangement fee which is based on a percentage of the mortgage advance, so a Best Buy package may be more suitable if you are looking to save on the upfront cost of any deal. 

You might also want a deal to cover a valuation or legal fees. A Best Buy buy-to-let mortgage could be the most cost-effective choice in this instance, but it's worth seeking advice before entering any arrangement.

This week the top packages on a two-year fixed buy-to-let deal at 75% loan-to-value comes from HSBC, priced at 4.69%, which comes with a free valuation and charges a £3,999 product fee and is available to second-time buyers. 

If you want a loan with a lower upfront fee, then HSBC also has a Best Buy deal priced at 4.94% at 75% loan-to-value, which carries a free valuation and charges a £1,999 product fee and is available to second-time buyers.

If you are looking to borrow more, then Furness Building Society has a Best Buy two-year fixed buy-to-let deal priced at 5.73% at 80% loan-to-value for second-time buyers and remortgage customers. It charges a fee of £995 and includes a £250 cashback incentive. Remortgage customers will also receive a free valuation.

A five-year fixed buy-to-let mortgage may be more appealing for you to guarantee your monthly repayments for longer. If you looking to borrow at 75% loan-to-value, HSBC has a Best Buy deal priced at 4.39%, which carries a free valuation and charges a £3,999 product fee. 

If you want a loan with a lower upfront fee, then HSBC also has a Best Buy deal priced at 4.64% at 75% loan-to-value, which carries a free valuation and charges a £1,999 product fee.

If you are looking to borrow more, then Furness Building Society has a Best Buy five-year fixed buy-to-let deal priced at 5.39% at 80% loan-to-value for second-time buyers and remortgage customers. 

It charges a booking fee of £995 and includes an £250 cashback incentive. Remortgage customers will also receive a free valuation. This deal also happens to be the lowest rate on a five-year fixed deal at 80% loan-to-value.

By James Sillars , business reporter

A lack of strong corporate updates did for the FTSE 100 on Thursday.

A flat end to the day has been followed by a flat end to the week, with the index falling almost 0.1% to 8,433 in early deals on Friday.

Very little around for investors to ponder.

Developments this morning included pharmaceutical firm GSK saying it had raised £1.25bn from selling its entire remaining stake in Haleon.

The consumer healthcare firm was spun out of GSK almost two years ago.

One other announcement of note came from Sainsbury's.

It revealed a five-year strategic partnership with Microsoft that will see generative AI used to boost personalised shopping experiences for consumers, improve search functions and make staff working practices more efficient.

The financial terms were not disclosed. Its shares were 0.4% higher.

Away from the equity markets, it's worth taking a quick look at how oil is finishing the week.

Brent crude is trading above $83 a barrel on evidence of rising demand.

Prices at these levels should not have an impact at the fuel pumps but small recent declines in average costs could be reversed if the upwards oil price trend continues.

Greggs will open eight stores in the next few weeks, as the company continues its expansion plans 

The bakery said it would open a total of 180 new branches before the end of this year. 

We were told earlier this year that the famous sausage roll-seller would open new stores in London, Cambridge and Sale, but Greggs has now revealed where its next eight new branches will be. 

Here are the locations of the eight new sights, revealed by the bakery to The Sun:

  • Saffron Walden, Market Place, England
  • Bangor, Carnarfon Road, Wales
  • Birmingham Prime Park, England
  • Brierley Hill, Merryhill, England
  • Consett Delves Lane Drive Thru, County Durham, England
  • Edinburgh, 60-61 Seafield Road, Scotland
  • Glasgow, Argyle St, Scotland
  • Porth, U3C Geilligron IE, Wales

Drivers are suffering from "unfairly high margins" on fuel sales, Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho has been warned.

In a letter to the cabinet minister, the RAC said the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) must be given the power to take "meaningful action" against companies charging too much for petrol and diesel.

The average retailer margin - the difference between the amount they pay for fuel and the pump price - has been above 18p per litre for diesel since 7 May and is nearly 12p per litre for petrol, RAC head of policy Simon Williams wrote.

The long-term average for both fuels is 8p.

The RAC believes if retailers charged "fairer" margins, the average price of a litre of petrol and diesel would be around 145p, down from the current prices of 150p per litre for petrol and 157p per litre for diesel.

Mr Williams said the current margins being charged by larger retailers in particular were "extremely unfair on drivers struggling to get by in the cost of living crisis". 

"It's very concerning to see fuel margins at such high levels, particularly as this is happening under the close eye of the CMA and while retailers are voluntarily sharing their forecourt prices with the intention of increasing competition," he said.

The RAC spokesman added that the situation would only be improved in the long-term if the CMA took "meaningful action against retailers whose margins are deemed not to be mirroring significant reductions in the cost of wholesale fuel".

It can be hard to balance the demands of eating well without spending a lot.

In this series, we try to find the healthiest options in the supermarket for the best value - and have enlisted the help of  Sunna Van Kampen , founder of Tonic Health, who went viral on social media for reviewing food in the search of healthier choices.

In this series we don't try to find the outright healthiest option, but help you get better nutritional value for as little money as possible.

This time we're looking at meat. 

"When it comes to which type of meat you buy, there's a common misconception the more expensive the cut the healthier it is," Sunna says.

"But fatty meat stores more nutrients than their lean counterparts - vitamins like A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble and stored in animal fat - so, a fillet steak may contain less nutrients than its fatty cousin," he adds. 

The science

We typically turn towards leaner cuts of meat due to the common belief that saturated fat from animals is something to be avoided. 

"Yet, the latest science suggests that saturated fat and cholesterol may not be as harmful as researchers once thought they were," Sunna says.

He points to a  2020 review  in the National Library of Medicine that looked at several studies on saturated fat and heart disease - and found that the association between the two appeared to be weak.

That being said, a large amount of fat in your diet is in no way advisable - but don't be afraid to introduce fattier cuts. 

Sunna swears by mincemeat - preferring it to steak if choosing the fattier kind. 

Most supermarkets sell somewhere between 5-20% versions - and Sunna urges shoppers to put the higher percentages in their baskets. 

"Mince beef with higher fat content isn’t just about the added fat-soluble vitamins; it's also about what comes with it," he says.

"The added tendons, ligaments and connective tissue in mince beef provides collagen."

Collagen is a protein - full of amino acids that supports the structure of your skin, hair, and nails. 

It also plays a vital role in maintaining the integrity of your joints and connective tissues. 

"By choosing mince beef with 20% fat, you're getting a broader nutritional profile, including those collagen benefits," he says. 

Using prices from major supermarkets, Sunna compares his the money and the health for major beef products... 

  • Fillet steak: Around £35/kg, it's the most expensive cut and doesn't provide as many health upsides as other, cheaper options
  • Ribeye steak : Around £24/kg, with added fat that offers more fat-soluble vitamins.
  • Rump steak: Around £15/kg, it’s one of the most economical ways to steak and that nice rind of fat will give you the added nutrition.
  • Steak mince beef 5% fat: Around £7/ kg, it's premium mince but at over half the price of steak, making a great affordable option, but the lower fat content is only really good for reducing the calories.
  • Mince beef 20% fat: Priced at about £5/kg, it's one of the most affordable options that gives you the most health upside - with all the added fat-soluble vitamins, omega 3s and collagen. 

"Swapping a fillet steak a week to 20% mince could save you £182.52 a year and you'd be increasing your nutrition intake considerably," Sunna says.

"Not only does mince beef save you money, but it also provides a versatile base for countless dishes - burgers, meatballs, bolognese, tacos -the possibilities are endless."

Organics and grass-feds

"Whilst all unprocessed meat is healthy, there are benefits to the quality of your meat," Sunna continues. 

"Typically, a local grass-fed cut of meat has higher omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial for heart and brain health - up to 6x more  in fact than feed-lot cattle," he adds. 

These can often be far more expensive, however. 

"Choosing between fillet steak and mince beef doesn't have to be a battle of indulgence versus health - both have their unique nutritional benefits, but when it comes to a cost-effective, nutritious option, mince beef with 20% fat takes the win," he says.

The nutritionist's view, from Dr Claire Shortt, lead scientist at  FoodMarble ...

While it's fine to consider cheaper cuts of beef over say filet mignon, it's best to moderate red meat intake given potential links to certain cancers. 

Processed meats are more problematic again, especially from a bowel or stomach cancer perspective. In fact, the World Health Organisation classifies them as a Class I carcinogen (i.e. "known to cause cancer"). 

Read more from this series... 

The number of UK bank branches that have closed forever passes 6,000 today, according to the consumer group Which?

Which? said eight Barclays branches were shutting their doors today, taking the total by the end of the day to 6,005.

This equates to more 60% of the bank branch network since Which? began tracking closures in 2015.

The eight Barclays closures relate to branches in Alperton in Wembley, Andover in Hampshire, Bangor in County Down, Bracknell in Berkshire, Hornchurch in Essex, Inverness in the Highlands in Scotland, Liverpool and Streatham in London.

Barclays has closed 1,216 branches, according to Which?

NatWest Group, which comprises NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank, has closed 1,360 branches and Lloyds Banking Group, made up of Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland, has shut 1,146 sites, the consumer group said.

Which? said 200 closures by various banks were already scheduled for the rest of 2024.

Currently, 24 more bank branch closures have been scheduled for 2025, although more are expected to be announced later this year and next, it added.

While millions of consumers have made the switch to banking digitally, there remains a significant number of people who are not yet ready or willing to make that jump, underscoring the need for accessible alternatives, Which? said.

Sam Richardson, deputy editor of Which? Money, said the closures showed a "seismic shift" had taken place in terms of our banking habits and the character of the British high street.

"While some may hardly notice the closure of their local branch as they seamlessly switch to online banking, for others reliant on face-to-face services, the impact can be disastrous," he said.

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