Academic Research. Where to Start and What to Do?

Writing academic research is a complex process. Its goal is to take a new look at the problems by using the ideas of the scholars that came before us. But, you don’t want your research process to become a looped cycle that makes you bored. This article will tell you where to start and what to do to make your academic research easier.

To make things easier you have to divide the creation of research into three stages: preparatory stage, writing, and editing stage. The last step should be familiar to you if you’ve done essay editing.

Taking on your writing step by step will help you save time and avoid burnout.

Create a Research Question

The first step is to choose the topic of the academic research. All subsequent work will depend on this key decision. Choose a topic that interests you. Scientific materials on the topic must be available to create the basis of the article.

Start it by writing down a few things that interest you. Spend 10 to 20 minutes searching for suitable sources in the library catalog and on the Internet. Identify whether it’s valuable for your argument. Remember this includes papers that go against your argument, not just those that agree with it.

When you choose an academic research topic, you need to formulate a research question for it. Your best bet would be to make it open-ended. The question should be formulated so that there is no obvious and intuitive answer.

Find Information Sources

The most time-consuming part of preparation will be a search for the sources. You can use sites with book summaries to save your time at this stage. In university, you will be expected to use scholarly research for most of your assignments. Most of these articles or books can be found on the Internet. But you can always take your chance with the local library.

Textbooks and encyclopedias are great sources of information. They must pass a verification process in order to even be published. This means that the information has been vetted by a group of experts trained in the relevant subject area.

Internet resources like Wikipedia are fine as a place to start to get basic information and ideas. But, since it is impossible to identify the author and to verify the source of the information, these resources can be inaccurate or even biased. It’s best to get your information from more than one source to get balanced information.

Write Initial Draft

Producing your draft is the creative part of the job. You can write an article using only the knowledge that you have at the moment. You need this document to create the structure of the research. Also, this draft will help you determine what knowledge you are missing and what you need to double-check. It is important to understand that your job now is to produce a complete first draft, not a perfect final product. Editing at this point is a waste of time because this information may not even make it to the final version of the paper.

Create an Outline

An outline helps to navigate your research paper not only for the reader but also for the author. You can use the outline as a work plan. It shows which parts of the research are ready and which still need some attention. This is especially handy if the writing process takes several days or weeks.

Creating an outline is easy. Write down all your ideas and shuffle them around a bit. That list of ideas is now your outline. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it will allow you to structure your thoughts before you dive right into the writing stage.

When the preparatory stage is completed and it becomes clear what academic research will be about, you can proceed to the writing stage.

Write Experimental Part

It would be a mistake to write the article strictly by outline. Some points are easier to answer than others. Focus on the simple ones, then get back to the rest

The easiest part of the paper is the experimental part so you might want to start with that. This is the part you are probably most familiar with. It will not be difficult to describe for what purpose and what kind of experiments you did.

Write Discussion and Results

The next part of the paper would be the results of the discussion. Follow the outline and the draft that you’re created. Use them and information from sources to create a discussion about the problems of your topic. Add all of that with experimental results to formulate a conclusion.

Critical Edition

Once that’s done you need to do critical editing. Make sure that the science that you’ve written is correct. Plus, you need to convert that information into clear and coherent language.

Write a Conclusion

This part consists of the conclusions that can be obtained from the entire study. Here it is easy to see the contributions of the work. Also here will be located the personal opinion of the author about his studies and the predictions regarding what this study can give.

Write an Introduction

Now that all the work is done, you can start writing the most important and difficult part of the work – the introduction. It tells what this study is about and what is its purpose. It is also necessary to give the readers a sufficient background to understand what you did.

Editing Stage

When the majority of the work is done, you can proceed to the final stage. The editing stage consists of adding references for the paper and a global revision of the entire project. Accurate references to sources are necessary so that reviewers and readers can easily find the information used by the author. During the global revision, all facts are checked. All grammatical errors and inaccuracies are corrected here too.

Final words

Writing research isn’t about trying to be the most original. The academic research should be built in order like a house, starting with the foundation and ending with the roof. It’s about demonstrating a deep understanding of your text and supporting your conjectures with facts.

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