A comprehensive guide to academic research writing

The purpose of working on a research project is to find a solution to a problem using empirical evidence. It is a systematic and controlled process classified based on the research goals and objectives. If you are working on a research paper, you must create a research design that would be the framework for your research. The research process can be classified in terms of objectives, approaches, data type, and field of study.

Types of scientific research:

Basic research: A phenomenon or occurrence is explained in basic research. Scientists evaluate the principles of existence to add knowledge in the existing field of study using empirical data.

Applied research: This research provides a solution to a research question. Scientists test theories using methodologies and apply them in situations that warrant problem solving.

Descriptive research: It explains an aspect of a phenomenon. The result is represented in the form of numerical data. The cause –effect relation is established between the research variables.

Exploratory research: It explores a new topic or situation to define a new research problem. Exploratory research helps identify the research design and methodology to develop a hypothesis.

Qualitative research: It defines the relationship between the research and the situation or event. The data is analyzed in parallel with data collection. Critical analysis is used to formulate new concepts for data interpretation.

Quantitative research: Scientists investigate the relationship between quantitative properties using mathematical formulas and theories. Scientific methods such as laboratory observations and cross-tabulation are used for data interpretation.

Steps involved the process of research:

Step 01: Define the research problem by providing background information and context. Arrange your ideas in a logical sequence while writing the introduction section. Tips for writing the introduction section:

  • Explain the research background
  • Address the hypothesis and problem area
  • State the aim and purpose

Step 02: Write a review of the literature related to the main topic of your research. Show how your study relates to previously published papers. Tips for writing the review of literature section:

  • Evaluate the information source
  • Critically examine each section of the paper
  • Verify the methodology and findings

Step 03: What is the main problem of your research? It can be an issue or literature gap that you are trying to address in your research paper. Write a problem statement informing the readers about the importance of the research topic. Tips for writing the problem statement:

  • List the research objectives
  • Set the context of the study
  • Identify the research variables

Step 04: A theoretical framework presents concepts and theories that define the scope of research. Identify relevant key variables of your research to develop the framework. Tips for creating a theoretical framework:

  • Discuss the theories and models
  • Examine the problem area
  • List the variables

Step 05: Write a hypothesis statement by defining a correlation between dependent and independent research variables. The statement should be written in the form of a declaration instead of a question. Tips for writing a hypothesis:

  • Create an analysis plan
  • State a null and alternate hypothesis
  • Analyze the sample data for hypothesis testing

Step 06: Present the result by interpreting the data. Explain the outcome of research by writing the answer in the introduction section. Tips for writing the result:

  • Present the result in chronological order
  • Organize the result and discussion section
  • Note the implications of the findings

How to choose a journal for research submission?

Journal selection is the first step before starting  to write your draft. It will help you format the document according to the guidelines and instructions provided by the journal.

Factors affecting the journal selection process:

Target audience: What is the main theme of your paper? What message do you intend to convey through your research? Make a list of journals that are possibly read by your target audience and are currently accepting submissions.

Peer review: What type of peer-review process does the journal follow? Check the journal’s official site and find out how are articles reviewed by the editors.

Impact factor: The impact factor is calculated based on the number of citations received by articles published in a journal over a certain period. Note the impact factors of the articles to compare the publications.

Acceptance rate: How many articles are published in a journal annually? What is the average rate of rejection? Do some online research and compare the acceptance rate of the articles.

Additional services: Are there any additional publication services provided by the journal publishers? Many journals offer publication support services to ESL authors to improve the language of their paper.

Final checklist for authors to review their work:

Title

  • Is the title clear and concise?
  • Does it represent the methodology and central theme of research?
  • Is it specific and informative?
  • Does it include keywords?

Introduction

  • Does the introduction section indicate the field of study?
  • Is the purpose of the research well-defined?
  • Is there any mention of gap in research done earlier?
  • Have you provided enough background information?

Method

  • Is the supporting evidence strong enough?
  • Is the data verified?
  • Have you described the results with sufficient detail?
  • Does the data analysis justify the assumptions?

Conclusions

  • Is the summary concise and to the point?
  • Has the hypothesis been proven valid?
  • Is there enough emphasis on the implications of the findings?
  • Is there a key message outlining the results and discussions?

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