Academic Research Project
Regardless of the academic discipline one is focusing on, the principles of writing a good research paper remain the same. The ability to write rhetorically and actively, to creatively interpret data sources, and being able to establish the authenticity of information, are critical aspects of academic research. At the same time, it is important to understand that academic research differs from one discipline to another; different disciplines require a student to use different research techniques. Discussing and presenting data, and citing sources also differ from one discipline to another.
The first step towards achieving a perfectly accomplished research project is to understand the components of your research. A paper’s hypothesis is the epicenter of a research project. This is the statement guideline for the entire research process. Data collection is done with the aim of proving the hypothesis. Data can be primary or secondary. Primary data is raw and has not been manipulated or processed. It can be written or recorded responses to questionnaires, interviews, or investigations. Secondary data is borrowed from other researchers’ works or statistics sources and can be recorded or written in the form of books, journals, research papers, statistics and video or audio tapes.
An academic researcher then subjects the data to scrutiny, processing and comparing to arrive at a probable conclusion. Frequent data entries can form a pattern and from which, a researcher makes an informed forecast. Such a forecast, with an allowance for change and disapproval, forms the basis of a hypothesis. This is the process that researchers call inductive analysis, where one starts by making an informed guess, and then proceeds to prove or disapprove the original hypothesis using the results of available data. Another important aspect of academic research is variables. A variable is the construed condition of the defined data and can be dependent or independent. The independent variable is what a researcher presumes as the cause of the end result while the dependent variable is what the hypothesis considers as the effect. Key variables provide a researcher with focus when writing the introduction part of their research.
It is imperative that a researcher understands their type of study and appropriate methodologies. An academic study can be data analysis, longitudinal, experimental, or observational, meta-studies, surveys, reports, or papers on broader societal problems. For most studies, students will need to combine both the inductive and deductive reasoning to contrive a hypothesis. They then need to identify a problem and a theory that will presumably solve it. Reading through the available data, researchers are expected to predict an outcome and establish its relationship to their hypothesis, after which they dig for more information to support or refute the predictions. Finally, a thorough study of all collected data will facilitate a scholar to make a well-versed conclusion. Structured research contains a more coherent sequence of actions. This methodology produces more logical conclusions as it focuses primarily on the use of valid, reliable and adaptable data.
Despite the variety of approaches, methods and designs when conducting academic research, key principles and guidelines for good academic research apply across the board. The purpose of academic research is to hypothesis, confirm and communicate new knowledge. It is written from sources and is based on existing research and ideas. Confirming the credibility of sources is critical when writing an academic research paper. Finally, the researcher must carefully acknowledge their sources using citation methods acceptable in their discipline.