Avoid The Top 10 Mistakes Made in Beginning a Research Paper

It’s good to learn from mistakes. Unfortunately, this rule doesn’t work if you are writing a research paper – even a small error may cost you a lot. At best, you may need to make some corrections. At worst, you may end up having to reconsider the focus of your study and rewrite the whole work all over again. 

To prevent you from this, StudyCrumb has compiled a list of the 10 most common mistakes that students make before beginning a research paper. Keep on reading this blog post and find out how to avoid stylistic, structural, and other mistakes in research. 

StudyCrumb is an academic writing assistance company helping students compose custom papers tailored to specific requirements. Backed by professional writers, StudyCrumb can assist you with writing a top-notch research paper on any topic in a timely manner. 

1. Ignoring the instructions

Finishing a research paper successfully means completing a specific task assigned to you. However, 79% of students fail to carefully read the assignment. As such, they submit the works with the necessary details missing. So before getting started, remember to read the instructions thoroughly and make sure you understand what you are asked to do. After all, you don’t want to figure out that you’ve done something wrong in the middle of the process. 

2. Conducting poor preliminary research

Doing preliminary research helps to identify if there are enough credible sources that can be used in the study. However, some students prefer to start their work without decent research. In fact, this couple of hours that you spend looking for the existing studies may reward you with some valuable insights. So remember to do research and check whether there is enough reliable material to work with.

3. Formulating a too narrow/ broad research question

A research question is the ground of any study. It identifies what a student aims to find out and makes research-focused. But most students fall into the trap of choosing either a too narrow or too broad research problem. If the latter is true, you will be looking for necessary material for ages. And yet, if there is too much literature to review, you most likely will have to sift through the piles of works until you find exactly what you need. For this reason, you better spend an extra hour coming up with a good question to study. 

4. Developing a weak research paper thesis

No research paper is complete without a strong thesis statement. You may be surprised, but in 83% of cases, students get lower grades for their research projects because they fail to create a decent central statement. A good thesis statement should answer your research question and show the reasoning behind your answer. Be concise and stay on point – research is not a good place to develop vague ideas. 

5. Failing to create a research design

Once you have your central statement shovel-ready, it’s time to build an organized research design. Unfortunately, many students underestimate the importance of this crucial stage and go on to the research process without a clear approach in mind. Before moving on to the practical part, you have to decide on the overall strategy for studying the problem. Make sure to plan your data collection and analysis methods ahead to avoid inconsistencies later. 

6. Sharing thoughts in a disorganized way

When you are writing a research paper, you need much more than just a good problem to explore. Even a unique angle won’t be compelling if your thoughts aren’t organized and reinforced with supporting evidence. That’s exactly when a well-structured outline comes in handy. Make sure to prepare a clear plan for your research and mention all the key points. This way, you will be able to describe all the necessary details without missing any important information. 

7. Using sophisticated words and complex sentences

Writing a research paper doesn’t mean that you have to use too sophisticated words every here and there. Don’t stuff your work with jargon and technical language where it doesn’t make sense. Your task is to get the audience involved in your study, but not get the readers confused. Write in a simple manner and don’t overdo with redundant expressions. 

8. Having the first pages incomplete or out of order

An abstract, an introduction, a literature review, a methodology… these are just a few preliminary pages that go before the main text of your work. While it may be tempting to make the beginning part more intuitive, these sections are the first pages that your professor will see. For this reason, it’s very important that you structure the beginning section in proper order. Ask your professor for guidance since different schools may have different requirements. 

9. Creating a poor research paper abstract. 

Now that you have some exciting findings to share, it’s time to create an abstract. As its name suggests, an abstract is a brief summary of your research. It’s usually 1 page long which should be enough to report the aims and outcomes of your study. However, you should be extremely careful here. It’s better not to exceed a 1-page limit no matter how many interesting details you have to share. Your abstract should include only the most crucial information. 

10. Following different formatting styles

Your research paper’s formatting is just as important as your findings. By the time you begin writing the work, you should be familiar with the three major academic formatting styles – APA, MLA and Chicago. Make sure you format your paper according to the instructions specified in your assignment. Most students prefer to format the paper after the writing is done. However, we recommend setting out the formatting prior to the writing process. This way, your whole work will look consistent and organized from the very beginning. 

Final thoughts on a research paper 

Hopefully, this article will help you write a flawless research paper. Once you are done, make sure to proofread your entire work for stylistic and grammar mistakes. Wishing you good luck with your academic endeavors! 

Author Bio:

Daniel Howard– I’m a passionate proofreader, editor, and freelance writer aiming to help create flawless content. I work for StudyCrumb, where I share insights on writing academic papers that meet the highest quality standards.

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