A blog for the comprehensive understanding of Literature, Applied Linguistics and ELT

April 1, 2017

Characteristics of a Good Research Paper


What is Research Paper?

Research is the methodical investigation into a subject in order to discover facts, to establish or revise a theory, or to develop a plan of action based on the facts discovered. The findings and conclusions of such an investigation appear in the research paper. The term ‘research paper’ refers to a particular genre of academic writing, in which the writer’s own interpretation, evaluation, or argument on a specific issue is given prominence.

A research paper involves surveying a field of knowledge in order to find the best possible information in that field. Such information is then utilised to present a competent argument on a topic. Hence a research paper requires a presentation of one’s own thinking backed up by others’ ideas and information. In short, a research paper is:
  • focused on a specific issue or problem,
  • a presentation of facts that are based upon extensive reading and extraction of information from several sources, and
  • original in selection of literature, evaluation, expression and conclusion.

Waht are the Qualities of a Good Research Paper?

Whatever may be the types of research works and studies, one thing that is important is that they all meet on the common ground of systematic method employed by them. One expects systematic research to satisfy certain criteria. Usually a research is considered good when it is:
  1. Systematic: It means that research is structured with specified steps to be taken in a specified sequence in accordance with the well defined set of rules. Systematic characteristic of the research does not rule out (discard, prevent) creative thinking but it certainly does reject the use of guessing and intuition arriving at conclusions.
  2. Logical: This implies that research is guided by the rules of logical reasoning and the logical process of induction and deduction are of great value in carrying out research. Induction is the process of reasoning from a part to the whole whereas deduction is the process of reasoning from the premise. In fact, logical reasoning makes research more meaningful in the context of decision making.
  3. Empirical/Tangible: It implies that research is related basically to one or more aspects of a real situation and deals with concrete data that provides a basis for external validity to research results.
  4. Replicable: Replicability is one of the most important yardsticks for judging the quality of a research. The researcher’s presentation and explanation of the system, logic, and data collection should be designed in such a way that the reader is able to replicate the study.
  5. Reductive: A good research can reduce the confusion of facts that language and language teaching frequently present.
  6. Comprehensive: A research can be considered good if it has the ability encompass all important parts of the topic into a complete picture. But it should not present excessive detail which may hamper the development of the thought.
  7. Prolific: It suggests that a good research builds on, but also offers something new to, previous research.  It should have the potential to suggest directions for future research.
  8. Relevant: A good researcher will be able to extract relevant information from large amounts of info. Complete research will have the core information, or sets of core information, which together answers the question directly, and the contextual information, which determines whether or not the core research is applicable to given circumstances. That is, the research must be relevant.
  9. Well-executed: The researcher should also be able to convey the research in an accessible format that is, the research must be easy to make use of.

References

Brown, James Dean. Understanding Research in Second Language Learning. Cambridge: CUP, 1988

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