Research Paper Mistakes to Avoid 

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Composing a research paper can be intimidating for many students because of the task’s demands. A writer has to use accurate facts and logic to answer the main question while presenting their work in a way that’s easy for the reader to understand. Often, students score low on this paper while others even get their paper rejected, which might seem unfair, but there are valid reasons for it. Most of the time, the problem lies not in the research but in the stylistic/linguistic side. So let’s review the common writing mistakes students make in this paper so you can avoid them and compose a quality paper. 

Having a Vague Research Question 

A vague research question sets you up for discussions that poorly answer the question. Take your time when choosing a topic and formulating a research question. Before settling on a topic, ask yourself: why do I choose this topic? What is the purpose of my findings? Then, choose a simple yet specific question that you will be able to answer through your research and findings.

Going Off Topic 

In a research paper, you need to stay on point and be clear about the question you are answering. Some students tend to ramble in their work, often deviating from the main points, which makes your work difficult to follow. To avoid this, organize your main points and avoid deviating from your central subject of investigation. Each section of your paper needs to be direct and to the point. 

Using the Wrong Format

The easiest way to get your paper rejected is to deviate from the specified format. Your assignment will come with a set of guidelines; take your time to read and understand them. Then always use the format or structure specified in your instructions. Different institutions use different formatting styles; they usually specify whether the paper should be formatted in APA, MLA, or Chicago. 

Writing a Long and Vague Abstract 

Your abstract summarizes the purpose of your research, approach, methodology, and findings. It needs to be clear and concise to capture the reader’s attention and motivate them to keep reading. An abstract should not exceed a paragraph. Keep it short and ensure it provides enough information about your paper. 

Using Jargon and Complex Language 

Don’t overuse technical terms or jargon in your paper; it makes reading harder. Students often fall into the trap of trying to impress their readers by using complex sentences and statements. A good research paper writer keeps it simple and readable. However, this does not mean you should avoid all technical terms. Use them when needed; don’t go overboard. 

Using Undefined Abbreviations 

It is not the reader’s job to find out what abbreviations you used to stand for. Some might be easy to understand, like NASA, but others need clarification. The good news is you don’t have to expand on them in every occurrence. Just provide the full name and the abbreviation on your first occurrence, and the rest can stay abbreviated.

Putting Floating or Unarranged Elements 

Floating elements are tables, graphs, charts, or figures that are not cited or numbered. If you use tables in your paper, number each of them sequentially and highlight the original source. It will make it easier for the reader to tie it to a specific section of your paper or acquire more information about the source. 

Plagiarizing Your Work 

Plagiarism is a major offense in college, and institutions are strict in punishing students for serious instances. Plagiarism can be intentional or unintentional. Intentional plagiarism refers to knowingly trying to pass other people’s ideas as your own.  

Unintentional plagiarism involves failing to properly give credit to someone else for their ideas or research, for example, by forgetting to cite your sources. To avoid plagiarism, check your work after completion to ensure you have all the citations and run it through a plagiarism checker to ensure it is original. 

Failing to Proofread Your Paper 

After spending hours working on your paper, it might be tempting to submit it without editing, especially if you’re under pressure from a deadline. Proofreading helps identify language, grammar, formatting, citation, and referencing mistakes. It can greatly improve the quality of your paper and will give you some peace of mind when you finally submit it. So, plan your time well to accommodate editing. 

Closing Remarks

Students make many costly mistakes in research papers, but the above are the most common. Use our recommendations to improve the quality of your writing and secure your grades. Also, remember to prepare for this task and take your time when writing – a research paper is not a task you should rush.