Academic Research Guide

Why is Academic Research Important?

Academic research is a multistep process aimed at finding the answers to the research question. It involves careful study of a particular subject, field or issue using correct methodologies and eventually coming to a probable recommendation or suggestion to the problem being studied.  Academic Research increases your knowledge, giving you an opportunity to build arguments for or against a topic and draw appropriate conclusions pertaining to a particular assignment.

The below mentioned points will give a brief idea of the benefits which one can gain from a good academic research:

Enhances knowledge

The basic purpose of academic research is to gather answers to a specified research question or case study. Research helps you in building blocks of knowledge that you can easily use as the base for producing an impressive assignment that worthy of impressing the professors and peers in college/university.

Strengthens research skills

While researching for your assignments, your research skills also get enhanced and enriched. It helps you to sharpen your knowledge about the different fields of academics. You become adept at finding the right kind of information, suitable for your assignment, and accordingly support your ideas with the help of appropriate references.

Provides practical approach

Research helps you to apply all your theoretical knowledge to the real-time problems in life. It empowers you to think critically while dealing with your assignments. Research lends knowledge a fresh breath of air, which is difficult to achieve during classroom discussions and examinations.

Selection of Sources

It is extremely crucial to select the right and reliable sources for your research. Selecting the right sources strongly backs up your research and helps in arriving at appropriate conclusions. On the contrary, if the selection of sources is done in an inattentive manner, the entire research is likely to fall flat and all your hard work behind the designing of the research can go in vain. Hence, the researcher must pay extra attention while selecting the sources of information for his research work.

The sources for academic research can be Journal Articles, Newspapers, Books and World Wide Web. The researcher should keep in mind that the sources used are the most recent and relevant ones. The sources, which are cited for the research, should not be older than five years.

The various sources of academic research are as follows:

Journals

Journals are a set of collected articles written by scholars hailing from a particular professional or academic field. You can refer to peer-reviewed journal articles while conducting academic researches and find out what has already been studied regarding the topic of research. You should pay special attention to the peer-reviewed journals, which reflect the authenticity of the sources. Peer reviewed journals go through a series of filters which rejects the journals that are not suitable enough to be used as sources for academic research. Hence, it is always advised that you refer to the peer-reviewed journals.

Advantage of using journals:

Academic scholars check and inspect the peer-reviewed articles. Hence, the information is authentic and reliable. Journals are a great source of information when the researcher is in need of a more recent source of information. They provide deep insights into the subject, giving the writer a close view of the scenario that he is studying. Referring to journal articles is an effective way of linking your studies to the past researches, because it provides potential information related to your study with the help of research and statistical data.  

Books

Books cover a wide variety of topics, be it fact or fiction. While conducting a research, you need to look for books that embody all the related topics related to the research in one book to back the particular thesis or argument. Books are the most substantial sources of information and easily accessible to the researchers. Books contain original research that may embody multiple researches over a span of many years. 

Advantage of using books:

Books provide descriptive theoretical background on a subject with the help of which the writer can get himself acquainted with the conceptual framework of the topic that he is currently dealing with. Books provide the writer with the big picture of the given subject of study and provide the conceptual framework, which will define the direction of the research.

Newspapers

Newspapers contain a set of collected articles about the recent events, published daily. They are a great source of reference in an academic research study. It is important for you to note that you cannot use all the newspapers as a source for your academic research. Many newspapers have inclinations towards certain ideologies and tend to be biased. Therefore, you should only be referring to the most reputed newspapers like Washington Post, The Telegraph, The New York Times, The Guardian and Wall Street Journal etc.

Advantage of using newspapers

 Newspapers contain the most recent data unlike the books and journals. It contains up-to-date information unlike books and journals. For using newspapers as sources, you should always refer more than one newspaper. Instead of consulting one newspaper to study an event, comparing multiple newspapers is more revealing and interesting.

Websites

Websites can provide you with the up-to-date information about the recent trends, events and topics of conflict. Substantial government information is also available on the internet which can prove useful to the academic researcher like annual reports, service and legislation information. The company or institution’s official websites are the most authentic source of information accessible to the writer. Information about their organizational structure, current financial position, social initiatives and annual reports can be proffered from their authentic websites.

Advantage of using websites:

The greatest advantage of referring to the World Wide Web is that you can access information anytime, with no hassles at all. Accessing information is also portable because a writer looks up for data on the internet through his laptop, tablet or even a smart phone.

Things to Avoid

In order to conduct research for assignments, you will have to organize your academic study properly before conducting the research and be careful not to commit certain mistakes that can make the academic research work a dull one, with no proper structure and authenticated sources.

Various points which need to be taken care of in writing an academic research are as follows:

Failing to specify the topic

Primarily, you should mention the topic of the research very clearly and try to work out your ways around it while going about the research. It is important for you to describe the points in your academic study in a coherent and comprehensive manner. Otherwise, the audience will not be able to draw conclusions from your research.

Vaguely defining the research problem

The first and foremost step that is taken before indulging in an academic research process is to formulate a research problem and then conduct your study around it. If there are errors in the preliminary step, then it will be extremely difficult for you to go further with the research work. It is hence imperative on the researcher to clearly define the research problems, and mention the research methods that the researcher intends to use while investigating the problem.

Failure in linking your academic study with past researches

It is a serious pitfall in the research if you are unable to define the relationship between the current and the past academic studies, done in the same or related fields in the literature review section of the research. As an academic researcher, you must link the conclusion of the previous studies to the current research work. You can do so, by identifying the drawbacks in the previous studies and indicating how the current research will be able to fill in the gaps.

Poor methodology

The researcher must be sure about the methodologies that he will be using to conduct his academic research. You must include transparent and well-developed research methodologies, defining the instruments for the data collection and analysis required for the research work.

Over-usage of jargons

An academic research is bound to contain certain jargons and specific terms, which we assume that the audience understands. However, if the technical terminologies are over-used, the audience will not be able to make proper sense out of it, which can belittle the entire purpose of the research. Therefore, you should always keep excessive usage of jargons and pseudo-technical terms at bay. You should limit the use of jargons in your study as much as you can, lest it can distract the readers.

Plagiarism

Plagiarizing someone else’s piece of work is an unforgivable offence. In the academic field, we deem it as a disciplinary crime. It is acceptable to refer to the informative sources and give the authors their due credit in the reference list of the academic research. However, blatantly copying  other’s work without his consent and claiming it as your own is a huge offence. The researcher should always be careful to not fall into the trap of plagiarism at any cost.

Inappropriate/ fake referencing

This is one of the most reckless mistakes committed by a writer. Accurate reference adds a touch of authenticity and legitimacy to your assignments and gives the professor an impression that the student has done his homework well. They give an opportunity to the writer to give credits to the sources that have inspired him. Citing fake references will ruin all your effort and your assignment will remain devoid of any credibility.

Use of first person

Writers must avoid using the subjective case of first person in academic research. This is primarily due to the fact the tone of first person makes the writing sound objective. This tone is generally used in autobiographies, memoirs and personal essays rather than academic research work. The only exception is in the case of reflective writings, when the writer is to give his own opinion about things, events, issues etc.

Use of fillers

You are strictly advised not to use fillers in your academic research work. Including inadequate information will most likely distract the readers from the subject and will lower the quality of your work.

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