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How to Write the Rationale of the Study in Research (Examples)

what is a rationale in a research paper

What is the Rationale of the Study?

The rationale of the study is the justification for taking on a given study. It explains the reason the study was conducted or should be conducted. This means the study rationale should explain to the reader or examiner why the study is/was necessary. It is also sometimes called the “purpose” or “justification” of a study. While this is not difficult to grasp in itself, you might wonder how the rationale of the study is different from your research question or from the statement of the problem of your study, and how it fits into the rest of your thesis or research paper. 

The rationale of the study links the background of the study to your specific research question and justifies the need for the latter on the basis of the former. In brief, you first provide and discuss existing data on the topic, and then you tell the reader, based on the background evidence you just presented, where you identified gaps or issues and why you think it is important to address those. The problem statement, lastly, is the formulation of the specific research question you choose to investigate, following logically from your rationale, and the approach you are planning to use to do that.

Table of Contents:

How to write a rationale for a research paper , how do you justify the need for a research study.

  • Study Rationale Example: Where Does It Go In Your Paper?

The basis for writing a research rationale is preliminary data or a clear description of an observation. If you are doing basic/theoretical research, then a literature review will help you identify gaps in current knowledge. In applied/practical research, you base your rationale on an existing issue with a certain process (e.g., vaccine proof registration) or practice (e.g., patient treatment) that is well documented and needs to be addressed. By presenting the reader with earlier evidence or observations, you can (and have to) convince them that you are not just repeating what other people have already done or said and that your ideas are not coming out of thin air. 

Once you have explained where you are coming from, you should justify the need for doing additional research–this is essentially the rationale of your study. Finally, when you have convinced the reader of the purpose of your work, you can end your introduction section with the statement of the problem of your research that contains clear aims and objectives and also briefly describes (and justifies) your methodological approach. 

When is the Rationale for Research Written?

The author can present the study rationale both before and after the research is conducted. 

  • Before conducting research : The study rationale is a central component of the research proposal . It represents the plan of your work, constructed before the study is actually executed.
  • Once research has been conducted : After the study is completed, the rationale is presented in a research article or  PhD dissertation  to explain why you focused on this specific research question. When writing the study rationale for this purpose, the author should link the rationale of the research to the aims and outcomes of the study.

What to Include in the Study Rationale

Although every study rationale is different and discusses different specific elements of a study’s method or approach, there are some elements that should be included to write a good rationale. Make sure to touch on the following:

  • A summary of conclusions from your review of the relevant literature
  • What is currently unknown (gaps in knowledge)
  • Inconclusive or contested results  from previous studies on the same or similar topic
  • The necessity to improve or build on previous research, such as to improve methodology or utilize newer techniques and/or technologies

There are different types of limitations that you can use to justify the need for your study. In applied/practical research, the justification for investigating something is always that an existing process/practice has a problem or is not satisfactory. Let’s say, for example, that people in a certain country/city/community commonly complain about hospital care on weekends (not enough staff, not enough attention, no decisions being made), but you looked into it and realized that nobody ever investigated whether these perceived problems are actually based on objective shortages/non-availabilities of care or whether the lower numbers of patients who are treated during weekends are commensurate with the provided services.

In this case, “lack of data” is your justification for digging deeper into the problem. Or, if it is obvious that there is a shortage of staff and provided services on weekends, you could decide to investigate which of the usual procedures are skipped during weekends as a result and what the negative consequences are. 

In basic/theoretical research, lack of knowledge is of course a common and accepted justification for additional research—but make sure that it is not your only motivation. “Nobody has ever done this” is only a convincing reason for a study if you explain to the reader why you think we should know more about this specific phenomenon. If there is earlier research but you think it has limitations, then those can usually be classified into “methodological”, “contextual”, and “conceptual” limitations. To identify such limitations, you can ask specific questions and let those questions guide you when you explain to the reader why your study was necessary:

Methodological limitations

  • Did earlier studies try but failed to measure/identify a specific phenomenon?
  • Was earlier research based on incorrect conceptualizations of variables?
  • Were earlier studies based on questionable operationalizations of key concepts?
  • Did earlier studies use questionable or inappropriate research designs?

Contextual limitations

  • Have recent changes in the studied problem made previous studies irrelevant?
  • Are you studying a new/particular context that previous findings do not apply to?

Conceptual limitations

  • Do previous findings only make sense within a specific framework or ideology?

Study Rationale Examples

Let’s look at an example from one of our earlier articles on the statement of the problem to clarify how your rationale fits into your introduction section. This is a very short introduction for a practical research study on the challenges of online learning. Your introduction might be much longer (especially the context/background section), and this example does not contain any sources (which you will have to provide for all claims you make and all earlier studies you cite)—but please pay attention to how the background presentation , rationale, and problem statement blend into each other in a logical way so that the reader can follow and has no reason to question your motivation or the foundation of your research.

Background presentation

Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, most educational institutions around the world have transitioned to a fully online study model, at least during peak times of infections and social distancing measures. This transition has not been easy and even two years into the pandemic, problems with online teaching and studying persist (reference needed) . 

While the increasing gap between those with access to technology and equipment and those without access has been determined to be one of the main challenges (reference needed) , others claim that online learning offers more opportunities for many students by breaking down barriers of location and distance (reference needed) .  

Rationale of the study

Since teachers and students cannot wait for circumstances to go back to normal, the measures that schools and universities have implemented during the last two years, their advantages and disadvantages, and the impact of those measures on students’ progress, satisfaction, and well-being need to be understood so that improvements can be made and demographics that have been left behind can receive the support they need as soon as possible.

Statement of the problem

To identify what changes in the learning environment were considered the most challenging and how those changes relate to a variety of student outcome measures, we conducted surveys and interviews among teachers and students at ten institutions of higher education in four different major cities, two in the US (New York and Chicago), one in South Korea (Seoul), and one in the UK (London). Responses were analyzed with a focus on different student demographics and how they might have been affected differently by the current situation.

How long is a study rationale?

In a research article bound for journal publication, your rationale should not be longer than a few sentences (no longer than one brief paragraph). A  dissertation or thesis  usually allows for a longer description; depending on the length and nature of your document, this could be up to a couple of paragraphs in length. A completely novel or unconventional approach might warrant a longer and more detailed justification than an approach that slightly deviates from well-established methods and approaches.

Consider Using Professional Academic Editing Services

Now that you know how to write the rationale of the study for a research proposal or paper, you should make use of our free AI grammar checker , Wordvice AI, or receive professional academic proofreading services from Wordvice, including research paper editing services and manuscript editing services to polish your submitted research documents.

You can also find many more articles, for example on writing the other parts of your research paper , on choosing a title , or on making sure you understand and adhere to the author instructions before you submit to a journal, on the Wordvice academic resources pages.

  • Academic Skills
  • Reading, writing and referencing
  • Writing effectively

Writing a rationale

How to write a rationale.

What is a rationale?

A rationale is when you are asked to give the reasoning or justification for an action or a choice you make.

There is a focus on the ‘ why ’ in a rationale: why you chose to do something, study or focus on something. It is a set of statements of purpose and significance and often addresses a gap or a need.

A rationale in Australian academic writing is rarely a whole task by itself.  It is often a part of a bigger task. For example, a part of a lesson plan might be to provide a rationale for why you chose to teach particular content or use a certain resource or activity, or you may be asked to provide a rationale as to why you chose a particular theory to apply or a concept to support.

You may be called upon to provide a rationale:

prior to an action or decision; why you plan to do something and how, or

  • after you have acted or decided something; reflecting, looking back, why you did something and how it worked or not.

You can use language to signal you are clearly providing a rationale in your writing. You can link your rationale to learning outcomes or aims for a lesson, activity or assessment task.

A model: problem-solution-rationale

A rationale can be provided by offering longer essay-based support for why it is important to do something in a certain way – in that sense, a whole paper can be a rationale.

However, a more specific or focused way of thinking about a rationale is how we can overtly show we are justifying our choices with the language we use.

One way of doing this is to consider the problem or issue requiring attention, the solution and then the rationale or justification for the solution (the ‘why’). This sets the rationale (the reason) within a context.

A diagnostic assessment determined that the students required more attention to addition and subtraction of mixed fractions. This activity intends to address this problem by having the children engage with the task with blocks before it is done with figures. The reason I chose to do this is because students have higher comprehension levels when presented with visual or tangible representations of abstract problems (Benson, 2016). I also did this as I wanted to allow the children to ‘play’ with maths, to see that it can be a fun activity and in doing so, to breakdown some of the ‘anti-mathematics prejudices’ that Gaines (2017, p. 4) talks about.

The important thing here is the language used to signal the rationale , in this case:

The reason I chose to do this is because … and I also did this as …

Another problem / solution / rationale example:

Scaffolding is the support provided by the teacher or a significant other, such as a classmate, which helps students in learning (Gibbons, 2015). Some students were having difficulty with the language at entry while others, particularly those who had completed the pre-tasks, had few problems. Therefore, in order to address this disparity in level and understanding, mixed-ability pairs were created where the more competent student helped the other. On reflection, this was an effective way to run the activity for two reasons : it allowed peer-to-peer teaching which solidified both students’ understanding; and it scaffolded the support in a way that allowed me to roam the room lending advice to pairs as needed.

The language used to signal our rationale in this example:

in order to and for two reasons …

Language to signal rationale

in order to

the reason this was done/chosen …

for the following reason(s) …

for two/three reasons …

Language for further justification - showing importance

This was important / significant because …

This meant that I could…

This enabled me to …

… which enabled / allowed me to…

… which pointed to / highlighted that / showed me that …

The key thing to remember about rationale writing is to stand back from the writing, look at it in a big picture sense and ask yourself, ‘ Have I explained why? ’ If that is clearly articulated, you have provided a rationale.

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How to Write a Rationale: A Guide for Research and Beyond

How to Write a Rationale: A Guide for Research and Beyond

Ever found yourself scratching your head, wondering how to justify your choice of a research topic or project? You’re not alone! Writing a rationale, which essentially means explaining the ‘why’ behind your decisions, is crucial to any research process. It’s like the secret sauce that adds flavour to your research recipe. So, the only thing you need to know is how to write a rationale.

Guide

What is a Rationale?

A rationale in research is essentially the foundation of your study. It serves as the justification for undertaking a particular research project. At its core, the rationale explains why the research was conducted or needs to be conducted, thus addressing a specific knowledge gap or research question.

Here’s a breakdown of the key elements involved in crafting a rationale:

Linking Background to Research Question: 

The rationale should connect the background of the study to your specific research question. It involves presenting and discussing existing data on your topic, identifying gaps or issues in the current understanding, and explaining why addressing them is important​.

Objectives and Significance: 

Your rationale should clearly outline your research objectives – what you hope to discover or achieve through the study. It should also emphasize the subject’s significance in your field and explain why more or better research is needed​.

Methodological Approach: 

The rationale should briefly describe your proposed research method , whether qualitative (descriptive) or quantitative (experimental), and justify this choice​.

Justifying the Need for Research: 

The rationale isn’t just about what you’re doing and why it’s necessary. It can involve highlighting methodological, contextual, or conceptual limitations in previous studies and explaining how your research aims to overcome these limitations. Essentially, you’re making a case for why your research fills a crucial gap in existing knowledge​​.

Presenting Before and After Research: 

Interestingly, the rationale can be presented before and after the research. Before the research, it forms a central part of the research proposal, setting out the plan for the work. After the research, it’s presented in a research article or dissertation to explain the focus on a specific research question and link it to the study’s aims and outcomes​.

Elements to Include: 

A good rationale should include a summary of conclusions from your literature review, identify what is currently unknown, discuss inconclusive or contested results from previous studies, and emphasize the necessity to improve or build on previous research​.

Creating a rationale is a vital part of the research process, as it not only sets the stage for your study but also convinces readers of the value and necessity of your work.

A Laptop With A Book On It On A Wooden Table, Showcasing The Keywords &Quot;How To Write A Rationale&Quot;.

How to Write a Rationale:

Writing a rationale for your research is crucial in conducting and presenting your study. It involves explaining why your research is necessary and important. Here’s a guide to help you craft a compelling rationale:

Identify the Problem or Knowledge Gap: 

Begin by clearly stating the issue or gap in knowledge that your research aims to address. Explain why this problem is important and merits investigation. It is the foundation of your rationale and sets the stage for the need for your research.​

Review the Literature: 

Conduct a thorough review of existing literature on your topic. It helps you understand what research has already been done and what gaps or open questions exist. Your rationale should build on this background by highlighting these gaps and emphasizing the importance of addressing them​​​​.

Define Your Research Questions/Hypotheses: 

Based on your understanding of the problem and literature review, clearly state the research questions or hypotheses that your study aims to explore. These should logically stem from the identified gaps or issues.

Explain Your Research Approach: 

Describe the methods you will use for your research, including data collection and analysis techniques. Justify why these methods are appropriate for addressing your research questions or hypotheses​​.

Discuss the Potential Impact of Your Research:  Explain the significance of your study. Consider both theoretical contributions and practical implications. For instance, how does your research advance existing knowledge? Does it have real-world applications? Is it relevant to a specific field or community?​

Consider Ethical Considerations: 

If your research involves human or animal subjects, discuss the ethical aspects and how you plan to conduct your study responsibly​.

Contextualise Your Study: 

Justify the relevance of your research by explaining how it fits into the broader context. Connect your study to current trends, societal needs, or academic discussions​​.

Support with Evidence: 

Provide evidence or examples that underscore the need for your research. It could include citing relevant studies, statistics, or scenarios that illustrate the problem or gap your research addresses​.

Methodological, Contextual, and Conceptual Limitations: 

Address any limitations of previous research and how your study aims to overcome them. It can include methodological flaws in previous studies, changes in external factors that make past research less relevant, or the need to study a phenomenon within a new conceptual framework​.

Placement in Your Paper: 

Typically, the rationale is written toward the end of the introduction section of your paper, providing a logical lead-in to your research questions and methodology​​.

By following these steps and considering your audience’s perspective, you can write a strong and compelling rationale that clearly communicates the significance and necessity of your research project.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What makes a good research rationale.

A good rationale clearly identifies a gap in existing knowledge, builds on previous research, and outlines why your study is necessary and significant.

How detailed should my literature review be in the rationale?

Your literature review should be comprehensive enough to highlight the gaps your research aims to fill, but it should not overshadow the rationale itself.

Conclusion: 

A well-crafted rationale is your ticket to making your research stand out. It’s about bridging gaps, challenging norms, and paving the way for new discoveries. So go ahead, make your rationale the cornerstone of your research narrative!

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what is a rationale in a research paper

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Setting Rationale in Research: Cracking the code for excelling at research

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Knowledge and curiosity lays the foundation of scientific progress. The quest for knowledge has always been a timeless endeavor. Scholars seek reasons to explain the phenomena they observe, paving way for development of research. Every investigation should offer clarity and a well-defined rationale in research is a cornerstone upon which the entire study can be built.

Research rationale is the heartbeat of every academic pursuit as it guides the researchers to unlock the untouched areas of their field. Additionally, it illuminates the gaps in the existing knowledge, and identifies the potential contributions that the study aims to make.

Table of Contents

What Is Research Rationale and When Is It Written

Research rationale is the “why” behind every academic research. It not only frames the study but also outlines its objectives , questions, and expected outcomes. Additionally, it helps to identify the potential limitations of the study . It serves as a lighthouse for researchers that guides through data collection and analysis, ensuring their efforts remain focused and purposeful. Typically, a rationale is written at the beginning of the research proposal or research paper . It is an essential component of the introduction section and provides the foundation for the entire study. Furthermore, it provides a clear understanding of the purpose and significance of the research to the readers before delving into the specific details of the study. In some cases, the rationale is written before the methodology, data analysis, and other sections. Also, it serves as the justification for the research, and how it contributes to the field. Defining a research rationale can help a researcher in following ways:

Define Your Research Rationale

1. Justification of a Research Problem

  • Research rationale helps to understand the essence of a research problem.
  • It designs the right approach to solve a problem. This aspect is particularly important for applied research, where the outcomes can have real-world relevance and impact.
  • Also, it explains why the study is worth conducting and why resources should be allocated to pursue it.
  • Additionally, it guides a researcher to highlight the benefits and implications of a strategy.

2. Elimination of Literature Gap

  • Research rationale helps to ideate new topics which are less addressed.
  • Additionally, it offers fresh perspectives on existing research and discusses the shortcomings in previous studies.
  • It shows that your study aims to contribute to filling these gaps and advancing the field’s understanding.

3. Originality and Novelty

  • The rationale highlights the unique aspects of your research and how it differs from previous studies.
  • Furthermore, it explains why your research adds something new to the field and how it expands upon existing knowledge.
  • It highlights how your findings might contribute to a better understanding of a particular issue or problem and potentially lead to positive changes.
  • Besides these benefits, it provides a personal motivation to the researchers. In some cases, researchers might have personal experiences or interests that drive their desire to investigate a particular topic.

4. An Increase in Chances of Funding

  • It is essential to convince funding agencies , supervisors, or reviewers, that a research is worth pursuing.
  • Therefore, a good rationale can get your research approved for funding and increases your chances of getting published in journals; as it addresses the potential knowledge gap in existing research.

Overall, research rationale is essential for providing a clear and convincing argument for the value and importance of your research study, setting the stage for the rest of the research proposal or manuscript. Furthermore, it helps establish the context for your work and enables others to understand the purpose and potential impact of your research.

5 Key Elements of a Research Rationale

Research rationale must include certain components which make it more impactful. Here are the key elements of a research rationale:

Elements of research rationale

By incorporating these elements, you provide a strong and convincing case for the legitimacy of your research, which is essential for gaining support and approval from academic institutions, funding agencies, or other stakeholders.

How to Write a Rationale in Research

Writing a rationale requires careful consideration of the reasons for conducting the study. It is usually written in the present tense.

Here are some steps to guide you through the process of writing a research rationale:

Steps to write a research rationale

After writing the initial draft, it is essential to review and revise the research rationale to ensure that it effectively communicates the purpose of your research. The research rationale should be persuasive and compelling, convincing readers that your study is worthwhile and deserves their attention.

How Long Should a Research Rationale be?

Although there is no pre-defined length for a rationale in research, its length may vary depending on the specific requirements of the research project. It also depends on the academic institution or organization, and the guidelines set by the research advisor or funding agency. In general, a research rationale is usually a concise and focused document.

Typically, it ranges from a few paragraphs to a few pages, but it is usually recommended to keep it as crisp as possible while ensuring all the essential elements are adequately covered. The length of a research rationale can be roughly as follows:

1. For Research Proposal:

A. Around 1 to 3 pages

B. Ensure clear and comprehensive explanation of the research question, its significance, literature review , and methodological approach.

2. Thesis or Dissertation:

A. Around 3 to 5 pages

B. Ensure an extensive coverage of the literature review, theoretical framework, and research objectives to provide a robust justification for the study.

3. Journal Article:

A. Usually concise. Ranges from few paragraphs to one page

B. The research rationale is typically included as part of the introduction section

However, remember that the quality and content of the research rationale are more important than its length. The reasons for conducting the research should be well-structured, clear, and persuasive when presented. Always adhere to the specific institution or publication guidelines.

Example of a Research Rationale

Example of a research rationale

In conclusion, the research rationale serves as the cornerstone of a well-designed and successful research project. It ensures that research efforts are focused, meaningful, and ethically sound. Additionally, it provides a comprehensive and logical justification for embarking on a specific investigation. Therefore, by identifying research gaps, defining clear objectives, emphasizing significance, explaining the chosen methodology, addressing ethical considerations, and recognizing potential limitations, researchers can lay the groundwork for impactful and valuable contributions to the scientific community.

So, are you ready to delve deeper into the world of research and hone your academic writing skills? Explore Enago Academy ‘s comprehensive resources and courses to elevate your research and make a lasting impact in your field. Also, share your thoughts and experiences in the form of an article or a thought piece on Enago Academy’s Open Platform .

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Frequently Asked Questions

A rationale of the study can be written by including the following points: 1. Background of the Research/ Study 2. Identifying the Knowledge Gap 3. An Overview of the Goals and Objectives of the Study 4. Methodology and its Significance 5. Relevance of the Research

Start writing a research rationale by defining the research problem and discussing the literature gap associated with it.

A research rationale can be ended by discussing the expected results and summarizing the need of the study.

A rationale for thesis can be made by covering the following points: 1. Extensive coverage of the existing literature 2. Explaining the knowledge gap 3. Provide the framework and objectives of the study 4. Provide a robust justification for the study/ research 5. Highlight the potential of the research and the expected outcomes

A rationale for dissertation can be made by covering the following points: 1. Highlight the existing reference 2. Bridge the gap and establish the context of your research 3. Describe the problem and the objectives 4. Give an overview of the methodology

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How to Write a Study Rationale

Last Updated: May 19, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams and by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 53,610 times.

A study rationale explains the reason for a study and the importance of its findings for a particular field. Commonly, you'll need to write a study rationale as part of a university course of study, although you may also need to write one as a professional researcher to apply for funding or other support. As a student, your study rationale also justifies how it fulfills the requirements for your degree program or course of study. Do research before you write your study rationale so that you can discuss the previous work your study builds on and explain its significance to your field. Thorough research is also important in the professional context because your rationale will likely become part of the contract if funding or support is approved. [1] X Research source

Describing What You Hope to Accomplish

Step 1 Define the problem that your study will address.

  • For example, suppose you want to study how working the night shift affects the academic performance of college students who are taking classes during the day. A narrow question would measure a specific impact based on a specific amount of hours worked.

Step 2 Discuss the methodology for your study.

  • Justify the methodology you're using. If there's another methodology that might accomplish the same result, describe it and explain why your methodology is superior — perhaps because it's more efficient, takes less time, or uses fewer resources. For example, you might get more information out of personal interviews, but creating an online questionnaire is more cost-effective.
  • Particularly if you're seeking funding or support, this section of your rationale will also include details about the cost of your study and the facilities or resources you'll need. [3] X Research source

Tip: A methodology that is more complex, difficult, or expensive requires more justification than one that is straightforward and simple.

Step 3 Predict the results of your study.

  • For example, if you're studying the effect of working the night shift on academic performance, you might hypothesize that working 4 or more nights a week lowers students' grade point averages by more than 1 point.

Step 4 Explain what you hope your study will accomplish.

  • Use action words, such as "quantify" or "establish," when writing your goals. For example, you might write that one goal of your study is to "quantify the degree to which working at night inhibits the academic performance of college students."
  • If you are a professional researcher, your objectives may need to be more specific and concrete. The organization you submit your rationale to will have details about the requirements to apply for funding and other support. [5] X Research source

Explaining Your Study's Significance

Step 1 Discuss the previous work that your study will build on.

  • Going into extensive detail usually isn't necessary. Instead, highlight the findings of the most significant work in the field that addressed a similar question.
  • Provide references so that your readers can examine the previous studies for themselves and compare them to your proposed study.

Step 2 Describe the shortcomings of the previous work.

  • Methodological limitations: Previous studies failed to measure the variables appropriately or used a research design that had problems or biases
  • Contextual limitations: Previous studies aren't relevant because circumstances have changed regarding the variables measured
  • Conceptual limitations: Previous studies are too tied up in a specific ideology or framework

Step 3 Identify the ways your study will correct those shortcomings.

  • For example, if a previous study had been conducted to support a university's policy that full-time students were not permitted to work, you might argue that it was too tied up in that specific ideology and that this biased the results. You could then point out that your study is not intended to advance any particular policy.

Tip: If you have to defend or present your rationale to an advisor or team, try to anticipate the questions they might ask you and include the answers to as many of those questions as possible.

Including Academic Proposal Information

Step 1 Provide your credentials or experience as a student or researcher.

  • As a student, you might emphasize your major and specific classes you've taken that give you particular knowledge about the subject of your study. If you've served as a research assistant on a study with a similar methodology or covering a similar research question, you might mention that as well.
  • If you're a professional researcher, focus on the experience you have in a particular field as well as the studies you've done in the past. If you have done studies with a similar methodology that were important in your field, you might mention those as well.

Tip: If you don't have any particular credentials or experience that are relevant to your study, tell the readers of your rationale what drew you to this particular topic and how you became interested in it.

Step 2 State any guidelines required by your degree program or field.

  • For example, if you are planning to conduct the study as fulfillment of the research requirement for your degree program, you might discuss any specific guidelines for that research requirement and list how your study meets those criteria.

Step 3 List the credits you intend your study to fulfill.

  • In most programs, there will be specific wording for you to include in your rationale if you're submitting it for a certain number of credits. Your instructor or advisor can help make sure you've worded this appropriately.

Study Rationale Outline and Example

what is a rationale in a research paper

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  • This article presents an overview of how to write a study rationale. Check with your instructor or advisor for any specific requirements that apply to your particular project. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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  • ↑ https://research.com/research/how-to-write-research-methodology
  • ↑ https://ris.leeds.ac.uk/applying-for-funding/developing-your-proposal/resources-and-tips/key-questions-for-researchers/
  • ↑ https://www.cwauthors.com/article/how-to-write-the-rationale-for-your-research
  • ↑ http://www.writingcentre.uct.ac.za/sites/default/files/image_tool/images/167/Rationale.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.niaid.nih.gov/grants-contracts/write-research-plan
  • ↑ https://www.esc.edu/degree-planning-academic-review/degree-program/student-degree-planning-guide/rationale-essay-writing/writing-tips/

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The rationale for one’s research is the justification for undertaking a given study. It states the reason(s) why a researcher chooses to focus on the topic in question, including what the significance is and what gaps the research intends to fill. In short, it is an explanation that rationalises the need for the study. The rationale is typically followed by a hypothesis/ research question (s) and the study objectives.

When is the rationale for research written?

The rationale of a study can be presented both before and after the research is conducted. 

  • Before : The rationale is a crucial part of your research proposal , representing the plan of your work as formulated before you execute your study.
  • After : Once the study is completed, the rationale is presented in a research paper or dissertation to explain why you focused on the particular question. In this instance, you would link the rationale of your research project to the study aims and outcomes.

Basis for writing the research rationale

The study rationale is predominantly based on preliminary data . A literature review will help you identify gaps in the current knowledge base and also ensure that you avoid duplicating what has already been done. You can then formulate the justification for your study from the existing literature on the subject and the perceived outcomes of the proposed study.

Length of the research rationale

In a research proposal or research article, the rationale would not take up more than a few sentences . A thesis or dissertation would allow for a longer description, which could even run into a couple of paragraphs . The length might even depend on the field of study or nature of the experiment. For instance, a completely novel or unconventional approach might warrant a longer and more detailed justification.

Basic elements of the research rationale

Every research rationale should include some mention or discussion of the following: 

  • An overview of your conclusions from your literature review
  • Gaps in current knowledge
  • Inconclusive or controversial findings from previous studies
  • The need to build on previous research (e.g. unanswered questions, the need to update concepts in light of new findings and/or new technical advancements). 

Example of a research rationale

Note: This uses a fictional study.

Abc xyz is a newly identified microalgal species isolated from fish tanks. While Abc xyz algal blooms have been seen as a threat to pisciculture, some studies have hinted at their unusually high carotenoid content and unique carotenoid profile. Carotenoid profiling has been carried out only in a handful of microalgal species from this genus, and the search for microalgae rich in bioactive carotenoids has not yielded promising candidates so far. This in-depth examination of the carotenoid profile of Abc xyz will help identify and quantify novel and potentially useful carotenoids from an untapped aquaculture resource .

In conclusion

It is important to describe the rationale of your research in order to put the significance and novelty of your specific research project into perspective. Once you have successfully articulated the reason(s) for your research, you will have convinced readers of the importance of your work!

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  • Researching

How to write a research rationale

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When you are doing a research assessment piece in History, you’ll often be asked to write a rationale. This is particularly true for the source investigation assessment piece.

What is a ‘rationale’?

A rationale is a written explanation about your research task that helps your teacher understand the decisions you made before beginning your source research .

A research rationale is a statement that explains the reasons behind conducting a particular research study.

It outlines the background, context, and significance of the research and why it is important to answer the main inquiry question.

A rationale seeks to answer three questions:

  • Why have you chosen this particular topic to research?
  • What questions do you specifically want answered as a result of your research?
  • How do you plan on finding the best sources during your research?

How to write a rationale

Based upon the three questions mentioned above, your rationale should have three distinct sections that answer each one.

Please note that you can answer all three in a single paragraph, but the examples below will show them as three separate paragraphs.

Part 1: Explain your topic choice

You should explain as clearly as possible why this particular subject interested you.

Don’t just say “it is interesting”: give specific reasons why.

The more precise you are, the better your mark will be. 

Useful sentence starters for explaining topic choice:

  • I was curious to discover…
  • I wanted to know…
  • I was confused by…
  • I always wanted to know…
  • I have always been fascinated by…
  • I am particularly interested in…
  • I was surprised to learn that … and I wanted to know more

Example explanation of topic choice:

Imperial Japan’s decision to surrender at the end of World War II seemed like a historical anomaly based upon what we learned in class about the Japanese ideologies behind bushido and the samurai. I wanted to know to what degree the atomic bombs had an influence upon the ultimate decision to surrender. I specifically want to know what the Japanese primary sources said at the time of the events to see their perspective. In particular, want to know if Emperor Hirohito left any documents that explained his decisions.  

Part 2: Explain your research questions

You need to explain the steps that helped you to create your Key Inquiry Question and Sub-Questions .

Remember that these questions should constantly be refined to include specific historical terms and information that you found during your background research .

Explain to your teacher why you have included specific information in your research questions.

Useful sentence starters for explaining research questions:

  • The three specific aspects that I wanted to focus upon are…
  • I knew that I had to develop my understanding of…
  • My background research focused upon…

Example explanation of research questions:

Since I wanted to focus my research on the Japanese primary sources, my Key Inquiry Question is primarily about the role that the atomic bombs had upon the emperor’s decision to surrender at the end of World War II. I guess that there may not be a lot of primary sources written by the emperor himself, so I have formed three separate questions to look at his decisions from different angles. My first question focuses on what Japanese primary sources said at the time, including the emperor. My second question looks at how contemporary Japanese historians interpret this event. Finally, my third question seeks to understand how western historians understand Hirohito’s motivations.

Part 3: Explain how you will find your sources

You need to explain what strategies you have to help you find great sources to answer your research questions.

In this section, you want to specifically name the databases, museums or other research resources you know you will utilise to find the best sources on your topic.

It may also be useful to specifically name important historians or primary sources that you know in advance that you’ll need to read closely to help answer your questions.

Useful sentence starters for explaining source research:

  • I have chosen to use…
  • One of the best sources I found was…
  • The most important sources I have use are…
  • To ensure I had a range of perspectives I…
  • It was important to include as one of my sources…

Example explanation of source research: 

I knew that finding Japanese primary sources was going to be hard, as I fear that many of them have not been translated into English. As a result, I am going to start my research by looking at what western historians say by gathering some academic articles from the JSTOR database. I hope that these historians will reference some translated Japanese primary sources and that will lead me to some great resources. After that, I know that the Tokyo Museum website has some primary source documents that may be of use to me, so look through their resources. Finally, during my background research, I stumbled across the prominent Japanese historian, Suzuki, who focuses a lot on this period, so I want to find out what his opinion is of these events. I believe that these resources should give me ample information to help answer my research questions.

Word limit advice

Answering all of these sections in a limited word count can be a challenge.

Therefore, don’t waste space on things that don’t matter, such as simply describing a historical event or person, or talking about simplistic decision-making choices (such as “I just really like wars”).

The rationale’s purpose is to explain your decision-making process. Therefore, if what you’re saying is not relevant, don’t waste space talking about it.

Example rationale

After learning about Ned Kelly in class, I was fascinated to discover that historians disagree about his motivations. What I wanted to learn about is the role that racist attitudes towards the Irish in colonial Australia had upon his life. I don’t know much about the social division between the English and Irish in Australian history, so I want to see how people who lived during these events described Ned Kelly, in order to see if racism was an important factor.

As a result, I have written my Key Inquiry Question to focus on the representation of Ned Kelly in the popular media. To help answer this, I have written my sub-questions to focus on different media types: my first question asks about how the newspapers reported on Kelly; my second is about how he is mentioned in religious sermons of the day; and my third question focuses on his representation in public posters, such as the ‘wanted’ signs for his arrest.

Since my questions are focused heavily on the primary sources, I know that I will have to start my source research on the Trove newspaper database website. This will allow me to quickly find newspaper reports about the main events in Kelly’s life. Secondly, I know that I will have trouble finding church sermons and public posters, so I will have to look for museum websites that may have these resources already, such as the Museum of Victoria and the State Library of New South Wales. I know that they often have educational resources for teachers that include primary sources. Finally, I know from my background research that Manning Clark has done a lot of research on Kelly’s life, so I hope he will mention important primary sources that can help me out, including the Jerilderie Letter.

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Research-Methodology

Rationale for the Study

It is important for you to be able to explain the importance of the research you are conducting by providing valid arguments. Rationale for the study, also referred to as justification for the study, is reason why you have conducted your study in the first place. This part in your paper needs to explain uniqueness and importance of your research. Rationale for the study needs to be specific and ideally, it should relate to the following points:

1. The research needs to contribute to the elimination of a gap in the literature. Elimination of gap in the present literature is one of the compulsory requirements for your study. In other words, you don’t need to ‘re-invent the wheel’ and your research aims and objectives need to focus on new topics. For example, you can choose to conduct an empirical study to assess the implications of COVID-19 pandemic on the numbers of tourists visitors in your city. This might be previously undressed topic, taking into account that COVID-19 pandemic is a relatively recent phenomenon.

Alternatively, if you cannot find a new topic to research, you can attempt to offer fresh perspectives on existing management, business or economic issues. For example, while thousands of studies have been previously conducted to study various aspects of leadership, this topic as far from being exhausted as a research area. Specifically, new studies can be conducted in the area of leadership to analyze the impacts of new communication mediums such as TikTok, and other social networking sites on leadership practices.

You can also discuss the shortcomings of previous works devoted to your research area. Shortcomings in previous studies can be divided into three groups:

a) Methodological limitations . Methodology employed in previous study may be flawed in terms of research design, research approach or sampling.

b) Contextual limitations . Relevance of previous works may be non-existent for the present because external factors have changed.

c) Conceptual limitations . Previous studies may be unjustifiably bound up to a particular model or an ideology.

While discussing the shortcomings of previous studies you should explain how you are going to correct them. This principle is true to almost all areas in business studies i.e. gaps or shortcomings in the literature can be found in relation to almost all areas of business and economics.

2. The research can be conducted to solve a specific problem. It helps if you can explain why you are the right person and in the right position to solve the problem. You have to explain the essence of the problem in a detailed manner and highlight practical benefits associated with the solution of the problem. Suppose, your dissertation topic is “a study into advantages and disadvantages of various entry strategies into Chinese market”. In this case, you can say that practical implications of your research relates to assisting businesses aiming to enter Chinese market to do more informed decision making.

Alternatively, if your research is devoted to the analysis of impacts of CSR programs and initiatives on brand image, practical contributions of your study would relate to contributing to the level of effectiveness of CSR programs of businesses.

Additional examples of studies that can assist to address specific practical problems may include the following:

  • A study into the reasons of high employee turnover at Hanson Brick
  • A critical analysis of employee motivation problems at Esporta, Finchley Road, London
  • A research into effective succession planning at Microsoft
  • A study into major differences between private and public primary education in the USA and implications of these differences on the quality of education

However, it is important to note that it is not an obligatory for a dissertation   to be associated with the solution of a specific problem. Dissertations can be purely theory-based as well. Examples of such studies include the following:

  • Born or bred: revising The Great Man theory of leadership in the 21 st century
  • A critical analysis of the relevance of McClelland’s Achievement theory to the US information technology industry
  • Neoliberalism as a major reason behind the emergence of the global financial and economic crisis of 2007-2009
  • Analysis of Lewin’s Model of Change and its relevance to pharmaceutical sector of France

3. Your study has to contribute to the level of professional development of the researcher . That is you. You have to explain in a detailed manner in what ways your research contributes to the achievement of your long-term career aspirations.

For example, you have selected a research topic of “ A critical analysis of the relevance of McClelland’s Achievement theory in the US information technology industry ”.  You may state that you associate your career aspirations with becoming an IT executive in the US, and accordingly, in-depth knowledge of employee motivation in this industry is going to contribute your chances of success in your chosen career path.

Therefore, you are in a better position if you have already identified your career objectives, so that during the research process you can get detailed knowledge about various aspects of your chosen industry.

Rationale for the Study

My e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Dissertation in Business Studies: a step by step assistance offers practical assistance to complete a dissertation with minimum or no stress. The e-book covers all stages of writing a dissertation starting from the selection to the research area to submitting the completed version of the work within the deadline.

John Dudovskiy

Imperial College London Imperial College London

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  • Before you start

Rationale and potential impact of your research

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Before you start - Rationale and potential impact of your research

Perhaps the most important consideration prior to embarking on a piece of research is of what the overall rationale for – and purpose of – it will be. Given the time, resources and practical considerations involved in planning and carrying out research, the justification for these efforts needs to be made explicit from the outset: as does the anticipated impact or benefits that the research will ultimately bring.  

Key things to think about

Issues that should be addressed in outlining the overall aims and rationale for your research include:

  • the problem, need or issue that has given rise to the research idea
  • how the existing literature (or lack thereof) has highlighted the need for it
  • who wants the research - and why
  • what the general purposes and priorities of the research are
  • who are the potential beneficiaries of and audiences for the research
  • the intended outcomes of the research, its deliverables and what it will 'do'

Further reading

Cohen, L., Manion, L. & Morrison, K. (2018), Chapter 9 – “Choosing a research project” in Cohen, L., Manion, L. & Morrison, K. (eds), Research Methods in Education (Abingdon, Routledge, 8th edn, pp. 153-164

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Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

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Research Paper

Research Paper

Definition:

Research Paper is a written document that presents the author’s original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue.

It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new knowledge or insights to a particular field of study, and to demonstrate the author’s understanding of the existing literature and theories related to the topic.

Structure of Research Paper

The structure of a research paper typically follows a standard format, consisting of several sections that convey specific information about the research study. The following is a detailed explanation of the structure of a research paper:

The title page contains the title of the paper, the name(s) of the author(s), and the affiliation(s) of the author(s). It also includes the date of submission and possibly, the name of the journal or conference where the paper is to be published.

The abstract is a brief summary of the research paper, typically ranging from 100 to 250 words. It should include the research question, the methods used, the key findings, and the implications of the results. The abstract should be written in a concise and clear manner to allow readers to quickly grasp the essence of the research.

Introduction

The introduction section of a research paper provides background information about the research problem, the research question, and the research objectives. It also outlines the significance of the research, the research gap that it aims to fill, and the approach taken to address the research question. Finally, the introduction section ends with a clear statement of the research hypothesis or research question.

Literature Review

The literature review section of a research paper provides an overview of the existing literature on the topic of study. It includes a critical analysis and synthesis of the literature, highlighting the key concepts, themes, and debates. The literature review should also demonstrate the research gap and how the current study seeks to address it.

The methods section of a research paper describes the research design, the sample selection, the data collection and analysis procedures, and the statistical methods used to analyze the data. This section should provide sufficient detail for other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the research, using tables, graphs, and figures to illustrate the data. The findings should be presented in a clear and concise manner, with reference to the research question and hypothesis.

The discussion section of a research paper interprets the findings and discusses their implications for the research question, the literature review, and the field of study. It should also address the limitations of the study and suggest future research directions.

The conclusion section summarizes the main findings of the study, restates the research question and hypothesis, and provides a final reflection on the significance of the research.

The references section provides a list of all the sources cited in the paper, following a specific citation style such as APA, MLA or Chicago.

How to Write Research Paper

You can write Research Paper by the following guide:

  • Choose a Topic: The first step is to select a topic that interests you and is relevant to your field of study. Brainstorm ideas and narrow down to a research question that is specific and researchable.
  • Conduct a Literature Review: The literature review helps you identify the gap in the existing research and provides a basis for your research question. It also helps you to develop a theoretical framework and research hypothesis.
  • Develop a Thesis Statement : The thesis statement is the main argument of your research paper. It should be clear, concise and specific to your research question.
  • Plan your Research: Develop a research plan that outlines the methods, data sources, and data analysis procedures. This will help you to collect and analyze data effectively.
  • Collect and Analyze Data: Collect data using various methods such as surveys, interviews, observations, or experiments. Analyze data using statistical tools or other qualitative methods.
  • Organize your Paper : Organize your paper into sections such as Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. Ensure that each section is coherent and follows a logical flow.
  • Write your Paper : Start by writing the introduction, followed by the literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. Ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and follows the required formatting and citation styles.
  • Edit and Proofread your Paper: Review your paper for grammar and spelling errors, and ensure that it is well-structured and easy to read. Ask someone else to review your paper to get feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  • Cite your Sources: Ensure that you properly cite all sources used in your research paper. This is essential for giving credit to the original authors and avoiding plagiarism.

Research Paper Example

Note : The below example research paper is for illustrative purposes only and is not an actual research paper. Actual research papers may have different structures, contents, and formats depending on the field of study, research question, data collection and analysis methods, and other factors. Students should always consult with their professors or supervisors for specific guidelines and expectations for their research papers.

Research Paper Example sample for Students:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health among Young Adults

Abstract: This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults. A literature review was conducted to examine the existing research on the topic. A survey was then administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Introduction: Social media has become an integral part of modern life, particularly among young adults. While social media has many benefits, including increased communication and social connectivity, it has also been associated with negative outcomes, such as addiction, cyberbullying, and mental health problems. This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults.

Literature Review: The literature review highlights the existing research on the impact of social media use on mental health. The review shows that social media use is associated with depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health problems. The review also identifies the factors that contribute to the negative impact of social media, including social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Methods : A survey was administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The survey included questions on social media use, mental health status (measured using the DASS-21), and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis.

Results : The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Discussion : The study’s findings suggest that social media use has a negative impact on the mental health of young adults. The study highlights the need for interventions that address the factors contributing to the negative impact of social media, such as social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Conclusion : In conclusion, social media use has a significant impact on the mental health of young adults. The study’s findings underscore the need for interventions that promote healthy social media use and address the negative outcomes associated with social media use. Future research can explore the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health. Additionally, longitudinal studies can investigate the long-term effects of social media use on mental health.

Limitations : The study has some limitations, including the use of self-report measures and a cross-sectional design. The use of self-report measures may result in biased responses, and a cross-sectional design limits the ability to establish causality.

Implications: The study’s findings have implications for mental health professionals, educators, and policymakers. Mental health professionals can use the findings to develop interventions that address the negative impact of social media use on mental health. Educators can incorporate social media literacy into their curriculum to promote healthy social media use among young adults. Policymakers can use the findings to develop policies that protect young adults from the negative outcomes associated with social media use.

References :

  • Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2019). Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Preventive medicine reports, 15, 100918.
  • Primack, B. A., Shensa, A., Escobar-Viera, C. G., Barrett, E. L., Sidani, J. E., Colditz, J. B., … & James, A. E. (2017). Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: A nationally-representative study among US young adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 1-9.
  • Van der Meer, T. G., & Verhoeven, J. W. (2017). Social media and its impact on academic performance of students. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 16, 383-398.

Appendix : The survey used in this study is provided below.

Social Media and Mental Health Survey

  • How often do you use social media per day?
  • Less than 30 minutes
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • 1 to 2 hours
  • 2 to 4 hours
  • More than 4 hours
  • Which social media platforms do you use?
  • Others (Please specify)
  • How often do you experience the following on social media?
  • Social comparison (comparing yourself to others)
  • Cyberbullying
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
  • Have you ever experienced any of the following mental health problems in the past month?
  • Do you think social media use has a positive or negative impact on your mental health?
  • Very positive
  • Somewhat positive
  • Somewhat negative
  • Very negative
  • In your opinion, which factors contribute to the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Social comparison
  • In your opinion, what interventions could be effective in reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Education on healthy social media use
  • Counseling for mental health problems caused by social media
  • Social media detox programs
  • Regulation of social media use

Thank you for your participation!

Applications of Research Paper

Research papers have several applications in various fields, including:

  • Advancing knowledge: Research papers contribute to the advancement of knowledge by generating new insights, theories, and findings that can inform future research and practice. They help to answer important questions, clarify existing knowledge, and identify areas that require further investigation.
  • Informing policy: Research papers can inform policy decisions by providing evidence-based recommendations for policymakers. They can help to identify gaps in current policies, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and inform the development of new policies and regulations.
  • Improving practice: Research papers can improve practice by providing evidence-based guidance for professionals in various fields, including medicine, education, business, and psychology. They can inform the development of best practices, guidelines, and standards of care that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • Educating students : Research papers are often used as teaching tools in universities and colleges to educate students about research methods, data analysis, and academic writing. They help students to develop critical thinking skills, research skills, and communication skills that are essential for success in many careers.
  • Fostering collaboration: Research papers can foster collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers by providing a platform for sharing knowledge and ideas. They can facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships that can lead to innovative solutions to complex problems.

When to Write Research Paper

Research papers are typically written when a person has completed a research project or when they have conducted a study and have obtained data or findings that they want to share with the academic or professional community. Research papers are usually written in academic settings, such as universities, but they can also be written in professional settings, such as research organizations, government agencies, or private companies.

Here are some common situations where a person might need to write a research paper:

  • For academic purposes: Students in universities and colleges are often required to write research papers as part of their coursework, particularly in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Writing research papers helps students to develop research skills, critical thinking skills, and academic writing skills.
  • For publication: Researchers often write research papers to publish their findings in academic journals or to present their work at academic conferences. Publishing research papers is an important way to disseminate research findings to the academic community and to establish oneself as an expert in a particular field.
  • To inform policy or practice : Researchers may write research papers to inform policy decisions or to improve practice in various fields. Research findings can be used to inform the development of policies, guidelines, and best practices that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • To share new insights or ideas: Researchers may write research papers to share new insights or ideas with the academic or professional community. They may present new theories, propose new research methods, or challenge existing paradigms in their field.

Purpose of Research Paper

The purpose of a research paper is to present the results of a study or investigation in a clear, concise, and structured manner. Research papers are written to communicate new knowledge, ideas, or findings to a specific audience, such as researchers, scholars, practitioners, or policymakers. The primary purposes of a research paper are:

  • To contribute to the body of knowledge : Research papers aim to add new knowledge or insights to a particular field or discipline. They do this by reporting the results of empirical studies, reviewing and synthesizing existing literature, proposing new theories, or providing new perspectives on a topic.
  • To inform or persuade: Research papers are written to inform or persuade the reader about a particular issue, topic, or phenomenon. They present evidence and arguments to support their claims and seek to persuade the reader of the validity of their findings or recommendations.
  • To advance the field: Research papers seek to advance the field or discipline by identifying gaps in knowledge, proposing new research questions or approaches, or challenging existing assumptions or paradigms. They aim to contribute to ongoing debates and discussions within a field and to stimulate further research and inquiry.
  • To demonstrate research skills: Research papers demonstrate the author’s research skills, including their ability to design and conduct a study, collect and analyze data, and interpret and communicate findings. They also demonstrate the author’s ability to critically evaluate existing literature, synthesize information from multiple sources, and write in a clear and structured manner.

Characteristics of Research Paper

Research papers have several characteristics that distinguish them from other forms of academic or professional writing. Here are some common characteristics of research papers:

  • Evidence-based: Research papers are based on empirical evidence, which is collected through rigorous research methods such as experiments, surveys, observations, or interviews. They rely on objective data and facts to support their claims and conclusions.
  • Structured and organized: Research papers have a clear and logical structure, with sections such as introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. They are organized in a way that helps the reader to follow the argument and understand the findings.
  • Formal and objective: Research papers are written in a formal and objective tone, with an emphasis on clarity, precision, and accuracy. They avoid subjective language or personal opinions and instead rely on objective data and analysis to support their arguments.
  • Citations and references: Research papers include citations and references to acknowledge the sources of information and ideas used in the paper. They use a specific citation style, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Peer-reviewed: Research papers are often peer-reviewed, which means they are evaluated by other experts in the field before they are published. Peer-review ensures that the research is of high quality, meets ethical standards, and contributes to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Objective and unbiased: Research papers strive to be objective and unbiased in their presentation of the findings. They avoid personal biases or preconceptions and instead rely on the data and analysis to draw conclusions.

Advantages of Research Paper

Research papers have many advantages, both for the individual researcher and for the broader academic and professional community. Here are some advantages of research papers:

  • Contribution to knowledge: Research papers contribute to the body of knowledge in a particular field or discipline. They add new information, insights, and perspectives to existing literature and help advance the understanding of a particular phenomenon or issue.
  • Opportunity for intellectual growth: Research papers provide an opportunity for intellectual growth for the researcher. They require critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, which can help develop the researcher’s skills and knowledge.
  • Career advancement: Research papers can help advance the researcher’s career by demonstrating their expertise and contributions to the field. They can also lead to new research opportunities, collaborations, and funding.
  • Academic recognition: Research papers can lead to academic recognition in the form of awards, grants, or invitations to speak at conferences or events. They can also contribute to the researcher’s reputation and standing in the field.
  • Impact on policy and practice: Research papers can have a significant impact on policy and practice. They can inform policy decisions, guide practice, and lead to changes in laws, regulations, or procedures.
  • Advancement of society: Research papers can contribute to the advancement of society by addressing important issues, identifying solutions to problems, and promoting social justice and equality.

Limitations of Research Paper

Research papers also have some limitations that should be considered when interpreting their findings or implications. Here are some common limitations of research papers:

  • Limited generalizability: Research findings may not be generalizable to other populations, settings, or contexts. Studies often use specific samples or conditions that may not reflect the broader population or real-world situations.
  • Potential for bias : Research papers may be biased due to factors such as sample selection, measurement errors, or researcher biases. It is important to evaluate the quality of the research design and methods used to ensure that the findings are valid and reliable.
  • Ethical concerns: Research papers may raise ethical concerns, such as the use of vulnerable populations or invasive procedures. Researchers must adhere to ethical guidelines and obtain informed consent from participants to ensure that the research is conducted in a responsible and respectful manner.
  • Limitations of methodology: Research papers may be limited by the methodology used to collect and analyze data. For example, certain research methods may not capture the complexity or nuance of a particular phenomenon, or may not be appropriate for certain research questions.
  • Publication bias: Research papers may be subject to publication bias, where positive or significant findings are more likely to be published than negative or non-significant findings. This can skew the overall findings of a particular area of research.
  • Time and resource constraints: Research papers may be limited by time and resource constraints, which can affect the quality and scope of the research. Researchers may not have access to certain data or resources, or may be unable to conduct long-term studies due to practical limitations.

About the author

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Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

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NASA Logo

There is unequivocal evidence that Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate. Human activity is the principal cause.

what is a rationale in a research paper

  • While Earth’s climate has changed throughout its history , the current warming is happening at a rate not seen in the past 10,000 years.
  • According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC ), "Since systematic scientific assessments began in the 1970s, the influence of human activity on the warming of the climate system has evolved from theory to established fact." 1
  • Scientific information taken from natural sources (such as ice cores, rocks, and tree rings) and from modern equipment (like satellites and instruments) all show the signs of a changing climate.
  • From global temperature rise to melting ice sheets, the evidence of a warming planet abounds.

The rate of change since the mid-20th century is unprecedented over millennia.

Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 800,000 years, there have been eight cycles of ice ages and warmer periods, with the end of the last ice age about 11,700 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.

CO2_graph

The current warming trend is different because it is clearly the result of human activities since the mid-1800s, and is proceeding at a rate not seen over many recent millennia. 1 It is undeniable that human activities have produced the atmospheric gases that have trapped more of the Sun’s energy in the Earth system. This extra energy has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land, and widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, and biosphere have occurred.

Earth-orbiting satellites and new technologies have helped scientists see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate all over the world. These data, collected over many years, reveal the signs and patterns of a changing climate.

Scientists demonstrated the heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases in the mid-19th century. 2 Many of the science instruments NASA uses to study our climate focus on how these gases affect the movement of infrared radiation through the atmosphere. From the measured impacts of increases in these gases, there is no question that increased greenhouse gas levels warm Earth in response.

Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.

what is a rationale in a research paper

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that Earth’s climate responds to changes in greenhouse gas levels. Ancient evidence can also be found in tree rings, ocean sediments, coral reefs, and layers of sedimentary rocks. This ancient, or paleoclimate, evidence reveals that current warming is occurring roughly 10 times faster than the average rate of warming after an ice age. Carbon dioxide from human activities is increasing about 250 times faster than it did from natural sources after the last Ice Age. 3

The Evidence for Rapid Climate Change Is Compelling:

Sunlight over a desert-like landscape.

Global Temperature Is Rising

The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and other human activities. 4 Most of the warming occurred in the past 40 years, with the seven most recent years being the warmest. The years 2016 and 2020 are tied for the warmest year on record. 5 Image credit: Ashwin Kumar, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.

Colonies of “blade fire coral” that have lost their symbiotic algae, or “bleached,” on a reef off of Islamorada, Florida.

The Ocean Is Getting Warmer

The ocean has absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 100 meters (about 328 feet) of ocean showing warming of 0.67 degrees Fahrenheit (0.33 degrees Celsius) since 1969. 6 Earth stores 90% of the extra energy in the ocean. Image credit: Kelsey Roberts/USGS

Aerial view of ice sheets.

The Ice Sheets Are Shrinking

The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland lost an average of 279 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2019, while Antarctica lost about 148 billion tons of ice per year. 7 Image: The Antarctic Peninsula, Credit: NASA

Glacier on a mountain.

Glaciers Are Retreating

Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska, and Africa. 8 Image: Miles Glacier, Alaska Image credit: NASA

Image of snow from plane

Snow Cover Is Decreasing

Satellite observations reveal that the amount of spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased over the past five decades and the snow is melting earlier. 9 Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Norfolk flooding

Sea Level Is Rising

Global sea level rose about 8 inches (20 centimeters) in the last century. The rate in the last two decades, however, is nearly double that of the last century and accelerating slightly every year. 10 Image credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District

Arctic sea ice.

Arctic Sea Ice Is Declining

Both the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice has declined rapidly over the last several decades. 11 Credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

Flooding in a European city.

Extreme Events Are Increasing in Frequency

The number of record high temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events. 12 Image credit: Régine Fabri,  CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Unhealthy coral.

Ocean Acidification Is Increasing

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30%. 13 , 14 This increase is due to humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and hence more being absorbed into the ocean. The ocean has absorbed between 20% and 30% of total anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions in recent decades (7.2 to 10.8 billion metric tons per year). 1 5 , 16 Image credit: NOAA

1. IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, WGI, Technical Summary . B.D. Santer et.al., “A search for human influences on the thermal structure of the atmosphere.” Nature 382 (04 July 1996): 39-46. https://doi.org/10.1038/382039a0. Gabriele C. Hegerl et al., “Detecting Greenhouse-Gas-Induced Climate Change with an Optimal Fingerprint Method.” Journal of Climate 9 (October 1996): 2281-2306. https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0442(1996)009<2281:DGGICC>2.0.CO;2. V. Ramaswamy, et al., “Anthropogenic and Natural Influences in the Evolution of Lower Stratospheric Cooling.” Science 311 (24 February 2006): 1138-1141. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1122587. B.D. Santer et al., “Contributions of Anthropogenic and Natural Forcing to Recent Tropopause Height Changes.” Science 301 (25 July 2003): 479-483. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1084123. T. Westerhold et al., "An astronomically dated record of Earth’s climate and its predictability over the last 66 million years." Science 369 (11 Sept. 2020): 1383-1387. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1094123

2. In 1824, Joseph Fourier calculated that an Earth-sized planet, at our distance from the Sun, ought to be much colder. He suggested something in the atmosphere must be acting like an insulating blanket. In 1856, Eunice Foote discovered that blanket, showing that carbon dioxide and water vapor in Earth's atmosphere trap escaping infrared (heat) radiation. In the 1860s, physicist John Tyndall recognized Earth's natural greenhouse effect and suggested that slight changes in the atmospheric composition could bring about climatic variations. In 1896, a seminal paper by Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius first predicted that changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels could substantially alter the surface temperature through the greenhouse effect. In 1938, Guy Callendar connected carbon dioxide increases in Earth’s atmosphere to global warming. In 1941, Milutin Milankovic linked ice ages to Earth’s orbital characteristics. Gilbert Plass formulated the Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climate Change in 1956.

3. IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, WG1, Chapter 2 Vostok ice core data; NOAA Mauna Loa CO2 record O. Gaffney, W. Steffen, "The Anthropocene Equation." The Anthropocene Review 4, issue 1 (April 2017): 53-61. https://doi.org/abs/10.1177/2053019616688022.

4. https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/monitoring https://crudata.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/ http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp

5. https://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20170118/

6. S. Levitus, J. Antonov, T. Boyer, O Baranova, H. Garcia, R. Locarnini, A. Mishonov, J. Reagan, D. Seidov, E. Yarosh, M. Zweng, " NCEI ocean heat content, temperature anomalies, salinity anomalies, thermosteric sea level anomalies, halosteric sea level anomalies, and total steric sea level anomalies from 1955 to present calculated from in situ oceanographic subsurface profile data (NCEI Accession 0164586), Version 4.4. (2017) NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. https://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/index3.html K. von Schuckmann, L. Cheng, L,. D. Palmer, J. Hansen, C. Tassone, V. Aich, S. Adusumilli, H. Beltrami, H., T. Boyer, F. Cuesta-Valero, D. Desbruyeres, C. Domingues, A. Garcia-Garcia, P. Gentine, J. Gilson, M. Gorfer, L. Haimberger, M. Ishii, M., G. Johnson, R. Killick, B. King, G. Kirchengast, N. Kolodziejczyk, J. Lyman, B. Marzeion, M. Mayer, M. Monier, D. Monselesan, S. Purkey, D. Roemmich, A. Schweiger, S. Seneviratne, A. Shepherd, D. Slater, A. Steiner, F. Straneo, M.L. Timmermans, S. Wijffels. "Heat stored in the Earth system: where does the energy go?" Earth System Science Data 12, Issue 3 (07 September 2020): 2013-2041. https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-12-2013-2020.

7. I. Velicogna, Yara Mohajerani, A. Geruo, F. Landerer, J. Mouginot, B. Noel, E. Rignot, T. Sutterly, M. van den Broeke, M. Wessem, D. Wiese, "Continuity of Ice Sheet Mass Loss in Greenland and Antarctica From the GRACE and GRACE Follow-On Missions." Geophysical Research Letters 47, Issue 8 (28 April 2020): e2020GL087291. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL087291.

8. National Snow and Ice Data Center World Glacier Monitoring Service

9. National Snow and Ice Data Center D.A. Robinson, D. K. Hall, and T. L. Mote, "MEaSUREs Northern Hemisphere Terrestrial Snow Cover Extent Daily 25km EASE-Grid 2.0, Version 1 (2017). Boulder, Colorado USA. NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center. doi: https://doi.org/10.5067/MEASURES/CRYOSPHERE/nsidc-0530.001 . http://nsidc.org/cryosphere/sotc/snow_extent.html Rutgers University Global Snow Lab. Data History

10. R.S. Nerem, B.D. Beckley, J. T. Fasullo, B.D. Hamlington, D. Masters, and G.T. Mitchum, "Climate-change–driven accelerated sea-level rise detected in the altimeter era." PNAS 15, no. 9 (12 Feb. 2018): 2022-2025. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1717312115.

11. https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/sotc/sea_ice.html Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS, Zhang and Rothrock, 2003) http://psc.apl.washington.edu/research/projects/arctic-sea-ice-volume-anomaly/ http://psc.apl.uw.edu/research/projects/projections-of-an-ice-diminished-arctic-ocean/

12. USGCRP, 2017: Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume I [Wuebbles, D.J., D.W. Fahey, K.A. Hibbard, D.J. Dokken, B.C. Stewart, and T.K. Maycock (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, 470 pp, https://doi.org/10.7930/j0j964j6 .

13. http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/What+is+Ocean+Acidification%3F

14. http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification

15. C.L. Sabine, et al., “The Oceanic Sink for Anthropogenic CO2.” Science 305 (16 July 2004): 367-371. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1097403.

16. Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate , Technical Summary, Chapter TS.5, Changing Ocean, Marine Ecosystems, and Dependent Communities, Section 5.2.2.3. https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/chapter/technical-summary/

Header image shows clouds imitating mountains as the sun sets after midnight as seen from Denali's backcountry Unit 13 on June 14, 2019. Credit: NPS/Emily Mesner Image credit in list of evidence: Ashwin Kumar, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.

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  1. 🎉 Sample rationale of a research paper. Writing a rationale for a

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  4. How to write the rationale for research?

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VIDEO

  1. identifying the three elements of a rationale in a research paper

  2. PRACTICAL RESEARCH 1: WRITING RATIONALE OF THE STUDY (STUDENT REPORTING)

  3. GRADE 11 PRACTICAL RESEARCH I : INTRODUCTION TO PRACTICAL RESEARCH I

  4. Research introduction structure

  5. Rational Root Theorem: Explanation with Examples

  6. The Benefits and Rationale of Action Research in the Faculty-Specific Context

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write the Rationale for a Research Paper

    The rationale for your research is the reason why you decided to conduct the study in the first place. The motivation for asking the question. The knowledge gap. This is often the most significant part of your publication. It justifies the study's purpose, novelty, and significance for science or society.

  2. How to Write the Rationale of the Study in Research (Examples)

    The rationale of the study is the justification for taking on a given study. It explains the reason the study was conducted or should be conducted. This means the study rationale should explain to the reader or examiner why the study is/was necessary. It is also sometimes called the "purpose" or "justification" of a study.

  3. How do you Write the Rationale for Research?

    Defining the rationale research, is a key part of the research process and academic writing in any research project. You use this in your research paper to firstly explain the research problem within your dissertation topic. This gives you the research justification you need to define your research question and what the expected outcomes may be.

  4. Writing a rationale

    A rationale can be provided by offering longer essay-based support for why it is important to do something in a certain way - in that sense, a whole paper can be a rationale. However, a more specific or focused way of thinking about a rationale is how we can overtly show we are justifying our choices with the language we use.

  5. How to Write a Rationale: A Guide for Research and Beyond

    Typically, the rationale is written toward the end of the introduction section of your paper, providing a logical lead-in to your research questions and methodology . By following these steps and considering your audience's perspective, you can write a strong and compelling rationale that clearly communicates the significance and necessity of ...

  6. How to write the rationale for research?| Editage Insights

    To write your rationale, you should first write a background on what all research has been done on your study topic. Follow this with 'what is missing' or 'what are the open questions of the study'. Identify the gaps in the literature and emphasize why it is important to address those gaps. This will form the rationale of your study.

  7. How to write rationale in research

    Research rationale helps to ideate new topics which are less addressed. Additionally, it offers fresh perspectives on existing research and discusses the shortcomings in previous studies. It shows that your study aims to contribute to filling these gaps and advancing the field's understanding. 3. Originality and Novelty.

  8. Easy Ways to Write a Study Rationale: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

    3. Identify the ways your study will correct those shortcomings. Carefully explain the ways in which your study will answer the research question in a way that the previous studies failed to do so. Be persuasive to convince your readers that your study will contribute something both useful and necessary to the field.

  9. How to write the rationale for your research

    The rationale for one's research is the justification for undertaking a given study. It states the reason (s) why a researcher chooses to focus on the topic in question, including what the significance is and what gaps the research intends to fill. In short, it is an explanation that rationalises the need for the study.

  10. Q: How do I write a rationale for research in science?

    Answer: The rationale for research basically outlines why you wanted to conduct research on the topic of your choice. The rationale is the justification of the study, and specifies the need to conduct research on the topic. In science, in fact, it is easier to come up with a rationale for research. You should first do a thorough literature ...

  11. How to write a research rationale

    A research rationale is a statement that explains the reasons behind conducting a particular research study. It outlines the background, context, and significance of the research and why it is important to answer the main inquiry question. A rationale seeks to answer three questions:

  12. Formulating a convincing rationale for a research study

    Abstract. Explaining the purpose of a research study and providing a compelling rationale is an important part of any coaching research project, enabling the work to be set in the context of both ...

  13. How do you write a rationale for research?

    1 Answer to this question. Answer: The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "rationale" as "an explanation of controlling principles" or "the underlying reason for something." Thus, the rationale for your study should explain your reason for conducting the study. We have discussed this topic at some length in some of our existing posts.

  14. Rationale for the Study

    Rationale for the study, also referred to as justification for the study, is reason why you have conducted your study in the first place. This part in your paper needs to explain uniqueness and importance of your research. Rationale for the study needs to be specific and ideally, it should relate to the following points: 1. The research needs ...

  15. Rationale/Proposal for Research

    A rationale for research is a set of reasons offered by a researcher for conducting more research into a particular subject -- either library research, descriptive research, or experimental research. Since you have already conducted library research (your literature review), you are now ready to propose to your Honors Advisor that s/he ...

  16. Unlocking the Power of Rationale: Understanding the ...

    The rationale of the study is a key component of any research paper and serves to explain the background, context, and significance of the research problem. It provides the foundation for the entire study and helps to clearly communicate the purpose and importance of the research to others.

  17. Rationale and potential impact of your research

    Issues that should be addressed in outlining the overall aims and rationale for your research include: the problem, need or issue that has given rise to the research idea. how the existing literature (or lack thereof) has highlighted the need for it. who wants the research - and why. what the general purposes and priorities of the research are.

  18. Rationale: the necessary ingredient for contributions to theory and

    Amy Javernick-Will. One of the most frequent criticisms of manuscripts is the lack of contributions to theory and/or practice. Often, these papers neglect a critical component of the paper: rationale. The rationale is necessary to justify the need for the research and the approach taken. We argue that contributions flow naturally if the ...

  19. Can you give an example of the "rationale of a study"?

    Answer: The rationale of your research offers the reason for addressing a particular problem with a spscific solution. Your research proposal needs to explain the reasons why you are conducting the study: this forms the rationale for your research, also referred to as the justification of the study. The rationale should explain what you hope to ...

  20. Research Paper

    Definition: Research Paper is a written document that presents the author's original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue. It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new ...

  21. PDF CHAPTER 5 RATIONALE FOR RESEARCH

    The research rationale to be used in the study is informed by the research objectives. The objectives of this research study as stated in Chapter 1 are: The main objective: To develop a strategic Organizational Behaviour framework to sustain the effective management of South African World Heritage sites.

  22. Writing a Research Paper Introduction

    Table of contents. Step 1: Introduce your topic. Step 2: Describe the background. Step 3: Establish your research problem. Step 4: Specify your objective (s) Step 5: Map out your paper. Research paper introduction examples. Frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.

  23. Evidence

    The current warming trend is different because it is clearly the result of human activities since the mid-1800s, and is proceeding at a rate not seen over many recent millennia. 1 It is undeniable that human activities have produced the atmospheric gases that have trapped more of the Sun's energy in the Earth system. This extra energy has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land, and ...

  24. Customer Reward Programs for Two-Sided Markets

    Yet, there is little research on the rationale and impacts of such programs, despite the large literature on customer reward programs in traditional markets. This paper examines the rationale and impacts of customer reward programs in two-sided markets, investigating the efficacy of such programs and highlighting their interplay with matching ...

  25. Q: How to write the first paragraph in the rationale of research?

    Answer: The rationale of your research is the reason for conducting the study or the justification for your study. Usually, the rationale is a part of the introduction section. In the introduction, you should first give a background on what research has do far been done on your topic. Begin with general information about your research area and ...