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What is a research paper?

what is research paper in academic text

A research paper is a paper that makes an argument about a topic based on research and analysis.

Any paper requiring the writer to research a particular topic is a research paper. Unlike essays, which are often based largely on opinion and are written from the author's point of view, research papers are based in fact.

A research paper requires you to form an opinion on a topic, research and gain expert knowledge on that topic, and then back up your own opinions and assertions with facts found through your thorough research.

➡️ Read more about  different types of research papers .

What is the difference between a research paper and a thesis?

A thesis is a large paper, or multi-chapter work, based on a topic relating to your field of study.

A thesis is a document students of higher education write to obtain an academic degree or qualification. Usually, it is longer than a research paper and takes multiple years to complete.

Generally associated with graduate/postgraduate studies, it is carried out under the supervision of a professor or other academic of the university.

A major difference between a research paper and a thesis is that:

  • a research paper presents certain facts that have already been researched and explained by others
  • a thesis starts with a certain scholarly question or statement, which then leads to further research and new findings

This means that a thesis requires the author to input original work and their own findings in a certain field, whereas the research paper can be completed with extensive research only.

➡️ Getting ready to start a research paper or thesis? Take a look at our guides on how to start a research paper or how to come up with a topic for your thesis .

Frequently Asked Questions about research papers

Take a look at this list of the top 21 Free Online Journal and Research Databases , such as ScienceOpen , Directory of Open Access Journals , ERIC , and many more.

Mason Porter, Professor at UCLA, explains in this forum post the main reasons to write a research paper:

  • To create new knowledge and disseminate it.
  • To teach science and how to write about it in an academic style.
  • Some practical benefits: prestige, establishing credentials, requirements for grants or to help one get a future grant proposal, and so on.

Generally, people involved in the academia. Research papers are mostly written by higher education students and professional researchers.

Yes, a research paper is the same as a scientific paper. Both papers have the same purpose and format.

A major difference between a research paper and a thesis is that the former presents certain facts that have already been researched and explained by others, whereas the latter starts with a certain scholarly question or statement, which then leads to further research and new findings.

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what is research paper in academic text

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How to Write a Research Paper

Mastering the Art of Research Paper Writing: A Comprehensive Guide

Undergrads often write research papers each semester, causing stress. Yet, it’s simpler than believing if you know how to write a research paper . Divide the task, get tips, a plan, and tools for an outstanding paper. Simplify research, writing, topic choice, and illustration use!

A research paper is an academic document that involves deep, independent research to offer analysis, interpretation, and argument. Unlike academic essays, research papers are lengthier and more detailed, aiming to evaluate your writing and scholarly research abilities. To write one, you must showcase expertise in your subject, interact with diverse sources, and provide a unique perspective to the discussion. 

Research papers are a foundational element of contemporary science and the most efficient means of disseminating knowledge throughout a broad network. Nonetheless, individuals usually encounter research papers during their education; they are frequently employed in college courses to assess a student’s grasp of a specific field or their aptitude for research. 

Given their significance, research papers adopt a research paper format – a formal, unadorned style that eliminates any subjective influence from the writing. Scientists present their discoveries straightforwardly, accompanied by relevant supporting proof, enabling other researchers to integrate the paper into their investigations.

This guide leads you through every steps to write a research paper , from grasping your task to refining your ultimate draft and will teach you how to write a research paper.

Understanding The Research Paper

A research paper is a meticulously structured document that showcases the outcomes of an inquiry, exploration, or scrutiny undertaken on a specific subject. It embodies a formal piece of academic prose that adds novel information, perspectives, or interpretations to a particular domain of study. Typically authored by scholars, researchers, scientists, or students as part of their academic or professional pursuits, these papers adhere to a well-defined format. This research paper format encompasses an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. 

The introduction provides context and outlines the study’s significance, while the literature review encapsulates existing research and situates the study within the broader academic discourse. The methodology section elucidates the research process, encompassing data collection and analysis techniques. Findings are presented in the results section, often complemented by graphical and statistical representations. Interpretation of findings, implications, and connection to existing knowledge transpire in the discussion section. 

Ultimately, the conclusion encapsulates pivotal discoveries and their wider import.

Research papers wield immense significance in advancing knowledge across diverse disciplines, enabling researchers to disseminate findings, theories, and revelations to a broader audience. Before publication in academic journals or presentations at conferences, these papers undergo a stringent peer review process conducted by domain experts, ensuring their integrity, precision, and worth.

Academic and non-academic research papers diverge across several dimensions. Academic papers are crafted for scholarly circles to expand domain knowledge and theories. They maintain a formal, objective tone and heavily rely on peer-reviewed sources for credibility. In contrast, non-academic papers, employing a more flexible writing style, target a broader audience or specific practical goals. These papers might incorporate persuasive language, anecdotes, and various sources beyond academia. While academic papers rigorously adhere to structured formats and established citation styles, non-academic papers prioritize practicality, adapting their structure and citation methods to suit the intended readership.

The purpose of a research paper revolves around offering fresh insights, knowledge, or interpretations within a specific field. This formal document serves as a conduit for scholars, researchers, scientists, and students to communicate their investigative findings and actively contribute to the ongoing academic discourse.

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Research Paper Writing Process – How To Write a Good Research Paper

Selecting a suitable research topic .

Your initial task is to thoroughly review the assignment and carefully absorb the writing prompt’s details. Pay particular attention to technical specifications like length, formatting prerequisites (such as single- vs. double-spacing, indentation, etc.), and the required citation style. Also, pay attention to specifics, including an abstract or a cover page.

Once you’ve a clear understanding of the assignment, the subsequent steps to write a research paper are aligned with the conventional writing process. However, remember that research papers have rules, adding some extra considerations to the process.

When given some assignment freedom, the crucial task of choosing a topic rests on you. Despite its apparent simplicity, this choice sets the foundation for your entire research paper, shaping its direction. The primary factor in picking a research paper topic is ensuring it has enough material to support it. Your chosen topic should provide ample data and complexity for a thorough discussion. However, it’s important to avoid overly broad subjects and focus on specific ones that cover all relevant information without gaps. Yet, approach topic selection more slowly; choosing something that genuinely interests you is still valuable. Aim for a topic that meets both criteria—delivering substantial content while maintaining engagement.

Conducting Thorough Research 

Commence by delving into your research early to refine your topic and shape your thesis statement. Swift engagement with available research aids in dispelling misconceptions and unveils optimal paths and strategies to gather more material. Typically, research sources can be located either online or within libraries. When navigating online sources, exercise caution and opt for reputable outlets such as scientific journals or academic papers. Specific search engines, outlined below in the Tools and Resources section, exclusively enable exploring accredited sources and academic databases.

While pursuing information, it’s essential to differentiate between primary and secondary sources. Primary sources entail firsthand accounts, encompassing published articles or autobiographies, while secondary sources, such as critical reviews or secondary biographies, are more distanced. Skimming sources instead of reading each part proves more efficient during the research phase. If a source shows promise, set it aside for more in-depth reading later. Doing so prevents you from investing excessive time in sources that won’t contribute substantively to your work. You should present a literature review detailing your references and submit them for validation in certain instances. 

Organizing And Structuring The Research Paper

According to the research paper format , an outline for a research paper is a catalogue of essential topics, arguments, and evidence you intend to incorporate. These elements are divided into sections with headings, offering a preliminary overview of the paper’s structure before commencing the writing process. Formulating a structural outline can significantly enhance writing efficiency, warranting an investment of time to establish one.

Start by generating a list encompassing crucial categories and subtopics—a preliminary outline. Reflect on the amassed information while gathering supporting evidence, pondering the most effective means of segregation and categorization.

Once a discussion list is compiled, deliberate on the optimal information presentation sequence and identify related subtopics that should be placed adjacent. Consider if any subtopic loses coherence when presented out of order. Adopting a chronological arrangement can be suitable if the information follows a straightforward trajectory.

Given the potential complexity of research papers, consider breaking down the outline into paragraphs. This aids in maintaining organization when dealing with copious information and provides better control over the paper’s progression. Rectifying structural issues during the outline phase is preferable to addressing them after writing.

Remember to incorporate supporting evidence within the outline. Since there’s likely a substantial amount to include, outlining helps prevent overlooking crucial elements.

Writing The Introduction

According to the research paper format , the introduction of a research paper must address three fundamental inquiries: What, why, and how? Upon completing the introduction, the reader should clearly understand the paper’s subject matter, its relevance, and the approach you’ll use to construct your arguments.

What? Offer precise details regarding the paper’s topic, provide context, and elucidate essential terminology or concepts.

Why? This constitutes the most crucial yet challenging aspect of the introduction. Endeavour to furnish concise responses to the subsequent queries: What novel information or insights do you present? Which significant matters does your essay assist in defining or resolving?

How? To provide the reader with a preview of the paper’s forthcoming content, the introduction should incorporate a “guide” outlining the upcoming discussions. This entails briefly outlining the paper’s principal components in chronological sequence.

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Developing The Main Body 

One of the primary challenges that many writers grapple with is effectively organizing the wealth of information they wish to present in their papers. This is precisely why an outline can be an invaluable tool. However, it’s essential to recognize that while an outline provides a roadmap, the writing process allows flexibility in determining the order in which information and arguments are introduced.

Maintaining cohesiveness throughout the paper involves anchoring your writing to the thesis statement and topic sentences. Here’s how to ensure a well-structured paper:

  • Alignment with Thesis Statement: Regularly assess whether your topic sentences correspond with the central thesis statement. This ensures that your arguments remain on track and directly contribute to the overarching message you intend to convey.
  • Consistency and Logical Flow: Review your topic sentences concerning one another. Do they follow a logical order that guides the reader through a coherent narrative? Ensuring a seamless flow from one topic to another helps maintain engagement and comprehension.
  • Supporting Sentence Alignment: Each sentence within a paragraph should align with the topic sentence of that paragraph. This alignment reinforces the central idea, preventing tangential or disjointed discussions.

Additionally, identify paragraphs that cover similar content. While some overlap might be inevitable, it’s essential to approach shared topics from different angles, offering fresh insights and perspectives. Creating these nuanced differences helps present a well-rounded exploration of the subject matter.

An often-overlooked aspect of effective organization is the art of crafting smooth transitions. Transitions between sentences, paragraphs, and larger sections are the glue that holds your paper together. They guide the reader through the progression of ideas, enhancing clarity and creating a seamless reading experience.

Ultimately, while the struggle to organize information is accurate, employing these strategies not only aids in addressing the challenge but also contributes to the overall quality and impact of your writing.

Crafting A Strong Conclusion 

The purpose of the research paper’s conclusion is to guide your reader out of the realm of the paper’s argument, leaving them with a sense of closure.

Trace the paper’s trajectory, underscoring how all the elements converge to validate your thesis statement. Impart a sense of completion by ensuring the reader comprehends the resolution of the issues introduced in the paper’s introduction.

In addition, you can explore the broader implications of your argument, outline your paper’s contributions to future students studying the subject, and propose questions that your argument raises—ones that might not be addressed in the paper itself. However, it’s important to avoid:

  • Introducing new arguments or crucial information that wasn’t covered earlier.
  • Extending the conclusion unnecessarily.
  • Employing common phrases that signal the decision (e.g., “In conclusion”).

By adhering to these guidelines, your conclusion can serve as a fitting and impactful conclusion to your research paper, leaving a lasting impression on your readers.

Refining The Research Paper

  • Editing And Proofreading 

Eliminate unnecessary verbiage and extraneous content. In tandem with the comprehensive structure of your paper, focus on individual words, ensuring your language is robust. Verify the utilization of active voice rather than passive voice, and confirm that your word selection is precise and tangible.

The passive voice, exemplified by phrases like “I opened the door,” tends to convey hesitation and verbosity. In contrast, the active voice, as in “I opened the door,” imparts strength and brevity.

Each word employed in your paper should serve a distinct purpose. Strive to eschew the inclusion of surplus words solely to occupy space or exhibit sophistication.

For instance, the statement “The author uses pathos to appeal to readers’ emotions” is superior to the alternative “The author utilizes pathos to appeal to the emotional core of those who read the passage.”

Engage in thorough proofreading to rectify spelling, grammatical, and formatting inconsistencies. Once you’ve refined the structure and content of your paper, address any typographical and grammatical inaccuracies. Taking a break from your paper before proofreading can offer a new perspective.

Enhance error detection by reading your essay aloud. This not only aids in identifying mistakes but also assists in evaluating the flow. If you encounter sections that seem awkward during this reading, consider making necessary adjustments to enhance the overall coherence.

  • Formatting And Referencing 

Citations are pivotal in distinguishing research papers from informal nonfiction pieces like personal essays. They serve the dual purpose of substantiating your data and establishing a connection between your research paper and the broader scientific community. Given their significance, citations are subject to precise formatting regulations; however, the challenge lies in the existence of multiple sets of rules.

It’s crucial to consult the assignment’s instructions to determine the required formatting style. Generally, academic research papers adhere to either of two formatting styles for source citations:

  • MLA (Modern Language Association)
  • APA (American Psychological Association)

Moreover, aside from MLA and APA styles, occasional demands might call for adherence to CMOS (The Chicago Manual of Style), AMA (American Medical Association), and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) formats.

Initially, citations might appear intricate due to their numerous regulations and specific details. However, once you become adept at them, citing sources accurately becomes almost second nature. It’s important to note that each formatting style provides detailed guidelines for citing various sources, including photographs, websites, speeches, and YouTube videos.

Students preparing a research paper

Tips For Writing An Effective Research Paper 

By following these research paper writing tips , you’ll be well-equipped to create a well-structured, well-researched, and impactful research paper:

  • Select a Clear and Manageable Topic: Choose a topic that is specific and focused enough to be thoroughly explored within the scope of your paper.
  • Conduct In-Depth Research: Gather information from reputable sources such as academic journals, books, and credible websites. Take thorough notes to keep track of your sources.
  • Create a Strong Thesis Statement: Craft a clear and concise thesis statement that outlines the main argument or purpose of your paper.
  • Develop a Well-Structured Outline: Organize your ideas into a logical order by creating an outline that outlines the main sections and their supporting points.
  • Compose a Captivating Introduction: Hook the reader with an engaging introduction that provides background information and introduces the thesis statement.
  • Provide Clear and Relevant Evidence: Support your arguments with reliable and relevant evidence, such as statistics, examples, and expert opinions.
  • Maintain Consistent Tone and Style: Keep a consistent tone and writing style throughout the paper, adhering to the formatting guidelines of your chosen citation style.
  • Craft Coherent Paragraphs: Each paragraph should focus on a single idea or point, and transitions should smoothly guide the reader from one idea to the next.
  • Use Active Voice: Write in the active voice to make your writing more direct and engaging.
  • Revise and Edit Thoroughly: Proofread your paper for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and sentence structure. Revise for clarity and coherence.
  • Seek Peer Feedback: Have a peer or instructor review your paper for feedback and suggestions.
  • Cite Sources Properly: Accurately cite all sources using the required citation style (e.g., MLA, APA) to avoid plagiarism and give credit to original authors.
  • Be Concise and Avoid Redundancy: Strive for clarity by eliminating unnecessary words and redundancies.
  • Conclude Effectively: Summarize your main points and restate your thesis in the conclusion. Provide a sense of closure without introducing new ideas.
  • Stay Organized: Keep track of your sources, notes, and drafts to ensure a structured and organized approach to the writing process.
  • Proofread with Fresh Eyes: Take a break before final proofreading to review your paper with a fresh perspective, helping you catch any overlooked errors.
  • Edit for Clarity: Ensure that your ideas are conveyed clearly and that your arguments are easy to follow.
  • Ask for Feedback: Don’t hesitate to ask for feedback from peers, instructors, or writing centers to improve your paper further.

In conclusion, we’ve explored the essential steps to write a research paper . From selecting a focused topic to mastering the intricacies of citations, we’ve navigated through the key elements of this process.

It’s vital to recognize that adhering to the research paper writing tips is not merely a suggestion, but a roadmap to success. Each stage contributes to the overall quality and impact of your paper. By meticulously following these steps, you ensure a robust foundation for your research, bolster your arguments, and present your findings with clarity and conviction.

As you embark on your own research paper journey, I urge you to put into practice the techniques and insights shared in this guide. Don’t shy away from investing time in organization, thorough research, and precise writing. Embrace the challenge, for it’s through this process that your ideas take shape and your voice is heard within the academic discourse.

Remember, every exceptional research paper begins with a single step. And with each step you take, your ability to articulate complex ideas and contribute to your field of study grows. So, go ahead – apply these tips, refine your skills, and witness your research papers evolve into compelling narratives that inspire, inform, and captivate.

In the grand tapestry of academia, your research paper becomes a thread of insight, woven into the larger narrative of human knowledge. By embracing the writing process and nurturing your unique perspective, you become an integral part of this ever-expanding tapestry.

Happy writing, and may your research papers shine brightly, leaving a lasting mark on both your readers and the world of scholarship.

Ranvir Dange

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  • How to write a research paper

Last updated

11 January 2024

Reviewed by

With proper planning, knowledge, and framework, completing a research paper can be a fulfilling and exciting experience. 

Though it might initially sound slightly intimidating, this guide will help you embrace the challenge. 

By documenting your findings, you can inspire others and make a difference in your field. Here's how you can make your research paper unique and comprehensive.

  • What is a research paper?

Research papers allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of a particular topic. These papers are usually lengthier and more detailed than typical essays, requiring deeper insight into the chosen topic.

To write a research paper, you must first choose a topic that interests you and is relevant to the field of study. Once you’ve selected your topic, gathering as many relevant resources as possible, including books, scholarly articles, credible websites, and other academic materials, is essential. You must then read and analyze these sources, summarizing their key points and identifying gaps in the current research.

You can formulate your ideas and opinions once you thoroughly understand the existing research. To get there might involve conducting original research, gathering data, or analyzing existing data sets. It could also involve presenting an original argument or interpretation of the existing research.

Writing a successful research paper involves presenting your findings clearly and engagingly, which might involve using charts, graphs, or other visual aids to present your data and using concise language to explain your findings. You must also ensure your paper adheres to relevant academic formatting guidelines, including proper citations and references.

Overall, writing a research paper requires a significant amount of time, effort, and attention to detail. However, it is also an enriching experience that allows you to delve deeply into a subject that interests you and contribute to the existing body of knowledge in your chosen field.

  • How long should a research paper be?

Research papers are deep dives into a topic. Therefore, they tend to be longer pieces of work than essays or opinion pieces. 

However, a suitable length depends on the complexity of the topic and your level of expertise. For instance, are you a first-year college student or an experienced professional? 

Also, remember that the best research papers provide valuable information for the benefit of others. Therefore, the quality of information matters most, not necessarily the length. Being concise is valuable.

Following these best practice steps will help keep your process simple and productive:

1. Gaining a deep understanding of any expectations

Before diving into your intended topic or beginning the research phase, take some time to orient yourself. Suppose there’s a specific topic assigned to you. In that case, it’s essential to deeply understand the question and organize your planning and approach in response. Pay attention to the key requirements and ensure you align your writing accordingly. 

This preparation step entails

Deeply understanding the task or assignment

Being clear about the expected format and length

Familiarizing yourself with the citation and referencing requirements 

Understanding any defined limits for your research contribution

Where applicable, speaking to your professor or research supervisor for further clarification

2. Choose your research topic

Select a research topic that aligns with both your interests and available resources. Ideally, focus on a field where you possess significant experience and analytical skills. In crafting your research paper, it's crucial to go beyond summarizing existing data and contribute fresh insights to the chosen area.

Consider narrowing your focus to a specific aspect of the topic. For example, if exploring the link between technology and mental health, delve into how social media use during the pandemic impacts the well-being of college students. Conducting interviews and surveys with students could provide firsthand data and unique perspectives, adding substantial value to the existing knowledge.

When finalizing your topic, adhere to legal and ethical norms in the relevant area (this ensures the integrity of your research, protects participants' rights, upholds intellectual property standards, and ensures transparency and accountability). Following these principles not only maintains the credibility of your work but also builds trust within your academic or professional community.

For instance, in writing about medical research, consider legal and ethical norms, including patient confidentiality laws and informed consent requirements. Similarly, if analyzing user data on social media platforms, be mindful of data privacy regulations, ensuring compliance with laws governing personal information collection and use. Aligning with legal and ethical standards not only avoids potential issues but also underscores the responsible conduct of your research.

3. Gather preliminary research

Once you’ve landed on your topic, it’s time to explore it further. You’ll want to discover more about available resources and existing research relevant to your assignment at this stage. 

This exploratory phase is vital as you may discover issues with your original idea or realize you have insufficient resources to explore the topic effectively. This key bit of groundwork allows you to redirect your research topic in a different, more feasible, or more relevant direction if necessary. 

Spending ample time at this stage ensures you gather everything you need, learn as much as you can about the topic, and discover gaps where the topic has yet to be sufficiently covered, offering an opportunity to research it further. 

4. Define your research question

To produce a well-structured and focused paper, it is imperative to formulate a clear and precise research question that will guide your work. Your research question must be informed by the existing literature and tailored to the scope and objectives of your project. By refining your focus, you can produce a thoughtful and engaging paper that effectively communicates your ideas to your readers.

5. Write a thesis statement

A thesis statement is a one-to-two-sentence summary of your research paper's main argument or direction. It serves as an overall guide to summarize the overall intent of the research paper for you and anyone wanting to know more about the research.

A strong thesis statement is:

Concise and clear: Explain your case in simple sentences (avoid covering multiple ideas). It might help to think of this section as an elevator pitch.

Specific: Ensure that there is no ambiguity in your statement and that your summary covers the points argued in the paper.

Debatable: A thesis statement puts forward a specific argument––it is not merely a statement but a debatable point that can be analyzed and discussed.

Here are three thesis statement examples from different disciplines:

Psychology thesis example: "We're studying adults aged 25-40 to see if taking short breaks for mindfulness can help with stress. Our goal is to find practical ways to manage anxiety better."

Environmental science thesis example: "This research paper looks into how having more city parks might make the air cleaner and keep people healthier. I want to find out if more green spaces means breathing fewer carcinogens in big cities."

UX research thesis example: "This study focuses on improving mobile banking for older adults using ethnographic research, eye-tracking analysis, and interactive prototyping. We investigate the usefulness of eye-tracking analysis with older individuals, aiming to spark debate and offer fresh perspectives on UX design and digital inclusivity for the aging population."

6. Conduct in-depth research

A research paper doesn’t just include research that you’ve uncovered from other papers and studies but your fresh insights, too. You will seek to become an expert on your topic––understanding the nuances in the current leading theories. You will analyze existing research and add your thinking and discoveries.  It's crucial to conduct well-designed research that is rigorous, robust, and based on reliable sources. Suppose a research paper lacks evidence or is biased. In that case, it won't benefit the academic community or the general public. Therefore, examining the topic thoroughly and furthering its understanding through high-quality research is essential. That usually means conducting new research. Depending on the area under investigation, you may conduct surveys, interviews, diary studies, or observational research to uncover new insights or bolster current claims.

7. Determine supporting evidence

Not every piece of research you’ve discovered will be relevant to your research paper. It’s important to categorize the most meaningful evidence to include alongside your discoveries. It's important to include evidence that doesn't support your claims to avoid exclusion bias and ensure a fair research paper.

8. Write a research paper outline

Before diving in and writing the whole paper, start with an outline. It will help you to see if more research is needed, and it will provide a framework by which to write a more compelling paper. Your supervisor may even request an outline to approve before beginning to write the first draft of the full paper. An outline will include your topic, thesis statement, key headings, short summaries of the research, and your arguments.

9. Write your first draft

Once you feel confident about your outline and sources, it’s time to write your first draft. While penning a long piece of content can be intimidating, if you’ve laid the groundwork, you will have a structure to help you move steadily through each section. To keep up motivation and inspiration, it’s often best to keep the pace quick. Stopping for long periods can interrupt your flow and make jumping back in harder than writing when things are fresh in your mind.

10. Cite your sources correctly

It's always a good practice to give credit where it's due, and the same goes for citing any works that have influenced your paper. Building your arguments on credible references adds value and authenticity to your research. In the formatting guidelines section, you’ll find an overview of different citation styles (MLA, CMOS, or APA), which will help you meet any publishing or academic requirements and strengthen your paper's credibility. It is essential to follow the guidelines provided by your school or the publication you are submitting to ensure the accuracy and relevance of your citations.

11. Ensure your work is original

It is crucial to ensure the originality of your paper, as plagiarism can lead to serious consequences. To avoid plagiarism, you should use proper paraphrasing and quoting techniques. Paraphrasing is rewriting a text in your own words while maintaining the original meaning. Quoting involves directly citing the source. Giving credit to the original author or source is essential whenever you borrow their ideas or words. You can also use plagiarism detection tools such as Scribbr or Grammarly to check the originality of your paper. These tools compare your draft writing to a vast database of online sources. If you find any accidental plagiarism, you should correct it immediately by rephrasing or citing the source.

12. Revise, edit, and proofread

One of the essential qualities of excellent writers is their ability to understand the importance of editing and proofreading. Even though it's tempting to call it a day once you've finished your writing, editing your work can significantly improve its quality. It's natural to overlook the weaker areas when you've just finished writing a paper. Therefore, it's best to take a break of a day or two, or even up to a week, to refresh your mind. This way, you can return to your work with a new perspective. After some breathing room, you can spot any inconsistencies, spelling and grammar errors, typos, or missing citations and correct them. 

  • The best research paper format 

The format of your research paper should align with the requirements set forth by your college, school, or target publication. 

There is no one “best” format, per se. Depending on the stated requirements, you may need to include the following elements:

Title page: The title page of a research paper typically includes the title, author's name, and institutional affiliation and may include additional information such as a course name or instructor's name. 

Table of contents: Include a table of contents to make it easy for readers to find specific sections of your paper.

Abstract: The abstract is a summary of the purpose of the paper.

Methods : In this section, describe the research methods used. This may include collecting data, conducting interviews, or doing field research.

Results: Summarize the conclusions you drew from your research in this section.

Discussion: In this section, discuss the implications of your research. Be sure to mention any significant limitations to your approach and suggest areas for further research.

Tables, charts, and illustrations: Use tables, charts, and illustrations to help convey your research findings and make them easier to understand.

Works cited or reference page: Include a works cited or reference page to give credit to the sources that you used to conduct your research.

Bibliography: Provide a list of all the sources you consulted while conducting your research.

Dedication and acknowledgments : Optionally, you may include a dedication and acknowledgments section to thank individuals who helped you with your research.

  • General style and formatting guidelines

Formatting your research paper means you can submit it to your college, journal, or other publications in compliance with their criteria.

Research papers tend to follow the American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), or Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) guidelines.

Here’s how each style guide is typically used:

Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS):

CMOS is a versatile style guide used for various types of writing. It's known for its flexibility and use in the humanities. CMOS provides guidelines for citations, formatting, and overall writing style. It allows for both footnotes and in-text citations, giving writers options based on their preferences or publication requirements.

American Psychological Association (APA):

APA is common in the social sciences. It’s hailed for its clarity and emphasis on precision. It has specific rules for citing sources, creating references, and formatting papers. APA style uses in-text citations with an accompanying reference list. It's designed to convey information efficiently and is widely used in academic and scientific writing.

Modern Language Association (MLA):

MLA is widely used in the humanities, especially literature and language studies. It emphasizes the author-page format for in-text citations and provides guidelines for creating a "Works Cited" page. MLA is known for its focus on the author's name and the literary works cited. It’s frequently used in disciplines that prioritize literary analysis and critical thinking.

To confirm you're using the latest style guide, check the official website or publisher's site for updates, consult academic resources, and verify the guide's publication date. Online platforms and educational resources may also provide summaries and alerts about any revisions or additions to the style guide.

Citing sources

When working on your research paper, it's important to cite the sources you used properly. Your citation style will guide you through this process. Generally, there are three parts to citing sources in your research paper: 

First, provide a brief citation in the body of your essay. This is also known as a parenthetical or in-text citation. 

Second, include a full citation in the Reference list at the end of your paper. Different types of citations include in-text citations, footnotes, and reference lists. 

In-text citations include the author's surname and the date of the citation. 

Footnotes appear at the bottom of each page of your research paper. They may also be summarized within a reference list at the end of the paper. 

A reference list includes all of the research used within the paper at the end of the document. It should include the author, date, paper title, and publisher listed in the order that aligns with your citation style.

10 research paper writing tips:

Following some best practices is essential to writing a research paper that contributes to your field of study and creates a positive impact.

These tactics will help you structure your argument effectively and ensure your work benefits others:

Clear and precise language:  Ensure your language is unambiguous. Use academic language appropriately, but keep it simple. Also, provide clear takeaways for your audience.

Effective idea separation:  Organize the vast amount of information and sources in your paper with paragraphs and titles. Create easily digestible sections for your readers to navigate through.

Compelling intro:  Craft an engaging introduction that captures your reader's interest. Hook your audience and motivate them to continue reading.

Thorough revision and editing:  Take the time to review and edit your paper comprehensively. Use tools like Grammarly to detect and correct small, overlooked errors.

Thesis precision:  Develop a clear and concise thesis statement that guides your paper. Ensure that your thesis aligns with your research's overall purpose and contribution.

Logical flow of ideas:  Maintain a logical progression throughout the paper. Use transitions effectively to connect different sections and maintain coherence.

Critical evaluation of sources:  Evaluate and critically assess the relevance and reliability of your sources. Ensure that your research is based on credible and up-to-date information.

Thematic consistency:  Maintain a consistent theme throughout the paper. Ensure that all sections contribute cohesively to the overall argument.

Relevant supporting evidence:  Provide concise and relevant evidence to support your arguments. Avoid unnecessary details that may distract from the main points.

Embrace counterarguments:  Acknowledge and address opposing views to strengthen your position. Show that you have considered alternative arguments in your field.

7 research tips 

If you want your paper to not only be well-written but also contribute to the progress of human knowledge, consider these tips to take your paper to the next level:

Selecting the appropriate topic: The topic you select should align with your area of expertise, comply with the requirements of your project, and have sufficient resources for a comprehensive investigation.

Use academic databases: Academic databases such as PubMed, Google Scholar, and JSTOR offer a wealth of research papers that can help you discover everything you need to know about your chosen topic.

Critically evaluate sources: It is important not to accept research findings at face value. Instead, it is crucial to critically analyze the information to avoid jumping to conclusions or overlooking important details. A well-written research paper requires a critical analysis with thorough reasoning to support claims.

Diversify your sources: Expand your research horizons by exploring a variety of sources beyond the standard databases. Utilize books, conference proceedings, and interviews to gather diverse perspectives and enrich your understanding of the topic.

Take detailed notes: Detailed note-taking is crucial during research and can help you form the outline and body of your paper.

Stay up on trends: Keep abreast of the latest developments in your field by regularly checking for recent publications. Subscribe to newsletters, follow relevant journals, and attend conferences to stay informed about emerging trends and advancements. 

Engage in peer review: Seek feedback from peers or mentors to ensure the rigor and validity of your research. Peer review helps identify potential weaknesses in your methodology and strengthens the overall credibility of your findings.

  • The real-world impact of research papers

Writing a research paper is more than an academic or business exercise. The experience provides an opportunity to explore a subject in-depth, broaden one's understanding, and arrive at meaningful conclusions. With careful planning, dedication, and hard work, writing a research paper can be a fulfilling and enriching experience contributing to advancing knowledge.

How do I publish my research paper? 

Many academics wish to publish their research papers. While challenging, your paper might get traction if it covers new and well-written information. To publish your research paper, find a target publication, thoroughly read their guidelines, format your paper accordingly, and send it to them per their instructions. You may need to include a cover letter, too. After submission, your paper may be peer-reviewed by experts to assess its legitimacy, quality, originality, and methodology. Following review, you will be informed by the publication whether they have accepted or rejected your paper. 

What is a good opening sentence for a research paper? 

Beginning your research paper with a compelling introduction can ensure readers are interested in going further. A relevant quote, a compelling statistic, or a bold argument can start the paper and hook your reader. Remember, though, that the most important aspect of a research paper is the quality of the information––not necessarily your ability to storytell, so ensure anything you write aligns with your goals.

Research paper vs. a research proposal—what’s the difference?

While some may confuse research papers and proposals, they are different documents. 

A research proposal comes before a research paper. It is a detailed document that outlines an intended area of exploration. It includes the research topic, methodology, timeline, sources, and potential conclusions. Research proposals are often required when seeking approval to conduct research. 

A research paper is a summary of research findings. A research paper follows a structured format to present those findings and construct an argument or conclusion.

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  • USC Libraries
  • Research Guides

Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

  • Academic Writing Style
  • Purpose of Guide
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
  • Independent and Dependent Variables
  • Glossary of Research Terms
  • Reading Research Effectively
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
  • Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
  • Choosing a Title
  • Making an Outline
  • Paragraph Development
  • Research Process Video Series
  • Executive Summary
  • The C.A.R.S. Model
  • Background Information
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Citation Tracking
  • Content Alert Services
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Primary Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Tiertiary Sources
  • Scholarly vs. Popular Publications
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Insiderness
  • Using Non-Textual Elements
  • Limitations of the Study
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Writing Concisely
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Footnotes or Endnotes?
  • Further Readings
  • Generative AI and Writing
  • USC Libraries Tutorials and Other Guides
  • Bibliography

Academic writing refers to a style of expression that researchers use to define the intellectual boundaries of their disciplines and specific areas of expertise. Characteristics of academic writing include a formal tone, use of the third-person rather than first-person perspective (usually), a clear focus on the research problem under investigation, and precise word choice. Like specialist languages adopted in other professions, such as, law or medicine, academic writing is designed to convey agreed meaning about complex ideas or concepts within a community of scholarly experts and practitioners.

Academic Writing. Writing Center. Colorado Technical College; Hartley, James. Academic Writing and Publishing: A Practical Guide . New York: Routledge, 2008; Ezza, El-Sadig Y. and Touria Drid. T eaching Academic Writing as a Discipline-Specific Skill in Higher Education . Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2020.

Importance of Good Academic Writing

The accepted form of academic writing in the social sciences can vary considerable depending on the methodological framework and the intended audience. However, most college-level research papers require careful attention to the following stylistic elements:

I.  The Big Picture Unlike creative or journalistic writing, the overall structure of academic writing is formal and logical. It must be cohesive and possess a logically organized flow of ideas; this means that the various parts are connected to form a unified whole. There should be narrative links between sentences and paragraphs so that the reader is able to follow your argument. The introduction should include a description of how the rest of the paper is organized and all sources are properly cited throughout the paper.

II.  Tone The overall tone refers to the attitude conveyed in a piece of writing. Throughout your paper, it is important that you present the arguments of others fairly and with an appropriate narrative tone. When presenting a position or argument that you disagree with, describe this argument accurately and without loaded or biased language. In academic writing, the author is expected to investigate the research problem from an authoritative point of view. You should, therefore, state the strengths of your arguments confidently, using language that is neutral, not confrontational or dismissive.

III.  Diction Diction refers to the choice of words you use. Awareness of the words you use is important because words that have almost the same denotation [dictionary definition] can have very different connotations [implied meanings]. This is particularly true in academic writing because words and terminology can evolve a nuanced meaning that describes a particular idea, concept, or phenomenon derived from the epistemological culture of that discipline [e.g., the concept of rational choice in political science]. Therefore, use concrete words [not general] that convey a specific meaning. If this cannot be done without confusing the reader, then you need to explain what you mean within the context of how that word or phrase is used within a discipline.

IV.  Language The investigation of research problems in the social sciences is often complex and multi- dimensional . Therefore, it is important that you use unambiguous language. Well-structured paragraphs and clear topic sentences enable a reader to follow your line of thinking without difficulty. Your language should be concise, formal, and express precisely what you want it to mean. Do not use vague expressions that are not specific or precise enough for the reader to derive exact meaning ["they," "we," "people," "the organization," etc.], abbreviations like 'i.e.'  ["in other words"], 'e.g.' ["for example"], or 'a.k.a.' ["also known as"], and the use of unspecific determinate words ["super," "very," "incredible," "huge," etc.].

V.  Punctuation Scholars rely on precise words and language to establish the narrative tone of their work and, therefore, punctuation marks are used very deliberately. For example, exclamation points are rarely used to express a heightened tone because it can come across as unsophisticated or over-excited. Dashes should be limited to the insertion of an explanatory comment in a sentence, while hyphens should be limited to connecting prefixes to words [e.g., multi-disciplinary] or when forming compound phrases [e.g., commander-in-chief]. Finally, understand that semi-colons represent a pause that is longer than a comma, but shorter than a period in a sentence. In general, there are four grammatical uses of semi-colons: when a second clause expands or explains the first clause; to describe a sequence of actions or different aspects of the same topic; placed before clauses which begin with "nevertheless", "therefore", "even so," and "for instance”; and, to mark off a series of phrases or clauses which contain commas. If you are not confident about when to use semi-colons [and most of the time, they are not required for proper punctuation], rewrite using shorter sentences or revise the paragraph.

VI.  Academic Conventions Among the most important rules and principles of academic engagement of a writing is citing sources in the body of your paper and providing a list of references as either footnotes or endnotes. The academic convention of citing sources facilitates processes of intellectual discovery, critical thinking, and applying a deliberate method of navigating through the scholarly landscape by tracking how cited works are propagated by scholars over time . Aside from citing sources, other academic conventions to follow include the appropriate use of headings and subheadings, properly spelling out acronyms when first used in the text, avoiding slang or colloquial language, avoiding emotive language or unsupported declarative statements, avoiding contractions [e.g., isn't], and using first person and second person pronouns only when necessary.

VII.  Evidence-Based Reasoning Assignments often ask you to express your own point of view about the research problem. However, what is valued in academic writing is that statements are based on evidence-based reasoning. This refers to possessing a clear understanding of the pertinent body of knowledge and academic debates that exist within, and often external to, your discipline concerning the topic. You need to support your arguments with evidence from scholarly [i.e., academic or peer-reviewed] sources. It should be an objective stance presented as a logical argument; the quality of the evidence you cite will determine the strength of your argument. The objective is to convince the reader of the validity of your thoughts through a well-documented, coherent, and logically structured piece of writing. This is particularly important when proposing solutions to problems or delineating recommended courses of action.

VIII.  Thesis-Driven Academic writing is “thesis-driven,” meaning that the starting point is a particular perspective, idea, or position applied to the chosen topic of investigation, such as, establishing, proving, or disproving solutions to the questions applied to investigating the research problem. Note that a problem statement without the research questions does not qualify as academic writing because simply identifying the research problem does not establish for the reader how you will contribute to solving the problem, what aspects you believe are most critical, or suggest a method for gathering information or data to better understand the problem.

IX.  Complexity and Higher-Order Thinking Academic writing addresses complex issues that require higher-order thinking skills applied to understanding the research problem [e.g., critical, reflective, logical, and creative thinking as opposed to, for example, descriptive or prescriptive thinking]. Higher-order thinking skills include cognitive processes that are used to comprehend, solve problems, and express concepts or that describe abstract ideas that cannot be easily acted out, pointed to, or shown with images. Think of your writing this way: One of the most important attributes of a good teacher is the ability to explain complexity in a way that is understandable and relatable to the topic being presented during class. This is also one of the main functions of academic writing--examining and explaining the significance of complex ideas as clearly as possible.  As a writer, you must adopt the role of a good teacher by summarizing complex information into a well-organized synthesis of ideas, concepts, and recommendations that contribute to a better understanding of the research problem.

Academic Writing. Writing Center. Colorado Technical College; Hartley, James. Academic Writing and Publishing: A Practical Guide . New York: Routledge, 2008; Murray, Rowena  and Sarah Moore. The Handbook of Academic Writing: A Fresh Approach . New York: Open University Press, 2006; Johnson, Roy. Improve Your Writing Skills . Manchester, UK: Clifton Press, 1995; Nygaard, Lynn P. Writing for Scholars: A Practical Guide to Making Sense and Being Heard . Second edition. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications, 2015; Silvia, Paul J. How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing . Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2007; Style, Diction, Tone, and Voice. Writing Center, Wheaton College; Sword, Helen. Stylish Academic Writing . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012.

Strategies for...

Understanding Academic Writing and Its Jargon

The very definition of research jargon is language specific to a particular community of practitioner-researchers . Therefore, in modern university life, jargon represents the specific language and meaning assigned to words and phrases specific to a discipline or area of study. For example, the idea of being rational may hold the same general meaning in both political science and psychology, but its application to understanding and explaining phenomena within the research domain of a each discipline may have subtle differences based upon how scholars in that discipline apply the concept to the theories and practice of their work.

Given this, it is important that specialist terminology [i.e., jargon] must be used accurately and applied under the appropriate conditions . Subject-specific dictionaries are the best places to confirm the meaning of terms within the context of a specific discipline. These can be found by either searching in the USC Libraries catalog by entering the disciplinary and the word dictionary [e.g., sociology and dictionary] or using a database such as Credo Reference [a curated collection of subject encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, guides from highly regarded publishers] . It is appropriate for you to use specialist language within your field of study, but you should avoid using such language when writing for non-academic or general audiences.

Problems with Opaque Writing

A common criticism of scholars is that they can utilize needlessly complex syntax or overly expansive vocabulary that is impenetrable or not well-defined. When writing, avoid problems associated with opaque writing by keeping in mind the following:

1.   Excessive use of specialized terminology . Yes, it is appropriate for you to use specialist language and a formal style of expression in academic writing, but it does not mean using "big words" just for the sake of doing so. Overuse of complex or obscure words or writing complicated sentence constructions gives readers the impression that your paper is more about style than substance; it leads the reader to question if you really know what you are talking about. Focus on creating clear, concise, and elegant prose that minimizes reliance on specialized terminology.

2.   Inappropriate use of specialized terminology . Because you are dealing with concepts, research, and data within your discipline, you need to use the technical language appropriate to that area of study. However, nothing will undermine the validity of your study quicker than the inappropriate application of a term or concept. Avoid using terms whose meaning you are unsure of--do not just guess or assume! Consult the meaning of terms in specialized, discipline-specific dictionaries by searching the USC Libraries catalog or the Credo Reference database [see above].

Additional Problems to Avoid

In addition to understanding the use of specialized language, there are other aspects of academic writing in the social sciences that you should be aware of. These problems include:

  • Personal nouns . Excessive use of personal nouns [e.g., I, me, you, us] may lead the reader to believe the study was overly subjective. These words can be interpreted as being used only to avoid presenting empirical evidence about the research problem. Limit the use of personal nouns to descriptions of things you actually did [e.g., "I interviewed ten teachers about classroom management techniques..."]. Note that personal nouns are generally found in the discussion section of a paper because this is where you as the author/researcher interpret and describe your work.
  • Directives . Avoid directives that demand the reader to "do this" or "do that." Directives should be framed as evidence-based recommendations or goals leading to specific outcomes. Note that an exception to this can be found in various forms of action research that involve evidence-based advocacy for social justice or transformative change. Within this area of the social sciences, authors may offer directives for action in a declarative tone of urgency.
  • Informal, conversational tone using slang and idioms . Academic writing relies on excellent grammar and precise word structure. Your narrative should not include regional dialects or slang terms because they can be open to interpretation. Your writing should be direct and concise using standard English.
  • Wordiness. Focus on being concise, straightforward, and developing a narrative that does not have confusing language . By doing so, you  help eliminate the possibility of the reader misinterpreting the design and purpose of your study.
  • Vague expressions (e.g., "they," "we," "people," "the company," "that area," etc.). Being concise in your writing also includes avoiding vague references to persons, places, or things. While proofreading your paper, be sure to look for and edit any vague or imprecise statements that lack context or specificity.
  • Numbered lists and bulleted items . The use of bulleted items or lists should be used only if the narrative dictates a need for clarity. For example, it is fine to state, "The four main problems with hedge funds are:" and then list them as 1, 2, 3, 4. However, in academic writing, this must then be followed by detailed explanation and analysis of each item. Given this, the question you should ask yourself while proofreading is: why begin with a list in the first place rather than just starting with systematic analysis of each item arranged in separate paragraphs? Also, be careful using numbers because they can imply a ranked order of priority or importance. If none exists, use bullets and avoid checkmarks or other symbols.
  • Descriptive writing . Describing a research problem is an important means of contextualizing a study. In fact, some description or background information may be needed because you can not assume the reader knows the key aspects of the topic. However, the content of your paper should focus on methodology, the analysis and interpretation of findings, and their implications as they apply to the research problem rather than background information and descriptions of tangential issues.
  • Personal experience. Drawing upon personal experience [e.g., traveling abroad; caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease] can be an effective way of introducing the research problem or engaging your readers in understanding its significance. Use personal experience only as an example, though, because academic writing relies on evidence-based research. To do otherwise is simply story-telling.

NOTE:   Rules concerning excellent grammar and precise word structure do not apply when quoting someone.  A quote should be inserted in the text of your paper exactly as it was stated. If the quote is especially vague or hard to understand, consider paraphrasing it or using a different quote to convey the same meaning. Consider inserting the term "sic" in brackets after the quoted text to indicate that the quotation has been transcribed exactly as found in the original source, but the source had grammar, spelling, or other errors. The adverb sic informs the reader that the errors are not yours.

Academic Writing. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Academic Writing Style. First-Year Seminar Handbook. Mercer University; Bem, Daryl J. Writing the Empirical Journal Article. Cornell University; College Writing. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Murray, Rowena  and Sarah Moore. The Handbook of Academic Writing: A Fresh Approach . New York: Open University Press, 2006; Johnson, Eileen S. “Action Research.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education . Edited by George W. Noblit and Joseph R. Neikirk. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020); Oppenheimer, Daniel M. "Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly." Applied Cognitive Psychology 20 (2006): 139-156; Ezza, El-Sadig Y. and Touria Drid. T eaching Academic Writing as a Discipline-Specific Skill in Higher Education . Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2020; Pernawan, Ari. Common Flaws in Students' Research Proposals. English Education Department. Yogyakarta State University; Style. College Writing. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Invention: Five Qualities of Good Writing. The Reading/Writing Center. Hunter College; Sword, Helen. Stylish Academic Writing . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012; What Is an Academic Paper? Institute for Writing Rhetoric. Dartmouth College.

Structure and Writing Style

I. Improving Academic Writing

To improve your academic writing skills, you should focus your efforts on three key areas: 1.   Clear Writing . The act of thinking about precedes the process of writing about. Good writers spend sufficient time distilling information and reviewing major points from the literature they have reviewed before creating their work. Writing detailed outlines can help you clearly organize your thoughts. Effective academic writing begins with solid planning, so manage your time carefully. 2.  Excellent Grammar . Needless to say, English grammar can be difficult and complex; even the best scholars take many years before they have a command of the major points of good grammar. Take the time to learn the major and minor points of good grammar. Spend time practicing writing and seek detailed feedback from professors. Take advantage of the Writing Center on campus if you need help. Proper punctuation and good proofreading skills can significantly improve academic writing [see sub-tab for proofreading you paper ].

Refer to these three basic resources to help your grammar and writing skills:

  • A good writing reference book, such as, Strunk and White’s book, The Elements of Style or the St. Martin's Handbook ;
  • A college-level dictionary, such as, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary ;
  • The latest edition of Roget's Thesaurus in Dictionary Form .

3.  Consistent Stylistic Approach . Whether your professor expresses a preference to use MLA, APA or the Chicago Manual of Style or not, choose one style manual and stick to it. Each of these style manuals provide rules on how to write out numbers, references, citations, footnotes, and lists. Consistent adherence to a style of writing helps with the narrative flow of your paper and improves its readability. Note that some disciplines require a particular style [e.g., education uses APA] so as you write more papers within your major, your familiarity with it will improve.

II. Evaluating Quality of Writing

A useful approach for evaluating the quality of your academic writing is to consider the following issues from the perspective of the reader. While proofreading your final draft, critically assess the following elements in your writing.

  • It is shaped around one clear research problem, and it explains what that problem is from the outset.
  • Your paper tells the reader why the problem is important and why people should know about it.
  • You have accurately and thoroughly informed the reader what has already been published about this problem or others related to it and noted important gaps in the research.
  • You have provided evidence to support your argument that the reader finds convincing.
  • The paper includes a description of how and why particular evidence was collected and analyzed, and why specific theoretical arguments or concepts were used.
  • The paper is made up of paragraphs, each containing only one controlling idea.
  • You indicate how each section of the paper addresses the research problem.
  • You have considered counter-arguments or counter-examples where they are relevant.
  • Arguments, evidence, and their significance have been presented in the conclusion.
  • Limitations of your research have been explained as evidence of the potential need for further study.
  • The narrative flows in a clear, accurate, and well-organized way.

Boscoloa, Pietro, Barbara Arféb, and Mara Quarisaa. “Improving the Quality of Students' Academic Writing: An Intervention Study.” Studies in Higher Education 32 (August 2007): 419-438; Academic Writing. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Academic Writing Style. First-Year Seminar Handbook. Mercer University; Bem, Daryl J. Writing the Empirical Journal Article. Cornell University; Candlin, Christopher. Academic Writing Step-By-Step: A Research-based Approach . Bristol, CT: Equinox Publishing Ltd., 2016; College Writing. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Style . College Writing. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Invention: Five Qualities of Good Writing. The Reading/Writing Center. Hunter College; Sword, Helen. Stylish Academic Writing . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012; What Is an Academic Paper? Institute for Writing Rhetoric. Dartmouth College.

Writing Tip

Considering the Passive Voice in Academic Writing

In the English language, we are able to construct sentences in the following way: 1.  "The policies of Congress caused the economic crisis." 2.  "The economic crisis was caused by the policies of Congress."

The decision about which sentence to use is governed by whether you want to focus on “Congress” and what they did, or on “the economic crisis” and what caused it. This choice in focus is achieved with the use of either the active or the passive voice. When you want your readers to focus on the "doer" of an action, you can make the "doer"' the subject of the sentence and use the active form of the verb. When you want readers to focus on the person, place, or thing affected by the action, or the action itself, you can make the effect or the action the subject of the sentence by using the passive form of the verb.

Often in academic writing, scholars don't want to focus on who is doing an action, but on who is receiving or experiencing the consequences of that action. The passive voice is useful in academic writing because it allows writers to highlight the most important participants or events within sentences by placing them at the beginning of the sentence.

Use the passive voice when:

  • You want to focus on the person, place, or thing affected by the action, or the action itself;
  • It is not important who or what did the action;
  • You want to be impersonal or more formal.

Form the passive voice by:

  • Turning the object of the active sentence into the subject of the passive sentence.
  • Changing the verb to a passive form by adding the appropriate form of the verb "to be" and the past participle of the main verb.

NOTE: Consult with your professor about using the passive voice before submitting your research paper. Some strongly discourage its use!

Active and Passive Voice. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Diefenbach, Paul. Future of Digital Media Syllabus. Drexel University; Passive Voice. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina.  

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The Process of Research Writing

(19 reviews)

what is research paper in academic text

Steven D. Krause, Eastern Michigan University

Copyright Year: 2007

Publisher: Steven D. Krause

Language: English

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Learn more about reviews.

Reviewed by Kevin Kennedy, Adjunct Professor, Bridgewater State University on 12/2/22

I think this book would make an excellent supplement to other class material in a class focused on writing and research. It helps a lot with the "why"s of research and gives a high-level overview. read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 3 see less

I think this book would make an excellent supplement to other class material in a class focused on writing and research. It helps a lot with the "why"s of research and gives a high-level overview.

Content Accuracy rating: 5

The book is accurate, and talks a lot about different ways to view academic writing

Relevance/Longevity rating: 5

This would be quite relevant for a student early on the college journey who is starting to complete research-based projects.

Clarity rating: 4

The text is clear and concise, though that conciseness sometimes leads to less content than I'd like

Consistency rating: 5

The book is consistent throughout

Modularity rating: 4

I could use the first chapters of this book very easily, but the later ones get into exercises that my classes wouldn't necessarily use

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4

The book is organized from the high level (what is academic writing with research) to the more specific (here are some specific exercises)

Interface rating: 3

I don't like the flow from contents to chapters, and they feel distinctly text-based. This is a no-frills text, but that's ok.

Grammatical Errors rating: 3

I didn't note anything glaringly obvious

Cultural Relevance rating: 5

I think that this text stays away from the cultural and focuses mostly on the cognitive. This prevents offensive material, though it may make it less appealing to students.

Reviewed by Julie Sorge Way, Instructional Faculty, James Madison University on 11/23/21

Overall, I think this book’s strongest suits are its organization, clarity, and modularity. It is useful and adaptable for a wide range of courses involving a research component, and as the book itself argues, research is a part of most learning... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 4 see less

Overall, I think this book’s strongest suits are its organization, clarity, and modularity. It is useful and adaptable for a wide range of courses involving a research component, and as the book itself argues, research is a part of most learning at the university level, whether or not a single traditional “research paper” is the end goal of a course. This is a great book with adaptable and useful content across a range of disciplines, and while it is low on “bells and whistles,” the content it provides seems to be relevant, helpful, and also fill a gap among other OER texts that focus more on rhetoric and less on research.

Because this is a book on research writing rather than cutting edge science, etc. it is unlikely to be made inaccurate by the passing of time.

In a desire to move past the simple “Comp II” textbook, Krause’s work here is relevant to a variety of fields. In creating a course with a major-specific research component, many parts of this text are relevant to what I’m doing, and due to its modularity and organization (see below) I am able to make use of it easily and draw students’ attention to the parts that will help them most with our learning objectives.

Clarity rating: 5

Krause’s writing style is uncomplicated and direct. His examples are ones I think most students could relate to or at least connect with reasonably well.

While the book is internally consistent in its tone, level of detail, and relevance to Krause’s original writing goals, in the process of applying it to different courses (as almost inevitably happens with OER materials) it is inconsistently useful for the course I in particular am planning. This is certainly no fault of the book’s. One example would be that it presents MLA and APA format for citing sources, but not Chicago/Turabian.

Modularity rating: 5

Certainly, its modularity is a real strong suit for Krause’s book overall – individual instructors planning different types of coursework that involve writing and research can easily adapt parts that work, and its Creative Commons license makes this even better.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5

Clear and direct organization is another strong suit in Krause’s text. The information is presented in an orderly and easy to navigate way that allows instructors and students alike to hone in on the most useful information for their writing and research task without spending undue amounts of time searching. This is much appreciated especially in an open access text where instructors are more likely to be “picking and choosing” relevant content from multiple texts and resources.

Interface rating: 4

Simple but clear – basic HTML and PDF navigation by chapter and section. Like many OER texts it is a bit short on visual engagement – the colorful infographics and illustrations many people are used to both in printed textbooks and interacting with internet content.

Grammatical Errors rating: 5

No errors noted.

Widely relevant (at least in the North American context I have most experience with) but as always, instructors should preview and adapt all material for the needs and context of their own classes and students.

what is research paper in academic text

Reviewed by Li-Anne Delavega, Undergraduate Research Experience Coordinator, Kapiolani Community College on 5/1/21

This textbook builds a good foundation for first-year students with topics such as developing a thesis, how to find sources and evaluate them, creating an annotated bibliography, audience, and avoiding plagiarism. While the content is explained... read more

This textbook builds a good foundation for first-year students with topics such as developing a thesis, how to find sources and evaluate them, creating an annotated bibliography, audience, and avoiding plagiarism. While the content is explained well and students are slowly walked through the research process, the textbook ends abruptly ends with a quick overview of the elements of a research essay after students organize their evidence and create an outline. A part two textbook that covers the rest of the writing process, such as structuring paragraphs, how to write an introduction and conclusion, and revising drafts, is needed to help students get to a finished product. As a composition-based textbook, I also felt it could have used a section on building arguments. The true gem of this textbook is its activities/exercises and comprehensive but accessible explanations.

Content Accuracy rating: 4

Aside from outdated citations and technology-related content, the process-based writing instruction is accurate and answers common questions from students about research and basic writing. I feel like the questions, checklists, and activities posed are helpful for students to really think through their writing process, and the author explains things without judgment. While students can benefit, I feel that faculty would also benefit from using this as a teaching manual to plan their classes.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 3

The writing instruction is solid and is still used in many textbooks today. Obviously, the sections on technology and citation are outdated, but some sections still have good reliable advice at their core. For example, search language, unreliable web sources, and collaborating online have evolved, but the concepts remain the same. I would cut those sections out and just take what I needed to give to students. The author has no plans to update this book, and someone would need to rewrite many sections of the book, which is not easy to implement.

The book is largely free of jargon and terms are clearly explained. The author's tone is casual and conversational when compared to other textbooks, which makes it more accessible to students and acts as a guide through the research process. However, it does lend itself to longer sections that could use heavy editing and it does sound like a mini-lecture, but I liked the way he thoroughly explains and sets up concepts. His tone and style are a bit inconsistent as others have noted.

The book is very consistent since research and writing terminology is the same across most disciplines. If you're a composition instructor, you'll find the framework is just common writing pedagogy for academic writing: focus on the writing process, freewriting, peer review, audience, revision, etc.

This book was intended to be modular and chapters are mostly self-contained, so it is easy to use individual chapters or change the sequence. There are unusable hyperlinks in each chapter that refer to other sections, but those are additional resources that could be replaced with a citation guide or other common resources. Sections, activities, examples, and key ideas are clearly labeled and can be used without the rest of the chapter. However, some writing concepts, such as a working thesis, are mentioned again in later chapters.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 3

Parts of the book are easily identifiable and the content within the chapter flows easily from one concept to the next. I felt that some of the chapters should have appeared earlier in the textbook. Students would have to wait until chapter 10 to learn about the research essay. Revising a working thesis comes before categorizing and reviewing your evidence. The peer-review chapter that advises students to read sections of their writing aloud to catch mistakes comes before brainstorming a topic. However, the sequence will depend on the instructor's preference. An index or a complete, searchable text would have helped so you don't need to guess which chapter has the content you need.

The PDF is the more polished and easier to read of the two versions. Overall, the PDF was well laid out, with clear headers and images. I found the colored boxes for the exercises helpful, though a lighter color would make the text easier to see for more students. The text uses different styles to create organization and emphasis, which made some pages (especially in the beginning) hard to read with the bolded and italicized clutter. I would have loved a complied version with all the chapters.

The HTML version is difficult to read as it is one long block of text and the callouts and images are not well spaced. There is, unfortunately, no benefit to reading the web version: no clickable links, dynamic text flow, or navigational links within each page so you will need to go back to the TOC to get the next section.

Grammatical Errors rating: 4

The book has grammatical and mechanical errors throughout but does not impact content comprehension. Other reviewers here identified more notable errors.

Cultural Relevance rating: 2

The language, examples, and references were generally ok, but the overall textbook felt acultural. Some consideration was taken with pronouns (relies on they/them/their) and gender roles. As others pointed out, there are many areas that could have used diversified sources, topics, references, examples, and students. Some of the textbook's activities assume able-bodied students and sections such as peer collaboration would benefit from a more nuanced discussion when he brought up resentment over non-contributing members, being silenced, and access to resources. There are a few red flags, but one glaring example is on page 5 of chapter 10. An excerpt from an article titled “Preparing to Be Colonized: Land Tenure and Legal Strategy in Nineteenth-Century Hawaii”(which includes the sentence, "Why did Hawaiians do this to themselves?") was used to show students when to use "I" in writing.

Overall, this is a good resource for writing instructors. As this book was written in 2007, faculty will need to cut or adapt a fair amount of the text to modernize it. It is not a textbook to assign to students for the semester, but the textbook's core content is solid writing pedagogy and the focus on using activities to reflect and revise is wonderful. Those outside of composition may find the basic exercises and explanations useful as long as students are primarily working out of a more discipline-specific (e.g., sciences) writing guide.

Reviewed by Milena Gueorguieva, Associate Teaching Professor, University of Massachusetts Lowell on 6/28/20

This is a process based research writing textbook, a rarity among composition textbooks. It is often the case that foundational writing courses are supposed to cover process and then, very often, instructors, students and textbook authors all... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 5 see less

This is a process based research writing textbook, a rarity among composition textbooks. It is often the case that foundational writing courses are supposed to cover process and then, very often, instructors, students and textbook authors all forget that process is important when they have to dive into the technical aspects of conducting and writing about and from research, usually in a 'second course' in the first year writing sequence. This is not the case with this book: it is a thoughtful, comprehensive exploration of writing from research as a multi-step recursive process. This approach can help students solidify the knowledge and skills they have acquired in prior courses, especially the multi-step recursive nature of writing as a process while developing a set of strong writing from research skills.

The foundations of research writing are presented in an accessible yet rigorous way. The book does away with the myth of research writing as something you do after you think about and research a topic. The author articulated this idea very well, when he wrote, ”We think about what it is we want to research and write about, but at the same time, we learn what to think based on our research and our writing.”

Relevance/Longevity rating: 4

Overall, an excellent handbook (it can be used non-sequentially); however, some of the information on database searches and working with popular internet sources as well as collaborative writing (especially as it relates to the use of technology) needs updating.

The appropriately conversational tone translates complex academic concepts into easy to access ideas that students can relate to. The same is true for the many activities and exercises that demonstrate a variety of real life applications for the research skills presented in the book, which helps students see that research and research based writing happen everywhere, not just on campuses , where students seem to write for an audience of one: the professor who assigned the paper.

The material presented is rigorously and consistently presented in various modes: text, activities and exercises.

It can be used in a variety of ways; it has excellent modular stucture.

Excellently organized: reviews and expands on what students might already know about academic writing as a process; introduces the fundamentals of research and research writing and then uses both of these sets of skills in various research projects.

Although it has some very useful and appropriate visuals , the text could have been more user friendly; it is difficult to follow.

Excellently proof-read,

the book is culturally sensitive and contains appropriate examples and/or references.

An overall excellent composition text that provides useful exercises and assignments (such as the antithesis essay) that can help students build complex and nuanced arguments based on research. Highly recommend!

Reviewed by Valerie Young, Associate Professor, Hanover College on 3/29/20

This text is both general and specific. General enough for use in a variety of courses and disciplines, specific enough to garner interest for faculty who want to teach students the fundamentals and more nuanced aspects of research writing. The... read more

This text is both general and specific. General enough for use in a variety of courses and disciplines, specific enough to garner interest for faculty who want to teach students the fundamentals and more nuanced aspects of research writing. The basics are here. The text could be assigned in specific modules. The text will benefit from an update, especially in regards to references about collaborative writing tools and internet research. The text is missing a chapter on reading research and integrating research into the literature review process. This is a relevant skill for research writing, as student writers often struggle with reading the work of others to understand the body of literature as a foundation for their own assertions.

The content and information seems like it could be helpful for any undergraduate course that has a research writing project. The unique aspects of this book are its features of collaborative and peer review writing practices and all of the exercises embedded in the text. The author gives examples and writing exercises throughout the chapters. These examples could serve inexperienced students quite well. They could also annoy advanced students.

There are some references to the World Wide Web and the Internet, and library research that seem a bit outdated. There isn't much advanced referencing of commonly used internet research options, such as Google Scholar, citation apps, etc.

Clarity rating: 3

Some points are clear and concise. Other pieces go into too much detail for one chapter page. Because the pages are long, and not all content will be relevant to all readers, the author could consider using "collapsible" sections. This could be especially relevant in the APA & MLA sections, offering a side-by-side comparison of each or offering overviews of style basics with sections that open up into more details for some interested readers.

Consistency rating: 4

no issues here

Modularity rating: 3

The chapters are relatively concise and each starts with an overview of content. The web format does not allow for much navigational flow between chapters or sections. It would be great to hyperlink sections of content that are related so that readers can pass through parts of the text to other topics. It does look like the author intended to hyperlink between chapters, but those links (denoted "Hyperlink:" in the text) are not functional.

Overall flow is appropriate for an interdisciplinary lens. Readers can move through as many or as few sections as needed. The chapter topics and subtopics are organized fairly comprehensively, and often by questions that students might ask.

Interface rating: 2

The long blocks of text in each chapter aren't very reader friendly. Also, once the reader gets to the end of the long page / chapter, there is no navigation up to the top of the chapter or laterally to previous or next content. Text doesn't adjust to screen size, so larger screens might have lots of white space.

no issues noticed. Some examples could be updated to be more inclusive, culturally diverse, etc.

This book has some good lessons, questions, and suggestions for topics relevant to research writing. The text could benefit from a more modern take on research writing, as some of the topics and phrases are dated.

Reviewed by Jennifer Wilde, Adjunct instructor, Columbia Gorge Community College on 12/13/18

The text is a wonderful guidebook to the process of writing a research essay. It describes the steps a college writer should take when approaching a research assignment, and I have no doubt that if students followed the steps outlined by the... read more

The text is a wonderful guidebook to the process of writing a research essay. It describes the steps a college writer should take when approaching a research assignment, and I have no doubt that if students followed the steps outlined by the text, they would be sure to succeed in generating a quality thesis statement and locating appropriate sources. It is not comprehensive in that it has very little to say regarding composition, clarity and style. It does not contain an index or glossary.

Sections on MLA and APA format are inaccurate in that they are outdated. It would be preferable for the text to refer students to the online resources that provide up to date information on the latest conventions of APA and MLA.

The bulk of the chapters are timeless and filled with wisdom about using research to write a paper. However, the book should contain links or otherwise refer students to the web sources that would tell them how to use current MLA/APA format. There are some passages that feel anachronistic, as when the author recommends that students consider the advantages of using a computer rather than a word processor or typewriter. The sections on computer research and "netiquette" feel outdated. Finally, the author describes the differences between scholarly sources and periodicals but does not address the newer type of resources, the online journal that is peer-reviewed but open access and not associated with a university.

The writing is strong and clear. Dr. Krause does not indulge in the use of jargon.

The different sections open with an explanation of what will be covered. Then, the author explains the content. Some chapters are rather short while others are long, but generally each topic is addressed comprehensively. In the last several chapters, the author closes with a sample of student work that illustrates the principles the chapter addressed.

The text is divisible into sections. To some extent the content is sequential, but it is not necessary to read the early chapters (such as the section on using computers, which millenials do not need to read) in order to benefit from the wisdom in later chapters. I used this text in a writing 121 course, and I did not assign the entire text. I found some chapters helpful and others not so relevant to my particular needs. Students found the chapters useful and discrete, and they did not feel like they had to go back and read the whole thing. The section on writing an annotated bibliography, for instance, could be used in any writing class.

The topics are presented in the order in which a student approaches a writing assignment. First, the author asks, why write a research essay, and why do research? Next, the author addresses critical thinking and library/data use; quoting, summarizing and paraphrasing; collaboration and writing with others; writing a quality thesis statement; annotating a bibliography; categorizing sources; dealing with counterarguments, and actually writing the research essay. It's quite intuitive and logical. It seems clear that this author has had a lot of experience teaching students how to do these steps.

The interface is straightforward, but I could not locate any hyperlinks that worked. Navigation through the book was no problem.

The book is well written overall. The writer's style is straightforward and clear. There are occasional typos and words that feel misplaced, as in the following sentence: "The reality is though that the possibilities and process of research writing are more complicated and much richer than that." There should be commas around the word "though", and the tone is fairly conversational. These are extremely minor issues.

The examples feel inclusive and I was not aware of any cultural insensitivity in the book overall.

The book is really helpful! I particularly appreciate the sections on how to write an annotated bib and a good thesis statement, and I think the sections on writing a category/evaluation of sources, working thesis statement, and antithesis exercise are unique in the large field of writing textbooks. The book contains no instruction on grammatical conventions, style, clarity, rhetoric, how to emphasize or de-emphasize points, or other writing tips. In that sense, it is not a great text for a composition class. But I think it's extremely useful as a second resource for such a class, especially for classes that teach argumentation or those that require an analytic essay. I feel it is most appropriate for science students - nursing, psychology, medicine, biology, sociology. It is less likely to be useful for a general WR 121 class, or for a bunch of English majors who largely use primary sources.

Reviewed by Jess Magaña, Assistant Teaching Professor, University of Missouri-Kansas City on 6/19/18

This is a comprehensive introduction to planning and writing research papers. The suggested activities seem helpful, and the lack of an index or glossary does not interfere with understanding. read more

This is a comprehensive introduction to planning and writing research papers. The suggested activities seem helpful, and the lack of an index or glossary does not interfere with understanding.

The information is accurate and straightforward.

Some information is out of date, such as the section regarding email, but the main concepts are well explained and relevant. An instructor could easily substitute a lecture or activity with updated information.

The clarity is excellent.

There are no inconsistencies.

The text is organized in a way that lends itself to changing the order of chapters and adding and subtracting topics to suit the needs of each class.

The progression of chapters is logical.

Interface rating: 5

The "hyperlinks" helpfully direct readers to related topics (although these are not actual links in the online version), which contributes to the modularity of the text.

There are a few errors, but none that significantly obscure meaning.

Cultural Relevance rating: 4

This text could use updated examples showing greater diversity in authors and work. I recommend instructors find supplementary examples relevant to their classes.

I intend to use this text in my courses, supplemented with a few activities and more diverse examples to suit my students' needs.

Reviewed by Sheila Packa, Instructor, Lake Superior College on 2/1/18

The text is a comprehensive guide to research for students in College Composition courses. The text is concise and interesting. Critical thinking, research and writing argument are integrated into his suggested assignments. The author covers... read more

The text is a comprehensive guide to research for students in College Composition courses. The text is concise and interesting. Critical thinking, research and writing argument are integrated into his suggested assignments.

The author covers the research question, library resources, how to paraphrase and use quotes, and collaborative writing projects. There are suggested exercises in the process of research, such as a topic proposal, a guide to developing a strong thesis statement, a full exploration of refutation (called the antithesis), the critique or rhetorical analysis, the annotated bibliography, and a guide to help students to accumulate a good assortment of sources. MLA and APA documentation is covered. Note that this text is published in 2007. Therefore, I recommend the use of MLA 8 Handbook for up-to-date guidelines for correct documentation. The Research Paper is full explained. In the chapter, Alternate Ways to Present Research, the author focuses on a Portfolio. He discusses web publication of research and poster sessions.

I value the clarity of ideas. The text is error-free, and I like the example essays written by students that will serve to inspire students.

The content is relevant. The author guides students through the process in a way that is easy to understand and also academically rigorous. The MLA 8 Handbook is a needed supplement (and that is affordable).

The writing is clear and concise. The organization of the chapters is logical and leads the students through steps in the process of research, writing a reasoned argument, and professional presentation of the research.

Terminology is clear and the framework for research is clear and sensible.

The book's modularity is definitely a strength. It's possible to use chapters of the text without using the entire book and to omit chapters that are not a focus of the instructor.

This book has a logical arrangement of chapters and the assignments are valuable.

The interface is great. It's readable online or in pdf form.

No grammatical errors. There is one detail that reflects changing rules of documentation. In MLA, titles of books, magazines, and journals are now italicized instead of underlined. In this text, they are underlined.

The text is free of bias or stereotypes.

Reviewed by Jennie Englund, Instructor, Composition I & II, Rogue Community College, Oregon on 8/15/17

Twelve chapters are broken into multiple parts. On Page 3 of the Introduction, the text emphasizes its purpose as an "introduction to academic writing and research." The following chapters present more than substantial information to give... read more

Twelve chapters are broken into multiple parts.

On Page 3 of the Introduction, the text emphasizes its purpose as an "introduction to academic writing and research." The following chapters present more than substantial information to give introductory (even well into master) research writers a foundation of the basics, as well as some detail. It differentiates itself as "Academic" research writing through thesis, evidence, and citation. Two of these concepts are revisted in the conclusion. The third (thesis) has its own section, which this reviewer will use in class.

I'm grateful to have reviewed an earlier electronic text. This provided the ability to compare/contrast, and note that this particular text was more comprehensive and in-depth than the guide I had previously reviewed (which was more of a framework, good in its own right.)

Had the guide contained a thorough section on revision, I'd give it a perfect score! Thus, the book very very nearly does what it sets out to do; it provides most of The Process of Research Writing.

Retrieval dates are no longer used on the APA References page. This reviewer would have preferred titles italicized instead of underlined.

The text opens with an introduction of the project, by its author. The project began in 2000 as a text for a major publishing house, but eventually landed via author's rights as an electronic text. Therefore, essentially, the book has already been around quite a while. This reviewer concludes that time, thought, and execution went into publishing the material, and predicts its popularity and usability will grow.

Timeless, the guide could have been used with small updates twenty years ago, and could be used with updates twenty years from now.

The guide could be used as the sole text in a composition course, supplemented by more formal (as well as APA) examples.

The text is organized into 12 chapters; it logically begins with "Thinking Critically about Research," and concludes with "Citing Your Research Using MLA or APA Style." The text includes most of what this reviewer uses to teach academic research writing. However, the book omits the editing/revising process.

The guide poses purposeful questions.

On Page 7 of the Introduction, the text reports being "organized in a 'step-by-step' fashion," with an invitation to the reader to use the book in any order, and revisit passages. The reviewer found the organization to be consistent and as systematic as the actual composition of an academic research paper.

The meat of the text begins with the definition and purpose of "Research." Immediately, a nod to working thesis follows, which is revisited in Chapter 5. Sources are examined and classified into a chart of "Scholarly Versus Non-scholarly or Popular Sources." The segment on "Using the Library" would complement a course or class period on library usage.

The Table of Contents is fluid and logical. Within the text, concepts are revisited and built upon, which the reviewer appreciates. Examples and exercises are given.

Chapter 10 contains an outline of a student research paper (which follows). The paper examines the problems with and solutions for university athletics. The paper is in MLA format. Tone is less formal than this reviewer would use as an example of academic research writing. The reviewer would have welcomed an example of an APA paper, as well.

The last chapter fully realizes instruction introduced at the beginning: citation defines academic writing, and academic writers credit their sources, and present evidence to their readers. I wish this last part emphasized thesis again, too, but in all, it is a very structured, reader-friendly guide.

Charts are integrated and understandable, though the majority of the book is text.

This review found some grammatical errors including capitalization. Book/journal/magazine/newspaper titles are underlined in lieu of italicized.

Student examples include Daniel Marvins, Ashley Nelson, Jeremy Stephens, Kelly Ritter, Stuart Banner, and Casey Copeman. Most examples of citations are from male authors. Text would benefit from multi-cultural authors. Examples/topics include The Great Gatsby,African-American Physicians and Drug Advertising, Cyberculture, ADHD, Diabetes, Student-athletes, and Drunk Driving.Examples are culturally appropriate and multi-disciplinary. Consistent pronoun used: he/him/his

Third-person narration is used; the author addresses the reader directly (and informally). While this perhaps makes a connection between the author and the reader, and adds to understanding, it does not reflect academic research writing, and may confuse beginning writers?

Chapter 5, "Writing a Working Thesis," is among the most clear, comprehensive, and straightforward instruction on the topic this reviewer has seen. I will use this section in my Composition I and II courses, as well as Chapters 1, 3, and 12. I wish this form had a place to rate usability. In that case, this guide would score highly. I commend Dr. Krause's execution and composition, and applaud his sharing this at no cost with the academic community.

Reviewed by Marie Lechelt, ESL/English Instructor and Writing Center Co-director, Riverland Community College on 6/20/17

"The Process of Research Writing" is a textbook that includes all of the major topics covered in most college research writing courses. The style of writing makes it easily understood by students. Depending on your focus in your writing class,... read more

"The Process of Research Writing" is a textbook that includes all of the major topics covered in most college research writing courses. The style of writing makes it easily understood by students. Depending on your focus in your writing class, you may want to supplement this text with more about argumentative writing. Other writing models, homework exercises, and classroom activities found by the instructor would also compliment the use of this text. While I would not use this textbook in my course from start to finish, I would jump around and use a variety of sections from it to teach research writing. This text could be used for a beginning writing class or a second semester writing course. Based on my students writing experiences and abilities, I would eliminate or include certain sections. There is no index or glossary included. The hyperlinks to other sections also do not work.

The content is accurate and error-free. I didn't detect any biased information either. The MLA and APA information have changed since this book was published. The peer review work, plagiarism, critiquing sources, and many more of the topics are almost exactly what I teach to my students. This format will work well for them.

While most research writing content does not change over time, there are many parts of this book that could be updated. These include examples (The Great Gatsby), hyperlinks, and references to technology. The technology aspect is especially important. Since technology is constantly changing, most textbooks (print and online) are out of date as soon as they are printed. Because of this, teachers are constantly having to use supplemental material, which is fine. Just like our class websites, we have to update this information every semester or even more often. If you choose to use this textbook, keep in mind that this will be necessary. The MLA/APA information is also out of date, but this is also to be expected.

Clarity is one of the benefits of this textbook. Although the style is somewhat informal, it included appropriate topics and terminology for students learning to write research essays. Students can understand the topics with one or two readings and discuss the topics in class. There were a few places that seemed like common knowledge for students at this level, like the library or using computers. Unfortunately, we do still have students who do not come to us having already learned this information. So, I don't think these sections would have a negative impact on other students. Students can also be given optional sections to read, or as I plan to do, the teacher can skip around and only assign some sections.

The majority of the terminology is common knowledge in research writing teaching. The text is fairly informal in writing style, which I believe is an advantage for students. Many times, students will read a text and then I will need to explain the terminology or ideas in depth in my lectures. Since I prefer to complete activities and work on students' writing in class, instead of lecturing, this book will work well. The chapter on the "Antithesis" was new to me. While I have taught these ideas, I have not used this term before. This is a chapter I may not use and instead include supplemental material of my own.

The chapters are divided clearly and could be separated quite easily to use as individual units in a writing class. If the hyperlinks worked though, they would be helpful. Exercises build upon one another, so one could not assign a later exercise without students first understanding the other sections of the text. I plan to use this text in a research writing class, and I will be skipping around and only using some sections. I do not believe there will be any problem with this. While students may at first feel that starting on Chapter 4 might be strange, they are very adaptive and should have no difficulties with this format.

The Table of Contents is clear and easily understood. Each chapter follows a logical sequence, and students will be able to transition from one topic to another without difficulty. The use of charts, headings, bold, highlighting, and some other visual aids help the reader to understand what is most important to remember. Although, this could be improved upon with the use of color and graphics. While the content is valuable, I would most likely skip around when using this book in the classroom. While the author begin with an introduction and then jumps right into research, I focus on topic selection and thesis writing before research begins. Of course, as the author mentions, students will go back to their thesis and research many times before finishing the writing process.

The text is easily navigated, and students would be able to follow the topics throughout. The lack of graphics and color is noticeable and detracts from the content. In a world of advanced technology where students click on hundreds of websites with amazing content each week, online textbooks need to meet this standard. This textbook is similar to a traditional textbook. Some links are also inactive.

There were some typos and small grammatical errors but no glaring instances. They also did not impact understanding.

This book contained no offensive language or examples. However, we have a lot of diversity in our classrooms, and this is not reflected in the book. Expanding the examples or including links to diverse examples would be helpful.

I will be using this text in a second semester writing class. It has valuable information about research writing. I believe it could also be used for a first semester writing class. As mentioned above, I will use sections of the text and skip around to accommodate the needs of my students. Supplemental materials will also be needed to meet current technology needs.

Reviewed by Betsy Goetz, English Instructor, Riverland Community College on 6/20/17

The text covers all subject areas appropriately. read more

The text covers all subject areas appropriately.

Overall, the text is accurate.

Relevant and current.

I liked the clarity of the text, especially the specific exercises for students to apply the theory they have learned.

This text is consistent -- good terminology!

Clear sections to focus on key points of research writing.

Well organized.

Not confusing

Overall, lacking grammatical errors.

Relevant -- research writing and thesis building are timeless.

Reviewed by Karen Pleasant, Adjunct Instructor, Rogue Community College on 4/11/17

The textbook covered the basics of writing a research paper (the term "essay"is preferred by the author) and would be appropriate for an introductory college writing course, such as WR 121 or WR 122. A table of content is provided, but there is... read more

The textbook covered the basics of writing a research paper (the term "essay"is preferred by the author) and would be appropriate for an introductory college writing course, such as WR 121 or WR 122. A table of content is provided, but there is no glossary. The textbook guides a student from exploring the initial topic selection through the finished product, although I would have liked the use of citations to be covered in more depth. If I chose this as the textbook for my class I would also need to add supplemental materials about thoroughly developing an argument as well as revising a paper.

The author presented the material in an unbiased manner and does so in a way that provides high readability for students with little to no background in writing a research paper. Excellent examples are provided to reinforce concepts and thoughtful, creative collaborative exercises round out each chapter to give practice in skill mastery. Both MLA and APA formatting styles are included, but the APA section needs to be updated. The book was published in 2007 and many of the APA guidelines have changed., including the preference for using italics versus underlining for book and journal titles.

Each chapter is self-contained and stands alone and , therefore, could easily be updated. Most of the information is relevant and could be used indefinitely. I like that Chapter 11 recommended alternate ways to present the research and suggested more contemporary technology based methods. Chapter 12, about APA and MLA citations, is the chapter that currently needs to be updated and would need to be checked for accuracy annually against the latest APA & MLA guidelines. As it reads, I would handout current materials for APA citation sessions and not use this chapter in the book.

The book is well organized and is very user friendly. I think students would enjoy reading it and be able to relate readily to the content. Examples given and exercises provided help to clarify the content and reinforce the concepts for students. The textbook flows well from selection of initial topic ideas to finished product and will help students to work through the process of writing a research paper.

New terms are thoroughly explained and are used consistently throughout the textbook. The knowledge students gain as they progress through the book feels logical and organized in a usable fashion.

The text is organized so that each chapter stands alone and the order the information is presented can be easily modified to fit the needs of an instructor. The book is that rare combination of being equally functional for both student and instructor.

The topics are presented as needed to guide students through the process of writing a research paper, but could be done in another order if desired. Bold and boxed items are used to emphasize key concepts and chapter exercises.

The textbook is visually appealing and easy to read with adequate use of white space and varied font sizes. I explored the textbook via the PDF documents, which were easy to download, although the hyperlinks were not accessible.

There were noticeable grammatical errors.

The textbook is inclusive and accessible to all and didn't have any content that could be deemed offensive. The approachable layout and writing style make the textbook relevant to college students from a variety of backgrounds.

I would definitely adopt this open textbook for my writing classes. The author provided some wonderful ideas for teaching about research papers and I found many chapter exercises that I would be willing to incorporate into my class . I am especially intrigued by the use of writing an antithesis paper as a lead in to adding opposition to the research paper and look forward to getting student input and feedback about some of the alternative ways to present their research. Compared to textbooks I have used or perused in the past, this book seems more inviting and user friendly for students new to writing college level research papers.

Reviewed by VINCENT LASNIK, Adjunct Professor, Rogue Community College on 4/11/17

This comprehensiveness is one of the strengths of The Process of Research Writing. The Table of Contents (TOC) is fine—and each separate chapter also reproduces the contents listing from high-lever through low-level subsections at the beginning... read more

This comprehensiveness is one of the strengths of The Process of Research Writing. The Table of Contents (TOC) is fine—and each separate chapter also reproduces the contents listing from high-lever through low-level subsections at the beginning of each chapter. This duplicate listing feature helps orient students to what is covered (and what is not) for every chapter in-context. Yes—It is a fair evaluation that there can generally be easy-to-fix, quickly recognizable updates, enhancements, and notable improvements to virtually any textbook 10-15 years after its initial publication date (particularly related to changing terminology and nomenclature within the dynamic English lexicon, technology applications (databases, websites, ‘search engines,’ current good ‘help sites’ for students learning the latest iteration of APA style for manuscript formatting, in-text citations, and end references, etc.)—and the Krause text is a prime candidate for such a thorough revision. For example, digital object identifiers (the doi was first introduced circa 2000) did not become widely/pervasively established until well into the first decade of the 21st century; the ‘doi’ is an ubiquitous standard today in 2017. Nevertheless, many of the basic (boilerplate) concepts are clearly noted and credibly, coherently explained. The text could use some effective reorganization (as I note elsewhere in my review)—but that is arguably a subjective/personalized perspective more related to the way we approach writing instruction and student academic development at Rogue Community College—and perhaps less of a global/universal criticism.

See my comments in other sections that impact this issue. Overall, Krause’s text appears, “accurate, error-free and unbiased.” There are no obvious problems with this observation/contention. Some of the ‘out-of-date’ specifics in the text need updating as I note in detail in my other comments.

Most of the text describes research-writing strategies that are fairly well-established if not generic to the undergraduate English composition content area; thus, the overall longevity of the existing text is good. I have suggested, however, that any such ‘how-to’ guide should be updated (as this particular version) after its first decade of publication. The content for online research, for example, reflects an early 2000s perspective of emerging technology terms (e.g., defining blogs as “web-logs” is easily 12-15 years behind the use of the term in 2017), and some of the online websites mentioned are no longer relevant. These types of ‘out-of-date’ past-referents/links, however, can be easily updated to 2017+ accuracy. I have made a few suggestions about such an update—including my offer to assist Steve Krause (gratis and pro bono) in this update should my collaboration be desired. Otherwise, Krause might go the more open ‘peer review’ route and assemble a set of active teachers, instructors, and adjunct professors (such as me) who are on the ‘frontlines’ of current praxis for research-based, critical thinking, problem-oriented writing courses across the 11th-12th grade and through the undergraduate and workforce education community.

The text is written is a clear, credible, and cogent prose throughout. This is one of the particular strengths of Krause’s text—and recursively provides an exemplar for well-written composition. On occasion, the clarity for students might be improved by additional ‘real-world examples’ (i.e., more ‘showing rather than mere abstract telling) explicating some obtuse concepts and numerous rules (e.g., for research strategy, proofreading/editing, using search engines and conducting library research, etc.)—but a similar constructive criticism could easily be made of nearly all similar sources.

The text wording, terminology, framework and process emphasis are highly consistent. There are overlaps and dovetailing (i.e., redundancy) in any/every college textbook—but Krause keeps these to a minimum throughout. Some updating of terminology would be appropriate, useful, and needed as I note throughout my OER review.

The text is superb in this regard. The chapters and exercises are highly modular—which supports the customized reorganization I apply myself in my own courses as noted in my other comments. Numerous subheads and special highlighted ‘key points’ textboxes augment this modularity and improve the narrowing of assigned readings, examples, and exercises for most writing courses. The Process of Research Writing is clearly not, “overly self-referential,” and can easily be, “reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader” by any instructor.

One of the principal weaknesses of the set of chapters is that the given ‘table of contents’ structure is conceptually disjointed—at least insofar as my research writing course is designed. Therefore, to provide a more coherent, logical sequence congruent to the course organization of my Writing 122 (this is an intermediate/advanced-level English Composition II)—it was necessary to assign a completely different order of The Process of Research Writing (Krause, 2007) high-level chapters/pages for weekly course reading assignments as follows:

Week One: Table of Contents; Introduction: Why Write Research Projects?; and Chapter 1: Thinking Critically About Research; Week Two: Chapter 2: Understanding and Using the Library and the Internet for Research. These three starting chapters were reasonable to introduce in Krause’s original sequence. Continuing into Week Two, I also added Chapter 4: How to Collaborate and Write with Others (but I highlighted limited/specific passages only since WR122 does not emphasize collaborative prose composition activities and extensive group-writing projects using such apps as Google Docs). Week Three: I then assigned Chapter 10: The Research Essay—since it was important to orient students to the intrinsic, namesake umbrella concept of researching and writing the research essay—the essential focus of the course I teach. IMPORTANT NEED TO RESTRUCTURE THE OER as it exists: Viewed from a course rationale and content/skill acquisition conceptual level—I have no idea why Krause did not place ‘Writing The Research Essay’ as high as Chapter 2. It comes far too late in the book as Chapter 10. This is actually where the chapter belongs (in my view); the other topics in the remaining Chapters’ (2—12) would more cogently and effectively proceed after first exploring the high-level nature of the research essay task in the first place. The subsequent skills for conducting Online Library Research; Quoting, Paraphrasing, Avoiding Plagiarism, creating a testable ‘Working Thesis,’ producing an Annotated Bibliography (some courses also use a précis assignment), Evaluating and Categorizing Sources, etc.—are realistically supporting, scaffolding, and corroborating functional/operational skills designed to design, research, and produce the research-based essay project. Therefore—from a project-based and problem-oriented pedagogical strategy/approach—a sound argument could be proffered that putting Chapter 10 second in a reordered book would help students on many levels (not the least being engaging interest and promoting contextual understanding for why learning the content of the remaining chapters makes sense and can be critical/applicable to the research-writing process.

Continuing on my own WR122 course text-sequence customization—in Week Four—we move into the attribution phase of the writing process in Chapter 3: Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism. Logically, we then move (in Week Five) to Chapter 5: The Working Thesis so students can ask significant/original questions and determine a point of departure into their research essay. This seemed like a good time to add the concept of ‘opposition views’ (i.e., counter-claims, rejoinder and rebuttal) discussed in Chapter 8: The Antithesis. In Week Six—we moved into essay formatting, in-text citation and end references, so Chapter 12: Citing Your Research Using MLA or APA Style {(focusing on reading pp. 1-2 (brief overview), and pp. 18-33 about APA style)} was assigned. In addition, students also perused Chapter 7: The Critique preceding a related argumentative assignment (i.e., a movie review project). For Week Seven (concurrent with an annotated bibliography project for the main term paper—students read Chapter 6: The Annotated Bibliography, and Chapter 9: The Categorization and Evaluation (of sources) that was ostensibly/logically relevant to the annotated bibliography project. Concluding the course for Weeks Eight-Eleven—there were new required readings. Students were instructed to review previous readings in The Process of Research Writing (Krause, 2007)—time permitting. Also Note: Chapter 11: Alternative Ways to Present Your Research is completely optional reading. It is not particularly applicable to this course; there is a student’s self-reflection about the research process on pp. 3-11 that may have some nominal merit, but it notes MLA style (versus my course’s use of APA 6th edition style only) and is in any case not required.

The text is not fancy; standard black and white (high-contrast) font used throughout. For emphasis of key points, Krause does use special ‘highlight boxes’ with gray background, a thick black stroke on the outside of the rectangular textbox. While the gray level might be lowered (in the update) for improved contrast—the true-black, bulleted, bolded key-terms are easy to perceive/read. The only criticism I have is the distracting overuse of quotation mark punctuation for emphasis; this should be corrected in any updated version. Otherwise, most of the book’s interface presentation supports a good user (student) experience, good printability, and good accessibility per ADA and general disability (e.g., visually impaired learners) protocols.

There are no significant/glaring occurrences of grammatical errors in the text. I am not a ‘grammar snob’ in any case. The prose seems clear, cogent, thoughtful, well-written; it generally uses solid grammar, mechanics, and punctuation. The exception is the overuse of a somewhat casual/conversational tone combined with (what is more of a recognizable issue) a distracting overuse of quotation marks—many of which are simply neither needed nor helpful; most could be quickly removed with an immediate improvement to readability.

I do not see significant, relevant, or glaring faux pas pertaining to any biased disrespect for multiculturalism. All persons (e.g., races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and cultural backgrounds) are equally respected and appreciated. The content area (English composition) is very amenable to a relatively generic, culture-free perspective—and Krause’s examples and prose is well-within any applicable standards of post-modern, scholarly, formal non-fiction in written Standard English.

[1] The Process of Research Writing was ostensibly presented/published to Creative Commons in 2007. No identifiable part/portion of the original edition text appears to have been updated (changed, modified, or improved) since then (i.e., at least 10 years); This is perhaps the single, most apparent flaw/weakness for this textbook. An in-depth revision to 2017 post-rhetorical model essay-writing standards and APA conventions would be invaluable—and quite bluntly—is sorely required. A newly updated Version 2.0 for 2017-18 should be critically planned (and scheduled or already ‘in progress’ if it is not already).

[2] There are many insightful, practical, and high-value approaches to the research writing process; in this regard—the nominal OER title is superbly appropriate for late high-school and beginning college (undergraduate) research essay projects. Even though some of the technical components (e.g., APA style) require updating/revision (which makes basic, reasonable sense after a ‘decade on the shelf’ for any academic research writing source)—Krause’s chapters can effectively replace many expensive, glossy college entry-level textbooks! After presenting the core concepts in a coherent and self-evident manner, Krause supplies a plethora of examples to illustrate those concepts. Then (and this is one of the true strengths of this OER)—each chapter (particularly Chapters 5-10) highlights student-oriented exercises to practice those same core concepts). Because of this latter emphasis—the Krause OER is ‘learner-centered’ (as opposed to ‘content centered’), problem-oriented and performance-oriented as well—providing opportunities for creative, resourceful teachers to adapt/adopt the OER to course assignments.

[3] There does not appear to be a single (standalone) PDF for this OER. This is a notable flaw/weakness for this textbook. Conversely, however, although a single PDF would have some convenient ‘easier downloading’ advantages for students—having separate chapters affords every teacher to create a customized chapter-order (as I have efficiently done to correspond to my course design). The chapters support excellent modularity and the accompanying exercises/examples demonstrate the concepts Krause explicates with a fine degree of granularity for any teacher. Thus—integrating any textbooks or teaching/learning resources (like OERs) always has tradeoffs—plusses and minuses, positives and negatives. The obvious key, therefore, is taking the liberty of using the OER as a supporting scaffold or buttress to an instructor’s original design concept—rather than the foundation around which a course can be designed.

[4] Some minor weaknesses for prose instruction are (a) Krause’s acceptance of passive, sophomoric signal phrasing (i.e., According to X…)—as opposed to strong, active voice such as ‘’X found…’; and (b) a general overuse of quotation marks throughout the book. This is not meant as a harsh criticism—merely an observation that readability could be improved with a newer version that eliminates most quotation marks (Note: In APA style—these punctuation symbols are only used for verbatim quotes. This makes for a cleaner, clearer manuscript).

[5] One of the solid/helpful strengths of the book is a relatively accurate presentation of APA style for in-text citation and end references (Chapter 12). It appears that like many academics—Krause is more familiar and comfortable with the Modern Language Association’s MLA style/formatting. No problem there—I was simply trained on APA beginning in 1984 so it is native to me; I also use the latest version of APA style in all of my writing (college composition) courses. Thus—it should come as no surprise there are a number of obvious APA-associated inaccuracies including (but limited to): (a) meekly accepting ‘n.d.’ (no date) and ‘n.a.’ (no author) sources when a little investigative research by the student (and adherence to the APA rule hierarchy for dates and authors) would easily come up with a sound date and author. Another error (b) seems to be more typographic (formatting) and/or refers to an earlier edition of APA style: the end references in the PDF (and html versions?) use underline in place of italics. The 2011 APA 6th edition style does not use underline in the end references. There are other small (faux pas) errors such as (c) noting generally inaccessible proprietary online databases and servers (again—no longer done in APA). A thorough, meticulous updating of this OER source would probably take care of many of these APA-error issues. I’d be happy to work with Steve on this update at any time.

[6] I use Amy Guptill’s Writing in College: From Competence to Excellence by Amy Guptill of State University of New York (2016) for my English Composition I course that emphasizes general essay writing and a simple research-supported argumentative essay. I teach that course using the following assigned readings: Week One: Chapter 1 (Really? Writing? Again?), pp. 1-7, and Chapter 2 (What Does the Professor Want? Understanding the Assignment), pp. 9-18; Week Two: Chapter 6 (Back to Basics: The Perfect Paragraph), pp. 48-56; Chapter 7 (Intros and Outros), pp. 57-64; Week Four: Chapter 9 (Getting the Mechanics Right), pp. 75-85; Week Five: Chapter 8 (Clarity and Concision), pp. 65-73; Week Six: Chapter 3 (Constructing the Thesis and Argument—From the Ground Up), pp. 19-27; Week Seven: Chapter 4 (Secondary Sources in Their Natural Habitats), pp. 28-37; Week Eight: Chapter 5 (Listening to Sources, Talking to Sources), pp. 38-47. I then switch over to Krause’s OER for my English Composition II course. At Rogue Community College, Writing 122 emphasizes intermediate essay writing and analytical, more rigorous and original research-based essays involving critical thinking. I completely reordered the chapters as described above to fit into my course design. I like Krause’s individual ‘modular’ chapters—but the particular ‘scope and sequence’ he uses are debatable. Overall, however, The Process of Research Writing easily and effectively substitutes/replaces other costly tomes from for-profit academic publishers—even those that offer bundled DVDs and online-access to proprietary tutorial sources. Used in conjunction with other freely available PDF OERs, websites, YouTube videos, tutorial/practice sites from innumerable libraries, blogs (e.g., the APA Blog is particularly helpful)—as well as original/customized sources created by individual instructors for their own courses—the Krause book offers a good, solid baseline for developing research-based writing competencies particularly appropriate for the first two years of college.

Reviewed by Amy Jo Swing, English Instructor, Lake Superior College on 4/11/17

This book covers most of the main concepts of research writing: thesis, research, documenting, and process. It's weak on argument though, which is standard in most research composition texts. The book provides a clear index so finding information... read more

This book covers most of the main concepts of research writing: thesis, research, documenting, and process. It's weak on argument though, which is standard in most research composition texts. The book provides a clear index so finding information is relatively easy. The other weak spot is on evaluation evidence: there is a section on it but not comprehensive examples. Students in general needs lots of practice on how to evaluate and use information.

The information is accurate mostly except for the APA and MLA section. Writing and research writing haven't changed that much in a long time. It's more the technology and tools that change.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 2

The ideas about research and writing in general are fine, However, the references to technology and documentation are very out of date, over 10 years so. Students use technology very differently than described in this text, and the technologies themselves have changed. For example, the author talks about floppy disks and AOL messenger but not about Google Drive, Wikipedia, Prezi, or how to use phones and tablets while researching. Our students are digital natives and need to understand how to use their devices to write and research.

The book is quite readable in general. Concepts are easy to understand. Sometimes, they are almost too simple like the section explaining what a library is. Students might not be sophisticated library users, but they understand in general how they work. The chapters are concise, which is nice for student use too.

Except for pronoun use, the book is consistent in tone and terms. Not all the terms are ones I use in my own teaching, and it would be nice to see explanation of more argument/research frameworks like the Toulmin Model of argument.

The chapters are pretty self-contained and clear as individual units. I can see including certain chapters and leaving out others that aren't as relevant to my teaching style or assignments. One could easily assign the chapters in a different order, but students ask lots of questions when you assign chapter 6 first and then weeks later, assign chapter 2 or 3.

The basic chapters make sense in terms of how they are created and categorized but the order is problematic if an instructor were to assign them in the order presented. For example, the chapter on creating an annotated bibliography comes before the one on documenting (APA/MLA). Students can't complete an annotated bibliography without knowing how to cite sources. Same with evaluating sources. There is so much information on locating sources before any clear mention is made of how to evaluate them. I find that is the weak spot with students. If they learn how to evaluate sources, it's easier to find and locate and research effectively.

Not many images. Students really like info-graphics, pictures, and multi-media. The hyperlinks to other sections of the book do not work in either the PDF or HTML versions. I do like some of the illustrations like mapping and how research is more a web than a linear process. For an online textbook, there aren't a lot of hyperlinks to outside resources (of which there are so many like Purdue's OWL and the Guide to Grammar and Writing).

There were quite a few errors : comma errors, spelling (affect/effect), some pronoun agreement errors, capitalization errors with the title in Chapter Four. The author also uses passive voice quite a bit, which is inconsistent with the general familiar tone. In some chapters, there is constant switching between first, second, and third person. I focus much on point of view consistency in my students' writing, and this would not be a great model for that.

Cultural Relevance rating: 3

There is no cultural offensiveness but not much diversity in examples and students names either. Marginalized students (of color, with disabilities, of different sexuality or gender) would not see themselves reflected much.

This is a good basic reference on the process of writing and research. However, it would not be too useful without updated information on technology and documentation. As a web-based text, it reads more like a traditional physical textbook.

Reviewed by Jocelyn Pihlaja, Instructor, Lake Superior College on 2/8/17

The length and scope of this book are appropriate for a semester-long research writing course, with twelve chapters that move from foundational concepts into more specific skills that are needed for the crafting of a paper incorporating MLA or APA... read more

The length and scope of this book are appropriate for a semester-long research writing course, with twelve chapters that move from foundational concepts into more specific skills that are needed for the crafting of a paper incorporating MLA or APA citation. In particular, I like that the early chapters cover the questions of "Why Write Research Papers?" and how to think critically, the middle chapters provide specific activities in the skills of quoting and paraphrasing, and the later chapters bring in assignments (such as writing an annotated bibliography) that help students practice and build content for their ultimate paper.There is no index or glossary to this book; however, the table of contents provides an overview of the chapters that guides navigation well.

Content Accuracy rating: 3

In terms of the thinking, this book's information is logical and sound. The explanations of concepts and activities read easily and do a fine job of explicating the why and how of research writing. In a few places, however, the word "effected" is used when it should be "affected." Editing also is needed when the author uses phrases such as "in the nutshell" instead of "in a nutshell." As well, in Chapter 4, there is pronoun/antecedent disagreement when the author uses "their" to refer to "each member." Also, each chapter contains at least one "Hyperlink" to supplemental information, yet the hyperlinks are dead. For the most part, the text is clean and well edited, but we English teachers are line-editing sticklers, so even small, occasional errors stand out. Overall: the ideas presented are accurate and free of bias, yet there are a few, niggling errors.

When it comes to relevance and longevity, this book is problematic. In fact, it is so outdated as to be unusable, at least for this instructor. Certainly, the concepts presented are solid; they don't change with passing years. However, typographically, the book is passe, as it uses two spaces after periods. Even more troubling is that it refers to the Internet as "new" and comes from a point of view that sees this thing called "the World Wide Web" as novel while also noting students might want to rely on microfilm and microfiche during their research. In another example, the author suggests to students that a benefit of writing on computers is that they can share their work with each other on disc or through email. Truly, such references make the book unusable for a class in 2017. Another issue is that the Modern Language Association has updated its guidelines several times since this book's publication; ideally, a text used in a research writing class would cover, if not the latest guidelines, at least the previous version of the guidelines. A full rewrite of the book is necessary before it could be adopted. As the book currently stands, students would roll their eyes at the antiquated technological language, and the teacher would need to apologize for asking students to read a text that is so out-of-date.

The writing in this book is both accessible and intelligent. It's eminently readable. Specifically, the inclusion of things like an "Evidence Quality and Credibility Checklist" at the end of Chapter 1 and the continual use of grey boxes that highlight major concepts is very good. Also extremely helpful are the examples of student writing that end nearly every chapter; these models demonstrate to readers what is expected from each assignment. Finally, the explanations of quoting and paraphrasing are superior -- so clear, so easy for students to digest. Were it not outdated in terms of technological references, I would definitely consider using this book in my classes due to the clarity of the prose.

Consistency rating: 3

For the most part, the book is well structured and consistent in its design and layout. Each chapter provides general explanation of a concept, moves into a specific assignment, and ends with an example or two of student responses to that assignment. Very quickly, readers know what to expect from each chapter, and there's something comforting about the predictability of the layout, especially in a book that is being read on a screen, using scrolling. When it comes to the terminology, my only note would be that the book starts out using a relaxed second-person point of view, addressing students as "you," but then, at the end of Chapter 2, the author suddenly begins also using the first-person "I." This first-person point of view continues throughout the book, so it becomes consistent from that point on, but for me as a reader, I never quite adjusted to that level of informality, particularly when all the sentences using "I" could easily be re-written in the third person. Before reading this text, I hadn't really considered what I like in a book, but now I know: because I want the text to model the ideal, I would prefer a more formal (and consistent) point of view. Today's students struggle to create essays that don't include "you" or "I" -- even when they very consciously are trying to avoid those words. Learning to write from the third person POV is surprisingly challenging. Therefore, my personal preference would be a textbook that consistently models this approach.

The chapters in this book are of a perfect length -- long enough to develop the ideas and present comprehensive explanations yet short enough to be ingested and excised. Put another way, I could see grabbing bits and pieces of this text and using them in my classes. For instance, without adopting the entire text, I still could pull the instructions for the Anti-Thesis essay or the Annotated Bibliography, or I could use the explanation of the purpose of collaboration. Indeed, the chapters and exercises in this book are tight "modules" that allow an instructor to pick and choose or to reorganize the chapters to better fit with an individual course structure. For me, although I won't use this entire text, I can envision incorporating pieces of it into my teaching.

The organization of this book is one of its greatest strengths. It starts with a broad overview of research into an exploration of the process behind seeking out reputable sources, weaves in a few shorter essay assignments that serve as building blocks for a longer paper, and culminates with the ideas for a final, capstone research project -- something that naturally grows out of all the previous chapters. Each chapter in the text flows easily out of the chapter before it. One of this text's greatest strengths is how each successive chapter builds on the concepts presented in the previous chapters.

As noted earlier, the hyperlinks in the book don't work. As well, the screenshots included in the book are blurry and add little, except frustration, to the content. Outside of those issues, though, the book is physically easy to read and navigate, largely thanks to the easy clicking between the table of contents and individual chapters.

As suggested earlier, the book, as a whole, reads easily, yet there are some errors with the homonyms "effected" and "affected," along with pronoun/antecedent disagreement. I also noticed a handful of places where there are extra spaces around commas (in addition to the use of two spaces after periods).

This text is definitely not insensitive or offensive; its tone is fair and balanced, free of bias. On the other hand, this book does not really bring in examples that address diversity. Students reading this book will not see acknowledgment of different races, ethnicities, sexual preferences, or personal histories. Thus, in addition to updating the references to technology, if this book were rewritten, it also could more deliberately address this lack. As it is, the content of this book does feel whitewashed and free of cultural relevance.

There is a lot of promise in this text because the explanations and assignments are so good. But unless it is updated, I don’t see it as usable in a current classroom.

Reviewed by Leana Dickerson, Instructor , Linn Benton Community College on 2/8/17

The author certainly outlines and examines elements of research writing, and does so in a very clear, organized, and thoughtful way. There is no glossary or index included in the text, but the chapters and headings in the table of contents and at... read more

The author certainly outlines and examines elements of research writing, and does so in a very clear, organized, and thoughtful way. There is no glossary or index included in the text, but the chapters and headings in the table of contents and at the beginning of each section very clearly outline what is to be expected from the text. Most all of the concepts are very thoroughly explained and examined including topics that typically are glossed over in research writing texts, including the opposition to argument, close reading, and the importance of research writing to a variety of career pathways. Although thorough in what is present, there are some issues that I would want to touch on with my research students including developing effective argument, logical organization, and examples of the revision process.

The information in this text is accurate and adequately explained. It seems readily accessible for any college age student, but doesn’t expect students to come with a background in research or writing. MLA formatting for works cited pages is up to date, and even addresses the fact that the format for citation changes regularly and points to appropriate resources outside of the text. The only formatting issue that I noticed were some in-text citations (examples throughout early chapters) that included a comma which is no longer expected by the MLA. In the works cited section (and throughout, in examples) when referring to book titles, the author does use the underline function instead of an italicized book title; the author also refers to the use of either italic or underlined differentiation, yet MLA suggests italics in text form.

The content of this text is very straight forward and although essentially up to date, may need updates as relevant technology develops. Updates should be simple and clear to implement as needed because of the strict organization of each chapter.

I found the content clarity in this text to be refreshing for college age students. Often, as an instructor, I ask my students to read a text and then I must re-visit the content in lecture format to ensure that my students are not lost on terminology or foundational knowledge. This text does not assume any prior knowledge from the reader, but also does not feel rudimentary. The formatting and highlighted importance of some information also provided clarity and consistency throughout. The author paced information well, building on major concepts from the beginning and returning to them throughout. The final stages of the text bring students to a major essay that easily shows how each concept included throughout the text can weave into a larger project.

This text is consistent, and feels organized with format, terminology, and the building of content from beginning to end.

The sections in this text are easily broken into segments that can be taught or read at any point throughout the writing process. The text does build on exercises from the beginning to the end, but each of these can be taken out of a linear timeline and used for multiple kinds of projects. The author actually refers to this organization in text, making it clear how each element can work alone or for a streamlined project.

Concepts build upon one another, and yet can be returned to (or jumped to) out of order and still be easy to access and utilize. The text is broken up nicely with bolded, bulleted, or boxed items which designate a stopping point, a discussion to consider, or important details or concepts to focus on.

The layout and navigation of this text online is very accessible, organized, and easy to read. The text PDFs often open in a full browser window, other times they open as PDF documents, but either way include a clean, streamlined format. The text does not seem to be able to be downloaded, making it potentially difficult for students to access without internet access. One issue that I did encounter was that in PDF format, or in html, hyperlinks do not function.

The text is clear, free of grammatical errors, and flows well.

This text is relevant to all audiences and very approachable for college age students.

I found this text to be a refreshing change from what is typically find in research textbooks; it’s relevance to more than just the assignment will help students connect research to the broader concept of academia and other facets of their lives. The antithesis section is a useful way for students to really engage with an opposing opinion and how they can then incorporate that into a successful research project. Also, the differing ways of presenting research I found to be useful for students to think about their project beyond a stapled stack of pages, and to expand that to differing modes of communication and presentation. I look forward to being able to use this text with students.

Reviewed by Samuel Kessler, Postdoctoral Fellow, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University on 2/8/17

"The Process of Research Writing" covers most of the areas students need to understand as they begin research writing at a college level. It has explanations of theses, bibliographies, citations, outlines, first paragraphs, etc. There is no index... read more

"The Process of Research Writing" covers most of the areas students need to understand as they begin research writing at a college level. It has explanations of theses, bibliographies, citations, outlines, first paragraphs, etc. There is no index or glossary, the latter especially being something that would have been very helpful and easy to put together. Krause has many useful definitions and quick-help guides throughout the text, but they are so scattered and ineffectively labeled that it can be very difficult to find them without reading through whole chapters in one's search. On the whole, buried inside these pages, is a very effective guides to *teaching* about research writing. In truth, this book is a teacher's introduction to a class (or, more realistically, three or four class sessions) devoted to college-level academic writing. Unfortunately, there are a lot of words that one has to get through to find all these subject, which can make for tough going.

Based on the questions and errors I see my students making, Krause has done a strong job of highlighting the basics of proper academic research. He spends much time on sources, especially on learning to differentiate between scholarly, trade, and journalistic sources, as well as how to steer clear and note the signs of online schlock (i.e. much of the internet). His tips for peer-to-peer editing and self-reflexive assignments are just the sort of things our students needs help working on.

This is a strange book. The portions that are about implementing class assignments or explaining terms like thesis and antithesis, as well as the examples of an outline or a good first paragraph, are all excellent tools for a classroom.

But there are so many instances of irrelevant or outdates explanations. No college student today needs to read about why writing on a computer is a useful thing to do. No student needs to read about how email can be a tool for academic exchange. A section on using computers for research? On how to copy and paste within a word document? (And no-one calls it the "World Wide Web".) These are issues for the late 90s, not for students in the second decade of the twenty-first century.

There is also a fair amount that is personal and peculiar to the author: a discussion of why he uses the term "research essay" instead of "research paper"? That is just wasted space, and actually without the argumentative merits of a research thesis that he had been teaching up to that point.

For students at research universities, or even at second-tier state and private colleges, the information about libraries and library catalogues changes so quickly that I could never assign those passages. Instead, we'll spend class time looking at our specific library interface. And often, so much material is being sent off-site these days that in many humanities fields its not even possible to scan the shelves any longer. And in science, books are almost irrelevant: online access journals are where the latest research is stored. A bound edition of *Science* from the 1970s contains very little that's important for a scientific research paper written in 2016--unless that paper is about the history of some form of experiment.

Krause writes in a folksy, breezy second-person. Now, so does Tom Friedman of the Times, though that is one of the main criticisms of his otherwise insights books. Krause has a tendency to be overly wordy. This book should more closely resemble Hemingway than Knausgaard in order to be practical. For students who have Facebook etc. open while they're reading this book, every sentence that's not directly relevant will make their minds wander. There are so many sentences that simply need to be cut. To use this book, I'd need to cut and paste just the relevant passages. And without an index or glossary, assigning sections to students is very hard.

"The Process of Research Writing" is internally consistent. Krause maintains the same tone throughout, and defines terms as he goes along. The chapters vary considerably in length, with the short chapters always being more useful and focused, with less superfluous verbiage and fewer authorial quirks.

Modularity rating: 2

"The Process of Research Writing" is a very difficult text to use. The HTML and PDF versions are identical, which defeats the unique way the internet functions. I read this book on both Safari and Chrome, and in neither browser do the hyperlinks work. The tables of content at the heads of each chapter do not link to their respective sections. The projects, assignments, and definitions do not appear in different windows, which would make them possible to keep open while continuing on in the book. There are many instances in which moving back and forth between sections would be very helpful, and that is simply not possible without having multiple windows of the same book open and going between them that way--something that is very clumsy. And again, there are so many superfluous words that even assigning specific chapters means getting through a lot of talk before actually encountering the various hints, tricks, and explanations that are important for learning how to do college-level research.

"The Process of Research Writing" reads like a series of lectures that are meant to be give in a large lecture class, with assignments appended throughout and at the ends. The order of the books is, overall, what one would expect and need for teaching the basics. However, there is a good deal in Chapter 10 that should have appeared earlier (outlines, for instance), and that becomes part of one long chapter that is difficult to use and should have been divided into smaller sections.

As mentioned, in neither Safari nor Chrome do the hyperlinks work. And there appears to have been no planning for links from the chapter tables-of-content to their various associated sections. This makes it very difficult to get between sections or to return to where one was after going somewhere else in the book. Further, there are many links on the internet that remain stable over long periods of time. The Library of Congress, for instance, about which there is a section concerning its cataloguing system, should have a link. As should WorldCat, which for many people who do not have access to a major research library is the best place for learning about texts. Many services like LexusNexus, ABC Clio, and the NY Times archive all also maintain stable websites that should be externally linked.

Except for a smattering of typos, the book has fine (though informal) grammar. This is not a text that could also be used to demonstrate high-level academic writing.

There is nothing culturally offensive here in any way.

In many ways, this is a much better book for teachers of first-year students than for the students themselves. There are many sections of this book to pull out and assign, or to read together in class, to help students gain an understanding of college-level research. But this is not a book I'd ever assign to my students in total. The suggestions for in-class and homework assignments are all high quality pedagogy. But students shouldn't read about their own assignments--they should just do them. Departments can give this book to first-year professors to help them create class periods where they teach their students how to write papers. That would be an excellent use for this text. But as a book for students themselves, I cannot recommend it.

Reviewed by Margaret Wood, Instructor, Klamath Community College on 8/21/16

The book thoroughly covers the material that first-year college research writers need to know including an introduction to basic academic research concepts, searches and source evaluation from library and web resources, a thorough discussion of... read more

The book thoroughly covers the material that first-year college research writers need to know including an introduction to basic academic research concepts, searches and source evaluation from library and web resources, a thorough discussion of summary, paraphrase and direct quotation, collaboration and peer review, topic selection, hypothesis and thesis development, annotated bibliography, text analysis and evaluation, engaging seriously with opposing viewpoints, working with evidence and attributes of evidence, the components of a traditional research essay, alternative forms of presentation (web-based project), and finally MLA and APA documentation. There are also hyperlinks to help readers move to relevant information in other chapters.

While concepts like ethos, logos, and pathos are mentioned in passing, they are not deeply developed. Other topics I generally teach alongside research which are not covered include strategies for defining terms, inductive and deductive logic, and logical fallacies.

I did not identify any inaccuracies or biases. There are areas where focus may be a bit different. For example, the model my institution uses for annotated bibliographies uses the rhetorical precis as a summary model, and also encourages a brief evaluative analysis. On the other hand, the emphasis given to the antithesis is new to me, and looks like a very good idea. I did identify a couple of grammatical issues -- two cases of "effect" instead of "affect", and one pronoun agreement problem.

Good writing principles don't tend to change that much. The discussion of the Web-based research project is very timely.

The book is written in a conversational style which should be easy for students to understand. All technical terms are clearly explained. There are also aids for comprehension and review including: a useful bulleted list at the beginning of each chapter outlines material covered in that chapter; highlighted boxes which provide guidance for class discussion on the topic; sample assignments; easy-to-read checklists of key points.

The text is entirely consistent. Hyperlinks help to connect key points to other chapters.

The material is subdivided into clear and appropriate chapters; moreover, the chapters provide clear subheadings. However, I did identify one instance where subheadings indicated material that is not present in chapter four: Three Ideas for Collaborative Projects * Research Idea Groups * Research Writing Partners * Collaborative Research Writing Projects.

Also, as previously mentioned, some material that I would like to include is not covered in this text.

I feel that chapter 3 should be placed later, at a point in the term where students have actually begun the writing process.

Images, though used infrequently, are blurry, and hyperlinks, at least as I was able to access them, did not appear to be active.

Mentioned above -- two "effect"/"affect" issues and one issue of pronoun agreement

I did not identify any culturally insensitive issues. The one essay topic used throughout, a thesis involving The Great Gatsby, I did not find particularly relevant, since my institution excludes literature from its research projects.

Solid and thorough advice on research writing. Quite heavy on text, but advice is useful and frequently innovative.

Reviewed by Laura Sanders, Instructor, Portland Community College on 8/21/16

The text offers a comprehensive discussion of all the elements of writing a research project. The author covers evaluating sources, using library research, incorporating research into essays, collaborative work, creating a thesis, as well as... read more

The text offers a comprehensive discussion of all the elements of writing a research project.

The author covers evaluating sources, using library research, incorporating research into essays, collaborative work, creating a thesis, as well as writing annotated bibliographies, close reading, opposition, alternative project formats, and citing sources.

Although there is no index or glossary, the text is organized in discrete chapters available on the site as HTML or PDF for easy navigation.

Although I found no inaccuracies, both the APA and MLA handbooks have been updated since the versions used in this text.

Most of the content will not be obsolete any time soon, but the citation chapter is not based on recent APA and MLA handbooks.

The section on alternative ways to present research (Chapter 11) could be updated to include YouTube, Prezi, and more recent technology.

The modular format would make it very easy to update.

The text is written at a level that is appropriate for the target audience, college students who need to build research and writing skills.

This text is internally consistent.

I consider the modules to be one of the main strengths of the text. The sections have useful subheadings.

It would be easy to select specific chapters as course readings.

The chapters follow an intuitive sequence of developing a paper from topic to research to draft.

This text is easy to navigate.

I found no grammar errors.

There are ample opportunities here to add cultural diversity to the sample topics and writing tasks.

I am thrilled to offer this text to my students instead of the incredibly expensive alternatives currently available.

I am particularly interested in using this book for online writing courses, so students who desire more thorough discussion of particular stages of writing a research project could build or refresh foundational skills in these areas.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Thinking Critically About Research
  • Chapter Two: Understanding and Using the Library and the Internet for Research
  • Chapter Three: Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Chapter Four: How to Collaborate and Write With Others
  • Chapter Five: The Working Thesis Exercise
  • Chapter Six: The Annotated Bibliography Exercise
  • Chapter Seven: The Critique Exercise
  • Chapter Eight: The Antithesis Exercise
  • Chapter Nine: The Categorization and Evaluation Exercise
  • Chapter Ten: The Research Essay
  • Chapter Eleven: Alternative Ways to Present Your Research
  • Chapter Twelve: Citing Your Research Using MLA or APA Style

Ancillary Material

About the book.

The title of this book is The Process of Research Writing , and in the nutshell, that is what the book is about. A lot of times, instructors and students tend to separate “thinking,” “researching,” and “writing” into different categories that aren't necessarily very well connected. First you think, then you research, and then you write. The reality is though that the possibilities and process of research writing are more complicated and much richer than that. We think about what it is we want to research and write about, but at the same time, we learn what to think based on our research and our writing. The goal of this book is to guide you through this process of research writing by emphasizing a series of exercises that touch on different and related parts of the research process.

About the Contributors

Steven D. Krause  grew up in eastern Iowa, earned a BA in English at the University of Iowa, an MFA in Fiction Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a PhD in Rhetoric and Writing at Bowling Green State University. He joined the faculty at Eastern Michigan University in 1998.

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13.1 Formatting a Research Paper

Learning objectives.

  • Identify the major components of a research paper written using American Psychological Association (APA) style.
  • Apply general APA style and formatting conventions in a research paper.

In this chapter, you will learn how to use APA style , the documentation and formatting style followed by the American Psychological Association, as well as MLA style , from the Modern Language Association. There are a few major formatting styles used in academic texts, including AMA, Chicago, and Turabian:

  • AMA (American Medical Association) for medicine, health, and biological sciences
  • APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the social sciences
  • Chicago—a common style used in everyday publications like magazines, newspapers, and books
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) for English, literature, arts, and humanities
  • Turabian—another common style designed for its universal application across all subjects and disciplines

While all the formatting and citation styles have their own use and applications, in this chapter we focus our attention on the two styles you are most likely to use in your academic studies: APA and MLA.

If you find that the rules of proper source documentation are difficult to keep straight, you are not alone. Writing a good research paper is, in and of itself, a major intellectual challenge. Having to follow detailed citation and formatting guidelines as well may seem like just one more task to add to an already-too-long list of requirements.

Following these guidelines, however, serves several important purposes. First, it signals to your readers that your paper should be taken seriously as a student’s contribution to a given academic or professional field; it is the literary equivalent of wearing a tailored suit to a job interview. Second, it shows that you respect other people’s work enough to give them proper credit for it. Finally, it helps your reader find additional materials if he or she wishes to learn more about your topic.

Furthermore, producing a letter-perfect APA-style paper need not be burdensome. Yes, it requires careful attention to detail. However, you can simplify the process if you keep these broad guidelines in mind:

  • Work ahead whenever you can. Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” includes tips for keeping track of your sources early in the research process, which will save time later on.
  • Get it right the first time. Apply APA guidelines as you write, so you will not have much to correct during the editing stage. Again, putting in a little extra time early on can save time later.
  • Use the resources available to you. In addition to the guidelines provided in this chapter, you may wish to consult the APA website at http://www.apa.org or the Purdue University Online Writing lab at http://owl.english.purdue.edu , which regularly updates its online style guidelines.

General Formatting Guidelines

This chapter provides detailed guidelines for using the citation and formatting conventions developed by the American Psychological Association, or APA. Writers in disciplines as diverse as astrophysics, biology, psychology, and education follow APA style. The major components of a paper written in APA style are listed in the following box.

These are the major components of an APA-style paper:

Body, which includes the following:

  • Headings and, if necessary, subheadings to organize the content
  • In-text citations of research sources
  • References page

All these components must be saved in one document, not as separate documents.

The title page of your paper includes the following information:

  • Title of the paper
  • Author’s name
  • Name of the institution with which the author is affiliated
  • Header at the top of the page with the paper title (in capital letters) and the page number (If the title is lengthy, you may use a shortened form of it in the header.)

List the first three elements in the order given in the previous list, centered about one third of the way down from the top of the page. Use the headers and footers tool of your word-processing program to add the header, with the title text at the left and the page number in the upper-right corner. Your title page should look like the following example.

Beyond the Hype: Evaluating Low-Carb Diets cover page

The next page of your paper provides an abstract , or brief summary of your findings. An abstract does not need to be provided in every paper, but an abstract should be used in papers that include a hypothesis. A good abstract is concise—about one hundred fifty to two hundred fifty words—and is written in an objective, impersonal style. Your writing voice will not be as apparent here as in the body of your paper. When writing the abstract, take a just-the-facts approach, and summarize your research question and your findings in a few sentences.

In Chapter 12 “Writing a Research Paper” , you read a paper written by a student named Jorge, who researched the effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets. Read Jorge’s abstract. Note how it sums up the major ideas in his paper without going into excessive detail.

Beyond the Hype: Abstract

Write an abstract summarizing your paper. Briefly introduce the topic, state your findings, and sum up what conclusions you can draw from your research. Use the word count feature of your word-processing program to make sure your abstract does not exceed one hundred fifty words.

Depending on your field of study, you may sometimes write research papers that present extensive primary research, such as your own experiment or survey. In your abstract, summarize your research question and your findings, and briefly indicate how your study relates to prior research in the field.

Margins, Pagination, and Headings

APA style requirements also address specific formatting concerns, such as margins, pagination, and heading styles, within the body of the paper. Review the following APA guidelines.

Use these general guidelines to format the paper:

  • Set the top, bottom, and side margins of your paper at 1 inch.
  • Use double-spaced text throughout your paper.
  • Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, in a legible size (10- to 12-point).
  • Use continuous pagination throughout the paper, including the title page and the references section. Page numbers appear flush right within your header.
  • Section headings and subsection headings within the body of your paper use different types of formatting depending on the level of information you are presenting. Additional details from Jorge’s paper are provided.

Cover Page

Begin formatting the final draft of your paper according to APA guidelines. You may work with an existing document or set up a new document if you choose. Include the following:

  • Your title page
  • The abstract you created in Note 13.8 “Exercise 1”
  • Correct headers and page numbers for your title page and abstract

APA style uses section headings to organize information, making it easy for the reader to follow the writer’s train of thought and to know immediately what major topics are covered. Depending on the length and complexity of the paper, its major sections may also be divided into subsections, sub-subsections, and so on. These smaller sections, in turn, use different heading styles to indicate different levels of information. In essence, you are using headings to create a hierarchy of information.

The following heading styles used in APA formatting are listed in order of greatest to least importance:

  • Section headings use centered, boldface type. Headings use title case, with important words in the heading capitalized.
  • Subsection headings use left-aligned, boldface type. Headings use title case.
  • The third level uses left-aligned, indented, boldface type. Headings use a capital letter only for the first word, and they end in a period.
  • The fourth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are boldfaced and italicized.
  • The fifth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are italicized and not boldfaced.

Visually, the hierarchy of information is organized as indicated in Table 13.1 “Section Headings” .

Table 13.1 Section Headings

A college research paper may not use all the heading levels shown in Table 13.1 “Section Headings” , but you are likely to encounter them in academic journal articles that use APA style. For a brief paper, you may find that level 1 headings suffice. Longer or more complex papers may need level 2 headings or other lower-level headings to organize information clearly. Use your outline to craft your major section headings and determine whether any subtopics are substantial enough to require additional levels of headings.

Working with the document you developed in Note 13.11 “Exercise 2” , begin setting up the heading structure of the final draft of your research paper according to APA guidelines. Include your title and at least two to three major section headings, and follow the formatting guidelines provided above. If your major sections should be broken into subsections, add those headings as well. Use your outline to help you.

Because Jorge used only level 1 headings, his Exercise 3 would look like the following:

Citation Guidelines

In-text citations.

Throughout the body of your paper, include a citation whenever you quote or paraphrase material from your research sources. As you learned in Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” , the purpose of citations is twofold: to give credit to others for their ideas and to allow your reader to follow up and learn more about the topic if desired. Your in-text citations provide basic information about your source; each source you cite will have a longer entry in the references section that provides more detailed information.

In-text citations must provide the name of the author or authors and the year the source was published. (When a given source does not list an individual author, you may provide the source title or the name of the organization that published the material instead.) When directly quoting a source, it is also required that you include the page number where the quote appears in your citation.

This information may be included within the sentence or in a parenthetical reference at the end of the sentence, as in these examples.

Epstein (2010) points out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).

Here, the writer names the source author when introducing the quote and provides the publication date in parentheses after the author’s name. The page number appears in parentheses after the closing quotation marks and before the period that ends the sentence.

Addiction researchers caution that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (Epstein, 2010, p. 137).

Here, the writer provides a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence that includes the author’s name, the year of publication, and the page number separated by commas. Again, the parenthetical citation is placed after the closing quotation marks and before the period at the end of the sentence.

As noted in the book Junk Food, Junk Science (Epstein, 2010, p. 137), “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive.”

Here, the writer chose to mention the source title in the sentence (an optional piece of information to include) and followed the title with a parenthetical citation. Note that the parenthetical citation is placed before the comma that signals the end of the introductory phrase.

David Epstein’s book Junk Food, Junk Science (2010) pointed out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).

Another variation is to introduce the author and the source title in your sentence and include the publication date and page number in parentheses within the sentence or at the end of the sentence. As long as you have included the essential information, you can choose the option that works best for that particular sentence and source.

Citing a book with a single author is usually a straightforward task. Of course, your research may require that you cite many other types of sources, such as books or articles with more than one author or sources with no individual author listed. You may also need to cite sources available in both print and online and nonprint sources, such as websites and personal interviews. Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , Section 13.2 “Citing and Referencing Techniques” and Section 13.3 “Creating a References Section” provide extensive guidelines for citing a variety of source types.

Writing at Work

APA is just one of several different styles with its own guidelines for documentation, formatting, and language usage. Depending on your field of interest, you may be exposed to additional styles, such as the following:

  • MLA style. Determined by the Modern Languages Association and used for papers in literature, languages, and other disciplines in the humanities.
  • Chicago style. Outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style and sometimes used for papers in the humanities and the sciences; many professional organizations use this style for publications as well.
  • Associated Press (AP) style. Used by professional journalists.

References List

The brief citations included in the body of your paper correspond to the more detailed citations provided at the end of the paper in the references section. In-text citations provide basic information—the author’s name, the publication date, and the page number if necessary—while the references section provides more extensive bibliographical information. Again, this information allows your reader to follow up on the sources you cited and do additional reading about the topic if desired.

The specific format of entries in the list of references varies slightly for different source types, but the entries generally include the following information:

  • The name(s) of the author(s) or institution that wrote the source
  • The year of publication and, where applicable, the exact date of publication
  • The full title of the source
  • For books, the city of publication
  • For articles or essays, the name of the periodical or book in which the article or essay appears
  • For magazine and journal articles, the volume number, issue number, and pages where the article appears
  • For sources on the web, the URL where the source is located

The references page is double spaced and lists entries in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. If an entry continues for more than one line, the second line and each subsequent line are indented five spaces. Review the following example. ( Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , Section 13.3 “Creating a References Section” provides extensive guidelines for formatting reference entries for different types of sources.)

References Section

In APA style, book and article titles are formatted in sentence case, not title case. Sentence case means that only the first word is capitalized, along with any proper nouns.

Key Takeaways

  • Following proper citation and formatting guidelines helps writers ensure that their work will be taken seriously, give proper credit to other authors for their work, and provide valuable information to readers.
  • Working ahead and taking care to cite sources correctly the first time are ways writers can save time during the editing stage of writing a research paper.
  • APA papers usually include an abstract that concisely summarizes the paper.
  • APA papers use a specific headings structure to provide a clear hierarchy of information.
  • In APA papers, in-text citations usually include the name(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication.
  • In-text citations correspond to entries in the references section, which provide detailed bibliographical information about a source.

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Home » Research Paper Format – Types, Examples and Templates

Research Paper Format – Types, Examples and Templates

Table of Contents

Research Paper Formats

Research paper format is an essential aspect of academic writing that plays a crucial role in the communication of research findings . The format of a research paper depends on various factors such as the discipline, style guide, and purpose of the research. It includes guidelines for the structure, citation style, referencing , and other elements of the paper that contribute to its overall presentation and coherence. Adhering to the appropriate research paper format is vital for ensuring that the research is accurately and effectively communicated to the intended audience. In this era of information, it is essential to understand the different research paper formats and their guidelines to communicate research effectively, accurately, and with the required level of detail. This post aims to provide an overview of some of the common research paper formats used in academic writing.

Research Paper Formats

Research Paper Formats are as follows:

  • APA (American Psychological Association) format
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) format
  • Chicago/Turabian style
  • IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) format
  • AMA (American Medical Association) style
  • Harvard style
  • Vancouver style
  • ACS (American Chemical Society) style
  • ASA (American Sociological Association) style
  • APSA (American Political Science Association) style

APA (American Psychological Association) Format

Here is a general APA format for a research paper:

  • Title Page: The title page should include the title of your paper, your name, and your institutional affiliation. It should also include a running head, which is a shortened version of the title, and a page number in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Abstract : The abstract is a brief summary of your paper, typically 150-250 words. It should include the purpose of your research, the main findings, and any implications or conclusions that can be drawn.
  • Introduction: The introduction should provide background information on your topic, state the purpose of your research, and present your research question or hypothesis. It should also include a brief literature review that discusses previous research on your topic.
  • Methods: The methods section should describe the procedures you used to collect and analyze your data. It should include information on the participants, the materials and instruments used, and the statistical analyses performed.
  • Results: The results section should present the findings of your research in a clear and concise manner. Use tables and figures to help illustrate your results.
  • Discussion : The discussion section should interpret your results and relate them back to your research question or hypothesis. It should also discuss the implications of your findings and any limitations of your study.
  • References : The references section should include a list of all sources cited in your paper. Follow APA formatting guidelines for your citations and references.

Some additional tips for formatting your APA research paper:

  • Use 12-point Times New Roman font throughout the paper.
  • Double-space all text, including the references.
  • Use 1-inch margins on all sides of the page.
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph by 0.5 inches.
  • Use a hanging indent for the references (the first line should be flush with the left margin, and all subsequent lines should be indented).
  • Number all pages, including the title page and references page, in the upper right-hand corner.

APA Research Paper Format Template

APA Research Paper Format Template is as follows:

Title Page:

  • Title of the paper
  • Author’s name
  • Institutional affiliation
  • A brief summary of the main points of the paper, including the research question, methods, findings, and conclusions. The abstract should be no more than 250 words.

Introduction:

  • Background information on the topic of the research paper
  • Research question or hypothesis
  • Significance of the study
  • Overview of the research methods and design
  • Brief summary of the main findings
  • Participants: description of the sample population, including the number of participants and their characteristics (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.)
  • Materials: description of any materials used in the study (e.g., survey questions, experimental apparatus)
  • Procedure: detailed description of the steps taken to conduct the study
  • Presentation of the findings of the study, including statistical analyses if applicable
  • Tables and figures may be included to illustrate the results

Discussion:

  • Interpretation of the results in light of the research question and hypothesis
  • Implications of the study for the field
  • Limitations of the study
  • Suggestions for future research

References:

  • A list of all sources cited in the paper, in APA format

Formatting guidelines:

  • Double-spaced
  • 12-point font (Times New Roman or Arial)
  • 1-inch margins on all sides
  • Page numbers in the top right corner
  • Headings and subheadings should be used to organize the paper
  • The first line of each paragraph should be indented
  • Quotations of 40 or more words should be set off in a block quote with no quotation marks
  • In-text citations should include the author’s last name and year of publication (e.g., Smith, 2019)

APA Research Paper Format Example

APA Research Paper Format Example is as follows:

The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health

University of XYZ

This study examines the relationship between social media use and mental health among college students. Data was collected through a survey of 500 students at the University of XYZ. Results suggest that social media use is significantly related to symptoms of depression and anxiety, and that the negative effects of social media are greater among frequent users.

Social media has become an increasingly important aspect of modern life, especially among young adults. While social media can have many positive effects, such as connecting people across distances and sharing information, there is growing concern about its impact on mental health. This study aims to examine the relationship between social media use and mental health among college students.

Participants: Participants were 500 college students at the University of XYZ, recruited through online advertisements and flyers posted on campus. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 25, with a mean age of 20.5 years. The sample was 60% female, 40% male, and 5% identified as non-binary or gender non-conforming.

Data was collected through an online survey administered through Qualtrics. The survey consisted of several measures, including the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) for depression symptoms, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) for anxiety symptoms, and questions about social media use.

Procedure :

Participants were asked to complete the online survey at their convenience. The survey took approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, correlations, and multiple regression analysis.

Results indicated that social media use was significantly related to symptoms of depression (r = .32, p < .001) and anxiety (r = .29, p < .001). Regression analysis indicated that frequency of social media use was a significant predictor of both depression symptoms (β = .24, p < .001) and anxiety symptoms (β = .20, p < .001), even when controlling for age, gender, and other relevant factors.

The results of this study suggest that social media use is associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety among college students. The negative effects of social media are greater among frequent users. These findings have important implications for mental health professionals and educators, who should consider addressing the potential negative effects of social media use in their work with young adults.

References :

References should be listed in alphabetical order according to the author’s last name. For example:

  • Chou, H. T. G., & Edge, N. (2012). “They are happier and having better lives than I am”: The impact of using Facebook on perceptions of others’ lives. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15(2), 117-121.
  • Twenge, J. M., Joiner, T. E., Rogers, M. L., & Martin, G. N. (2018). Increases in depressive symptoms, suicide-related outcomes, and suicide rates among U.S. adolescents after 2010 and links to increased new media screen time. Clinical Psychological Science, 6(1), 3-17.

Note: This is just a sample Example do not use this in your assignment.

MLA (Modern Language Association) Format

MLA (Modern Language Association) Format is as follows:

  • Page Layout : Use 8.5 x 11-inch white paper, with 1-inch margins on all sides. The font should be 12-point Times New Roman or a similar serif font.
  • Heading and Title : The first page of your research paper should include a heading and a title. The heading should include your name, your instructor’s name, the course title, and the date. The title should be centered and in title case (capitalizing the first letter of each important word).
  • In-Text Citations : Use parenthetical citations to indicate the source of your information. The citation should include the author’s last name and the page number(s) of the source. For example: (Smith 23).
  • Works Cited Page : At the end of your paper, include a Works Cited page that lists all the sources you used in your research. Each entry should include the author’s name, the title of the work, the publication information, and the medium of publication.
  • Formatting Quotations : Use double quotation marks for short quotations and block quotations for longer quotations. Indent the entire quotation five spaces from the left margin.
  • Formatting the Body : Use a clear and readable font and double-space your text throughout. The first line of each paragraph should be indented one-half inch from the left margin.

MLA Research Paper Template

MLA Research Paper Format Template is as follows:

  • Use 8.5 x 11 inch white paper.
  • Use a 12-point font, such as Times New Roman.
  • Use double-spacing throughout the entire paper, including the title page and works cited page.
  • Set the margins to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Use page numbers in the upper right corner, beginning with the first page of text.
  • Include a centered title for the research paper, using title case (capitalizing the first letter of each important word).
  • Include your name, instructor’s name, course name, and date in the upper left corner, double-spaced.

In-Text Citations

  • When quoting or paraphrasing information from sources, include an in-text citation within the text of your paper.
  • Use the author’s last name and the page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence, before the punctuation mark.
  • If the author’s name is mentioned in the sentence, only include the page number in parentheses.

Works Cited Page

  • List all sources cited in alphabetical order by the author’s last name.
  • Each entry should include the author’s name, title of the work, publication information, and medium of publication.
  • Use italics for book and journal titles, and quotation marks for article and chapter titles.
  • For online sources, include the date of access and the URL.

Here is an example of how the first page of a research paper in MLA format should look:

Headings and Subheadings

  • Use headings and subheadings to organize your paper and make it easier to read.
  • Use numerals to number your headings and subheadings (e.g. 1, 2, 3), and capitalize the first letter of each word.
  • The main heading should be centered and in boldface type, while subheadings should be left-aligned and in italics.
  • Use only one space after each period or punctuation mark.
  • Use quotation marks to indicate direct quotes from a source.
  • If the quote is more than four lines, format it as a block quote, indented one inch from the left margin and without quotation marks.
  • Use ellipses (…) to indicate omitted words from a quote, and brackets ([…]) to indicate added words.

Works Cited Examples

  • Book: Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Year.
  • Journal Article: Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, volume number, issue number, publication date, page numbers.
  • Website: Last Name, First Name. “Title of Webpage.” Title of Website, publication date, URL. Accessed date.

Here is an example of how a works cited entry for a book should look:

Smith, John. The Art of Writing Research Papers. Penguin, 2021.

MLA Research Paper Example

MLA Research Paper Format Example is as follows:

Your Professor’s Name

Course Name and Number

Date (in Day Month Year format)

Word Count (not including title page or Works Cited)

Title: The Impact of Video Games on Aggression Levels

Video games have become a popular form of entertainment among people of all ages. However, the impact of video games on aggression levels has been a subject of debate among scholars and researchers. While some argue that video games promote aggression and violent behavior, others argue that there is no clear link between video games and aggression levels. This research paper aims to explore the impact of video games on aggression levels among young adults.

Background:

The debate on the impact of video games on aggression levels has been ongoing for several years. According to the American Psychological Association, exposure to violent media, including video games, can increase aggression levels in children and adolescents. However, some researchers argue that there is no clear evidence to support this claim. Several studies have been conducted to examine the impact of video games on aggression levels, but the results have been mixed.

Methodology:

This research paper used a quantitative research approach to examine the impact of video games on aggression levels among young adults. A sample of 100 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 was selected for the study. The participants were asked to complete a questionnaire that measured their aggression levels and their video game habits.

The results of the study showed that there was a significant correlation between video game habits and aggression levels among young adults. The participants who reported playing violent video games for more than 5 hours per week had higher aggression levels than those who played less than 5 hours per week. The study also found that male participants were more likely to play violent video games and had higher aggression levels than female participants.

The findings of this study support the claim that video games can increase aggression levels among young adults. However, it is important to note that the study only examined the impact of video games on aggression levels and did not take into account other factors that may contribute to aggressive behavior. It is also important to note that not all video games promote violence and aggression, and some games may have a positive impact on cognitive and social skills.

Conclusion :

In conclusion, this research paper provides evidence to support the claim that video games can increase aggression levels among young adults. However, it is important to conduct further research to examine the impact of video games on other aspects of behavior and to explore the potential benefits of video games. Parents and educators should be aware of the potential impact of video games on aggression levels and should encourage young adults to engage in a variety of activities that promote cognitive and social skills.

Works Cited:

  • American Psychological Association. (2017). Violent Video Games: Myths, Facts, and Unanswered Questions. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2017/08/violent-video-games
  • Ferguson, C. J. (2015). Do Angry Birds make for angry children? A meta-analysis of video game influences on children’s and adolescents’ aggression, mental health, prosocial behavior, and academic performance. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(5), 646-666.
  • Gentile, D. A., Swing, E. L., Lim, C. G., & Khoo, A. (2012). Video game playing, attention problems, and impulsiveness: Evidence of bidirectional causality. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 1(1), 62-70.
  • Greitemeyer, T. (2014). Effects of prosocial video games on prosocial behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106(4), 530-548.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chicago/Turabian Formate is as follows:

  • Margins : Use 1-inch margins on all sides of the paper.
  • Font : Use a readable font such as Times New Roman or Arial, and use a 12-point font size.
  • Page numbering : Number all pages in the upper right-hand corner, beginning with the first page of text. Use Arabic numerals.
  • Title page: Include a title page with the title of the paper, your name, course title and number, instructor’s name, and the date. The title should be centered on the page and in title case (capitalize the first letter of each word).
  • Headings: Use headings to organize your paper. The first level of headings should be centered and in boldface or italics. The second level of headings should be left-aligned and in boldface or italics. Use as many levels of headings as necessary to organize your paper.
  • In-text citations : Use footnotes or endnotes to cite sources within the text of your paper. The first citation for each source should be a full citation, and subsequent citations can be shortened. Use superscript numbers to indicate footnotes or endnotes.
  • Bibliography : Include a bibliography at the end of your paper, listing all sources cited in your paper. The bibliography should be in alphabetical order by the author’s last name, and each entry should include the author’s name, title of the work, publication information, and date of publication.
  • Formatting of quotations: Use block quotations for quotations that are longer than four lines. Indent the entire quotation one inch from the left margin, and do not use quotation marks. Single-space the quotation, and double-space between paragraphs.
  • Tables and figures: Use tables and figures to present data and illustrations. Number each table and figure sequentially, and provide a brief title for each. Place tables and figures as close as possible to the text that refers to them.
  • Spelling and grammar : Use correct spelling and grammar throughout your paper. Proofread carefully for errors.

Chicago/Turabian Research Paper Template

Chicago/Turabian Research Paper Template is as folows:

Title of Paper

Name of Student

Professor’s Name

I. Introduction

A. Background Information

B. Research Question

C. Thesis Statement

II. Literature Review

A. Overview of Existing Literature

B. Analysis of Key Literature

C. Identification of Gaps in Literature

III. Methodology

A. Research Design

B. Data Collection

C. Data Analysis

IV. Results

A. Presentation of Findings

B. Analysis of Findings

C. Discussion of Implications

V. Conclusion

A. Summary of Findings

B. Implications for Future Research

C. Conclusion

VI. References

A. Bibliography

B. In-Text Citations

VII. Appendices (if necessary)

A. Data Tables

C. Additional Supporting Materials

Chicago/Turabian Research Paper Example

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Political Engagement

Name: John Smith

Class: POLS 101

Professor: Dr. Jane Doe

Date: April 8, 2023

I. Introduction:

Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. People use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to connect with friends and family, share their opinions, and stay informed about current events. With the rise of social media, there has been a growing interest in understanding its impact on various aspects of society, including political engagement. In this paper, I will examine the relationship between social media use and political engagement, specifically focusing on how social media influences political participation and political attitudes.

II. Literature Review:

There is a growing body of literature on the impact of social media on political engagement. Some scholars argue that social media has a positive effect on political participation by providing new channels for political communication and mobilization (Delli Carpini & Keeter, 1996; Putnam, 2000). Others, however, suggest that social media can have a negative impact on political engagement by creating filter bubbles that reinforce existing beliefs and discourage political dialogue (Pariser, 2011; Sunstein, 2001).

III. Methodology:

To examine the relationship between social media use and political engagement, I conducted a survey of 500 college students. The survey included questions about social media use, political participation, and political attitudes. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis.

Iv. Results:

The results of the survey indicate that social media use is positively associated with political participation. Specifically, respondents who reported using social media to discuss politics were more likely to have participated in a political campaign, attended a political rally, or contacted a political representative. Additionally, social media use was found to be associated with more positive attitudes towards political engagement, such as increased trust in government and belief in the effectiveness of political action.

V. Conclusion:

The findings of this study suggest that social media has a positive impact on political engagement, by providing new opportunities for political communication and mobilization. However, there is also a need for caution, as social media can also create filter bubbles that reinforce existing beliefs and discourage political dialogue. Future research should continue to explore the complex relationship between social media and political engagement, and develop strategies to harness the potential benefits of social media while mitigating its potential negative effects.

Vii. References:

  • Delli Carpini, M. X., & Keeter, S. (1996). What Americans know about politics and why it matters. Yale University Press.
  • Pariser, E. (2011). The filter bubble: What the Internet is hiding from you. Penguin.
  • Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. Simon & Schuster.
  • Sunstein, C. R. (2001). Republic.com. Princeton University Press.

IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Format

IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Research Paper Format is as follows:

  • Title : A concise and informative title that accurately reflects the content of the paper.
  • Abstract : A brief summary of the paper, typically no more than 250 words, that includes the purpose of the study, the methods used, the key findings, and the main conclusions.
  • Introduction : An overview of the background, context, and motivation for the research, including a clear statement of the problem being addressed and the objectives of the study.
  • Literature review: A critical analysis of the relevant research and scholarship on the topic, including a discussion of any gaps or limitations in the existing literature.
  • Methodology : A detailed description of the methods used to collect and analyze data, including any experiments or simulations, data collection instruments or procedures, and statistical analyses.
  • Results : A clear and concise presentation of the findings, including any relevant tables, graphs, or figures.
  • Discussion : A detailed interpretation of the results, including a comparison of the findings with previous research, a discussion of the implications of the results, and any recommendations for future research.
  • Conclusion : A summary of the key findings and main conclusions of the study.
  • References : A list of all sources cited in the paper, formatted according to IEEE guidelines.

In addition to these elements, an IEEE research paper should also follow certain formatting guidelines, including using 12-point font, double-spaced text, and numbered headings and subheadings. Additionally, any tables, figures, or equations should be clearly labeled and referenced in the text.

AMA (American Medical Association) Style

AMA (American Medical Association) Style Research Paper Format:

  • Title Page: This page includes the title of the paper, the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and any acknowledgments or disclaimers.
  • Abstract: The abstract is a brief summary of the paper that outlines the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions of the study. It is typically limited to 250 words or less.
  • Introduction: The introduction provides a background of the research problem, defines the research question, and outlines the objectives and hypotheses of the study.
  • Methods: The methods section describes the research design, participants, procedures, and instruments used to collect and analyze data.
  • Results: The results section presents the findings of the study in a clear and concise manner, using graphs, tables, and charts where appropriate.
  • Discussion: The discussion section interprets the results, explains their significance, and relates them to previous research in the field.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion summarizes the main points of the paper, discusses the implications of the findings, and suggests future research directions.
  • References: The reference list includes all sources cited in the paper, listed in alphabetical order by author’s last name.

In addition to these sections, the AMA format requires that authors follow specific guidelines for citing sources in the text and formatting their references. The AMA style uses a superscript number system for in-text citations and provides specific formats for different types of sources, such as books, journal articles, and websites.

Harvard Style

Harvard Style Research Paper format is as follows:

  • Title page: This should include the title of your paper, your name, the name of your institution, and the date of submission.
  • Abstract : This is a brief summary of your paper, usually no more than 250 words. It should outline the main points of your research and highlight your findings.
  • Introduction : This section should introduce your research topic, provide background information, and outline your research question or thesis statement.
  • Literature review: This section should review the relevant literature on your topic, including previous research studies, academic articles, and other sources.
  • Methodology : This section should describe the methods you used to conduct your research, including any data collection methods, research instruments, and sampling techniques.
  • Results : This section should present your findings in a clear and concise manner, using tables, graphs, and other visual aids if necessary.
  • Discussion : This section should interpret your findings and relate them to the broader research question or thesis statement. You should also discuss the implications of your research and suggest areas for future study.
  • Conclusion : This section should summarize your main findings and provide a final statement on the significance of your research.
  • References : This is a list of all the sources you cited in your paper, presented in alphabetical order by author name. Each citation should include the author’s name, the title of the source, the publication date, and other relevant information.

In addition to these sections, a Harvard Style research paper may also include a table of contents, appendices, and other supplementary materials as needed. It is important to follow the specific formatting guidelines provided by your instructor or academic institution when preparing your research paper in Harvard Style.

Vancouver Style

Vancouver Style Research Paper format is as follows:

The Vancouver citation style is commonly used in the biomedical sciences and is known for its use of numbered references. Here is a basic format for a research paper using the Vancouver citation style:

  • Title page: Include the title of your paper, your name, the name of your institution, and the date.
  • Abstract : This is a brief summary of your research paper, usually no more than 250 words.
  • Introduction : Provide some background information on your topic and state the purpose of your research.
  • Methods : Describe the methods you used to conduct your research, including the study design, data collection, and statistical analysis.
  • Results : Present your findings in a clear and concise manner, using tables and figures as needed.
  • Discussion : Interpret your results and explain their significance. Also, discuss any limitations of your study and suggest directions for future research.
  • References : List all of the sources you cited in your paper in numerical order. Each reference should include the author’s name, the title of the article or book, the name of the journal or publisher, the year of publication, and the page numbers.

ACS (American Chemical Society) Style

ACS (American Chemical Society) Style Research Paper format is as follows:

The American Chemical Society (ACS) Style is a citation style commonly used in chemistry and related fields. When formatting a research paper in ACS Style, here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Paper Size and Margins : Use standard 8.5″ x 11″ paper with 1-inch margins on all sides.
  • Font: Use a 12-point serif font (such as Times New Roman) for the main text. The title should be in bold and a larger font size.
  • Title Page : The title page should include the title of the paper, the authors’ names and affiliations, and the date of submission. The title should be centered on the page and written in bold font. The authors’ names should be centered below the title, followed by their affiliations and the date.
  • Abstract : The abstract should be a brief summary of the paper, no more than 250 words. It should be on a separate page and include the title of the paper, the authors’ names and affiliations, and the text of the abstract.
  • Main Text : The main text should be organized into sections with headings that clearly indicate the content of each section. The introduction should provide background information and state the research question or hypothesis. The methods section should describe the procedures used in the study. The results section should present the findings of the study, and the discussion section should interpret the results and provide conclusions.
  • References: Use the ACS Style guide to format the references cited in the paper. In-text citations should be numbered sequentially throughout the text and listed in numerical order at the end of the paper.
  • Figures and Tables: Figures and tables should be numbered sequentially and referenced in the text. Each should have a descriptive caption that explains its content. Figures should be submitted in a high-quality electronic format.
  • Supporting Information: Additional information such as data, graphs, and videos may be included as supporting information. This should be included in a separate file and referenced in the main text.
  • Acknowledgments : Acknowledge any funding sources or individuals who contributed to the research.

ASA (American Sociological Association) Style

ASA (American Sociological Association) Style Research Paper format is as follows:

  • Title Page: The title page of an ASA style research paper should include the title of the paper, the author’s name, and the institutional affiliation. The title should be centered and should be in title case (the first letter of each major word should be capitalized).
  • Abstract: An abstract is a brief summary of the paper that should appear on a separate page immediately following the title page. The abstract should be no more than 200 words in length and should summarize the main points of the paper.
  • Main Body: The main body of the paper should begin on a new page following the abstract page. The paper should be double-spaced, with 1-inch margins on all sides, and should be written in 12-point Times New Roman font. The main body of the paper should include an introduction, a literature review, a methodology section, results, and a discussion.
  • References : The reference section should appear on a separate page at the end of the paper. All sources cited in the paper should be listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. Each reference should include the author’s name, the title of the work, the publication information, and the date of publication.
  • Appendices : Appendices are optional and should only be included if they contain information that is relevant to the study but too lengthy to be included in the main body of the paper. If you include appendices, each one should be labeled with a letter (e.g., Appendix A, Appendix B, etc.) and should be referenced in the main body of the paper.

APSA (American Political Science Association) Style

APSA (American Political Science Association) Style Research Paper format is as follows:

  • Title Page: The title page should include the title of the paper, the author’s name, the name of the course or instructor, and the date.
  • Abstract : An abstract is typically not required in APSA style papers, but if one is included, it should be brief and summarize the main points of the paper.
  • Introduction : The introduction should provide an overview of the research topic, the research question, and the main argument or thesis of the paper.
  • Literature Review : The literature review should summarize the existing research on the topic and provide a context for the research question.
  • Methods : The methods section should describe the research methods used in the paper, including data collection and analysis.
  • Results : The results section should present the findings of the research.
  • Discussion : The discussion section should interpret the results and connect them back to the research question and argument.
  • Conclusion : The conclusion should summarize the main findings and implications of the research.
  • References : The reference list should include all sources cited in the paper, formatted according to APSA style guidelines.

In-text citations in APSA style use parenthetical citation, which includes the author’s last name, publication year, and page number(s) if applicable. For example, (Smith 2010, 25).

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Academic & Research Focused Artificial Intelligence Tools

  • Thoughts on Using AI Tools
  • Ethics of Using AI in Research
  • Citing ChatGPT and Other AI Tools in APA Style

APA's Position on Citing AI Tools

Citation example--apa, explanation of the individual parts of the citation, authors of ai tools, using an appendix for providing the complete ai-generated text, link to apa's page on how to cite ai tools.

  • Citing ChatGPT and Other AI Tools In MLA Style
  • Citing ChatGPT and Other AI Tools in Chicago Style/Turabian
  • Generative AI Programs
  • Grammar & Writing AIs

APA's Position:  The results of a “chat” with a generative AI, like ChatGPT, are not retrievable by other readers. Although other types nonretrievable data or quotations are usually cited as personal communications in APA Style papers, with generative AI produced text there is no person communicating. Quoting an AI's text from a chat session is therefore more similar to sharing an algorithm’s output. APA, therefore recommends that citations should credit the author of the algorithm with a reference list entry and the corresponding in-text citation.

Example from a paper showing how to use in-text citation and then the full verson of the citation used on the References page:

When prompted with “Is the left brain right brain divide real or a metaphor?” the ChatGPT-generated text indicated that although the two brain hemispheres are somewhat specialized, “the notation that people can be characterized as ‘left-brained’ or ‘right-brained’ is considered to be an oversimplification and a popular myth” (OpenAI, 2023).

OpenAI. (2023).  ChatGPT  (Mar 14 version) [Large language model].  https://chat.openai.com/chat

Breaking the reference down and looking at each of the four elements (author, date, title, and source) in more detail can assist in applying this form in your own writing.:

Author:  The author of ChatGPT is OpenAI. If you are using text from a different AI tool, you will need to identify the author or creator of that tool.  See the table below to determine the Author of the most common AI Tools.

Date:  The date is the year of the version of the tool used. You only need to include the year, not the exact date. 

Title:  The name of this AI tool is “ChatGPT,” so that serves as the title and is italicized in your reference, Again, if you are using a different tool then that tool's name should for the title. The version number is included after the title in parentheses. The format for the version number in ChatGPT references includes the date because that is how OpenAI is labeling its versions. Different AI tools might use different version numbering; use the version number in the format the author or publisher provides, which may be a numbering system (e.g., Version 2.0) or other methods.

Bracketed text  is used for additional description when needed to help a reader understand what is being cited. Books and journal articles do not need bracketed descriptions but more unusual formats often do. In the case of a reference for a generative AI tool, such as ChatGPT, provide the descriptor “Large language model” in square brackets. 

Source:  When the publisher name and the author name are the same, do not repeat the publisher name in the source element of the reference, and move directly to the URL. Use the URL that links as directly as possible to the page where you can access the model

Because generative AI's, like Chat GPT will generate a unique response in each chat session, even if given the same prompt, APA also suggests that the full text of long responses from such sea session should be placed in an appendix of your paper if readers would greatly benefit from having access to the exact text generated. It is then particularly important to document the exact text created and the presence of such an appendix should be called out at least once in the body of your paper.

When given a follow-up prompt of “What is a more accurate representation?” the ChatGPT-generated text indicated that “different brain regions work together to support various cognitive processes” and “the functional specialization of different regions can change in response to experience and environmental factors” (OpenAI, 2023; see Appendix A for the full transcript).

  • How to Cite ChatGPT (and Other AI Tools)
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ACRL Diversity Alliance 2017

This paper is in the following e-collection/theme issue:

Published on 4.4.2024 in Vol 26 (2024)

Moving Biosurveillance Beyond Coded Data Using AI for Symptom Detection From Physician Notes: Retrospective Cohort Study

Authors of this article:

Author Orcid Image

Original Paper

  • Andrew J McMurry 1, 2 , PhD   ; 
  • Amy R Zipursky 1, 3 , MD, MBI   ; 
  • Alon Geva 1, 4, 5 , MD, MPH   ; 
  • Karen L Olson 1, 2 , PhD   ; 
  • James R Jones 1 , MPhil   ; 
  • Vladimir Ignatov 1 , MFA   ; 
  • Timothy A Miller 1, 2 , PhD   ; 
  • Kenneth D Mandl 1, 2, 6 , MD, MPH  

1 Computational Health Informatics Program, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, United States

2 Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States

3 Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada

4 Division of Critical Care Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, United States

5 Department of Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States

6 Department of Biomedical Informatics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States

Corresponding Author:

Kenneth D Mandl, MD, MPH

Computational Health Informatics Program

Boston Children's Hospital

Landmark 5506 Mail Stop BCH3187, 401 Park Drive

Boston, MA, 02215

United States

Phone: 1 6173554145

Email: [email protected]

Background: Real-time surveillance of emerging infectious diseases necessitates a dynamically evolving, computable case definition, which frequently incorporates symptom-related criteria. For symptom detection, both population health monitoring platforms and research initiatives primarily depend on structured data extracted from electronic health records.

Objective: This study sought to validate and test an artificial intelligence (AI)–based natural language processing (NLP) pipeline for detecting COVID-19 symptoms from physician notes in pediatric patients. We specifically study patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) who can be sentinel cases in an outbreak.

Methods: Subjects in this retrospective cohort study are patients who are 21 years of age and younger, who presented to a pediatric ED at a large academic children’s hospital between March 1, 2020, and May 31, 2022. The ED notes for all patients were processed with an NLP pipeline tuned to detect the mention of 11 COVID-19 symptoms based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria. For a gold standard, 3 subject matter experts labeled 226 ED notes and had strong agreement ( F 1 -score=0.986; positive predictive value [PPV]=0.972; and sensitivity=1.0). F 1 -score, PPV, and sensitivity were used to compare the performance of both NLP and the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) coding to the gold standard chart review. As a formative use case, variations in symptom patterns were measured across SARS-CoV-2 variant eras.

Results: There were 85,678 ED encounters during the study period, including 4% (n=3420) with patients with COVID-19. NLP was more accurate at identifying encounters with patients that had any of the COVID-19 symptoms ( F 1 -score=0.796) than ICD-10 codes ( F 1 -score =0.451). NLP accuracy was higher for positive symptoms (sensitivity=0.930) than ICD-10 (sensitivity=0.300). However, ICD-10 accuracy was higher for negative symptoms (specificity=0.994) than NLP (specificity=0.917). Congestion or runny nose showed the highest accuracy difference (NLP: F 1 -score=0.828 and ICD-10: F 1 -score=0.042). For encounters with patients with COVID-19, prevalence estimates of each NLP symptom differed across variant eras. Patients with COVID-19 were more likely to have each NLP symptom detected than patients without this disease. Effect sizes (odds ratios) varied across pandemic eras.

Conclusions: This study establishes the value of AI-based NLP as a highly effective tool for real-time COVID-19 symptom detection in pediatric patients, outperforming traditional ICD-10 methods. It also reveals the evolving nature of symptom prevalence across different virus variants, underscoring the need for dynamic, technology-driven approaches in infectious disease surveillance.

Introduction

Real-time emerging infection surveillance requires a case definition that often involves symptomatology. To detect symptoms, population health monitoring systems and research studies tend to largely rely on structured data from electronic health records, including the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) codes [ 1 ]. However, symptoms are not diagnoses and, therefore, may not be consistently coded, leading to incorrect estimates of the prevalence of COVID-19 symptoms [ 2 ]. Natural language processing (NLP) of unstructured data from electronic health records has proven useful in recognizing COVID-19 symptoms and identifying additional signs and symptoms compared to structured data alone [ 3 , 4 ]. However, surveillance of COVID-19 symptoms is nuanced as symptoms have been shown to differ by variant eras [ 5 , 6 ] and by age, with pediatric patients generally experiencing milder symptoms [ 7 ]. For example, while loss of taste or smell was reported with early COVID-19 variants, it was less commonly reported during the Omicron wave and in younger patients who more frequently experience fever and cough [ 8 - 11 ]. Understanding symptom patterns in children during different COVID-19 variant eras is important. Early in the pandemic, the availability of molecular testing was extremely limited. The less severe course of infection and varying presentations may lead to under testing due to mild symptoms [ 12 ], potentially underestimating pediatric COVID-19 cases. Additionally, relatively asymptomatic children can still transmit the virus. Tailoring interventions based on age-specific manifestations contribute to effective control of virus transmission within communities.

We sought to validate and test an open-source artificial intelligence (AI)–based NLP pipeline that includes a large language model (LLM) to detect COVID-19 symptoms from physician notes. As a formative use case, we sought to illustrate how this pipeline could detect COVID-19 symptoms and differentiate symptom patterns across SARS-CoV-2 variant eras in pediatric patients. We specifically study patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) who can be sentinel cases in an outbreak.

Study Design and Setting

This was a retrospective cohort study of all patients up to 21 years of age presenting to the ED of a large, free-standing, university-affiliated, pediatric hospital between March 1, 2020, and May 31, 2022.

Ethical Considerations

The Boston Children’s Hospital Committee on Clinical Investigation performed ethical, privacy, and confidentiality reviews of the study and found it to be exempt from human subjects oversight. A waiver of consent was obtained to cover the targeted extraction and secure review of clinical notes by approved study personnel in protected environments within the hospital firewall.

Study Variables

The main dependent variables were a set of 11 COVID-19 symptoms based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria [ 13 ]—fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. We identified these symptoms by both NLP and ICD-10 codes. For the formative use case, the study period was divided into 3 variant eras defined using Massachusetts COVID-19 data from Covariant [ 14 ]. The pre-Delta era was from March 1, 2020, to June 20, 2021; the Delta era was from June 21, 2021, to December 19, 2021; and the Omicron era was from December 20, 2021, onward. A diagnosis of COVID-19 was defined as a positive SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or the presence of ICD-10 code U07.1 for COVID-19 during the same ED encounter in which symptoms were evaluated.

AI/NLP Pipeline Development

A total of 3 reviewers reached a consensus on a symptom concept dictionary [ 15 ] to capture each of the 11 COVID-19 symptoms. They relied on the Unified Medical Language System [ 16 ], which has a nearly comprehensive list of symptom descriptors [ 17 ], including SNOMED (SNOMED International) coded clinical terms [ 18 ], ICD-10 codes for administrative billing, abbreviations, and common language for patients [ 19 ]. The open-source and free Apache cTAKES (Apache Software Foundation) NLP pipeline was tuned to recognize and extract coded concepts for positive symptom mentions (based on the dictionary) from physician notes [ 20 ]. Apache cTAKES uses a NegEx algorithm which can help address negation [ 20 - 23 ]. To further address negation, we incorporated an LLM, Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, that was fine-tuned for negation classification on clinical text [ 24 , 25 ].

Gold Standard

A total of 2 reviewers established a gold standard by manually reviewing physician ED notes. After all notes were labeled by the cTAKES pipeline, a test set of 226 ED notes was loaded into Label Studio [ 26 ], an open-source application for ground truth labeling. These notes were from patients both with and without COVID-19 and were selected to ensure that each of the 11 symptoms was mentioned in at least 30 ED notes. Some notes mentioned more than 1 symptom. Using an annotation guide ( Multimedia Appendix 1 ), 2 reviewers, who were masked from the terms identified by the NLP pipeline for note selection, each labeled 113 notes for mention of the 11 COVID-19 symptoms. As per the guide, only symptoms relevant to the present illness were considered positive mentions. Symptoms were not considered positive mentions if stated as past medical history, family history, social history, or an indication for a medication unrelated to the encounter.

Interrater Reliability

The F 1 -score was used to assess consistency in manual chart review. The F 1 -score is the balance of sensitivity and positive predictive value (PPV) [ 27 ]. It was computed by comparing the annotations of each of the 2 initial reviewers to those of a third reviewer, who independently labeled a subset (56/226, 25%) of notes annotated by the other reviewers. The choice of F 1 -score as the metric for agreement was informed by the observed high frequency of true negative annotations when they were assigned by chance [ 20 , 27 , 28 ]. Reliability analyses used Python (version 3.10; Python Software Foundation).

AI/NLP and ICD-10 Accuracy

Accuracy measures of the true symptom percentages in the test set for each symptom included F 1 -score, PPV, sensitivity, and specificity [ 29 , 30 ].

Formative Use Case

The impact of pandemic variant era on COVID-19 symptomatology was examined. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize patients presenting to the ED during each pandemic era. The percentage of patients in the ED with symptoms of COVID-19 was assessed in separate analyses for each symptom using chi-square analyses of 3×2 tables (pandemic era × symptom presence or absence) with α set at .05. Post hoc chi-square tests were used to compare each pandemic era with all others using a Bonferroni adjusted α of .017. To assess the effect of pandemic era, COVID-19 status, and the interaction of these variables on whether or not a patient had each symptom, logistic regression was used in separate analyses for each symptom. Bonferroni adjusted confidence limits were used for post hoc analyses. If the interaction term was not significant, the main effects of COVID-19 and variant era were reported. Data were analyzed using SAS (version 9.4; SAS Institute Inc).

Study Population

There were 59,173 unique patients with 85,678 ED encounters during the study period. For each ED encounter, there was 1 final physician ED note that aggregated all ED physician documentation. Characteristics of the entire study cohort and variant-specific cohorts are summarized in Table 1 . A patient could appear in the cohort more than once if they had multiple ED encounters.

a PCR: polymerase chain reaction.

b ICD-10: International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision.

High consistency was demonstrated between reviewer 3, who labeled a subset of notes, and both reviewers 1 and 2, who each labeled half of the notes chosen to establish the gold standard. The F 1 -scores for the 2 reviewers were 0.988 and 0.984, respectively. The PPV was 0.976 and 0.968 and sensitivity was 1.0 for both.

AI or NLP ICD-10 Accuracy

As shown in Table 2 , the F 1 -score for NLP was higher and thus more accurate at identifying encounters in the test set with patients that had any of the COVID-19 symptoms than ICD-10. NLP also had higher F 1 -score for each individual symptom. In addition, NLP sensitivity of true positive symptoms was higher than ICD-10. However, NLP accuracy of true negative symptoms (specificity) was somewhat lower compared to ICD-10.

a NLP: natural language processing.

c F 1 -score: accuracy measure balancing PPV and sensitivity.

d PPV: positive predictive value.

The 2 most prevalent symptoms, cough and fever, had sensitivity scores for NLP that were among the highest of the symptoms, and much higher than those for ICD-10 codes. The greatest discrepancy between NLP and ICD-10 F 1 -scores was for congestion or runny nose. The smallest difference was for diarrhea.

Prevalence of Symptoms Over Time

The percentage of ED encounters with patients with COVID-19 who had symptoms was estimated using the NLP pipeline and ICD-10 codes. As shown in Figure 1 , during each month of the study, the percentage of encounters with no symptoms detected was much lower using NLP compared to ICD-10. Using NLP, the range was from 0% to 19% of encounters (mean 6%, SD 4%), while with ICD-10, the range was 22% to 52% (mean 38%, SD 7%).

The percentage of encounters with patients with COVID-19 who presented with each symptom by month was higher using NLP than ICD-10 ( Multimedia Appendix 2 ). The 2 most common symptoms, cough and fever, are shown in Figures 2 and 3 . On average, cough was identified during 52% (SD 13%) of the encounters each month using NLP, but only 15% (SD 5%) using ICD-10. On average, fever characterized 70% (SD 11%) of encounters using NLP, but 41% (SD 9%) using ICD-10.

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Using ICD-10, there were many months where individual symptoms were not detected. Of the 27 study months, loss of taste or smell was not detected using ICD-10 during 24 months, nor were muscle or body aches during 13 months. A total of 3 more symptoms had at least 3 consecutive months where each was not detected using ICD-10. These were congestion or runny nose (9 total months, not all consecutive), sore throat (8 months), and fatigue (7 months). Sporadic months without detection using ICD-10 were observed for headache (5 months), diarrhea (2 months), cough (1 month), and nausea or vomiting (1 month). Using NLP, sporadic months without detection were observed for just 2 symptoms, loss of taste or smell (6 months) and sore throat (2 months).

Prevalence of Symptoms Across Variant Eras

The prevalence estimates of symptoms across variant eras for encounters with patients with COVID-19 differed for each symptom identified by NLP, except for nausea or vomiting and sore throat ( Table 3 ). Post hoc analyses revealed several patterns. New loss of taste or smell was the only symptom that varied across all 3 eras. It was most common in the pre-Delta era, followed by the Delta era, and then the Omicron era. Congestion or runny nose, cough, and fever or chills were more common during the Delta and Omicron era than during the pre-Delta era, but the Delta era did not differ from the Omicron era. Muscle or body aches were more common during the pre-Delta era than both the Delta and Omicron eras, but the Delta era did not differ from the Omicron era. Diarrhea, fatigue, headache, and shortness of breath were more common during the pre-Delta era than the Omicron era but were not different than the Delta era, and the Delta era did not differ from the Omicron era. Nausea or vomiting and sore throat did not differ by variant era. The chi-square results are in Multimedia Appendix 3 .

a,b,c Variant eras with the same superscript across a row did not differ in post hoc analyses.

Symptoms by COVID-19 Status and Variant Era

The interaction of COVID-19 status and variant era on the presence of each symptom is shown in Table 4 . However, because the interaction was not significant for 2 symptoms, fever and chills, and sore throat, the main effects for COVID-19 status are shown for both ( P <.001). The odds ratios (ORs) indicate that patients with COVID-19 were more likely to have each of these 2 symptoms than patients without this disease. These symptoms were also more likely to occur during the Delta and Omicron era than during the pre-Delta era. For the remaining symptoms, the interaction term was significant and the ORs in each variant era are shown in the table. The ORs comparing patients with COVID-19 to those without the disease differed among the variant eras. Several patterns were observed. Patients with COVID-19 were more likely to exhibit each of the symptoms of congestion or runny nose, cough, fatigue, headache, muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell, or shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. However, effect sizes (ORs) differed among pandemic eras. For diarrhea, this symptom was more likely for patients with COVID-19 in the pre-Delta and Delta eras, but not during the Omicron era. And nausea was more likely only in the pre-Delta era. Significant ORs ranged in size from 1.3 to 26.7 (mean 4.6, SD 5.3). The logistic regression results are in Multimedia Appendix 4 .

a Odds ratios compare patients with COVID-19 at an ED encounter to patients without the disease.

b CL: Bonferroni adjusted confidence limits in post hoc analyses.

c If the interaction term was significant, the effect of COVID-19 during each variant era is shown. Otherwise, the effect for COVID-19 is shown.

d Type 3 test of the interaction term (variant era × COVID-19) in a logistic regression analysis.

Principal Findings

We find evidence that AI-based NLP of physician notes is a superior method for capturing patient symptoms for real-time biosurveillance than reliance on traditional approaches using ICD-10. NLP was more sensitive than ICD-10 codes in identifying symptoms and some symptoms could only be detected using NLP. As a form of internal validation, the symptoms identified by the CDC as associated with COVID-19 were more common in patients with than without this disease.

Comparison With Prior Work

The study was also able to capture a nuanced picture of symptom prevalence and odds across different SARS-CoV-2 variant eras. Consistent with previous literature, symptom patterns changed over time as new variants emerged. Variants may present with differences in symptomatology as a result of a number of factors including differences in mutations in spike proteins, receptor binding, and ability to escape host antibodies [ 31 ]. As has been previously reported [ 11 , 32 - 35 ], we found that fever or chills were the most common COVID-19 symptom across the variants. In our cohort, shortness of breath was less common during the Omicron era than during the pre-Delta era. The Omicron variant has less of an ability to replicate in the lungs compared to the bronchi, which may explain why this symptom became less common [ 36 ]. Studies have reported sore throat as a common symptom in the Omicron era, but we did not observe a significant difference across eras [ 8 , 9 ]. It is possible that we did not see a higher percentage of sore throats in the Omicron era because it may be more challenging for pediatric patients to describe this symptom. One study found that sore throat was observed more often in those of 5-20 years of age compared to those of 0-4 years of age [ 8 ]. Similarly, a study reported that sore throat was more common in those greater than or equal to 13 years of age in the Omicron era compared to the Delta era [ 37 ]. In our study cohort, approximately half of the patients were younger than 5 years of age. As children this age may not be able to describe their symptoms well, symptoms that are also signs, such as fever or cough, might be more commonly documented in physician notes than symptoms such as sore throat. New loss of taste or smell was most common in the pre-Delta era, followed by the Delta era and then the Omicron era in this study. This symptom has been reported less commonly in the Omicron era [ 8 , 9 ]. Studies have postulated that patients with the Omicron variant are less likely to present with loss of taste or smell as this variant has less penetration of the mucus layer and therefore, may be less likely to infect the olfactory epithelium [ 38 ].

Limitations

There were important limitations in our use of NLP. The NLP pipeline was tested with a set of notes where some symptoms were more frequent in the test set (eg, loss of taste or smell) than in the formative use case. This was done to have sufficient data to evaluate the symptom pipeline. The NLP pipeline does not account for vital signs and so fever may not have been detected with the pipeline if it was documented in a patient’s vital signs rather than the clinical text. The cTAKES tool in the pipeline lacks the temporal context to ascertain if the mention of a symptom in a note is a new symptom or a prior symptom. We modified our technique because of this but nevertheless may have overestimated the prevalence of symptoms in our study. Future work will involve filtering by note section so that certain components of a note like past medical history are not included. We used 2 techniques to recognize negation, but some negated symptoms (eg, “patient had no cough”) were still captured as positive symptom mentions leading to a possible overestimation of symptom prevalence. Finally, this NLP pipeline did involve substantial preprocessing. We plan to evaluate the implementation of Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) for this task. GPT-4 was able to extract COVID-19 symptoms in a recent study [ 39 ] and it may limit the need for preprocessing.

Our formative study had some limitations. First, we examined COVID-19 symptoms in patients presenting to a single urban pediatric ED. Patients presenting to outpatient settings, who likely had milder symptoms, were not included and our results may reflect patients with more severe symptoms. And because the setting was a single site, results may not generalize to other EDs. Second, we defined COVID-19 status as positive if a patient had a PCR positive test for COVID-19 or an appropriate ICD-10 code at the ED encounter. Patients who were COVID-19 positive on a test at home or at an outside center may not have been captured by this definition even if they presented to the ED with COVID-19 [ 40 ]. Additionally, symptoms may have differed across variant eras as a result of COVID-19 vaccinations or previous infections rather than variant differences. Literature in adults shows that vaccination is associated with a decrease in systemic symptoms [ 41 ]. The United States Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of the COVID-19 vaccine in October 2021, during the Delta era and prior to the Omicron era, for children 5-11 years of age [ 42 ]. Vaccination rates for pediatric patients vary by age group in Massachusetts, as of April 3, 2023, of those 0-19 years of age, 3% to 57% have received a primary series but have not been boosted, and 3% to 18% have been boosted since September 1, 2022 [ 43 ]. As such, some patients in the Delta and Omicron eras may have been vaccinated or had previous COVID-19 infections [ 44 ].

Conclusions

In an era where rapid and accurate infectious disease surveillance is crucial, this study underscores the transformative potential of AI-based NLP for real-time symptom detection, significantly outperforming traditional methods such as ICD-10 coding. The dynamic adaptability of NLP technology allows for the nuanced capture of evolving symptomatology across different virus variants, offering a more responsive and precise tool kit for biosurveillance efforts. Its integration into existing health care infrastructure could be a game changer, elevating our capabilities to monitor, understand, and ultimately control the spread of emerging infectious diseases.

Acknowledgments

This study was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award. The contents are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by CDC, HHS, or the US Government. Support was also obtained from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health Cooperative Agreement (U01TR002623). ARZ was supported by a training grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (T32HD040128). Generative artificial intelligence (AI) was not used to design or conduct this study.

Data Availability

All data analyzed during this study for the formative use case are in Multimedia Appendix 5 of this published article.

Authors' Contributions

KDM, AJM, and TAM contributed to the conceptualization. KDM contributed to the funding. AJM, ARZ, AG, and KLO performed the formal analysis. AJM, JRJ, and VI contributed to the software. AJM, ARZ, and KDM contributed to writing original drafts. KLO and AG contributed to writing review and edits.

Conflicts of Interest

TAM is a member of the advisory council for Lavita AI. Others declare no conflicts of interest.

COVID-19 symptoms annotation guide.

Detection of COVID-19 symptoms using NLP and ICD-10 by month for emergency department encounters with patients with COVID-19. ICD-10: International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision; NLP: natural language processing.

The chi-square analysis of COVID-19 symptom prevalence by pandemic variant era for emergency department encounters with patients with COVID-19, symptoms were detected using NLP. NLP: natural language processing.

Logistic regression analysis of the effect of COVID-19 status, pandemic variant era, and their interaction on symptom status for ED encounters, symptoms were detected using NLP. ED: emergency department; NLP: natural language processing.

Data files for the time series figures, the chi-square analysis of symptom prevalence, and the logistic regression analysis of the effects of COVID-19 status and pandemic variant era on symptom status.

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  • Hui KPY, Ho JCW, Cheung MC, Ng KC, Ching RHH, Lai KL, et al. SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant replication in human bronchus and lung ex vivo. Nature. 2022;603(7902):715-720. [ FREE Full text ] [ CrossRef ] [ Medline ]
  • Shoji K, Akiyama T, Tsuzuki S, Matsunaga N, Asai Y, Suzuki S, et al. Clinical characteristics of COVID-19 in hospitalized children during the Omicron variant predominant period. J Infect Chemother. 2022;28(11):1531-1535. [ FREE Full text ] [ CrossRef ] [ Medline ]
  • Butowt R, Bilińska K, von Bartheld C. Why does the Omicron variant largely spare olfactory function? implications for the pathogenesis of anosmia in coronavirus disease 2019. J Infect Dis. 2022;226(8):1304-1308. [ FREE Full text ] [ CrossRef ] [ Medline ]
  • Wei WI, Leung CLK, Tang A, McNeil EB, Wong SYS, Kwok KO. Extracting symptoms from free-text responses using ChatGPT among COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2024;30(1):142.e1-142.e3. [ FREE Full text ] [ CrossRef ] [ Medline ]
  • Wang L, Zipursky AR, Geva A, McMurry AJ, Mandl KD, Miller TA. A computable case definition for patients with SARS-CoV2 testing that occurred outside the hospital. JAMIA Open. 2023;6(3):ooad047. [ FREE Full text ] [ CrossRef ] [ Medline ]
  • Bramante CT, Proper JL, Boulware DR, Karger AB, Murray T, Rao V, et al. Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 is associated with a lower viral load and likelihood of systemic symptoms. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2022;9(5):ofac066. [ FREE Full text ] [ CrossRef ] [ Medline ]
  • FDA authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in children 5 through 11 years of age. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2021. URL: https:/​/www.​fda.gov/​news-events/​press-announcements/​fda-authorizes-pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine-emergency-use-children-5-through-11-years-age [accessed 2024-02-28]
  • Weekly COVID-19 vaccination report (as of April 3, 2023). Massachusetts Department of Public Health. URL: https://www.mass.gov/doc/weekly-covid-19-vaccination-report-april-5-2023/download [accessed 2024-02-28]
  • Bhattacharyya RP, Hanage WP. Challenges in inferring intrinsic severity of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant. N Engl J Med. 2022;386(7):e14. [ FREE Full text ] [ CrossRef ] [ Medline ]

Abbreviations

Edited by T de Azevedo Cardoso; submitted 06.10.23; peer-reviewed by D Liebovitz; comments to author 09.11.23; revised version received 30.11.23; accepted 27.02.24; published 04.04.24.

©Andrew J McMurry, Amy R Zipursky, Alon Geva, Karen L Olson, James R Jones, Vladimir Ignatov, Timothy A Miller, Kenneth D Mandl. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (https://www.jmir.org), 04.04.2024.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on https://www.jmir.org/, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

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  • How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

Published on January 2, 2023 by Shona McCombes . Revised on September 11, 2023.

What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic .

There are five key steps to writing a literature review:

  • Search for relevant literature
  • Evaluate sources
  • Identify themes, debates, and gaps
  • Outline the structure
  • Write your literature review

A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes , and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.

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Table of contents

What is the purpose of a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1 – search for relevant literature, step 2 – evaluate and select sources, step 3 – identify themes, debates, and gaps, step 4 – outline your literature review’s structure, step 5 – write your literature review, free lecture slides, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions, introduction.

  • Quick Run-through
  • Step 1 & 2

When you write a thesis , dissertation , or research paper , you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:

  • Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and its scholarly context
  • Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
  • Position your work in relation to other researchers and theorists
  • Show how your research addresses a gap or contributes to a debate
  • Evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of the scholarly debates around your topic.

Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.

Literature review guide

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Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.

  • Example literature review #1: “Why Do People Migrate? A Review of the Theoretical Literature” ( Theoretical literature review about the development of economic migration theory from the 1950s to today.)
  • Example literature review #2: “Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines” ( Methodological literature review about interdisciplinary knowledge acquisition and production.)
  • Example literature review #3: “The Use of Technology in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Thematic literature review about the effects of technology on language acquisition.)
  • Example literature review #4: “Learners’ Listening Comprehension Difficulties in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Chronological literature review about how the concept of listening skills has changed over time.)

You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.

Download Word doc Download Google doc

Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .

If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions .

Make a list of keywords

Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list as you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.

  • Social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok
  • Body image, self-perception, self-esteem, mental health
  • Generation Z, teenagers, adolescents, youth

Search for relevant sources

Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:

  • Your university’s library catalogue
  • Google Scholar
  • Project Muse (humanities and social sciences)
  • Medline (life sciences and biomedicine)
  • EconLit (economics)
  • Inspec (physics, engineering and computer science)

You can also use boolean operators to help narrow down your search.

Make sure to read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.

You likely won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on your topic, so it will be necessary to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your research question.

For each publication, ask yourself:

  • What question or problem is the author addressing?
  • What are the key concepts and how are they defined?
  • What are the key theories, models, and methods?
  • Does the research use established frameworks or take an innovative approach?
  • What are the results and conclusions of the study?
  • How does the publication relate to other literature in the field? Does it confirm, add to, or challenge established knowledge?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research?

Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.

You can use our template to summarize and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using. Click on either button below to download.

Take notes and cite your sources

As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.

It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.

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To begin organizing your literature review’s argument and structure, be sure you understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:

  • Trends and patterns (in theory, method or results): do certain approaches become more or less popular over time?
  • Themes: what questions or concepts recur across the literature?
  • Debates, conflicts and contradictions: where do sources disagree?
  • Pivotal publications: are there any influential theories or studies that changed the direction of the field?
  • Gaps: what is missing from the literature? Are there weaknesses that need to be addressed?

This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.

  • Most research has focused on young women.
  • There is an increasing interest in the visual aspects of social media.
  • But there is still a lack of robust research on highly visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat—this is a gap that you could address in your own research.

There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).

Chronological

The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order.

Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.

If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.

For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.

Methodological

If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:

  • Look at what results have emerged in qualitative versus quantitative research
  • Discuss how the topic has been approached by empirical versus theoretical scholarship
  • Divide the literature into sociological, historical, and cultural sources

Theoretical

A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.

You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.

Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.

The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.

Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.

As you write, you can follow these tips:

  • Summarize and synthesize: give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
  • Analyze and interpret: don’t just paraphrase other researchers — add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
  • Critically evaluate: mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
  • Write in well-structured paragraphs: use transition words and topic sentences to draw connections, comparisons and contrasts

In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance.

When you’ve finished writing and revising your literature review, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly before submitting. Not a language expert? Check out Scribbr’s professional proofreading services !

This article has been adapted into lecture slides that you can use to teach your students about writing a literature review.

Scribbr slides are free to use, customize, and distribute for educational purposes.

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If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

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  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .

It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.

There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:

  • To familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge on your topic
  • To ensure that you’re not just repeating what others have already done
  • To identify gaps in knowledge and unresolved problems that your research can address
  • To develop your theoretical framework and methodology
  • To provide an overview of the key findings and debates on the topic

Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.

The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .

A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other  academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .

An  annotated bibliography is a list of  source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a  paper .  

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Title: diffagent: fast and accurate text-to-image api selection with large language model.

Abstract: Text-to-image (T2I) generative models have attracted significant attention and found extensive applications within and beyond academic research. For example, the Civitai community, a platform for T2I innovation, currently hosts an impressive array of 74,492 distinct models. However, this diversity presents a formidable challenge in selecting the most appropriate model and parameters, a process that typically requires numerous trials. Drawing inspiration from the tool usage research of large language models (LLMs), we introduce DiffAgent, an LLM agent designed to screen the accurate selection in seconds via API calls. DiffAgent leverages a novel two-stage training framework, SFTA, enabling it to accurately align T2I API responses with user input in accordance with human preferences. To train and evaluate DiffAgent's capabilities, we present DABench, a comprehensive dataset encompassing an extensive range of T2I APIs from the community. Our evaluations reveal that DiffAgent not only excels in identifying the appropriate T2I API but also underscores the effectiveness of the SFTA training framework. Codes are available at this https URL .

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The AI Index Report tracks, collates, distills, and visualizes data related to artificial intelligence. Our mission is to provide unbiased, rigorously vetted, broadly sourced data in order for policymakers, researchers, executives, journalists, and the general public to develop a more thorough and nuanced understanding of the complex field of AI. The report aims to be the world’s most credible and authoritative source for data and insights about AI.

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AI has moved into its era of deployment; throughout 2022 and the beginning of 2023, new large-scale AI models have been released every month. These models, such as ChatGPT, Stable Diffusion, Whisper, and DALL-E 2, are capable of an increasingly broad range of tasks, from text manipulation and analysis, to image generation, to unprecedentedly good speech recognition. These systems demonstrate capabilities in question answering, and the generation of text, image, and code unimagined a decade ago, and they outperform the state of the art on many benchmarks, old and new. However, they are prone to hallucination, routinely biased, and can be tricked into serving nefarious aims, highlighting the complicated ethical challenges associated with their deployment.

Although 2022 was the first year in a decade where private AI investment decreased, AI is still a topic of great interest to policymakers, industry leaders, researchers, and the public. Policymakers are talking about AI more than ever before. Industry leaders that have integrated AI into their businesses are seeing tangible cost and revenue benefits. The number of AI publications and collaborations continues to increase. And the public is forming sharper opinions about AI and which elements they like or dislike.

AI will continue to improve and, as such, become a greater part of all our lives. Given the increased presence of this technology and its potential for massive disruption, we should all begin thinking more critically about how exactly we want AI to be developed and deployed. We should also ask questions about who is deploying it—as our analysis shows, AI is increasingly defined by the actions of a small set of private sector actors, rather than a broader range of societal actors. This year’s AI Index paints a picture of where we are so far with AI, in order to highlight what might await us in the future.

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Apple AI research: ReALM is smaller, faster than GPT-4 when parsing contextual data

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Apple is working to bring AI to Siri

what is research paper in academic text

Artificial Intelligence research at Apple keeps being published as the company approaches a public launch of its AI initiatives in June during WWDC . There has been a variety of research published so far, including an image animation tool .

The latest paper was first shared by VentureBeat . The paper details something called ReALM — Reference Resolution As Language Modeling.

Having a computer program perform a task based on vague language inputs, like how a user might say "this" or "that," is called reference resolution. It's a complex issue to solve since computers can't interpret images the way humans can, but Apple may have found a streamlined resolution using LLMs.

When speaking to smart assistants like Siri , users might reference any number of contextual information to interact with, such as background tasks, on-display data, and other non-conversational entities. Traditional parsing methods rely on incredibly large models and reference materials like images, but Apple has streamlined the approach by converting everything to text.

Apple found that its smallest ReALM models performed similarly to GPT-4 with much fewer parameters, thus better suited for on-device use. Increasing the parameters used in ReALM made it substantially outperform GPT-4.

One reason for this performance boost is GPT-4's reliance on image parsing to understand on-screen information. Much of the image training data is built on natural imagery, not artificial code-based web pages filled with text, so direct OCR is less efficient.

Two images listing information as seen by screen parsers, like addresses and phone numbers

Converting an image into text allows ReALM to skip needing these advanced image recognition parameters, thus making it smaller and more efficient. Apple also avoids issues with hallucination by including the ability to constrain decoding or use simple post-processing.

For example, if you're scrolling a website and decide you'd like to call the business, simply saying "call the business" requires Siri to parse what you mean given the context. It would be able to "see" that there's a phone number on the page that is labeled as the business number and call it without further user prompt.

Apple is working to release a comprehensive AI strategy during WWDC 2024. Some rumors suggest the company will rely on smaller on-device models that preserve privacy and security, while licensing other company's LLMs for the more controversial off-device processing filled with ethical conundrums.

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    Types of academic writing. Academic writing covers a variety of types of work. These include: Essays. An essay is a relatively short piece of writing that, like a research paper, makes and supports a specific point. Theses and dissertations. A thesis and a dissertation are two types of capstone projects.

  13. PDF The Structure of an Academic Paper

    Not all academic papers include a roadmap, but many do. Usually following the thesis, a roadmap is a ... yourself, or the research and writing of others. Analysis You should never present evidence without some form of analysis, or explaining the meaning of what you have shown us. Even if the quote, idea, or statistic seems to speak for itself ...

  14. The Process of Research Writing

    Chapter 10 contains an outline of a student research paper (which follows). The paper examines the problems with and solutions for university athletics. The paper is in MLA format. Tone is less formal than this reviewer would use as an example of academic research writing. The reviewer would have welcomed an example of an APA paper, as well.

  15. 13.1 Formatting a Research Paper

    Set the top, bottom, and side margins of your paper at 1 inch. Use double-spaced text throughout your paper. Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, in a legible size (10- to 12-point). Use continuous pagination throughout the paper, including the title page and the references section.

  16. PDF What is an Academic Paper

    2. Academic writing is devoted to topics and questions that are of interest to the academic community. When you write an academic paper, you must first try to find a topic or a question that is relevant and appropriate. But how do you know when a topic is relevant and appropriate?

  17. Research Paper Format

    Formatting a Chicago paper. The main guidelines for writing a paper in Chicago style (also known as Turabian style) are: Use a standard font like 12 pt Times New Roman. Use 1 inch margins or larger. Apply double line spacing. Indent every new paragraph ½ inch. Place page numbers in the top right or bottom center.

  18. Research Paper Format

    Research paper format is an essential aspect of academic writing that plays a crucial role in the communication of research findings.The format of a research paper depends on various factors such as the discipline, style guide, and purpose of the research. It includes guidelines for the structure, citation style, referencing, and other elements of the paper that contribute to its overall ...

  19. PDF ACADEMIC WRITING

    paper, allowing you to follow it from initial idea to published article. - Into the Essay: Excerpts from actual papers show the ideas from the chapters in action because you learn to write best by getting examples rather than instructions. Much of my approach to academic writing developed during my time in the

  20. Google Scholar

    Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. Search across a wide variety of disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions.

  21. Academic & Research Focused Artificial Intelligence Tools

    Example from a paper showing how to use in-text citation and then the full verson of the citation used on the References page: When prompted with "Is the left brain right brain divide real or a metaphor?" the ChatGPT-generated text indicated that although the two brain hemispheres are somewhat specialized, "the notation that people can be characterized as 'left-brained' or 'right ...

  22. Journal of Medical Internet Research

    Background: Real-time surveillance of emerging infectious diseases necessitates a dynamically evolving, computable case definition, which frequently incorporates symptom-related criteria. For symptom detection, both population health monitoring platforms and research initiatives primarily depend on structured data extracted from electronic health records.

  23. [2403.19148] GenAI Detection Tools, Adversarial Techniques and

    View PDF Abstract: This study investigates the efficacy of six major Generative AI (GenAI) text detectors when confronted with machine-generated content that has been modified using techniques designed to evade detection by these tools (n=805). The results demonstrate that the detectors' already low accuracy rates (39.5%) show major reductions in accuracy (17.4%) when faced with manipulated ...

  24. Primary challenge at two-year college is mental health

    A working paper from University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University researchers identifies key themes in the challenges learners at two-year institutions face and how it impacts their enrollment and degree progression in the first year. Community college students make up 41 percent of undergraduates and, among students who completed a degree in 2015-16, 49 percent have enrolled at a ...

  25. How to Write a Literature Review

    When you write a thesis, dissertation, or research paper, you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to: ... Like any other academic text, your literature review should have an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion. What you include in ...

  26. DiffAgent: Fast and Accurate Text-to-Image API Selection with Large

    Text-to-image (T2I) generative models have attracted significant attention and found extensive applications within and beyond academic research. For example, the Civitai community, a platform for T2I innovation, currently hosts an impressive array of 74,492 distinct models. However, this diversity presents a formidable challenge in selecting the most appropriate model and parameters, a process ...

  27. AI Index Report

    AI Index Report. The AI Index Report tracks, collates, distills, and visualizes data related to artificial intelligence. Our mission is to provide unbiased, rigorously vetted, broadly sourced data in order for policymakers, researchers, executives, journalists, and the general public to develop a more thorough and nuanced understanding of the ...

  28. Apple's latest AI research beats GPT-4 in contextual data parsing

    Apple AI research reveals a model that will make giving commands to Siri faster and more efficient by converting any given context into text, which is easier to parse by a Large Language Model.