When you get to college, the first thing you find out is that writing a research paper methodology for your professor is a lot more difficult than writing one for your old high school teacher. Your college instructor is going to expect a lot more out of your research work. Students often find this out the hard way when they get a failing grade on their essay, and they usually get highly discouraged and want to drop out. If this has happened to you, do not lose hope. Just do the following:
- Follow instructions
- Choose a topic
- Do careful research
- Follow pre-write procedures
- Ask for help
Our free full research paper methodology guide will elaborate on the above points so that you can raise your grade and get yourself on the dean’s list!
Not following the precise research methodology instructions prepared by the professor is the main reason why so many students fail essays and research projects. Usually, your professor will give you detailed design tips in a packet or on Blackboard, and it is a good idea for you to abide by them because they include such important things as:
- Page/word length
- Citation format
- Due date
Do not deviate from these instructions whatsoever, no matter how stupid you think they are. If you follow the guidelines and use the qualitative scientific research methods recommended by your instructor, you are guaranteed to at least get a C.
Choose an Essay Topic
If your professor is cool, he will provide you with an opportunity to write about what you want. If he assigns you something to write about, make the most out of it. If you are allowed to choose a topic, be sure to select something within the realm of what has been discussed in class. If your professor lectured all semester long about, say, the history of India, so not describe the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Choose among those questions that you have been studying during the term. Surprisingly, many students do such things.
Secondly, make sure you are going to answer the research question you are familiar with. Do not start writing about a topic you know little about, even if it was discussed in class. Everyone wants to broaden their horizons in college, but sometimes it is better just to get a good grade giving answers your tutor would like to hear. If you want to learn about an event of which you know very little, read about it over the summer.
Even if you know a lot about the chosen research topic, chances are you do not know as much as you think you do. That is why you are going to have to do a lot of background literature reading. If, for example, you are writing a five-page paper about a great historical event, you should choose at least five to seven sources to draw on for your supporting methodology evidence.
Half of your sources should be primary methodology sources, and the others should be secondary sources. A primary methodology source is a specific type of information you can obtain from such materials as a journal article, results of scientific tests, questionnaires, letter, or interview from a person who witnessed the event, while a secondary source is usually published research conducted by someone much like yourself.
When doing your research paper methodology, be sure to take a lot of annotations and mark the pages from articles where you find the most relevant statistical data so you can quickly locate it when you are making footnotes and a bibliography.
Before a writer even begins working on the first draft of his work, he pre-writes. Pre-writing is the process of writing down every single idea you have which pertains to the topic about which you are writing. Start by writing down words that pop into your head, and then expand those words into complete sentences. This is how you’ll have a so-called collection of generated ideas related to your subject field. It’s the most effective approach. Pretty soon you will see a list of ideas on your research paper which you can use to create an outline.
Here are the main points for you to start your work with. When writing an academic essay, you have to follow a certain structure: write a clear thesis statement, a main body of your research methodology, and a conclusion. Keep in mind this basic order:
- Thesis: Your thesis is a part of your introduction, which should introduce the reader to your essay by summarizing your ideas. This description requires writing at least four to five sentences.
- Main Body: In general, in this section, you must focus on the analysis of the evidence you collected in your quantitative research in a way that supports your central argument. This part involves at least three or four paragraphs that are written to explain the used method of solving the problem, theoretical terms used and practical value of approaches you chose.
- Conclusion: Generally, this is where you wrap up the main argument of your essay. Summarize the gathered points after you’ve analyzed them, review the research methodology, and then make some call for action based on the findings of your study or end it by giving a warning.
Doing what you just read is easier said than done. Many people spend hours thinking about how to write things such as thesis statements. But, the secret to writing is writing. Get your pen or keyboard working and start jotting down what you think is best. The essay may not come out sounding like it was written by Charles Dickens, but it will be a draft that you can later improve.
While your ideas might be brilliant, a text with spelling and grammatical mistakes might undermine whatever message you were trying to get across to the reader. After you finish writing, play a video game or go to the gym, take your time to have a rest, and then proofread your essay. Look not only for grammatical tense and spelling mistakes, but look for logical fallacies, as well. Check whether you’ve included irrelevant pieces of information. Common fallacies are existing tautologies, straw-man arguments, and ad-hominem attacks. Avoid these at all costs.
Citations are perhaps the most important part of your research methodology writing because failure to do them properly will definitely result in a poor final grade. Search for a manual of style for whatever citation format your don told you to use, and follow its guidelines to the letter. You should also know that failure to cite information that is not yours could lead to being accused of plagiarism, which could in turn lead to you being expelled from your university.
Problems to Avoid
The methodology section of your paper should be thorough but to the point. Do not provide any background information that does not directly help the reader understand why a particular method was chosen, how the data was gathered or obtained, and how the data was analyzed in relation to the research problem [note: analyzed, not interpreted! Save how you interpreted the findings for the discussion section]. With this in mind, the page length of your methods section will generally be less than any other section of your paper except the conclusion.
Unnecessary Explanation of Basic Procedures
Remember that you are not writing a how-to guide about a particular method. You should make the assumption that readers possess a basic understanding of how to investigate the research problem on their own and, therefore, you do not have to go into great detail about specific methodological procedures. The focus should be on how you applied a method, not on the mechanics of doing a method. An exception to this rule is if you select an unconventional methodological approach; if this is the case, be sure to explain why this approach was chosen and how it enhances the overall process of discovery.
It is almost a given that you will encounter problems when collecting or generating your data, or, gaps will exist in existing data or archival materials. Do not ignore these problems or pretend they did not occur. Often, documenting how you overcame obstacles can form an interesting part of the methodology. It demonstrates to the reader that you can provide a cogent rationale for the decisions you made to minimize the impact of any problems that arose.
Ask for Help
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