What makes a good academic research paper?


When we use the expression academic research paper, we need to understand that this is somewhat of a general term. There are many areas of study which can be listed under the general heading of academic research paper. But while this is true in a general nature it is also important that you understand the narrowness of your goal. The person or people reading your academic research paper are almost certainly going to be academics. Therefore you are not writing for the general public or even for your fellow students but rather for the academic fraternity. Remember this in creating your research paper.

Now it immediately follows that an academic reading a research paper is likely to be impressed by a writer who has read widely and is able to quote references from other academics or experts in the field of the topic of the research paper. So straightaway you need to remember that reading widely on your topic and using relevant and important quotations in your research paper are two key ingredients in making your academic research paper good, if not darn good.

The other important things to understand about citations are as follows. First you must get the requirement of your academic institution correct. There will be an acceptable format and structure and method of how you cite references. Know this structure inside out and follow its rules to the letter. The beauty of online research is that you can not only explore a vast amount of information, but you can do so with ease. This lends itself to you finding a considerable number of important quotations.


Only the best will do

Now a good academic research paper will not just have a number of quotations to support the argument in the paper, it will have relevant and helpful quotations. It is easy to see a poorly written academic research paper where the student has added a considerable number of quotations, some of which are not really relevant, in order to cover up their lack of writing skill on their lack of genuine research and wide reading.

It is a double-edged sword. The right number and the right type of quotations add strength and variety to your academic research paper. Poorly chosen quotations or too many thereof hinder the quality of your work.


But is it new?

One other important characteristic of a good academic research paper is the fact that it introduces something which is new. The whole point of conducting research is that you discover something. This could be a new approach to the topic or a new interpretation of some information about the topic. Or something else completely different but the important point here is that throughout your academic research paper, you will introduce something which is new.

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