WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN A GOOD RESEARCH WORK | Part One
Editor’s Introductory Note
An excellent work here by the author. She has been able to synthesize the thoughts/scholarly opinions of some writer’s/researchers into one rich piece that succinctly explains the characteristics of good research work.
Research is systematic, therefore, any research work that is good should follow the principles that guide the writing of research; nothing less.
Read on, we will have the second part of this article, which will go into more details, describing & explaining each character/attribute of good research work.
Meanwhile, check out the last article we published on Writing Abstracts, and the other on “What Is Not Research,” you will love them, they both packs lots of scholarly punches to go with.
We would also love to enjoy your view. You see anything that we should add to our list? Or any observations? If you have, please leave a tiny comment in the comment box provided below.
Research is systematic inquiry that uses disciplined methods to answer questions or solve problems. The ultimate goal of research is to develop, refine, and expand a body of knowledge (Polit & Beck, 2004).
Publication of research articles is as important as carrying out the research; dissemination of findings being as critical as the actual findings.
The ability to write good research papers makes the publication process simpler allowing for appropriate dissemination of the work in a timely manner (Kumar, 2018).
Generally, In all papers, a structure is required and the argument should flow from one section to the next. Clear English should be used throughout and jargon should be avoided.
Good papers will move from the general to the specific and begin with the context of the work, move through the statement of the problem being investigated, deal with the empirical and/or analytical aspects of the work, then develop the discussion and draw conclusions based upon what has been covered in the paper, relating these back to the original context of the work (Hughes, 2001).
Good research work should feature the following:
This contains the paper’s title, the author’s name, address, phone number, e-mail, and the day’s date (Boston College Libraries, 2021).
The abstract provides a broad overview and summarizes the research work in 250 – 450 words depending on the journal or supervisor’s guideline. It should describe the important aspects of the study, including the research problem, population, sample size, data collection method, the analytical procedures used, the results, and conclusions. References are not included.
This section includes discussions concerning the practical and/or theoretical importance of the topic as well as a description of the research problem.
It often starts by introducing the reader to the topic. The statement of the research problem(s) is intended to indicate what the general purpose of the study is. This is often done through broadly stated questions or statements regarding whether and how the research variables are (or are expected to be) related to (or affected by) one another (Boston College Libraries, 2021).
The introduction section should include the definition of terms used in the study that do not have a commonly known meaning or has several meanings. What is being studied and its importance, and the gap it will fill in other studies.
The first questions to ask about a paper are connected with the problem or issue being investigated. There should be a clear statement near the beginning of a paper explaining what problem the paper seeks to resolve (Hughes, 2001).
The review of the related literature describes and analyzes the published studies that are directly related to, and/or have some relevance to, the topic and research questions at hand.
In assessing a report of research, it is always helpful to be able to see clearly how the reported work builds upon previous work. There should be explicit connections to an existing body of knowledge or body of theory (Hughes,2001).
A thorough literature review provides a foundation on which to base new knowledge and usually is conducted well before any data are collected (Polit & Beck,2004).
The methodology section should include a description of the research sample (subjects), data collection method, measurement instruments, and data analysis procedures. The description of the sample/subjects includes not only the sample size and statistics regarding the subjects but also a definition and description of the population from which the sample was selected. This section also describes the method used in selecting the sample or samples. In the case of questionnaire surveys, information on response rates also should be provided (http://my.ilstu.edu).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The statistical techniques that were applied to the data must be mentioned and the results of each analysis summarized, tabulated, and then discussed. For each research hypothesis, the statistical test of significance selected and applied to the data is briefly described, followed by a statement indicating whether the hypothesis was supported or not supported.
Tables and figures are used to present analysis results in summary and/or graph form and to add clarity to the presentation. Good tables and figures are uncluttered, self-explanatory, and non-redundant.
In addition to simply straightforwardly presenting the results, the author also has to provide the readers with his/her interpretation of the results, implications of the findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
Each result is discussed in terms of the original hypothesis to which it relates and in terms of its agreement or disagreement with results obtained by other researchers in similar/related studies.
If the results are consistent with the theoretical model, researcher’s expectations, and/or findings of other researchers, explanations must be provided as to what the results mean and what their theoretical and practical implications are.
When the results do not support the hypotheses and/or contradict previous findings, not only their meaning but also possible reasons for the discrepancies must be discussed (http://my.ilstu.edu).
Often during a study apparent and/or interesting relationships will be noticed that were not hypothesized by the researcher. These unforeseen results should be acknowledged and discussed. Such results often form the basis for future studies specifically designed to examine the issue more carefully.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
It summarizes the study’s findings in an easy-to-understand manner. It also explains the practical implications of those findings and points to recommended directions for future research in that area (http://my.ilstu.edu).
The conclusions of the study should be consistent with the results of the analysis. Where there is no numerical analysis, the conclusions should be consistent with, and follow from, the development of the argument in the paper.
The references section, or bibliography, lists all the sources, alphabetically by authors’ last names, that were directly used in writing the report. Every source cited in the paper must be included in the references, and every entry listed in the references must appear in the paper.
In conclusion, good research work should contribute important knowledge to the profession – research should have a meaningful purpose, not just to get a degree or for personal status.
It should not be trivial but instead an important contribution. Good research stands up to questioning and criticisms of others.
A researcher should be able to defend their research and their conclusions and should be socially responsible and observes ethical norms – researchers are expected to meet ethical standards of the society as they pertain to their subjects, colleagues, employers, and society as a whole (Brown, n.d).
Boston College Libraries, (2021). Writing an Educational Research Paper: Research Paper Sections. Retrieved from https://libguides.bc.edu/edpaper/sections on 20th May, 2021.
Brown, M.M. (n.d) What are the Qualities of Good Research? Retrieved from https://rummardeduc500.weebly.com/qualities-of-good-research.html on 20th May, 2021.
Contents of a Research Report (n.d). Retrieved from http://my.ilstu.edu/~mhemmas/LDR%20280/Contents_of_a_Research_Report.htm on 20th May, 2021.
Hughes, W. (2001) What makes a good research paper? ARCOM Newsletter, 16 (3). pp. 1-4. Available at http://centaur.reading.ac.uk/4306/.
Kumar, M. (2018). What are the advantages of writing a research paper? Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.editage.com/insights/what-are-the-advantages-of-writing-a-research-paper%3famp on 20th May 2021.
Polit, D.F. & Beck, C.T. (2004) Nursing Research: Principles and Methods. 7th Edition, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia. pp3
About The Author
Registered nurse, midwife, public health nurse and a graduate of LAUTECH, Editor at Institute of Nursing Research Nigeria Journal Club. Olarinde’s research interest is in Psychiatry/Mental Health Nursing. She has certifications in NHCPS BLS, ACLS and PALS, in addition to these, she also has excellent leadership and communication skills, and is a gifted craft maker (millinery).
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