The basic objective of a research report is to put across or convey to the reader its main thrust. The entire body of work should also be reproducible to prepare groundwork for discussions among likeminded individuals pertaining to its results and conclusions.
The proper positioning of various components that make up a report like abstract, introduction, and methodology, should be taken care of. Slip-ups in the layout usually lead to embarrassment, and the credibility of the researcher also comes under the scanner.
It goes without saying that logical analysis should form the bedrock of the research. Its neglect is totally unacceptable. Lack of logical analysis is responsible for either of the following outcomes: the conclusion is not corroborated by what has been mentioned in the rest of the paper, or the paper has no substantial findings.
Minor but essential points, such as the ones mentioned below, should also be taken cognizance of.
Avoid personal pronouns
One should generally avoid personal pronouns like ‘I’ in a research manuscript. Of course, if the said portion is about observations made during fieldwork, the rule could be bent to a certain extent.
Ensure grammatical accuracy
Grammatical and syntax errors are the bane for many authors whose native language is not English. Therefore, all efforts should be concentrated on ensuring that the material is not lost in translation. Wanton use of words that have similar meanings also needs to be avoided. While the practice may be useful in creative writing, it is a strict no-no in research documents. Each word has a specific meaning, and even words with similar meanings differ subtly. The so-called synonym may radically alter the intended meaning.
Develop short and crisp titles
Another area that requires attention is the title. Authors have a tendency to include every single term they believe is pertinent to the research, leading to the birth of never-ending titles. It should be kept in mind that the title should reflect the content, but at the same time it must be precise.
Back your text with references
The collection of data should take place without any preconceived notions about the outcome. Also, the researchers can utilize the data unearthed by other authors previously to augment or reinforce their findings. In such cases, the sources need to be acknowledged. This is where the concept of in-text citations and references come in. The citation style must be identical to the one followed by the journal in which the author hopes to publish the paper.
The most significant fallacy associated with research writing is pleonasms, or the habit of using more words than necessary to explain a given idea. This habit results in the concerned writer devoting text to state the obvious. Conversely, short and terse sentences are always a better option. Esoteric terminology should also be kept to the bare minimum.
By following these guidelines, one could hope to nail the art of quality research writing, whereby all relevant material is covered and yet the text is concise. Such a report is bound to sustain the interest of the reader. Although these rules cannot be applied in a generic manner to manuscripts on science and technology, they are of critical importance for researches on the humanities.
Writers need to bear these points in mind while writing a research paper or mining research data.