Some Tips About Reading And Evaluating Term And Research Papers

Gloria Hamilton 23/11/10 12:03 PM

We have been talking about the writing styles and has covered many topics but today let through some light on reading and evaluation of any sort of paper. No matter whether it is a term paper or research paper you need to memorize few basic things and in this post you will be able to learn. As you might do a lot of reading of academic journal papers, we should devote some time to learn how to read such papers.

Most academic research papers are set out in a uniform way according to a template. We find that after the heading and the name of the author(s), their institutional affiliation and contact information, an Abstract always appears which gives a very short synopsis of the article. Sometimes within the abstract there is additional indexing information in the form of Categories, General Terms and Keywords – all of which enable the reader to quickly decide if the article is of interest.

Following the Abstract is the Introduction (please note that sometimes that this heading is missing), which usually supplies the background and the rationale for the entire research undertaking that ended up in the paper. After an exposition of the current state of knowledge in the specific field, the author will indicate the relevance of his/her contribution to that field of knowledge. In projects in which a hypothesis is to be tested, the author will spell out the hypothesis, what the anticipated outcome is, and hint at the results and conclusions.

As the article we are looking at instructs us how to write articles, the main part of it is properly called The Body of the Paper. An article about another subject would have another heading that describes the specific subject.

As noted in the template, this section is usually ordered in an hierarchical structure and indeed, we find that this section has sub-sections and sub-sub-sections all properly numbered. One of the important sub-sections will describe the methods and tools that were employed in the research. As we have seen, an important criterion of published papers is the ability for others to duplicate the findings. There should be enough information in this section to convince the reader of the feasibility of the research and the results, and enough exposure of the tools so that the experiment could be duplicated.

The results/findings are usually the last sub-section of the Body. The results as explained should satisfy the objective of the research as set forward in the Introduction and the first paragraph of the Body. It should close the loop that started with assumptions and suggestions, continued with a description of the tools and methods, provided descriptions of what has been done, and end with the results.

The next part is the Conclusions. Any hypothesis and speculations must now be addressed and the value of the new finding analyzed
(i) to show that the results tested the hypothesis set forth at the beginning of the research, and
(ii) To show its scholarly merit by specifying what it contributed to the knowledge in this field. This is the moment when the reader, working his/her way through the paper, should decide if the paper was worth reading.

So that’s all for today and keep reading posts and give your feed back.

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