The guidelines for a research paper

Instruction: This is another adaptation of Kendra Cherry’s recommendations for graduate students and young researchers, published in the Internet without copyright limitations. On reading and understanding the text your purpose will be to acquire guidelines designed to help you research and produce a well written research paper. You will also get to know ideas and vocabulary enabling you to discuss the topic not only with your colleagues but also with your examiner when it comes to taking your candidate exam in English.

Part 1. Prerequisites of a well-written paper

The following guidelines are designed to help you research and produce a research paper that is well written, of high quality, correctly cited, and with good analytical content.

Basic guidelines

With almost everything you write, there are some basic guidelines that you should follow:

THINK about the purpose and the context of the research paper you are producing.

STATE clearly and concisely what it is that you plan to achieve.

INCLUDE only relevant material.

STRIVE for consistency of expression throughout the paper.

MAKE SURE you are ACCURATE in all of your statements and in the analysis and presentation of data.

PRESENT your information in a logical and effective order.

CONVEY your message as simply and clearly as possible.

MAKE SURE that your paper is both COHERENT and COMPLETE.

DO NOT draw conclusions that are not clearly based on your evidence.

NEVER assume that one draft will «do the job.» Count on producing at least two drafts before producing the final copy.

ALWAYS proofread and make any needed corrections before submitting the paper.

Think about the Purpose of the Paper:

Your purpose may be any one or more of several possibilities:

1) To show that you understand certain terms, concepts, or theories.

2) To show that you can do independent research.

3) To apply a specific theory or model to new material or data.

4) To provide new information.

5) To demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of a topic or text.

6) To show that you can think critically and/or creatively.

7) To report the results of a test that you have performed.

8) To demonstrate that you can apply a particular research methodology.

Answer the following questions:

  • · Do you think these basic guidelines are really necessary for writing a good research paper?
  • · Did you know all these guidelines before? Or did you follow them by intuition?
  • · Which of them would you not like to employ while writing a paper?
  • · Do you always have a clearly set purpose before writing a paper?
  • · Do you set one purpose or a combination of a few ones?
  • · Prepare a 2 minute story about the guidelines follow in writing a good research paper.

Part 2. How most professors grade your paper

p>Among the key elements that most professors consider when evaluating and grading your work are the following:

  • · Is there a clear statement of purpose, thesis statement, or research question?
  • · Is your research placed within a broad context provided by a review of the relevant literature?
  • · Is your research or analysis accurate?
  • · Is your research complete and thorough?
  • · Does your research demonstrate imaginative development?
  • · Is your paper organized in a logical fashion?
  • · Do you demonstrate clarity of expression?
  • · Is the paper free of grammar and spelling errors (have you used spellcheck)?
  • · Have you developed a meaningful conclusion to the research?
  • · Have you linked your conclusions back to the broader purpose of the research?
  • · Do you have the appropriate citation of sources throughout the text and on all graphics and tabular materials?
  • · Are your references and bibliography complete, correctly presented, and in the appropriate style?
  • · Did you proof read the paper before submission?

Go through this checklist BEFORE you submit a paper to your professor and make sure you keep a paper and/or disk copy of your paper in your files.

(After Kendra Cherry, About.com Guide)

Answer the following questions:

  • · Do your professors consider these key elements when evaluating your paper?
  • · In your opinion, what key elements can be omitted in evaluating your students’ papers?
  • · Do you always proofread the paper before submission? Or do you prefer to ask someone else to proofread your paper?
  • · Do you know if there is a detailed explanation of the key elements for an outstanding research paper in Ukrainian or Russian?

Vocabulary and idiom notes to memorize and use

Prerequisites Basic guidelines

Consistency of expression Throughout the paper Count on producing

Proofread and make corrections before submitting proof read the paper before submission

To apply a specific theory or model to new material or data

Thesis statement

To place within a broad context In a logical fashion

Clarity of expression

Free of grammar and spelling errors Link your conclusions back to

The broader purpose of the research The appropriate citation of sources In the appropriate style


Errors in sentence structure Types of sentences

All sentences consist of one or more clauses.

A simple sentence consists of one clause. People need vitamins.

The man took a vitamin pill. Molly lives in northern California.

In the summer, Tom walks to his office.

A compound sentence consists of two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction and, but and or .

The man took a vitamin pill, and he drank a glass of orange juice. Molly lives in northern California now, but she was raised in Ohio.

A complex sentence consists of an independent clause (called the main clause) and a subordinate clause. Subordinate clauses may be adverb clauses, noun clauses, or adjective clauses. In the examples below, the independent clauses are italicized.

The man took a vitamin pill because he had a cold, (independent clause + adverb clause).

I didn’t realize that Nancy was here, (noun clause).

Tom walks to his office, which is located on Broadway, every day during the summer. (independent clause + adjective clause).

Incomplete independent clauses

Missing subjects, verbs, objects and complements

As a rule, clauses have a subject and a verb. Clauses with an action verb often take a direct object as well.

The verb missing from an independent clause may be a single-word verb {need, was, took, had, or a verb phrase consisting of one or more auxiliary verbs and a main verb {will need, has been, take, would have had, had walked). The verbs may be active {need, take) or passive was

After the verb to be and certain other nonaction verbs, a subject complement is used rather than a direct object. (Subject complements are also known as predicatives or predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives.) E.g.: She is a doctor. The ice cream tastes delicious. He seems worried.

It is common for any of these elements or a combination of two or more of these elements to be missing from the stem. The most common problem in structure involves a missing verb. A missing subject and a missing subject-verb combination are common as well. The missing element may also be part of rather than all of the verb or noun phrase.

The best way to find an error

If the answer choices are fairly short, you should begin by taking a quick look at the answer choices to get an idea of what to look for when you read the sentence. If the answer choices are long or complicated, begin by reading the stem. Don’t analyze it word for word, but as you are reading, try to form a picture of the sentence’s overall structure. How many clauses will there be in the complete sentence? Does each clause have a complete subject and verb? Is there a connecting word to join clauses? Are any other elements obviously missing?

Then look at the answer choices. If you’re not sure of the answer, try to eliminate as many distractors as possible. Distractors are generally incorrect for one of the following reasons:

A necessary word or phrase is missing, so the sentence is still incomplete.

An unnecessary word or phrase is included.

Part of the answer choice is ungrammatical when put into the stem.

Never choose an answer until you’ve read the sentence completely; sometimes an option seems to fit in the sentence unless you read every word.

After you have eliminated as many answer choices as possible, read the sentence quickly to yourself with the remaining choice or choices in place of the blank. If an answer doesn’t «sound right,» it probably isn’t.


The art of storytelling almost as old as humanity.

that is


it is


The correct answer supplies the missing verb. Choice (A) is incorrect because the word that is used to connect a relative clause to a main clause; in this sentence, there is only one verb, so there can only be one clause. Choice (C) is incorrect because there is an unnecessary repetition of the subject (The art of storytelling it...). Choice (D) is not correct because an -ing form (being) cannot be the main verb of a clause.

a few of the sounds produced by insects can be heard by humans.


There are only

That only

With only

The correct answer completes the noun phrase that is the subject of the sentence. The expletive There in choice (B) is incorrectly used. In (C), the word That creates a noun clause, but each clause must have its own verb. (Produced is used as a participle, not a main verb in this sentence.) Choice (D) is incorrect because a preposition may not be used directly before the subject.

when lava cools very rapidly.

Because pumice is formed

To form pumice

Pumice is formed

Forming pumice

The best answer supplies an independent clause to join to the adverb clause when lava cools very rapidly. Choice (A) consists of an adverb clause; two adverb clauses cannot be joined to form a complete sentence. Choices (B) and (D) are incorrect because they do not contain main verbs, and a clause must contain a main verb. (To form and forming are not main verbs.) The only choice is (C).

Duke Ellington wrote during his career.

that over a thousand songs

over a thousand songs

over a thousand songs were

there were over a thousand songs

The direct object is missing from this sentence. In choice A, the connecting word that is used unnecessarily. In (C), the verb were is used unnecessarily because there is only one clause and it has a verb (wrotej. In choice (D) the phrase there were is not needed between a verb and its direct object.

Before the invention of the printing press, books .

that were very rare

were very rarely

were very rare

as very rare

Choice (A) incorrectly forms an adjective clause; an adjective must be joined to a main clause. Choice (B) contains an adverb; after the verb to be, an adjective is required. Choice (D) lacks a verb. Choice (C) correctly supplies a verb {were).


Identify and correct errors involving sentence structure

to read the best information

There is only

Only you have

You have only

You only have

These are the journals and books to use for academic research.

what you expect to

these you are expected

that you are expected

which expect you

They the scholarly journals or books that published the information originally.

usual quotation

usually have been quoted

have usual quoting of

usually quote

You may use their lists of references that you should use for your research, but you don’t have to use them at all.

in finding scholarly journals name

for to find a scholarly journals names

to find the names of the scholarly journals (D).for finding scholarly journal’s names

, though, you’ll have an online library that gives students free access to several databases.

By choosing your school carefully

Although you will choose your school carefully

Happily, most scholarly journals and popular magazines online.

can find

can have found

can be finding

can be found

You will be able to search articles and 1 , but 2 _, you may have to pay to read the articles 3 in your paper.

have read abstracts for free

can read abstracts for free

read abstracts for free

to be reading abstracts freely

without an affiliation with a university library

having not affiliation with a university library

not to have affiliation with a university library

not to be affiliated with a university library

what you choose to use

when you will choose to use

you choose to use

you are using to choose

, the ozone layer in the stratosphere is beneficial.

what ground-level ozone will be considered a harmful pollutant

when ground-level ozone is considering a harmful pollutant

Although ground-level ozone is considered a harmful pollutant

As long as ground-level ozone has considered a harmful pollutant These scientists fear .

what will cause global warming to increase temperatures

that global warming will cause temperatures to increase

what temperatures will cause global warming to increase (D what global warming will cause temperatures to increase

, bacteria and other decay-causing organisms thrive.

As the larger amounts of algae die

Though the larger amounts of algae die

As well as the larger amounts of algae die (D Because the larger amounts of algae die

They use up fish and other marine organisms begin to die.

A) very much oxygen that

so much oxygen that

not much oxygen that (D)so much oxygen for the