- Academic Research and Writing Tips / Tutorial

Commonly Made Mistakes of a Custom-Written Research Paper

Writing a college level paper is no easy task. It takes much practice and effort to produce high quality work. Many college students will go through their entire college career committing the same mistakes time and again. This is unfortunate, as the purpose of a custom written research paper is to sharpen critical thinking and writing skills. When a student unwittingly makes the same errors over and over again, he/she deprives him/herself of learning from their mistakes and of the beneficial development that is attendant with writing papers. By remaining oblivious to commonly made mistakes, the student will never overcome the limits of their writing abilities. This paper discusses commonly made errors made by students when writing a research paper and offers some strategies to overcome them. These mistakes are: failure to appropriately address the question assigned to them, a weak thesis, lack of thematic unity and failure to proofread the paper once it is finished. Following is a detailed discussion of these errors and methods to correct them.

Research Fault

Most custom research paper topics are assigned to the student by his/her professor and it is the student's responsibility to answer the question clearly and concisely. Some students will make the error of not answering the question in an appropriate manner. They either misinterpret the question or avoid addressing the question at hand. First, if there is any doubt about the paper topic, the student should take the initiative to talk with his/her professor who will clarify its purpose. That is what the professor is there for. In addition, the student may have misread the question and because of this misinformation will fail to answer the question assigned to him/her. That is why it is important to read the research question carefully. It would not do to write a paper on the political history of Ireland when the paper topic is a literary analysis of W.B. Yeats' poems. Although these topics may be related, one is only tangential to the other. Problems arise when students lose focus and end up writing on only a marginally related topic instead of the question assigned to them. Thus, when custom-writing a research paper or essay, the student must have a strong grasp of the question. It is easy to lose focus when researching a paper. At times it may seem that all the information gathered is important. This is precisely why the student must have a clear understanding of the topic before he/she begins his/her research.

A strong thesis is necessary for the development of a research paper and will help the student stay on track. Students commit errors when their thesis is either too broad or too narrow. Take the following for research question, for example. "How does Korean Neo-Confucianism affect the status of women in Korean society?" The thesis "Korean Neo-Confucianism is an important ideology in Korean culture." is too broad. The thesis "Korean Neo-Confucian ideology supports the belief that a man should be head of a household" is too narrow. A thesis that allows for further analysis and that answers the research question may take this form: "Korean Neo-Confucianism is at once a patriarchal and humanistic ideology that defines men differently than it defines women and as such confers special benefits and obligations to the female gender. This thesis addresses the issue of the status of Korean women and its relation to Neo-Confucianism. It addresses the "who" and "how" elements of the question. The "who" and "how" elements of the question are arguably the most important. By addressing these two elements, one can create a thesis that is analytically centered. Also feasible is to answer the "why" and "when" elements of a research question. By addressing these elements, one can formulate an analytically sound thesis.

In addition, disorganization can plague a paper and can mar the effects of good writing. Even if the paper is stylistically well-written, thematic disunity can jeopardize the quality of a research paper. Thematic unity is defined here as a type of organization that arranges the various themes of the paper in a logical or reasonable manner. Disorganization can take many forms. The paper can lack appropriate supporting arguments or fail to take arguments to their logical conclusion. The paper, to be analytically sound, must develop the supporting arguments sufficiently enough to provide evidence for the thesis. The supporting arguments are signaled by phrases that link the ideas of the papers together such as "in addition," "furthermore," "moreover," nevertheless" and "therefore." By using these linkage phrases, one can be assured that his/her paper stays organized. Another mistake is the failure to take arguments to their logical conclusion and to jump from one half-formed idea to another. One should be careful to make one point at a time and to develop these ideas fully before discussing another relevant point. This makes it easier for the reader to understand the ideas presented in the paper. The student can use these strategies to prevent thematic disunity.

Furthermore, failure to proofread a paper before turning it in could jeopardize one's grade. Although grammatical errors are less important than structural errors, nevertheless, they can make the reader's job more difficult and less enjoyable. If the professor has to stop reading every few words because of a grammatical or spelling error, he/she will take his/her frustrations out on the student's grade. Most word-processing software includes a grammar and spell check. Students should familiarize themselves with this option and to learn to use it well. Another strategy to overcome this problem is to enlist the help of a fellow student. "A fresh pair of eyes," so to speak, can point out errors that escaped the writer's attention. Proofreading is an essential part of a good research paper.

In conclusion, commonly made mistakes of custom research papers are: failure to address the question, a weak thesis, thematic disunity and failure to proofread. These mistakes plague even the most cautious of writers and should therefore be examined thoroughly. The strategies discussed here will help students overcome these mistakes and to write better papers. These mistakes should not intimidate students but should instead motivate them to improve their writing skills. In the end, the conscientious student, one who is ever vigilant about the correction of these mistakes, will be able to write good research papers.