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Composing The Research Paper Discussion Part: Basic Rules To Keep In Mind


Compiling your research paper can at times feel like composing multiple essays and in many ways you are doing precisely that. Yes, it is one document but when you factor in all of the different components that each require handling in a slightly different way, then it makes sense to break them down and treat them as separate entities before pulling them all back into its finished form.

I always recommend that students work to this format:

  • Introduction
  • Conclusion
  • Main body

The main body is a lot more than just the sandwich filling between two slices of bread. It is the substance of your work. The whole reason you have spent weeks researching your topic. You owe it to yourself to give this the attention that it truly deserves.

Like anything in academia, there are some basic rules that you can follow when composing the discussion element:

  • Know your topic inside out
  • Do all of your research and gather together all of your sources and evidence BEFORE you start writing. If you have these laid out in a logical, orderly manner, it will make the job of justifying the finished product an awful lot easier.
  • Be aware of any opposing viewpoints and fully research them so that you can properly present your research and findings. Acknowledging counter-arguments will make it more rounded and balanced.
  • Write an abstract containing all of the pertinent facts BEFORE you write it. Having this to hand will make your life a lot easier and will help you quickly overcome the inertia and bouts of writer’s block that are part and parcel of the process.
  • Make sure that you properly cite and acknowledge any sources that you have used, not only to avoid any allegations of plagiarism but also out of common decency and courtesy.
  • Try and choose a topic that at least interests you. It doesn’t necessarily have to make you feel passionate, but it should excite you enough to hold your interest through the inevitable long hours. If you are uncomfortable with your topic, or if it has been chosen for you this will become evident to the reader.
  • Ensure that your sentences are well-constructed and that your work is grammatically correct and free of spelling mistakes and typos. This might seem like a minor detail on the grand scheme of things. However, you are looking to produce a highly polished document. Your academic future could sink or swim on the strength of this.