Your main focus in deciding about the writing style in a research paper should be clarity. Write your research paper in a smooth, precise, continuous, and interesting manner. While you want to convey your message clearly you should also not forget that it should be interesting so the people can stay hooked to it until the end. There are no hard and fast principles or rules of writing style in a research paper. There are some tips that can help you in writing well that is both precise and interesting to the readers.
A research paper has a continuous arrangement between each section. This continuous arrangement is followed by any researcher in any field of research. Continuity helps the reader understand what follows next and why one section precedes the previous section of the research paper and vice versa. The writing style in the research paper should also follow a continuous arrangement. The readers will be better able to understand if you follow a continuous pattern in words, sentences, paragraphs, chapter, ideas, and concepts.
You can achieve continuity by using transitional words between phrases. There are many transition words like but, if, they, whatever, although, however, therefore and many more. Complex sentences become easier to understand by using transitional words that can help make them more understandable. You should try to use a combination of different transition words through out your research paper. The use of one transition word again and again can make the writing look boring. Try to find out synonyms for a transition word that you have already used once or twice. You should also make sure that you are using transition words in a moderation. If you can change a complex sentence into two simple sentences you should better go for the last option.
The other way to achieve continuity is through the use of punctuation marks. Do not repeat a single punctuation mark again and gain. Too much repetition can make the writing monotonous and boring. Try different punctuation marks and use them where they are required. Punctuation marks are very helpful in writing effective sentences. Punctuation marks like comma, and period are the ones that are used most often but other punctuation marks like colon and semicolon are very helpful in specific situations. The use of colon or semicolon help you make a very complex sentence understandable and make sense.
Smoothness in writing
You should so write your research paper that the readers have no difficulty in following the logical progression of your ideas. Keep in mind that you are supposed to present one whole idea in your research paper. You need to know how to explain each part of that idea smoothly in a flow. You have to avoid ambiguities, abruptness, unnecessary shifts etc.
You can use different tools to obtain smoothness in your writing. The use of same tense in each section of the research paper is very important in achieving smoothness. You can write literature review in past tense. results can also be presented in past tense while discussion can and should be in present tense. The use of present tense in discussions and conclusions help the reader become part of your research findings and investigation.
When there are too many complex sentences the reader become confused and you need to use some tools to avoid this confusion. Prepositions can help you make your complex sentences easier to understand. Prepositions make the flow of your writing smooth and help the readers understand the concept in a better manner. You should use the prepositions with caution. Make sure the preposition you are using in a sentence is the best suitable for it. Sometimes the use of wrong preposition can change the meaning of the sentence.
When you are using the same word again and again try using a pronoun (if it is a noun) or a synonym to help make your writing smooth. The pronoun you are using should be the correct one for the noun you are replacing. The synonyms should also be used with caution. You might be able to find a lot of synonyms for the word you want to replace but not all of them will have the same meaning. For example, the synonyms for undergo can be, experience, feel, bear, endure, suffer. Not all of these synonyms have the exact same meaning as undergo. The use of wrong synonym can change the meaning of the word and the sentence.
The tone of writing in a research paper is definitely professional. Writing for a research paper is different from writing for a creative purpose. Although it should be written in a professional manner it should also be interesting and compelling.
When deciding about the tone of the research keep in mind the specific reader who is going to read it his or her understanding is important. For example, a research paper that is to be read by the students in the class should meet the understanding requirement of the grade to which the students belong. The tone should remain same throughout the research paper. You have to think at their level when you start writing your research paper and you can better conclude how to write better.
Precision and clarity
Good word choice can bring precision and clarity to a research paper while bad choice can make it ambiguous. Your words should portray the meaning that you want to project. Sometimes students use certain words or phrases that have double meaning that makes the research paper too ambiguous. More than any other writing your research paper requires precision.
One way to achieve precision is to avoid approximation rather use words that show exactly what you mean. For example, words like feel, think, less, more, around, somewhat, young etc show approximation. Now young can mean from 6 months to 20 years old but if you say “she is 15 years old” this is precise. Research paper requires scientific style of writing in which each word should explain exactly what it means.
Also avoid too complex or technical terms when they are not even needed. The use of technical words in a research paper should only be done when it is the requirement of the topic otherwise use words that explain well your idea. To avoid ambiguity also avoid the use of ambiguous pronouns. A pronoun is a good idea to break the monotony in a research paper and to being smoothness. The idea of using pronouns go wrong when you do not use the right pronoun.
As we already discussed that a research paper is a professional piece of writing it requires as much creativity in writing as the meaning of the words do not change. Some students use poetic expression, rhyming, and fancy words to capture the audience. A research paper does not require such efforts as it can result in distraction and can mislead the readers. Also you might have a number of words limit in the research so writing surplus words and phrases will make it impossible for you to manage the word count of your research paper.
- Lester, J. D., Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide. Scott, Foresman and CO: Illinois. 1967. Pp-54-60.
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. (2010). American Psychological Association: Washington D.C. Sixth Ed., Pp-65-70.