If you are familiar with the academic environment, you definitely know that scholarly papers are its integral part. Students often use them to find reliable and well-structured information on the topic of their interest. While finding and analyzing a scholarly paper is something anyone can do, writing a good paper of this kind is frequently a real challenge. This guide will be useful for those of you who are yet to explore this aspect of academic life or those who simply want to improve their academic writing skills.
Structural Elements of the Scholarly Paper
A regular scholarly paper must comprise the following structural elements:
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- Introduction to the topic
- Literature review
- Body of the paper
- Appendices (optional)
An abstract is a brief description of the purpose of the paper, methodology, and findings. It shouldn’t exceed 250 words. In the next section, you introduce your topic to the reader. This part of the paper should be concise and informative. Remove tangential information. Apart from including background information, make sure to mention the relevance of the study and explain what you are trying to achieve. The most important element of the introduction is a thesis statement or a research question. These have to be focused and succinct.
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In the literature review, you should describe the context of your research. Include minimum direct quotes and paraphrase instead. The research method is described in the next section. The methodology depends on the type of research. In particular, you can choose from quantitative and qualitative methods. The biggest part of your paper is the body, where you describe the research in detail. Finally, you summarize the key findings and in concluding paragraph. Make sure to mention all the key ideas. Sometimes you also need to include recommendations and suggestions for further research. If you want to add some calculations, detailed statistical data, graphs, or any other information which you think is useful, it’s better to put them in appendices.
What to Keep in Mind
Scholarly papers shouldn’t be confused with other types of academic papers as they are different in the target audience, purpose, use of research material, scope, etc. Although a scholarly paper can pursue several goals simultaneously, you should make it coherent and logical by adhering to an overarching purpose. As to the audience, a scholarly paper can address more than one, as well. Therefore, you should take account of the background knowledge the audiences have when synthesizing the content. In addition, consider your audiences when choosing the most appropriate tone. The tone will help you communicate the key message better. This aspect is often referred to as stance. Depending on the purpose of the study and the audience, it can be firm, helpful, apologetic, and so on. One more thing to remember is the scope of the study. When choosing a topic, be sure to narrow it down to make the research effective.
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What You Should Avoid
Use appropriate vocabulary and stay away from informal language, such as contractions, 1st and 2nd person pronouns, idioms, and phrasal verbs. In addition, you should try to write in active voice. Finally, use complete sentences and avoid wordiness, vague statements, and excessive quotation. And, of course, don’t forget to proofread.