- Choose your topic wisely: The first step towards creating a research paper is to pick a topic that interests you the most. The reason is that this topic is what you will be spending your days and nights thinking about. Not only should your topic interest you, but it should also be something you are good at and about which you possess in depth knowledge. Your topic should be original, fresh, interesting and value adding. It is likely that a list of suggested topics has already been provided, but generally it isn’t exhaustive. You can twist and turn the suggested topics or write on something completely new, according to what the guidelines state.
- Review existing literature: You need to know what kind of research has been done previously on the said topic and other related topics. The best way to do the same is to review maximum literature to your fullest capacity. Visit your library, visit online databases of research journals go to websites like Google scholar and select the papers that are most closely related to your research. Once you have these papers in place, you can check their citations and review more literature. A study of existing literature will always provide your research work with perspective.
- Do not ignore language: Engineering research does not provide much room for creativity and language command, but it still is one of the most important aspects when it comes to research writing. Make use of good language skills; make your work grammatically correct, free from errors and high quality. It is by reading this work that people will assess your intellect level.
- Make it multi-disciplinary: Civil engineering is a wing of a bigger branch of study, i.e. Engineering. However, to make your research paper more sought for and more successful, try and make it multi-disciplinary. You could link your work to other fields of engineering such as Industrial engineering, Electronic engineering and Robotics engineering. This way other researchers from those fields would be able to refer to your work. You could also use different branches of Civil Engineering in one paper and intertwine them.
Such as: ‘Nanorobotics control design: a collective behavior approach forn medicine’
This research paper title links Nanotechnology and Robotics which are two extremely new fields of engineering research with one another.
- Link your topic to one that is of an ongoing concern: Reflect on what are the latest revelations and discoveries in your field of research. Find out all the latest innovations have been made in the same regard. Linking your research work to a field of ongoing interest will make it look fresh and very original. It is needless to say how interesting it will appear to evaluators.
For instance: Research scholars at Stanford University developed ‘Marty’, a fully automated sports car to study how cars behave in extreme conditions.
A research performed on a topic like this would not only interest your reviewers and readers but also bring to notice something that otherwise people did not know.
- Pick an area of interest: Civil engineering can have various areas of interests. Such as:
• Shape Analysis: The study of how the design and shape of machines impact their functionality and performance.
• Automation: This branch deals with the automation of otherwise manually operated machinery. It studies how various instruments can be motorized to minimize human effort.
• Multi scale design: In simple words this study is about the magnifying and contracting the scale of various machines. An example is the development of a microsim from the regular sim card that was traditionally used.
• Biomechanics: In other words, this is the study of the machines inside a living being.
There are many more areas of interest one can pick from, such as Kinematic Analysis and Computer Aided Design and Graphics.
- Pick the appropriate Research Methodology: When it comes to fields of engineering, the most commonly used research methodology is one of Empirical Research. Empirical research is one that is done with the help of experimenting. If your research is not dealing with any kind of experimentation but simply an analysis of an already existing study, then you need to undertake Analytical research methodology. At this time you decide the main structure of your research work.
- Be clear about what your conclusions and findings should ideally be: There can be times when your research, experiments and so on contradict with what you had earlier thought would be the conclusion of your study. Before changing your perspective about the same, you need to go back and check of you implemented your research with sincerity and if there are no loopholes that need to be addressed.
- Do not ignore the presentation: Most conferences these days, require all research paper contributors to present their paper in the form of a presentation in front of a group of academicians, other contributors and even established names in the industry. Here, you have to provide a very short and precise preview about what your paper will deal with. It is important that you highlight the most important and most impressive features about your paper in this presentation so that each one of those people goes back to the conference proceedings and reads your work. If your presentation is not engaging, then there is a high chance people wouldn’t acknowledge your paper no matter how substantial it is.
- Revise: Finally, the last step which in some cases is the most important one is to revise it, proofread it and make it a flawless piece of academic art. You must make it so engaging and self-explanatory that people sharing same interests would want to read it over and over again.
Writing a research paper for a Mechanical Engineering Conference does not come easy, it is indeed a head scratching task. With all the researches, empirical studies, experimental analysis and a vast variety of research fields to choose from, one does feel a bit caught up in drafting the perfect research paper as a Mechanical Engineer. Following is a 10 point checklist that one must follow to make this process, smooth sailing:
Exploring a path that has never been treaded before and letting the world know about your new findings are undoubtedly an amazing achievement in life! And, that is what a research student’s life’s aim is all about. You put all your intelligence and knowledge in conducting research on your chosen topic and cherish the fruit of success at the end. But, this is only the half part of the story and your journey completes when you finally present your research work in written format. And, to be true, this is the most important part of your research life.
You must know that writing a research paper is utterly a different experience than writing a thesis or a dissertation. Thesis and dissertation give you the scope to elaborately explain your research work, whereas the research paper needs to be brief and must be written within specified word count.
There are around 7 types of research papers like Argumentative papers, Analytical papers, Definition papers, Compare and contrast papers, Cause and effect papers, Reports, and Interpretive papers; and the student needs to choose any one amongst these. Generally, a research paper has space for 275-300 words as per the APA 6ed or Harvard style format.
You must not forget to incorporate a proper introduction to topic, the literature reviews, applied research methods, data analysis, discussions, conclusion and the bibliography. No matter you are writing research paper on what topic, but a proper research paper must include the above mentioned points.
Apart from the aforementioned things, you should also beware of the errors and writing style of your paper. This research paper is the reflection of your knowledge and intelligence, so make sure it is smartly written without any errors. Following are some of the things you should also keep in mind:
Academic research writing requires a through and in-depth study of the subject, collection of information from various sources and compilation of data. Today, students will not just sit in the library for long hours to do their research, but they also rely on the internet for online research articles to enhance their knowledge about the subject. Managing the raw materials collected is a mammoth task without proper tools. Here are three tools which will transform the way you have been organizing and managing your online data.
Evernote is a versatile free tool which allows you to take notes, collect information in the form of documents, images and PDFs and store them in a single location. It is compatible with your smart phones as well as your computer. So, now you can work either from your smart phone on the way home and can continue working on your computer as the documents will automatically sync. It also allows you to add tags and keywords to the document so that they can be arranged in a particular order.
Evernote: Your online thumbnail.
Diigolet is a researching tool which will allow you to highlight text on webpages with different colors, add sticky notes, bookmark website or share text with friends. This application after installation becomes a part of your toolbar and all your annotated links are saved in its library. This tool is available in both free and paid version.
DIigolet: Your personal online library.
Scrivener is a word processing and project management tool for authors. It is a paid service with a 30 day trial period. It allows you to create sections of your academic paper and arrange them later as per the format and flow of your paper. It also assists in researching and collecting data by allowing you to take notes. After the research is complete, it assists you to build the final paper by using proper formatting including footnotes and creating PDFs, Word, HTML and RTF documents.
Scrivener: your personal writter
Closed access publishing still dominates the publishing world. The system may be bad, and the progress towards open access is a good thing but choosing not to publish your work in the highest impact factor journal can be a career suicide. Many countries explicitly include impact factors of your publications to allocate jobs and grants. You can’t deny that there is a very strong correlation between the impact factor of the journals in which your peers have published and their success in landing jobs and grants.
But Impact factor alone will not help you in getting a job and grants, even grant review committees ignores the impact of journal in which you published and focus exclusively on the quality of the science that you do. However, scientists are so conditioned about impact factors that most design their experiments, and write their papers to get their work published into the journal with highest possible impact factor.
High impact publications can make a difference in landing you in to a job or getting you grants, other factors that play into these decisions are letters of recommendation, how effectively you communicate in an interview and, most importantly, the quality of your science.
Getting jobs and grants is a competitive process in which the quality of an individual scientist’s previous work and future plans are evaluated. Getting your paper published generally evaluates your quality work and its overall impact in science and society. It is foolishness to conclude that it is the journal in which your work gets published, rather than the quality of your work that plays the dominant role in determining your success in scientific research.
Many academic articles in almost all fields are never cited, and fields related to plants can never have impact factors as high as those of engineering and technology but still most scientists and academicians, emphasize on bagging the highest impact factor journal for their research work. Therefore while you try to publish your research work in journals with high impact but you should also work upon the quality of your science and personal grooming.
The key to writing an effective dissertation is to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the chosen topics, make a list of your research notes and start writing. You may come across major portions that might require further research, so get ready to revisit the library. The focal point is to maintain a lucid style of writing that can effectively communicate your ideas. Remember, a well-researched and elaborately planned dissertation can be marred by unclear phrasing and badly expressed ideas.
Focus on the key points for writing a potential thesis.
Find your own Style
Seek an impactful style of writing by researching a number of scholarly articles and pick up the one which is easy to read and is enjoyable. Follow the structure, study through the arguments and garner examples of punctuation and vocabulary. Use subheadings in between and tweak the content for readers’ better understanding. Most importantly, avoid repetition and be straight when placing your point.
Structure sentences properly
Distinguish the more important key points than the lesser ones. Highlight the key points by adding sentences that are not too long and difficult to understand. Keep the sentences short, simple, yet present the meaning that your want to convey in an articulate manner.
Yes, a dissertation should contain your original thought, but do refer ideas of others to make your statement more emphatic. You can use work of others to leverage your arguments, but add a footnote to indicate the original source of the idea.
Write Introduction later
Once you reach the conclusion part of your thesis you have an idea of the arguments and the points you have made. This will help you write the ‘Introduction’ once you reach the last stage of work.
The Perfect Bibliography
Mention the articles, books, interviews, newspapers, train timetables, cave paintings, statistics that have been used as primary sources. Do quote secondary sources too.
Thus, make it an error-free and perfect study proposal by following the above points.
The synopsis is an important part of your PhD thesis. It is the most essential part that offers an abridged essay of the research report. For those who do not intend to go through the entire thesis can read the synopsis to make an informed decision about the subject. Apparently, the synopsis will help readers get ideas of what to expect from reading the report.
For those who are writing a PhD thesis for the first time should follow certain rules.
The synopsis should be written in straight-forward language, simple in its approach and short in content not exceeding 500 words. Maintain the content to the maximum of both sides of an A4 size sheet.
Include all important points in it that summarize your research report. It must be self-contained since many viewers and peers prefer to go only through this part. The information provided in the synopsis should satisfy interests of readers. Students must cover the central issues of the PhD research, address all required issues and offer an instrumental method of solving the same. Also, there should be brief statements pertinent to conclusions and results.
Remember the synopsis will be short, therefore the theme of the research should be mentioned in the opening lines. The content should be precise, easy to read and objective. Since there is no scope of elaborating on every issue in the content, focus on each section and summarize its essence with objectivity.
You should emphasize on the focal point that should be reflected in the research. Frame the synopsis twice, once at the first stage of writing the research and the other once you have completed your research. This will help you frame a compact and useful outline of the project. You should stick to the paradigm and focus on the stated guidelines. Once you are done through the research and have followed all the required points, you can re-check your synopsis and make sure that it is finished perfectly. Seek assistance of experts to write an engaging and well-researched synopsis.
A good dissertation student has to be intelligent, excellent, and dedicated. As you may have already noticed, many students do not even make it to the dissertation stage of education. So, what makes an average student different from one, who can write a dissertation successfully and finally turn it in? There are several characteristics that a good dissertation student must try to achieve.
Think of the big picture
It is important to think of the big picture. Also, you should take your future into your own hands. Avoid letting other factors such as difficulties or excuses interfere with the progress you are making in your dissertation. For instance, you may have problems meeting your supervisor or the lack of time to meet the chairman of your department regarding your dissertation. However, you should not take it as an impediment in your progress and do your best to follow up with him. Do your best to stick to your word.
Get ready to postpone some things
The moment you begin writing your dissertation, you should realise that you would require time every day for writing, revising, editing, and organising your thoughts. You must remember that once you begin writing your dissertation, there won’t be time for anything else. Decide beforehand as to whether you are really willing to write your dissertation fully or not. You would need to drop any other commitments willingly and be ready to work on your dissertation. The other commitments and activities can always wait. It is just a small price to pay if you want to complete your dissertation successfully and on time. You would need to give up on your television time, your leisure time, etc. for some time and give your dissertation your hundred percent, failing which you would not be able to see the results you desire.
The results of your scientific research could get published in peer reviewed journals based on many factors including your statistical analyses, your research design, and the way your results are interpreted by the publishers. These need to be communicated clearly in your scientific paper concisely and clearly. Here is why.
Consider Your Audience
You are writing for a journal in which your scientific paper may or may not be published. You are also writing for an audience, who may have only a passing interest in your subject. You are also writing for those, who might cite your paper and give you credits for the same in their own research paper. You need to write the paper for those, who would not be able to easily understand what your paper is all about. Make sure people learn about your topic well.
Would the Others Read It?
If your scientific paper is not interesting, people will not read it. Scientific papers may be written in a formal style. However, it does not imply that they have to be dull. Several authors feel that you have to use bombastic language in order to make it appealing, but that is not true. What people forget is that they are writing for a wider audience and they make it difficult to understand. Make sure you do not use too many words where you would actually need to use only a few of them. If you do not follow certain rules, your audiences would be certain not to read your scientific paper. Also, you should make sure that you expand the abbreviations written by you in your article, failing which it would be difficult for the audiences to understand what it is all about. It is also necessary to write the scientific paper in correct grammar so that you can ensure that your message will be conveyed clearly.
All the PhD scholars enroll themselves in a doctoral program with an aim to excel in their respective fields and do some realistic and inimitable work which none has done till now. You might be one of them pondering over the ways to find a good dissertation topic and present it in a distinctive way. There’s nothing to get surprised if you may get confused and seems that every probable topic has been already worked upon and nothing is left for you now. Well! Surprising to your thought there is a list of ways through which you can dig out something magnificent even from the stock of archaic, here comes the following –
• Starts reading the relative study materials – Books are always the best mentor; hence get accustomed of reading the old stocks related to your subject area. Going through the previous journals and research papers, type of topics mentioned in them, abstracts framed and how the questions/problems are being solved in them can give you a better insight on choosing a first-rated dissertation topic.
• Stay in your plus zone – Going beyond your interest area in the search of a good title can be a downbeat for your dissertation. Read journals, newspapers, articles related to your interest area to get a fair idea about how to frame an interesting topic and that too of your interest. Doing this can upgrade your dissertation, as you can present more practical and wide spreading thoughts.
• Research around industry standards and issues – Most practical and unique approach of selecting a superior dissertation topic is to confer industry examples and case studies. In this loom you can set a topic which will reflect the matter-of-fact and you can also add up some real and firsthand data from the picked up industry example.
So, till now you must be aware of some matchless ways which can help you in finding a good dissertation topic.
When you develop an extensive document like a thesis or dissertation for your research, then it is also essential to present it in an impressive and professional manner. For this purpose, you should focus on meeting all the style and format guidelines that your academic institution recommends. If you are submitting a research paper to a journal, then it again becomes a priority to follow the journal-recommended styles and rules.
A professional document is one that not only meets all given criteria of submission, but also maintains the quality of its content. Thus, always work to improve your content while correcting all linguistic and formatting mistakes in your paper. Your document should be of publishing standards. Thus, it is significant to write it well and structure it effectively. Focus on making all your ideas and arguments logical and interconnected if you want to come up with a comprehensive document.
Induce cohesiveness in your work so your target readers may find it interesting to read. This is what will actually justify your hard work done throughout the process of research. Further, focus on organizing your content in categories or sections and cite all your sources of information in the required style. Following a professional style manual can bring that professional touch to your content.
If you feel the need for a professional review of your written document, then you should not even hesitate from doing that. A professional editor can help you in polishing your work by removing all basic and advanced errors of language, consistency, structure and logic. A detailed investigation of your paper can make it worthy of scoring well during an assessment. Your aim is to impress your target readers through this document and a professional presentation can definitely do the trick.
This blog is Co-authored by many writers, editors and statisticians who work for Dissertation India.