A Theoretical Foundation: Common Errors You Should Avoid

A Theoretical Foundation: Errors to Avoid in Your Reasearch

Making the theoretical foundation of the research paper is not easy. The student puzzles his head to establish a dialogue between the authors who deal with the chosen topic. It is not uncommon to make mistakes when writing the research, which can damage the grade.

The theoretical foundation, also known as the theoretical framework, allows the collection of reliable information to support scientific research. Generally, the student uses research that has already been carried out and published, in the form of a book, scientific article, thesis, among others.

Common errors in the theoretical basis of your research paper

The theoretical foundation stage is important for the development of a research paper. In addition to collecting material, the student also needs to read, interpret, mark the passages he deems important, and discuss with the supervisor. Only then is it possible to build solid arguments for academic work.

During the literature review, care is taken not to make mistakes. Here’s what NOT to do in your work:

1. Choosing sources without credibility

When searching for bibliographic references, remember to give preference to sources that give credibility to the research paper. Do not settle for books without academic relevance or with texts from the internet. If you are going to use the web to do the research, consult reliable databases. If not, you are basing your research work on unreliable sources and thereby opening yourself up for criticism.

2. Forgetting to use quotes

A research paper without citations has no theoretical basis. The content will be evaluated as several lines of pure guesswork, without scientific relevance. Therefore, make good use of quotes to justify arguments throughout development. Not citing other authors is also a form of content misappropriation, so you are committing plagiarism. This mistake seems to be the most common form of mistake when establishing the theoretical foundation of a research paper.

3. Overdoing quoting

In as much there is a need to reference works used to avoid your work being flagged for plagiarism, it needs to be done in moderation. You can even use the quote in your work, but with some caveats. Avoid excess of this resource and search for the original work. Remember that the academic “told-me-said” is susceptible to misinterpretation.

4. Lack of connection between paragraphs

A good research project is one that manages to tie ideas perfectly. So, avoid putting together a text with disconnected paragraphs and avoid writing in a disjointed manner. Remember that the arguments must complement each other at all times. If your research paper doesn’t flow easily, your audience and examination board may find it difficult to understand and inadvertently mark the paper down.

5. Too long quotes

Did you leave your research paper filled with long quotes? We recommend that you take caution. The excessive use of references throughout the text, without a structure of argument, can harm the result of the work. Your research work should also display your opinion and analysis concerning the work being researched.

6. Forgetting that the supervisor exists

Before you go around mentioning any type of source in your work, remember to ask your advisor for help. The teacher, responsible for the orientation, can indicate the basic readings to the student, according to the chosen theme. Indeed, it is good and commendable to attempt doing your final project independently, however, it is important to consider the suggestions of the teacher. Without doing this, you risk alienating your supervisor who will feel uninterested in your work when you submit the final copy.

7. Stop looking at digital repositories

Gone are the days when the only way to do academic research was through books. Today, students can count on scientific articles and other materials, which have a current approach. Consult all the trusted digital repositories available on the internet. Check the availability not only of academic journals but also of conference proceedings.

8. Use only one or two authors as a reference

The board expects you to further investigate the topic, so don’t be content with just one or two authors. Look for other experts who talk about the subject and put them to “talk” in your text. Don’t forget referencing one or two authors is synonymous with poor content. Like it has been earlier mentioned, consulting your supervisor or a teacher who is knowledgeable in that field helps you get familiar with references for your research paper.

9. Thinking that the library is a thing of the past

As much as the internet allows access to thousands of digital repositories, be sure to go to the library of your educational institution. In the section related to your course, you will be able to find many relevant books. Not to mention that the monitors can give tips on works that deal with the subject of the research. Many students tend to now overlook libraries and just focus on sitting at home and access materials needed for their research on the internet. However, it is important to note that some books do not have a soft copy and can only be accessed by visiting the library.

10. Reading without a critical eye

It is not enough to just read the materials collected for the theoretical foundation. It is necessary to go further and put into practice critical reading. Only in this way is it possible to construct arguments, relate them to the context of the work and go beyond what has already been said by other authors. Reading for research or literature review cannot be done as if one is reading a storybook, there must be an intentional effort to look out for important points that aid your work.

11. Ignore the notes

One important culture that seems to have been eroded in the current age when writing a research paper, is the culture of taking notes. Some students just read a pile of books, not taking care to take notes. To speed up the work, it is worth preparing records of books, articles, and other materials consulted. This feature is useful because it allows you to summarize the main ideas of each work, without the need to continue reading the readings that have already been done. Contrary to popular belief not taking notes when reading slows down the progress of the work. Hence, we recommend that you get a pen and paper to jot down the important points for your research paper.

Bonus tips:

  • Failure to establish significance of your research work

The research design must include a clear answer to the “So What?” question. Be sure you clearly articulate why your study is important and how it contributes to the larger body of literature about the topic being investigated. Failure to do this has cost many students good grades in their final year project.

  • Failure to establish a relationship between past research and your study

Do not simply offer a summary description of prior research. Your literature review should include an explicit statement linking the results of prior research to the research you are about to undertake. This can be done, for example, by identifying basic weaknesses in previous studies and how your study helps to fill this gap in knowledge.

In conclusion, now that you know the main errors of the theoretical foundation, be careful not to make mistakes in your research paper.

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