This section has been designed to help students and their supervisors to properly organize and present their projects, as well as to use it as a guideline for further bettering their projects
The scientific method is used to acquire knowledge about a phenomenon along with the religious method, acquiring knowledge through art, etc.)
This method has specific requirements concerning the research paper format, which are established to distinguish this type of activity from others.
So, what makes the research work different from the others?
Firstly, in a research paper it is essential to clearly state the objective. Very often, while reading a certain text, it is unclear what the purpose is for it having been written. Pieces of literature, may have sophisticated twisted stories which at first sight may seem illogical. Everything becomes clear only by the end of the novel, when the reader reaches the denouement. This principle is not applicable to the research papers. The structure of the research paper has certain standards and regulations which may not be violated.
The objective of the research normally consists in examining a certain phenomenon (to illustrate this point, a hypothetical example may be picked out from the area of the Earth, science, such as the study of water acidity in the water reservoirs of the X refuge. Everything said below may be used for conducting a research in other field of science).
It is wise in some cases to state the hypothesis. It allows to view the objective in greater detail and overall, gives the project more scientific weight. In course of investigation the hypothesis may either be accepted or rejected. The hypothesis must have grounds, in other words, it is to be supported by facts, taken from relevant literature sources, or approved by logic. In the case analyzed the hypothesis may be based on the assumption that water acidity level depends on the depth of the water reservoir. This assumption will set parameters to determine types of reservoirs for examining the quality of water (deep and shallow).
The next mission is defining tasks to fulfill. It is important to learn the difference between tasks and objectives. The tasks indicate what steps are to be made (gather certain amounts of water from experimental reservoirs and define water acidity with an indicator, say, a «litmus paper»).
The research paper should also contain the literature review, i.e. a summary of all the data obtained and investigations conducted on the phenomenon under concern, as well as give a gist of the current situation with the matter. The review should reflect that students have studied several approaches to the problem and are familiar with different viewpoints. It would mean that their research project contribute all previous studies, not just repeating what has already been discovered before. The literature review allows to freely use the material and to be able to answer questions while presenting projects. In a work thoroughly done, the actual report is just the top of the iceberg, the summary of main points. The most of information is «hidden below the surface», i.e. it is not presented in the paper.
The rules for selection and acidity definition used in our example are the methodology of the research, which is also to be included in the paper (what containers the samples of water are collected in, where they are taken from: the shoreline or further to the center of the reservoir at at what depth, if it was done at night or by day, when the indicator was applied, how the color on the indicator is screened used right away, how the color is indicated: by sight or with devices, how the results are recorded). The researcher should be aware, to what extent this methodology may be applied, as well as its consistence (for example, what the feasible consequences may follow the use of poorly washed containers).
Then researchers' personal results are presented. The working data and the data to be actually delivered should be clearly distinguished. The research may often result in a large array of figures (or other data), which do not need to be displayed. In the paper selected figures and examples serve as illustrations and general description of the data obtained in course of research, which constitute the base for the conclusions to be drawn. That is why the working data is processed and only key points are included in the paper. The most successful way of presenting visual aids is in form of graphs. It is useful to imagine oneself as a reader of his/her own paper, who in 10-15 minutes has to get the gist of the problem and of the results achieved, so the paper needs to be as easy to comprehend as possible.
The results obtained are to be compared with each other and with those presented in literature with further analysis, aimed to spot or set up patterns revealed in course of investigation.
The work is completed with conclusions, where the results are stated logically and in order. The conclusions should be relevant to the objective, tasks, and hypothesis of the research, thus becoming an answer to the questions posed in the paper.
These research works are just the first tiny step towards the vast world of science. The real thorough independent work will be possible only after receiving a quality multi-faceted higher education. Becoming a real scientist requires patience, years of hard work, and a lot of effort.
Don't stop, march on and shine onto the rest of the world!