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4 Tips for researchers on tackling the task of writing a research paper

4 Tips for researchers on tackling the task of writing a research paper

For most researchers, one of the biggest challenges is to generate text or to deal with the task of translating your research findings into a research paper. A famous quotation by Gene Fowler, an American journalist, author, and dramatist, goes thus: “Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” It need not come to that if you plan your writing well. This blog post offers a few proven tips on generating text.

1. Prime yourself for writing: You may find it difficult to write about your research but to talk about it should be easier. Before sitting down to write, talk to somebody about the work or the experiment you are going to write up as a research paper. Ideally, talk to at least two people: one from your peer group and another from a totally different background. Explain to them what you did, what you found, and what that means. This talk will prime you to write: words will come easier to you when you sit down to write.

2. Set a fixed time: Set aside a couple of hours a day for the task of writing, specifying the time at which you would begin. Minimize distractions during that time: do not take calls and stay unconnected to the Internet. Even if you are unable to write during that time, do not quit: use the block of time to format references, refine tables and figures, and so on.

3. Set a target of 500 words: The time that you will set aside for writing should lead to at least 500 words in each session. If you fail to reach the target, be prepared to extend the time until the target is reached. To make the task a bit interesting, visit the website < http://750words.com > . A more drastic approach is to buy a suitable software package such as < www.writeordie.com > .

4. Write without stopping to edit: Think of a finished paper as a pottery project: the finished paper is the finished pot, shaped, dried, baked, and even painted on. During the two-hour sessions, your task is to get enough clay: shaping and refining the clay comes later. If you are stuck because a particular statistic or citation is not handy, simply insert a placeholder – three question marks with a red highlight, for example – and continue writing. Later, search the file for the placeholder and replace the marks with appropriate text.

I hope these tips help you in writing your research paper with more confidence. 

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This content belongs to the Conducting Research Stage

Conducting research is the first and most exciting step in a researcher's journey. If you are currently in this stage of your publishing journey, subscribe & learn about best practices to sail through this stage and set yourself up for successful publication.