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Research paper hints: mistakes to avoid
Research papers are often representative of a huge part of your course grade, so it’s important to avoid mistakes. Thankfully, the majority of the mistakes made by students are easily avoidable. Unfortunately, they’re also all too common! This list will cover some of the more common, avoidable mistakes students make.
- Citation mistakes
- Typos, Spelling and Grammar Mistakes
You’ll almost certainly be required to follow one of the formal styles of formatting when writing your research paper. Whether it’s MLA, APA, or another popular formal formatting style, it’s vital that you pay attention to the requirements involved. There are two reasons for this. First, instructors often see disregard for these style guidelines as being sloppy and/or disrespectful. Second, these guidelines perform some important functions in making your paper understandable and properly citing your sources to avoid plagiarism accusations. If you choose to ignore, or not carefully review your use of, formal style guidelines, prepare to have your paper graded harshly.
This is in line with the previous mistake, but it deserves a special mention of its own because of the serious consequences which can result from poor citation habits. Failing to properly cite your sources can lead to charges of plagiarism or even expulsion from your course, college, or university. When using any ideas or facts from another source, it’s important to cite it. There are usually several different options for citation types listed in the appropriate style guide; follow these with great care.
This should go without saying, but unfortunately typos, spelling, and grammar mistakes remain some of the most common mistakes which take points off of students research paper grades. This is due to students failing to have a second editor read over their paper, and/or trusting too much in their word processing software to find mistakes. There are many types of spelling and grammar mistakes and typos which even the most sophisticated software will miss. Again, this is category which instructors often consider to indicate sloppiness or disrespect from the student and they’re inclined to grade such mistakes strictly.
Finally, it’s vital—especially in college and university—to hand your paper in by the deadline. Instructors do not have unlimited time to grade these lengthy papers. At best, they may accept the paper late, but take off points for lateness. At worst, they may refuse to accept it at all.