While writing a research paper can be difficult, it can be much more difficult to assess its robustness. Regardless of whether you provide feedback to a fellow student or learn to grade, you can judge the content and format of a work to determine its excellence. By looking at the core attributes of successful research papers in the humanities and sciences, you can evaluate a certain work against high standards.
Method 1 of 3: Evaluate a Humanities Research Paper
Step 1. Find the thesis statement on page 1 of the research paper
Read the first page of the paper and look for the thesis. The thesis must consist of 1 to 2 sentences and have two parts. The first part should describe what the author is going to prove on the job and the second should describe how the author is going to present his argument.
- A strong thesis statement could be “Sex-separated education helps girls develop more self-confidence than coeducation. Using academic research, I will illustrate how young girls develop greater self-confidence in single-sex schools, why their confidence develops more in this setting, and what this means for the future of education in America.”.
- A poor thesis statement might be "Sex-separated education is an education option that separates students by sex." This is a gender-separated description of education rather than an opinion that can be supported by research.
Step 2. Judge if the thesis is debatable
Determine if a thesis is debatable, and therefore a strong choice, by taking an opposite point of view. If a thesis is two-sided or can be viewed from multiple perspectives, that will be a sign that the thesis statement is complex and a topic worth exploring.
In the example described above, one could theoretically create a valid argument for why gender-separated education negatively affects girls' self-esteem. This depth will make the topic worthy of evaluation
Step 3. Evaluate if the thesis is original
Do an online search for some other academic material on the thesis in question. If the thesis has already been analyzed by other people many times, it is probably not very original or exciting. The best research papers make new contributions to the academic dialogue on a topic.
Ask yourself if the thesis sounds obvious. If so, it is probably not a solid option
Step 4. Find at least three points that support the thesis statement
Read the research paper and look for at least three points that support the main thesis that the author presented. The research should reinforce each supporting point and, in addition, should have at least one paragraph or a set of paragraphs dedicated to each.
- Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence so that you feel like you are being guided to the research in question.
- A typical five paragraph essay will have three supporting points of one paragraph each. However, most good research papers are longer than five paragraphs and may have multiple paragraphs on just one point out of the many that support the thesis.
- If there are more points and correlated research supporting the thesis statement, the better.
Step 5. Identify research citations that reinforce the points
As you read, mark academic research citations that strengthen each supporting idea. Much supporting research helps illustrate that the author's thesis is true.
- A paper with little supporting research to reinforce its points may not be able to adequately illustrate the thesis.
- Citations that have more than four lines must be set in block format to allow reading.
Step 6. Identify the context and analysis of each research quote
Determine if the author has provided context to understand each quote well. The author must place the text from which the quotation comes and explain how the quotation helps to illustrate his point and his major thesis.
- For example, if there is a thesis statement that cats are smarter than dogs, a good supporting point could be that cats are better hunters than dogs. The author could provide a source to back this up by saying, “Cats are Kings by Linda Smith, an animal expert, describes the superior hunting skills of cats. On page 8, it says "Cats are the most developed hunters in the civilized world." Thus, because hunting requires incredible skill and mental focus, this statement supports my view that cats are more intelligent than dogs. "
- Any quotes you use to summarize a text probably won't do its part of the research work. All citations should serve as direct endorsements.
Step 7. Find an acknowledgment of possible objections
In the argument or conclusion of the research paper, look for an acknowledgment and direction of any possible opposing points. The author must acknowledge any body of thought that disagrees with his thesis and indicate one or two reasons why the opposite point is wrong or wrong.
If you do, this will be a sign that this is a solid research piece and will serve to convince the reader that the author's thesis is good and valid
Step 8. Find a conclusion that addresses a greater consequence of the thesis
Read the conclusion of the essay and evaluate if the thesis is considered in greater terms. Depending on the topic of the research paper, the author might consider how the thesis affects an academic discipline at a higher level or how it shapes current events.
Good research shows that the thesis is important beyond the limited context of your question
Method 2 of 3: Evaluate a Science Research Paper
Step 1. Find an abstract of 300 words or less
Identify a summary that describes the purpose of the research being done, as well as the problem the work is trying to solve. A robust summary will clearly describe the research design and results, especially if a study was conducted.
- An effective summary should also include a brief interpretation of those results that will be explored later.
- The author should indicate any general trends or important revelations that are discovered in their research.
Step 2. Identify an introduction that guides the reader
Look for an introduction that summarizes any relevant old research that exists. The author should also explain how their research work addresses the drawbacks in the current research landscape on that topic. If the research question has broader implications, the author should acknowledge them.
- The author of a successful scientific research work must indicate the barriers that limit their research.
- For example, if the author conducted a study on pregnant women, but only women over the age of 35 responded to a call for participants, the author should mention this. A detail like this could have an impact on the conclusions that the author draws from his research.
Step 3. Find a methodology section that describes the author's approach
Read a methodology section that explains how the author obtained and analyzed his results. A good methodology section should allow you to easily determine whether the research results are valid and reliable according to the methods.
An effective methodology section should be written in the past tense, since the author will have already decided and executed his research
Step 4. Read the results section that confirms or rejects the original theory
Look for a results section that lists the results of any research that has been done. The author must explain how those results illustrate the validity or weaken the case of the original question that prompted the research.
A good results section should not include raw research data and, rather, should explain the research results
Step 5. Find a discussion section that illuminates new ideas
Read a discussion section that tries to place the author's research within a larger research that already exists. A good discussion should not reaffirm the information in the introduction, but rather reassess how the results may have changed the fundamental research question.
- A strong discussion section could present new solutions to the original problem or suggest other areas of study given the results.
- A good discussion goes beyond interpreting the results and also offers subjective analysis.
Step 6. Read and draw a conclusion that shows the importance of the results
Look for a conclusion that synthesizes and reiterates the greater importance of that author's research. A strong conclusion looks at the value of any new information the research has brought to light and presents a final mediation on the research question.
For example, the author might think about the possible consequences in the real world if the research results are ignored
Method 3 of 3: Verify the Format of a Research Paper
Step 1. Verify the author's name, the course, the instructor's name, and the date
Look on page 1 for important information that helps identify the owner of the job and the intended recipient. This information will help the author and instructor to keep track of the research work.
Step 2. Look for an intriguing title on the first page
Look for an attractive title that explains the topic of the research paper. A solid title of the work should reflect the tone (serious or informal) and include important keywords for the thesis.
For example, the title “Growing Stronger: Why Girls' Schools Create Safer Women” is more interesting and concise than “Sex-separated schools are better than coeducational schools in developing self-confidence for girls. girls”
Step 3. Verify that the font is standard and readable
Find a common, easy-to-read font, such as Cambria or Times New Roman. Wacky fonts can be distracting, and the author could use them to spread out the work and increase the page count. The font size should generally be 12 for easy reading.
Step 4. Check for 2.5 cm (1-inch) double-spaced page margins
Confirm that the work is double spaced for easy reading. Margins should also be standardized to 2.5 cm (1 inch). Larger margins may be an attempt to alter the extent of the job.
Step 5. Check the cited sources against the required style guide
Check the syllabus to make sure the author has adhered to the formatting guidelines required for the works cited. It can be helpful to check the citations one by one with a close copy of the guide to make sure they are well structured.
- The author must clearly identify any ideas that are not their own and refer to other works that make up the research landscape for the context.
- Common style guides for research papers include the APA Style Guide, the Chicago Manual of Style, the MLA Manual, and the Turabian Citation Guide.