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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 39-40

Clues for writing a good research paper

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Faculty of Dentistry, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey

Date of Web Publication13-Aug-2014

Correspondence Address:
Guniz Baksi Sen
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Faculty of Dentistry, Ege University, Izmir
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2321-3841.138629

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How to cite this article:
Sen GB. Clues for writing a good research paper. J Oral Maxillofac Radiol 2014;2:39-40

How to cite this URL:
Sen GB. Clues for writing a good research paper. J Oral Maxillofac Radiol [serial online] 2014 [cited 2023 Mar 28];2:39-40. Available from: https://www.joomr.org/text.asp?2014/2/2/39/138629

Citations are not the perfect measure by which to judge a paper because the quantity of citations is a crude proxy for quality. [1] Papers are cited for a variety of reasons, not all of which stem from a paper's research quality or contribution to the field. [1] Citations are used to acknowledge prior relevant research, to document sources of information, and to substantiate claims. As such, citations play a key role in the evolution of knowledge. More recently, citations are also being used to quantify the impact of papers and journals, a practice, not without controversy, but one that motivates our work. [1]

Many junior researchers dream to write a new paper wishing that it would be a lasting reference for peers. Going through relevant literature, my aim is to summarize the basic rules to write a highly cited research article.

Before writing down your research, it was recommended to consider the following questions: [2]

  • What is your message? What points are you making? Most highly cited papers make a single point.
  • Why is this message important? Why should the reader take his precious time to read your paper?
  • How are you going to make your point? What experiments did you run? What theorems did you prove?
  • Has this point been made before? How is your contribution different from what has been said a 1000 times before?
  • Be aware of what is going in the practitioner world. When the research tells us something very different from what is going on in practice, it is regarded that the research is delivering inaccurate information.

In order to attract attention, it is proposed that a researcher should pick a new problem. He/she has to define the problem and/or be the first to propose a solution. It has been reported that the problem should be simple and concrete. [2] It is evident that articles are trying to explain something significant, which nobody has managed to explain before receive the highest recognition. Another way to draw attention and consequently gain citation is to improve what others have done by a wide margin. For example, reduce the error rate by half, or double the speed. [2]

  Characteristics of a Good Paper Top

A good article needs a remarkable start telling the reader why he should read your paper. A good abstract, while summarizing the work tells us why we should be interested in this paper. For example, the Kent Beck recipe for a good four-sentence abstract is:

  1. State the problem.
  2. Say why it is interesting.
  3. Say what your solution achieves.
  4. Say what follows from your solution. [3]

Following a good abstract:

  • A good research paper clearly defines the contribution to the field. It is believed that reviewers are lazy; they do not want to figure out what your message is. Therefore, researchers should spend some time telling the reader exactly what their contribution is. It should be spelled out, without assuming that readers will read the paper carefully.
  • A good paper should contain a review of related work in the introduction section: You can relate your own contribution to all of the related work.
  • A good research article has a large reference section: Make sure every paper that might have some relevance is cited.
  • Experimental evidence is another basic characteristic of a good article. The results of the paper should be compared explicitly with the best results elsewhere.
  • A good research paper should be written well. You can have the best idea, best set of empirical results, and best theoretical model, but unless you can organize and package it right, there is a chance that you might even get published. A good paper should be constructed.
  • Be reader-friendly. Make a clear effort to make the article more readable.
  • The reliability of your work increases if you clearly acknowledge the limitations of your work.
  • It would be easier for people to build on your work if you clearly state the relevant and nonobvious theoretical results.
  • A figure, graph or picture can help tremendously in communicating difficult ideas.
  • A brief conclusion is telling about future work and summarizing the strong points of the paper. [2],[4]

According to the reviewers, good research paper should not include weakly unnecessary results: If you derived 10 theorems, but only one is necessary, use one. Nobody wants to know about useless results! [2] Similarly, technical papers made of several small ideas are usually uninteresting to both readers and reviewers. [2]

These are only a few collected and summarized basic guidelines on how to write research papers. By time and experience, you will develop your own styles, rules, and techniques to write down your research. Good Luck.

  References Top

1.Hamrick TA, Fricker Jr RD, Brown GG. Assessing what distinguishes highly cited from less-cited papers published in interfaces. Interfaces 2010;40:454-64.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Available from: http://www.lemire.me/blog/rules-to-write-a-good-research-paper/. [Last accessed on 2014 Jul 06].  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Available from: http://www.plg.uwaterloo.ca/~migod/research/beckOOPSLA.html. [Last accessed on 2014 Jul 06].  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Arvey RD, Campion JE. Being there: Writing the highly cited article. Pers Psychol 1998;51:845-8.  Back to cited text no. 4


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