How to Write Analytical or Argumentative Research Papers

Research papers can be easily differentiated from personal essays on the basis of the extensive research that is executed before the writing of such papers. Research papers thus act as that creative output in which the writers’ personal thoughts and opinions are merged with theories from already established sources.

However, the technique used in the presentation of the paper may make it fall under two broad categories: 1. Analytical, 2. Argumentative, in fact the strategy used by the writer to compose his paper will eventually determine the aim and purpose of the paper.

A detailed discussion of these two methods will clarify the concepts presented above:

1. Analytical Papers

In an analytical research paper, the aim is to attain a thorough expertise of the concept that is being presented so that it can be broken down and represented from the writers’ point of view.

In this form of the research paper, an individual approaches the research question without any pre-conceived notions and ideas about the subject at hand. Thereafter a careful survey of the opinions and views is undertaken. Ultimately when familiarity with the topic is achieved; a person is able to restructure and relocate the concepts that underlie the basic topic in his paper; the very essence of an analytical paper; critical contemplation and evaluation of the question at hand is necessary for an analytical paper.

2. Argumentative Papers

This type of a paper may also be termed a persuasive paper. Aside from critical thinking which is essential for the production of a quality paper, another familiar concept that dominates academic circles is the concept of an argument.

You may wish to read more at: Writing a Thesis

The basic difference from the former kind that qualifies the persuasive kind is that the paper takes a conscious stance and argues in favor of one of the arguments with cogent facts and points presented in its favor. The aim is to mould the reader’s mind in favor of one possible answer to the research question backed by reliable data and arguments.

To conclude; both approaches require logical thinking and smart evaluation alongside comprehensive research of the available sources. However the difference is created through the process of writing, analytical papers provide a more balanced approach where all views pertaining to the question are presented whereas argumentative papers debate in favor of one logical solution above the others.

More Answers available at: Are you Stuck writing a Research Paper?

How to Do Research for the Award of a PhD Degree in Management Studies?

The Main goals of Ph.D. research

The evaluators check for the certain important outcomes of the research for Ph.D.

(a)The main aim of effort for Ph.D. award should be creation of new knowledge.

(b)The insights should be useful to the industry or academic community.

(c ) It should bridge the gap between what the current knowledge is and what knowledge is required.

(d) It should clear the suspicions, or find answers to major questions which have been lingering in the minds of practitioners and academics for quite long. These questions are called ‘ dilemmas ‘ or ‘hypotheses’.

What does not qualify to be called ‘research for Ph.D.’:

1. Collection of material from different sources and writing a voluminous book does not qualify to be called ‘ Ph.D. research’. Ph.D. research is not about writing a book.

2. Writing a thesis based on a few books or a few newspaper articles or internet sites is not Ph.D. research.

3. Ph.D. is not a survey with some questions ( like: Are you married? How many children have you? How long are you employed? Which soap do you prefer? )or some kind of form- filling feedback. The research should use standard instruments (also called measures, scales, standard scales and published scales).

How to Go About Research for Ph. D. in Management Studies?

1. The researcher has to do extensive literature review; he has to download as many as 500 research articles from online libraries like: ebscohost, emeraldinsight, proquest, jostor etc. The primary purpose of literature review is: identification of research gaps. It means that you have to understand where extant research has stopped or what is left un-researched. The gap so found can be converted into hypotheses.

2. Hypotheses -framing (hypotheses formulation or identification of hypotheses) is the most critical part of research. Hypotheses are the research questions or dilemmas that the academic community is faced with and are waiting to be resolved by a scholar like you.

3. A hypothesis looks like a question. For example, ‘Are women more satisfied than men on their jobs?’ is a hypothesis. This is just an example. (This might have already been resolved by a research scholar like you.) Ideally, a Ph.D. thesis should comprise resolution of 10-50 most critical and interesting hypotheses.

4. Literature review reveals to you what hypotheses were already resolved and you don’t have to solve again. Literature does not mean anything that you find in the newspapers, magazines, websites, textbooks etc. Literature should primarily comprise the articles made based on empirical research. Empirical research is the one done based on experiments, observations and data collected with scientifically-developed research instruments. Research articles are found in scholarly journals, particularly online journals carried by online libraries like emeraldinsight, jstor, proquest, ebscohost etc.

5. Literature review, if diligently done, will provide the researcher with a proper background of his research for logical documentation. The background presented in the thesis will explain how the subject or research question evolved or how it was understood till now, where it stands now and what the researcher is going to do on that.

6. Literature review gives: (1) research questions/ hypotheses,(2) justification for the study/ research topic.

7. It is needless to say that research topic should be identified only after extensive literature review. It is quite sad that the universities ask for research topic and hypotheses at the time of application for enrollment itself (at a time when the candidate did not read even a single research article yet). Ideally, the universities should have identified research questions/hypotheses; but it is never the case with our universities over here.

8. While doing literature review, the important findings should be noted. These notes are the main part of the thesis under heads like: introduction, background, literature review, etc. All the referred articles should be properly listed under References. There should be cross linkages between the articles noted in the references list and text in the thesis. What you note in the main text is called ‘in-text citation’. It means that if you have something in the list of references, it should appear in the main text. In-text citation looks like (for example): (Meesala, 2011). This should be expanded in the references list. The way these references are noted is called, ‘academic referencing style’, ‘academic format’, ‘academic style’ etc.

9. The referencing style follows certain order in noting authors’ names, year of publication etc. and also the punctuation. Read the information by Googling. There are many academic formats like Harvard style, APA style, MLA style, CMS style etc.

10. Referencing for your thesis is very easy if you are familiar with how to use ‘References’ in MS Word 2007.

What To Do After Identification Of Hypotheses?

If there are no hypotheses identified, there is no research at all. Research on management issues is about resolving the hypotheses, not book-writing, mind you. Hypotheses formulation is followed by research design. Research design is about determining how to collect the data (primary data) and how it has to be analysed.

When hypotheses are clearly identified, the constructs are clearly identified and available in your hands. (Examples for constructs are: personality type, job satisfaction, engagement, commitment, and innovative behavior). In your research based on your hypotheses, you may have to deal with 15 to 20 constructs. For each construct, there is a specific, standard, published instrument ( also called ‘questionnaire’,’measure’, or ‘scale’). An instrument is a set of questions whose reliability and validity are already established. Visit this site for some scales. This is an e-handbook of management scales.

You can find many marketing scales in one book if you are affiliated to a big library like the one in Indian School of Business. Search Google for “Marketing Scales”.

What to do if ready research scales are not found in the published journals/books?

It is not possible to find a scale for every construct that is related to your research.

You have to construct the scale yourself.

The process is: (1) conduct a meeting of some experts, and with their help, generate as many statements as possible, on that particular construct. Delete all the duplicates. With the remaining items, conduct a pilot survey. Do item analysis by arranging all the responses to an item in ascending order and finding t-statistic for two groups of extreme responses. If the t-value is 1.75 or more, the item is good and can be retained. After that, for all the items in the construct, find out Cronbach’s alfa. If the Cronbach’s alfa is more than 0.60, the construct is reliable. Reliability means that the items (statements in the questions) are well-correlated. It is the average of item-to-item correlations. Further, the researcher has to work out Content Validity Index. If the index is more than 4.00, the scale can be considered a valid scale. Search Google for content validity index.

It should be noted with care, that questionnaire should relate to hypotheses but not any questions that occur to an innocent researcher’s mind.

The instrument, of course, should contain a section consisting of questions about the respondents’ profile like age, gender, income, length of service etc. The data on these items can be later checked for their relationship with other constructs.

Determination of Sample Size

Sample means the number of respondents from whom the responses on the questionnaires should be taken (with how many respondents the questionnaires are to be administered).

Sample size should be large enough. The number may be in the range of 200 to 1000. A large sample only is valid and valuable. The research done on a large sample only earns the respect of academics and research scholar community.

Sample size is determined by the size of the population, expected standard deviation, and confidence interval. There are formulae for sample determination. They are: Cocheran’s formula and Slovin’s formula. For learning more about them, Google-search those terms and use the formulae.

One important point to note is that the validity of your research is improved by randomized sample but not by selection of respondents by convenience.

Tabulation and Analysis

All the collected responses should be entered in an Excel Sheet. One row should be allotted to enter the data given in one questionnaire. For 500 filled questionnaires, 500 rows should be allotted. Data entered in Excel sheet can easily be imported into SPSS for analysis.

The tabulation of data is made easier by use of MS Excel. For high quality analysis, use SPSS (Statistical Procedures for Social Sciences). Even without SPSS software too, alternatively, Data Analysis Tool Pack in MS Excel can be used. With the help of this, descriptive statics, regression analysis, inter-correlations, Anova tests etc. can be done.

Report -Writing

For report-writing, skills in paragraph-writing, making the table of contents, and making of thesis statement, tie-in/transitional phrases, tie-in words, topic sentence etc. are critical. Particularly, English language should be idiomatic and grammatically correct.

The Synthesis of Grade Retention Research

If children are not keeping up, is it better to hold them back or move them ahead? For answers, the experience of first-, second-, and third-grade repeaters, and, as a group, children held back in grades four through seven were examined. Their academic progress and attitudes were monitored from the fall of first grade, before anyone had been held back, to the end of seventh grade (in the case of repeaters) or eighth grade (in the case of children never retained). Retention’s effects were assessed in a host of ways and, though the results were complex, it was concluded that repeaters in most instances were doing better in elementary school after retention than they had been doing before, and that these advances generally held up for a number of years (although in diminishing measure). In most of the comparisons, repeating a grade was associated with improved attitudes toward self and school. These findings contradicted the results of most similar contemporary studies. However, despite the benefits of retention on school achievement and self-esteem, retained students are more likely to drop out of school. In fact, repeating a grade in increases dropout risk, and later the risk of non completion, from three- to eight-fold.

Children held back in the upper grades and multiple repeaters are especially prone to leave school without degrees, but single repeaters are also at elevated risk. One study concluded that double repeaters and first-grade repeaters were helped least by repeating a grade, so for them to have elevated levels of dropping out and non completion is not surprising. But single repeaters who were held back in second grade also drop out in numbers greater than expected, and in at least one comparison so do third-grade repeaters. If repeating a grade in elementary school boosts children’s school performance and shores up their self-regard why would it later increase dropout risk? The fact that this risk is especially pronounced among repeaters held back in grades 4-7, as we find, is significant. When these children were held back, they were not as academically far behind their promoted classmates as were children held back earlier. If retention were simply a proxy for relevant academic difficulties, then repeating first or second grade, and not grades 4-7, would pose the greatest problems later, but that is not the case.

If not academics, then what? The social side of schooling seems a likely candidate. Grade retention takes children off the prescribed timetable of grade progressions in a rigidly age-graded system. This makes them conspicuous and complicates their social integration. Being “off-time” in school can cause problems at any age, but conditions peculiar to adolescence, the onset of puberty, and the impending transition to middle school very likely heightens them. The early adolescent years (typically age 12-14) are a time of heightened self-consciousness, when “fitting in” is paramount, but “fitting in” is not easy for late repeaters. The separation from their friends is still fresh when the time comes to change levels of school, and the disruption of peer groups they suffer is two-fold- their age-peers move on to middle school while they are left behind with younger classmates whom they may view as lower on the age/status hierarchy. Since repeating is less common in the upper elementary years than in first and second grade, there are relatively few age-peers available in late repeaters’ classes to help ease their adjustment. Repeaters’ academic standing began to slide when they moved from elementary to middle school. Reflecting transition shock, their marks and test scores began to trail off at that point, and although they usually remained ahead of where they originated, there was little room for them to absorb additional setbacks.

Thus, repeaters’ situation in middle school was precarious, and even greater challenges awaited them at the transition into ninth grade. Any school transition is hard, but the transition to high school is especially difficult. Relative to middle schools, high schools are larger, more bureaucratic, impersonal, and academically demanding. Under such circumstances, even high achieving, well-integrated students often experience difficulty. And what of repeaters? Their academic and social standing are low, which leaves them especially vulnerable. Consider this one “symptom”: in their ninth year of school, future dropouts averaged 45.9 absences compared with an average of 14.3 absences among non dropouts. With 47 recorded absences, these students were missing about one day out of every four, which was interpreted as a signal that the dropout process already had begun. The new evidence presented here showing that grade retention elevates dropout risk certainly reinforces the conviction that retaining children ought to be a last resort. But as before, it is still believed that repeating a year may be appropriate when extra time is needed to consolidate skills and master material missed the first time through. Still, for most children under most circumstances, traditional retention (i.e., grade repetition without supplemental services) ought to be rare. But candidates for retention typically are far behind academically and often exhibit serious behavior problems. Absent an effective intervention, many of these children are on a path that will lead to dropping out whether they are held back or not. Ignoring the problem (i.e., simply moving them ahead to the next grade level) and hoping for the best certainly is a formula for failure. Children who are far behind and struggling don’t suddenly spurt ahead, even though a spurt is what is required for them to catch up.

The first priority should be to keep children from reaching the point where they are retention candidates in the first place. Many poor and minority children start school already behind, but it is known that high-quality preschool programs can enhance school readiness. More of those programs are needed, and more disadvantaged children need to have access to them. Likewise, there is a need for high-quality, full-day kindergarten and supplemental services to help preserve the gains realized as a result of those early interventions. Children learn at different rates. Yet all are expected to be “ready” for first grade at age six; they are expected to move in lockstep annually thereafter from one grade to the next; and within the year, they are expected to master the curriculum in roughly the same time frame: nine months, fall to spring. The current calendar-driven model of schooling sets a severe pace; children who aren’t caught up when the teacher is obliged to move to the next lesson plan fall behind, and if they are far behind at year’s end, then what? Should these children be moved ahead knowing they’re not ready; or should they be held back knowing that most won’t be helped enough for them to keep up later? Either way, they are trapped in the same structure and many will simply slip farther back.

The challenge is to build more flexibility into the system without the stigma and other problems that come with being “off-time” for one’s age. Most school systems haven’t been especially imaginative in addressing the needs of overage students, and some of the more popular approaches risk making matters worse rather than better. So-called alternative schools for overage, pregnant, or parenting students often suffer an “image” problem and, with typically only one or two in the area, there may be logistical problems also. But beyond that, it is asking a great deal of someone shouldering heavy work or parenting responsibilities, as many repeaters do, to commit to the traditional school schedule, and even then, he or she still will be in the company of a student body preoccupied with the traditional concerns of adolescence-hardly a congenial fit. Current arrangements segregate and marginalize these youth. To break down these barriers requires somehow relaxing the overly tight link between “age” and “grade.” Doing so would likely improve the graduation prospects of children who are a year or two behind, and it certainly would give educators more options for addressing their needs. Under this accounting, the problem isn’t so much grade retention as it is the structure within which grade retention is embedded, a structure that makes deviants of otherwise perfectly normal children.

The Steps to Conducting Academic and Business Research

Research is an essential part of conducting business and engaging in the scientific community. Students, academics, and business leaders participate in research to gain critical knowledge about particular topics they do not understand well. These topics can be anything from the discovery of new vaccines to have a greater insight of a target market. Following the steps in the research process will help ensure that you are adhering to a rigorous scientific method.

1.) Understand Your Problem: It will be pretty challenging to design a study if you don’t at first understand the nature of the problem. While you may have a ballpark understanding of the problem, actually pinpointing that problem into a sentence can be excruciatingly frustrating. Sometimes you will need to review the evidence, conduct interviews, and complete some non-scientific experimentation to define the situation or problem better. The more knowledge and experience a person has the easier it will be to grasp what is going on.

2.) Conduct Background Research: You can better understand what type study to conduct if you are aware of the current research. You may just find that the problem has already been solved or is close enough that you can draw some inferences for your business without the additional expenses associated with new research. Keep strong notes of the studies you find because your literary review will provide a detailed discussion of current findings on the topic.

3.) Formulate Your Research Question: Your research question is the centerpiece of any study. A quick glance at the research question will tell you precisely what question the study will attempt to resolve. As you build your study, the design will reflect back on the research question (s). Typically research questions are labeled as R1 and R2 and are very explicitly written so they can be measured.

4.) Design Your Study: The study design is based on the need to answer the research question. If the study seeks to evaluate some phenomenon statistically, but the variables are not well known, then an exploratory design might be beneficial. It is always wise to look at similar studies on the topic to get a better understanding of the design you need to use.

5.) Gain Approvals and Funding (If Needed): Depending on which entity you work for you may need different types of approvals. On an academic level, you may need a university’s Research Board or International Review Board approvals. Company employees may need to obtain permission from senior management. Whether you are working with private, government, public, personal or corporate money it is wise to have it before you move into spending money.

6.) Obtain Necessary Materials: Sometimes you will need special equipment while at other times you will use online surveys, existing data, historical information, etc. It is helpful to know where you are going to obtain this information, pay for the services you need, and collect written permission to access information.

7.) Conduct the Study: Conducting your study will take time and careful effort. Make sure that you follow procedures correctly to hold up against scrutiny. If you wave from your processes outlined in the study, you may need to go back and reauthorize those changes with funding and oversight boards. The more consistent you are with each piece of data collection the stronger your study will be regarding validity.

8.) Evaluation The Data and Your Results: Once you have collected your data you will need to find a way to evaluate it to disprove the null hypothesis. Disproving the null hypothesis means the alternative, or the one you seek, is justified via a specified confidence level. There is software available like SPSS or even free software like Microsoft Excel that can do the necessary work.

9.) Report, Publish and Share: The ultimate goal is to contribute to a body of knowledge by sharing your results. The most common methods are to conduct a presentation at a conference or have it published in a peer-reviewed journal. Even if you cannot do this, you can still have it posted on the web for others to see.

5 Tips For Writing Introductions For Research Papers

Writing the introduction of a research paper can prove to be difficult if you do not follow a systematic way of doing it. The truth is, it is easy to compose one as long as you follow a guide.

Presumably, you need information on how to write the introduction when you are preparing your research proposal. But there are researchers who prefer to write the introduction after they have finished the research activity.

The five tips below apply to the former situation, that is, for those who intend to come up with their research proposal.

1. Have a focus topic.

Writing a research paper requires a focus topic. State the specific issue that you would want to focus your research on.

For example, if you are interested on the extent of damage caused by marshland conversion into housing subdivisions, then your focus topic will revolve around this environmental concern. You can narrow this down further by looking into the value of ecological services lost due to marshland conversion into housing subdivisions.

Your focus topic should be reflected in the title of your research paper.

2. Prepare an outline.

An outline serves as the framework of your introduction. You can start by just randomly writing words or phrases of ideas that you intend to expound on and then arrange them logically.

For example, the introduction based on the focus topic above may be outlined thus:

  • ecological functions of marshlands
  • goods and services derived by man from marshlands
  • synthesis of literature on the value of marshlands
  • rate of conversion of marshlands for the past decade
  • impact of the conversion to wildlife living in the marshlands

Visualize a capital letter ‘V’ in your arrangement of the topics. This means that you write your introduction from a general to specific point of view or deductive perspective.

3. Point out the gaps in knowledge.

What has been done so far about your research paper’s concern? Did somebody attempt to study a similar concern before? If there are studies done ahead of you, explain why your study is different, unique and important.

Reserve the details of the review of literature section in the main body of your research paper. Your discussion in the introduction will just highlight the critical issues that need to be elucidated.

For example, you may write:

Although previous studies noted the adverse effects of wetland conversion into housing subdivisions, no attempt was made to impute monetary value to loss of ecological services. Hence, it is difficult to quantify the costs and benefits of wetland conversion to accommodate human needs for housing.

4. Write the objective/s of your research paper.

This is a critical part of your introduction. What do you really want to achieve in your research paper after having extensively reviewed relevant literature?

Based on the focus topic identified earlier, you might want to have the following as your objectives:

  • The objective of this research paper is to determine the monetary value of ecological services lost due to the conversion of marshlands into housing subdivisions.
  • This study attempts to identify the specific wildlife affected by housing development.

5. Explain how you will resolve the problem.

Since there is a gap in knowledge, what are the specific things you will do to bridge or fill in the gap? This part of your introduction will tell the reader how you intend to resolve the problem or meet the objectives. At the end of the study what are the expected outcomes?

Try to write as concisely as possible without leaving out important details. A two or three page introduction will be sufficient to explain the contents of your research paper. But the length, of course, entirely depends on the issue or concern you are investigating. Make your writing tight.

Essentially, the introduction is a summary or overview of the whole research paper. It provides information on what to expect when the paper is read in full.