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Dimensions of Research Paper Assessment

Jan 13th 2015 at 11:05 PM

Research papers are usually assessed from multiple angles. The major criteria and their comparative weightage are given as follows:

The topic: very high weightage

Methodology: high weightage

Design: high weightage

Presentation: medium weightage

Writing style: medium weightage.

The topic: the research topic can either be assigned or chosen. In PhD programs researchers need to choose a topic from their subject areas. Sometimes even if a research topic is assigned or suggested, the researcher may be asked to specify it before starting the research. Choosing a topic or specifying its scope is the most important part of the research work as it sets the objective or purpose of the research. It requires fact finding and reading about the context of the topic and finding out the past, present and future trends. Researchers need to find out how to make an original contribution in the field and not just copy or twist a previously presented research idea as that could lead to plagiarism. In their thesis researchers need to explain the reason for the choice of the topic and the contribution it will make in the domain. The reasoning of the research should seem at par with the level sought by the assessors that is at PhD level the researcher should not state a graduate level topic, even if the topic is same the approach and depth applied also determines the level and these are also taken into consideration. The chosen topic should not just be a bright concept but also be practical that is the idea needs to be supported by secondary and primary data and it should be within the means of the researcher to collect them.

Methodology: the researcher needs to explain in detail the methods adopted in solving the research problem, their assumptions, limitations and suitability to the context; the logic of choosing particular methods taking into consideration resources and constraints should be understandable by the assessors, or explained if asked to. While assessing for methodology assessors check

Compliance of the methods with the objective, resources and constraints

Effectiveness of methods used in addressing research situation or problem: that is do the methods solve the research problem as desired?

Efficiency of methods used: that is, could another cost and time efficient method have been used?

Way of using the methods: i.e. have the methods been applied correctly, has the hypothesis been stated properly? Have the correct adjusters been applied etc.

Updated Usage: i.e. could a better or advanced method or its version have been applied? Is the researcher in tandem with the progress in methods?

Design: research design is the detailed planning charted out by the researcher for attaining the objective, this needs to be described and explained during thesis presentation. A good research design shows a well-planned mind that can use the available knowledge in the best possible manner.

Presentation: a good idea badly presented fails to get acknowledged. Presentation tools include graphs, tables, figures and charts. Excel and other softwares with built in presentation tools are available by which data can be presented in many different ways. Proficiency in the use of such softwares enables data presentation in the best possible manner and scoring high on this criterion.

Writing Style: generally writing styles are prescribed by the publisher or institute. Popular writing styles include Harvard, MLA and APA writing styles. The writing styles lay down rules and standards pertaining to reference and citation, format and structure, content, language and data presentation. Content written in a particular writing style makes it easily readable, searchable and interpretable. Researchers need to adhere to these standards before sending their manuscripts to the publishers. The research work should be written concisely without unnecessary complications and should be grouped under proper headings and the flow should be logical and sequential. All literature including books, journals, magazines, published reports, web pages, conference proceedings etc., referred by the researcher, should be cited and referenced as per the instructions given for each type of source material and in the reference page these should appear in the prescribed sequence. Researchers can find instructions related to the writing style in their manual or guides, basic information on writing style and instructions can also be obtained from the web.

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