How To Use Peer Reviewed Research In Your Academic Paper

In this recurring and evolving age of information, one shouldn’t limit themselves to curiosity and exploration for knowledge. Everything starts with an idea and becomes the foundation of something new or better that contributes to society. If you’re seeking solutions to problems, the best way to find it is through evidence and research, thus you’re encouraged to write academically.

Academic writing is a piece of uniformly written work with brief, concise, truthful, and systematic evidence. This aims to find a solution to a problem and its results are either an invention or innovation.

The research process of academic writing doesn’t solely involve collecting preexisting information from different sources and combining them to label as your own. Instead, research involves a thorough investigation imbued with critical thinking. In order to write your academic paper, analytical thinking skills are paramount.

With that being said, when writing your academic paper, you should gather information only from reliable sources, such as peer reviewed research. These scholarly works are important pillars of science that should be utilized with full responsibilities by the researchers, while gaining its benefits as well.

 

What Is Peer Reviewed Research? 

Basically, peer reviewed research is a scholarly article, journal, research paper, or any written work that is reviewed by two or more experts in their designated field, along with suggestions and recommendations for revision, before being accepted for publication. There’s no researcher and research that produced a perfect work for the first time, thus the need for a larger room for improvement.

Peer reviewing matters greatly on the field of science. As a researcher, you should hold ethical responsibility for the sake of the quality and truthfulness in your work. You have to keep in mind that findings and results that you collect will contribute to the advancement of society. Thus, it’s only proper to put research, upon which researchers make claims about certain phenomena, under scrutiny by anyone accountable for it. 

There are numerous approaches to peer review, but generally, the two most common are: single-blind peer review and double-blind peer review. In a single-blind peer review, the reviewer knows who the author is but the reviewer’s name is hidden from the author. On the other hand, both parties are anonymous to one another in a double-blind peer review.

A peer review process is complex and strict, simply because of the importance it holds to the scientific community. If you’re interested more in discovering peer review and its manifestations, make sure to check out this post: What Is Peer Review In Science? A Complete Guide.

 

Importance of Using Peer-Reviewed Work On Your Paper

Now that the concept and importance of peer review is explained, let’s now go to the significance of incorporating it into another body of work. First of all, take note that not all journals and its enclosed articles are peer reviewed, especially free-to-access, online journals. So when you search for sources in your academic paper, and if you’re particular to peer reviewed research, you’ll have to dig in deeper. 

In terms of finding reliable and complete peer reviewed sources online, your university library account is essential to access those information. First, you can search for peer reviewed sources in your own university’s database and make sure to filter the ‘refereed’ from those that are not. 

In Google scholar, most peer reviewed journals only feature their abstract and a few short information about the research. Other peer reviewed journals that show their complete research might not have as good quality as those private ones, so take advantage of utilizing your university subscription. 

Generally, academic journals are categorized into ‘tiers’ which classifies their standing within the field and their selectiveness in accepting articles for their journal. The higher a journal sits on the ranking, the higher their reputation in providing top-of-the-line research, as well as their standards for accepting. Before papers are being submitted in their system, they always provide author guidelines that will be the basis of their acceptance or rejection. 

By definition, peer reviewed research are definitely reliable and credible sources to, not just add into your paper, but prioritize in doing so. They sit on a higher standard, quality, and authority in providing what information you need, as compared to non-peer reviewed ones. Basically, they’re not just ‘something’ to incorporate, but should ideally be on your work.

How To Incorporate Them Into Your Paper

Once you’ve found peer reviewed research to include on your paper, the next challenge now is how to incorporate them into your paper properly, with utmost critical and analytical thinking. Take note that peer reviewed research belongs under any scientific work, thus they’re cited as how all research would be, but we’ll get into the specifics later.

Before adding sources into your paper to prove your claims, you’ll have to find them first. But, it can be difficult to recognize peer reviewed research from non-peer reviewed ones, so you need to be creative in finding them. Most professors will require you to utilize peer reviewed research anyway. Peer reviewed works can also be referred to as “scholarly journals” or “refereed journals.”

To make your hunt a lot easier, here are some helpful tips:

  1. Limit your database, filtering only peer reviewed research. Whether you’re searching for sources in your university’s database or the online database, always narrow down your search through selecting that option or feature before clicking the search button. As mentioned earlier, some high quality peer reviewed research might only show a short summary, thus widen your exploration.
  2. Search in reliable websites and databases only. No matter how difficult finding sources can be, always make sure that you’re getting information only from legitimate and reliable websites. Some of the best and most reliable databases are listed here by the University of Michigan.
  3. Confirm that the publication is a peer reviewed research. Now comes to the most detailed part is to authenticate a peer reviewed research, especially if you weren’t able to identify if your source is really peer reviewed. Thus, you’ll have to look for journals physically. Although they’re not entirely successful with all resources, here are some suggested steps:
  • Look up for the masthead of the paper, usually enclosed in a box at the front or end of the whole publication. This contains necessary publication information. If you still haven’t identified it as peer reviewed, proceed to the next step.
  • See the masthead if there’s any information about methods for journal submission. Usually, there’s a written “…submit three copies…” if they’re peer reviewed, suggesting that the work has to be submitted to the reviewers first before being accepted for publication. However, this is not always the case.
  • Lastly, do your own judgment. Definitely, there are criteria to check if the work is professionally written. Check for technical terminologies, complete research parts (abstract, chapter 1 to 5, accessory parts), and most importantly, legitimate bibliographies and footnotes. 
  • If you have already conducted these steps but you’re still not sure if it’s peer reviewed, don’t be afraid to consult your instructor, colleagues, and even your institution. More sources from different minds means that you can have more diversity in your work.

Once you’ve compiled all your peer reviewed sources, it’s time to write your academic paper and incorporate these ideas in a unique and informative way. Now, onto the real process of putting these peer reviewed research into your academic paper, here are some tips that you can treat as a writing guide:

Start Early and Steer Clear From Procrastination

Everyone has probably gone through this at some point of their life: not starting a task immediately and finding themselves procrastinating right before the deadline. Writing an academic paper obviously takes time, and since your scholarly sources are written to be understood by mostly experts, it will take more time for you to incorporate them into your paper. 

To overcome this challenge, start your research early. Once you step into the process of incorporating and analyzing your scholarly sources, they’re more difficult to read and translate in your way. Most ideas will be new and unfamiliar to you. Thus, compile relevant peer reviewed research papers and start reading the abstracts and summaries first to identify if they’ll be helpful for your topic. 

Then, sort out all scholarly sources that are relevant to your topic, then start reading them thoroughly. The most time-consuming part of your research is definitely the second chapter which comprises the review of related literature and studies, which you will discuss the findings in scholarly journals that are related to your topic.

Conventionally, the second chapter always goes after the first, obviously. However, writing the second chapter first before the statement of the problem can give you a broader view of the topic.

 

Follow The Style Guide Of Journal Of Choice

Academic papers are always written systematically through following a specific format. Since journals and publication platforms sometimes vary in terms of formatting, always follow the style guide of your journal of choice. If your paper is a subject requirement, then use your professor’s provided style guide. 

Practicing this skill will be helpful when you continue to write during your academic and corporate future. Every journal has their own style and configuration so make sure that you follow them strictly, and set your personal preferences aside.

When incorporating your scholarly sources, never copy paste them as is, especially if they have a different style guide. These sources are meant to support and give evidence to your claims, so you need to explain them in a way that is connected to your topic. Make sure that you use these information while complying with the required style guide.

 

Make Use of Proper Citation

Peer reviewed or not, academic research has to be credited to its rightful authors. Failure to meet this ethical responsibility leads to a serious crime known as plagiarism. When mentioning ideas that are not originally yours, always make use of proper citation. 

Generally, sources and references are used not just to prove your claims, but it can also present facts and statistics, highlight relevant examples and illustrations, give authority to a certain idea, and so on. Before you add a source in your paper, it’s noteworthy to identify the purpose of utilizing it and how it will be presented in the best possible way. 

When utilizing your sources and writing them in your own words, always cite the source. Generally, there are three major citation style guides used in academic writing, depending on your field or topic:

  • American Psychological Association (APA): Education, engineering, social sciences
  • Modern Language Association (MLA): History, art, English, music, philosophy, linguistics, language, religion
  • Chicago Manual of Style: Supports two styles: (1) Chicago Notes and Bibliography, history and humanities, and (2) Chicago Author-Date, natural sciences, physical sciences, and social sciences

At the end of your paper, the list of all scholarly sources utilized in your research is always expected, and this is known as either the bibliography or reference list. 

 

Integrate Your Sources Seamlessly

If you’ve successfully compiled all your scholarly sources, determined the purpose of using them, and identified which citation style guide to use, it’s time to integrate them into your paper through three methods:

  • Paraphrasing: In paraphrasing, you put the relevant ideas from the source and translate them into your own words, while still giving credit to the original author. Paraphrased texts are almost the same length as the original text since you’ve put attention to details, but in your own words. It’s best to use this method when the original idea wasn’t clearly explained and you seem to have a better way of doing it.
  • Summarizing: As the word suggests, summarizing is creating a summary of an idea, thus highlighting only the key, concise points of a text. Summarizing is best to do when presenting all the main ideas in a paper briefly.
  • Quoting: When the ideas that you’ll incorporate into your paper are entirely important and specific, you have to quote them directly from the author. Always enclose these direct quotes in quotation marks and add proper citations. 

With overflowing resources, you might become too overwhelmed and overuse these information. Always keep in mind to be selective and concise. Include only relevant information that can contribute to your paper’s topic, since not everything in your scholarly journals will be directly relevant to your research. You’ll definitely encounter using two to three paragraphs, if you’re lucky enough, amidst a scholarly paper with multiple pages.

While filtering out only the essential information, also take note to stay focused on your topic. Your sources are only meant to support your claims, thus your paper shouldn’t be centered on these. Moreover, don’t overuse too many sources and quotations into a single paragraph.

 

Salient Points

Research is a mesmerizing endeavor that never stops – you think of a central idea to solve your problem, find relevant information to support them, and try to prove your claims. It’s a continuous learning process that encourages people to keep on pursuing their curiosities. While scholarly sources are abundant in different fields of science, you should be able to recognize, classify, find their purpose, and incorporate them into your research in a logical manner. 

 

Making Friends in College: Tips that Work

There are many tips on making friends in college. What for? Why do you need these tips? Some people – we know this from life and numerous movies about college students – have only one or two best friends or maybe even just a sibling and are doing just fine. They completely devote their student life either to study or to some hobby. They have a goal, and they don’t need to hang out aimlessly. Mostly these guys and girls are introverts. They can make more friends, but they don’t need it. But such students are a minority. What about the rest?

So You Are in College…

Being alone in college, especially if you live on campus, is next to impossible. And quoting someone famous, “One cannot live in society and be free from society.” So even if you have the strongest desire to keep your distance, be ready to accept the fact that it’s not going to happen, always someone will keep you company, even if you do not want it: a teacher, a roommate in a dorm, a neighbor at a table in the dining room, and so on. 

But one thing is the society that is being imposed on you, and another thing entirely is the society that you want and seek. We are social beings and need to be surrounded by people. Just be sure to choose the right ones. 

So the question is, What to do? How to make friends with people who potentially may change your life for the better?

There are a lot of “classic” tips, whole instructions and guidelines, which contain various tips on how to make friends in college. Some of these tips are more like good wishes because, in practice, not all of them work.

On the other hand, some of the tips are quite suitable for their use, because they are taken from life and tested by real people. Below we will try to share only the tips that do work.

Become Interested in Others

If you want to make friends with someone, you must show genuine interest in a person. Ask about his or her hobbies, favorite movies, exciting experiences like traveling or backpacking, about their day and family, but not in a stalking way though – just a friendly interest. Let them ask you the same questions, and don’t be shy to answer. It may turn out you have lots in common, and the next thing you know, you are the best buddies.

Try to be open and friendly, but don’t overshare, or you might end up earning a reputation of a weirdo. Show only your positive sides, and leave your flaws for the next level of friendship.

Of course, for some, it may contradict the Be Yourself advice, but in this case, you need to take time and be sure it is the right person you are opening up to.

Remember not to impose your company on another person, especially if he or she gives you the cold shoulder repeatedly. Here it is best to politely “bow out” and leave.

It’s All About the Right Place

Let’s also think about where and how it’s easiest to make friends in college.

Where does a college student spend the most time? The answer is obvious: in the classroom, in the dorm, and in the cafeteria. It is easiest to try to make a friend in one of these places. You will have to get acquainted in any case cause you will not be able to remain incognito for all of your university years.

And one of the simplest ways to make a friend is to suggest a joint pastime: going out for a coffee or lunch before the classes start, walking together to the next class or back to the dorm, watching a movie in the nearest cinema, or going to a university event. Spending time together will let you learn more about the potential friend and whether you’d like to continue building a friendship. It is also an ideal moment to let the other person learn more about you. As mentioned above, try to show your best self. And most importantly, be positive: people tend to feel uncomfortable and confused around sad and or negative individuals!

Joint pastime is not limited to fun activities only. You can also be spending lots of time on a joint project or working together on complicated writing assignments, for which you can hire professional essay writers and spend the extra free time getting new knowledge on favorite subjects.

Sports events, social activities, music groups, theater performances, libraries, and any other type of student activity you can think about – all are great places to make friends, and at the same time, do what you enjoy. Just like you get interested in other people, they will get interested in you and will try to make friends with you. Just be sure not to get too nervous and give them a chance to know you. After all, not only you want to build friendships in college.

Final Thoughts

Having someone to have your back in college and share unforgettable moments of being a student is priceless. Often friendships built during the college years turn into lifetime friendships. Don’t rid yourself of a chance to find a new best friend by staying aside and distancing. We only live once!

Writing ideas: Literature Examples of Courage as Essay Topics

The literature provides students with endless opportunities to write and express themselves. Courage is one of the more frequent topics, but this doesn’t make it any easier to write the essay. If you’re asked to craft an essay on the topic of courage, the wide array of choices you can find in the literature will only make this harder for you. 

Surely, you can always go for simple essay topics, ones that have been discussed so often that you won’t have to do a lot of research. However, if you want to make great impression and get the highest grade, you must use all of your creative forces and select one of the best essay topics for college students. 

How to Choose English Essay Topics on Courage

When you’re given the assignment to write an essay that discusses, describes, or arguments courage, your main focus is not the plot – it is the idea of the paper. This is especially important with admission essays where you not only have to share an interesting story, but actually give something unique and attractive to the admission board. This is what will prompt the board to allow you to enroll in the university of your choice.

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The courage theme can be found in many literature pieces today and is easily recognizable. However, it is not easy to explain. When it comes to courage essay writing, this needs to be both analytical and argumentative. In many cases, that requires analysis of your own experience and impressions from the literature piece. 

If you’re out of ideas and cannot pick an essay topic to write on, you can always use https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/courage/ to guide and motivate you. Generally speaking, you can choose between the following types of essays that use the courage theme.

Definition or expository essays on courage

If given this task, you need to explain to the reader the notion of courage as used in the literature piece. This will demand either real or fictional examples that illustrate your own definition of courage. You can’t just say that courage is ‘an act of bravery’. The essay type itself requires a more thorough definition of how you see and understand courage as presented in the piece. After all, there are plenty of heroes in many stories, but your essay quality will depend on your point of view, who you see as a hero, and why. 

The biggest mistakes students make in this case is to tell the entire plot without focusing on the actual definition. As the name suggests, the essays should define courage as you see it, not analyze the entire piece.

Analytical or argumentative essays on courage

Even though they both explore the theme of courage, argumentative essays are entirely different from definition essays. Your topic might be the same here, but your purpose is different. The goal with this essay type is to make the reader think about courage and what is right or wrong. You need to question courage as a notion, speculate its nature, and perhaps even discuss different points of view in terms of courage in people. 

In this case, there is not such a thing as easy essay topics. As long as you choose a specific point and stick to it, every piece of literature with courage elements in it can be turned into a great argumentative essay.

Reflective essays on courage

Finally, you may be given the task to write a reflective essay. This is probably the most dreaded task among students – to use their personal experience to discuss the courage theme. This is what makes it one of the more popular admission essay topics. You need to compare the literature to your own life, failure, success, and basically – courage. 

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Examples of Essay Topics Using the Courage Theme

Now that I’ve established the types of essays you can be asked to write on courage, I’m presenting you with my favourite literature topics that discuss courage:

  • Vanity and hypocrisy in Henry Fielding’s Joseph Andrews
  • Heroes of the past, present and the future
  • Time to Kill vs. To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Lady Macbeth’s kind of hero
  • Courage in ‘The Lord of the Rings’
  • The courage of the Baudelaire children in ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’
  • Kinds of bravery in the ‘Allegiant’
  • ‘The Kite Runner’ and the author’s portrayal of courage in the novel
  • Was Macbeth a failure as a king or a courageous person?
  • Beowulf in today’s society
  • Crane and The Red Badge of Courage

Conclusion

Courage is a very common topic in the English literature. As such, you’ll probably have it assigned at least once during your education. When you do, you might find it hard to choose a topic. There are many different perspectives toward the theme of courage, which gives you endless opportunities to write about it. 

In this article, I’ve presented you with some excellent topics for courage essays. I hope that these helped and – if they didn’t, that you’ll find the guide useful in finding the best topic for your paper. 

 

Author’s Bio:

Michael Turner is a linguist and literature expert who teaches university students in the US. According to Turner, a literature professor’s biggest mission in life is to show his students how magical words can be. Thanks to his grasp of technology, you can learn about his insights and read his short lectures on many blogs online. 

Harvard Essay Formatting and Style Guide for Students

Harvard Essay Formatting and Style Guide for Students

Essays are hard enough to write to begin with, but writing it according to the Harvard Essay format is a whole other beast on its own. If you look at any Harvard Style sample paper, you will realize that it is not just a matter of stringing a couple of sentences together in paragraphs, the structure takes on a life of its own. 

From the cover page to the final page, everything has a place and a specific format in which it has to be written. Regardless of how difficult or technical the Harvard formatting rules are, getting to know it is non-negotiable. 

If you want to enter any major university, admission essay topics for Oxford University, for example, all require a Harvard essay format. It might seem tedious and unnecessary, but it gives a certain distinct appearance to all their essays which is professionally pleasing. 

Whether it’s controversial topics or anything general, handle it with professionalism and never make biased statements or write something that’s offensive. Choosing the right topic is a gamechanger. 

The cover page

The Harvard formatting style requires a very specific format for the cover page or title page. If you look at a Harvard sample paper, you will notice a couple of things. Firstly, the title is always written around the middle of the page in All-caps. 

Secondly, the name and surname of the author are written in small letters three lines below the title. Thirdly, there is another four-line gap and from here you start to write the class, the name of the professor or lecturer, then the name of the school, thereafter comes the city and state and lastly the date. 

Each of these entries is always written on their own line. Once all this info is put in the right order, you can move onto the actual essay.

Putting things in paragraphs

As a novice or an expert essay writer, it sometimes becomes unclear where you need to split your paragraphs. With Harvard formatting, paragraphs also need to adhere to a certain structure. This can be either difficult when your ideas are complex, or it can take the thinking out of your paragraphing and guide you with ease. 

According to the Harvard writing style, the first section is supposed to be captivating and entertaining. It should capture the reader and lead them to want to read further. From there Every paragraph’s first sentence should tell the reader what the paragraph is all about. 

The rest of the paragraph should support the opening statement and the last sentence should summarize what the whole paragraph stated. If the writer wants to highlight certain points or add a bit more structure, he or she can make use of subheadings to introduce subtopics. These subheadings should always be written in italics though. 

Citing and technical formatting in a Harvard Essay

There are many citing formats around, but it makes sense that a Harvard essay would use the Harvard style for in-text references. 

When an author’s work is cited, the author’s surname and initials are used, as well as the year of publication and the page that was referenced. The full citation with the books title and publishing details are then written at the end of the essay in a separate section. 

When it comes to the technical formatting, it is very rigid in what is expected. The essay should always be written in Times New Roman at size 12. Double spacing is always to be used to make the text easy to read and the left-hand margin should be smooth. 

If you struggle to keep to the formatting style, you could always make use of an online essay helper. This will ensure that your essay adheres to the quality that a Harvard essay requires. There isn’t much room to change to the format since it is a format used for the highest quality of essays. 

Transitioning between paragraphs

As mentioned earlier, the Harvard formatting style requires a certain structure to the paragraphs. Putting it all together can become tricky, but on the other hand, when your paragraphs fit into this structure, then you know that your ideas are solid. 

This makes it easy for the reader to follow your train of thought and easier for you to get your message across. 

Generally, a Harvard paragraph has three sections, namely a topic sentence, supporting sentences and a closing sentence. 

The closing sentence is dual purpose as it serves the function to summarize what the paragraph was all about and then also introduces the next paragraph. This affords your essay an easy flow and logical order that the reader can follow. 

To conclude

If you are serious about your academic writing, then you don’t have much choice in the matter. At first, the format is tedious and you will often become frustrated at the rules that you have to follow, but with everything new, it becomes easier as you practice. 

In the end you will come to appreciate the effort that it took for you to master the Harvard formatting style. Your essays will take a step up in terms of its professionalism, purely based on the aesthetics of your paper. When your essay looks professional, it almost also testifies of the quality of the content of your work as well. It testifies of your character and the effort that you put in. 

Author Bio:

Michael Turner is an academic writer helping students with their thesis, dissertation, and college essays. His has a tremendous level of writing skills and loves to share his expertise with budding writers. In his free time, he unwinds by doing yoga, cooking and playing ukulele.