First rule: get the help of peers and your supervisor to clarify your topic
A research question doesn't have to be a question. It can also be a statement, a proposition or a hypothesis.
|Research question||Research statement||Research proposition / hypothesis|
|Can pine trees cause a biodiversity loss amongst fynbos in a mountain area?||Pine trees cause a biodiversity loss amongst fynbos in a mountain area in Stellenbosch.||Effective management of invasive pine tree species can prevent biodiversity loss of fynbos.|
A research proposal is a working document that acts as a blueprint.
The format is dependent on the intention of your paper but the following elements need to be in a research proposal:
Format of the proposal:
The research proposal only needs to be 1-2 pages (between 500-1000 words) and should address the following questions:
The WHY - why this research: public interest, personal reasons
The WHAT - the specifics of the paper: problem statement including goals and purpose
The HOW - research methodology
Three phases are involved in writing an academic paper:
|Phase 1: Pre-writing||
Writing for yourself and exploring concepts / experimenting with ideas.
Be creative - freewrite; keep a research and reading journal - recording articles that you read and your thoughts, 'notes to self', etc
Construct a mindmap or 'table of contents'
|Phase 2: Drafting and re-writing / revising||
Start expanding on your ideas - start to write for others
Develop your thread, argument, coherence of structure and ask:
|Phase 3: Editing||
Polishing stage - grammar and punctuation and 'elegance' of writing style
Check also the correctness of references
The following are typically present in a good scholarly paper:
Things to avoid:
Your title should contain the following functions:
They should be brief and descriptive and indicate the following: