Many students ask me this question that “what are the most common mistakes they can avoid while writing a research article?”.In my opinion the most common mistakes that every author must avoid while writing a research paper are as follows:
1- NOT CONSULTING THE EXPERTS
Many novice researchers kick start their research writing by just deciding a topic without realizing that with no proper background knowledge about the basics of the subject, you cannot write a research article. You will be stuck, especially if there is conflicting data. When an experienced researcher comes across conflicting data he knows how to handle it. First of all, he usually knows which of the conflicting information is most likely correct, however, this is not the case with a novice researcher. Therefore, reading enough about the topic is the key to avoid such a problem. Yet no one can read every essential detail about the topic because of time constraint or a hard deadline for the project. Under these circumstances a new researcher must realize that a trustworthy senior scientist is a senior scientist for a reason, therefore, there should be no hesitation in asking an expert in that field about the conflicting data. Remember, by writing and publishing a research article you are benchmarking yourself as an expert. How can you establish yourself as an expert if you don’t ask other experts and respect their opinion? Therefore, always consult experts of that topic to solve the problem such as conflicting data besides reading a lot of articles.
2- NOT SETTING UP A DEADLINE
One of the key factors of time management and goal setting is a deadline. In fact the world renowned goal setting expert Brian Tracy believes that a goal without a deadline is merely a wish. No one can argue that. Thus, you now know what to do, set up a deadline when you want to finish your research article. Now many students ask this question that how can we follow a deadline? We have done it in the past and it simply doesn’t work. Now let me tell you this that setting up a deadline is also a skill. Merely deciding a date in your mind is not enough. You need to write the deadline in a journal (hope you have a daily journal, if you don’t have a journal then stop reading this blog right now and go buy a journal). You should also hang a calendar on your wall in your room and the living room. You should also tell your friends or family about this deadline and ask them to remind you about the deadline. Our mind gets 60 thousand random thoughts each day, therefore, its impossible to remember the deadline without reminding yourself multiple times. Now what are you waiting for? Go write the deadline now!
3- BRAGGING ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH ARTICLE WITHOUT COMPLETING IT
One of my juniors wrote an outstanding article and showed it to his supervisor, the supervisor told him not to publish it because the article is really bad. Few years down the line this junior friend of mine found his own paper published under the name of that supervisor. This can happen when you brag about your research article prematurely.
I was like this junior too when I started my career as a researcher. I used to tell everyone what research project I am working on these days. However, with experience and time I learned that we should not discuss our research article with every Tom, Dick, and Harry until it’s completed and published. People don’t care about your article, some people will just discourage you or criticize you or some people will become envious and become your enemies.
Why are you inviting this trouble in your life? Someone rightly said that “work hard in silence and let your success do the talk”. The only people who need to hear about your research article are your sincere family or friends and the expert who is your mentor and is a trustworthy person. Not everyone is a trustworthy person you need to remember this and admit this hard reality.
Dr. Hassaan Tohid