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Tips for writing a research paper

Choose the right sources

Study and research papers should be based on reliable information: scientific articles, monographs, dissertations, research studies, scientific or other accounts, reviewed dictionaries, reference books and encyclopaedias, legal acts, institution documentation, statistic information, standards, patents, etc.

Theoretical analysis should not be based on Wikipedia, popular science  publications, mass media articles, information portals, fiction and popular literature, students’ papers, non-documented sources.

It is highly recommended to use

  • the latest sources, if possible. For example, in the fields of medicine and engineering, it is essential for the sources used to be published during the last 5 years.
  • sources of at least several types, countries and languages. It should be borne in mind that not only books, but also scientific articles, standards, legislation, statistical information and other sources published in the Lithuanian and foreign languages should be used.

Choose the best search tools

The best information resources for study and scientific papers are

  • the Virtual Library;
  • subscribed databases;
  • scientific and other reliable information search engines: Official Statistics Portal <http://osp.stat.gov.lt/en/home>, Register of Legal Acts <https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/en/index>, EUROSTAT, open access scientific journals DOAJ, open access books DOAB, Google Scholar, Google Books.

The information about the resources and their links is available on the website of the Library.

Write a paper and cite sources correctly

Study and research work should be developed according to methodological guidelines for the writing and formatting: Methodological guidelines for students writing professional bachalor’s theses. For students of Tourism and Hotel Management study programme

Information sources should be used following the provisions of academic ethics and the Law on Copyright as well as citation rules. In order to properly compose an academic paper and avoid plagiarism, it is necessary to work independently and analyse (constructively investigate) the topic or problem of the research.

Information sources are not used for retelling or rewriting information. They are meant to   prove, justify, reason, interpret, evaluate, etc., i.e. perform information analysis and synthesis; generalise knowledge. While writing a scientific paper, it is necessary not only to provide information, but also interrelate it; reveal the cause-effect relationships; link the end of the previous chapter with the beginning of the other; use the information obtained in other sections; and draw conclusions from the information analysed and the data received.

It is important to know that all the sources cited, analysed and summarised in the paper should be

  • specified in the text;
  • included in the list of references.

In-Text Citations

The information from various sources can be used in several ways:

  • by quoting, i.e. citing the exact words of the author or work. While composing written papers, it is possible to quote a sentence, a few sentences or a paragraph. Quotation marks are used in this case;
  • by analysing, paraphrasing and summarising. Paraphrasing involves rendering the main information of the sources in your own words and style without distorting the essence. While paraphrasing, a distinction should be made between the ideas of another author and your own comments by using various phrases.

Students should use the Author-Date citation method. Citations in text are acknowledged with (Author, Date) or Author (Date). For example: … as previously shown (Smith, 2005) or …. as shown by Smith (2005).

  • When an author has published more than one cited document in the same year, these are distinguished by adding lower case letters (a,b,c etc) to the year. For example: Martin (2010a)
  • When a source of two authors is mentioned, both authors’ surnames are indicated, for example: (Nilson & Renning, 2012)
  • If there are three to five authors, cite all authors the first time; in subsequent citations, include only the last name of the first author followed by “et al.” and the year: Williams, Jones, Smith, Bradner, and Torrington (1983) found…  Williams et al. (1983) also noticed that…
  • When a work has up to six authors, cite all the authors. When a work has more than six authors, list the first six authors, and use “et al.”
  • When the work is composed by a team, organisation or has no author, it is only the name of the organisation or the title of the source and the year of publication that are indicated: (Lithuanian Standards Board, 2013) …(Organisational Management, 2005)
  • In case the title of the source is very long, in the text it can be shortened:  (LR Law on Copyright…, 2009)
  • The in-text citation for the above patent would be: (LR Patent No. 4851, 2001)
  • When several different sources are to be indicated, authors’ names and the year are separated by a semicolon, e.g. The issue was analysed by several researchers: (Fumarola, 2012; Walker, 2011)
  • It is only a source that cannot be obtained and is very important for the issue analysed that can be re-cited: (Smith, 2005, as cited in Norris, 2011)
  • To cite a specific part of a source, indicate the page, chapter, figure, table or equation at the appropriate point in the text: (Czapiewski & Ruby, 1995, p. 10)

When tables, figures and formulas from other sources are used, it is also necessary to specify the sources at the end of their headings.

Electronic sources are indicated in the text following the same rules.

List of References

The list of references provides publication details of the sources that have been used in the text. List of references should appear at the end of a research paper. Each source you cite in the paper must appear in your reference list; likewise, each entry in the reference list must be cited in your text.

The references are arranged alphabetically, by the last name of the first author or, if author is not available – by title. If you have cited more than one item by the same author they should be listed chronologically (earliest first), and by letter (2015a 2015b) if more than one item has been published in the same year.

The entries on the list of references contain the data elements necessary to help identify and retrieve cited sources. In general, the references should include:

  • the authors’ names (if author is not available – title);
  • date of publication in parentheses;
  • the title of the source;
  • the names and locations of the companies that published that source;
  • the page numbers of that source (if they are part of multi-source volumes);
  • the date that the e-source was retrieved and the web address of the source.

When citing references it’s important to follow the precise order and format of the referencing system you’re using. Different citation systems and styles are used in scientific citation. The world’s most commonly used are APA, MLA, AMA, Chicago and other citation styles or ISO-690 international standard. The editorial boards of scientific journals, publishing houses or institutions usually indicate which of the rules should be followed. All student papers of  Kauno kolegija should conform to APA style for citations and bibliographic entries on the list of references.

References of many sources can be generated automatically:

But you must always check your citations using the resources, for example: Purdue OWL APA Style.

You may not always have all the details listed here (especially with materials like websites), so the rule is to provide as many as you can.

More information: Citations and References in Research Papers 2016