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A Brief Tutorial On How To Cite Evidence In A Research Paper

A research paper is a formal presentation that will be reviewed critically and, hence, certain rules and regulations must be strictly followed to avoid errors of any kind. An important part of such a paper is the evidence that it must include and its proper citation. This evidence is the backbone of the student’s paper and must be properly recorded, organised and mentioned.

Sources of evidence

There is a wide variety of sources from where a student can get the required materials for his or her research work. However, they should be accurate and current, otherwise, the quality of the dissertation may get compromised. Some of these sources are:

  • The Internet.

  • Books

  • Old newspaper articles

The above mentioned sources are all examples of secondary data. For primary data, the author of the paper can rely on:

  • Interviews

  • Questionnaires

  • Direct observations

How to include evidence

The evidence must be incorporated into the paper in such a way so that it does not seem forced or unnatural. Beginning a particular section of the paper with a catchy quote, followed by proper citation and correct usage of punctuation marks, is a good way to spruce up the report. However, the quote must actually be relevant to the subject matter of the paper. Drawings, illustrations, charts and graphs, when included in an appropriate way, can go a long way in making the paper more interesting to read. However, care must be taken to prevent the presentation from losing its formal appearance and the ratio of written material to special illustrations should be around 3:1.

Proper citation

Unless the student is able to properly mention and give due credit to his sourced material, it is considered to be an act of plagiarism, which is frowned upon by reviewing committees, and brings about stern and harsh penalties. Any and all information included in the paper that is not the intellectual property of the student himself must be properly cited. The author’s name, the title of the book, the edition, the name of the company that published the book, the year in which it was published, and the page and section from where the student has borrowed information.

Importance of evidence

The purpose of the evidence in a dissertation paper is to provide a strong foundation on which the student builds his theory, his findings and his paper. It cements the claims of the author with actual facts, thus, giving a scientific approach to the paper. The analysis is based on this evidence, and the stronger it is, the more credible will be the paper.