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For International Students: Typical Mistakes in Research Paper Writing

The majority of students think that they can avoid writing as long as they do not study English as a course. However, writing is no longer reserved for students of English. Students across all disciplines are required to do a lot of academic writing during their course of study. Of all the forms of academic writing, research writing seems to be the most problematic particularly among International students. A study found that 75 percent of international students struggle with research writing. Such students often have to seek professional research paper writing services so as to maintain high grades.

The study examines the most common mistakes made by international students. Written samples of 44 ESL Arab-Israeli students were examined. The study revealed that three-quarters of the students under investigation came up with poorly written research papers. In addition, the students made a total of 2965 errors.

Research writing is a pain in the side of many a college student because it is more involving than basic writing. It requires the student to make use of rhetoric and critical thinking, both of which are difficult skills to master. The challenge is greater for international students who often lack the competencies that research paper writing requires.

Research writing is further involving because the written paper is meant for the consumption of professionals. Unlike non-academic writing, research writing demands objectivity, formality and strict adherence to sentence structure (University of Sheffield 2019). There are strict guidelines for referencing and citation; evidence and logic are crucial. The formality and clarity required to write an excellent research paper can thus be overwhelming.

Common Mistakes in Research Paper Writing among International Students

1. Grammar
Misuse of subject-verb agreement and verb tenses is quite common among international students as they may apply the rules of their first language when writing in English. Some students may also misuse prepositions or omit them entirely. Spelling mistakes are also quite common due to poor lexical choices.
2. Irrelevant Information
Students sometimes find themselves including anecdotal information that has no value to the research paper instead of simply summarizing the study. Others give unnecessary background information such as the definition of well-known terms. The use of superlatives is another common mistake amongst international students which affects the objectivity of their research papers.

3. Inaccurate Phrases or Words
Some students may use certain words when they mean a different thing. For example, ‘affect’ for ‘effect’ or ‘assumption’ for ‘conclusion’. Other students fail to recognize that the word ‘data’ as used in research writing is a plural term. As such, phrases like ‘the data was’ should be avoided.

4. Oversimplification
Many students oversimplify their work leading to incomplete information. Some terms, though technical, are best used as they are to give the reader an accurate idea of what is being discussed.

5. Anthropomorphism
This is whereby the student uses incorrect wording to explain a cause and effect relationship, thereby altering the concept. This occurs where the concept is too complex for the student to understand or the student does not know the appropriate wording to use.

6. Poor reporting of findings
Converted data is commonly confused with raw data. Some students also make the mistake of presenting the same data differently, for example, using a table as well as a curve. It is also very unnecessary to draw conclusions in this section of the research paper.

7. Significance
Some students may consider a study insignificant just because they did not find any significant differences in their research. It is wrong to state that a study was inconclusive merely because the findings did not conform to your expectations. The purpose of any research is to establish truths, not assert your beliefs.

What Causes These Mistakes?

First, there are significant disparities between the writing mechanisms and styles of international students’ first language and English (Huerta et al., 2017). International students are therefore faced with the challenge of reconciling these disparities. According to Hinkel (1997), most international students are guilty of verbosity in their writing as well as repetition, ambiguity, rhetorical question tags, and the passive voice.

The second source of problems for international students is critical thinking. Critical thinking is important in research paper writing because it helps a student to examine issues, evaluate evidence, and make the correct assumptions (Tsui, 2002). International students who use English as a second language often fail to demonstrate critical thinking while writing research papers (Ramanathan and Kaplan, 1996). Furthermore, their ability to write is often influenced by cultural impediments such as memorization which is typical of the Chinese and the Japanese (Atkinson, 1997).

Another issue is plagiarism. The concept of academic writing is often foreign to many international students. This has led to cases of severe plagiarism among international students who are both incompetent in and indifferent to citing references. This is unlike Native students who typically learn in a culture of acknowledging sources (Chien, 2014). This means that many international students may not recognize plagiarism as plagiarism.

International students typically make a lot of mistakes in research paper writing because their writing competencies are influenced by their first language. These students often find themselves transferring the rules of their first language to their research papers. The consequence is that the majority of international students make mistakes relating to grammar, spelling, structure, format, and plagiarism. In order to deal with this problem, international students may seek professional research paper writing services. CustomWritings offers reliable research paper writing services to students who lack the time and skills required to write a good research paper.