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Sep 03

How to Write a College Research Paper without Being Redundant?

Redundancy is one of the main weaknesses, which is frequently observed in students’ research papers and which attracts a good deal of criticism from instructors. In fact, many students (particularly freshmen) experience such stress when they have to write a term paper and completely lose their ability to arrange their work correctly. In their effort to write “anything,” they often prefer quantity over quality. But it is not just about the failure to comply with the requirement to the volume of the research paper, although, this problem is observed quite often. After all, redundancy may touch upon various aspects of research paper writing. Let us examine them in detail, so that you could avoid these mistakes when working on your own paper.

Redundancy in academic writing

Qualitative characteristics of academic writing which specify the culture of academic language areaccuracy, clarity and brevity.

Semantic accuracy is one of the main conditions providing scientific and practical value of the information contained in the text. A wrongly chosen word can significantly distort the meaning of a sentence, allow double interpretation of phrases and add undesirable mood to a text. You shouldn’t use bureaucratese or barbarize as this can significantly affect semantic accuracy of writing.

Clarity is the required property of academic writing meaning the ability to write understandably and in plain English. There can be several reasons for ambiguity of statements: the use of words and phrases with too indefinite or too general meaning, wrong word order in sentences, etc.

Brevity is also the necessary and compulsory point of academic writing indicating the ability to avoid excessive words. Each word in the text of your research paper should serve the main goal which is to put the matter as accurately and briefly as it is possible. In this regard, it’s necessary to eliminate the words and phrases which don’t carry any semantic meaning. Here redundancy can be created due to use of:

–          excessive words (for example, “for this purpose available methods were used … ” – it is obvious that unavailable methods couldn’t be used);

–          foreign words duplicating English words.

Another kind of redundancy is tautology which is unnecessary repetition of the same meaning in different words such as “schematic plan,” “twenty people of test persons,” “proximity”, and so on.

In addition, there are some factors that characterize the “intellectual” value of the text and redundancy is highly undesirable in this aspect. The text that has “intellectual” value is marked by:
– clearly traced thought (logic) and general reasoning in presentation of the problem;

– use of clear and specific wording for introducing and final phrases of paragraphs (for example, ” it is commonly known that …,” ” as a result of … ,”” at the first glance …,” etc.).

– provided “porosity” of text without excessive information, generalities, trivialities, unnecessary details and large thematic digressions;

– continual delivery of new material.

A little bit more about redundancy

Try to avoid redundancy while choosing a topic for your research paper. If the topic is too broad, it’ll be quite difficult to elaborate on it within a research paper while meeting volume requirements. So, it would be better to choose a narrower topic, which you’ll be able to explore thoroughly and then set down clearly.
You should also avoid redundancy in quoting since this can raise a question about plagiarism. Give preference to paraphrasing supporting your statements by quotations only when this is really necessary.