Original Research or Literature Review?
Determining the difference between original research and literature reviews.
Do not confuse performing a literature review with original research. They are not synonymous. Simply gathering, reading, and subsequently summarizing information is a literature survey, not research. Original research includes several other elements of which interpretation is key. (read more)
Words are very powerful. Therefore, it is important to use them truthfully, accurately, and responsibly. Statements should be accurate both in terms of how information is managed and how it is credited.
Ethical management of information requires both factual and accurate presentation. Individuals who alter results by reporting truthful but incomplete data that will skew the findings are mismanaging information.
Ethical writing requires that, with access to the same information and knowledge, others may reasonably reach the same conclusions as the writer. Different disciplines use different Style Guides so make sure you are using the one required or recommended by your professor. It is important to credit others’ materials in order to:
Place your ideas in the ongoing thinking of specialists on your topic. With many types of papers, grounding your line of reasoning in the ongoing work on the topic by making reference to key sources increases the credibility of your argument.
Avoid the appearance of claiming another’s work as your own–plagiarizing, in other words. Not to give credit to others for their ideas, whether or not their exact words are cited, is to commit intellectual theft, a very serious offense.
Sometimes writers are uncertain when to give credit. Use research procedures as your guideline: Who or what is the original source that another researcher should contact to clarify information appearing in your writing? As you write, note that:
Agreeing with the material that someone else wrote does not make it your own.
Rearranging words from someone else’s prose does not change the fact that it is not your own work.
Writing a paper that consists of numerous quotations strung together does not qualify as one’s own work. (read more)
Facts, ideas and originality.
Professor Michael Talbot of the University of Liverpool described the nature of originality in one of lectures to graduate students as:
If we accept that there are two ingredients, facts and ideas, and that both may be either ‘new’ (never before presented to the world) or ‘old’ (familiar from earlier commentary), four possible combinations arise:
1. New facts + New ideas
2. New facts + Old ideas
3. Old facts + New ideas
4. Old facts + Old ideas.
Combinations 1–3 all lead to originality. Only combination 4 is guaranteed to miss out on originality. Between them, combinations 1, 2 and 3 cater for an enormous variety of scholarly talents, temperaments and opportunities.
How to recognise and develop originality in research
For research to be of PhD standard, all institutional regulations require it be ‘original’, but the concept of originality is often misunderstood. This page offers suggestions, advice, tips and general help
Ways of thinking about originality
A useful way to appreciate the scope of originality is through an analogy, where the research programme can be likened to an exploration into a wilderness at a time in history when the world was still largely unexplored and when explorers still had considerable personal autonomy. In the analogy, the explorer may have certain visions in mind concerning what he or she hopes the expedition will achieve, but appreciates that these may not materialize and is open to alternatives. To avoid cumbersome repetition, the explorer and student will be taken as having different sexes, arbitrarily male and female respectively. …