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Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

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Research Paper

Research Paper

Definition:

Research Paper is a written document that presents the author’s original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue.

It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new knowledge or insights to a particular field of study, and to demonstrate the author’s understanding of the existing literature and theories related to the topic.

Structure of Research Paper

The structure of a research paper typically follows a standard format, consisting of several sections that convey specific information about the research study. The following is a detailed explanation of the structure of a research paper:

The title page contains the title of the paper, the name(s) of the author(s), and the affiliation(s) of the author(s). It also includes the date of submission and possibly, the name of the journal or conference where the paper is to be published.

The abstract is a brief summary of the research paper, typically ranging from 100 to 250 words. It should include the research question, the methods used, the key findings, and the implications of the results. The abstract should be written in a concise and clear manner to allow readers to quickly grasp the essence of the research.

Introduction

The introduction section of a research paper provides background information about the research problem, the research question, and the research objectives. It also outlines the significance of the research, the research gap that it aims to fill, and the approach taken to address the research question. Finally, the introduction section ends with a clear statement of the research hypothesis or research question.

Literature Review

The literature review section of a research paper provides an overview of the existing literature on the topic of study. It includes a critical analysis and synthesis of the literature, highlighting the key concepts, themes, and debates. The literature review should also demonstrate the research gap and how the current study seeks to address it.

The methods section of a research paper describes the research design, the sample selection, the data collection and analysis procedures, and the statistical methods used to analyze the data. This section should provide sufficient detail for other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the research, using tables, graphs, and figures to illustrate the data. The findings should be presented in a clear and concise manner, with reference to the research question and hypothesis.

The discussion section of a research paper interprets the findings and discusses their implications for the research question, the literature review, and the field of study. It should also address the limitations of the study and suggest future research directions.

The conclusion section summarizes the main findings of the study, restates the research question and hypothesis, and provides a final reflection on the significance of the research.

The references section provides a list of all the sources cited in the paper, following a specific citation style such as APA, MLA or Chicago.

How to Write Research Paper

You can write Research Paper by the following guide:

  • Choose a Topic: The first step is to select a topic that interests you and is relevant to your field of study. Brainstorm ideas and narrow down to a research question that is specific and researchable.
  • Conduct a Literature Review: The literature review helps you identify the gap in the existing research and provides a basis for your research question. It also helps you to develop a theoretical framework and research hypothesis.
  • Develop a Thesis Statement : The thesis statement is the main argument of your research paper. It should be clear, concise and specific to your research question.
  • Plan your Research: Develop a research plan that outlines the methods, data sources, and data analysis procedures. This will help you to collect and analyze data effectively.
  • Collect and Analyze Data: Collect data using various methods such as surveys, interviews, observations, or experiments. Analyze data using statistical tools or other qualitative methods.
  • Organize your Paper : Organize your paper into sections such as Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. Ensure that each section is coherent and follows a logical flow.
  • Write your Paper : Start by writing the introduction, followed by the literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. Ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and follows the required formatting and citation styles.
  • Edit and Proofread your Paper: Review your paper for grammar and spelling errors, and ensure that it is well-structured and easy to read. Ask someone else to review your paper to get feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  • Cite your Sources: Ensure that you properly cite all sources used in your research paper. This is essential for giving credit to the original authors and avoiding plagiarism.

Research Paper Example

Note : The below example research paper is for illustrative purposes only and is not an actual research paper. Actual research papers may have different structures, contents, and formats depending on the field of study, research question, data collection and analysis methods, and other factors. Students should always consult with their professors or supervisors for specific guidelines and expectations for their research papers.

Research Paper Example sample for Students:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health among Young Adults

Abstract: This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults. A literature review was conducted to examine the existing research on the topic. A survey was then administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Introduction: Social media has become an integral part of modern life, particularly among young adults. While social media has many benefits, including increased communication and social connectivity, it has also been associated with negative outcomes, such as addiction, cyberbullying, and mental health problems. This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults.

Literature Review: The literature review highlights the existing research on the impact of social media use on mental health. The review shows that social media use is associated with depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health problems. The review also identifies the factors that contribute to the negative impact of social media, including social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Methods : A survey was administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The survey included questions on social media use, mental health status (measured using the DASS-21), and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis.

Results : The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Discussion : The study’s findings suggest that social media use has a negative impact on the mental health of young adults. The study highlights the need for interventions that address the factors contributing to the negative impact of social media, such as social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Conclusion : In conclusion, social media use has a significant impact on the mental health of young adults. The study’s findings underscore the need for interventions that promote healthy social media use and address the negative outcomes associated with social media use. Future research can explore the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health. Additionally, longitudinal studies can investigate the long-term effects of social media use on mental health.

Limitations : The study has some limitations, including the use of self-report measures and a cross-sectional design. The use of self-report measures may result in biased responses, and a cross-sectional design limits the ability to establish causality.

Implications: The study’s findings have implications for mental health professionals, educators, and policymakers. Mental health professionals can use the findings to develop interventions that address the negative impact of social media use on mental health. Educators can incorporate social media literacy into their curriculum to promote healthy social media use among young adults. Policymakers can use the findings to develop policies that protect young adults from the negative outcomes associated with social media use.

References :

  • Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2019). Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Preventive medicine reports, 15, 100918.
  • Primack, B. A., Shensa, A., Escobar-Viera, C. G., Barrett, E. L., Sidani, J. E., Colditz, J. B., … & James, A. E. (2017). Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: A nationally-representative study among US young adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 1-9.
  • Van der Meer, T. G., & Verhoeven, J. W. (2017). Social media and its impact on academic performance of students. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 16, 383-398.

Appendix : The survey used in this study is provided below.

Social Media and Mental Health Survey

  • How often do you use social media per day?
  • Less than 30 minutes
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • 1 to 2 hours
  • 2 to 4 hours
  • More than 4 hours
  • Which social media platforms do you use?
  • Others (Please specify)
  • How often do you experience the following on social media?
  • Social comparison (comparing yourself to others)
  • Cyberbullying
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
  • Have you ever experienced any of the following mental health problems in the past month?
  • Do you think social media use has a positive or negative impact on your mental health?
  • Very positive
  • Somewhat positive
  • Somewhat negative
  • Very negative
  • In your opinion, which factors contribute to the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Social comparison
  • In your opinion, what interventions could be effective in reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Education on healthy social media use
  • Counseling for mental health problems caused by social media
  • Social media detox programs
  • Regulation of social media use

Thank you for your participation!

Applications of Research Paper

Research papers have several applications in various fields, including:

  • Advancing knowledge: Research papers contribute to the advancement of knowledge by generating new insights, theories, and findings that can inform future research and practice. They help to answer important questions, clarify existing knowledge, and identify areas that require further investigation.
  • Informing policy: Research papers can inform policy decisions by providing evidence-based recommendations for policymakers. They can help to identify gaps in current policies, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and inform the development of new policies and regulations.
  • Improving practice: Research papers can improve practice by providing evidence-based guidance for professionals in various fields, including medicine, education, business, and psychology. They can inform the development of best practices, guidelines, and standards of care that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • Educating students : Research papers are often used as teaching tools in universities and colleges to educate students about research methods, data analysis, and academic writing. They help students to develop critical thinking skills, research skills, and communication skills that are essential for success in many careers.
  • Fostering collaboration: Research papers can foster collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers by providing a platform for sharing knowledge and ideas. They can facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships that can lead to innovative solutions to complex problems.

When to Write Research Paper

Research papers are typically written when a person has completed a research project or when they have conducted a study and have obtained data or findings that they want to share with the academic or professional community. Research papers are usually written in academic settings, such as universities, but they can also be written in professional settings, such as research organizations, government agencies, or private companies.

Here are some common situations where a person might need to write a research paper:

  • For academic purposes: Students in universities and colleges are often required to write research papers as part of their coursework, particularly in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Writing research papers helps students to develop research skills, critical thinking skills, and academic writing skills.
  • For publication: Researchers often write research papers to publish their findings in academic journals or to present their work at academic conferences. Publishing research papers is an important way to disseminate research findings to the academic community and to establish oneself as an expert in a particular field.
  • To inform policy or practice : Researchers may write research papers to inform policy decisions or to improve practice in various fields. Research findings can be used to inform the development of policies, guidelines, and best practices that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • To share new insights or ideas: Researchers may write research papers to share new insights or ideas with the academic or professional community. They may present new theories, propose new research methods, or challenge existing paradigms in their field.

Purpose of Research Paper

The purpose of a research paper is to present the results of a study or investigation in a clear, concise, and structured manner. Research papers are written to communicate new knowledge, ideas, or findings to a specific audience, such as researchers, scholars, practitioners, or policymakers. The primary purposes of a research paper are:

  • To contribute to the body of knowledge : Research papers aim to add new knowledge or insights to a particular field or discipline. They do this by reporting the results of empirical studies, reviewing and synthesizing existing literature, proposing new theories, or providing new perspectives on a topic.
  • To inform or persuade: Research papers are written to inform or persuade the reader about a particular issue, topic, or phenomenon. They present evidence and arguments to support their claims and seek to persuade the reader of the validity of their findings or recommendations.
  • To advance the field: Research papers seek to advance the field or discipline by identifying gaps in knowledge, proposing new research questions or approaches, or challenging existing assumptions or paradigms. They aim to contribute to ongoing debates and discussions within a field and to stimulate further research and inquiry.
  • To demonstrate research skills: Research papers demonstrate the author’s research skills, including their ability to design and conduct a study, collect and analyze data, and interpret and communicate findings. They also demonstrate the author’s ability to critically evaluate existing literature, synthesize information from multiple sources, and write in a clear and structured manner.

Characteristics of Research Paper

Research papers have several characteristics that distinguish them from other forms of academic or professional writing. Here are some common characteristics of research papers:

  • Evidence-based: Research papers are based on empirical evidence, which is collected through rigorous research methods such as experiments, surveys, observations, or interviews. They rely on objective data and facts to support their claims and conclusions.
  • Structured and organized: Research papers have a clear and logical structure, with sections such as introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. They are organized in a way that helps the reader to follow the argument and understand the findings.
  • Formal and objective: Research papers are written in a formal and objective tone, with an emphasis on clarity, precision, and accuracy. They avoid subjective language or personal opinions and instead rely on objective data and analysis to support their arguments.
  • Citations and references: Research papers include citations and references to acknowledge the sources of information and ideas used in the paper. They use a specific citation style, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Peer-reviewed: Research papers are often peer-reviewed, which means they are evaluated by other experts in the field before they are published. Peer-review ensures that the research is of high quality, meets ethical standards, and contributes to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Objective and unbiased: Research papers strive to be objective and unbiased in their presentation of the findings. They avoid personal biases or preconceptions and instead rely on the data and analysis to draw conclusions.

Advantages of Research Paper

Research papers have many advantages, both for the individual researcher and for the broader academic and professional community. Here are some advantages of research papers:

  • Contribution to knowledge: Research papers contribute to the body of knowledge in a particular field or discipline. They add new information, insights, and perspectives to existing literature and help advance the understanding of a particular phenomenon or issue.
  • Opportunity for intellectual growth: Research papers provide an opportunity for intellectual growth for the researcher. They require critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, which can help develop the researcher’s skills and knowledge.
  • Career advancement: Research papers can help advance the researcher’s career by demonstrating their expertise and contributions to the field. They can also lead to new research opportunities, collaborations, and funding.
  • Academic recognition: Research papers can lead to academic recognition in the form of awards, grants, or invitations to speak at conferences or events. They can also contribute to the researcher’s reputation and standing in the field.
  • Impact on policy and practice: Research papers can have a significant impact on policy and practice. They can inform policy decisions, guide practice, and lead to changes in laws, regulations, or procedures.
  • Advancement of society: Research papers can contribute to the advancement of society by addressing important issues, identifying solutions to problems, and promoting social justice and equality.

Limitations of Research Paper

Research papers also have some limitations that should be considered when interpreting their findings or implications. Here are some common limitations of research papers:

  • Limited generalizability: Research findings may not be generalizable to other populations, settings, or contexts. Studies often use specific samples or conditions that may not reflect the broader population or real-world situations.
  • Potential for bias : Research papers may be biased due to factors such as sample selection, measurement errors, or researcher biases. It is important to evaluate the quality of the research design and methods used to ensure that the findings are valid and reliable.
  • Ethical concerns: Research papers may raise ethical concerns, such as the use of vulnerable populations or invasive procedures. Researchers must adhere to ethical guidelines and obtain informed consent from participants to ensure that the research is conducted in a responsible and respectful manner.
  • Limitations of methodology: Research papers may be limited by the methodology used to collect and analyze data. For example, certain research methods may not capture the complexity or nuance of a particular phenomenon, or may not be appropriate for certain research questions.
  • Publication bias: Research papers may be subject to publication bias, where positive or significant findings are more likely to be published than negative or non-significant findings. This can skew the overall findings of a particular area of research.
  • Time and resource constraints: Research papers may be limited by time and resource constraints, which can affect the quality and scope of the research. Researchers may not have access to certain data or resources, or may be unable to conduct long-term studies due to practical limitations.

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Writing a Literature Review

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A literature review is a document or section of a document that collects key sources on a topic and discusses those sources in conversation with each other (also called synthesis ). The lit review is an important genre in many disciplines, not just literature (i.e., the study of works of literature such as novels and plays). When we say “literature review” or refer to “the literature,” we are talking about the research ( scholarship ) in a given field. You will often see the terms “the research,” “the scholarship,” and “the literature” used mostly interchangeably.

Where, when, and why would I write a lit review?

There are a number of different situations where you might write a literature review, each with slightly different expectations; different disciplines, too, have field-specific expectations for what a literature review is and does. For instance, in the humanities, authors might include more overt argumentation and interpretation of source material in their literature reviews, whereas in the sciences, authors are more likely to report study designs and results in their literature reviews; these differences reflect these disciplines’ purposes and conventions in scholarship. You should always look at examples from your own discipline and talk to professors or mentors in your field to be sure you understand your discipline’s conventions, for literature reviews as well as for any other genre.

A literature review can be a part of a research paper or scholarly article, usually falling after the introduction and before the research methods sections. In these cases, the lit review just needs to cover scholarship that is important to the issue you are writing about; sometimes it will also cover key sources that informed your research methodology.

Lit reviews can also be standalone pieces, either as assignments in a class or as publications. In a class, a lit review may be assigned to help students familiarize themselves with a topic and with scholarship in their field, get an idea of the other researchers working on the topic they’re interested in, find gaps in existing research in order to propose new projects, and/or develop a theoretical framework and methodology for later research. As a publication, a lit review usually is meant to help make other scholars’ lives easier by collecting and summarizing, synthesizing, and analyzing existing research on a topic. This can be especially helpful for students or scholars getting into a new research area, or for directing an entire community of scholars toward questions that have not yet been answered.

What are the parts of a lit review?

Most lit reviews use a basic introduction-body-conclusion structure; if your lit review is part of a larger paper, the introduction and conclusion pieces may be just a few sentences while you focus most of your attention on the body. If your lit review is a standalone piece, the introduction and conclusion take up more space and give you a place to discuss your goals, research methods, and conclusions separately from where you discuss the literature itself.

Introduction:

  • An introductory paragraph that explains what your working topic and thesis is
  • A forecast of key topics or texts that will appear in the review
  • Potentially, a description of how you found sources and how you analyzed them for inclusion and discussion in the review (more often found in published, standalone literature reviews than in lit review sections in an article or research paper)
  • Summarize and synthesize: Give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
  • Analyze and interpret: Don’t just paraphrase other researchers – add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
  • Critically Evaluate: Mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
  • Write in well-structured paragraphs: Use transition words and topic sentence to draw connections, comparisons, and contrasts.

Conclusion:

  • Summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance
  • Connect it back to your primary research question

How should I organize my lit review?

Lit reviews can take many different organizational patterns depending on what you are trying to accomplish with the review. Here are some examples:

  • Chronological : The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time, which helps familiarize the audience with the topic (for instance if you are introducing something that is not commonly known in your field). If you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order. Try to analyze the patterns, turning points, and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred (as mentioned previously, this may not be appropriate in your discipline — check with a teacher or mentor if you’re unsure).
  • Thematic : If you have found some recurring central themes that you will continue working with throughout your piece, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic. For example, if you are reviewing literature about women and religion, key themes can include the role of women in churches and the religious attitude towards women.
  • Qualitative versus quantitative research
  • Empirical versus theoretical scholarship
  • Divide the research by sociological, historical, or cultural sources
  • Theoretical : In many humanities articles, the literature review is the foundation for the theoretical framework. You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts. You can argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach or combine various theorical concepts to create a framework for your research.

What are some strategies or tips I can use while writing my lit review?

Any lit review is only as good as the research it discusses; make sure your sources are well-chosen and your research is thorough. Don’t be afraid to do more research if you discover a new thread as you’re writing. More info on the research process is available in our "Conducting Research" resources .

As you’re doing your research, create an annotated bibliography ( see our page on the this type of document ). Much of the information used in an annotated bibliography can be used also in a literature review, so you’ll be not only partially drafting your lit review as you research, but also developing your sense of the larger conversation going on among scholars, professionals, and any other stakeholders in your topic.

Usually you will need to synthesize research rather than just summarizing it. This means drawing connections between sources to create a picture of the scholarly conversation on a topic over time. Many student writers struggle to synthesize because they feel they don’t have anything to add to the scholars they are citing; here are some strategies to help you:

  • It often helps to remember that the point of these kinds of syntheses is to show your readers how you understand your research, to help them read the rest of your paper.
  • Writing teachers often say synthesis is like hosting a dinner party: imagine all your sources are together in a room, discussing your topic. What are they saying to each other?
  • Look at the in-text citations in each paragraph. Are you citing just one source for each paragraph? This usually indicates summary only. When you have multiple sources cited in a paragraph, you are more likely to be synthesizing them (not always, but often
  • Read more about synthesis here.

The most interesting literature reviews are often written as arguments (again, as mentioned at the beginning of the page, this is discipline-specific and doesn’t work for all situations). Often, the literature review is where you can establish your research as filling a particular gap or as relevant in a particular way. You have some chance to do this in your introduction in an article, but the literature review section gives a more extended opportunity to establish the conversation in the way you would like your readers to see it. You can choose the intellectual lineage you would like to be part of and whose definitions matter most to your thinking (mostly humanities-specific, but this goes for sciences as well). In addressing these points, you argue for your place in the conversation, which tends to make the lit review more compelling than a simple reporting of other sources.

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Literature Review Research

Literature review, types of literature reviews.

  • Finding information
  • Additional Resources
  • Explains the background of research on a topic
  • Demonstrates why a topic is significant to a subject area
  • Helps focus your own research questions or problems
  • Discovers relationships between research studies/ideas
  • Suggests unexplored ideas or populations
  • Identifies major themes, concepts, and researchers on a topic
  • Tests assumptions; may help counter preconceived ideas and remove unconscious bias.
  • Identifies critical gaps, points of disagreement, or potentially flawed methodology or theoretical approaches

Argumentative Review This form examines literature selectively in order to support or refute an argument, deeply imbedded assumption, or philosophical problem already established in the literature. 

Integrative Review Considered a form of research that reviews, critiques, and synthesizes representative literature on a topic in an integrated way such that new frameworks and perspectives on the topic are generated. The body of literature includes all studies that address related or identical hypotheses. A well-done integrative review meets the same standards as primary research in regard to clarity, rigor, and replication.

Historical Review Historical reviews are focused on examining research throughout a period of time, often starting with the first time an issue, concept, theory, phenomena emerged in the literature, then tracing its evolution within the scholarship of a discipline. The purpose is to place research in a historical context to show familiarity with state-of-the-art developments and to identify the likely directions for future research.

Methodological Review This approach provides a framework of understanding at different levels (i.e. those of theory, substantive fields, research approaches and data collection and analysis techniques), enables researchers to draw on a wide variety of knowledge ranging from the conceptual level to practical documents for use in fieldwork.

Systematic Review Uses pre-specified and standardized methods to identify and critically appraise relevant research, and to collect, report, and analyze data from the studies that are included in the review. Typically it focuses on a very specific empirical question.

Theoretical Review

Examines the theory that has accumulated in regard to an issue, concept, theory, phenomena. Helps to establish what theories already exist, the relationships between them, to what degree the existing theories have been investigated, and to develop new hypotheses to be tested. Often this form is used to help establish a lack of appropriate theories or reveal that current theories are inadequate for explaining new or emerging research problems.

* Kennedy, Mary M. "Defining a Literature."  Educational Researcher  36 (April 2007): 139-147.

All content in this section is from The Literature Review created by Dr. Robert Larabee USC

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Literature Reviews: Types of Literature

  • Library Basics
  • 1. Choose Your Topic
  • How to Find Books
  • Types of Clinical Study Designs

Types of Literature

  • 3. Search the Literature
  • 4. Read & Analyze the Literature
  • 5. Write the Review
  • Keeping Track of Information
  • Style Guides
  • Books, Tutorials & Examples

Different types of publications have different characteristics.

Primary Literature Primary sources means original studies, based on direct observation, use of statistical records, interviews, or experimental methods, of actual practices or the actual impact of practices or policies. They are authored by researchers, contains original research data, and are usually published in a peer-reviewed journal. Primary literature may also include conference papers, pre-prints, or preliminary reports. Also called empirical research .

Secondary Literature Secondary literature consists of interpretations and evaluations that are derived from or refer to the primary source literature. Examples include review articles (such as meta-analysis and systematic reviews) and reference works. Professionals within each discipline take the primary literature and synthesize, generalize, and integrate new research.

Tertiary Literature Tertiary literature consists of a distillation and collection of primary and secondary sources such as textbooks, encyclopedia articles, and guidebooks or handbooks. The purpose of tertiary literature is to provide an overview of key research findings and an introduction to principles and practices within the discipline.

Adapted from the Information Services Department of the Library of the Health Sciences-Chicago , University of Illinois at Chicago.

Types of Scientific Publications

These examples and descriptions of publication types will give you an idea of how to use various works and why you would want to write a particular kind of paper.

  • Scholarly article aka empirical article
  • Review article
  • Conference paper

Scholarly (aka empirical) article -- example

Empirical studies use data derived from observation or experiment. Original research papers (also called primary research articles) that describe empirical studies and their results are published in academic journals.  Articles that report empirical research contain different sections which relate to the steps of the scientific method.

      Abstract - The abstract provides a very brief summary of the research.

     Introduction - The introduction sets the research in a context, which provides a review of related research and develops the hypotheses for the research.

     Method - The method section describes how the research was conducted.

     Results - The results section describes the outcomes of the study.

     Discussion - The discussion section contains the interpretations and implications of the study.

     References - A references section lists the articles, books, and other material cited in the report.

Review article -- example

A review article summarizes a particular field of study and places the recent research in context. It provides an overview and is an excellent introduction to a subject area. The references used in a review article are helpful as they lead to more in-depth research.

Many databases have limits or filters to search for review articles. You can also search by keywords like review article, survey, overview, summary, etc.

Conference proceedings, abstracts and reports -- example

Conference proceedings, abstracts and reports are not usually peer-reviewed.  A conference article is similar to a scholarly article insofar as it is academic. Conference articles are published much more quickly than scholarly articles. You can find conference papers in many of the same places as scholarly articles.

How Do You Identify Empirical Articles?

To identify an article based on empirical research, look for the following characteristics:

     The article is published in a peer-reviewed journal .

     The article includes charts, graphs, or statistical analysis .

     The article is substantial in size , likely to be more than 5 pages long.

     The article contains the following parts (the exact terms may vary): abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, references .

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Writing the title and abstract for a research paper: Being concise, precise, and meticulous is the key

Milind s. tullu.

Department of Pediatrics, Seth G.S. Medical College and KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

This article deals with formulating a suitable title and an appropriate abstract for an original research paper. The “title” and the “abstract” are the “initial impressions” of a research article, and hence they need to be drafted correctly, accurately, carefully, and meticulously. Often both of these are drafted after the full manuscript is ready. Most readers read only the title and the abstract of a research paper and very few will go on to read the full paper. The title and the abstract are the most important parts of a research paper and should be pleasant to read. The “title” should be descriptive, direct, accurate, appropriate, interesting, concise, precise, unique, and should not be misleading. The “abstract” needs to be simple, specific, clear, unbiased, honest, concise, precise, stand-alone, complete, scholarly, (preferably) structured, and should not be misrepresentative. The abstract should be consistent with the main text of the paper, especially after a revision is made to the paper and should include the key message prominently. It is very important to include the most important words and terms (the “keywords”) in the title and the abstract for appropriate indexing purpose and for retrieval from the search engines and scientific databases. Such keywords should be listed after the abstract. One must adhere to the instructions laid down by the target journal with regard to the style and number of words permitted for the title and the abstract.

Introduction

This article deals with drafting a suitable “title” and an appropriate “abstract” for an original research paper. Because the “title” and the “abstract” are the “initial impressions” or the “face” of a research article, they need to be drafted correctly, accurately, carefully, meticulously, and consume time and energy.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 ] Often, these are drafted after the complete manuscript draft is ready.[ 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 9 , 10 , 11 ] Most readers will read only the title and the abstract of a published research paper, and very few “interested ones” (especially, if the paper is of use to them) will go on to read the full paper.[ 1 , 2 ] One must remember to adhere to the instructions laid down by the “target journal” (the journal for which the author is writing) regarding the style and number of words permitted for the title and the abstract.[ 2 , 4 , 5 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 12 ] Both the title and the abstract are the most important parts of a research paper – for editors (to decide whether to process the paper for further review), for reviewers (to get an initial impression of the paper), and for the readers (as these may be the only parts of the paper available freely and hence, read widely).[ 4 , 8 , 12 ] It may be worth for the novice author to browse through titles and abstracts of several prominent journals (and their target journal as well) to learn more about the wording and styles of the titles and abstracts, as well as the aims and scope of the particular journal.[ 5 , 7 , 9 , 13 ]

The details of the title are discussed under the subheadings of importance, types, drafting, and checklist.

Importance of the title

When a reader browses through the table of contents of a journal issue (hard copy or on website), the title is the “ first detail” or “face” of the paper that is read.[ 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 13 ] Hence, it needs to be simple, direct, accurate, appropriate, specific, functional, interesting, attractive/appealing, concise/brief, precise/focused, unambiguous, memorable, captivating, informative (enough to encourage the reader to read further), unique, catchy, and it should not be misleading.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 9 , 12 ] It should have “just enough details” to arouse the interest and curiosity of the reader so that the reader then goes ahead with studying the abstract and then (if still interested) the full paper.[ 1 , 2 , 4 , 13 ] Journal websites, electronic databases, and search engines use the words in the title and abstract (the “keywords”) to retrieve a particular paper during a search; hence, the importance of these words in accessing the paper by the readers has been emphasized.[ 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 12 , 14 ] Such important words (or keywords) should be arranged in appropriate order of importance as per the context of the paper and should be placed at the beginning of the title (rather than the later part of the title, as some search engines like Google may just display only the first six to seven words of the title).[ 3 , 5 , 12 ] Whimsical, amusing, or clever titles, though initially appealing, may be missed or misread by the busy reader and very short titles may miss the essential scientific words (the “keywords”) used by the indexing agencies to catch and categorize the paper.[ 1 , 3 , 4 , 9 ] Also, amusing or hilarious titles may be taken less seriously by the readers and may be cited less often.[ 4 , 15 ] An excessively long or complicated title may put off the readers.[ 3 , 9 ] It may be a good idea to draft the title after the main body of the text and the abstract are drafted.[ 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ]

Types of titles

Titles can be descriptive, declarative, or interrogative. They can also be classified as nominal, compound, or full-sentence titles.

Descriptive or neutral title

This has the essential elements of the research theme, that is, the patients/subjects, design, interventions, comparisons/control, and outcome, but does not reveal the main result or the conclusion.[ 3 , 4 , 12 , 16 ] Such a title allows the reader to interpret the findings of the research paper in an impartial manner and with an open mind.[ 3 ] These titles also give complete information about the contents of the article, have several keywords (thus increasing the visibility of the article in search engines), and have increased chances of being read and (then) being cited as well.[ 4 ] Hence, such descriptive titles giving a glimpse of the paper are generally preferred.[ 4 , 16 ]

Declarative title

This title states the main finding of the study in the title itself; it reduces the curiosity of the reader, may point toward a bias on the part of the author, and hence is best avoided.[ 3 , 4 , 12 , 16 ]

Interrogative title

This is the one which has a query or the research question in the title.[ 3 , 4 , 16 ] Though a query in the title has the ability to sensationalize the topic, and has more downloads (but less citations), it can be distracting to the reader and is again best avoided for a research article (but can, at times, be used for a review article).[ 3 , 6 , 16 , 17 ]

From a sentence construct point of view, titles may be nominal (capturing only the main theme of the study), compound (with subtitles to provide additional relevant information such as context, design, location/country, temporal aspect, sample size, importance, and a provocative or a literary; for example, see the title of this review), or full-sentence titles (which are longer and indicate an added degree of certainty of the results).[ 4 , 6 , 9 , 16 ] Any of these constructs may be used depending on the type of article, the key message, and the author's preference or judgement.[ 4 ]

Drafting a suitable title

A stepwise process can be followed to draft the appropriate title. The author should describe the paper in about three sentences, avoiding the results and ensuring that these sentences contain important scientific words/keywords that describe the main contents and subject of the paper.[ 1 , 4 , 6 , 12 ] Then the author should join the sentences to form a single sentence, shorten the length (by removing redundant words or adjectives or phrases), and finally edit the title (thus drafted) to make it more accurate, concise (about 10–15 words), and precise.[ 1 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 9 ] Some journals require that the study design be included in the title, and this may be placed (using a colon) after the primary title.[ 2 , 3 , 4 , 14 ] The title should try to incorporate the Patients, Interventions, Comparisons and Outcome (PICO).[ 3 ] The place of the study may be included in the title (if absolutely necessary), that is, if the patient characteristics (such as study population, socioeconomic conditions, or cultural practices) are expected to vary as per the country (or the place of the study) and have a bearing on the possible outcomes.[ 3 , 6 ] Lengthy titles can be boring and appear unfocused, whereas very short titles may not be representative of the contents of the article; hence, optimum length is required to ensure that the title explains the main theme and content of the manuscript.[ 4 , 5 , 9 ] Abbreviations (except the standard or commonly interpreted ones such as HIV, AIDS, DNA, RNA, CDC, FDA, ECG, and EEG) or acronyms should be avoided in the title, as a reader not familiar with them may skip such an article and nonstandard abbreviations may create problems in indexing the article.[ 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 9 , 12 ] Also, too much of technical jargon or chemical formulas in the title may confuse the readers and the article may be skipped by them.[ 4 , 9 ] Numerical values of various parameters (stating study period or sample size) should also be avoided in the titles (unless deemed extremely essential).[ 4 ] It may be worthwhile to take an opinion from a impartial colleague before finalizing the title.[ 4 , 5 , 6 ] Thus, multiple factors (which are, at times, a bit conflicting or contrasting) need to be considered while formulating a title, and hence this should not be done in a hurry.[ 4 , 6 ] Many journals ask the authors to draft a “short title” or “running head” or “running title” for printing in the header or footer of the printed paper.[ 3 , 12 ] This is an abridged version of the main title of up to 40–50 characters, may have standard abbreviations, and helps the reader to navigate through the paper.[ 3 , 12 , 14 ]

Checklist for a good title

Table 1 gives a checklist/useful tips for drafting a good title for a research paper.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 12 ] Table 2 presents some of the titles used by the author of this article in his earlier research papers, and the appropriateness of the titles has been commented upon. As an individual exercise, the reader may try to improvise upon the titles (further) after reading the corresponding abstract and full paper.

Checklist/useful tips for drafting a good title for a research paper

Some titles used by author of this article in his earlier publications and remark/comment on their appropriateness

The Abstract

The details of the abstract are discussed under the subheadings of importance, types, drafting, and checklist.

Importance of the abstract

The abstract is a summary or synopsis of the full research paper and also needs to have similar characteristics like the title. It needs to be simple, direct, specific, functional, clear, unbiased, honest, concise, precise, self-sufficient, complete, comprehensive, scholarly, balanced, and should not be misleading.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 13 , 17 ] Writing an abstract is to extract and summarize (AB – absolutely, STR – straightforward, ACT – actual data presentation and interpretation).[ 17 ] The title and abstracts are the only sections of the research paper that are often freely available to the readers on the journal websites, search engines, and in many abstracting agencies/databases, whereas the full paper may attract a payment per view or a fee for downloading the pdf copy.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 7 , 8 , 10 , 11 , 13 , 14 ] The abstract is an independent and stand-alone (that is, well understood without reading the full paper) section of the manuscript and is used by the editor to decide the fate of the article and to choose appropriate reviewers.[ 2 , 7 , 10 , 12 , 13 ] Even the reviewers are initially supplied only with the title and the abstract before they agree to review the full manuscript.[ 7 , 13 ] This is the second most commonly read part of the manuscript, and therefore it should reflect the contents of the main text of the paper accurately and thus act as a “real trailer” of the full article.[ 2 , 7 , 11 ] The readers will go through the full paper only if they find the abstract interesting and relevant to their practice; else they may skip the paper if the abstract is unimpressive.[ 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 13 ] The abstract needs to highlight the selling point of the manuscript and succeed in luring the reader to read the complete paper.[ 3 , 7 ] The title and the abstract should be constructed using keywords (key terms/important words) from all the sections of the main text.[ 12 ] Abstracts are also used for submitting research papers to a conference for consideration for presentation (as oral paper or poster).[ 9 , 13 , 17 ] Grammatical and typographic errors reflect poorly on the quality of the abstract, may indicate carelessness/casual attitude on part of the author, and hence should be avoided at all times.[ 9 ]

Types of abstracts

The abstracts can be structured or unstructured. They can also be classified as descriptive or informative abstracts.

Structured and unstructured abstracts

Structured abstracts are followed by most journals, are more informative, and include specific subheadings/subsections under which the abstract needs to be composed.[ 1 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 13 , 17 , 18 ] These subheadings usually include context/background, objectives, design, setting, participants, interventions, main outcome measures, results, and conclusions.[ 1 ] Some journals stick to the standard IMRAD format for the structure of the abstracts, and the subheadings would include Introduction/Background, Methods, Results, And (instead of Discussion) the Conclusion/s.[ 1 , 2 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 17 , 18 ] Structured abstracts are more elaborate, informative, easy to read, recall, and peer-review, and hence are preferred; however, they consume more space and can have same limitations as an unstructured abstract.[ 7 , 9 , 18 ] The structured abstracts are (possibly) better understood by the reviewers and readers. Anyway, the choice of the type of the abstract and the subheadings of a structured abstract depend on the particular journal style and is not left to the author's wish.[ 7 , 10 , 12 ] Separate subheadings may be necessary for reporting meta-analysis, educational research, quality improvement work, review, or case study.[ 1 ] Clinical trial abstracts need to include the essential items mentioned in the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards Of Reporting Trials) guidelines.[ 7 , 9 , 14 , 19 ] Similar guidelines exist for various other types of studies, including observational studies and for studies of diagnostic accuracy.[ 20 , 21 ] A useful resource for the above guidelines is available at www.equator-network.org (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research). Unstructured (or non-structured) abstracts are free-flowing, do not have predefined subheadings, and are commonly used for papers that (usually) do not describe original research.[ 1 , 7 , 9 , 10 ]

The four-point structured abstract: This has the following elements which need to be properly balanced with regard to the content/matter under each subheading:[ 9 ]

Background and/or Objectives: This states why the work was undertaken and is usually written in just a couple of sentences.[ 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 12 , 13 ] The hypothesis/study question and the major objectives are also stated under this subheading.[ 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 12 , 13 ]

Methods: This subsection is the longest, states what was done, and gives essential details of the study design, setting, participants, blinding, sample size, sampling method, intervention/s, duration and follow-up, research instruments, main outcome measures, parameters evaluated, and how the outcomes were assessed or analyzed.[ 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 17 ]

Results/Observations/Findings: This subheading states what was found, is longer, is difficult to draft, and needs to mention important details including the number of study participants, results of analysis (of primary and secondary objectives), and include actual data (numbers, mean, median, standard deviation, “P” values, 95% confidence intervals, effect sizes, relative risks, odds ratio, etc.).[ 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 17 ]

Conclusions: The take-home message (the “so what” of the paper) and other significant/important findings should be stated here, considering the interpretation of the research question/hypothesis and results put together (without overinterpreting the findings) and may also include the author's views on the implications of the study.[ 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 17 ]

The eight-point structured abstract: This has the following eight subheadings – Objectives, Study Design, Study Setting, Participants/Patients, Methods/Intervention, Outcome Measures, Results, and Conclusions.[ 3 , 9 , 18 ] The instructions to authors given by the particular journal state whether they use the four- or eight-point abstract or variants thereof.[ 3 , 14 ]

Descriptive and Informative abstracts

Descriptive abstracts are short (75–150 words), only portray what the paper contains without providing any more details; the reader has to read the full paper to know about its contents and are rarely used for original research papers.[ 7 , 10 ] These are used for case reports, reviews, opinions, and so on.[ 7 , 10 ] Informative abstracts (which may be structured or unstructured as described above) give a complete detailed summary of the article contents and truly reflect the actual research done.[ 7 , 10 ]

Drafting a suitable abstract

It is important to religiously stick to the instructions to authors (format, word limit, font size/style, and subheadings) provided by the journal for which the abstract and the paper are being written.[ 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 13 ] Most journals allow 200–300 words for formulating the abstract and it is wise to restrict oneself to this word limit.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 22 ] Though some authors prefer to draft the abstract initially, followed by the main text of the paper, it is recommended to draft the abstract in the end to maintain accuracy and conformity with the main text of the paper (thus maintaining an easy linkage/alignment with title, on one hand, and the introduction section of the main text, on the other hand).[ 2 , 7 , 9 , 10 , 11 ] The authors should check the subheadings (of the structured abstract) permitted by the target journal, use phrases rather than sentences to draft the content of the abstract, and avoid passive voice.[ 1 , 7 , 9 , 12 ] Next, the authors need to get rid of redundant words and edit the abstract (extensively) to the correct word count permitted (every word in the abstract “counts”!).[ 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 13 ] It is important to ensure that the key message, focus, and novelty of the paper are not compromised; the rationale of the study and the basis of the conclusions are clear; and that the abstract is consistent with the main text of the paper.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 7 , 9 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 17 , 22 ] This is especially important while submitting a revision of the paper (modified after addressing the reviewer's comments), as the changes made in the main (revised) text of the paper need to be reflected in the (revised) abstract as well.[ 2 , 10 , 12 , 14 , 22 ] Abbreviations should be avoided in an abstract, unless they are conventionally accepted or standard; references, tables, or figures should not be cited in the abstract.[ 7 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 13 ] It may be worthwhile not to rush with the abstract and to get an opinion by an impartial colleague on the content of the abstract; and if possible, the full paper (an “informal” peer-review).[ 1 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 11 , 17 ] Appropriate “Keywords” (three to ten words or phrases) should follow the abstract and should be preferably chosen from the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) list of the U.S. National Library of Medicine ( https://meshb.nlm.nih.gov/search ) and are used for indexing purposes.[ 2 , 3 , 11 , 12 ] These keywords need to be different from the words in the main title (the title words are automatically used for indexing the article) and can be variants of the terms/phrases used in the title, or words from the abstract and the main text.[ 3 , 12 ] The ICMJE (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors; http://www.icmje.org/ ) also recommends publishing the clinical trial registration number at the end of the abstract.[ 7 , 14 ]

Checklist for a good abstract

Table 3 gives a checklist/useful tips for formulating a good abstract for a research paper.[ 1 , 2 , 3 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 17 , 22 ]

Checklist/useful tips for formulating a good abstract for a research paper

Concluding Remarks

This review article has given a detailed account of the importance and types of titles and abstracts. It has also attempted to give useful hints for drafting an appropriate title and a complete abstract for a research paper. It is hoped that this review will help the authors in their career in medical writing.

Financial support and sponsorship

Conflicts of interest.

There are no conflicts of interest.

Acknowledgement

The author thanks Dr. Hemant Deshmukh - Dean, Seth G.S. Medical College & KEM Hospital, for granting permission to publish this manuscript.

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Research Design in Business and Management pp 235–251 Cite as

Literature Review Research Design

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This chapter addresses the peculiarities, characteristics, and major fallacies of literature review research design. Conducting and writing poor literature reviews is one of many ways to lower the value of an academic work. State-of-the-art literature reviews are valuable and publishable scholarly documents. Too many new scholars think that empirical research is the only proper research. In this chapter, researchers find relevant information on how to write a literature review research design paper and learn about typical methodologies used for this research design. The chapter closes with referring to related research designs.

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Literature Reviews

What is a Literature Review? The literature review is a critical look at the existing research that is significant to the work that you are carrying out. This overview identifies prominent research trends in addition to assessing the overall strengths and weaknesses of the existing research.

Purpose of the Literature Review

  • To provide background information about a research topic.
  • To establish the importance of a topic.
  • To demonstrate familiarity with a topic/problem.
  • To “carve out a space” for further work and allow you to position yourself in a scholarly conversation.

Characteristics of an effective literature review In addition to fulfilling the purposes outlined above, an effective literature review provides a critical overview of existing research by

  • Outlining important research trends.
  • Assessing strengths and weaknesses (of individual studies as well the existing research as a whole).
  • Identifying potential gaps in knowledge.
  • Establishing a need for current and/or future research projects.

Steps of the Literature Review Process

1) Planning: identify the focus, type, scope and discipline of the review you intend to write. 2) Reading and Research: collect and read current research on your topic. Select only those sources that are most relevant to your project. 3) Analyzing: summarize, synthesize, critique, and compare your sources in order to assess the field of research as a whole. 4) Drafting: develop a thesis or claim to make about the existing research and decide how to organize your material. 5) Revising: revise and finalize the structural, stylistic, and grammatical issues of your paper.

This process is not always a linear process; depending on the size and scope of your literature review, you may find yourself returning to some of these steps repeatedly as you continue to focus your project.

These steps adapted from the full workshop offered by the Graduate Writing Center at Penn State. 

Literature Review Format

 Introduction

  • Provide an overview of the topic, theme, or issue.
  • Identify your specific area of focus.
  • Describe your methodology and rationale. How did you decide which sources to include and which to exclude? Why? How is your review organized?
  • Briefly discuss the overall trends in the published scholarship in this area.
  •  Establish your reason for writing the review.
  •  Find the best organizational method for your review.
  •  Summarize sources by providing the most relevant information.
  •  Respectfully and objectively critique and evaluate the studies.
  •  Use direct quotations sparingly and only if appropriate.

 Conclusion

  •  Summarize the major findings of the sources that you reviewed, remembering to keep the focus on your topic.
  •  Evaluate the current state of scholarship in this area (ex. flaws or gaps in the research, inconsistencies in findings) 
  •  Identify any areas for further research.
  •  Conclude by making a connection between your topic and some larger area of study such as the discipline. 
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A literature review surveys prior research published in books, scholarly articles, and any other sources relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, and by so doing, provides a description, summary, and critical evaluation of these works in relation to the research problem being investigated. Literature reviews are designed to provide an overview of sources you have used in researching a particular topic and to demonstrate to your readers how your research fits within existing scholarship about the topic.

Fink, Arlene. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper . Fourth edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2014.

Importance of a Good Literature Review

A literature review may consist of simply a summary of key sources, but in the social sciences, a literature review usually has an organizational pattern and combines both summary and synthesis, often within specific conceptual categories . A summary is a recap of the important information of the source, but a synthesis is a re-organization, or a reshuffling, of that information in a way that informs how you are planning to investigate a research problem. The analytical features of a literature review might:

  • Give a new interpretation of old material or combine new with old interpretations,
  • Trace the intellectual progression of the field, including major debates,
  • Depending on the situation, evaluate the sources and advise the reader on the most pertinent or relevant research, or
  • Usually in the conclusion of a literature review, identify where gaps exist in how a problem has been researched to date.

Given this, the purpose of a literature review is to:

  • Place each work in the context of its contribution to understanding the research problem being studied.
  • Describe the relationship of each work to the others under consideration.
  • Identify new ways to interpret prior research.
  • Reveal any gaps that exist in the literature.
  • Resolve conflicts amongst seemingly contradictory previous studies.
  • Identify areas of prior scholarship to prevent duplication of effort.
  • Point the way in fulfilling a need for additional research.
  • Locate your own research within the context of existing literature [very important].

Fink, Arlene. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2005; Hart, Chris. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1998; Jesson, Jill. Doing Your Literature Review: Traditional and Systematic Techniques . Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2011; Knopf, Jeffrey W. "Doing a Literature Review." PS: Political Science and Politics 39 (January 2006): 127-132; Ridley, Diana. The Literature Review: A Step-by-Step Guide for Students . 2nd ed. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2012.

Types of Literature Reviews

It is important to think of knowledge in a given field as consisting of three layers. First, there are the primary studies that researchers conduct and publish. Second are the reviews of those studies that summarize and offer new interpretations built from and often extending beyond the primary studies. Third, there are the perceptions, conclusions, opinion, and interpretations that are shared informally among scholars that become part of the body of epistemological traditions within the field.

In composing a literature review, it is important to note that it is often this third layer of knowledge that is cited as "true" even though it often has only a loose relationship to the primary studies and secondary literature reviews. Given this, while literature reviews are designed to provide an overview and synthesis of pertinent sources you have explored, there are a number of approaches you could adopt depending upon the type of analysis underpinning your study.

Argumentative Review This form examines literature selectively in order to support or refute an argument, deeply embedded assumption, or philosophical problem already established in the literature. The purpose is to develop a body of literature that establishes a contrarian viewpoint. Given the value-laden nature of some social science research [e.g., educational reform; immigration control], argumentative approaches to analyzing the literature can be a legitimate and important form of discourse. However, note that they can also introduce problems of bias when they are used to make summary claims of the sort found in systematic reviews [see below].

Integrative Review Considered a form of research that reviews, critiques, and synthesizes representative literature on a topic in an integrated way such that new frameworks and perspectives on the topic are generated. The body of literature includes all studies that address related or identical hypotheses or research problems. A well-done integrative review meets the same standards as primary research in regard to clarity, rigor, and replication. This is the most common form of review in the social sciences.

Historical Review Few things rest in isolation from historical precedent. Historical literature reviews focus on examining research throughout a period of time, often starting with the first time an issue, concept, theory, phenomena emerged in the literature, then tracing its evolution within the scholarship of a discipline. The purpose is to place research in a historical context to show familiarity with state-of-the-art developments and to identify the likely directions for future research.

Methodological Review A review does not always focus on what someone said [findings], but how they came about saying what they say [method of analysis]. Reviewing methods of analysis provides a framework of understanding at different levels [i.e. those of theory, substantive fields, research approaches, and data collection and analysis techniques], how researchers draw upon a wide variety of knowledge ranging from the conceptual level to practical documents for use in fieldwork in the areas of ontological and epistemological consideration, quantitative and qualitative integration, sampling, interviewing, data collection, and data analysis. This approach helps highlight ethical issues which you should be aware of and consider as you go through your own study.

Systematic Review This form consists of an overview of existing evidence pertinent to a clearly formulated research question, which uses pre-specified and standardized methods to identify and critically appraise relevant research, and to collect, report, and analyze data from the studies that are included in the review. The goal is to deliberately document, critically evaluate, and summarize scientifically all of the research about a clearly defined research problem . Typically it focuses on a very specific empirical question, often posed in a cause-and-effect form, such as "To what extent does A contribute to B?" This type of literature review is primarily applied to examining prior research studies in clinical medicine and allied health fields, but it is increasingly being used in the social sciences.

Theoretical Review The purpose of this form is to examine the corpus of theory that has accumulated in regard to an issue, concept, theory, phenomena. The theoretical literature review helps to establish what theories already exist, the relationships between them, to what degree the existing theories have been investigated, and to develop new hypotheses to be tested. Often this form is used to help establish a lack of appropriate theories or reveal that current theories are inadequate for explaining new or emerging research problems. The unit of analysis can focus on a theoretical concept or a whole theory or framework.

NOTE : Most often the literature review will incorporate some combination of types. For example, a review that examines literature supporting or refuting an argument, assumption, or philosophical problem related to the research problem will also need to include writing supported by sources that establish the history of these arguments in the literature.

Baumeister, Roy F. and Mark R. Leary. "Writing Narrative Literature Reviews."  Review of General Psychology 1 (September 1997): 311-320; Mark R. Fink, Arlene. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper . 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2005; Hart, Chris. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1998; Kennedy, Mary M. "Defining a Literature." Educational Researcher 36 (April 2007): 139-147; Petticrew, Mark and Helen Roberts. Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide . Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2006; Torracro, Richard. "Writing Integrative Literature Reviews: Guidelines and Examples." Human Resource Development Review 4 (September 2005): 356-367; Rocco, Tonette S. and Maria S. Plakhotnik. "Literature Reviews, Conceptual Frameworks, and Theoretical Frameworks: Terms, Functions, and Distinctions." Human Ressource Development Review 8 (March 2008): 120-130; Sutton, Anthea. Systematic Approaches to a Successful Literature Review . Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications, 2016.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  Thinking About Your Literature Review

The structure of a literature review should include the following in support of understanding the research problem :

  • An overview of the subject, issue, or theory under consideration, along with the objectives of the literature review,
  • Division of works under review into themes or categories [e.g. works that support a particular position, those against, and those offering alternative approaches entirely],
  • An explanation of how each work is similar to and how it varies from the others,
  • Conclusions as to which pieces are best considered in their argument, are most convincing of their opinions, and make the greatest contribution to the understanding and development of their area of research.

The critical evaluation of each work should consider :

  • Provenance -- what are the author's credentials? Are the author's arguments supported by evidence [e.g. primary historical material, case studies, narratives, statistics, recent scientific findings]?
  • Methodology -- were the techniques used to identify, gather, and analyze the data appropriate to addressing the research problem? Was the sample size appropriate? Were the results effectively interpreted and reported?
  • Objectivity -- is the author's perspective even-handed or prejudicial? Is contrary data considered or is certain pertinent information ignored to prove the author's point?
  • Persuasiveness -- which of the author's theses are most convincing or least convincing?
  • Validity -- are the author's arguments and conclusions convincing? Does the work ultimately contribute in any significant way to an understanding of the subject?

II.  Development of the Literature Review

Four Basic Stages of Writing 1.  Problem formulation -- which topic or field is being examined and what are its component issues? 2.  Literature search -- finding materials relevant to the subject being explored. 3.  Data evaluation -- determining which literature makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the topic. 4.  Analysis and interpretation -- discussing the findings and conclusions of pertinent literature.

Consider the following issues before writing the literature review: Clarify If your assignment is not specific about what form your literature review should take, seek clarification from your professor by asking these questions: 1.  Roughly how many sources would be appropriate to include? 2.  What types of sources should I review (books, journal articles, websites; scholarly versus popular sources)? 3.  Should I summarize, synthesize, or critique sources by discussing a common theme or issue? 4.  Should I evaluate the sources in any way beyond evaluating how they relate to understanding the research problem? 5.  Should I provide subheadings and other background information, such as definitions and/or a history? Find Models Use the exercise of reviewing the literature to examine how authors in your discipline or area of interest have composed their literature review sections. Read them to get a sense of the types of themes you might want to look for in your own research or to identify ways to organize your final review. The bibliography or reference section of sources you've already read, such as required readings in the course syllabus, are also excellent entry points into your own research. Narrow the Topic The narrower your topic, the easier it will be to limit the number of sources you need to read in order to obtain a good survey of relevant resources. Your professor will probably not expect you to read everything that's available about the topic, but you'll make the act of reviewing easier if you first limit scope of the research problem. A good strategy is to begin by searching the USC Libraries Catalog for recent books about the topic and review the table of contents for chapters that focuses on specific issues. You can also review the indexes of books to find references to specific issues that can serve as the focus of your research. For example, a book surveying the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may include a chapter on the role Egypt has played in mediating the conflict, or look in the index for the pages where Egypt is mentioned in the text. Consider Whether Your Sources are Current Some disciplines require that you use information that is as current as possible. This is particularly true in disciplines in medicine and the sciences where research conducted becomes obsolete very quickly as new discoveries are made. However, when writing a review in the social sciences, a survey of the history of the literature may be required. In other words, a complete understanding the research problem requires you to deliberately examine how knowledge and perspectives have changed over time. Sort through other current bibliographies or literature reviews in the field to get a sense of what your discipline expects. You can also use this method to explore what is considered by scholars to be a "hot topic" and what is not.

III.  Ways to Organize Your Literature Review

Chronology of Events If your review follows the chronological method, you could write about the materials according to when they were published. This approach should only be followed if a clear path of research building on previous research can be identified and that these trends follow a clear chronological order of development. For example, a literature review that focuses on continuing research about the emergence of German economic power after the fall of the Soviet Union. By Publication Order your sources by publication chronology, then, only if the order demonstrates a more important trend. For instance, you could order a review of literature on environmental studies of brown fields if the progression revealed, for example, a change in the soil collection practices of the researchers who wrote and/or conducted the studies. Thematic [“conceptual categories”] A thematic literature review is the most common approach to summarizing prior research in the social and behavioral sciences. Thematic reviews are organized around a topic or issue, rather than the progression of time, although the progression of time may still be incorporated into a thematic review. For example, a review of the Internet’s impact on American presidential politics could focus on the development of online political satire. While the study focuses on one topic, the Internet’s impact on American presidential politics, it would still be organized chronologically reflecting technological developments in media. The difference in this example between a "chronological" and a "thematic" approach is what is emphasized the most: themes related to the role of the Internet in presidential politics. Note that more authentic thematic reviews tend to break away from chronological order. A review organized in this manner would shift between time periods within each section according to the point being made. Methodological A methodological approach focuses on the methods utilized by the researcher. For the Internet in American presidential politics project, one methodological approach would be to look at cultural differences between the portrayal of American presidents on American, British, and French websites. Or the review might focus on the fundraising impact of the Internet on a particular political party. A methodological scope will influence either the types of documents in the review or the way in which these documents are discussed.

Other Sections of Your Literature Review Once you've decided on the organizational method for your literature review, the sections you need to include in the paper should be easy to figure out because they arise from your organizational strategy. In other words, a chronological review would have subsections for each vital time period; a thematic review would have subtopics based upon factors that relate to the theme or issue. However, sometimes you may need to add additional sections that are necessary for your study, but do not fit in the organizational strategy of the body. What other sections you include in the body is up to you. However, only include what is necessary for the reader to locate your study within the larger scholarship about the research problem.

Here are examples of other sections, usually in the form of a single paragraph, you may need to include depending on the type of review you write:

  • Current Situation : Information necessary to understand the current topic or focus of the literature review.
  • Sources Used : Describes the methods and resources [e.g., databases] you used to identify the literature you reviewed.
  • History : The chronological progression of the field, the research literature, or an idea that is necessary to understand the literature review, if the body of the literature review is not already a chronology.
  • Selection Methods : Criteria you used to select (and perhaps exclude) sources in your literature review. For instance, you might explain that your review includes only peer-reviewed [i.e., scholarly] sources.
  • Standards : Description of the way in which you present your information.
  • Questions for Further Research : What questions about the field has the review sparked? How will you further your research as a result of the review?

IV.  Writing Your Literature Review

Once you've settled on how to organize your literature review, you're ready to write each section. When writing your review, keep in mind these issues.

Use Evidence A literature review section is, in this sense, just like any other academic research paper. Your interpretation of the available sources must be backed up with evidence [citations] that demonstrates that what you are saying is valid. Be Selective Select only the most important points in each source to highlight in the review. The type of information you choose to mention should relate directly to the research problem, whether it is thematic, methodological, or chronological. Related items that provide additional information, but that are not key to understanding the research problem, can be included in a list of further readings . Use Quotes Sparingly Some short quotes are appropriate if you want to emphasize a point, or if what an author stated cannot be easily paraphrased. Sometimes you may need to quote certain terminology that was coined by the author, is not common knowledge, or taken directly from the study. Do not use extensive quotes as a substitute for using your own words in reviewing the literature. Summarize and Synthesize Remember to summarize and synthesize your sources within each thematic paragraph as well as throughout the review. Recapitulate important features of a research study, but then synthesize it by rephrasing the study's significance and relating it to your own work and the work of others. Keep Your Own Voice While the literature review presents others' ideas, your voice [the writer's] should remain front and center. For example, weave references to other sources into what you are writing but maintain your own voice by starting and ending the paragraph with your own ideas and wording. Use Caution When Paraphrasing When paraphrasing a source that is not your own, be sure to represent the author's information or opinions accurately and in your own words. Even when paraphrasing an author’s work, you still must provide a citation to that work.

V.  Common Mistakes to Avoid

These are the most common mistakes made in reviewing social science research literature.

  • Sources in your literature review do not clearly relate to the research problem;
  • You do not take sufficient time to define and identify the most relevant sources to use in the literature review related to the research problem;
  • Relies exclusively on secondary analytical sources rather than including relevant primary research studies or data;
  • Uncritically accepts another researcher's findings and interpretations as valid, rather than examining critically all aspects of the research design and analysis;
  • Does not describe the search procedures that were used in identifying the literature to review;
  • Reports isolated statistical results rather than synthesizing them in chi-squared or meta-analytic methods; and,
  • Only includes research that validates assumptions and does not consider contrary findings and alternative interpretations found in the literature.

Cook, Kathleen E. and Elise Murowchick. “Do Literature Review Skills Transfer from One Course to Another?” Psychology Learning and Teaching 13 (March 2014): 3-11; Fink, Arlene. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper . 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2005; Hart, Chris. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1998; Jesson, Jill. Doing Your Literature Review: Traditional and Systematic Techniques . London: SAGE, 2011; Literature Review Handout. Online Writing Center. Liberty University; Literature Reviews. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Onwuegbuzie, Anthony J. and Rebecca Frels. Seven Steps to a Comprehensive Literature Review: A Multimodal and Cultural Approach . Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2016; Ridley, Diana. The Literature Review: A Step-by-Step Guide for Students . 2nd ed. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2012; Randolph, Justus J. “A Guide to Writing the Dissertation Literature Review." Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation. vol. 14, June 2009; Sutton, Anthea. Systematic Approaches to a Successful Literature Review . Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications, 2016; Taylor, Dena. The Literature Review: A Few Tips On Conducting It. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Writing a Literature Review. Academic Skills Centre. University of Canberra.

Writing Tip

Break Out of Your Disciplinary Box!

Thinking interdisciplinarily about a research problem can be a rewarding exercise in applying new ideas, theories, or concepts to an old problem. For example, what might cultural anthropologists say about the continuing conflict in the Middle East? In what ways might geographers view the need for better distribution of social service agencies in large cities than how social workers might study the issue? You don’t want to substitute a thorough review of core research literature in your discipline for studies conducted in other fields of study. However, particularly in the social sciences, thinking about research problems from multiple vectors is a key strategy for finding new solutions to a problem or gaining a new perspective. Consult with a librarian about identifying research databases in other disciplines; almost every field of study has at least one comprehensive database devoted to indexing its research literature.

Frodeman, Robert. The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity . New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Another Writing Tip

Don't Just Review for Content!

While conducting a review of the literature, maximize the time you devote to writing this part of your paper by thinking broadly about what you should be looking for and evaluating. Review not just what scholars are saying, but how are they saying it. Some questions to ask:

  • How are they organizing their ideas?
  • What methods have they used to study the problem?
  • What theories have been used to explain, predict, or understand their research problem?
  • What sources have they cited to support their conclusions?
  • How have they used non-textual elements [e.g., charts, graphs, figures, etc.] to illustrate key points?

When you begin to write your literature review section, you'll be glad you dug deeper into how the research was designed and constructed because it establishes a means for developing more substantial analysis and interpretation of the research problem.

Hart, Chris. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1 998.

Yet Another Writing Tip

When Do I Know I Can Stop Looking and Move On?

Here are several strategies you can utilize to assess whether you've thoroughly reviewed the literature:

  • Look for repeating patterns in the research findings . If the same thing is being said, just by different people, then this likely demonstrates that the research problem has hit a conceptual dead end. At this point consider: Does your study extend current research?  Does it forge a new path? Or, does is merely add more of the same thing being said?
  • Look at sources the authors cite to in their work . If you begin to see the same researchers cited again and again, then this is often an indication that no new ideas have been generated to address the research problem.
  • Search Google Scholar to identify who has subsequently cited leading scholars already identified in your literature review [see next sub-tab]. This is called citation tracking and there are a number of sources that can help you identify who has cited whom, particularly scholars from outside of your discipline. Here again, if the same authors are being cited again and again, this may indicate no new literature has been written on the topic.

Onwuegbuzie, Anthony J. and Rebecca Frels. Seven Steps to a Comprehensive Literature Review: A Multimodal and Cultural Approach . Los Angeles, CA: Sage, 2016; Sutton, Anthea. Systematic Approaches to a Successful Literature Review . Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications, 2016.

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  • How to write a literary analysis essay | A step-by-step guide

How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay | A Step-by-Step Guide

Published on January 30, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on August 14, 2023.

Literary analysis means closely studying a text, interpreting its meanings, and exploring why the author made certain choices. It can be applied to novels, short stories, plays, poems, or any other form of literary writing.

A literary analysis essay is not a rhetorical analysis , nor is it just a summary of the plot or a book review. Instead, it is a type of argumentative essay where you need to analyze elements such as the language, perspective, and structure of the text, and explain how the author uses literary devices to create effects and convey ideas.

Before beginning a literary analysis essay, it’s essential to carefully read the text and c ome up with a thesis statement to keep your essay focused. As you write, follow the standard structure of an academic essay :

  • An introduction that tells the reader what your essay will focus on.
  • A main body, divided into paragraphs , that builds an argument using evidence from the text.
  • A conclusion that clearly states the main point that you have shown with your analysis.

Table of contents

Step 1: reading the text and identifying literary devices, step 2: coming up with a thesis, step 3: writing a title and introduction, step 4: writing the body of the essay, step 5: writing a conclusion, other interesting articles.

The first step is to carefully read the text(s) and take initial notes. As you read, pay attention to the things that are most intriguing, surprising, or even confusing in the writing—these are things you can dig into in your analysis.

Your goal in literary analysis is not simply to explain the events described in the text, but to analyze the writing itself and discuss how the text works on a deeper level. Primarily, you’re looking out for literary devices —textual elements that writers use to convey meaning and create effects. If you’re comparing and contrasting multiple texts, you can also look for connections between different texts.

To get started with your analysis, there are several key areas that you can focus on. As you analyze each aspect of the text, try to think about how they all relate to each other. You can use highlights or notes to keep track of important passages and quotes.

Language choices

Consider what style of language the author uses. Are the sentences short and simple or more complex and poetic?

What word choices stand out as interesting or unusual? Are words used figuratively to mean something other than their literal definition? Figurative language includes things like metaphor (e.g. “her eyes were oceans”) and simile (e.g. “her eyes were like oceans”).

Also keep an eye out for imagery in the text—recurring images that create a certain atmosphere or symbolize something important. Remember that language is used in literary texts to say more than it means on the surface.

Narrative voice

Ask yourself:

  • Who is telling the story?
  • How are they telling it?

Is it a first-person narrator (“I”) who is personally involved in the story, or a third-person narrator who tells us about the characters from a distance?

Consider the narrator’s perspective . Is the narrator omniscient (where they know everything about all the characters and events), or do they only have partial knowledge? Are they an unreliable narrator who we are not supposed to take at face value? Authors often hint that their narrator might be giving us a distorted or dishonest version of events.

The tone of the text is also worth considering. Is the story intended to be comic, tragic, or something else? Are usually serious topics treated as funny, or vice versa ? Is the story realistic or fantastical (or somewhere in between)?

Consider how the text is structured, and how the structure relates to the story being told.

  • Novels are often divided into chapters and parts.
  • Poems are divided into lines, stanzas, and sometime cantos.
  • Plays are divided into scenes and acts.

Think about why the author chose to divide the different parts of the text in the way they did.

There are also less formal structural elements to take into account. Does the story unfold in chronological order, or does it jump back and forth in time? Does it begin in medias res —in the middle of the action? Does the plot advance towards a clearly defined climax?

With poetry, consider how the rhyme and meter shape your understanding of the text and your impression of the tone. Try reading the poem aloud to get a sense of this.

In a play, you might consider how relationships between characters are built up through different scenes, and how the setting relates to the action. Watch out for  dramatic irony , where the audience knows some detail that the characters don’t, creating a double meaning in their words, thoughts, or actions.

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Your thesis in a literary analysis essay is the point you want to make about the text. It’s the core argument that gives your essay direction and prevents it from just being a collection of random observations about a text.

If you’re given a prompt for your essay, your thesis must answer or relate to the prompt. For example:

Essay question example

Is Franz Kafka’s “Before the Law” a religious parable?

Your thesis statement should be an answer to this question—not a simple yes or no, but a statement of why this is or isn’t the case:

Thesis statement example

Franz Kafka’s “Before the Law” is not a religious parable, but a story about bureaucratic alienation.

Sometimes you’ll be given freedom to choose your own topic; in this case, you’ll have to come up with an original thesis. Consider what stood out to you in the text; ask yourself questions about the elements that interested you, and consider how you might answer them.

Your thesis should be something arguable—that is, something that you think is true about the text, but which is not a simple matter of fact. It must be complex enough to develop through evidence and arguments across the course of your essay.

Say you’re analyzing the novel Frankenstein . You could start by asking yourself:

Your initial answer might be a surface-level description:

The character Frankenstein is portrayed negatively in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein .

However, this statement is too simple to be an interesting thesis. After reading the text and analyzing its narrative voice and structure, you can develop the answer into a more nuanced and arguable thesis statement:

Mary Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as.

Remember that you can revise your thesis statement throughout the writing process , so it doesn’t need to be perfectly formulated at this stage. The aim is to keep you focused as you analyze the text.

Finding textual evidence

To support your thesis statement, your essay will build an argument using textual evidence —specific parts of the text that demonstrate your point. This evidence is quoted and analyzed throughout your essay to explain your argument to the reader.

It can be useful to comb through the text in search of relevant quotations before you start writing. You might not end up using everything you find, and you may have to return to the text for more evidence as you write, but collecting textual evidence from the beginning will help you to structure your arguments and assess whether they’re convincing.

To start your literary analysis paper, you’ll need two things: a good title, and an introduction.

Your title should clearly indicate what your analysis will focus on. It usually contains the name of the author and text(s) you’re analyzing. Keep it as concise and engaging as possible.

A common approach to the title is to use a relevant quote from the text, followed by a colon and then the rest of your title.

If you struggle to come up with a good title at first, don’t worry—this will be easier once you’ve begun writing the essay and have a better sense of your arguments.

“Fearful symmetry” : The violence of creation in William Blake’s “The Tyger”

The introduction

The essay introduction provides a quick overview of where your argument is going. It should include your thesis statement and a summary of the essay’s structure.

A typical structure for an introduction is to begin with a general statement about the text and author, using this to lead into your thesis statement. You might refer to a commonly held idea about the text and show how your thesis will contradict it, or zoom in on a particular device you intend to focus on.

Then you can end with a brief indication of what’s coming up in the main body of the essay. This is called signposting. It will be more elaborate in longer essays, but in a short five-paragraph essay structure, it shouldn’t be more than one sentence.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a stable representation of the callous ambition of modern science throughout the novel. This essay, however, argues that far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as. This essay begins by exploring the positive portrayal of Frankenstein in the first volume, then moves on to the creature’s perception of him, and finally discusses the third volume’s narrative shift toward viewing Frankenstein as the creature views him.

Some students prefer to write the introduction later in the process, and it’s not a bad idea. After all, you’ll have a clearer idea of the overall shape of your arguments once you’ve begun writing them!

If you do write the introduction first, you should still return to it later to make sure it lines up with what you ended up writing, and edit as necessary.

The body of your essay is everything between the introduction and conclusion. It contains your arguments and the textual evidence that supports them.

Paragraph structure

A typical structure for a high school literary analysis essay consists of five paragraphs : the three paragraphs of the body, plus the introduction and conclusion.

Each paragraph in the main body should focus on one topic. In the five-paragraph model, try to divide your argument into three main areas of analysis, all linked to your thesis. Don’t try to include everything you can think of to say about the text—only analysis that drives your argument.

In longer essays, the same principle applies on a broader scale. For example, you might have two or three sections in your main body, each with multiple paragraphs. Within these sections, you still want to begin new paragraphs at logical moments—a turn in the argument or the introduction of a new idea.

Robert’s first encounter with Gil-Martin suggests something of his sinister power. Robert feels “a sort of invisible power that drew me towards him.” He identifies the moment of their meeting as “the beginning of a series of adventures which has puzzled myself, and will puzzle the world when I am no more in it” (p. 89). Gil-Martin’s “invisible power” seems to be at work even at this distance from the moment described; before continuing the story, Robert feels compelled to anticipate at length what readers will make of his narrative after his approaching death. With this interjection, Hogg emphasizes the fatal influence Gil-Martin exercises from his first appearance.

Topic sentences

To keep your points focused, it’s important to use a topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph.

A good topic sentence allows a reader to see at a glance what the paragraph is about. It can introduce a new line of argument and connect or contrast it with the previous paragraph. Transition words like “however” or “moreover” are useful for creating smooth transitions:

… The story’s focus, therefore, is not upon the divine revelation that may be waiting beyond the door, but upon the mundane process of aging undergone by the man as he waits.

Nevertheless, the “radiance” that appears to stream from the door is typically treated as religious symbolism.

This topic sentence signals that the paragraph will address the question of religious symbolism, while the linking word “nevertheless” points out a contrast with the previous paragraph’s conclusion.

Using textual evidence

A key part of literary analysis is backing up your arguments with relevant evidence from the text. This involves introducing quotes from the text and explaining their significance to your point.

It’s important to contextualize quotes and explain why you’re using them; they should be properly introduced and analyzed, not treated as self-explanatory:

It isn’t always necessary to use a quote. Quoting is useful when you’re discussing the author’s language, but sometimes you’ll have to refer to plot points or structural elements that can’t be captured in a short quote.

In these cases, it’s more appropriate to paraphrase or summarize parts of the text—that is, to describe the relevant part in your own words:

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characteristics of literary research paper

The conclusion of your analysis shouldn’t introduce any new quotations or arguments. Instead, it’s about wrapping up the essay. Here, you summarize your key points and try to emphasize their significance to the reader.

A good way to approach this is to briefly summarize your key arguments, and then stress the conclusion they’ve led you to, highlighting the new perspective your thesis provides on the text as a whole:

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By tracing the depiction of Frankenstein through the novel’s three volumes, I have demonstrated how the narrative structure shifts our perception of the character. While the Frankenstein of the first volume is depicted as having innocent intentions, the second and third volumes—first in the creature’s accusatory voice, and then in his own voice—increasingly undermine him, causing him to appear alternately ridiculous and vindictive. Far from the one-dimensional villain he is often taken to be, the character of Frankenstein is compelling because of the dynamic narrative frame in which he is placed. In this frame, Frankenstein’s narrative self-presentation responds to the images of him we see from others’ perspectives. This conclusion sheds new light on the novel, foregrounding Shelley’s unique layering of narrative perspectives and its importance for the depiction of character.

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  • Five tips for developing useful literature summary tables for writing review articles
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  • http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0157-5319 Ahtisham Younas 1 , 2 ,
  • http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7839-8130 Parveen Ali 3 , 4
  • 1 Memorial University of Newfoundland , St John's , Newfoundland , Canada
  • 2 Swat College of Nursing , Pakistan
  • 3 School of Nursing and Midwifery , University of Sheffield , Sheffield , South Yorkshire , UK
  • 4 Sheffield University Interpersonal Violence Research Group , Sheffield University , Sheffield , UK
  • Correspondence to Ahtisham Younas, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John's, NL A1C 5C4, Canada; ay6133{at}mun.ca

https://doi.org/10.1136/ebnurs-2021-103417

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Introduction

Literature reviews offer a critical synthesis of empirical and theoretical literature to assess the strength of evidence, develop guidelines for practice and policymaking, and identify areas for future research. 1 It is often essential and usually the first task in any research endeavour, particularly in masters or doctoral level education. For effective data extraction and rigorous synthesis in reviews, the use of literature summary tables is of utmost importance. A literature summary table provides a synopsis of an included article. It succinctly presents its purpose, methods, findings and other relevant information pertinent to the review. The aim of developing these literature summary tables is to provide the reader with the information at one glance. Since there are multiple types of reviews (eg, systematic, integrative, scoping, critical and mixed methods) with distinct purposes and techniques, 2 there could be various approaches for developing literature summary tables making it a complex task specialty for the novice researchers or reviewers. Here, we offer five tips for authors of the review articles, relevant to all types of reviews, for creating useful and relevant literature summary tables. We also provide examples from our published reviews to illustrate how useful literature summary tables can be developed and what sort of information should be provided.

Tip 1: provide detailed information about frameworks and methods

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Tabular literature summaries from a scoping review. Source: Rasheed et al . 3

The provision of information about conceptual and theoretical frameworks and methods is useful for several reasons. First, in quantitative (reviews synthesising the results of quantitative studies) and mixed reviews (reviews synthesising the results of both qualitative and quantitative studies to address a mixed review question), it allows the readers to assess the congruence of the core findings and methods with the adapted framework and tested assumptions. In qualitative reviews (reviews synthesising results of qualitative studies), this information is beneficial for readers to recognise the underlying philosophical and paradigmatic stance of the authors of the included articles. For example, imagine the authors of an article, included in a review, used phenomenological inquiry for their research. In that case, the review authors and the readers of the review need to know what kind of (transcendental or hermeneutic) philosophical stance guided the inquiry. Review authors should, therefore, include the philosophical stance in their literature summary for the particular article. Second, information about frameworks and methods enables review authors and readers to judge the quality of the research, which allows for discerning the strengths and limitations of the article. For example, if authors of an included article intended to develop a new scale and test its psychometric properties. To achieve this aim, they used a convenience sample of 150 participants and performed exploratory (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) on the same sample. Such an approach would indicate a flawed methodology because EFA and CFA should not be conducted on the same sample. The review authors must include this information in their summary table. Omitting this information from a summary could lead to the inclusion of a flawed article in the review, thereby jeopardising the review’s rigour.

Tip 2: include strengths and limitations for each article

Critical appraisal of individual articles included in a review is crucial for increasing the rigour of the review. Despite using various templates for critical appraisal, authors often do not provide detailed information about each reviewed article’s strengths and limitations. Merely noting the quality score based on standardised critical appraisal templates is not adequate because the readers should be able to identify the reasons for assigning a weak or moderate rating. Many recent critical appraisal checklists (eg, Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool) discourage review authors from assigning a quality score and recommend noting the main strengths and limitations of included studies. It is also vital that methodological and conceptual limitations and strengths of the articles included in the review are provided because not all review articles include empirical research papers. Rather some review synthesises the theoretical aspects of articles. Providing information about conceptual limitations is also important for readers to judge the quality of foundations of the research. For example, if you included a mixed-methods study in the review, reporting the methodological and conceptual limitations about ‘integration’ is critical for evaluating the study’s strength. Suppose the authors only collected qualitative and quantitative data and did not state the intent and timing of integration. In that case, the strength of the study is weak. Integration only occurred at the levels of data collection. However, integration may not have occurred at the analysis, interpretation and reporting levels.

Tip 3: write conceptual contribution of each reviewed article

While reading and evaluating review papers, we have observed that many review authors only provide core results of the article included in a review and do not explain the conceptual contribution offered by the included article. We refer to conceptual contribution as a description of how the article’s key results contribute towards the development of potential codes, themes or subthemes, or emerging patterns that are reported as the review findings. For example, the authors of a review article noted that one of the research articles included in their review demonstrated the usefulness of case studies and reflective logs as strategies for fostering compassion in nursing students. The conceptual contribution of this research article could be that experiential learning is one way to teach compassion to nursing students, as supported by case studies and reflective logs. This conceptual contribution of the article should be mentioned in the literature summary table. Delineating each reviewed article’s conceptual contribution is particularly beneficial in qualitative reviews, mixed-methods reviews, and critical reviews that often focus on developing models and describing or explaining various phenomena. Figure 2 offers an example of a literature summary table. 4

Tabular literature summaries from a critical review. Source: Younas and Maddigan. 4

Tip 4: compose potential themes from each article during summary writing

While developing literature summary tables, many authors use themes or subthemes reported in the given articles as the key results of their own review. Such an approach prevents the review authors from understanding the article’s conceptual contribution, developing rigorous synthesis and drawing reasonable interpretations of results from an individual article. Ultimately, it affects the generation of novel review findings. For example, one of the articles about women’s healthcare-seeking behaviours in developing countries reported a theme ‘social-cultural determinants of health as precursors of delays’. Instead of using this theme as one of the review findings, the reviewers should read and interpret beyond the given description in an article, compare and contrast themes, findings from one article with findings and themes from another article to find similarities and differences and to understand and explain bigger picture for their readers. Therefore, while developing literature summary tables, think twice before using the predeveloped themes. Including your themes in the summary tables (see figure 1 ) demonstrates to the readers that a robust method of data extraction and synthesis has been followed.

Tip 5: create your personalised template for literature summaries

Often templates are available for data extraction and development of literature summary tables. The available templates may be in the form of a table, chart or a structured framework that extracts some essential information about every article. The commonly used information may include authors, purpose, methods, key results and quality scores. While extracting all relevant information is important, such templates should be tailored to meet the needs of the individuals’ review. For example, for a review about the effectiveness of healthcare interventions, a literature summary table must include information about the intervention, its type, content timing, duration, setting, effectiveness, negative consequences, and receivers and implementers’ experiences of its usage. Similarly, literature summary tables for articles included in a meta-synthesis must include information about the participants’ characteristics, research context and conceptual contribution of each reviewed article so as to help the reader make an informed decision about the usefulness or lack of usefulness of the individual article in the review and the whole review.

In conclusion, narrative or systematic reviews are almost always conducted as a part of any educational project (thesis or dissertation) or academic or clinical research. Literature reviews are the foundation of research on a given topic. Robust and high-quality reviews play an instrumental role in guiding research, practice and policymaking. However, the quality of reviews is also contingent on rigorous data extraction and synthesis, which require developing literature summaries. We have outlined five tips that could enhance the quality of the data extraction and synthesis process by developing useful literature summaries.

  • Aromataris E ,
  • Rasheed SP ,

Twitter @Ahtisham04, @parveenazamali

Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Competing interests None declared.

Patient consent for publication Not required.

Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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Research Paper

11 December 2023

last updated

A research paper is a product of seeking information, analysis, human thinking, and time. Basically, when scholars want to get answers to questions, they start to search for information to expand, use, approve, or deny findings. In simple words, research papers are results of processes by considering writing works and following specific requirements. Besides, scientists research and expand many theories, developing social or technological aspects of human science. However, in order to write relevant papers, they need to know a definition of the research, structure, characteristics, and types.

Definition of What Is a Research Paper and Its Meaning

A research paper is a common assignment. It comes to a situation when students, scholars, and scientists need to answer specific questions by using sources. Basically, a research paper is one of the types of papers where scholars analyze questions or topics , look for secondary sources , and write papers on defined themes. For example, if an assignment is to write a research paper on some causes of global warming or any other topic, a person must write a research proposal on it, analyzing important points and credible sources . Although essays focus on personal knowledge, writing a research paper means analyzing sources by following academic standards. Moreover, scientists must meet the structure of research papers. Therefore, writers need to analyze their research paper topics , start to research, cover key aspects, process credible articles, and organize final studies properly.

The Structure of a Research Work

The structure of research papers depends on assignment requirements. In fact, when students get their assignments and instructions, they need to analyze specific research questions or topics, find reliable sources , and write final works. Basically, the structure of research papers consists of the abstract , outline , introduction , literature review , methodology, results , discussion, recommendations, limitations, conclusion , acknowledgments , and references. However, students may not include some of these sections because of assigned instructions that they have and specific types of research papers. For instance, if instructions of papers do not suppose to conduct real experiments, the methodology section can be skipped because of the data’s absence. In turn, the structure of the final work consists of:

research paper

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🔸 The First Part of a Research Study

Abstract or an executive summary means the first section of a research paper that provides the study’s purpose, research questions or suggestions, main findings with conclusions. Moreover, this paragraph of about 150 words should be written when the whole work is finished already. Hence, abstract sections should describe key aspects of studies, including discussions about the relevance of findings.

Outline serves as a clear map of the structure of a research study.

Introduction provides the main information on problem statements, the indication of methodology, important findings, and principal conclusion. Basically, this section of a research paper covers rationales behind the work or background research, explanation of the importance, defending its relevance, a brief description of experimental designs, defined research questions, hypotheses, or key aspects.

🔸 Literature Review and Research or Experiment

Literature Review is needed for the analysis of past studies or scholarly articles to be familiar with research questions or topics. Hence, this section summarizes and synthesizes arguments and ideas from scholarly sources without adding new contributions. In turn, this part is organized around arguments or ideas, not sources.

Methodology or Materials and Methods covers explanations of research designs. Basically, techniques for gathering information and other aspects related to experiments must be described in a research paper. For instance, students and scholars document all specialized materials and general procedures. In this case, individuals may use some or all of the methods in further studies or judge the scientific merit of the work. Moreover, scientists should explain how they are going to conduct their experiments.

Results mean the gained information or data after the research or experiment. Basically, scholars should present and illustrate their findings. Moreover, this section may include tables or figures.

🔸 Analysis of Findings

Discussion is a section of a research paper where scientists review the information in the introduction part, evaluate gained results, or compare it with past studies. In particular, students and scholars interpret gained data or findings in appropriate depth. For example, if results differ from expectations at the beginning, scientists should explain why that may have happened. However, if results agree with rationales, scientists should describe theories that the evidence is supported.

Recommendations take its roots from a discussion section where scholars propose potential solutions or new ideas based on obtained results in a research paper. In this case, if scientists have any recommendations on how to improve this research so that other scholars can use evidence in further studies, they must write what they think in this section.

Limitations mean a consideration of research weaknesses and results to get new directions. For instance, if researchers found any limitations of studies that could affect experiments, scholars must not use such knowledge because of the same mistakes. Moreover, scientists should avoid contradicting results, and, even more, they must write it in this section.

🔸 The Final Part of a Conducted Research

Conclusion includes final claims of a research paper based on findings. Basically, this section covers final thoughts and the summary of the whole work. Moreover, this section may be used instead of limitations and recommendations that would be too small by themselves. In this case, scientists do not need to use headings for recommendations and limitations. Also, check out conclusion examples .

Acknowledgments or Appendix may take different forms, from paragraphs to charts. In this section, scholars include additional information on a research paper.

References mean a section where students, scholars, or scientists provide all used sources by following the format and academic rules.

Research Characteristics

Any type of work must meet some standards. By considering a research paper, this work must be written accordingly. In this case, the main characteristics of research papers are the length, style, format, and sources. Firstly, the length of research work defines the number of needed sources to analyze. Then, the style must be formal and covers impersonal and inclusive language. In turn, the format means academic standards of how to organize final works, including its structure and norms. Finally, sources and their number define works as research papers because of the volume of analyzed information. Hence, these characteristics must be considered while writing research papers.

Types of Research Papers

In general, the length of assignments can be different because of instructions. For example, there are two main types of research papers, such as typical and serious works. Firstly, a typical research paper may include definitive, argumentative, interpretive, and other works. In this case, typical papers are from 2 to 10 pages, where students analyze research questions or specific topics. Then, a serious research study is the expanded version of typical works. In turn, the length of such a paper is more than 10 pages. Basically, such works cover a serious analysis with many sources. Therefore, typical and serious works are two types of research papers.

Typical Research Papers

Basically, typical research works depend on assignments, the number of sources, and the paper’s length. So, a typical research paper is usually a long essay with the analyzed evidence. For example, students in high school and colleges get such assignments to learn how to research and analyze topics. In this case, they do not need to conduct serious experiments with the analysis and calculation of data. Moreover, students must use the Internet or libraries in searching for credible secondary sources to find potential answers to specific questions. As a result, students gather information on topics and learn how to take defined sides, present unique positions, or explain new directions. Hence, typical research papers require an analysis of primary and secondary sources without serious experiments or data.

Serious Research Studies

Although long papers require a lot of time for finding and analyzing credible sources, real experiments are an integral part of research work. Firstly, scholars at universities need to analyze the information from past studies to expand or disapprove of researched topics. Then, if scholars want to prove specific positions or ideas, they must get real evidence. In this case, experiments can be surveys, calculations, or other types of data that scholars do personally. Moreover, a dissertation is a typical serious research paper that young scientists write based on the research analysis of topics, data from conducted experiments, and conclusions at the end of work. Thus, serious research papers are studies that take a lot of time, analysis of sources with gained data, and interpretation of results.

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Are you looking for an engaging literary research paper topic? Whether you're writing a college-level essay or a master's thesis, the right literature research paper topics can make all the difference. They range from exploring particular genres or authors to examining the use of language in literary works. By researching these topics, you will gain a greater understanding of the ideas, improve your critical thinking skills, and learn to appreciate the nuances. This article will explore such literature topics for research and open up endless possibilities for analysis and interpretation, ranging from classic to modern-day texts. Are you ready to choose a trending topic and write a paper that will win your professor’s heart? 

What Are Literary Research Paper Topics?

Literary research paper topics focus on a particular literary work, such as a book, poem, novel, play, or story. They provide a great starting point for researching the specific aspect you're planning to explore for a better perception of the idea and help to eliminate any artificial facet. Literary research topics may analyze a single text, compare different writings by the same author, or contrast different authors' styles.  Common literature topics for research papers comprise symbolism, characterization, themes, plot structure, historical context, point-of-view analysis, biographical contexts, and intertextual connections. These research paper topics may also focus on how an author has been interpreted or evaluated over time, analyzing the critical reception of their works and examining any changes within literary canonization. Additionally, these topics can explore how literary works intersect with other disciplines, such as philosophy, psychology, sociology, politics, or economics.

Characteristics of Good Literature Research Paper Topics

Literary research paper topics are usually considered good when they are:

  • Relevant They should be engaging, thought-provoking, and appropriate to the academic work.
  • Specific Similarly, good literature research topics must have a narrow focus and not be overly broad.
  • Interesting They should pique your interest and encourage you to explore and aspire to know more about the literary work.
  • Challenging Deep analysis, thoughtful reflection, and creative thinking are also vital.
  • Unique They should be memorable and offer new insights into academic work.

With these important characteristics of literary topics for research papers in mind, you're ready to start writing!

How to Choose a Literature Research Paper Topic?

Choosing a literature research paper topic can be daunting, but with careful thought and planning, you're sure to find the perfect one. In order to do this, you need to complete the following:

  • Brainstorm: First, start by brainstorming topics that interest you. Think about the works you've been studying, authors and genres you enjoy reading, and themes that have resonated with you.
  • Narrow it down: Once you've identified a few research topics that intrigue you, narrow them down to one that is most relevant and specific.
  • Research: Explore if it is relevant. This will guarantee that you have enough material to work with.
  • Refine: Once you have researched, refine your topic to ensure it is specific and engaging. Consider the most interesting aspects and how they can be explored further.
  • Choose: Finally, choose the title that best reflects your interests and passions for an enjoyable research experience!

With these tips, you can find the perfect literary research paper topic! Don’t have time for reading piles of books? Get professional help with research paper writing from StudyCrumb and have your study completed by a real pro.

List of Literature Research Paper Topics

A list of literature topics for research offers a wide range of literary-related issues that can be explored and studied for your project. It includes ideas that could spark your creativity and help you choose the best title. Whether you're interested in exploring the works of Shakespeare or examining modern literature, this list of literary research paper topics has something for everyone!

  • Use of symbolism in romantic poetry.
  • Importance of technology within cyberpunk genres.
  • Impact of fantasy on contemporary culture.
  • Representation of male or female authors as represented by classic literary works.
  • Postmodernist views of time and space in literature.
  • Representation of race and ethnicity within contemporary fiction.
  • Representation of LGBTQ characters in literary works.
  • The role of mythology during the era of ancient works.
  • Social media impact on modern texts.
  • Classic and contemporary literary criticism.

Interesting Literary Research Paper Topics

If you are interested in classic books or modern trends, these ideas can be a fascinating starting point for your project. They include theories, criticism, comparison, and specific authors or genres. Besides providing an analysis of the work, a literary research paper topic could also comprise examining different themes. Explore the following interesting literature topics for your project:

  • Literary influences of Jane Austen's works.
  • Symbolism as represented by gothic texts.
  • Relevance of classic mythology within contemporary fiction.
  • The role of magic or fantasy in children's literature.
  • The role of women in Victorian literature.
  • Representation of race and ethnicity in early 20th-century literature.
  • Themes of love and loss in romantic poetry.
  • The use of horror genres in contemporary fiction.
  • Postcolonialism's impact on literary works.
  • Nature in 19th-century literature .
  • Representation of LGBTQ characters as represented by contemporary fiction.
  • Technology's impact on modern literary works.
  • Classic and contemporary interpretations of gothic texts.
  • The role of magic and fantasy in modern literary works.
  • Representation of death and loss in 20th-century works.

Great Literature Research Paper Topics

A list of great literature research topics provides a variety of ideas related to literary works. These research topics in literature can offer an exciting starting point for your English paper:

  • Rebellion themes in Shakespeare's tragedies.
  • Class and economic status in Victorian texts.
  • Symbolism in romantic poetry.
  • Impact of British imperialism on literary fiction worldwide.
  • Gender and sexuality representation in early 20th-century writings.
  • Postcolonialism in 19th-century fiction.
  • The literary influence of WWII on modern writings.
  • Vampires' role in gothic literary texts.
  • Use of fantasy in childhood writings.
  • Technology's impact on contemporary literary works.
  • Race and ethnicity as represented by postmodern fiction.
  • Religion in romantic poetry.
  • Themes of love and loss in 20th-century texts.
  • Horror genres in literary fiction.
  • Postmodernism's impact on contemporary literary works.

Unique Literature Research Paper Topics

Unique literature topics for research papers can help students explore new concepts and gain a deeper understanding of their subject. Below are rare literature paper topics for you to review:

  • The role of jealousy in 17th-century literary works.
  • Gender identity as represented by reformist fiction.
  • Mythological figures as portrayed by Greek and Roman poetry.
  • The relationship between gender and power in Shakespeare's plays.
  • Themes of isolation in 20th-century British poetry.
  • Metaphors in the works of Gabriel García Márquez .
  • Themes of rebellion and revolution in African American literary texts.
  • The role of women in medieval romance literature.
  • Poverty representation in Victorian novels.
  • Themes of oppression and freedom in colonial Latin American texts.
  • Use of metaphor and allegory in Dante's divine comedy.
  • Influence of industrialization on 19th-century fiction.
  • Dystopian settings within modern literature.
  • Religion in contemporary fiction.

Spotted any ideas for your literature research paper? Now it’s time to compose your study. Leave us ‘ do my research paper ’ notice and get a professional writer to work on your project. 

Controversial Literary Research Paper Topics

Controversial literary research topics can provide students with an opportunity to explore complex and sometimes contentious issues related to literary texts. Find below a controversial literary research paper topic for your dream English project!

  • Racial stereotypes during 19th-century English literature.
  • Themes of sexuality and desire in ancient Greek poetry.
  • The relationship between political power and language in Shakespeare's plays.
  • Conflict representation during 20th-century English fiction.
  • English role in colonial Indian literature.
  • Gender and racial representations within African American autobiographies.
  • Themes of justice and control in Victorian English novels.
  • Themes of oppression and resistance in feminist texts.
  • The role of English in modern Japanese fiction.
  • Themes of identity and belonging in postcolonial Indian literature.
  • Censorship, free speech, and social responsibility in 19th-century English novels.
  • Politics and power representations in Latin American poetry.
  • Gender, race, and class representations in English renaissance drama.
  • English as a tool for political ideology within the works of George Orwell.
  • Language used to defy authority during modern fiction writing.

Fresh Literature Research Paper Ideas

Coming up with fresh ideas for literature research topics can be daunting. Students may want to look at the works they have studied or venture outside the traditional reading list and explore different authors and genres. Some literature research paper ideas comprise studying how certain authors influenced the literary movement, analyzing how language has been used throughout history, or examining gender, race, and class representations from a literary text. Here is a perfect list of fresh ideas!

  • Aesthetics as presented by postmodern fiction.
  • The theme of loss as portrayed by African authors .
  • Use of language throughout history.
  • Identity and belonging representation in contemporary young adult fiction.
  • The intersection between art and literature in modern poetry.
  • Themes of authority, rebellion, and revolution in medieval epic poetry.
  • Role of fantasy in horror fiction.
  • Gender, race, and class representations within British romanticism.
  • American literary realism and naturalism.
  • Influence of symbolism on French modernist poetry.
  • Construction of memory within African American autobiographies.
  • Representation of narrative time in Latin American fiction.
  • Social injustice theme during early 20th-century American drama.
  • The relationship between social identity and language during postcolonial fiction.
  • Values and beliefs representations as presented by ancient Greek mythology.

Literature Research Paper Topics for Students

For students looking for research topics in literature for study, there is a wide variety of options available. Depending on the level and course, they might focus on analyzing particular authors, literary movements, or genres, exploring the use of language throughout history, or examining representations of gender, race, and class in books. You also need to study literary devices and their effects on readers when exploring literary topics for a research paper . Below are examples of literature topics for different students:

Literature Research Paper Topics for High School

These are literature topics to research, specifically tailored to high school students. They involve exploring the influence of literary work on culture, analyzing a single author's literary movement or genre, or investigating language use throughout history. This list of research topics in literature for high school provides an original starting point for your literary project!

  • Racism as presented during early 20th-century works.
  • Social criticism within contemporary dystopian young adult fiction.
  • Folklore's impact on contemporary poetry.
  • Representation of nature in modern literature.
  • Spirituality as portrayed by reformist literature.
  • Social class representation within postmodern novels.
  • The theme of environment in romantic works.
  • Colonialism representation during postcolonial works.
  • Effects of pop culture on modern fiction.
  • Mental illness representation during 19th-century poetry.
  • The role of music and art in early 20th-century literary texts.
  • Literature's influence on identity building in minority cultures.
  • Family dynamics in postmodern poetry.
  • Family and community representations during gothic fiction.
  • Literature as a tool for social change.

Literature Research Paper Topics for College Students

These titles entail more serious and in-depth scrutiny than a high school literary paper. A college-level literary research paper topic provides students with a broader range of analysis. It encompasses looking at literature as a form of political commentary to get its relationship with other art forms. Below are literature research paper topics for college students:

  • Identity construction during postmodern poetry.
  • Alienation themes within modern fiction.
  • Gender role representations in Shakespearean tragedies.
  • The relationship between narrative and memory within Holocaust literature.
  • Nature's role in contemporary American fiction.
  • Authority and subversion themes during the early 20th-century drama.
  • Race, class, and gender representation within African American autobiographies.
  • Social media influence the literary language.
  • The relationship between social identity and language in postcolonial fiction.
  • Values as presented by ancient Greek mythology .
  • Psychological distress during 20th-century war narratives.
  • Attitudes towards mental illness as portrayed by gothic texts.
  • The relationship between science and literary imagination.
  • Social hierarchy within Victorian novels.
  • Religion's role in southern American literature.

Literary Research Paper Topics by Categories

Research paper topics for literature by category offer an exclusive and stimulating perspective on literary analysis worldwide. They can be grouped into literary movements, authors, and genres, as well as topics related to language and history. If you are interested in European, American, and English literature topics, these ideas will help you find the perfect literary research paper topic for your project.

World Literature Research Paper Topics

Research paper topics for world literature allow students to explore literary works from any part of the world, including texts written in English, Spanish, and other languages. Below is a list that provides original world literature research topics for any project:

  • Impact of colonialism on native literary traditions.
  • Gender representation within French literature.
  • Religion's role within literary works from Latin America.
  • Symbolism in English poetry from the 19th century.
  • Themes of nationalism within modern Russian fiction.
  • Power and politics in Spanish plays.
  • Conflict as portrayed by African literature.
  • The role of folklore within Chinese fiction.
  • Themes of cultural identity in Japanese drama.
  • Family ties in Italian poetry.
  • Symbolism in Arabic literature.
  • Social class representation in Indian novels.
  • Impact of globalization on middle eastern fiction.
  • Human rights themes by contemporary Australian poets.
  • Western representations of other cultures in modern literature.

American Literature Research Paper Topics

In research paper topics for American literature, you examine the works of early American writers and poets, as well as those from later periods. Here is a list of American literature topics for your paper!

  • Attitudes towards race in early American novels.
  • Colonialism during 19th-century poetry.
  • Freedom and rebellion themes within revolutionary literature.
  • The emergence of gothic horror in American fiction.
  • Impact of transcendentalism on American writing.
  • Gender representation during pre-civil war literature .
  • Themes of morality in post-World War II American fiction.
  • Role of religion during 19th-century American novels.
  • Slavery and its abolition by American poets.
  • Social class representation during early American drama.
  • Themes of identity in postmodern American fiction.
  • Industrialization of 20th-century literature.
  • War and conflict representation by contemporary American playwrights.
  • Racism in 20th-century American novels.
  • Assimilation and immigration themes in post-World War II American literature.

British Literature Research Paper Topics

In British literature research topics, you explore works from early British writers to contemporary authors. Ideally, research topics for British literature should encompass works written by authors from all eras, including Medieval, Renaissance, and modern. Here is a list of English literature research paper topics for your perfect essay!

  • Gender representation during medieval English literature.
  • Colonialism's effects on British literary works during the 18th century.
  • Influence of British writers on modern literature.
  • The role of nature in 18th-century British novels.
  • Interpretations of classic British literary works.
  • Social class representations during 19th-century British fiction.
  • Themes of love and romance within Victorian literature.
  • Industrialization's impact on 20th-century British novels.
  • Patriotism and nationalism during post-World War II literary work.
  • Multiculturalism representations in postmodern British fiction.
  • Effects of censorship on British authors during the 20th century.
  • Mental health representation in modern British poetry.
  • Representation of historical events in British works throughout time.
  • Technological representations in 21st-century British Novels.
  • Intersectionality by contemporary British playwrights.

Did you know that you can generate a bunch of title ideas using our Research Paper Topic Generator ?

European Literary Research Paper Topics

European literature research paper topics offer an excellent opportunity to explore the works of European authors. They allow you to study and analyze the academic traditions and cultures of some of Europe's most influential writers. You can find such literary research paper topic ideas in the list below:

  • Representations of the European monarchy in classic novels.
  • Censorship effects on European authors during the 20th century.
  • Impact of World War II on European authors.
  • Gender representations within Victorian poetry.
  • Literary works from different countries and cultures in Europe.
  • Use of language, symbolism, and imagery to explore themes in European texts.
  • Themes of nature and environment within German short stories.
  • Technology representations in late Victorian poetry.
  • Popular culture's influence on European literary movements from the 20th century to modern times.
  • Impact of European literary works on people's perceptions of other cultures.
  • Use of supernatural elements within European gothic writings from the 18th to 19th centuries.
  • Identity representations in French social realism texts.
  • Technology's impact on contemporary European literary works.
  • Family and community representations during post-war theater.
  • Themes of justice and injustice within European dystopian texts.

Literature Research Paper Ideas by Periods

You may aspire to find literature topics for research papers from different historical periods. This involves studying literature from various cultures or eras, such as ancient, medieval, or modern ones. These ideas also cover the examination of themes and symbols used in writings and scrutinizing characters and their development through various works. Other topics include the exploration of texts from a political perspective in relation to their historical contexts. These ideas contain some literary research topics from various periods:

Ancient Literary Research Paper Topics

There are many exciting options to consider if you're looking for ancient literature research paper topics. They can be studied with regard to history, culture, art, and philosophy. To gain more insight, you could explore the works of Homer, Henry James, Virgil, and the Mahabharata, or old Egyptian writings, such as The Iliad and Odyssey . Below is a list of ancient literature topics for research you can choose from.

  • Gender representations in epic poetry.
  • Role of mythology and religion in ancient texts.
  • Influence of philosophy on ancient literature.
  • Power representations in Greek tragedy.
  • Heroism by early epic authors.
  • Love and marriage in ancient texts.
  • Ancient narratives of war and conflict.
  • Slavery representations in Roman poetry.
  • The role of music and art in classical literature.
  • Nature representations in ancient texts.
  • Politics' influence on Greek comedy.
  • Family and community representations in roman narratives.
  • Characters' representation in epic poetry.
  • The role of technology in early literary works.
  • Representations of the divine in ancient texts.
Read more: History Research Topics for Students 

Medieval Literature Research Paper Topics

The medieval literary study provides a unique opportunity to explore literature research topics of the Middle Ages. From Beowulf to The Canterbury Tales , these works offer insights into this era's cultural beliefs and values. Here are such literary topics for research papers to focus on:

  • Representations of medieval chivalry in literary works.
  • Religion's influence on medieval works.
  • Gender representation in medieval texts.
  • The role of magic in medieval narratives.
  • The impact of feudalism on medieval texts.
  • Honor and loyalty representations by chivalric texts.
  • The role of courtly love in medieval works.
  • Knights and warriors' representations in literary works.
  • Warfare representations in medieval texts.
  • The role of education and learning in medieval literature.

Renaissance Literary Research Paper Topics

The Renaissance literature research paper ideas explore works of literature during the Renaissance era, which spanned from the 14th to the 17th century. They focus on the themes, authors, and literature of this period to provide a better understanding of how literary works have evolved within this timeframe and their impact on our current literature. Some of the most influential figures who contributed immensely to writings during this era were William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes. If you are interested in researching this period, you can consider a literature research paper topic from the list below:

  • Love and romance representations in Renaissance texts.
  • Science and technology in 16th-century literature.
  • Class and social status representations in Renaissance literary works.
  • Classical mythology in Renaissance poetry.
  • Representations of family and community in Renaissance narratives.
  • Effects of humanism on Renaissance literature in Europe.
  • Imagery role by William Shakespeare .
  • Representations of art, music, and theater in Renaissance texts.
  • Politics' role in 16th-century literary texts.
  • Nature representation by John Milton or Torquato Tasso.
  • Exploration influence on Renaissance narratives.
  • Influence of Renaissance literature on modern writing.
  • Women's representation in literary texts by Anne Bradstreet or Aphra Behn.
  • Magic and supernatural representations in literary works of Renaissance.
  • Humanism and individualism themes within Renaissance literature.

Romantic Literature Research Paper Ideas

Romantic literature emerged during the late 18th century and flourished throughout the early 19th century in Europe. It is characterized by its focus on emotion and depictions of nature. This movement had a lasting impact on literary works and has been highly influential. Research topics in literature can explore the writings of authors such as Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and William Wordsworth. Here are some ideas related to romanticism:

  • Nature representations in Romantic texts.
  • The role of emotion as depicted in 19th-century literature.
  • Influence of Romantic authors on modern literature and culture.
  • Women's representation in Romantic narratives.
  • Industrialization impact on 19th-century texts.
  • Influence of religion and superstition in early Romantic texts.
  • Use of technology to discuss themes in Romantic texts from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
  • The role of education as portrayed by Romantic narratives.
  • Character analysis and plot structure in gothic fiction.
  • Nationalism and patriotism as represented by post-Napoleonic war poems.

Modernist Literary Research Paper Topics

Modern literature emerged during the early 20th century until the end of World War II. It is characterized by a rejection of traditional conventions and focused on experimentation with form. This movement had an unprecedented impact on literature research topics and is highly influential today. If you are looking for literary topics for research papers that focus on modernism, consider exploring the following:

  • Nature representations by modern texts.
  • Social inequality in 21st-century novels.
  • Modernism's influence on current literature and culture.
  • Climate change within contemporary fiction.
  • Impact of social injustice on 20th-century literary works.
  • Urbanization representations by modern literary texts.
  • Education's influence on modernist narratives.
  • Wealth and power in early modernist texts.
  • Themes of urban life by Ezra Pound or Wallace Stevens.
  • Modernism's impact on classical literature.
  • Globalization themes within postmodern poetry.
  • Multiculturalism themes in contemporary literary works.
  • Mental health representations in modern British novels.
  • Global conflict representation in modern fiction.
  • The influence of psychoanalysis on modernist literature.

Current Literature Research Paper Ideas

Current literature paper topics can look at the latest trends. They include exploring contemporary works such as Harry Potter by J.K Rowling and Stardust by Neil Gaiman. These topics may also involve analyzing social media's effects on literary writings. If you are looking for current literary topics for a research paper, consider the following:

  • Technological impact on literary works in the 21st century.
  • Art, music, and theater in modern texts.
  • Impact of conflict on recent literary works.
  • Social injustice in 21st-century narratives.
  • Racism, ethnicity, and slavery in contemporary texts.
  • Wealth and power in recent literary works.
  • Globalization themes in postmodern poetry.
  • Urbanization in modern writings.
  • Immigration within postmodern British novels.

In case you need more paper topics, feel free to browse our blog. We have a wide arsenal of ideas starting from philosophy research paper topics to education research paper topics .  

Bottom Line on Literature Research Paper Topics

Literature topics for research can explore a wide range of themes and works. Whether you are looking for visionary ideas about poetry, fiction, or books from different eras, there is no shortage of literature paper topics to choose from. To narrow down your focus and find the best idea for your project, consider researching literary movements, reading widely, and thinking about the areas that interest you most.  Literature topics for research papers should be chosen based on students' interests and areas of expertise. By conducting in-depth research, you will gain a greater appreciation for literary work and its impact on society. With this article as a guide, you can take the time to find a topic that speaks to you and create an engaging research paper.

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What are four characteristics of an effective literary analysis?

characteristics of literary research paper

characteristics of literary research paper

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay and Get an A+

characteristics of literary research paper

A character analysis essay is a challenging type of essay students usually write for literature or English courses. In this article, we will explain the definition of character analysis and how to approach it. We will also touch on how to analyze characters and guide you through writing character analysis essays.

Typically, this kind of writing requires students to describe the character in the story's context. This can be fulfilled by analyzing the relationship between the character in question and other personas. Although, sometimes, giving your personal opinion and analysis of a specific character is also appropriate.

Let's explain the specifics of how to do a character analysis by getting straight to defining what is a character analysis. Our term paper writers will have you covered with a thorough guide!

What Is a Character Analysis Essay?

The character analysis definition explains the in-depth personality traits and analyzes characteristics of a certain hero. Mostly, the characters are from literature, but sometimes other art forms, such as cinematography. In a character analysis essay, your main job is to tell the reader who the character is and what role they play in the story. Therefore, despite your personal opinion and preferences, it is really important to use your critical thinking skills and be objective toward the character you are analyzing. A character analysis essay usually involves the character's relationship with others, their behavior, manner of speaking, how they look, and many other characteristics.

Although it's not a section about your job experience or education on a resume, sometimes it is appropriate to give your personal opinion and analysis of a particular character.

What Is the Purpose of a Character Analysis Essay

More than fulfilling a requirement, this type of essay mainly helps the reader understand the character and their world. One of the essential purposes of a character analysis essay is to look at the anatomy of a character in the story and dissect who they are. We must be able to study how the character was shaped and then learn from their life. 

A good example of a character for a character analysis essay is Daisy Buchanan from 'The Great Gatsby.' The essay starts off by explaining who Daisy is and how she relates to the main character, Jay Gatsby. Depending on your audience, you need to decide how much of the plot should be included. If the entire class writes an essay on Daisy Buchanan, it is logical to assume everyone has read the book. Although, if you know for certain that your audience has little to no knowledge of who she is, it is crucial to include as much background information as possible. 

After that, you must explain the character through certain situations involving her and what she said or did. Make sure to explain to the reader why you included certain episodes and how they have showcased the character. Finally, summarize everything by clearly stating the character's purpose and role in the story. 

We also highly recommend reading how to write a hook for an essay .

Still Need Help with Your Character Analysis Essay?

Different types of characters.

To make it clear how a reader learns about a character in the story, you should note that several characters are based on their behaviors, traits, and roles within a story. We have gathered some of them, along with vivid examples from famous literature and cinema pieces:

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay

Types of Characters

  • Major : These are the main characters; they run the story. Regularly, there are only one or two major characters. Major characters are usually of two types: the protagonist – the good guy, and the antagonist: the bad guy or the villain. 
  • Protagonist (s) (heroes): The main character around whom most of the plot revolves. 

For example, Othello from Shakespeare's play, Frodo from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, Harry Potter from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, and Elizabeth Bennet from 'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen.

  • Antagonist (s): This is the person that is in opposition to the protagonist. This is usually the villain, but it could also be a natural power, set of circumstances, majestic being, etc. 

For example, Darth Vader from the Star Wars series by George Lucas, King Joffrey from Game of Thrones, or the Wicked Queen from 'Snow White and Seven Dwarfs.'

  • Minor : These characters help tell the major character's tale by letting them interact and reveal their personalities, situations, and/or stories. They are commonly static (unchanging). The minor characters in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien would be the whole Fellowship of the ring. In their own way, each member of the Fellowship helps Frodo get the ring to Mordor; without them, the protagonist would not be a protagonist and would not be able to succeed. In the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, minor characters are Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger. They consistently help Harry Potter on his quests against Voldemort, and, like Frodo, he wouldn't have succeeded without them.

On top of being categorized as a protagonist, antagonist, or minor character, a character can also be dynamic, static, or foil.

  • Dynamic (changing): Very often, the main character is dynamic.
An example would also be Harry Potter from the book series by J.K. Rowling. Throughout the series, we see Harry Potter noticing his likeness to Voldemort. Nevertheless, Harry resists these traits because, unlike Voldemort, he is a good person and resists any desire to become a dark wizard.
  • Static (unchanging): Someone who does not change throughout the story is static.
A good example of a static character is Atticus Finch from “How to Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. His character and views do not change throughout the book. He is firm and steady in his beliefs despite controversial circumstances. 
  • Foils : These characters' job is to draw attention to the main character(s) to enhance the protagonist's role.
‍ A great example of a foil charact e r is Dr. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle.

How to Analyze a Character 

While preparing to analyze your character, make sure to read the story carefully.

  • Pay attention to the situations where the character is involved, their dialogues, and their role in the plot.
  • Make sure you include information about what your character achieves on a big scale and how they influence other characters.
  • Despite the categories above, try thinking outside the box and explore your character from around.
  • Avoid general statements and being too basic. Instead, focus on exploring the complexities and details of your character(s).

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay?

To learn how to write a character analysis essay and gather a more profound sense of truly understanding these characters, one must completely immerse themself in the story or literary piece.

  • Take note of the setting, climax, and other important academic parts.
  • You must be able to feel and see through the characters. Observe how analysis essay writer shaped these characters into life.
  • Notice how little or how vast the character identities were described.
  • Look at the characters' morals and behaviors and how they have affected situations and other characters throughout the story.
  • Finally, observe the characters whom you find interesting. 

Meanwhile, if you need help writing a paper, leave us a message ' write my paper .'

How Do You Start a Character Analysis Essay

When writing a character analysis essay, first, you have to choose a character you'd like to write about. Sometimes a character will be readily assigned to you. It's wise to consider characters who play a dynamic role in the story. This will captivate the reader as there will be much information about these personas.

Read the Story

You might think that if you already have read the book, there is no need to do so again; however, now that you know the character you would like to focus on, reading it again will have plenty of benefits. It will give you an opportunity to be more precise while reading the scenes that relate directly to your character and are important for his/her analysis. While reading the book, pay attention to every tiny detail to make sure you grasp the whole array of your character's traits. 

Consider the following things:

  • What specific descriptions does the author provide for each character?

For example, when J.K. Rowling describes Harry Potter for the first time, she describes his clothes as old and oversized, his hair untidy, and his glasses as broken. It might seem just like a simple description, but she expresses compassion and pity for an orphan neglected by his only relatives. 

  • What kinds of relationships does your character have with others?

Think about how Harry builds up his friendships with others. First, he and Ron do not like Hermione because she acts like a know-it-all, but when she gets stuck in the dungeons with a horrendous troll, he rushes to save her regardless. 

  • How do the actions of the character move the plot forward?

In 'The Philosopher's Stone,' Harry is very observant of any events taking place at school. He analyzes people's actions, which builds up the plot around the stone and its importance for the magical world.

Get help with your character analysis from our experts.

Choose a Dynamic Character

Choosing a dynamic character is a great idea. This does not necessarily have to be the protagonist, but a character that undergoes many changes has grown throughout the story and is not boring and/or static. This gives you a perfect advantage to fully show the character and make your paper entertaining and engaging for the reader. If you choose a character that is not very dynamic, your essay might seem monotonous because your character will not end up doing much and will not be very involved in the story.

While you are reading, it is useful to take notes or highlight/underline any of the critical elements of the story. This will add depth to your character description(s). By providing vivid and specific examples, you connect your reader to the character, and the character comes alive in their eyes. Review your notes and formulate the main idea about your character when you're finished reading with your character in mind.

Make an initial draft while taking note of the character analysis essay outline provided by your instructor. You may follow the recommended character analysis essay format if you have not been provided with a sample.

Choose a Main Idea

While reading the story, make sure you keep track of your notes. It is a good idea to look at them, choose the ones that are the most representative of your character and find patterns. This will be your thesis. Then, you must support this idea with examples and situations involving your character. 

If your character were Jem Finch from 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee, the main idea would be how his personal character is shaped through racial conflicts, social inequalities, and internal struggles between public opinion, his own views, and what is actually right. Essaypro offers you history essay help. Leave us a notice if you need to proofread, edit, or write your essay.

Character Analysis Questions

Now that you have jotted down some main concepts about your character, here is a list of questions that can help you fill in the blanks you might still have:

character analysis quesions

  • Where do the events involving your character take place?
  • What are the relationships between your character and other significant characters?
  • What is the primary change your character has gone through throughout the story?
  • What is your character's background?
  • What is your character's occupation?
  • What kind of emotions does your character go through?
  • What are your character's values?
  • What is your character's value?
  • Does your character have friends?
  • Is there a lesson your character has learned by the end of the story?
  • Does the character achieve the goals he/she has set for himself/herself?

Make a Character Analysis Essay Outline

When you're unsure how to write a character synopsis, remember that creating a literary analysis outline is one of the most critical steps. A well-constructed character analysis outline will keep your thoughts and ideas organized.

Character Analysis Essay Introduction:

Make the introduction to your paper brief and meaningful. It should hold together your entire essay and spark your audience's interest. Write a short description of the character in question. Don't forget to include a character analysis thesis statement which should make a case for the character's relevance within the narrative context.

Character Analysis Essay Body:

Subdivide your body paragraphs into different ideas or areas regarding the character. Look at your professor's rubric and ensure you'll be able to tackle all the requirements. You should also be provided with questions to be answered to formulate your analysis better. The body should answer the following questions:

  • What is the character's physical appearance, personality, and background?
  • What are the conflicts the character experiences, and how did he/she overcome them?
  • What can we learn from this character?
  • What is the meaning behind the character's actions? What motivates him/her?
  • What does the character do? How does he/she treat others? Is he/she fair or unjust?
  • What does the character say? What is his/her choice of words? Does he/she have a rich vocabulary?
  • How does the character describe themself? How do others describe him/her?
  • What words do you associate with the character? Perhaps a word like 'hope,' 'bravery,' or maybe even 'freedom'?

Character Analysis Essay Conclusion:

It's time to master the secrets of how to write character analysis essay conclusions. Your ending should also hold your ideas together and shape a final analysis statement. Mention things about the character's conflicts that we could experience in real life. Additionally, you can write about how a character should've reacted to a certain situation.

Character Analysis Essay Example

Read our blogs ‘Character Analysis of Jem Finch', 'The Great Gatsby Book Through Daisy Buchanan Character,' 'Analysis of Characters in Beowulf,' or simply use these character analysis essay examples to reference your paper. You might also be interested in a synthesis essay example .

Now that you know what is character analysis, it might be time to choose a character to write about. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to type ' do my homework for me ,' you should contact our writers. You also get a free plagiarism report, formatting, and citing when  buying an essay from us!

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Harvard Clears Its President of ‘Research Misconduct’ After Plagiarism Charges

The university started an investigation after receiving accusations in October as its president, Claudine Gay, was being criticized for her response to antisemitism on campus.

The campus of Harvard on a sunny day, with someone walking in shadow.

By Jennifer Schuessler and Vimal Patel

The battle over the fate of Harvard’s president, Claudine Gay, took an unexpected turn this week, as accusations of plagiarism in her scholarly work surfaced, along with questions about how the university had handled them.

On Tuesday, the Harvard Corporation, the university’s governing body, announced that Dr. Gay would keep her job, despite the uproar over her statements on campus antisemitism at a congressional hearing. But the Corporation also revealed that it had conducted a review of her published work after receiving accusations in October about three of her articles.

The Corporation said that while the review found that she had not violated the university’s standards for “research misconduct,” it did discover “a few instances of inadequate citation.” Dr. Gay would request “four corrections in two articles to insert citations and quotation marks that were omitted from the original publications,” the statement said.

The accusations were first widely publicized on Sunday, in a newsletter by the conservative education activist Christopher Rufo. On Monday, The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative media outlet, published its own investigation , identifying what it said were issues with four papers published between 1993 and 2017. The article said the papers had paraphrased or quoted nearly 20 authors without proper attribution.

By Tuesday evening, there was growing concern about Dr. Gay’s work and Harvard’s actions, after The New York Post reported that it had approached Harvard in October about similar accusations.

According to The Post, it had contacted Harvard on Oct. 24, seeking comment on what it said were more than two dozen passages in which Dr. Gay’s words seemed to closely parallel the words, phrases or sentences in published works by other scholars.

A few days later, The Post said, it received a 15-page response from a lawyer who identified himself as a defamation counsel for Harvard and Dr. Gay.

Jonathan Swain, a spokesman for the university, said on Tuesday evening that the Harvard Corporation stood by its statement from earlier in the day. He declined to comment further. A spokeswoman for The Post said: “The story speaks for itself.”

Dr. Gay has strongly defended her work. “I stand by the integrity of my scholarship,” she said in a statement on Monday. “Throughout my career, I have worked to ensure my scholarship adheres to the highest academic standards.”

The accusations could deepen the turmoil around Dr. Gay, who was inaugurated as president in September. After the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack on Israel, she was harshly criticized by some students, faculty members, alumni and university donors for what they saw as a series of tepid responses to events in Israel and Gaza and to rising antisemitism on campus.

That seemed to reach a climax last week, when Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, sharply questioned Dr. Gay and two other college presidents about what she characterized as tolerance for calls for genocide against Jews.

On Tuesday, Ms. Stefanik criticized Harvard’s decision to stand behind Dr. Gay. “The only update to the code of conduct is to allow a plagiarist as the president of Harvard,” she said during a news conference.

Dr. Gay, Harvard’s first Black president , has been a professor of government and of African and African American studies at the university since 2006. Her scholarship has explored subjects like how the election of minority officeholders affects citizens’ perception of government, and how housing mobility programs affect political participation for the poor.

At Harvard, where she received her doctorate in 1998, she has been both a barrier-breaker and savvy insider, steadily climbing the administrative ranks since joining the faculty.

The Harvard Corporation’s statement on Dr. Gay does not use the word “plagiarism.” But some members of Harvard’s faculty said they were disturbed by the passages highlighted in news coverage, saying students who committed similar infractions were often disciplined, sometimes harshly.

“It’s troubling to see the standards we apply to undergrads seem to differ from the standards we apply to faculty,” said Theda Skocpol, a professor of government.

A Harvard guide for students defines “plagiarism” broadly. “When you fail to cite your sources, or when you cite them inadequately, you are plagiarizing, which is taken extremely seriously at Harvard,” it says. “Plagiarism is defined as the act of intentionally OR unintentionally submitting work that was written by somebody else.”

But not all instances of potential plagiarism are equal, particularly when they do not reflect any intention to deceive, some scholars said.

Dr. Gay’s 1997 dissertation, The Free Beacon said, “borrowed” two paragraphs from a 1996 conference paper by Bradley Palmquist, who was then a political science professor at Harvard, and Stephen Voss, a political scientist at the University of Kentucky who was in Dr. Gay’s doctoral program at Harvard.

In an interview, Dr. Voss called Dr. Gay’s use of his work, which involved changing only a few words, “technically plagiarism.” But said he considered it “fairly benign,” particularly since the paragraphs in question involved a technical description.

“If a student gave me a paper that did what she did, I would bounce it back to them,” he said.

Katie Robertson contributed reporting.

Jennifer Schuessler is a culture reporter covering intellectual life and the world of ideas. She is based in New York. More about Jennifer Schuessler

Vimal Patel is a higher education reporter for The Times, focusing on speech and campus culture. He was previously a reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education. More about Vimal Patel

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  • Data Descriptor
  • Open access
  • Published: 19 January 2023

Chinese diabetes datasets for data-driven machine learning

  • Qinpei Zhao   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-1765-1171 1 , 2   na1 ,
  • Jinhao Zhu   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-0834-9210 1   na1 ,
  • Xuan Shen 3   na1 ,
  • Chuwen Lin 3   na1 ,
  • Yinjia Zhang 4 ,
  • Yuxiang Liang 1 ,
  • Baige Cao 3 ,
  • Jiangfeng Li 1   na2 ,
  • Xiang Liu 5 ,
  • Weixiong Rao 1   na2 &
  • Congrong Wang 3   na2  

Scientific Data volume  10 , Article number:  35 ( 2023 ) Cite this article

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  • Data mining
  • Machine learning
  • Metabolomics
  • Public health

Data of the diabetes mellitus patients is essential in the study of diabetes management, especially when employing the data-driven machine learning methods into the management. To promote and facilitate the research in diabetes management, we have developed the ShanghaiT1DM and ShanghaiT2DM Datasets and made them publicly available for research purposes. This paper describes the datasets, which was acquired on Type 1 (n = 12) and Type 2 (n = 100) diabetic patients in Shanghai, China. The acquisition has been made in real-life conditions. The datasets contain the clinical characteristics, laboratory measurements and medications of the patients. Moreover, the continuous glucose monitoring readings with 3 to 14 days as a period together with the daily dietary information are also provided. The datasets can contribute to the development of data-driven algorithms/models and diabetes monitoring/managing technologies.

Background & Summary

Diabetes is a chronic disease that could lead to cardiovascular disease, neuropathy, retinopathy, kidney failure and even mortality. Rapid socioeconomic changes and unhealthy lifestyle habits have led to the increasing prevalence of diabetes worldwide. Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are the two main types of diabetes. T1DM is a chronic autoimmune disease resulting from destruction or damaging of the pancreatic beta cells 1 . T2DM is caused by insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency 2 . T1DM accounts for only 5–10% of all diabetes worldwide, but varies geographically with the annual incidence of adult-onset T1DM about 1 per 100,000 in China 3 , while T2DM is the most common subtype of diabetes, accounting for over 90% of all the diabetes worldwide and in China 3 , 4 . It is shown that good blood glucose (BG) control significantly reduces the development or progression of chronic complications in T1DM and T2DM 5 , 6 , 7 . Thus, BG measurement plays a key part in diabetes care, which allows patients to adjust their food intake, physical activity and medications with the help of physicians (clinicians) 8 . Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) is a measurement that uses blood to collect blood glucose information at many time points 9 . Recently, a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technology is used to continuously monitor the BG levels in more or less real time 10 , 11 .

The use of CGM technology makes it possible to obtain a large amount of continuous BG data. However, there were relatively few publicly available BG datasets, as the data may have ethical restrictions and privacy concerns. There have been many studies 12 , 13 on the BG prediction using different datasets. A rigorous literature review 12 was conducted to develop a compact guide regarding machine learning methods on BG prediction in T1DM. The review included 55 papers from 2000 to 2018 and showed their subject, type of input, data source, input pre-processing methods, machine learning algorithms, prediction horizon and performance metrics. A systematical review 13 on the literature from 2014 to 2020 was performed to study the data-based algorithms and models using real data for BG and hypoglycaemia prediction in T1/T2DM. The existing datasets in T1/T2DM for the BG prediction have been listed in the review. However, the T2DM datasets are much less studied than the T1DM datasets, e.g., 6 of 63 publications included T2DM in the review 13 . For real data, the data size was relatively small. In the review 13 , 27 papers (42.9%) present small samples (n < 10), 19 papers (30.2%) with small-medium samples (n = 11–50) and 17 papers (27%) with relatively large samples (n > 50). In another review for T1DM 12 , 51.7% were with small samples, 29.3% with small-medium samples, 17.2% with simulated data and 1.7% with samples over 50 patients. Another limitation pointed out by the reviews was the low free access data availability. Most data are credentialed or not accessible due to ethical restrictions and data privacy. We summarized recently studied and popular T1DM and T2DM datasets in Table  1 .

In T1DM, both real and simulated patient data in silico were well studied. Simulators can conveniently provide and customize detailed data of virtual diabetic patients from their dietary and treatment strategies. UVA/Padova T1DM simulator 14 was widely employed, which was approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and provided 30 different virtual patients freely. Virtual diabetes simulators were studied in tasks such as glycemic events identification, BG control 15 and predictions 14 , 16 , 17 , 18 . The simulators were able to generate as many BG instances as possible for each patient 14 .

As a public dataset, OhioT1DM 18 , 19 , 20 , 21 , 22 was a comprehensive dataset of real T1DM patients in the United States, which was publicly released by Ohio University and contained data of 12 real patients. Compared to the OhioT1DM , D1NAMO 23 dataset focused on diabetes management. This dataset was composed of 20 real healthy people and nine real T1DM patients with additional patient information such as BG measurements, food pictures, breathing signals and accelerometer outputs. A clinical data 18 , 24 including 10 T1DM adults from the ABC4D project using CGM sensors was used in a deep learning framework for accurate glucose forecasting. Weinstock 25 collected diabetes-related data from adult type 1 diabetes (> = 60 years of age, diabetes duration > = 20 years). This dataset consisted of 14 days’ CGM data, information of insulin, other medications and patient demographics from 201 patients. This dataset was proposed to analyze the risk factors that can cause severe hypoglycemia in old patients. Fox et al . 26 collected CGM records from 40 T1DM patients over three years (data size > = 1900 days of BG measurements, > = 550k distinct glucose measurements) and developed a deep multi-output forecasting algorithm.

T2DM datasets were less common than T1DM datasets 27 , 28 . A CGM data from both the T1DM and T2DM patients were employed to predict future BG levels for preventing hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia 29 , which was collected over a period ranging from 1.3 to 7 days. The Maryland data 27 contained 56,000 SMBG data points collected in a 1-year prospective study. In this study, patients were treated with a variety of medications, including oral antihyperglycemic agents and insulin. The Maastricht Study 28 , 30 , an observational, prospective, population-based cohort study, focused on the aetiology, pathophysiology, complications and comorbidities of T2DM, and was characterized by an extensive phenotyping approach.

The existing diabetes data are used not only in BG prediction 31 , but also in other diabetes-related fields, such as the generation of BG control strategies 15 and the study of the influence of external factors on blood glucose level. However, the limitations of many diabetes datasets in terms of the number of patients, the racial regions where they are collected, and the types of diabetes mellitus have led to the restrictions in diabetes-related research.

It is known that dietary intake, exercise and medication are the main factors affecting the BG level 32 , 33 . The collection on these external information is therefore essential in the datasets, which is a tedious task. More specifically, eating habits are quite influenced by ethnic groups and regions, e.g., the Chinese dietary habits are very complicated 34 . Therefore, two datasets from T1DM and T2DM patients in Shanghai, China with dietary information, clinical characteristics, laboratory measurements and medications of the patients were constructed. To the best of our knowledge, these are the first publicly available datasets to include rich information for people with T1DM and T2DM in China. The datasets could contribute to the research in data-driven machine learning.

Study population

A registry study on Diabetes Data Registry and Individualized Lifestyle Intervention (DiaDRIL) was initiated in Shanghai East Hospital and Shanghai Fourth People’s Hospital affiliated to Tongji University since 2019. The aims of this project were to provide evidence for personalized lifestyle recommendations and optimize glycemic control.

In this study, the patients were recruited from DiaDRIL in Shanghai East Hospital (September 2019 to March 2021) and Shanghai Fourth Peopleś Hospital (June 2021 to November 2021), respectively. The inclusion criteria were as follows: patients with diagnosed diabetes according to the 1999 World Health Organization (WHO) criteria; more than 18 years of age, willing to sign the informed consent form and with CGM recording for at least 3 days. Patients were excluded if they reported alcohol or drug abuse, were unable to comply with the study, or were not suitable to attend this study judged by the investigators. Data was anonymous to protect the sensitive information of the patients.

Clinical and laboratory measurements

A standard questionnaire was conducted by trained research staff to obtain demographic information. Information on diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, duration of diabetes, laboratory measurements, comorbidities and pharmacologic treatments were collected from medical records. Each patient underwent a physical examination including measurement of height and weight. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated as weight divided by height squared (kg/ m 2 ). Each patient wore a flash glucose monitoring device (FreeStyle Libre H, Abbott Diabetes Care, Witney, UK) to measure interstitial glucose levels continuously for up to 14 days. CGM glucose data were automatically stored on the sensor every 15 minutes. The data can be obtained by scanning the glucose sensor with the reader and uploaded using the device software. Available laboratory measurements (≤6 months before or after CGM) including glucose metabolism, lipid profile and renal function were obtained from medical records. Any dietary intake including the exact time at consumption and weighed food record was reported by the patients. Hypoglycemic medications during CGM were also recorded.

This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Shanghai Fourth People’s Hospital and Shanghai East Hospital affiliated to Tongji University in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. The informed consent was obtained from all the patients.

CGM parameters

Time in range (TIR), one of the critical CGM-derived metrics, reflects the glucose variability and evaluates the quality of glycemic control 35 . It is associated with microvascular complications and macrovascular outcomes of diabetes. TIR is defined as the percentage of time spent in the target glucose range of 70–180 mg/dL. Time below range (TBR) and time above range (TAR) are the percentage of time when blood glucose is below 70 mg/dL and above 180 mg/dL, respectively. For most patients with T1DM or T2DM, the recommended CGM targets by the Advanced Technologies & Treatments for Diabetes (ATTD) consensus were ≥70% for TIR, ≤25% for TAR and ≤4% for TBR 36 .

Analysis for CGM data

A clinical important task in diabetes management is the prevention of hypo/hyperglycemic events 37 . The algorithms to prevent the hpyo/hyperglycemic events can be obtained by generating hpyo/hyperalerts on the basis of ahead-of-time prediction of glucose concentration by using past CGM data and suitable time-series models.

Auto-correlation 38 represents the degree of similarity between a given time series and a lagged version of itself over successive time intervals. It can help to uncover hidden patterns in data. Additionally, analyzing the autocorrelation function (ACF) and partial autocorrelation function (PACF) in conjunction is necessary for selecting the appropriate time-series models, e.g., ARIMA 39 .

where x t is the observation at time t , k is lag, E is the expected value operator, μ is the mean and σ 2 is the variance of the time series. ρ k can show the correlation between two observations with a lag k in the time series.

Data Records

The datasets ShanghaiT1DM and ShanghaiT2DM comprise two folders named “Shanghai_T1DM” and “Shanghai_T2DM” and two summary sheets named “Shanghai_T1DM_Summary” and “Shanghai_T2DM_Summary”. The datasets can be downloaded through Figshare repository 40 .

The “Shanghai_T1DM” folder and “Shanghai_T2DM” folder contain 3 to 14 days of CGM data corresponding to 12 patients with T1DM and 100 patients with T2DM, respectively. Of note, for one patient, there might be multiple periods of CGM recordings due to different visits to the hospital, which were stored in different excel tables. In fact, collecting data from different periods in one patient can reflect the changes of diabetes status during the follow-up. The excel table is named by the patient ID, period number and the start date of the CGM recording. Thus, for 12 patients with T1DM, there are 8 patients with 1 period of the CGM recording and 2 patients with 3 periods, totally equal to 16 excel tables in the “Shanghai_T1DM” folder. As for 100 patients with T2DM, there are 94 patients with 1 period of CGM recording, 6 patients with 2 periods, and 1 patient with 3 periods, amounting to 109 excel tables in the “Shanghai_T2DM” folder. Overall, the excel tables include CGM BG values every 15 minutes, capillary blood glucose (CBG) values, blood ketone, self-reported dietary intake, insulin doses and non-insulin hypoglycemic agents. The blood ketone was measured when diabetic ketoacidosis was suspected with a considerably high glucose level. Insulin administration includes continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion using insulin pump, multiple daily injections with insulin pen, and insulin that were given intravenously in case of an extremely high BG level.

Each excel table in the “Shanghai_T1DM” folder and “Shanghai_T2DM” folder contains the following data fields: <Date> Recording time of the CGM data. <CGM> CGM data recorded every 15 minutes. <CBG> CBG level measured by the glucose meter. <Blood ketone> Plasma-hydroxybutyrate measured with ketone test strips (Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, Illinois, USA). <Dietary intake> Self-reported time and weighed food intake <Insulin dose-s.c.> Subcutaneous insulin injection with insulin pen. <Insulin dose-i.v.> Dose of intravenous insulin infusion. <Non-insulin hypoglycemic agents> Hypoglycemic agents other than insulin. <CSII-bolus insulin> Dose of insulin delivered before a meal through insulin pump. <CSII-basal insulin> The rate (iu/per hour) at which basal insulin was continuously infused through insulin pump.

The summary sheets summarize the clinical characteristics, laboratory measurements and medications of the patients included in this study, with each row corresponding to one excel table in “Shanghai_T1DM” and “Shanghai_T2DM” folders. Clinical characteristics include patient ID, gender, age, height, weight, BMI, smoking and drinking history, type of diabetes, duration of diabetes, diabetic complications, comorbidities as well as occurrence of hypoglycemia. Laboratory measurements contain fasting and 2-hour postprandial plasma glucose/C-peptide/insulin, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), glycated albumin, total cholesterol, triglyceride, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, creatinine, estimated glomerular filtration rate, uric acid and blood urea nitrogen. Both hypoglycemic agents and medications given for other diseases before the CGM reading were also recorded.

Technical Validation

The characteristics of the chinese diabetes datasets.

The detailed characteristics of the patients in the ShanghaiT1DM and ShanghaiT2DM datasets were summarized in Table  2 . The age of the ShanghaiT1DM group and the ShanghaiT2DM group was 57.8 ± 11.1 and 60.2 ± 13.7 years, respectively. There was no statistically significant difference in age between the ShanghaiT1DM group and ShanghaiT2DM group. This is because most of the patients (10/12) in the ShanghaiT1DM group belonged to a subtype of T1DM called “latent autoimmune diabetes in adults”, which is characterized by slow autoimmune β -cell destruction and an older mean age at onset of diabetes 1 . Women accounted for 58.3% of the ShanghaiT1DM group and 44% of the ShanghaiT2DM group, respectively. Besides, data concerning fasting plasma glucose, 2-hour postprandial plasma glucose and HbA1c were comparable between the two groups. However, the ShanghaiT2DM group had higher BMI values than the ShanghaiT1DM group (p < 0.05).

To show the size of these two datasets more intuitively, we listed the patient’s type, the study period, sampling interval of CGM devices, number of patients, total number of recording files and total CGM measurements of the ShanghaiT1DM and ShanghaiT2DM in Table  3 . For a given patient, he or she may have more than one recording period. In Fig.  1 , we showed the number of recording files with different CGM data size in days in the ShanghaiT1DM and ShanghaiT2DM . The collected CGM data size varied from 3 days to 14 days.

figure 1

The number of recording files with different CGM data size in days ( a ) ShanghaiT1DM dataset ( b ) ShanghaiT2DM dataset.

We summarized the hypo/hyperglycemia events and calculated the auto-correlation coefficient on the BG values of the two datasets in time series. Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia events are two potential risk factors for complications in diabetes. Hence, the time percentages of hypoglycemia (TBR) and hyperglycemia (TAR) events for each patient were calculated in Fig.  2 . The horizontal axis represented each recording file of the patients with an order of TBR increasing, while the vertical axis represented the percentage of time (TAR, TIR and TBR) during the data collection period. The higher values of the TAR and TBR indicated that the patient’s condition was more serious. To give a clearer view of the TBR, TIR and TAR in the two datasets, we calculated the mean ± standard deviation of these values for the two datasets. For the ShanghaiT1DM , the mean ± standard deviation of the TIR were 54.7 ± 14.5% and 77.7 ± 18.1% for the ShanghaiT2DM . We noted that the average TIR was higher in T2DM patients than in T1DM patients (Fig.  2 ).

figure 2

The average percentage of TBR (time below range), TIR (time in range) and TAR (time above range) for CGM in two datasets. ( a ) ShanghaiT1DM: TAR (37.8 ± 18.8%), TIR (54.7 ± 14.5%), TBR (7.5 ± 7.0%). ( b ) ShanghaiT2DM: TAR (20.0 ± 18.4%), TIR (77.7 ± 18.1%), TBR (2.4 ± 7.2%). Data are presented as mean ± SD.

Besides, as the collection on individual patient’s behavior information in each dataset was different, we randomly chose three patients from each dataset for the auto-correlation graph of the BG time series in Fig.  3 . The auto-correlation coefficients identify seasonality and trend in time series data. It can be found that patients in ShanghaiT2DM (Fig.  3b ) showed a more noticeable 24-hour periodic pattern than those in ShanghaiT1DM (Fig.  3a ).

figure 3

Auto-correlation coefficient of randomly picked three patients from the ( a ) ShanghaiT1DM, ( b ) ShanghaiT2DM, ( c ) SimulatorT1DM and ( d ) OhioT1DM.

Since there might be discrepancy in BG levels by different blood glucose monitoring methods, we conducted a comparative analysis of the blood glucose measured by the CGM and CBG in Fig.  4 , 5 . The collection of the CBG was more sparse than that of the CGM, we only plotted the time stamps with both of the measurements. Two patients were randomly selected from each dataset. The results showed that the CBG values were usually greater than those of CGM readings.

figure 4

Randomly selected patients ( a ) 1008_0_20210713 and ( b ) 1003_0_20210831 in the ShanghaiT1DM for the distributions of glucose values of CGM readings and CBG. (CGM, continuous glucose monitoring; CBG, capillary blood glucose).

figure 5

Randomly selected patients ( a ) 2010_0_20220111 and ( b ) 2022_0_20210419 in the ShanghaiT2DM for the distributions of glucose values of CGM readings and CBG. (CGM, continuous glucose monitoring; CBG, capillary blood glucose).

Comparison to other datasets

There have been widely used datasets such as the SimulatorT1DM and the OhioT1DM (see Table  3 ). In order to show more specifically the difference between the newly constructed datasets and other existing data, the comparisons were performed in Table  3 , figs.  3c,d & 6 .

figure 6

The average percentage of TBR (time below range), TIR (time in range) and TAR (time above range) for CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) in two datasets. ( a ) SimulatorT1DM: TAR (22.9 ± 5.9%), TIR (69.1 ± 10.2%),TBR (8.0 ± 10.5%). ( b ) OhioT1DM: TAR (33.4 ± 11.1%),TIR (62.6 ± 9.9%),TBR (4.0 ± 3.1%). Data are presented as mean ± SD.

The auto-correlation coefficients of the ShanghaiT1DM (Fig.  3a ) and OhioT1DM (Fig.  3d ) indicated that the two real T1DM datasets shared similar trend and periodic pattern, which made it possible to combine the two datasets together in certain research. The SimulatorT1DM (Fig.  3c ) had strong regularity as it was simulated.

Achieving higher TIR has been shown to reduce the percentages of time in the hypoglycemic and hyperglycemic range and complications of diabetes. In Fig.  6 , we found that the patients in the OhioT1DM had lower mean TBR values compared to those in the ShanghaiT1DM (Fig.  2 ), which means that they have better control of hypoglycemia. In addition, patients in the ShanghaiT2DM (Fig.  2 ) had the highest mean TIR values, which suggests that people with T2D have better glycemic control overall than people with T1D. The virtual patients from the UVA/Padova (Fig.  6 ) had worse control of hypoglycemia, which may be due to the fact that the glycemic control strategy of the virtual patients was based on a fixed formula and therefore could not produce a timely response to the hypoglycemia. By comparing the ShanghaiT1DM and OhioT1DM (Fig.  6 ), we found that the standard deviations of TBR, TIR and TAR in the ShanghaiT1DM were higher than those in the OhioT1DM .

Code availability

The code for the analysis of the datasets and the generation of the figures and tables can be accessed in the Figshare repository 40 , which is a JUPYTER notebook named “data_analysis.ipynb”. The script can be executed with Python 3.6 and allows for reproducibility and code reuse.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 61972286, 82070913), the Shanghai Municipal Science and Technology Major Project (2021SHZDZX0100), the Natural Science Foundation of Shanghai, China (Grant No. 20ZR1460500, 22511104300), the Shanghai Science and Technology Development Funds (Grant No. 20ZR1446000, 22410713200), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities and the Research fund from Shanghai Fourth People’s Hospital (sykyqd01801, SY-XKZT-2021-1001). Finally, thanks Ms. Xiongbaixue Yan for her previous efforts on the management of the project.

Author information

These authors contributed equally: Qinpei Zhao, Jinhao Zhu, Xuan Shen, Chuwen Lin.

These authors jointly supervised this work: Jiangfeng Li, Weixiong Rao, Congrong Wang.

Authors and Affiliations

School of Software Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai, China

Qinpei Zhao, Jinhao Zhu, Yuxiang Liang, Jiangfeng Li & Weixiong Rao

AIway Oy, Helsinki, Finland

Qinpei Zhao

Department of Endocrinology & Metabolism, Shanghai Fourth People’s Hospital, School of Medicine, Tongji University, Shanghai, China

Xuan Shen, Chuwen Lin, Baige Cao & Congrong Wang

Department of Computer Science, School of Science, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland

Yinjia Zhang

Zhejiang Yugu Medical Technology Ltd, Zhejiang, China

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Contributions

Q.Z., J.Z. and C.W. had the initial idea for this study. C.L., X.S., B.C. and C.W. established the datasets, i.e., ShanghaiT1DM and ShanghaiT2DM . Y. Liang verified the food data. Q.P. and J.Z. designed and performed the technical validation. J.Z., X.S. and Q.Z. drafted the paper. J.L., C.W. and W.Rao jointly supervised the work. All authors participated in verifying the data and revising the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Jiangfeng Li , Weixiong Rao or Congrong Wang .

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Zhao, Q., Zhu, J., Shen, X. et al. Chinese diabetes datasets for data-driven machine learning. Sci Data 10 , 35 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-023-01940-7

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  1. How to Write a Literary Research Paper

    In what genre is the work written? Is it a typical representative of the genre, or some revolutionary piece introducing a new literary form? Who are the major characters of the work? What traits do they embody?

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    In a term or research paper, a large portion of the content is your report on the research you read about your topic (called the literature ). You'll need to summarize and discuss how others view the topic, and even more important, provide your own perspective. Organize your research as you discuss it.

  3. Research Paper

    Research Paper is a written document that presents the author's original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue. It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both.

  4. Writing a Literature Review

    The lit review is an important genre in many disciplines, not just literature (i.e., the study of works of literature such as novels and plays). When we say "literature review" or refer to "the literature," we are talking about the research ( scholarship) in a given field. You will often see the terms "the research," "the ...

  5. Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

    Characteristics of academic writing include a formal tone, use of the third-person rather than first-person perspective (usually), a clear focus on the research problem under investigation, and precise word choice.

  6. What is a Literature Review?

    A Literature Review Explains the background of research on a topic Demonstrates why a topic is significant to a subject area Helps focus your own research questions or problems Discovers relationships between research studies/ideas Suggests unexplored ideas or populations Identifies major themes, concepts, and researchers on a topic

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    Different types of publications have different characteristics. Primary Literature Primary sources means original studies, based on direct observation, use of statistical records, interviews, or experimental methods, of actual practices or the actual impact of practices or policies. ... Original research papers (also called primary research ...

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    Step 1: Introduce your topic Step 2: Describe the background Step 3: Establish your research problem Step 4: Specify your objective (s) Step 5: Map out your paper Research paper introduction examples Frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction Step 1: Introduce your topic

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    What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic.

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    Characteristics of an effective literature review In addition to fulfilling the purposes outlined above, an effective literature review provides a critical overview of existing research by. Outlining important research trends. Assessing strengths and weaknesses (of individual studies as well the existing research as a whole).

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    Literary Analysis Research Paper by David A. James The type of research paper required in most sophomore literature courses is generally referred to as a literary analysis research paper because its focus must be on an element of the literary work's construction as a piece of literature—for example, an

  14. Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

    A literature review surveys prior research published in books, scholarly articles, and any other sources relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, and by so doing, provides a description, summary, and critical evaluation of these works in relation to the research problem being investigated.

  15. How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

    Step 1: Reading the text and identifying literary devices The first step is to carefully read the text (s) and take initial notes. As you read, pay attention to the things that are most intriguing, surprising, or even confusing in the writing—these are things you can dig into in your analysis.

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    This paper discusses literature review as a methodology for conducting research and offers an overview of different types of reviews, as well as some guidelines to how to both conduct and evaluate a literature review paper. It also discusses common pitfalls and how to get literature reviews published.

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    Literature reviews offer a critical synthesis of empirical and theoretical literature to assess the strength of evidence, develop guidelines for practice and policymaking, and identify areas for future research.1 It is often essential and usually the first task in any research endeavour, particularly in masters or doctoral level education. For effective data extraction and rigorous synthesis ...

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    🔍 Research Characteristics 📄 Types of Research Papers 📃 Typical Research Papers 🔬 Serious Research Studies 📰 Useful Articles Definition of What Is a Research Paper and Its Meaning A research paper is a common assignment. It comes to a situation when students, scholars, and scientists need to answer specific questions by using sources.

  19. 250 Literature Research Paper Topic: Literary Ideas for You

    Characteristics of Good Literature Research Paper Topics. Literary research paper topics are usually considered good when they are: Relevant They should be engaging, thought-provoking, and appropriate to the academic work.; Specific Similarly, good literature research topics must have a narrow focus and not be overly broad.; Interesting They should pique your interest and encourage you to ...

  20. What are four characteristics of an effective literary analysis?

    1) The elements 2) Focus on literary 3) Essay Organization 4) MLA Format 1) The Elements The elements are the plot, conflict, characters and the setting. Plot is the pattern of events that make up a story. In your literary analysis, you'll want to focus on whether or not these events are significant to your claim. Conflict is the struggle between two opposing forces, typically the ...

  21. How to Write a Character Analysis: Outline, Examples

    The character analysis definition explains the in-depth personality traits and analyzes characteristics of a certain hero. Mostly, the characters are from literature, but sometimes other art forms, such as cinematography. In a character analysis essay, your main job is to tell the reader who the character is and what role they play in the story.

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    Literature | Definition, Characteristics, Genres, Types, & Facts | Britannica Literature, a body of written works. The name has traditionally been applied to those imaginative works of poetry and prose distinguished by the intentions of their authors and the perceived aesthetic excellence of their execution.

  23. Characteristics of the Literature of Literary Scholarship

    Academic research paper on topic "Characteristics of the Literature of Literary Scholarship" ... Heavy reliance on primary source materials is one of the most distinctive characteristics of literary research in general, and for the writings of individual authors in particular. In the study of recent articles about Milton, James, and Auden, 47.4 ...

  24. Characteristics of Good Literature Research Paper Topics

    1- Relevant: they should be engaging, thought-provoking, and appropriate to the academic work. 2- Specific: good literature research topics must have a narrowed gap. 3- Interesting: they should...

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    Based on the comparison and analysis of the network characteristics constructed in this paper with relevant literature studies, this mechanism generates a network that is close to the Internet in terms of average degree, network diameter, and aggregation coefficient. ... 2.2 Research on power grid characteristics based on the complex network.

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    This paper describes the datasets, which was acquired on Type 1 (n = 12) and Type 2 (n = 100) diabetic patients in Shanghai, China. The acquisition has been made in real-life conditions. The ...