Academic research and papers must meet certain standards of quality that are recognized by the academic community. What constitutes quality academic research?
- The use of primary (original), credible sources written by experts in the field of study.
- Ensuring secondary sources are supported by research in primary sources.
- Making sure all research is relevant and that material used is pertinent to the area of study.
- In graduate work, the use of peer-reviewed journal articles (journal articles reviewed by recognized experts in the relevant field of study) is required.
- Keep in mind that educational websites may be appropriate, in some cases, but should be evaluated carefully.
The Ashford University Library offers many excellent databases and other resources to assist you in conducting scholarly research.
What sources are not acceptable for academic research and referencing?
- Wikipedia, other wikis, or blogs
- Websites and other sources that do not provide quality researched materials (e.g., they do not use credible sources to support the information in the document).
All research must reflect professional academic protocol and must be documented according to APA standards as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
Creating the Final Project
You may choose to present your research is the form of an eight- to ten-page research paper (excluding title and reference pages) or a comprehensive 10- to 15-slide PowerPoint presentation (excluding title and reference slides) with detailed speaker notes. In either case, the content of the assignment must include each of the elements listed below:
- IntroductionDescribe the issue. Include why it was selected, the perspective of your approach to the issue, and the scope of the paper or presentation. In essence, describe in this area what is being covered. Be specific and to the point. This is an important part of the project as it engages the reader and sets the scope of the research.
- Statement of the Issue to be InvestigatedDescribe why the topic is a relevant problem or issue. It is important to provide literature sources in support of the importance of the need/issue/topic. For example, if you are interested in researching the issue of nutrition in early childhood brain development among American children – cite literature identifying the scope of the problem (for example: the number of malnourished children, the implications of undernourishment on learning and brain development; and long term implications). Overall, this section should detail what makes this topic or issue so important that you are spending time and energy researching it. What is the impact of the problem if nothing is done to correct the situation?
- Research SourcesThis section documents the relevant research reflecting the topic of the Final Project. In this section, paraphrased narratives of the actual research studies are reported and should represent the current research related to the topic area. In general, your research should:
- Identify your chosen topic and what has happened in the specific research of the topic (describe the study, sample, findings, important points from the discussion in the research article, and any variables that may influence the findings of the research).
- Discuss any key elements of the topic that may be instructional, legal, ethical, social, etc. (what is projected if nothing is done? what has been tried?). Support this section with relevant resource citations.
- Provide an analysis of the research articles used, including: explaining what was done in the study, what the target population was, information about who did the research (the author), what was found with the study, and any implications of the findings to your topic or issue.