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Common mistakes found in students research project report (material)

 Category:Research Projects  
 By: usericon Nonny01  

 Posted: 8/22/2017 1:59:00 PM


How to prevent common mistakes found in research project reports

One of the requirements to acquire an academic qualification is to carry out a research and report the research. Research works are usually the last stage of your studies. It gives you a chance to demonstrate your skills in collecting, analyzing and forming some conclusions about the research you carried out.


When conducting and reporting a research, some students make mistakes which would eventually affect their grades. Here are some common mistakes students make in their research work:

1. Insufficient citations and referencing
2. Irrelevant background of study
3. Grammatical errors
4. Not following your project format
5. Plagiarism
6. Inadequate aim/objective of study

Insufficient citations and references

Most students report their research work especially the chapter two (Literature review) with little or no citations. You are supposed to cite the source of information for the work. A good reference should have the author’s surname, the year of the publication and/or the page you are referencing.


There are two commonly used styles of references.
1. The In-text references given in parenthesis the author’s surname with the year date of the publication.
Example - there is an increase in food prices in Nigeria (Adeleke, 2011:23).
2. If the author's name occurs in the sentence, use the year date alone.
Example - Adeleke (2011) was able to confirm that the increase in petrol pump price resulted in....

Irrelevant background of study

The background of study should be related to your research work. It should include a brief overview of the area being researched and relevant history on the subject area.Avoid writing too much information or everything about the background of study because you might start to go off point which can put off your supervisor and affect your grade. The background of study should only talk about the history and background of your research problem.

Grammatical errors

Repeated words/phrases, incomplete sentences, obvious misspellings can affect your grades. Make sure you use the right verb tense. Use past tense to describe previous events. Events such as procedures that you carried out and results gotten should be reported using past tense. Generally accepted facts should be reported using the present tense. Also, proofread and correct the spellings of words in your report.

Not following your project format

Different institutions have various project format/outline which students should adhere to. Your supervisor and readers of your research report usually look out for the chapters and sections that make up a project report. You should not deviate from the format unless you are specifically requested to do so by your project supervisor.


Plagiarism is the act of copying someone else's concepts, ideas, text, or any other creative work and presenting it as yours, without permission. You should try as much as possible to avoid plagiarism in order to achieve good grades. Lecturers and supervisors frown at plagiarized work because it does not only present your work as not being unique, it also shows that a thorough research was not conducted. Some ways to avoid plagiarism are to paraphrase, cite, quote and reference your source of information.

Inadequate aim/objective of study

This is where you should clearly state what your research is going to achieve, where you are heading with your research.Your supervisor would want to know how your research will add to the body of knowledge or solve an existing problem. Your research project should have a brief and detailed explanation of why your research is worthy of being undertaken.

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