What is a scholarly paper? Many experts are in agreement when they say that a scholarly paper is written by a student who is already enrolled in a postgraduate course, such as in a Master’s course. However, most students enter their Master’s course or their doctoral course while relying on the strategies they had been using in their undergraduate years. Techniques such as using more complicated language as well as repeating and rephrasing already written down texts are certainly no longer expected to work in these situations. The most interesting question therefore, would be to find out how an individual may make the transition to a more successful writer of scholarly papers.
Scholarly writing is writing done by scholars for other scholars. If one is already a postgraduate student, then one has to know that he now belongs to a community of scholars. Especially for doctoral students, they will be encouraged to look at, think about, and write about wonderful ideas. A scholarly paper is also devoted to the questions and ideas that interest most of the academic and scholarly community. The topic of such a paper is usually one that is relevant to the times and most suitable always. One then must be able to write such that the ordinary reader understands the topic on hand clearly, or to be able to look at the topic in a new way.
A scholarly paper should also present the reader with an informed argument. The paper therefore should be able to both inform and argue at the same time. One will have to find out all he can about the topic on hand. Thereafter he will also want to know why this topic is important to him. He will then have to write on what he thinks about the topic – he will have to analyze all that he can on the topic on hand, and evaluate everything he obtained on the same.
Thus, in the effort to take note of what has been written on the topic, scholarly paper will always have a section called the Literature Review. This includes significant research done on the topic, and the literature is organized in a way that one idea flows to the next-it is not simply the listing of the research and the statement of the findings, but an organized review of previous research.
Therefore it is clear from the above that a scholarly paper is not one that one is used to writing when he was still in his undergraduate years. Being a student of postgraduate courses is no joke, and hence, there is a certain sophistication in the air that will hopefully be matched by a good and liberating topic, and an equally sophisticated body of work supporting and explaining the topic altogether. The scholarly paper should be “fodder” for other scholars and even for the young members of the group. Finally, the student must learn to write a scholarly paper – one thought to expound on the topic on hand, and also to make the reader think about his topic as well.
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