Top Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Research Paper

Mistakes to avoid in Research Paper


Writing a research paper is a challenging but rewarding endeavour that requires a great deal of precision, clarity, and adherence to academic standards. Whether you are a novice researcher or a seasoned academic, it’s essential to be aware of common pitfalls that can undermine the quality and impact of your work. This guide highlights some of the key elements you should avoid including in your research paper. By steering clear of these common mistakes, you can ensure that your research is presented in the most professional and effective manner possible. From avoiding unnecessary titles and designations to ensuring the clarity of your abstract and keywords, these tips will help you refine your writing and enhance the overall quality of your paper. Let’s dive into the details and explore what not to include in your research paper to make it a compelling and credible piece of academic work.

Writing a research paper requires meticulous attention to detail and adherence to academic standards. Here are some key things you should avoid including in your research paper to maintain its integrity and quality.

Things You Should Avoid in a Research Paper

1. Solicitation Titles

Explanation: Titles like Dr., Mr., Ms., or Prof. should be omitted when listing authors.

Reason: Including solicitation titles can seem unprofessional and unnecessary in an academic context. The focus should be on the research, not the titles of the authors.


  • Incorrect: Dr. John Doe, Mr. Jane Smith
  • Correct: John Doe, Jane Smith

2. Designations in Author Listing

Explanation: Avoid listing designations such as Professor, Associate Professor, etc.

Reason: Instead, simply list the author’s name and their affiliated institution. This keeps the focus on the research rather than the authors’ ranks.


  • Incorrect: John Doe, Associate Professor, University of XYZ
  • Correct: John Doe, University of XYZ

3. Official Email Addresses

Explanation: Do not use official email addresses for corresponding authors.

Reason: Authors may change workplaces, making it difficult for future researchers to contact them. Use a personal or permanent email address instead.


4. Acronyms in Titles

Explanation: Avoid using acronyms or abbreviations in the title of the research paper.

Reason: Titles should be clear and understandable at first glance. Acronyms can be confusing and may not be universally recognized.


  • Incorrect: “AI Techniques for Image Processing”
  • Correct: “Artificial Intelligence Techniques for Image Processing”

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5. Citations in Abstracts

Explanation: Do not include citations in the abstract.

Reason: The abstract is meant to be a concise summary of your research. Citations can clutter it and are better placed in the main body of the paper.


  • Incorrect: “This study follows the methodology proposed by Smith (2020).”
  • Correct: “This study employs a novel methodology.”

6. Detailed Results in Abstracts

Explanation: Avoid presenting detailed results in the abstract.

Reason: The abstract should provide an overview. Detailed results should be discussed in the main sections of the paper. Instead, indicate whether results are better, moderate, or comparable.


  • Incorrect: “The experiment showed a 12% increase in efficiency.”
  • Correct: “The experiment showed a significant increase in efficiency.”

7. Visuals in Abstracts

Explanation: Do not include diagrams, charts, or tables in the abstract.

Reason: The abstract should be a text-only summary that is quick to read.

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8. Acronyms in Keywords

Explanation: Avoid using acronyms or abbreviations in the keywords section.

Reason: Keywords should be clear and universally understood to improve searchability.


  • Incorrect: “AI, ML, NLP”
  • Correct: “Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing”

9. Results in Methods Section

Explanation: Do not include results in the methods section.

Reason: The methods section should strictly describe the procedures and methodologies used in the study.


  • Incorrect: “The experiment yielded a 10% increase in efficiency using this method.”
  • Correct: “This method involves three main steps: data collection, preprocessing, and analysis.”

10. Overreaching in Conclusions and Future Directions

Explanation: Avoid including recommendations or future directions that are beyond the scope of immediate implementation.

Reason: Conclusions and future directions should be realistic and directly related to your findings.


  • Incorrect: “This method could potentially solve all issues in machine learning.”
  • Correct: “This method shows promise for improving efficiency in specific machine learning tasks.”

11. Citations in Conclusions

Explanation: Avoid adding citations in the conclusion section.

Reason: The conclusion should summarize your findings without introducing new references or data.


  • Incorrect: “As referenced by Smith (2020), the results indicate…”
  • Correct: “The results indicate a significant improvement in efficiency.”

12. Excessive Self-Citations

Explanation: Do not overuse self-citations unless they are part of a series of related works.

Reason: Excessive self-citations can be seen as self-promotional and can detract from the paper’s perceived objectivity.


  • Incorrect: “Our previous works (Doe, 2018; Doe, 2019) provide further context.”
  • Correct: “This study builds on previous research in the field.”

13. Confidential Data

Explanation: Do not share or disclose confidential data without permission.

Reason: It’s crucial to respect privacy and confidentiality agreements. Always seek permission before sharing sensitive data.


  • Incorrect: Including patient images without consent.
  • Correct: Use anonymized data and seek necessary permissions.

14. Inappropriate Acknowledgements

Explanation: Do not acknowledge individuals who have not contributed to your research.

Reason: Acknowledgements should be reserved for those who have directly supported your work, either intellectually, financially, or technically.


  • Incorrect: Acknowledging a friend who did not contribute to the research.
  • Correct: Acknowledging colleagues who provided feedback or funding agencies.

15. Redundant Information

Explanation: Avoid repeating the same information in multiple sections of the paper.

Reason: Redundancy can make the paper unnecessarily long and tedious to read.


  • Incorrect: Repeating the methodology in both the introduction and methods section.
  • Correct: Clearly delineate each section’s purpose and content.

16. Informal Language

Explanation: Avoid using informal language or colloquialisms.

Reason: Academic papers should maintain a formal tone to ensure clarity and professionalism.


  • Incorrect: “This study was a game-changer in the field.”
  • Correct: “This study represents a significant advancement in the field.”

17. Unverified Data

Explanation: Do not include data that has not been thoroughly verified.

Reason: All data presented should be accurate and reliable to maintain the integrity of the research.


  • Incorrect: Including speculative or unconfirmed results.
  • Correct: Only presenting data that has been rigorously tested and confirmed.


Writing a research paper requires careful consideration of what to include and what to omit. By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can enhance the clarity, credibility, and overall quality of your research paper. Always aim for precision, conciseness, and professionalism to ensure your work is respected and valued in the academic community.

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Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit
Author: Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit
Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit is a researcher in Computer Science. He loves to educate researchers and research scholars on Research Paper Writing, Thesis Writing, Research Grants, Patenting Research Work and the latest Research-related issues. You can reach him @ [email protected]