“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” wrote a reporter in a New York Sun editorial in 1867. His work, despite being more an article of faith rather than a well-researched paper, has nevertheless, endured not to prove the existence of Santa Claus. To both young and old, it has evolved as a prescription for the need for hope or keeping one’s faith during trying times.
It is easy enough to translate the message for the 21st century: “Yes, Virginia, perfect research is possible.”
How so, one might ask? Only if the research paper achieves what the researcher has laid out as an objective.
Indeed, the Internet is a gold mine of information for conducting the perfect research. Although the quality of information does vary greatly from one web resource to another (Driscoll, et al, “Evaluating Sources: Overview”), a decent step-by-step approach can still be pieced together after performing a simple Google search.
For example, “How to Write an A+ Research Paper” turns out to be an excellent resource for composing the perfect research. It is not only exhaustive; it is also comprehensive. Hence the statement, “there is no hope of doing perfect research” should prove to be a mere cautionary tale for any serious researcher to avoid the pitfalls of losing objectivity.
With this perspective in mind, no piece of research is truly perfect, unless it fulfills its objective. As one popular saying goes, the end justifies the means. For example, my undergraduate thesis entitled “A Feasibility Study on the Establishment of a Secondary Theater Organization in the Campus” nearly missed its submission deadline. However, because the dean of the college accepted the work, enabling me to graduate, it does qualify as a perfect research.
Similarly, a Physics 101 term paper “Let Us Make Creationism Obsolete” proved to be my ticket to passing the subject in 1984. However William Strunk Jr. of The Elements of Style fame might object after a thorough grammatical review, my term paper achieved its objective, end of the story.
Strunk did say that vigorous writing should be so precise as to have no unnecessary words “for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts” (39).
Accordingly, I tried my best at conciseness, condensing my Physics term paper into the “four pages, single space” required. All the parts fit, and my instructor was impressed enough to give me a passing grade when all other components of my Physics grade at that time pointed to a fail. This makes my opus a success in its own right.
My “Failure to Thrive” research, which I wrote in 2001, enabled a nursing student to pass one of the subjects crucial to finishing her course. It was simple enough: The paper detailed what a fancy-sounding malady affecting the brains of some young children was all about, as well as what was being done about it in the medical realm.
Arguably, “diction” plays a big part towards getting one’s research accepted by the academic community (Kozy, “Is Perfect Research Possible”). This situation mirrors the dynamics of first impression in a social scenario. No wonder why I always endeavor to be true to form when writing my research.
In conclusion, no research paper is perfect, but so long as it consistently follows an acceptable format like the MLA style guide; and achieves its purpose, whatever it may be; it will do. Even a scholarly and widely respected work such as The Elements of Style has broken one of its own covenants of acceptable usage when it put a comma in William Strunk,[sic] Jr. (47).
Someone just might come up with a perfect-looking research paper, yet still fall short of its objective. Keeping in mind that every research paper is a leap of faith, and never losing sight of the ball, should be important research writing tenets to live by.
Driscoll, Dana Lynn, et al. “Evaluating Sources: Overview.” The Owl at Purdue. 17 Apr. 2010. Purdue University Writing Lab. 5 Oct 2010.
“How to Write an A+ Research Paper.” AREsearchguide.com. AREsearchguide.com: N.p. Web. N.d. 5 Oct. 2010.
Kozy, John. “Is Perfect Research Possible.” Articlesbase.com. Articlesbase, n.p. Web. 23 Apr. 2010. 5 Oct 2010.
Strunk, William Jr. The Elements of Style. New York: Penguin, 2005. Print.
“There is No Hope of Doing Perfect Research.” Articlesbase.com. Articlesbase, n.p. Web. 6 Aug. 2010. 5 Oct. 2010.
“Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus.” Editorial. New York Sun. 27 Sept. 1967. Print.