October 28, 2021

On Writing Research Papers and Articles, with Bhumika Sharma

Bhumika Sharma

Ms. Bhumika Sharma has worked as Assistant Professor, School of Law, Galgotias University, Greater Noida. She has a good experience with writing research papers and articles. And here we contacted her to help you for guidance on writing research papers and articles.

How would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?

I am happy go lucky kind of academician. Currently pursuing Doctorate in laws from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla.

What led to your inclination towards law? What were your ambitions before joining law?

Interestingly, the representation of the legal professionals in Hindi movies and serials attracted me towards law. Since my childhood, I wanted to do law. I had no family background in law. Both Bar and Bench fascinated me before joining the law course. I was unaware of other career prospects when I joined the law course

Please tell our readers about your college life.

During my college days, I was full of energy and enthusiasm. I could stay awake till midnights to finish my and friends’ assignments. I felt fun in completing all assignments on time. My life was mostly restricted to studies.

What kind of bond and rapport you have shared with your students?

I go by the words of my school teacher Mr. Vijay Verma – “A good teacher is not one who has vast knowledge A good teacher is one who can come down to the level of students and teach them. if your students are not able to understand you come down to their level and raise them from that level. One of the cardinal rules of teaching is that students will not believe in you until you first believe in them and what you’re teaching them.”

You have published a lot of papers. Please tell our readers how select topics for research and how to further process.

I select topics on certain parameters- mostly it is the topic of my interest. Sometimes, due to time relevance of a topic, such topic has to be selected. For example, these days, any socio-legal issue relating to Covid-19 can be selected. A number of publication options are emerging now. The simplest medium to get published for a law school student is a legal blog. Similarly, countless online Journals of Law or multi-disciplinary Journals exist. If the written piece lacks deep research, it can be sent to a blog and if research has been done properly, same can be sent to a Journal. The problem is however that the Journals emphasise on formatting, specified style of references and sufficient word-count. On the simpler side, blogs may or may not have references. For beginners, publishing on blogs would also instil confidence in the students.

For the Masters students and the beginner academicians, a variety of Journals are available. Depending upon the scope of the paper written, a Journal can be selected and Guidelines for Authors have to be followed for preparing the paper.

What is abstract? Where to include it? Is it compulsory to include abstracts?

Abstract is a kind of introduction to a proposed paper. Some journals mandate submission of abstract prior to publication and some insist on abstract along with the paper. It must be brief containing the gist of the paper, the methodology to be used and conclusion. Sometimes, abstract can also have sub-heads such as Introduction, Methodology, Findings and Conclusion. The style or format of abstract also vary from Journal to Journal. Abstracts are also must for Conferences.

What are footnotes? Is it compulsory to include footnotes?

Footnotes are one of the methods of giving the references in a research-work. The other methods are end-notes and parenthetical citation (in-text citation). In blogs, footnotes are not necessary. In research papers, one of the method of references has to be there from above three.

Would you suggest some methods of citation?

The most commonly used methods in law are Indian Institute of Law Citation; Standard Indian Legal Citation and the Bluebook. If the paper is written for a multidisciplinary Journals of Social Sciences & humanities, American Psychological Association (APA) citation; Modern Language Association (MLA) citation; Chicago style etc. have to be followed. In physical and natural sciences, Council of Science Editors style; American Chemical Society style; American Institute of Physics style etc. are the common methods.

What are the key points one should keep in mind while writing a paper/article?

It is difficult to summarise the key-points in one answer. While writing a paper or an article, following things must be considered:

Selecting a particular dimension of any topic

Eg. Legal Framework for Covid-19 management in India is one of the dimensions of socio-legal issues relating to Covid-19.

Researching Well

Writing slowly and gradually

Giving Own Insights, analyses and interpretation wherever possible.

Concluding effectively.

What would be your parting message to our readers?

A law professional cannot escape research as a student, faculty, advocate or judge. Referring good literature is one of the key advices from my side.

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