Original. Research is original if it is new in some way that differs from what has been done before. Any section can be original, as research may address a new problem, develop a new theory, use a new method or analysis, or discuss new applications or have new implications. Even a replication that repeats a previous study can be original if it is the first attempt, or if it varies a factor not considered before. Original research must differ in some way from what has gone before. To say what has been said many times before or discover what has already been discovered is not original. It can also be called “Contribution to the field”, “Uniqueness”, “Adds value” or “Newness”. Originality addresses the reader concern “Is there anything new here?” Research that is rare or unique is pioneering, as a pioneer is the first to explore a new area and discover new things. Originality is important because readers are attracted to what is new.
Elements. To check if a paper is original, consider research elements such as:
- Does it address a new problem?
- Is the chosen topic area relatively unexplored territory?
- Does the paper contribute new knowledge the reader can use elsewhere?
- Are the findings different in some way from what has gone before?
- What precisely is the paper’s general contribution?
- Is this study unique or rare in the field?
- Does it add value apart from what others have done?
- Does this research have the potential to grow?
- Is there a contribution to current theoretical understanding?
- Is a new theory or model proposed?
- Is the research question new?
- Is a new method or analysis theory used and described?
- Do the results differ from what one might expect based on current theory?
- Does the research have new implications for current knowledge in this area?
- Are new applications proposed?