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Writing a Research Report

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This review covers the basic elements of a research report. This is a general guide for what you will see in journal articles or dissertations. This format assumes a mixed methods study, but you can leave out either quantitative or qualitative sections if you only used a single methodology.

This review is divided into sections for easy reference. There are five MAJOR parts of a Research Report:

1.    Introduction
2.    Review of Literature
3.    Methods
4.    Results
5.    Discussion

As a general guide, the Introduction, Review of Literature, and Methods should be about 1/3 of your paper, Discussion 1/3, then Results 1/3.

Section 1: Cover Sheet (APA format cover sheet) optional, if required.

Section 2: Abstract (a basic summary of the report, including sample, treatment, design, results, and implications) (≤ 150 words) optional, if required.

Section 3: Introduction (1-3 paragraphs)
•    Basic introduction
•    Supportive statistics (can be from periodicals)
•    Statement of Purpose
•    Statement of Significance

Section 4: Research question(s) or hypotheses
•    An overall research question (optional)
•    A quantitative-based (hypotheses)
•    A qualitative-based (research questions)
Note: You will generally have more than one, especially if using hypotheses.

Section 5: Review of Literature
▪    Should be organized by subheadings
▪    Should adequately support your study using supporting, related, and/or refuting evidence
▪    Is a synthesis, not a collection of individual summaries

Section 6: Methods
▪    Procedure: Describe data gathering or participant recruitment, including IRB approval
▪    Sample: Describe the sample or dataset, including basic demographics
▪    Setting: Describe the setting, if applicable (generally only in qualitative designs)
▪    Treatment: If applicable, describe, in detail, how you implemented the treatment
▪    Instrument: Describe, in detail, how you implemented the instrument; Describe the reliability and validity associated with the instrument
▪    Data Analysis: Describe type of procedure (t-test, interviews, etc.) and software (if used)

Section 7: Results
▪    Restate Research Question 1 (Quantitative)
▪    Describe results
▪    Restate Research Question 2 (Qualitative)
▪    Describe results

Section 8: Discussion
▪    Restate Overall Research Question
▪    Describe how the results, when taken together, answer the overall question
▪    ***Describe how the results confirm or contrast the literature you reviewed

Section 9: Recommendations (if applicable, generally related to practice)

Section 10: Limitations
▪    Discuss, in several sentences, the limitations of this study.
▪    Research Design (overall, then info about the limitations of each separately)
▪    Sample
▪    Instrument/s
▪    Other limitations

Section 11: Conclusion (A brief closing summary)

Section 12: References (APA format)

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