Research Sections and the Review of Related Literature

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Research Sections and the Review of Related Literature

Prof. Cheryl Joy Fernandez



Typical Sections of Research Report
• • • • • Title page Abstract Table of contents Introduction Literature review • • • • • • Methodology Results Discussion Conclusion References Appendix


• 150-300 words • Summary of whole report • Typically outlines aims and predictions, how the data was gathered, main findings, and whether predictions were supported, relevant explanations/issues • Need enough information for someone to decide whether they should read further 4

• Purpose – justify why you are choosing the topic, its merits, its aims • Scope – clearly mark boundaries of research • Background – theory and/or methodological approach outlining work, define terms, variables, hypothesis • Can cover literature review 5

Literature review
• Overview similar works and how your research will fill in the gaps • Presents a balanced view • May focus on theory/method studies • Do not put in every study – only those that relate to your work and are central to the area • Argues that not enough is known about the topic • Provides literature for you to compare your findings with at the end 6

Organising the literature
• Identify areas of agreement among authors • Identify areas of disagreement • Consider summary paragraphs to help move from once section to the next In summary, the evidence laid out demonstrates… This literature supports the continuation of …. Consequently, … However, alternative ideas and findings suggest… 7

Referring to Other’s Work
• A study by Smith (1998) showed that gender differences exist in conversation participation • Is this effective for understanding Smith’s work? • Must include details – participants, methods used, actual (significant results), etc. 8

• Outlines how you gathered data (may mention rationale for method chosen) • PARTICIPANTS – Age, gender, nationality, how many?, where recruited from? • TOOLS/MATERIALS – survey, info sheets, equipment, software • PROCEDURES – provide enough detail so someone can replicate, evaluate, informed consent, voluntary participation (remember ethics?) 9

• If statistical data, report test outcome, df, n, p-value • Explain what numerical relationships means, e.g. ‘women are more likely to change their name compared to men.’ • Consider whether any data would benefit from visual display – e.g. use graph or table if needed • Avoid discussing implications of findings – this goes in the discussion 10

• Restate overall findings • Explains findings, including different/alternative explanations – may do this by linking back with literature in the literature review • Weaknesses/limitations – Sample size too small?

• Ways to improve the study

• Brief section • Revisit objectives • Extend findings to the broader picture – how do they contribute to the discipline? • Ideas for further research


Report writing style
• Formal
– Avoid contractions (don’t, shouldn’t – use do not, should not – Avoid colloquialisms (pissed off, kids) – Spell out acronyms when first used, e.g. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) – Avoid referring to you/I/we, instead use, it/they/the subject. E.g. The agreement was made, it is apparent that… – Be specific, accurate, exact as possible by quantifying, measuring. E.g. Instead of ‘ a lot’ – ‘ a high proportion; ‘a long time’- ‘three hours’; ‘quite a few’ – five to six approximately’ 13

• Objectives

Being concise
• Be direct
– There are thirty students who have enrolled = thirty students have enrolled

• Does the phrase add new meaning to the sentence
– The point I am trying to make – As a matter of fact – At the present time (presently) 14


Purpose of Literature Review
1. Helps map and define research topic
– Highlights scope and boundaries; – Shows where the study fits...
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