Blue-footed Boobies from the Galapagos


More info:


Science Fun

Brian's Class Materials- SPRING 2013 - SEYS 778

SEYS 778 Home

Queens College/CUNY

Education Unit

Spring 2012

 SEYS 778 – Seminar Research in Science Education II

4:30 to 7pm Wednesday

Kiely Hall Room 115


It is helpful to work from an outline with sections that follow a logical pattern.  The sections that follow are commonly used in the kinds of studies discussed last semester.  Individual studies and the write-ups of the research may differ depending on the nature of the research being completed.  However, every  research report must inherently convey a purpose, a description of  procedures used to address the purpose, a description of the results - information, facts or data accumulated and some conclusions, albeit tentative.  (See results and discussion sections below).  The format should follow APA guidelines for writing. Chapter headings as defined under major sections are used in theses and dissertations and are listed as a point of reference. FYI: It is not necessary to use them in your research paper. 

Length of paper:  Minimum:  20 pages for the body of the paper, double-spaced, 12 font.

Note: Charts, figures, tables and material not directly linked to the text in the paper should be put in the appendix if the material serves as a point of reference.  Example: Sample surveys, excerpts of student’s work or teacher/student responses might be added to an appendix.  Direct quotes from subjects can be used to illuminate a point made in the body of the paper.  They should not be used to “fill” pages or replace written text.    Points will be deducted if correct procedures are not followed.   

Major Sections of the Research Report

Introduction, including statement of the problem or question -  In addition to the  statement of the problem, question or thumbnail description of the study, this section provides the reader with critical background information, the context for the study.   It may include a statement or rationale for conducting the study and a definition of terms used in the study. This section establishes the foundation for the sections that follow.  Sometimes referred to as: (Chap.1) 

Review of the Literature – This provides essential background information in terms of  the published research related to  the study. For the final research paper for 778, do not include the R of L.   Cite just the relevant studies as an introduction to the next section. (Chap.2)

Methods or Procedures – Enough detail should be provided to enable the reader to duplicate the study.  This can include participants, strategies, methodology of data collection including description of instruments used or measures used, methods used in data analysis and length of study.  (Chap.3) 

Results – The outcome of the analysis of data.  This section consists of numerical data, with statistical analysis, descriptive statistics and results generated by stat. tests or summary statements synthesized from other documents (in a historical study) or field notes or all of the above.  The results section should present the outcomes in a clear, well-organized manner.  The organization of the results section can vary, depending on what makes the most sense and facilitates the reader’s understanding.   In other words, it should be arranged in an order that is logical to understanding the data and outcomes as they relate to the purpose of the study.  (Chap.4)

Tables and figures are used to summarize data and present information in an easily understood format.   Both must contain titles that state what the table/figure illustrates.   Appropriate subheadings should be included for rows and columns.  The table/figure should be placed on the same page or as close as possible to the written portion of the report that references it. 

Discussion – Sometimes included in Results or in Conclusions. If  the data analysis and outcome are more complex than originally thought, a discussion is sometimes included as a separate section to illuminate the issues that emerged in the study.

Conclusions, Recommendations, and Implications – All noteworthy results should be identified in order of importance and related to the research problem or issue. Other plausible interpretations should also be mentioned, and weighed against the found outcome.  Tie your results to other studies from related research, explain inconsistencies, limitations (in design, problems in procedures), and identify directions for future research and questions raised by the study (Implications).  If appropriate, address generalizability of conclusions to a broader sampling or population.  Provide a summary of the research study. You may reach more than one conclusion (not uncommon). (Chap. 5) 

Note: This final section will likely require more rewriting than previous sections.   Transitions, continuity of ideas and logical flow are especially important in putting together this part of the paper. Write this section and reread it after a break of time, up to  4-5 days.    Does “A” follow “B”? Are there gaps in logic in the conclusions you draw?  Are the conclusions intellectually “tight”?   Finally, check for any rough edges to improve the quality of writing.

Other Sections of the Research Report 

APA guidelines address other sections in order of pagination:

Title Page – Title, Author’s name and affiliation,

                    Running head and Acknowledgements (optional)

Table of contents

List of tables

List of figures


Abstract – 100 – 150 words maximum.  Use the past tense.

Chapters 1-5 or the body of the research paper here

Bibliography – List references cited and any used but not cited.

Appendix  or appendixes– Included when the material is too long, detailed or not central to the major sections of the paper but is useful to include to clarify or illuminate points made in the body of the report. Examples;  self-constructed measuring instruments, like a questionnaire used to survey student attitude;  the printout of raw scores and statistical analysis for the roster of students in a study (if subcategories are studied);  examples of student work referred to in the study.

Some Caveats to Consider Before Writing a Research Report

  1. The past tense is used to report research findings. For example;  ‘The experimental group and the control group obtained mean scores of  82.4 and  79.3 respectively.’
  2. The present tense is used to refer to the presentation of all data in figures and tables.  For example; ‘Table 3 shows the range of scores, means, and standard deviations of the experimental and control groups.’
  3. For specific questions of formatting and style, use the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines.
  4. Avoid use of slang, exaggeration, flip phrases or folksy conversational style.
  5. Avoid any trace of exhortation or persuasion. A research report differs in intent from a persuasive essay or feature article. Language should be objective and without bias.
  6. Abbreviations may be used after the full name, organization or term has been spelled out, followed by the abbreviation or acronym in parentheses.
  7. Do not insert personal anecdotes or description of subjective experiences in or out of the classroom unless it is part of a case study and properly documented.