12-Unit12 - Research Methodology Unit 12 Unit 12 Research...

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Unformatted text preview: Research Methodology Unit 12 Unit 12 Research Report Writing Structure 12.1 Meaning of Research Reports Objectives 12.1.1 Purpose of Research Report 12.1.2 Characteristics of Research Report 12.1.3 Functions of Research Report 12.2 Types of Research Report 12.2.1 Technical Report 12.2.2 Popular Report 12.2.3 Interim Report 12.2.4 Summary Reports 12.2.5 Research Abstract 12.2.6 Research Articles 12.3 Contents of Reports 12.4 Styles of Reporting 12.4.1 Communicate To Specific Audience 12.4.2 Structure the Presentation 12.4.3 Create Audience Interest 12.4.4 Be Specific and Visual 12.4.5 Address Validity and Reliability Issues 12.5 Steps in Drafting Reports 12.6 Editing the Final Draft 12.7 Evaluating the Final Drafts Self Assessment Questions 12.8 Summary 12.9 Terminal Questions 12.10 Answers To SAQ’s And TQ’s Sikkim Manipal University Page No. 215 Research Methodology Unit 12 12.1 Meaning of Research Report Research report is a means for communicating research experience to others. A research report is a formal statement of the research process and it results. It narrates the problem studied, methods used for studying it and the findings and conclusions of the study. Objectives: After learning this lesson you should be able to understand: Purpose of Research Report Characteristics of Research Report Functions of Research Report Types of Research Report Contents of Reports Styles of Reporting Steps in Drafting Reports Editing the Final Draft Evaluating the Final Drafts 12.1.1 Purpose of Research Report The purpose of the research report is to communicate to interested persons the methodology and the results of the study in such a manner as to enable them to understand the research process and to determine its validity. The aim is not to convince but to convey what was done, why and what was its outcome. 12.1.2 Characteristics of Research Report Research report is a narrative and authoritative document on the outcome of a research effort. It represents highly specific information for a clearly designated audience. It is simple, readable and accurate form of communication. Sikkim Manipal University Page No. 216 Research Methodology Unit 12 12.1.3 Functions of Research Report It serves as a means for presenting the problem studied, methods and techniques used for collecting and analyzing data, findings and conclusions and recommendations. It serves as a basic reference material for future use. It is a means for judging the quality of research project. It is a means for evaluating researcher’s competency. It provides a systematic knowledge on problems and issues analyzed. 12.2 Types of Research Report Research reports can be classified as: Technical reports Popular reports Summary reports Research abstract Research article These differ in terms of the degree of formality, physical form, scope, style and size. 12.2.1 Technical Reports In a technical report a comprehensive full report of the research process and its outcome are included. It covers all the aspects of the research process. A description of the problem studied, the objectives of the study, method and techniques used, a detailed account of sampling filed and other research procedures, sources of data, tools for data collection, methods of data processing and analysis, detailed findings and conclusions and suggestion. 12.2.2 Popular Reports In popular report the reader is less interested in the methodological details, but more interested in the findings of the study. Complicated statistics are avoided and pictorial devices are used. After a brief introduction to the Sikkim Manipal University Page No. 217 Research Methodology Unit 12 problem and the objectives of the study, an abstract of the findings of the study, conclusion and recommendations are presented. More headline, underlining pictures and graphs may be used. Sentences and paragraphs should be short. 12.2.3 Interim Report When there is a time lag between data collection and presentation of the result, the study may lose significance and usefulness. An interim report in such case can narrate what has been done so far and what was its outcome. It presents a summary of the findings of that part of analysis which has been completed. 12.2.4 Summary Reports Summary report is meant for lay audience i.e., the general pubic. It is written in non-technical, simple language with pictorial charts that just contains objectives, findings and its implications. It is a short report of two to three pages. 12.2.5 Research Abstract Research abstract is a short summary of technical report. It is prepared by a doctoral student on the eve of submitting his thesis. It contains a brief presentation of the statement of the problem, the objectives of the study, methods and techniques used and an overview of the report. A brief summary of the results of the study may also be used. 12.2.6 Research Article Research article is designed for publication in a professional journal. A research article must be clearly written in concise unambiguous language. It must be logically organized. Progression from a statement of a problem and purpose of the study, through analysis of evidence to the conclusions and implications are given in the report. Sikkim Manipal University Page No. 218 Research Methodology Unit 12 12.3 Contents of the Research Report The outline of a research report is given below: I. Prefatory Items Title page Declaration Certificates Preface/ acknowledgements Table of contents List of tables List of graphs/ figures/ charts Abstract or synopsis II. Body of the Report Introduction Theoretical background of the topic Statement of the problem Review of literature The scope of the study The objectives of the study Hypothesis to be tested Definition of the concepts Models if any Design of the study Methodology Method of data collection Sources of data Sampling plan Data collection instruments Field work Sikkim Manipal University Page No. 219 Research Methodology Data processing and analysis plan Overview of the report Limitation of the study Results: findings and discussions Unit 12 Summary, conclusions and recommendations III. Reference Material Bibliography Appendix Copies of data collection instruments Technical details on sampling plan Complex tables Glossary of new terms used. 12.4 Styles of Reporting 12.4.1 Communicate to a Specific Audience The first step is to know the audience, its background, and its objectives. Most effective presentations seem live conversations or memos to a particular person as opposed to an amorphous group. Audience identification affects presentation decisions such as selecting the material to be included and the level of presentation. Excessive detail or material presented at too low a level can be boring. The audience can become irritated when material perceived as relevant is excluded or the material is presented at too high level. In an oral presentation, the presenter can ask audience whether they already know some of the material. Frequently, a presentation must be addressed to two or more different audiences. There are ways to deal with such a problem. In a written presentation, an executive summary at the outset can provide an overview of the conclusions for the benefit of those in the audience who are not Sikkim Manipal University Page No. 220 Research Methodology Unit 12 interested in details. The presentation must respect the audience’s time constraints. An appendix can be used to reach some people selectively, without distracting the others. Sometimes introduction to a chapter or a section can convey the nature of the contents, which certain audiences may bypass. In an oral presentation, the presence of multiple audiences should be recognized. 12.4.2 Structure the Presentation Each piece of presentation should fit into the whole, just as individual pieces fit into a jigsaw puzzle. The audience should not be muttering. The solution to this is to provide a well-defined structure. The structure should include an introduction, a body, and a summary. Further, each of the major sections should be structured similarly. The precept is to tell the audience what you are going to say, say it and then tell them what you said. Sometimes you want to withhold the conclusion to create interest. Introduction should play several roles. First, it should provide audience interest. A second function is to identify the presentation’s central idea or objective. Third, it should provide a road map to the rest of the presentation so that the audience can picture its organisation and flow. It is better to divide the body of the presentation into two to five parts. The audience will be able to absorb only so much information. If that information can be aggregated into chunks, it will be easier to assimilate. Sometimes the points to be made cannot be combined easily or naturally. In that case, it is necessary to use a longer list. One way to structure the presentation is by the research questions. Another method that is often useful when presenting the research proposal is to base it on the research process. The most useful presentations will include a statement of implications and recommendations relevant to the research purpose. However, when researcher lacks information about the total situation because the research study addresses Sikkim Manipal University Page No. 221 Research Methodology Unit 12 only a limited aspect of it, the ability to generate recommendations may be limited. The purpose of the presentation summary is to identify and underline the important points of the presentations and to provide some repetition of their content. The summary should support the presentation communication objectives by helping the audience to retain the key parts of the content. The audience should feel that there is a natural flow from one section to another. 12.4.3 Create Audience Interest The audience should be motivated to read or listen to the presentation’s major parts and to the individual elements of each section the audience should know why the presentation is relevant to them and why each section was included. A section that cannot hold interest should be excluded or relegated to appendix. The research purpose and objectives are good vehicles to provide motivation. The research purpose should specify decisions to be made and should relate to the research questions. A presentation that focuses on those research questions and their associated hypothesis will naturally be tied to relevant decisions and hold audience interest. In contrast, a presentation that attempts to report on all the questions that were included in the survey and in the cross-tabulations often will be long, uninteresting and of little value. As the analysis proceeds and presentation is being prepared, the researcher should be on the lookout for results that are exceptionally persuasive, relevant, interesting, and unusual. Sometimes, the deviant respondent with strange answers can provide the most insight in his or her responses that are pursued and not discarded. Sikkim Manipal University Page No. 222 Research Methodology Unit 12 12.4.4 Be Specific and Visual Avoid taking or writing in the abstract. If different members of the audience have different or vague understandings of important concepts, there is a potential problem. Terms that are ambiguous or not well known should be defined and illustrated or else omitted. The most interesting presentations usually use specific stories, anecdotes, studies, or incidents to make points. 12.4.5 Address Validity and Reliability Issues The presentation should help the audience avoid misinterpreting the results. The wording of the questions, the order in which they are asked, and the sampling design are among the design dimensions that can lead to biased results and misinterpretations. The presentation should not include an exhaustive description of all the design considerations. Nobody is interested in a textbook discussion of the advantages of telephone over mail surveys, or how you locate homes in an area sampling design. The presentation should include some indication of the reliability of the results. At the minimum, it always should be clear what sample size was involved. The key results should be supported by more precise information in the form of interval estimates or a hypothesis test. The hypothesis test basically indicates, given the sample size, what probability exists that the results were merely an accident of sampling. If the probability of the latter is not low, then the results probably would not be repeated. Do not imply more precision than is warranted. 12.5 Steps in Drafting the Research Report Along with the related skill of working with and motivating people, the ability to communicate effectively is undoubtedly the most important attribute a manager can have. Effective communication between research users and research professional is extremely important to the research process. The formal presentation usually plays a key role in the communication effort. Sikkim Manipal University Page No. 223 Research Methodology Unit 12 Generally, presentations are made twice during the research process. First, there is the research proposal presentation. Second, there is the presentation of the research results. Guidelines for successful presentations In general a presenter should: Communicate to a specific audience. Structure the presentation. Create audience interest Be specific and visual Address validity and reliability issues 12.6 Editing the Final draft A research report requires clear organisation. Each chapter may be divided into two or more sections with appropriate headings and in each section margin headings and paragraph headings may be used to indicate subject shifts. Physical presentation is another aspect of organisation. A page should not be fully filled in from top to bottom. Wider margins should be provided on both sides and on top and bottom as well. Centred section heading is provided in the centre of the page and is usually in solid font size. It is separated from other textual material by two or three line space. Marginal heading is used for a subdivision in each section. It starts from the left side margin without leaving any space. Paragraph heading is used to head an important aspect of the subject matter discussed in a subdivision. There is some space between the margin and this heading. Sikkim Manipal University Page No. 224 Research Methodology Unit 12 Presentation should be free form spelling and grammar errors. If the writer is not strong in grammar, get the manuscript corrected by a language expert. Use the rules of punctuations. Use present tense for presenting the findings of the study and for stating generalizations. Do not use masculine nouns and pronouns when the content refers to both the genders. Do not abbreviate words in the text; spell out them in full. Footnote citation is indicated by placing an index number, i.e., a superscript or numeral, at the point of reference. Reference style should have a clear format and used consistently. 12.7 Evaluating the Final Draft The general guidelines discussed so far are applicable to both written and oral presentations. However, it is important to generate a research report that will be interesting to read. Most researchers are not trained in effective report writing. In their enthusiasm for research, they often overlook the need for a good writing style. In writing a report, long sentences should be reconsidered and the critical main points should stand out. Here are some hints for effective report writing. Use main heading and subheadings to communicate the content of the material discussed. Use the present tense as much as possible to communicate information. Whether the presentation is written or oral, use active voice construction to make it lively and interesting, passive voice is wordy and dull. Use computer-generated tables and graphs for effective presentations. Use informative headings. Sikkim Manipal University Page No. 225 Research Methodology Unit 12 Use double-sided presentation if possible. For example, tables or graphs could be presented on the left side of an open report and their descriptions on the right side. Self Assessment questions I State whether the following statements are true or false: 1. Research report is a means for communicating research experience to others. 2. The purpose of the research report is to communicate to interested persons the methodology and the results of the study. 3. Research report is a narrative and authoritative document. 12.8 Summary Research report is a means for communicating research experience to others. The purpose of the research report is to communicate to interested persons the methodology and the results of the study in such a manner as to enable them to understand the research process and to determine its validity. Research report is a narrative and authoritative document on the outcome of a research effort. It represents highly specific information for a clearly designated audience. It serves as a means for presenting the problem studied, methods and techniques used for collecting and analyzing data, findings and conclusions and recommendations. It serves as a basic reference material for future use. It is a means for judging the quality of research project. It is a means for evaluating researcher’s competency. It provides a systematic knowledge on problems and issues analyzed. In a technical report a comprehensive full report of the research process and its outcome. It covers all the aspects of the research process. In popular report the reader is less interested in the methodological details, but more interested in the findings of the study. An interim report in such case can Sikkim Manipal University Page No. 226 Research Methodology Unit 12 narrate what has been done so far and what was its outcome. It presents a summary of the findings of that part of analysis which has been completed. Summary report is meant for lay audience i.e., the general pubic. It is written in non-technical, simple language with pictorial charts it just contains objectives, findings and its implications. It is a short report of two to three pages. Research abstract is a short summary of technical report. It is prepared by a doctoral student on the eve of submitting his thesis. Research article is designed for publication in a professional journal. A research article must be clearly written in concise and unambiguous language. 12.9 Terminal Questions 1. What is a research report? 2. What are the contents of research report? 3. What are the types of research reports? 4. Draw an outline of research report. 12.10 Answers to SAQs and TQs SAQs 1. True 2. True 3. True TQs 1. Section 12.1 2. Section 12.2 3. Section 12. 1 4. Section 12.3. Sikkim Manipal University Page No. 227 Research Methodology Unit 12 References: 1. R. Pannershelvam, Research Methodology, Prentice-Hall of India, New Delhi, 2004. 2. P. L. Bhandarkar and T. S. Wilkinson, Methodology and Techniques of Social Research, Himalaya Publishing House, Delhi. 3. Ackoff R. L., The Design of Social Research, Chicago, 1953. –––––––––––––––––– Sikkim Manipal University Page No. 228 ...
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