A research report, which is based on scientific method, is typically composed of the different sections listed below:
- Introduction: The introduction states a specific hypothesis and how that hypothesis was derived by connecting it to previous research.
- Methods: The methods section describes the details of how the hypothesis was tested and clarifies why the study was conducted in that particular way.
- Results: The results section is where the raw uninterpreted data is presented.
- Discussion: The discussion section is where an argument is presented on whether or not the data supports the hypothesis, the possible implications and limitations of the study, as well as possible future directions for this type of research.
Together, these sections should tell the reader what was done, how it was done, and what was learned through the research. You will create a research report based on a hypothetical problem, sample, results, and literature review. Organize your data by creating meaningful sections within your report. Make sure that you:
- Apply key concepts of inferential hypothesis tests.
- Interpret the research findings of the study.
- Examine the assumptions and limitations of inferential tests.
- Develop a practical application of the research principles covered in this course.
Focus of the Research Report
To begin, create a hypothetical research study (you do not have to carry out the study; you will just have to describe it) that is based on the three pieces of information listed below. Once you have your hypothetical study created, write a three- to four-page research report (excluding title and reference pages) that outlines the study. You are encouraged to be creative with your research study, but be sure to follow the format outlined below and use a writing style that is appropriate for scholarly research reports and adhere to APA formatting as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
Your hypothetical research study should be based on the following information:
- Recent research has indicated that eating chocolate can improve memory. Jones and Wilson (2011) found that eating chocolate two hours before taking math tests improved scores significantly. Wong, Hideki, Anderson, and Skaarsgard (2009) found that women are better than men on memory tests after eating chocolate.
- There were 50 men and 50 women who were randomly selected from a larger population.
- A t-test was conducted to compare men and women’s performance on an assessment after eating chocolate. The results showed an independent t-test value of t .05(99) = 3.43; p < .05
Your research study must contain the following:
- Title Page
- Title of your report
- Your name
- The course
- Introduce the research topic, explain why it is important, and present the purpose of the paper and the research question and hypothesis.
- Discuss how this study is related to other research on the topic.
- Elaborate on the information from the references you were given. State how they relate to your hypothesis.
- Your introduction must:
- Consist of a paragraph explaining what you are studying and why. Use previously cited research to explain your expectations and discuss how those expectations led to your hypothesis.
- State a clear and testable hypothesis and whether it is one-tailed or two-tailed.
- Make sure it is understandable to someone who has not read the rest of your pape yet.State the null hypothesis.
- Include a justification of the direction of your hypothesis. In other words, explain why you chose the direction of your hypothesis if it is one-tailed (e.g., previous research suggests that people with big feet are more likely to score higher on math tests; therefore the hypothesis is one-tailed) or if it is two-tailed (e.g., previous research is not clear on which group will perform better; therefore, the hypothesis is two-tailed).
- Describe why this study is important.
- Design: State the experimental design of your study, the independent and dependent variables, and what the task was (e.g., what you had the participants do).
- Participants: Identify and describe your sample, how the participants were selected to be in the study, and why you chose them. Provide details for how each individual was assigned to each group.
- Procedure: Describe the precise procedure you used to conduct this research (i.e., exactly what you did). It should be clear enough that anyone could replicate your study. This is the subsection where you tell the reader how you collected the data.
- Data Analysis: Describe the statistical procedure used in the study to analyze the data.
- Results. In this section, you will describe the statistical results:
- State the statistical tests that were used.
- Justify the choice of test.
- State the observed value and significance level and whether the test was one or two tailed.
- State your conclusion in terms of the hypothesis.
- Did you accept or reject the null hypothesis?
- Discussion: Discuss your results as they relate to your hypothesis.
- Did you accept the hypothesis or reject it?
- Compare your results to the previous studies mentioned in the introduction. Are your results similar or different? Discuss why.
- Tell the readers what your findings mean. Why did you get the results you did?
- Identify limitations to your study.
- Suggest ways your study could be improved.
- Suggest ideas for future research, not just a continuation of your study, but research that is similar to this study. Perhaps one of the variables could be changed or a different sample could be investigated.
- Finish with a concluding paragraph that is a statement of your findings and the key points of the discussion.
- Conclusion: Write a paragraph detailing your experience with writing a research report. Discuss how easy/difficult it was to write a false report that reads like real results, and how this experience might affect you review research in the future. Do you think this experience will provide you with a useful skill in your potential career?
- References: You will create a minimum of three fictitious references in the following format based on the information you have created in the preceding sections of the report:
- Author, A., & Author, B. (Publication year). Title of the article. Journal Name, volume number(issue number), page numbers.
- Example: Jones, A., & Williams, B. (2013). Why monkeys are good pets. Journal of Silly Science, 23(4), pp. 221-222.
You may access the The Critical Thinking Community website for tips on how to formulate your report in a logical and meaningful manner.
Writing the Research Report
- Must be three to four double-spaced pages in length (excluding title and reference pages) and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
- Must include a title page with the following:
- Title of paper
- Student’s name
- Course name and number
- Instructor’s name
- Date submitted
- Must document all sources in APA style, as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
- Must include the sections with the appropriate headings and content listed above.
- Must include a separate reference page, formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.