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by Tanja Tuulikki Välisalo last modified Mar 09, 2010 03:09 PM


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The research process ends when you report the results and write up your research in its final form. We advise you to write up your research in a phased manner and during the research process sharpen your writing and presentation techniques, i.e. you are strongly advised to avoid writing up your research in one phase (after you have completed making your conclusions and interpretations of your data analysis.)

A core facet of doing research is learning how to make detailed, functional notes at every stage, phase and sub-phase of the research process. Ideally you should be making notes in a diary format to indicate you are moving as per the guideline in your work plan and schedule. While doing your research and writing up the report you must bear in mind any relevant research ethics, criticisms of the sources of your data and points of view related to reliability of your research.

Your work, as a researcher, does not necessarily end with the final version of your research manuscript. You need to make the science community aware of your research report. While your university and university’s library are responsible for holding and distributing copies of your research report within the local science community, you are responsible for widespread awareness. The routes you should explore for gaining international acclaim for your research include Publications: book publications, articles (selected sections of your research paper), book chapters (particularly in compilations on the same topic), and abstracts. The researcher may also write general articles to newspapers or magazines from the bases of the research results. Networking: scientific conferences, seminars, workshops and scientific posters.

Essential phases of this research stage are:


Process of writing and reporting

An essential element of doing research is writing (referring to the style not the activity of writing). There are various modes of writing style which suit different disciplines. The emphasis of the writing style in the humanities is on meaning. Language functions as a tool with which you depict, describe, conceptualise, structure and define your research phenomenon. Furthermore, your research results are often based on linguistic meaning-making processes. You must therefore, be aware of the style of language you use (are using) in your report.

Expressions of scientific language have some common characteristics: text is factual (based on facts), restrained (understated) and declaratory. The structure and content of the text needs to be clear, logical and argued. Your target audience will greatly influence your style. Your target audience mostly consists of the science community in your particular discipline but may also include researchers in affiliated disciplines. We advise you to keep the use of academic terms, foreign terms and words and loanwords to a minimum. They do not add clarity to the text and they do not make the text more scientific.

Links to more information:

Munger, Dave, 2007. How to report scientific research to a general audience. Cognitive Daily, February 1, 2007. ScienceBlogs LLC.

Trochim, William M., 2006. Structure of Research. Research Methods Knowledge Base, 2nd Edition.

Shuttleworth, Martyn, 2008. How to Write a Research Paper. Experiment Resources.

Routio, Pentti, 2007. Descriptive Reporting. Arteology, the science of products and professions. The Aalto University School of Art and Design. 


Referring, writing bibliography and illustrating

There are numerous internationally recognised referencing systems for referring to other authors and their research. Each system has a set of rules (a Style-sheet) governing the way you, as an author, should present both in-text citations and their corresponding entries in the references section of a research text. You need to be aware that, if presented with a Style-sheet, you must follow exactly the rules of that particular system.

A few of the referencing systems are discipline-specific:

  • Vancouver – for medicine
  • Blue Book – for law
  • Chicago / Turabian – for history

The most commonly used referencing systems in humanistic research are APA, MLA and Harvard.

Most research journals and academic book publishers will either define the method they use by name or provide examples.

If you are aiming to publish internationally, you should ensure the referencing method you use:

a) meets the publisher’s requirements

b) is uniform throughout the text.

Researchers use non-textual elements (NTEs) - Tables and Figures - to illustrate collected data and to represent significant results of statistical analysis. NTEs are suitable for quantitative research and especially suitable for research using statistical analysis. Figures and tables illustrate and structure the complexities of phenomena by giving summarized and condensed information.

The argument for using pictures in Humanistic sciences is most viable when the object of the research is a visible object, e.g. painting, sculpture, building, which you would have great difficulty in describing otherwise. The information, you need to provide for a photograph is basically the same as for an NTE, but only in the context of Caption and Source. The source information should include variations of the following data: name of the art work, name of the artist and photographer, year of finishing the art work or photograph, and name of the owner (individual or institution), particularly if the object is held by an archive.

Responsibility for ensuring that copyright rules or laws have not been broken is yours.

Links to more information:

Citation. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Citing and referencing, 2006. Monash University Library. 

Handley, Elaine and Oaks, Susan. Working with Quotations. In Research Room. Empire State College.

Shuttleworth, Martyn, 2008. Research Paper Format. Experiment Resources.

OWL. Purdue Online Writing Lab, 2010. Purdue University.