A Journey Through Technology

Week 11 Essential Question: How will you format and disseminate your research?

on November 11, 2015

As my project starts winding down, I need to start thinking about how I will share my research with those around me. One important thing I will keep in mind as I start the writing process is “If you write something early on, it is not set in stone – you can change it later, when you have a better grasp of what you want to say.” (Ryan, 2006, p.108) According to Merriam & Tisdell (2016), “There is no single correct way to write up any research study.” (p.288). There are, however, sections that are normally included in a research paper. Merriam & Tisdell (2016) list five sections that are typically included in research papers: “introduction and purpose of the research, background literature review, methodology of the study, presentation of findings, and discussion.” (p.288) I plan using these five sections, in the same order, for my research paper, and each section will start with a brief introduction. Ryan (2006) recommends that each section of the research paper have an introduction of some kind to give each section a specific purpose (p.106).

According to Babor, Stenius, Makela, Miovsky, & Gabrhelik (2008), you should “state the research question early and clearly” (p.91). The introduction of my paper will include a brief description of the study, the participants that were involved, and the question that provided the basis for my research. The section following my introduction will be the literature review that was conducted before I started data collection.

One of the larger sections of the paper will be the methodology section. “The methodology section includes, at a minimum, how the sample was selected, how data were collected and analyzed, and what measures were taken to ensure validity and reliability.” (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016, p.277) In this section, I will describe the participant sample in detail and share my methods of data collection and analysis. This section will be one of the more detailed sections, because “it is not enough simply to state that you use focus group interviews and a post-structuralist text analysis, you should describe how and why you use them.” (Babor, et al, 2008, p.92) I need to explain in detail how I collected my data, and why I chose to collect it in that manner. Explaining the data collection methods thoroughly is also important for ensuring validity and reliability in the research.  “For the interpretation and transparency of your reasoning it is crucial to describe how the data were produced and collected and how these conditions have influenced the data.” (Babor, et al, 2008, p.93)

Another important aspect of the methodology section is the description of the relationship between the researcher and the participants. “One should be very clear about ones “position in the field”: the relationship between the researcher and the researched” (Pratt, 2009, p.859) An important aspect of my research is that I did not notify students I was conducting research. The explanation for not notifying students will also be a part of the methodology section of my paper.

After the methodology has been thoroughly explained, I will move on to the section on presenting my findings. “The most common way findings are presented in a qualitative report is to organize them according to the categories, themes, or theory derived from the data analysis.” (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016, p.278). However, presenting data to the reader is not as easy as simply using data tables. Pratt (2009) suggests putting some of the data in the body of the paper to prevent readers from having to constantly switch back and forth between data tables and text (p.857).

The last section of the research paper will be the discussion. A possible structure for the discussion section is to repeat the research question and purpose of the study, and use one sentence to describe the main outcome of the study (Babor, et al, 2008, p.94). I consider the discussion section as a conclusion to the research paper. I will discuss what impact the results of my study could have on other science classes, as well as extending my results to other subject areas. The discussion can “also contain a consideration of the limitations of your study.” (Babor, et al, 2008, p.94) I will discuss any problems I encountered and changes I would make for future continuations of the study. One possible way to end the discussion is by “giving recommendations for further research that will improve knowledge about the topic you have studied.” (Babor, et al, 2008, p.94)

Once I have finished my research paper and am happy with the final result, I will share my paper with my classmates and also on Twitter. If I decide I want to try and get my research published, I would be interested in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Chemical Education, or possibly another science education journal.


Babor, T., Stenius, K., Makela, K., Miovsky, M., & Gabrhelik, R. (2008). How to Write Publishable Qualitative Research. In Publishing addiction science: A guide for the perplexed (2nd ed., pp. 82-97). London: International Society of Addiction Journal Editors.

Merriam, S., & Tisdell, E. (2016). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation (4th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Pratt, M. (2009). From the Editors: For the Lack of a Boilerplate: Tips on Writing Up (and Reviewing) Qualitative Research. Academy of Management Journal, 52(5), 856-862. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from http://aom.org/uploadedFiles

Ryan, A.B. (2006). Methodology: Analysing qualitative data and writing up your findings. Researching and Writing your thesis: a guide for postgraduate students, 92-108.

5 responses to “Week 11 Essential Question: How will you format and disseminate your research?

  1. Tristan says:

    Thanks for being so detailed with your sections. You mentioned some things that I had looked over in the book but had forgotten about, but that will help make my research report more informative. The part you added about using one sentence to describe the outcome of your study is especially helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. tmerculief says:

    Sarah- I like this, According to Merriam & Tisdell (2016), “There is no single correct way to write up any research study.” This is good to know as I write this up the best that I can and hope that I do a good job on it. I am planning to use those five sections in my paper as well. This is good to know, the description of the relationship between the researcher and the participants. I also did not tell my students that I was doing this so I will remember to include this as I write it. I think the discussion is the conclusion as well. That would be awesome if you got it published! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sara Lucas says:

    I completely forgot about the introduction and literature review as separate. I think it would be good to have these 2 separate sections so I may end of writing 6 different sections. I will still have the methodology section, as this is very important. As far as writing up the end result, I have always liked having a results, discussion, and conclusion section. This is the way I wrote lab reports. I think because I am so familiar with this format I wouldn’t want to combine these sections because it is nice to see the raw data, and because the discussion can get long it is nice to have a shortened conclusion. Since there is no format I think this gives us the chance to write it up however we feel will be best. I think this will be a major perk to using qualitative research.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sarah K says:

      I hadn’t thought about using different sections for my conclusion and discussion. I think I’m going to state my conclusion as a transition between my results and discussion section, but I will see how things come together as I’m writing.


  4. pwjohnsen says:

    “Another important aspect of the methodology section is the description of the relationship between the researcher and the participants.” I agree that this is a very important part of the write-up. This will help help illuminate bias and strengthen results.

    Liked by 1 person

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