UKZN, School of Environmental Sciences, ENVS700
Presenting and integrating
• Write last, but is in fact the most important
• Give one or two background sentences
• Make sure you mention what your
hypothesis was, and whether it was
• Explain how your findings are relevant to
the man on the street, or at least your field
• Optional, depending on supervisor:
separate chapter called literature review.
• If separate: introduction brief, just explain
a bit about the field, and how the need for
your research arises.
• End with your hypothesis, general aim,
and more specific objectives to be
achieved along the way
• Usually a project links two or more fields
• The literature review chapter must address
each one of these, and then towards the
end review to what extent they have been
brought together previously.
Material and Methods
• (optional chapter here: Study Area)
• Somewhere here, please have a map! You
are a geographer.
• Explain exactly what you are doing
towards your project. Field work, data
collection, analysis (statistical if
quantitative) – any software packages
• Text (no references)
• Displays: figures, tables, boxes
• Text (with references)
• Anything that goes in results, sometimes
• Describing the displays, but also
presenting additional information
(including stats results)
• All must flow well
• May have subheadings
• To present quantitative data, but also
semiquantitative (‘good’, ‘fair’, ‘poor’) and
categorical data (‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘male’,
• Often data and metadata (data about the
data). E.g. the data are average values,
the metadata are spread values (SE, SD)
– they tell you how reliable the data are.
• Avoid vertical lines
• Only use three horizontal lines in a simple table
• Keep heading
one has to
• Types of figures: maps, graphs, flow
• Graphs: scatter plots and line graphs (both
variables continuous); bar charts (one
• Maps are strictly speaking graphs too (x:
longitude, y latitude)
• You can also use pie charts, but rather
• Use same font size in all parts of figure
• Use vector formats, not pixel formats
• If you use colour, make sure who’s paying.
• But that’s bad news if word count is low.
• Only three or so values. Generally, just
give in text. But if central to your results,
make a graph.
Data in text
• If all is better off is words than in numbers
• THAT IS SELDOM THE CASE IN
• It is the case if you just give two values
and a value for the significance of the
difference between them.
Figure format, but it’s really a table
• Discuss the limitations of your study.
• Compare your results with other results.
• Explain differences (in terms of different
methods, different setting).
• Integrate your advances into older theory.
• Suggest further directions.
• Avoid repetitions
• Avoid ‘streetwise’ language, but also avoid
extreme scientific/technical language.
• Try to make your writing accessible to a
broad audience, while still sounding
How to write (my advice) - results
• Arrange your result sheets (mostly displays) in
logical order in front of you.
• Start describing them in words. Focus on the
aspects that your hypotheses are actually
testing, but where interesting points can be
made elsewhere, do mention them too.
• Try to link each new display to the previous.
• Never say things that your result sheets don’t
say. That would be discussion. Only reference
How to write (my advice) -
• Read the relevant literature, make notes of
points relevant to your work.
• NEVER have it in front of you while writing. Write
from your head. If you have it in front of you, it’s
probably plagiarism. If you write from your head,
you can only write what you have digested, and
that’s the plan. If you write things that you have
not digested, they probably won’t make sense
• Once it’s all written, add in the references. Then
you may discover things you thought you read
somewhere, but you hadn’t really. Make
changes accordingly, but without copying.
• Write them a while after writing the rest of
thesis, let thoughts filter
• Ask yourself: are you achieving what your
proposal was saying?
What is an appendix?
• Anything that you don’t need to
understand the main points of the
thesis/paper, but can help you understand
it in depth.
• E.g. Your actual questionnaire
• Your complete raw data
• Analyses of moderate relevance to your
Editing your final draft
• Make sure all references cited in text are
in reference list
• Make sure all in reference list are (a)
identically formatted and (b) cited in text
• EndNote does both these
• Figures and tables are all mentioned in
text, all in right order
• Headings and sub-headings are identically
Editing your final draft
• Follow formatting as in journal of choice
• Number pages
• You can check for plagiarism using the
“TURN IT IN” software, available with