Presenting and integrating research results

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					UKZN, School of Environmental Sciences, ENVS700

Presenting and integrating
    research results
• 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
  of knowledge.
• 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
          Literature review
• Usually a project links two or more fields
  or subdisciplines
• 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
  used etc.
• Text (no references)
• Displays: figures, tables, boxes

• Text (with references)

• Anything that goes in results, sometimes
  also methods
• 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
• Avoid
  footnotes –
  but sometimes
  one has to
  use them
• Types of figures: maps, graphs, flow
  charts, photos.
• Graphs: scatter plots and line graphs (both
  variables continuous); bar charts (one
  variable categorical)
• Maps are strictly speaking graphs too (x:
  longitude, y latitude)
• You can also use pie charts, but rather
               Figures: tips
•   Use same font size in all parts of figure
•   Use vector formats, not pixel formats
•   If you use colour, make sure who’s paying.
•   1Fig=103words
•   But that’s bad news if word count is low.
            Borderline cases
• 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
  or image
• It is the case if you just give two values
  and a value for the significance of the
  difference between them.
        Hybrid displays

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.
          Academic writing
• 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
  your displays.
       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
  original questions
       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

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