Simply defined, a research report is an account of the observations or study conducted by the reporter (the researcher). Thus, it seems that a report can be done by almost anybody who can present his record of observations. However, there
Perhaps the most demanding piece of writing an academic writer can undertake, those who decide to accept the challenge of writing the doctoral dissertation regard it with awe, fear, and anxiety. Now, we won’t lie to you and tell you that writing a doctoral dissertation could ever be easy, but the following article provides tips and ideas to help ease the difficulties associated with the doctoral dissertation writing process.
The Pre-Writing Phase
Each of the following tips should be considered BEFORE beginning the writing process in order to avoid mistakes that might hinder the overall quality of your dissertation.
- SELECT A RELEVANT TOPIC
Like it or not, the success of your doctoral dissertation will be influenced, at least in part, by the topic you choose to pursue. A strong, relevant topic generates interest in those who will review it, and most experts on doctoral dissertation writing suggest that this improves the reviewers response to your work, whether he or she is conscious of it or not.
- PERFORM AN ADEQUATE AMOUNT OF RESEARCH
This is the number one piece of advice we can provide for someone preparing to compose a doctoral dissertation, perhaps even more important than the actual selection of your topic.
So you may ask: How much research is enough? Well, that is a question that is impossible to answer for certain. The amount of research necessary for your doctoral dissertation will require on various factors, including the actual topic chosen, the amount of research already present on the topic, and the specific points you are trying to prove or disprove.
The only way to know you have performed an adequate amount of research is to honestly answer the following question: Have you researched your topic enough so that if the reviewers challenge your points you will be able to defend them?
The Writing Phase
Keep these concepts in mind while you are composing the first draft of your dissertation to maximize your writing abilities and effective communication.
- PRACTICE GOOD TIME MANAGEMENT
As stated previously, the doctoral dissertation is perhaps the most challenging piece of academic writing one can undertake. As such, it is imperative you plan out your time schedule so that it can include writing time each day. A dissertation is not a sprint, but is instead more like a marathon. You must put in consistent work throughout your allotted time period and get professional help when needed.
- CHOOSE TIMES AND PLACES WHERE YOU ARE MOST PRODUCTIVE This may take a bit of experimentation, or you my already know when and where you write the most productively. Once you know this, set your schedule so that time is reserved for work on your dissertation. Everyone has a variety of responsibilities in life (work, family, etc.) but when you are striving for your doctoral dissertation, you must let everyone know that you need your private time.
- REMEMBER THIS ALL DEPENDS ON YOU
While some lucky individuals may have the luxury of a strong support group that will bend over backwards to help them with the doctoral dissertation writing process, others will write their dissertations with help from no one. But regardless of your particular support environment, you must realize that it all comes down to your level of self-motivation. This is a very powerful concept when you stop to think about it. Keep this in mind during the writing process.
The Post-Writing Phase
These tips should be considered after you have completed the first draft of your dissertation.
- LET IT SIT FOR A WHILE
Most successful writers let their work sit for a while after the completion of the first draft. This allows the writer to view the work with a fresh perspective when it is time to revise, and the same technique should be used for your doctoral dissertation.
The exact amount of time you should let your doctoral dissertation sit is not set in stone, and can depend on factors such as an upcoming deadline or other time management issues. If possible, at the very least the first draft should sit for a few days.
- EDIT AND REVISE, REVISE, REVISE
This should go without saying, but we will go ahead and say it anyway. You must edit and revise your writing meticulously. Some successful dissertations did not reach a level of acceptability until the writers had completed their sixth, seventh, or even eighth draft. Edit and revise as much as you need to get it right.
- COPYRIGHT YOUR DOCTORAL DISSERTATION
There is some debate over whether or not an academic writer should copyright his or her doctoral dissertation after it has been completed. Some consider it an absolute necessary step, while others regard it as a waste of time, money, and energy. We are of the opinion that copyrighting your original material is an intelligent step that should be made to prevent any future controversy over the originality of the writing. Copyright the dissertation and, if possible, have it transferred to a variety of formats for sake keeping, such as microfilm, computer disc, and hard copy.
|How Utilizing University Resources Help Students Compose Better College Papers?||Writing a Good Research Report Made (Really) Simple|
are requirements, albeit not written out explicitly, that are intrinsic to writing a good report. These are stipulations that would differentiate the product of a skilled and conscientious researcher from the rest or, equivalently, the good from bad custom report:
1. Accuracy of Fidelity of Information
Reports are valuable only if they reflect an accurate or faithful recall (not reconstruction) of observations, e.g. of people, objects, events, processes, or non-primary information derived from reading materials and old records. An account or body of records containing bad or wrong data does not constitute a good and customized report. Add more manipulated or manufactured data and the resulting act becomes one of misreporting.
Misreporting is a very dishonest act and serves no value in any human endeavor. In fact, there are countless accounts of the disastrous consequences of misreporting like miscalculations, misinformation, or mismanagement, all of which have caused loss of lives and damage to properties. Misreporting is an aberrant form of communication, which is supposedly an increasingly important tool for the modern society.
Only the Discussion or concluding portion of a report may include analysis or interpretation by the writer. The main body of the report must be more of an “as is, where is” account of the original information gathered. The reporter must present the plain facts as he discovered them. In this regard, any act, intentional or otherwise, that alters or modifies the very nature of these facts would constitute bias or personal subjectivity. Instead, all effort must be made of an unbiased presentation in order to invite more of the reader’s opinion, interpretation, or judgment.
Objectivity is an important determinant of the quality of a report. Unfortunately, subjectivity is convenient and more of the customary practice, and it supports (confuses) the reporter’s misuse of his freedom to write or of expression. Worse, most readers themselves ignore the significance of this problem and even its more pervasive implications. Many subjective reports are of the advocacy type and they are common in researches that lobby for huge funding.
3. Specified Research Format
No matter how simple, some format is required. However, while accuracy and objective are “rigid” properties of a good report, format is rather an arbitrary requirement and one that may yield to the specifications of the recipient of the report, e.g. the researcher’s agency, supervisor, company or institution. Nevertheless, format is the essential writing guide. Usually, a researcher who makes the grievous mistake of ignoring the use of a format ends up having the most difficulty writing up his report.
How do you go about custom-writing the research report? A pragmatic advice is now in order. First, ensure that you have only the accurate observations and the most objective intentions to document them. Then make your writing task easy and systematic by having a ready format. What format can you use? The rest of this note is devoted to answering this question in practical detail.
As a research writer it is helpful for you to have a working format ready in mind: Nearly all forms of formal communication reflect 1) an initial portion or introduction, 2) a main section or body, and 3) a concluding portion. This is quite logical and evident even in verbal communications. Take the case of how you introduce an acquaintance to your circle of friends: First, you introduce his name and a few significant things about him. Then you state his whereabouts, his job, intentions for coming to town, how you met, i.e. the bulky details about him. Finally, you close your conversation by saying something like “OK. It seems like I can leave you here to mingle with the group.” Your formal report may be written with similar scheme in mind. In fact, its simple guide is so staple that there can only be room for innovations depending on your purposes and preferences.
Below is only one such innovation, an annotated sample of a format modified from a “standard” custom research report (see the simplified writing guide). Research report is an umbrella term for products like the term paper, research paper, thesis or dissertation, terminal report, and annual report, which are consonant to the status or objective of the researcher or the recipient of the product. Why model a format from research report? Apparently, the advantage is on the very detailed specifications on how you may present your research results. Certainly, you can make flexible use of a format with more or less complete recipe of a formal documentation. And, why a formal format? This is to impress upon you that even a simplified report is no less a serious undertaking and, thus, deserves your formal treatment.
Consequently, as observer who reports observations, you are likewise a researcher. As such, feel totally free to modify (change, add, or delete) any item in the suggested guide to suit your specific purposes and needs. Feel free as well on whether or not to insert subheadings. Overall, just keep in mind that the resulting format must offer you a scheme for logical thinking- your writing guide. Most important, remember that the main purpose of your custom report is to inform readers of the status of information surrounding your problem and then recommend to them any further course of actions.
A SIMPLIFIED RESEARCH WRITING GUIDE
That’s right! Introduce your study; state its origin and the rationale behind its conceptualization (Background). Support your rationale with previous studies, and cite only the most significant and relevant sources (A Brief Literature Review). State clearly your main study concern or problem plus your justifications for choosing the problem. Your problem is the heart of your report (Problem Statement/Study Objectives). Cite the benefits, relevance, or advantages that may be derived from your study findings (Significance of the Study). How did you observe or conduct your study? Subsequently, describe your research design or your methodological strategy to tackle your problem (Methodology): The data used and how they were obtained (data collection procedures and instruments used). For example, if you did a plain literature survey, include with your gathered materials your plan and procedures on the literature search. In certain instances, you might need to clarify some important terms by giving them conceptual and operational meanings (Definition of Terms). If your study utilized documents with their own “Definition of Terms” or “Glossary,” include these as well.
2. The Main Section
What have you found? This section is the meat of your report- it contains all the findings of your study (Results). Group similar findings under respective sub-sections and discuss them according to decreasing significance or relevance to the study problem. Along the way, support your statements with any pertinent citation or well known opinions. Again, you are reporting the state of knowledge surrounding your study problem. Hence, be accurate with every account. Be objective in your entire presentation of the results. Just present the facts that you have found, and leave your readers the room for individual interpretation and judgment.
Did you learn something from your own study? Have you derived some personal insights or discoveries? In succeeding sub-sections or so, present your own analyses, opinions, criticisms, or advocacy supported also by any literature or previous studies (Discussions). Just make sure that the readers see a clear distinction between what is due to you and what was found by your study. At this point, your original contributions become an additional set of information for their evaluation, particularly, of how fairly you have addressed your study problem.
Finally, you may like to rename appropriately the heading of this section as something like Results and Discussions.
Sum up your salient findings and all insights derived therefrom (Summary). Evaluate: Did you meet all the objectives of your study? State specifically why in either case. Proceed by stating briefly the limitations of your study. For example, on the procedural steps that you followed, state and justify those which could have been done but were undoable on your part. End your report with the kind of recommendations that leave readers with precise answers to these questions: What are the further implications and applications of the study? Where would the next researcher(s) go from here?
“Give credits to whom they are due.” This is where you cite formally all your sources of information. It is your formal manner of saying “Thank you.” Moreover, “Fair is Fair.” In addition, enumerating your sources of information offers your readers the opportunity to verify or redo your study.
These are your provisions for any “excess baggage.” Attached all relevant materials (tables, graphs, computations, photos, CDs, etc.) cited or used in the study- all those relevant stuff that you did not include in the body of your report for reasons that they would only clutter your presentation.
At this inspiring juncture, you must have gained some positive impression that you can write a good report, which now may be better defined as an accurate, objective, and systematic account of your study or observations. Absorb fully the stipulations embedded in this concise definition, be guided by your simplified writing format, and you are just about ready to produce a desirable product.
Contributed by Rex Balena, PhD.
Multidisciplinary Scientist and Educator Consultant: Data processing, basic and advanced statistical analyses, PowerPoint/multimedia presentations, and custom essay writing on science and education topics.