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Writing a Research Paper

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The Research Paper

There will come a time in most students' careers when they are assigned a research paper. Such an assignment often creates a great deal of unneeded anxiety in the student, which may result in procrastination and a feeling of confusion and inadequacy. This anxiety frequently stems from the fact that many students are unfamiliar and inexperienced with this genre of writing. Never fear—inexperience and unfamiliarity are situations you can change through practice! Writing a research paper is an essential aspect of academics and should not be avoided on account of one's anxiety. In fact, the process of writing a research paper can be one of the more rewarding experiences one may encounter in academics. What is more, many students will continue to do research throughout their careers, which is one of the reasons this topic is so important.

Becoming an experienced researcher and writer in any field or discipline takes a great deal of practice. There are few individuals for whom this process comes naturally. Remember, even the most seasoned academic veterans have had to learn how to write a research paper at some point in their career. Therefore, with diligence, organization, practice, a willingness to learn (and to make mistakes!), and, perhaps most important of all, patience, students will find that they can achieve great things through their research and writing.

The pages in this section cover the following topic areas related to the process of writing a research paper:

  • Genre - This section will provide an overview for understanding the difference between an analytical and argumentative research paper.
  • Choosing a Topic - This section will guide the student through the process of choosing topics, whether the topic be one that is assigned or one that the student chooses themselves.
  • Identifying an Audience - This section will help the student understand the often times confusing topic of audience by offering some basic guidelines for the process.
  • Where Do I Begin - This section concludes the handout by offering several links to resources at Purdue, and also provides an overview of the final stages of writing a research paper.

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Scientific Reports

What this handout is about.

This handout provides a general guide to writing reports about scientific research you’ve performed. In addition to describing the conventional rules about the format and content of a lab report, we’ll also attempt to convey why these rules exist, so you’ll get a clearer, more dependable idea of how to approach this writing situation. Readers of this handout may also find our handout on writing in the sciences useful.

Background and pre-writing

Why do we write research reports.

You did an experiment or study for your science class, and now you have to write it up for your teacher to review. You feel that you understood the background sufficiently, designed and completed the study effectively, obtained useful data, and can use those data to draw conclusions about a scientific process or principle. But how exactly do you write all that? What is your teacher expecting to see?

To take some of the guesswork out of answering these questions, try to think beyond the classroom setting. In fact, you and your teacher are both part of a scientific community, and the people who participate in this community tend to share the same values. As long as you understand and respect these values, your writing will likely meet the expectations of your audience—including your teacher.

So why are you writing this research report? The practical answer is “Because the teacher assigned it,” but that’s classroom thinking. Generally speaking, people investigating some scientific hypothesis have a responsibility to the rest of the scientific world to report their findings, particularly if these findings add to or contradict previous ideas. The people reading such reports have two primary goals:

  • They want to gather the information presented.
  • They want to know that the findings are legitimate.

Your job as a writer, then, is to fulfill these two goals.

How do I do that?

Good question. Here is the basic format scientists have designed for research reports:

  • Introduction

Methods and Materials

This format, sometimes called “IMRAD,” may take slightly different shapes depending on the discipline or audience; some ask you to include an abstract or separate section for the hypothesis, or call the Discussion section “Conclusions,” or change the order of the sections (some professional and academic journals require the Methods section to appear last). Overall, however, the IMRAD format was devised to represent a textual version of the scientific method.

The scientific method, you’ll probably recall, involves developing a hypothesis, testing it, and deciding whether your findings support the hypothesis. In essence, the format for a research report in the sciences mirrors the scientific method but fleshes out the process a little. Below, you’ll find a table that shows how each written section fits into the scientific method and what additional information it offers the reader.

states your hypothesis explains how you derived that hypothesis and how it connects to previous research; gives the purpose of the experiment/study
details how you tested your hypothesis clarifies why you performed your study in that particular way
provides raw (i.e., uninterpreted) data collected (perhaps) expresses the data in table form, as an easy-to-read figure, or as percentages/ratios
considers whether the data you obtained support the hypothesis explores the implications of your finding and judges the potential limitations of your experimental design

Thinking of your research report as based on the scientific method, but elaborated in the ways described above, may help you to meet your audience’s expectations successfully. We’re going to proceed by explicitly connecting each section of the lab report to the scientific method, then explaining why and how you need to elaborate that section.

Although this handout takes each section in the order in which it should be presented in the final report, you may for practical reasons decide to compose sections in another order. For example, many writers find that composing their Methods and Results before the other sections helps to clarify their idea of the experiment or study as a whole. You might consider using each assignment to practice different approaches to drafting the report, to find the order that works best for you.

What should I do before drafting the lab report?

The best way to prepare to write the lab report is to make sure that you fully understand everything you need to about the experiment. Obviously, if you don’t quite know what went on during the lab, you’re going to find it difficult to explain the lab satisfactorily to someone else. To make sure you know enough to write the report, complete the following steps:

  • What are we going to do in this lab? (That is, what’s the procedure?)
  • Why are we going to do it that way?
  • What are we hoping to learn from this experiment?
  • Why would we benefit from this knowledge?
  • Consult your lab supervisor as you perform the lab. If you don’t know how to answer one of the questions above, for example, your lab supervisor will probably be able to explain it to you (or, at least, help you figure it out).
  • Plan the steps of the experiment carefully with your lab partners. The less you rush, the more likely it is that you’ll perform the experiment correctly and record your findings accurately. Also, take some time to think about the best way to organize the data before you have to start putting numbers down. If you can design a table to account for the data, that will tend to work much better than jotting results down hurriedly on a scrap piece of paper.
  • Record the data carefully so you get them right. You won’t be able to trust your conclusions if you have the wrong data, and your readers will know you messed up if the other three people in your group have “97 degrees” and you have “87.”
  • Consult with your lab partners about everything you do. Lab groups often make one of two mistakes: two people do all the work while two have a nice chat, or everybody works together until the group finishes gathering the raw data, then scrams outta there. Collaborate with your partners, even when the experiment is “over.” What trends did you observe? Was the hypothesis supported? Did you all get the same results? What kind of figure should you use to represent your findings? The whole group can work together to answer these questions.
  • Consider your audience. You may believe that audience is a non-issue: it’s your lab TA, right? Well, yes—but again, think beyond the classroom. If you write with only your lab instructor in mind, you may omit material that is crucial to a complete understanding of your experiment, because you assume the instructor knows all that stuff already. As a result, you may receive a lower grade, since your TA won’t be sure that you understand all the principles at work. Try to write towards a student in the same course but a different lab section. That student will have a fair degree of scientific expertise but won’t know much about your experiment particularly. Alternatively, you could envision yourself five years from now, after the reading and lectures for this course have faded a bit. What would you remember, and what would you need explained more clearly (as a refresher)?

Once you’ve completed these steps as you perform the experiment, you’ll be in a good position to draft an effective lab report.


How do i write a strong introduction.

For the purposes of this handout, we’ll consider the Introduction to contain four basic elements: the purpose, the scientific literature relevant to the subject, the hypothesis, and the reasons you believed your hypothesis viable. Let’s start by going through each element of the Introduction to clarify what it covers and why it’s important. Then we can formulate a logical organizational strategy for the section.

The inclusion of the purpose (sometimes called the objective) of the experiment often confuses writers. The biggest misconception is that the purpose is the same as the hypothesis. Not quite. We’ll get to hypotheses in a minute, but basically they provide some indication of what you expect the experiment to show. The purpose is broader, and deals more with what you expect to gain through the experiment. In a professional setting, the hypothesis might have something to do with how cells react to a certain kind of genetic manipulation, but the purpose of the experiment is to learn more about potential cancer treatments. Undergraduate reports don’t often have this wide-ranging a goal, but you should still try to maintain the distinction between your hypothesis and your purpose. In a solubility experiment, for example, your hypothesis might talk about the relationship between temperature and the rate of solubility, but the purpose is probably to learn more about some specific scientific principle underlying the process of solubility.

For starters, most people say that you should write out your working hypothesis before you perform the experiment or study. Many beginning science students neglect to do so and find themselves struggling to remember precisely which variables were involved in the process or in what way the researchers felt that they were related. Write your hypothesis down as you develop it—you’ll be glad you did.

As for the form a hypothesis should take, it’s best not to be too fancy or complicated; an inventive style isn’t nearly so important as clarity here. There’s nothing wrong with beginning your hypothesis with the phrase, “It was hypothesized that . . .” Be as specific as you can about the relationship between the different objects of your study. In other words, explain that when term A changes, term B changes in this particular way. Readers of scientific writing are rarely content with the idea that a relationship between two terms exists—they want to know what that relationship entails.

Not a hypothesis:

“It was hypothesized that there is a significant relationship between the temperature of a solvent and the rate at which a solute dissolves.”


“It was hypothesized that as the temperature of a solvent increases, the rate at which a solute will dissolve in that solvent increases.”

Put more technically, most hypotheses contain both an independent and a dependent variable. The independent variable is what you manipulate to test the reaction; the dependent variable is what changes as a result of your manipulation. In the example above, the independent variable is the temperature of the solvent, and the dependent variable is the rate of solubility. Be sure that your hypothesis includes both variables.

Justify your hypothesis

You need to do more than tell your readers what your hypothesis is; you also need to assure them that this hypothesis was reasonable, given the circumstances. In other words, use the Introduction to explain that you didn’t just pluck your hypothesis out of thin air. (If you did pluck it out of thin air, your problems with your report will probably extend beyond using the appropriate format.) If you posit that a particular relationship exists between the independent and the dependent variable, what led you to believe your “guess” might be supported by evidence?

Scientists often refer to this type of justification as “motivating” the hypothesis, in the sense that something propelled them to make that prediction. Often, motivation includes what we already know—or rather, what scientists generally accept as true (see “Background/previous research” below). But you can also motivate your hypothesis by relying on logic or on your own observations. If you’re trying to decide which solutes will dissolve more rapidly in a solvent at increased temperatures, you might remember that some solids are meant to dissolve in hot water (e.g., bouillon cubes) and some are used for a function precisely because they withstand higher temperatures (they make saucepans out of something). Or you can think about whether you’ve noticed sugar dissolving more rapidly in your glass of iced tea or in your cup of coffee. Even such basic, outside-the-lab observations can help you justify your hypothesis as reasonable.

Background/previous research

This part of the Introduction demonstrates to the reader your awareness of how you’re building on other scientists’ work. If you think of the scientific community as engaging in a series of conversations about various topics, then you’ll recognize that the relevant background material will alert the reader to which conversation you want to enter.

Generally speaking, authors writing journal articles use the background for slightly different purposes than do students completing assignments. Because readers of academic journals tend to be professionals in the field, authors explain the background in order to permit readers to evaluate the study’s pertinence for their own work. You, on the other hand, write toward a much narrower audience—your peers in the course or your lab instructor—and so you must demonstrate that you understand the context for the (presumably assigned) experiment or study you’ve completed. For example, if your professor has been talking about polarity during lectures, and you’re doing a solubility experiment, you might try to connect the polarity of a solid to its relative solubility in certain solvents. In any event, both professional researchers and undergraduates need to connect the background material overtly to their own work.

Organization of this section

Most of the time, writers begin by stating the purpose or objectives of their own work, which establishes for the reader’s benefit the “nature and scope of the problem investigated” (Day 1994). Once you have expressed your purpose, you should then find it easier to move from the general purpose, to relevant material on the subject, to your hypothesis. In abbreviated form, an Introduction section might look like this:

“The purpose of the experiment was to test conventional ideas about solubility in the laboratory [purpose] . . . According to Whitecoat and Labrat (1999), at higher temperatures the molecules of solvents move more quickly . . . We know from the class lecture that molecules moving at higher rates of speed collide with one another more often and thus break down more easily [background material/motivation] . . . Thus, it was hypothesized that as the temperature of a solvent increases, the rate at which a solute will dissolve in that solvent increases [hypothesis].”

Again—these are guidelines, not commandments. Some writers and readers prefer different structures for the Introduction. The one above merely illustrates a common approach to organizing material.

How do I write a strong Materials and Methods section?

As with any piece of writing, your Methods section will succeed only if it fulfills its readers’ expectations, so you need to be clear in your own mind about the purpose of this section. Let’s review the purpose as we described it above: in this section, you want to describe in detail how you tested the hypothesis you developed and also to clarify the rationale for your procedure. In science, it’s not sufficient merely to design and carry out an experiment. Ultimately, others must be able to verify your findings, so your experiment must be reproducible, to the extent that other researchers can follow the same procedure and obtain the same (or similar) results.

Here’s a real-world example of the importance of reproducibility. In 1989, physicists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischman announced that they had discovered “cold fusion,” a way of producing excess heat and power without the nuclear radiation that accompanies “hot fusion.” Such a discovery could have great ramifications for the industrial production of energy, so these findings created a great deal of interest. When other scientists tried to duplicate the experiment, however, they didn’t achieve the same results, and as a result many wrote off the conclusions as unjustified (or worse, a hoax). To this day, the viability of cold fusion is debated within the scientific community, even though an increasing number of researchers believe it possible. So when you write your Methods section, keep in mind that you need to describe your experiment well enough to allow others to replicate it exactly.

With these goals in mind, let’s consider how to write an effective Methods section in terms of content, structure, and style.

Sometimes the hardest thing about writing this section isn’t what you should talk about, but what you shouldn’t talk about. Writers often want to include the results of their experiment, because they measured and recorded the results during the course of the experiment. But such data should be reserved for the Results section. In the Methods section, you can write that you recorded the results, or how you recorded the results (e.g., in a table), but you shouldn’t write what the results were—not yet. Here, you’re merely stating exactly how you went about testing your hypothesis. As you draft your Methods section, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much detail? Be precise in providing details, but stay relevant. Ask yourself, “Would it make any difference if this piece were a different size or made from a different material?” If not, you probably don’t need to get too specific. If so, you should give as many details as necessary to prevent this experiment from going awry if someone else tries to carry it out. Probably the most crucial detail is measurement; you should always quantify anything you can, such as time elapsed, temperature, mass, volume, etc.
  • Rationale: Be sure that as you’re relating your actions during the experiment, you explain your rationale for the protocol you developed. If you capped a test tube immediately after adding a solute to a solvent, why did you do that? (That’s really two questions: why did you cap it, and why did you cap it immediately?) In a professional setting, writers provide their rationale as a way to explain their thinking to potential critics. On one hand, of course, that’s your motivation for talking about protocol, too. On the other hand, since in practical terms you’re also writing to your teacher (who’s seeking to evaluate how well you comprehend the principles of the experiment), explaining the rationale indicates that you understand the reasons for conducting the experiment in that way, and that you’re not just following orders. Critical thinking is crucial—robots don’t make good scientists.
  • Control: Most experiments will include a control, which is a means of comparing experimental results. (Sometimes you’ll need to have more than one control, depending on the number of hypotheses you want to test.) The control is exactly the same as the other items you’re testing, except that you don’t manipulate the independent variable-the condition you’re altering to check the effect on the dependent variable. For example, if you’re testing solubility rates at increased temperatures, your control would be a solution that you didn’t heat at all; that way, you’ll see how quickly the solute dissolves “naturally” (i.e., without manipulation), and you’ll have a point of reference against which to compare the solutions you did heat.

Describe the control in the Methods section. Two things are especially important in writing about the control: identify the control as a control, and explain what you’re controlling for. Here is an example:

“As a control for the temperature change, we placed the same amount of solute in the same amount of solvent, and let the solution stand for five minutes without heating it.”

Structure and style

Organization is especially important in the Methods section of a lab report because readers must understand your experimental procedure completely. Many writers are surprised by the difficulty of conveying what they did during the experiment, since after all they’re only reporting an event, but it’s often tricky to present this information in a coherent way. There’s a fairly standard structure you can use to guide you, and following the conventions for style can help clarify your points.

  • Subsections: Occasionally, researchers use subsections to report their procedure when the following circumstances apply: 1) if they’ve used a great many materials; 2) if the procedure is unusually complicated; 3) if they’ve developed a procedure that won’t be familiar to many of their readers. Because these conditions rarely apply to the experiments you’ll perform in class, most undergraduate lab reports won’t require you to use subsections. In fact, many guides to writing lab reports suggest that you try to limit your Methods section to a single paragraph.
  • Narrative structure: Think of this section as telling a story about a group of people and the experiment they performed. Describe what you did in the order in which you did it. You may have heard the old joke centered on the line, “Disconnect the red wire, but only after disconnecting the green wire,” where the person reading the directions blows everything to kingdom come because the directions weren’t in order. We’re used to reading about events chronologically, and so your readers will generally understand what you did if you present that information in the same way. Also, since the Methods section does generally appear as a narrative (story), you want to avoid the “recipe” approach: “First, take a clean, dry 100 ml test tube from the rack. Next, add 50 ml of distilled water.” You should be reporting what did happen, not telling the reader how to perform the experiment: “50 ml of distilled water was poured into a clean, dry 100 ml test tube.” Hint: most of the time, the recipe approach comes from copying down the steps of the procedure from your lab manual, so you may want to draft the Methods section initially without consulting your manual. Later, of course, you can go back and fill in any part of the procedure you inadvertently overlooked.
  • Past tense: Remember that you’re describing what happened, so you should use past tense to refer to everything you did during the experiment. Writers are often tempted to use the imperative (“Add 5 g of the solid to the solution”) because that’s how their lab manuals are worded; less frequently, they use present tense (“5 g of the solid are added to the solution”). Instead, remember that you’re talking about an event which happened at a particular time in the past, and which has already ended by the time you start writing, so simple past tense will be appropriate in this section (“5 g of the solid were added to the solution” or “We added 5 g of the solid to the solution”).
  • Active: We heated the solution to 80°C. (The subject, “we,” performs the action, heating.)
  • Passive: The solution was heated to 80°C. (The subject, “solution,” doesn’t do the heating–it is acted upon, not acting.)

Increasingly, especially in the social sciences, using first person and active voice is acceptable in scientific reports. Most readers find that this style of writing conveys information more clearly and concisely. This rhetorical choice thus brings two scientific values into conflict: objectivity versus clarity. Since the scientific community hasn’t reached a consensus about which style it prefers, you may want to ask your lab instructor.

How do I write a strong Results section?

Here’s a paradox for you. The Results section is often both the shortest (yay!) and most important (uh-oh!) part of your report. Your Materials and Methods section shows how you obtained the results, and your Discussion section explores the significance of the results, so clearly the Results section forms the backbone of the lab report. This section provides the most critical information about your experiment: the data that allow you to discuss how your hypothesis was or wasn’t supported. But it doesn’t provide anything else, which explains why this section is generally shorter than the others.

Before you write this section, look at all the data you collected to figure out what relates significantly to your hypothesis. You’ll want to highlight this material in your Results section. Resist the urge to include every bit of data you collected, since perhaps not all are relevant. Also, don’t try to draw conclusions about the results—save them for the Discussion section. In this section, you’re reporting facts. Nothing your readers can dispute should appear in the Results section.

Most Results sections feature three distinct parts: text, tables, and figures. Let’s consider each part one at a time.

This should be a short paragraph, generally just a few lines, that describes the results you obtained from your experiment. In a relatively simple experiment, one that doesn’t produce a lot of data for you to repeat, the text can represent the entire Results section. Don’t feel that you need to include lots of extraneous detail to compensate for a short (but effective) text; your readers appreciate discrimination more than your ability to recite facts. In a more complex experiment, you may want to use tables and/or figures to help guide your readers toward the most important information you gathered. In that event, you’ll need to refer to each table or figure directly, where appropriate:

“Table 1 lists the rates of solubility for each substance”

“Solubility increased as the temperature of the solution increased (see Figure 1).”

If you do use tables or figures, make sure that you don’t present the same material in both the text and the tables/figures, since in essence you’ll just repeat yourself, probably annoying your readers with the redundancy of your statements.

Feel free to describe trends that emerge as you examine the data. Although identifying trends requires some judgment on your part and so may not feel like factual reporting, no one can deny that these trends do exist, and so they properly belong in the Results section. Example:

“Heating the solution increased the rate of solubility of polar solids by 45% but had no effect on the rate of solubility in solutions containing non-polar solids.”

This point isn’t debatable—you’re just pointing out what the data show.

As in the Materials and Methods section, you want to refer to your data in the past tense, because the events you recorded have already occurred and have finished occurring. In the example above, note the use of “increased” and “had,” rather than “increases” and “has.” (You don’t know from your experiment that heating always increases the solubility of polar solids, but it did that time.)

You shouldn’t put information in the table that also appears in the text. You also shouldn’t use a table to present irrelevant data, just to show you did collect these data during the experiment. Tables are good for some purposes and situations, but not others, so whether and how you’ll use tables depends upon what you need them to accomplish.

Tables are useful ways to show variation in data, but not to present a great deal of unchanging measurements. If you’re dealing with a scientific phenomenon that occurs only within a certain range of temperatures, for example, you don’t need to use a table to show that the phenomenon didn’t occur at any of the other temperatures. How useful is this table?

A table labeled Effect of Temperature on Rate of Solubility with temperature of solvent values in 10-degree increments from -20 degrees Celsius to 80 degrees Celsius that does not show a corresponding rate of solubility value until 50 degrees Celsius.

As you can probably see, no solubility was observed until the trial temperature reached 50°C, a fact that the text part of the Results section could easily convey. The table could then be limited to what happened at 50°C and higher, thus better illustrating the differences in solubility rates when solubility did occur.

As a rule, try not to use a table to describe any experimental event you can cover in one sentence of text. Here’s an example of an unnecessary table from How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper , by Robert A. Day:

A table labeled Oxygen requirements of various species of Streptomyces showing the names of organisms and two columns that indicate growth under aerobic conditions and growth under anaerobic conditions with a plus or minus symbol for each organism in the growth columns to indicate value.

As Day notes, all the information in this table can be summarized in one sentence: “S. griseus, S. coelicolor, S. everycolor, and S. rainbowenski grew under aerobic conditions, whereas S. nocolor and S. greenicus required anaerobic conditions.” Most readers won’t find the table clearer than that one sentence.

When you do have reason to tabulate material, pay attention to the clarity and readability of the format you use. Here are a few tips:

  • Number your table. Then, when you refer to the table in the text, use that number to tell your readers which table they can review to clarify the material.
  • Give your table a title. This title should be descriptive enough to communicate the contents of the table, but not so long that it becomes difficult to follow. The titles in the sample tables above are acceptable.
  • Arrange your table so that readers read vertically, not horizontally. For the most part, this rule means that you should construct your table so that like elements read down, not across. Think about what you want your readers to compare, and put that information in the column (up and down) rather than in the row (across). Usually, the point of comparison will be the numerical data you collect, so especially make sure you have columns of numbers, not rows.Here’s an example of how drastically this decision affects the readability of your table (from A Short Guide to Writing about Chemistry , by Herbert Beall and John Trimbur). Look at this table, which presents the relevant data in horizontal rows:

A table labeled Boyle's Law Experiment: Measuring Volume as a Function of Pressure that presents the trial number, length of air sample in millimeters, and height difference in inches of mercury, each of which is presented in rows horizontally.

It’s a little tough to see the trends that the author presumably wants to present in this table. Compare this table, in which the data appear vertically:

A table labeled Boyle's Law Experiment: Measuring Volume as a Function of Pressure that presents the trial number, length of air sample in millimeters, and height difference in inches of mercury, each of which is presented in columns vertically.

The second table shows how putting like elements in a vertical column makes for easier reading. In this case, the like elements are the measurements of length and height, over five trials–not, as in the first table, the length and height measurements for each trial.

  • Make sure to include units of measurement in the tables. Readers might be able to guess that you measured something in millimeters, but don’t make them try.
  • Don’t use vertical lines as part of the format for your table. This convention exists because journals prefer not to have to reproduce these lines because the tables then become more expensive to print. Even though it’s fairly unlikely that you’ll be sending your Biology 11 lab report to Science for publication, your readers still have this expectation. Consequently, if you use the table-drawing option in your word-processing software, choose the option that doesn’t rely on a “grid” format (which includes vertical lines).

How do I include figures in my report?

Although tables can be useful ways of showing trends in the results you obtained, figures (i.e., illustrations) can do an even better job of emphasizing such trends. Lab report writers often use graphic representations of the data they collected to provide their readers with a literal picture of how the experiment went.

When should you use a figure?

Remember the circumstances under which you don’t need a table: when you don’t have a great deal of data or when the data you have don’t vary a lot. Under the same conditions, you would probably forgo the figure as well, since the figure would be unlikely to provide your readers with an additional perspective. Scientists really don’t like their time wasted, so they tend not to respond favorably to redundancy.

If you’re trying to decide between using a table and creating a figure to present your material, consider the following a rule of thumb. The strength of a table lies in its ability to supply large amounts of exact data, whereas the strength of a figure is its dramatic illustration of important trends within the experiment. If you feel that your readers won’t get the full impact of the results you obtained just by looking at the numbers, then a figure might be appropriate.

Of course, an undergraduate class may expect you to create a figure for your lab experiment, if only to make sure that you can do so effectively. If this is the case, then don’t worry about whether to use figures or not—concentrate instead on how best to accomplish your task.

Figures can include maps, photographs, pen-and-ink drawings, flow charts, bar graphs, and section graphs (“pie charts”). But the most common figure by far, especially for undergraduates, is the line graph, so we’ll focus on that type in this handout.

At the undergraduate level, you can often draw and label your graphs by hand, provided that the result is clear, legible, and drawn to scale. Computer technology has, however, made creating line graphs a lot easier. Most word-processing software has a number of functions for transferring data into graph form; many scientists have found Microsoft Excel, for example, a helpful tool in graphing results. If you plan on pursuing a career in the sciences, it may be well worth your while to learn to use a similar program.

Computers can’t, however, decide for you how your graph really works; you have to know how to design your graph to meet your readers’ expectations. Here are some of these expectations:

  • Keep it as simple as possible. You may be tempted to signal the complexity of the information you gathered by trying to design a graph that accounts for that complexity. But remember the purpose of your graph: to dramatize your results in a manner that’s easy to see and grasp. Try not to make the reader stare at the graph for a half hour to find the important line among the mass of other lines. For maximum effectiveness, limit yourself to three to five lines per graph; if you have more data to demonstrate, use a set of graphs to account for it, rather than trying to cram it all into a single figure.
  • Plot the independent variable on the horizontal (x) axis and the dependent variable on the vertical (y) axis. Remember that the independent variable is the condition that you manipulated during the experiment and the dependent variable is the condition that you measured to see if it changed along with the independent variable. Placing the variables along their respective axes is mostly just a convention, but since your readers are accustomed to viewing graphs in this way, you’re better off not challenging the convention in your report.
  • Label each axis carefully, and be especially careful to include units of measure. You need to make sure that your readers understand perfectly well what your graph indicates.
  • Number and title your graphs. As with tables, the title of the graph should be informative but concise, and you should refer to your graph by number in the text (e.g., “Figure 1 shows the increase in the solubility rate as a function of temperature”).
  • Many editors of professional scientific journals prefer that writers distinguish the lines in their graphs by attaching a symbol to them, usually a geometric shape (triangle, square, etc.), and using that symbol throughout the curve of the line. Generally, readers have a hard time distinguishing dotted lines from dot-dash lines from straight lines, so you should consider staying away from this system. Editors don’t usually like different-colored lines within a graph because colors are difficult and expensive to reproduce; colors may, however, be great for your purposes, as long as you’re not planning to submit your paper to Nature. Use your discretion—try to employ whichever technique dramatizes the results most effectively.
  • Try to gather data at regular intervals, so the plot points on your graph aren’t too far apart. You can’t be sure of the arc you should draw between the plot points if the points are located at the far corners of the graph; over a fifteen-minute interval, perhaps the change occurred in the first or last thirty seconds of that period (in which case your straight-line connection between the points is misleading).
  • If you’re worried that you didn’t collect data at sufficiently regular intervals during your experiment, go ahead and connect the points with a straight line, but you may want to examine this problem as part of your Discussion section.
  • Make your graph large enough so that everything is legible and clearly demarcated, but not so large that it either overwhelms the rest of the Results section or provides a far greater range than you need to illustrate your point. If, for example, the seedlings of your plant grew only 15 mm during the trial, you don’t need to construct a graph that accounts for 100 mm of growth. The lines in your graph should more or less fill the space created by the axes; if you see that your data is confined to the lower left portion of the graph, you should probably re-adjust your scale.
  • If you create a set of graphs, make them the same size and format, including all the verbal and visual codes (captions, symbols, scale, etc.). You want to be as consistent as possible in your illustrations, so that your readers can easily make the comparisons you’re trying to get them to see.

How do I write a strong Discussion section?

The discussion section is probably the least formalized part of the report, in that you can’t really apply the same structure to every type of experiment. In simple terms, here you tell your readers what to make of the Results you obtained. If you have done the Results part well, your readers should already recognize the trends in the data and have a fairly clear idea of whether your hypothesis was supported. Because the Results can seem so self-explanatory, many students find it difficult to know what material to add in this last section.

Basically, the Discussion contains several parts, in no particular order, but roughly moving from specific (i.e., related to your experiment only) to general (how your findings fit in the larger scientific community). In this section, you will, as a rule, need to:

Explain whether the data support your hypothesis

  • Acknowledge any anomalous data or deviations from what you expected

Derive conclusions, based on your findings, about the process you’re studying

  • Relate your findings to earlier work in the same area (if you can)

Explore the theoretical and/or practical implications of your findings

Let’s look at some dos and don’ts for each of these objectives.

This statement is usually a good way to begin the Discussion, since you can’t effectively speak about the larger scientific value of your study until you’ve figured out the particulars of this experiment. You might begin this part of the Discussion by explicitly stating the relationships or correlations your data indicate between the independent and dependent variables. Then you can show more clearly why you believe your hypothesis was or was not supported. For example, if you tested solubility at various temperatures, you could start this section by noting that the rates of solubility increased as the temperature increased. If your initial hypothesis surmised that temperature change would not affect solubility, you would then say something like,

“The hypothesis that temperature change would not affect solubility was not supported by the data.”

Note: Students tend to view labs as practical tests of undeniable scientific truths. As a result, you may want to say that the hypothesis was “proved” or “disproved” or that it was “correct” or “incorrect.” These terms, however, reflect a degree of certainty that you as a scientist aren’t supposed to have. Remember, you’re testing a theory with a procedure that lasts only a few hours and relies on only a few trials, which severely compromises your ability to be sure about the “truth” you see. Words like “supported,” “indicated,” and “suggested” are more acceptable ways to evaluate your hypothesis.

Also, recognize that saying whether the data supported your hypothesis or not involves making a claim to be defended. As such, you need to show the readers that this claim is warranted by the evidence. Make sure that you’re very explicit about the relationship between the evidence and the conclusions you draw from it. This process is difficult for many writers because we don’t often justify conclusions in our regular lives. For example, you might nudge your friend at a party and whisper, “That guy’s drunk,” and once your friend lays eyes on the person in question, she might readily agree. In a scientific paper, by contrast, you would need to defend your claim more thoroughly by pointing to data such as slurred words, unsteady gait, and the lampshade-as-hat. In addition to pointing out these details, you would also need to show how (according to previous studies) these signs are consistent with inebriation, especially if they occur in conjunction with one another. To put it another way, tell your readers exactly how you got from point A (was the hypothesis supported?) to point B (yes/no).

Acknowledge any anomalous data, or deviations from what you expected

You need to take these exceptions and divergences into account, so that you qualify your conclusions sufficiently. For obvious reasons, your readers will doubt your authority if you (deliberately or inadvertently) overlook a key piece of data that doesn’t square with your perspective on what occurred. In a more philosophical sense, once you’ve ignored evidence that contradicts your claims, you’ve departed from the scientific method. The urge to “tidy up” the experiment is often strong, but if you give in to it you’re no longer performing good science.

Sometimes after you’ve performed a study or experiment, you realize that some part of the methods you used to test your hypothesis was flawed. In that case, it’s OK to suggest that if you had the chance to conduct your test again, you might change the design in this or that specific way in order to avoid such and such a problem. The key to making this approach work, though, is to be very precise about the weakness in your experiment, why and how you think that weakness might have affected your data, and how you would alter your protocol to eliminate—or limit the effects of—that weakness. Often, inexperienced researchers and writers feel the need to account for “wrong” data (remember, there’s no such animal), and so they speculate wildly about what might have screwed things up. These speculations include such factors as the unusually hot temperature in the room, or the possibility that their lab partners read the meters wrong, or the potentially defective equipment. These explanations are what scientists call “cop-outs,” or “lame”; don’t indicate that the experiment had a weakness unless you’re fairly certain that a) it really occurred and b) you can explain reasonably well how that weakness affected your results.

If, for example, your hypothesis dealt with the changes in solubility at different temperatures, then try to figure out what you can rationally say about the process of solubility more generally. If you’re doing an undergraduate lab, chances are that the lab will connect in some way to the material you’ve been covering either in lecture or in your reading, so you might choose to return to these resources as a way to help you think clearly about the process as a whole.

This part of the Discussion section is another place where you need to make sure that you’re not overreaching. Again, nothing you’ve found in one study would remotely allow you to claim that you now “know” something, or that something isn’t “true,” or that your experiment “confirmed” some principle or other. Hesitate before you go out on a limb—it’s dangerous! Use less absolutely conclusive language, including such words as “suggest,” “indicate,” “correspond,” “possibly,” “challenge,” etc.

Relate your findings to previous work in the field (if possible)

We’ve been talking about how to show that you belong in a particular community (such as biologists or anthropologists) by writing within conventions that they recognize and accept. Another is to try to identify a conversation going on among members of that community, and use your work to contribute to that conversation. In a larger philosophical sense, scientists can’t fully understand the value of their research unless they have some sense of the context that provoked and nourished it. That is, you have to recognize what’s new about your project (potentially, anyway) and how it benefits the wider body of scientific knowledge. On a more pragmatic level, especially for undergraduates, connecting your lab work to previous research will demonstrate to the TA that you see the big picture. You have an opportunity, in the Discussion section, to distinguish yourself from the students in your class who aren’t thinking beyond the barest facts of the study. Capitalize on this opportunity by putting your own work in context.

If you’re just beginning to work in the natural sciences (as a first-year biology or chemistry student, say), most likely the work you’ll be doing has already been performed and re-performed to a satisfactory degree. Hence, you could probably point to a similar experiment or study and compare/contrast your results and conclusions. More advanced work may deal with an issue that is somewhat less “resolved,” and so previous research may take the form of an ongoing debate, and you can use your own work to weigh in on that debate. If, for example, researchers are hotly disputing the value of herbal remedies for the common cold, and the results of your study suggest that Echinacea diminishes the symptoms but not the actual presence of the cold, then you might want to take some time in the Discussion section to recapitulate the specifics of the dispute as it relates to Echinacea as an herbal remedy. (Consider that you have probably already written in the Introduction about this debate as background research.)

This information is often the best way to end your Discussion (and, for all intents and purposes, the report). In argumentative writing generally, you want to use your closing words to convey the main point of your writing. This main point can be primarily theoretical (“Now that you understand this information, you’re in a better position to understand this larger issue”) or primarily practical (“You can use this information to take such and such an action”). In either case, the concluding statements help the reader to comprehend the significance of your project and your decision to write about it.

Since a lab report is argumentative—after all, you’re investigating a claim, and judging the legitimacy of that claim by generating and collecting evidence—it’s often a good idea to end your report with the same technique for establishing your main point. If you want to go the theoretical route, you might talk about the consequences your study has for the field or phenomenon you’re investigating. To return to the examples regarding solubility, you could end by reflecting on what your work on solubility as a function of temperature tells us (potentially) about solubility in general. (Some folks consider this type of exploration “pure” as opposed to “applied” science, although these labels can be problematic.) If you want to go the practical route, you could end by speculating about the medical, institutional, or commercial implications of your findings—in other words, answer the question, “What can this study help people to do?” In either case, you’re going to make your readers’ experience more satisfying, by helping them see why they spent their time learning what you had to teach them.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

American Psychological Association. 2010. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . 6th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Beall, Herbert, and John Trimbur. 2001. A Short Guide to Writing About Chemistry , 2nd ed. New York: Longman.

Blum, Deborah, and Mary Knudson. 1997. A Field Guide for Science Writers: The Official Guide of the National Association of Science Writers . New York: Oxford University Press.

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. FitzGerald. 2016. The Craft of Research , 4th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Briscoe, Mary Helen. 1996. Preparing Scientific Illustrations: A Guide to Better Posters, Presentations, and Publications , 2nd ed. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Council of Science Editors. 2014. Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers , 8th ed. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press.

Davis, Martha. 2012. Scientific Papers and Presentations , 3rd ed. London: Academic Press.

Day, Robert A. 1994. How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper , 4th ed. Phoenix: Oryx Press.

Porush, David. 1995. A Short Guide to Writing About Science . New York: Longman.

Williams, Joseph, and Joseph Bizup. 2017. Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace , 12th ed. Boston: Pearson.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Research Method

Home » Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

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Research Paper

Research Paper


Research Paper is a written document that presents the author’s original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue.

It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new knowledge or insights to a particular field of study, and to demonstrate the author’s understanding of the existing literature and theories related to the topic.

Structure of Research Paper

The structure of a research paper typically follows a standard format, consisting of several sections that convey specific information about the research study. The following is a detailed explanation of the structure of a research paper:

The title page contains the title of the paper, the name(s) of the author(s), and the affiliation(s) of the author(s). It also includes the date of submission and possibly, the name of the journal or conference where the paper is to be published.

The abstract is a brief summary of the research paper, typically ranging from 100 to 250 words. It should include the research question, the methods used, the key findings, and the implications of the results. The abstract should be written in a concise and clear manner to allow readers to quickly grasp the essence of the research.


The introduction section of a research paper provides background information about the research problem, the research question, and the research objectives. It also outlines the significance of the research, the research gap that it aims to fill, and the approach taken to address the research question. Finally, the introduction section ends with a clear statement of the research hypothesis or research question.

Literature Review

The literature review section of a research paper provides an overview of the existing literature on the topic of study. It includes a critical analysis and synthesis of the literature, highlighting the key concepts, themes, and debates. The literature review should also demonstrate the research gap and how the current study seeks to address it.

The methods section of a research paper describes the research design, the sample selection, the data collection and analysis procedures, and the statistical methods used to analyze the data. This section should provide sufficient detail for other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the research, using tables, graphs, and figures to illustrate the data. The findings should be presented in a clear and concise manner, with reference to the research question and hypothesis.

The discussion section of a research paper interprets the findings and discusses their implications for the research question, the literature review, and the field of study. It should also address the limitations of the study and suggest future research directions.

The conclusion section summarizes the main findings of the study, restates the research question and hypothesis, and provides a final reflection on the significance of the research.

The references section provides a list of all the sources cited in the paper, following a specific citation style such as APA, MLA or Chicago.

How to Write Research Paper

You can write Research Paper by the following guide:

  • Choose a Topic: The first step is to select a topic that interests you and is relevant to your field of study. Brainstorm ideas and narrow down to a research question that is specific and researchable.
  • Conduct a Literature Review: The literature review helps you identify the gap in the existing research and provides a basis for your research question. It also helps you to develop a theoretical framework and research hypothesis.
  • Develop a Thesis Statement : The thesis statement is the main argument of your research paper. It should be clear, concise and specific to your research question.
  • Plan your Research: Develop a research plan that outlines the methods, data sources, and data analysis procedures. This will help you to collect and analyze data effectively.
  • Collect and Analyze Data: Collect data using various methods such as surveys, interviews, observations, or experiments. Analyze data using statistical tools or other qualitative methods.
  • Organize your Paper : Organize your paper into sections such as Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. Ensure that each section is coherent and follows a logical flow.
  • Write your Paper : Start by writing the introduction, followed by the literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. Ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and follows the required formatting and citation styles.
  • Edit and Proofread your Paper: Review your paper for grammar and spelling errors, and ensure that it is well-structured and easy to read. Ask someone else to review your paper to get feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  • Cite your Sources: Ensure that you properly cite all sources used in your research paper. This is essential for giving credit to the original authors and avoiding plagiarism.

Research Paper Example

Note : The below example research paper is for illustrative purposes only and is not an actual research paper. Actual research papers may have different structures, contents, and formats depending on the field of study, research question, data collection and analysis methods, and other factors. Students should always consult with their professors or supervisors for specific guidelines and expectations for their research papers.

Research Paper Example sample for Students:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health among Young Adults

Abstract: This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults. A literature review was conducted to examine the existing research on the topic. A survey was then administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Introduction: Social media has become an integral part of modern life, particularly among young adults. While social media has many benefits, including increased communication and social connectivity, it has also been associated with negative outcomes, such as addiction, cyberbullying, and mental health problems. This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults.

Literature Review: The literature review highlights the existing research on the impact of social media use on mental health. The review shows that social media use is associated with depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health problems. The review also identifies the factors that contribute to the negative impact of social media, including social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Methods : A survey was administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The survey included questions on social media use, mental health status (measured using the DASS-21), and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis.

Results : The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Discussion : The study’s findings suggest that social media use has a negative impact on the mental health of young adults. The study highlights the need for interventions that address the factors contributing to the negative impact of social media, such as social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Conclusion : In conclusion, social media use has a significant impact on the mental health of young adults. The study’s findings underscore the need for interventions that promote healthy social media use and address the negative outcomes associated with social media use. Future research can explore the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health. Additionally, longitudinal studies can investigate the long-term effects of social media use on mental health.

Limitations : The study has some limitations, including the use of self-report measures and a cross-sectional design. The use of self-report measures may result in biased responses, and a cross-sectional design limits the ability to establish causality.

Implications: The study’s findings have implications for mental health professionals, educators, and policymakers. Mental health professionals can use the findings to develop interventions that address the negative impact of social media use on mental health. Educators can incorporate social media literacy into their curriculum to promote healthy social media use among young adults. Policymakers can use the findings to develop policies that protect young adults from the negative outcomes associated with social media use.

References :

  • Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2019). Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Preventive medicine reports, 15, 100918.
  • Primack, B. A., Shensa, A., Escobar-Viera, C. G., Barrett, E. L., Sidani, J. E., Colditz, J. B., … & James, A. E. (2017). Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: A nationally-representative study among US young adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 1-9.
  • Van der Meer, T. G., & Verhoeven, J. W. (2017). Social media and its impact on academic performance of students. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 16, 383-398.

Appendix : The survey used in this study is provided below.

Social Media and Mental Health Survey

  • How often do you use social media per day?
  • Less than 30 minutes
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • 1 to 2 hours
  • 2 to 4 hours
  • More than 4 hours
  • Which social media platforms do you use?
  • Others (Please specify)
  • How often do you experience the following on social media?
  • Social comparison (comparing yourself to others)
  • Cyberbullying
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
  • Have you ever experienced any of the following mental health problems in the past month?
  • Do you think social media use has a positive or negative impact on your mental health?
  • Very positive
  • Somewhat positive
  • Somewhat negative
  • Very negative
  • In your opinion, which factors contribute to the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Social comparison
  • In your opinion, what interventions could be effective in reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Education on healthy social media use
  • Counseling for mental health problems caused by social media
  • Social media detox programs
  • Regulation of social media use

Thank you for your participation!

Applications of Research Paper

Research papers have several applications in various fields, including:

  • Advancing knowledge: Research papers contribute to the advancement of knowledge by generating new insights, theories, and findings that can inform future research and practice. They help to answer important questions, clarify existing knowledge, and identify areas that require further investigation.
  • Informing policy: Research papers can inform policy decisions by providing evidence-based recommendations for policymakers. They can help to identify gaps in current policies, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and inform the development of new policies and regulations.
  • Improving practice: Research papers can improve practice by providing evidence-based guidance for professionals in various fields, including medicine, education, business, and psychology. They can inform the development of best practices, guidelines, and standards of care that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • Educating students : Research papers are often used as teaching tools in universities and colleges to educate students about research methods, data analysis, and academic writing. They help students to develop critical thinking skills, research skills, and communication skills that are essential for success in many careers.
  • Fostering collaboration: Research papers can foster collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers by providing a platform for sharing knowledge and ideas. They can facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships that can lead to innovative solutions to complex problems.

When to Write Research Paper

Research papers are typically written when a person has completed a research project or when they have conducted a study and have obtained data or findings that they want to share with the academic or professional community. Research papers are usually written in academic settings, such as universities, but they can also be written in professional settings, such as research organizations, government agencies, or private companies.

Here are some common situations where a person might need to write a research paper:

  • For academic purposes: Students in universities and colleges are often required to write research papers as part of their coursework, particularly in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Writing research papers helps students to develop research skills, critical thinking skills, and academic writing skills.
  • For publication: Researchers often write research papers to publish their findings in academic journals or to present their work at academic conferences. Publishing research papers is an important way to disseminate research findings to the academic community and to establish oneself as an expert in a particular field.
  • To inform policy or practice : Researchers may write research papers to inform policy decisions or to improve practice in various fields. Research findings can be used to inform the development of policies, guidelines, and best practices that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • To share new insights or ideas: Researchers may write research papers to share new insights or ideas with the academic or professional community. They may present new theories, propose new research methods, or challenge existing paradigms in their field.

Purpose of Research Paper

The purpose of a research paper is to present the results of a study or investigation in a clear, concise, and structured manner. Research papers are written to communicate new knowledge, ideas, or findings to a specific audience, such as researchers, scholars, practitioners, or policymakers. The primary purposes of a research paper are:

  • To contribute to the body of knowledge : Research papers aim to add new knowledge or insights to a particular field or discipline. They do this by reporting the results of empirical studies, reviewing and synthesizing existing literature, proposing new theories, or providing new perspectives on a topic.
  • To inform or persuade: Research papers are written to inform or persuade the reader about a particular issue, topic, or phenomenon. They present evidence and arguments to support their claims and seek to persuade the reader of the validity of their findings or recommendations.
  • To advance the field: Research papers seek to advance the field or discipline by identifying gaps in knowledge, proposing new research questions or approaches, or challenging existing assumptions or paradigms. They aim to contribute to ongoing debates and discussions within a field and to stimulate further research and inquiry.
  • To demonstrate research skills: Research papers demonstrate the author’s research skills, including their ability to design and conduct a study, collect and analyze data, and interpret and communicate findings. They also demonstrate the author’s ability to critically evaluate existing literature, synthesize information from multiple sources, and write in a clear and structured manner.

Characteristics of Research Paper

Research papers have several characteristics that distinguish them from other forms of academic or professional writing. Here are some common characteristics of research papers:

  • Evidence-based: Research papers are based on empirical evidence, which is collected through rigorous research methods such as experiments, surveys, observations, or interviews. They rely on objective data and facts to support their claims and conclusions.
  • Structured and organized: Research papers have a clear and logical structure, with sections such as introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. They are organized in a way that helps the reader to follow the argument and understand the findings.
  • Formal and objective: Research papers are written in a formal and objective tone, with an emphasis on clarity, precision, and accuracy. They avoid subjective language or personal opinions and instead rely on objective data and analysis to support their arguments.
  • Citations and references: Research papers include citations and references to acknowledge the sources of information and ideas used in the paper. They use a specific citation style, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Peer-reviewed: Research papers are often peer-reviewed, which means they are evaluated by other experts in the field before they are published. Peer-review ensures that the research is of high quality, meets ethical standards, and contributes to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Objective and unbiased: Research papers strive to be objective and unbiased in their presentation of the findings. They avoid personal biases or preconceptions and instead rely on the data and analysis to draw conclusions.

Advantages of Research Paper

Research papers have many advantages, both for the individual researcher and for the broader academic and professional community. Here are some advantages of research papers:

  • Contribution to knowledge: Research papers contribute to the body of knowledge in a particular field or discipline. They add new information, insights, and perspectives to existing literature and help advance the understanding of a particular phenomenon or issue.
  • Opportunity for intellectual growth: Research papers provide an opportunity for intellectual growth for the researcher. They require critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, which can help develop the researcher’s skills and knowledge.
  • Career advancement: Research papers can help advance the researcher’s career by demonstrating their expertise and contributions to the field. They can also lead to new research opportunities, collaborations, and funding.
  • Academic recognition: Research papers can lead to academic recognition in the form of awards, grants, or invitations to speak at conferences or events. They can also contribute to the researcher’s reputation and standing in the field.
  • Impact on policy and practice: Research papers can have a significant impact on policy and practice. They can inform policy decisions, guide practice, and lead to changes in laws, regulations, or procedures.
  • Advancement of society: Research papers can contribute to the advancement of society by addressing important issues, identifying solutions to problems, and promoting social justice and equality.

Limitations of Research Paper

Research papers also have some limitations that should be considered when interpreting their findings or implications. Here are some common limitations of research papers:

  • Limited generalizability: Research findings may not be generalizable to other populations, settings, or contexts. Studies often use specific samples or conditions that may not reflect the broader population or real-world situations.
  • Potential for bias : Research papers may be biased due to factors such as sample selection, measurement errors, or researcher biases. It is important to evaluate the quality of the research design and methods used to ensure that the findings are valid and reliable.
  • Ethical concerns: Research papers may raise ethical concerns, such as the use of vulnerable populations or invasive procedures. Researchers must adhere to ethical guidelines and obtain informed consent from participants to ensure that the research is conducted in a responsible and respectful manner.
  • Limitations of methodology: Research papers may be limited by the methodology used to collect and analyze data. For example, certain research methods may not capture the complexity or nuance of a particular phenomenon, or may not be appropriate for certain research questions.
  • Publication bias: Research papers may be subject to publication bias, where positive or significant findings are more likely to be published than negative or non-significant findings. This can skew the overall findings of a particular area of research.
  • Time and resource constraints: Research papers may be limited by time and resource constraints, which can affect the quality and scope of the research. Researchers may not have access to certain data or resources, or may be unable to conduct long-term studies due to practical limitations.

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  • Writing a Research Report

.pdf version of this page

This review covers the basic elements of a research report. This is a general guide for what you will see in journal articles or dissertations. This format assumes a mixed methods study, but you can leave out either quantitative or qualitative sections if you only used a single methodology.

This review is divided into sections for easy reference. There are five MAJOR parts of a Research Report:

1.    Introduction 2.    Review of Literature 3.    Methods 4.    Results 5.    Discussion

As a general guide, the Introduction, Review of Literature, and Methods should be about 1/3 of your paper, Discussion 1/3, then Results 1/3.

Section 1 : Cover Sheet (APA format cover sheet) optional, if required.

Section 2: Abstract (a basic summary of the report, including sample, treatment, design, results, and implications) (≤ 150 words) optional, if required.

Section 3 : Introduction (1-3 paragraphs) •    Basic introduction •    Supportive statistics (can be from periodicals) •    Statement of Purpose •    Statement of Significance

Section 4 : Research question(s) or hypotheses •    An overall research question (optional) •    A quantitative-based (hypotheses) •    A qualitative-based (research questions) Note: You will generally have more than one, especially if using hypotheses.

Section 5: Review of Literature ▪    Should be organized by subheadings ▪    Should adequately support your study using supporting, related, and/or refuting evidence ▪    Is a synthesis, not a collection of individual summaries

Section 6: Methods ▪    Procedure: Describe data gathering or participant recruitment, including IRB approval ▪    Sample: Describe the sample or dataset, including basic demographics ▪    Setting: Describe the setting, if applicable (generally only in qualitative designs) ▪    Treatment: If applicable, describe, in detail, how you implemented the treatment ▪    Instrument: Describe, in detail, how you implemented the instrument; Describe the reliability and validity associated with the instrument ▪    Data Analysis: Describe type of procedure (t-test, interviews, etc.) and software (if used)

Section 7: Results ▪    Restate Research Question 1 (Quantitative) ▪    Describe results ▪    Restate Research Question 2 (Qualitative) ▪    Describe results

Section 8: Discussion ▪    Restate Overall Research Question ▪    Describe how the results, when taken together, answer the overall question ▪    ***Describe how the results confirm or contrast the literature you reviewed

Section 9: Recommendations (if applicable, generally related to practice)

Section 10: Limitations ▪    Discuss, in several sentences, the limitations of this study. ▪    Research Design (overall, then info about the limitations of each separately) ▪    Sample ▪    Instrument/s ▪    Other limitations

Section 11: Conclusion (A brief closing summary)

Section 12: References (APA format)

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About research rundowns.

Research Rundowns was made possible by support from the Dewar College of Education at Valdosta State University .

  • Experimental Design
  • What is Educational Research?
  • Writing Research Questions
  • Mixed Methods Research Designs
  • Qualitative Coding & Analysis
  • Qualitative Research Design
  • Correlation
  • Effect Size
  • Instrument, Validity, Reliability
  • Mean & Standard Deviation
  • Significance Testing (t-tests)
  • Steps 1-4: Finding Research
  • Steps 5-6: Analyzing & Organizing
  • Steps 7-9: Citing & Writing

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Effective research assignments: home, communicate your expectations.

  • Assess the quality of the sources your students cite as part of their overall grades, and explain clearly in your rubric how that evaluation will be made.
  • Spell out your expectations regarding sources. Instead of asking for scholarly sources, for example, you could ask your students to "cite at least two peer-reviewed journal articles and two primary sources".
  • Explain terminology and provide background regarding scholarly publishing. What’s peer-review? What are some differences between scholarly books and journal articles? When should one consult popular news sources? What’s a primary source?
  • Clearly communicate which style manual is required.
  • Include a policy on plagiarism in the assignment and discuss the purposes of proper attribution. Discuss examples: does paraphrasing another author’s ideas require a citation?
  • Provide examples of topics that are appropriate in scope for the assignment at hand, and provide feedback to individual students as they begin to develop and refine their topics.

Design and test your assignment An effective research assignment targets specific skills, for example, the ability to trace a scholarly argument through the literature or the ability to organize consulted resources into a bibliography.

  • Test the assignment yourself. Can you find the kinds of sources required? Are you required to evaluate the sources you find?
  • Ask students for feedback on the assignment. Are they having problems finding relevant materials? Do they understand your expectations?
  • If the assignment is particularly demanding, consider dividing a single research project into multiple assignments (outline, draft, final draft), each one focusing on a different aspect of the research process.

Ideas for alternative research assignments

  • Assign an annotated bibliography in which students identify primary and secondary sources, popular and scholarly publications, and detect and comment on forms of bias.
  • Ask for students to document the search tools they use (library catalog, article databases, Google, etc.) for a research paper and to reflect on the kinds of information they find in each.
  • Provide a resource list or a single source from which students’ research should begin. Discuss the utility of known sources for identifying keywords, key concepts, and other citations to inform further searching.
  • Assign students to prepare a guide for introducing their classmates to the essential literature on a given topic.
  • Have students compile a glossary of important terms specific to a given topic in your discipline.
  • Require students to edit an anthology of important scholarship on a specific topic and write an introduction explaining the development of the field over time.

Avoid these common mistakes

  • Since many scholarly sources are available online, it can be confusing for students when “Internet” or “Web” sources are forbidden. It’s helpful to describe why certain sources (such as Wikipedia) may not be allowed.
  • Make sure the resources required by the assignment are available to your students in the library or in library databases. 
  • Last Updated: May 20, 2024 1:05 PM
  • URL: https://guides.lib.berkeley.edu/effective-research-assignments

research report assignment

How To Write A Research Paper

Step-By-Step Tutorial With Examples + FREE Template

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Expert Reviewer: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | March 2024

For many students, crafting a strong research paper from scratch can feel like a daunting task – and rightly so! In this post, we’ll unpack what a research paper is, what it needs to do , and how to write one – in three easy steps. 🙂 

Overview: Writing A Research Paper

What (exactly) is a research paper.

  • How to write a research paper
  • Stage 1 : Topic & literature search
  • Stage 2 : Structure & outline
  • Stage 3 : Iterative writing
  • Key takeaways

Let’s start by asking the most important question, “ What is a research paper? ”.

Simply put, a research paper is a scholarly written work where the writer (that’s you!) answers a specific question (this is called a research question ) through evidence-based arguments . Evidence-based is the keyword here. In other words, a research paper is different from an essay or other writing assignments that draw from the writer’s personal opinions or experiences. With a research paper, it’s all about building your arguments based on evidence (we’ll talk more about that evidence a little later).

Now, it’s worth noting that there are many different types of research papers , including analytical papers (the type I just described), argumentative papers, and interpretative papers. Here, we’ll focus on analytical papers , as these are some of the most common – but if you’re keen to learn about other types of research papers, be sure to check out the rest of the blog .

With that basic foundation laid, let’s get down to business and look at how to write a research paper .

Research Paper Template

Overview: The 3-Stage Process

While there are, of course, many potential approaches you can take to write a research paper, there are typically three stages to the writing process. So, in this tutorial, we’ll present a straightforward three-step process that we use when working with students at Grad Coach.

These three steps are:

  • Finding a research topic and reviewing the existing literature
  • Developing a provisional structure and outline for your paper, and
  • Writing up your initial draft and then refining it iteratively

Let’s dig into each of these.

Need a helping hand?

research report assignment

Step 1: Find a topic and review the literature

As we mentioned earlier, in a research paper, you, as the researcher, will try to answer a question . More specifically, that’s called a research question , and it sets the direction of your entire paper. What’s important to understand though is that you’ll need to answer that research question with the help of high-quality sources – for example, journal articles, government reports, case studies, and so on. We’ll circle back to this in a minute.

The first stage of the research process is deciding on what your research question will be and then reviewing the existing literature (in other words, past studies and papers) to see what they say about that specific research question. In some cases, your professor may provide you with a predetermined research question (or set of questions). However, in many cases, you’ll need to find your own research question within a certain topic area.

Finding a strong research question hinges on identifying a meaningful research gap – in other words, an area that’s lacking in existing research. There’s a lot to unpack here, so if you wanna learn more, check out the plain-language explainer video below.

Once you’ve figured out which question (or questions) you’ll attempt to answer in your research paper, you’ll need to do a deep dive into the existing literature – this is called a “ literature search ”. Again, there are many ways to go about this, but your most likely starting point will be Google Scholar .

If you’re new to Google Scholar, think of it as Google for the academic world. You can start by simply entering a few different keywords that are relevant to your research question and it will then present a host of articles for you to review. What you want to pay close attention to here is the number of citations for each paper – the more citations a paper has, the more credible it is (generally speaking – there are some exceptions, of course).

how to use google scholar

Ideally, what you’re looking for are well-cited papers that are highly relevant to your topic. That said, keep in mind that citations are a cumulative metric , so older papers will often have more citations than newer papers – just because they’ve been around for longer. So, don’t fixate on this metric in isolation – relevance and recency are also very important.

Beyond Google Scholar, you’ll also definitely want to check out academic databases and aggregators such as Science Direct, PubMed, JStor and so on. These will often overlap with the results that you find in Google Scholar, but they can also reveal some hidden gems – so, be sure to check them out.

Once you’ve worked your way through all the literature, you’ll want to catalogue all this information in some sort of spreadsheet so that you can easily recall who said what, when and within what context. If you’d like, we’ve got a free literature spreadsheet that helps you do exactly that.

Don’t fixate on an article’s citation count in isolation - relevance (to your research question) and recency are also very important.

Step 2: Develop a structure and outline

With your research question pinned down and your literature digested and catalogued, it’s time to move on to planning your actual research paper .

It might sound obvious, but it’s really important to have some sort of rough outline in place before you start writing your paper. So often, we see students eagerly rushing into the writing phase, only to land up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on in multiple

Now, the secret here is to not get caught up in the fine details . Realistically, all you need at this stage is a bullet-point list that describes (in broad strokes) what you’ll discuss and in what order. It’s also useful to remember that you’re not glued to this outline – in all likelihood, you’ll chop and change some sections once you start writing, and that’s perfectly okay. What’s important is that you have some sort of roadmap in place from the start.

You need to have a rough outline in place before you start writing your paper - or you’ll end up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on.

At this stage you might be wondering, “ But how should I structure my research paper? ”. Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here, but in general, a research paper will consist of a few relatively standardised components:

  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology

Let’s take a look at each of these.

First up is the introduction section . As the name suggests, the purpose of the introduction is to set the scene for your research paper. There are usually (at least) four ingredients that go into this section – these are the background to the topic, the research problem and resultant research question , and the justification or rationale. If you’re interested, the video below unpacks the introduction section in more detail. 

The next section of your research paper will typically be your literature review . Remember all that literature you worked through earlier? Well, this is where you’ll present your interpretation of all that content . You’ll do this by writing about recent trends, developments, and arguments within the literature – but more specifically, those that are relevant to your research question . The literature review can oftentimes seem a little daunting, even to seasoned researchers, so be sure to check out our extensive collection of literature review content here .

With the introduction and lit review out of the way, the next section of your paper is the research methodology . In a nutshell, the methodology section should describe to your reader what you did (beyond just reviewing the existing literature) to answer your research question. For example, what data did you collect, how did you collect that data, how did you analyse that data and so on? For each choice, you’ll also need to justify why you chose to do it that way, and what the strengths and weaknesses of your approach were.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that for some research papers, this aspect of the project may be a lot simpler . For example, you may only need to draw on secondary sources (in other words, existing data sets). In some cases, you may just be asked to draw your conclusions from the literature search itself (in other words, there may be no data analysis at all). But, if you are required to collect and analyse data, you’ll need to pay a lot of attention to the methodology section. The video below provides an example of what the methodology section might look like.

By this stage of your paper, you will have explained what your research question is, what the existing literature has to say about that question, and how you analysed additional data to try to answer your question. So, the natural next step is to present your analysis of that data . This section is usually called the “results” or “analysis” section and this is where you’ll showcase your findings.

Depending on your school’s requirements, you may need to present and interpret the data in one section – or you might split the presentation and the interpretation into two sections. In the latter case, your “results” section will just describe the data, and the “discussion” is where you’ll interpret that data and explicitly link your analysis back to your research question. If you’re not sure which approach to take, check in with your professor or take a look at past papers to see what the norms are for your programme.

Alright – once you’ve presented and discussed your results, it’s time to wrap it up . This usually takes the form of the “ conclusion ” section. In the conclusion, you’ll need to highlight the key takeaways from your study and close the loop by explicitly answering your research question. Again, the exact requirements here will vary depending on your programme (and you may not even need a conclusion section at all) – so be sure to check with your professor if you’re unsure.

Step 3: Write and refine

Finally, it’s time to get writing. All too often though, students hit a brick wall right about here… So, how do you avoid this happening to you?

Well, there’s a lot to be said when it comes to writing a research paper (or any sort of academic piece), but we’ll share three practical tips to help you get started.

First and foremost , it’s essential to approach your writing as an iterative process. In other words, you need to start with a really messy first draft and then polish it over multiple rounds of editing. Don’t waste your time trying to write a perfect research paper in one go. Instead, take the pressure off yourself by adopting an iterative approach.

Secondly , it’s important to always lean towards critical writing , rather than descriptive writing. What does this mean? Well, at the simplest level, descriptive writing focuses on the “ what ”, while critical writing digs into the “ so what ” – in other words, the implications . If you’re not familiar with these two types of writing, don’t worry! You can find a plain-language explanation here.

Last but not least, you’ll need to get your referencing right. Specifically, you’ll need to provide credible, correctly formatted citations for the statements you make. We see students making referencing mistakes all the time and it costs them dearly. The good news is that you can easily avoid this by using a simple reference manager . If you don’t have one, check out our video about Mendeley, an easy (and free) reference management tool that you can start using today.

Recap: Key Takeaways

We’ve covered a lot of ground here. To recap, the three steps to writing a high-quality research paper are:

  • To choose a research question and review the literature
  • To plan your paper structure and draft an outline
  • To take an iterative approach to writing, focusing on critical writing and strong referencing

Remember, this is just a b ig-picture overview of the research paper development process and there’s a lot more nuance to unpack. So, be sure to grab a copy of our free research paper template to learn more about how to write a research paper.


Can you help me with a full paper template for this Abstract:

Background: Energy and sports drinks have gained popularity among diverse demographic groups, including adolescents, athletes, workers, and college students. While often used interchangeably, these beverages serve distinct purposes, with energy drinks aiming to boost energy and cognitive performance, and sports drinks designed to prevent dehydration and replenish electrolytes and carbohydrates lost during physical exertion.

Objective: To assess the nutritional quality of energy and sports drinks in Egypt.

Material and Methods: A cross-sectional study assessed the nutrient contents, including energy, sugar, electrolytes, vitamins, and caffeine, of sports and energy drinks available in major supermarkets in Cairo, Alexandria, and Giza, Egypt. Data collection involved photographing all relevant product labels and recording nutritional information. Descriptive statistics and appropriate statistical tests were employed to analyze and compare the nutritional values of energy and sports drinks.

Results: The study analyzed 38 sports drinks and 42 energy drinks. Sports drinks were significantly more expensive than energy drinks, with higher net content and elevated magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C. Energy drinks contained higher concentrations of caffeine, sugars, and vitamins B2, B3, and B6.

Conclusion: Significant nutritional differences exist between sports and energy drinks, reflecting their intended uses. However, these beverages’ high sugar content and calorie loads raise health concerns. Proper labeling, public awareness, and responsible marketing are essential to guide safe consumption practices in Egypt.

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Writing up a Research Report

  • First Online: 04 January 2024

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research report assignment

  • Stefan Hunziker 3 &
  • Michael Blankenagel 3  

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A research report is one big argument about how and why you came up with your conclusions. To make it a convincing argument, a typical guiding structure has developed. In the different chapters, there are distinct issues that need to be addressed to explain to the reader why your conclusions are valid. The governing principle for writing the report is full disclosure: to explain everything and ensure replicability by another researcher.

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Barros, L. O. (2016). The only academic phrasebook you’ll ever need . Createspace Independent Publishing Platform.

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Field, A. (2016). An adventure in statistics. The reality enigma . SAGE.

Field, A. (2020). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics (5th ed.). SAGE.

Früh, M., Keimer, I., & Blankenagel, M. (2019). The impact of Balanced Scorecard excellence on shareholder returns. IFZ Working Paper No. 0003/2019. https://zenodo.org/record/2571603#.YMDUafkzZaQ . Accessed: 9 June 2021.

Pearl, J., & Mackenzie, D. (2018). The book of why: The new science of cause and effect. Basic Books.

Yin, R. K. (2013). Case study research: Design and methods (5th ed.). SAGE.

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Hunziker, S., Blankenagel, M. (2024). Writing up a Research Report. In: Research Design in Business and Management. Springer Gabler, Wiesbaden. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-42739-9_4

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Online Guide to Writing and Research

The research process, explore more of umgc.

  • Online Guide to Writing

The Research Assignment Introduction

When tasked with writing a research paper, you are able to “dig in” to a topic, idea, theme, or question in greater detail.  In your academic career, you will be assigned several assignments that require you to “research” something and then write about it. Sometimes you can choose a topic and sometimes a topic is assigned to you.  

Crowd of small symbolic 3d figures linked by lines, complex layered system surrounded by speech bubbles, over white, horizontal, isolated

Either way, look at this assignment as an opportunity to learn more about something and to add your voice to the discourse community about said topic. Your professor is assigning you the task to give you a chance to learn more about something and then share that newfound knowledge with the professor and your academic peers.  In this way, you contribute meaningfully to the existing scholarship in that subject area. You are then creating a research space for yourself and for other researchers who may follow you.  

Mailing Address: 3501 University Blvd. East, Adelphi, MD 20783 This work is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License . © 2022 UMGC. All links to external sites were verified at the time of publication. UMGC is not responsible for the validity or integrity of information located at external sites.

Table of Contents: Online Guide to Writing

Chapter 1: College Writing

How Does College Writing Differ from Workplace Writing?

What Is College Writing?

Why So Much Emphasis on Writing?

Chapter 2: The Writing Process

Doing Exploratory Research

Getting from Notes to Your Draft


Prewriting - Techniques to Get Started - Mining Your Intuition

Prewriting: Targeting Your Audience

Prewriting: Techniques to Get Started

Prewriting: Understanding Your Assignment

Rewriting: Being Your Own Critic

Rewriting: Creating a Revision Strategy

Rewriting: Getting Feedback

Rewriting: The Final Draft

Techniques to Get Started - Outlining

Techniques to Get Started - Using Systematic Techniques

Thesis Statement and Controlling Idea

Writing: Getting from Notes to Your Draft - Freewriting

Writing: Getting from Notes to Your Draft - Summarizing Your Ideas

Writing: Outlining What You Will Write

Chapter 3: Thinking Strategies

A Word About Style, Voice, and Tone

A Word About Style, Voice, and Tone: Style Through Vocabulary and Diction

Critical Strategies and Writing

Critical Strategies and Writing: Analysis

Critical Strategies and Writing: Evaluation

Critical Strategies and Writing: Persuasion

Critical Strategies and Writing: Synthesis

Developing a Paper Using Strategies

Kinds of Assignments You Will Write

Patterns for Presenting Information

Patterns for Presenting Information: Critiques

Patterns for Presenting Information: Discussing Raw Data

Patterns for Presenting Information: General-to-Specific Pattern

Patterns for Presenting Information: Problem-Cause-Solution Pattern

Patterns for Presenting Information: Specific-to-General Pattern

Patterns for Presenting Information: Summaries and Abstracts

Supporting with Research and Examples

Writing Essay Examinations

Writing Essay Examinations: Make Your Answer Relevant and Complete

Writing Essay Examinations: Organize Thinking Before Writing

Writing Essay Examinations: Read and Understand the Question

Chapter 4: The Research Process

Planning and Writing a Research Paper

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Ask a Research Question

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Cite Sources

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Collect Evidence

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Decide Your Point of View, or Role, for Your Research

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Draw Conclusions

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Find a Topic and Get an Overview

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Manage Your Resources

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Outline

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Survey the Literature

Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Work Your Sources into Your Research Writing

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found? - Human Resources

Research Resources: What Are Research Resources?

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found?

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found? - Electronic Resources

Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found? - Print Resources

Structuring the Research Paper: Formal Research Structure

Structuring the Research Paper: Informal Research Structure

The Nature of Research

The Research Assignment: How Should Research Sources Be Evaluated?

The Research Assignment: When Is Research Needed?

The Research Assignment: Why Perform Research?

Chapter 5: Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity

Giving Credit to Sources

Giving Credit to Sources: Copyright Laws

Giving Credit to Sources: Documentation

Giving Credit to Sources: Style Guides

Integrating Sources

Practicing Academic Integrity

Practicing Academic Integrity: Keeping Accurate Records

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material - Paraphrasing Your Source

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material - Quoting Your Source

Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material - Summarizing Your Sources

Types of Documentation

Types of Documentation: Bibliographies and Source Lists

Types of Documentation: Citing World Wide Web Sources

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - APA Style

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - CSE/CBE Style

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - Chicago Style

Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - MLA Style

Types of Documentation: Note Citations

Chapter 6: Using Library Resources

Finding Library Resources

Chapter 7: Assessing Your Writing

How Is Writing Graded?

How Is Writing Graded?: A General Assessment Tool

The Draft Stage

The Draft Stage: The First Draft

The Draft Stage: The Revision Process and the Final Draft

The Draft Stage: Using Feedback

The Research Stage

Using Assessment to Improve Your Writing

Chapter 8: Other Frequently Assigned Papers

Reviews and Reaction Papers: Article and Book Reviews

Reviews and Reaction Papers: Reaction Papers

Writing Arguments

Writing Arguments: Adapting the Argument Structure

Writing Arguments: Purposes of Argument

Writing Arguments: References to Consult for Writing Arguments

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Anticipate Active Opposition

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Determine Your Organization

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Develop Your Argument

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Introduce Your Argument

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - State Your Thesis or Proposition

Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Write Your Conclusion

Writing Arguments: Types of Argument

Appendix A: Books to Help Improve Your Writing


General Style Manuals

Researching on the Internet

Special Style Manuals

Writing Handbooks

Appendix B: Collaborative Writing and Peer Reviewing

Collaborative Writing: Assignments to Accompany the Group Project

Collaborative Writing: Informal Progress Report

Collaborative Writing: Issues to Resolve

Collaborative Writing: Methodology

Collaborative Writing: Peer Evaluation

Collaborative Writing: Tasks of Collaborative Writing Group Members

Collaborative Writing: Writing Plan

General Introduction

Peer Reviewing

Appendix C: Developing an Improvement Plan

Working with Your Instructor’s Comments and Grades

Appendix D: Writing Plan and Project Schedule

Devising a Writing Project Plan and Schedule

Reviewing Your Plan with Others

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Effective Research Assignments

Identify learning goals., clarify expectations., "scaffold" the assignment., test the assignment., collaborate with librarians..

  • Assignment Ideas
  • Studies on Student Research


These best practices were adapted from the handout "Tips for Designing Library Research Assignments" developed by Sarah McDaniel, of the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries. Many thanks to her for permission to reuse this resource.

See  Assignment Ideas  to explore different possible approaches beyond a traditional research paper. 

  • What abilities would you like students to develop through the assignment?
  • How will the learning goals and their importance be communicated in the assignment?

Your students may not have prior experience with academic research and resources. State (in writing) details like:

  • the assignment's purpose,
  • the purpose of research and sources for the assignment,
  • suggested resources for locating relevant sources,
  • expected citation practices,
  • terminology that may be unclear (e.g. Define terms like "database," "peer reviewed"),
  • assignment length and other parameters, and
  • grading/evaluation criteria ( Rubrics are one way to communicate assessment criteria to students. See, for example, AAC&U's VALUE rubric for information literacy .)

Also consider discussing how research is produced and disseminated in your discipline, and how you expect your students to participate in academic discourse in the context of your class. 

Breaking a complex research assignment down into a sequence of smaller, more manageable parts:

  • models how to approach a research question and how to manage time effectively,
  • empowers students to focus on and to master key research and critical thinking skills,
  • provides opportunities for feedback, and
  • deters plagiarism.

Periodic class discussions about the assignment can also help students

  • reflect on the research process and its importance
  • encourage questions, and
  • help students develop a sense that what they are doing is a transferable process that they can use for other assignments.

By testing an assignment, you may identify practical roadblocks  (e.g., too few copies of a book for too many students, a source is no longer available online).

Librarians can help with this process (e.g., suggest research strategies or resources, design customized supporting materials like handouts or course research guides).

Subject librarians can explore with you ways to support students in their research.

  • Next: Assignment Ideas >>
  • Last Updated: Jul 1, 2024 11:08 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.rowan.edu/research_assignments

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13.1 Formatting a Research Paper

Learning objectives.

  • Identify the major components of a research paper written using American Psychological Association (APA) style.
  • Apply general APA style and formatting conventions in a research paper.

In this chapter, you will learn how to use APA style , the documentation and formatting style followed by the American Psychological Association, as well as MLA style , from the Modern Language Association. There are a few major formatting styles used in academic texts, including AMA, Chicago, and Turabian:

  • AMA (American Medical Association) for medicine, health, and biological sciences
  • APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the social sciences
  • Chicago—a common style used in everyday publications like magazines, newspapers, and books
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) for English, literature, arts, and humanities
  • Turabian—another common style designed for its universal application across all subjects and disciplines

While all the formatting and citation styles have their own use and applications, in this chapter we focus our attention on the two styles you are most likely to use in your academic studies: APA and MLA.

If you find that the rules of proper source documentation are difficult to keep straight, you are not alone. Writing a good research paper is, in and of itself, a major intellectual challenge. Having to follow detailed citation and formatting guidelines as well may seem like just one more task to add to an already-too-long list of requirements.

Following these guidelines, however, serves several important purposes. First, it signals to your readers that your paper should be taken seriously as a student’s contribution to a given academic or professional field; it is the literary equivalent of wearing a tailored suit to a job interview. Second, it shows that you respect other people’s work enough to give them proper credit for it. Finally, it helps your reader find additional materials if he or she wishes to learn more about your topic.

Furthermore, producing a letter-perfect APA-style paper need not be burdensome. Yes, it requires careful attention to detail. However, you can simplify the process if you keep these broad guidelines in mind:

  • Work ahead whenever you can. Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” includes tips for keeping track of your sources early in the research process, which will save time later on.
  • Get it right the first time. Apply APA guidelines as you write, so you will not have much to correct during the editing stage. Again, putting in a little extra time early on can save time later.
  • Use the resources available to you. In addition to the guidelines provided in this chapter, you may wish to consult the APA website at http://www.apa.org or the Purdue University Online Writing lab at http://owl.english.purdue.edu , which regularly updates its online style guidelines.

General Formatting Guidelines

This chapter provides detailed guidelines for using the citation and formatting conventions developed by the American Psychological Association, or APA. Writers in disciplines as diverse as astrophysics, biology, psychology, and education follow APA style. The major components of a paper written in APA style are listed in the following box.

These are the major components of an APA-style paper:

Body, which includes the following:

  • Headings and, if necessary, subheadings to organize the content
  • In-text citations of research sources
  • References page

All these components must be saved in one document, not as separate documents.

The title page of your paper includes the following information:

  • Title of the paper
  • Author’s name
  • Name of the institution with which the author is affiliated
  • Header at the top of the page with the paper title (in capital letters) and the page number (If the title is lengthy, you may use a shortened form of it in the header.)

List the first three elements in the order given in the previous list, centered about one third of the way down from the top of the page. Use the headers and footers tool of your word-processing program to add the header, with the title text at the left and the page number in the upper-right corner. Your title page should look like the following example.

Beyond the Hype: Evaluating Low-Carb Diets cover page

The next page of your paper provides an abstract , or brief summary of your findings. An abstract does not need to be provided in every paper, but an abstract should be used in papers that include a hypothesis. A good abstract is concise—about one hundred fifty to two hundred fifty words—and is written in an objective, impersonal style. Your writing voice will not be as apparent here as in the body of your paper. When writing the abstract, take a just-the-facts approach, and summarize your research question and your findings in a few sentences.

In Chapter 12 “Writing a Research Paper” , you read a paper written by a student named Jorge, who researched the effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets. Read Jorge’s abstract. Note how it sums up the major ideas in his paper without going into excessive detail.

Beyond the Hype: Abstract

Write an abstract summarizing your paper. Briefly introduce the topic, state your findings, and sum up what conclusions you can draw from your research. Use the word count feature of your word-processing program to make sure your abstract does not exceed one hundred fifty words.

Depending on your field of study, you may sometimes write research papers that present extensive primary research, such as your own experiment or survey. In your abstract, summarize your research question and your findings, and briefly indicate how your study relates to prior research in the field.

Margins, Pagination, and Headings

APA style requirements also address specific formatting concerns, such as margins, pagination, and heading styles, within the body of the paper. Review the following APA guidelines.

Use these general guidelines to format the paper:

  • Set the top, bottom, and side margins of your paper at 1 inch.
  • Use double-spaced text throughout your paper.
  • Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, in a legible size (10- to 12-point).
  • Use continuous pagination throughout the paper, including the title page and the references section. Page numbers appear flush right within your header.
  • Section headings and subsection headings within the body of your paper use different types of formatting depending on the level of information you are presenting. Additional details from Jorge’s paper are provided.

Cover Page

Begin formatting the final draft of your paper according to APA guidelines. You may work with an existing document or set up a new document if you choose. Include the following:

  • Your title page
  • The abstract you created in Note 13.8 “Exercise 1”
  • Correct headers and page numbers for your title page and abstract

APA style uses section headings to organize information, making it easy for the reader to follow the writer’s train of thought and to know immediately what major topics are covered. Depending on the length and complexity of the paper, its major sections may also be divided into subsections, sub-subsections, and so on. These smaller sections, in turn, use different heading styles to indicate different levels of information. In essence, you are using headings to create a hierarchy of information.

The following heading styles used in APA formatting are listed in order of greatest to least importance:

  • Section headings use centered, boldface type. Headings use title case, with important words in the heading capitalized.
  • Subsection headings use left-aligned, boldface type. Headings use title case.
  • The third level uses left-aligned, indented, boldface type. Headings use a capital letter only for the first word, and they end in a period.
  • The fourth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are boldfaced and italicized.
  • The fifth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are italicized and not boldfaced.

Visually, the hierarchy of information is organized as indicated in Table 13.1 “Section Headings” .

Table 13.1 Section Headings

Level of Information Text Example
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3     
Level 4         
Level 5             

A college research paper may not use all the heading levels shown in Table 13.1 “Section Headings” , but you are likely to encounter them in academic journal articles that use APA style. For a brief paper, you may find that level 1 headings suffice. Longer or more complex papers may need level 2 headings or other lower-level headings to organize information clearly. Use your outline to craft your major section headings and determine whether any subtopics are substantial enough to require additional levels of headings.

Working with the document you developed in Note 13.11 “Exercise 2” , begin setting up the heading structure of the final draft of your research paper according to APA guidelines. Include your title and at least two to three major section headings, and follow the formatting guidelines provided above. If your major sections should be broken into subsections, add those headings as well. Use your outline to help you.

Because Jorge used only level 1 headings, his Exercise 3 would look like the following:

Level of Information Text Example
Level 1
Level 1
Level 1
Level 1

Citation Guidelines

In-text citations.

Throughout the body of your paper, include a citation whenever you quote or paraphrase material from your research sources. As you learned in Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” , the purpose of citations is twofold: to give credit to others for their ideas and to allow your reader to follow up and learn more about the topic if desired. Your in-text citations provide basic information about your source; each source you cite will have a longer entry in the references section that provides more detailed information.

In-text citations must provide the name of the author or authors and the year the source was published. (When a given source does not list an individual author, you may provide the source title or the name of the organization that published the material instead.) When directly quoting a source, it is also required that you include the page number where the quote appears in your citation.

This information may be included within the sentence or in a parenthetical reference at the end of the sentence, as in these examples.

Epstein (2010) points out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).

Here, the writer names the source author when introducing the quote and provides the publication date in parentheses after the author’s name. The page number appears in parentheses after the closing quotation marks and before the period that ends the sentence.

Addiction researchers caution that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (Epstein, 2010, p. 137).

Here, the writer provides a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence that includes the author’s name, the year of publication, and the page number separated by commas. Again, the parenthetical citation is placed after the closing quotation marks and before the period at the end of the sentence.

As noted in the book Junk Food, Junk Science (Epstein, 2010, p. 137), “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive.”

Here, the writer chose to mention the source title in the sentence (an optional piece of information to include) and followed the title with a parenthetical citation. Note that the parenthetical citation is placed before the comma that signals the end of the introductory phrase.

David Epstein’s book Junk Food, Junk Science (2010) pointed out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).

Another variation is to introduce the author and the source title in your sentence and include the publication date and page number in parentheses within the sentence or at the end of the sentence. As long as you have included the essential information, you can choose the option that works best for that particular sentence and source.

Citing a book with a single author is usually a straightforward task. Of course, your research may require that you cite many other types of sources, such as books or articles with more than one author or sources with no individual author listed. You may also need to cite sources available in both print and online and nonprint sources, such as websites and personal interviews. Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , Section 13.2 “Citing and Referencing Techniques” and Section 13.3 “Creating a References Section” provide extensive guidelines for citing a variety of source types.

Writing at Work

APA is just one of several different styles with its own guidelines for documentation, formatting, and language usage. Depending on your field of interest, you may be exposed to additional styles, such as the following:

  • MLA style. Determined by the Modern Languages Association and used for papers in literature, languages, and other disciplines in the humanities.
  • Chicago style. Outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style and sometimes used for papers in the humanities and the sciences; many professional organizations use this style for publications as well.
  • Associated Press (AP) style. Used by professional journalists.

References List

The brief citations included in the body of your paper correspond to the more detailed citations provided at the end of the paper in the references section. In-text citations provide basic information—the author’s name, the publication date, and the page number if necessary—while the references section provides more extensive bibliographical information. Again, this information allows your reader to follow up on the sources you cited and do additional reading about the topic if desired.

The specific format of entries in the list of references varies slightly for different source types, but the entries generally include the following information:

  • The name(s) of the author(s) or institution that wrote the source
  • The year of publication and, where applicable, the exact date of publication
  • The full title of the source
  • For books, the city of publication
  • For articles or essays, the name of the periodical or book in which the article or essay appears
  • For magazine and journal articles, the volume number, issue number, and pages where the article appears
  • For sources on the web, the URL where the source is located

The references page is double spaced and lists entries in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. If an entry continues for more than one line, the second line and each subsequent line are indented five spaces. Review the following example. ( Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , Section 13.3 “Creating a References Section” provides extensive guidelines for formatting reference entries for different types of sources.)

References Section

In APA style, book and article titles are formatted in sentence case, not title case. Sentence case means that only the first word is capitalized, along with any proper nouns.

Key Takeaways

  • Following proper citation and formatting guidelines helps writers ensure that their work will be taken seriously, give proper credit to other authors for their work, and provide valuable information to readers.
  • Working ahead and taking care to cite sources correctly the first time are ways writers can save time during the editing stage of writing a research paper.
  • APA papers usually include an abstract that concisely summarizes the paper.
  • APA papers use a specific headings structure to provide a clear hierarchy of information.
  • In APA papers, in-text citations usually include the name(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication.
  • In-text citations correspond to entries in the references section, which provide detailed bibliographical information about a source.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline | Example

Published on August 7, 2022 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on August 15, 2023.

How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline

A research paper outline is a useful tool to aid in the writing process , providing a structure to follow with all information to be included in the paper clearly organized.

A quality outline can make writing your research paper more efficient by helping to:

  • Organize your thoughts
  • Understand the flow of information and how ideas are related
  • Ensure nothing is forgotten

A research paper outline can also give your teacher an early idea of the final product.

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Table of contents

Research paper outline example, how to write a research paper outline, formatting your research paper outline, language in research paper outlines.

  • Definition of measles
  • Rise in cases in recent years in places the disease was previously eliminated or had very low rates of infection
  • Figures: Number of cases per year on average, number in recent years. Relate to immunization
  • Symptoms and timeframes of disease
  • Risk of fatality, including statistics
  • How measles is spread
  • Immunization procedures in different regions
  • Different regions, focusing on the arguments from those against immunization
  • Immunization figures in affected regions
  • High number of cases in non-immunizing regions
  • Illnesses that can result from measles virus
  • Fatal cases of other illnesses after patient contracted measles
  • Summary of arguments of different groups
  • Summary of figures and relationship with recent immunization debate
  • Which side of the argument appears to be correct?

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research report assignment

Follow these steps to start your research paper outline:

  • Decide on the subject of the paper
  • Write down all the ideas you want to include or discuss
  • Organize related ideas into sub-groups
  • Arrange your ideas into a hierarchy: What should the reader learn first? What is most important? Which idea will help end your paper most effectively?
  • Create headings and subheadings that are effective
  • Format the outline in either alphanumeric, full-sentence or decimal format

There are three different kinds of research paper outline: alphanumeric, full-sentence and decimal outlines. The differences relate to formatting and style of writing.

  • Alphanumeric
  • Full-sentence

An alphanumeric outline is most commonly used. It uses Roman numerals, capitalized letters, arabic numerals, lowercase letters to organize the flow of information. Text is written with short notes rather than full sentences.

  • Sub-point of sub-point 1

Essentially the same as the alphanumeric outline, but with the text written in full sentences rather than short points.

  • Additional sub-point to conclude discussion of point of evidence introduced in point A

A decimal outline is similar in format to the alphanumeric outline, but with a different numbering system: 1, 1.1, 1.2, etc. Text is written as short notes rather than full sentences.

  • 1.1.1 Sub-point of first point
  • 1.1.2 Sub-point of first point
  • 1.2 Second point

To write an effective research paper outline, it is important to pay attention to language. This is especially important if it is one you will show to your teacher or be assessed on.

There are four main considerations: parallelism, coordination, subordination and division.

Parallelism: Be consistent with grammatical form

Parallel structure or parallelism is the repetition of a particular grammatical form within a sentence, or in this case, between points and sub-points. This simply means that if the first point is a verb , the sub-point should also be a verb.

Example of parallelism:

  • Include different regions, focusing on the different arguments from those against immunization

Coordination: Be aware of each point’s weight

Your chosen subheadings should hold the same significance as each other, as should all first sub-points, secondary sub-points, and so on.

Example of coordination:

  • Include immunization figures in affected regions
  • Illnesses that can result from the measles virus

Subordination: Work from general to specific

Subordination refers to the separation of general points from specific. Your main headings should be quite general, and each level of sub-point should become more specific.

Example of subordination:

Division: break information into sub-points.

Your headings should be divided into two or more subsections. There is no limit to how many subsections you can include under each heading, but keep in mind that the information will be structured into a paragraph during the writing stage, so you should not go overboard with the number of sub-points.

Ready to start writing or looking for guidance on a different step in the process? Read our step-by-step guide on how to write a research paper .

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If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Gahan, C. (2023, August 15). How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline | Example. Scribbr. Retrieved July 10, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/research-paper/outline/

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research report assignment

Home Market Research

Research Reports: Definition and How to Write Them

Research Reports

Reports are usually spread across a vast horizon of topics but are focused on communicating information about a particular topic and a niche target market. The primary motive of research reports is to convey integral details about a study for marketers to consider while designing new strategies.

Certain events, facts, and other information based on incidents need to be relayed to the people in charge, and creating research reports is the most effective communication tool. Ideal research reports are extremely accurate in the offered information with a clear objective and conclusion. These reports should have a clean and structured format to relay information effectively.

What are Research Reports?

Research reports are recorded data prepared by researchers or statisticians after analyzing the information gathered by conducting organized research, typically in the form of surveys or qualitative methods .

A research report is a reliable source to recount details about a conducted research. It is most often considered to be a true testimony of all the work done to garner specificities of research.

The various sections of a research report are:

  • Background/Introduction
  • Implemented Methods
  • Results based on Analysis
  • Deliberation

Learn more: Quantitative Research

Components of Research Reports

Research is imperative for launching a new product/service or a new feature. The markets today are extremely volatile and competitive due to new entrants every day who may or may not provide effective products. An organization needs to make the right decisions at the right time to be relevant in such a market with updated products that suffice customer demands.

The details of a research report may change with the purpose of research but the main components of a report will remain constant. The research approach of the market researcher also influences the style of writing reports. Here are seven main components of a productive research report:

  • Research Report Summary: The entire objective along with the overview of research are to be included in a summary which is a couple of paragraphs in length. All the multiple components of the research are explained in brief under the report summary.  It should be interesting enough to capture all the key elements of the report.
  • Research Introduction: There always is a primary goal that the researcher is trying to achieve through a report. In the introduction section, he/she can cover answers related to this goal and establish a thesis which will be included to strive and answer it in detail.  This section should answer an integral question: “What is the current situation of the goal?”.  After the research design was conducted, did the organization conclude the goal successfully or they are still a work in progress –  provide such details in the introduction part of the research report.
  • Research Methodology: This is the most important section of the report where all the important information lies. The readers can gain data for the topic along with analyzing the quality of provided content and the research can also be approved by other market researchers . Thus, this section needs to be highly informative with each aspect of research discussed in detail.  Information needs to be expressed in chronological order according to its priority and importance. Researchers should include references in case they gained information from existing techniques.
  • Research Results: A short description of the results along with calculations conducted to achieve the goal will form this section of results. Usually, the exposition after data analysis is carried out in the discussion part of the report.

Learn more: Quantitative Data

  • Research Discussion: The results are discussed in extreme detail in this section along with a comparative analysis of reports that could probably exist in the same domain. Any abnormality uncovered during research will be deliberated in the discussion section.  While writing research reports, the researcher will have to connect the dots on how the results will be applicable in the real world.
  • Research References and Conclusion: Conclude all the research findings along with mentioning each and every author, article or any content piece from where references were taken.

Learn more: Qualitative Observation

15 Tips for Writing Research Reports

Writing research reports in the manner can lead to all the efforts going down the drain. Here are 15 tips for writing impactful research reports:

  • Prepare the context before starting to write and start from the basics:  This was always taught to us in school – be well-prepared before taking a plunge into new topics. The order of survey questions might not be the ideal or most effective order for writing research reports. The idea is to start with a broader topic and work towards a more specific one and focus on a conclusion or support, which a research should support with the facts.  The most difficult thing to do in reporting, without a doubt is to start. Start with the title, the introduction, then document the first discoveries and continue from that. Once the marketers have the information well documented, they can write a general conclusion.
  • Keep the target audience in mind while selecting a format that is clear, logical and obvious to them:  Will the research reports be presented to decision makers or other researchers? What are the general perceptions around that topic? This requires more care and diligence. A researcher will need a significant amount of information to start writing the research report. Be consistent with the wording, the numbering of the annexes and so on. Follow the approved format of the company for the delivery of research reports and demonstrate the integrity of the project with the objectives of the company.
  • Have a clear research objective: A researcher should read the entire proposal again, and make sure that the data they provide contributes to the objectives that were raised from the beginning. Remember that speculations are for conversations, not for research reports, if a researcher speculates, they directly question their own research.
  • Establish a working model:  Each study must have an internal logic, which will have to be established in the report and in the evidence. The researchers’ worst nightmare is to be required to write research reports and realize that key questions were not included.

Learn more: Quantitative Observation

  • Gather all the information about the research topic. Who are the competitors of our customers? Talk to other researchers who have studied the subject of research, know the language of the industry. Misuse of the terms can discourage the readers of research reports from reading further.
  • Read aloud while writing. While reading the report, if the researcher hears something inappropriate, for example, if they stumble over the words when reading them, surely the reader will too. If the researcher can’t put an idea in a single sentence, then it is very long and they must change it so that the idea is clear to everyone.
  • Check grammar and spelling. Without a doubt, good practices help to understand the report. Use verbs in the present tense. Consider using the present tense, which makes the results sound more immediate. Find new words and other ways of saying things. Have fun with the language whenever possible.
  • Discuss only the discoveries that are significant. If some data are not really significant, do not mention them. Remember that not everything is truly important or essential within research reports.

Learn more: Qualitative Data

  • Try and stick to the survey questions. For example, do not say that the people surveyed “were worried” about an research issue , when there are different degrees of concern.
  • The graphs must be clear enough so that they understand themselves. Do not let graphs lead the reader to make mistakes: give them a title, include the indications, the size of the sample, and the correct wording of the question.
  • Be clear with messages. A researcher should always write every section of the report with an accuracy of details and language.
  • Be creative with titles – Particularly in segmentation studies choose names “that give life to research”. Such names can survive for a long time after the initial investigation.
  • Create an effective conclusion: The conclusion in the research reports is the most difficult to write, but it is an incredible opportunity to excel. Make a precise summary. Sometimes it helps to start the conclusion with something specific, then it describes the most important part of the study, and finally, it provides the implications of the conclusions.
  • Get a couple more pair of eyes to read the report. Writers have trouble detecting their own mistakes. But they are responsible for what is presented. Ensure it has been approved by colleagues or friends before sending the find draft out.

Learn more: Market Research and Analysis


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How to write a report - Assignment template

  • August 2017

Syed Mahmudur Rahman at Macquarie University

  • Macquarie University

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ENGL 101: Academic Writing: How to write a research paper

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How to write a research paer

Understand the topic, what is the instructor asking for, who is the intended audience, choosing a topic.

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Books on the subject

Journal articles, other sources, write the paper.

You've just been assigned by your instructor to write a paper on a topic. Relax, this isn't going to be as bad as it seems. You just need to get started. Here are some suggestions to make the process as painless as possible. Remember, if you have any questions ASK .

Is the assignment a formal research paper where you have to do research and cite other sources of information, or is the assignment asking you for your reaction to a particular topic where all you will need to do is collect your thoughts and organize them coherently. If you do need to research your topic, make sure you know what style manual your instructor prefers (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc).

Make sure you keep track of any restrictions that your instructor places on you. If your instructor wants a 4 page paper, they won't be happy with a 2 page paper, or a 10 page paper. Keep in mind that the instructor knows roughly how long it should take to cover the topic. If your paper is too short, you probably aren't looking at enough materials. If you paper is too long, you need to narrow your topic. Also, many times the instructor may restrict you to certain types of resources (books written after 1946, scholarly journals, no web sites). You don't want to automatically lessen your grade by not following the rules. Remember the key rule, if you have any questions ask your instructor!

You will also need to know which audience that you are writing for. Are you writing to an audience that knows nothing about your topic? If so you will need to write in such a way that you paper makes sense, and can be understood by these people. If your paper is geared to peers who have a similar background of information you won't need to include that type of information. If your paper is for experts in the field, you won't need to include background information.

If you're lucky, you were given a narrow topic by your instructor. You may not be interested in your topic, but you can be reasonably sure that the topic isn't too broad. Most of you aren't going to be that lucky. Your instructor gave you a broad topic, or no topic at all and you are going to have to choose the specific topic for your paper.

There are some general rules that you can use to help choose and narrow a topic. Does a particular topic interest you? If you are excited by a particular field, choose a topic from that field. While doing research you will learn more about the field, and learn which journals are written for your topic. Are you answering a relevant question? You and your instructor are going to be bored if you are writing a paper on the hazards of drunken driving. However, it might be more interesting to write about what causes people to drink and drive. The more interesting your topic the more you will enjoy and learn from writing your paper. You may also want to focus on a specific point of view about the topic, such as what teenagers think the causes of drunken driving are.

Do General Research

Now that you have a topic, it is time to start doing research. Don't jump to the card catalog and the indexes yet. The first research that you want to do is some general research on your topic. Find out what some of the terms used in the field are. You will also find that this research can help you further define you topic.

One source of general research is a general encyclopedia. Depending on the encyclopedia, at the end of each entry there may be a bibliography of suggested works. Good encyclopedias to consult are Encyclopedia Britannica , Encyclopedia Americana, and World Book.

You will also want to check to see if your topic is in a field that has a subject Encyclopedia, a Subject Handbook, or a Subject Dictionary. These guides contain information about a wide variety of topics inside a specific field. Generally the information in more detailed that what is contained in a general encyclopedia. Also the bibliographies are more extensive.

Find further information

Now that we have some background information on our topic; we need to find information about our specific topic. Before searching, ask yourself what type of information you are looking for. If you want to find statistical information, you will need to look in certain types of sources. If you are looking for news accounts of an event, you will need to look in other types of sources. Remember, if you have a question about what type of source to use, ask a librarian.

Have you asked your instructor for suggestions on where to look? Why not? This person is experienced in the field, and they have been doing research in it longer than you have. They can recommend authors who write on your topic, and they can recommend a short list of journals that may contain information on your topic.

Books are one type of resource that you can use for your research. To find a book on your topic, you will need to use the online catalog, the CamelCat . Taking the list of keywords that you created while doing general research, do keyword searches in the catalog. Look at the titles that are being returned, do any look promising? If none do, revise your search using other keywords. If one does, look at the full record for that book. Check the subject headings that it is cataloged by. If one of those headings looks pertinent to your research, do a subject search using that particular heading.

Once you've got the books that you want to use start evaluating whether the book will be useful. Is it written by an author who is knowledgeable about that particular topic? Is the author qualified to write about the topic? What biases does the author have about the topic? Is the book current enough to contain useful information?

Once you've answered these questions, use the books that you deem useful for your research. Remember while taking notes to get the information that you need to do a proper citation. Also, pay attention to any bibliographies that are included in the book. These can help you locate other books and articles that may be useful for your research.

The Campbell University Libraries subscribe to a wide variety of Indexes and Journals for the use of students and faculty. Increasingly these materials are provided as Electronic Databases. These databases contain citations of articles and in some cases the full text of articles on a variety of topics. If you don't know which database will be useful for you, ask a librarian and they will be happy to assist you. You can also use the Find Articles link to search multiple databases at one time for information on your topic.

Once you've selected a database to use, use the keywords that you developed from your general research to find articles that will be useful for you. Once you've found one, see which terms the database used to catalog the article and use those terms to find more articles. Don't forget to set limits on the database so that only scholarly articles are returned if your instructor has made that a requirement for your paper.

Look at the journal articles that you have selected, and examine the bibliographies. Are there any authors that are mentioned in more than one article? Are there any articles that are mentioned more than once? You should find those authors and articles and include them in your research.

There are other useful sources that you can use in your research. If your report tends to be on a business topic or if you need company information for your research there are many companies that provide company reports. The contents of these reports differ, depending on which service that you are using. Generally speaking you will find company officers, financial statements, lists of competitors, and stock price.

The Internet is another source for information on a variety of topics. The major problem with the using Internet resources is authority. Anybody who knows HTML can produce a web site that looks pretty decent. However, a website produced by a sophomore in high school on a topic is not going to be useful to you in your research. Before using a website for information, you need to evaluate the site. Here are some questions you will want to ask: Who created the site? (If you can't tell, don't use it.) Has the site been recently updated? Is the site promoting a specific agenda/ does it have a bias? (Bias isn't necessarily bad, but you need to keep it in mind when interpreting the information presented?) Are there any misspellings on the site? (If there is one misspelling careless error more than three, don't use the page) Do the links on the page work? (If a few don't work, not a big problem, if most of the links don't work, the site isn't being maintained, and should not be used.)

You have all of your research, now it is time to write the paper. Don't forget to cite all of the research that you have collected using the preferred citation style of your instructor. If possible try to give yourself a couple of days to let the paper sit before you edit it. Look at a hard copy of the paper and check for mechanical errors (spelling, punctuation). Also try to imagine that you are the intended audience for the paper. Does your paper make sense? Are the arguments logical? Does the evidence presented support the arguments made? If you answered no to any of these questions, make the necessary changes to your paper.

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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Assignments

  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Analyzing a Scholarly Journal Article
  • Group Presentations
  • Dealing with Nervousness
  • Using Visual Aids
  • Grading Someone Else's Paper
  • Types of Structured Group Activities
  • Group Project Survival Skills
  • Leading a Class Discussion
  • Multiple Book Review Essay
  • Reviewing Collected Works
  • Writing a Case Analysis Paper
  • Writing a Case Study
  • About Informed Consent
  • Writing Field Notes
  • Writing a Policy Memo
  • Writing a Reflective Paper
  • Writing a Research Proposal
  • Generative AI and Writing
  • Acknowledgments

The goal of a research proposal is twofold: to present and justify the need to study a research problem and to present the practical ways in which the proposed study should be conducted. The design elements and procedures for conducting research are governed by standards of the predominant discipline in which the problem resides, therefore, the guidelines for research proposals are more exacting and less formal than a general project proposal. Research proposals contain extensive literature reviews. They must provide persuasive evidence that a need exists for the proposed study. In addition to providing a rationale, a proposal describes detailed methodology for conducting the research consistent with requirements of the professional or academic field and a statement on anticipated outcomes and benefits derived from the study's completion.

Krathwohl, David R. How to Prepare a Dissertation Proposal: Suggestions for Students in Education and the Social and Behavioral Sciences . Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2005.

How to Approach Writing a Research Proposal

Your professor may assign the task of writing a research proposal for the following reasons:

  • Develop your skills in thinking about and designing a comprehensive research study;
  • Learn how to conduct a comprehensive review of the literature to determine that the research problem has not been adequately addressed or has been answered ineffectively and, in so doing, become better at locating pertinent scholarship related to your topic;
  • Improve your general research and writing skills;
  • Practice identifying the logical steps that must be taken to accomplish one's research goals;
  • Critically review, examine, and consider the use of different methods for gathering and analyzing data related to the research problem; and,
  • Nurture a sense of inquisitiveness within yourself and to help see yourself as an active participant in the process of conducting scholarly research.

A proposal should contain all the key elements involved in designing a completed research study, with sufficient information that allows readers to assess the validity and usefulness of your proposed study. The only elements missing from a research proposal are the findings of the study and your analysis of those findings. Finally, an effective proposal is judged on the quality of your writing and, therefore, it is important that your proposal is coherent, clear, and compelling.

Regardless of the research problem you are investigating and the methodology you choose, all research proposals must address the following questions:

  • What do you plan to accomplish? Be clear and succinct in defining the research problem and what it is you are proposing to investigate.
  • Why do you want to do the research? In addition to detailing your research design, you also must conduct a thorough review of the literature and provide convincing evidence that it is a topic worthy of in-depth study. A successful research proposal must answer the "So What?" question.
  • How are you going to conduct the research? Be sure that what you propose is doable. If you're having difficulty formulating a research problem to propose investigating, go here for strategies in developing a problem to study.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Failure to be concise . A research proposal must be focused and not be "all over the map" or diverge into unrelated tangents without a clear sense of purpose.
  • Failure to cite landmark works in your literature review . Proposals should be grounded in foundational research that lays a foundation for understanding the development and scope of the the topic and its relevance.
  • Failure to delimit the contextual scope of your research [e.g., time, place, people, etc.]. As with any research paper, your proposed study must inform the reader how and in what ways the study will frame the problem.
  • Failure to develop a coherent and persuasive argument for the proposed research . This is critical. In many workplace settings, the research proposal is a formal document intended to argue for why a study should be funded.
  • Sloppy or imprecise writing, or poor grammar . Although a research proposal does not represent a completed research study, there is still an expectation that it is well-written and follows the style and rules of good academic writing.
  • Too much detail on minor issues, but not enough detail on major issues . Your proposal should focus on only a few key research questions in order to support the argument that the research needs to be conducted. Minor issues, even if valid, can be mentioned but they should not dominate the overall narrative.

Procter, Margaret. The Academic Proposal.  The Lab Report. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Sanford, Keith. Information for Students: Writing a Research Proposal. Baylor University; Wong, Paul T. P. How to Write a Research Proposal. International Network on Personal Meaning. Trinity Western University; Writing Academic Proposals: Conferences, Articles, and Books. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing a Research Proposal. University Library. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Structure and Writing Style

Beginning the Proposal Process

As with writing most college-level academic papers, research proposals are generally organized the same way throughout most social science disciplines. The text of proposals generally vary in length between ten and thirty-five pages, followed by the list of references. However, before you begin, read the assignment carefully and, if anything seems unclear, ask your professor whether there are any specific requirements for organizing and writing the proposal.

A good place to begin is to ask yourself a series of questions:

  • What do I want to study?
  • Why is the topic important?
  • How is it significant within the subject areas covered in my class?
  • What problems will it help solve?
  • How does it build upon [and hopefully go beyond] research already conducted on the topic?
  • What exactly should I plan to do, and can I get it done in the time available?

In general, a compelling research proposal should document your knowledge of the topic and demonstrate your enthusiasm for conducting the study. Approach it with the intention of leaving your readers feeling like, "Wow, that's an exciting idea and I can’t wait to see how it turns out!"

Most proposals should include the following sections:

I.  Introduction

In the real world of higher education, a research proposal is most often written by scholars seeking grant funding for a research project or it's the first step in getting approval to write a doctoral dissertation. Even if this is just a course assignment, treat your introduction as the initial pitch of an idea based on a thorough examination of the significance of a research problem. After reading the introduction, your readers should not only have an understanding of what you want to do, but they should also be able to gain a sense of your passion for the topic and to be excited about the study's possible outcomes. Note that most proposals do not include an abstract [summary] before the introduction.

Think about your introduction as a narrative written in two to four paragraphs that succinctly answers the following four questions :

  • What is the central research problem?
  • What is the topic of study related to that research problem?
  • What methods should be used to analyze the research problem?
  • Answer the "So What?" question by explaining why this is important research, what is its significance, and why should someone reading the proposal care about the outcomes of the proposed study?

II.  Background and Significance

This is where you explain the scope and context of your proposal and describe in detail why it's important. It can be melded into your introduction or you can create a separate section to help with the organization and narrative flow of your proposal. Approach writing this section with the thought that you can’t assume your readers will know as much about the research problem as you do. Note that this section is not an essay going over everything you have learned about the topic; instead, you must choose what is most relevant in explaining the aims of your research.

To that end, while there are no prescribed rules for establishing the significance of your proposed study, you should attempt to address some or all of the following:

  • State the research problem and give a more detailed explanation about the purpose of the study than what you stated in the introduction. This is particularly important if the problem is complex or multifaceted .
  • Present the rationale of your proposed study and clearly indicate why it is worth doing; be sure to answer the "So What? question [i.e., why should anyone care?].
  • Describe the major issues or problems examined by your research. This can be in the form of questions to be addressed. Be sure to note how your proposed study builds on previous assumptions about the research problem.
  • Explain the methods you plan to use for conducting your research. Clearly identify the key sources you intend to use and explain how they will contribute to your analysis of the topic.
  • Describe the boundaries of your proposed research in order to provide a clear focus. Where appropriate, state not only what you plan to study, but what aspects of the research problem will be excluded from the study.
  • If necessary, provide definitions of key concepts, theories, or terms.

III.  Literature Review

Connected to the background and significance of your study is a section of your proposal devoted to a more deliberate review and synthesis of prior studies related to the research problem under investigation . The purpose here is to place your project within the larger whole of what is currently being explored, while at the same time, demonstrating to your readers that your work is original and innovative. Think about what questions other researchers have asked, what methodological approaches they have used, and what is your understanding of their findings and, when stated, their recommendations. Also pay attention to any suggestions for further research.

Since a literature review is information dense, it is crucial that this section is intelligently structured to enable a reader to grasp the key arguments underpinning your proposed study in relation to the arguments put forth by other researchers. A good strategy is to break the literature into "conceptual categories" [themes] rather than systematically or chronologically describing groups of materials one at a time. Note that conceptual categories generally reveal themselves after you have read most of the pertinent literature on your topic so adding new categories is an on-going process of discovery as you review more studies. How do you know you've covered the key conceptual categories underlying the research literature? Generally, you can have confidence that all of the significant conceptual categories have been identified if you start to see repetition in the conclusions or recommendations that are being made.

NOTE: Do not shy away from challenging the conclusions made in prior research as a basis for supporting the need for your proposal. Assess what you believe is missing and state how previous research has failed to adequately examine the issue that your study addresses. Highlighting the problematic conclusions strengthens your proposal. For more information on writing literature reviews, GO HERE .

To help frame your proposal's review of prior research, consider the "five C’s" of writing a literature review:

  • Cite , so as to keep the primary focus on the literature pertinent to your research problem.
  • Compare the various arguments, theories, methodologies, and findings expressed in the literature: what do the authors agree on? Who applies similar approaches to analyzing the research problem?
  • Contrast the various arguments, themes, methodologies, approaches, and controversies expressed in the literature: describe what are the major areas of disagreement, controversy, or debate among scholars?
  • Critique the literature: Which arguments are more persuasive, and why? Which approaches, findings, and methodologies seem most reliable, valid, or appropriate, and why? Pay attention to the verbs you use to describe what an author says/does [e.g., asserts, demonstrates, argues, etc.].
  • Connect the literature to your own area of research and investigation: how does your own work draw upon, depart from, synthesize, or add a new perspective to what has been said in the literature?

IV.  Research Design and Methods

This section must be well-written and logically organized because you are not actually doing the research, yet, your reader must have confidence that you have a plan worth pursuing . The reader will never have a study outcome from which to evaluate whether your methodological choices were the correct ones. Thus, the objective here is to convince the reader that your overall research design and proposed methods of analysis will correctly address the problem and that the methods will provide the means to effectively interpret the potential results. Your design and methods should be unmistakably tied to the specific aims of your study.

Describe the overall research design by building upon and drawing examples from your review of the literature. Consider not only methods that other researchers have used, but methods of data gathering that have not been used but perhaps could be. Be specific about the methodological approaches you plan to undertake to obtain information, the techniques you would use to analyze the data, and the tests of external validity to which you commit yourself [i.e., the trustworthiness by which you can generalize from your study to other people, places, events, and/or periods of time].

When describing the methods you will use, be sure to cover the following:

  • Specify the research process you will undertake and the way you will interpret the results obtained in relation to the research problem. Don't just describe what you intend to achieve from applying the methods you choose, but state how you will spend your time while applying these methods [e.g., coding text from interviews to find statements about the need to change school curriculum; running a regression to determine if there is a relationship between campaign advertising on social media sites and election outcomes in Europe ].
  • Keep in mind that the methodology is not just a list of tasks; it is a deliberate argument as to why techniques for gathering information add up to the best way to investigate the research problem. This is an important point because the mere listing of tasks to be performed does not demonstrate that, collectively, they effectively address the research problem. Be sure you clearly explain this.
  • Anticipate and acknowledge any potential barriers and pitfalls in carrying out your research design and explain how you plan to address them. No method applied to research in the social and behavioral sciences is perfect, so you need to describe where you believe challenges may exist in obtaining data or accessing information. It's always better to acknowledge this than to have it brought up by your professor!

V.  Preliminary Suppositions and Implications

Just because you don't have to actually conduct the study and analyze the results, doesn't mean you can skip talking about the analytical process and potential implications . The purpose of this section is to argue how and in what ways you believe your research will refine, revise, or extend existing knowledge in the subject area under investigation. Depending on the aims and objectives of your study, describe how the anticipated results will impact future scholarly research, theory, practice, forms of interventions, or policy making. Note that such discussions may have either substantive [a potential new policy], theoretical [a potential new understanding], or methodological [a potential new way of analyzing] significance.   When thinking about the potential implications of your study, ask the following questions:

  • What might the results mean in regards to challenging the theoretical framework and underlying assumptions that support the study?
  • What suggestions for subsequent research could arise from the potential outcomes of the study?
  • What will the results mean to practitioners in the natural settings of their workplace, organization, or community?
  • Will the results influence programs, methods, and/or forms of intervention?
  • How might the results contribute to the solution of social, economic, or other types of problems?
  • Will the results influence policy decisions?
  • In what way do individuals or groups benefit should your study be pursued?
  • What will be improved or changed as a result of the proposed research?
  • How will the results of the study be implemented and what innovations or transformative insights could emerge from the process of implementation?

NOTE:   This section should not delve into idle speculation, opinion, or be formulated on the basis of unclear evidence . The purpose is to reflect upon gaps or understudied areas of the current literature and describe how your proposed research contributes to a new understanding of the research problem should the study be implemented as designed.

ANOTHER NOTE : This section is also where you describe any potential limitations to your proposed study. While it is impossible to highlight all potential limitations because the study has yet to be conducted, you still must tell the reader where and in what form impediments may arise and how you plan to address them.

VI.  Conclusion

The conclusion reiterates the importance or significance of your proposal and provides a brief summary of the entire study . This section should be only one or two paragraphs long, emphasizing why the research problem is worth investigating, why your research study is unique, and how it should advance existing knowledge.

Someone reading this section should come away with an understanding of:

  • Why the study should be done;
  • The specific purpose of the study and the research questions it attempts to answer;
  • The decision for why the research design and methods used where chosen over other options;
  • The potential implications emerging from your proposed study of the research problem; and
  • A sense of how your study fits within the broader scholarship about the research problem.

VII.  Citations

As with any scholarly research paper, you must cite the sources you used . In a standard research proposal, this section can take two forms, so consult with your professor about which one is preferred.

  • References -- a list of only the sources you actually used in creating your proposal.
  • Bibliography -- a list of everything you used in creating your proposal, along with additional citations to any key sources relevant to understanding the research problem.

In either case, this section should testify to the fact that you did enough preparatory work to ensure the project will complement and not just duplicate the efforts of other researchers. It demonstrates to the reader that you have a thorough understanding of prior research on the topic.

Most proposal formats have you start a new page and use the heading "References" or "Bibliography" centered at the top of the page. Cited works should always use a standard format that follows the writing style advised by the discipline of your course [e.g., education=APA; history=Chicago] or that is preferred by your professor. This section normally does not count towards the total page length of your research proposal.

Develop a Research Proposal: Writing the Proposal. Office of Library Information Services. Baltimore County Public Schools; Heath, M. Teresa Pereira and Caroline Tynan. “Crafting a Research Proposal.” The Marketing Review 10 (Summer 2010): 147-168; Jones, Mark. “Writing a Research Proposal.” In MasterClass in Geography Education: Transforming Teaching and Learning . Graham Butt, editor. (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), pp. 113-127; Juni, Muhamad Hanafiah. “Writing a Research Proposal.” International Journal of Public Health and Clinical Sciences 1 (September/October 2014): 229-240; Krathwohl, David R. How to Prepare a Dissertation Proposal: Suggestions for Students in Education and the Social and Behavioral Sciences . Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2005; Procter, Margaret. The Academic Proposal. The Lab Report. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Punch, Keith and Wayne McGowan. "Developing and Writing a Research Proposal." In From Postgraduate to Social Scientist: A Guide to Key Skills . Nigel Gilbert, ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2006), 59-81; Wong, Paul T. P. How to Write a Research Proposal. International Network on Personal Meaning. Trinity Western University; Writing Academic Proposals: Conferences , Articles, and Books. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing a Research Proposal. University Library. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Berkeley Graduate Division

  • Basics for GSIs
  • Advancing Your Skills

English R&C Research Assignment

by Diane Matlock, English

What Is a Research Paper? Preparing for a Research Project Beginning the Research Project Evaluating Sources Assessing an Argument Managing Information Working Sources into the Paper Your Working Title and Introduction

R1B is a course that satisfies the campus’s Reading and Composition (R&C) requirement. Since GSIs for these courses are the lead instructors, they are in charge of designing all learning activities and assignments.

What follows is a general assignment for R1B that challenges first- and second-year students to apply their developing critical skills to a question of interest to them. The materials below are instructions for the students.

What Is a Research Paper?

A research paper should provide its writer and its reader with new knowledge and a new understanding of a specific topic. The success of your research paper depends primarily on your critical judgment in selecting sources and on the originality and thoughtfulness of your treatment of the topic.

To write an effective research paper, one that makes an argument about your topic, you must review relevant resources and, using powers of analysis and integration, develop a paper that reveals understanding and original thinking. You want to think of your research topic as a question or problem — not a topic area — that your essay is going to address and/or resolve.

If you take seriously the importance of using sources judiciously and of learning something new through the research process, the paper should embody all of the following characteristics:

  • Originality
  • Expression of an evaluation or attitude
  • A reasoned approach to an argument
  • A synthesis of information from several sources
  • Systematic documentation of sources
  • The result of a time-consuming research process

Preparing for a Research Project

If you have been assigned a research project, be sure you understand the requirements and the limits of the assignment before you begin your research. If you have been assigned a specific research project, keep in mind the cue words in the assignment. Are you to describe, survey, analyze, explain, classify, compare, or contrast? What do such words mean in this field? You also need to know the audience, rhetorical stance, scope, length, and deadline for your project.

Research log

You should keep a research log — either on paper or digitized — to jot down thoughts about your topic, lists of things to do, and ideas about possible sources; also use it to keep track of library materials. You can also use the log as a means of analyzing and developing your research process. What things worked? What didn’t work? How will you do things differently next time?

Project calendar

Before beginning a research project, you should also map out a rough but realistic schedule for your research. It can include the following action items and the dates they need to be completed:

  • Analyze project; decide on primary purpose and audience; choose topic
  • Set aside library time; develop search strategy (see below)
  • Send for materials needed from Interlibrary Loan
  • Do background research, narrow topic if necessary
  • Decide on research questions and a tentative hypothesis
  • Start working on bibliography; begin tracking down sources
  • Gather or develop graphics or visuals needed
  • Develop working thesis and rough outline
  • If necessary, conduct interviews, make observations, or distribute and collect questionnaires
  • Read and evaluate sources; take notes
  • Draft explicit thesis and outline
  • Prepare first draft, including visuals
  • Obtain and evaluate critical responses to your draft
  • Do more research if necessary
  • Revise draft
  • Prepare list of works cited
  • Edit and revise draft; use spell checker
  • Prepare final draft
  • Do final proofreading

Beginning the Research Project

You should see your research project as an essay that responds to an interesting question. For an academic, one of the fundamental roles is asking questions. To initiate your project, you should begin by formulating a research question. Pose possible questions that are worth exploring and challenging. You should also choose a narrow question that can be answered fully within the page limits set for the assignment. You want to create a discipline-appropriate question that is interesting, significant, and pursuable. Before beginning, consider:

  • What is the research problem or question you intend to address?
  • Why is it an interesting question? Why is it problematic?
  • Why is it significant?

Your instructor can help you think through these questions if you get stuck.

Evaluating Sources

Once you have selected your research topic and begun exploring the primary and secondary sources available, you will work to evaluate the sources you find: determine which ones are most relevant to your research question; identify which sources will provide the best context for answering your question; and collect the sources that you will be able to use as evidence for the argument you will eventually make. To do this, you will need to eliminate inappropriate sources — such as those that are outdated, are unreliable, use uncited sources, or make unsubstantiated claims.

Don’t try to read everything — be selective

You want to select sources that are worth your time and attention. Begin by looking at the title, abstract or introductory paragraphs, date, name of publisher or periodical, and length of text. Consider carefully each source’s relevance, currency, scholarship, and scope.

Next, you need to determine the rhetorical situation of the sources you will work with.

What is the rhetorical situation of the source?

Every text originates in a particular situation; you need to learn about the situation or conversation a text belongs to. What question is being posed, and how does the writer shape it? You need to consider a real author, writing for some important reasons, within a real historical context, from a certain perspective. Whether argumentative or informative, sources present particular perspectives. This is true of primary sources as well as secondary sources. For example, the editorial staffs of different magazines and newspapers can have distinct political orientations, and emphasize issues in particular ways to appeal to their assumed audience. For this reason, before reading closely through a whole article or book, you need to try to determine the rhetorical situation of the source and the argument. Ask yourself:

  • What kind of text is it? What are its qualities and features?
  • Who is the author? What is the reputation of the author? What is her or his perspective or bias?
  • When was the source written?
  • Where did the source appear? (There are different degrees of scholarly prestige for different journals and presses.)
  • Why was the book or article written?
  • What is the author’s aim?
  • How is the source organized?
  • What sources are included in the bibliography and footnotes?

Answering these questions will help you understand the rhetorical situation of a source.

Evaluating websites

The same criteria that apply to printed sources apply to websites. When using websites to conduct research, consider the following:

  • Is an author named? (Check the home page or “About This Site” link). Who, if anyone, sponsors the site? (If the authorship and the sponsorship of a site are both unclear, be extremely suspicious of the site.)
  • The domain often specifies the type of group hosting the site: commercial (.com), educational (.edu), nonprofit (.org), governmental (.gov), military (.mil), network (.net), etc. What does the domain of this site tell you about the source?
  • Why was the site created? To argue a position? To sell a product? To inform readers?
  • Can you tell whether the author is knowledgeable and credible?
  • Who is the site’s intended audience?
  • How current is the site?
  • How current are the site’s links?

The UC Berkeley Library has an extensive guide you may find helpful on Evaluating Resources .

Assessing an Argument

After learning about the rhetorical situation of a source, read its argument critically. If it is book-length, look at the introduction, conclusion, and one essential chapter. You should choose the chapter that most specifically relates to your research project. Just as you close-read a literary passage by breaking it down into smaller parts, you analyze an argument by examining elements of its form and manner of presentation. Consider what the author states and how she or he states it.

Be alert to biases

  • Is the purpose of the argument to inform or to advocate?
  • Does the author or publisher have political leanings or religious views that affect the argument they make? For example, is the author or publisher associated with a special-interest group, such as Greenpeace or the National Rifle Association, that might see only one side of an issue?
  • How fairly does the source treat opposing views? Does it over-generalize and attack them, or does it engage them respectfully?
  • In what ways does the bias of the source limit its usefulness for your research question?

Analyze the argument

  • What is the author’s central thesis?
  • What is the basic structure of the argument for the thesis? Are there any logical fallacies in the structure?
  • What assumptions does the argument make? Are any of the author’s assumptions questionable?
  • What counts as evidence for the argument? Is the evidence current? Is it accurately presented and interpreted? Is it relevant? Does the source have the expertise to handle the evidence fairly?
  • Does the author consider opposing arguments fairly and refute them persuasively?

Finally, you want to ask yourself how you might  use  the source. Is the evidence useful, relevant, and accurately reported? Or does the article provide an example of a point of view you want to discuss? How might the source be used to provide evidence for and/or to contextualize your argument?

Managing Information

An effective researcher is a good record keeper. You need to find a systematic way of managing information. You will need methods for maintaining a working bibliography, keeping track of materials, and taking notes without plagiarizing your sources.

Record complete bibliographic information for each of your sources, and do not forget to include the page numbers of any passages you might cite as evidence in your essay. The following entries are examples of the MLA format for a bibliography:

Boydston, Jeanne.  Home and Work: Housework, Wages, and the Ideology of Labor in the Early Republic . New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Norris, Margot. “Narration under a Blindfold: Reading Joyce’s ‘Clay.’”  PMLA  102 (1987): 206–15.

Maintain a working bibliography

Keep a record of any sources you decide to consult. You will need this record, called a working bibliography, when you compile the list of works cited that will appear at the end of your paper.

Keep track of source materials

The best way to keep track of source materials is to photocopy them or print them out.

As you take notes, avoid unintentional plagiarism

You will discover that it is amazingly easy to borrow too much language from a source as you take notes. Do not allow this to happen. To prevent unintentional borrowing, resist the temptation to look at the source as you take notes — except when you are quoting. Keep the source close by so you can check for accuracy, but do not try to put ideas in your own words while you have the source’s sentences in front of you.

As you take notes, be sure to include exact page references, since you will need the page numbers later if you use the information in your paper.

There are three kinds of note-taking: summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting.

A  summary  condenses information, perhaps reducing a chapter to a short paragraph or a paragraph into a single sentence. A summary should be written in your own words; if you use phrases from the source, put them in quotation marks.

A  paraphrase  is written in your own words; but whereas a summary reports significant information in fewer words than the source, a paraphrase retells the information in roughly the same number of words. If you retain occasional choice phrases from the source, use quotation marks so you will know later which phrases are your own.

A  quotation  consists of the exact words from a source. In your notes, put all quoted material in quotation marks. When you quote, be sure to copy the words of your sources exactly, including punctuation and capitalization.

Working Sources into the Paper

You want to work quotations and paraphrases into the texture of your own prose, carrying an argument in your own voice. Remember that you are using your sources as evidence for your own argument. In other words, you need to construct a thesis and argument that present your ideas, not those of the primary and secondary sources you read.

Choose a documentation style

The format of citations depends upon the documentation style you are using — for example, MLA, APA, or CMS. Select a style appropriate for your discipline. Consult a style guide (your instructor may recommend one, or there may be a standard one for your discipline).

Your Working Title and Introduction

A good title is an important part of your project as it is your reader’s first introduction to your essay. Your working title can be a question, a summary of thesis or purpose, or a two-part title with a colon. For example:

  • Is Patriarchal Management Extinct?
  • The Relationship between Client and Therapist Expectation of Improvement and Psychotherapy Outcome
  • Money and Growth: An Alternative Approach
  • Fine Cloth, Cut Carefully: Cooperative Learning in British Columbia (this one begins with an interesting mystery phrase that will become clear after reading the essay)

An introduction has three main parts:

  • The first part introduces the reader to the problem the paper addresses. This section usually contains needed background on the problem and often reviews previous scholarship that has addressed it. Frequently, the writer explains why the problem is a problem (for example, why earlier attempts to solve the problem have been unsatisfactory) and why the problem is significant and worth pursuing.
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Based on what you understand from the assignment in question, evaluate the critical points that should be made. If the task is research-based, discuss your aims and objectives, research method, and results. For an argumentative essay, you need to construct arguments relevant to the thesis statement.

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How Pew Research Center Uses Its National Public Opinion Reference Survey (NPORS)

In 2020, Pew Research Center launched a new project called the  National Public Opinion Reference Survey (NPORS) . NPORS is an annual, cross-sectional survey of U.S. adults. Respondents can answer by paper, online or over the phone, and they are selected using address-based sampling from the United States Postal Service’s Computerized Delivery Sequence File. The response rate to the latest NPORS was 32%, and previous years’ surveys were designed with a similarly rigorous approach. 

NPORS estimates are separate from the  American Trends Panel  (ATP) – the Center’s national online survey platform. Pew Research Center launched NPORS to address a limitation that researchers observed in the ATP. While the ATP was well-suited for the vast majority of the Center’s U.S. survey work, estimates for a few outcomes were not in line with other high-quality surveys, even after weighting to demographics like age, education, race and ethnicity, and gender.

For example, in 2018, roughly one-quarter of U.S. adults were religiously unaffiliated (i.e., atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular”), according to the General Social Survey (GSS) and the Center’s own telephone-based polling . The ATP, however,  estimated the religiously unaffiliated rate at about 32%. The Center did not feel comfortable publishing that ATP estimate because there was too much evidence that the rate was too high, likely because the types of people willing to participate in an online panel skew less religious than the population as a whole. Similarly, the ATP estimate for the share of U.S. adults identifying as a Democrat or leaning to the Democratic Party was somewhat higher than the rate indicated by the GSS and our own telephone surveys .

From 2014 to late 2020, the Center approached these outcomes slightly differently. We addressed the political partisanship issue by weighting every ATP survey to an external benchmark for the share of Americans identifying as a Republican, Democrat or independent. For the benchmark, we used the average of the results from our three most recent national cellphone and landline random-digit-dial (RDD) surveys. 

During this time period, ATP surveys were not weighted to an external benchmark for Americans’ religious affiliation. The ATP was used for some research on religious beliefs and behaviors, but it was not used to estimate the overall share of Americans identifying as religiously affiliated or unaffiliated, nor was it used to estimate the size of particular faith groups, such as Catholics, Protestants or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. NPORS allows us to improve and harmonize our approach to both these outcomes (Americans’ political and religious affiliations). 

Design and estimates

Read our fact sheet to find the latest NPORS estimates as well as methodological details. Data collection for NPORS was performed by Ipsos from 2020 through 2023 and is now performed by SSRS. 

Why is the NPORS response rate higher than most opinion polls?

Several features of NPORS set it apart from a typical public opinion poll. 

  • People can respond offline or online.  NPORS offers three different ways to respond: by paper (through the mail), online, or by telephone (by calling a provided phone number and speaking to a live interviewer). The paper and telephone options bring in more conservative, more religious adults who are less inclined to take surveys online.
  • Monetary incentives.  When sampled adults are first asked to respond to NPORS online, the mailing contains a $2 incentive payment (cash visible from the outside of the envelope) and offers a $10 incentive payment contingent on the participant completing the survey. When nonrespondents to that first stage are sent the paper version of the survey, the mailing contains a visible $5 bill. These incentives give people a reason to respond, even if they might not be interested in the questions or inclined to take surveys in general. 
  • Priority mailing.  The paper version of the survey is mailed in a USPS Priority Mail envelope, which is more expensive than a normal envelope, signaling that the contents are important and that the mailing is not haphazard. It helps people distinguish the survey from junk mail, increasing the likelihood that they open and read what is inside. 
  • Low burden.  The NPORS questionnaire is intentionally kept short. It’s about 40 questions long, including demographics such as age, gender and education. This means that NPORS takes about seven minutes to finish, while many polls take 10 minutes or longer. 
  • Bilingual materials.  In parts of the country with sizable shares of Hispanic Americans, the materials are sent in both English and Spanish. 
  • No requirement to join a panel.  NPORS respondents are not required to join a survey panel, which for some people would be a reason to decline the request. 

These features are not possible in most public polls for a host of reasons. But NPORS is designed to produce estimates of high enough quality that they can be used as weighting benchmarks for other polls, and so these features are critical.

Why a ‘reference’ survey for public opinion?

The “R” in NPORS stands for “reference.” In this context, the term comes from  studies  in which researchers calibrate a small sample survey to a large, high-quality survey with greater precision and accuracy. Examples of reference surveys used by researchers include the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) and the Current Population Survey (CPS). NPORS is not on the scale of the ACS or CPS, nor does it feature face-to-face data collection. But it does have something that those studies lack: timely estimates of key public opinion outcomes. Other studies like the American National Election Survey (ANES) and the General Social Survey collect key public opinion measures, but their data is released months, if not years, after data collection. The ANES, while invaluable to academic researchers, also excludes noncitizens who constitute about 7% of adults living in the U.S. and are included in the Center’s surveys.

NPORS is truly a reference survey for Pew Research Center because researchers weight each American Trends Panel wave to several NPORS estimates. In other words, ATP surveys refer to NPORS in order to represent groups like Republicans, Democrats, religiously affiliated adults and religiously unaffiliated adults proportional to their share of the U.S. population. The ATP weighting protocol also calibrates to other benchmarks, such as ACS demographic figures and CPS benchmarks for voter registration status and volunteerism.

Pew Research Center is weighting on political party affiliation, but isn’t that an attitude?

It’s correct that whether someone considers themselves a Republican or a Democrat is an attitude, not a fixed characteristic, such as year of birth. But there is a way to weight on political party affiliation even though it is an attitude and without forcing the poll’s partisan distribution to align with a benchmark. 

Pew Research Center started implementing this approach in 2021. It begins with measuring the survey panelists’ political party affiliation at a certain point in time (typically, each summer). Ideally, the reference survey will measure the same construct at the same point in time. We launched NPORS because we control its timing as well as the American Trends Panel’s timing, allowing us to achieve this syncing.

NPORS and ATP measurements of political party are collected at approximately the same time each summer. We may then conduct roughly 25 surveys on the ATP over the next year. For each of those 25 surveys, we append the panelists’ party affiliation answers from the summer  to the current survey. To illustrate, let’s say that a survey was conducted in December. When researchers weight the December ATP survey, they take the measurement of party taken in the summer and weight that to the NPORS estimates for the partisan distribution of U.S. adults during the summer time frame. If, for example, Democrats were more likely than Republicans to respond to the December survey, the weighting to the NPORS target would help reduce the differential partisan nonresponse bias. 

Critically, if the hypothetical December poll featured a fresh measurement of political party affiliation (typically asked about three times a year on the ATP), the new December answers do  not  get forced to any target. The new partisan distribution is allowed to vary. In this way, we can both address the threat from differential partisan nonresponse and measure an attitude that changes over time (without dictating the outcome). Each summer, the process starts anew by measuring political party on the ATP at basically the same time as the NPORS data collection. 

Is the NPORS design connected to the American Trends Panel?

A key feature of NPORS is that respondents are not members of a survey panel. It is a fresh, random sample of U.S. adults. This matters because some people are willing to take a onetime survey like NPORS but are not interested in taking surveys on an ongoing basis as part of a panel. That said, in certain years, NPORS serves as a recruitment survey for the ATP. After the NPORS questions, we ask respondents if they would be willing to take future surveys. People who accept and those who decline are both part of the NPORS survey. But only those who consent to future surveys are eventually invited to join the ATP.

Can other survey researchers use NPORS?

Yes. As a nonprofit organization, we seek to make our research as useful to policymakers, survey practitioners and scholars as possible. As with the Center’s other survey work, the estimates and data are freely available. 

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July 11, 2024

Awardees of 2022 Tier 1 pilot research grants report final project outcomes

Research project team engaged in discussion

These awards from the initiative’s Tier 1 pilot grant program were intended to support researchers in laying an interdisciplinary foundation for a future project to generate proof-of-concept.

Each team has now completed their respective project and have delivered final reports on the results of their work as well as future plans.

The Intersection of Food Security and Planetary Health in Senegal, West Africa: A Mixed-Methods Pilot Study

Investigators Noëlle A. Benzekri, Department of Medicine/Division of Allergy & Infectious Diseases Peter Rabinowitz, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences Julianne Meisner, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences Cory Morin, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences Lauren Masey, Development in Gardening Jacques Sambou, District Sanitaire de Ziguinchor, Senegal Moussa Seydi, Services des Maladies Infectieuses, Hôpital Fann, Senegal Geoff Gottlieb, Department of Medicine/Division of Allergy & Infectious Diseases Vickie Ramirez, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences

Project summary We conducted a mixed methods study, grounded in the principles of community based partcipatory research, to explore community perceptions of environmental change, to understand the process by which environmental change impacts food security, and to validate community knowledge in the Casamance region of Senegal.

Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with community members, stakeholders, and key informants were conducted to explore perceptions, beliefs, and experiences regarding climate change and changes in the environment, and to understand the process by which these changes impact food security and influence behaviors. The themes that emerged from the exploratory focus group discussions and in-depth interviews contributed to the development of a community informed interview guide. This interview guide was subsequently used to conduct semi- structured interviews with community members in the Basse-Casamance region. The Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) was used to measure food insecurity. The 9-item HFIAS was developed by the USAID Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance project to assess household food insecurity across different cultural contexts. It provides a categorical indicator of food insecurity status on a scale of 1–4, with 1 being not food insecure, 2 being mildly food insecure, 3 being moderately food insecure, and 4 being severely food insecure. Interview participants were selected using purposeful sampling. All participants provided informed consent. Interviews were conducted in the participant’s preferred language, which was predominantly Diola, Wolof, or French. Qualitative analysis was guided by the grounded theory approach using inductive coding and the constant comparative method.

Strategies proposed by community members and participants to strengthen resilience in the face of increasing food insecurity and environmental change included, campaigns to halt deforestation and increase awareness of activities that harm the environment, providing training and concrete skills in sustainable agriculture, implementing reforestation initiatives, and reinforcing and expanding the mandate of government environmental agencies (such as the Ministère de l’Environnement et du Développement Durable and l’Agence des Eaux, Forêts, Chasse et de la Conservation des Sols) to enhance environmental protection and regulation. Next steps will include the presentation and publication of study results and application for future funding. We also plan to incorporate high-resolution aerial images and meteorological and land use data sets to triangulate data obtained from community interviews and to validate community perceptions of ecosystem change. We are currently planning two manuscripts based on the results of this study and we anticipate two research proposals based on the results of this study. The first proposal will focus on the health-associated and cultural impacts of deforestation in communities bordering the forest in the Basse-Casamance region. The second proposal will be prepared in collaboration with our longtime partners at DIG (Development in Gardening), and will focus on the implementation and evaluation of a nutrition-sensitive, environmentally sustainable agriculture program in the Casamance region of Senegal.

Addressing Burnout Among QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Therapists Working in Community-Based Organizations through Cultivating Wellness and Sustainability

Investigators Justin Lerner, School of Social Work Agnes Kwong, Interconnections Healing Center Yungee O’Connell, MEND Seattle Therapy Services Tanya Ranchigoda, MEND Seattle Therapy Services, School of Social Work

Project summary The aims of this Tier 1 proposal were: 1) to identify current levels of burnout among QTBIPOC therapists working in two QTBIPOC-led and QTBIPOC-centered community agencies and 2) to understand how burnout is affecting wellness levels of QTBIPOC therapists as they enter a third year of providing mental health services during a pandemic. Our Tier 1 UW Population Health pilot grant helped us better understand how burnout uniquely manifests for QTBIPOC therapists.

We utilized the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI) with our pilot sample as well as focus groups. The CBI measures participants’ level of burnout using 21 items on three subscales. These subscales use a 5-point Likert scale and have high internal consistency as follows: personal burnout (a=0.87), work related burnout (a=0.87), and client-related burnout (a=0.87). QTBIPOC therapists overwhelmingly indicated that they felt high levels of personal burnout and work-related burnout. For personal burnout, the sample indicated that they always/to a very high degree (AVHD) or often/to a high degree (OHD) felt the following ways: 1) tired (70.6%), 2) physically exhausted (64.6%), 3) emotionally exhausted (58.9%), and 4) worn out (58.9%). For work-related burnout, the participants reported AVHD or OHD levels for the following items: 1) worn out at the end of the working day (94.2%), 2) work is emotionally exhausting (76.5%), 3) work feels frustrating (82.4%), 4) feel burnt out because of work (53.0%).

QTBIPOC therapists did not, however, indicate high levels of client-related burnout. Focus groups did reveal that working with white clients can lead to some feelings of client-related burnout. One therapist explained, “Sometimes I’m more drained when I’m working with my white clients [because] I’m working with clients who are taking more from me…Clients of color give a lot to me.” Another clinician reported that working with QTBIPOC clients can protect against client-related burnout. They explained, “Working with QTBIPOC clients tends to be incredibly rewarding and I think that’s the space where I felt some sort of sense of reciprocity.”

Our two community-based agencies are currently almost entirely dependent on client sessions as the sole revenue source that sustains the organizations. Clinicians, however, have explained that seeing 25 clients a week feels unsustainable long term, particularly when many of these sessions are virtual. One therapist explained, “That’s actually the max [25 sessions a week] that I can do because there’s burn out. But if there is some variety of the things that I can offer that would actually go longer.” Another clinician expressed, “I can’t do full time therapy. I just know that I wouldn’t be able to handle that emotionally.” Clinicians also expressed how doing virtual therapy feels more difficult than in person therapy. One therapist stated, “There’s a mental load to tracking all that extra information [for virtual therapy sessions] and to holding your boundaries of making sure you actually get up and go downstairs and come back up [between sessions].” Another therapist discussed, “[B]ack-to-back [sessions] with virtual just feels super draining compared to in person work.” As the COVID-19 pandemic quickly shifted therapy to a telehealth format, this mode of therapy is likely to remain prevalent as a way to deliver therapy.

Some of the major themes uncovered from the focus groups related to QTBIPOC therapist wellness included: 1) financial wellness; 2) how working with white and/or heterosexual clients can contribute to exhaustion and burnout; 3) the importance of being in community for maintaining wellness; 4) serving 25 clients each week feeling unsustainable; 5) needing space to process internalized racism that has not been healed from previous graduate school or work-related experiences; and 6) physical wellness.

Turning to Sunshine: Developing a CBT-based Depression and Adherence mHealth intervention for HIV-positive Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) in China Using a Community-Based Participatory Approach

Investigators Liying Wang, Department of Psychology Jane M. Simoni, Department of Psychology Weichao Yuwen, School of Nursing & Healthcare Leadership (UW Tacoma) Huang Zheng, Shanghai CSW&MSM Center, SCMC

Project summary The project aimed to achieve the following goals: 1) Establish a trusting and mutually beneficial partnership with the community-based organization Shanghai CSW&MSM Center, China; 2) Form an intervention team that involves community members, representatives from government institutions, healthcare providers, and researchers; 3) Complete needs assessment as a team; 4) Determine intervention priorities by triangulating the results from needs assessment with theories and empirical evidence, taking into account both what is important and what is changeable; 5) Develop a logic model to visually present intervention development and next steps.

We successfully achieved all the goals. We collaborated with our community partners and completed the needs assessment interviews with 17 MSM with HIV, 5 staff at Shanghai Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and five staff at Shanghai CSW&MSM Center (SCMC). The manuscript reporting the results of the needs assessment was submitted to the British Journal of Health Psychology and is currently under review. We identified the high demands for psychosocial support and the mental health service gaps in the community. Using the results from the needs assessment and online co-design of intervention, we developed a Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)-based intervention that was tailored to the community’s unique needs and cultural context. The manuscript reporting the intervention content and delivery was submitted to the Journal of Medical Internet Research: Formative Research and is currently under review.

Building Community Capacity Among MultiCare, Tacoma Public Schools, and University of Washington to Support Underserved Youth Well-being

Investigators Chieh (Sunny) Cheng, School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership (UW Tacoma) Lucas McIntyre, MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital Susan Ramos, MultiCare Health System

Project summary Our proposed capacity-building project aims to strengthen an established partnership between UW Tacoma, Tacoma Public Schools (TPS) and MultiCare Behavioral Health and conduct a needs assessment that will inform the development and implementation of a transferable consultation program that supports student mental well-being. The partnership continues to grow and generate additional community engagement work including delivering substance use prevention lectures in the Stadium High School and implementing teens Mental Health First Aid training for the Healthcare Careers Academy students in Tacoma Public Schools.

Based on the results listed on the progress report, we started offering monthly case consultations (n=10) to school personnel (N=22), mostly school counselors. TPS emailed the staff about the opportunities to discuss with our co-PI Dr. McIntyre about children’s behavioral health challenges. During the one-hour monthly session, we received various case questions including selective mutism, stigma toward mental illness, internalizing concerns such as distressing emotions, community and clinical resources for referrals, culturally appropriate communication with family caregivers, and so forth. We implemented a 10-item self-efficacy scale before and after each session along with demographic questions to evaluate the efficacy of the program. Each of the ten questions in the self-efficacy scale covers different areas of behavioral challenges such as internalizing concerns (i.e. depression), suicidal thoughts, and so forth.

We have found the changes of participants’ self-efficacy levels of the particular behavioral challenges are associated with the topics we had discussed in the meeting. The anticipated longitudinal data collection will be done by May 2023. For the dissemination of this project funded by the Population Health Initiative, we have been invited to present a poster in the 14th IEPA Early Intervention in Mental Health Conference in Switzerland.

Risk-taking Behaviors and Cryptocurrency Trading (REACT) in Young Adults

Investigators Caislin Firth, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences Jessica Beyer, Center for the Studies in Demography & Ecology (CSDE) Christopher Barnes, Foster School of Business Marieka Klawitter, Evans School of Public Policy & Governance

Project summary This project had three articulated research aims. Aim 1 was identifying how young adults use cryptocurrency and its relationship to financial stress, debt, and well-being through an analysis of news coverage and Twitter posts. The work for Aim 1 considered news coverage and Twitter posts about cryptocurrency trading published between January 2021 and June 2022 in order to gain preliminary insights into public perceptions of cryptocurrency and the effects trading may have on young adults and their mental health. This time period was exceptionally tumultuous for cryptocurrency holders, with Bitcoin reaching an all-time high in November 2021 and then dropping by 30% in the summer of 2022. We looked at content related to risk perceptions of cryptocurrency trading, financial stress and debt, and personal-wellbeing or affect. We focused on newspaper articles and media coverage in English and publicly available to individuals, occasionally with a soft paywall. The articles in our sample covered news and events in the United States between January 2021 and June 2022. We relied on the Ad Fontes Media rating database to evaluate the credibility and political leaning of these sources. Overall, we found that news coverage of cryptocurrency trading appeared relatively balanced, reflecting its high-risk nature while at the same time recognizing its appeal among traders.

In addition, we leveraged the Kaggle dataset Bitcoin Tweets. With over four million tweets, this dataset is a continually updated collection of tweets containing the hashtags #bitcoin and #btc. We focused on tweets published between January 2021 and June 2022 by users located in the United States. We ran sentiment analysis on those tweets using VADER (Valence Aware Dictionary and Sentiment Reasoner) to understand users’ overall sentiment towards cryptocurrency and to find any changes in sentiment towards cryptocurrency trading from month to month. To do so, we used the code by the same Kaggle author as the Bitcoin Tweets dataset, Bitcoin Tweets Sentiment Analysis. We directly compared two periods of interest: October to November 2021 when Bitcoin reached an all-time high, and May to June 2022, when it dropped 30% in value. Unsurprisingly, while average tweet sentiment remained positive overall during both time periods, it is notably higher in October to November 2021 than in May to June 2022.

Overall, our results indicated mixed public perceptions of cryptocurrency, reflecting the volatility of the market, the relative novelty of the currency, and its complex nature. Our cursory analysis of news coverage did not find any content connecting cryptocurrency trading and mental health, but given that our sample period ends precisely when the most recent cryptocurrency crash occurred, we would recommend that our analysis be repeated for the months following the crash. Our sentiment analysis found a decrease in positivity of average sentiment when bitcoin’s valuation dropped in May/June 2022 compared to its peak in November 2021.

Aim 2 was to assess the feasibility of recruiting a cohort of young adult cryptocurrency traders from online forums. The focus was to engage in investigative observational research in online communities, such as sub-reddits or posting boards. The aim was to identify major cryptocurrency focused online forums, propose forums for introductory observational research, and unpack community dynamics that might impact recruitment. The team created a comprehensive list of major cryptocurrency forums, identified which of these forums had formal rules in place prohibiting researchers from studying the forum, identified forums that would be good candidates for observation, and spent several weeks observing these forums and gathering information about them including cultural characteristics that would impact recruitment. The team also identified other researchers at UW conducting research into cryptocurrency online spaces and reached out to them. Our findings were not optimistic for recruiting from these forums. Community suspicion of outsiders, a culture of posting untrue information to foil observers, and concerns about researchers who pathologize cryptocurrency trading all serve as barriers. However, observational research is feasible. Research that compares behaviors, self-perceptions and attitudes might be particularly fruitful, including demographic comparisons (if possible to identify), and comparisons of cryptocurrency investment tactics in altcoin (versus Bitcoin) forums. However, this would both be challenging because of the anonymity in forums as well as the widespread cultural practice of deceiving anyone who might be reading forum posts.

Exploring COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in Pregnant Rural Washingtonians

Investigators Kristina Adams Waldorf, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology Kolina Koltai, Information School Rita Hsu, Confluence Health Linsey Monaghan, North Olympic Healthcare Network Shelby Wilson, Department of Communication Alex Stonehill, Department of Communication Ekta Dokania, Department of Communication Lauren Marcell, School of Medicine

Project summary In this project, we performed 60 direct interviews of English-speaking (N=30) and Spanish-speaking (N=30) pregnant or recently pregnant individuals in the Western U.S. (Washington, Idaho, Oregon, California, Nevada) to determine their opinions on vaccination in pregnancy and on digital content promoting vaccine uptake. We recruited participants using social media ads displayed to Facebook and Instagram users living in rural zip codes with an interest in pregnancy and newborn-related products. Next, we performed a mixed methods study to investigate factors linked to vaccine acceptance and hesitancy in pregnancy, as well as reaction to social media ads promoting COVID-19 vaccination with different messengers and types of message content (activation, social proof, appeal to protect, negative outcomes-based content). Interviews were transcribed and coded thematically. Social media ads were rated on a Likert scale and analyzed using linear mixed models.

In the interviews of English-speaking participants, we identified five main themes related to vaccine uptake, including perceived risk of COVID, sources of health information, vaccine hesitancy, and relationships with care providers. Participants rated ads most highly that used peer-based messengers and negative outcomes-based content (Fig. 1A). Ads with faith-based and elder messengers were rated significantly lower than peer messengers (p=0.04 and 0.001, respectively). Ads depicting doctors were rated similarly to those of elder messengers and less favorably than peer messengers.

Next, we investigated respondents’ preferences to the ad content. Negative outcomes-based ads were set as the reference category as they were the most favorably ranked content type. An activation message was also rated significantly less favorably than negative outcomes-based content (p=0.001). Participants preferred evidence-based information and the ability to conduct their own research on vaccine safety and efficacy rather than being told to get vaccinated. Primary concerns of vaccine-hesitant respondents included the short amount of time the vaccine had been available and perceived lack of research on its safety during pregnancy. Our findings suggests that tailored messaging using peer-based messengers and negative outcomes-based content can positively impact vaccine uptake among English-speaking pregnant women living in rural areas of the Western United States. A manuscript describing these findings is currently in revision with Vaccines.

Using Learning Labs to Address Racial and Ethnic Disparities in School Discipline and Policing in King County, Washington

Investigators Monica Vavilala, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine Keith Hullenaar, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, Department of Epidemiology Marcus Stubblefield, King County Executive Office, Office of Performance, Strategy, and Budget Chelsea Hicks, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, Department of Pediatrics

Project summary This proposed pilot project aims to address out-of-school suspension disparities through designing a pilot school-based learning lab—a research-based process that brings together local and diverse stakeholders to inclusively problem solve about racial and ethnic disparities in school discipline and policing.

We expanded our local stakeholder relationships in three specific ways. First, we identified learning lab (now titled Community Collaboratives on School Safety [CCSS]) champions in Tukwila School District. These champions include the superintendent, principal of Foster High School, and the principal of Showalter Middle School. Second, we have established contact and interest for the CCSS process in Educational Service District 105 in Yakima, WA. This organization is specifically interested in using the CCSS process to better implement SRO training in local school settings to promote school safety, equity, and youth health. Third, we are in the process of discussing the CCSS process with Seattle Public Schools (SPS).

In partnership with Tukwila School District and the CCSS champions, we examined racial and ethnic disparities in school discipline and policing outcomes (i.e., referrals to law enforcement and arrests) in Tukwila schools using publicly available data from the Civil Rights Data Collection. This needs assessment was part of a larger effort to assist Tukwila in addressing racial and ethnic equity through reforming their school resource officer (SRO) program.

Finally, we completed and pilot tested a executing a learning lab (i.e., CCSS) in Tukwila School District. Tukwila School District desired a more rapid implementation of the learning lab process to help reform their SRO program to promote racial and ethnic equity, trust and relationship building, and school safety, so we worked with the CCSS champions to both design and execute the intervention.

Amazonian Green Cities: A Gardens Program for Health, Ecology, and Climate Change Resilience

Investigators Dr. Joseph Zunt, Departments of Global Health and Neurology Jorge “Coco” Alarcón, School of Public Health Dr. Peter Rabinowitz, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences Gabriela Vildósola, Acuerdo por Iquitos Susana Cubas, Asociación de vecinos de Calle Yavari Rebecca Bachman, College of Built Environments, Landscape Architecture

Project summary Iquitos, home to half a million people, is the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon region and one of the most arid cities in Peru, with only 1.2 sqm of green space per capita. The city’s environmental conditions cause multiple crises, including the urban heat island effect, loss of biodiversity, and severe outbreaks of infectious diseases like dengue fever and leptospirosis. The HAGC program aims to promote the design, construction, and maintenance of green spaces to improve human health, ecology, and environmental conditions (One Health) in Iquitos.

The pilot phase of HAGC had two main goals. First, to define the program components, tools, and methods to systematically implement HAGC. Second, to assess the preliminary impacts on One Health and the implementation outcomes of HAGC. To achieve this, the team built on previous experiences with a community-based garden program in Iquitos that addressed One Health, including a previous PHI project, and used a design thinking approach that included the participation of three families, who received the preliminary version of the program, residents, gardening experts, ecological and environmental researchers, and public health actors. After this process, the team refined the program and implemented it in 30 households to assess the preliminary impacts and implementation outcomes. The team has secured funds to implement the program in 30 additional households (the control group of this first phase) during October-December 2024, which would strengthen the evidence generated from the project.

One of the preliminary findings of this phase is the identification of the role that gardens play in the severe dengue outbreaks that emerge every year. The environmental conditions of residential gardens, commonly considered a risk factor for Aedes aegypti mosquito (dengue vector) breeding, are a key piece not included in local dengue control strategies. Local governments use general, inaccessible educational material and ineffective and unsustainable fumigation campaigns that cost 1.2 million dollars per year (2018) in Iquitos. Our preliminary results provide evidence that with outreach education, participative design approaches, and incentives, residential gardens could sustainably eradicate the risk of Aedes aegypti breeding and even create habitats for mosquito predators. Other project findings are the benefits garden provided to mental health and well-being, physical activity, food security, biodiversity, and the abundance of local species. The project is also documenting the changes in temperature and water cycles at the residential scale. The systematic implementation of the program, and the consequent increase of green spaces, could contribute to the mitigation of the heat island effect and support strategies for the mitigation of climate change.

In terms of implementation outcomes, the program improved the acceptability, appropriateness, feasibility, and adoption of green spaces. Participants expressed that through this program, they learned the relevance of gardens and how to build them according to their needs. One participant stated, “I couldn’t be happier with my garden; I wouldn’t change anything in the program.” However, the program still faces several challenges for large-scale implementation. During this pilot phase, the team added graduate students from Human Centered Design to refine the educational and design materials for future phases. Local community-based initiatives and indigenous Kukama groups have partnered with our team to co-create city composting systems to sustainably produce soil to support the program. This new partnership has been awarded funding by UW Earth Lab. Furthermore, the team anticipates scaling HAGC using local social networks to reach a more diverse group of households and to study the large-scale impacts and cost-benefit of implementing HAGC at the city level.

Sleep Health in People Experiencing Homelessness

Investigators Horacio O. de la Iglesia, Department of Biology Melanie Martin, Department of Anthropology Zack W. Almquist, Department of Sociology, Department of Statistics Amy Hagopian, Departments of Global Health and Health Systems & Population Health

Project summary The goals for this award were: (1) to identify the relationship between a variety of homeless housing alternatives and sleep quality, (2) develop noninvasively measured sleep as standard metric of the impact of any intervention to combat homelessness, and (3) determine the predictive value of sleep parameters for adverse physical and mental health outcomes.

We collected sleep recordings from 22 participants living in four homelessness communities: (1) A Tiny House community in North Lake Union, (2) A Tiny House community in the Central District, (3) a Permanent Shelter in South Seattle, and (4) a Tent City community in the University District. Each participant wore a wrist actimeter for four weeks, completed a general demographic/health survey and daily sleep, mood and sleepiness survey, and provided biomarker data that included blood pressure, white blood cell count, and stress and inflammation blood markers.

Overall our study has revealed that our strategy to record wrist activity is highly sensitive to detect differences in activity patterns between homeless communities in which daily activity is impacted differently by seasons. Although we are still analyzing data, it is unlikely that effects of community and season on specific sleep parameters will not emerge from this analysis.

Misinformation Escape Room: Building a Research Agenda for a Gamified Approach to Combating Health Misinformation

Investigators Chris Coward, Information School Julie Kientz, Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering Kolina Koltai, Information School Jin Ha Lee, Information School Rachel Moran, Information School

Project summary This Tier 1 project aims to develop a research agenda for a gamified approach to building resilience to public health misinformation. The overarching goal of this project was to develop a research agenda that incorporates expertise on misinformation, games, and health informatics. The supporting goals were to co-design a proof-of-concept public health escape room, and run a pilot study to generate data for grant proposals and publications.

We achieved our overarching goal of developing a research agenda. This included assembling an expanded UW team that met regularly throughout the year, developing a partnership with the Fred Hutch Cancer Center, and identifying a particular health topic — cancer nutrition misinformation — for the development of the game intervention. With this focus we undertook a literature review, collected examples of cancer nutrition misinformation from social media sites, and conducted 10+ expert interviews with cancer nutritionists and oncologists. These activities allowed us to both understand how and why patients believe certain types of misinformation and elicit input on design elements for game development. We synthesized all of this information into a design brief which has formed the basis for designing the prototype escape room and pilot study.

In the course of this project, our partnership with the Fred Hutch led us to take advantage of funding opportunities and situate the supporting goals (prototype escape room and pilot study) within a broader, strategic effort. Namely, we joined forces with a larger team at the Fred Hutch that is putting together a large five-year application for an NIH PO1 grant. In making this shift in priority, we slowed the development of the prototype and pilot study so that we could synchronize with the PO1 effort and tailor our pilot study to generate data that will be critical for this application. To support this longer timeline we applied for and received a small NIH grant from the Network of National Libraries of Medicine that runs through April 2023. This will allow us to complete the prototype and data collection for the pilot study. We also submitted a grant to the Fred Hutch/University of Washington/Seattle Children’s Cancer Consortium to support ongoing analysis and preparation of the PO1 grant, with a decision expected in March.

With regard to dissemination, our proposal was accepted for presentation at the 2023 NNLM Virtual Symposium on Health Misinformation, and we have drafted a paper that we are in the process of finalizing for submission to a journal.

My Toddler’s Social Communication: Examining the Cultural Sensitivity of a New Pictorial Screening Tool for Identifying Toddlers at Risk for Autism in Diverse Cultural, Ethnic, Racial, and Linguistic Settings

Investigators Shana Attar, Department of Psychology Wendy Stone, Department of Psychology Juliette Escobar, King County’s Best Start for Kids

Project summary Children with autism from diverse cultural, ethnic, racial, and linguistic backgrounds are diagnosed less frequently and at older ages than White children, delaying access to autism-specialized treatment. This identification and treatment delay is associated with a profound lag in cognitive, linguistic, and social development relative to children who receive timely diagnoses and autism-specialized treatment. One contributing factor to inequitable autism identification is that current screening tools have been validated on primarily White families and are not sensitive to how caregivers from diverse backgrounds interpret questions nor to their expectations of normative social behavior from their children. As a result, multiple studies have documented that current autism screening tools work less well for children from diverse backgrounds compared to White children. There is therefore a great need for accurate screening tools that can be used by frontline providers working in multicultural settings.

For this project, we examined the cultural sensitivity of “My Toddler’s Social Communication” (MTSC), an 11-item novel autism screening tool under development in our lab. Our goal was to explore the feasibility, acceptability and cultural sensitivity of the behaviors, language, and photos included in the survey. We partnered with two local community organizations that work with diverse families to administer surveys and host focus groups. We conducted two pilot rounds, following the Plan-Do-Study-Act procedure. In the first round we obtained feedback on the initial survey items, and in the second round we solicited feedback on the revised questions. We had 115 total participants across the two piloting rounds.

Feedback from the first pilot revealed that the survey had high feasibility and acceptability, but the cultural sensitivity of the behaviors could be improved (3 question items), and the wording could be clarified (3 question items). Caregivers also suggested that the photos illustrate a greater diversity of children and play examples. We revised six items before the second round of piloting to accommodate this feedback; for example, the item, “enjoys playing with same-aged peers” was changed to “enjoys playing with children” to reflect feedback that many children do not participate in single-age play groups and instead interact in more family- or community-based groups that include children across multiple ages. Results from the second round of piloting suggest that four of our six revised items are acceptable; two items remained difficult to accurately interpret, although the behaviors were culturally sensitive.

More information about the Population Health Initiative pilot grant program, tiering and upcoming deadlines can be found by visiting our funding page .

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What is Project 2025? What to know about the conservative blueprint for a second Trump administration

By Melissa Quinn , Jacob Rosen

Updated on: July 11, 2024 / 9:40 AM EDT / CBS News

Washington — Voters in recent weeks have begun to hear the name "Project 2025" invoked more and more by President Biden and Democrats, as they seek to sound the alarm about what could be in store if former President Donald Trump wins a second term in the White House.

Overseen by the conservative Heritage Foundation, the multi-pronged initiative includes a detailed blueprint for the next Republican president to usher in a sweeping overhaul of the executive branch.

Trump and his campaign have worked to distance themselves from Project 2025, with the former president going so far as to call some of the proposals "abysmal." But Democrats have continued to tie the transition project to Trump, especially as they find themselves mired in their own controversy over whether Mr. Biden should withdraw from the 2024 presidential contest following his startling debate performance last month.

Here is what to know about Project 2025:

What is Project 2025?

Project 2025 is a proposed presidential transition project that is composed of four pillars: a policy guide for the next presidential administration; a LinkedIn-style database of personnel who could serve in the next administration; training for that pool of candidates dubbed the "Presidential Administration Academy;" and a playbook of actions to be taken within the first 180 days in office.

It is led by two former Trump administration officials: Paul Dans, who was chief of staff at the Office of Personnel Management and serves as director of the project, and Spencer Chretien, former special assistant to Trump and now the project's associate director.

Project 2025 is spearheaded by the Heritage Foundation, but includes an advisory board consisting of more than 100 conservative groups.

Much of the focus on — and criticism of — Project 2025 involves its first pillar, the nearly 900-page policy book that lays out an overhaul of the federal government. Called "Mandate for Leadership 2025: The Conservative Promise," the book builds on a "Mandate for Leadership" first published in January 1981, which sought to serve as a roadmap for Ronald Reagan's incoming administration.

The recommendations outlined in the sprawling plan reach every corner of the executive branch, from the Executive Office of the President to the Department of Homeland Security to the little-known Export-Import Bank. 

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with advisers in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D,C., on June 25, 2019.

The Heritage Foundation also created a "Mandate for Leadership" in 2015 ahead of Trump's first term. Two years into his presidency, it touted that Trump had instituted 64% of its policy recommendations, ranging from leaving the Paris Climate Accords, increasing military spending, and increasing off-shore drilling and developing federal lands. In July 2020, the Heritage Foundation gave its updated version of the book to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. 

The authors of many chapters are familiar names from the Trump administration, such as Russ Vought, who led the Office of Management and Budget; former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller; and Roger Severino, who was director of the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Vought is the policy director for the 2024 Republican National Committee's platform committee, which released its proposed platform on Monday. 

John McEntee, former director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office under Trump, is a senior advisor to the Heritage Foundation, and said that the group will "integrate a lot of our work" with the Trump campaign when the official transition efforts are announced in the next few months.

Candidates interested in applying for the Heritage Foundation's "Presidential Personnel Database" are vetted on a number of political stances, such as whether they agree or disagree with statements like "life has a right to legal protection from conception to natural death," and "the President should be able to advance his/her agenda through the bureaucracy without hindrance from unelected federal officials."

The contributions from ex-Trump administration officials have led its critics to tie Project 2025 to his reelection campaign, though the former president has attempted to distance himself from the initiative.

What are the Project 2025 plans?

Some of the policies in the Project 2025 agenda have been discussed by Republicans for years or pushed by Trump himself: less federal intervention in education and more support for school choice; work requirements for able-bodied, childless adults on food stamps; and a secure border with increased enforcement of immigration laws, mass deportations and construction of a border wall. 

But others have come under scrutiny in part because of the current political landscape. 

Abortion and social issues

In recommendations for the Department of Health and Human Services, the agenda calls for the Food and Drug Administration to reverse its 24-year-old approval of the widely used abortion pill mifepristone. Other proposed actions targeting medication abortion include reinstating more stringent rules for mifepristone's use, which would permit it to be taken up to seven weeks into a pregnancy, instead of the current 10 weeks, and requiring it to be dispensed in-person instead of through the mail.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group that is on the Project 2025 advisory board, was involved in a legal challenge to mifepristone's 2000 approval and more recent actions from the FDA that made it easier to obtain. But the Supreme Court rejected the case brought by a group of anti-abortion rights doctors and medical associations on procedural grounds.

The policy book also recommends the Justice Department enforce the Comstock Act against providers and distributors of abortion pills. That 1873 law prohibits drugs, medicines or instruments used in abortions from being sent through the mail.


Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade , the volume states that the Justice Department "in the next conservative administration should therefore announce its intent to enforce federal law against providers and distributors of such pills."

The guide recommends the next secretary of Health and Human Services get rid of the Reproductive Healthcare Access Task Force established by the Biden administration before Roe's reversal and create a "pro-life task force to ensure that all of the department's divisions seek to use their authority to promote the life and health of women and their unborn children."

In a section titled "The Family Agenda," the proposal recommends the Health and Human Services chief "proudly state that men and women are biological realities," and that "married men and women are the ideal, natural family structure because all children have a right to be raised by the men and women who conceived them."

Further, a program within the Health and Human Services Department should "maintain a biblically based, social science-reinforced definition of marriage and family."

During his first four years in office, Trump banned transgender people from serving in the military. Mr. Biden reversed that policy , but the Project 2025 policy book calls for the ban to be reinstated.

Targeting federal agencies, employees and policies

The agenda takes aim at longstanding federal agencies, like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. The agency is a component of the Commerce Department and the policy guide calls for it to be downsized. 

NOAA's six offices, including the National Weather Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, "form a colossal operation that has become one of the main drivers of the climate change alarm industry and, as such, is harmful to future U.S. prosperity," the guide states. 

The Department of Homeland Security, established in 2002, should be dismantled and its agencies either combined with others, or moved under the purview of other departments altogether, the policy book states. For example, immigration-related entities from the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Health and Human Services should form a standalone, Cabinet-level border and immigration agency staffed by more than 100,000 employees, according to the agenda.

The Department of Homeland Security logo is seen on a law enforcement vehicle in Washington on March 7, 2017.

If the policy recommendations are implemented, another federal agency that could come under the knife by the next administration, with action from Congress, is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The agenda seeks to bring a push by conservatives to target diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, initiatives in higher education to the executive branch by wiping away a slew of DEI-related positions, policies and programs and calling for the elimination of funding for partners that promote DEI practices.

It states that U.S. Agency for International Development staff and grantees that "engage in ideological agitation on behalf of the DEI agenda" should be terminated. At the Treasury Department, the guide says the next administration should "treat the participation in any critical race theory or DEI initiative without objecting on constitutional or moral grounds, as per se grounds for termination of employment."

The Project 2025 policy book also takes aim at more innocuous functions of government. It calls for the next presidential administration to eliminate or reform the dietary guidelines that have been published by the Department of Agriculture for more than 40 years, which the authors claim have been "infiltrated" by issues like climate change and sustainability.


Trump made immigration a cornerstone of his last two presidential runs and has continued to hammer the issue during his 2024 campaign. Project 2025's agenda not only recommends finishing the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but urges the next administration to "take a creative and aggressive approach" to responding to drug cartels at the border. This approach includes using active-duty military personnel and the National Guard to help with arrest operations along the southern border.

A memo from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that prohibits enforcement actions from taking place at "sensitive" places like schools, playgrounds and churches should be rolled back, the policy guide states. 

When the Homeland Security secretary determines there is an "actual or anticipated mass migration of aliens" that presents "urgent circumstances" warranting a federal response, the agenda says the secretary can make rules and regulations, including through their expulsion, for as long as necessary. These rules, the guide states, aren't subject to the Administration Procedure Act, which governs the agency rule-making process.

What do Trump and his advisers say about Project 2025?

In a post to his social media platform on July 5, Trump wrote , "I know nothing about Project 2025. I have no idea who is behind it. I disagree with some of the things they're saying and some of the things they're saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them."

Trump's pushback to the initiative came after Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts said in a podcast interview that the nation is "in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be."

The former president continued to disavow the initiative this week, writing in another social media post  that he knows nothing about Project 2025.

"I have not seen it, have no idea who is in charge of it, and, unlike our very well received Republican Platform, had nothing to do with it," Trump wrote. "The Radical Left Democrats are having a field day, however, trying to hook me into whatever policies are stated or said. It is pure disinformation on their part. By now, after all of these years, everyone knows where I stand on EVERYTHING!"

While the former president said he doesn't know who is in charge of the initiative, the project's director, Dans, and associate director, Chretien, were high-ranking officials in his administration. Additionally, Ben Carson, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Trump; John Ratcliffe, former director of National Intelligence in the Trump administration; and Peter Navarro, who served as a top trade adviser to Trump in the White House, are listed as either authors or contributors to the policy agenda.

Still, even before Roberts' comments during "The War Room" podcast — typically hosted by conservative commentator Steve Bannon, who reported to federal prison to begin serving a four-month sentence last week — Trump's top campaign advisers have stressed that Project 2025 has no official ties to his reelection bid.

Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, senior advisers to the Trump campaign, said in a November statement that 2024 policy announcements will be made by Trump or his campaign team.

"Any personnel lists, policy agendas, or government plans published anywhere are merely suggestions," they said.

While the efforts by outside organizations are "appreciated," Wiles and LaCivita said, "none of these groups or individuals speak for President Trump or his campaign."

In response to Trump's post last week, Project 2025 reiterated that it was separate from the Trump campaign.

"As we've been saying for more than two years now, Project 2025 does not speak for any candidate or campaign. We are a coalition of more than 110 conservative groups advocating policy & personnel recommendations for the next conservative president. But it is ultimately up to that president, who we believe will be President Trump, to decide which recommendations to implement," a statement on the project's X account said.

The initiative has also pushed back on Democrats' claims about its policy proposals and accused them of lying about what the agenda contains.

What do Democrats say?

Despite their attempts to keep some distance from Project 2025, Democrats continue to connect Trump with the transition effort. The Biden-Harris campaign frequently posts about the project on X, tying it to a second Trump term.

Mr. Biden himself accused his Republican opponent of lying about his connections to the Project 2025 agenda, saying in a statement that the agenda was written for Trump and "should scare every single American." He claimed on his campaign social media account  Wednesday that Project 2025 "will destroy America."

Congressional Democrats have also begun pivoting to Project 2025 when asked in interviews about Mr. Biden's fitness for a second term following his lackluster showing at the June 27 debate, the first in which he went head-to-head with Trump.

"Trump is all about Project 2025," Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman told CNN on Monday. "I mean, that's what we really should be voting on right now. It's like, do we want the kind of president that is all about Project '25?"

Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, one of Mr. Biden's closest allies on Capitol Hill, told reporters Monday that the agenda for the next Republican president was the sole topic he would talk about.

"Project 2025, that's my only concern," he said. "I don't want you or my granddaughter to live under that government."

In a statement reiterating her support for Mr. Biden, Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida called Project 2025 "MAGA Republicans' draconian 920-page plan to end U.S. democracy, give handouts to the wealthy and strip Americans of their freedoms."

What are Republicans saying about Project 2025?

Two GOP senators under consideration to serve as Trump's running mate sought to put space between the White House hopeful and Project 2025, casting it as merely the product of a think tank that puts forth ideas.

"It's the work of a think tank, of a center-right think tank, and that's what think tanks do," Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

He said Trump's message to voters focuses on "restoring common sense, working-class values, and making our decisions on the basis of that."

Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance raised a similar sentiment in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," saying organizations will have good ideas and bad ideas.

"It's a 900-page document," he said Sunday. "I guarantee there are things that Trump likes and dislikes about that 900-page document. But he is the person who will determine the agenda of the next administration."

Jaala Brown contributed to this report.

Melissa Quinn is a politics reporter for CBSNews.com. She has written for outlets including the Washington Examiner, Daily Signal and Alexandria Times. Melissa covers U.S. politics, with a focus on the Supreme Court and federal courts.

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Supporting Canada's health workers by improving health workforce research, planning and data

From: Health Canada


The Government of Canada announced more than $47 million federal funding for innovative projects to help support and retain members of the health workforce by improving research, planning and health workforce data.

July 11, 2024

Canada is facing substantial health workforce challenges that threaten the ability of the system to provide timely, equitable, accessible, quality services and care to Canadians. The Government of Canada recognizes the need to improve health workforce research, data and planning and is working collaboratively with partners, including provinces and territories, to support the health workforce and better plan for its future. This is why the Government of Canada announced more than $47 million federal funding for innovative projects to help support and retain members of the health workforce by improving research, planning and health workforce data.

Improving Health Workforce Data and Planning

Health Workforce Canada Funding: $22.5 million over five fiscal years

Health Workforce Canada (HWC) is a not-for-profit, independent organization and was announced by the Government of Canada as a new centre of excellence in December 2023.

This investment of $22.5 million over five fiscal years will enable HWC to fulfill its mandate to convene and collaborate with health sector partners to advance approaches to current and future challenges by:

  • identifying the sector's priority needs in support of perspectives and solutions, working in partnership with Canadian Institute for Heath Information (CIHI) and others to facilitate access to data and information while respecting Indigenous data sovereignty;
  • providing insights and guidance to inform effective policy for supply and distribution of the workforce, health equity-based planning, health and mental health of the workforce, and innovations in retention and recruitment; and
  • gathering and sharing information on practical solutions and innovative practices to address key gaps and implementation challenges.

HWC is expected to conduct research on the current state, gaps, and opportunities of health workforce data, establish a process to address data fragmentation within and between jurisdictions, and work with partner organizations to develop evidence-based data collection and networks to advance work in priority areas.

This funding to HWC will help ensure health care system partners have access to quality data and tools, are mobilized to address data challenges, and can accurately forecast and plan for future health workforce demands.

Operation and Expansion of the National Registry of Physicians

Medical Council of Canada Funding: $13 million over five fiscal years

The National Registry of Physicians (NRP) will help provide a more detailed understanding of the number of physicians in each province and territory and enable decision makers to better plan for future workforce needs. This foundational platform is a significant milestone in the integration of health care data in Canada and will enhance labour mobility and support health professionals to work where they are most needed.

Through this project, the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) will work with Medical Regulatory Authorities (MRAs) to begin collecting physician information from across the country and populate that data into the Registry. The NRP will respect privacy rules and regulations, promote data integrity, and further support informed decision making by MRAs.

While MRAs regulate the practice of medicine within provincial and territorial jurisdictions, the NRP will provide a foundational solution for all that brings together data from across the country to one centralized location.

The NRP is in both official languages and its foundation includes a data model with physician profile elements indicating the official languages in which the physician can deliver services. This fundamental capability can facilitate the vitality of official language minority communities. Engagement of participants will occur across Canada, including Quebec.

The NRP is an initiative that seeks to unite health care stakeholders, streamline data collection and sharing, and promote informed decision-making in Canada's health care system.

Optimizing Physician Registration in Canada

Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada Funding: $331,883 over two fiscal years

This project will support the ongoing efforts of Canada's medical regulatory authorities (MRAs) to optimize physician licensing standards while reducing the licensure-related red tape burden on physicians. The project will support better alignment of standards and coordination of practices across MRAs, which could help facilitate labour mobility for physicians, and improve licensing processes for international medical graduates (IMGs).

The Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FMRAC), which serves the collective interest of MRAs, will work with the Medical Council of Canada on this project which complements the MCC's work on the National Registry of Physicians.

Team Grant: Strengthening the Health Workforce for System Transformation

15 projects along with one Evidence Support and Knowledge Mobilization Hub Funding: $11,550,546 over three years

Generating evidence on how to organize, finance, manage, train and support an equitable, diverse, and inclusive health workforce is a priority for Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)'s Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (IHSPR). CIHR is collaborating with partners, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and Michael Smith Health Research BC, to fund solutions-focused research, build capacity, foster knowledge mobilization and support evidence-informed action that will help to create a strengthened, healthy, resilient, diverse and equitable health workforce.

Implementation science refers to the practice of taking an idea and finding out how to make it work in the real world. With this funding, implementation science teams will investigate the implementation, evaluation and spread and/or scaling up of evidence-informed workforce solutions that address system-level challenges (e.g., system organization, governance, accountability, remuneration, capacity building), and aim to strengthen the health workforce.

As part of this investment, an Evidence Support and Knowledge Mobilization Hub will support and help spread the new knowledge identified by the funded teams, ensure knowledge users' rapid access to research evidence and support knowledge exchange among the funded teams and other knowledge users.

Principal Investigator Project Title Funding
Kathleen Leslie, Athabasca University (Alberta) HUB application / Advancing equitable and ethical regulatory policy: Evaluating the implementation of new licensure and integration pathways for internationally educated nurses in Canada $362,157 (Hub) / $743,674 (implementation science team)
Jennifer Coelho, BC Children's Hospital Research Institute (British Columbia) Capacity Building in the Pediatric Eating Disorders Workforce: System Transformation to Improve the Continuum of Care $750,000
Anurag Singh, University of Northern British Columbia (British Columbia) Building capacity for a sustainable and equitable healthcare workforce in rural, remote and Indigenous communities by implementing innovative team-based hybrid care $745,056
Woo Jin Edward Lee, Université de Montréal (Québec) Clinic Mauve - Transforming integrated care and the health workforce for LGBTQIA+ migrant and racialized communities $749,370
Monika Krzyzanowska, University Health Network (Ontario) Optimizing the Cancer Care Workforce Utilizing Existing Health Human Resources $742,120
Catharine Walsh, Hospital for Sick Children (Ontario) Implementation of an Evidence-Informed, Simulation-Based Coaching Leadership Intervention to Address Pediatric Healthcare Workforce Burnout and Support Performance $749,875
Aaron Orkin, University of Toronto (Ontario) Evaluating delivery of priority public health interventions to people experiencing homelessness in Toronto by peer workers $742,490
Arun Radhakrishnan, Bruyère Research Institute (Ontario) The Adaptive Mentoring Networks: Evidence Informed Implementation Strategies to Address the Canadian Health Workforce Crisis $748,640
Stephanie Montesanti, University of Alberta (Alberta) Improving the clinical care of Indigenous patients with complexity using a Hub-and-Spoke Model of Care in Alberta Primary Care Networks (PCNs) $749,162
F. Kris Aubrey-Bassler, Memorial University of Newfoundland (Newfoundland) Evaluating a complex, team-based primary care intervention in Newfoundland and Labrador: Advancing implementation science $750,000
Rosanra Yoon, Toronto Metropolitan University (Ontario) Building Psychological Safety in Long-Term Care: Strengthening Equity & Trauma-informed Organizational Capacity to Support Workforce Mental Health & Well-being $743,630
Andrea Baumann, McMaster University (Ontario) Strengthening the Health Workforce: Implementing an Intervention to Integrate Health Workers into Community Care $749,626
Alison Elliott, University of British Columbia (British Columbia) Strengthening the Healthcare Workforce: Enhancing Genetic Counselling Access and Efficiency $750,000
Tracie Risling, University of Calgary (Alberta) REACHing Excellence: A Transformative Mentoring Solution for Late-Career Nursing Workforce Retention $740,262
Lianne Jeffs, Sinai Health System (Ontario) Examining and Exploring the Implementation and Impact of a Leadership Intervention on Work Life and Fundamental Care Delivery $734,484

Page details


Flawed Autopsy ‘Review’ Revives Unsupported Claims of COVID-19 Vaccine Harm, Censorship

By Jessica McDonald

Posted on July 5, 2024

SciCheck Digest

COVID-19 vaccination is generally very safe, and except for extremely rare cases, there is no evidence that it contributes to death. Social media posts about a now-published, but faulty review of autopsy reports, however, are repeating an unfounded claim from last summer that “74% of sudden deaths are shown to be due to the COVID-19 vaccine.”

research report assignment

More than  half a billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have now been administered in the U.S. and only a few, very rare, safety concerns have emerged. The vast majority of people experience only minor, temporary side effects such as pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, or muscle pain — or no side effects at all. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said , these vaccines “have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.”

A small number of severe allergic reactions known as anaphylaxis, which are expected with any vaccine, have occurred with the authorized and approved COVID-19 vaccines. Fortunately, these reactions are rare, typically occur within minutes of inoculation and can be treated. Approximately 5 per million people vaccinated have experienced anaphylaxis after a COVID-19 vaccine, according  to the CDC.

To make sure serious allergic reactions can be identified and treated, all people receiving a vaccine should be observed for 15 minutes after getting a shot, and anyone who has experienced anaphylaxis or had any kind of immediate allergic reaction to any vaccine or injection in the past should be monitored for a half hour. People who have had a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose or one of the vaccine ingredients should not be immunized. Also, those who shouldn’t receive one type of COVID-19 vaccine should be monitored for 30 minutes after receiving a different type of vaccine.

There is evidence that the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines may rarely cause inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) or of the surrounding lining (pericarditis), particularly in male adolescents and young adults .

Based on data collected through August 2021, the reporting rates of either condition in the U.S. are highest in males 16 to 17 years old after the second dose (105.9 cases per million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine), followed by 12- to 15-year-old males (70.7 cases per million). The rate for 18- to 24-year-old males was 52.4 cases and 56.3 cases per million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, respectively.

Health officials have emphasized that vaccine-related myocarditis and pericarditis cases are rare and the benefits of vaccination still outweigh the risks. Early evidence suggests these myocarditis cases are less severe than typical ones. The CDC has also noted that most patients who were treated “responded well to medicine and rest and felt better quickly.”

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been linked to an  increased risk of rare blood clots combined with low levels of blood platelets, especially in women ages 30 to 49 . Early symptoms of the condition, which is known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TTS, can appear as late as three weeks after vaccination and  include  severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision, leg swelling, and easy bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin outside of the injection site.

According to the CDC, TTS has occurred in around 4 people per million doses administered. As of early April ,  the syndrome has been confirmed in 60 cases, including nine deaths, after more than 18.6 million doses of the J&J vaccine. Although TTS remains rare, because of the availability of mRNA vaccines, which are not associated with this serious side effect, the FDA on May 5 limited authorized use of the J&J vaccine to adults who either couldn’t get one of the other authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines because of medical or access reasons, or only wanted a J&J vaccine for protection against the disease. Several months earlier, on Dec. 16, 2021 ,  the CDC had recommended the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna shots over J&J’s.

The J&J vaccine has also been linked to an increased risk of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare disorder in which the immune system attacks nerve cells.  Most people  who develop GBS fully recover, although some have permanent nerve damage and the condition can be fatal.

Safety surveillance data suggest that compared with the mRNA vaccines, which have not been linked to GBS, the J&J vaccine is associated with 15.5 additional GBS cases per million doses of vaccine in the three weeks following vaccination. Most reported cases following J&J vaccination have occurred in men 50 years old and older.

Link to this

Last July, an unpublished paper  authored  by several physicians known for spreading COVID-19 misinformation  briefly   appeared  on a preprint server hosted by the prestigious British medical journal the Lancet. 

research report assignment

The paper  claimed  to have reviewed autopsy reports and found — in the opinion of three of its authors — that 73.9% of the selected deaths were “directly due to or significantly contributed to by COVID-19 vaccination.” Those conclusions, however, were  often contrary  to the original scientists’ determinations. Moreover, abundant evidence contradicts the suggestion that the COVID-19 vaccines are frequently killing people.

The preprint repository quickly  removed  the manuscript because, it said, “the study’s conclusions are not supported by the study methodology,” and indicated that the preprint had violated its screening criteria. 

Social media soon flooded with posts highlighting the purported findings and alleging censorship, with many falsely stating that the paper had been published in the Lancet.

Multiple   scientists  and  fact   checkers   detailed  numerous problems with the preprint and the resulting social media posts. As Dr. Jonathan Laxton, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Manitoba who frequently debunks misinformation online,  wrote at the time  on Twitter, “this is not a conspiracy, the paper was literally biased hot garbage and the Lancet was right to remove it.”

Despite these efforts, the same claims are back this summer after the paper was  published  in the journal Forensic Science International on June 21. Capitalizing on the paper’s now-published status,  numerous   posts   are   once   again  spreading the review’s supposed findings and realleging censorship.

“Largest autopsy series in the world. Censored by what was the most reputable peer reviewed journal,” reads  one  popular Instagram post. “74% of the 325 Suddenly Died Autopsies point the cause to the dart,” it added, using coded language to refer to the COVID-19 vaccines.

Another  post , from Dr.  Sherri Tenpenny , an osteopathic physician in Ohio known for her opposition to vaccines and her false claim that the COVID-19 vaccines magnetize people, also repeated the falsehood that the paper had been previously published in the Lancet.

“Bottom line results: 74% of sudden deaths are shown to be due to the COVID-19 vaccine,” the post went on to say. “This paper is a game changer. Sadly, it was censored for ONE YEAR. Just think of all the lives that could have been saved.”

As we’ve explained  before , publication in a peer reviewed journal does not necessarily mean a paper is accurate or trustworthy, although the process can improve manuscripts and weed out bad science. In this case, the published paper is highly similar to the previously criticized manuscript. Experts say its conclusions are unreliable and misleading.

“The vast majority of these cases do not show a causal, but coincidental, effect,” wrote Marc Veldhoen, an immunologist at the Instituto de Medicina Molecular João Lobo Antunes in Portugal, in a thread on X, addressing the paper’s central claim. “This certainly does not apply to the general population!”

When asked about the published paper, Dr. Cristina Cattaneo,  co-editor-in-chief  of Forensic Science International, told us the journal was “currently looking into the matter.”

Problematic ‘Review’

For their “ review ,” the authors searched the medical literature for published autopsy studies related to any kind of COVID-19 vaccination. After excluding duplicates and studies without deaths, autopsies, or vaccination status information, the authors were left with 44 studies comprising 325 autopsies. Three of the authors then reviewed the described cases and decided for themselves if the deaths were vaccine-related; if at least two agreed, the death was counted as being attributable to COVID-19 vaccination.

In the end, the authors thought 240, or nearly 74%, of the reviewed autopsies were vaccine-related (rounded to one decimal, 240 out of 325 is actually 73.8%, not 73.9% as reported in the paper). Among these deaths, 46.3% occurred after a Sinovac vaccine, 30.1% after a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, 14.6% after an AstraZeneca vaccine, 7.5% after a Moderna vaccine and 1.3% after a Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

As others have  pointed out  before, there’s reason to suspect that the authors may have been biased in their determinations. All three adjudicators, including Dr.  Peter McCullough , are well known for spreading COVID-19 misinformation. Dr. William Makis, a Canadian radiologist, has  previously claimed , without evidence, that 80 Canadian doctors died from COVID-19 vaccines. The only pathologist, Dr. Roger Hodkinson, incorrectly  claimed  in 2020 that COVID-19 was a “hoax” and “just a bad flu.”

research report assignment

Hodkinson and McCullough, along with five other authors, are also affiliated with and have a financial interest in The Wellness Company, a supplement and telehealth company that  sells unproven treatments , including for purported protection against vaccines.

Perhaps most tellingly, the scientists who conducted many of the autopsy studies came to opposite conclusions than the review authors. Of the 240 cases, for example, 105 come from a single  paper  in Colombia, whose authors found “[n]o relation between the cause of death and vaccination.”

Similarly, the review authors counted 24 of 28 autopsies from a  study  from Singapore as vaccine-related, even though the original authors identified “no definite causative relationship” to mRNA vaccines.

The authors of a German  study  also attributed 13 of 18 autopsy deaths to preexisting diseases, but the review authors decided 16 cases were vaccine-related.

In a  LinkedIn post  debunking the preprint, Dr.  Mathijs Binkhorst , a Dutch pediatrician, went back to each cited paper, and found that of the 325 autopsies and one heart necropsy the review authors said were vaccine-related, only 31, or 9.5%, were likely related and 28, or 8.6%, were possibly related. The rest — 267, or 81.9% — were unlikely, uncertainly, or not related to vaccination.

In other words, even among a set of studies that is more likely to identify some vaccine involvement, less than a fifth of deaths were possibly or likely vaccine-related.

Even if the authors aren’t biased, this type of study is not able to provide information on how frequently COVID-19 vaccination leads to death, and whether the risks outweigh the benefits.

“They only looked at ‘published autopsy and necropsy reports relating to COVID-19 vaccination,’” Veldhoen  said  of the published study on X. “If you look only at autopsies of those related (in time) with drugX: X-involvement is then a high proportion of all cases.”

Indeed, as Binkhorst noted, the autopsy reports come from 14 countries that collectively administered some 2.2 billion vaccine doses. If the COVID-19 vaccines truly were as dangerous as the review authors contend, this would be evident in other data sources — but it’s not.

Vaccine safety surveillance systems and other studies from across the globe have found that serious side effects can occur, but they are rare. 

The Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines, for example, can in very rare cases cause a dangerous and sometimes fatal blood clotting condition combined with low blood platelets. 

Rarely, the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech have caused inflammation of the heart muscle or surrounding tissue, known as myocarditis or pericarditis. In almost all cases, however, those conditions are not deadly.

There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination increases the risk of death and has led to excess deaths or a large number of deaths. Instead, a wealth of data supports the notion that COVID-19 vaccines protect against severe disease and death from COVID-19. The flawed autopsy “review” doesn’t change this.

Roley, Gwen. “ Misinformation swirls around unpublished paper on Covid-19 vaccine risks .” AFP. 14 Jul 2023.

Hulscher, Nicolas et al. “ A Systematic REVIEW of Autopsy findings in deaths after covid-19 vaccination .” Forensic Science International. Available online 21 Jun 2024.

Binkhorst, Mathijs. “ McCullough’s misinformation .” LinkedIn post. Archived 4 Sep 2023.

Laxton, Jonathan (@dr_jon_l). “ McCullough et al attempted upload a preprint to the Lancet server, and it was removed because it was hot garbage.  However, I feel going through this paper for you guys will help you spot dodgy science … ” X. 6 Jul 2023.

Payne, Ed. “ Fact Check: A ‘Lancet Study’ Does NOT Show COVID Vaccine Caused 74% Of Deaths In Sample — Lancet Rejected Paper And Its Methods .” Lead Stories. 7 Jul 2023.

Carballo-Carbajal, Iria. “ Flawed preprint based on autopsies inadequate to demonstrate that COVID-19 vaccines caused 74% of those deaths .” Health Feedback. 31 Jul 2023.

Jaramillo, Catalina. “ Review Article By Misinformation Spreaders Misleads About mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines  .” FactCheck.org. 16 Feb 2024.

Veldhoen, Marc (@Marc_Veld). “ Does ‘We found that 73.9% of deaths were directly due to or significantly contributed to by COVID-19 vaccination.’ Hold? No. The vast majority of these cases do not show a causal, but coincidental, effect. This certainly does not apply to the general population! ” X. 22 Jun 2024.

Cattaneo, Cristina. Co-Editor-in-Chief, Forensic Science International. Email to FactCheck.org. 26 Jun 2024.

“ No evidence that 80 Canadian doctors died from COVID vaccinations .” Reuters Fact Check. 22 Dec 2022.

Lajka, Arijeta. “ Pathologist falsely claims COVID-19 is a hoax, no worse than the flu .” AP. 2 Dec 2020.

Yandell, Kate. “ Posts Push Unproven ‘Spike Protein Detoxification’ Regimen .” FactCheck.org. 21 Sep 2023.

Chaves, Juan José et al. “ A postmortem study of patients vaccinated for SARS-CoV-2 in Colombia .” Revista Española de Patología. 31 Oct 2022.

Yeo, Audrey et al. “ Post COVID-19 vaccine deaths – Singapore’s early experience .” Forensic Science International. 19 Jan 2022.

Schneider, Julia et al. “ Postmortem investigation of fatalities following vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines .” International Journal of Legal Medicine. 30 Sep 2021.

Yandell, Kate. “ Study Largely Confirms Known, Rare COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects .” FactCheck.org. 27 Feb 2024.

“ Selected Adverse Events Reported after COVID-19 Vaccination .” CDC. Accessed 5 Jul 2024.

“ COVID-19 vaccines: key facts .” European Medicines Agency. Accessed 5 Jul 2024.

Robertson, Lori. “ A Guide to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 Vaccine .” FactCheck.org. 27 Feb 2021.

Lai, Francisco Tsz Tsun et al. “ Prognosis of Myocarditis Developing After mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination Compared With Viral Myocarditis .” Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 5 Dec 2022.

Yandell, Kate. “ No Evidence Excess Deaths Linked to Vaccines, Contrary to Claims Online .” FactCheck.org. 17 Apr 2023.

McDonald, Jessica. “ Flawed Analysis of New Zealand Data Doesn’t Show COVID-19 Vaccines Killed Millions .” FactCheck.org. 15 Dec 2023.

New York's viral new trash cans unveiled nearly 2 years after a $1.6 million contract with consultancy giant McKinsey

  • New York's viral new trash bins were unveiled following a $1.6 million contract with McKinsey.
  • Mayor Eric Adams revealed the new bins as part of his "Trash Revolution," launched Monday.
  • New York is embracing containerization — putting your garbage bag in a bin, not just on the street.

Insider Today

New York's much-discussed new trash cans have been shown off nearly two years after the city spent $1.6 million to contract with consulting giant McKinsey in 2022.

On Monday, NYC Mayor Eric Adams revealed the wheeled bin alongside NYC Department of Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch , who symbolically put a black bag from his official residence, Gracie Mansion, into the container.

Video of the launch, which saw Adams wheeling a bin onto the street while Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind" played, quickly went viral, drawing memes and ridicule from citizens of cities that have had similar bins for decades.

Time to Get (EVEN MORE) Stuff Clean! Join us right now in Manhattan as we kick off the next phase in our trash revolution: https://t.co/AEDRQNXmUT — NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) July 8, 2024

Under the new rules, which come into force on November 12, 2024, all properties with one to nine residential units will be required by law to use one of the latch-lidded waste collectors, now available to purchase online from $46.

The newly introduced requirement seeks to minimize the number of sidewalk rats . It isn't known exactly how many rats are in NYC, but a 2014 study suggested there were around two million, and a pest control firm in 2023 estimated there were close to three million rats in NYC.

Adams said the program was part of his administration's "Trash Revolution," which aims to clean up the city's streets. Officials estimate New Yorkers produce around 14 billion pounds of trash each year. But with the new rule directed at removing about 70% of this, curbside garbage piles are hoped to become a problem of the past.

Related stories

Plans for the new bins follow the city's work with consulting giant McKinsey & Company, which was drafted in to help the city assess how to contain its waste. A Sanitation Department official told New York Streetsblog at the time that the project was worth around $4 million, but a spokesperson for the department told Business Insider $1.6 million was paid out to McKinsey for the contract.

According to an October 2022 New York Times article, McKinsey was scheduled to spend 20 weeks working with the Sanitation Department to determine what sort of bins would suit different streetscapes, what they should look like, and which vendors to use. The department told Business Insider that work on the contract concluded in April 2023.

The goal was to design a program capable of combating New York's decadeslong garbage problem, looking at waste collection methods used in urban areas around the world and focusing on containerization — or, in simple terms, putting trash bags in bins rather than on the street.

A New York City Sanitation Department spokesperson told Business Insider, "DSNY's limited work with McKinsey a couple of years ago is not directly related to this week's wheelie bin announcement."

"McKinsey did not determine or recommend policy — they did math around the fact that the City was interested in waste containerization, a strategy the Adams Administration is now aggressively pursuing," the spokesperson added. The bin design was the result of work conducted by city employees, another DSNY spokesperson told BI.

The solution decided upon is similar to systems already used in cities like Barcelona, where fleets of colored, uniform bins are often found on residential blocks.

The bin project is far from the firm's first consultation in New York. The Office of the New York State Comptroller shows that McKinsey has worked on at least 10 other projects with the state.

McKinsey declined to comment when contacted by Business Insider.

Correction: July 11, 2024 — An earlier version of this story misstated McKinsey's role in working with the New York City Sanitation Department. The department said that it hired McKinsey to help inform its efforts at waste management but that the decision to pursue the wheeled bins unveiled Monday was the city's and not a McKinsey recommendation. The story was also updated with a statement from a New York City Sanitation Department spokesperson and with new information from the department that the contract with McKinsey, originally said to be as high as $4 million, was ultimately worth $1.6 million.

Watch: How Disney's magical trash tubes ended up in New York City

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