A research project is different from other forms of classwork such as essay, term paper, assignment e.t.c. In carrying out a research, you should aim to answer certain questions and establish something new. Research writing and reporting would not be difficult once you get to know the right steps and components.
Here are some of the steps for writing and reporting a research.
1. Identify good research project topics
A good way to start working on your research topic is by checking all relevant periodicals and scientific abstracts at your library. You should start with what you already know.
Look for topics that interest you. Identifying a research topic can also be done from your coursework or laboratory practicals.
2. Define the research problem
Most student researchers find narrowing down their topic to a research problem an impossible task. Without a research problem, there will be no research questions.
Researchers should endeavor to narrow a broad topic so as to be able to develop research questions.
3. Determine how to conduct the research
In this phase of the research, the research flow is highlighted. In most project outline, this is the chapter three which is the research methodology. The statement of the research problem and the underlying assumptions will usually dictate the way or method of conducting the research.
4. Collect research data
This is the phase where the researcher would determine how data for the research will be collected. The researcher should be able to determine the following:
a. What the sources of data will be
b. Where to find the sources
c. Extracting questions from the information you found
a. What your sources will be
There are two major types of sources: primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are written when the event happened or gotten from someone with first-hand knowledge. Examples are newspapers, eyewitness and employees. Secondary sources are books, articles, magazines, and journals. Secondary sources are great to help provide context for your research. They help in providing background knowledge before you start writing a topic
b. Where to find sources
Source of information can be the case study of the research, libraries (school libraries or state libraries), online academic sources like Google Scholar, Wikipedia, Encyclopedia, project material websites.
c. Extract questions from what you found out
To extract questions from the information you found, think of new ways that the topic has not been thought of before. When you are looking at your sources, think of what they are not telling you, what they have not given you and what can be derived from the information.
5. Analyze and interpret the research data
This is the crux of the research project. The tools of the analysis depend on the type of data collected. Once numerical data (whether quantitative or qualitative) are involved, you should fall back to mathematical or statistical techniques. It is this mathematical or statistical analysis that will give utility to your research. From these inferences, conclusions can be drawn. Nowadays, there are computer software to handle the most complicated analysis.
6. Report your research
Here is where you report the research using your school’s project format. Most tertiary institution project format has the following structure: