We perform research in order to learn new information, to confirm previous research, or to explore new possibilities. Research is meant to be shared with others so that the members of each profession can grow together and continue to move forward. Imagine if the inventor of the wheel kept his new knowledge secret. What if every teacher in a school district did the same project with their classroom and found it to be a negative experience but never shared it with any other teacher?
In order to share this knowledge, a standardized method of disseminating the information is required, and often this method is the research report. Although we have not yet discussed the various types of research or the specifics of any statistical technique, having an idea of what your ultimate project will look like can only serve to improve the process. The research report is designed to be standard, utilizing the APA manual as a guide, parsimonious in that excess unnecessary material should not be included, and professional.
When performing research and writing the report, researchers are expected to follow strict ethical guidelines as directed by their professions. The APA ethical guidelines can be found on the Internet (http://www.apa.org) and are often used as a template for other professions. Any good researcher will read these ethical guidelines, understand them, and do everything in his or her power to adhere to them. Researchers must also be aware of policies and guidelines developed by the college or organization that is sponsoring the research or paying their salaries.
Finally, when writing your research report, always remember to be polite, particular, and parsimonious. Keep your review of other’s research polite and focused on the methods or results, not the researcher. Be aware of and discuss both the pros and cons of the studies but remember that future researchers will be doing the same critique of your study. Be particular in your choice of articles to include and make sure that they are relevant to your study. Discuss your methods and results in a matter of fact fashion. And finally, be parsimonious in your writing. Keep it as simple as possible, don’t use big words just to appear more academic, and avoid the inclusion of fluff and fillers just to increase your paper’s length. While a typical submission for publication in a journal is between 15 and 40 double spaced pages, some of the best research reports are as short as four or five.