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Writing up your research

In this video, you are talked through making sense of all the sources & results you have and how to go about structuring your research project report.
EMMA: This week we’re going to be looking at what I see as the dreaded write-up process. Now, I really don’t like it, but I know others feel quite differently.
CHRIS: Yeah, well, I mean, I love it. I think this is the best part of a research project, really. It’s the culmination of all that work you’ve done. You’ve got all of these disparate strands and sources and this is the moment you get to gather them all together. And it’s really the first opportunity you get to show to others, look, this is my argument. Here’s my evidence. Here’s my conclusion. And to tell them, this is why it matters.
EMMA: Yeah, I know what you’re saying. I just don’t enjoy it. But I do recognise that it is the ultimate measure of success, the whole reason why we do the project. So, I like to set aside a good amount of time so that I can just keep plugging away and keep at it.
CHRIS: So what’s your preferred approach when it comes to this kind of write-up? Because I think you and I are probably quite different here. My method, as I’m looking at sources, as I go through the actual research phase, each time I kind of make a few notes on those sources, I’ve kind of been deciding with each one, is it relevant? Do I want it in the project? Don’t I? If I don’t think it adds much, then I reject it before I even get to the writing-up stage. But I think you’re probably quite different in your approach.
EMMA: Obviously, I’ll have written notes on my sources and I’ll have an idea of where I want to place them. But I like to have them all together and then I like to create this massive picture, so that I can understand. I can see it all from a bigger perspective, how that links to that and how that links to that. And I have to see this before I can even contemplate writing. So, I’ll have seen this. I’ll have planned. I’d have gone over it in my head, written and edited, before I’ve even started writing.
CHRIS: And I think what’s important to understand, to take from this, is that neither way is right or wrong. Everybody has different ways of writing-up. There are certain things you need to stick to. There’s obviously a time limit. There’s a word count. There’s structure to a good academic essay. But the actual method you use for that writing up is very much down to personal preference.
EMMA: Yeah, absolutely. Go with what works best for you. What works best for Chris just wouldn’t work very well for me. So you have to go with what you feel comfortable with. Over the next few steps, we will be trying to help you with that. Helping you place the sources, work out where they’re going to fit and how to structure that essay so that it’s just a really excellent piece of work.

Researching and gathering your evidence is only half of the academic process. Knowing how to write this evidence up into a clear, logical and succinct academic argument is equally as important.

In this video, Chris and Emma talk you through various ways of making sense of all the sources and results you have gathered and how to go about structuring your the essay or report part of your project.

Through this week’s activities we encourage you to:

  • start thinking in advance about how you will organise your sources and structure your final essay or report

  • understand the purpose of an abstract and familiarise yourself with the structure in the knowledge that you will have to produce one for your project before you submit the final essay or report

  • review your project proposal and write a summary (abstract) of it

  • share your summary (approximately 200 words) and provide feedback on each other’s ideas to develop them further

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Developing Your Research Project

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