Writing up your research


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 lecture, we will introduce you through
various ways of making sense of all the sources and results you have gathered and how to go
about structuring your essay or report part of your project.  
Writing-up is the most important part of a research project. It’s the culmination of the work you’ve done. You have to gather the disparate strands and
sources and put them all together. It’s an opportunity that you can show your
argument to others with your evidence, your conclusion, and to tell the readers, this
is why it matters.  
Unfortunately, there is no single preferred approach when it comes to this kind of write-up. It is important to understand that 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. Over the next few steps, we will try to help
you place the sources, work out where they’re going to fit and how to structure the essay
so that it’s just a really excellent piece of work. Once you have gathered all the sources you
need for your research, it might seem like you have a jumbled mess of books, journals,
websites, newspapers, all different types of resources that you just don’t know what
to do with or how they fit together. Some might contradict each other, even though
they make the same point. It’s all about working out where exactly
to place them. Once you have gathered all the sources you
need for your research, it might seem like you have a jumbled mess of books, journals,
websites, newspapers, all different types of resources that you just don’t know what
to do with or how they fit together. Some might contradict each other, even though
they make the same point. It’s all about working out where exactly
to place them.  
First, as you go through the sources, you have to decide each one whether it is relevant. If you don’t think it adds much to the project,
then you can reject it before you even get to the writing-up stage. Once you have decided on the chosen sources,
you might want to put them all together to create a massive picture, so that you can
understand and see how the various information is linked to each other. You need to see it from a bigger perspective
before you can even contemplate writing.  
Next, you can either physically or digitally working out which ones fit to which parts
of your essay. If you’re going to write a for or against
style essay, for example, you might want to arrange them on two sides as clearly as you
possibly can, so that they make more logical sense to the reader. Very often, they won’t necessarily fit into
either side particularly well, so you have to interpret them and work out how they fit
within your argument.  
You would do the exact same thing if you were writing sections or chapters as well, putting
sources towards the introduction or the methodology. Obviously, to be able to logically order them
like this, you have to have an idea of what you want the order to be. Always start with an introduction. It sets out the context for your work and
will tell the reader exactly what they’re going to be told, what your overall position
will be and exactly how you plan to guide the reader through your work.  
Next comes the literature review. Here you have the opportunity to explore in
more depth the importance of your research, what the background to it is, and what work
has already been done in this field. You can show examples as evidence of the issues
that you’ve considered in shaping your general point of view. For each section, outline your point, provide
evidence for it, then link it back to your research question. Try and remember to be balanced. So, for every point you make, make a counter
argument to show that you’ve thoroughly considered all sides of the argument. Next is the methodology section, where you
can explain complicated methods, or forms of analysis. You then go on to reveal your results, followed
by a discussion which indicates what their significance is and the impact on your research
questions. Use the for and against argument again. What you’re doing is taking a source as evidence
for your point, analyzing it and evaluating it before linking it on to another point. The process goes on until you reach your conclusion. Effectively, what you’re trying to do is tie
all the strands of evidence together into one coherent piece of work.  
Finally, the conclusion. Give a very clear statement of your argument
in a way that satisfies your research questions. It’s also worth considering, at the end of
every piece of research, exactly what the implications of your work are, who agrees
with you, and where further research might be useful. What is an abstract and why is it important? An abstract is a brief summary of your work
which is capable of being read independently of it. The abstract is important as it is the first
thing that your reader will see and they are likely to start forming an opinion of your
research project based on your abstract. An abstract is written after you have finished
writing up your research project as it summarizes what your project contains. It should contain:
what you set out to do and why (hypothesis and research questions)
how you did it (methodology) what you found (results and conclusions)
recommendations (whether you have any will depend on the type of research project)
If you are not sure what an abstract should look like, re-visit some of the resources
that you have already encountered so far. In summary, there are various ways of making
sense of all of the sources and results you have gathered and of structuring your essay
or report. It is important to understand the purpose
of an abstract and familiarize yourself with the structure in the knowledge that you will
have to produce for your project before you submit the final essay or report.

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