Research & School Improvement services
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Methods of Research
Presenting your findings?
How you present your findings will be determined by your intended audience(s). Here is a brief outline of some ways of presenting your research findings.
|Method||Involves...||Great for...||Not so great for...|
|Formal research report||A detailed description of your research’s aims, methodology, findings and conclusions. It is often supported by an executive summary. A suggested report structure is available below.||Anyone who wants to know about your research in detail; for example, other researchers, academics or commissioners.
|Practitioner, learner or school community audiences who may not have the time to read a lengthy report.|
|Summary report||Summarising the key findings. A summary will also briefly discuss aims, methods and provide a very brief conclusion.||Practitioners, researchers and other interested parties. Depending on the age of your learners, it may be suitable for them.||Providing detailed information about your research.
|Targeted summary report(s)||Identifying the key messages for a specific audience(s). For example, you could produce a summary paper for senior leaders/managers; teaching staff and learners.||Highlighting specific areas of success or challenge associated with any one group. Offering targeted recommendations.||Providing a detailed overview of all the research findings.|
|Presentation||Pulling out the key messages from the research and verbally presenting these to an audience face to face or via a webinar.||Quickly sharing your key findings with a small or large audience. This can be done through a formal conference or during a staff meeting or school assembly.
Presentations can work for all settings, ages and audiences.
|Social Media||Sharing findings via twitter, blogs or You Tube, for example.||Quickly sharing your key message(s) with a large audience.||Anyone without access to the internet.|
There are endless ways of presenting your research findings – be as innovative as you like!
What should I include in my report?
These are the core components of a research report:
Title: this should give the reader an idea of what the research is about.
Introduction: this should explain what the research is about (outlining the aims and purpose) and present your research question(s).
Literature review (optional): you may want to discuss what is already known about your topic area and where your research fits into that wider picture (i.e. does it fill any gaps in knowledge or corroborate what others have found?).
Methodology: this should outline how your research was conducted, which methods you used and the types and numbers of people that were involved (ensuring their anonymity).
Findings: this is the main section of the report where you present your data and your findings. It is often split into thematic sub-sections based on your research question(s) and data.
If you used qualitative methods you could include:
quotes or vignettes (short descriptions and scenarios).
If you used quantitative methods you could include:
charts, graphs or tables and diagrams.
You need to show how your findings answer your research questions and what implications your findings have for others (e.g. teachers, learners, parents etc). You may also want to provide a summary of key messages at the start of each sub-section, this will help the reader decide if they want to read that section or not.
Conclusion: this section, which is usually quite brief, should summarise the key messages and offer a conclusion to the research report.
Recommendations (optional): it is often useful to outline any recommendations emerging from your research. These must be based on your research evidence.
For further detail you can consult our How to Guides or our range of books to help you do your own research. NFER also offer training days in your school on research methods, which includes presenting your findings.