Writing a research report
The following is a general guide to writing a research report focused on GIS, spatial analysis, or modeling. See the general resources page for other guides for writing and research.
This presents some standard conventions for writing journal articles but highlights where you may want to make changes for a class report or thesis.
Journal article. The 'standard' format used by most journals is a bit restrictive because it reflects traditional publishing practices. Figures and tables, for example, are usually attached as separate pages at the end of your text instead of being embedded in the text itself because it is easier to photograph them for publishing and ...view middle of the document...
Key Words: three to five key words or phrases, be specific as possible.
Word count: number of words in the main body
Note: having this second title page without identifying information is important when your work is going to be sent out for external or blind peer-review, for it allows your work to be easily disseminated without the readers knowing who you are, which may bias their assessment of your research (for better or worse).
Page Three: Main body
Main body: this is where you develop the argument in detail, leading the reader from the thesis laid out in an introduction through your reasoning and results to the conclusion. The word limits below are just guidelines for each section relative to the others. There is generally a word limit on your paper. If you are submitting it as a course assignment, check with the assignment description or the instructor on how many words the paper should have. If you are submitting to another venue, such as a journal or conference, check with the relevant authority, such as the journal editor or conference call for papers.
Introduction [250-1000 words] this gets the reader’s attention and leads to a purpose statement (e.g., “This paper examines blah, blah, bah”), in which you explain the purpose and scope of the paper; followed by a thesis statement (“I argue that blah, blah, blah ”), in which you summarize the main points you wish to make; and concludes with a summary of the logical structure of the argument to come. Note that you do not have to use the word "Introduction" as the actual title of this section.
Literature Review [100-2000 words]: set out the background literature and questions of your project. See the resources page on writing a literature review to get a better sense of what is involved. As with the introduction, this section does not have to be titled "literature review" - you could term it the "background" or "conceptual framework", for example, or better yet, something even more direct, such as "Key challenges in understanding climate."
Study Site [100-1000 words]: if applicable, describe the area in which you are working and include a map of the area(see below about figures). Assume that your reader has no idea about the study area and focus on characteristics that are germane to the work at hand and those that make it worthy of study
Methodology [500-2000 words]: describe the models, methods, and techniques that you are using and then show how you applied them in your study. This section is where you also describe data as it relates to the methodology. Some papers, such as review articles, do not have a methodology section as such, unless you are doing a content or citation analysis of some sort.
Results and Analysis [500-2000 words]: describe the results of your study. Use statistics, graphs, verbal descriptions, maps, and so on (see below about tables and figures). Use whatever it takes to convince the reader that your research gave you what you expected or elaborate...