Introduction – The development of the research idea should be described through critical consideration of current knowledge and the available evidence. This should lead to the aims and hypotheses/research questions. A good introduction will appropriately justify the variables/topics studied and convince the reader that the study is necessary and appropriate to carry out in the way that it has been. The introduction should follow the ‘funnel’ shape, starting from the general and moving on to the specifics (see the figure at the end of this section).
Methods – In the methods section, you should describe exactly how the study was conducted under the following headings:
|Design||· Justify the selection of qualitative/quantitative methods
· State your epistemological position and why this is appropriate for your research question (qualitative research only)
· Briefly introduce method of data collection and analysis
|Participants||· Provide an overview of sampling and recruitment strategy
· Provide an overview of any inclusion and exclusion criteria (with justification)
· Demographics table
|Data Collection||· Justify your chosen data collection strategy
· Materials (e.g. details on questionnaires used, with information on their reliability)
|Data Analysis||· Justify your chosen method of data analysis. If using statistical analysis packages, information on the version number should be provided.
· How did you operationalise this in the current study
|Ethical Considerations||· Procedural ethical considerations and how these were overcome
· Conceptual ethical considerations and how these were overcome
Results –It is important to seek a balance between descriptive text and tabulated or graphical presentation of data in order to explain how hypotheses have been tested or research questions addressed. You should provide appropriate descriptive statistics and inferential statistics that are interpreted in relation to the research question. All figures and tables should be clearly labelled and referred to in the text.
Discussion – Here, the results presented in the results section are briefly summarised in relation to the aims/hypotheses/research questions outlined in the Introduction. The results should be considered in relation to previous work and their clinical and/or theoretical implications. Were your predictions met? How do your findings fit with the existing literature? Why are your findings novel and important? It is important not to speculate too far beyond the findings of the study in this section. A section of ‘Strengths and weaknesses’ of the study should be included, with suggestions for future research made. Some qualitative designs may combine Results and Discussion sections and this is acceptable. This section will end with a subheading of ‘Conclusions’ that provides a summary of your findings and implications. The discussion follows the inverse funnel pattern from your introduction – in this section you move from the specific (the findings of your study) to the general (see the figure below).
References – You are expected to use the MMU Harvard style. You are strongly advised to use a referencing software. Check the relevant resources here.
The appendices could contain tables of supplementary raw anonymised data, descriptive analyses or other material, which complement data and analyses presented in the report but which were not essential for inclusion.