Structure for Research Designs, Theses, and Papers

The elements or sections of a research design, thesis, and paper are general categories. Modify them to fit your specific situation.

Research Design Element Research Design Thesis Paper
Title Title - make it descriptive Title - watch the length Title - keep it short
Project Summary Written for a layperson Abstract - written to attract interest in your thesis, must approved by your major professor Abstract, written to attract readers to your article, include key words
Acknowledgment Partnerships are important. Try to get letters of commitment. Acknowledgments are usually not included. Acknowledgments - credit those who helped you accomplish the research, might include informants who were particularly helpful Acknowledgments - be sure to credit your funding source
Statement of Problem an academic & a practical objective for doing the research 1. Statement of Problem - your committee is the primary audience Problem - direct to audience for paper, generally more focused, could be part of thesis
Theoretical Background show you know the literature 2. Literature Review - more comprehensive than proposal, ties research to literature Theoretical Background - limited to topic of paper
Methodology The methods that you think will work on the problem 3. Methods - more comprehensive than proposal. What actually was done. Methods - those methods appropriate to research being reported
Analysis The techniques you think will be useful in analyzing the data. 4. Results - comprehensive discussion of findings Results - findings relevant to the paper
Discussion If you have data, discuss results and how the new research will advance knowledge. 5. Discussion - What was learned from the research? Link back to theory. Discussion - What was learned about the problem stated at the outset? Review strengths and weaknesses. Link back to theory.
Justification/Conclusions What you think the research will accomplish for academia, the affected population, the public at-large. How you foresee these results being achieved. 6. Conclusions - What are the major conclusions? What would you have done differently? What are the next steps? Conclusions - Implications for the intended audience.
References Cited show you know the literature References Cited - list of literature used. Most citations come from the theoretical background. Methods provide the next largest contribution. References cited in paper
Budget & Time Plan What it is likely to cost to do the project with justification of expenditures? Consider OSU allowable travel expenditures Use the research design budget approach to figure your actual costs. Save money for graphics and page charges.
Other Be sure to follow the guidelines of the granting agency. Your research design is useful for discussions with your major professor and committee, completing Human Subjects approval, and describing your research Appendices might include data, survey instruments, descriptions of artifacts.

Be sure to follow guidelines of the Graduate School

Be sure to follow the guidelines of the journal. These are usually identified in the instructions to authors.

Updated:Tuesday, 20-May-2003 13:22:52 PDT
contact info