Structured abstract (250 words)
- Key findings/Results
- Discussion and conclusions
- Key words (minimum of 4, maximum of 6)
Note: your abstract should stand alone, it is not an introduction to your project, and it should not contain parts/extracts of your report. It is rare to use references in an abstract.
This section should set out the background of your study. It should highlight the context of your research, why is your chosen topic/ issue important, who are the key players in your study (e.g patients, organisations, processes) and the relevant factors/ trends that may influence the chosen topic/issue. The final paragraph in your introduction should inform the reader of what you plan to discuss in subsequent sections (and how the sections are linked together).
This section may be part of the first section, but should present a critical analysis of the published literature relevant to your chosen topic. This will help the reader understand the context of your research. Your literature review should reflect your deep knowledge and understanding of your area of interest, and identify gaps in knowledge to justify the reasons for your study. It should conclude with your aims and objectives. The published literature may be a combination of journal articles, textbooks, case studies, news articles, or the internet. Please note that you should be familiar with the latest publications in journals related to your professional practice. Your literature review should not be a description of various theories and practices; rather, it should be a classification, comparison, and critical analysis of the reported knowledge. This is not where you report on a systematic literature review that you may be doing as your research.
Research Methodology/Methods and Materials
Briefly outline what type(s) of information are needed to answer the question and the theoretical approaches and methods that could be employed to generate this information, and their relative strengths and limitations. Then give the rationale for the overall methodologies, followed by the methods employed and the reasons for their selection, which are being employed in this project; this could include practical as well as theoretical arguments. This section should highlight the relevance of the selected approaches to answer the research question(s). This will enable the reader to assess the validity of your chosen approaches. You are expected to cover the following aspects:
- Data collection (sampling frame, sampling process, randomisation, research instruments, etc.)
- Data storage and management (databases, data access, etc.)
- Data analysis (type(s) of data generated and suitable analytical techniques; statistical and other software to be used; types of descriptive statistics, statistical tests, confidence levels, etc.; techniques for analysing qualitative information, e.g. content/framework/thematic analyses) – address quantitative and qualitative data separately
- Validity and reliability (internal and external; generalisability; bias; etc.)
- Ethical considerations (ethics approval, confidentiality, informed consent, etc.) – some journals may require this to be in a dedicated section at the end of the text
- Software used, including version(s)
- Any specialist equipment used (including supplier and model types, etc).
The main part of this section is the presentation of results of your research. The data must be presented in a logical and coherent order. Use graphs and tables and other diagrams when appropriate to break up the text and/or help tell the story you wish to present to the reader. The analysis of your data should be based on the research questions and type(s) of data. Do not analyse your results only in a superficial descriptive manner as this may reduce the substantive nature of your study. Remember this section reports only your findings from this research; other research should be discussed in the next section.
This section should begin with a reminder of the context of your study, including the rationale of your project, the research questions, and the chosen methodology. Remember that the discussion section is the “heart” of your project report, and it should include in-depth analyses of your results. It should clearly highlight the similarities/ differences of your findings to what has been reported in the literature, as well as discussing the reasons for, implications and significance of your findings. Critical thinking should be evident. The limitations and strengths of this project should be outlined, and suggestions made for further research.
The conclusion should address the wider understanding of your chosen topic. It should summarise how the aims and objectives of your research have been met. This section should include:
- Main conclusions;
- Brief recommendations for further research;
- Brief suggestions for development of theory/and or practice.
Here it is customary to acknowledge the provision of funding, data or advice (but not that of your supervisor who would normally be expected to be a co-author).
Conflicts of interest:
Use the LMS ‘house style’, i.e. 6th edition of the APA, not that required by the journal you have chosen. Be consistent in your formatting. Remember to avoid plagiarism. Please note that the draft literature review and research proposal you submit will provide the basis for the corresponding sections of your draft paper. Do not worry about self-plagiarism as this is part of the process of drafting papers.