Research Report

Project Goal: To report your research project to a peer-reviewed journal.

Link to Grading Sheet


1. Choose a professional journal in your field to which you would like to submit your work. Think about the audience for your report. You may need to read the journal’s mission statement to ensure that this journal is an appropriate recipient for your topic. Find and read the instructions to authors for the journal (usually printed at the front or back of the journal issue or sometimes in the January or December issue). You will use these instructions to format your manuscript for submission to the journal.

2. Aim for a length of 6-10 double-spaced pages of text (exclusive of cover page, illustrations, and references). Identify for me your target journal. Include with your report a photocopy of the instructions to authors from the journal and a sample journal article.

3. Use your work on Project 3 and Project 4 as a starting point. We will have discussed in class the methods for constructing various parts of the research report. Read Chapter 3 of Penrose and Katz for guidance. You must include the following sections in your paper:

  • Title Page – separate this from the body of the manuscript. Follow instructions in the instructions to authors.
  • Abstract – write last as a summary of your report. Most abstracts are about 100 words.
  • Key Words – list 5 to 10 key words that describe the paper’s content.
  • Introduction – explain your research objectives, argue that the research is important, and place your study in the context of previous research. Be sure to cite references properly.
  • Materials and Methods – describe in detail the procedures you used, using past tense. Remember that another scientist should be able to duplicate your experiment based on your methods section. Include all equipment model numbers and describe equipment fully.
  • Results – report your observations and findings. You will use illustrations as support here.
  • Discussion – interpret your findings. What do these findings tell you about the phenomenon you’re studying? How do they extend, refine, or challenge findings from other studies? Talk about the implications of your results, including potential applications and directions for future research.
  • References – list only works directly cited in your text. Format them according to the style for your journal. Please try to cite at least 2 journal articles and no more than 2 websites. The literature review for a 10 page paper should be documented by at least 6-10 references.
  • Your paper must have at least one graphic, which must be referred to in the text, labelled, and have a caption. Look at journal articles in your field to see how graphics are labelled and captioned.

4. Follow all formats for your chosen journal (for abstract, headings, subheadings, citations, captions, titles, and references) as if you were submitting a manuscript. These formats and instructions are specified in the journal’s instructions to authors. Possible exceptions to this direction: (1) turn in only one copy of your paper and (2) double space even if instructions specify otherwise.

5. Review your notes from class and your textbook as you do this project.

Criteria for evaluation

  • General neatness and completeness.
  • Mechanical accuracy (free of spelling and grammatical errors)
  • Degree to which student followed directions in assignment sheet
  • Inclusion of instructions to authors and a sample journal article with paper
  • Accuracy in following journal directions for references, citations, illustrations, and other manuscript conventions
  • Depth of coverage of topic
  • Evidence of effort and preparation