Global Research Letters

How to Structure a Research Paper

– quick caveats before we begin the first is. I am NOT giving you some kind of standard required CB s wide outline that all your submissions have to conform to write the exact outline. The exact organization of your paper format of research article, research articles formats is something. You should be working out in collaboration with your teachers and supervisors and of course specific to the project. You’re working on so this is not a one-size-fits-all and it’s certainly not a set of rules that you have to conform to right. I think of this as a tool to help you organize different parts of your paper format of research article, research articles format in such a way that that you get the most out of them and also think of them as something that gives you some exercises that you can practice to train your sense of style and your sense of structure right. So there’s there’s like these are kind of training exercises one of the things. I really like to say about especially writing but also thinking in terms of structure is that you’re not going to become better at this by believing what I tell you tonight. You’re going to become better at it by doing as I say again and again and again and again and getting it to work for you for your needs for your projects your kind of assignment right. That’s how you’ll is. It’s the way you work it into your process that will give you something not the way you lay it down on top of your process or some kind of structure that you have to have right. Structure is something you build. Not something you impose. Does that make sense good. Those of you were here on. Tuesday will remember that I started with by pointing out a favorite book of mine and I’m gonna do the same thing today. It’s not the same book it’s a different book and you will find it. Maybe a little bit odd what book. I’ve decided to start with. It may seem a little bit out of place. The book is called rational grazing and it is by a actually kind of a legend in the what’s now called permaculture movement sort of organic farming this kind of thing. This is a book from the this one is from 1962 but it actually summarizes a much bigger book a much larger book from the late 1950s.

It is exactly what it says. It’s about the meaning of cow and grass. It is about how to get the most out of your grazing right and like many books of this kind written by people who thought very carefully about things and who’ve done implemented things in practice and experimented and talked to other practitioners in this case farmers right. What what these books have. Is this really really interesting. Sense of depth when you read one of these books. It’s a lovely experience because the how. Tunis of it is founded in this experience competence in this practice. I of course aspire to this in terms of writing I would really really like to be as competent about writing as Wesen is about grazing and as Oliver senior from Tuesday. I was about drawing hands right so I’d like to be as competent as that but I don’t bring this book up for that reason alone. There’s this diagram that I’d like to show you and what you’ll notice in this diagram is that it’s it’s nice and orderly right what we have here. I think you can see how this would work. You have some part of the paddock is set aside for the where the actual cows are going to be. There is some part that is reserved for where they will be in the future and of course there’s a part where they have been and well there’s not so much grass where it’s been grazed and so the whole art to grazing is to move the cows from the from one part of the paddock to another part of the paddocks so that the grass has a chance to rejuvenate and. I think you can start feeling the research process here right. You are grazing your research results right but then you also want to let your data kind of rejuvenate your sense of the facts rejuvenate as. You’re working on it. Moving along to the next part moving along to the next part alright and this is one of the things. I want to try to get you to think about what you think about the structure of your assignments the structure of your paper format of research article, research articles formats is that what it lets.

You do is work for a couple of days on one part of the problem without actually solving without over grazing the whole thing and you know getting rid of all the grass and I all we have is mud right and then moving on to the next one more lovely grass over here. What you want to do is just graze it a little bit make use of some of the nutrients you have over here and then move to another part make use of those nutrients move over to this part make use of those nutrients and then you can move back again right to where the grass now has grown up again and there’s more ideas more creativity more life right and this is really the the the kind of. I guess a metaphor that I’d like to get you to think about but do notice the fences right. I mean notice that in order to get this to work you have to mark off some territory you have to mark off some patches of grass and you have to keep the cows from going when they’re not supposed to go and what this is all about is focusing your attention on the part that you’re working on right now right so when we’re looking at these things that we’re going to be looking at. I want you to imagine this metaphor. We’ll return to it at the end. At least as some of you know you should never start on a blank page right now. How you avoid starting on a blank page has to do with the stuff. I told you about writing paragraphs and this is so. I’m going to do a little bit of a recap on this because it’s really really important that you remember that the thing you’re organizing when you’re organizing a paper format of research article, research articles format is not words on a page and even less so ideas in your head write what you are. Organizing is paragraphs what you want to make sure is. You’re arranging a sequence of paragraphs a question. I like to ask when I come out to speak to you and your programs is. How much do you have to know to write your research paper format of research article, research articles format. How much do you have to know. And then of course depends on the paper format of research article, research articles format.

What the answer is but a simple way of working out how much you have to know is to work out. How many paragraphs you’re going to write. So how many paragraphs have you got room for on in a 30 page paper format of research article, research articles format for example probably around 49 60 page paper format of research article, research articles format. You’ve probably got room for about 80 paragraphs right probably around there maybe a hundred right and so that means that because you have to know one thing to write each individual paragraph of at least six sentences and at most two hundred words that says one thing and supports elaborates or defends it. Because you have to write. Because it’s going to be of that size you have to know as many things as you have paragraphs you have to have as many well-formed ideas justified true beliefs about which you can have intelligent conversations. All right as there are paragraphs in your assignment and then we can put them into these. We can put these fences around them and decide how we’re gonna let these paragraphs grow right. So that’s the the basic principle so never start. Never think of your problem as totally open and so what we’re gonna do is when. I take this big field here and we’re gonna start carving it up and of course there’s a simple technique for doing that. You can put a line through it now. I haven’t just put this line any old. Where right after you notice. I’ve put this line about you. Know in the top quarter maybe of the page. I’ve put it certainly so that it marks a top and a bottom or a top and the rest of the page right of the of the piece of paper format of research article, research articles format there so that gives us more than just two parts. It gives us a little part in a big part right which is nice to start with and then we can do that again. And now we’re getting a part down there below so now we have a top part a middle part and a in a bottom part or a beginning a middle and end all right so you think you’re getting a sense of we’re all getting more relaxed now because the problem isn’t totally open right now. We have some structure and of course this is something we can continue right.

We can name these parts. We can call the top part the introduction the bottom part the conclusion and then we can start saying well. Wouldn’t it be nice if all of it kind of had parts if there were more parts than that we can fill those in with names as well and this is where. It’s very important to keep in mind that this is. I’m not telling you this has to be your outline. I’m suggesting to you that this could be your outline or could be parts of your outline and the names can change and the functions can change as well notice that big anxiety-provoking space in the middle there or near that you know in the middle of the screen certainly where the analysis goes and in order to get that some structure we can apply the same principles right and we can just put in some lines there as well marking that territory as well. Now you where you’re noticing. Our hope is that there’s a certain sense of proportion to this right even the analysis which is quite a lot bigger than the rest of the parts is divided up into parts that are V of the same size and I can tell you that if this is a forty paragraph paper format of research article, research articles format of about 30 pages what I would do is I would put three paragraphs in the introduction. I would put two paragraphs in the conclusion. I would put five paragraphs in the background five paragraphs in the theory five paragraphs in the methods 15 paragraphs divided into nice three sections in the analysis and five paragraphs in the discussion alright nice and orderly nice and simple and if I’ve trained my writing style if I’ve trained my prose in such a way that I know that if there’s something I know I can sit down and write a coherent prose paragraph about it in 27 minutes or at least about half an hour right then I also know that each of these sections of five paragraphs are going to take about two and a half hours to write. And that’s nice to know right. This is not just how many words how many pages how many paragraphs it’s also a way of organizing the time.

I’m going to devote to writing this thing. Once all right so once through the feeding cycle in the paddock. They’re the right so that I can return to it and then maybe rewrite it if I have time for that all right. 40 paragraphs at 27 minutes per paragraph with three minute breaks 20 hours of work. All right so think of it. In terms of 20 hours of work and roughly in this case it will be no more than 8,000 words and about 240 sentences or more altogether right minimum six sentences per paragraph what. I want to do tonight is get you thinking about each of these sections as made up of or composed of arrangements of paragraphs that have very very specific rhetorical functions. So you’ll be able to distinguish each section and you’ll be able to know what you’re doing every time you sit down for half an hour to write a paragraph that goes in one of these simply by thinking about okay am I in the background section. I mean the theory section. I’m in the analysis section what am I doing here right. And we’re gonna think about these these things in two different ways what I want you to do is consider first of all what is the purpose of this paragraph. And how does the fact that it goes in the introduction or in the conclusion or in the theory how does that fact define its purpose. What influence does that have on the purpose of this writing that. I’m doing right now in this moment. Right and the other thing that. I want you to think about is how do I know all right. So what do I want to say why do I want to say it right and how do I know what are my sources of this knowledge. All right what am. I going to invoke to justify my belief in this right what am I going to cite what am I going to refer to right. What’s my basis for saying this right and in Danish. We sometimes say that woop. Oh right what are you up to let me. I guess the English way of saying that and we sometimes say oh how do a head ee. I kind of imagine a basket.

What do you have to put it in right. What have you got to hold it in right. And that’s really. What the 2 questions are we have here right. Where are you going with this. What are you trying to do. And where does your authority come from right what why should why should I care why should I listen why should I believe you right. So let’s start. We’ll just go through these one at a time. I think it will be clear to you. What will happen here now. The introduction and conclusion the rhetorical purpose of these things is quite is quite obvious right. You’re trying to open the the the ball as it were. You’re trying to get the reader oriented and what you’re about to do and perhaps interested in it although we’ll talk a little bit about how important that is after. I’ve gone through all of the sections tonight. I’m going to go back to the introduction and conclusion and give you a kind of recipe for writing those paragraph or paragraph so you can see exactly what I mean by what is a paragraph and how does it fit in and like. I say I’m going to propose you write a three paragraph introduction. Right you can excuse me. You can write a longer one if you have a much longer project that you’re presenting but if you can do it in three paragraphs you’re also in a position to expand to more right so. I’m going to show you how you can do that in three paragraphs right now as soon as we’ve said three paragraphs we’ve also said something very important about the readers experience and this is quite useful for thinking about when you’re writing is that you’re occupying three minutes of your readers attention all right if you’ve got three paragraphs that go you know that span across about page and a half maybe two pages right. What you’ve got there is three minutes of your readers attention all right and you can. Rolle what is going on in your readers. Mind at that point and your purpose here is to open things right and then when you get down to the conclusion your purpose is to spend two minutes.

If you’re gonna write two paragraphs you’ve got two minutes to kind of finish this thing off right to close it down to pack it in to move on all right and it happens in real in the breeders actual mind in about two minutes and you’re deciding what’s going to happen in the readers mind in those two minutes right. So what’s the basis of the of the introduction and the conclusion. Well this is where you’re in really good shape as a writer because you know best what goes in where you got this from you. Got it from the rest of the paper format of research article, research articles format. All right the source that you’re drawing on when you’re writing the introduction and conclusion is your awareness of what’s gonna happen in the rest of the paper format of research article, research articles format. We’ll see how that happens. Of course that doesn’t mean you’re not also citing literature and so forth but you’re citing it because it’s gonna come up again later in your paper format of research article, research articles format all right you’re not citing it simply for support all right what you’re doing is you’re introducing it. So the basis of writing the introduction in conclusion is your knowledge of everything else and this is why. It’s a really really great idea to write your introduction and conclusion at the beginning in the middle and at the end of the process and especially at the end of the process right because at that point you are the expert. You’re the best possible person to introduce this project because you know what it says all right. So what is the background section. The purpose of the background section is to provide the reader with information. And what that really means is you’re assuming in this case that the reader lacks this information needs. It is ignorant of something important. So what’s happening in the background section. Is you probably. I mean you’re all brought up in various disciplines could be organization. Theory marketing finance strategy. Whatever it is you’re working on right so you have some theories that you’re drawing on and those are theories you share with your reader.

Alright so the reader is also schooled as you are remember please that your reader should be your peers all right so it’s not necessarily your teacher and examiner but you should be treating your reader like a peer so think about the most intelligent most serious most enthusiastic student in your cohort like the really really diligent and bright and committed student. This is the person whose attention you want to be engaged with. Not so much your teachers and your and your examiner’s they will be judging you based on whether or not you can have that conversation right but so imagine this this student that you are talking to who has read the same things you’ve read in class had the same class discussions that you’ve had but what haven’t they done right. They haven’t looked at the particular company or the particular country or the particular managerial practice or the particular team in the particular company right. There’s there’s something that the reader needs to know something about in order to get up to speed because you’ve been working on this particular empirical case for sole for sole as long as you have right so there’s something the reader needs to know that you can’t expect the reader to know. Even though the reader is the most intelligent student in your cohort right the most intelligent most serious student in your cohort so that make sense. There’s things that it’s just reasonable for them not to know and so you can be a little bit helpful. Maybe even a little bit condescending. When you’re talking about this you know do your reader. I’m explaining this to you as though you don’t know it right it’s one of the few places where you can talk like that and there’s a few paragraphs of that kind where you’re providing that sort of information. It’s a straightforward task. It’s really useful to have practice writing in that mode. Right present information that the reader will find useful in understanding the rest of the paper format of research article, research articles format but on what basis are you saying this.

And here’s this is an important distinction to make right because you’re going to learn a great deal about this company that you studied or this country you’ve studied or this practice that you’ve studied right a lot of that will come out of your empirical risk searched. A lot of will come out of what we would call your data collection process right. So you’ll have done some ethnography or I’ll have done some interviews or you’ll have done some document analysis you’ve collected documents and this will also have given you a bunch of information about your object but what you have to be very careful in your background. Section is not to use that information to which you have privileged access right. We’re really only you can say for sure that this is the case because you are the one that’s collected the data all right so what we want to do when we’re talking about our sources for the background section is think of them as publicly available right so the sources you’re using in the background section are sources that the reader has access to so that when you cite them right the reader can check whether or not what you’re saying is right a really really good example of this is that sometimes you will want to tell the reader that the company you’re studying is very profitable right and you might know that the companies where you might have first heard that the company is very profitable because you talked to the CFO of the company right in an interview setting in a semi-structured interview you collected you were collecting data and the CFO assured you we are a very very very profitable company. We’ve doing really well over the last five years doing a great job for our shareholders right now in the background section you might want to tell your reader that the company is very profitable but do not use the interview data to support that assertion because of course the CFO is telling you that the company is profitable right the source you want to use to establish that the company is actually profitable is something like an annual report some market data right publicly available information.

I mean you can even cite newspaper format of research article, research articles formats like Financial Times. Write what you want to make sure is that. This company’s profitability has been established by means other than somebody who’s as implicated as the CFO. Right so you want to distinguish between using your data as a source which you’ll use to establish other things all right and using the available sources to establish something and you know you’re working on the background section when you’re not using your data all right when you’re looking for verifiable third-party sources to establish facts right and I can tell you we have a lot of librarians over the library where I work right. That are happy to help you find this kind of source right. Find this kind of material. This sort of evidence for facts you want to say. I don’t want to make too many fine subtle distinctions of a philosophical kind. Tonight we have many conversations like this but what. I sometimes says that your background section is factual. But it’s not empirical in the sense that it’s not based on your own methodological observations right so it’s not the empirical part of your paper format of research article, research articles format but it is a factual part of your paper format of research article, research articles format right. There are facts here and you have determined these to be the facts and you have sources that you can refer to. Oh that’s good. That’s pretty clear. That’s a nice kind of section right. It’s a great kind of prose to be able to write and you should it be as ever expressing beliefs that you have formed about the company the region the industry the country the practice the policy domain right. Whatever it is that you are interested in but on this basis right. Let’s move on because if the background section is based on publicly available sources. The theory is based on the literature. The scientific literature right. How do you know that you are drawing on the scientific literature.

One question is are you use are using writings that are available in scientific academic journals. Right this is a again. The library can help. If you’re in something like business source complete or academic search elite and you. Click the little tab that lets you filter out filter out everything other than academic journals right. Then you are probably and you’re using those sources you found by this means you are probably using the scientific literature right. This is certainly a conversation you want to have with each other and whatever groups you’re working in is this part of the scientific literature or is a part of the popular literature right is it. Part of the is a scholarship on the area. Is this research that we found or is this really just a newspaper format of research article, research articles format article or some management guru or like a how-to book right and make that distinction right because you know you’re working on your theory section when you’re drawing on the scientific literature. I would not incur. It depends on what level. You’re working out of course but I would encourage it very quickly to move away from citing textbooks in your theory section all right citing a textbook for theory is a kind of sign of non expertise right again this really something. You have to make sure you’re talking to your teachers and your supervisors about to be absolutely sure and remember that if I say something and your teachers say something else they are right right. I’m wrong but in most cases it is your expertise will show in citing the scientific literature directly not by way of a textbook. And what you can really do is you can say well if I want to use something I’ve learned in a textbook. Just notice that it actually cites sources usually usually the textbook will cite its sources and I can then go and find the sources that my textbook cites by going to the library and then go straight to the source right and cite it in an expert scholarly kind of way right.

But you know you’re working on it on the theory. Section of you’re citing the scholarly literature and there’s something else you have to keep in mind here because this has a lot to do with your reader. This literature is available to your reader as it is to you and in fact there’s a kind of implicit requirement of your reader that you can make you can make a demand of your reader that they are familiar with this literature right. Your reader is ideally familiar with the theoretical literature yours. So you’re gonna be addressing somebody as though they’ve read it you’re not going to be teaching them the theory you are going to be activating their theoretical apparatus. All right think of it as a machine you turn on the lights go on cameras go on and all the angles are there now and now we’re able to see the world in a particular way. Pierre Bourdieu has a really good way of a really nice practical way of defining theory. He says theory is just a program of perception right so our theory is what we use to see. Particular things in the world to focus our attention on particular things and to actually shield out distractions from other things that we don’t want to see that we don’t need to know so it focuses our attention on things and it’s the way I see the world as an author and it’s also the way my reader sees the world all right. I just have to remind the reader of what Theory we’re using here and then the reader will turn on the same focus right and move their attention in the same way that I’m trained to to to see the world. The reader is also trained to see the world that way right. So you know you’re writing theory when you are writing on the basis of a literature that you share with the reader you’re seeing the world presenting the way the world looks from up from the point of view you share with a reader and what are you trying to do. What are you trying to accomplish. You’re trying to get the reader to expect something of your object all right so you’re Billy you’re everything you’re introducing here.

The entire conceptual apparatus all the theoretical notions. You’ll be introducing the model you’ll be describing in the theory section right. All of this is intended to get the reader to expect certain things of the object of analysis right. These could be people it could be. Their behavior could of course be markets operating in certain ways it could be organizations succeeding or failing right. It could be products working or not working. Whatever it is. The model is going to remind the reader of what the reader expects of that object and of course the object has already been been quite detailed described in your background section. So the background of the readers got all the information they need now. They’re told what theory we’re going to be using. And so now. The reader has a bunch of expectations of these people that we were that we talked about in the background right so make sense. It’s expectations of the object. All right. I remember that’s always what you’re doing in the theory section. You’re talking about conceptual things but you’re also thinking by introducing these concepts. What is the reader coming to expect an example for those of you who work with organizational culture would be if you’re using. Edgar shines theory of culture. The reader is going to be to expect that there are some levels right but there are analytical levels that the organization will be understood in terms of some basic assumptions right and some espoused values and so forth right so there will be a the the reader is thinking immediately of a level system because I’ve said Edgar shines organizational Theory right or organizational culture according to Edgar Schein and so in my theory section. I’m going to be detailing that expectation. Activating it even more and and making it more more concrete more and more interesting for the reader that makes sense so that brings us to. We’re gonna skip the method just for a second because the method is easier to understand with a method section is supposed to do if we think a little more carefully about what the analysis is supposed to do all right and of course that you know you’re working on the analysis because you’re using your data all right this would be what you really need to do is have a really good sense of.

What is the difference between my background. Sources my theoretical literature and my data right because these are piles of either virtual folders in your computer or actually on your desk and it’s nice to have them organized in such a way that you know okay. This is background information. This is theory all right and this over here is my data all right for some. It’s really easy because the data is some interview transcripts or some survey responses or whatever. It is if we’ve done data like that collected in that way or even my data is a bunch of market data. I’ve drawn out of a system with a Mattox search right so I know what I know. That’s data right but there some of you might be doing discourse analysis and so you’ll have you’ll have used the Financial Times The Wall Street Journal and so forth as back as a source of background information right and you may have draw done taken. You know three years of coverage of a certain event out of those same newspaper format of research article, research articles formats. And so you have to have a way of grouping another set of articles over. Here’s your data right because you’ll be treating that in a different way but just maybe just keep those distinctions nice and separate again think of think of your cows and the paddock right. There’s the eaten grass over here. There’s the grass to be eaten over here and we’re here right now right so just really keep your cows in the paddock right and this is one way of doing it. Make very sure. What is your data all right define it and make sure you don’t have infinite amounts of data and I think your supervisors will remind you of this at some point within the next I would say probably a month or so if you’re working on something like this now.

Complete the data collection process close off the data set cleanse and now we have the data right. This is the data. We’ll see we get out of it right. We’re not going to need more data after this point and so you know exactly how much of it is. There is and then you figure out we’re going to do with it right. Does anybody have any idea what the purpose of an analysis section is and remember. Our big clue here. Is that the that the theory section has set up the reader with some expectations right so we the reader now expects something of our analysis. What do you think our analysis should do. I mean it is set of our expectations. The analysis is going to yes confirm or reject. Some people like to say well it. Shouldn’t we satisfy those expectations. All right and my suggestion is no. You should disappoint them right. The purpose of your theory section or so your analysis is to disappoint the expectations of your reader. I’ll give you an alternative if you don’t like that way of doing it right but there is an alternative way of doing this and all that really means is there should be some interesting tension between what we thought would be the case before we did the analysis what was true in theory and how the real world actually works it is usually the case that the real world is more interesting than the theory. More complicated it’s more going on. And that means whatever theoretical expectations we generate our. Theory our analysis is going to challenge it in some way and one way of talking about that perhaps a little bit polemically is to say to bring about the artful disappointment of your readers. Expectations of the object. All right not an artless disappointment. You’re not letting the reader down right. You are giving the reader an interesting moment in which something new is happening. That couldn’t just have happened in theory all right so it feeds back right. There’s got to be this interesting tension if that is the case right if that is the case then we now know what the method has to do because the natural thing to do when you meet a disappointment is to reject the experience right so.

I was disappointing. I’m gonna try to forget it as quickly as possible. Reject it and move on with my life right in science. What that means is we are unsatisfied with the data so in science. What we’ll do is we’ll say. I had this wonderful theory. You have this result that seems to challenge my theoretical expectations. So there must be something wrong with your data all right. That’s got to explain it. There’s nothing wrong with my theory. But there’s probably something wrong with your data so what you do. Is you use the methods section to gain the readers trust so the reader won’t do that. You explain to the reader what you did right what your actions were that ensured that you have high quality data set right. You explain how carefully you chose the people you interviewed you explain how many people you interviewed. You explain how carefully you designed the interview guide all right. You explain the care with which you took to set up an interview situation in which the reader the interview person felt felt comfortable and unbiased and so forth right. You made sure that you selected a wide range of people to cover all the bases and so forth right so this would be. This is what you’re doing everything you save. Which of course has to be true right. It has to be something you actually did but you did these things in order to make your data set trustworthy. Incredible all right. And of course that goes for designing survey instruments. It goes for. How did you partition the data. How do you get the data out of the database. Right if you’re using a big market data like from Bloomberg or something like that you. Would you would explain how you extracted the data. How you constructed the data set right to make sure that the reader things. Yeah this is the kind of data that if it shows something that.

I didn’t expect I’m going to accept that disappointment right. I’m not going to push it away. I’m going to learn from it all right the basis of your methods section and. I try to emphasize that by saying. It’s you and the literature right. Obviously there is a methodological methodological literature. So that’s a you know that’s something you will be citing to to create your arguments for your method but what really counts here is that you explain what you did and why you did it right. So it’s your experience that is the basis of your methods section because these are decisions you made. These are actions you carried out right and you’re in for telling a reader about them for the purpose of building up trust so. I said there’s an alternative and this comes right from people kind of pushing back against the same. This sounds a little bit positivistic a little bit hard hardcore a little bit hard sciency hypothesis testing ish. We don’t do it that way. We’re more grounded. Someone say someone’s use a more grounded theory system and so Marshall McLuhan you may know who Marshall McLuhan is communications with Canadian Communications Scholar from the 60s. He used to say if you don’t like my ideas. I’ve got others and so here’s another one which it would be an alternative to. This is just as good what you do. Is you say all right. I need some kind of interesting tension between the theory and the analysis so what I’m going to make sure is in the theory section. I’m getting my reader curious. About specific things all right so focus. Again focusing my reader’s attention in such a way that the readers expectations are actually a sort of eager curiosity about my object and then of course. I’m going to establish my own authority as a storyteller as a narrator right by saying how did I get the experiences that I needed to get in order to tell the story alright and then I will satisfy the readers curiosity so there will be this feeling of tension and release that has a obviously a literary feel to it rather than this more scientific feel to it right but there is that alternative just remember to create some sort of interesting tension between the theory you set up and the analysis that you provide so that sort of a contrast in an in an interesting way right and that also keeps the projects in those three sections the theory the method and the analysis quite separate.

You can see that you’re doing completely different things right and so when you sit down and write those paragraphs you’re not getting distracted. You’re able to focus and stay on task right. We’re getting closer to the end and the discussion and what I want to say is that there are really two ways of doing the discussion and of course this follows on the idea that something interesting happened. In the analysis right the reader either that the satisfying sense of my curiosity was satisfied. Or got this intellectually interesting disappointment of their expectations. And so now we have to ask. Well now what right. What what are the consequences of the fact that the analysis has has pushed back against is in some kind of conflict with the theory. And there’s really two ways of resolving that tension that conflict right one of them is the classical scientific way of doing it. So what you do. Is you say all right. The theory expected certain things we built a model in advance of analyzing the data. Then we confronted the model with the data and it turns out that the model missed. Some things didn’t get some things right failed to predict certain things. And so what we’re going to do is we’re gonna explain how the model needs to be adjusted going forward so that next time. If we were going to do this sort of research again we would go into it with a different set of expectations. And we’ll use the discussion section to explain how the theory is going to change all right one question. I often get at. This point is wait a minute.

We’re just students. We’re gonna suggest changes to the theory are we. Isn’t that kind of out of our pay grade and what. I suggest you against. Don’t think about your teachers and their peers as your reader think about your peers as your reader and say alright what we did in the theory section is we provided a reasonable reading of Edgar Schein or Karl. Weick or whoever it is that we’ve used right. We’ve provided a reasonable reading at our level first second third year or a master’s level right so we provided a reasonable reading of the literature and at that level once we went out and looked to reality we were still able to learn right. We’re still able to get some input. And so we’re going to go through that. Same motion of confronting our theoretical understanding with the empirical reality and getting smart and will demonstrate. We can get smarter right even if we’re only getting ourselves up to the level of the actual practicing researchers in the international research community who attend the Academy of management conferences right. Does that make sense. So what you’re doing is you’re really saying there was kind of a before understanding a prior understanding of the theory we then did an analysis and learns something. And here’s what we learned right so you’re welcome to do that. Of course there is another option as the as. I’ve shown which is a more practical approach you might say where the implications of the research is going to be implications for practice. My favorite example is economists. Economists have wonderful theories they’re beautiful very very pristine and pure theories with mathematical elegance. We love these theories right and they have predictive consequences and so forth right and then they collect some data on say the price formation on the housing market in Denmark and sure enough the housing prices. Their behavior right disappoints the law of supply and demand. All right so you would have thought that the prices would have gone up under these conditions.

But they didn’t go up. You would have thought. They went down but they didn’t go down right. And so what do we do. Do we reject the law of supply and demand. Do we throw economics out the window because of that. No of course not all right what we do is we say that the markets are inefficient right and an inefficient market is just a market. That won’t behave properly. According to theory and the solution is of course a deregulation of that market right. So there’s some sort of government interference usually some sort of government interference that is causing imperfections in the market. And we can point to those and we can suggest that if they were removed the prices would behave as the theory predicts right and so there these are policy implications of the research right and that’s a perfectly legitimate out. Output of a piece of social science research is that we have a more or less true and tested theory that has a kind of abstract validity and we got to get practice to fall into line with that. This happens in softer social science. As well like in leadership theory for example we have concepts of good leadership right with a model of what good leadership is we study a company and we identify some mismatch between our model of good leadership. And what they’re actually doing that doesn’t mean we change our model of good leadership right. What we do is we suggest that the company reorganize or fire their leader or discipline. Each other in some way to bring about better leadership outcomes right so make sense now. What is the so those are say those are kind of the two ways of doing it but what they have in common is that you are reasoning with the reader and that’s also why the source column there is blank right because there’s an you’re not introducing any new sources. You’re not going to introduce a new data point you’re not going to introduce a new theoretical source. You’re not going to introduce more background.

Information the reader knows everything. The reader needs to know of a factual proposition on the nature. At this point. And what you’re doing is identifying the. I want to say logical consequences but it doesn’t have to be that rigorous right so it’s just the reasonable consequences all right and reason here is entirely tied to your understanding of your reader so think about how you think. Think about how your fellow students think. Think about how your teachers are trying to get you to think right and that’s the sort of Reason ability we’re looking for here right. What follows reasonably from the analysis right given that we framed it with theory right. Oh really what one way. I like to talk about this is think of your theory as sort of a conceptual framework and think of your data as the basis on which you make your claims right so you have a frame that is based on your data right and that it’s within that universe that you cannot do your reasoning right. Notice that we’re now starting to get some of this circling back to our eatin grass kind of patterns going here right. We’re starting to see that. There’s absolutely my logic. Professor used to say this right. There’s no shame in being strategic when you’re trying to do a logical deduction and there’s also no shame in being strategic when you’re designing an argument in a paper format of research article, research articles format like this right what you’re you’re always setting yourself up. So you can produce certain effects in your analysis that will then have feedback effects on the expectations. You started with right notice that if you have theoretical consequences they of course will primarily go back and modify the understanding that we presented in the theory section and there is a certain amount of rational reconstruction. You can do here to kind of sharpen the difference between our theory going in and our theory coming out right even if it wasn’t maybe narrative. Lee exactly that way. We did it right well. We might not have had that clear and understanding of theory as we went in but we can construct a theory that a reasonable scientist in our field would have had going in and then construct a reasonable transformation of that theory on the basis of the analysis.

Right so we can really. We can think about this. The reason we’re doing this. We want to write the theory this way. Because the analysis is going to show this and that will let us say let’s modify the theory in this way right all of that demonstrates competence sophistication and nuance if your implications are going to be practical. So let’s say you are going to propose a policy change or a change in management practice in an organization right. So let’s say that’s the then of course what you want to do is make sure that in your background section you describe the organization or the policy domain in turn in the terms of the very legal framework or the organizational structures that you’re going to propose changes to so the reader understands what you’re saying and you’re discussing something right so you explain what the law is. Now if you’re gonna have somebody change it right you explain who the leader is what they’re doing. If you’re gonna suggest they’d be fired right you make sure that we have the information we need to understand your discussion. Because they’re gonna feedback in this kind of way. I hope that’s all very nice and tidy simple and kind of gives you something to remember that the best way of doing this as your as a writing strategy is to really make sure okay. There’s going to be 40 paragraphs so there’s gonna be 80 paragraphs. How are they going to be distributed. If you’re working in a group really really recommend that you get yourself. All those paragraphs as many as possible really articulate a key sentence for each of them so that each paragraph is summarized in a single sentence. You know to be true and that in your group you’ve decided. This is the truth that we’re going to be supporting in this paragraph right and then in the sections they’ll become there’ll be arrangements of paragraphs five or ten paragraphs in a section alright and they will all add up to this argument that you can really have that conversation.

A good strategy for writing is to write the introduction. One two three first. I’ll show you that in a moment. Then maybe even write your conclusion right or at least a gesture at it. Then go back and write two paragraphs for the background section two paragraphs with a theory section two paragraphs for the methods section six paragraphs of analysis two paragraphs of discussion. You’ve now got eighteen paragraphs almost half of the forty parrot paragraph paper format of research article, research articles formats. Now done right and you’ve moved through the entire paddock right. You’ve moved through all of the different parts that you can move through. You’ve you’ve touched every part of the paper format of research article, research articles format. You’ve got 22 paragraphs to go 11 hours of work. Alright so just kind of have a look at it. How far are we. What are we missing. What’s next do another 22 hours of work. Alright and now you’ve got the whole thing filled out you do an analysis of it. You take all your key sentences out of each paragraph put them in a separate document you now have 40 sentences you look at those. Do they make sense. Just out of the context of the prose. You’ve written if not move them around. Sharpen them change them so they do. Now you’ve got 20 hours of work to rewrite the whole thing right. I’ve got a nice line of argument. And now you’re going to produce some really really high-quality writing 18 or 27 minutes at a time depending on how you feel what kind of shape you’re in what your ambition is and of course if you’ve got a group you’re organizing this work by giving some people certain things to write and some people other things to write. Yeah when you’re be intelligent about this right you’re you’re all management students right so you manage the process good. Let’s collapse that down. Stop thinking about the whole thing.

Imagine that that has been done and like. I say about 20 hours of work and really focus on the rest of the or so the introduction especially now what I’ve been saying is that the introduction would have maybe three paragraphs of course there are lots of things. I’m going to leave out here. And these are things that might actually be of interest to you. The the what. I would suggest you do. Is you think three paragraphs and you give them very specific topics so the first paragraph is going to be about the world in which we live. This is one of the few places where you can where you can imagine that your reader will be bored right. You shouldn’t really imagine this because your reader is a peer. Who’s interested in the same things you’re interested in but you’re gonna say something that is uncontroversial right and you’re gonna try to make it interesting. The reason you want to say something uncontroversial is it’s the first minute of your readers attention you don’t want to start off in a world that’s completely mad. Compared to what the reader things right you want to start off in a world that the reader recognizes and then you want to make it interesting right so think of something like the Internet has changed the way businesses communicate with their customers right boring. We all know that right. But if you’re knowledgeable about business to consumer communication if you have some knowledge about that you’re able to tell that story in an interesting way you’re able to position us in the present right with the internet doing the things the Internet is doing in an interesting way so so learn how to do that at least six sentences of most 200 words right support elaborate or defend. What you’ll mostly do here is elaborate. Probably because the readers not going to doubt you and will probably understand you and there might be that little. Twist of what you’re gonna be doing is getting the reader interested then write about the science and this is your science not their science not somebody else’s science.

This is the science that connects you to your reader. There are in the main about two ways of doing this right one of them is to identify the consensus that your field is built on so the when you read the literature you recognize that the that the that the that your your fellow scholars their your peers are generally in agreement about some sort of subject. We’re like sense-making scholars generally agree that since making is a retrospective process right would be a possible agreement. You could also say. There’s some debate about it in which case you’re gonna frame it differently gonna say. There is an ongoing debate in the sense-making community about whether or not a sense making is a purely retrospective process or also has a prospective component right. I would say to as my meager understanding of sense-making theory says probably both arguments are possible to make right but this is the kind of thing you would. The decision you would make here is are we describing a science that is basically in agreement about something or has it is founded on an interesting disagreement. In any case you will of course cite your sources you will describe the literature as founded on a consensus or engaged in a controversy notice. You’ve now spent two minutes of your readers time you have introduced the world that needs your paper format of research article, research articles format and you’ve introduced the science that you will be drawing on to understand this world right and the next thing that you’re going to need to do is introduce yourself because notice you haven’t done that yet. You haven’t said anything about yourself or your own research here yet. So the next thing you can do is write about your paper format of research article, research articles format and the formula that. I want to suggest that you’re gonna do. You’re gonna use here. Is this paper format of research article, research articles format shows that and then what follows after that is actually a statement of your conclusion. And we’re thinking about how this sentence. Needless to say is a pretty important sentence right.

It’s worth giving it some thought if I was to say this paper format of research article, research articles format shows that in a simple sentence what am I going to say afterwards right how am I gonna complete that sentence. Sometimes we talk our way out of this by saying this paper format of research article, research articles format explores issues related to or raises questions about or look sad or discusses or something like this right but if you really pin yourself down and say look we’re going to show something is true. What is it we’re gonna show is true. How are we gonna. How gonna say a sentence that we have discovered through our analysis of the data to be true right. You want to construct that sentence with two things in mind it has to be meaningful and it has to be true and what actually happens is the meaning and the truth of the sentence. Come from different places it’s going to be meaningful because of your theory in other words. Don’t say something that you wouldn’t need your theory in order to be able to understand alright so say it’s something that needs theory to be meaningful but it’s going to be true because of your data. Alright so say something that nobody would know is true. If it wasn’t for your data the the art of constructing that sentence is really really worth practicing right. I need to write a sentence that is meaningful because of my theory and true because of my data alright. That will really really help now if you do that and then you notice that the sentence the key sentence of this paragraph paragraph three isn’t actually your conclusion but is a statement that mentions your conclusion. It doesn’t assert your conclusion. What it asserts is. Here’s a paper format of research article, research articles format that is going to show that the conclusion is true right so you’re not committed to defending your conclusion in paragraph three. But you are committed to is explaining how you’re gonna show that right. The reader wants to know how you’re gonna show it not whether or not it’s true because that’s what the rest of the paper format of research article, research articles formats for all right. So what you do. Is you write a paragraph that looks roughly like this.

This paper format of research article, research articles format shows that something it is based on your interviews. Or whatever methodology that you use so you describe in a couple of sentences your methodology all right the analysis then reveals particular things. So let’s say that. I did interviews. It is based on twenty-seven semi-structured interviews with executives in the organization right. Their view is bla bla. Bla bla bla right. That’s where that’s what the analysis reveals that the analysis reveals that they believe this. They think this they feel that. They’re hopeful about this and so forth and this has profound perhaps implications or just implications for either theory or practice. Alright and I think you can see kind of where this is going. What people sometimes like is to have an example and I’ll I’ll explain that to you in a second notice that the second to last paragraph that I’ve just named n here because we don’t know for sure could be paragraph 39. Whatever the first paragraph of your conclusion is going to take see without those. This paper format of research article, research articles format shows that. And it’s going to assert it and it’s going to assert it at the highest possible level to a reader that is followed along the entire through the entire introduction background. Theory method analysis discussion conclusion. And now we’re at the conclusion right and the readers going to get it straight as it were right. I just recently watched a stand-up comic. Say a long spiel about give it to me straight like a pear cider. That is made from 100% pear. All right this is a this is how you want to do it at the end you want to say. I’m my reader knows everything. My reader needs to know to get it in the most direct least embarrassed least blush least qualified way possible because all the qualifications have been presented in the paper format of research article, research articles format when we try to show you how that works in practice. This is a paper format of research article, research articles format that I’ve written. I’ve decided to choose a paper format of research article, research articles format moment just to demonstrate that I can do this win some credibility.

Perhaps you’ll notice that the first paragraph is really just a telling of a story it situates us in a world where we have a forest fire and an accident involved in fighting this forest fire we then have a paragraph following on that which summarizes the consensus among sense-making scholars. About what went wrong. That what went wrong is a cosmology episode and we then finish up with a paragraph where. I say in this paper format of research article, research articles format. I show that sense-making did not play a significant role in the death of the smokejumpers in man Gulch which is to say. I’m trying to disappoint my sense. Making scholars the readers of this paper format of research article, research articles format right. I’m trying to say look. We have this general idea that it was a failure of sense making that caused this disaster. I don’t think that’s the case and I’m gonna provide an analysis of that and I then outline of course how I’m gonna go through that. And what the implications of that will be right one of the things. I’d like to convince you of is that when you’ve written a an introduction like this you have in fact introduced the entire paper format of research article, research articles format because what you’ll notice here is that the introduction of course is just the introduction. Yeah the background. Section has been introduced in paragraph 1. The theory section has been introduced in paragraph 2 the methods section has been introduced in the second and third sentence of paragraph 3. The analysis section has been introduced in the third fourth and fifth sentence of paragraph. Three and the discussion has been introduced at the end of paragraph three right. So there we go. We’ve introduced the entire paper format of research article, research articles format through a simple structured approach. It’s because obviously it’s because we structured our paper format of research article, research articles format in a particular way and then we designed the introduction in such a way that it was able to introduce the whole thing. Some of your supervisors will still want you to have an extra paragraph that expresses directly your research question all right. I would probably suggest you put that between paragraph two and three according to my model all right and some of your teachers will also want you to actually say this paper format of research article, research articles format has five parts in the first part.

I do this in the second part I do this and so forth. Ideally this would make it unnecessary because you have really done that but sometimes we like to really. Telegraph that information. Very explicitly and finally notice that even the conclusion has been introduced in the first sentence of the third paragraph so the conclusion has been stated in the introduction if we tidy them up like this. These are slightly edited for effect. Here just a sharp enough point. This paper format of research article, research articles format shows that the man Gulch disaster was not a cosmology episode and notice. The conclusion is the man. Gulch disaster was not a come up because Molly G episode and notice that we have the difference here between those two is simply those first four words. You can have a larger difference if you want if you want to be a little more stylistically experimental so you express them more even more differently but I would say try to keep the content roughly the same notice that a cosmology episode is a theoretical notion. All right which means. I can’t understand this sentence if I don’t know what a cosmology episode is. I have to be a sense-making scholar to get it right notice. I’m asserting something very direct and it’s something that pushes against the expectations of the field. Whoops against the expectations of the field and I need my data alright. I need to look at what happened in man. Gulch in order to make this determination right in order to make this assertion so I have a sentence that is no a sentence that is theoretically meaningful and empirically. True right there. It is already for you this. This can of course be downloaded from the website. I’ll give you the link at the end and and use for your purpose like I say. Please do try to organ appropriate it for your own needs. Don’t just take it on board as though this is the only way of doing things but we want to something like this right.

You want a framework that you can move through in a way that doesn’t exploit that doesn’t exploit all your resources exhausting everything from the beginning and then moving on and can scorched-earth policy but that you can pass through these things getting stronger and stronger and stronger and healthier and healthier. It’s sort of cutting your work out for you. I guess right and I thought you might find this amusing as a little joke at the end of that because of course we can put the shoe on the other foot and put the cows in the in the other at the other end of the fence on the other side of the fence and see what would happen there. The horror of that. This concludes the formal part of the program like I say we’ll take a 10-minute break. Rest a little and then. I’ll take any questions that you have including how to implement this in practice if you just want to get on with your evening I understand that perfectly well and fine. There is some contact information there. I’m always happy to take questions by email or even to sit down and meet the only thing that I always warn. People about is if you do want to meet with me. You’re going to have to expect to do some work in preparation for it. It’s my one really good filter which is as soon as your contact. Me will decide what you’ll do and then you’ll go off and do that and we’ll talk about how that went all right. That’s the easiest way for me to work but there’s email there there’s a Twitter account and there’s a blog that you can look at and the blog is searchable. There’s lots of information there everything. I’ve said today you’ll find in one way or another on the blog and if you can’t find it send me an email and I will point you in the right direction. Have a wonderful evening.

Where to find great research papers?

Various great research journals such as Global Research Letters are a great option and way to help you look up impactful research papers with a great format. Here, you will find a number of various research papers that are provided and made available to you in the journal, which will help you write your own paper.

You can very easily find papers on a variety of topics at Global Research Letters, which will help you with your own research work and understanding of writing and publishing research papers properly. With access to so many amazing research papers, you can practice and learn the process of writing research papers and their importance.



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