Think of the Findings Report as organizing your raw data into written form, so as to make it ready for analysis. In addition to the normal introduction, conclusion, etc, this paper has two sections. First, methodology: detail your research questions, the context, subjects, data collection, and the analytical method you are using. In explaining all of this, you are building ethos with your audience; by being clear about how you collected information responsible and ethically, the audience will find your arguments more compelling. Second, findings: what were the results of your study? Here, you should provide raw data (an account of your observation, a transcript of your interviews, data from your surveys, etc), but also work to summarize and construct an account of the data – that is, give a sense of the trends in your data (eg. students overwhelmingly preferred Netflix to competing services like Hulu, and felt that cost was the most important factor).
Depending on the research method(s) that you have chosen, your findings report can take the form of an observation paper, a survey paper, an interview paper, or an experiment paper. If your primary method is observation, you will need to bring what you have observed before the reader’s eyes – recreate the scene, sights, sounds, and feelings of the moment. In discussing your methods, tell us details about your observation (sessions, length, times) and your level of involvement (passive observer, participant observation, etc). Be sure to also give a profile of the community or site you’re studying, as well as a sketch of the key informants. Also discuss crucial moments where you began to see the answers to your research questions. If you chose observation as a method, it’s important to use an engaging and lively writing style through the use of first person (I, me), vivid details, original metaphors, and reflection on your field site and subculture.
If your primary method is survey/interview, you will have already written out your questions, conducted your survey and/or done your interviews. For this paper, then, your primary job will be to collect and organize the information. In your methods section, discuss the nature of your survey, who your target population was, how you ensured integrity of the data, provide a sense of the questions asked. If you are doing interviews, give us a profile of who your key interlocutors were. In your findings section, highlight major trends or themes in your data, and note areas where information confirms/challenges your assumptions going into the study. Your writing style should not be as lively as an observation paper – here your job is not to recreate a scene, but rather to simply report what your study turned up.
If your primary method is experiment, you will have already designed and conducted your experiment. In your methods section, explain your experiment and your initial hypothesis, and be sure to carefully lay out control/experimental group and the relevant variables. Based on your observation, you will need to explain whether the independent variable(s) has affected the experimental group. If it has, then you will explain in what ways, and also explain how this confirmed or dis-confirm your hypothesis.
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