Manuals methodology

How to report about my research project?

While each research project is different, the basic structure should be essentially the same for every write-up. Reports should generally include the following sections (although the headings on these sections can bear different names, and some research questions might require a different format):

The following is a list of some of the things you might want to check before submitting your thesis to ensure a good result.


I clearly define my research question (question, not topic!) and spell out what it is that I want to study
I discuss how my thesis relates to existing research
I summarize my main arguments and findings


I discuss how the existing literature applies to my research question (literature review, not summary!)
I discuss the assumptions and concepts used in the theory
I formulate one or several hypotheses which specify the theoretically expected causal relationship between my dependent and independent variables

Research Design and Measurement

I provide sufficient information for a reader to critically evaluate or replicate my study
I discuss my choice of research design
I discuss my case selection
I discuss how the theoretical concepts are measured
I discuss possible limits of my measurement
I use diagrams and tables where appropriate

Data and Analysis

I describe the data to give my reader a good overview of the empirical content of my study
I provide sufficient information for a reader to critically evaluate or replicate my study
I explain how I interpret my findings
I state whether or not my hypotheses have been corroborated
I discuss the limits of my findings (e.g., threats to validity)
I use tables and graphs where appropriate


I give an answer to the research question posed at the beginning.
I summarize what I did and how I did it.
I relate my findings to the wider literature in my subfield and (where appropriate) discuss policy implications
I discuss the limits of my study and (possibly) future research directions

Use examples of published articles in academic journals as a guide to writing and presenting your report. Follow the APA style guide when writing your report and referencing your paper. More information on reporting standards can be found here. A study help in Dutch for writing clear theses can be found here.


Basic readings

Babbie, Earl (2004). The Practice of Social Research (12th edition). Belmont: Wadsworth/Thomson. Chapter 17.