Research Report Format

Research Report Format

This is the traditional format for a Capstone Manuscript and one most appropriate for a policy research report as well as a policy process research report. It follows a more traditional academic format described below. Almost all of the MAPS Capstones completed in past years have followed this format.

Chapter 1 – Purpose of The Study

The first chapter should contain information necessary for a reader to place the general area of study. The problem statement should be located near the beginning of the chapter and should indicate the who, what, where and when of the study. There should be some information to indicate the scope of the study, including definitions of terms, and justification of importance of the study. 

Chapter 2 – Review of Literature

This chapter presents previous research informing this project. The literature review should locate this Capstone project in existing research and should set up the tools or methods you plan to use as well as any implications or policy recommendations you plan to make. The review of literature may contain both conceptual and research literature. The review should be in the form of an integrated presentation of all material. It should not contain a simple listing (annotated bibliography). Students should include only those references that have some immediate implications for the study. Be explicit in demonstrating or stating the relevance of all cited literature.

Chapter 3 – Methodology: The Who, What, When, Where of Data Collection

This chapter is a statement of your research methodology: What kind of data collection procedure will you use? What type of sampling procedure do you propose? What type of data analysis is most appropriate? Any data describing the sample are not results. They should be included in this chapter rather than in a “Results” chapter. The section describing measurement techniques should include some treatment of validity and reliability. For quantitative studies, this chapter should provide operational definitions of the dependent and independent variables in your study Provide information about the statistical analysis techniques that will be used and why those methods were chosen.

Chapter 4 – Results and Discussion

The content of this chapter is usually arranged around headings related to the specific findings of the study. What did the research find with respect to proposed hypotheses? How do these findings relate to the previous results reported in the review of literature? The term “results” refers to the actual data of the study. The term “discussion” refers to the interpretation of the data. The discussions must be based on the data, not on the experience or background of the investigator.

Chapter 5 – Conclusions

This chapter should summarize the study and its findings. The conclusions should be stated in terms of the original research questions or hypothesis. It should identify any limitations of the study, provide suggestions for future investigation, and discuss implications of the study. Any implications and the suggestions for future research should be based on the results of this Capstone study.