Monday, 2 May 2022

What data goes in which chapters

I seem to be starting a series, exploring what goes where in the research write up, which we will continue by briefly summarising the data source of each of the research report chapters. So let's great straight into it!

As we can see by the image accompanying this post, there are two sources of data in our work: the blue data, which is where we draw on the work of others; and the green data where we collect our own data within parameters to answer our own questions. Each of these generally belong in different chapters, as each chapter has a specific job to do (see here for more on that).

  1. Literature Review. Secondary, expert data. Our literature review work is our synthesis of the views of experts. This chapter contains little of our opinion really: only the opinion of experts. I say 'really', as the elements which we select to go into our literature review are self-selected, so our stamp is here. We must ensure that we have our systematic and careful researcher hat on (Bennett, 1991) when selecting appropriate, credible, and balanced sources to form the foundation of our literature review, but we use only the views of experts in the creation of it. 
  2. Method. A mixture. Our personal opinion begins to show in the methods chapter, as can be seen by the green showing above. While the methodology work of experts will shape the 'recipe' we use to find our own data, the exact method is our own individual creation for this particular application. Our methodology will be based on the views of expert researchers, but it will be what we are going to do. This is likely to include textbooks and studies which we have looked at in our literature review, where we are lucky enough to have come across studies containing methodologies which are close to ours; adding validity, reliability, and trustworthiness to our project.
  3. Findings. Our primary data. Our findings is likely to contain ONLY our work. What we found. This is a descriptive section, not evaluative. There will be few, if any, expert references in this section. Our method itself should have been properly explained in our methodology section. However, we may create a way to reference where in our research data that things have come from, so that we, or others, can refer back to our source data.
  4. Discussion. A mixture. Our discussion is where we bring together the views of experts - our literature review - with the information we have analysed from our own, primary data. We compare the experts’ views from our literature review with our findings, and start to develop our own opinion as to what the results mean. 

I hope that helps!



  • Bennett, R. (1991). Chapter 5: What is Management Research? in N. Smith & P. Dainty (Eds) The Management Research Handbook (pp. 67-78). Routledge.
  • Jones, I. (2015). Research Methods for Sports Studies (3rd ed.). Routledge.
  • Veal, A. J. (2005). Business Research Methods – A Managerial Approach (2nd ed.). Pearson Education Australia.

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