Writing your Nuffield Research Placement report
All students are asked to write a project report at the end of their placement. You should speak to your supervisor about this early on in your project as they can help you to plan this. Some supervisors like reports to be structured in a particular way - this is fine. If they don't mind, below is a suggested format for your report. As a guide, reports should be longer than 10 but less than 20 pages. Remember, this is a scientific report, so you should be precise and professional in your writing.
- What did you set out to do? What were you being asked to do? What information (research paper/articles) did you already know about the subject? Did you have to read up about the subject and where did you find the information?
- How did you go about finding information? Perhaps your supervisor gave you some pointers about where to start?
- Brief summary of your research. The reader will use this to find out quickly what your report is about
- What sort of apparatus/equipment/techniques did you have to use, and in doing so what safety precautions and special measures did you need to take and why?
- Feel free to include diagrams, graphs and/or photos. An image can enhance a piece of text by helping to communicate ideas in your report.
Results and discussion
- What results did you get? You can include some/all data collection and results in your write up.
- If the work was to continue, what needs to be done and is there anything further anyone should look at/pursue?
- Could anything have been done differently from the way you did it?
- The appendix can contain any additional information that the reader might find interesting.
- You should include a list of any references you used at the end of your report (see below for suggested formats).
- This is helpful, as it shows what other sources might be useful for others interested in your topic.
- You may wish to say thanks to those who helped you carry out the project.
- Did you consider the project to be worthwhile? Has it changed your view of how scientists work? Has it confirmed the fact that you want to pursue a career in science or scientific research?
What is plagiarism, and how can I avoid it?
Plagiarism is when you present someone else's work as your own. At school or university, you would be marked down or even disqualified for plagiarising someone else's work.
However, this doesn't mean that you can't use the work of others in your report. You just need to make sure that you reference the work properly. For example, if you want to quote or present the ideas that you have read in a scientific article, this is fine as long as you make a note in your report of where these ideas have come from. You can do this in the text of the report, for example:
Cause-effect relationships or the direction of causality have proved difficult to establish, in other words higher levels of team cohesion may lead to more successful performances (Weinberg & Gould, 2003).
You should also add the full reference at the end of the report in the following format:
Weinberg, R.S. & Gould, D. (2003). Foundations of sport and exercise psychology (3rd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Talk to your supervisor and your Coordinator if you are not sure. This is something you'll need to use a lot if you carry on to university, so it's good to get to grips with it now.
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