Research Template

Whether you are presenting in a lab meeting, via a poster, or in a journal article, it is helpful to frame your research in a way that will be logical and where the ideas will flow well. Below is a template to help you understand the basic sections of a research report and what each section should (generally) include.

1. Background: What is the context for your research? What problem(s) are you trying to address? What have others tried? What are the general limitations of those approaches? What is your idea to address this problem and why are you using that approach?

2. Methods: What data are you working with? What tools and techniques are you using to analyze the data? Be as detailed as possible with this section. The goal is that someone else could repeat your analysis by following your description.

3. Results: What results do you expect to produce (or have produced) with this research? What information will the figures and tables contain? How will you know you have succeeded in your project?

4. Discussion: How is this research innovative or different from what has been done previously? How will it move the field forward? How do your findings relate to prior work that has been done? What broader implications might it have for the science community or society at large? What are limitations of your results? Under what conditions might it be invalid? How might it be extended in future research?

5. References: If you are referencing someone else's work specifically, please provide a citation to that work. The format doesn't matter, unless you are submitting to a journal (or some conferences), but the citation should include the first author's name, the title, the journal/book where it was published, and the year it was published. For example: "Hawkes, et al. Super nifty approach to analyzing colon cancer data. Genome Medicine. 2015."

If your project is still developing, do the best you can and fill in the parts that you do know. If you are unsure on some of these details, I am happy to discuss them with you. It can be valuable to go through this exercise to help you understand your project better and begin filling in the details.