23.Follow the requirements to write a 1200 words research report.


Follow the requirements to write a 1200 words research report. The topic is “Gender income inequality”. You must follow the model I gave to you exactly, the structure has to be totally same. There was a diagram already which has to be used. And you still need to find another one related to the your perspectives. You must use 2 sources in your introduction paragraph, and totally 8 sources for you literature review paragraph. And in your literature review paragraph, you must use 4 sources on the point of education, and 4 sources on the point o gender discrimination. Please read those attachments carefully. All the work has to be original and totally followed the requirements. If you have any questions, please tell me. Thank you!!

Name ___________________ ______
Checklist for the Research Report WACB100
Tick one
Are all the 5 stages of the Research Report present?
Highlight any stage that is missing from your Research Report
Introduction is this one paragraph? (with correct structure)
Does it have the heading- Introduction?
Does it include: a sentence introducing the general topic with some
information why it is significant?
Does it provide some background information details relevant to the
topic from previous research (what it already known)
using either indirect or external voice?
Is there a sentence stating there is a gap in the research?
Is there a sentence stating the broad research question?
Is there a sentence stating the specific research question?
Literature review – does it have this heading?
Are most of the sources in your reference list used in this section?
Is a variety of indirect and external voice used to introduce the
information from the various sources?
How many? indirect ______ external_______ direct _______
Is there a variety of appropriate reporting verbs used?
Is the past tense used?
Is there a clear topic sentence for each paragraph?
Is there a concluding sentence for each paragraph?
Is compare and contrast language used to integrate the information
from the various sources?
Are transition signals used effectively throughout the paragraphs.
Results – Is this the heading?
Is the figure/table in this section?
Is the figure/table correctly labelled with a number, the title and
source (Figure- below & Table above )
Are all the 4 stages of the data commentary present?
Is the location statement to introduce the table, written correctly (see
the model)?
Does your commentary highlight relevant information for your
Is compare and contrast language used in the data commentary.
Do you refer back to the figure/table appropriately throughout the
paragraph? (according to the figure, as can be seen etc. )
Does the concluding sentence of the commentary link
back to the point you are using it as evidence to support? (In other
words, how does this figure or table support your position? )
If you have used another figure/table in your results sectionHave you labelled it correctly and highlighted the trend and
explained how some point in this figure/table supports your topic?
(which is the reason that you have chosen to include it).
Discussion- Is this the heading?
Does your voice introduce the point/s to be discussed?
Do you use the sources to :
-explain the finding and support the explanation?
-compare the findings with those of other studies?
– discuss the significance of the findings?
Is there a variety of indirect and external voice used in this section?
How many? Indirect______ External _______ Direct ______
Have you identified topic/area for further research?
Reference List -is the heading for this section References?
Are there six or more sources in the reference list?
Are the sources academically reliable?
Is the list in alphabetical order?
Are the references in Harvard style (check ilearn)?
Is the reference list on a separate page?
Is there one space between each entry?
In-text references – are there in-text citations throughout the report?
Highlight ALL in-text citations in the report.
Is the author/s’ family name or organisation name used?
Is there a year for every in text citation?
Is the page number given for direct voice (quotations)?
Are secondary citations written correctly?
whose idea….. and where you read it…..
Are there reporting verbs used for direct and indirect
voice with correct subject/verb agreement?
Do all sources in the reference list have a matching entry in the text?
Do all in text citations have a matching entry in the reference list?
Have you used in text citations whenever statistics are mentioned?
Format and layout – is the report double spaced?
is the reference list single spaced?
is there a space between each paragraph?
is the font size 12 and Times New Roman?
Is the report 1200 words ( 1200 -1400 ) excluding references
Is there a header and footer with appropriate information
Are there page numbers ?
Academic Writing Style – checklist below
No personal references -I, you, we, my, our
No abbreviations without being written out in full first
No contractions used (can’t should be cannot etc.)
No informal language (nowadays etc.)
No fragments or run- on sentences
No questions
No emotive words -e.g terrible, perfect,excellent, massive etc.
No categorical claims- use careful/qualifying language
e.g. seems, tends to, probably, appears, may, could etc.
Any other changes that need to be made? Write them below:
Make sure to check over this checklist before submitting your research
Not needed for this research report
1) When deciding whether or not to buy a product, one of the first points a person typically considers is
the price of the item. 2. Because the price is often the only obvious difference between one brand of an
item and another, it can affect people’s perceptions of the quality and value of an item. 3. Quality and
value can influence whether or not the item is purchased. 4. Research has suggested that people may
believe high prices indicate high quality (Dodds, Monroe & Grewal 1991). 5. As a result, under some
circumstances high prices may lead to an increase in demand (Lambert 1970; Cialdini 1993).
6. However, research has not consistently demonstrated this effect. 7.The price of restaurant meals is
one area in which it is likely that high prices are seen as a guarantee of high quality, resulting in an
increase in demand. 8. This study was designed to test this hypothesis and to shed light on the extent to
which price affects consumers’ perceptions of the quality of a restaurant. 9. Specifically, it sought to
investigate whether consumers would assume that a high-priced restaurant would offer better quality
and whether, consequently, they would be more likely to try such an establishment.
Literature Review
Sentences 1-3 -Writer’s voice introduces the general
Sentences 4-5 External voice- identifies what we
already know from sources
Sentence 6 Writer’s voice identifies a gap
(something we do not know)
Sentence 7-8 Writer’s voice identifies the general
research question
Sentence 9 Writer’s voice identifies the specific
research question.
Reporting on what sources have written about the
1. The relationship between price and perceptions of quality is not clear. 2. Alpert, Wilson and Elliot
(1993) observed that higher price alone did not create impressions of a higher quality facial moisturiser.
3. However, they found that a higher price, coupled with quality signals such as premium packaging
and advertising did indicate higher quality to consumers.
Sentence 1 -Writer’s voice introduces topic 1.
Relationship between price and quality
Sentences 2-3-Indirect voice of source- the findings of
Alpert,Wilson and Elliot on perceptions of quality an price with
reference to the moisturiser.
4. High price has been shown to have varied effects on the likelihood of trying a product as well.
5. Dodds et al. (1991)demonstrated that when high prices were reduced consumers reported willingness
to buy products. 6. This finding is consonant with the traditional notions of the demand curve, which
suggest that price and demand are inversely proportional (Kreul1982).
Sentence 4 -Writer’s voice- introduces topic 2- relationship
between price and likelihood of buying a product.
Sentence 5 – Indirect voice of source- the findings of Dodds et
al.- high prices reduced demand.
Sentence 6 Writer’s voice- comment: writer points out that the
study by Dodds et al. supports the traditional concept of the
demand curve.
7. Conversely, Rahman (1999) pointed out that high prices often increase demand for wine, another
case in which consumers may equate high prices with high quality. 8. This phenomenon suggests that
Sentence 7- Indirect voice of source- writer points out that
Rachman’s study contradicts the study of Dodds et al.
the impact of a high price on demand is affected by the type of product. 9. Lambert (1970) showed that
high priced products were preferred when different brands of the product varied greatly in quality and
when the product was socially significant, both of which seem to be the case with wine.
Sentence 8- Writer’s voice idntifies a possible implication of
Rachman’s study.
Sentence 9- Indirect voice of source-Lambert’s voice supports
the implication identified in sentence 8.
Not needed for this research report- but this section
explains how the research was carried out.
Describes the results of research using a graph and
The figure/ table is included in this section.
Here is where the data commentary is included.
See the model data commentary in your workbook.
Figure /Table must be correctly labelled. (Figure 1/ Table 1)
4 parts of the data commentary required
1. location statement and summary
2. Highlighting statement (important trends stated)
3. Interpretation (This needs to link to the data that has been described)
4. Concluding statement Names the interpretative element (approach, trend, pattern) and includes
and evaluative comment and links back to the point for choosing this particular figure/table.
The effect of price level on perceptions of quality
1.This research confirms the association between price and quality. 2. Despite the lack of any other
signals of high quality, a higher priced menu created the impression of a higher quality restaurant.
3. The most likely explanation for this effect is that price is generally seen as an indicator of quality
(Dodd et al. 1991). 4. The finding conflicts with the observations of Alpert et al. (1992), but supports
those made by Dodds et al. (1991) and Venkataraman (1981). 5. This may be because the relationship
between high price and high quality may be product specific. 6. That is, it may be true of a restaurant
but not of some other goods. 7. In the study by Alpert et al., quality evaluations were made by
participants who also knew the store and brand name, whereas the strongest price-quality relationship
in Dodds et al. was seen when no brand or store name was included. 8. The design of this study did not
involve brand or store name. 9. Therefore, the price-quality relationship may be stronger when product
information is limited to price, and weaker when buyers have knowledge of brand and store name.
10. When little is known about an item besides its price, consumers should be particularly cautious
about assuming that higher prices are necessarily indicative of higher quality.
11. Another possible explanation for the perception that higher priced restaurants are higher in quality
is that participants may have been attempting to minimise cognitive dissonance. 12.Cognitive
dissonance can occur when people’s actions conflict with their beliefs. 13. In such situations, people
Remember to link the information in the data
commentary back to your research question in the
concluding sentence.
(May be referred to as the conclusion)
What are the findings? Explain them clearly.
1st Subheading ( if required)
Sentences 1 & 2- Writer’s voice confirms the finding that
higher prices menus created the impression of higher quality.
Sentence 3- external voice- explains this finding and supports
the explanation
Sentence 4- Indirect voice- compares this finding with the
findings of other studies, pointing out that some studies support
the finding but others do not.
Sentence 5- 10- Writer’s voice presents an explanation for the
differences between the various findings.
In this section you compare and contrast the findings
with the findings of others sources’ studies. Do
studies agree or disagree
Sentences 11-16- Writer’s voice gives another way of
explaining the writer’s findings is presented
seek to reduce mental tension by bringing their attitudes into concordance with their behaviour (Cooper
& Fazio 1984). 14. Since the research was conducted in an uppermiddle class community, many
participants may be used to buying high priced goods. 15. In order to justify this behaviour, they may
believe that higher price means higher quality and may have accordingly rated the higher priced
restaurant as offering a higher quality product. 16. This finding raises the question of whether a less
pronounced price-quality relationship might be observed in a lower income area.
The effect of price level on the likelihood of trying the restaurant.
17. People reported that they were more likely to try the low-price restaurant than the high-priced
restaurant. 18. This finding is consistent with the demand curve (Kreul 1982). 19. The obvious
explanation for this finding is a greater willingness to try the restaurant that posed a lesser
risk. 20. Consumers knew nothing about the restaurant except for the items on the menu and their
prices. 21. They may have been more prepared to try the restaurant in which they would lose less
if they did not have a good experience. 22. Interestingly, this finding seems to contradict research
that shows high priced brands are favoured when dealing with socially significant products
(Lamber 1970; Rachman, 1999). 23. This discrepancy implies that the value of the restaurant
may have been more important to consumers than its social significance. 24. On the other hand, it
is possible that the restaurant’s social significance was minimised by the exclusion of signals
such as a familiar name or prestigious address. 25. Further research is needed about how such
signals influence people’s decisions to try or not to try such a restaurant.
Correct formatting of the research report is required
Robin Brown, 40112233, Research Report, WACB100 1
The explanation is supported by the external voice of Cooper
and Fazio and this part of the discussion concludes with the
identification of a possible subject for further research.
2nd subheading (if required)
Sentence 17 Writer’s voice identifies the second major
Sentence 18-External voice used as the writer points out that
the second finding supports the economic theory of the demand
Sentences 19-21 Writer’s voice -explains the finding.
Sentence 22- External voice for sources- The writer points to
research that does not support the finding.
Sentence 23 & 24 Writer’s voice used to identify two possible
explanations for this difference.
Sentence 25 Writer’s voice concludes by identifying another
possible topic or area for future research.
All sources referred to in the research report need to
be listed in alphabetical order.
Harvard style (Monash on ilearn) needs to be used.
• Double spacing for the text
• Single spacing for the reference list
• Word limit 1200 words (980-1320 words)
excluding references
• Times new Roman font style
• Size 12 type
[omitted here]
Macquarie is uniquely located in the heart of Australia’s largest high-tech
Source: Adapted from Brick, J, Herke, M & Wong, D 2016, Academic Culture: a student’s guide to
university life, 3rd edn, Palgrave Macmillan, South Yarra, Victoria, pp, 261-271 as a modified
Reviewing the Literature: A Short Guide for
Research Students
In brief: Reviews of previous literature in a thesis or research paper are not summaries of every
article you have read, but rather an exposition of the existing knowledge and reasoning which led
you to believe that what you did was worth doing in the way that you did it, written so as to
convince the reader of these things.
Writing about the literature is not just part of “what you have to do”, it is a valuable way to learn the
literature, to get it “off the page and into your head”. And that is essential if you are to be able to
think critically about your field.
1. Purposes guide focus, depth and design ……………………………………………………………………………….. 2
2. Common problems and how they can be addressed ………………………………………………………………. 6
3. Getting your review organised with a mind map ……………………………………………………………………. 8
4. Illustrative example of possible focus questions for the initial parts of a confirmation document …
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 9
5. Illustrative example of problem solving research: An outline of the introduction from a research
article …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 10
6. Signposting ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 11
7. Hedges and boosters / critical review language ……………………………………………………………………. 14
8. “Evolving” a piece of writing from first thoughts to a polished product …………………………………… 16
9. Focusing and organizing your literature review with a mind map: two more examples …………….. 18
10. Approaches to note-taking ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 20
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
1. Purposes guide focus, depth and design
One set of purposes is to explain the motivations for
doing your research. Your aims are to:
a. convince the reader that the research area is
significant / important / interesting
You’re trying to convince the reader to read on and also
providing context to help them see the “bigger story” of
which your research is a part. From your perspective you
are answering the question: Why did I think that doing
research in this general area would be interesting and
important (in some sense)?
b. convince the reader that we shouldn’t be
(completely) satisfied with the existing
literature on the topic and that your
research will fill some important or
interesting gap or address some
important limitation or deficiency
To do this you need to critique the prior
literature; if there’s no gap or limitation or
deficiency with the prior research, why is
there a need to do more in the area? Your
question: What made me think that more
research in the particular sub-area that I
chose was warranted?
E.g. “Malaria remains one of the world’s greatest
public health challenges. … Today, an estimated 40%
of the world’s population remains at risk of malaria,
with 500 million cases annually, resulting in 1–2
million deaths, mostly of young children, each year.
… The development of widespread resistance to
relatively inexpensive drugs (such as chloroquine),
the difficulty of … have meant that poorer tropical
countries have been unable to control malaria. ….
The development of an effective and inexpensive
vaccine is thus a major focus of research.”
Source: M.F. Good et al. (2005), Annual Review of
Immunology, 23, 69-99.
E.g. “The smart antenna is one of the promising techniques to
overcome problems of multipath propagation and co-channel
interference [in wireless communication networks]. In general, it
is classified into switched-beam and adaptive arrays *1+. … The
advantages of the switched-beam antenna are the simplicity of
its tracking algorithm and low cost. However, it is limited in terms
of combating interference. The adaptive array offers better
performance in terms of fighting interference. However, this is at
the expense of higher costs associated with the sophisticated
signal processing algorithm and complicated hardware
In this paper, we describe …, which provides an intermediate
solution. …”
Source: P. Ngamjanyaporn, M. Krairiksh and M. Bialkowski
(2005), Microwave and Optical Technology Letters, 45, 411-415.
Another set of purposes is to explain why your
research took the precise directions it
pursued. Possible aims here are to:
c. explain and justify your research
hypotheses / ideas
What theory and/or prior experimental
results suggested to you that your
hypotheses were *“are” if you are writing a
research proposal] likely to be true / ideas
were likely to be fruitful? This necessitates
arguments, because if things are certain, you
don’t have hypotheses, you have facts and
there is no need to do any research!
E.g. Knowing that some heart attacks are caused by blood clots
forming in coronary arteries partially blocked by plaque build up,
and that aspirin reduces the ability of blood to clot, one might
form the hypothesis that perhaps regularly taking small doses of
aspirin might reduce the incidence of heart attacks in at-risk
populations. The reason research is needed is because while the
idea sounds great in theory, perhaps in practice taking a dose
small enough to avoid problems such as gastro-intestinal or
cranial bleeds would not lead to any significant reductions in heart
attack rates.
Inspired by: Physicians’ Health Study
d. Explain how the historical context for your research guided what you did
But only if that is important for understanding where your research fits into a “bigger picture” or if
understanding the past is helpful for understanding the present and giving direction for where your
research needs to go. For example, a legal studies thesis might review the evolution of legal thinking and
policy in an area in order to see what issues have been considered and addressed which will help identify
what still needs to be worked on and so that new proposals take into account the lessons of the past.
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
A third set of purposes is to explain why you conducted your research in the way that you did.
Possible aims here are to:
e. explain and justify your choice of theoretical framework
E.g. In research looking at student
learning in some area, one might look at
things from a behavioural perspective, a
social cognitive perspective, or a
cognitive perspective (or a combination
of these). But which perspective would
be the best one for investigating the
particular questions about student
learning that you have?
Theory guides what to look for when collecting data (because theory
can be used to make predictions) and also helps you analyse and
interpret what you find, so writing critically means moving beyond
simply summarising the theory to explaining how it will guide
research design and data interpretation and also noting any
limitations and how you intend to deal with these (see Sutton &
Staw (1995) in the references for this section for some common
errors in the ways some authors try to do these things). If there is a
Inspired by: V. Cahyadi (2007),
“Improving teaching and learning in
choice of theoretical perspectives you could take (sometimes
introductory physics”. PhD thesis
captured by the phrase, “schools of thought”), then you would also
submitted to the University of
need to justify your choice. Your questions: What did I need to know
Canterbury, New Zealand.
to design my experiments / come up with my experimental or
analytical approach / come up with my research questions / interpret my findings? Why did I think the
perspective I chose is the best one for investigating my research questions?
E.g. Your theoretical framework might also be a
hypothesised interaction model such as the one
shown opposite. In such a case, your literature
review would need to explain why you think
various theories and/or prior experimental results
suggest* that such a model is likely* to be correct.
(*Remember that things cannot be certain or
there would not be a need to do some research.
In this case, the research questions might be to
test the strength of the various links or to further
develop understanding of the mechanisms of the
interactions, in which case your review would
need to identify weaknesses in our understanding
that need addressing.)
(In the model the arrows indicate the
hypothesised direction of influence.)
convince the reader that your research methods
are sound and were well thought through
What approaches could have been used for your
research? Why did you think the approach you chose
was the best one given any constraints? Writing
critically here also involves writing with an awareness
of the potential limitations of your approach (see for
example, http://www.cebm.net/index.aspx?o=1039),
which means also explaining how you intend to control
for and/or account for those possible limitations.
E.g. Research of this type is typically conducted
using a cohort or longitudinal design because …
(refs.). However, these approaches have
disadvantages such as … (refs.), and these are
particularly significant in the context of the present
study where … To overcome these problems, a
case-control approach was used. Such an approach
is not normally used for research of this type
because it can suffer from limitations such as … and
… (refs.). However, in the context of the present
study, these were not considered to be a major
issue because …
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
g. introduce relevant terminology
and provide definitions to clarify
how terms are to be used
When using new or contested ideas
where is no universally agreed upon
definition for a term or concept, it is
necessary to discuss the options and
explain why you decided on one
particular interpretation or definition.
Your question: For the purposes of this
research, what exactly am I going to
take X to mean and why do I think
that is the best choice?
(1) In a peace and conflict studies thesis, it might be necessary to discuss
the varying ways different authors have conceptualised or defined what
distinguishes a terrorist organisation from a band of freedom fighters,
and to make a case for the definition you will be applying.
(2) In a study looking at the impact of different levels of alcohol
consumption on some health outcome, it may be necessary to discuss
the boundaries you have chosen between light, moderate and heavy
(3) In a sociological thesis looking at the social function of verandas at
some place during some time period, it may be first necessary to discuss
what is actually going to be considered to be a veranda.
Systematic Reviews / Meta-analyses
In some fields, especially medically related, it can be very hard to obtain “ideal” sample sizes and experimental
designs, and this can lead to many studies on a topic being published with weak or conflicting findings.
Consequently, researchers in these fields sometime conduct, and publish, a systematic review or meta-analysis
where they systematically search for all papers on a given issue (e.g. treatments for tennis elbow), identify
those studies with the best designs according to some criteria, then attempt to draw conclusions about the
topic based on an analysis of those best quality papers. For more information, see:
ï‚· http://www.griffith.edu.au/environment-planning-architecture/griffith-schoolenvironment/research/systematic-quantitative-literature-review
ï‚· http://www.thecochranelibrary.com/view/0/AboutCochraneSystematicReviews.html
Some specific review questions for different types of research
Broad research goal
Some specific review questions
Problem solving
Filling a gap in
Evaluating something
Improving something
Resolving a conflict in
the literature
What do we need to know about the causes of the problem to make progress?
What new techniques or approaches might be tried and why might these be
better than existing approaches?
− What new understandings about the causes of the problem suggest new
approaches to take?
− What alternative approaches to conceptualising the problem might lead to new
and better ways of addressing the problem?
What theories can guide:
− where to look for answers?
− how to interpret findings?
− how to conduct analyses?
Possibly: Where is current theory deficient?
− What criteria will be used and why?
− How will you operationalise the criteria? (E.g. How will you judge “user
friendliness” when evaluating a piece of software or some new electronic
− What benchmarks will be used? (I.e. how will you determine what is good /
satisfactory / poor?)
− What are the benefits of improvement / costs of not improving?
− What aspects are least satisfactory / most likely to lead to significant
improvements if addressed and why?
− Why isn’t the thing working as well as we’d like? *Now see “problem solving”
− What are the arguments and counter-arguments for and against different points
of view? (This may involve reviewing different “schools of thought” about the
research question, and a critical review of the theoretical foundations of each
school of thought in the context of the research question. The aim is to identify
potentially problematic assumptions which may need to be more carefully
− What is needed to make progress with resolving the controversy?
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
Key points when reviewing the literature:
Reviews of the literature are not summaries, they are
arguments (that there is a gap that needs filling; that you have
sound reasons for believing your hypotheses are likely to be
true; that your methods have been well thought through in
relation to your research goals; …) plus an exposition of the
particular background knowledge needed to make progress with
the research.
The purposes listed above are not generally all addressed in a
single section called the “Literature Review”, but would be
distributed between the introductory, literature review /
theory, and methodology chapters or sections (see for example
Section 4).
Reviews should involve synthesis: how does the literature as a
whole answer your focus questions (see Section 4).
Whenever you include any discussion of prior literature in your
writing, you should have a clear purpose for doing so and you
should make that purpose clear to the reader. (Note that, “I’m
providing some background”  a purpose, “I am providing the
background which I need to establish / demonstrate / convince
the reader that …” = a purpose. Another way of looking at it is
that you only put in your literature review that material which
directly helped you in some way with doing your research. See
also Section 6.)
Summary of Guiding Questions
Why is this general area of research
significant / important / interesting?
In what way(s) is the current state of
knowledge lacking / limited / in need of
What are the grounds for believing that
the research hypotheses are likely to be
true and worth investigating?
What theories guided research design /
analytical approach and data
interpretation and how did they do so?
How has thinking in this area evolved over
time and how has this informed the
approach you took or investigations you
Why was the particular methodological
approach used in the research believed to
be the most appropriate for the study
given any constraints? What potential
weaknesses does this approach have, and
how will these be controlled for?
What are the different ways the concepts
/ terminology used in the research used in
the literature; how will they be taken to
be defined in this research and why were
those choices of definition made?
Purpose guides depth: if your purpose is merely to convince the
reader that existing approaches have significant limitations,
then simply pointing out the limitations is enough, you don’t
need to go into complete detail into how those approaches
work (unless of course doing so helps you justify your new
approach or identify the cause of the limitation which aids the
development of possible solutions).
Further Reading:
D. Ridley (2008), The Literature Review: A step-by-step guide for students (Los Angeles: Sage).
R. I. Sutton & B. M. Staw (1995), What theory is not, Administrative Science Quarterly, 40, 371-384.
– This article discusses some common mistakes writers make in the ways they try to
incorporate theory into their papers. Despite the title, the article also gives a clear
explanation as to what theory is and how it is expected to be used in a research paper.
L.M. Johanson (2007), Sitting in your reader’s chair: Attending to your academic sensemakers,
Journal of Management Inquiry, 16(3), 290-294.
– Explains how good research writing anticipates and answers the target readers’ questions
about the work.
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
2. Common problems and how they can be addressed
Possible Solutions
Organising around individual papers
rather than around
themes/issues/questions (i.e. list like
writing lacking synthesis).
Use a mind map to help you organise your material under general
themes/ issues / questions (see Section 3 for examples). See also
Section 4 for an example of focus questions.
Take notes under focus questions rather than from each article
separately (this is like first sorting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle into
piles of related pieces to simplify the job of putting the pieces
together). For an example, see:
Lacking a clear organisational
Again, use a mind map or list of focus questions to help your
organisation, and use descriptive headings and sub-headings, and
appropriate linking and signposting in your writing to help the reader
navigate their way around (see Section 6).
Not discriminating between relevant
and irrelevant materials.
See your job as answering reader questions (see Section 4 for an
example) rather than just collating background information.
Understand the purpose of each part of what you are writing (see
Section 1). You should be able to justify each component of what
you write with a “because”. If the reader (you too!) doesn’t need
to or want to know something, don’t tell them!
Not being critical
Remember, your goal is not to merely summarise existing literature,
but to make a case that there is a significant gap in or limitation with
the existing literature that needs to be addressed; that there are good
reasons for believing your hypotheses are likely to be correct; etc. (See
also argument map below.)
Exclusion of landmark studies
Landmark studies should be mentioned in the introductions / lit
reviews in good papers in your field, so use these as a guide.
Emphasis on outdated material
Make sure you are keeping up with the latest literature, and use the
literature it refers to also.
Adopting a parochial perspective
Make sure you read widely, not just papers from your research group
or from one geographic location.
Argument map
To make sure you are actually making arguments and not simply regurgitating the literature, it may
help to map out your arguments in the form of a sequence of claims / propositions + supporting
evidence and reasoning. An example of this is as follows.
For a research proposal for a Study of How Basic Science Teachers Help Medical Students Learn
(Adapted from: J. A. Maxwell (2005), Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach, Example
1. We need to better understand how basic science teachers in medical school
help students learn (because)
a. There has been an explosion in the amount of information that needs to
be transmitted, with no increase in the time available to teach this. (and)
b. Medical student’s performance on the basic science parts of licensing
exams has declined.
c. …
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
significance: What
is the broad
motivation for
doing research in
this area?
2. [We need to better understand how basic science teachers in medical school
help students learn (because)] We know little about how basic science
Note that the teachers help students learn in medical school. (because)
first two
premises are
claims and so
themselves need
to be supported
with evidence
and reasoning. It
is quite common
to build
arguments upon
a. Studies of science teachers in other settings don’t necessarily apply to
medical schools. [Why not?]
b. Most research on basic science teaching has been quantitative, and
doesn’t elucidate how such teaching helps students learn. [Why not?]
c. No one has asked medical students what teachers do that helps them
to learn [and] other research indicates that students can identify what
teachers do that helps them learn.
Establish original
contribution: Why
is the existing
(Also provides a
motivation and
direction for the
d. Thus, a qualitative study of … can make an important contribution *to
3. For these reasons, I propose to study four exemplary basic science teachers to
a. What they do that helps students to learn.
b. How and why this is effective.
Aims flow out of
c. …
The setting and teachers selected are appropriate for this study. (because)
a. The medical school to be studied is typical, and …
b. …
Addresses the issue of external validity: will the
results apply in other contexts?
5. The methods I plan to use (participant observation and …, student and
teacher interviews, …) will provide the data I need to answer the research
questions. (because)
Methods not just
described, but also
related to aims
and justified.
a. …
6. …
7. The findings will be validated by:
Potential problems
anticipated and addressed.
a. Triangulating methods; [Obviously the full proposal would explain
what the different methods are and why they can be expected to
provide complementary data.]
b. …
c. …
d. Comparing findings with existing theory.
e. …
Note that the structure of your paragraphs will not necessarily be exactly the same as that of your
map. For a start, each paragraph will need a topic sentence which introduces the topic of the
paragraph, and perhaps a group of paragraphs, and will sometimes link back to ideas expressed in
preceding paragraphs. Two common structures for the rest of the paragraph are: (i) evidence and
reasoning leading to a conclusion (the claim or proposition); and (ii) a claim or proposition in relation
to the topic sentence which is then supported with evidence and reasoning.
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
3. Getting your review organised with a mind map
Organising all the pieces of a literature review is very challenging, so it helps to determine an overall
plan using a mind map.
a. Start by putting your topic or central issue in the middle of your page in landscape format.
b. Branch off this the major themes / issues / questions your literature review will need to address
in whatever order they occur to you. Use the purposes given in Section 1 as a guide.
– Note that one sub-theme which always needs to be addressed is: “Why is this an issue /
interesting / important?”
– Thinking in terms of key questions, as opposed to topics, is often helpful.
c. Next put in the key points/ examples/ theories which will need to be addressed under each subtheme.
d. Look for follow-on sub-themes / questions (e.g. a follow-on to a sub-theme on “problems”
would be “current solution approaches”) and look for links between sub-themes.
e. Use your map to determine a logical order for your writing.
See section 9 for more examples.
Example: Developed from, Helen M. Paterson (2004), “Co-Witnesses and the Effects of Discussion on
Eyewitness Memory.” PhD Thesis submitted to UNSW. Numbers added after the map had been completed to
indicate a possible logical order for progressing through the questions / content. Questions 1-5 made up the
Introduction, while questions 6, and 7 and 8, were covered in separate “literature review” chapters and so
could be expanded into their own mind maps.
ï‚· Bound to happen in some instances
ï‚· Potential cause of misinformation effect but
can also be argued to be potentially useful
ï‚· Not already well investigated
ï‚· Prior studies have got conflicting results
 Could this be due to
methodological problems?
What methods have been used, what
are their strengths and weaknesses,
and how can they be improved?
Why interested in effects
of co-witness discussion?
Co-Witnesses and the Effects of Discussion
on Eyewitness Memory
Why are there
 concerns about
eyewitness memory?
Given a high weight
in courts of law
Found to be unreliable
in a not insignificant
number of cases
ï‚· Perceptual errors
ï‚· Memory fades over time
ï‚· Memory (often?) reconstructive so easily
corrupted by misinformation
ï‚‚ Why is that
the case?
 What are the ways
ï‚· From misleading questions asked
by police, lawyers and friends
ï‚· From the media
ï‚· From other eyewitnesses
eyewitnesses might
receive misinformation?
ï‚„ What is known about the effects on eyewitness
memory of each of these different ways of
being exposed to misinformation and are there
any gaps or deficiencies in our understanding?
ï‚· Normative social influence
ï‚· Informational influence
ï‚· Biased guessing
ï‚· Modification of the memory
 What theories
(might) explain
why this might
ï‚· What do these theories
ï‚· Supporting evidence?
ï‚· Weaknesses?
 How could we tell which
theory(-ies) explains what
is going on in co-witness
To find commercial software and freeware for creating maps of various kinds, see for example:
D. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_concept-_and_mind-mapping_software
R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
4. Illustrative example of possible focus questions for the initial parts of a
confirmation document …
…. because questions provide a better focus on what and how to write than do topics. And good nonfiction writing answers the readers’ questions!
The aim of this research is to test whether approach X can control pest Y more effectively than
current approaches and at the same time reduce problems such as A, B and C.
Significance & Rationale: [Fairly briefly!]
General reasons for
why doing research
into approaches for
controlling this pest is
Why is controlling this pest important to Australian agriculture?
What crops does it attack?
What sort of damage does it do?
How much damage does it do / can it potentially do?
How is this pest currently being controlled and why shouldn’t we be
satisfied with these approaches?
What alternative approaches might lead to better outcomes? (And better
in what sense?)
Why do you believe that these alternative approaches might be better?
Pointing out the
limitation with existing
approaches provides a
justification for
investigating an
alternative approach.
Literature Review: [Everything included must have a clear purpose!]
The pest
What do we need to know about the pest in order to develop effective
control mechanisms?
Current approaches (perhaps)
The reader doesn’t want
to read things that aren’t
clearly linked to
progressing the “story”.
A more detailed analysis of the problems of current approaches – but
only if that helps you to determine a better way forward / identify more clearly what
problems need to be addressed!
Proposed approach
What previous research / theory makes you think your proposed approach can address (at
least in part) the problems identified above and the pest in question?
What do we need to know to implement this alternative approach in this case?
How much of this is already known?
What then do we still need to find out?
What then do you intend to do and how will this help?
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
5. Illustrative example of problem solving research: An outline of the
introduction from a research article
Based on: Knight, J., Phinn, S.R. and Dale, P. (1999) “Development of an Operational Approach for Mapping
Mosquito Breeding Sites from Airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar,” NASA PACRIM Workshop, Maui HighPerformance Computing Centre, Kihei, August 26-27.
Flowcharts of ideas like the one below are useful for studying the structure of good examples and
for checking the structure of your own writing. Note the logical flow of ideas leading through to the
conclusion that there are good reasons for doing the research that was done.
Importance of
research area:
Why is it
important to be
able to accurately
map the
distribution of
pools and
Identification of
where an original
contribution can
be made:
Why aren’t existing
approaches to
Identification of
limitations provides
research questions:
how can we
overcome the
What problem
with the new
technique needs
to be overcome
to make it viable?
What theory indicates how we might
be able to overcome the current
problem with the new technique?
(Theory guides direction of research.)
Use of prior work to
identify how
problems might be
What technique can
overcome the
identified problems
with existing
Outlining your argument as done below for the above example is another approach which can help
you to make sure you are making complete and cohesive arguments in your writing.
1. Because mosquitoes are such a serious health hazard, it is important to keep
their populations down.
2. One way of keeping populations down is to flush their breeding pools, but to do
this, the distribution of breeding pools and water channels need to be accurately
3. Current mapping techniques, such as aerial photography and thermal imaging
data, are limited because they cannot penetrate cloud cover or canopies.
4. SAR can potentially overcome these limitations because it can penetrate cloud
cover and canopy and has been used to map flooded forests.
5. More research needs to be done however, because existing SAR applications
have insufficient resolution, but this problem might be able to overcome by
adjusting wavelength and polarisation …
6. … and exploring that possibility was the aim of this research.
Note how a key idea
at the end of one
statement recurs at
the beginning of the
next statement.
Linking statements
like this helps with
“flow” and helps
the reader make
the connections
needed for
See also: J. A. Maxwell (2005), Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach, Example 7.1.
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
6. Signposting
In the physical world, signposts tell travellers what can be found in a
certain direction and so help prevent them from getting lost. In writing,
signposts tell the reader where the exposition is heading so they don’t
feel lost. It is important to realise though, that signposts guide both the
writer as well as the reader: writers who don’t put signposts in their
writing generally don’t themselves have a clear idea of where they are
trying to take the reader, what their purpose is for a section of writing,
and so tend to get both their readers and themselves lost and write
descriptively rather than analytically.
Example 1: Signposts in a thesis investigating new ways of making artificial bones for victims of
traumatic injuries or those with genetic abnormalities
Purpose (d): Explaining and justifying your theoretical framework
For a material to be acceptable for use as an artificial bone it must satisfy
a number of criteria, such as being easy to grow / manufacture, not
generating a rejection response from the body’s immune system, and
having satisfactory structural properties. In order to assess whether the
proposed materials investigated in Chapter 3 have acceptable structural
properties, this section reviews the structural properties, such as density,
compressional and tensile strength and flexural rigidity, of healthy bones
in different parts of the body. Bones from different parts of the body are
considered because certain materials may be acceptable as a hand bone
for example, but not as a leg bone. …
Note how these sections are
not just summaries of prior
work, but serve a purpose in
achieving the goal of the
research, which is to determine
a material for artificial bone
construction which has the right
structural characteristics, or at
least better characteristics than
previous efforts.
(d) Review of background
knowledge needed to conduct
the investigation. How that
knowledge will help with the
research is made clear to the
(b) Weaknesses in prior
research both motivate the
need for further research and
may guide the direction of that
future research.
Purpose (b): Identifying weaknesses or limitations in prior work which you
aim to address
A number of different materials have already been trialled as artificial
bones (refs.). These materials are reviewed in this section in order to determine what weaknesses
need to be overcome if a better material is to be found. …
Example 2: Adapted from Chapter 2 of Helen M. Paterson (2004), “Co-Witnesses and the Effects of
Discussion on Eyewitness Memory.” PhD Thesis submitted to UNSW.
Purpose (d): Explaining and justifying the theoretical framework of the research
While the misinformation effect is a well-established phenomenon, “what remains in dispute is the
nature of a satisfactory theoretical explanation” (ref.). One critical weakness of many studies
investigating the effects of memory conformity is a lack of clarity regarding whether conformity is
due to memory distortion or other factors. Traditionally, the effects of postevent misinformation on
memory have been investigated within a cognitive framework. However, when investigating the
effects of co-witness discussion on memory, social factors also become relevant. Therefore, in order
to understand why memory conformity occurs, we must draw from both cognitive research on
memory and social research on conformity.
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
Four different explanations have been offered for the memory conformity
effect: (1) normative social influence, (2) informational influence, (3)
biased guessing, and (4) modification of the memory. These explanations
are not necessarily mutually exclusive, however the research described in
this thesis attempts to identify the mechanism most likely responsible for
memory conformity following co-witness discussion by comparing
predictions made by the alternative explanations. To establish the
predictions made by the alternative mechanisms in the context of cowitness discussions held under different circumstances, the theory and
empirical evidence relevant to each of these explanations is first reviewed
in this section, with the relevant predictions being made in the next. …
Note how the theory to be
reviewed has a clear purpose:
it is to explain to the reader
where the predictions to be
tested in the experiments
came from.
Why? Because readers want to
learn not only results from
research, but also to gain
understanding, which requires
theoretical explanations.
Example 3: Introduction from: M.F. Good et al. (2005), “Development & Regulation of Cell-Mediated
Immune Responses to the Blood Stages of Malaria: Implications for Vaccine Research,” Annual
Review of Immunology, 23, 69-99.
Purposes (a) and (c): Establishing the significance of the
research area and identifying the background which suggests a
certain direction is an important one to explore
Malaria remains one of the world’s greatest public health
challenges. … Today, an estimated 40% of the world’s
population remains at risk of malaria, with 500 million cases
annually, resulting in 1–2 million deaths, mostly of young
children, each year. … The development of widespread
resistance to relatively inexpensive drugs (such as chloroquine),
the difficulty of controlling highly efficient mosquito vectors
(such as A. gambiae), and poor economic growth of many
countries (whose current GDP per capita is sometimes 20–50
times lower than the wealthiest countries) have meant that
poorer tropical countries have been unable to control malaria.
…. The development of an effective and inexpensive vaccine is
thus a major focus of research. This represents a significant
scientific challenge, however, because the organism has a
complex life cycle and has developed many immunological
defence strategies (ref.).
1. As Introductions have a standard
purpose – to state the overall
purpose for the paper as a whole
and to provide the background
which provided the motivation for
pursuing the research – there is no
need for an “introduction to the
introduction”. I.e. unlike in examples
1 and 2 above, there is no need to
explicitly state something like: “The
purpose of this Introduction is to
outline the background which
provided the motivation for doing
this research.”
2. Note the use of words like “because”
and “thus” in the Introduction.
These indicate that an argument is
being made. Having the Introduction
in the form of an argument is
another reason why the purpose
does not need to be explicitly stated
as the purpose is obvious from the
argument presented.
Because the organism spends a significant proportion of its life
cycle history within red blood cells (RBCs) and thus is not contained within a specific tissue site,
immune mechanisms directed against the parasite can readily affect many host organs (discussed
below). It is thus critical to understand not only how immune mechanisms can kill the parasite, but
how they affect host tissues and how they are regulated. This review focuses on cellular immune
responses to the blood stage of the parasite’s life cycle, their ability to kill the parasite and to
contribute to host pathology, and factors that modulate this balance. Strategies for applying this
knowledge to vaccine development are then addressed [Observe how the purpose for doing the
review has been made explicit].
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
Example 4: S. Mu and D. R. Gnyawali (2003), “Developing Synergistic Knowledge in Student Groups,”
The Journal of Higher Education, 74 (6), 689-711.
Conceptual Framework
Figure 1 presents the conceptual framework developed
and examined in this paper. As the figure shows, the
development of synergistic knowledge is influenced by task
conflict, psychological safety, and social interaction. … We
develop below arguments related to each element of the
conceptual model. We use the literature from social
cognition, group processes, and organizational learning
(refs.) for the theoretical basis needed to develop our
conceptual framework of synergistic knowledge
development. Since synergistic knowledge development is
a key construct of this study, we begin our discussion with
Notes: The research presented in this
paper set up experiments to test the
hypothesised model of interactions
shown in Fig. 1. By presenting the
conceptual model up front, the reader
can see the purpose of the subsequent
discussions: they are to provide the
theoretical and empirical justification
for the proposed framework. The figure
also helps the reader see how all the
pieces will fit together which will aid the
comprehensibility of the discussion.
Task conflict
Team psychological safety
Synergistic Knowledge
Development (SKD)
Perceived group
Social interaction
FIG. 1. A Conceptual Model of Synergistic Knowledge Development (SKD)

Task conflict
Task conflict is defined as awareness of differences in
Note how the underlined words signal
to the reader that the authors are not
viewpoints and opinions pertaining to group tasks (refs.).
just reporting the results of previous
It is depersonalised cognitive conflict, involving
research, but are using that research
disagreement over the meanings and implications of key
to support an argument for the need
facts, or over the proper courses of action towards
to investigate an important
educational question.
reaching a common goal (refs.). Since divergence of
perspectives implies task conflict, heterogeneity inherent
in multimajor student groups could be a key source of task conflict (refs.). [This is because] Students
working in multimajor settings are bound to have diverse viewpoints regarding the tasks because
educational background importantly influences perceptions (refs.). [Additionally, while] Cognitive
diversity is important to reduce premature consensus and groupthink (refs.) on complex tasks [and]
Students may benefit from working in groups that are diverse in learning styles and abilities (refs.)[,]
… high cognitive differences in the ways the tasks are viewed and prioritized and the ways the
problems are solved may lead to confrontation and low integration of individual knowledge. Such
differences could pull the group away from its purpose (ref.). So, the question is, in what ways does
task conflict impact SKD in student groups?
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
Example 5: Introduction to Chapter 2 of V. Cahyadi (2007), “Improving teaching and learning in
introductory physics”. PhD thesis submitted to the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
Purpose (d): Justification of choice of theoretical framework
This chapter elaborates some principles from educational research on how learning takes place.
Three prominent views of learning are discussed in recent literature (Eggen & Kauchak, 2004;
McInerney & McInerney, 2006; Ormrod, 2003; Woolfolk, 2005): behavioural, social cognitive and
cognitive views of learning. Behaviourists emphasize … (Skinner, 1953). The social cognitive views
focus on … (Bandura, 1986). These two perspectives, however, do not discuss the learners’ mental
processes as they try to make sense of their experiences. According to the cognitive perspective of
learning, the change in learners’ behaviour could be explained by the change in mental associations
arising from experiences. …
It is important to acknowledge the fundamental principles of learning to understand the learners’
performance and to improve instruction. Many instructors, including those at tertiary level, often
rely only on their past experiences to diagnose learning problems or to modify their instruction
approaches. However, experience alone is not adequate if the instructors want to improve their
students’ performance. Instructors should also seriously consider educational principles. These
principles explain, for instance, why “teaching by telling” is sometimes not very effective, why
misconceptions are often resistant to change, why engaging students in discussion will help them
learn better, why motivation influences achievement, and why real life elements in instruction
promote knowledge construction. Section 2.3 on constructivism and Section 2.4 on motivation
provide detailed explanation of these concepts.
The philosophy discussed in the following sections is revisited in the next chapter and serves as a
foundation to comprehend issues in physics education research. [Italics not in original.]
7. Hedges and boosters / critical review language
When writing about previous studies and your own thinking, it is important to clearly distinguish
• that which is certainly true:
– e.g. Influenza is caused by a virus.
• that which is only probably true [how probable?]:
– e.g. Schizophrenia seems to result from an interaction between genetic factors and
environmental stressors [i.e. there’s quite a bit of evidence to support this
conclusion, but the evidence is not completely conclusive].
• that which is only possibly true:
– e.g. A student group may perform badly on an assignment because of interpersonal
conflict between group members. [There are many reasons a group may perform
badly and this is just one possibility.]
• Used to indicate various levels of a lack of complete certainty.
• Also used to be diplomatic when critiquing the work of others.
 E.g. Suggest / may; seem; believe / could; appear to; might; hypothesise; assume /
likely; speculate; possible; might
• Indicators of conviction.
 E.g. Show that / always; demonstrate / substantially; clearly show / will; fact that;
obviously / will
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
Examples (from K. Hyland (2000), Language Awareness, 9(4), 179-197)
Certainly true
Tyacke and Mendelsohn’s (1986) diary study showed that lower-level students always depended far more
on their teacher and on grammar rules than higher-level students.
Politzer (1983) demonstrated that females used social learning strategies substantially more often than
The findings clearly show that in typical language learning situations women will use more learning
strategies than men.
• It is a fact that highly motivated learners can learn languages more rapidly and effectively.
Probably true
Research suggests that higher-level students may use more effective foreign language learning strategies
than students with lower ability.
According to several researchers, it seems that language students use different strategies as they
Gender appears to exert a strong influence on strategy choice.
Many researchers assume that the learner’s level of motivation is likely to influence the choice of
Possibly true (conjectures based on relevant knowledge or theory)
Lever believes that their differences in strategies could be due to the way that these individuals gained
their language skills rather than age.
These gender differences might be explained by differences in communication preferences.
We hypothesize however that after strategy training, men and women will both show strategy strengths.
We speculate that the problem was low motivation for language learning.
Politzer and McGroarty (1985) report the possible importance of language learning goals.
Gender differences in strategy use might be explained by differences in communicative preferences.
Key signal / signposting words used in critical writing
To show you are about to:
Use words like:
Draw a conclusion / make an inference:
Therefore, consequently, thus, hence …
Justify / explain:
Because, since, …
Provide a contrasting or opposing view / critique:
Although, however, while, in contrast, …
Provide illustrative or supporting evidence:
For example, such as, …
Make an additional supporting point or provide additional
supporting evidence:
In addition, moreover, furthermore, …
Argue that another case is the same as the one you just
Similarly, equally, likewise…
For more examples of critical review phrasing, see the Manchester Academic Phrasebank
(http://www.phrasebank.manchester.ac.uk/). This resource is a bank of standard academic phrases used in
different contexts. Everybody uses such phrases, so it’s not plagiarism for you to “copy” these for your own
writing. For example, when “introducing the critical stance of particular writers:
• Jones (2003) has challenged some of Smith’s conclusions, arguing that ….
• The authors challenge the widely-held view that ….
• Jones (2003) has also questioned why ….
• However, Jones (2003) points out that ….”
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
8. “Evolving” a piece of writing from first thoughts to a polished product
While it is certainly true that some people have better linguistic abilities than others, even “good”
writers need to work hard at “evolving” complex pieces of technical writing from rough first ideas
into polished and sophisticated finished products. This section attempts to illustrate how this
process might work for a paragraph of writing.
Research question: How can managers foster the development of effective work teams / groups?
Sub-topic focus question: What is the importance of team social cohesion/integration for team
performance, and how can managers influence this factor in positive ways?
Draft 1
Self critiques
Another factor which has been found to have an important influence on
team performance is the level of team social integration. Team social
integration has been defined as “the extent to which the team is cohesive
and team members enjoy team experiences, have positive social interactions
within the group, and are satisfied with coworkers” (Harrison et al., 2002).
Team performance seems to be best when team social integration is neither
too low (Harrison et al., 2002; Uzzi & Spiro, 2005) nor too high (Uzzi & Spiro,
2005; Sethi et al., 2002).
Doesn’t flow well.
So what? Doesn’t address
second part of question
regarding implications for
effective management of
Draft 2
Another factor which has been found to have an important influence on
team performance is the level of team social integration. Team social
integration has been defined as “the extent to which the team is cohesive
and team members enjoy team experiences, have positive social
interactions within the group, and are satisfied with coworkers” (Harrison
et al., 2002). Team performance seems to be best when team social
integration is neither too low (Harrison et al., 2002; Uzzi & Spiro, 2005) nor
too high (Uzzi & Spiro, 2005; Sethi et al., 2002). Research by Harrison et al.
(2002) indicates that one way managers can increase the level of social
cohesion in a team is by fostering frequent collaboration, while Uzzi &
Spiro’s (2005) findings suggest that when team members get too
comfortable with each other, team social integration can be reduced a little
by introducing new members into the team.
Still doesn’t flow well.
Doesn’t explain why or give
an indication as to what
sorts of teams these results
apply to as that has an
effect on generalizability.
Draft 3
Another factor which has been found to have an important influence on team
performance is the level of team social integration. Since team social integration
involves “the extent to which the team is cohesive and team members enjoy team
experiences, have positive social interactions within the group, and are satisfied
with coworkers” (Harrison et al., 2002), it is not surprising that research would
have found that team performance tends to improve with increasing levels of
team social integration (Harrison et al., 2002; Uzzi & Spiro, 2005). However, this
trend is not indefinite, as it has been found that if social integration gets too high,
that too can have a negative impact on team performance (Uzzi & Spiro, 2005;
Sethi et al., 2002) because as social ties get stronger, team members start to
worry more about maintaining interpersonal ties instead of having the robust
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
Incorporating the
definition into the
explanation as to why
increasing team
integration could be
expected to lead to
better group
performance helps the
writing flow better and is
more sophisticated.
Now not just stating
findings, but explaining
them as well –
“because”. 16
debates needed for innovation (Sethi et al., 2002). There thus seems to be an optimal level of social
integration. Research by Harrison et al. (2002) indicates that one way managers can increase the level of
social cohesion in a team is by fostering frequent collaboration, while Uzzi & Spiro’s (2005) findings
suggest that when team members get too comfortable with each other, team social integration can be
returned to a more optimal level by introducing new members into the team.
Draft 4
Another important factor which managers can
influence which can have a significant impact on how
well a team performs is the level of team social
integration1. Since3 social integration refers to “the
extent to which the team is cohesive and team
members enjoy team experiences, have positive social
interactions within the group, and are satisfied with
coworkers”2 (Harrison et al., 2002), it is understandable
that Harrison et al. (2002), in a study of university
student teams5, and Uzzi and Spiro (2005), in a study of
Broadway musical teams5, would find that teams with
low levels of social integration were not the highest
performing teams4. Many factors influence the level of
team social integration, including the possibility that
demographic differences in team members can trigger
negative stereotypes7, but Harrison et al. (2002) found
that frequent collaboration can reduce these negative
effects, thus providing a means by which managers can
improve the level of social integration in their teams.6
However, managers should also be aware that if a
team gets too comfortable with each other, then team
innovativeness can be reduced (Sethi et al., 2002; Uzzi
& Spiro, 2005) as team members may start to worry
more about maintaining interpersonal ties instead of
having the robust debates needed for innovation8
(Sethi et al., 2002). Uzzi and Spiro’s (2005) findings
suggest though, that managers might be able to
address this potential problem by periodically changing
some of the membership of the team9.
1. A topic sentence which links back to the overall
goal of managers fostering team development.
2. An explanation of what “social integration” is.
3. Note that the definition is given as part of an
argument rather than just simply as: “Team
social integration is defined as …” which is more
sophisticated and aids with flow.
4. Pointing out that low levels of social integration
was linked to lower performance, or conversely
that increased social integration was linked with
increased team performance.
5. Explaining what sorts of teams the research was
done with. This has implications on how
generalizable the results might be.
6. Explaining that frequent collaboration is one
way team social integration could be improved.
Note the explicit statement that this is
something managers could foster.
7. Indicating that it is not just one thing that
affects team social integration.
8. Explaining that while some level of social
integration is helpful, too much is
9. Explaining how the problem of too much social
integration might be addressed.
It might also be possible to address points 4-9
together rather than separately. E.g. “Research has
shown that a certain amount of team social
integration is important for higher levels of
performance (refs.), but excessive amounts tend to
be counterproductive (refs.).”
While the above-mentioned body of research clearly points to the desirability of having some
intermediate level of team social integration for team performance, all this research has only looked
at new or existing teams, and in particular, the difficulties that might surround making changes to an
existing team that has become “too social cohesive” has not been explored. In particular, if a
manager decides that a long-standing team needs some “shaking up”, what criteria could be used to
guide which existing team members should stay and which should go? And how does one manage
the likely resentments of those removed and those who remain towards the changes? Furthermore,
while Uzzi and Spiro’s (2005) work with Broadway musical teams has shown that when a team needs
to and voluntarily takes in new members that this can be very beneficial for team performance, it
doesn’t answer questions about how a group might respond to a new team member that has been
“forced on them” by management. Will this new team member have difficulty achieving acceptance
by the team? It is these questions which will form the focus of this thesis. …
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
Note the
importance of
regularly linking
things said in a
literature review
back to the goals
or purposes of
the research so
that relevance /
purpose is
always clear.
9. Focusing and organizing your literature review with a mind map: two more examples
A finding-your-research-question
mind map
One approach to identifying possible
research questions for your thesis is
to make an initial pass through the
literature in an area you are
interested in, organise this
thematically in a mind map, and look
for gaps or places you have ideas
about how to make an original
contribution. For the example
opposite, places where a
contribution could be made have
been flagged with an * . Note that
links to sources are also needed, but
these have been left off the map for
Map created with Inspiration
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
nd a o o us ues ons
or a terature e ew
A map for when you have de ned your research ques on.
A literature review is an exposi on of the exis ng knowledge
which led you to believe that what you did was worth
doing in the way that you did it, wri en so as to
the read
er of these things.
onstru n the a
1. Develop a clear and
complete statement
of your research
ques on.
2. Underline each key
term / concept /
How determine if be er?
Do any of these
need tes ng?
What do we
ï‚„ know about the
causes of ?
Reason B
Reason C
How might these
be lled?
 Where might we look
ï‚… What theories help
Reason A
Ideas on how to overcome?
Are there possible barriers to imple
men ng these “be er” solu ons?
In what ways are these
poten ally be er?
How inform method
ological approaches?
What are the gaps in
our understanding?
How can we ll
in these gaps?
4. Look for follow-on ques ons and
5. ues ons and map can be devel
oped in any order. Once map is com
plete, can add numbers indica ng a
logical order in which to write up the
(Note that the placement of numbers on
this map is indica ve only, not necessarily
an order which will work in all circum
These are methodological issues which may require their
own lit review and mind map to address.
How test?
Why are these im
portant to address?
3. Iden fy ques ons which ow from each of (2) and the
research ques on as a whole. Generic ques ons to
explore include:
a. Mo va ons for research: (i) signi cance of area; (ii)
gap / de ciency in exis ng knowledge
b. Sources of new ideas / hypotheses
c. Theory to guide where to look for answers.
for “be er” answers /
solu ons?
us understand the
issue of ?
“Be er” in what sense?
ow an the ssue o
Why is the issue of
signi cant / important?
Who is it important to?
be be er addressed
dressed? / has it been addressed?
Mo va ons?
The map from here would proceed
very much like it does in this sect ion
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
How address?
 Why shouldn t we be sa s ed
with current approaches / with
what’s been done already?
ï‚‚ How is it currently being ad
What methods have been used to
inves gate and current ap
proaches to addressing?
What gaps in knowledge / under
standing are holding up progress?
What are the costs of not doing any
thing / bene ts of addressing de cien
Advantages /
contribu ons?
What new tech
nologies / tech
niques could be
Disadvantages / weak
nesses / de ciencies?
How might these
be addressed?
Empirical /
theore cal
jus ca on?
What issues
s ll need to be
Jus ca on of
How address?
Critical Reading Matrix: An approach for more rigorously assessing each article. Again organise
around research questions. See also: https://sites.google.com/site/twblacklinemasters/using-amatrix-to-organise-your-notes-for-faster-writing
10. Approaches to note-taking
Key findings / arguments
Supporting Evidence / Sample
characteristics / Methods
Strengths / Limitations
Significance / implications
ï‚· Tracked 144 university student
teams in the business faculty
over 9-14 week projects. Median
team size was 4.
ï‚· Useful study if considering new teams.
ï‚· Only studied team performance over
the short time frame of a semester
project, new issues may arise for
longstanding teams.
ï‚· Results for student teams may not
carry over to workplace teams
*because …+
ï‚· Social cohesion important but
teams need to collaborate
frequently to develop.
ï‚· Found that too much social cohesion
among team members can reduce
innovativeness because team
members worry more about
maintaining relationships instead of
having the robust debates needed for
ï‚· Studied new product
development teams consisting of
members from diverse functional
areas such as marketing,
manufacturing, product
development, sales, purchasing,
 Teams had from 2 – 11
functional areas represented.
ï‚· Only surveyed the managers of the
teams “after-the-event” so all the
potential problems of report bias
might apply and managers’ views
might differ from team members’
 One of few studies which don’t
just look at newly formed teams
and so one of few studies which
identifies the limitations of social
cohesion when it gets too high.
ï‚· New teams and teams with no new
members had less box office success
than teams with a mixture of “old
hands” and “new blood”.
ï‚· Studied a large number of
Broadway Musical teams.
ï‚· Clear measure of team success: how
well musical performed at box office.
ï‚· All teams with a mixture of old and
new members arose naturally, so
doesn’t answer question of how a
well-established team will respond if
“forced” by management to change
some personnel.
ï‚· Supports findings of other
research that some social
cohesion is important but that
too much is counter-productive.
ï‚· Suggests some turnover of team
members is needed to keep
teams performing at their best.
Research Question: How does team social cohesion / integration impact team performance?
Harrison et al. (2002)
Academy of
Journal, Vol. 45, No.
5, 1029-1045
Sethi et al. (2002)
Harvard Business
Review, August
2002, 16-17
Uzzi and Spiro (2005)
American Journal of
Sociology, Volume
111 Number 2
(September 2005):
ï‚· team social integration was a strong
predictor of team performance
ï‚· social integration developed through
frequent collaboration
Systematic reviews might use many more columns and use an Excel file as the database.
For example, extra columns might break down aspects of the methods in greater detail to
allow analyses of those. For example, there might be columns for: (a) type of study (i.e.
case study, quasi-experimental, randomised control trial etc.); (b) sample size; (c) whether
result was positive, negative or neutral (e.g. did treatment X cure problem Y?); (d) effect
D. R. Rowland, The Learning Hub, Student Services, The University of Queensland
size of result (e.g. what was the gain in learning achieved by students after teaching
intervention X?); etc.
For more information, see for example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l44piVnIJPU.
Academic Communication in Business and Economics
Unit Name:
Total word
Academic Communication in Business and
Research Report
Social Inclusion
Total 100
See Unit Guide
Unit Code:
Gender Income
Weighting: See Unit
The purpose of a Research Report is to inform your audience about research that you have
conducted and to discuss the results you have found. Academic research aims to develop our
existing knowledge, so your Research Report should highlight the current understanding of
the subject by reviewing other studies. Your Research Report will then present your findings.
Your Research Report will conclude by examining the significance of your findings and their
relationship to the findings of other research already conducted. Your Research Report will
also discuss the limitations of your study and give suggestions for further research.
Imagine that you have carried out a research project addressing the following question:
“Does the proportion of women in senior management positions have an effect on gender
income inequality?
The findings of your research are presented in tables on the following page.
The Research Report has the following format:
• Abstract (omitted from this Research Report)
• Introduction
• Literature Review
• Methods (omitted from this Research Report
• Results (must include at least one table/figure)
• Discussion
• Reference list
NB: You do not have to reference the table(s)/figure(s) on the following page because this
assignment imagines that you have developed them as a result of your research. If you
include table(s)/figure(s) from any other source, these must be referenced.
Macquarie University International College
INSTRUCTIONS (continued)
Research Findings:
This is an individual task.
This is not a hurdle assessment.
Add a footer to each page of the assignment. The footer should include: student name and
student number, the unit code and page numbering. For example:
Robin Brown
Page 1
All assignments should have standard margins of 2.5cm, be written in Times New Roman
12.0 font, and be double-spaced to allow room for detailed feedback. Please note that if the
assignment is single-spaced you will not receive detailed feedback. Turnitin will confirm
receipt of the assignment with submission time and date.
Macquarie University International College
On the designated Assignment Draft Submission due date, you are expected to bring a hard
copy of your draft to class. The assignments will be peer-reviewed using a collaborative
worksheet. Once completed, the worksheet will be handed to teachers for photocopying
purposes. When the collaborative sheets are returned, you will need to upload yours to
Turnitin by the due date specified in the Unit Guide.
You can submit your drafts to Turnitin before the final submission date. This will allow you
to check the originality report generated by Turnitin. The originality report is available
immediately the first time the assignment is submitted. The availability of the originality
report takes 24 hours for subsequent submissions. Originality reports over 8% require
resubmission after further paraphrasing to comply with the University’s academic integrity
policy. You are responsible for checking back and ensuring the score is within the acceptable
range before the final submission due date.
You may make several submissions via Turnitin to check your work for plagiarism and make
adjustments accordingly up until the due date.
The final draft must be submitted via Turnitin in iLearn on the assignment submission due
date. Hard copies will not be accepted or marked. If you submit after the due date, your
submission will be counted as a late submission and penalties will apply (see Late
Submissions section below).
You must check that their submission is displayed on iLearn after submitting it. When you
successfully submit your assignment in Turnitin, you will see a message that confirms receipt
of the assignment and includes the submission time and date. If you experience any
problems with online submission, you must:
1. Take a screen shot of the error message that is displayed
2. Contact your teacher immediately via email advising him/her of the problem. You
must attach the screenshot to this email.
If you cannot access or view your submission via Turnitin in iLearn after you have submitted
it, you have not correctly submitted your work. You will need to do so prior to the due date.
(If you require assistance submitting through Turnitin, you may lodge a OneHelp Ticket or
refer to the IT help page). In the event of any issues, please take a screenshot to include with
any requests for assistance.
Late submissions are possible but will be penalised at 20% per day for up to 4 days (weekend
days inclusive). If you submit an assessment task 5 or more days after the due date without
grounds for special consideration (See Disruptions to Studies Policy), a record of submission
will be made but you will receive zero marks for the assessment task.
You are required to keep a copy of all items submitted or completed for the purpose of
assessment or evaluation until the end of the grade appeal period.
Macquarie University International College
Grades and feedback will be available to you via Turnitin on iLearn.
Using the work or ideas of another person, whether intentionally or not, and presenting
them as your own without clear acknowledgement of the source is constitutes Plagiarism and
thus is considered a breach of Macquarie University’s Academic Honesty Policy. This policy
requires that:
All academic work claimed as original must be the work of the person making the
All academic collaborations of any kind must be acknowledged
Academic work must not be falsified in any way
When the ideas of others are used, these sources must be acknowledged in
accordance with the guidelines of a referencing system
All breaches of the Academic Honesty Policy are serious and penalties apply. You should be
aware that you may fail an assessment task, a unit or even be excluded from the University
for breaching the Academic Honesty Policy.
Macquarie University International College
include tablets/igures) rom any other source, these must be referenced.
acquarie University International College
INSTRUCTIONS (continued)
Research Findings:
Total Compensation by Executives Gender and Female Representation on the
Compensation Committee
Total compensation in thousands)
Male Female Female Female
executives, executives, executives, executives, executives, executives,
no woman one woman at least two no woman one woman at least two
on comp. on comp. women on on comp. on comp women on
comm. comm. comp. comm. comm.
This is an individual task.
This is not a hurdle assessment.
Add a footer to each page of the assignment. The footer should include: student name and
student number, the unit code and page numbering. For example:
Robin Brown
Page 1
All assignments should have standard margins of 2.5cm, be written in Times New Roman
12.0 font, and be double-spaced to allow room for detailed feedback. Please note that if the
assignment is single-spaced you will not receive detailed feedback. Turnitin will confirm
receipt of the assignment with submission time and date.
Macquarie University International College
On the designated Assignment Draft Submission due date, you are expected to bring a hard
copy of your draft to class. The assignments will be peer-reviewed using a collaborative

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