Evaluating Information in the Research Process: Step 8: Present Findings

Step 8: Present Findings

stepStep 8: Write and Present Fndings

Choose a medium

Choose the medium (paper, article, slide show, blog, website, poster, video, etc.) you will use to present your findings. 

Consider your goals, audience, and experience. If you don’t have much time, choose a medium you are familiar with. Learning to create in a new medium is a major project in itself. 

You should be familiar with software for the medium you choose. For example, word processing or page layout software for papers or posters, web design software or a blog platform for online publishing, video editing software for videos, or presentation software for stand-up presentations. 

Some design issues are related to the medium. For web design, good resources include the Yale C/AIM Web Style Guide. See also the Web Usability Alertbox by Jakob Nielsen athttp://www.useit.com/alertbox/">. 

For posters, see Designing Effective Posters (HSL Guide) at http://guides.lib.unc.edu/posters

For papers and articles, refer to the handouts at the UNC Writing Center: http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/ 

Create Diagrams and Graphics

Visual thinking is extremely valuable in facilitating conceptualization and creativity. Try creating diagrams or illustrations to represent the ideas you are working with. In so doing, you may clarify your thinking and come up with new ideas. 

Mind maps and concept maps are are diagrams that represent the relationships between ideas visually. For more visual maps and aspects of visual thinking, see the HSL Introduction to Visual Literacy guide at http://guides.lib.unc.edu/visualliteracy.

Create an Outline or Storyboard

Put your notes and ideas in sequence by creating an outline.  An outline or other organizing tool is important for this stage. 

An outline should not make the writing process feel constrained or unnatural. Feel free to modify your outline as you go along.  
  
Some word processing programs include an integrated outliner. This valuable feature allows you to quickly restructure your document and immediately see the results. Standalone outlining programs can also help facilitate the process.

After you have created an outline you can focus on individual pieces of content without having to worry too much about how each piece will fit in with all the other pieces. 

If you are creating a multimedia, movie, or web-based presentation, consider creating a storyboard or prototype. For example, you could create a storyboard that shows the screens the user will see, with the major headings and visual elements. For more about how to create a storyboard, see the discussion of how to create storyboards at the University of Houston Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling site: http://digitalstorytelling.coe.uh.edu (under the "How To" tab).

Write a Draft 

DON'T worry about perfection when writing your draft! Trying to make an absolutely perfect first draft will slow you down and can cause writer's block. You can correct errors later when you edit your work.

The notes you already created make up the bulk of your first draft.  Depending on how detailed your notes are, you may also need to write passages that expand on their content. The main task that remains is to write transitions between notes (Atchity, 1986, p. 91).

Transitions link one note to another, so that your text flows in a natural way that shows how the chunks of information and ideas are related to each other.  

Once you have completed a draft, take a break. Getting away from the work for a day or two will be refreshing and help you be more effective when you come back to edit your draft. 

Edit and Revise

Carefully review your draft and make improvements and corrections. If you know a good editor, have that person take a look at your draft as well. It helps to have another pair of eyes review your work.  

  • Review the content. Look for the same things you look for in evaluating a source, including credibility, accuracy, and significance. Are there errors, omissions, or weak arguments that you can improve?

  • Review the writing and design. Is it readable and understandable? Are there problems with grammar or spelling? Does the organization make sense? Is it wordy or redundant? Is it aesthetically appealing? 

  • Verify the accuracy of all quotations, and make sure all references are listed according to appropriate style guidelines. (Check with your instructor if you aren’t sure which style guidelines to use). Have someone who belongs to your target audience look at your work. Listen to their feedback and incorporate any valuable suggestions. 

  • Proof your final document or product. Run a spelling check with your word processor, but keep in mind that spell check doesn't catch everything. Check for any mistakes you may have made in entering revisions.

Outcomes for Step 8: Present Findings

  • Diagrams or illustrations 

  • Outline or prototype 

  • Draft 

  • Finished product 

  • Satisfaction of a job well done!  

Home

Home

Support Research, Teaching, & Learning - Give to the HSL