Conducting research and writing a formal research report as part of your graded coursework generally rests on four main objectives. First, you learn how to develop and refine a social research question of interest along with an appropriate research approach. Next, you learn how to locate and evaluate research literature on a topic of interest. Research involves not only conducting a study but understanding the area of interest and being familiar with the work done by others so that you can design a research study that contributes to the existing literature. The third main objective is to teach you about research design by having you develop and carry out original research. Finally, the task culminates in writing a formal research report that demonstrates what you have learned through the collection, analysis, and interpretation of actual data. This is an opportunity to disseminate your findings and to integrate your study within the existing literature.
By following the suggestions provided in this section, you can write a research report that impresses your instructor, provides the structure for a possible honour’s thesis, can be used as a sample of your work for potential entrance into a graduate school, helps prepare you to design more advanced research (e.g., a master’s thesis), and gets you into the practice of using a format required for publication in most scholarly journals.