The abstract, or summary, is no more than 250 words and is a separate page placed after the title page, but
before the table of contents. It is the last part of the paper to be written. It is a summary of the nature of your
study, the problem, your methods and the procedures used, a brief overview of the findings and the conclusions
drawn. A well-written abstract should persuade a potential reader that the paper is worthy of examination and
provide a brief summary of the findings of the research study. Keep in mind that most readers are concerned
with the findings and results of your study and so make sure to highlight those in the abstract. The abstract
pages, if more than one, are numbered independently from the rest of the paper, and they are not mentioned in
the table of contents.
The Table of Contents
The table of contents includes pages on which the chapters begin as well as a listing of all subtopics in each
chapter, as well as the start pages for the bibliography and the appendix.
Chapter I (usually about 5 pages) [Begin numbering pages with Chapter I].
Use these exact subject headings in Chapter I:
The introduction provides general background or framework. It might include the historical background and the
scholarly rationale you have used for investigating the general topic. It may include a personal anecdote about
why you became interested in the topic. The introduction should engage our interest in your general topic and
whet our appetite to hear more about the specific study you are going to conduct. It makes sense in this section
to mention one of the key authors who has researched your topic. This will show that there has been past
scholarly interest in your topic. If you are going to use the first person (“I”) in this paper, this would be one of the
few places appropriate to do so.
Scope of the Topic
The scope section is a general statement of everything you could ever hope to ascertain from the study. You will
describe many more possible topics of study that you could ever actually investigate in the coming year. It is
broader than the specific problem you will investigate with your study in Greater Cincinnati. The scope section is
usually lengthy and is a continuation of what has been started in the introduction section. The scope section sets
up the rationale for why this topic needs to be investigated further by describing unresolved questions there are
related to your topic. This section is typically written as a series of potential research questions one might ask
about your broad topic. The reader should be overwhelmed by how many possible research questions there
could be relating to this topic. This section leads in nicely to the Problem section in which you will lay out the one
specific problem that you will be able to investigate (knowing that you cannot investigate everything). One wayto think of this section: The Scope section is very broad; the Significance section is very specific to your study.
This sections contains a statement of the core problem you will investigate in your research study (e.g. What do
Greater Cincinnati area teachers think is the relationship between student GPA and financial success ten years
after graduation?) and your hypothesis. The hypothesis is a proposition that the researcher is prepared to verify
(e.g. The researcher predicts that a majority of Cincinnati area elementary teachers believe that students with
high GPAs have higher classroom engagement than those with lower GPAs). A hypothesis is a calculated guess
based upon previous experience. List the research problem and hypothesis separately and clearly label them.
PLEASE NOTE: The Problem section consists only of two sentences – the research question and the
hypothesis. Nothing else goes in this section.
Significance of the Study
Why is your survey research study necessary? In what way will it contribute to knowledge in the field? How will it
benefit principals and school leaders? Avoid vague and meaningless answers to these question like “the study
has never been done before,” or “the study will be useful to practitioners in the field.” Be specific. How will it be
useful? Can principals use the results of your study to plan professional development, for example? Will
principals better understand of the beliefs of those staff who are working in the trenches? The significance of the
study is usually lengthy and is a continuation of what was begun in the introduction and purpose sections. One
way to think of this section: The Scope section is very broad; the Significance section is very specific to your
PLEASE NOTE: The Introduction, Scope and Significance sections are all fairly lengthy. I would recommend you
write these as one complete essay, and then break it up into the appropriate three parts.
Assumptions of the Study
The purpose of this section is to clarify, define and limit your investigation. Assumptions are propositions that
you do not intend to verify. They are statements of positions that you take for granted as self-evident. An
assumption may not necessarily be correct, but it should be reasonable. It is reasonable to assume that the sun
will rise at a certain time tomorrow, although this is not a certainty. List only those assumptions that are
applicable to your study and essential to it. Typically, student will list at least 3 assumptions. You should bullet
point these assumptions. Almost every one of us will have one assumption in common: “The respondents of this
survey will answer this survey honestly.”Limitations of the Study
Limitations are natural, unavoidable deficiencies in your study. An example that all of us might include the lack of
a representative sample and an inability to generalize our finding to the State of Ohio (or some other State).
Typically, students will list at least 3 limitations. You should bullet point these limitations.
Provide the reader with definitions for words or terms with which the reader is not likely to be familiar. Assume
that the reader does not come from an education background. Operational definitions do not have to be the
authoritative definition of a word. Rather, they are your working definition of a word for the
purposes of this paper. Typically, students will list at least 7 operational definitions. You should bullet point these
operational definitions and alphabetize them. This section will look much like a glossary.
Chapter II (at least 8 pages for Masters students and at least 14 pages for doctoral students)
This section serves several purposes:
Familiarizes you with work that has already been done in the field and work that is closely related to your
Shows how your study will fit into the general theoretical framework in your field and with the research of others,
and gives you a chance to acknowledge those who toiled before you.
Demonstrates how you will be making a unique contribution to the field.
Helps the reader understand what types of research (opinion, case study, ex post facto, quasi-experimental, true
experimental, etc.) have been conducted on your topic.
Chapter Two should be written as a coherent essay with an argumentative thesis about the current state of the
literature on your topic of interest. Chapter Two will inevitably contain pages and pages of summary of articles,
books, etc. Make sure to properly cite where you get the information you are paraphrasing. Remember that the
APA style of writing welcomes paraphrasing and tends to discourage the use of direct quotes. (This may be
different from the MLA citation style that you used as an undergraduate student). Chapter Two is also focused on describing the types of literature available on your topic (e.g. newspapers,
editorials, popular magazines, case study research in scholarly journals, ex post facto research in scholarly
journals, survey research in scholarly journals, experimental research in scholarly journals, etc.), but it is NOT a
report on the topic itself. In Chapter Two, be sure to comment on the quality of the literature (e.g. Is it mostly the
opinions of various authors? Is it a case study? Is it mostly survey research? Is it quasi-experimental research?
Is it true experimental research?) It is critical that you answer this question: What is the current state of the
literature on my topic of interest? There is no right or wrong answer. Just make sure we know the types of
writing, if any, that is being produced on your topic.
If you cannot find any literature on your topic of interest, broaden your topic of interest and do a literature review
on related topics and then note how little literature there is on your original topic of interest. This Chapter should
be able to stand alone apart from the research paper. Chapter Two typically begins and ends with an argument
that there is a gap in the research literature that you as the researcher intend to fill. Explain at the end of this
section how your specific study will fill the gap in the literature.
Before writing this section, make sure you feel comfortable that you have exhausted the resources of several
library databases. You can find all the Xavier Library databases at: . (For this paper, we will not make use of the
Search@XU function but rather use individual databases relevant to education). The use of these databases is
an expected part of the process of writing this paper.
Academic Search Complete (This is our primary database. We always search here first).
ERIC (which will include not only journal articles but also so-called “ERIC Documents” or “EDs”).
Proquest Full Text Dissertations and Theses
Electronic Theses And Dissertations (full text dissertations written in Ohio)
OhioLink (indexes all books held in university libraries in Ohio)
Be certain you have looked at a cross section of journal articles, book chapters and ERIC documents, if
Chapter III (usually about 4 pages)This section is often the weakest part of the paper, because many writers have not thought through the
procedures they will use to investigate their research problem. Chapter III lays out your research methodology
step by step, so that any other investigator could replicate your methods. Consider these questions as you write
How is your research design appropriate to your investigation of the problem?
What two or three things are you trying to discover with your survey?
How will you address ethical concerns of working fairly and respectfully with human subjects?
What is your population and sample, and how can you justify those selections? What is your contingency plan if
the sample you plan to use does not work out?
Your choices of research design are generally limited in the course to surveying teachers and/or parents and/or
the general public. If you choose to survey teachers, you should survey teachers from at least two school
districts or two private schools. All surveys must be approved in advance by the course instructor. EDFD 508
students must write an informed consent statement to be communicated to the people participating in their
study. To maximize our knowledge of what might go into an informed consent statement, students are required
to complete a 2 hour online course offered by the National Institute of Health at
http://phrp.nihtraining.com/users/login.php. I will also post a video on Canvas that will detail the requirements for
an informed consent statement.
In our course, students must use the following methodology:
Collecting 100 surveys from at least two different field sites (e.g. two different school districts, two different
Catholic schools, etc.). There are several free online survey generating websites that you may want to use:
KwikSurveys (Students like how easy this site is to use but also complain that it does not give you very much
space for the survey questions).
Survey Monkey (This is the most well-known survey generator; however, I would recommend only using the paid
version of this service. The free survey generator does not work well with our paper and its requirements).
Use these exact subject headings in Chapter III:Purpose of the Study (this section will be an abridged version of what is in Chapter 1, most likely).
Setting – usually about 1 and a half pages – Using statistics from the Internet or another source, paint a picture
for the reader about the community and schools in which you will be conducting research. Any statistics you can
find (median income, ethnic composition, etc.) is all relevant as the reader may not only anything about this
Data Collection – at least 2 pages – Lay out your methods in extremely detailed, step by step details. This
section should be dry, objective and long. It may describe steps you feel are obvious to the reader; nevertheless,
list out your steps anyway. You should list out not only the steps you will follow to conduct your study but also
explain what you will do if you hit a roadblock (e.g. a principal does not give you permission to observe in a
school that you had hoped to be in).
Data Compilation and Analysis – probably ½ page – Explain how you will use Microsoft Word, Excel, etc. to
compile the data and how you think it will look when presented.
Summary of Chapter 3 – probably ½ page
Chapter III is often very detailed and dry. It may seem that the step by step methodology you lay out in Chapter
III is obvious, but it is important that you lay out every step of your research study, no matter how trivial, so that it
Chapter IV (length varies)
This chapter depicts the direct results of your research investigation. You present what you have discovered in
words, charts, tables, figures, and other appropriate forms. Some students may be presenting quantitative
results while other may be presenting qualitative data. Avoid presenting extremely large data sets or field notes
which are better relegated to the appendix. Your findings in this chapter should be “objective”; another
investigator using the same methods would come up with the same results. Please save any interpretive
remarks you might want to make for Chapter VIf you are presenting the results of survey research, make sure to make a graph for every single survey question
you asked. (e.g. If you asked 12 survey questions, then you should make 12 graphs). For every Likert Scale
question that you graph, make sure to write a boring explanatory paragraph that explains the graph. The
paragraph should all include the mean and the mode of the Likert Scale question. (Assume that strongly
disagree = 1…no opinion = 3….strongly agree = 5, when calculating the mean and the mode for Likert Scale
If you are presenting qualitative data such as the results of open ended survey questions, consider giving the
reader just the highlights of your field notes or open ended survey results. For example, out of 100 open ended
comments on a survey, you might report the 15 most representative answers to the reader. Always, present
these quotes in bulleted form and draw a text box around these results to increase their visual appeal.
Chapter V (usually about 5 pages)
Summary of Research Findings (usually about ½ page)
The summary includes an overview of your data as reported in Chapter IV.
Speculative Conclusions (at least 2 pages, may be much longer)
Conclusions are interpretations, inferences, and implications based upon the findings. Unlike the findings, which
are “objective,” conclusions may vary. They are personal but still logically deduced. They represent an attempt
by the investigator to explain the findings. In this section, the research may speculate on the results of the study
as a whole as well as why specific observations or survey results turned out the way that they did. This could be
a section in which the researcher reflects on possible weaknesses in the study.
Congruence with the Literature (at least 1 page)
Students should reference two or three of the authors mentioned in the literature review in Chapter II and
explain how your conclusions are or are not consistent with the major authors in the related literature. When youmention these authors, make sure to remind the reader who they are and what they said. Also, cite them once
again using proper APA style.
Recommendations for Future Research (usually about 1 page)
Researchers almost always make a call for further research in this field, since it would be brash to assert that
this study was the final, definitive one on the topic. The researcher should suggest particular tangents or angles
that future researchers might follow. In some cases, the writer may want to make specific policy or curricular
recommendations based upon the findings, but only if they logically relate to the writer’s conclusions. The
researcher might think of this section as a chance to overview a large research study that you would undertake if
you were enter