Craft of Research Series

In the spring of 2020, we ran a series of weekly talks at the CBS Library about the research process. We were interrupted by the pandemic, and replaced the live talks with a series of blog posts, supplemented by existing materials and videos. We have gathered everything here in the order it was presented, but you are of course free to pick and choose. Clicking on the title will bring you to the relevant post.

This material will be especially useful for students who are working on their year-end projects, including their master’s dissertations.

How to Write a Research Project. (Video) Scholarship is a conversation among knowledgeable people and writing a research project teaches you how to participate in that conversation.

Here is a sample paragraph we referred back to on occasion throughout the series. As a bonus, it includes a variety of references as examples of correct APA citation style.

How to Find Literature for Your Project. It is important to learn how to use the library’s databases to find contributions to the scholarly literature that you can use to frame your research problem and inform your thinking.

How to Write about Theory. Your theory section lets you shape the reader’s expectations of your object. This talk will explore some ways to build a conceptual framework or model to that end.

How to Write about Method. In your methods section you are giving your readers insight into what you have done to collect your data so that they will trust your results. In this talk we’ll discuss how best to do that.

How to Write the Analysis. The analysis tells your reader what your data shows. It’s important here to distinguish between your observations and the conclusions you draw from them. This talk will help you do so.

How to Structure a Research Paper. (Video) A research paper should present a logical line of argument in a series of coherent paragraphs, organized into sections. For each section, you want to have a good sense of what you are trying to say and what you are basing it on. This talk will go through a standard outline that you can adapt to your own ends. We will also look at some of the library’s resources for accessing background information and media coverage.

How to Write the Background Section. While you will generally assume that your reader is a knowledgeable peer working in your own discipline, there are often things the reader will not know about the organization, country, industry, product or practice you are studying. The background section provides this information in a helpful and documented fashion.

How to Write the Discussion. Your empirical conclusions will often have either theoretical or normative implications. In your discussion section, you make these consequences for theory or practice explicit.

How to Write the Introduction and Conclusion. A good research paper needs to have a strong introduction and conclusion to open and close your presentation.

How to Finish a Research Project or Thesis. (Video) As your project nears completion your want to make sure that the written product present your best arguments in the clearest light.

Formatting and Referencing. Before submitting you’ll want to make sure that your written work meets the formal requirements of a good academic writing.