Extended Research Writings

Extended research writings involve:

  • Investigative academic work
  • Moving within and from existing knowledge
  • Using critical analytical thinking
  • Arriving at a new position of understanding
The writings are chosen from a variety of sources of interest:

  • Previous research that needs continuing in one direction or another
  • a subject taught that can be covered in more depth
  • An article in a periodical sparking further interest
  • A television programme that suggests a need for research
  • Books and book reviews
  • Discussions and presentations on the Internet
  • Thought and action that crosses subject boundaries
  • Personal interest
Research, however, must be practical:

  • Data (qualitative and quantitative) must be accessible and able to be reliable or valid
  • Can be done within the available timescale
  • Cost must be affordable
At the beginning, it is necessary to establish whether the research under consideration has already been done in the tradition. It is there that gaps may reveal themselves asking for original findings.

This can be by looking through:

  • Library catalogues
    • Online
    • On site
  • Abstracts
    • Online
    • Microfiche
  • Bound thesis
  • Internet research and academic sites
  • Books
  • Periodicals
Originality is found in:

  • Subject
  • Methodology
  • Data and conclusion



Each education institution has its own rules, so the following are but general guidelines for research presentation.
At least two copies are needed of a dissertation or thesis, one for the institution and one for the self as one's own record of he work.
Papers in order are bound:

  • Left-hand side
  • Perfect binding for theses
  • Comb or spiral binding for dissertations
The minimum standard paper for printing:

  • 80 gm/sm (on to which goes the word processing)
Left margins are almost always bigger than the right - an example could be:

  • 40 mm left hand side
  • 15 mm right hand side
  • 20 mm top
  • 40 mm bottom
Fonts families are:

  • Arial
    • Better on screen
  • Times New Roman
    • Better on paper
Font size is:

  • 12 point minimum
Line spacing is:

  • 1.5
  • 2.
  • 1 for indented quotations usually
    • Equal line spacing 1.5 or 2 above and below
Justification and Indenting:

  • Left justified or fully justified
  • Indented blocked quotations almost always left justified only
  • Indenting first lines of paragraphs increasingly frowned upon
    • Never indent first lines of paragraphs if fully justified
  • Almost all titles left justified including numbering
Page numbers go:

  • Mainly in the footer in the bottom margin
  • Sometimes in the header in the top margin
  • Centred
  • Sometimes Right

They must not clash with footer (or header) text if there is any and it is permitted.

Title page

Starts with the Title:

The title should be to the point, including the keywords that describe the research and not including redundant words. The meaning needs to be clear and could depend on word order.

  • Full name of the writer/ researcher
  • Education institution's full name
  • A text relating to submission for the degree
  • The date of submission
  • Possibly a statement of who it was supervised by

Abstract Page

Abstract must include:

  • Short summary of an article, thesis or dissertation
  • Introduction to the main themes
  • Not quite giving the whole game away

  • On its own page
  • No page number
  • Not included in the contents page

Acknowledgement page


  • Brief
  • Include everyone necessary who contributed assistance

  • On their own page
  • No page number
  • Not included in the contents page

Contents Page

Contents are given in a clear style:

  • Has chapter and section headings with their page numbers
  • Decimal numbers come on the left and then headings

  • On own page
  • No page number, or other numerals than Arabic-Indian
  • Not included in its own contents page, unless other numerals

Tables and Figures List

Lists of tables and figures follow conventions:

  • Tables and figures are listed separately
  • On own page
  • No page number for this page, or other numerals
  • Not included in the contents page
  • Tables and figures are numbered consecutively throughout the dissertation or thesis
  • Each table and figure has a title
  • So the table or figure number is on a separate line above the figure or table title,
    • Both centre aligned
  • Any acknowledgement of the figure or table beneath it
    • Right aligned and in brackets
  • Use a capital letter for Figure and Table when referring to it in the text (see Figure 1)

Main Body Pages

Page Numbering:

  • Starts at the introduction
  • Centred best
  • Right aligned
  • Not left aligned
  • Bottom of the page
  • Page (capital P) before page number not necessary
  • The number alone
  • Less usually top of the Page
  • Page (capital P) before page number frowned upon
  • The number alone best
  • Use Arabic-Indian numerals (1, 2, 3...)

  • Avoid 'I' and overlong what will be included sentences

  • An initial capital only (unless capitals for proper name or title)
  • Or capitalised except for joining words (and, with, or etc.)
  • Can be numbered: 1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.2.1, 1.2.2, 1.3, 2, 2.1
  • Or can use larger fonts in a hierarchy of headings, largest first
Full stops:

  • Avoid unless grammatical and necessary
  • Not after figures
  • Not after common abbreviations
  • Not after initials of people's names

  • Write 'that is', not ie
  • Write 'for example', not eg
  • Avoid 'etc', 'etcetera' and 'and so on': it usually indicates something unknown and is pointless
Quotations Use:

Short quotations:

  • Single inverted commas
  • Double inverted commas for quotations inside quotations
  • Or double inverted commas
  • Single inverted commas for quotations inside quotations

Longer quotations:

  • Indented text and blocked
  • No quotation marks unless quotes within quotes
  • Often not right justified, even if the main text is

  • Single quotes for headings of articles from magazines
  • Single quotes for chapter or section headings

  • No quotes for irony or pointing up
  • Try to avoid quotes for slang or technical terms

  • For new terminology

  • Sometimes, as in police reports, names of people in action might be in capitals

  • Titles of books
  • Titles of magazines, newspapers, journals
    • Not titles of articles in magazines, newspapers, journals
  • Titles of plays, films, TV and radio programmes
  • Titles of art works
  • Names of species
  • Foreign words outside English language use
  • Emphasis
  • Some use italic for unindented and unblocked speech
    • Others prefer quotation marks
Conclusions and recommendations:

  • Two separate sections
  • Can number each



  • Relevant information but not directly to the argument
    • Some prefer footnotes
  • Increasingly frowned upon
    • It is either relevant or not

Appendix can contain displayed data, e.g the interviews in full

  • Each appendix starts on a new page.
  • Each Appendix has its own number and title
  • Or Appendix 1, Appendix 2
  • Centre aligned
  • The appendix number can be on a separate line above the title
  • Appendices listed in the contents page
  • Page numbers continue through the appendices


Standards of the Writing

Critical and analytical thinking:

  • Explain theoretical framework
  • Justify the relevance of the data
  • Explain how previous limitations have been overcome in this work
  • Identify limitations in this work and why
  • Declare and tackle contradictions in research findings
    • Or say these cannot be reconciled
  • The conclusion should be evident from the text
  • The conclusion summarises the whole
    • The conclusion adds no new data

  • Information must be correct
  • The phraseology must not distort understanding
  • Short sentences and simplest words assist accuracy

  • Give all the necessary information
  • Answer the hypoethesis
  • Anser the research objectives

  • Neutral and academic
  • Avoid ambiguity
  • The words should be the simplest possible for the thought involved.
  • Slang must be avoided
  • An intelligent uninformed reader should be able to read the content
  • No errors of grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • Avoid jargon
    • Or first time explain academic community's jargon
  • Give an acronym in brackets after the full text first time
    • Acronyms can then follow in capitals (unbracketed)

  • Address ethical issues (for example if participant observation)
  • Have a system for changed names and places that preserves anonymity if necessary
  • Address ethics of the topic
Avoid Plagiarism:

  • Reference direct quotations
  • Reference paraphrases
  • Reference externally found statistics or evidence
  • Reference the ideas and arguments from other soources
    • Book
    • Webpage
    • Multimedia
    • Journal
    • Magazine
    • Newspaper
    • Film
    • People
    • Software
  • Check all phrases - a text is plagiarised even if it is accidental

  • Research has appropriate aims and objectives
  • Research may have a hypothesis
  • Research problem is contextualised in its academic fields
  • All relevant literature identified and reviewed
  • Methodology is explained and justified
  • If quantitative, is it...
    • Reliable?
  • If qualitative, is it...
    • valid?
  • Research problem is solved or what is not solved indicated
  • Research is sampled if necessary and practical
  • Research is valid or reliable or combination
  • data is interpreted and related to relevant research
  • Writing is academic
  • Presentation follows conventions


Adrian Worsfold

Pluralist - Liberal and Thoughtful