Step 9: Writing Up & Disseminating Your Findings

It’s often asked what the point of research is if the findings aren’t shared, whether that is through writing, online or face-to-face; this is your opportunity to think about and set your findings in context with previous research (Step 2). When thinking about disseminating your findings, it’s important for you to be familiar with the breadth and depth expected in your reporting.

  • EQUATOR Network. (2020). Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research. To help ensure you’ve included all relevant information, the EQUATOR Network have collated a set of guidelines with recommendations for reporting different types of research project. These specify the minimum set of items necessary for you to write a clear and complete account of your research project.

Research Report

A report may be written for a variety of reasons and audiences and this will influence the way in which it needs to be presented. If you received funding for your research you’re likely to need to write a formal report; your funder will have guidance on how to present your report. A typical report will include:

  • Contents page.
  • Introduction: Your introduction should include your context (Step 2), literature review (Step 2) and research question (Step 1) and rationale (Step 5).
  • Work carried out: This section should include your research design (Step 3), methods (Step 3) and analysis process (Step 3).
  • Results: You can use the research objectives from your research proposal (Step 5) to structure this section.
  • Conclusion: Your conclusion should be based on your data (Step 7) and analysis (Step 8).
  • Recommendations: Your recommendation should be based on your conclusion.
  • Appendices: Like your research proposal (Step 5), your appendix is where you include supplementary information such as your questionnaire or interview schedule.

Research Article

If you want to reach a wider readership for your research then you’ll probably want to publish a journal article. While scientific journals typically structure their content using IMRAD (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion), a typical LKS research project will usually include a more expansive structure:

  • Background: Your background should include your context (Step 2), literature review (Step 2) and research question (Step 1) and rationale (Step 5).
  • Objectives: What you set out to achieve in your research (Step 5).
  • Methods: This section should include your research design (Step 3), methods (Step 3) and analysis process (Step 3).
  • Results: You can use the research objectives from your research proposal (Step 5) to structure this section.
  • Discussion: An interpretation of your findings (Step 8) in light of existing research and knowledge on the subject, including how your findings develops on what is presented in the Background section.
  • Conclusion: Your conclusion should be based on your data (Step 7) and analysis (Step 8).
  • Recommendations: Your recommendation should be based on your conclusion.
  • Appendices: Like your research proposal (Step 5), your appendix is where you include supplementary information such as your questionnaire or interview schedule.

Each journal will have their own author guidelines so check their preferred article length and submission process before you get started. You can usually find a journal’s author guidelines on their web pages or on the inside cover of their journal. The following journals are key sources for LKS research:

Blogs

Blogs are a great way of sharing a short account of your research findings in a more informal, conversational style than a research report or journal article. Blogs are regularly updated web sites and can be a great way to link with your local LKS network. A good example of a LKS blog is the Library Knowledge Services (North) blog.

Presenting at a Conference, Seminar or Within Your Trust

Presenting your research face-to-face can be a great way to disseminate your findings, get feedback on your work and, if presenting within your Trust, can garner support when seeking to put your findings into practice (Step 10). Here are some tips when preparing your presentation:

  • Simplify your research: Presentations are typically 20 minutes long including questions, so the amount of information you can share is limited. If you’re preparing a PowerPoint presentation aim for each slide to be on screen for about 2 minutes so that those listening can digest the information before you move on; that means you’re unlikely to have time for more than 8 slides!
  • Anticipate your audience: Although your funders will want a detailed account of your methods, at a conference your audience is more likely to be interested in your findings and how they might use them to information their own practice, so a brief overview of your methods is all that’s needed.
  • Practice: You know your research project better than anyone else, but regularly practicing your presentation will help you become more comfortable talking about your work in a formal setting. If you can, practice in front of supportive colleagues who you can rely upon to give you constructive feedback and boost your confidence level.

Key conferences include:

  • CILIP Conference: This annual conference is a great way to get an overview of the LKS sector.
  • CILIP Health Libraries Group (HLG) Conference: A UK based conference held every two years for LKS workers interested in health and social care.
  • European Association for Health Information and Libraries (EAHIL) Conference: Held every two years, with a programme of workshops organised in the intervening years, EAHIL seeks to unite librarians and information professionals working in medical and health science libraries in Europe.
  • Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP) Conference: Held every two years to promote the use of evidence in everyday practice. There is no link provided as each conference has a new conference team convened and web site created.
  • International Congress on Medical Librarianship (ICML) Conference: Held every four years to facilitate professional development and networking. There is no link provided as each conference has a new conference team convened and web site created.
  • Medical Library Association (MLA) Conference: An annual conference held in the United States of America.

Suggested Reading

Next Steps

You’re now almost at the end of your research project lifecycle, the one thing left to do is put your findings into practice (Step 10).