Step 9: Writing Up & Disseminating Your Findings

Now that you’ve collected & collated (Step 7) and analysed & interpreted (Step 8) your data, this is your opportunity to think about and set your findings in context with previous research (Step 2).

You’ve already planned how you intend to disseminate your findings (Step 3).

It’s important to be familiar with the breadth and depth expected of your reporting. These specify the minimum set of items necessary for you to write a clear and complete account of your research project.

As part of your dissemination plan you’ll be expected to report whether you received ethical approval (Step 6). This can be as simple as a single sentence stating: “This study received ethical approval from XXX on XXX: Project Number: XXX

Research Report

A report may be written for a variety of reasons and audiences.  This will influence the way  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: This should include your context (Step 2), literature review (Step 2), research question (Step 1) and rationale (Step 5).
  • Work carried out: This should include your research design (Step 3), methods (Step 3) and analysis process (Step 3).
  • Results: Use the research objectives from your research proposal (Step 5) to structure this section.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion should be based on your data (Step 7) and analysis (Step 8).
  • Recommendations: Recommendations should be based on the conclusions.
  • Appendices: Like your research proposal (Step 5),  include supplementary information such as your questionnaire, search strategy or interview schedule in the appendix.

Book

If you want to share your research as a book you’ll need to negotiate a contract with a publisher. As a minimum, the publisher will expect you to provide:

  • Overview: What is your book’s objective? Who would buy it? How is it different from books already published?
  • Table of contents: A list of proposed chapters, sub-sections and appendices.
  • Sample: A sample chapter to illustrate the writing style and approach of your book.

 Each publisher will have their own guidelines so check publisher web sites before you get started.

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 have a more expansive structure:

  • Background: This 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 should include your research design (Step 3), methods (Step 3) and analysis process (Step 3).
  • Results: 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 of the subject.  Include how your findings develop on what you’ve included in the Background section.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion should be based on your data (Step 7) and analysis (Step 8).
  • Recommendations: Recommendations should be based on your conclusions.
  • Appendices: Like your research proposal (Step 5), include supplementary information such as your questionnaire, search strategy or interview schedule in the appendix.

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 the 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.  They can be a great way to link into your local LKS networks. 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 or get feedback on your work and to 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.  The amount of information you will be able to share is therefore limited. If you’re preparing a PowerPoint presentation, aim for each slide to be on screen for about 2 minutes. Those listening can digest the information before you move on.

Anticipate your audience: At a conference your audience is more likely to be interested in your findings and how they might use them to inform their own practice.  A brief overview of your methods is all that’s needed.

Practice: You know your research project better than anyone else, but regularly practising your presentation will help you become more comfortable talking about your work in a formal setting. If you can, practise 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.
  • International Congress on Medical Librarianship (ICML) Conference: Held every four years to facilitate professional development and networking.
  • Medical Library Association (MLA) Conference: An annual conference held in the United States of America.

Before You Submit Your Writing

When you’re ready to share your writing, you can increase the visibility of your research, before it is peer-reviewed, by depositing a pre-print in a local repository or dedicated pre-print service:

  • e-LiS (e-prints in library & information science) – a dedicated open access library and information science repository
  • Europe PMC – a preprints repository for life science publications including health library research

You may be asked for your ORCID iD a free, unique and universal identifier that distinguishes you from other researchers. You own and control your ORCID iD and, by using an ORCID iD, you ensure that you get recognition for all your affiliations and publications.

Working with a Publisher

If your chosen journal is peer reviewed, the editor will invite two or more people to provide an assessment of your work. The intention is to help you give the best possible account of your work. Your work may go back and forth between you and the publisher before it is accepted for publication.

You can submit the accepted version of your writing to a local repository, though access may need to be temporarily restricted:

  • Sherpa Romeo – summarises publisher copyright and open access archiving policies for publishers around the world

The publisher will copyedit your work, removing typographical errors and reference inaccuracies, and you may be asked to clarify points of ambiguity. Your work will then be formatted in the journal’s house style. You’ll be given an opportunity to confirm the accuracy of the formatted file before it’s published.

When you work is accepted for publication you’ll be asked to sign a copyright licence. Depending on who you’ve chosen to publish with, this may be an open access creative commons  licence where you retain copyright, or a transfer agreement that outlines the publishers’ terms for access and reuse.

Other Useful Resources

Suggested Reading

Next Steps

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