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Writing Up Research Experimental Research Report Writing For Students Of English

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  1. Writing Up Research Experimental Research Report Writing For Students Of English Robert Weissberg and Suzanne Buker

  2. Method (Experimental Procedures) This section describes the steps you followed in conducting your study and the materials you used at each step. The description of the steps you followed in conducting study should be written clearly so that a reader in your field could accurately replicate your procedure. Of course, the best way to describe a procedure is step-by-step , or chronologically.

  3. Choosing Verb Tense and Voice in Procedure Description Choosing the Correct Verb Tense The procedure you used in carrying out your study should usually be described in the simple past tense. Sentences included under method that are not written in the past tense usually do not refer to the procedures used in the study being reported. Instead, they may be standard procedures that are commonly used by others.

  4. Example 1: For single photon photoemission, the photon energy must exceed the work function of copper (4.65 eV) (3). The photoinjector drive laser was designed to produce < 2 ps laser pulses at 266 nm (4.66 eV) with 200uJ/pulse. This is accomplished using chirped pulse amplification and compression of a mode-locked YAG laser and frequency upconverting using KD*P double crystals.

  5. Example 2: A chiral nematic mixture (CNM) composed of CB15/CE2/E48 in a 21:21:58 weight ratio was used for the liquid crystal (LC) formulation. The CB15 and CE2 are single chiral components and E48 is a nematic liquid crystal. Various amounts (10-30% w/w) of Norland optical adhesive 65 (NOA65) as a photopolymerizable monomer were used to prepare mixture formulations with CNM.

  6. Choosing the Appropriate Verb Voice You can use either the active or the passive voice when you describe the procedure used in your project.

  7. Active Voice We applied stress to the rubber segments in gradually increasing increments. We designed the photoinjector drive laser to produce < 2 ps laser pulses at 266 nm (4.66 eV) with 200uJ/pulse.

  8. Passive Voice Stress was applied to the rubber segments in gradually increasing increments. The photoinjector drive laser was designed to produce < 2 ps laser pulses at 266 nm (4.66 eV) with 200uJ/pulse.

  9. For reasons related to personal safety, we constructed the test facility in a remote area 4 miles from the main road. For reasons related to personal safety, the test facility was constructed (by us) in a remote area 4 miles from the main road.

  10. 1. The passive voice is conventionally used to describe procedure in order to depersonalize the information. The passive construction allows you to omit the agent (usually “I” or “we”), placing the emphasis on the procedure and how it was done.

  11. 2. In addition to questions of style, your choice of the active or passive voice should place old information near the beginning of the sentence and new information at the end. The old information is italicized in each sentence in the next sample.

  12. Example 3: AN ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF NATURAL GAS POLOCY ALTERNATIVE Procedure A mathematical model was developed for the evaluation of alternative natural gas policies. The model is based upon a simplified energy-demand function which relates the quantity of energy consumed to price. This relationship was not estimated by a statistical procedure. Rather,

  13. parameters were specified which, on the basis of previous studies, were thought to approximate market behavior. Energy consumption was defined to include natural gas, oil, and electricity used in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. Fuels used for transportation, commercial, and industrial feedstock were excluded because natural gas is not generally used for these purposes. It is used to produce

  14. anhydrous ammonia, but this was also excluded. The supply and price of natural gas and prices of potential natural gas substitutes were specified for each policy option. The model was then used to calculate the price of energy, the quantity of energy, and the quantities of natural gas substitutes that would be consumed. From this information, policy alternatives were evaluated by comparing the consumer expenditure associated with each policy.

  15. Passive voice? • Past tense? Present tense? • Old information at the beginning? • Short form?

  16. The four reactors we tested in the work reported here all contained a platinum catalyst (ACTIVE). We will describe each reactor-catalyst configuration separately (ACTIVE). The Wm. A. Sales Company of Wheeling, Illinois manufactured the quartz reactors (ACTIVE). Old information at the beginning?

  17. The four reactors we tested in the work reported here all contained a platinum catalyst (ACTIVE). Each reactor-catalyst configuration will be described separately (PASSIVE). The quartz reactors were manufactured by the Wm. A. Sales Company of Wheeling, Illinois (PASSIVE). Old information at the beginning?

  18. Using Short Passive Forms to Describe Procedure Three such kinds of sentences are commonly used in procedural descriptions.

  19. The first type is a compound sentence with two identical subjects and two or more verbs in the passive.

  20. Full Form: Subject + be + Past + Conjunction + subject + be + Past Participle Participle The data were collected and they were analyzed. Short Form: The data were collected and analyzed. (Omit thesubjectand the be auxiliary.)

  21. The second type of sentence is also compound, but in this case there are two different subjects, with different verbs in the passive voice.

  22. Full Form: Subject + be + Past + Conjunction + subject + be + Past Participle Participle The data were collected and correlations were analyzed. Short Form: The data were collected and correlations analyzed. (Omit the be auxiliary be before the second verb.)

  23. The third type of sentence has a which clause containing a passive verb form. In this case you can shorten the clause by dropping the conjunction which and the be auxiliary.

  24. Full Form: Subject + Conjunction + be + Past + verb + Complement Participle The data which were obtained were subjected to an analysis of variance. Short Form: The data obtained were subjected to an analysis of variance. (Omit the conjunction and the be auxiliary.)

  25. Write each of the following sentences in its short form: • The phase separation temperature was observed , and it was recorded during the cooling using a cross-polarized optical microscope in transmission mode. • The photoinjector consists of a copper photocathode which is placed at the endwall of the ½ cell in a 1 ½ cell rf gun.

  26. 3. Herbicides were applied before planting at various dosage levels to plots consisting of one 30-ft row which was planted on a 36-inch bed. 4. The plants were seeded by hand into the beds to obtain between two to five plants per hill which were spaced at 3-ft intervals.

  27. 5. The variety which was seeded each year was Espanola No. 1. • Weed counts were made and records were kept of the time which was required to remove weeds from one 30-ft row.

  28. Short form: The phase separation temperature was observed and recorded during the cooling using a cross-polarized optical microscope in transmission mode. Short form: The photoinjector consists of a copper photocathode placed at the endwall of the ½ cell in a 1 ½ cell rf gun.

  29. Choosing the Correct Verb Tense in Procedural Descriptions The procedures you used in carrying out your study should usually be described in the simple past tense. Sentences included under procedures that are not written in the past tense usually do not refer to the procedures

  30. used in the study being reported. Instead, they describes standard procedures that are commonly used by others.

  31. The second major section of the experimental research report also often describes materials. This section is sometimes titled Experimental Materials and Procedures. This combined title indicates that researchers generally describe these two aspects together when they write up their research. Here we examine materials description in detail.

  32. Materials Laboratory equipment Fabricated materials Computer models Mathematical models Field equipment Human or animal subjects Natural substances Surveys, questionnaires and tests

  33. Describing Specially Designed Materials: Three Steps: A.Overview: This step consists of one or two sentences that give a general idea of the material and the purpose for which it is intended. B. Description of principal parts: Here, each major part of characteristics of the material is described in logical sequence.

  34. C. Functional description: This last step shows how the various features described in Step B function together.

  35. A Field Equipment that Simulates Natural Rainfall The device described here applied to an approximately 16X20 foot area with kinetic energy approximating that of natural rainfall. It samples and records the rates of runoff in such a way that sediment production can be measured accurately. Maximum error of 1% in application and in runoff measurements was a goal in the design, as were ease

  36. of assembly and transport. The apparatus is patterned partly on that described by Meyer and McCune (2), but it is simpler and more easily transported. The major components consist of 1) a 1500-gallon tank truck for transporting water, 2) a framework and moving spray assembly for applying water, and 3) a device for sampling and measuring the rate of runoff. Power is supplied by a 10-horsepower gasoline engine which drives both

  37. a centrifugal pump and 2-kw electrical generator. Water from the tank truck is supplied to the apparatus by the centrifugal pump (Homart 736.25). The pressure of the output from the pump is controlled by an adjustable bypass pressure regulator valve plumbed to return the excess water to the tank. The output from the regulator is connected to the spray assembly by 100 feet of ¾-inch hose. This moving spray assembly applies water

  38. to the plots through eight nozzles (Spraying Systems 80100), mounted as specified by Meyer and McCune (2). The assembly is moved back and forth along aluminum I-beams by ½-inch roller chains (see Figure 6.4).

  39. Step A. Overview: The device described here applied to an approximately 16X20 foot area with kinetic energy approximating that of natural rainfall. It samples and records the rates of runoff in such a way that sediment production can be measured accurately. Maximum error of 1% in application and in runoff measurements was a goal in the design, as were ease of assembly and transport. The apparatus is patterned partly on that described by Meyer and McCune (2), but it is simpler and more easily transported.

  40. Step B. Description of principle parts: The major components consist of 1) a 1500-gallon tank truck for transporting water, 2) a framework and moving spray assembly for applying water, and 3) a device for sampling and measuring the rate of runoff.

  41. Step C. Functional description Power is supplied by a 10-horsepower gasoline engine which drives both a centrifugal pump and 2-kw electrical generator. Water from the tank truck is supplied to the apparatus by the centrifugal pump (Homart 736.25). The pressure of the output from the pump is controlled by an adjustable bypass pressure regulator valve plumbed to return the excess water to the tank. The output from the regulator is connected to the

  42. spray assembly by 100 feet of ¾-inch hose. This moving spray assembly applies water to the plots through eight nozzles (Spraying Systems 80100),mounted as specified by Meyer and McCune (2). The assembly is moved back and forth along aluminum I-beams by ½-inch roller chains (see Figure 6.4).

  43. Arrangement Plans For Describing Principal Parts Of Materials 1. Spatial arrangement: Describe the features from top to bottom, front to back, left to right, from the center to the outside, or in some other spatial way. This arrangement is especially useful for describing equipment consisting of various connected parts.

  44. 2. Functional arrangement: Describe the principal features in the order in which they function, from beginning to end. This arrangement is best for describing parts that operate in a fixed sequence.

  45. The materials used in a study are sometimes described separately from the procedures.

  46. Example A: All the aromatic compounds used were commercially available materials without further purification. 2-propanol was distilled from sodium metal. The instrumentation used included an HFT-80and NT-300 spectrometer, a Hewlett Packard 5980-A mass spectrometer, a Waters Associates HPLC Instrument, Model 600A, and a Varian Aerograph 1400 GC instrument with a 10-ft column containing 15% Carbowax on Chromosorb W.

  47. Most commonly, however, materials and methods are described in an integrated form, often with both elements mentioned in each sentence. Example B: Aqueous sodium hydroxide (30 g, 185 mL) was cooled in ice in a 500-mL beaker, stirred magnetically while 5 g of nickel-aluminum alloywas added in several small portions, and gradually warmed to 100 C as required to maintain the hydrogen evolution. The

  48. nickel was then allowed to settle, and the liquid was decanted. After being washed with 5% fresh sodium hydroxide and distilled water until neutral, the nickel suspensionwas filtered with a glass funnel and then finally washed with 100 mL of 2-propanol. The catalyst was transferred with small amounts of dry 2-propanol to a glass-stoppered bottle.

  49. ALUMINUM IN SEAWATER: CONTROL BY BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITY Procedures (including materials) To investigate seasonal and annual variations in physical, chemical and biological properties of a portion of Mediterranean Sea, a standard oceanographic station location 12 nautical miles (22 km) west of Calvi, Corsica, has been occupied by the Stareso marine Laboratory research ship Recteur Debussion at irregular intervals since 1974. The ocean depth is 2000 m. Water samples for aluminum and nutrient analysis were

  50. Collected there from various depths. Temperature of the samples was determined by reversing thermometers. All the samples for aluminum and nutrient analysis were filtered through 0.45-um Millipore filters immediately after collection. The filter samples were kept at 4 C in polyethylene bottles for later analysis. To prevent further biological activity, one or two