Social Research

Fourth edition

by Sotirios Sarantakos

Chapter 17 - Reporting

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Educational objectives
After completing this chapter, you will:
  1. have an understanding of the ways in which research findings are reported;
  2. be able to distinguish between the methods of reporting employed in quantitative and qualitative research;
  3. be aware of the political elements that influence the process of publication of findings in social sciences;
  4. be in a position to compile a research report in both contexts, the quantitative and the qualitative context;
  5. be able to critically evaluate the methodological soundness of reports published at the various levels and outlets.


  1. Context of reporting
  2. Structure and content
  3. The report in quantitative research
  4. The report in qualitative research
  5. The report in multiple-paradigm research
  6. The student project report
  7. Presentation
  8. Self-assessment
  9. Last but not least: The fate of the repost

Points to remember

The following are the major points introduced in this chapter. Ensure that you are very confident with their meaning, content, context and significance.
  1. Reporting relates to the dissemination of the information collected through the study.
  2. Of the factors that affect the writing of the report, ethical considerations, the reader and the purpose of the report are most important.
  3. The most common outlets of the results of a study are newspapers, newsletters, conferences, monographs, journal articles and books.
  4. The structure of the report varies with the type and nature of publication.
  5. The main parts of a report are the abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, conclusion, recommendation and references. Some of these parts are optional.
  6. The criteria that mark a good report are clarity, precision, legibility, completeness, objectivity, fairness, verifiability, impersonality and ethics.
  7. With regard to presentation, consideration must be given to whether to use the first or third person, active or passive voice, and past or present tense, and to the type of language.
  8. The structure of reports is more uniform in quantitative than qualitative research.
  9. More complex is report writing when both qualitative and quantitative paradigms are employed or in stepwise conversion of the data from qualitative to quantitative.
  10. Manuscripts should be subjected to vigorous self-assessment before they are submitted for publication.
  11. The structure of a book may be similar to that of other reports but consideration must be given to its nature, scope and size.
  12. The politics of publishing constitutes a very important factor and requires adequate consideration.

Short-answer questions

Answer each question carefully (there is no need to write down the answer). Consult your Social Research text when your memory fails you or when you are in doubt about the accuracy of your responses.
  1. What are the main elements or areas of a report?
  2. What issues are expected to be considered in 'The method' section of a report?
  3. What should 'The findings' section of a report contain?
  4. What are some of the issues that are expected to be considered in 'The discussion' section of a report?
  5. List the major standards of presentation that must be considered when preparing a research report.
  6. How are reports constructed when stepwise conversion is employed?
  7. What is meant by suspense structure and how is it reflected in the reports?
  8. What are some of the issues considered when assessing a report? Refer to all report parts in succession.
  9. What are the most common models of structure employed when presenting the findings in a book form?
  10. Explain briefly the nature and structure of writing style 'narrative of the self', as employed in field research.
  11. How is the book structure arranged when the model of 'comparative structure' is employed?
  12. What are the most important political issues that affect report writing?

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