Key aspects when writing and reading the results
The process of reporting the results of interviews should serve three functions:
- Communicate useful information to an identifiable audience for a specific purpose.
- Develop a logical description of the research.
- Provide a historic record of findings.
The framework of the report should be composed of the key research questions or the big themes that have emerged from the observations. These serve as an outline for organizing the behaviours and comments of the participants. The most clear and significant results should be described first. Areas of less agreement and importance come next. Trivial or irrelevant findings should be placed in an appendix.
What should be in the report?
- A summary of the research, describing why observations were conducted and listing the major conclusion and recommendations.
- A description of the research procedure, including the broad categories of research, checklists, participants’ socio-demographic characteristics, checklists and measures used to record the data.
- A description of the results, identifying the key meaningful categories and results. Importance or consistency of the findings should determine the order in which information is presented. A possible interpretation of the data should always be provided. Statistical analysis comparing different cases should be clearly justified. Whenever possible, a graphical representation of the most important results should be included to facilitate their interpretation.
- Possible limitations and alternative explanations.
- The records of all the observations (if requested).
What should NOT be in the report?
- Complex quantitative data and analysis, without clear justification.
- Generalization of the results to the larger population.
- Assertions of cause-effect.
- Participants’ identification.