Empirical research papers: Working with collected data

The general aim is to define a problem – in the form of a research question, aim or hypothesis – identify an approach to answering the question and solving the problem. This requires problem-solving skills, such as the review and assessment of previous research and approaches, analytical techniques, and skills as well as communication skills to present your message clearly, precisely, and in an audience-focused manner.


Cover Page
(Confidentiality note when applicable)
Declaration of Authenticity and word count
Management Summary
Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    • What is the overall subject/context of the research?
    • What business related issues will be addressed?
    • What is the research question/aim/hypothesis of the research? Are there any limitations to its scope?
    • What makes this research different from other research, or how does this research aim to build on previous research?
    • What is the structure and scope of the paper?
  2. Theoretical/Conceptual Framework
    • 2.1 Previous research (i.e. literature review)
      • Definitions
      • Previous research and key theories – identify those relevant to your project
    • 2.2 Method and material
      • What theory/ies, model(s) or approach(es) are you applying in the present study? Why is this approach the most appropriate for your research question?
      • What specific model(s) or criteria will you use in your analysis?
      • What type of material are you using? How much material do you have? Explain decisions in relation to your specific research question and context.
      • How did you collect this material?
      • What criteria did you use to select this material and exclude other material?
  3. Findings
    • What are your findings?
    • What do they mean in the context of your research question(s)?
  4. Discussion (depending on the paper, this section may be integrated into the findings)
    • What insight(s) do the findings provide in connection to your aim/research question/hypothesis?
    • What do your findings mean in relation to theory addressed in the theoretical framework?
    • What are the practical implications of these finding? (Solutions and Recommendations)
  5. Conclusion
    • How do your findings connect to and answer your overall research aim / RQ (i.e., you should reiterate your aims and research question before answering them)?
    • What were the main aims and findings of your research?
    • What has your research contributed to the field? (Solutions and Recommendations)
    • How might future research build on where you left off?

Reference list
List of Tables and Figures

Word count

The word count includes all of the text from the introduction through the end of the conclusion, including footnotes. The reference list, appendix, cover page, confidentiality note, declaration of authenticity, abstract, table of contents, and list of tables and figures are all excluded from the word count.