Sharpham Trust forest

It’s the moment that you distil your findings into the most significant messages.

It might feel as if you have lots of unrelated pieces of evidence. Try sorting the data in different ways (e.g. by time, person, activity, indicator) to help you to see patterns and themes.

Don’t be afraid to form your own opinions about what the data means, but make sure that the evidence backs you up.

Feeding back to your participants

Your participants are central to your research and it’s important to give them the opportunity to see your findings. They may want to comment on what you have found, and you might want to build this into your report.

Writing a report

Think about your audience: what context do you need to give them, how much detail do you need to include, what are the main/overarching/significant findings?
Think about how your report will be used: do you need to include recommendations for improvements? Do you need to include quotes to use in funding applications? Is there any information that other stakeholders or partners would find useful? Make sure that your ethical consent covers this.
Many people will not have the time or patience to read pages and pages of a report. You may want to keep a more detailed record of your findings for your own use (it can be useful to write out your findings in more detail before distilling them into a summary). But you want your research to be read, cited and used when it’s finished.
Think about how your findings might be used by other people and make sure that your report qualifies your findings e.g. if you had any issues with bias in the methods or analysis, if some people/groups were more represented than others. This will give your report rigour and validity.
You may have collected different types of data that can be used in different reports e.g. purely quantitative data (numbers) which gives you an idea of how many people turned up to an activity/event might go in a different report to qualitative data (evidence in the form of quotes, observations/interviews etc).
This report template (pdf) may be useful as a guide. You may need to write a longer version before you write a summary.

Preparing a presentation

You may prefer to present your findings verbally by creating a presentation with slides showing the (anonymised) evidence that you collected e.g. videos, photos, drawings.
You could use the report summary to create a presentation. It can be difficult to go into very much detail in a presentation as time (and audience concentration) can be limited. You might want to create a report summary to give as a handout at the end.
See the presentation plan (pdf) if you need help getting started.

Copyright and control

Depending on the agreement between you and other organisations/partners that you work for, the copyright of your report and findings will be yours/your organisation’s.

This doesn’t mean that people can’t use and cite your research findings, but they should credit you when they do so.

You can’t control how people use your findings but by adding context in simple concise language you can encourage people to explain the context when they use your report.

More about copyright on the UK Data Archive website.

Your findings loose in the world!

Once you have written a report/presented your findings, they are free for other people to comment on and report on themselves. This can be unnerving and you may feel that you have lost control and that your findings are being discussed out of context. This is something that all researchers and academics have to deal with.
Read case studies of Good from Woods research projects, including short reports on findings.