How to present data in a research paper?

Presenting large amounts of data may seem challenging to many but with the right tools, you can complete the cumbersome task in minutes. Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint are some of the popular applications used by students worldwide. In these programmes, you can design charts, graphs, and tables quickly. By presenting data in these formats, not only will your readers understand the correlation, but you will be able to make the right analyses and evaluation in your research paper. If you are unable to sort the data neatly and in a comprehensible manner, you may reach the wrong conclusion, which would be detrimental to the success of your research paper.

When presenting data in tables, graphs and charts, provide a caption, which provides more information on the data. Also, interpret the data and conduct a thorough analysis, which adds value to the existing knowledge bank. Research papers are meant to be informative instead of being descriptive. So, instead of simply summarising the work of other scholars in your field of study, ask yourself the following questions:

a) Are there any limitations in the research papers published by reputed scholars?

b) How is your research paper different from other research papers which have been published?

Sometimes, you may be required to carry out primary research. Primary data can be obtained by conducting in-depth interviews, surveys and polls. Depending on your research topic, you should select the most appropriate methodology. For example, if you want to understand consumers’ sentiments and opinions towards a product, you can conduct a survey. On the other hand, if you want an expert’s opinion on a subject matter, you may choose to conduct an in-depth interview.

If you plan to conduct surveys or polls, you should use statistical software packages such as the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and Econometric Views (EViews) for the analysis of data. This way, you will be able to identify correlations, if any. When interpreting data, you should link your analysis to existing theories and concepts. This way, your analysis will be coherent.

When you present data in your research paper, you should provide a summary of your key findings. Then, you should come up with statement(s) to support your hypothesis. Next, you should show the link between your findings and existing theories and concepts. Every research paper has a number of limitations. So, explain the limitations in your paper and come up with research ideas that can address these limitations.

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