Research: Synthesising the research

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Once you have collected and analysed your data and read the relevant literature, it is time to synthesise your research. You have to combine your thoughts, results and conclusions with references and illustrations and write it up in a suitable format.

Different people work in different ways. Some find mindmapping or concept mapping tools useful for bringing thoughts and resources together into a coherent whole. A good reference handling system will help you manage your references and if you know how to make the most of your word processing tool it will save you time. 

Discussing your research

You may want to test your ideas or discuss your results with others before you finalise what you are going to present as your final research outcome. For this, you may use discussion forums or mailing lists. (Online) videoconferencing is another way you can communicate with others. You can present your thoughts and invite comments and discussion on a blog or in a social network.

Think about: What information can you release and to whom?

Discussion forums

A discussion forum is an online “area” where participants exchange their views and opinions on a given topic. Each contribution to a discussion is listed under the same heading so you can follow the discussion by reading the postings.

Mailing lists

Joining a mailing list for your area of interest is a good way to keeping in touch with what is happening in that area. Members post questions and answers and discuss issues of shared interest.

Video conferencing

Whenther online or using a phone inke, it may be efficient to bring colleagues together for a live conversation, even if located far apart. This may be with video or simply audio.

Social networking

Social networking is a term that is used for a range of activities, generally related to having an online presence and communicating and interacting with people on the web through a special site with particular features.

Blogs

A blog will allow you to publish what you want to say online in a quick and simple way, using text, sound, images, video. You can opt to allow readers of your blog to comment on your posts. Reading other researchers' blogs is a good way to see what they are working on.