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Research Recommendations – Guiding policy-makers for evidence-based decision making

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Research recommendations play a crucial role in guiding scholars and researchers toward fruitful avenues of exploration. In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and an ever-expanding knowledge base, refining the process of generating research recommendations becomes imperative.

But, what is a research recommendation?

Research recommendations are suggestions or advice provided to researchers to guide their study on a specific topic . They are typically given by experts in the field. Research recommendations are more action-oriented and provide specific guidance for decision-makers, unlike implications that are broader and focus on the broader significance and consequences of the research findings. However, both are crucial components of a research study.

Difference Between Research Recommendations and Implication

Although research recommendations and implications are distinct components of a research study, they are closely related. The differences between them are as follows:

Difference between research recommendation and implication

Types of Research Recommendations

Recommendations in research can take various forms, which are as follows:

These recommendations aim to assist researchers in navigating the vast landscape of academic knowledge.

Let us dive deeper to know about its key components and the steps to write an impactful research recommendation.

Key Components of Research Recommendations

The key components of research recommendations include defining the research question or objective, specifying research methods, outlining data collection and analysis processes, presenting results and conclusions, addressing limitations, and suggesting areas for future research. Here are some characteristics of research recommendations:

Characteristics of research recommendation

Research recommendations offer various advantages and play a crucial role in ensuring that research findings contribute to positive outcomes in various fields. However, they also have few limitations which highlights the significance of a well-crafted research recommendation in offering the promised advantages.

Advantages and limitations of a research recommendation

The importance of research recommendations ranges in various fields, influencing policy-making, program development, product development, marketing strategies, medical practice, and scientific research. Their purpose is to transfer knowledge from researchers to practitioners, policymakers, or stakeholders, facilitating informed decision-making and improving outcomes in different domains.

How to Write Research Recommendations?

Research recommendations can be generated through various means, including algorithmic approaches, expert opinions, or collaborative filtering techniques. Here is a step-wise guide to build your understanding on the development of research recommendations.

1. Understand the Research Question:

Understand the research question and objectives before writing recommendations. Also, ensure that your recommendations are relevant and directly address the goals of the study.

2. Review Existing Literature:

Familiarize yourself with relevant existing literature to help you identify gaps , and offer informed recommendations that contribute to the existing body of research.

3. Consider Research Methods:

Evaluate the appropriateness of different research methods in addressing the research question. Also, consider the nature of the data, the study design, and the specific objectives.

4. Identify Data Collection Techniques:

Gather dataset from diverse authentic sources. Include information such as keywords, abstracts, authors, publication dates, and citation metrics to provide a rich foundation for analysis.

5. Propose Data Analysis Methods:

Suggest appropriate data analysis methods based on the type of data collected. Consider whether statistical analysis, qualitative analysis, or a mixed-methods approach is most suitable.

6. Consider Limitations and Ethical Considerations:

Acknowledge any limitations and potential ethical considerations of the study. Furthermore, address these limitations or mitigate ethical concerns to ensure responsible research.

7. Justify Recommendations:

Explain how your recommendation contributes to addressing the research question or objective. Provide a strong rationale to help researchers understand the importance of following your suggestions.

8. Summarize Recommendations:

Provide a concise summary at the end of the report to emphasize how following these recommendations will contribute to the overall success of the research project.

By following these steps, you can create research recommendations that are actionable and contribute meaningfully to the success of the research project.

Download now to unlock some tips to improve your journey of writing research recommendations.

Example of a Research Recommendation

Here is an example of a research recommendation based on a hypothetical research to improve your understanding.

Research Recommendation: Enhancing Student Learning through Integrated Learning Platforms

Background:

The research study investigated the impact of an integrated learning platform on student learning outcomes in high school mathematics classes. The findings revealed a statistically significant improvement in student performance and engagement when compared to traditional teaching methods.

Recommendation:

In light of the research findings, it is recommended that educational institutions consider adopting and integrating the identified learning platform into their mathematics curriculum. The following specific recommendations are provided:

  • Implementation of the Integrated Learning Platform:

Schools are encouraged to adopt the integrated learning platform in mathematics classrooms, ensuring proper training for teachers on its effective utilization.

  • Professional Development for Educators:

Develop and implement professional programs to train educators in the effective use of the integrated learning platform to address any challenges teachers may face during the transition.

  • Monitoring and Evaluation:

Establish a monitoring and evaluation system to track the impact of the integrated learning platform on student performance over time.

  • Resource Allocation:

Allocate sufficient resources, both financial and technical, to support the widespread implementation of the integrated learning platform.

By implementing these recommendations, educational institutions can harness the potential of the integrated learning platform and enhance student learning experiences and academic achievements in mathematics.

This example covers the components of a research recommendation, providing specific actions based on the research findings, identifying the target audience, and outlining practical steps for implementation.

Using AI in Research Recommendation Writing

Enhancing research recommendations is an ongoing endeavor that requires the integration of cutting-edge technologies, collaborative efforts, and ethical considerations. By embracing data-driven approaches and leveraging advanced technologies, the research community can create more effective and personalized recommendation systems. However, it is accompanied by several limitations. Therefore, it is essential to approach the use of AI in research with a critical mindset, and complement its capabilities with human expertise and judgment.

Here are some limitations of integrating AI in writing research recommendation and some ways on how to counter them.

1. Data Bias

AI systems rely heavily on data for training. If the training data is biased or incomplete, the AI model may produce biased results or recommendations.

How to tackle: Audit regularly the model’s performance to identify any discrepancies and adjust the training data and algorithms accordingly.

2. Lack of Understanding of Context:

AI models may struggle to understand the nuanced context of a particular research problem. They may misinterpret information, leading to inaccurate recommendations.

How to tackle: Use AI to characterize research articles and topics. Employ them to extract features like keywords, authorship patterns and content-based details.

3. Ethical Considerations:

AI models might stereotype certain concepts or generate recommendations that could have negative consequences for certain individuals or groups.

How to tackle: Incorporate user feedback mechanisms to reduce redundancies. Establish an ethics review process for AI models in research recommendation writing.

4. Lack of Creativity and Intuition:

AI may struggle with tasks that require a deep understanding of the underlying principles or the ability to think outside the box.

How to tackle: Hybrid approaches can be employed by integrating AI in data analysis and identifying patterns for accelerating the data interpretation process.

5. Interpretability:

Many AI models, especially complex deep learning models, lack transparency on how the model arrived at a particular recommendation.

How to tackle: Implement models like decision trees or linear models. Provide clear explanation of the model architecture, training process, and decision-making criteria.

6. Dynamic Nature of Research:

Research fields are dynamic, and new information is constantly emerging. AI models may struggle to keep up with the rapidly changing landscape and may not be able to adapt to new developments.

How to tackle: Establish a feedback loop for continuous improvement. Regularly update the recommendation system based on user feedback and emerging research trends.

The integration of AI in research recommendation writing holds great promise for advancing knowledge and streamlining the research process. However, navigating these concerns is pivotal in ensuring the responsible deployment of these technologies. Researchers need to understand the use of responsible use of AI in research and must be aware of the ethical considerations.

Exploring research recommendations plays a critical role in shaping the trajectory of scientific inquiry. It serves as a compass, guiding researchers toward more robust methodologies, collaborative endeavors, and innovative approaches. Embracing these suggestions not only enhances the quality of individual studies but also contributes to the collective advancement of human understanding.

Frequently Asked Questions

The purpose of recommendations in research is to provide practical and actionable suggestions based on the study's findings, guiding future actions, policies, or interventions in a specific field or context. Recommendations bridges the gap between research outcomes and their real-world application.

To make a research recommendation, analyze your findings, identify key insights, and propose specific, evidence-based actions. Include the relevance of the recommendations to the study's objectives and provide practical steps for implementation.

Begin a recommendation by succinctly summarizing the key findings of the research. Clearly state the purpose of the recommendation and its intended impact. Use a direct and actionable language to convey the suggested course of action.

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  • How to Write Recommendations in Research | Examples & Tips

How to Write Recommendations in Research | Examples & Tips

Published on 15 September 2022 by Tegan George .

Recommendations in research are a crucial component of your discussion section and the conclusion of your thesis , dissertation , or research paper .

As you conduct your research and analyse the data you collected , perhaps there are ideas or results that don’t quite fit the scope of your research topic . Or, maybe your results suggest that there are further implications of your results or the causal relationships between previously-studied variables than covered in extant research.

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Table of contents

What should recommendations look like, building your research recommendation, how should your recommendations be written, recommendation in research example, frequently asked questions about recommendations.

Recommendations for future research should be:

  • Concrete and specific
  • Supported with a clear rationale
  • Directly connected to your research

Overall, strive to highlight ways other researchers can reproduce or replicate your results to draw further conclusions, and suggest different directions that future research can take, if applicable.

Relatedly, when making these recommendations, avoid:

  • Undermining your own work, but rather offer suggestions on how future studies can build upon it
  • Suggesting recommendations actually needed to complete your argument, but rather ensure that your research stands alone on its own merits
  • Using recommendations as a place for self-criticism, but rather as a natural extension point for your work

Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.

There are many different ways to frame recommendations, but the easiest is perhaps to follow the formula of research question   conclusion  recommendation. Here’s an example.

Conclusion An important condition for controlling many social skills is mastering language. If children have a better command of language, they can express themselves better and are better able to understand their peers. Opportunities to practice social skills are thus dependent on the development of language skills.

As a rule of thumb, try to limit yourself to only the most relevant future recommendations: ones that stem directly from your work. While you can have multiple recommendations for each research conclusion, it is also acceptable to have one recommendation that is connected to more than one conclusion.

These recommendations should be targeted at your audience, specifically toward peers or colleagues in your field that work on similar topics to yours. They can flow directly from any limitations you found while conducting your work, offering concrete and actionable possibilities for how future research can build on anything that your own work was unable to address at the time of your writing.

See below for a full research recommendation example that you can use as a template to write your own.

The current study can be interpreted as a first step in the research on COPD speech characteristics. However, the results of this study should be treated with caution due to the small sample size and the lack of details regarding the participants’ characteristics.

Future research could further examine the differences in speech characteristics between exacerbated COPD patients, stable COPD patients, and healthy controls. It could also contribute to a deeper understanding of the acoustic measurements suitable for e-health measurements.

While it may be tempting to present new arguments or evidence in your thesis or disseration conclusion , especially if you have a particularly striking argument you’d like to finish your analysis with, you shouldn’t. Theses and dissertations follow a more formal structure than this.

All your findings and arguments should be presented in the body of the text (more specifically in the discussion section and results section .) The conclusion is meant to summarize and reflect on the evidence and arguments you have already presented, not introduce new ones.

The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation should include the following:

  • A restatement of your research question
  • A summary of your key arguments and/or results
  • A short discussion of the implications of your research

For a stronger dissertation conclusion , avoid including:

  • Generic concluding phrases (e.g. “In conclusion…”)
  • Weak statements that undermine your argument (e.g. “There are good points on both sides of this issue.”)

Your conclusion should leave the reader with a strong, decisive impression of your work.

In a thesis or dissertation, the discussion is an in-depth exploration of the results, going into detail about the meaning of your findings and citing relevant sources to put them in context.

The conclusion is more shorter and more general: it concisely answers your main research question and makes recommendations based on your overall findings.

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How to write recommendations in a research paper

Many students put in a lot of effort and write a good report however they are not able to give proper recommendations. Recommendations in the research paper should be included in your research. As a researcher, you display a deep understanding of the topic of research. Therefore you should be able to give recommendations. Here are a few tips that will help you to give appropriate recommendations. 

Recommendations in the research paper should be the objective of the research. Therefore at least one of your objectives of the paper is to provide recommendations to the parties associated or the parties that will benefit from your research. For example, to encourage higher employee engagement HR department should make strategies that invest in the well-being of employees. Additionally, the HR department should also collect regular feedback through online surveys.

Recommendations in the research paper should come from your review and analysis For example It was observed that coaches interviewed were associated with the club were working with the club from the past 2-3 years only. This shows that the attrition rate of coaches is high and therefore clubs should work on reducing the turnover of coaches.

Recommendations in the research paper should also come from the data you have analysed. For example, the research found that people over 65 years of age are at greater risk of social isolation. Therefore, it is recommended that policies that are made for combating social isolation should target this specific group.

Recommendations in the research paper should also come from observation. For example, it is observed that Lenovo’s income is stable and gross revenue has displayed a negative turn. Therefore the company should analyse its marketing and branding strategy.

Recommendations in the research paper should be written in the order of priority. The most important recommendations for decision-makers should come first. However, if the recommendations are of equal importance then it should come in the sequence in which the topic is approached in the research. 

Recommendations in a research paper if associated with different categories then you should categorize them. For example, you have separate recommendations for policymakers, educators, and administrators then you can categorize the recommendations. 

Recommendations in the research paper should come purely from your research. For example, you have written research on the impact on HR strategies on motivation. However, nowhere you have discussed Reward and recognition. Then you should not give recommendations for using rewards and recognition measures to boost employee motivation.

The use of bullet points offers better clarity rather than using long paragraphs. For example this paragraph “ It is recommended  that Britannia Biscuit should launch and promote sugar-free options apart from the existing product range. Promotion efforts should be directed at creating a fresh and healthy image. A campaign that conveys a sense of health and vitality to the consumer while enjoying biscuit  is recommended” can be written as:

  • The company should launch and promote sugar-free options
  • The company should work towards creating s fresh and healthy image
  • The company should run a campaign to convey its healthy image

The inclusion of an action plan along with recommendation adds more weightage to your recommendation. Recommendations should be clear and conscience and written using actionable words. Recommendations should display a solution-oriented approach and in some cases should highlight the scope for further research. 

Writing the parts of scientific reports

22 Writing the conclusion & recommendations

There are probably some overlaps between the Conclusion and the Discussion section. Nevertheless, this section gives you the opportunity to highlight the most important points in your report, and is sometimes the only section read. Think about what your research/ study has achieved, and the most important findings and ideas you want the reader to know. As all studies have limitations also think about what you were not able to cover (this shows that you are able to evaluate your own work objectively).

Possible structure of this section:

sample of recommendation part of research paper

Use present perfect to sum up/ evaluate:

This study has explored/ has attempted …

Use past tense to state what your aim was and to refer to actions you carried out:

  • This study was intended to analyse …
  • The aim of this study was to …

Use present tense to evaluate your study and to state the generalizations and implications that you draw from your findings.

  • The results add to the knowledge of …
  • These findings s uggest that …

You can either use present tense or past tense to summarize your results.

  • The findings reveal …
  • It was found that …

Achievements of this study (positive)

  • This study provides evidence that …
  • This work has contributed to a number of key issues in the field such as …

Limitations of the study (negative)

  • Several limitations should be noted. First …

Combine positive and negative remarks to give a balanced assessment:

  • Although this research is somewhat limited in scope, its findings can provide a basis for future studies.
  • Despite the limitations, findings from the present study can help us understand …

Use more cautious language (modal verbs may, can, could)

  • There are a number of possible extensions of this research …
  • The findings suggest the possibility for future research on …
  • These results may be important for future studies on …
  • Examining a wider context could/ would lead …

Or indicate that future research is needed

  • There is still a need for future research to determine …
  • Further studies should be undertaken to discover…
  • It would be worthwhile to investigate …

sample of recommendation part of research paper

Academic Writing in a Swiss University Context Copyright © 2018 by Irene Dietrichs. All Rights Reserved.

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How to formulate research recommendations

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  • Peer review
  • Polly Brown ( pbrown{at}bmjgroup.com ) , publishing manager 1 ,
  • Klara Brunnhuber , clinical editor 1 ,
  • Kalipso Chalkidou , associate director, research and development 2 ,
  • Iain Chalmers , director 3 ,
  • Mike Clarke , director 4 ,
  • Mark Fenton , editor 3 ,
  • Carol Forbes , reviews manager 5 ,
  • Julie Glanville , associate director/information service manager 5 ,
  • Nicholas J Hicks , consultant in public health medicine 6 ,
  • Janet Moody , identification and prioritisation manager 6 ,
  • Sara Twaddle , director 7 ,
  • Hazim Timimi , systems developer 8 ,
  • Pamela Young , senior programme manager 6
  • 1 BMJ Publishing Group, London WC1H 9JR,
  • 2 National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, London WC1V 6NA,
  • 3 Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, James Lind Alliance Secretariat, James Lind Initiative, Oxford OX2 7LG,
  • 4 UK Cochrane Centre, Oxford OX2 7LG,
  • 5 Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York, York YO10 5DD,
  • 6 National Coordinating Centre for Health Technology Assessment, University of Southampton, Southampton SO16 7PX,
  • 7 Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, Edinburgh EH2 1EN,
  • 8 Update Software, Oxford OX2 7LG
  • Correspondence to: PBrown
  • Accepted 22 September 2006

“More research is needed” is a conclusion that fits most systematic reviews. But authors need to be more specific about what exactly is required

Long awaited reports of new research, systematic reviews, and clinical guidelines are too often a disappointing anticlimax for those wishing to use them to direct future research. After many months or years of effort and intellectual energy put into these projects, authors miss the opportunity to identify unanswered questions and outstanding gaps in the evidence. Most reports contain only a less than helpful, general research recommendation. This means that the potential value of these recommendations is lost.

Current recommendations

In 2005, representatives of organisations commissioning and summarising research, including the BMJ Publishing Group, the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, the National Coordinating Centre for Health Technology Assessment, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, and the UK Cochrane Centre, met as members of the development group for the Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments (see bmj.com for details on all participating organisations). Our aim was to discuss the state of research recommendations within our organisations and to develop guidelines for improving the presentation of proposals for further research. All organisations had found weaknesses in the way researchers and authors of systematic reviews and clinical guidelines stated the need for further research. As part of the project, a member of the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination under-took a rapid literature search to identify information on research recommendation models, which found some individual methods but no group initiatives to attempt to standardise recommendations.

Suggested format for research recommendations on the effects of treatments

Core elements.

E Evidence (What is the current state of the evidence?)

P Population (What is the population of interest?)

I Intervention (What are the interventions of interest?)

C Comparison (What are the comparisons of interest?)

O Outcome (What are the outcomes of interest?)

T Time stamp (Date of recommendation)

Optional elements

d Disease burden or relevance

t Time aspect of core elements of EPICOT

s Appropriate study type according to local need

In January 2006, the National Coordinating Centre for Health Technology Assessment presented the findings of an initial comparative analysis of how different organisations currently structure their research recommendations. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and the National Coordinating Centre for Health Technology Assessment request authors to present recommendations in a four component format for formulating well built clinical questions around treatments: population, intervention, comparison, and outcomes (PICO). 1 In addition, the research recommendation is dated and authors are asked to provide the current state of the evidence to support the proposal.

Clinical Evidence , although not directly standardising its sections for research recommendations, presents gaps in the evidence using a slightly extended version of the PICO format: evidence, population, intervention, comparison, outcomes, and time (EPICOT). Clinical Evidence has used this inherent structure to feed research recommendations on interventions categorised as “unknown effectiveness” back to the National Coordinating Centre for Health Technology Assessment and for inclusion in the Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments ( http://www.duets.nhs.uk/ ).

We decided to propose the EPICOT format as the basis for its statement on formulating research recommendations and tested this proposal through discussion and example. We agreed that this set of components provided enough context for formulating research recommendations without limiting researchers. In order for the proposed framework to be flexible and more widely applicable, the group discussed using several optional components when they seemed relevant or were proposed by one or more of the group members. The final outcome of discussions resulted in the proposed EPICOT+ format (box).

A recent BMJ article highlighted how lack of research hinders the applicability of existing guidelines to patients in primary care who have had a stroke or transient ischaemic attack. 2 Most research in the area had been conducted in younger patients with a recent episode and in a hospital setting. The authors concluded that “further evidence should be collected on the efficacy and adverse effects of intensive blood pressure lowering in representative populations before we implement this guidance [from national and international guidelines] in primary care.” Table 1 outlines how their recommendations could be formulated using the EPICOT+ format. The decision on whether additional research is indeed clinically and ethically warranted will still lie with the organisation considering commissioning the research.

Research recommendation based on gap in the evidence identified by a cross sectional study of clinical guidelines for management of patients who have had a stroke

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Table 2 shows the use of EPICOT+ for an unanswered question on the effectiveness of compliance therapy in people with schizophrenia, identified by the Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments.

Research recommendation based on a gap in the evidence on treatment of schizophrenia identified by the Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments

Discussions around optional elements

Although the group agreed that the PICO elements should be core requirements for a research recommendation, intense discussion centred on the inclusion of factors defining a more detailed context, such as current state of evidence (E), appropriate study type (s), disease burden and relevance (d), and timeliness (t).

Initially, group members interpreted E differently. Some viewed it as the supporting evidence for a research recommendation and others as the suggested study type for a research recommendation. After discussion, we agreed that E should be used to refer to the amount and quality of research supporting the recommendation. However, the issue remained contentious as some of us thought that if a systematic review was available, its reference would sufficiently identify the strength of the existing evidence. Others thought that adding evidence to the set of core elements was important as it provided a summary of the supporting evidence, particularly as the recommendation was likely to be abstracted and used separately from the review or research that led to its formulation. In contrast, the suggested study type (s) was left as an optional element.

A research recommendation will rarely have an absolute value in itself. Its relative priority will be influenced by the burden of ill health (d), which is itself dependent on factors such as local prevalence, disease severity, relevant risk factors, and the priorities of the organisation considering commissioning the research.

Similarly, the issue of time (t) could be seen to be relevant to each of the core elements in varying ways—for example, duration of treatment, length of follow-up. The group therefore agreed that time had a subsidiary role within each core item; however, T as the date of the recommendation served to define its shelf life and therefore retained individual importance.

Applicability and usability

The proposed statement on research recommendations applies to uncertainties of the effects of any form of health intervention or treatment and is intended for research in humans rather than basic scientific research. Further investigation is required to assess the applicability of the format for questions around diagnosis, signs and symptoms, prognosis, investigations, and patient preference.

When the proposed format is applied to a specific research recommendation, the emphasis placed on the relevant part(s) of the EPICOT+ format may vary by author, audience, and intended purpose. For example, a recommendation for research into treatments for transient ischaemic attack may or may not define valid outcome measures to assess quality of life or gather data on adverse effects. Among many other factors, its implementation will also depend on the strength of current findings—that is, strong evidence may support a tightly focused recommendation whereas a lack of evidence would result in a more general recommendation.

The controversy within the group, especially around the optional components, reflects the different perspectives of the participating organisations—whether they were involved in commissioning, undertaking, or summarising research. Further issues will arise during the implementation of the proposed format, and we welcome feedback and discussion.

Summary points

No common guidelines exist for the formulation of recommendations for research on the effects of treatments

Major organisations involved in commissioning or summarising research compared their approaches and agreed on core questions

The essential items can be summarised as EPICOT+ (evidence, population, intervention, comparison, outcome, and time)

Further details, such as disease burden and appropriate study type, should be considered as required

We thank Patricia Atkinson and Jeremy Wyatt.

Contributors and sources All authors contributed to manuscript preparation and approved the final draft. NJH is the guarantor.

Competing interests None declared.

  • Richardson WS ,
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  • Nishikawa J ,
  • Hayward RSA
  • McManus RJ ,
  • Leonardi-Bee J ,
  • PROGRESS Collaborative Group
  • Warburton E
  • Rothwell P ,
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  • Stanfield AC
  • O'Donnell C ,
  • Donohoe G ,
  • Sharkey L ,
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sample of recommendation part of research paper

Educational resources and simple solutions for your research journey

sample of recommendation part of research paper

Do Research Paper Recommendations Work? [With Research Paper Example]

sample of recommendation part of research paper

Most content-based websites contain recommendations. Whether you are using Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, or Google Scholar, most sites provide some kind of link to other recommended content. How effective are these links? And can we compare recommender tools from one site to another? Is it valuable for a publisher to add links with research paper recommendations?

One thing to make clear immediately is that academic research paper recommendation tools work in a very different way to other kinds of recommendation. For an e-commerce site, recommendations are typically calculated by tracking what people bought. If you buy an inkjet printer, the chances are you will want to buy printer ink next, so it makes sense to provide a recommender tool based on what users bought after buying the item searched for.

But this kind of recommendation is of little use for academic searching. Firstly, academics aren’t buying anything; we don’t know if the article links they found were useful or not. You could argue that citations from other articles are the recommendations section of a research paper, and is some measure of success: if several academics cited this article, it must be important. But that isn’t necessarily the criterion of relevance for academics: what a researcher frequently wants to know is if anyone has investigated (say) the effect of aspirin on diabetes patients, whether or not their work has yet been cited. The UNSILO research paper recommendations algorithm does not make any use of citations; it is completely content-based, without any usage tracking.

A simple contrast between recommendations is to compare how the recommender tool behaves when no relevant link is found. A tool such as Netflix is designed to provide the user with something new to watch, even if you search for a title Netflix doesn’t offer (Netflix never returns zero results from a search). In contrast, academics are not interested in finding hits that are not relevant; they want only research paper recommendations that work. Unfortunately, even Google Scholar returns hits if a meaningless combination of terms is added (if you’re looking for research paper recommendations for “aspirin metallurgy volcanoes trainers” on Google Scholar, you’ll surely get 30+ results). Despite its title, Google Scholar is fundamentally a string-matching tool just like its bigger parent, and it isn’t difficult to see its limitations.

The introduction of AI-based tools has transformed the provision of research paper recommendations, moving from string search to concept-based search. Let’s say I am interested in articles on diabetes and aspirin. However much of an expert I might be, I certainly don’t know how the researchers phrased their title: is it “diabetes” or “diabetic”, or is diabetes referred to more elliptically, as “impaired glucose tolerance”? A concept-based tool such as UNSILO, which is not reliant on a few keywords for each article, can find all the main variants of phrases and ensure a search produces comprehensive research paper recommendations.

sample of recommendation part of research paper

If we do succeed in providing relevant research paper recommendations, how can we measure its success or otherwise? Major surveys of how academics search for and find content (e.g.,  How Readers Discover Content , a long-term study updated every three years) show that academics use search and discovery very extensively, despite (we may assume) being subject-matter experts in their chosen domain. In other words, checking citations or recommendations section of research papers, listening to presentations, and reading articles still leaves gaps for an academic, gaps that that they fill using search. The details of how they search may vary, but it’s clear that most if not all academics are involved in searching for new content as part of their academic work.

Perhaps the most common metric used by publishers is the click-through rate (CTR), the number of times a user on the page clicks on one of the links provided. Click-through rate here means the number of times people who open a content page such as this click on one of the links on the right. This simple measure enables different research paper recommendation tools to be compared, but also gives an idea of how widely used these tools are. Has anyone measured the use of these links? Yes, a 2014 research paper showed that ratings by humans correlated quite closely with CTR (perhaps not surprising):

Ratings in the user study correlated strongly with CTR. This indicates that explicit user satisfaction (ratings) is a good approximation of the acceptance rate of recommendations (CTR), and vice versa.  ( Beel and Langer, 2014 )

In other words, researchers only click on research paper recommendation links they judge to be most relevant. Interestingly, the same paper found that providing links via what they termed “inferred ground-truths” (such as citations) are generally flawed and far less valuable for evaluating research paper recommendation systems.

What kind of click-through rates are found in practice? From feedback via publishers, we hear that a typical research paper recommendation system may achieve at best a 6.5% CTR. Although this figure may seem low, anyone familiar with actual usage of websites will know that the statistics for interaction with a site beyond the first search are always very low. The click-through rate for display adverts on a webpage are typically 0.1% – and even that figure often comprises mainly bots, automated systems that click on all the links on a site on a regular basis.

Can click-through rates be compared? An article in Forbes ( Fou, 2020 ) points out that every website will have a different result for CTR, and the results are not comparable – the time a user spends on a hotel booking site will be much greater than the time taken by an academic to find one scholarly article. So comparisons are only meaningful within the same site, or with other websites that have a similar function.

Another metric of site engagement is page views per session. For instance, an average pages per session of 2 means that each user to the website visited two pages before leaving. While this metric will vary widely from one site to another, it is a good way of identifying trends over time on a single website, or of comparing two websites with a similar function (such as two academic publisher sites). Using a research paper recommendation tool typically results in a clear increase in pages per session. A typical value when using a research paper recommendation tool will be above 2.

Given the differences between sites, it would be invidious to single out specific products, but publishers report to us widely differing results when comparing research paper recommendation tools. There is a very clear difference between recommenders – variations of 2x or even 3x the usage of one tool compared with another are common. We are happy to provide access to UNSILO research paper recommendation tools for evaluation purposes, and we strongly recommend trialling two or more products in this way, ideally via an A/B test lasting over at least a month.

One conclusion is very clear: research paper recommendation tools work. Any recommender is good, but concept-based tools seem to provide a good experience for researchers that they use again and again. Recommended links are a vital part of the academic workflow, and they significantly increase engagement. After all, any publisher who misses out on a significant enhancement in site usage and benefit to users is not making the most of their content.

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Evans D, Coad J, Cottrell K, et al. Public involvement in research: assessing impact through a realist evaluation. Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library; 2014 Oct. (Health Services and Delivery Research, No. 2.36.)

Cover of Public involvement in research: assessing impact through a realist evaluation

Public involvement in research: assessing impact through a realist evaluation.

Chapter 9 conclusions and recommendations for future research.

  • How well have we achieved our original aim and objectives?

The initially stated overarching aim of this research was to identify the contextual factors and mechanisms that are regularly associated with effective and cost-effective public involvement in research. While recognising the limitations of our analysis, we believe we have largely achieved this in our revised theory of public involvement in research set out in Chapter 8 . We have developed and tested this theory of public involvement in research in eight diverse case studies; this has highlighted important contextual factors, in particular PI leadership, which had not previously been prominent in the literature. We have identified how this critical contextual factor shapes key mechanisms of public involvement, including the identification of a senior lead for involvement, resource allocation for involvement and facilitation of research partners. These mechanisms then lead to specific outcomes in improving the quality of research, notably recruitment strategies and materials and data collection tools and methods. We have identified a ‘virtuous circle’ of feedback to research partners on their contribution leading to their improved confidence and motivation, which facilitates their continued contribution. Following feedback from the HS&DR Board on our original application we did not seek to assess the cost-effectiveness of different mechanisms of public involvement but we did cost the different types of public involvement as discussed in Chapter 7 . A key finding is that many research projects undercost public involvement.

In our original proposal we emphasised our desire to include case studies involving young people and families with children in the research process. We recruited two studies involving parents of young children aged under 5 years, and two projects involving ‘older’ young people in the 18- to 25-years age group. We recognise that in doing this we missed studies involving children and young people aged under 18 years; in principle we would have liked to have included studies involving such children and young people, but, given the resources at our disposal and the additional resource, ethical and governance issues this would have entailed, we regretfully concluded that this would not be feasible for our study. In terms of the four studies with parental and young persons’ involvement that we did include, we have not done a separate analysis of their data, but the themes emerging from those case studies were consistent with our other case studies and contributed to our overall analysis.

In terms of the initial objectives, we successfully recruited the sample of eight diverse case studies and collected and analysed data from them (objective 1). As intended, we identified the outcomes of involvement from multiple stakeholders‘ perspectives, although we did not get as many research partners‘ perspectives as we would have liked – see limitations below (objective 2). It was more difficult than expected to track the impact of public involvement from project inception through to completion (objective 3), as all of our projects turned out to have longer time scales than our own. Even to track involvement over a stage of a case study research project proved difficult, as the research usually did not fall into neatly staged time periods and one study had no involvement activity over the study period.

Nevertheless, we were able to track seven of the eight case studies prospectively and in real time over time periods of up to 9 months, giving us an unusual window on involvement processes that have previously mainly been observed retrospectively. We were successful in comparing the contextual factors, mechanisms and outcomes associated with public involvement from different stakeholders‘ perspectives and costing the different mechanisms for public involvement (objective 4). We only partly achieved our final objective of undertaking a consensus exercise among stakeholders to assess the merits of the realist evaluation approach and our approach to the measurement and valuation of economic costs of public involvement in research (objective 5). A final consensus event was held, where very useful discussion and amendment of our theory of public involvement took place, and the economic approach was discussed and helpfully critiqued by participants. However, as our earlier discussions developed more fully than expected, we decided to let them continue rather than interrupt them in order to run the final exercise to assess the merits of the realist evaluation approach. We did, however, test our analysis with all our case study participants by sending a draft of this final report for comment. We received a number of helpful comments and corrections but no disagreement with our overall analysis.

  • What were the limitations of our study?

Realist evaluation is a relatively new approach and we recognise that there were a number of limitations to our study. We sought to follow the approach recommended by Pawson, but we acknowledge that we were not always able to do so. In particular, our theory of public involvement in research evolved over time and initially was not as tightly framed in terms of a testable hypothesis as Pawson recommends. In his latest book Pawson strongly recommends that outcomes should be measured with quantitative data, 17 but we did not do so; we were not aware of the existence of quantitative data or tools that would enable us to collect such data to answer our research questions. Even in terms of qualitative data, we did not capture as much information on outcomes as we initially envisaged. There were several reasons for this. The most important was that capturing outcomes in public involvement is easier the more operational the focus of involvement, and more difficult the more strategic the involvement. Thus, it was relatively easy to see the impact of a patient panel on the redesign of a recruitment leaflet but harder to capture the impact of research partners in a multidisciplinary team discussion of research design.

We also found it was sometimes more difficult to engage research partners as participants in our research than researchers or research managers. On reflection this is not surprising. Research partners are generally motivated to take part in research relevant to their lived experience of a health condition or situation, whereas our research was quite detached from their lived experience; in addition people had many constraints on their time, so getting involved in our research as well as their own was likely to be a burden too far for some. Researchers clearly also face significant time pressures but they had a more direct interest in our research, as they are obliged to engage with public involvement to satisfy research funders such as the NIHR. Moreover, researchers were being paid by their employers for their time during interviews with us, while research partners were not paid by us and usually not paid by their research teams. Whatever the reasons, we had less response from research partners than researchers or research managers, particularly for the third round of data collection; thus we have fewer data on outcomes from research partners‘ perspectives and we need to be aware of a possible selection bias towards more engaged research partners. Such a bias could have implications for our findings; for example payment might have been a more important motivating factor for less engaged advisory group members.

There were a number of practical difficulties we encountered. One challenge was when to recruit the case studies. We recruited four of our eight case studies prior to the full application, but this was more than 1 year before our project started and 15 months or more before data collection began. In this intervening period, we found that the time scales of some of the case studies were no longer ideal for our project and we faced the choice of whether to continue with them, although this timing was not ideal, or seek at a late moment to recruit alternative ones. One of our case studies ultimately undertook no involvement activity over the study period, so we obtained fewer data from it, and it contributed relatively little to our analysis. Similarly, one of the four case studies we recruited later experienced some delays itself in beginning and so we had a more limited period for data collection than initially envisaged. Research governance approvals took much longer than expected, particularly as we had to take three of our research partners, who were going to collect data within NHS projects, through the research passport process, which essentially truncated our data collection period from 1 year to 9 months. Even if we had had the full year initially envisaged for data collection, our conclusion with hindsight was that this was insufficiently long. To compare initial plans and intentions for involvement with the reality of what actually happened required a longer time period than a year for most of our case studies.

In the light of the importance we have placed on the commitment of PIs, there is an issue of potential selection bias in the recruitment of our sample. As our sampling strategy explicitly involved a networking approach to PIs of projects where we thought some significant public involvement was taking place, we were likely (as we did) to recruit enthusiasts and, at worst, those non-committed who were at least open to the potential value of public involvement. There were, unsurprisingly, no highly sceptical PIs in our sample. We have no data therefore on how public involvement may work in research where the PI is sceptical but may feel compelled to undertake involvement because of funder requirements or other factors.

  • What would we do differently next time?

If we were to design this study again, there are a number of changes we would make. Most importantly we would go for a longer time period to be able to capture involvement through the whole research process from initial design through to dissemination. We would seek to recruit far more potential case studies in principle, so that we had greater choice of which to proceed with once our study began in earnest. We would include case studies from the application stage to capture the important early involvement of research partners in the initial design period. It might be preferable to research a smaller number of case studies, allowing a more in-depth ethnographic approach. Although challenging, it would be very informative to seek to sample sceptical PIs. This might require a brief screening exercise of a larger group of PIs on their attitudes to and experience of public involvement.

The economic evaluation was challenging in a number of ways, particularly in seeking to obtain completed resource logs from case study research partners. Having a 2-week data collection period was also problematic in a field such as public involvement, where activity may be very episodic and infrequent. Thus, collecting economic data alongside other case study data in a more integrated way, and particularly with interviews and more ethnographic observation of case study activities, might be advantageous. The new budgeting tool developed by INVOLVE and the MHRN may provide a useful resource for future economic evaluations. 23

We have learned much from the involvement of research partners in our research team and, although many aspects of our approach worked well, there are some things we would do differently in future. Even though we included substantial resources for research partner involvement in all aspects of our study, we underestimated how time-consuming such full involvement would be. We were perhaps overambitious in trying to ensure such full involvement with the number of research partners and the number and complexity of the case studies. We were also perhaps naive in expecting all the research partners to play the same role in the team; different research partners came with different experiences and skills, and, like most of our case studies, we might have been better to be less prescriptive and allow the roles to develop more organically within the project.

  • Implications for research practice and funding

If one of the objectives of R&D policy is to increase the extent and effectiveness of public involvement in research, then a key implication of this research is the importance of influencing PIs to value public involvement in research or to delegate to other senior colleagues in leading on involvement in their research. Training is unlikely to be the key mechanism here; senior researchers are much more likely to be influenced by peers or by their personal experience of the benefits of public involvement. Early career researchers may be shaped by training but again peer learning and culture may be more influential. For those researchers sceptical or agnostic about public involvement, the requirement of funders is a key factor that is likely to make them engage with the involvement agenda. Therefore, funders need to scrutinise the track record of research teams on public involvement to ascertain whether there is any evidence of commitment or leadership on involvement.

One of the findings of the economic analysis was that PIs have consistently underestimated the costs of public involvement in their grant applications. Clearly the field will benefit from the guidance and budgeting tool recently disseminated by MHRN and INVOLVE. It was also notable that there was a degree of variation in the real costs of public involvement and that effective involvement is not necessarily costly. Different models of involvement incur different costs and researchers need to be made aware of the costs and benefits of these different options.

One methodological lesson we learned was the impact that conducting this research had on some participants’ reflection on the impact of public involvement. Particularly for research staff, the questions we asked sometimes made them reflect upon what they were doing and change aspects of their approach to involvement. Thus, the more the NIHR and other funders can build reporting, audit and other forms of evaluation on the impact of public involvement directly into their processes with PIs, the more likely such questioning might stimulate similar reflection.

  • Recommendations for further research

There are a number of gaps in our knowledge around public involvement in research that follow from our findings, and would benefit from further research, including realist evaluation to extend and further test the theory we have developed here:

  • In-depth exploration of how PIs become committed to public involvement and how to influence agnostic or sceptical PIs would be very helpful. Further research might compare, for example, training with peer-influencing strategies in engendering PI commitment. Research could explore the leadership role of other research team members, including research partners, and how collective leadership might support effective public involvement.
  • More methodological work is needed on how to robustly capture the impact and outcomes of public involvement in research (building as well on the PiiAF work of Popay et al. 51 ), including further economic analysis and exploration of impact when research partners are integral to research teams.
  • Research to develop approaches and carry out a full cost–benefit analysis of public involvement in research would be beneficial. Although methodologically challenging, it would be very useful to conduct some longer-term studies which sought to quantify the impact of public involvement on such key indicators as participant recruitment and retention in clinical trials.
  • It would also be helpful to capture qualitatively the experiences and perspectives of research partners who have had mixed or negative experiences, since they may be less likely than enthusiasts to volunteer to participate in studies of involvement in research such as ours. Similarly, further research might explore the (relatively rare) experiences of marginalised and seldom-heard groups involved in research.
  • Payment for public involvement in research remains a contested issue with strongly held positions for and against; it would be helpful to further explore the value research partners and researchers place on payment and its effectiveness for enhancing involvement in and impact on research.
  • A final relatively narrow but important question that we identified after data collection had finished is: what is the impact of the long periods of relative non-involvement following initial periods of more intense involvement for research partners in some types of research, particularly clinical trials?

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  • Cite this Page Evans D, Coad J, Cottrell K, et al. Public involvement in research: assessing impact through a realist evaluation. Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library; 2014 Oct. (Health Services and Delivery Research, No. 2.36.) Chapter 9, Conclusions and recommendations for future research.
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Implications or Recommendations in Research: What's the Difference?

  • Peer Review

High-quality research articles that get many citations contain both implications and recommendations. Implications are the impact your research makes, whereas recommendations are specific actions that can then be taken based on your findings, such as for more research or for policymaking.

Updated on August 23, 2022

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That seems clear enough, but the two are commonly confused.

This confusion is especially true if you come from a so-called high-context culture in which information is often implied based on the situation, as in many Asian cultures. High-context cultures are different from low-context cultures where information is more direct and explicit (as in North America and many European cultures).

Let's set these two straight in a low-context way; i.e., we'll be specific and direct! This is the best way to be in English academic writing because you're writing for the world.

Implications and recommendations in a research article

The standard format of STEM research articles is what's called IMRaD:

  • Introduction
  • Discussion/conclusions

Some journals call for a separate conclusions section, while others have the conclusions as the last part of the discussion. You'll write these four (or five) sections in the same sequence, though, no matter the journal.

The discussion section is typically where you restate your results and how well they confirmed your hypotheses. Give readers the answer to the questions for which they're looking to you for an answer.

At this point, many researchers assume their paper is finished. After all, aren't the results the most important part? As you might have guessed, no, you're not quite done yet.

The discussion/conclusions section is where to say what happened and what should now happen

The discussion/conclusions section of every good scientific article should contain the implications and recommendations.

The implications, first of all, are the impact your results have on your specific field. A high-impact, highly cited article will also broaden the scope here and provide implications to other fields. This is what makes research cross-disciplinary.

Recommendations, however, are suggestions to improve your field based on your results.

These two aspects help the reader understand your broader content: How and why your work is important to the world. They also tell the reader what can be changed in the future based on your results.

These aspects are what editors are looking for when selecting papers for peer review.

how to write the conclusion section of a research manuscript

Implications and recommendations are, thus, written at the end of the discussion section, and before the concluding paragraph. They help to “wrap up” your paper. Once your reader understands what you found, the next logical step is what those results mean and what should come next.

Then they can take the baton, in the form of your work, and run with it. That gets you cited and extends your impact!

The order of implications and recommendations also matters. Both are written after you've summarized your main findings in the discussion section. Then, those results are interpreted based on ongoing work in the field. After this, the implications are stated, followed by the recommendations.

Writing an academic research paper is a bit like running a race. Finish strong, with your most important conclusion (recommendation) at the end. Leave readers with an understanding of your work's importance. Avoid generic, obvious phrases like "more research is needed to fully address this issue." Be specific.

The main differences between implications and recommendations (table)

 the differences between implications and recommendations

Now let's dig a bit deeper into actually how to write these parts.

What are implications?

Research implications tell us how and why your results are important for the field at large. They help answer the question of “what does it mean?” Implications tell us how your work contributes to your field and what it adds to it. They're used when you want to tell your peers why your research is important for ongoing theory, practice, policymaking, and for future research.

Crucially, your implications must be evidence-based. This means they must be derived from the results in the paper.

Implications are written after you've summarized your main findings in the discussion section. They come before the recommendations and before the concluding paragraph. There is no specific section dedicated to implications. They must be integrated into your discussion so that the reader understands why the results are meaningful and what they add to the field.

A good strategy is to separate your implications into types. Implications can be social, political, technological, related to policies, or others, depending on your topic. The most frequently used types are theoretical and practical. Theoretical implications relate to how your findings connect to other theories or ideas in your field, while practical implications are related to what we can do with the results.

Key features of implications

  • State the impact your research makes
  • Helps us understand why your results are important
  • Must be evidence-based
  • Written in the discussion, before recommendations
  • Can be theoretical, practical, or other (social, political, etc.)

Examples of implications

Let's take a look at some examples of research results below with their implications.

The result : one study found that learning items over time improves memory more than cramming material in a bunch of information at once .

The implications : This result suggests memory is better when studying is spread out over time, which could be due to memory consolidation processes.

The result : an intervention study found that mindfulness helps improve mental health if you have anxiety.

The implications : This result has implications for the role of executive functions on anxiety.

The result : a study found that musical learning helps language learning in children .

The implications : these findings suggest that language and music may work together to aid development.

What are recommendations?

As noted above, explaining how your results contribute to the real world is an important part of a successful article.

Likewise, stating how your findings can be used to improve something in future research is equally important. This brings us to the recommendations.

Research recommendations are suggestions and solutions you give for certain situations based on your results. Once the reader understands what your results mean with the implications, the next question they need to know is "what's next?"

Recommendations are calls to action on ways certain things in the field can be improved in the future based on your results. Recommendations are used when you want to convey that something different should be done based on what your analyses revealed.

Similar to implications, recommendations are also evidence-based. This means that your recommendations to the field must be drawn directly from your results.

The goal of the recommendations is to make clear, specific, and realistic suggestions to future researchers before they conduct a similar experiment. No matter what area your research is in, there will always be further research to do. Try to think about what would be helpful for other researchers to know before starting their work.

Recommendations are also written in the discussion section. They come after the implications and before the concluding paragraphs. Similar to the implications, there is usually no specific section dedicated to the recommendations. However, depending on how many solutions you want to suggest to the field, they may be written as a subsection.

Key features of recommendations

  • Statements about what can be done differently in the field based on your findings
  • Must be realistic and specific
  • Written in the discussion, after implications and before conclusions
  • Related to both your field and, preferably, a wider context to the research

Examples of recommendations

Here are some research results and their recommendations.

A meta-analysis found that actively recalling material from your memory is better than simply re-reading it .

  • The recommendation: Based on these findings, teachers and other educators should encourage students to practice active recall strategies.

A medical intervention found that daily exercise helps prevent cardiovascular disease .

  • The recommendation: Based on these results, physicians are recommended to encourage patients to exercise and walk regularly. Also recommended is to encourage more walking through public health offices in communities.

A study found that many research articles do not contain the sample sizes needed to statistically confirm their findings .

The recommendation: To improve the current state of the field, researchers should consider doing power analysis based on their experiment's design.

What else is important about implications and recommendations?

When writing recommendations and implications, be careful not to overstate the impact of your results. It can be tempting for researchers to inflate the importance of their findings and make grandiose statements about what their work means.

Remember that implications and recommendations must be coming directly from your results. Therefore, they must be straightforward, realistic, and plausible.

Another good thing to remember is to make sure the implications and recommendations are stated clearly and separately. Do not attach them to the endings of other paragraphs just to add them in. Use similar example phrases as those listed in the table when starting your sentences to clearly indicate when it's an implication and when it's a recommendation.

When your peers, or brand-new readers, read your paper, they shouldn't have to hunt through your discussion to find the implications and recommendations. They should be clear, visible, and understandable on their own.

That'll get you cited more, and you'll make a greater contribution to your area of science while extending the life and impact of your work.

The AJE Team

The AJE Team

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Collaboration, information literacy, writing process.

  • Recommendation Reports
  • © 2023 by Joseph M. Moxley - University of South Florida , Julie Staggers - Washington State University

Recommendation reports are texts that advise audiences about the best ways to solve a problem. Recommendation reports are a type of formal report that is widely used across disciplines and professions. Subject Matter Experts aim to make recommendations based on the best available theory, research and practice.

Different disciplines and professions have different research methods for assessing knowledge claims and defining knowledge . Thus, there is no one perfect way to write a recommendation report.

As always, when composing—especially when you’re planning your report—it’s strategic to focus on your audience, rhetorical analysis, and rhetorical reasoning. At center, keep the focus on what you want your audience to feel, think, and do.

While writers, speakers, and knowledge workers . . . may choose a variety of ways to organize their reports, below are some fairly traditional sections to formal recommendations reports:

  • Letter of transmittal
  • Problem Definition
  • Potential solutions to the problem
  • Empirical Research Methods used to investigate the problem
  • Recommendations
  • List of Illustrations

Report Body

Note: your specific rhetorical context will determine what headings you use in your Recommendation Report. That said, the following sections are fairly typical for this genre, and they are required, as appropriate, for this assignment.

Report back matter

Collect material for the appendices as you go. The report back matter will include:

  • Bibliography, which is sometimes referred to as Works Cited or References (Use a citation format appropriate for your field (APA, MLA, Chicago, IEEE, etc.)
  • Appendices, if necessary (e.g., letters of support, financial projections)

Formatting and design

Employ a professional writing style throughout, including:

  • Page layout: Appropriate to audience, purpose, and context. 8.5 x 11 with 1-inch margins is a fail-safe default.
  • Typography: Choose business-friendly fonts appropriate to your audience, purpose, and context; Arial for headers and Times New Roman for body text is a safe, neutral default.
  • Headings and subheadings: Use a numbered heading and subheading system, formatted using the Styles function on your word processor.
  • Bulleted and numbered lists: Use lists that are formatted correctly using the list buttons on your word processor with a blank line before the first bullet and after the last bullet
  • Graphics and figures: Support data findings and arguments with appropriate visuals – charts, tables, graphics;  Include numbered titles and captions
  • Page numbering: use lower-case Roman numerals for pages before the table of contents, Arabic numerals; no page number on the TOC.

Additional Resources

  • Final Reports by Angela Eward-Mangione   and Katherine McGee
  • Professional Writing Style

Brevity - Say More with Less

Brevity - Say More with Less

Clarity (in Speech and Writing)

Clarity (in Speech and Writing)

Coherence - How to Achieve Coherence in Writing

Coherence - How to Achieve Coherence in Writing

Diction

Flow - How to Create Flow in Writing

Inclusivity - Inclusive Language

Inclusivity - Inclusive Language

Simplicity

The Elements of Style - The DNA of Powerful Writing

Unity

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Research Paper Conclusion – Writing Guide and Examples

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Research Paper Conclusion

Research Paper Conclusion

Definition:

A research paper conclusion is the final section of a research paper that summarizes the key findings, significance, and implications of the research. It is the writer’s opportunity to synthesize the information presented in the paper, draw conclusions, and make recommendations for future research or actions.

The conclusion should provide a clear and concise summary of the research paper, reiterating the research question or problem, the main results, and the significance of the findings. It should also discuss the limitations of the study and suggest areas for further research.

Parts of Research Paper Conclusion

The parts of a research paper conclusion typically include:

Restatement of the Thesis

The conclusion should begin by restating the thesis statement from the introduction in a different way. This helps to remind the reader of the main argument or purpose of the research.

Summary of Key Findings

The conclusion should summarize the main findings of the research, highlighting the most important results and conclusions. This section should be brief and to the point.

Implications and Significance

In this section, the researcher should explain the implications and significance of the research findings. This may include discussing the potential impact on the field or industry, highlighting new insights or knowledge gained, or pointing out areas for future research.

Limitations and Recommendations

It is important to acknowledge any limitations or weaknesses of the research and to make recommendations for how these could be addressed in future studies. This shows that the researcher is aware of the potential limitations of their work and is committed to improving the quality of research in their field.

Concluding Statement

The conclusion should end with a strong concluding statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. This could be a call to action, a recommendation for further research, or a final thought on the topic.

How to Write Research Paper Conclusion

Here are some steps you can follow to write an effective research paper conclusion:

  • Restate the research problem or question: Begin by restating the research problem or question that you aimed to answer in your research. This will remind the reader of the purpose of your study.
  • Summarize the main points: Summarize the key findings and results of your research. This can be done by highlighting the most important aspects of your research and the evidence that supports them.
  • Discuss the implications: Discuss the implications of your findings for the research area and any potential applications of your research. You should also mention any limitations of your research that may affect the interpretation of your findings.
  • Provide a conclusion : Provide a concise conclusion that summarizes the main points of your paper and emphasizes the significance of your research. This should be a strong and clear statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.
  • Offer suggestions for future research: Lastly, offer suggestions for future research that could build on your findings and contribute to further advancements in the field.

Remember that the conclusion should be brief and to the point, while still effectively summarizing the key findings and implications of your research.

Example of Research Paper Conclusion

Here’s an example of a research paper conclusion:

Conclusion :

In conclusion, our study aimed to investigate the relationship between social media use and mental health among college students. Our findings suggest that there is a significant association between social media use and increased levels of anxiety and depression among college students. This highlights the need for increased awareness and education about the potential negative effects of social media use on mental health, particularly among college students.

Despite the limitations of our study, such as the small sample size and self-reported data, our findings have important implications for future research and practice. Future studies should aim to replicate our findings in larger, more diverse samples, and investigate the potential mechanisms underlying the association between social media use and mental health. In addition, interventions should be developed to promote healthy social media use among college students, such as mindfulness-based approaches and social media detox programs.

Overall, our study contributes to the growing body of research on the impact of social media on mental health, and highlights the importance of addressing this issue in the context of higher education. By raising awareness and promoting healthy social media use among college students, we can help to reduce the negative impact of social media on mental health and improve the well-being of young adults.

Purpose of Research Paper Conclusion

The purpose of a research paper conclusion is to provide a summary and synthesis of the key findings, significance, and implications of the research presented in the paper. The conclusion serves as the final opportunity for the writer to convey their message and leave a lasting impression on the reader.

The conclusion should restate the research problem or question, summarize the main results of the research, and explain their significance. It should also acknowledge the limitations of the study and suggest areas for future research or action.

Overall, the purpose of the conclusion is to provide a sense of closure to the research paper and to emphasize the importance of the research and its potential impact. It should leave the reader with a clear understanding of the main findings and why they matter. The conclusion serves as the writer’s opportunity to showcase their contribution to the field and to inspire further research and action.

When to Write Research Paper Conclusion

The conclusion of a research paper should be written after the body of the paper has been completed. It should not be written until the writer has thoroughly analyzed and interpreted their findings and has written a complete and cohesive discussion of the research.

Before writing the conclusion, the writer should review their research paper and consider the key points that they want to convey to the reader. They should also review the research question, hypotheses, and methodology to ensure that they have addressed all of the necessary components of the research.

Once the writer has a clear understanding of the main findings and their significance, they can begin writing the conclusion. The conclusion should be written in a clear and concise manner, and should reiterate the main points of the research while also providing insights and recommendations for future research or action.

Characteristics of Research Paper Conclusion

The characteristics of a research paper conclusion include:

  • Clear and concise: The conclusion should be written in a clear and concise manner, summarizing the key findings and their significance.
  • Comprehensive: The conclusion should address all of the main points of the research paper, including the research question or problem, the methodology, the main results, and their implications.
  • Future-oriented : The conclusion should provide insights and recommendations for future research or action, based on the findings of the research.
  • Impressive : The conclusion should leave a lasting impression on the reader, emphasizing the importance of the research and its potential impact.
  • Objective : The conclusion should be based on the evidence presented in the research paper, and should avoid personal biases or opinions.
  • Unique : The conclusion should be unique to the research paper and should not simply repeat information from the introduction or body of the paper.

Advantages of Research Paper Conclusion

The advantages of a research paper conclusion include:

  • Summarizing the key findings : The conclusion provides a summary of the main findings of the research, making it easier for the reader to understand the key points of the study.
  • Emphasizing the significance of the research: The conclusion emphasizes the importance of the research and its potential impact, making it more likely that readers will take the research seriously and consider its implications.
  • Providing recommendations for future research or action : The conclusion suggests practical recommendations for future research or action, based on the findings of the study.
  • Providing closure to the research paper : The conclusion provides a sense of closure to the research paper, tying together the different sections of the paper and leaving a lasting impression on the reader.
  • Demonstrating the writer’s contribution to the field : The conclusion provides the writer with an opportunity to showcase their contribution to the field and to inspire further research and action.

Limitations of Research Paper Conclusion

While the conclusion of a research paper has many advantages, it also has some limitations that should be considered, including:

  • I nability to address all aspects of the research: Due to the limited space available in the conclusion, it may not be possible to address all aspects of the research in detail.
  • Subjectivity : While the conclusion should be objective, it may be influenced by the writer’s personal biases or opinions.
  • Lack of new information: The conclusion should not introduce new information that has not been discussed in the body of the research paper.
  • Lack of generalizability: The conclusions drawn from the research may not be applicable to other contexts or populations, limiting the generalizability of the study.
  • Misinterpretation by the reader: The reader may misinterpret the conclusions drawn from the research, leading to a misunderstanding of the findings.

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How to Write a Research Paper Introduction (with Examples)

How to Write a Research Paper Introduction (with Examples)

The research paper introduction section, along with the Title and Abstract, can be considered the face of any research paper. The following article is intended to guide you in organizing and writing the research paper introduction for a quality academic article or dissertation.

The research paper introduction aims to present the topic to the reader. A study will only be accepted for publishing if you can ascertain that the available literature cannot answer your research question. So it is important to ensure that you have read important studies on that particular topic, especially those within the last five to ten years, and that they are properly referenced in this section. 1 What should be included in the research paper introduction is decided by what you want to tell readers about the reason behind the research and how you plan to fill the knowledge gap. The best research paper introduction provides a systemic review of existing work and demonstrates additional work that needs to be done. It needs to be brief, captivating, and well-referenced; a well-drafted research paper introduction will help the researcher win half the battle.

The introduction for a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:

  • Present your research topic
  • Capture reader interest
  • Summarize existing research
  • Position your own approach
  • Define your specific research problem and problem statement
  • Highlight the novelty and contributions of the study
  • Give an overview of the paper’s structure

The research paper introduction can vary in size and structure depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or is a review paper. Some research paper introduction examples are only half a page while others are a few pages long. In many cases, the introduction will be shorter than all of the other sections of your paper; its length depends on the size of your paper as a whole.

  • Break through writer’s block. Write your research paper introduction with Paperpal Copilot

Table of Contents

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The introduction in a research paper is placed at the beginning to guide the reader from a broad subject area to the specific topic that your research addresses. They present the following information to the reader

  • Scope: The topic covered in the research paper
  • Context: Background of your topic
  • Importance: Why your research matters in that particular area of research and the industry problem that can be targeted

The research paper introduction conveys a lot of information and can be considered an essential roadmap for the rest of your paper. A good introduction for a research paper is important for the following reasons:

  • It stimulates your reader’s interest: A good introduction section can make your readers want to read your paper by capturing their interest. It informs the reader what they are going to learn and helps determine if the topic is of interest to them.
  • It helps the reader understand the research background: Without a clear introduction, your readers may feel confused and even struggle when reading your paper. A good research paper introduction will prepare them for the in-depth research to come. It provides you the opportunity to engage with the readers and demonstrate your knowledge and authority on the specific topic.
  • It explains why your research paper is worth reading: Your introduction can convey a lot of information to your readers. It introduces the topic, why the topic is important, and how you plan to proceed with your research.
  • It helps guide the reader through the rest of the paper: The research paper introduction gives the reader a sense of the nature of the information that will support your arguments and the general organization of the paragraphs that will follow. It offers an overview of what to expect when reading the main body of your paper.

What are the parts of introduction in the research?

A good research paper introduction section should comprise three main elements: 2

  • What is known: This sets the stage for your research. It informs the readers of what is known on the subject.
  • What is lacking: This is aimed at justifying the reason for carrying out your research. This could involve investigating a new concept or method or building upon previous research.
  • What you aim to do: This part briefly states the objectives of your research and its major contributions. Your detailed hypothesis will also form a part of this section.

How to write a research paper introduction?

The first step in writing the research paper introduction is to inform the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening statement. The second step involves establishing the kinds of research that have been done and ending with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to address. Finally, the research paper introduction clarifies how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses. If your research involved testing hypotheses, these should be stated along with your research question. The hypothesis should be presented in the past tense since it will have been tested by the time you are writing the research paper introduction.

The following key points, with examples, can guide you when writing the research paper introduction section:

  • Highlight the importance of the research field or topic
  • Describe the background of the topic
  • Present an overview of current research on the topic

Example: The inclusion of experiential and competency-based learning has benefitted electronics engineering education. Industry partnerships provide an excellent alternative for students wanting to engage in solving real-world challenges. Industry-academia participation has grown in recent years due to the need for skilled engineers with practical training and specialized expertise. However, from the educational perspective, many activities are needed to incorporate sustainable development goals into the university curricula and consolidate learning innovation in universities.

  • Reveal a gap in existing research or oppose an existing assumption
  • Formulate the research question

Example: There have been plausible efforts to integrate educational activities in higher education electronics engineering programs. However, very few studies have considered using educational research methods for performance evaluation of competency-based higher engineering education, with a focus on technical and or transversal skills. To remedy the current need for evaluating competencies in STEM fields and providing sustainable development goals in engineering education, in this study, a comparison was drawn between study groups without and with industry partners.

  • State the purpose of your study
  • Highlight the key characteristics of your study
  • Describe important results
  • Highlight the novelty of the study.
  • Offer a brief overview of the structure of the paper.

Example: The study evaluates the main competency needed in the applied electronics course, which is a fundamental core subject for many electronics engineering undergraduate programs. We compared two groups, without and with an industrial partner, that offered real-world projects to solve during the semester. This comparison can help determine significant differences in both groups in terms of developing subject competency and achieving sustainable development goals.

Write a Research Paper Introduction in Minutes with Paperpal

Paperpal Copilot is a generative AI-powered academic writing assistant. It’s trained on millions of published scholarly articles and over 20 years of STM experience. Paperpal Copilot helps authors write better and faster with:

  • Real-time writing suggestions
  • In-depth checks for language and grammar correction
  • Paraphrasing to add variety, ensure academic tone, and trim text to meet journal limits

With Paperpal Copilot, create a research paper introduction effortlessly. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through how Paperpal transforms your initial ideas into a polished and publication-ready introduction.

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How to use Paperpal to write the Introduction section

Step 1: Sign up on Paperpal and click on the Copilot feature, under this choose Outlines > Research Article > Introduction

Step 2: Add your unstructured notes or initial draft, whether in English or another language, to Paperpal, which is to be used as the base for your content.

Step 3: Fill in the specifics, such as your field of study, brief description or details you want to include, which will help the AI generate the outline for your Introduction.

Step 4: Use this outline and sentence suggestions to develop your content, adding citations where needed and modifying it to align with your specific research focus.

Step 5: Turn to Paperpal’s granular language checks to refine your content, tailor it to reflect your personal writing style, and ensure it effectively conveys your message.

You can use the same process to develop each section of your article, and finally your research paper in half the time and without any of the stress.

The purpose of the research paper introduction is to introduce the reader to the problem definition, justify the need for the study, and describe the main theme of the study. The aim is to gain the reader’s attention by providing them with necessary background information and establishing the main purpose and direction of the research.

The length of the research paper introduction can vary across journals and disciplines. While there are no strict word limits for writing the research paper introduction, an ideal length would be one page, with a maximum of 400 words over 1-4 paragraphs. Generally, it is one of the shorter sections of the paper as the reader is assumed to have at least a reasonable knowledge about the topic. 2 For example, for a study evaluating the role of building design in ensuring fire safety, there is no need to discuss definitions and nature of fire in the introduction; you could start by commenting upon the existing practices for fire safety and how your study will add to the existing knowledge and practice.

When deciding what to include in the research paper introduction, the rest of the paper should also be considered. The aim is to introduce the reader smoothly to the topic and facilitate an easy read without much dependency on external sources. 3 Below is a list of elements you can include to prepare a research paper introduction outline and follow it when you are writing the research paper introduction. Topic introduction: This can include key definitions and a brief history of the topic. Research context and background: Offer the readers some general information and then narrow it down to specific aspects. Details of the research you conducted: A brief literature review can be included to support your arguments or line of thought. Rationale for the study: This establishes the relevance of your study and establishes its importance. Importance of your research: The main contributions are highlighted to help establish the novelty of your study Research hypothesis: Introduce your research question and propose an expected outcome. Organization of the paper: Include a short paragraph of 3-4 sentences that highlights your plan for the entire paper

Cite only works that are most relevant to your topic; as a general rule, you can include one to three. Note that readers want to see evidence of original thinking. So it is better to avoid using too many references as it does not leave much room for your personal standpoint to shine through. Citations in your research paper introduction support the key points, and the number of citations depend on the subject matter and the point discussed. If the research paper introduction is too long or overflowing with citations, it is better to cite a few review articles rather than the individual articles summarized in the review. A good point to remember when citing research papers in the introduction section is to include at least one-third of the references in the introduction.

The literature review plays a significant role in the research paper introduction section. A good literature review accomplishes the following: Introduces the topic – Establishes the study’s significance – Provides an overview of the relevant literature – Provides context for the study using literature – Identifies knowledge gaps However, remember to avoid making the following mistakes when writing a research paper introduction: Do not use studies from the literature review to aggressively support your research Avoid direct quoting Do not allow literature review to be the focus of this section. Instead, the literature review should only aid in setting a foundation for the manuscript.

Remember the following key points for writing a good research paper introduction: 4

  • Avoid stuffing too much general information: Avoid including what an average reader would know and include only that information related to the problem being addressed in the research paper introduction. For example, when describing a comparative study of non-traditional methods for mechanical design optimization, information related to the traditional methods and differences between traditional and non-traditional methods would not be relevant. In this case, the introduction for the research paper should begin with the state-of-the-art non-traditional methods and methods to evaluate the efficiency of newly developed algorithms.
  • Avoid packing too many references: Cite only the required works in your research paper introduction. The other works can be included in the discussion section to strengthen your findings.
  • Avoid extensive criticism of previous studies: Avoid being overly critical of earlier studies while setting the rationale for your study. A better place for this would be the Discussion section, where you can highlight the advantages of your method.
  • Avoid describing conclusions of the study: When writing a research paper introduction remember not to include the findings of your study. The aim is to let the readers know what question is being answered. The actual answer should only be given in the Results and Discussion section.

To summarize, the research paper introduction section should be brief yet informative. It should convince the reader the need to conduct the study and motivate him to read further. If you’re feeling stuck or unsure, choose trusted AI academic writing assistants like Paperpal to effortlessly craft your research paper introduction and other sections of your research article.

1. Jawaid, S. A., & Jawaid, M. (2019). How to write introduction and discussion. Saudi Journal of Anaesthesia, 13(Suppl 1), S18.

2. Dewan, P., & Gupta, P. (2016). Writing the title, abstract and introduction: Looks matter!. Indian pediatrics, 53, 235-241.

3. Cetin, S., & Hackam, D. J. (2005). An approach to the writing of a scientific Manuscript1. Journal of Surgical Research, 128(2), 165-167.

4. Bavdekar, S. B. (2015). Writing introduction: Laying the foundations of a research paper. Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, 63(7), 44-6.

Paperpal is a comprehensive AI writing toolkit that helps students and researchers achieve 2x the writing in half the time. It leverages 21+ years of STM experience and insights from millions of research articles to provide in-depth academic writing, language editing, and submission readiness support to help you write better, faster.  

Get accurate academic translations, rewriting support, grammar checks, vocabulary suggestions, and generative AI assistance that delivers human precision at machine speed. Try for free or upgrade to Paperpal Prime starting at US$19 a month to access premium features, including consistency, plagiarism, and 30+ submission readiness checks to help you succeed.  

Experience the future of academic writing – Sign up to Paperpal and start writing for free!  

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