Does a research project have to be completed before it’s covered in a story? Or can we visit a research study during its various stages?
Research projects can extend over a few years (or more), so it can be helpful for readers to follow the path of a project – from funding approval to publication in a journal. That way, readers can get a sense of the enormous amount of work that’s involved in seeing these projects through from start to finish.
But how would that process work in a research magazine? I have a few ideas…and the stories can grow in length as the projects move toward completion.
1) Let’s get started
The funding has been secured. The research ethics board has signed off. All systems are go. What about devoting a small section of your publication to projects that have been given the green light? You can cover:
- The purpose of the research.
- The researcher’s hypothesis.
- A brief overview of the procedures.
- Funding acknowledgements
2) Checking in
Now the research is in progress. Here are some topics that could be covered in the next story:
- How are things going?
- Does the researcher have a broader perspective of the initial problem?
- Has he or she gained new insights from preliminary findings?
- What impact does the researcher hope to make?
- Where does the project go from here?
- New and existing funders
3) The end
The research has been completed. The findings and recommendations have been written up (and published) in a journal. What now?
- Discuss the findings and recommendations – how will they change the researcher’s field?
- What’s next for the researcher? Did his or her first project lead to new ideas for subsequent studies? And what would they explore?
- Finally (yes, you guessed it), acknowledge the funders.
Are there other “in progress” stories that could be added to this list? Or do you think extra stories could contribute to reader fatigue? Please feel free to share your thoughts.
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