Research Reports and STAA
Proposal for elevating ORD Research Reports for Science and Technological Achievement Awards (STAA) =
1. Only ORD Research Reports shall be eligible for nomination from the Division.
What is an ORD Research Report?
(from EPA/600/K-95/002, August 1995 aka the Handbook)
The research report is a book-length presentation of the best of EPA/ORD’s research findings. These reports are normally the most authoritative results of a research project on a critical area of interest in which the Agency is involved.
Present research reports in classic textbook style—clear, concise prose. Follow “Report Specifications” in Appendix B.
A research report will fit into one of two broad categories: investigative or expository.
In a standard investigative report, results and conclusions, the evidence to support them, and the interpretation of that evidence are the most important inclusions. The background of the project and the methods used should support the results and recommendations. Structure the body of an investigative report as follows:
1. Introduction 2. Conclusions 3. Recommendations 4. Methods and materials 5. Results and discussion 6. References
In the introduction, focus on the hypothesis or problem that the study tests. Place the conclusions and recommendations before other matter in the body of an investigative report because this allows the reader ready access to the full scope of the project. Methods, results, and discussion may be interwoven or addressed separately, as logic dictates.
An expository report sheds additional light on a topic or an area of high interest about which information is lacking. It is more informal and discursive in nature than an investigative report in the sense that its structure is not bound by the scientific method. Its organization is therefore looser than that of the investigative report; however, where possible, use the same format elements as the investigative report.
Weight the text of a research report in favor of explanatory copy, and do not include large volumes of backup and unedited data, repeatedly used figures of government or other organizational forms, or verbatim reprints from or transcripts of other printed information sources (e.g., the Federal Register). These inclusions would detract from the classic format of the book, run up the cost excessively, and are more appropriately referenced as secondary sources than printed. Footnote or reference all background materials where appropriate to enable the reader to locate them in the library, through NTIS, or through the appropriate information databases.
The effective use of appropriate referencing and footnoting techniques is absolutely necessary to increase the credibility of the document and fulfill the purpose of the presentation. Careful documentation shows that a research project has been thoroughly investigated. Referencing systems vary among scientific disciplines. Whatever system you use, be consistent and make each reference complete.
See the Handbook for guidance on printing.
DO WE NEED TO UPDATE ANY OF THIS GUIDANCE?
I PROPOSE THAT A PRODUCT NEEDS TO BE SUBMITTED FOR ACCEPTANCE AS A RESEARCH REPORT DURING THE PEER REVIEW PROCESS, JUST AS A MANUSCRIPT IS SUBMITTED TO A JOURNAL FOR ACCEPTANCE. (STEVE K)