Reporting Research

Many standards emphasize rigorous, ethical practices when reporting research (American Psychological Association, 2021; Australian Education Research Organization, 2021; British Educational Research Association, 2018; Scottish Educational Research Association, 2005; Schulz et al., 2010; U.S. Institute for Education Sciences and the National Science Foundation, 2013; U.S. Institute for Education Sciences, 2022; Vetenskapsrådet, 2017). These include detailed descriptions and interpretations of findings, comparisons to related work, and discussions of implications, limitations, and future research. Transparency through data provenance, replication support, and public availability of datasets and source code is also highlighted. Confidentiality and participant anonymity must be protected, and researchers should use caution with publicly available data repositories, ensuring participant consent for public data sharing.

Ethical Considerations and Data Handling

Ethical research reporting demands accurate results, disclosure of funding, and acknowledgments of incentives. Reports should reflect participants’ views and experiences, consider community interests, and avoid sensationalizing findings. Publishing should be accessible to the audience in relevant languages and provide free access when feasible (British Educational Research Association, 2018). Researchers sharing data for secondary analysis must ensure data is cleaned, de-identified, and reviewed for identifiable information by a second researcher before release.

Contextualizing and Interpreting Results

Results must be contextualized by addressing research questions, connecting to related work, interpreting results, and describing generalizability and implications (German Research Foundation, 2019). Ethical dilemmas and challenges should be clarified (American Psychological Association, 2021; British Educational Research Association, 2018; Scottish Educational Research Association, 2005; Schulz et al., 2010). Reports should center equity, situating studies within historical, cultural, socio-political, and geographical contexts, and use respectful vocabulary (Goodkind & Deacon, 2004).

Equity and Positionality in Reporting

Define equity explicitly and describe its influence throughout the study. Transparency regarding demographic factors, participant recruitment, and retention is crucial, as these impact findings (McGill et al., 2018). Researchers should include statements of positionality to enhance the value of findings and ensure inclusion of diverse perspectives (Parson, 2019; Sinclair et al., 2018; Khatamian Far, 2018).

Strategies for Reporting Research

More details are provided in Reporting Activities and Curriculum

Describing the research framing and question(s)

State the research problems and questions 

Identify equity and related terms and explain how they were operationalized in the research.

Describe the current state of research (i.e., theoretical and empirical underpinnings) (German Research Foundation, 2019)

Define the problem, the phenomena being studied, unit of analysis, social context, and how the researchers either designed the context or gained access to it (Ko, 2023). 

Describe how equity, inclusion, diversity, belonging, and disparities will be explored 

 Frame problems and questions as asset-based rather than deficit-based. 

Describe the hardware and software tools for an intervention that are accessible to and protective of the included populations (e.g., students with disabilities, other vulnerable populations).

Describe the positionality of the researchers and how this impacted the choices made during research (reflexivity).

Describing methodologies

Describe the study design used, including how it was implemented in the research.

Describe all relevant aspects of the research process including ethical review process, consent process and rates, participant interaction, data privacy and storage, and incentives.

Describe the data collection instrument(s) and method(s), including quality and reliability metrics. 

Describe the data analysis methods used.

Describing participants

Include diversity dimensions, recruitment and retention numbers, and researcher positionality (McGill, Decker & Abbott, 2018; Khatamian Far, 2018; Parson, 2019; Sinclair et. al., 2018), ensuring that the report states the identities of participants or communities in the way they want to be defined.

Define the selection process and access to participants (U.S. Institute for Education Sciences and the National Science Foundation, 2013).

Protect confidentiality and the anonymity of participants in reporting. De-identified data can sometimes be triangulated which can lead to identification of participants. Exercise caution when choosing to use publicly available archival storage repositories and ensure that consent has been provided by the participants to share data publicly. 

Report incentives provided to recipients.

Reporting on findings

Strive for unbiased reporting, including reporting negative results.

Provide detailed descriptions and equity-focused interpretation of the results. Avoid selective reporting of contexts, results, and findings, since even null findings are important to know.

Highlight comparisons to related work, implications, limitations (including threats to validity), and potential for future research and practice. Acknowledge limitations, impacts on and harms to communities, and threats to validity.

Reporting on conflicts of interest and sources of support

Acknowledge sponsors, clients, and relevant parties in publications.

Report conflicts of interest.

Formatting reports

Write the report in a manner and style that suits the reader for whom it was intended. For example, use academic language for publications meant for researchers to read and use more practice-based language when writing publications for practitioners. 

Ensure that your publication is accessible to people with disabilities.

Selecting publication venues

Where possible, publish in open access venues in the languages of the publication venues and impacted communities.

Carefully weigh the risks of publishing source and/or participant data, keeping in mind that data de-identification techniques continue to evolve (Ayers, Caputi, Nebeker & Dredze, 2018; Lubarsky, 2010; Rocher, Hendrickx, & De Montjoye, 2019). When data risk is minimal and participants have consented to their data being shared publicly, submit your research data to permanent, publicly-available archival storage repositories.

Additional Resources


American Psychological Association. (2021). Journal Article Reporting Standards (JARS). Retrieved from

Australian Education Research Organisation. (2021). Standards of evidence. 

Ayers, J. W., Caputi, T. L., Nebeker, C., & Dredze, M. (2018). Don’t quote me: reverse identification of research participants in social media studies. NPJ digital medicine, 1(1), 30.

British Educational Research Association. 2018. Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research, fourth edition (2018) (4 ed.). British Educational Research Association. 1–48 pages.

Goodkind, J. R., & Deacon, Z. (2004). Methodological issues in conducting research with refugee women: Principles for recognizing and re-centering the multiply marginalized. Journal of Community Psychology, 32(6), 721–739. doi:10.1002/jcop.20029

Khatamian Far, P. (2018). Challenges of recruitment and retention of university students as research participants: Lessons learned from a pilot study. Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association, 67(3), 278–292.

McGill, M. M., Decker, A., & Abbott, Z. (2018). Improving Research and Experience Reports of Pre-College Computing Activities: A Gap Analysis. Proceedings of the 49th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, 964–969. New York, NY, USA: ACM.

Parson, L. (2019). Considering Positionality: The Ethics of Conducting Research with Marginalized Groups. Research Methods for Social Justice and Equity in Education. Springer

Rocher, L., Hendrickx, J. M., & De Montjoye, Y. A. (2019). Estimating the success of re-identifications in incomplete datasets using generative models. Nature communications, 10(1), 1-9.

Schulz, K. F., Altman, D. G., & Moher, D. (2010). CONSORT 2010 Statement: updated guidelines for reporting parallel group randomised trials. BMJ, 340. doi:10.1136/bmj.c332

Scottish Educational Research Association. 2005. Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research. Scottish Educational Research Association. 1–15 pages.

Sinclair, J., Hansen, S. G., Machalicek, W., Knowles, C., Hirano, K. A., Dolata, J. K., … Murray, C. (2018). A 16-year review of participant diversity in intervention research across a selection of 12 special education journals. Exceptional Children, 84(3), 312–329.

Suffla, S., Seedat, M., & Bawa, U. (2015). Reflexivity as enactment of critical community psychologies: Dilemmas of voice and positionality in a multi‐country photovoice study. Journal of Community Psychology, 43(1), 9-21.

U.S. Institute for Education Sciences. 2022. Standards for Excellence in Education Research.

U.S. Institute for Education Sciences and the National Science Foundation. 2013. Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development.

Vetenskapsrådet, S. (2017). Good research practice. Stockholm: Swedish Research Council.