Course code Citi5009

Credit points 3

Preparation of Research Reports

Total Hours in Course81

Number of hours for lectures12

Number of hours for seminars and practical classes12

Independent study hours57

Date of course confirmation20.08.2019

Responsible UnitInstitute of Soil and Plant Science

Course developer

author prof.

Zinta Gaile

Dr. agr.

Course abstract

Structure of research report, including MSc Paper. Content of different chapters. Literature review and studies of literature. Differences between scientific and popular-science papers. References in the text and preparation of ‘List of References’. Description of materials and methods. Design of tables and figures. Essence of interpretation results; drawing up conclusions. Practical adoption of presentation skills. Preparation of Abstract for Students’ Scientific Conference.

Learning outcomes and their assessment

Master students acquire knowledge on principles of Research Report’s, including Master Thesis, structure (independent works No. 1, 2), and on importance of studies of scientific literature (independent works No. 4, 5), as well as meaning and subordination of different chapters of Master Thesis (independent works No. 3, 6, 7, 9).
Master students have skills to find different kinds of literature and information sources in data bases. They can distinguish scientific literature sources from popular science or other sources (independent works No. 4, 5). They have skills to write chapter ‘Materials and Methods’ (independent work No. 7), and ‘Results’ (independent work No. 8). They comprehend the idea of scientific discussion on obtained results and are able to formulate conclusions (analysis of examples in during the lecture-practical work). Students are able to make bibliography (independent work No. 5). Master students are able to present results of their research orally (independent work No. 9). As a result, master students are competent to prepare research report (Master Thesis) according to set up regulations outlining results in the text, tables and figures in written and oral form; are competent to use scientific literature for theoretical substantiation of research, as well as for scientific discussion on own results (independent works No. 1 – 9).

Course Content(Calendar)

1. The structure of Master Thesis. Content and tasks of the separate chapters in the overall context of scientific papers. 1 h
2. Creation of paper title. Introduction, the aim of the paper and tasks. 2 h
3. Literature overview and its arrangement. Usage of different publications in Master’s Thesis. Creation of references to literature sources. 4 h
4. Data bases subscribed by LLU and literature search in those. 3 h
5. Creation of the List of Literature, usage of Mendeley or other programs in the creation of the List of Literature. 2 h.
6. Description of methods used for research and their sequence in methods’ outline. The list of SI system units of measurements and their usage in scientific papers. 2 h
7. Results and their evaluation – the main chapter of the Master’s Thesis. The need for tables and figures, their preparation and formatting requirements. 3 h
8. Discussion: overall evaluation of research results under specific environmental or other conditions. Conclusions and their relevance to particular research – answers to questions raised in the aim and tasks, and hypothesis, of the paper. 2 h
9. Plagiarism: how to avoid it. 1 h
10. Optional sections: acknowledgement; appendixes. 1 h
11. Submission of thesis, reviewing, answers to reviewers. 1 h
12. Preparation of publication (structured summary of the research) for the Students’ Scientific conference collection of theses. 2 h
13. Ability to read and follow the rules of preparation of Master’s Thesis or any other scientific research survey. 1 h
14. The essence of presentation, its structure, preparation of illustrative materials. Speaker-audience relationship; questions and answers. 3 h

Oral presentation of Master’s Thesis or any other research paper. 4 h

Requirements for awarding credit points

The credit is accumulative if all the following tasks have been successfully completed: Received "passed" or at least 4 points, if a mark is given.

Description of the organization and tasks of students’ independent work

1. Practical work. Analyses of Master’s Thesis Introduction written by another person according to criteria set out during the first lecture. Assessment – passed.
2. Independent work. Preparation of Master’s Thesis Literature overview or the whole List of Content. List of Content has to be agreed with the supervisor; the agreement is confirmed with supervisor’s signature or it is electronic. Submitted in 3rd lecture. No other independent work is evaluated until the List of Content is submitted! Assessment – passed.
3. Independent work. Write Introduction for your Master’s Thesis. Volume 1–1.5 p. Submitted in 3rd lecture. Assessment – mark from a 10 point scale.
4. Practical work – getting acquainted with data bases available at LLU fundamental library; searching for scientific papers on the topic of Master’s Thesis. Twenty scientific papers should be found, preferably – in English. For a successful search key words, which have previously been agreed with the supervisor, should be known. Assessment – passed.
5. Independent work. Preparation of the List of Literature; the list should include those 20 scientific papers found; formatting according to requirements set out in the instructions for authors of LLU scientific journal “Rural Sustainability Research” (APA Style). Assessment – mark from a 10 point scale.
6. Independent work. Preparation of a fragment of Literature review of your own Master’s Thesis; max. 2 p. At least a part of the 20 scientific papers found should be used. Assessment – mark from a 10 point scale.
7. Independent work. Preparation of a description (fragment) of materials and methods used in your own Master’s Thesis (Research conditions and methodology). Max. volume 1.5 p. Assessment – mark from a 10 point scale.
8. Practical work during lecture. Analysis of tables and figures prepared by another author. Can be organised as group work or assigned individually. After a short time for consideration, the analysis and evaluation of illustrative materials is presented to the whole course (all students). Assessment – passed.

9. Independent work. Preparation of an oral report and practical presentation during lecture. Evaluation of peers’ reports according to criteria. The practical presentation of the paper can only happen during lectures, as there must be listeners who will then evaluate the paper. Assessment – mark from a 10 point scale.

Criteria for Evaluating Learning Outcomes

Works evaluated with pass/fail: work must be completed in accordance with the requirements set in the previous paragraph; in some cases – results presented to group.
Works that get a mark:
1. Essential conformity of the work: conformity to topic, to the submitted list of content, the volume of scientific literature used (fragment of Literature review).
2. Conformity of formatting: headings, indents, the presence and format of references, tables, figures etc.
3. Language conformity: terminology, spelling, grammar.
4. Evaluations of report (the whole group is evaluating every speaker):
• The manner of introduction of oneself;
• Content organisation and development;
• The way the content is delivered;
• Quality of visual materials;
• The observance of time-limit;

• Answers to questions.

Compulsory reading

1. Day R.A., Gastel B. (2006). How to Write & Publish a Scientific Paper. Sixth Edition. New York: Cambridge University Press. 302 p.
2. Sisenis L., Ābele A. (2015). Studiju noslēguma darbu struktūra un noformēšana: metodiskie norādījumi Meža fakultātes studentiem. Jelgava: LLU. [tiešsaiste] [skatīts 18.07.2019.]. Pieejams:
3. Kļaviņš U., Sudārs R., Jankava A., Andersons G., Celms A., Gusta S., Īle U. (sastādītāji) (2017). Studentu darbu noformēšana: metodiskie norādījumi, atkārtots, papildināts izdevums. Jelgava: LLU. [tiešsaiste] [skatīts 18.07.2019.]. Pieejams:

4. Zinātniskā rakstīšana un pētījumu rezultātu izplatīšana (2018). Red. K. Martinsone un A. Pipere. Rīga: Rīgas Stradiņa universitāte. 301 lpp.

Further reading

1. Cargill M., O'Conor P. (2009). Writing Scientific Research Articles: Strategy and Steps.
[s. l.]: A John Wiley&Sons. 165 p.
2. Eko U. (2006). Kā uzrakstīt diplomdarbu. Rīga: SIA Jāņa Rozes apgāds. 314 lpp.
3. Gustavii B. (2006). How to Write and Illustrate a Scientific Paper. New York: Cambridge University Press. 141 p.
4. Mērvienību noteikumi: LR MK noteikumi Nr. 1186. Spēkā ar 29.10.2013. [tiešsaiste] [skatīts 18.06.2019.]. Pieejams:

Periodicals and other sources

1. Instructions to authors. In: LLU Journal “Rural Sustainability Research” [tiešsaiste] [skatīts 18.06.2019.]. Pieejams:


Voluntary study course for master students of LLU study programs. Compulsory for master programs of Forest Faculty and Faculty of Environment and Civil Engineering in 2nd Semester.