Todd, Lindsey, and I are in the middle of debating what the sections of a research study writeup are supposed to do. My version:

Introduction: "You know this giant hulking beast that we all acknowledge is a Very Important Problem Or Question In Our Field? Well, I'm solving it. Er. A very small chunk of it. Smaller. Um... smaller... and.... and... narrowing down on my incredibly tiny... little... specific... contribution... AHA! Yes. Yes, this is my research question."

Lit review: "It's dangerous to go alone! Take this!" In other words, what do you need to know as background before you can understand the work I did? I think of this section as putting tools into the reader's backpack... or, if I want a cooler mental image, the "I know Kung Fu" moment from the Matrix.

(Image description: screenshot from the Legend of Zelda, where the Old Man gives Link a sword and says "It's dangerous to go alone! Take this!")

(Image description: GIF from the Matrix, where Neo opens his eyes after a data-loading session and says "I know Kung Fu," and Morpheus replies "Show me.")

Methods: "Let me tell you what I did."

Results: I MADE A THING!

Discussion: So what?

I would also like to state, for the record, that I am fighting the temptation to open a subsection of my lit review with BuzzFeed-style headers.

  • "Here are 5 great tools for understanding complex human narratives. #3 will blow your mind."
  • "She thought she had successfully catalogued all possible perspectives on the topic from a neutral point of view. You won't believe what happens next."