1 Historical review: Some topics are better understood if a brief historical review of the topic is presented to lead into the discussion of the moment. Such topics might include "a biographical sketch of a war hero," "an upcoming execution of a convicted criminal," or "drugs and the younger generation." Obviously there are many, many more topics that could be introduced by reviewing the history of the topic before the writer gets down to the nitty gritty of his paper. It is important that the historical review be brief so that it does not take over the paper.
It is worth noting that the data you’re interested in may not actually be available, and you may decide to collect it yourself. There are a number of excellent texts on quantitative methods for natural and social scientists (including statistics), which we have included at the end of this page. We highly recommend taking courses in quantitative research methods if you plan on collecting your own data. For our purposes, however, we will assume that you are interested in querying existing databases in order to find scientific and quantitative data that is relevant to your research question.