Writing about your research topic involves integrating past studies that are relevant to your own. You have two main options for this. You can choose to focus on:
Each of these choices influence what your reader notices.
One reason to focus on ‘what’ is to make the scope of the research clear. This helps your reader identify the broader research area which you can then narrow down to your own research area.
Above, the writer moves from the broad research area of candy consumption and gradually narrows to their own specific research area. The writer uses referencing to make clear who has done the research.
One reason why you might focus on who is to identify influential researchers, including those who have made original, significant or recent research contributions.
You can show that different researchers have arrived at contrasting findings, and you can select significant and supporting studies to develop your argument.
Early drafts can sometimes be hard to read because too much focus on ‘who’ makes the writing disjointed.
If you focus too much on ‘who’, your reader might not be able to follow what you are writing about and what your argument is.