How to Write a Research Report
If you are interested in learning how to write a research report, this little piece of information will come in handy and help you to compile a good research report. A research report is usually based on some kind of practical work through reading or surveying different organizations or industrial/workplace situations. A research report generally involves a presentation of an investigation, analysis of relevant data or some particular issues, making recommendations and proposals.
One can find writing a report really frustrating; hard to guess what to start with. Thus, if you want to write a good and well-structured research report, do it step by step following the below-presented tips.
Identify the purpose of the research (create a research question)
First of all, you should identify your audience: will it be lecturers, supervisors, companies, organizations, or staff. Background information that you will have to include will depend on the knowledge of your audience.
Collect and organize information
There can be distinguished two main sources of information:
- Reading (theoretical material);
- The research itself through experiments, data collection (interviews, questionnaires, observation, surveys).
Your main task here is to organize the data logically. Keep in mind that you should record all the bibliographic data of your reading material when gathering the information.
Write an outline
Before you start writing your report, you need to prepare a detailed plan (an outline) of your actions on research.
Creating an outline, mind the following:
All data in a report has to be well-organized in a logical order. Support your key ideas with some important facts and examples. It is better, to begin with, the most essential information and gradually proceed with less significant facts.
Try to use headings and possible subheadings to structure your data and make important information more prominent. All sections in long reports can be numbered.
Write the report
- Write a draft of your report based on your outline.
- Donrsquo;t try to make the form and language perfect from the beginning, but try to make all the ideas coherent and logical.
- Then work on redrafting and editing. Make sure all sections consist of the required information; suitable headings are used; all ideas are logically connected, and delete any useless information.
- You should always write in a formal academic style:
A formal objective style should be used.
Personal pronouns should be avoided.
A research report should contain such sections:
Table of contents
Abstract which serves to:
-summarize the report;
-outline the purpose, research methods, findings, main conclusions, and recommendations.
It is written using the past tense.
Introduction used for:
-Giving an outline of the context, background, and purposes.
-Defining the terminology and setting limits of the research.
-Serves to explain the way the research was conducted and to give an outline of the way the data was gathered.
-Findings/Results can be correlated.
-For interpreting and evaluating the results.
-To analyze results.
-Where you should briefly describe your findings.
-Making suggestions for changes and finding solutions to the issues raised.
-Additional information attached (e.g. glossary, questionnaires, surveys, etc.)
There exist a great variety of reports, which include scientific, business, and research reports.
The basic steps for writing all of them are pretty much the same.
Step 1: Deciding on Terms of references
For deciding on the terms of references for the report, you should read all instructions and other relevant information, and then outline the main objective of the report.
Step 2: Deciding on the procedure
Here you need to plan all the actions of your investigation and the way of writing the report.
Step 3: Gathering data
Your next step is to find the needed information for the report. To take this step you will have to read some material, make observations of a certain group of people or their activities, and/or question people.
Step 4: Deciding on the structure
Reports of all kinds usually have a similar structure, but some aspects may be different.
Step 5: Drafting the first part of the report
As soon as you decide on the structure, put down the headings and begin to fill in the gaps between the headings with all the gathered information. In such a way, you will make up a rough draft of your future report.
Step 6: Analyzing your findings and drawing conclusions
The conclusion is a vital part of your report in which you present the analysis of your findings and their interpretation.
Step 7: Making recommendations
By making recommendations is meant presenting the solutions to the upcoming issues due to some negative impacts.
Step 8: Drafting the executive summary and table of contents
There are also reports which require executive summaries and/or lists of contents. Although these two parts are supposed to appear at the beginning of your report, you can write them until you are done with the whole report.
Executive summaries are usually about 100 words in length. They introduce the readers to the content of the report and summarize all possible recommendations to presented issues.
Step 9: Compiling a reference list
A reference list consists of all the sources referred to in your report and is written according to APA referencing format.
Now you know all about how to write a research report. Good luck with devising your own research reports!