Research Report

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WRITING CENTRE

LEARNING GUIDE

Writing a Research Report
As a university student you may be required to write a variety of is often used in the sciences, engineering and psychology. Here reports for assessment purposes. A research report is one type that your aim is to write clearly and concisely about your research topic so that the reader can easily understand the purpose and results of your research. Structure

You must carefully read your course information details to ensure that you comply with what the lecturer/tutor stipulates. A report is typically made up of three main divisions: (1) preliminary, (2) body and (3) supplementary. Each of the sections contains a different kind of content. Refer to the Tables below:

Table 1: Divisions and sections of a report
Broad Divisions (1) Preliminary material Individual Sections Title of Report Table of Contents

(not always required) Abstract/Synopsis Introduction Literature Review Methodology Results Discussion

(sometimes included in the Introduction) (2) Body of report

Conclusion

Recommendations (3) Supplementary material

(sometimes included in the Conclusion) References or Bibliography Appendices

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Table 2: Content of individual sections
Individual Sections Title of Report Table of Contents (not always required) Abstract/Synopsis Introduction Literature Review Methodology Results Discussion Conclusion Recommendations Content of Each Section about

Concise heading indicating what the report is List of major sections and headings with page numbers Concise summary of main findings Why and what you researched Other relevant research in this area What you did and how you did it What you found Relevance of your results, how it fits with other research in the area Summary of results/findings findings

(sometimes included in the Introduction)

(sometimes included in the Conclusion) References or Bibliography Appendices STEP 1

What needs to be done as a result of your All references used in your report or referred to for background information report Any additional material which will add to your

ANALYSE THE TASK

As with any assignment task, you must first analyse what is expected of you. This involves find the following questions useful when analysing the task:  What is the purpose of the report?

careful reading of the assignment task as outlined in your course information book. You may

 Who is the audience for the report?  What is the word limit?

(Analysing, persuading or reporting on an investigation)

 What is the topic of the report?

(Most times the word limit only includes the body of the report) (The topic may be specified by the lecturer/other times you will have a choice)

 What is the expected format of the report? STEP 2

DEVELOP A ROUGH PLAN

Use the section headings (outlined above) to assist with your rough plan. Write a thesis about the topic in the relevant sections.

statement that clarifies the overall purpose of your report. Jot down anything you already know

2

Learning Guide © 2008 The University of Adelaide

STEP 3

DO THE RESEARCH

Steps 1 and 2 will guide your research for this report. You may need to report on other and rough plan while you are doing your research to ensure that you remain on track.

research on a particular topic or do some research of your own. Keep referring to your analysis

Give yourself plenty of time for this step, as the research phase of your work will usually take bibliographic details for all of the material you may later use in your report. STEP 4

the most time of any step in producing your report. Also, ensure you keep correct

DRAFT THE BODY OF YOUR REPORT  Introduction - The purpose of your report. The thesis statement will be useful...
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