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The research report

Research reports are the most common type of report. This section explores a research report and outlines the requirements of the different sections. Although this concentrates on research reports, many of the sections are applicable to other types of reports.

The sample report used in this section is only a short report modelling the different sections. You will need to check with your teacher / lecturer what the expected lengths of the various sections should be as well as the expected formats and headings to be used in your report.

All content is based on a sample report. Download the full sample report below.

Research report (pdf)

Standard research report sections

Section Key features Check list
Title page
  • Title of report
  • Name of author / student
  • Organisation / course
  • Date
 
Table of contents
  • Lists the content of the report
  • Page numbers
 
Executive summary (Abstract)
  • Summarises the whole report in a logical order
  • Outlines purpose, research methods, findings, conclusions & recommendations
  • Written last mainly in past tense
  • Should be no more than one page
  • Are the aims of the purpose of the research clearly stated?
  • Are the results summarised?
  • Are the conclusions & recommendations outlined?
Introduction
  • Outlines context, background & purpose
  • Defines terms & sets limits of the research
  • Is the purpose of the research clearly stated?
  • Is the context & background explained?
  • Are the limits of the study outlined?
  • Are the important concepts & terms defined?
Method
  • Explains the research methodology and methods used
  • In scientific reports, this would detail the experimental procedures
  • Are the research techniques / methods clearly outlined?
Results / findings
  • Presents the findings / results
  • Can use visual data, eg graphs, tables etc
  • Facts only - no interpretation
  • Are the results clearly summarised / stated?
  • Is visual data used where appropriate?
Discussion
  • Interprets & evaluates results
  • Analyses results — draws together
  • Are the results explained & interpreted?
  • Are the results linked to other similar research & to each other?
Conclusion
  • Brief summary of findings
  • Are the results summarised?
Recommendations
  • Suggest suitable changes / solutions
  • Action plan for recommendations if required
  • Do the recommendations suggest possible solutions / actions / pathways etc
Glossary
  • List of terms, eg acronyms used
 
References or bibliography
  • List of all cited references
 
Appendix
  • Attachments, eg surveys, questionnaires etc
 

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Executive summary

 

 

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