Research reports show the results of your investigations. Through research reports, your teachers try to evaluate and grade your research efforts and skills. However, conducting great research is not enough for writing a great research paper. Just as some beautiful people simply look ugly in photos, some truly good research can also look miserable judging by the corresponding report. To avoid this, you might want to take a closer look at what is necessary for writing high quality reports.
Research report: what to include
The main goals of a good report are to show the great job you have done and persuade your instructors that your findings are correct and useful. To make it more convincing, you should include all of the following sections in your report:
- title page;
- table of contents (or outline) (the difference is that a table of contents has page numbers, while an outline does not have them);
- abstract (written after the rest of the paper; briefly summarizes research methods and findings, so that busy readers could read only the abstract and save their time).
- Main body:
- introduction (state the research problem, explain why it is significant, include research questions, hypotheses and a thesis statement);
- literature review (sometimes included in the introduction; overviews existing opinions and approaches to solving the problem);
- methodology (research method, design and sampling);
- results (briefly discuss what you found out – only figures and statistical data);
- discussion (analyze your main findings and interpret them);
- conclusion (draw a logical conclusion – briefly repeat your main points and answer your research questions);
- recommendations (sometimes included in conclusion; these are your suggestions as to the application of the findings in practice and directions for further research).
- reference list (consider the requirements of your citation style; double check that all entries in the reference list have corresponding in-text citations in the body of your report);
- appendices (graphs, tables, pictures, transcripts etc., which were not included in the main body of your research project report).
Research report format
If you address all of the points discussed above, the content of your report will be good, but you should also pay attention to the format to make it perfect. Here are some valuable suggestions:
- start a new paragraph to separate different ideas (except in the abstract, where you can state several related ideas in the same paragraph);
- use headings and subheadings for different sections (if you decide to use subheadings, make certain to use more than 1 subheading for 1 heading; otherwise, do not use subheadings at all for that heading);
- do not write the title of a (sub)heading at the bottom of the page if the main text does not fit on the same page;
- do not divide a table or a figure across two pages or sections;
- use double spacing between paragraphs;
- number pages consecutively.
Research report: constructions to use
Now, as you know all the niceties of report structure and format, your paper looks simply amazing. However, here is a pleasant bonus for you. Would you like to improve your skills in technical writing? Feel free to use some of these constructions in your research review or report:
- This report examines the issue of…
- It can be clearly seen from the results that…
- These findings are (not) consistent with other studies.
- It is recommended that…
- The objective was to determine…
- It has been hypothesized that…
- In this relation…
- The present paper tries to fill the existing gap…
- This study identified a number of unique…
- The results shed light on the reasons…
That was all you needed to know to write great reports. Use this quick guide to improve your papers and convince everyone that your research is as good as your report seems to be.