Writing a research report A research report can be based on practical work, research by reading or a study of an organisation or industrial/workplace situation.
1. Preparing Identify the purpose/the aims of the research/research question. Identify the audience.– lecturer/supervisor/company/organization management/staff. The amount of background included will vary depending on the knowledge of the “audience”.
2. Collecting and organising information
There are two main sources of information depending on the research task:
1. Reading — theory and other research
2. Research — experiments, data collection ‐ questionnaires, surveys, observation, interviews.
Organise and collate the information in a logical order. Make sure you record the bibliographic information of your reading as you go along. See Quick Tips on mind mapping techniques.
3. Planning Before writing the report, prepare a detailed plan in outline form. Consider the following: Logical organisation Information in a report must be organized logically. Communicate the main ideas followed by supporting details and examples. Start with the more important or significant information and move on to the least important information. Headings Use headings and suitable sub headings to clearly show the different sections. In longer reports the sections should be numbered.
4. Writing the report
1. Draft the report from your detailed plan.
2. Do not worry too much about the final form and language, but rather on presenting the ideas coherently and logically.
3. Redraft and edit. Check that sections contain the required information and use suitable headings, check ideas flow in a logical order and remove any unnecessary information.
4. Write in an academic style and tone.
• Use a formal objective style.
• Generally avoid personal pronouns; however, some reports based on your own field experience or work placement can be reflective the first person can be used. For example, “I observed..”. If in doubt about this, check with the lecturer.