How to Write a Research Report
Knowing how to write a research report is an important step towards enhancing your writing skills and academic performance. In fact, research reports are even written in the field, outside the classroom. The main aim of writing research reports is to show your analytical, creative thinking and writing skills. Mastering the art of how to write a research report can as well enable you to effectively craft other academic papers.
A research report refers to a paper that is written to explain a particular study in a way that readers can understand. The study can either be conducted in the lab or field, depending on the subject and purpose. However, the paper has to comprehensively discuss all the processes, tools used, results and implications of the research in the report.
Skills on how to write a research report can be applied across all courses since the writing formats are almost similar. In fact, writing good research reports can also take your oral communication skills to another level. Besides, the skills will also be quite useful later on in your career.
Tips on how to write a research report
Although writing a research report may scare many, it is not different from the usual academic papers like essays, dissertations among others. However, there are certain specific elements of a research paper that must be highlighted in your report so it can serve the intended purpose.
The following tips will guide you on how to write a research report with ease.
Identify a topic
In order for you to write a good research report, it is advisable that you begin by choosing an appropriate topic to cover. It should be manageable, within your capabilities.
An ideal topic should be one that you are interested in, and slightly challenges you. Your attitude towards a given topic will determine the amount of effort and enthusiasm put in writing about it.
Avoid very technical and complicated topics.
Even if the topic that you have chosen looks simple, it is recommended that you do some research to get varied views and adequate information about it. In writing the report, you have to show the readers that you truly understand the topic of study comprehensively.
Primary and secondary sources can be used in obtaining information, but you should always go for reliable ones. Try to get general background information and any other related materials including, interesting facts, quotes and data about the subject of research.
Ensure that you always take notes for easy reference during writing.
Craft a strong thesis
The thesis is the basis of the report and should be clearly outlined before writing. Also called hypothesis, the thesis statement is the main argument that your research will be aiming to prove in the report.
Your thesis should be carefully thought out and portray your specific intentions in the report. It should clearly show the claim that you want to prove and how it will be addressed in the report.
Draft an outline
By stating your position or thesis, you will be able to easily determine the points to write in the report in order to deliver a compelling discussion. With reference to the thesis, select the main points that will be used to explain the study to readers.
These key points should be listed in the outline, including all other examples or evidences that will be used to further illustrate the study.
Your outline should also have the thesis, and show how every section of the report will be handled to conclusion.
It is also important to outline the sources that will be cited in the report so you do not have to keep making references when writing.
Procedures on how to write a research report
A well-crafted research report should vividly tell your readers about the study, the tools used in conducting it, methods applied, its outcomes and interpretation. Basically, a research report should consist of a title, abstract (optional), introduction, theoretical analysis or experimental details, results, conclusions and summary, and references.
Follow the steps outlined below to easily find out how to write a research report.
Include a working title
Start writing the report by indicating your title. This should portray the content and emphasis of the project discussed in the report.
A good title should be short, simple and include essential key words linked to the research.
The abstract should precisely give a description of the topic, its scope, principal findings, and conclusions. It should give your readers the essence of the report so they can decide whether to read it or not. However, there are some reports whereby you do not have to write an abstract, instead, combine it with the introduction.
In this section, you should clearly state the problem and the importance of studying it. Try to give a brief description of the problem, including what has been done about it and objectives of the current research.
You must also vividly reveal the approach that will be pursued in the discussion.
This part should describe how the particular study was conducted. It is where you are required to explain the procedures, techniques, instruments, special precautions among other elements of the research.
The section should comprehensively discuss theoretical and mathematical analysis for proper checking of derivation and numerical results.
The results’ section should give a summary of relevant data, observations and findings. You can simply give a compelling explanation or use equations, tables, charts and other desirable diagrams to present clear and concise outcomes.
This is a crucial section of a research report whereby, you are required to give a logical analysis and interpretation of the results. Discuss the meaning of the results, their relationship with the objectives of the study and how they have solved the problem.
In some instances, the results and discussion sections can both be combined into one.
Conclusions and summary
In case you have not stated the conclusions in the discussion section, you should clearly outline them in a separate part of the report. Here, you should also give any directions to future projects if applicable.
The last part of a research report should summarize the main features of the project, its objectives, findings and conclusions.
All the sources that you have quoted or cited in the report should also be clearly stated at the end. These should be written according to the recommended style for the report.
Examples of Research Reports
Reading sample research reports is also another easier way of knowing how to write a research report. The following are some well-written samples that you can refer to for motivation on how to craft good research papers.
Sample research report
Summary or abstract
‘’The aim of this report was to investigate UniLab staff attitudes to personal mobile phone use in staff and team meetings. A staff survey on attitudes towards the use of mobile phones in the staff/ team meetings was done. The results show that the majority of staff view mobile phone use as a key issue in staff meetings. The report concludes that personal mobile phones are disruptive and should be turned off during meetings. It is recommended that UniLab develops a company policy banning the use of mobile phones except in exceptional occasions.
There has been a massive increase in the use of personal mobile phones over the past five years and there is every indication that this will continue…’’
Read the rest of this sample report here.
Sample APA Research Paper; ‘’The effects of Food Deprivation on Concentration and Perseverance.’’
This study examined the impacts of short term food deprivation on two cognitive abilities- concentration and perseverance. Undergraduate students (N-51) were tested on both a concentration task and a perseverance task after one of the levels of food deprivation: none, 12 hours, or 24 hours. We predicted that food deprivation would impair both concentration scores and perseverance time. Food deprivation had no significant effect on concentration scores, which is consistent with recent research on the effects of food deprivation (Green et al; 1995; Green et al; 1997)…
Simply follow the link to read the whole sample.
Research Report about Code Switching in Sequential Bilingualism
This study examined the code switching of a six-year old Polish learner of English. The speech data was originally collected by Krupa-Kwiatkowska (1997) and consisted of a series of transcripts, of which a set of 14 was chosen. The transcripts were first analyzed using the CLAN program (Computerized Language Analysis Program), with special attention given to the learner’s mean length of utterance (MLU) and his production of long utterances during a period of 16 months. It was hypothesized that the overall linguistic productivity of the child would increase and that with time, he would choose to interact with others in English more frequently…’’
Read the whole sample on this link here.
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