Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Basics of Report Writing

Structure of a report

The information in the report has to be organised in the best possible way for the reader to understand the issue being investigated, analysis of the findings and recommendations or implications that relate directly to the findings.

Given below are the main sections of a standard report. Click on each section heading to learn more about it.

  • Tells the reader what the report is about
  • Short, catchy and informative

The title page should also have the name of the person who authored the report and the date of completion of the report.

  • Briefly summarizes the report, the process of research and final conclusions
  • Provides a quick overview of the report and describes the main highlights
  • Short, usually not more than half a page in length

You can write the abstract later, after writing the other sections and you know the key points to draw out from these sections. Abstracts allow readers who may be interested in the report to decide whether it is relevant to their purposes.

  • Has headings and subheadings that show the reader where the various sections of the report are located
  • Written on a separate page
  • Includes the page numbers of each section
  • Discusses the background and sets the context
  • purpose
  • Introduces the topic, significance of the problem, and the purpose of research
  • Gives the scope ie shows what it includes and excludes

The introduction lays the foundation for understanding the research problem and should be written in a way that leads the reader from the general subject area of the topic to the particular topic of research.

  • Helps to gain an understanding of the existing research in that topic
  • To develop on your own ideas and build your ideas based on the existing knowledge
  • Prevents duplication of the research done by others

Search the existing literature for information. Identify the data pertinent to your topic. Review, extract and summarise the information. Analyse how your study relates to the available literature. Keep a record of the source details of any information you want to use in your report so that you can reference them accurately. Refer the Research101: Literature Review guide to find out more about literature review.

Methodology is the approach that you take to gather data and arrive at the recommendation. Choose a method appropriate for the research topic and explain it in detail. Some examples of the different methods that you can use to gather data are given below. The data collected provides evidence to build your arguments. Collect data, integrate the findings and perspectives from different studies and add your own analysis of its feasibility.

  • Literature study
    • Explore the literature/news/internet sources to know the topic in depth.
  • Case study
    • An in-depth, detailed examination of specific cases within a real-world context.
    • Enables you to examine the data within a specific context.
  • Survey
    • Gather data from a predefined group of respondents by asking relevant questions
    • Can be conducted in person or online
  • Site Visit
    • Analyse the technology/policy approaches by visiting the required sites
    • Make a detailed report on its features and your understanding of it
  • Present the summary of the data gathered
  • Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages
  • Discuss your analysis and interpretations of it
  • Come up with a range of alternatives or responses to the problems or situations
  • Provide justifications
  • Propose specific actions based on the alternatives
  • Describe the result or improvement it would achieve
  • Explain how it will be implemented

Recommendations should have an innovative approach and should be feasible. It should make a significant difference in solving the issue under discussion.

  • Summarise the significance and outcome of the study
  • Highlight the key points
  • Explain any limitations
  • List the sources you have referred to in your writing
  • Use the recommended citation style consistently in your report

Include any material relating to the report and research that does not fit in the body of the report, in the appendix. For example, you may include survey questionnaire and results in the appendix.