How to Write a Report

Okay, so you’ve got to write a university report, and now you need some help with it. Good news first: in fact, reports are not too complicated. They will not exhaust you like other paper types, so often there is no need to look for a cheap essay writing service where real professionals can help you. If you want to feel more confident, check out this detailed guide to be able to write the best report your professors have ever seen.

We’ll start from the very beginning and define what a report is.

What Is a Report?

In some ways, definitions of reports and essays often overlap, so many people use these two terms interchangeably. Still, a report is more tech and business oriented.

Essays focus on arguments, opinions and reasons, while the central focus of all reports are facts.

Let’s dig deeper and get straight to the point: a report is a document written for a certain audience in a concise, sharp and laconic manner. It tries to define and analyze a particular problem or situation and often contains practical advice for the future course of action.

Once more – a report revolves around facts. So, you should structure it around the relevant data and make it understandable for the reader.

Various schools, organizations, labs and periodicals can have different demands for a report even when its contents are the same. These demands may even depend on your major, classes or teachers. So, before you start writing your report, you should make sure that you know all the specific parameters set for it.

How to Write a Report for University?

The good news for students: reports have a formal, sectioned structure. Each section has a strictly defined function that you need to be aware of to write your paper well.

University Report Writing

Important Note: Different briefs usually require particular sections, so get familiar with the specific requirements and instructions.

Report Abstract: How to Write It?

An abstract section (sometimes known as an Executive Summary) serves to inform potential readers. An abstract is the part that makes them decide if they are interested in reading the whole paper or not. The word count of this part depends on the volume of your work, but it still shouldn’t be longer than a page. A paragraph or two is usually enough.

To write an abstract, you must briefly answer a number of the following questions. Here are the examples of such questions:

  • What was the goal of your research, experiment, or work?
  • What methods did you use to conduct your research?
  • What were the main ideas, discoveries, results and conclusions of your work?
  • Do you have any advice or recommendations for the future course of action?

Answer at least these four questions concisely, and your abstract is done. Then proceed to the next section.

How to Write an Introduction for a Report?

Another question students frequently ask is: “How do I write an introduction for a report?” An introduction (aka context or background) is the part of the text where you should touch upon the reason why you conducted the research, and what your report is about. It is the explanation of reasons and the major questions you tried to answer as well as the general background. An explanatory style and tone are logically the most suitable for the introduction.

Begin the intro with a statement: what question are you trying to answer in a report? Additionally, if it targets a specific audience, mention why it’s useful for them (whether the report should be interesting for students, graduates, specialists, or anyone working in the relevant field).

Mention your starting position and explore the background of a problem. For example, mention the previously conducted research (if there is a need to write a Literature section later, then only provide a brief overview for the introduction). This is the part where you describe the relevant themes and problems and explain why you decided to study the topic in more detail.

Here you can also outline your plan. If testing a certain hypothesis was a part of your goal during the research, you should mention it in the final paragraph of your intro section. Another important thing is to indicate your research context and its background. For instance: “The sample group included people who work as professional full-time programmers. This project is not focused on part-time employees or freelancers.”

Literature Survey

The Literature Survey section (aka Survey of Research) is a general list of publications (authoritative websites, journals, books, magazines, and other papers) that you can use as research materials for your writing. Only papers that are directly relevant to your research should be included in this section.

Explain how you found the materials, and why you decided to use them. Mention the clear research trends you’ve noticed. Group papers from the list by topics and then say something about each topic together with a critical conclusion to each paper. You should show why they are relevant to your research.

Make a conclusion informing the reader about your work and your goals (what you took as a basis, what blind spots you are going to fill and what missing links you found). 

How to Write a Report Methodology?

Report Methodology Writing

Methodology (aka Methods) is the section to describe the process of your research. The point is to explain to your readers how you conducted your research. Informative writing is a must in this text section, as complex, confusing and ambiguous sentences will only irritate your teacher and your reader.

Give a solid statement about how your research has been done. Provide readers with the explanation of your choice: why exactly this method was chosen in the research process (talk about the focus group, quizzes and experiments). Mention the special equipment or techniques used during the research. Specifically mention the bias reduction methods and sample collection methods if they are relevant. If the experiment required other participants, how did you choose them? How many of them took part?  

Shortly, just go through the research you conducted once again, consequently reimagining your steps and including the information you found relevant into this section. There is no doubt you know how your research was conducted. But can your reader see the process clearly through your description?

Write About Findings

“Findings” (e.g. Results or Data) is the section that presents the full results of the research. This section has only one job which is to present the findings of your research as simply and clearly as possible. Use the most effective data formats: text, lists, diagrams, graphs or tables. This section should be replete with figures and statistics.

Important note: before you decide to use a certain graphics format, try to imagine how the reader will perceive it. One format is enough: there is no need to repeat the same data in a text and a diagram, for example. Check if your tables and graphs are properly labeled. Always be sure to include figure titles and explain them in your text as well.

This section is solely about data, clear results and informative words. You can go about interpreting your findings in the next section.

Report Discussion

This section is probably the longest. And it is definitely worth writing and rereading it thoroughly. This is the part that ties the whole paper together, shows the way your data correlates with your intro and the overall research process as well as the utilized literature. A discursive style of writing is suitable here, as you cannot just list your data in bullet points here. You must explain how the data proves the result, using previous research evidence to support your conclusions.

This is the section where you write about the problems that were addressed during the research phase (like if your findings were not what you expected, the basic data was hard to find and compile, or the chosen methods were changed and improved). Write how you overcame all the obstacles as well.

Report Discussion Writing

How to Write a Conclusion for a Report?

This is the last part of the article which tells you how to write a conclusion for a report.

The conclusion is a very short section and does not contain any new information (evidence, arguments, descriptions, etc.) at all. Just summarize the milestones and the main ideas and make sure they correlate with the original brief and introduction.

Additional things to write in this report section include:

  • Suggestions for the future course of action
  • Further research recommendations

Does report writing still look difficult to you after reading this article? I don’t think so.

Still, there is another question that is probably bothering you if you are not a university student yet…

How to Write a Report for College?

There’s good news again for you too! College writing is not much different from graduate school writing. So, if you need to know how to write a report for college, you can use this guide as well. Just make sure you checked the specific requirements of your college. Please note that college papers are usually simpler than graduate papers, so there is no need to make things more complicated.

Good luck with writing excellent reports!

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