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Research Reports: Definition and How to Write Them
Reports are usually spread across a vast horizon of topics but are focused on communicating information about a particular topic and a niche target market. The primary motive of research reports is to convey integral details about a study for marketers to consider while designing new strategies.
Certain events, facts, and other information based on incidents need to be relayed to the people in charge, and creating research reports is the most effective communication tool. Ideal research reports are extremely accurate in the offered information with a clear objective and conclusion. These reports should have a clean and structured format to relay information effectively.
What are Research Reports?
Research reports are recorded data prepared by researchers or statisticians after analyzing the information gathered by conducting organized research, typically in the form of surveys or qualitative methods .
A research report is a reliable source to recount details about a conducted research. It is most often considered to be a true testimony of all the work done to garner specificities of research.
The various sections of a research report are:
- Implemented Methods
- Results based on Analysis
Learn more: Quantitative Research
Components of Research Reports
Research is imperative for launching a new product/service or a new feature. The markets today are extremely volatile and competitive due to new entrants every day who may or may not provide effective products. An organization needs to make the right decisions at the right time to be relevant in such a market with updated products that suffice customer demands.
The details of a research report may change with the purpose of research but the main components of a report will remain constant. The research approach of the market researcher also influences the style of writing reports. Here are seven main components of a productive research report:
- Research Report Summary: The entire objective along with the overview of research are to be included in a summary which is a couple of paragraphs in length. All the multiple components of the research are explained in brief under the report summary. It should be interesting enough to capture all the key elements of the report.
- Research Introduction: There always is a primary goal that the researcher is trying to achieve through a report. In the introduction section, he/she can cover answers related to this goal and establish a thesis which will be included to strive and answer it in detail. This section should answer an integral question: “What is the current situation of the goal?”. After the research design was conducted, did the organization conclude the goal successfully or they are still a work in progress – provide such details in the introduction part of the research report.
- Research Methodology: This is the most important section of the report where all the important information lies. The readers can gain data for the topic along with analyzing the quality of provided content and the research can also be approved by other market researchers . Thus, this section needs to be highly informative with each aspect of research discussed in detail. Information needs to be expressed in chronological order according to its priority and importance. Researchers should include references in case they gained information from existing techniques.
- Research Results: A short description of the results along with calculations conducted to achieve the goal will form this section of results. Usually, the exposition after data analysis is carried out in the discussion part of the report.
Learn more: Quantitative Data
- Research Discussion: The results are discussed in extreme detail in this section along with a comparative analysis of reports that could probably exist in the same domain. Any abnormality uncovered during research will be deliberated in the discussion section. While writing research reports, the researcher will have to connect the dots on how the results will be applicable in the real world.
- Research References and Conclusion: Conclude all the research findings along with mentioning each and every author, article or any content piece from where references were taken.
Learn more: Qualitative Observation
15 Tips for Writing Research Reports
Writing research reports in the manner can lead to all the efforts going down the drain. Here are 15 tips for writing impactful research reports:
- Prepare the context before starting to write and start from the basics: This was always taught to us in school – be well-prepared before taking a plunge into new topics. The order of survey questions might not be the ideal or most effective order for writing research reports. The idea is to start with a broader topic and work towards a more specific one and focus on a conclusion or support, which a research should support with the facts. The most difficult thing to do in reporting, without a doubt is to start. Start with the title, the introduction, then document the first discoveries and continue from that. Once the marketers have the information well documented, they can write a general conclusion.
- Keep the target audience in mind while selecting a format that is clear, logical and obvious to them: Will the research reports be presented to decision makers or other researchers? What are the general perceptions around that topic? This requires more care and diligence. A researcher will need a significant amount of information to start writing the research report. Be consistent with the wording, the numbering of the annexes and so on. Follow the approved format of the company for the delivery of research reports and demonstrate the integrity of the project with the objectives of the company.
- Have a clear research objective: A researcher should read the entire proposal again, and make sure that the data they provide contributes to the objectives that were raised from the beginning. Remember that speculations are for conversations, not for research reports, if a researcher speculates, they directly question their own research.
- Establish a working model: Each study must have an internal logic, which will have to be established in the report and in the evidence. The researchers’ worst nightmare is to be required to write research reports and realize that key questions were not included.
Learn more: Quantitative Observation
- Gather all the information about the research topic. Who are the competitors of our customers? Talk to other researchers who have studied the subject of research, know the language of the industry. Misuse of the terms can discourage the readers of research reports from reading further.
- Read aloud while writing. While reading the report, if the researcher hears something inappropriate, for example, if they stumble over the words when reading them, surely the reader will too. If the researcher can’t put an idea in a single sentence, then it is very long and they must change it so that the idea is clear to everyone.
- Check grammar and spelling. Without a doubt, good practices help to understand the report. Use verbs in the present tense. Consider using the present tense, which makes the results sound more immediate. Find new words and other ways of saying things. Have fun with the language whenever possible.
- Discuss only the discoveries that are significant. If some data are not really significant, do not mention them. Remember that not everything is truly important or essential within research reports.
Learn more: Qualitative Data
- Try and stick to the survey questions. For example, do not say that the people surveyed “were worried” about an research issue , when there are different degrees of concern.
- The graphs must be clear enough so that they understand themselves. Do not let graphs lead the reader to make mistakes: give them a title, include the indications, the size of the sample, and the correct wording of the question.
- Be clear with messages. A researcher should always write every section of the report with an accuracy of details and language.
- Be creative with titles – Particularly in segmentation studies choose names “that give life to research”. Such names can survive for a long time after the initial investigation.
- Create an effective conclusion: The conclusion in the research reports is the most difficult to write, but it is an incredible opportunity to excel. Make a precise summary. Sometimes it helps to start the conclusion with something specific, then it describes the most important part of the study, and finally, it provides the implications of the conclusions.
- Get a couple more pair of eyes to read the report. Writers have trouble detecting their own mistakes. But they are responsible for what is presented. Ensure it has been approved by colleagues or friends before sending the find draft out.
Learn more: Market Research and Analysis
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- Research Report: Definition, Types + [Writing Guide]
One of the reasons for carrying out research is to add to the existing body of knowledge. Therefore, when conducting research, you need to document your processes and findings in a research report.
With a research report, it is easy to outline the findings of your systematic investigation and any gaps needing further inquiry. Knowing how to create a detailed research report will prove useful when you need to conduct research.
What is a Research Report?
A research report is a well-crafted document that outlines the processes, data, and findings of a systematic investigation. It is an important document that serves as a first-hand account of the research process, and it is typically considered an objective and accurate source of information.
In many ways, a research report can be considered as a summary of the research process that clearly highlights findings, recommendations, and other important details. Reading a well-written research report should provide you with all the information you need about the core areas of the research process.
Features of a Research Report
So how do you recognize a research report when you see one? Here are some of the basic features that define a research report.
- It is a detailed presentation of research processes and findings, and it usually includes tables and graphs.
- It is written in a formal language.
- A research report is usually written in the third person.
- It is informative and based on first-hand verifiable information.
- It is formally structured with headings, sections, and bullet points.
- It always includes recommendations for future actions.
Types of Research Report
The research report is classified based on two things; nature of research and target audience.
Nature of Research
- Qualitative Research Report
This is the type of report written for qualitative research . It outlines the methods, processes, and findings of a qualitative method of systematic investigation. In educational research, a qualitative research report provides an opportunity for one to apply his or her knowledge and develop skills in planning and executing qualitative research projects.
A qualitative research report is usually descriptive in nature. Hence, in addition to presenting details of the research process, you must also create a descriptive narrative of the information.
- Quantitative Research Report
A quantitative research report is a type of research report that is written for quantitative research. Quantitative research is a type of systematic investigation that pays attention to numerical or statistical values in a bid to find answers to research questions.
In this type of research report, the researcher presents quantitative data to support the research process and findings. Unlike a qualitative research report that is mainly descriptive, a quantitative research report works with numbers; that is, it is numerical in nature.
Also, a research report can be said to be technical or popular based on the target audience. If you’re dealing with a general audience, you would need to present a popular research report, and if you’re dealing with a specialized audience, you would submit a technical report.
- Technical Research Report
A technical research report is a detailed document that you present after carrying out industry-based research. This report is highly specialized because it provides information for a technical audience; that is, individuals with above-average knowledge in the field of study.
In a technical research report, the researcher is expected to provide specific information about the research process, including statistical analyses and sampling methods. Also, the use of language is highly specialized and filled with jargon.
Examples of technical research reports include legal and medical research reports.
- Popular Research Report
A popular research report is one for a general audience; that is, for individuals who do not necessarily have any knowledge in the field of study. A popular research report aims to make information accessible to everyone.
It is written in very simple language, which makes it easy to understand the findings and recommendations. Examples of popular research reports are the information contained in newspapers and magazines.
Importance of a Research Report
- Knowledge Transfer: As already stated above, one of the reasons for carrying out research is to contribute to the existing body of knowledge, and this is made possible with a research report. A research report serves as a means to effectively communicate the findings of a systematic investigation to all and sundry.
- Identification of Knowledge Gaps: With a research report, you’d be able to identify knowledge gaps for further inquiry. A research report shows what has been done while hinting at other areas needing systematic investigation.
- In market research, a research report would help you understand the market needs and peculiarities at a glance.
- A research report allows you to present information in a precise and concise manner.
- It is time-efficient and practical because, in a research report, you do not have to spend time detailing the findings of your research work in person. You can easily send out the report via email and have stakeholders look at it.
Guide to Writing a Research Report
A lot of detail goes into writing a research report, and getting familiar with the different requirements would help you create the ideal research report. A research report is usually broken down into multiple sections, which allows for a concise presentation of information.
Structure and Example of a Research Report
This is the title of your systematic investigation. Your title should be concise and point to the aims, objectives, and findings of a research report.
- Table of Contents
This is like a compass that makes it easier for readers to navigate the research report.
An abstract is an overview that highlights all important aspects of the research including the research method, data collection process, and research findings. Think of an abstract as a summary of your research report that presents pertinent information in a concise manner.
An abstract is always brief; typically 100-150 words and goes straight to the point. The focus of your research abstract should be the 5Ws and 1H format – What, Where, Why, When, Who and How.
Here, the researcher highlights the aims and objectives of the systematic investigation as well as the problem which the systematic investigation sets out to solve. When writing the report introduction, it is also essential to indicate whether the purposes of the research were achieved or would require more work.
In the introduction section, the researcher specifies the research problem and also outlines the significance of the systematic investigation. Also, the researcher is expected to outline any jargons and terminologies that are contained in the research.
- Literature Review
A literature review is a written survey of existing knowledge in the field of study. In other words, it is the section where you provide an overview and analysis of different research works that are relevant to your systematic investigation.
It highlights existing research knowledge and areas needing further investigation, which your research has sought to fill. At this stage, you can also hint at your research hypothesis and its possible implications for the existing body of knowledge in your field of study.
- An Account of Investigation
This is a detailed account of the research process, including the methodology, sample, and research subjects. Here, you are expected to provide in-depth information on the research process including the data collection and analysis procedures.
In a quantitative research report, you’d need to provide information surveys, questionnaires and other quantitative data collection methods used in your research. In a qualitative research report, you are expected to describe the qualitative data collection methods used in your research including interviews and focus groups.
In this section, you are expected to present the results of the systematic investigation.
This section further explains the findings of the research, earlier outlined. Here, you are expected to present a justification for each outcome and show whether the results are in line with your hypotheses or if other research studies have come up with similar results.
This is a summary of all the information in the report. It also outlines the significance of the entire study.
- References and Appendices
This section contains a list of all the primary and secondary research sources.
Tips for Writing a Research Report
- Define the Context for the Report
As is obtainable when writing an essay, defining the context for your research report would help you create a detailed yet concise document. This is why you need to create an outline before writing so that you do not miss out on anything.
- Define your Audience
Writing with your audience in mind is essential as it determines the tone of the report. If you’re writing for a general audience, you would want to present the information in a simple and relatable manner. For a specialized audience, you would need to make use of technical and field-specific terms.
- Include Significant Findings
The idea of a research report is to present some sort of abridged version of your systematic investigation. In your report, you should exclude irrelevant information while highlighting only important data and findings.
- Include Illustrations
Your research report should include illustrations and other visual representations of your data. Graphs, pie charts, and relevant images lend additional credibility to your systematic investigation.
- Choose the Right Title
A good research report title is brief, precise, and contains keywords from your research. It should provide a clear idea of your systematic investigation so that readers can grasp the entire focus of your research from the title.
- Proofread the Report
Before publishing the document, ensure that you give it a second look to authenticate the information. If you can, get someone else to go through the report, too, and you can also run it through proofreading and editing software.
How to Gather Research Data for Your Report
- Understand the Problem
Every research aims at solving a specific problem or set of problems, and this should be at the back of your mind when writing your research report. Understanding the problem would help you to filter the information you have and include only important data in your report.
- Know what your report seeks to achieve
This is somewhat similar to the point above because, in some way, the aim of your research report is intertwined with the objectives of your systematic investigation. Identifying the primary purpose of writing a research report would help you to identify and present the required information accordingly.
- Identify your audience
Knowing your target audience plays a crucial role in data collection for a research report. If your research report is specifically for an organization, you would want to present industry-specific information or show how the research findings are relevant to the work that the company does.
- Create Surveys/Questionnaires
A survey is a research method that is used to gather data from a specific group of people through a set of questions. It can be either quantitative or qualitative.
A survey is usually made up of structured questions, and it can be administered online or offline. However, an online survey is a more effective method of research data collection because it helps you save time and gather data with ease.
You can seamlessly create an online questionnaire for your research on Formplus . With the multiple sharing options available in the builder, you would be able to administer your survey to respondents in little or no time.
Formplus also has a report summary too l that you can use to create custom visual reports for your research.
Step-by-step guide on how to create an online questionnaire using Formplus
- Sign into Formplus
In the Formplus builder, you can easily create different online questionnaires for your research by dragging and dropping preferred fields into your form. To access the Formplus builder, you will need to create an account on Formplus.
Once you do this, sign in to your account and click on Create new form to begin.
- Edit Form Title : Click on the field provided to input your form title, for example, “Research Questionnaire.”
- Edit Form : Click on the edit icon to edit the form.
- Add Fields : Drag and drop preferred form fields into your form in the Formplus builder inputs column. There are several field input options for questionnaires in the Formplus builder.
- Edit fields
- Click on “Save”
- Form Customization: With the form customization options in the form builder, you can easily change the outlook of your form and make it more unique and personalized. Formplus allows you to change your form theme, add background images, and even change the font according to your needs.
- Multiple Sharing Options: Formplus offers various form-sharing options, which enables you to share your questionnaire with respondents easily. You can use the direct social media sharing buttons to share your form link to your organization’s social media pages. You can also send out your survey form as email invitations to your research subjects too. If you wish, you can share your form’s QR code or embed it on your organization’s website for easy access.
Always remember that a research report is just as important as the actual systematic investigation because it plays a vital role in communicating research findings to everyone else. This is why you must take care to create a concise document summarizing the process of conducting any research.
In this article, we’ve outlined essential tips to help you create a research report. When writing your report, you should always have the audience at the back of your mind, as this would set the tone for the document.
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Research Report: Definition
The primary objective of a research report is to communicate the results of a research study to a wider audience, including other researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. Research reports play a crucial role in advancing knowledge and understanding in various fields of study. They provide a detailed and accurate account of the research process and outcomes, and they serve as a reference source for future research.
The structure of a research report typically follows a standard format. The introduction sets the context and background for the research and outlines the research questions or objectives. The literature review provides an overview of existing research on the topic and identifies gaps in the literature that the research aims to address. The methodology section describes the research design and methods used to collect and analyze data. The results section presents the findings of the study, often using tables, charts, and graphs. The discussion section interprets and contextualizes the findings and compares them to previous research. Finally, the conclusion summarizes the key findings and implications of the research, highlighting any limitations and recommendations for future research.
A research report can take various forms, depending on the field of study and the research question. For example, it may be a quantitative or qualitative report, a literature review report, or a case study report. A research report should be clear, concise, and objective regardless of the form.
Research reports are essential for various reasons. First, they provide a detailed and accurate account of the research process and outcomes, which can inform policy and practice in various settings. Second, research reports contribute to the development of knowledge and understanding in a particular field or discipline. They provide a reference source for other researchers in the field, and they can inspire new research questions and directions. Finally, research reports are a crucial component of academic and professional careers. They demonstrate research skills, expertise, and contributions to the field.
Tips for writing an excellent research report
Writing a research report can be a challenging task, but it is a crucial component of academic and professional research. An excellent research report should be clear, concise, and well-structured, with a focus on presenting accurate and objective findings. Here are some tips for writing an excellent research report:
- Start with a clear research question: A good research report starts with a clear and focused research question. The question should be specific and relevant to the field of study, and it should guide the research design, methodology, and analysis.
- Develop a strong methodology: The methodology section is the backbone of a research report. It should provide a clear and detailed description of the research design, sampling strategy, data collection and analysis procedures, and any ethical considerations.
- Use clear and concise language: The language used in a research report should be clear, concise, and jargon-free. Avoid using complex sentences and technical terms that may be difficult for readers to understand.
- Structure the report logically: A research report should be well-structured and follow a logical sequence of sections, such as an introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. Each section should be clearly labeled and should flow smoothly into the next.
- Present data accurately and effectively: The results section should present data accurately and effectively, using tables, graphs, and charts where appropriate. The data should be clearly labeled and easy to read, and the analysis should be presented in a way that is easy to understand.
- Provide a thorough discussion of findings: The discussion section should provide a thorough and critical analysis of the findings, comparing them to previous research and discussing their implications for the field. The discussion should also highlight any limitations of the study and suggest avenues for future research.
- Follow the guidelines and formatting requirements: It is essential to follow the guidelines and formatting requirements provided by the journal or publisher for the research report. This includes formatting, referencing, and citation styles.
A research report is a vital tool in disseminating research results to academic, professional, and public audiences. It provides a detailed analysis of the research problem, research questions, methodology, findings, and conclusions. Research reports are crucial in advancing knowledge and understanding in various fields of study, informing policy and practice, and contributing to academic and professional careers.
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Research Report | Types, Components, Purpose, Functions & Importance
What is Research Report ?
- Function of Research Reports
Purpose of Research Report
- Types of Research Report
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Importance of Research Report
Limitations of research report, function of reports, types of research report , components of research report .
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What Is a Research Report?
Understanding research reports, financial analyst research reports, research report impact, conflicts of interest.
- Fundamental Analysis
What Is a Research Report? How They're Produced and Impact
James Chen, CMT is an expert trader, investment adviser, and global market strategist.
A research report is a document prepared by an analyst or strategist who is a part of the investment research team in a stock brokerage or investment bank . A research report may focus on a specific stock or industry sector, a currency, commodity or fixed-income instrument, or on a geographic region or country. Research reports generally, but not always, have actionable recommendations such as investment ideas that investors can act upon.
Research reports are produced by a variety of sources, ranging from market research firms to in-house departments at large organizations. When applied to the investment industry, the term usually refers to sell-side research, or investment research produced by brokerage houses.
Such research is disseminated to the institutional and retail clients of the brokerage that produces it. Research produced by the buy-side, which includes pension funds, mutual funds, and portfolio managers , is usually for internal use only and is not distributed to external parties.
Financial analysts may produce research reports for the purpose of supporting a particular recommendation, such as whether to buy or sell a particular security or whether a client should consider a particular financial product. For example, an analyst may create a report in regards to a new offering being proposed by a company. The report could include relevant metrics regarding the company itself, such as the number of years they have been in operation as well as the names of key stakeholders , along with statistics regarding the current state of the market in which the company participates. Information regarding overall profitability and the intended use of the funds can also be included.
Enthusiasts of the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) might insist that the value of professional analysts' research reports is suspect and that investors likely place too much confidence in the conclusions such analysts make. While a definitive conclusion about this topic is difficult to make because comparisons are not exact, some research papers do exist which claim empirical evidence supporting the value of such reports.
One such paper studied the market for India-based investments and analysts who cover them. The paper was published in the March 2014 edition of the International Research Journal of Business and Management. Its authors concluded that analyst recommendations do have an impact and are beneficial to investors at least in short-term decisions.
While some analysts are functionally unaffiliated, others may be directly or indirectly affiliated with the companies for which they produce reports. Unaffiliated analysts traditionally perform independent research to determine an appropriate recommendation and may have a limited concern regarding the outcome.
Affiliated analysts may feel best served by ensuring any research reports portray clients in a favorable light. Additionally, if an analyst is also an investor in the company on which the report is based, he may have a personal incentive to avoid topics that may result in a lowered valuation of the securities in which he has invested.
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This resource will help you identify the common elements and basic format of a research report.
Research reports generally follow a similar structure and have common elements, each with a particular purpose. Learn more about each of these elements below.
Common elements of reports
Your title should be brief, topic-specific, and informative, clearly indicating the purpose and scope of your study. Include key words in your title so that search engines can easily access your work. For example: Measurement of water around Station Pier.
An abstract is a concise summary that helps readers to quickly assess the content and direction of your paper. It should be brief, written in a single paragraph and cover: the scope and purpose of your report; an overview of methodology; a summary of the main findings or results; principal conclusions or significance of the findings; and recommendations made.
The information in the abstract must be presented in the same order as it is in your report. The abstract is usually written last when you have developed your arguments and synthesised the results.
The introduction creates the context for your research. It should provide sufficient background to allow the reader to understand and evaluate your study without needing to refer to previous publications. After reading the introduction your reader should understand exactly what your research is about, what you plan to do, why you are undertaking this research and which methods you have used. Introductions generally include:
- The rationale for the present study. Why are you interested in this topic? Why is this topic worth investigating?
- Key terms and definitions.
- An outline of the research questions and hypotheses; the assumptions or propositions that your research will test.
Not all research reports have a separate literature review section. In shorter research reports, the review is usually part of the Introduction.
A literature review is a critical survey of recent relevant research in a particular field. The review should be a selection of carefully organised, focused and relevant literature that develops a narrative ‘story’ about your topic. Your review should answer key questions about the literature:
- What is the current state of knowledge on the topic?
- What differences in approaches / methodologies are there?
- Where are the strengths and weaknesses of the research?
- What further research is needed? The review may identify a gap in the literature which provides a rationale for your study and supports your research questions and methodology.
The review is not just a summary of all you have read. Rather, it must develop an argument or a point of view that supports your chosen methodology and research questions.
The purpose of this section is to detail how you conducted your research so that others can understand and replicate your approach.
You need to briefly describe the subjects (if appropriate), any equipment or materials used and the approach taken. If the research method or method of data analysis is commonly used within your field of study, then simply reference the procedure. If, however, your methods are new or controversial then you need to describe them in more detail and provide a rationale for your approach. The methodology is written in the past tense and should be as concise as possible.
This section is a concise, factual summary of your findings, listed under headings appropriate to your research questions. It’s common to use tables and graphics. Raw data or details about the method of statistical analysis used should be included in the Appendices.
Present your results in a consistent manner. For example, if you present the first group of results as percentages, it will be confusing for the reader and difficult to make comparisons of data if later results are presented as fractions or as decimal values.
In general, you won’t discuss your results here. Any analysis of your results usually occurs in the Discussion section.
Notes on visual data representation:
- Graphs and tables may be used to reveal trends in your data, but they must be explained and referred to in adjacent accompanying text.
- Figures and tables do not simply repeat information given in the text: they summarise, amplify or complement it.
- Graphs are always referred to as ‘Figures’, and both axes must be clearly labelled.
- Tables must be numbered, and they must be able to stand-alone or make sense without your reader needing to read all of the accompanying text.
The Discussion responds to the hypothesis or research question. This section is where you interpret your results, account for your findings and explain their significance within the context of other research. Consider the adequacy of your sampling techniques, the scope and long-term implications of your study, any problems with data collection or analysis and any assumptions on which your study was based. This is also the place to discuss any disappointing results and address limitations.
Checklist for the discussion
- To what extent was each hypothesis supported?
- To what extent are your findings validated or supported by other research?
- Were there unexpected variables that affected your results?
- On reflection, was your research method appropriate?
- Can you account for any differences between your results and other studies?
Conclusions in research reports are generally fairly short and should follow on naturally from points raised in the Discussion. In this section you should discuss the significance of your findings. To what extent and in what ways are your findings useful or conclusive? Is further research required? If so, based on your research experience, what suggestions could you make about improvements to the scope or methodology of future studies?
Also, consider the practical implications of your results and any recommendations you could make. For example, if your research is on reading strategies in the primary school classroom, what are the implications of your results for the classroom teacher? What recommendations could you make for teachers?
A Reference List contains all the resources you have cited in your work, while a Bibliography is a wider list containing all the resources you have consulted (but not necessarily cited) in the preparation of your work. It is important to check which of these is required, and the preferred format, style of references and presentation requirements of your own department.
Appendices (singular ‘Appendix’) provide supporting material to your project. Examples of such materials include:
- Relevant letters to participants and organisations (e.g. regarding the ethics or conduct of the project).
- Background reports.
- Detailed calculations.
Different types of data are presented in separate appendices. Each appendix must be titled, labelled with a number or letter, and referred to in the body of the report.
Appendices are placed at the end of a report, and the contents are generally not included in the word count.
Fi nal ti p
While there are many common elements to research reports, it’s always best to double check the exact requirements for your task. You may find that you don’t need some sections, can combine others or have specific requirements about referencing, formatting or word limits.
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- Post last modified: 11 January 2022
- Reading time: 25 mins read
- Post category: Research Methodology
What is Research Report?
Research reporting is the oral or written presentation of the findings in such detail and form as to be readily understood and assessed by the society, economy or particularly by the researchers.
As earlier said that it is the final stage of the research process and its purpose is to convey to interested persons the whole result of the study. Report writing is common to both academic and managerial situations. In academics, a research report is prepared for comprehensive and application-oriented learning. In businesses or organisations, reports are used for the basis of decision making.
Table of Content
- 1 What is Research Report?
- 2 Research Report Definition
- 3.1 Preliminary Part
- 3.2 Introduction of the Report
- 3.3 Review of Literature
- 3.4 The Research Methodology
- 3.5 Results
- 3.6 Concluding Remarks
- 3.7 Bibliography
- 4 Significance of Report Writing
- 5 Qualities of Good Report
- 6.1 Analysis of the subject matter
- 6.2 Research outline
- 6.3 Preparation of rough draft
- 6.4 Rewriting and polishing
- 6.5 Writing the final draft
- 7 Precautions for Writing Research Reports
- 8.1.1 Technical Report
- 8.1.2 Popular Report
- 8.2.1 Written Report
- 8.2.2 Oral Report
Research Report Definition
According to C. A. Brown , “A report is a communication from someone who has information to someone who wants to use that information.”
According to Goode and Hatt , “The preparation of report is the final stage of research, and it’s purpose is to convey to the interested persons the whole result of the study, in sufficient detail and so arranged as to enable each reader to comprehend the data and to determine for himself the validity of the conclusions.”
It is clear from the above definitions of a research report, it is a brief account of the problem of investigation, the justification of its selection and the procedure of analysis and interpretation. It is only a summary of the entire research proceedings.
In other words, it can be defined as written documents, which presents information in a specialized and concise manner.
Contents of Research Report
Although no hard and fast rules can be laid down, the report must contain the following points.
- Table of contents
- List of tables
- List of graphs
- Background of the research study
- Statement of the problem
- Brief outline of the chapters
- Books review
- Review of articles published in books, journals, periodicals, etc
- Review of articles published in leading newspapers
- Working papers / discusssion paper / study reports
- Articles on authorised websites
- A broad conclusion and indications for further research
- The theoretical framework (variables)
- Model / hypothesis
- Instruments for data collection
- Data collection
- Pilot study
- Processing of data
- Hypothesis / model testing
- Data analysis and interpretation
- Tables and figures
- Suggestions to the problems
- Direction for further research
The preliminary part may have seven major components – cover, title, preface, acknowledgement, table of contents, list of tables, list of graphs. Long reports presented in book form have a cover made up of a card sheet. The cover contains title of the research report, the authority to whom the report is submitted, name of the author, etc.
The preface introduces the report to the readers. It gives a very brief introduction of the report. In the acknowledgements author mention names of persons and organisations that have extended co-operation and helped in the various stages of research. Table of contents is essential. It gives the title and page number of each chapter.
Introduction of the Report
The introduction of the research report should clearly and logically bring out the background of the problem addressed in the research. The purpose of the introduction is to introduce the research project to the readers. A clear statement of the problem with specific questions to be answered is presented in the introduction. It contains a brief outline of the chapters.
Review of Literature
The third section reviews the important literature related to the study. A comprehensive review of the research literature referred to must be made. Previous research studies and the important writings in the area under study should be reviewed. Review of literature is helpful to provide a background for the development of the present study.
The researcher may review concerned books, articles published in edited books, journals and periodicals. Researcher may also take review of articles published in leading newspapers. A researcher should study working papers/discussion papers/study reports. It is essential for a broad conclusion and indications for further research.
The Research Methodology
Research methodology is an integral part of the research. It should clearly indicate the universe and the selection of samples, techniques of data collection, analysis and interpretation, statistical techniques, etc.
Results contain pilot study, processing of data, hypothesis/model testing, data analysis and interpretation, tables and figures, etc. This is the heart of the research report. If a pilot study is planned to be used, it’s purpose should be given in the research methodology.
The collected data and the information should be edited, coded, tabulated and analysed with a view to arriving at a valid and authentic conclusion. Tables and figures are used to clarify the significant relationship. The results obtained through tables, graphs should be critically interpreted.
The concluding remarks should discuss the results obtained in the earlier sections, as well as their usefulness and implications. It contains findings, conclusions, shortcomings, suggestions to the problem and direction for future research. Findings are statements of factual information based upon the data analysis.
Conclusions must clearly explain whether the hypothesis have been established and rejected. This part requires great expertise and preciseness. A report should also refer to the limitations of the applicability of the research inferences. It is essential to suggest the theoretical, practical and policy implications of the research. The suggestions should be supported by scientific and logical arguments. The future direction of research based on the work completed should also be outlined.
The bibliography is an alphabetic list of books, journal articles, reports, etc, published or unpublished, read, referred to, examined by the researcher in preparing the report. The bibliography should follow standard formats for books, journal articles, research reports.
The end of the research report may consist of appendices, listed in respect of all technical data. Appendices are for the purpose of providing detailed data or information that would be too cumbersome within the main body of the research report.
Significance of Report Writing
Report writing is an important communication medium in organisations. The most crucial findings might have come out through a research report. Report is common to academics and managers also. Reports are used for comprehensive and application oriented learning in academics. In organisations, reports are used for the basis of decision making. The importance of report writing can be discussed as under.
Through research reports, a manager or an executive can quickly get an idea of a current scenario which improves his information base for making sound decisions affecting future operations of the company or enterprise. The research report acts as a means of communication of various research findings to the interested parties, organisations and general public.
Good report writing play, a significant role of conveying unknown facts about the phenomenon to the concerned parties. This may provide new insights and new opportunities to the people. Research report plays a key role in making effective decisions in marketing, production, banking, materials, human resource development and government also. Good report writing is used for economic planning and optimum utilisation of resources for the development of a nation.
Report writing facilitates the validation of generalisation. A research report is an end product of research. As earlier said that report writing provides useful information in arriving at rational decisions that may reform the business and society. The findings, conclusions, suggestions and recommendations are useful to academicians, scholars and policymakers. Report writing provides reference material for further research in the same or similar areas of research to the concerned parties.
While preparing a research report, a researcher should take some proper precautions. Report writing should be simple, lucid and systematic. Report writing should be written speedily without interrupting the continuity of thought. The report writing should sustain the interest of readers.
Qualities of Good Report
Report writing is a highly skilled job. It is a process of analysing, understanding and consolidating the findings and projecting a meaningful view of the phenomenon studied. A good report writing is essential for effective communication.
Following are the essential qualities of good report:
- A research report is essentially a scientific documentation. It should have a suggestive title, headings and sub-headings, paragraphs arranged in a logical sequence.
- Good research report should include everything that is relevant and exclude everything that is irrelevant. It means that it should contain the facts rather than opinion.
- The language of the report should be simple and unambiguous. It means that it should be free from biases of the researchers derived from the past experience. Confusion, pretentiousness and pomposity should be carefully guarded against. It means that the language of the report should be simple, employing appropriate words, idioms and expressions.
- The report must be free from grammatical mistakes. It must be grammatically accurate. Faulty construction of sentences makes the meaning of the narrative obscure and ambiguous.
- The report has to take into consideration two facts. Firstly, for whom the report is meant and secondly, what is his level of knowledge. The report has to look to the subject matter of the report and the fact as to the level of knowledge of the person for whom it is meant. Because all reports are not meant for research scholars.
Steps in Writing Research Report
Report writing is a time consuming and expensive exercise. Therefore, reports have to be very sharply focused in purpose content and readership. There is no single universally acceptable method of writing a research report.
Following are the general steps in writing a research report:
Analysis of the subject matter
Research outline, preparation of rough draft, rewriting and polishing, writing the final draft.
This is the first and important step in writing a research report. It is concerned with the development of a subject. Subject matter should be written in a clear, logical and concise manner. The style adopted should be open, straightforward and dignified and folk style language should be avoided.
The data, the reliability and validity of the results of the statistical analysis should be in the form of tables, figures and equations. All redundancy in the data or results presented should be eliminated.
The research outline is an organisational framework prepared by the researcher well in advance. It is an aid to logical organisation of material and a reminder of the points to be stressed in the report. In the process of writing, if need be, outline may be revised accordingly.
Time and place of the study, scope and limitations of the study, study design, summary of pilot study, methods of data collection, analysis interpretation, etc., may be included in a research outline.
Having prepared the primary and secondary data, the researcher has to prepare a rough draft. While preparing the rough draft, the researcher should keep the objectives of the research in mind, and focus on one objective at a time. The researcher should make a checklist of the important points that are necessary to be covered in the manuscript. A researcher should use dictionary and relevant reference materials as and when required.
This is an important step in writing a research report. It takes more time than a rough draft. While rewriting and polishing, a researcher should check the report for weakness in logical development or presentation. He should take breaks in between rewriting and polishing since this gives the time to incubate the ideas.
The last and important step is writing the final draft. The language of the report should be simple, employing appropriate words and expressions and should avoid vague expressions such as ‘it seems’ and ‘there may be’ etc.
It should not used personal pronouns, such as I, We, My, Us, etc and should substitute these by such expressions as a researcher, investigator, etc. Before the final drafting of the report, it is advisable that the researcher should prepare a first draft for critical considerations and possible improvements. It will be helpful in writing the final draft. Finally, the report should be logically outlined with the future directions of the research based on the work completed.
Precautions for Writing Research Reports
A research report is a means of conveying the research study to a specific target audience. The following precautions should be taken while preparing a research report:
- Its hould belong enough to cover the subject and short enough to preserve interest.
- It should not be dull and complicated.
- It should be simple, without the usage of abstract terms and technical jargons.
- It should offer ready availability of findings with the help of charts, tables and graphs, as readers prefer quick knowledge of main findings.
- The layout of the report should be in accordance with the objectives of the research study.
- There should be no grammatical errors and writing should adhere to the techniques of report writing in case of quotations, footnotes and documentations.
- It should be original, intellectual and contribute to the solution of a problem or add knowledge to the concerned field.
- Appendices should been listed with respect to all the technical data in the report.
- It should be attractive, neat and clean, whether handwritten or typed.
- The report writer should refrain from confusing the possessive form of the word ‘it’ is with ‘it’s.’ The accurate possessive form of ‘it is’ is ‘its.’ The use of ‘it’s’ is the contractive form of ‘it is.
- A report should not have contractions. Examples are ‘didn’t’ or ‘it’s.’ In report writing, it is best to use the non-contractive form. Therefore, the examples would be replaced by ‘did not’ and ‘it is.’ Using ‘Figure’ instead of ‘Fig.’ and ‘Table’ instead of ‘Tab.’ will spare the reader of having to translate the abbreviations, while reading. If abbreviations are used, use them consistently throughout the report. For example, do not switch among ‘versus,’ and ‘vs’.
- It is advisable to avoid using the word ‘very’ and other such words that try to embellish a description. They do not add any extra meaning and, therefore, should be dropped.
- Repetition hampers lucidity. Report writers must avoid repeating the same word more than once within a sentence.
- When you use the word ‘this’ or ‘these’ make sure you indicate to what you are referring. This reduces the ambiguity in your writing and helps to tie sentences together.
- Do not use the word ‘they’ to refer to a singular person. You can either rewrite the sentence to avoid needing such a reference or use the singular ‘he or she.’
Types of Research Report
Research reports are designed in order to convey and record the information that will be of practical use to the reader. It is organized into distinct units of specific and highly visible information. The kind of audience addressed in the research report decides the type of report.
Research reports can be categorized on the following basis:
Classification on the Basis of Information
Classification on the basis of representation.
Following are the ways through which the results of the research report can be presented on the basis of information contained:
A technical report is written for other researchers. In writing the technical reports, the importance is mainly given to the methods that have been used to collect the information and data, the presumptions that are made and finally, the various presentation techniques that are used to present the findings and data.
Following are main features of a technical report:
- Summary: It covers a brief analysis of the findings of the research in a very few pages.
- Nature: It contains the reasons for which the research is undertaken, the analysis and the data that is required in order to prepare a report.
- Methods employed: It contains a description of the methods that were employed in order to collect the data.
- Data: It covers a brief analysis of the various sources from which the data has been collected with their features and drawbacks
- Analysis of data and presentation of the findings: It contains the various forms through which the data that has been analysed can be presented.
- Conclusions: It contains a brief explanation of findings of the research.
- Bibliography: It contains a detailed analysis of the various bibliographies that have been used in order to conduct a research.
- Technical appendices: It contains the appendices for the technical matters and for questionnaires and mathematical derivations.
- Index: The index of the technical report must be provided at the end of the report.
A popular report is formulated when there is a need to draw conclusions of the findings of the research report. One of the main points of consideration that should be kept in mind while formulating a research report is that it must be simple and attractive. It must be written in a very simple manner that is understandable to all. It must also be made attractive by using large prints, various sub-headings and by giving cartoons occasionally.
Following are the main points that must be kept in mind while preparing a popular report:
- Findings and their implications : While preparing a popular report, main importance is given to the findings of the information and the conclusions that can be drawn out of these findings.
- Recommendations for action : If there are any deviations in the report then recommendations are made for taking corrective action in order to rectify the errors.
- Objective of the study : In a popular report, the specific objective for which the research has been undertaken is presented.
- Methods employed : The report must contain the various methods that has been employed in order to conduct a research.
- Results : The results of the research findings must be presented in a suitable and appropriate manner by taking the help of charts and diagrams.
- Technical appendices : The report must contain an in-depth information used to collect the data in the form of appendices.
Following are the ways through which the results of the research report can be presented on the basis of representation:
- Oral report
A written report plays a vital role in every business operation. The manner in which an organization writes business letters and business reports creates an impression of its standard. Therefore, the organization should emphasize on the improvement of the writing skills of the employees in order to maintain effective relations with their customers.
Writing effective written reports requires a lot of hard work. Therefore, before you begin writing, it is important to know the objective, i.e., the purpose of writing, collection and organization of required data.
At times, oral presentation of the results that are drawn out of research is considered effective, particularly in cases where policy recommendations are to be made. This approach proves beneficial because it provides a medium of interaction between a listener and a speaker. This leads to a better understanding of the findings and their implications.
However, the main drawback of oral presentation is the lack of any permanent records related to the research. Oral presentation of the report is also effective when it is supported with various visual devices, such as slides, wall charts and whiteboards that help in better understanding of the research reports.
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