Learn the Right Academic Report FormatFriday, July 2nd, 2010
A basic academic report format you can use
A report is basically a well organized paper which defines and analyses a topic or problem, systematically written. Reports may include a sequence of events and the interpretation of its significance, the evaluation of the results of research, discussion of the results or a decision to take a certain action accordingly, conclusions and recommendations for further investigation.
While using a basic academic report format, it is crucial to remember that all reports must be concise, clear, accurate and well structured too. There are different academic report formats so the best idea is to check format and content previously with your tutor. The same applies when you need help with your dissertation format.
The structure of the report
An academic report format does not follow the same rules as an essay structure, which can or cannot include sub-headings. Reports always include a number of sections, and they are usually numbered. When you plan your academic report format, you should think about titles and subtitles for each heading and sub-heading. Use a contents page for your report, since it will provide your work with a very desirable professional look.
What shall I include?
The first report page is always a title page, which should normally include the title along with some basic information: your name and your tutor’s, date of submission, the course or department you are submitting the report to. Following, there should be the list of acknowledgements, at least on long reports. Your contents page should be right after: a clear list of every section and sub-section of the report. It is recommended to put page numbers too. Other sections sometimes included before the report introduction are the terms of reference, the procedure, materials and methodology, and an abstract.
Then, the report properly begins with a introduction, with just a little background context and the reasons for writing this report. The main body, divided into paragraphs, is the most important part of the whole report, because is where you must show you findings. Last but not least come the results and the conclusion. The list of references is the last page you must include every single time you write a report (all the quoted bibliography should be properly referenced).
Some people also include in the academic report format a page of recommendations (which follow on logically from the report conclusion and are specific and achievable), an appendix (documents such as graphics, technical data, sketches, charts, etc.), bibliography or glossary.
Some words on style
Always pay attention to your writing style when it comes to writing reports (although all of this may as well apply to essay style). Remember you should always avoid colloquial language, slang terms and contractions. Write your report in short sentences. Try to use an impersonal language, in order to achieve a more objective tone. Of course, your report will improve if you manage to use some discipline specific terminology, as long as you use it well, of course! You can also manage a certain language complexity by using certain language structures, such as extended noun phrases or nominalisation.