Tips to write a report
Your report should include all or most of the  following sections, depending on the requirements set by your academic institution


  • The title of the report summarizes or clearly states the aim of the report.
  • Details of the person(s) for whom it is intended can be provided under the title.
  • Details of the persons who have prepared the report can also be included.
  • Additional details (date of presentation, venue etc) may be provided too.

Acknowledgements (if appropriate)

  • If a person or an organization has helped you in some way to prepare your report you should mention their name and thank them.
  • You can briefly explain how they have contributed to your report.

Table  of Contents

  • This includes a list of the sections in the report.  Subheadings can be provided.


The abstract   is a summary of the report, in which you include one sentence (or so) for every main section of your report. For example, you can include:

  • The context of your report
  • The purpose of your  report
  • Findings
  • Conclusions and / or  recommendations

The abstract is written once you have finished your report.


  • Explains the aim of the report, why it is written
  • Gives background information to create a context
  • Lays out the points that will be dealt with
  • Limits  the scope of the report, explains what it will cover
  • Mentions the sources used
  • The introduction should never be longer than the development


The content is directly related to the purpose of your report.   There are two types of reports:  reports based on primary research (your own observations and experiments) and secondary research (based on reading only)

A report of primary research would include:

  • The state of the matter:  what other people have written about this.  Your choice of literature should be relevant to your research question.
  • Procedure:  what you have done and why
  • Findings :  what you have  discovered, observed …
  • Facts and figures, graphs and tables are common when you present what you have done, what you have observed …
  • Discussion:  relate, compare and discuss your results  and previous research

A report of secondary research (based on reading only) includes:

  • Material from different sources synthesized under subheadings.  The sources used should be relevant
  • Analysis/discussion of the sources reported.


  • It summarizes the main points presented and the conclusions reached.   The conclusion restates the objective of the report.
  • No new information is presented in the report.  Any new ideas should have been presented before.


  •  Read the task given and decide if it suggestions/recommendations are needed. If in doubt,   always check with your instructors.
  •  The recommendations have to be derived from the body of your report, and therefore, related to the information presented in it.


  • An appendix contains material (a questionnaire, a table) which has been used or is referred to in the report, but which cannot be included in the report itself because it is too detailed or complex. 
  • It is advisable to number each appendix.


  • This section will include the literature you have used to write your report.
  • Make sure you know how to present your bibliographic references.


  •  A glossary or alphabetical list of the abbreviations used in the report can be provided, especially if you think readers will not be familiar with the abbreviations and / or acronyms used. 
Further references

The Hong-Kong Polytechnic University:

University of Wollongong: