Make your own free website on

Using Written Resources

Using Libraries

Using Libraries in Person

Reading Skills

Different Methods of Reading

Finding out your Reading Speed

Researching and Writing Assignments

Note Taking













The Learning Game

Writing a research report

When producing scientific reports a certain format should be followed. This format will vary depending on your particular lecturer and on your level of study. The format most commonly used is:

Title Page
Table of Contents (if report is longer than 6 pages)
Abstract (Summary)
Literature review (for advanced research)
Materials and methods

Title Page

  • title of report
  • name of person submitting the report
  • name of person to whom report is being submitted
  • date of submission
  • paper title and number

Table of Contents

Use only if your report is longer than 6 pages. List headings and subheadings exactly as they appear in the report. Produce the Table of Contents last, after everything else has been finalized do that page numbers are accurate.

Lists of Figures and Tables - usually you will only need to list these if writing at 300 or higher levels.

Abstract or Summary

Abstracts are written to provide the reader with a quick overview of the whole report. It should be no more than 300 words long and should contain:

  • purpose of the experiment
  • method used to conduct the experiment
  • main results
  • conclusions


An Introduction should explain why you did this work, and what its purpose is:

  • state the problem
  • reasons which justify investigation or your hypothesis
  • objectives of the study

Literature Review

A literature review is an extensive summary of the key research findings in a particular subject. They are usually only required at advanced levels. Don't include one unless you've been asked to.

Materials and Methods

Cover what materials were used and how. Give:

  • the experimental design or theoretical approach
  • materials used in detail
  • what you did and how

Your description should enable your marker to assess the reliability and validity of your methodology. Or it should give enough detail for your experiment to be repeated so that results can be duplicated.


Present what you observed or found. All results that will appear in your report must be presented in this section. New results should not appear in the Discussion or Conclusion. You may decide to combine your Results and Discussion sections. If so explain what the findings mean as you present them.


Interpret results for the reader especially in relation to the stated hypothesis. Consider the implications of the study - relevance, usefulness and limitations. This should be supported by results.


Recap the major points made in your Discussion in relation to the stated hypothesis.


Show all sources that have been cited in your report. Sources that are not cited are shown under Bibliography after References (See referencing).


  • provide detailed information for some readers, e.g. maps, graphs, tables
  • should be numbered and be relevant to the report.

Using and Acknowledging Sources

When you write assignments there are always sources (books, articles, readings) to which you will refer. There are two important points that you should know, in relation to using and referring to sources.

1. Do not plagiarize.
2. Reference your sources correctly.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism occurs when you take the ideas of a source and either do not acknowledge them or present them as your own ideas. Most students have been guilty (unwittingly) of plagiarism from time to time as it is very hard sometimes to separate your ideas from someone else's. Remember, your lecturer will usually know when you are guilty of this and will mark you down as a result.

Back to Home Page

The page was designed and edited in May 1998 by Karl Mair.