How to Write a Report Like a Pro

How to Write a Report

We’ve prepared this guide for confused students just like you. Learn everything there is to know about writing, structuring, editing and formatting a report.
Allan T
min read
Apr 28, 2024
A report is an academic paper that is used to present findings after a research has been completed. It usually contains the results of the research, their analysis and conclusions on the topic.

Usually, a report contains the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion

Depending on the area of study, as well as your professor’s requirements, the format and the content of the report might change. To learn how to write a report, keep reading our guide!

What is a report?

A report is a presentation of your findings. They are often used by scholars to explain the results of an inquiry, investigation, experiment, or study. One may think that a report sounds very similar to a research paper, yet there are some key differences. 

Research papers tend to be more detailed, and hence, lengthier than report papers. A research paper’s main goal is to add new knowledge to a particular area of study, while a report aims to provide relevant information on a topic, regardless if it’s been discussed before.

What’s a typical report format?

A report usually consists of the same chapters as any other serious academic paper. It has your basic Introduction, Methodology, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion chapters. However, the exact structure may differ depending on your professor’s instructions. 

Note that a report does not include a review of literature. That is because a report focuses on one experiment, study or investigation, rather than looking at multiple sources. Although in some cases, a review of several sources might be required.

When it comes to formatting, you have to consult with your tutor. They may require you to use a certain formatting style depending on their preference or the discipline you are studying.

What are the steps to report writing?

When it comes to writing, the steps are pretty much the same as with other similar academic papers. You should focus on the preparation to ensure the final paper is a success. It also helps to have the steps mapped out before you start writing. This way, you can plan your time better.

  1. Review the task
  2. Choose the topic
  3. Conduct preliminary research
  4. Write an outline
  5. Write the intro
  6. Outline your methods
  7. Describe the results
  8. Discuss your findings
  9. Conclude the paper
  10. Edit
  11. Format

These are the most basic steps to create a report, yet they are necessary to make sure your paper flows correctly.

How hard is it to write?

Writing a report is not hard as long as you follow the steps described above. Here’s a detailed instruction:

  1. Read through the assignment thoroughly to ensure you understand it. It’s best to consult with your professor if anything is unclear.
  2. If your professor gives you the freedom to choose a topic, make sure to pick the one you’ll enjoy writing. If they assign a topic for you, ask if you can tweak and adjust it to fit you better.
  3. Gather the sources you may need for writing your paper. Collect them in a separate folder on your computer to ensure easy access.
  4. Outline and plan all the chapters ahead of time and confirm with your professor. This will ensure you don’t have to scrap the entire paper mid-writing if one chapter is wrong.
  5. Begin to write a report with the introduction. State your goals and purpose of the paper, prove background information on the topic.
  6. Choose the methods you’ll use for this research and clearly describe them in your methodology section.
  7. Provide an objective presentation of the results. If need be, use visual aids like graphs, tables and charts to illustrate numbers.
  8. Present a clear and deep analysis of your findings. Make the connection to the goal of the paper and see if the objective has been met. Discuss the limitations as well.
  9. Conclude the report with a short summary of the findings and their significance. 
  10. Revise and edit the paper to ensure it’s error-free, flows naturally and is easy to read.
  11. Ensure all citations meet the required formatting style and all the references are done in accordance with the guide.

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What methods are used for an academic report?

To write this type of academic paper, you may use many different methods. Your choice mainly depends on the kind of research you are performing. The methods may also vary for different disciplines. If this is all a bit too confusing, you can text ‘write my report’ to our support team, and they will help you. But below are some of the methods typically used for reports:

  • Qualitative research
  • Quantitative research
  • Case study
  • Mixed methods
  • Observations
  • Surveys
  • Experimental methods

How to write a report? 

To write a report effectively, start by understanding its purpose and audience. Gather relevant information, outline the structure, and present findings logically. Ensure clarity, coherence, and accuracy throughout. Revise and proofread before submission.

The most important tip for writing is to listen to your professor. Be attentive in class, as they may mention some bits and pieces of valuable information in the duration of the term. They might be testing you and not give you that advice when it’s actual writing time. 

Another important tip is to consult with them every step of the way. Come up to the professor in their office hours and show your progress. Your teacher might offer valuable critique and advice and guide you in the right direction. 

And finally, make sure that you read the assignment through. It might sound basic, but those assignment sheets tend to be written in overly complicated academic language, and if you’re not used to that, it’s easy to miss out on some key details.

How to present results?

In every report writing assignment, you will need to write a results chapter. This is the section where you take all your findings and dump them on paper, except not literally. For your results section to be clear and organized, the findings must be presented in a concise, focused way.

If your methods involve questions (i.e., surveys), make sure to present answers to them in the same order as the questions. If you interview people, try not to flood the paper with quotes. Instead, add the interviews as an appendix and focus on the key findings. If the methods involve numerical data, present it visually. 

Write the discussion chapter

So, how to create a report with the discussion chapter? In it, you’ll need to circle back to your research questions and objectives of the paper. Then, briefly summarize the findings and discuss how the results helped you achieve that objective or answer the research question. 

It’s important to talk about the significance of your findings and what they mean in regards to the existing body of knowledge or your research question. Acknowledge and address the limitations you’ve faced in the course of your research. It could be sample size, limitations in scope or location.

Write a conclusion

When you write a report, you obviously have to bring it to a logical conclusion. For your conclusion to be adequate, you should restate your methods, results and findings briefly. Bring the reader’s attention back to the purpose of the paper and see if you’ve achieved it. Propose a direction for the future inquiry into the topic, considering the limitations you’ve faced. For example, for more extensive research, one could use a broader sample size or a wider age range.

What are the best proofreading techniques?

If you’re wondering how to make a report flow and impress your professor, here’s the answer. You absolutely have to proofread and edit your paper. It’s best to put it away for a day or two after you’ve finished writing. This way, when you come back to it, you’ll be able to look at it afresh. 

Read through the paper carefully several times. You are bound to find some illogical sentences, spelling mistakes or misused words. Reading the paper aloud will also be beneficial. Consider giving it to someone else to read, like a family member or a friend. They might be able to point out some parts that make little sense or sound unnatural.

Lab report writing tips

One of the most popular types of reports is a lab report. To write it properly, you should follow our suggestions.

First, state the purpose of your experiment. Mention the findings you expect to discover, but don’t get too hung up on them. The methodology should explain how exactly the experiment was performed - what were the conditions, what materials were used, and if it was performed independently.

Use visual data to present your results. In the discussion, interpret and analyze them. When concluding the paper, tell the reader what has been discovered and what’s the importance of those findings.

To learn more about how to write a lab report, read our in-depth guide. Now, let’s move on.

How to format a report?

When writing a report, one would often resort to using some external sources. But those sources need to be referenced and cited properly. Refer to your college’s formatting manual, or the PurdueOWL guide to find the most accurate formatting guides.

Pay attention to whether or not citations call for page numbers, what needs to be included in the references, etc. 

Google Docs has recently come up with a referencing tool, be sure to check that out. In some cases, you can even copy the reference at the bottom of search results on Google Scholar.

Last steps before submission 

Before you submit the paper, it’s best to consult with your professor. See if they have any last-minute corrections or tips for you. Look at your school’s guide on how to write a report, it might also be very helpful. Proofread your paper one last time and cross-check all the references. Make sure each source has a citation and vice-versa.

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Frequently asked questions

How to write reports?

Writing reports is not hard when you have all the tools available. Hopefully, this guide by our report writing services professionals has given you some insight into the process, but let’s round it up. You start with researching your topic and saving potentially valuable sources. After that, write an outline. Use it as your writing guide. 

Write the report chapters in the order that you prefer. If you feel more comfortable starting with methods, nobody will know you wrote the intro last. Present and discuss your results, analyze them and conclude the paper. Proofread it a few times, format, and it’s ready to go!

How many pages should a report be?

You may be asked to write a report of any length. That length depends on many factors. First of all, your academic level. A first year student will be required to write a much shorter paper than a Master’s student. Also, the subject must be taken into account. Different disciplines require different paper lengths. Even your topic may dictate the length of your report. If you’re not sure, just consult with your professor, and they will help you with the details.

What formatting style is best?

The report writing format is also a variable. There’s no straight answer to that question. It may depend on your professor’s habits, your subject, or even your school’s rules. In short, there’s no way for us to know which formatting style your professor will choose.

How often should I consult with my professor during writing?

The more often, the better. As long as they allow you to actively seek their guidance, you both will benefit from it. They can give you insight into the common mistakes made during writing, help you with analyzing your results and even choosing the report format for your paper.

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