Research Report Writing

What is Research Report Writing ?

Project/research report is the written way of communicating the results of an investigation. It is a document which reflects about how the research is conducted, the care that has been exercised throughout the study and the findings in a manner that can be utilized for decision. making. It is observed that executives are rarely interested in the methodology adopted by the researcher in the investigation; they are interested only in the final results. From their viewpoint, the research report is the written presentation which the executive see, about a project carried out by the researcher but Initiated by the decision maker (executive) and it conveys the information desired by the decision maker in an understandable form.

Report writing is an art, which must be learnt through hard work, practice and effort. The information and recommendations placed before the management are of little value unless they assist in making judgements and lead to decisions. Therefore, a report should be written' very carefully so as to stimulate thought and lead to action. Report writers should concentrate on the collection of relevant data, organizing the data and arriving at a conclusion. The contents of the report play a very important role in stimulating action.

Types of Research Report Writing

There are various types of research report writing, each serving a specific purpose and designed for different audiences. Here are some common types of reports writing:

This type of research report presents the findings of an experiment or controlled study. It includes information about the research question, hypothesis, methodology, data collection methods, statistical analysis, results, and interpretation. Experimental research reports aim to provide a detailed account of the research process and its outcomes.

Descriptive research reports focus on describing a particular phenomenon, population, or situation. These reports provide a comprehensive overview of the subject under investigation, including its characteristics, demographics, behaviors, or other relevant factors. Descriptive research reports often involve the collection and analysis of data through surveys, observations, or interviews.

3) Analytical Research Report: 
Analytical research reports involve the examination and analysis of existing data, literature, or information to draw conclusions or generate insights. These reports may involve the synthesis of various sources, the comparison of different studies, or the application of statistical methods to analyze data. Analytical research reports aim to provide a critical evaluation and interpretation of existing knowledge.

4) Case Study Report:
Case study reports focus on in-depth analysis of a particular case or situation, often within a specific context. These reports provide a detailed examination of an individual, group, organization, or event, aiming to understand and explore unique circumstances, processes, or outcomes. Case study reports may involve qualitative data collection methods, such as interviews, observations, or document analysis.

5) Literature Review Report: 
Literature review reports summarize and synthesize existing research studies and scholarly publications on a specific topic. These reports provide an overview of the current state of knowledge, identify gaps or inconsistencies, and highlight key findings or trends. Literature review reports often involve extensive reading, analysis, and critical evaluation of relevant literature.

6) Comparative Research Report: 
Comparative research reports involve the comparison of multiple variables, groups, or situations to identify similarities, differences, or patterns. These reports aim to explore relationships, make cross-cultural or cross-contextual comparisons, or examine the impact of different factors on a particular outcome. Comparative research reports may use quantitative or qualitative data collection methods and involve statistical analysis or thematic comparisons.

7) Action Research Report: 
Action research reports focus on the process and outcomes of a research study conducted in collaboration with practitioners or stakeholders to address specific problems or improve practices. These reports often involve cycles of planning, action, observation, and reflection, aiming to generate practical knowledge and inform decision-making within a specific context.

Steps in Writing Research Report

Preparing a project/research report is not an easy task. It should be written with perfection as any wrong information may mislead and confuse the readers. Writing research report is one of most important tasks in the entire research process, as it allows the researchers to present it in front of the managers so that they can make decisions and take actions accordingly. The 9 steps of writing research reports are as follows:

Process of Writing Research Reports

1) Verifying the Sources of Data Collection: 
Verification of the sources of information is a fundamental task which should be carried out prior to the preparation of research report. The information can be collected from various primary and secondary sources. More important is the research issue, more is the verification needed.

2) Formulating a Rough Pattern: 
During the data collection, researcher notes down the significant and related information that can be included in the research report. As the researcher proceeds in noting down the information, he formulates a pattern to identify relevant and irrelevant information.

3) Formulating Final Pattern: 
On the basis of formulated rough pattern, the collected data is analyzed. While analyzing the data, the researcher might feel the need to collect more data, while some of the existing data may get rejected because of their unsuitability. By analyzing collected data, gradually the final pattern of the research report is formulated which is continuously refined.

4) Making an Outline: 
After formulating the final pattern, an outline of the research report is made, where the researcher decides how to present the report. Various decisions to be made in this stage are related to problem statement, arrangement of various sections and a logical sequencing is decided. Many times it is not needed, but it helps la finalizing the structure of report.

5) Writing the First Draft: 
The next step is writing the first draft of report. It is a rough draft which is prepared by researcher at first. In this stage, the researcher is still in confusion between the notes and the outline of report. Hence, this draft needs refinement till it is finalized.

6) Presenting the Rough Draft: 
In this stage, a rough draft which is prepared in previous stage, is presented in front of the management. It is very important for a researcher to make the management understand what the report is trying to communicate. While preparing rough draft, it should be kept in mind that the language should be clear as well as appealing. The researcher should note down all the suggestions that are given for the improvement.

7) Refinement in Rough Draft: 
In this stage, all the refinements that are suggested by the management are made in the draft. The researcher also needs to carefully analyze the draft and make necessary changes such as adding important details, rearrangement of text, checking of grammar and spelling, etc. This refinement continues in a loop till the top management approves the report.

8) Evaluation of Report: 
After continuous refinement, an almost final report is prepared. In this stage, the top management evaluates the effectiveness of report. They analyze whether the research is completed as per the instructions or not In this step, the reliability and the validity of the report is checked against set parameters. The report is effective when it is able to communicate the purpose of research clearly and comprehensively without hampering the quality of the report.

9) Present and Publish the Final Report: 
Once the report is finally approved after evaluation, the next thing is presenting it to the intended audience. The presentation should be effective enough to get the attention about the research objectives. This presentation can be enhanced with the help of diagrammatic representation and hand-outs, interaction with audience. Once, the report is successfully presented, it is the time to publish it so that general public can get to know about the research. Organizations can inform the common public with the help of various techniques, such as, bulletin boards, newsletters, etc.

Precautions in Preparing the Research Report

Report writing can be considered as an art which is learn through practicing and experience. While preparing project/research report, following precautions should be taken by the researcher:

1) Accuracy: 
A research report should contain accurate information about the research problem and research objectives as inaccurate information may mislead the managers and can cause problems in decision-making.

2) Simplicity: 
An Ideal research report should be simple in every aspect. The layout, wording. grammar, phasing, sequencing, tabulation, etc., should be developed with full attention to keep it simple. 

3) Clear and Completeness: 
A research report should be clear and complete. These two terms are complementary to each other. Researchers should not use ambiguous words or sentences while preparing a research report. The report should be clearly defined in terms of its objective, scope, sources, findings, etc. The concepts and techniques of the report should be explained appropriately, to make the research report complete in every sense.

4) Conciseness: 
The research reports should be concise and brief enough to represent all the information needed by the executives as they want the facts and results only. But this feature of research report should not be compromised with the clarity and completeness of the report. The report should be able to highlight the essential points briefly without damaging its quality.

5) Comprehensibility and Readability: 
Research report should be comprehensive and easily readable. There should be no confusion in the language or grammar of the contents. Technical language or terms should be avoided in the preparation of questionnaire. The language and content of the report should be in such a way that it can be understood by everyone.

6) Reliability: 
The information included in the research report should be reliable and valid. It is also essential that all important facts should be included so that readers may understand it easily. Researchers should prepare the report with special care such that the erroneous information should not be included, as it confuses the readers.

7) Timelines: 
The unique feature of research report is that it should be prepared within a stipulated time. Timeframe is the crucial aspect of a report, as data included in the report may become obsolete or irrelevant after certain period time.

8) Logical Content: 
All the contents of a research report should be written in a logical way. None of the information should be included without proper investigation and analysis. There should be a sequence applied to all the components of report. The entire report should be categorized into server parts containing district facts and information  and should facilitate the case to locate the concerned topic in a report. 

9) Original Content: 
The contents of a research report should be original and specific. The research report should address some specific problem. The researcher should attempt to provide a solution to the problem being addressed. 

10) Free from Errors: 
The report should not contain any errors such as spelling errors, missing data, grammatical errors, incorrect calculations, etc. Researchers should ensure the report to be error- free before presenting it finally.

11) Good Appearance: 
Research reports should be well typed, neat and clean. It should maintain this consistency throughout the report, to catch the attention of readers.

Importance of Research Report Writing

Research report serves many purposes for the organization and plays a crucial role in management. Preparing a research report is important due to following reasons:

1) Communicates the Information: 
Research report can be used as means of communicating facts and information to the top management or executives in the organization. With the help of reports, ideas, suggestions, and concepts of the organizations are conveyed to their shareholders, customers, general public, top management executives, etc. Communicating information through reports allow the managers to make efficient decisions.

2) Helps In Evaluation: 
Research report helps the managers to re-evaluate their prevailing problem as well as to plan for future efficiently. Research reports also help various departments 10 co-ordinate and control their activities. Research reports assist general public in finding probable suggestions regarding their problems.

3) Facilitates Measuring Performance: 
Research reports can also help in evaluating performance of a particular department/organization, town, district, stale, or country. It provides relevant and complete information about the performance which in turn helps in finding out the ways for battement.

4) Predicts Future Trends: 
Research reports contain the facts and figures related to some crucial incidents or occurrence that help in predicting the future occurrences. It can forecast the changing trends of consumer buying, upcoming variation in the market or economy or need of technical advancement.

5) Helps in Making Desirable Changes: 
Report helps in making desirable changes in a department, organization, market, or economy, by understanding its consequences and giving valuable suggestions. It identifies the factors responsible for poor performance of a particular plan, policy, scheme, or organization and provides ideas or solutions to eliminate those factors so that positive changes could be implemented.

6) Advancement of society: 
Research reports contribute to the advancement of society by addressing societal challenges, improving healthcare practices, developing innovative technologies, and informing public policy. They provide the foundation for evidence-based practices and initiatives that can lead to positive social, economic, and environmental outcomes.

7) Academic and professional recognition: 
Publishing research reports in reputable journals or presenting them at conferences enhances researchers' academic and professional reputation. It helps establish their expertise, contributes to their career advancement, and allows them to engage in scholarly discussions and collaborations with peers.

Characteristics of Writing an Effective Research Report 

An effective research report possesses several key characteristics that contribute to its quality and usefulness. Here are some important characteristics of an effective research report:

1) Clear and concise: 
An effective research report presents information in a clear and concise manner, avoiding unnecessary jargon or complex language. The report should be easily understandable to the intended audience.

2) Well-structured: 
A good research report follows a logical structure, including sections such as an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. Each section should flow smoothly, and the report should have a coherent overall structure.

3) Objective and unbiased: 
A research report should maintain objectivity and avoid bias in presenting the findings and interpreting the results. The researcher should strive to present an unbiased analysis of the data and avoid personal opinions or preconceived notions.

4) Relevant and focused: 
An effective research report is focused on the research question or objective and presents information that is directly relevant to the study. It should avoid including irrelevant details or information that does not contribute to the main findings.

5) Supported by evidence: 
A strong research report provides evidence to support its claims and findings. This includes referencing relevant literature, using appropriate research methods, collecting reliable data, and presenting results with proper statistical analysis.

6) Comprehensive: 
A good research report covers all essential aspects of the research, including relevant background information, a thorough literature review, a detailed methodology, comprehensive data analysis, and insightful conclusions. It should leave no important gaps in the research process.

7) Well-documented: 
An effective research report includes proper citations and references to acknowledge the work of others and support its own findings. It should follow a consistent citation style, such as APA or MLA, and provide a bibliography or reference list.

8) Appropriate language and tone: 
The language and tone used in a research report should be professional, objective, and formal. It should maintain a balance between being technical enough to convey the research accurately and accessible enough to be understood by the intended audience.

9) Reliable and valid: 
A good research report demonstrates the reliability and validity of the research methods and findings. It includes information about the sample size, data collection procedures, potential limitations, and measures taken to ensure the validity of the results.

10) Well-presented: 
The visual presentation of a research report is crucial. It should be well-formatted with clear headings, subheadings, and an appropriate use of tables, graphs, or figures to illustrate the data. The report should also be free from grammatical errors and typos.