What Is A Research Report? Explained

What Is A Research Report? Explained


Content Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Frequently asked questions
  3. Reporting on research studies
  4. Summary


Reporting what you have found is an essential aspect of the research project. Unless you are able to make the findings of your research public, your research will have no value at all. Any research study done as part of attaining an educational qualification will require you to write up the entire research process including the findings/results. You will be evaluated on the quality of the research document or thesis that you produce. 

Frequently asked questions

  • What is a research document?
    A research document provides details regarding the research study conducted by the researcher. It could comprise of a single page or could run into hundreds of pages.
  • What is documentation?
    The process of preparing this record is called documentation
  • Why is documentation important?
    > Documentation helps in planning.
    > It acts as a tool for monitoring and evaluation.
    > It can assist in developing theory.
    > It also provides evidence or proof to substantiate claims. 
  •  How do I set the tone for my research document?
    The tone or style of writing depends on the following points:
    > The type of research you have conducted- the style of reporting a quantitative research is extremely different from that used when reporting on a qualitative research study.
    > The audience for whom you are writing - the style used when writing for an academic audience (a thesis, journal articles are examples) may differ from the one used for a nonacademic audience (an evaluation report for a sponsor). Reports written for non-academic audiences are sometimes referred to as technical reports.
    > Your own style of writing - you have to be true to yourself and use the kind of language and style with which you are comfortable. Do not try to copy somebody else’s style or use difficult sounding words simple because you want to create an impression. You will create an impression if you do this, a wrong impression 
  • How many drafts will I need?
    Be prepared to write, rewrite and revise many times. Each chapter will have to be read, revised and reexamined multiple times. You may have to write a couple of drafts even before you show the chapter to your research guide. You will then have to revise it till s/he is satisfied. Once the content has been finalized, you will need to edit the chapters for grammar and other language related matter. Make sure you have sufficient time for the writing process. 

Reporting on research studies

This module will take you through three types of research document:
  • A quantitative research document
  • A qualitative research document
  • A research document for a non-academic audience 
As mentioned previously, the style and tone for all three will be different. Yet, the three research documents have a few common aspects. These are discussed in the following subsections.
  • A title page
    This page contains the title of your research project and also details of the research team and the date (or at least year) of submission. If you have done the research as part of the requirement for a degree, you will need to mention your name, the name of your research guide/supervisor and details of your college/university. In case your research has been undertaken as part of your work and involves other team members, their names will have to be included in the title page along with details of the employing organisation (where you work) as well as details of the organisation which has provided the funds to conduct the research, where applicable. Names of partner organisations should also be included in the title page. Please ensure that you include the logos of all the organisations involved in the research study. Do give a great deal of thought to your title as the title is what will capture the readers’ attention. Two points to keep in mind when working on a title include:
    > It should be short (about 15 to 20 words)
    > It should inform the reader about the main focus of the research in terms of method used and the respondent group.
    For example:
    > A Survey of Child Labourers in Metro Cities’
    > ‘Baseline Survey of Demonstration Site for Preschool programs in Tribal areas of Maharashtra
    > ‘Needs Assessment Survey of XYZ village in ABC state’
    > ‘ A Survey on Maternal and Child Health in Three Tribal Hamlets, Thane’

    Qualitative researchers may consider a two part title, something creative that expresses the soul of the study followed by a more descriptive subtitle that tells you about the research method and respondent groups. A few examples are given below:
    > My Dream House: Impact Evaluation of A Cost-Effective Housing Solutions Program in Rural Maharashtra’
    > ‘Strengthening Child Protection Systems and Addressing Violence Against Children: Mapping Courses offered by Colleges across India and Preparing a Course Outline for Child Protection’
    > ‘A Qualitative Evaluation of the Individual Educational Plan in Worcestershire (UK) and its Applicability to Mumbai (India)’
    > ‘Enhancing Road Safety among Children: Action Research on Prevention of Unintentional Injuries among Children (0-14 years) in Mumbai’

    The title for a non-academic audience needs to be attention-catching and need not present detailed information on the type of research that was carried out or the respondent group involved in the research. For example:
    > Voices of Invisible Children: Understanding the Perceptions of Child Workers Rescued between 2008-2010’
    > ‘Childspeak for Child Rights: Findings of a Survey’
    > ‘Why Can’t I go to School, too?: A Children’s guide to Child Labour’
    > ‘Mapping Nowhere Children: Registering the Births of Children in Vulnerable Circumstances in Mumbai
  • Abstract
    The abstract is a concise summary of your research. It is written in third person and in past tense as it is a factual account of the research that you have completed. It is best to write the abstract after having written the entire research report. The length of an abstract should be between 150 and 300 words, depending on the length of the entire research report. The abstract should state the following:
    > The research problem
    > The rationale for the study
    > The type of study (qualitative, quantitative or mixed)
    > The methods of data collection and analysis
    > The key findings (one or two) and implications of these in light of other research

    The following examples will help you understand how to write an abstract
                                       Example 1: An abstract of a PhD thesis. 

    Example 2: An abstract of a study for a non-academic audience. 

  • List of contents
    The list of contents should be presented a clear, organised, logical and systematic manner. All the chapters, sections and sub-sections should be clearly mentioned. The list of contents should also contain a separate ‘list of tables’, ‘list of figures’ and a ‘list of annexures/appendix’. Please also note that the abstract, forward, acknowledgements or other such information that precedes the list of contents should also find a mention in the list of contents. The page numbers for these are usually in Roman numeral. Please see example given below for a sample ‘List of Contents’.

    Whether or not you decide to number the sections and sub-sections is an individual one; however, regardless of whether these are numbered or not, it is essential that they be mentioned in the list of contents. Please refer to examples below.


  • Writing a research report is an integral part of any research process. 
  • A research document provides details regarding the research study conducted by the researcher. 
  • Be prepared to make multiple revisions of your research report. 


Thank You