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Research Reports: Structure

The purpose of a Research Report is to demonstrate or develop your ability to undertake a complete piece of research including research design, and an appreciation of its significance in the field. It will probably include most of the sections described in Methodology Recount, but will be more clearly contextualised, it will have a deeper discussion of the findings, and it will certainly have a discussion on the broader significance of the research.

The Research Report will probably be organised in chapters and the structure of the Research Report is likely to include the following stages:

Table of Contents

Aims & Objectives

Description and justification of aims, including your research question and objectives; a business report would include terms of reference.

Literature Review

An extensive survey of the literature, including any theory. See: Literature Survey: Literature Review.

Account of Investigation

A clear description and justification of your participants, procedures and materials.


Details of what you found - your results or findings.


A discussion of your findings. May include some background information; a reminder of the main purpose of the study; a summary of results/findings; a discussion of the findings, commenting on whether they are expected or not or whether or not they support the original purpose, and whether they agree with the findings of other researchers; limitations of the study; reference to previous research; possible explanation of findings; explanation of unsatisfactory results; broader generalisation from the particular results; implications of the study; recommendation for and justification of future work.


What conclusions you have come to, including the implications and wider significance of your research.


A detailed list of all the sources you have drawn on in your research.


Full details of results, questionnaires, etc.

Examples of Research Reports include:

  • research articles
  • student research project
  • topic-based dissertation

These tasks will help you with the structure of Research Reports.

Task 1

Look at the stages of a typical Research Report above. Drag the stages into the correct order - put the first one at the top.


Task 2

Look at the stages for a Research Report. Match the stages with the descriptions.


Task 3

Example 1 is a Research Report from the field of Psycholinguistics. Put the sections in order - put the earliest at the top.


Task 4

Example 1 is a Research Report from the field of Psycholinguistics. Match the sections in the report with the typical stages shown above.