Academic Report

Last Updated: May 24, 2024

Academic Report

As a way of evaluating a student’s logical capacity, comprehension level and writing skill, some professors require their students to write a document presenting their ideas, thoughts, analyses, etc. about a certain topic. Other than writing an essay, the students can also use a report in order effectively present their objective deductions and findings.

academic report

A formal report is another way of presenting facts and analysis you have gathered from your readings about a certain topic. In requires thorough research, readings, rationalizing, analyzing and making a point. It goes beyond that of an essay, it is more than just arguing a position and drawing conclusions, although a report can also do that, it must comprehensively present pertinent facts and information in order for the reader to see the subject in new light.

As you may know, report writing is a very useful skill not only academically but also in your future career. Not only does it hones your writing skills it also improves your analytical and critical thinking skills since it urges you to come up with objective findings based on facts. Therefore, it will surely help you be good at whatever job you wish to pursue in the future; no employer says no to a critically and analytically adept individual. You may also see marketing report examples.

Academic Research Report Template

Academic Research Report Template
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Academic Report Format Guide Example

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Difference Between an Essay and Report

An essay and a report are both effective ways of presenting information and data. However, some professors may prefer one over the other. In order to know the difference between the two, a list of their differences are presented below:

1. Essay

  • Essay are rarely used outside the academic realm.
  • It focuses on analyzing or evaluating theory, past research by other people, and ideas.
  • Rarely presents the findings of a newly conducted research.
  • It only has four significant parts or elements.
  • The flow of writing is continuous and does not have dividing sections.
  • It usually does not include table, charts, and/or diagrams.
  • It should not be used as the method in arriving at conclusions.
  • Is usually not reflective about the process of researching and writing the essay itself.
  • It does not include recommendations.
  • It is argumentative and mostly based on ideas.
  • Only offers conclusions on a question or on presented issues or problems.

You may also see business report examples.

2. Reports

  • Originated from the professional world but is still used academically.
  • Often presents data and findings that the researcher himself has gathered.
  • Uses data gathering methods such as surveys, experiment or case study, or by applying theory.
  • Commonly has at least 12 parts or sections and 14 parts or sections at most.
  • Topics are divided into different sections or headings or sub-headings.
  • It usually contains tables, graphs, charts and diagrams.
  • Includes the method/s the researcher used.
  • It includes recommendations on what actions to make.
  • It is an informative and fact-based document.
  • Follows specific style for each section.
  • It is written with a specific purpose and reader in mind.

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Contents of an Academic Report

An effective academic report must have the contents and sections necessary to nit-pick and through explain a subject. Listed below are the contents of an academic report:

  1. Title Page
  2. Author Declaration
  3. Abstract or Executive Summary
  4. Acknowledgements
  5. Table of Contents
  6. Introduction
  7. Literature Review
  8. Method or Methodology or Research Design
  9. Results or Findings
  10. Discussion of Results or Analysis or Interpretation
  11. Conclusions
  12. Recommendations
  13. References or Bibliography
  14. Appendices

How to Write an Academic Report

1. Title Page

This means what it literally means. The title of the general report should be indicated on this page of the academic report. In some cases, the title page also includes your name as the author and student number, the name of the course and the course code. For example:

Communication Skills Relevant in International Business

John Smith (012345)
Business 300

2. Author Declaration

In some universities or colleges, you will need to fill out a form from the department or faculty conforming that the report is in fact your own output. This form is attached to any assigned report or essay for your course.

3. Abstract or Executive Summary

An abstract is a short opening for your entire report. It is a basically a summary of the report as a whole and therefore should only be around 150 words in length. In order to effectively write it, a good techniques is writing it after all the sections, headings and sub-headings have been presented. Here’s a tip: write one or two sentences representing each section of the report in order to have a complete and comprehensive abstract.

4. Acknowledgements

Although acknowledgements are normally necessary in major reports, it can also be included in an academic report. This acknowledges the people who have supported you in your research and has contributed in the completion of the report. However, do not go overboard. This should only be short and direct to the point. You may also like consulting report examples.

6. Table of Contents

This is where the reader goes to look for specific sections or topics found in your report. This contains the actual titles of each section, heading and sub-headings along with their actual page numbers. A good way or organizing your table of contents is to list the contents in according to hierarchy numbers, from first to last. After the list of the contents comes a separate list for the tables, charts, diagrams, etc that is found in your report. You may also check out management report examples.

7. Introduction

The introduction must present the purpose or objective of the report and explain why the report is necessary or how it’s useful. It must immediately let the reader know that the report is useful in the field it is focused on and that it has a positive impact and recommendations on the subject at hand. In addition, you can define key terms you have repeatedly used in the report so that the reader has a clear idea on what you mean when you use the term. You might be interested in recruitment report examples.

Author’s Note: The following sections (8-11) are primarily used in major reports such as research, an experiment, survey or observation. If your report is based on reading, you can replace these sections with topic heading of your own choosing.

8. Literature Review

In this section, describe and report the previous and current thinking and research on the topic. You include a summary on what other have written about the topic you are reporting. This section will mostly consist of in-text citations from the books, articles, reports, etc. you have read about the topic. You may also see report examples in excel.

Simply, it is a review of all the literature you have read in order to form your own thinking about the topic. These literature are your basis for conducting your own report. The literature review should follow the format, MLA or APA format, you professor has required in citing your references.

9. Method or Methodology or Research Design

This section is all about the method or way you have gathered or collected your data. You present and tell your reader/s how were you able the data you have in your report. For example, you can describe the step-by-step process you did when you conducted an experiment or write a detailed description of a situation you have observed. In addition, in this section it is normal that you also have to explain why you collected the data through that method. An normally, the justification should also be quite detailed. You can include some in-text references to research methods references to help explain and justify your choice of method(s). You may also like monthly report examples & samples.

10. Results or Findings

Simply present the results or findings of your report in this section. There is no need for discussions, analysis and explanations of the results. Oftentimes, this section includes a table to comprehensively present the findings. Aside from that, this is also where you state whether you accept or reject the hypothesis or hypotheses you have made in you report. You may also check out sample activity reports.

11. Discussion of Results or Analysis or Interpretation

This is where you present what you think about the results you have formulated in your report. You can also include comment abut your results in this section. Here are other things the discussion section can include:

  • Describing and suggesting reasons for any patterns in the results, possibly including anomalies (results that don’t ‘fit in with’ the rest).
  • Explaining what you found (perhaps with reference to theory). You may also see performance report examples.
  • Commenting on how much your findings agree or disagree with the literature.
  • Considering the accuracy and reliability of your results (and how the methods you used might have affected that accuracy).
  • Considering the implications of your results – what they might mean for your practice, for example. • Discussing what further research in this area might be useful in future. You may also like investigation report samples and examples.

12. Conclusions

In the conclusions, you should summarize the key findings of your report. Remember that all the information that you include in the conclusions should have been presented before and are new information. The conclusions should effectively summarize and present all the major points you have made so far in you report.

13. Recommendations

Recommendations are not necessarily needed in all academic reports, however, work-related and case studies should always present recommendations. These suggestions are for future actions in order to solve or improve issues or problems presented in the report. You may also check out free report examples & samples.

14. References or Bibliography

There should be a list on all the references you have used to cite and to back your claims. It should only contain all the literature you have cited in your report. Depending on the requirement, you can follow either an MLA or APA format for citation.

15. Appendices

Appendices contains all the supplementary information is ‘stored’. This could be table of data, copies of observation forms or notes, extracts from large documents, a transcript of a recording, etc. You might be interested in technical report examples & samples.

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We hope you found our article on creating an academic report to be useful for your academic studies. We also included some examples which you can use as a reference/guide.

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