How to Write Research Project Completion Report
Formal reports are of different kinds. Project reports, activity reports and survey reports are the major ones.
Before going into the details of the reports, if you have not read about the synopsis, please go through it first. The structure of the report depends mainly on the items as per the subject, institutional requirement and proposal.
Upon completion of project activity or a survey, a final report is prepared for submitting to the authorities for acceptance. These reports are usually written in the formal English language with third-person mode and indirect speech.
Types of Reports
There are different reports for different needs. The news reporting, periodic progress reporting, social proceedings, etc are out of the purview of this article. Systematic project reports are mainly of the following categories:
- Project Reports
- Task-Force Reports
- Survey Reports
Some of the reports do not divide the bulk into different sections. Some integrate the background information, methodology, research, discussion and conclusions under a single section.
Elements of reports
Systematically a report has the following sections.
- Bonafide certificate
- Contents page
- List of tables
- List of figures/ charts
- List of abbreviations
- Review of literature
- Methodology and materials used
- Results of the project/activity work done/survey data
- Bibliography reference
Universities and organizations have the above elements for the thesis, dissertations and reports. However, each university and organisations provide an application format for submission of the reports and also have specified formats for the reports. In such cases, strictly adhere to the specified formats alone which will help you to get the reports accepted.
A title is the most important item among all others. A long-form title giving a hint to the problem as well as solution serves its purpose. Keep the titles as simple as possible at the same time, let it give a complete picture of the work and attract the authority realistically to the objectives. Usually, titles are indexed in many of the databases, to avoid duplication of research, in the institutions or universities/organizations. Once the title is approved under the initial synopsis or proposal of the project, it cannot be changed. It forms the title of the programme as well as the final report. Therefore, give sufficient importance to the title and obtain the suggestions of experts in the field, whom you rely upon.
If it is a big project or a PhD thesis, it needs a title page.
The title page also carries affiliations. You can give the name of the researchers and the affiliations. A line can be stated here that this work forms part of a major project or degree or diploma or any kind of course for fulfilment of the program. If any collaboration of institutions and individuals includes in the project team, that can be stated here.
The certificate authenticates the researcher and the work carried out by that individual. This certificate is given under the seal of the institution. It should be in a single page and has to be given in original and has to be bound along with the report. If the work is done by a student as part of the degree for diploma in such case the student certifies the work and which will be countersigned by his instructor or head of the department.
When it is an elaborate report, the searcher in the course of doing such work obtains the help of various individuals, authorities, peer group experts in the field where is departments. Search helps will be duly acknowledged by thanking them wholeheartedly for their cooperation and involvement in the work. point to remember at this particular point of time is that this remains on record so that no one is omitted.
Table of contents
The usual listing of various chapters and page numbers very easy reading and locating at once.
List of Tables
Whenever there is some data and figures and observations it is usually stated in the form of tables. Such tables are making identifiable entities of the report and therefore they are listed under this section.
List of figures/ charts
Photographs maps charts and drawings also form individual entities of the report and therefore those items are also listed under this section.
List of Abbreviations
abbreviations used in the reports are listed and the full form is a given in alphabetical order under this section. Is abbreviations are specifically listed to avoid confusions, since the same abbreviations are used for different things.
Abstract or Executive Summary
One page or a one-paragraph summary of the entire work, in a nutshell, is given under this section for a bird's eye view of the programme. In case of an organisational report, there will be a preface before this abstract.
A brief introduction stating the overall project. It can be of one or two pages. This is the beginning of the report and a link between the title and the results as well as subsequent chapters. The problem statement as given in the synopsis also needs to be stated once again here under the introduction. The objectives as per the original proposal are also written here in bullet points. Objectives must be crisp, realistic and achievable in the available time-frame. If at all there was any setback or rethinking due to which the original objectives are changed, the changed objective will be mentioned here.
Background Information Forms Concrete Foundation
This section is also known as situation analysis or ‘Prior-Art’. Statement of background information and description of the work done on this line by the previous researchers and the shortcomings is given briefly in this section. This may add up many pages, depending on the subject. This part is very important because this leads your work based on credible reference. Doing work on that subject proves relevance in the light of previous findings. Write this part in sequential and thematic flow. Let the grammar be in the past tense. Be sure that whatever you are including in this section is having proper bibliographic citation as an authentic document. These citations will be listed in the bibliographic references list at the end of the report.
While preparing the background information literature can be taken to include only relevant information which is required for the report. If needed reference cards may be maid and items can be compiled under subheadings. If there is a multitude of information is available on a given subject in such case only the most important ones can be included. There is a systematic scheme of activity involved for collection of background information also known as a review of the literature.
Background information, on the one hand, gives you a clear picture of the topic of the research whereas on the other hand it schematically leads to the objective of the program.
Plagiarism is the biggest culprit in the present-day digital world. Therefore, originality of the content gives you a very good value.
Methodology or Research Design
This can also include the methodology of research. Use of tools and processes can be described here to determine the strength of the project. Each of the variables involved in the project and the circumstances and the period at which the work has been carried out has to be properly described under the section. Statistically defined designs add value to the programme. All aspects of logistics also need to be mentioned in this section. The requirement of resources and facilities and the variables in the project can be described here. Make sure that these are available at your disposal in the given place and time. Be sure that what you are adopting is not outdated methodology and resources.
Results or Observations
The precision of data collection, sample selection, observational accuracy are very important. Units and measures have to be uniformly used in the observations as described under methodology. Errors have to be eliminated and observational variations have to be minimised. in case of the first-time adoption of a method, previous standardization may be done to increase accuracy. Ultimately the success of data under results determines the outcome of the project.
Raw data has to be analysed properly and presented in tabular format. Wherever it appears good and analytical interpretations are easy in such cases graphical representation would be better.
Discussions or Inferences
This chapter is very important mainly because here we discuss our results in the light of previous findings and arrive at a logical decision-making situation. Each case has to be viewed from different angles. It is at this point that an experienced guide can help the researcher. It is a place where the integration of the ideas based on the review of literature as well as the actual observations from the results chapter coincide to lead into intellectually analysed and deliberated discussions. even do this chapter comes after the result chapter in the report in actual situation there will be a forward and backward process were based on the discussions the researcher may carry out some more observations to arrive at logical decisions. Therefore there is a lot of interaction between the results and discussion chapters. In some of the organisations, these chapters do not have separate identity. The two chapters appear as a merged single chapter.
Once the results and discussion chapters are completed, the researcher logically arrives at decision-making conclusion. When the research conclusions meet the objectives, then the project is considered a success.
The final section is of a list of bibliographic references.
The list of references is given in alphabetical order in common journal format. This helps the readers or evaluators to find further details of the quoted content.
some of the key terminologies from the entire report can be called out and listed in the form of an index. Index chapter plays a vital role and it is an easy tool to find out relevant materials. in the digital format of the reports it would be easier to form index listing. Once there is an index the value of the report becomes very high. It also shows the meticulous approach of the report editor.
In a detailed report there will be a Nexus as listed below:
- Published reprints
- Expenditure Statements
- Composition of Associated Teams/ Committees
Submission of the report
Reports are usually submitted along with a covering letter at the end of the programme. In the case of long term programs, quarterly reports and annual reports will be submitted regularly depending upon the requirements of the authorities.
The report is laser printed on one side of the bond paper with good spacing for easy reading. The report is finally bound mostly in semi-calico or paperback mode with good cover and submitted with the required number of identical copies.
Reports are prominent contributors to the development of the sector. These are referred by the future workers in the subject for many years. some of the reports of systematic studies with significant contributions become the basic fundamental documents for workers in the subject. Thus it will become a valuable asset of the organisation.
Now it is being a digital era all the reports are submitted in electronic format also PDF documents. Soft copies save a considerable amount of report generation costs and also stacking economics.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Halemane Muralikrishna