Reporting Research

I found the following format recommended in both biology and psychology for reporting the results of experiments; forms similar to it will be used in other social science and hard science areas as well:

1. Title: a literal description of the topic of your report.

2. Abstract: a summary in two hundred fifty words or fewer of the why, how, and what of your report.

3. Introduction: a statement of your hypothesis and a review of the relevant literature.

4. Methods and materials: information about how you set up your experiment that would allow another experimenter to replicate your work.

5. Results: charts, tables, and figures accompanied by a prose narrative to explain what happened.

6. Discussion: a review of your results, a comparison to other studies, and a discussion of implications.

7. References: a list of all sources actually cited in your report, using appropriate documentation format (see Chapters Eleven and Twelve).

8. Appendices: work pertinent to your report, but not essential to understanding it.

In the event that you are asked to write a technical report, I would consult one of the many report-writing handbooks used in technical writing or business writing courses.

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