essay report format

Ultimate Guide on How to Write a Report Tips and Sample

essay report format

Defining a Report

A report is a type of writing that represents information, data, and research findings on a specific topic. The writer is expected to deliver a well-structured, credible, and informative text that dives into the small details of a certain topic, discussing its benefits and challenges.

Reports serve many important purposes. They provide recorded facts and findings. They are used to analyze data and draw insights that can be used for decision-making. Some reports serve as compliance checks to ensure that organizations meet certain standards and requirements. Also, reports are a formal way to communicate valuable information to decision-makers and stakeholders.

A report paper can be academic or about sales, science, business, etc. But unlike other texts, report writing takes much more than getting acquainted with the subject and forming an opinion about it. Report preparation is the most important stage of the writing process. Whether you are assigned to write an academic or a sales paper, before you start writing, you must do thorough research on the topic and ensure that every source of information is trustworthy.

Report writing has its rules. In this article, we will cover everything from how to start a report to how to format one. Below you will find a student research report sample. Check our paper writer service if you want one designed specifically for your requirements.

Student Research Report Sample

Before you read our article on how to write an act essay , see what an informative and well-structured report looks like. Below you will find a sample report that follows the format and tips we suggested in the article.

Explore and learn more about comprehensive but concise reports.

What are the Report Types

As mentioned, there are plenty of different types of report papers. Even though they are very formal, academic reports are only one of many people will come across in their lifetime. Some reports concentrate on the annual performance of a company, some on a project's progress, and others on scientific findings.

Next, we will elaborate more on different sorts of reports, their contents, and their purpose. Don't forget to also check out our report example that you can find below.

report types

Academic Reports

An academic report represents supported data and information about a particular subject. This could be a historical event, a book, or a scientific finding. The credibility of such academic writing is very important as it, in the future, could be used as a backup for dissertations, essays, and other academic work.

Students are often assigned to write reports to test their understanding of a topic. They also provide evidence of the student's ability to critically analyze and synthesize information. It also demonstrates the student's writing skills and ability to simply convey complex findings and ideas.

Remember that the report outline will affect your final grade when writing an academic report. If you want to learn about the correct report writing format, keep reading the article. If you want to save time, you can always buy essays online .

Project Reports

Every project has numerous stakeholders who like to keep an eye on how things are going. This can be challenging if the number of people who need to be kept in the loop is high. One way to ensure everyone is updated and on the same page is periodic project reports.

Project managers are often assigned to make a report for people that affect the project's fate. It is a detailed document that summarizes the work done during the project and the work that needs to be completed. It informs about deadlines and helps form coherent expectations. Previous reports can be used as a reference point as the project progresses.

Sales Reports

Sales reports are excellent ways to keep your team updated on your sales strategies. It provides significant information to stakeholders, including managers, investors, and executives, so they can make informed decisions about the direction of their business.

A sales report usually provides information about a company's sales performance over a precise period. These reports include information about the revenue generated, the total number of units sold, and other metrics that help the company define the success of sales performance.

Sales report preparation is a meticulous job. To communicate information engagingly, you can put together graphs showing various information, including engagement increase, profit margins, and more.

Business Reports

If you were assigned a business report, something tells us you are wondering how to write a report for work. Let us tell you that the strategy is not much different from writing an academic report. A Strong thesis statement, compelling storytelling, credible sources, and correct format are all that matter.

Business reports can take many forms, such as marketing reports, operational reports, market research reports, feasible studies, and more. The purpose of such report writing is to provide analysis and recommendations to support decision-making and help shape a company's future strategy.

Most business reports include charts, graphs, and other visual aids that help illustrate key points and make complex information easy to digest. 

Scientific Reports

Scientific reports present the results of scientific research or investigation to a specific audience. Unlike book reports, a scientific report is always reviewed by other experts in the field for its accuracy, quality, and relevance.

If you are a scientist or a science student, you can't escape writing a lab report. You will need to provide background information on the research topic and explain the study's purpose. A scientific report includes a discussion part where the researcher interprets the results and significance of the study.

Whether you are assigned to write medical reports or make a report about new findings in the field of physics, your writing should always have an introduction, methodology, results, conclusion, and references. These are the foundation of a well-written report.

Annual Reports

An annual report is a comprehensive piece of writing that provides information about a company's performance over a year. In its nature, it might remind us of extended financial reports.

Annual reports represent types of longer reports. They usually include an overview of a company's activities, a financial summary, detailed product and service information, and market conditions. But it's not just a report of the company's performance in the sales market, but also an overview of its social responsibility programs and sustainability activities.

The format of annual report writing depends on the company's specific requirements, the needs of its stakeholder, and the regulation of the country it's based.

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Report Format

As we've seen throughout this article, various types of reports exist. And even though their content differs, they share one essential element: report writing format. Structure, research methods, grammar, and reference lists are equally important to different reports.

Keep in mind that while the general format is the same for every type, you still need to check the requirements of the assigned report before writing one. School reports, lab reports, and financial reports are three different types of the same category.

We are now moving on to discuss the general report format. Let's direct our attention to how to start a report.

Title : You need a comprehensive but concise title to set the right tone and make a good impression. It should be reflective of the general themes in the report.

Table of Contents : Your title page must be followed by a table of contents. We suggest writing an entire report first and creating a table of content later.

Summary : The table of contents should be followed by an executive report summary. To create a comprehensive summary, wait until you have finished writing the full report.

Introduction : A major part of the report structure is an introduction. Make sure you convey the main idea of the report in just a few words. The introduction section must also include a strong thesis statement.

Body : The central part of your work is called the report's body. Here you should present relevant information and provide supported evidence. Make sure every paragraph starts with a topic sentence. Here you can use bullet points, graphs, and other visual aids.

Conclusion : Use this part to summarize your findings and focus on the main elements and what they bring to the table. Do not introduce new ideas. Good report writing means knowing the difference between a summary and a conclusion.

Recommendations : A report is designed to help decision-makers or provide crucial information to the conversation, including a set of goals or steps that should be taken to further advance the progress.

Appendices : As a finishing touch, include a list of source materials on which you based the information and facts. If you want your report to get acknowledged, don't neglect this part of the report format.

How to Write a Report Like a PRO

Mastering the report writing format is only a fraction of the job. Writing an exceptional report takes more than just including a title page and references.

Next, we will offer report-writing tips to help you figure out how to write a report like a PRO. Meanwhile, if you need someone to review your physics homework, our physics helper is ready to take on the job.

report like a pro

Start With a Strong Thesis

A strong thesis is essential to a good paper because it sets the direction for the rest. It should provide a well-defined but short summary of the main points and arguments made in the report.

A strong thesis can help you collect your thoughts and ensure that the report has a course and a coherent structure. It will help you stay focused on key points and tie every paragraph into one entity.

A clear thesis will make your report writing sound more confident and persuasive. It will make finding supporting evidence easier, and you will be able to effectively communicate your ideas to the reader.

Use Simple Wording

Reports are there to gather and distribute as much information to as many people as possible. So, the content of it should be accessible and understandable for everyone, despite their knowledge in the field. We encourage you to use simple words instead of fancy ones when writing reports for large audiences.

Other academic papers might require you to showcase advanced language knowledge and extensive vocabulary. Still, formal reports should present information in a way that does not confuse.

If you are wondering how to make report that is easy to read and digest, try finding simpler alternatives to fancy words. For example, use 'example' instead of 'paradigm'; Use 'relevant' instead of 'pertinent'; 'Exacerbate' is a fancier way to say 'worsen,' and while it makes you look educated, it might cause confusion and make you lose the reader. Choose words that are easier to understand.

Present Only One Concept in Each Phrase

Make your reports easier to understand by presenting only one concept in each paragraph. Simple, short sentences save everyone's time and make complex concepts easier to digest and memorize. 

Report writing is not a single-use material. It will be reread and re-used many times. Someone else might use your sales report to support their financial report. So, to avoid confusion and misinterpretation, start each paragraph with a topic sentence and tie everything else into this main theme.

Only Present Reliable Facts

You might have a strong hunch about future events or outcomes, but a research report is not a place to voice them. Everything you write should be supported by undisputed evidence.

Don't forget that one of the essential report preparation steps is conducting thorough research. Limit yourself to the information which is based on credible information. Only present relevant facts to the topic and add value to your thesis.

One of our report writing tips would be to write a rough draft and eliminate all the information not supported by reliable data. Double-check the credibility of the sources before finalizing the writing process.

Incorporate Bullet Points

When writing a research report, your goal is to make the information as consumable as possible. Don't shy away from using visual aids; this will only help you connect with a wider audience.

Bullet points are a great way to simplify the reading process and draw attention to the main concepts of the report. Use this technique in the body part of the report. If you notice that you are writing related information, use bullet points to point out their relation.

Incorporating bullet points and other visual aids in your report writing format will make a report easy to comprehend and use for further research.

While you are busy coming up with effective visual aids, you may not have enough time to take care of other assignments. Simply say, ' write my argumentative essay ,' and one of our expert writers will answer your prayer.

Review the Text for Accuracy and Inconsistencies

After completing report preparation and writing, ensure you don't skip the final stage. Even the greatest writers are not immune to grammatical mistakes and factual mix-ups.

Reviewing what you wrote is just as important as the research stage. Make sure there are no inconsistencies, and everything smoothly ties into the bigger scheme of events. Look out for spelling mistakes and word count.

If you want to further advance your writing skills, read our article about how to write a cover letter for essay .

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How to Write a Report

Last Updated: December 4, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Amy Bobinger . Emily Listmann is a private tutor in San Carlos, California. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. There are 22 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 8,687,652 times.

When you’re assigned to write a report, it can seem like an intimidating process. Fortunately, if you pay close attention to the report prompt, choose a subject you like, and give yourself plenty of time to research your topic, you might actually find that it’s not so bad. After you gather your research and organize it into an outline, all that’s left is to write out your paragraphs and proofread your paper before you hand it in!

Sample Reports

essay report format

Selecting Your Topic

Step 1 Read the report prompt or guidelines carefully.

  • The guidelines will also typically tell you the requirements for the structure and format of your report.
  • If you have any questions about the assignment, speak up as soon as possible. That way, you don’t start working on the report, only to find out you have to start over because you misunderstood the report prompt.

Step 2 Choose a topic

  • For instance, if your report is supposed to be on a historical figure, you might choose someone you find really interesting, like the first woman to be governor of a state in the U.S., or the man who invented Silly Putty.
  • If your report is about information technology , you could gather information about the use of computers to store, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data or information.
  • Even if you don’t have the option to choose your topic, you can often find something in your research that you find interesting. If your assignment is to give a report on the historical events of the 1960s in America, for example, you could focus your report on the way popular music reflected the events that occurred during that time.

Tip: Always get approval from your teacher or boss on the topic you choose before you start working on the report!

Step 3 Try to pick a topic that is as specific as possible.

  • If you’re not sure what to write about at first, pick a larger topic, then narrow it down as you start researching.
  • For instance, if you wanted to do your report on World Fairs, then you realize that there are way too many of them to talk about, you might choose one specific world fair, such as the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, to focus on.
  • However, you wouldn’t necessarily want to narrow it down to something too specific, like “Food at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition,” since it could be hard to find sources on the subject without just listing a lot of recipes.

Researching the Report

Step 1 Include a variety...

  • If you don’t have guidelines on how many sources to use, try to find 1-2 reputable sources for each page of the report.
  • Sources can be divided into primary sources, like original written works, court records, and interviews, and secondary sources, like reference books and reviews.
  • Databases, abstracts, and indexes are considered tertiary sources, and can be used to help you find primary and secondary sources for your report. [5] X Research source
  • If you’re writing a business report , you may be given some supplementary materials, such as market research or sales reports, or you may need to compile this information yourself. [6] X Research source

Step 2 Visit the library first if you’re writing a report for school.

  • Librarians are an excellent resource when you're working on a report. They can help you find books, articles, and other credible sources.
  • Often, a teacher will limit how many online sources you can use. If you find most of the information you need in the library, you can then use your online sources for details that you couldn’t find anywhere else.

Tip: Writing a report can take longer than you think! Don't put off your research until the last minute , or it will be obvious that you didn't put much effort into the assignment.

Step 3 Use only scholarly sources if you do online research.

  • Examples of authoritative online sources include government websites, articles written by known experts, and publications in peer-reviewed journals that have been published online.

Step 4 Cross-reference your sources to find new material.

  • If you’re using a book as one of your sources, check the very back few pages. That’s often where an author will list the sources they used for their book.

Step 5 Keep thorough notes...

  • Remember to number each page of your notes, so you don’t get confused later about what information came from which source!
  • Remember, you’ll need to cite any information that you use in your report; however, exactly how you do this will depend on the format that was assigned to you.

Step 6 Use your research...

  • For most reports, your thesis statement should not contain your own opinions. However, if you're writing a persuasive report, the thesis should contain an argument that you will have to prove in the body of the essay.
  • An example of a straightforward report thesis (Thesis 1) would be: “The three main halls of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition were filled with modern creations of the day and were an excellent representation of the innovative spirit of the Progressive era.”
  • A thesis for a persuasive report (Thesis 2) might say: “The Panama-Pacific International Exposition was intended as a celebration of the Progressive spirit, but actually harbored a deep racism and principle of white supremacy that most visitors chose to ignore or celebrate.”

Step 7 Organize your notes...

  • The purpose of an outline is to help you to visualize how your essay will look. You can create a straightforward list or make a concept map , depending on what makes the most sense to you.
  • Try to organize the information from your notes so it flows together logically. For instance, it can be helpful to try to group together related items, like important events from a person’s childhood, education, and career, if you’re writing a biographical report.
  • Example main ideas for Thesis 1: Exhibits at the Court of the Universe, Exhibits at the Court of the Four Seasons, Exhibits at the Court of Abundance.

Tip: It can help to create your outline on a computer in case you change your mind as you’re moving information around.

Writing the First Draft

Step 1 Format the report according to the guidelines you were given.

  • Try to follow any formatting instructions to the letter. If there aren't any, opt for something classic, like 12-point Times New Roman or Arial font, double-spaced lines, and 1 in (2.5 cm) margins all around.
  • You'll usually need to include a bibliography at the end of the report that lists any sources you used. You may also need a title page , which should include the title of the report, your name, the date, and the person who requested the report.
  • For some types of reports, you may also need to include a table of contents and an abstract or summary that briefly sums up what you’ve written. It’s typically easier to write these after you’ve finished your first draft. [14] X Research source

Step 2 State your thesis...

  • Example Intro for Thesis 1: “The Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) of 1915 was intended to celebrate both the creation of the Panama Canal, and the technological advancements achieved at the turn of the century. The three main halls of the PPIE were filled with modern creations of the day and were an excellent representation of the innovative spirit of the Progressive era.”

Step 3 Start each paragraph in the body of the report with a topic sentence.

  • Typically, you should present the most important or compelling information first.
  • Example topic sentence for Thesis 1: At the PPIE, the Court of the Universe was the heart of the exposition and represented the greatest achievements of man, as well as the meeting of the East and the West.

Tip: Assume that your reader knows little to nothing about the subject. Support your facts with plenty of details and include definitions if you use technical terms or jargon in the paper.

Step 4 Support each topic sentence with evidence from your research.

  • Paraphrasing means restating the original author's ideas in your own words. On the other hand, a direct quote means using the exact words from the original source in quotation marks, with the author cited.
  • For the topic sentence listed above about the Court of the Universe, the body paragraph should go on to list the different exhibits found at the exhibit, as well as proving how the Court represented the meeting of the East and West.
  • Use your sources to support your topic, but don't plagiarize . Always restate the information in your own words. In most cases, you'll get in serious trouble if you just copy from your sources word-for-word. Also, be sure to cite each source as you use it, according to the formatting guidelines you were given. [18] X Research source

Step 5 Follow your evidence with commentary explaining why it links to your thesis.

  • Your commentary needs to be at least 1-2 sentences long. For a longer report, you may write more sentences for each piece of commentary.

Step 6 Summarize your research...

  • Avoid presenting any new information in the conclusion. You don’t want this to be a “Gotcha!” moment. Instead, it should be a strong summary of everything you’ve already told the reader.

Revising Your Report

Step 1 Scan the report to make sure everything is included and makes sense.

  • A good question to ask yourself is, “If I were someone reading this report for the first time, would I feel like I understood the topic after I finished reading?

Tip: If you have time before the deadline, set the report aside for a few days . Then, come back and read it again. This can help you catch errors you might otherwise have missed.

Step 2 Check carefully for proofreading errors.

  • Try reading the report to yourself out loud. Hearing the words can help you catch awkward language or run-on sentences you might not catch by reading it silently.

Step 3 Read each sentence from the end to the beginning.

  • This is a great trick to find spelling errors or grammatical mistakes that your eye would otherwise just scan over.

Step 4 Have someone else proofread it for you.

  • Ask your helper questions like, “Do you understand what I am saying in my report?” “Is there anything you think I should take out or add?” And “Is there anything you would change?”

Step 5 Compare your report to the assignment requirements to ensure it meets expectations.

  • If you have any questions about the assignment requirements, ask your instructor. It's important to know how they'll be grading your assignment.

Expert Q&A

Emily Listmann, MA

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Write a Financial Report

  • ↑ https://libguides.reading.ac.uk/reports/writing-up
  • ↑ https://emory.libanswers.com/faq/44525
  • ↑ https://opentextbc.ca/writingforsuccess/chapter/chapter-7-sources-choosing-the-right-ones/
  • ↑ https://libguides.merrimack.edu/research_help/Sources
  • ↑ https://www.wgtn.ac.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/1779625/VBS-Report-Writing-Guide-2017.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.library.illinois.edu/hpnl/tutorials/primary-sources/
  • ↑ https://libguides.scu.edu.au/harvard/secondary-sources
  • ↑ https://learningcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/taking-notes-while-reading/
  • ↑ https://wts.indiana.edu/writing-guides/how-to-write-a-thesis-statement.html
  • ↑ https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/outline
  • ↑ https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/engl250oer/chapter/10-4-table-of-contents/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/thesis-statements/
  • ↑ https://www.yourdictionary.com/articles/report-writing-format
  • ↑ https://www.monash.edu/rlo/assignment-samples/assignment-types/writing-an-essay/writing-body-paragraphs
  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/5-most-effective-methods-for-avoiding-plagiarism/
  • ↑ https://wts.indiana.edu/writing-guides/using-evidence.html
  • ↑ https://www.student.unsw.edu.au/writing-report
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/revising-drafts/
  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/grammarpunct/proofreading/
  • ↑ https://opentextbc.ca/writingforsuccess/chapter/chapter-12-peer-review-and-final-revisions/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/

About This Article

Emily Listmann, MA

It can seem really hard to write a report, but it will be easier if you choose an original topic that you're passionate about. Once you've got your topic, do some research on it at the library and online, using reputable sources like encyclopedias, scholarly journals, and government websites. Use your research write a thesis statement that sums up the focus of your paper, then organize your notes into an outline that supports that thesis statement. Finally, expand that outline into paragraph form. Read on for tips from our Education co-author on how to format your report! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How To Write A Report

Table of contents, content of this article.

  • How to write a good report
  • Difference from essay
  • Tips for good writing

1. How To Write A Good Report

A report is a form of writing that is systematic, organized, and often tries to define or analyze a problem or an event. The problem or event analyzed can also be within a body of literature belonging to either a single document or several documents. The sole purpose of a report is to objectively present readers with all the relevant information in relation to a particular issue. Writers are expected to shelve their personal feelings or shield themselves from issues that might render the report subjective because the use of reports is at times beyond aiming to impress the author’s readership. A report has three distinct attributes which help to distinguish it from other forms of writing.

These include:

  • Pre-defined structure.
  • The existence of Independent sections.
  • Reaching impartial and balanced conclusions.

The above makes report writing a different endeavor, but it is still a significant part of academic writing.

A report should always be:

  • Accurate (be filled with reliable information)
  • Concise (direct and to the point)
  • Clear (writers must maintain consistency and avoid being ambiguous)
  • Well-structured (writers must follow the standard structure)

Straying from the above disqualifies an author’s piece or article from being a report.

2. Report vs Essay. What is the difference

A report differs greatly from a conventional essay.

  • First of all, reports have a specific structure, and writers are always asked to adhere to it while essays follow the conventional introduction, body, and conclusion structure.
  • Reports also use different sections and these should always have subheadings. These sections serve a certain purpose within a report and cannot be left out.
  • Essays, on the other hand, do not have sections and while writers may need to have subheadings within their essays, they are not conventional.
  • The purpose of each form of writing also differs. In reports, writers aim at conveying a particular piece of information to their audience while in essays the main goal is to showcase the writer’s comprehension of the teacher’s instructions.

The above exquisitely and explicitly show the differences between essays and reports. Understanding these differences is the first step to learning how to write a report.

3. Topic selection for a report

Topic selection separates bad report writers from good report writers as well as from excellent report writers. In many instances, readers are attracted to certain documents because of their topics. Getting the right report topic is of the essence if writers are to maintain their readership. Many writers forget the issue of scope when selecting a topic. The scope is indeed an important consideration that calls for patience and careful consideration of the general subject suggested before settling on a specific report topic. Exceptional report writers understand the significance of scope and thus focus on specific aspects of a subject or topic before they decide on a topic. Writers are often advised to focus on the vitalities of a subject and only present that to their readers.

It is essential for authors to ask themselves the following questions to help in narrowing the scope of a subject:

  • What are the specific aspects of a topic that appear interesting to the writer?
  • What do you think will interest your audience/readers?
  • What information can you find regarding the selected subject?

The above questions are indeed essential and help a writer to find or settle on a topic they are familiar with and also feel strongly about. Knowing what interests the readers is of course of the essence because it gifts the writer with a sense of direction and purpose. Finally, report writing needs to be factual and well cited. It is thus important to ensure the selected topic is adequately referenced for purposes of building a credible and reliable argument .

Below are some good topics for a report:

  • Global Warming
  • Nuclear Fusion
  • The Shift to Solar Energy
  • Breast Cancer
  • US-Japan Relations since the 1945 atomic bombing
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • The History of Christianity
  • History of Buddhism
  • History of Foot Binding in China
  • The Power Struggle in the East
  • Causes of the 2007/2009 Recession
  • History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

4. Typical structure of a report

As already said, a report structure is formal and must be strictly adhered to by all writers. Deviating from this structure only leads to reduced marks or a bored and angry audience.

Below are the elements that form the structure of a report:

Executive Summary/Abstract

An executive summary or an abstract mainly provides a summary of the entire report. While some writers write it immediately after commencing their report, it is always advisable to write it last. This section is of great importance and makes it easier for the readers to quickly understand the main points or the focus of the report.

A table of contents is simply a list of all the sections the writer decided to include in their report. Its sole purpose is to prepare readers for what to expect when reading the report and also to make it easier for them to access some of the sections directly.

Introduction

Like other introductions, a report introduction ushers in the readers by providing them with a brief but accurate summary of the topic or issue under study. From the introduction, readers should be able to understand the writer’s focus or perspective.

The body mainly contains the bulk of information which builds on or supports the thesis statement from the introduction. Unlike the body of essays, the body of a report can be divided into sections depending on the topic being reviewed. Some of the sections include a literature review, a methods section, a findings section, and finally a discussion of the findings section.

Conclusion and Recommendations

A report conclusion must be included, and it contains the inferences or the points the writer withdrew from the report. How to conclude a report is indeed essential because it provides writers with the opportunity of restating and insisting on their main point.

Recommendations are always included, and here the writer is expected to include their suggestions of how, for example, the investigation can be improved in the future or how a problem can be averted in the future. If in case the writer’s recommendations have financial associations, then he/she must provide estimations or the projected costs of whatever issue they were discussing in their report.

Reference list

Exceptional report writers consult journals and articles which are relevant to their topic. Later, these articles and journals need to be included under the reference list section. A reference list, therefore, contains all the materials the writer used to conduct their research.

While this is not a mandatory inclusion, it adds to one’s analysis and should hence be included whenever necessary.

Once the writer has completed the report, it is important first to review it before submitting or printing it. Proofreading the finished report is indeed essential because it helps the writer to identify some of the mistakes they could have made. For example, one could have gotten some statistical facts wrong, and it is only through proofreading that such mistakes can be identified and corrected. Grammatical errors should also be avoided, and while currently there are software varieties that can help with this, the human mind is still miles ahead, and one should identify and correct such mistakes while proofreading. Reading the report to an audience can also help a writer to avoid some mistakes while also maintaining the focus and purpose of the report. Two heads will always be better than one and consulting one’s friends or co-workers could help a writer avoid re-writing the entire report in case it is found defective later.

5. Some good tips for a report writing

Report writing tips are readily available on the Internet.

Below are some of those tips:

  • Avoid ambiguity when writing a report.
  • The use of simple language is also of great importance.
  • Clarity and accuracy are also essential.
  • Avoid guessing or using information that cannot be confirmed.
  • Use recent material as sources of one’s information.
  • Always start with a report outline and draft.

Like the tips above, report writing help can be readily found on the Internet. However, it is essential to be involved in the entire process lest one gets what they did not ask for.

essay report format

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Report writing

What is a report and how does it differ from writing an essay? Reports are concise and have a formal structure. They are often used to communicate the results or findings of a project.

Essays by contrast are often used to show a tutor what you think about a topic. They are discursive and the structure can be left to the discretion of the writer.

Who and what is the report for?

Before you write a report, you need to be clear about who you are writing the report for and why the report has been commissioned.

Keep the audience in mind as you write your report, think about what they need to know. For example, the report could be for:

  • the general public
  • academic staff
  • senior management
  • a customer/client.

Reports are usually assessed on content, structure, layout, language, and referencing. You should consider the focus of your report, for example:

  • Are you reporting on an experiment?
  • Is the purpose to provide background information?
  • Should you be making recommendations for action?

Language of report writing

Reports use clear and concise language, which can differ considerably from essay writing.

They are often broken down in to sections, which each have their own headings and sub-headings. These sections may include bullet points or numbering as well as more structured sentences. Paragraphs are usually shorter in a report than in an essay.

Both essays and reports are examples of academic writing. You are expected to use grammatically correct sentence structure, vocabulary and punctuation.

Academic writing is formal so you should avoid using apostrophes and contractions such as “it’s” and "couldn't". Instead, use “it is” and “could not”.

Structure and organisation

Reports are much more structured than essays. They are divided in to sections and sub-sections that are formatted using bullet points or numbering.

Report structures do vary among disciplines, but the most common structures include the following:

The title page needs to be informative and descriptive, concisely stating the topic of the report.

Abstract (or Executive Summary in business reports)

The abstract is a brief summary of the context, methods, findings and conclusions of the report. It is intended to give the reader an overview of the report before they continue reading, so it is a good idea to write this section last.

An executive summary should outline the key problem and objectives, and then cover the main findings and key recommendations.

Table of contents

Readers will use this table of contents to identify which sections are most relevant to them. You must make sure your contents page correctly represents the structure of your report.

Take a look at this sample contents page.

Introduction

In your introduction you should include information about the background to your research, and what its aims and objectives are. You can also refer to the literature in this section; reporting what is already known about your question/topic, and if there are any gaps. Some reports are also expected to include a section called ‘Terms of references’, where you identify who asked for the report, what is covers, and what its limitations are.

Methodology

If your report involved research activity, you should state what that was, for example you may have interviewed clients, organised some focus groups, or done a literature review. The methodology section should provide an accurate description of the material and procedures used so that others could replicate the experiment you conducted.

Results/findings

The results/findings section should be an objective summary of your findings, which can use tables, graphs, or figures to describe the most important results and trends. You do not need to attempt to provide reasons for your results (this will happen in the discussion section).

In the discussion you are expected to critically evaluate your findings. You may need to re-state what your report was aiming to prove and whether this has been achieved. You should also assess the accuracy and significance of your findings, and show how it fits in the context of previous research.

Conclusion/recommendations

Your conclusion should summarise the outcomes of your report and make suggestions for further research or action to be taken. You may also need to include a list of specific recommendations as a result of your study.

The references are a list of any sources you have used in your report. Your report should use the standard referencing style preferred by your school or department eg Harvard, Numeric, OSCOLA etc.

You should use appendices to expand on points referred to in the main body of the report. If you only have one item it is an appendix, if you have more than one they are called appendices. You can use appendices to provide backup information, usually data or statistics, but it is important that the information contained is directly relevant to the content of the report.

Appendices can be given alphabetical or numerical headings, for example Appendix A, or Appendix 1. The order they appear at the back of your report is determined by the order that they are mentioned in the body of your report. You should refer to your appendices within the text of your report, for example ‘see Appendix B for a breakdown of the questionnaire results’. Don’t forget to list the appendices in your contents page.

Presentation and layout

Reports are written in several sections and may also include visual data such as figures and tables. The layout and presentation is therefore very important.

Your tutor or your module handbook will state how the report should be presented in terms of font sizes, margins, text alignment etc.

You will need good IT skills to manipulate graphical data and work with columns and tables. If you need to improve these skills, try the following online resources:

  • Microsoft online training through Linkedin Learning
  • Engage web resource on using tables and figures in reports

Research Prospect

how to write an academic report: Examples and tips

how to write an academic report: Examples and tips

Writing a report should be concise and to the point. It should also be relevant to the topic. Make sure to check your work with someone and read it aloud. Proofreading is also important because computer programs cannot catch every mistake. You may even want to wait a day before you read it to make sure that it is error-free. Keep in mind that an academic report differs from a business or technical report.

Avoiding the present tense

While the present tense is commonly used in academic writing, it isn’t always necessary. When anyone tells you about writing how to write an academic report , you can switch the tense within the same sentence or paragraph when you shift from general statements to more specific examples based on research. Other times, it’s appropriate to use the present tense when you write about a particular event that has changed over time.

The best time to use either tense is determined by the context in which you’re writing. While both are acceptable, you’ll want to ensure that your reader knows when you made your findings. In most cases, the present tense will mean that you’re writing about the time you did the research, while the past tense can be interpreted in different ways.

Introducing your topic

The introduction is the first section of your paper, and it should capture the reader’s interest and make them want to read the rest of your paper. You can do this by opening with a compelling story, question, or example that shows why your topic is important. The hook should also establish the relevance of your paper in the wider context.

The introduction should also have a thesis statement, which should explain your research paper’s topic and point of view. This statement will guide the organization of your essay. A strong thesis statement is specific, clear, and able to be proved.

Stating your thesis statement

Your thesis statement should be clear and concise. It should be able to persuade others while laying out your strong opinions. It should also contain an argument. For example, you could argue that the government should ban 4×4 pickup trucks. Or, you might argue that the amount of foul language in movies is disproportionate to the amount of it in real life.

A strong thesis statement contradicts a commonly held viewpoint. It is not too complex to explain over the course of the paper. It should also express a single main idea.

Putting together an outline before writing your report

Putting together an outline is a great way to organize your paper. Outline the content that you will cover and how you plan to support your main point. You can use a list format or alpha-numeric format to organize your outline. Regardless of the format, your outline should have a parallel structure and include the same types of words in each section. It is also a good idea to include citations whenever possible.

When you’re writing, outlining will help you get the most out of your writing. It will save you time and effort when writing because you can make full sentences and well-developed essays with an outline.

Avoiding jargon

One of the most important things to remember when writing an academic report is to avoid using jargon. These words are often difficult to understand, and although they are useful shorthand for scientists, they may alienate non-specialist readers. The use of jargon is the most common reason that readers complain about writing, but there are ways to replace these terms with plainer versions.

Jargon is specialized terminology used by a specific group. It can be incredibly difficult to understand if you’re not part of the group. It also tends to make your writing more complicated and shows that you’re trying to show off your knowledge.

How to Write an Academic Report – Examples and Tips

While the present tense is commonly used in academic writing, it isn’t always necessary. When writing an academic report, you can switch the tense within the same sentence or paragraph when you shift from general statements to more specific examples based on research. Other times, it’s appropriate to use the present tense when you write about a particular event that has changed over time.

Owen Ingram is a research-based content writer, who works for Cognizantt, a globally recognised professional SEO service and Research Prospect , a Servizio di redazione di saggi e dissertazioni . Mr Owen Ingram holds a PhD degree in English literature. He loves to express his views on a range of issues including education, technology, and more.

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Report Writing Format

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Are you wondering how to write a report? Unlike an essay , which sets out to defend a writer's view about a topic and does not have to feature headings, a report discusses a topic in a structured, easy-to-follow format. Reports are divided into sections with headings and subheadings.

Reports can be academic, technical, or business-oriented, and feature recommendations for specific actions. Reports are written to present facts about a situation, project, or process and will define and analyze the issue at hand. Ultimately, the goal of a report is to relay observations to a specific audience in a clear and concise style. Let's review the proper report writing format so you can craft a professional finished product.

Preparation and Planning

First, you should take some time to prepare and plan for your report. Before you start writing, identify the audience. Your report should be written and tailored to the readers' needs and expectations. When planning, ask yourself several questions to better understand the goal of the report. Some questions to consider include:

  • Who are the readers?
  • What is the purpose of the report?
  • Why is this report needed?
  • What information should be included in the report?

Once you identify the basics of your report, you can begin to collect supporting information, then sort and evaluate that information. The next step is to organize your information and begin putting it together in an outline . With proper planning, it will be easier to write your report and stay organized.

Formatting the Report Elements

To keep your report organized and easy to understand, there is a certain format to follow. This report writing format will make it easier for the reader to find what he is looking for. Remember to write all the sections in plain English, except the body, which can be as technical as you need it to be.

The main sections of a standard report are as follows.

If the report is short, the front cover can include any information that you feel is necessary, such as the author(s) and the date prepared. In a longer report, you may want to include a table of contents and a definition of terms.

The summary consists of the major points, conclusions, and recommendations. It needs to be short, as it is a general overview of the report. Some people will read the summary and only skim the report, so make sure you include all of the relevant information. It would be best to write this when the report is finished so you will include everything, even points that might be added at the last minute.

Introduction

The first page of the report needs to have an introduction. Here you will explain the problem and inform the reader why the report is being made. You need to give a definition of terms if you did not include these in the title section, and explain how the details of the report are arranged.

This is the main section of the report. The previous sections needed to be written in plain English, but this section can include technical terms or jargon from your industry. There should be several sections, each clearly labeled, making it easy for readers to find the information they seek. Information in a report is usually arranged in order of importance with the most important information coming first. Alternatively, you might choose to order your points by complexity or time.

If you wish, this optional section can be included at the end of the main body to go over your findings and their significance.

This is where everything comes together. Keep this section free of jargon as many people will just read the summary and conclusion.

Recommendations

This is where you discuss any actions that need to be taken. In plain English, explain your recommendations, putting them in order of priority.

This includes information that the experts in the field will read. It has all the technical details that support your conclusions.

Report Presentation

You will want to present your report in a simple and concise style that is easy to read and navigate. Readers want to be able to look through a report and get to the information they need as quickly as possible. That way the report has a greater impact on the reader.

There are simple formatting styles that can be used throughout your report that will make it easy to read and look organized and presentable. For example:

  • Font : Use just one font in your report. An easy-to-read font such as Arial or Times New Roman is best for reports. Section headings can be a different font from the main text if you prefer.
  • Lists : Use lists whenever appropriate to break information into easy-to-understand points. Lists can either be numbered or bulleted.
  • Headings and Subheadings : You can use headings and subheadings throughout your report to identify the various topics and break the text into manageable chunks. These will help keep the report organized and can be listed in the table of contents so they can be found quickly.

Report Writing Style

There are also some writing styles to consider:

  • Keep It Simple. Don't try to impress; rather try to communicate. Keep sentences short and to the point. Do not go into a lot of details unless it is needed. Make sure every word needs to be there, that it contributes to the purpose of the report.
  • Use the Active Voice . Active voice makes the writing move smoothly and easily. It also uses fewer words than the passive voice and gives impact to the writing by emphasizing the person or thing responsible for an action. For example: "Bad customer service decreases repeat business" is more concise and direct than "Repeat business is decreased by bad customer service."
  • Mind Your Grammar . Read the report aloud and have someone proofread it for you. Remember that the computer cannot catch all the mistakes, especially with words like "red/read" or " there/their ." You may even want to wait a day after you write it to come back and look at it with fresh eyes.

Different Types of Reports

While the basics of any report are the same, there are notable differences between academic, business, and technical reports.

  • Academic Writing : The first thing to note is that academic writing is extremely formal. Typically, it should be free of contractions and any sort of slang. It's also important, generally, to write in the third person, eliminating pronouns like "I" and "we."
  • Business Writing : Business writing will also take on a formal tone. However, it's allowed to be slightly less buttoned up. The goal in a business report is to present new initiatives and "get things done." Here, things like contractions would be permissible, along with ample imagery and data.
  • Technical Writing : Technical reports focus on how to do something. While an academic or even a business report will attempt to prove something, a technical report is more descriptive in nature. Also, the report writing format for students and professionals may cite facts and statistics to make their case, but technical reports are more likely to follow a logical, step-by-step approach.

First Impressions Count

Reports should be well-organized and easy to follow. To achieve this, following a structured format will keep your writing on track. How a report is presented makes not only a lasting impression but also makes the writer seem more credible and reliable.

A finishing touch to make a great impression on the reader is how you package the report. Always print the final report on good quality paper. You may also want to consider placing the report in a binder or folder. Remember, first impressions always count! And, when it's time to change gears from the formality of a report to a persuasive essay, check out Persuasive Essay Writing Made Easy .

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Report Writing

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  • Nov 4, 2023

Report Writing

The term “report” refers to a nonfiction work that presents and/or paraphrases the facts on a specific occasion, subject, or problem. The notion is that a good report will contain all the information that someone who is not familiar with the subject needs to know. Reports make it simple to bring someone up to speed on a subject, but actually writing a report is far from simple. This blog will walk you through the fundamentals of report writing, including the structure and practice themes.

This Blog Includes:

What is a report, reporting formats, newspaper or magazine reports, business reports, technical reports, what is report writing, report writing: things to keep in mind, structure of report writing, magazine vs newspaper report writing format, report writing format for class 10th to 12th, report writing example, report writing for school students: practice questions, report writing slideshare.

  • Report Writing in 7 steps

Also Read: Message Writing

A report is a short document written for a particular purpose or audience. It usually sets out and analyses a problem often recommended for future purposes. Requirements for the precise form of the report depend on the department and organization. Technically, a report is defined as “any account, verbal or written, of the matters pertaining to a given topic.” This could be used to describe anything, from a witness’s evidence in court to a student’s book report.

Actually, when people use the word “report,” they usually mean official documents that lay out the details of a subject. These documents are typically written by an authority on the subject or someone who has been tasked with conducting research on it. Although there are other forms of reports, which are discussed in the following section, they primarily fulfil this definition.

What information does reporting contain? All facts are appreciated, but reports, in particular, frequently contain the following kinds of information:

  • Information about a circumstance or event
  • The aftereffects or ongoing impact of an incident or occurrence
  • Analytical or statistical data evaluation
  • Interpretations based on the report’s data
  • Based on the report’s information, make predictions or suggestions
  • Relationships between the information and other reports or events

Although there are some fundamental differences, producing reports and essays share many similarities. Both rely on facts, but essays also include the author’s personal viewpoints and justifications. Reports normally stick to the facts only, however, they could include some of the author’s interpretation in the conclusion.

Reports are also quite well ordered, frequently with tables of contents of headers and subheadings. This makes it simpler for readers to quickly scan reports for the data they need. Essays, on the other hand, should be read from beginning to end rather than being perused for particular information.

Depending on the objective and audience for your report, there are a few distinct types of reports. The most typical report types are listed briefly below:

  • Academic report: Examines a student’s knowledge of the subject; examples include book reports, historical event reports, and biographies.
  • Identifies data from company reports, such as marketing reports, internal memoranda, SWOT analyses, and feasibility reports, that is useful in corporate planning.
  • Shares research findings in the form of case studies and research articles, usually in scientific publications.

Depending on how they are written, reports can be further categorised. A report, for instance, could be professional or casual, brief or lengthy, and internal or external. A lateral report is for persons on the author’s level but in separate departments, whereas a vertical report is for those on the author’s level but with different levels of the hierarchy (i.e., people who work above you and below you).

Report formats can be as varied as writing styles, but in this manual, we’ll concentrate on academic reports, which are often formal and informational.

Also Read: How to Write a Leave Application?

Major Types of Reports

While the most common type of reports corresponds to the ones we read in newspapers and magazines, there are other kinds of reports that are curated for business or research purposes. Here are the major forms of report writing that you must know about:

The main purpose of newspaper or magazine reports is to cover a particular event or happening. They generally elaborate upon the 4Ws and 1H, i.e. What, Where, When, Why, and How. The key elements of newspaper or magazine report writing are as follows:

  • Headline (Title)
  • Report’s Name, Place, and Date
  • Conclusion (Citation of sources)

Here is an example of a news report:

Credit: Pinterest

Business reports aim to analyze a situation or case study by implementing business theories and suggest improvements accordingly. In business report writing, you must adhere to a formal style of writing and these reports are usually lengthier than news reports since they aim to assess a particular issue in detail and provide solutions. The basic structure of business reports includes:

  • Table of Contents
  • Executive summary
  • Findings/Recommendations

The main purpose of the technical report is to provide an empirical explanation of research-based material. Technical report writing is generally carried out by a researcher for scientific journals or product development and presentation, etc. A technical report mainly contains 

  • Introduction
  • Experimental details
  • Results and discussions
  • Body (elaborating upon the findings)

Must Read: IELTS Writing Tips

A report is a written record of what you’ve seen, heard, done, or looked into. It is a well-organized and methodical presentation of facts and results from an event that has already occurred. Reports are a sort of written assessment that is used to determine what you have learned through your reading, study, or experience, as well as to provide you with hands-on experience with a crucial skill that is often used in the business.

Before writing a report, there are certain things you must know to ensure that you draft a precise and structured report, and these points to remember are listed below:

  • Write a concise and clear title of the report.
  • Always use the past tense.
  • Don’t explain the issue in the first person, i.e. ‘I’ or ‘Me’. Always write in the third person.
  • Put the date, name of the place as well as the reporter’s name after the heading.
  • Structure the report by dividing it into paragraphs.
  • Stick to the facts and keep it descriptive.

Must Read: IELTS Sample Letters

The format of a report is determined by the kind of report it is and the assignment’s requirements. While reports can have their own particular format, the majority use the following general framework:

  • Executive summary: A stand-alone section that highlights the findings in your report so that readers will know what to expect, much like an abstract in an academic paper. These are more frequently used for official reports than for academic ones.
  • Introduction: Your introduction introduces the main subject you’re going to explore in the report, along with your thesis statement and any previous knowledge that is necessary before you get into your own results.
  • Body: Using headings and subheadings, the report’s body discusses all of your significant findings. The majority of the report is made up of the body; in contrast to the introduction and conclusion, which are each only a few paragraphs long, the body can span many pages.
  • In the conclusion, you should summarize all the data in your report and offer a clear interpretation or conclusion. Usually, the author inserts their own personal judgments or inferences here.

Report Writing Formats

It is quintessential to follow a proper format in report writing to provide it with a compact structure. Business reports and technical reports don’t have a uniform structure and are generally based on the topic or content they are elaborating on. Let’s have a look at the proper format of report writing generally for news and magazines and the key elements you must add to a news report:

To Read: How to Learn Spoken English?

The report writing structure for students in grades 10 and 12 is as follows.

  • Heading :  A title that expresses the contents of the report in a descriptive manner.
  • Byline : The name of the person who is responsible for drafting the report. It’s usually included in the query. Remember that you are not allowed to include any personal information in your response.
  •  (introduction) : The ‘5 Ws,’ or WHAT, WHY, WHEN, and WHERE, as well as WHO was invited as the main guest, might be included.
  • The account of the event in detail : The order in which events occurred, as well as their descriptions. It is the primary paragraph, and if necessary, it can be divided into two smaller paragraphs.
  • Conclusion : This will give a summary of the event’s conclusion. It might include quotes from the Chief Guest’s address or a summary of the event’s outcome.

Credit: sampletemplates.com

Credit: SlideShare

Now that you are familiar with all the formats of report writing, here are some questions that you can practice to understand the structure and style of writing a report.

  • You are a student of Delhi Public School Srinagar handling a campus magazine in an editorial role. On the increasing level of global warming, write a report on the event for your school magazine. 
  • On the Jammu-Srinagar highway, a mishap took place, where a driver lost his control and skidded off into a deep gorge. Write a report on it and include all the necessary details and eyewitness accounts. 
  • As a reporter for the Delhi Times, you are assigned to report on the influx of migrants coming from other states of the country. Take an official statement to justify your report.
  • There is a cultural program in Central Park Rajiv Chowk New Delhi. The home minister of India is supposed to attend the event apart from other delegates. Report the event within the 150-200 word limit. 
  • Write today’s trend of COVID-19 cases in India. As per the official statement. include all the necessary details and factual information. Mention the state with a higher number of cases so far.
  • In Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, a table tennis tournament was held between Delhi Public School New Delhi and DPS Punjab. Report the event in 250-300 words.

Also Read: Formal Letter Format, Types & Samples

Credits: Slideshare

Report Writ ing in 7 steps

  • Choose a topic based on the assignment
  • Conduct research
  • Write a thesis statement
  • Prepare an outline
  • Write a rough draft
  • Revise and edit your report
  • Proofread and check for mistakes

Make sure that every piece of information you have supplied is pertinent. Remember to double-check your grammar, spelling, tenses, and the person you are writing in. A final inspection against any structural criteria is also important. You have appropriately and completely referenced academic work. Check to make sure you haven’t unintentionally, purposefully, or both duplicated something without giving credit.

Related Articles

Any business professional’s toolkit must include business reports. Therefore, how can you create a thorough business report? You must first confirm that you are familiar with the responses to the following three questions.

Every company report starts with an issue that needs to be fixed. This could be something straightforward, like figuring out a better way to organise procuring office supplies, or it could be a more challenging issue, like putting in place a brand-new, multimillion-dollar computer system.

You must therefore compile the data you intend to include in your report. How do you do this? If you’ve never conducted in-depth research before, it can be quite a daunting task, so discovering the most efficient techniques is a real plus.

Hopefully, this blog has helped you with a comprehensive understanding of report writing and its essential components. Aiming to pursue a degree in Writing? Sign up for an e-meeting with our study abroad experts and we will help you in selecting the best course and university as well as sorting the admission process to ensure that you get successfully shortlisted.

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Ankita Mishra

A writer with more than 10 years of experience, including 5 years in a newsroom, Ankita takes great pleasure in helping students via study abroad news updates about universities and visa policies. When not busy working you can find her creating memes and discussing social issues with her colleagues.

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Report Writing Format, Tips, Samples and Examples

Pankaj dhiman.

  • Created on December 11, 2023

How to Write a Report: A Complete Guide (Format, Tips, Common Mistakes, Samples and Examples of Report Writing)

Struggling to write clear, concise reports that impress? Fear not! This blog is your one-stop guide to mastering report writing . Learn the essential format, uncover impactful tips, avoid common pitfalls, and get inspired by real-world examples.

Whether you’re a student, professional, or simply seeking to communicate effectively, this blog empowers you to craft compelling reports that leave a lasting impression.

Must Read: Notice Writing: How to write, Format, Examples

What is Report Writing ?

Report Writing – Writing reports is an organized method of communicating ideas, analysis, and conclusions to a target audience for a predetermined goal. It entails the methodical presentation of information, statistics, and suggestions, frequently drawn from study or inquiry.

Its main goal is to inform, convince, or suggest actions, which makes it a crucial ability in a variety of professional domains.

A well-written report usually has a concise conclusion, a well-thought-out analysis, a clear introduction, a thorough methodology, and a presentation of the findings.

It doesn’t matter what format is used as long as information is delivered in a logical manner, supports decision-making, and fosters understanding among stakeholders.

Must Read : Article Writing Format, Objective, Common Mistakes, and Samples

Format of Report Writing 

  • Title Page:
  • Title of the report.
  • Author’s name.
  • Date of submission.
  • Any relevant institutional affiliations.
  • Abstract/Summary:
  • A brief overview of the report’s key points.
  • Summarizes the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions.
  • Table of Contents:
  • Lists all sections and subsections with corresponding page numbers.

Introduction:

  • Provides background information on the subject.
  • Clearly states the purpose and objectives of the report.
  • Methodology:
  • Details how the information was gathered or the experiment conducted.
  • Includes any relevant procedures, tools, or techniques used.
  • Findings/Results:
  • Presents the main outcomes, data, or observations.
  • Often includes visual aids such as charts, graphs, or tables.
  • Discussion:
  • Analyzes and interprets the results.
  • Provides context and explanations for the findings.

Conclusion:

  • Summarizes the key points.
  • May include recommendations or implications.

Must Read: Directed Writing: Format, Benefits, Topics, Common Mistakes and Examples

Report Writing Examples – Solved Questions from previous papers

Example 1: historical event report.

Question : Write a report on the historical significance of the “ Battle of Willow Creek ” based on the research of Sarah Turner. Analyze the key events, outcomes, and the lasting impact on the region.

Solved Report:

Title: Historical Event Report – The “Battle of Willow Creek” by Sarah Turner

This report delves into the historical significance of the “Battle of Willow Creek” based on the research of Sarah Turner. Examining key events, outcomes, and the lasting impact on the region, it sheds light on a pivotal moment in our local history.

Sarah Turner’s extensive research on the “Battle of Willow Creek” provides a unique opportunity to explore a critical chapter in our local history. This report aims to unravel the intricacies of this historical event.

Key Events:

The Battle of Willow Creek unfolded on [date] between [opposing forces]. Sarah Turner’s research meticulously outlines the sequence of events leading to the conflict, including the political climate, disputes over resources, and the strategies employed by both sides.

Through Turner’s insights, we gain a nuanced understanding of the immediate outcomes of the battle, such as changes in territorial control and the impact on the local population. The report highlights the consequences that rippled through subsequent years.

Lasting Impact:

Sarah Turner’s research underscores the enduring impact of the Battle of Willow Creek on the region’s development, cultural identity, and socio-political landscape. The report examines how the event shaped the community we know today.

The “Battle of Willow Creek,” as explored by Sarah Turner, emerges as a significant historical event with far-reaching consequences. Understanding its intricacies enriches our appreciation of local history and its role in shaping our community.

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Report writing Samples

 book review report.

Title: Book Review – “The Lost City” by Emily Rodriguez

“The Lost City” by Emily Rodriguez is an enthralling adventure novel that takes readers on a captivating journey through uncharted territories. The author weaves a tale of mystery, discovery, and self-realization that keeps the reader engaged from beginning to end.

Themes and Characters:

Rodriguez skillfully explores themes of resilience, friendship, and the pursuit of the unknown. The characters are well-developed, each contributing uniquely to the narrative. The protagonist’s transformation throughout the story adds depth to the overall theme of self-discovery.

Plot and Pacing:

The plot is intricately crafted, with twists and turns that maintain suspense and intrigue. Rodriguez’s ability to balance action scenes with moments of introspection contributes to the novel’s well-paced narrative.

Writing Style:

The author’s writing style is engaging and descriptive, allowing readers to vividly envision the settings and empathize with the characters. Dialogue flows naturally, enhancing the overall readability of the book.

“The Lost City” is a commendable work by Emily Rodriguez, showcasing her storytelling prowess and ability to create a captivating narrative. This novel is recommended for readers who enjoy adventure, mystery, and character-driven stories.

Must Read: What is Descriptive Writing? Learn how to write, Examples and Secret Tips

Report Writing Tips

Recognise your audience:

Take into account your target audience’s expectations and degree of knowledge. Adjust the content, tone, and language to the readers’ needs.

Precision and succinctness:

To communicate your point, use language that is simple and unambiguous. Steer clear of convoluted sentences or needless jargon that could confuse the reader.

Logical Structure:

Organize your report with a clear and logical structure, including sections like introduction, methodology, findings, discussion, and conclusion.

Use headings and subheadings to improve readability.

Introduction with Purpose:

Clearly state the purpose, objectives, and scope of the report in the introduction.

Provide context to help readers understand the importance of the information presented.

Methodology Details:

Clearly explain the methods or processes used to gather information.

Include details that would allow others to replicate the study or experiment.

Presentation of Findings:

Give a well-organized and structured presentation of your findings.

Employ graphics (tables, graphs, and charts) to support the text and improve comprehension.

Talk and Interpretation:

Examine the findings and talk about the ramifications.

Explain the significance of the results and how they relate to the main goal.

Brief Conclusion:

Recap the main ideas in the conclusion.

Indicate in detail any suggestions or actions that should be implemented in light of the results.

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Common mistakes for Report Writing 

Insufficient defining:.

Error: Employing ambiguous or imprecise wording that could cause misunderstandings.

Impact: It’s possible that readers won’t grasp the content, which could cause misunderstandings and confusion.

Solution: Explain difficult concepts, use clear language, and express ideas clearly.

Inadequate Coordination:

Error: Not adhering to a coherent and systematic format for the report.

Impact: The report’s overall effectiveness may be lowered by readers finding it difficult to follow the information’s flow due to the report’s lack of structure.

Solution: Make sure the sections are arranged clearly and sequentially, each of which adds to the report’s overall coherence.

Inadequate Research:

Error: Conducting insufficient research or relying on incomplete data.

Impact: Inaccuracies in data or lack of comprehensive information can weaken the report’s credibility and reliability.

Solution: Thoroughly research the topic, use reliable sources, and gather comprehensive data to support your findings.

Inconsistent Formatting:

Error: Using inconsistent formatting for headings, fonts, or spacing throughout the report.

Impact: Inconsistent formatting can make the report look unprofessional and distract from the content.

Solution: Maintain a uniform format for headings, fonts, and spacing to enhance the visual appeal and professionalism of the report.

Unsubstantiated Conclusions:

Error: Drawing conclusions that are not adequately supported by the evidence or findings presented.

Impact: Unsubstantiated conclusions can undermine the report’s credibility and weaken the overall argument.

Solution: Ensure that your conclusions are directly derived from the results and are logically connected to your research objectives, providing sufficient evidence to support your claims.

To sum up, proficient report writing necessitates precision, organization, and clarity. Making impactful reports requires avoiding common errors like ambiguous wording, shoddy organization, inadequate research, inconsistent formatting, and conclusions that are not supported by evidence.

One can improve the caliber and legitimacy of their reports by following a logical format, carrying out extensive research, staying clear, and providing conclusions that are supported by evidence.

Aiming for linguistic accuracy and meticulousness guarantees that the desired meaning is communicated successfully, promoting a deeper comprehension of the topic among readers.

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Reports and essays: key differences

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Know what to expect

Explore the main differences between reports and essays and how to write for your assignments

You'll complete assignments with different requirements throughout your degree, so it's important to understand what you need to do for each of them. Here we explore the key differences between reports and essays. 

This page describes general features of academic reports and essays. Depending on your subject you may use all of these features, a selection of them, or you may have additional requirements. 

There is no single right way to write a report or essay, but they are different assignments. At a glance: 

  • Reports depend heavily on your subject and the type of report.
  • Essays usually have specific content and a planned structure with a focus on sense and flow. You subject might need different types of information in your introduction –  some disciplines include a short background and context here, while others begin their discussion, discuss their resources or briefly signpost the topic.

Differences between reports and essays

This table compares reports and essays and provides an outline of the standard structure for each. Your assignment will also depend on your discipline, the purpose of your work, and your audience – so you should check what you need to do in your course and module handbooks, instructions from your lecturer, and your subject conventions.

Table adapted from Cottrell, 2003, p. 209.

The structure of reports

Most reports use an IMRaD structure: Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion.

Below are some common sections that also appear in reports. Some sections include alternative headings.

1. Table of contents

Your contents shows the number of each report section, its title, page number and any sub-sections. Sub-section numbers and details start under the section title, not the margin or the number.

2. Abstract or Executive summary

This brief summary of the report is usually the last thing you write.

3. Introduction

Your introduction describes the purpose of the report, explains why it necessary or useful, and sets out its precise aims and objectives.

4. Literature review

This describes current research and thinking about the problem or research question, and is often incorporated into the introduction.

5. Methods or Methodology

This describes and justifies the methods or processes used to collect your data.

6. Results or Findings

This section presents the results (or processed data) from the research and may consist of mainly tables, charts and or diagrams.

7. Discussion, or Analysis, or Interpretation

This section analyses the results and evaluates the research carried out.

8. Conclusion

The conclusion summarises the report and usually revisits the aims and objectives.

9. Recommendations

In this section the writer uses the results and conclusions from the report to make practical suggestions about a problem or issue. This may not be required.

10. Appendices

You can include raw data or materials that your report refers to in the appendix, if you need to. The data is often presented as charts, diagrams and tables. Each item should be numbered : for example, write Table 1 and its title; Table 2 and its title, and so on as needed.

Structure of essays

Introduction.

Your essay introduction contextualises and gives background information about the topic or questions being discussed, and sets out what the essay is going to cover.

Your essay body is divided into paragraphs. These paragraphs help make a continuous, flowing text.

The conclusion summarises the main points made in the essay. Avoid introducing new information in your conclusion.

Bibliography or Reference list

This is a list of the resources you've used in your essay. This is usually presented alphabetically by authors’ surname.

Reference for the Table of Distinctions above: 

Cottrell, S. (2003).  The Study Skills Handbook  (2nd ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave.

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  • How to write an essay outline | Guidelines & examples

How to Write an Essay Outline | Guidelines & Examples

Published on August 14, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing. It involves writing quick summary sentences or phrases for every point you will cover in each paragraph , giving you a picture of how your argument will unfold.

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Table of contents

Organizing your material, presentation of the outline, examples of essay outlines, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about essay outlines.

At the stage where you’re writing an essay outline, your ideas are probably still not fully formed. You should know your topic  and have already done some preliminary research to find relevant sources , but now you need to shape your ideas into a structured argument.

Creating categories

Look over any information, quotes and ideas you’ve noted down from your research and consider the central point you want to make in the essay—this will be the basis of your thesis statement . Once you have an idea of your overall argument, you can begin to organize your material in a way that serves that argument.

Try to arrange your material into categories related to different aspects of your argument. If you’re writing about a literary text, you might group your ideas into themes; in a history essay, it might be several key trends or turning points from the period you’re discussing.

Three main themes or subjects is a common structure for essays. Depending on the length of the essay, you could split the themes into three body paragraphs, or three longer sections with several paragraphs covering each theme.

As you create the outline, look critically at your categories and points: Are any of them irrelevant or redundant? Make sure every topic you cover is clearly related to your thesis statement.

Order of information

When you have your material organized into several categories, consider what order they should appear in.

Your essay will always begin and end with an introduction and conclusion , but the organization of the body is up to you.

Consider these questions to order your material:

  • Is there an obvious starting point for your argument?
  • Is there one subject that provides an easy transition into another?
  • Do some points need to be set up by discussing other points first?

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Within each paragraph, you’ll discuss a single idea related to your overall topic or argument, using several points of evidence or analysis to do so.

In your outline, you present these points as a few short numbered sentences or phrases.They can be split into sub-points when more detail is needed.

The template below shows how you might structure an outline for a five-paragraph essay.

  • Thesis statement
  • First piece of evidence
  • Second piece of evidence
  • Summary/synthesis
  • Importance of topic
  • Strong closing statement

You can choose whether to write your outline in full sentences or short phrases. Be consistent in your choice; don’t randomly write some points as full sentences and others as short phrases.

Examples of outlines for different types of essays are presented below: an argumentative, expository, and literary analysis essay.

Argumentative essay outline

This outline is for a short argumentative essay evaluating the internet’s impact on education. It uses short phrases to summarize each point.

Its body is split into three paragraphs, each presenting arguments about a different aspect of the internet’s effects on education.

  • Importance of the internet
  • Concerns about internet use
  • Thesis statement: Internet use a net positive
  • Data exploring this effect
  • Analysis indicating it is overstated
  • Students’ reading levels over time
  • Why this data is questionable
  • Video media
  • Interactive media
  • Speed and simplicity of online research
  • Questions about reliability (transitioning into next topic)
  • Evidence indicating its ubiquity
  • Claims that it discourages engagement with academic writing
  • Evidence that Wikipedia warns students not to cite it
  • Argument that it introduces students to citation
  • Summary of key points
  • Value of digital education for students
  • Need for optimism to embrace advantages of the internet

Expository essay outline

This is the outline for an expository essay describing how the invention of the printing press affected life and politics in Europe.

The paragraphs are still summarized in short phrases here, but individual points are described with full sentences.

  • Claim that the printing press marks the end of the Middle Ages.
  • Provide background on the low levels of literacy before the printing press.
  • Present the thesis statement: The invention of the printing press increased circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.
  • Discuss the very high levels of illiteracy in medieval Europe.
  • Describe how literacy and thus knowledge and education were mainly the domain of religious and political elites.
  • Indicate how this discouraged political and religious change.
  • Describe the invention of the printing press in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg.
  • Show the implications of the new technology for book production.
  • Describe the rapid spread of the technology and the printing of the Gutenberg Bible.
  • Link to the Reformation.
  • Discuss the trend for translating the Bible into vernacular languages during the years following the printing press’s invention.
  • Describe Luther’s own translation of the Bible during the Reformation.
  • Sketch out the large-scale effects the Reformation would have on religion and politics.
  • Summarize the history described.
  • Stress the significance of the printing press to the events of this period.

Literary analysis essay outline

The literary analysis essay outlined below discusses the role of theater in Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park .

The body of the essay is divided into three different themes, each of which is explored through examples from the book.

  • Describe the theatricality of Austen’s works
  • Outline the role theater plays in Mansfield Park
  • Introduce the research question : How does Austen use theater to express the characters’ morality in Mansfield Park ?
  • Discuss Austen’s depiction of the performance at the end of the first volume
  • Discuss how Sir Bertram reacts to the acting scheme
  • Introduce Austen’s use of stage direction–like details during dialogue
  • Explore how these are deployed to show the characters’ self-absorption
  • Discuss Austen’s description of Maria and Julia’s relationship as polite but affectionless
  • Compare Mrs. Norris’s self-conceit as charitable despite her idleness
  • Summarize the three themes: The acting scheme, stage directions, and the performance of morals
  • Answer the research question
  • Indicate areas for further study

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

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You will sometimes be asked to hand in an essay outline before you start writing your essay . Your supervisor wants to see that you have a clear idea of your structure so that writing will go smoothly.

Even when you do not have to hand it in, writing an essay outline is an important part of the writing process . It’s a good idea to write one (as informally as you like) to clarify your structure for yourself whenever you are working on an essay.

If you have to hand in your essay outline , you may be given specific guidelines stating whether you have to use full sentences. If you’re not sure, ask your supervisor.

When writing an essay outline for yourself, the choice is yours. Some students find it helpful to write out their ideas in full sentences, while others prefer to summarize them in short phrases.

You should try to follow your outline as you write your essay . However, if your ideas change or it becomes clear that your structure could be better, it’s okay to depart from your essay outline . Just make sure you know why you’re doing so.

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Research Method

Home » Research Report – Example, Writing Guide and Types

Research Report – Example, Writing Guide and Types

Table of Contents

Research Report

Research Report

Definition:

Research Report is a written document that presents the results of a research project or study, including the research question, methodology, results, and conclusions, in a clear and objective manner.

The purpose of a research report is to communicate the findings of the research to the intended audience, which could be other researchers, stakeholders, or the general public.

Components of Research Report

Components of Research Report are as follows:

Introduction

The introduction sets the stage for the research report and provides a brief overview of the research question or problem being investigated. It should include a clear statement of the purpose of the study and its significance or relevance to the field of research. It may also provide background information or a literature review to help contextualize the research.

Literature Review

The literature review provides a critical analysis and synthesis of the existing research and scholarship relevant to the research question or problem. It should identify the gaps, inconsistencies, and contradictions in the literature and show how the current study addresses these issues. The literature review also establishes the theoretical framework or conceptual model that guides the research.

Methodology

The methodology section describes the research design, methods, and procedures used to collect and analyze data. It should include information on the sample or participants, data collection instruments, data collection procedures, and data analysis techniques. The methodology should be clear and detailed enough to allow other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the study in a clear and objective manner. It should provide a detailed description of the data and statistics used to answer the research question or test the hypothesis. Tables, graphs, and figures may be included to help visualize the data and illustrate the key findings.

The discussion section interprets the results of the study and explains their significance or relevance to the research question or problem. It should also compare the current findings with those of previous studies and identify the implications for future research or practice. The discussion should be based on the results presented in the previous section and should avoid speculation or unfounded conclusions.

The conclusion summarizes the key findings of the study and restates the main argument or thesis presented in the introduction. It should also provide a brief overview of the contributions of the study to the field of research and the implications for practice or policy.

The references section lists all the sources cited in the research report, following a specific citation style, such as APA or MLA.

The appendices section includes any additional material, such as data tables, figures, or instruments used in the study, that could not be included in the main text due to space limitations.

Types of Research Report

Types of Research Report are as follows:

Thesis is a type of research report. A thesis is a long-form research document that presents the findings and conclusions of an original research study conducted by a student as part of a graduate or postgraduate program. It is typically written by a student pursuing a higher degree, such as a Master’s or Doctoral degree, although it can also be written by researchers or scholars in other fields.

Research Paper

Research paper is a type of research report. A research paper is a document that presents the results of a research study or investigation. Research papers can be written in a variety of fields, including science, social science, humanities, and business. They typically follow a standard format that includes an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion sections.

Technical Report

A technical report is a detailed report that provides information about a specific technical or scientific problem or project. Technical reports are often used in engineering, science, and other technical fields to document research and development work.

Progress Report

A progress report provides an update on the progress of a research project or program over a specific period of time. Progress reports are typically used to communicate the status of a project to stakeholders, funders, or project managers.

Feasibility Report

A feasibility report assesses the feasibility of a proposed project or plan, providing an analysis of the potential risks, benefits, and costs associated with the project. Feasibility reports are often used in business, engineering, and other fields to determine the viability of a project before it is undertaken.

Field Report

A field report documents observations and findings from fieldwork, which is research conducted in the natural environment or setting. Field reports are often used in anthropology, ecology, and other social and natural sciences.

Experimental Report

An experimental report documents the results of a scientific experiment, including the hypothesis, methods, results, and conclusions. Experimental reports are often used in biology, chemistry, and other sciences to communicate the results of laboratory experiments.

Case Study Report

A case study report provides an in-depth analysis of a specific case or situation, often used in psychology, social work, and other fields to document and understand complex cases or phenomena.

Literature Review Report

A literature review report synthesizes and summarizes existing research on a specific topic, providing an overview of the current state of knowledge on the subject. Literature review reports are often used in social sciences, education, and other fields to identify gaps in the literature and guide future research.

Research Report Example

Following is a Research Report Example sample for Students:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Academic Performance among High School Students

This study aims to investigate the relationship between social media use and academic performance among high school students. The study utilized a quantitative research design, which involved a survey questionnaire administered to a sample of 200 high school students. The findings indicate that there is a negative correlation between social media use and academic performance, suggesting that excessive social media use can lead to poor academic performance among high school students. The results of this study have important implications for educators, parents, and policymakers, as they highlight the need for strategies that can help students balance their social media use and academic responsibilities.

Introduction:

Social media has become an integral part of the lives of high school students. With the widespread use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, students can connect with friends, share photos and videos, and engage in discussions on a range of topics. While social media offers many benefits, concerns have been raised about its impact on academic performance. Many studies have found a negative correlation between social media use and academic performance among high school students (Kirschner & Karpinski, 2010; Paul, Baker, & Cochran, 2012).

Given the growing importance of social media in the lives of high school students, it is important to investigate its impact on academic performance. This study aims to address this gap by examining the relationship between social media use and academic performance among high school students.

Methodology:

The study utilized a quantitative research design, which involved a survey questionnaire administered to a sample of 200 high school students. The questionnaire was developed based on previous studies and was designed to measure the frequency and duration of social media use, as well as academic performance.

The participants were selected using a convenience sampling technique, and the survey questionnaire was distributed in the classroom during regular school hours. The data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics and correlation analysis.

The findings indicate that the majority of high school students use social media platforms on a daily basis, with Facebook being the most popular platform. The results also show a negative correlation between social media use and academic performance, suggesting that excessive social media use can lead to poor academic performance among high school students.

Discussion:

The results of this study have important implications for educators, parents, and policymakers. The negative correlation between social media use and academic performance suggests that strategies should be put in place to help students balance their social media use and academic responsibilities. For example, educators could incorporate social media into their teaching strategies to engage students and enhance learning. Parents could limit their children’s social media use and encourage them to prioritize their academic responsibilities. Policymakers could develop guidelines and policies to regulate social media use among high school students.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, this study provides evidence of the negative impact of social media on academic performance among high school students. The findings highlight the need for strategies that can help students balance their social media use and academic responsibilities. Further research is needed to explore the specific mechanisms by which social media use affects academic performance and to develop effective strategies for addressing this issue.

Limitations:

One limitation of this study is the use of convenience sampling, which limits the generalizability of the findings to other populations. Future studies should use random sampling techniques to increase the representativeness of the sample. Another limitation is the use of self-reported measures, which may be subject to social desirability bias. Future studies could use objective measures of social media use and academic performance, such as tracking software and school records.

Implications:

The findings of this study have important implications for educators, parents, and policymakers. Educators could incorporate social media into their teaching strategies to engage students and enhance learning. For example, teachers could use social media platforms to share relevant educational resources and facilitate online discussions. Parents could limit their children’s social media use and encourage them to prioritize their academic responsibilities. They could also engage in open communication with their children to understand their social media use and its impact on their academic performance. Policymakers could develop guidelines and policies to regulate social media use among high school students. For example, schools could implement social media policies that restrict access during class time and encourage responsible use.

References:

  • Kirschner, P. A., & Karpinski, A. C. (2010). Facebook® and academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(6), 1237-1245.
  • Paul, J. A., Baker, H. M., & Cochran, J. D. (2012). Effect of online social networking on student academic performance. Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology, 8(1), 1-19.
  • Pantic, I. (2014). Online social networking and mental health. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(10), 652-657.
  • Rosen, L. D., Carrier, L. M., & Cheever, N. A. (2013). Facebook and texting made me do it: Media-induced task-switching while studying. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(3), 948-958.

Note*: Above mention, Example is just a sample for the students’ guide. Do not directly copy and paste as your College or University assignment. Kindly do some research and Write your own.

Applications of Research Report

Research reports have many applications, including:

  • Communicating research findings: The primary application of a research report is to communicate the results of a study to other researchers, stakeholders, or the general public. The report serves as a way to share new knowledge, insights, and discoveries with others in the field.
  • Informing policy and practice : Research reports can inform policy and practice by providing evidence-based recommendations for decision-makers. For example, a research report on the effectiveness of a new drug could inform regulatory agencies in their decision-making process.
  • Supporting further research: Research reports can provide a foundation for further research in a particular area. Other researchers may use the findings and methodology of a report to develop new research questions or to build on existing research.
  • Evaluating programs and interventions : Research reports can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and interventions in achieving their intended outcomes. For example, a research report on a new educational program could provide evidence of its impact on student performance.
  • Demonstrating impact : Research reports can be used to demonstrate the impact of research funding or to evaluate the success of research projects. By presenting the findings and outcomes of a study, research reports can show the value of research to funders and stakeholders.
  • Enhancing professional development : Research reports can be used to enhance professional development by providing a source of information and learning for researchers and practitioners in a particular field. For example, a research report on a new teaching methodology could provide insights and ideas for educators to incorporate into their own practice.

How to write Research Report

Here are some steps you can follow to write a research report:

  • Identify the research question: The first step in writing a research report is to identify your research question. This will help you focus your research and organize your findings.
  • Conduct research : Once you have identified your research question, you will need to conduct research to gather relevant data and information. This can involve conducting experiments, reviewing literature, or analyzing data.
  • Organize your findings: Once you have gathered all of your data, you will need to organize your findings in a way that is clear and understandable. This can involve creating tables, graphs, or charts to illustrate your results.
  • Write the report: Once you have organized your findings, you can begin writing the report. Start with an introduction that provides background information and explains the purpose of your research. Next, provide a detailed description of your research methods and findings. Finally, summarize your results and draw conclusions based on your findings.
  • Proofread and edit: After you have written your report, be sure to proofread and edit it carefully. Check for grammar and spelling errors, and make sure that your report is well-organized and easy to read.
  • Include a reference list: Be sure to include a list of references that you used in your research. This will give credit to your sources and allow readers to further explore the topic if they choose.
  • Format your report: Finally, format your report according to the guidelines provided by your instructor or organization. This may include formatting requirements for headings, margins, fonts, and spacing.

Purpose of Research Report

The purpose of a research report is to communicate the results of a research study to a specific audience, such as peers in the same field, stakeholders, or the general public. The report provides a detailed description of the research methods, findings, and conclusions.

Some common purposes of a research report include:

  • Sharing knowledge: A research report allows researchers to share their findings and knowledge with others in their field. This helps to advance the field and improve the understanding of a particular topic.
  • Identifying trends: A research report can identify trends and patterns in data, which can help guide future research and inform decision-making.
  • Addressing problems: A research report can provide insights into problems or issues and suggest solutions or recommendations for addressing them.
  • Evaluating programs or interventions : A research report can evaluate the effectiveness of programs or interventions, which can inform decision-making about whether to continue, modify, or discontinue them.
  • Meeting regulatory requirements: In some fields, research reports are required to meet regulatory requirements, such as in the case of drug trials or environmental impact studies.

When to Write Research Report

A research report should be written after completing the research study. This includes collecting data, analyzing the results, and drawing conclusions based on the findings. Once the research is complete, the report should be written in a timely manner while the information is still fresh in the researcher’s mind.

In academic settings, research reports are often required as part of coursework or as part of a thesis or dissertation. In this case, the report should be written according to the guidelines provided by the instructor or institution.

In other settings, such as in industry or government, research reports may be required to inform decision-making or to comply with regulatory requirements. In these cases, the report should be written as soon as possible after the research is completed in order to inform decision-making in a timely manner.

Overall, the timing of when to write a research report depends on the purpose of the research, the expectations of the audience, and any regulatory requirements that need to be met. However, it is important to complete the report in a timely manner while the information is still fresh in the researcher’s mind.

Characteristics of Research Report

There are several characteristics of a research report that distinguish it from other types of writing. These characteristics include:

  • Objective: A research report should be written in an objective and unbiased manner. It should present the facts and findings of the research study without any personal opinions or biases.
  • Systematic: A research report should be written in a systematic manner. It should follow a clear and logical structure, and the information should be presented in a way that is easy to understand and follow.
  • Detailed: A research report should be detailed and comprehensive. It should provide a thorough description of the research methods, results, and conclusions.
  • Accurate : A research report should be accurate and based on sound research methods. The findings and conclusions should be supported by data and evidence.
  • Organized: A research report should be well-organized. It should include headings and subheadings to help the reader navigate the report and understand the main points.
  • Clear and concise: A research report should be written in clear and concise language. The information should be presented in a way that is easy to understand, and unnecessary jargon should be avoided.
  • Citations and references: A research report should include citations and references to support the findings and conclusions. This helps to give credit to other researchers and to provide readers with the opportunity to further explore the topic.

Advantages of Research Report

Research reports have several advantages, including:

  • Communicating research findings: Research reports allow researchers to communicate their findings to a wider audience, including other researchers, stakeholders, and the general public. This helps to disseminate knowledge and advance the understanding of a particular topic.
  • Providing evidence for decision-making : Research reports can provide evidence to inform decision-making, such as in the case of policy-making, program planning, or product development. The findings and conclusions can help guide decisions and improve outcomes.
  • Supporting further research: Research reports can provide a foundation for further research on a particular topic. Other researchers can build on the findings and conclusions of the report, which can lead to further discoveries and advancements in the field.
  • Demonstrating expertise: Research reports can demonstrate the expertise of the researchers and their ability to conduct rigorous and high-quality research. This can be important for securing funding, promotions, and other professional opportunities.
  • Meeting regulatory requirements: In some fields, research reports are required to meet regulatory requirements, such as in the case of drug trials or environmental impact studies. Producing a high-quality research report can help ensure compliance with these requirements.

Limitations of Research Report

Despite their advantages, research reports also have some limitations, including:

  • Time-consuming: Conducting research and writing a report can be a time-consuming process, particularly for large-scale studies. This can limit the frequency and speed of producing research reports.
  • Expensive: Conducting research and producing a report can be expensive, particularly for studies that require specialized equipment, personnel, or data. This can limit the scope and feasibility of some research studies.
  • Limited generalizability: Research studies often focus on a specific population or context, which can limit the generalizability of the findings to other populations or contexts.
  • Potential bias : Researchers may have biases or conflicts of interest that can influence the findings and conclusions of the research study. Additionally, participants may also have biases or may not be representative of the larger population, which can limit the validity and reliability of the findings.
  • Accessibility: Research reports may be written in technical or academic language, which can limit their accessibility to a wider audience. Additionally, some research may be behind paywalls or require specialized access, which can limit the ability of others to read and use the findings.

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11+ Short Report Essay Examples in PDF

Short Report Essay Examples

What comes to mind if you add the words graphs, tables, numbers and specifics to writing, words, grammar and spelling. The first part of the random words, you may instantly think of mathematics or reports which are common in this kind of field. You may think that this is just one of those random words placed to make the topic sound easier to understand. When we hear the words graphs, tables, and numbers we think of reports . However, when we hear the words grammar, spelling, specifics of writing, we think of essays .

What do you think these two sets of words have in common? If you think they do not have anything in common, they actually do. This is what we would specifically call a report essay. You may be wondering what a report essay is and the length of it. They can either be a short report essay which we are going to be discussing today, and a narrative report essay. What is the difference you may ask? If you want to know more about it, all you have to do is to scroll the whole article to get the information you need. Head on below for examples and more.

11+ Short Report Essay Examples

1. short business report sample template.

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2. Short Report Essay Journals

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3. Short Annual Report Art and Essay

short annual report art and essay

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4. Basic Short Report Essay

basic short report essay

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5. Short Art History Report Essay

short art history report essay

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6. Short Thesis Essay Report

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7. Short Case Report Essay

short case report essay

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8. Health Care Short Essay Report

health care short essay report

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9. Printable Short Report Essay

printable short report essay

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10. Short Report Essay Outline

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11. Short Profile Essay Score Report

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12. Short Book Report Essay

short book report essay

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What Is a Short Report Essay?

You may have heard of narrative report essay , and may wonder if these two are the same. In a way they are and in a way they differ as well. As we all know that a narrative report essay from the term itself is a narrative. It is lengthy compared to reports or essays even. However, a short report essay is the opposite. A short report essay focuses on the main report and a short summary of it. The short report essay does not focus on the lengthy explanations and a lot of explained graphs, it focuses on a single or two graphs and a few explanations that are based on the report you are doing.

Most cases, a lot of businesses or companies who value time would prefer the short report essay over the narrative report. The difference between these two is that a narrative report essay gives you the opportunity to explain in detail while the short report essay only cares about the general detail of your report . It’s purpose is to give you a general bird’s eye view of your topic and of the progress or the lack of it.

How to Write a Short Report Essay?

It goes without saying that when you write reports, you have to be careful with what you are going to be writing. You also have to be concise and clear at the same time. Even if it means it only has to be shorter than your usual reports. If you are planning on making a short report essay, you have to check these out first. These will help you get started and where to start too.

1. Start With a Simple Outline

You may be wondering why you should start with an outline. The purpose of the outline is to help you know what you should be writing and where to begin. What you are going to be writing about and the keywords that you would use. As we know, writing a short report essay is the keywords that are the most important. To be able to get that, writing an outline or a draft is necessary before writing the actual report essay.

2. Do Your Research

Something you must do when you are writing a report essay. Regardless if it may be a lengthy report or a short one. If you are not sure about what you may be reporting about, research is the best tool and it’s also quite helpful. In addition to that, you may only be writing a short report about your topic, but it is still crucial to do your research. Just to be sure and just to add to the facts that may already be there. The more facts the better. However, do not go into detail, even a general fact will do.

3. Keep It as Simple as Possible

Remember that this is a short report essay. Keep everything simple as possible. Having to explain in full detail may not be the right use for this kind of report essay. A general to mildly specific but at the same time keeping it simple should be the right course of action when writing this essay.

4. Write Your Final Output

After you have written your outlined for your report essay, it is time to write the final output. Make sure that what you have outlined in your draft is found in your final output. The keywords, the main topic and the general explanations. In other words, everything that you have drafted, whether you added or took away a sentence or keyword should already be finalized in your output.

5. Proofread for Any Mistakes Found

Last but not the least tip is to proofread for any mistakes that could be found in your output. Before you are able to give or to hand out your report essay, always make sure that there are no mistakes or at least the majority is as good as you planned it. Proofreading may sound like a bore, but it is quite useful.

What is a short report essay?

A short report essay is a kind of report that you use to give the general summary of a report. Short report essays are mostly done for those who do not prefer to read a lengthy narrative.

Who is the audience for this kind of report essay?

The audience for this kind of report essay could range from your supervisors to your colleagues. Anyone who may need to use or to write a short report essay can be the audience or the target for the essay.

How lengthy can a short report essay be?

Compared to a narrative report essay, a short report essay does not have to be more than a page long. As you are not going to be putting too much detail in to the report. It is expected to read the report essay filled with general and mildly specific.

Writing report essays can be a bore if you have no idea where to begin or how to write one. But all that could change when you read the article. Check the tips that are clearly doable and make yourself a short report essay from the examples above.

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Essay Format

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Essay Format - An Easy Guide & Examples

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Published on: Nov 14, 2020

Last updated on: Jan 31, 2024

Essay Format

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Drafting a perfect college essay is very important for students' academics. And to write a perfect essay, its formatting is important.

An essay is a formal piece of writing. Any formal writing requires proper structure and formatting. You can not just jumble up information and expect your essay to be effective. Its clarity depends on the format you choose. 

This blog is written to give a better understanding of an essay format and the general guidelines of each type of format to present the gathered information in a disciplined way. 

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What is an Essay Format? 

An essay format is a way in which the information is organized for your essay. The format of an essay has a lot to do with the presentation of the text. If your essay is poorly structured or lacks a format, your readers will have difficulty understanding the main argument and the idea. 

Readers will never continue reading something that is confusing or gives the impression that a writer is sloppy. 

A standard format to write your essay or paper is the linear approach. In this, each idea is presented to make it easier for the readers to understand. If you know how to structure an essay, you are halfway through. 

Types of Essay Formats 

There are 3 basic formatting styles or types in which all essays and papers are formatted. They are:

Whether you are writing a research paper or a general academic essay, you have to choose a format to draft it. Students are often assigned a format by their instructors, so they should read the guidelines carefully. 

How to Write an Essay in MLA Format? 

MLA format style is quite common in the humanities world. Papers and essays that are to be written in this format should fulfill the following requirements. 

  • The font you are using should be Times New Roman in 12pt.
  • Double spacing. 
  • No extra space between the new paragraphs
  • One inch margin on both sides of the paper
  • Page number in the header.
  • Essay title in the center of the page.
  • Sources mentioned in “work cited” 

MLA vs. APA

Before we move to another common essay format APA, you should know that MLA and APA are different from each other.  

Look at the table below and know their differences and similarities. 

How to Write an Essay in APA Format? 

Unlike MLA format, the APA format is used for scientific papers and essays. Essays are written for behavioral or social sciences follow this format. Following are the guidelines for the American Psychological Association format:

  • Font or Text in Times New Roman 12pt
  • One inch margin (both sides)
  • Double spacing in the text
  • A short title on the upper left-hand corner in the header
  • The page number on the right in the header
  • A title page with the information, including the writer’s name, institution, instructor, and date.
  • Reference page (for the citation)

APA Format Essay Example

Chicago Essay Format 

Chicago style essay format is a bit similar to the other format style guides. This format includes;

  • Double spacing
  • Margins (one inch both left margin and right margin)
  • Times New Roman 12pt font size
  • Page number in the header
  • Footnotes on quoted and paraphrased passages 
  • An alphabetical arrangement of citations on the bibliography page. 

Chicago Format Essay Example

Basic Parts of an Essay Format 

A typical and general format that an essay uses is simple. Every type of essay can be written in that format. Following are the parts that an essay format is based on:

In order to make sure that your academic essay is effective, each of the parts should be drafted professionally. 

Here is an essay structure! 

Continue reading to understand each part in detail. 

1. Cover Or Title Page   

The cover or title page is the first page on which the topic of your paper or essay is presented. Along with this, the title page includes other information such as the name of the writer, instructor, institution, course, and the submission date.   2. An Abstract 

An abstract is a brief summary of your essay or research paper. It is usually a 300-word long paragraph and precisely presents the purpose of the essay, the main thesis statement, and the study’s design. 

3. Table Of Contents

When you are drafting a long essay or paper, a table of content is developed. In this table, headings and subheadings are presented along with their page numbers. The reader navigates your work using this table of content. 

4. Introduction 

An introduction is the first section of your essay. When writing a short essay of about 300 - 1000 words, a writer directly starts with an introduction after stating the essay topic. 

An introduction of an essay is as important as the body of it. The essay introduction discloses the main idea of the essay and attempts to motivate readers to read the essay. Apart from the presentation of the main idea, it also contains background information about the topic.

A writer then forms a thesis statement which is the main argument of an essay. A thesis statement is the essence of the essay, and all other information provided in the body of an essay justifies it and proves it.

5. Main Body 

The main body is the soul of an essay. Without it, the thesis statement will just be meaningless. The information you gather on the topic is presented in the body, which acts as evidence to prove the argument right or wrong depending on the writer. 

A format helps the body give a logical flow that walks the reader towards the end. The point to prove your argument is to persuade the reader that your thesis statement is right. Make sure you give a topic sentence to all your body paragraphs. 

6. Conclusion 

Then comes the conclusion part of the essay. This is the final verdict of an essay writer. In this, a writer avoids giving new ideas to the readers and tries to sum up the whole conversation. This is done by restating the thesis statement in different words and summarizing the key ideas. 

7. Appendix 

An appendix is formulated when a writer uses unusual terms, phrases, and words in the document. This is a list prepared to describe those unordinary words for the readers. 

8. Bibliography 

When gathering information for your essay or paper, a writer has to consult different sources. Therefore, when using such sources and information in your content, a bibliography is created to provide their references.

A bibliography is a reference list presented at the end of the essay where all the cited sources are given along with the details. 

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Formatting an Essay 

Formatting an essay means working on the essay structure. When writing an academic essay, make sure that every part is drafted according to format. Your title page, in-text citation, essay outline, and reference list should be following the chosen format. 

To understand the formatting of the different parts better, continue reading. 

  • Title Page Format 

According to the MLA style, the title page of an essay should be written in the following way:

  • Writing the name of the writer, course, instructor, and date. 
  • Double spacing between paragraphs
  • Institute’s name in the top center of a page
  • Title of your essay or paper
  • Font Times New Roman (12pt)

If you are using an APA style formatting for your essay, make sure to format your title page in the following way: 

  • Title written in all caps
  • The margin on both sides (1 inch)
  • 12pt font Times New Roman
  • Name of writer and institute

A title page is the first thing that an instructor sees in your assignment. Therefore, it is very important to form it in a neat format. 

  • First Page of an Essay 

Before you start writing your essay, format your first page. To do this, add a header in which you give your last name and the page number. Place the header on the right-hand corner of your page. 

Follow this for every page of your essay except the last page; the “work cited” page. 

On the left upper corner, write your name, instructor’s, course’s, and the date. Put the title in the center and use double-spacing throughout the essay. 

  • Cite According to Essay Format 

When you are conducting research for your essay, you will come across a lot of text which will complement your essay topic. Without knowing the consequences, people take the text from the internet and add it to the essay. 

Citing the source properly is essential. If you do not cite the sources properly, you will be accused of plagiarism, a crime in the writing world. Therefore, even if you are using other’s words in the form of quotation marks or rephrasing it, it needs to be cited to avoid plagiarism. 

Get to know which style of the in-text citations is recommended by your instructor and follow that. In APA format, the citation is done in the following way:

  • Give the author’s name (last name), followed by the publication date and the paragraph number of the original work. 

The other way is to cite in MLA style:

  • Give the author’s last name and the page number of the publication you are taking words from. 

Therefore, cite your sources according to the essay format and make your essay writing phase easy.   

  • Format The Bibliography

The last page of your essay is the “works cited” page. This page is written in the way presented below:

  • Sources are alphabetically arranged
  • Double spacing is used on the entire page
  • Hanging indention is also used. 

Essay Format Examples

There are several types of academic essays that students get assigned. No matter which type the essay is, it has to be properly formatted. Carefully examine the formats provided below for the different essay types:

Argumentative Essay Format

College Essay Format

Narrative Essay Format

Descriptive Essay Format

Scholarship Essay Format

Persuasive Essay Format

Essay Format for University

Expository Essay Format

Essay Format Template

Essay Format Outline

Writing a good essay includes the proper representation of the text. For this purpose, formatting is done. Unfortunately, when students rush to finish their assignments, they often end up with poorly formatted content. 

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How to Write a Book Report

Use the links below to jump directly to any section of this guide:

Book Report Fundamentals

Preparing to write, an overview of the book report format, how to write the main body of a book report, how to write a conclusion to a book report, reading comprehension and book reports, book report resources for teachers .

Book reports remain a key educational assessment tool from elementary school through college. Sitting down to close read and critique texts for their content and form is a lifelong skill, one that benefits all of us well beyond our school years. With the help of this guide, you’ll develop your reading comprehension and note-taking skills. You’ll also find resources to guide you through the process of writing a book report, step-by-step, from choosing a book and reading actively to revising your work. Resources for teachers are also included, from creative assignment ideas to sample rubrics.

Book reports follow general rules for composition, yet are distinct from other types of writing assignments. Central to book reports are plot summaries, analyses of characters and themes, and concluding opinions. This format differs from an argumentative essay or critical research paper, in which impartiality and objectivity is encouraged. Differences also exist between book reports and book reviews, who do not share the same intent and audience. Here, you’ll learn the basics of what a book report is and is not.

What Is a Book Report?

"Book Report" ( ThoughtCo )

This article, written by a professor emeritus of rhetoric and English, describes the defining characteristics of book reports and offers observations on how they are composed.

"Writing a Book Report" (Purdue OWL)

Purdue’s Online Writing Lab outlines the steps in writing a book report, from keeping track of major characters as you read to providing adequate summary material.

"How to Write a Book Report" ( Your Dictionary )

This article provides another helpful guide to writing a book report, offering suggestions on taking notes and writing an outline before drafting. 

"How to Write a Successful Book Report" ( ThoughtCo )

Another post from ThoughtCo., this article highlights the ten steps for book report success. It was written by an academic advisor and college enrollment counselor.

What’s the Difference Between a Book Report and an Essay?

"Differences Between a Book Report & Essay Writing" ( Classroom)

In this article from the education resource Classroom,  you'll learn the differences and similarities between book reports and essay writing.

"Differences Between a Book Report and Essay Writing" (SeattlePi.com)

In this post from a Seattle newspaper's website, memoirist Christopher Cascio highlights how book report and essay writing differ.

"The Difference Between Essays and Reports" (Solent Online Learning)

This PDF from Southampton Solent University includes a chart demonstrating the differences between essays and reports. Though it is geared toward university students, it will help students of all levels understand the differing purposes of reports and analytical essays.

What’s the Difference Between a Book Report and a Book Review?

"How to Write a Book Review and a Book Report" (Concordia Univ.)

The library at Concordia University offers this helpful guide to writing book report and book reviews. It defines differences between the two, then presents components that both forms share.

"Book Reviews" (Univ. of North Carolina)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s writing guide shows the step-by-step process of writing book reviews, offering a contrast to the composition of book reports.

Active reading and thoughtful preparation before you begin your book report are necessary components of crafting a successful piece of writing. Here, you’ll find tips and resources to help you learn how to select the right book, decide which format is best for your report, and outline your main points.

Selecting and Finding a Book

"30 Best Books for Elementary Readers" (Education.com)

This article from Education.com lists 30 engaging books for students from kindergarten through fifth grade. It was written by Esme Raji Codell, a teacher, author, and children's literature specialist.

"How to Choose a Good Book for a Report (Middle School)" (WikiHow)

This WikiHow article offers suggestions for middle schoolers on how to choose the right book for a report, from getting started early on the search process to making sure you understand the assignment's requirements.

"Best Book-Report Books for Middle Schoolers" (Common Sense Media)

Common Sense Media has compiled this list of 25 of the best books for middle school book reports. For younger students, the article suggests you check out the site's "50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They're 12."

"50 Books to Read in High School" (Lexington Public Library)

The Lexington, Kentucky Public Library has prepared this list to inspire high school students to choose the right book. It includes both classics and more modern favorites.

The Online Computer Library Center's catalogue helps you locate books in libraries near you, having itemized the collections of 72,000 libraries in 170 countries.

Formats of Book Reports

"Format for Writing a Book Report" ( Your Dictionary )

Here, Your Dictionary supplies guidelines for the basic book report format. It describes what you'll want to include in the heading, and what information to include in the introductory paragraph. Be sure to check these guidelines against your teacher's requirements.

"The Good Old Book Report" (Scholastic)

Nancy Barile’s blog post for Scholastic lists the questions students from middle through high school should address in their book reports.

How to Write an Outline

"Writer’s Web: Creating Outlines" (Univ. of Richmond)

The University of Richmond’s Writing Center shows how you can make use of micro and macro outlines to organize your argument.

"Why and How to Create a Useful Outline" (Purdue OWL)

Purdue’s Online Writing Lab demonstrates how outlines can help you organize your report, then teaches you how to create outlines.

"Creating an Outline" (EasyBib)

EasyBib, a website that generates bibliographies, offers sample outlines and tips for creating your own. The article encourages you to think about transitions and grouping your notes.

"How to Write an Outline: 4 Ways to Organize Your Thoughts" (Grammarly)

This blog post from a professional writer explains the advantages of using an outline, and presents different ways to gather your thoughts before writing.

In this section, you’ll find resources that offer an overview of how to write a book report, including first steps in preparing the introduction. A good book report's introduction hooks the reader with strong opening sentences and provides a preview of where the report is going.

"Step-by-Step Outline for a Book Report" ( Classroom )

This article from Classroom furnishes students with a guide to the stages of writing a book report, from writing the rough draft to revising.

"Your Roadmap to a Better Book Report" ( Time4Writing )

Time4Writing offers tips for outlining your book report, and describes all of the information that the introduction, body, and conclusion should include.

"How to Start a Book Report" ( ThoughtCo)

This ThoughtCo. post, another by academic advisor and college enrollment counselor Grace Fleming, demonstrates how to write a pithy introduction to your book report.

"How to Write an Introduction for a Book Report" ( Classroom )

This brief but helpful post from Classroom  details what makes a good book report introduction, down to the level of individual sentences.

The body paragraphs of your book report accomplish several goals: they describe the plot, delve more deeply into the characters and themes that make the book unique, and include quotations and examples from the book. Below are some resources to help you succeed in summarizing and analyzing your chosen text.

Plot Summary and Description

"How Do You Write a Plot Summary?" ( Reference )

This short article presents the goals of writing a plot summary, and suggests a word limit. It emphasizes that you should stick to the main points and avoid including too many specific details, such as what a particular character wears.

"How to Write a Plot for a Book Report" ( The Pen & The Pad )

In this article from a resource website for writers, Patricia Harrelson outlines what information to include in a plot summary for a book report. 

"How to Write a Book Summary" (WikiHow)

Using Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as an example, this WikiHow article demonstrates how to write a plot summary one step at a time.

Analyzing Characters and Themes

"How to Write a Character Analysis Book Report" ( The Pen & The Pad )

Kristine Tucker shows how to write a book report focusing on character. You can take her suggestions as they are, or consider  incorporating them into the more traditional book report format.

"How to Write a Character Analysis" (YouTube)

The SixMinuteScholar Channel utilizes analysis of the film  Finding Nemo to show you how to delve deeply into character, prioritizing inference over judgment.

"How to Define Theme" ( The Editor's Blog )

Fiction editor Beth Hill contributes an extended definition of theme. She also provides examples of common themes, such as "life is fragile."

"How to Find the Theme of a Book or Short Story" ( ThoughtCo )

This blog post from ThoughtCo. clarifies the definition of theme in relation to symbolism, plot, and moral. It also offers examples of themes in literature, such as love, death, and good vs. evil.

Selecting and Integrating Quotations

"How to Choose and Use Quotations" (Santa Barbara City College)

This guide from a college writing center will help you choose which quotations to use in your book report, and how to blend quotations with your own words.

"Guidelines for Incorporating Quotes" (Ashford Univ.)

This PDF from Ashford University's Writing Center introduces the ICE method for incorporating quotations: introduce, cite, explain.

"Quote Integration" (YouTube)

This video from The Write Way YouTube channel illustrates how to integrate quotations into writing, and also explains how to cite those quotations.

"Using Literary Quotations" (Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison)

This guide from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Writing Center helps you emphasize your analysis of a quotation, and explains how to incorporate quotations into your text.

Conclusions to any type of paper are notoriously tricky to write. Here, you’ll learn some creative ways to tie up loose ends in your report and express your own opinion of the book you read. This open space for sharing opinions that are not grounded in critical research is an element that often distinguishes book reports from other types of writing.

"How to Write a Conclusion for a Book Report" ( Classroom )

This brief article from the education resource  Classroom illustrates the essential points you should make in a book report conclusion.

"Conclusions" (Univ. of North Carolina)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Writing Center lays out strategies for writing effective conclusions. Though the article is geared toward analytical essay conclusions, the tips offered here will also help you write a strong book report.

"Ending the Essay: Conclusions" (Harvard College Writing Center)

Pat Bellanca’s article for Harvard University’s Writing Center presents ways to conclude essays, along with tips. Again, these are suggestions for concluding analytical essays that can also be used to tie up a book report's loose ends.

Reading closely and in an engaged manner is the strong foundation upon which all good book reports are built. The resources below will give you a picture of what active reading looks like, and offer strategies to assess and improve your reading comprehension. Further, you’ll learn how to take notes—or “annotate” your text—making it easier to find important information as you write.

How to Be an Active Reader

"Active Reading Strategies: Remember and Analyze What You Read" (Princeton Univ.)

Princeton University’s McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning recommends ten strategies for active reading, and includes sample diagrams.

"Active Reading" (Open Univ.)

The Open University offers these techniques for reading actively alongside video examples. The author emphasizes that you should read for comprehension—not simply to finish the book as quickly as possible.

"7 Active Reading Strategies for Students" ( ThoughtCo )

In this post, Grace Fleming outlines seven methods for active reading. Her suggestions include identifying unfamiliar words and finding the main idea. 

"5 Active Reading Strategies for Textbook Assignments" (YouTube)

Thomas Frank’s seven-minute video demonstrates how you can retain the most important information from long and dense reading material.

Assessing Your Reading Comprehension

"Macmillan Readers Level Test" (MacMillan)

Take this online, interactive test from a publishing company to find out your reading level. You'll be asked a number of questions related to grammar and vocabulary.

"Reading Comprehension Practice Test" (ACCUPLACER)

ACCUPLACER is a placement test from The College Board. This 20-question practice test will help you see what information you retain after reading short passages.

"Reading Comprehension" ( English Maven )

The English Maven site has aggregated exercises and tests at various reading levels so you can quiz your reading comprehension skills.

How to Improve Your Reading Comprehension

"5 Tips for Improving Reading Comprehension" ( ThoughtCo )

ThoughtCo. recommends five tips to increase your reading comprehension ability, including reading with tools such as highlighters, and developing new vocabulary.

"How to Improve Reading Comprehension: 8 Expert Tips" (PrepScholar)

This blog post from PrepScholar provides ideas for improving your reading comprehension, from expanding your vocabulary to discussing texts with friends.

CrashCourse video: "Reading Assignments" (YouTube)

This CrashCourse video equips you with tools to read more effectively. It will help you determine how much material you need to read, and what strategies you can use to absorb what you read.

"Improving Reading Comprehension" ( Education Corner )

From a pre-reading survey through post-reading review, Education Corner  walks you through steps to improve reading comprehension.

Methods of In-text Annotation

"The Writing Process: Annotating a Text" (Hunter College)

This article from Hunter College’s Rockowitz Writing Center outlines how to take notes on a text and provides samples of annotation.

"How To Annotate Text While Reading" (YouTube)

This video from the SchoolHabits YouTube channel presents eleven annotation techniques you can use for better reading comprehension.

"5 Ways To Annotate Your Books" ( Book Riot )

This article from the Book Riot  blog highlights five efficient annotation methods that will save you time and protect your books from becoming cluttered with unnecessary markings.

"How Do You Annotate Your Books?" ( Epic Reads )

This post from Epic Reads highlights how different annotation methods work for different people, and showcases classic methods from sticky notes to keeping a reading notebook.

Students at every grade level can benefit from writing book reports, which sharpen critical reading skills. Here, we've aggregated sources to help you plan book report assignments and develop rubrics for written and oral book reports. You’ll also find alternative book report assessment ideas that move beyond the traditional formats.

Teaching Elementary School Students How to Write Book Reports

"Book Reports" ( Unique Teaching Resources )

These reading templates courtesy of Unique Teaching Resources make great visual aids for elementary school students writing their first book reports.

"Elementary Level Book Report Template" ( Teach Beside Me )

This   printable book report template from a teacher-turned-homeschooler is simple, classic, and effective. It asks basic questions, such as "who are the main characters?" and "how did you feel about the main characters?"

"Book Reports" ( ABC Teach )

ABC Teach ’s resource directory includes printables for book reports on various subjects at different grade levels, such as a middle school biography book report form and a "retelling a story" elementary book report template.

"Reading Worksheets" ( Busy Teacher's Cafe )

This page from Busy Teachers’ Cafe contains book report templates alongside reading comprehension and other language arts worksheets.

Teaching Middle School and High School Students How to Write Book Reports

"How to Write a Book Report: Middle and High School Level" ( Fact Monster)

Fact Monster ’s Homework Center discusses each section of a book report, and explains how to evaluate and analyze books based on genre for students in middle and high school.

"Middle School Outline Template for Book Report" (Trinity Catholic School)

This PDF outline template breaks the book report down into manageable sections for seventh and eighth graders by asking for specific information in each paragraph.

"Forms for Writing a Book Report for High School" ( Classroom )

In this article for Classroom,  Elizabeth Thomas describes what content high schoolers should focus on when writing their book reports.

"Forms for Writing a Book Report for High School" ( The Pen & The Pad )

Kori Morgan outlines techniques for adapting the book report assignment to the high school level in this post for The Pen & The Pad .

"High School Book Lists and Report Guidelines" (Highland Hall Waldorf School)

These sample report formats, grading paradigms, and tips are collected by Highland Hall Waldorf School. Attached are book lists by high school grade level.

Sample Rubrics

"Book Review Rubric Editable" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This free resource from Teachers Pay Teachers allows you to edit your book report rubric to the specifications of your assignment and the grade level you teach.

"Book Review Rubric" (Winton Woods)

This PDF rubric from a city school district includes directions to take the assignment long-term, with follow-up exercises through school quarters.

"Multimedia Book Report Rubric" ( Midlink Magazine )

Perfect for oral book reports, this PDF rubric from North Carolina State University's Midlink Magazine  will help you evaluate your students’ spoken presentations.

Creative Book Report Assignments

"25 Book Report Alternatives" (Scholastic)

This article from the Scholastic website lists creative alternatives to the standard book report for pre-kindergarteners through high schoolers.

"Fresh Ideas for Creative Book Reports" ( Education World )

Education World offers nearly 50 alternative book report ideas in this article, from a book report sandwich to a character trait diagram.

"A Dozen Ways to Make Amazingly Creative Book Reports" ( We Are Teachers )

This post from We Are Teachers puts the spotlight on integrating visual arts into literary study through multimedia book report ideas.

"More Ideas Than You’ll Ever Use for Book Reports" (Teachnet.com)

This list from Teachnet.com includes over 300 ideas for book report assignments, from "interviewing" a character to preparing a travel brochure to the location in which the book is set.

"Fifty Alternatives to the Book Report" (National Council of Teachers of English)

In this PDF resource from the NCTE's  English Journal,  Diana Mitchell offers assignment ideas ranging from character astrology signs to a character alphabet.

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MLA General Format 

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

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MLA Style specifies guidelines for formatting manuscripts and citing research in writing. MLA Style also provides writers with a system for referencing their sources through parenthetical citation in their essays and Works Cited pages. 

Writers who properly use MLA also build their credibility by demonstrating accountability to their source material. Most importantly, the use of MLA style can protect writers from accusations of plagiarism, which is the purposeful or accidental uncredited use of source material produced by other writers. 

If you are asked to use MLA format, be sure to consult the  MLA Handbook  (9th edition). Publishing scholars and graduate students should also consult the  MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing  (3rd edition). The  MLA Handbook  is available in most writing centers and reference libraries. It is also widely available in bookstores, libraries, and at the MLA web site. See the Additional Resources section of this page for a list of helpful books and sites about using MLA Style.

Paper Format

The preparation of papers and manuscripts in MLA Style is covered in part four of the  MLA Style Manual . Below are some basic guidelines for formatting a paper in  MLA Style :

General Guidelines

  • Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
  • Double-space the text of your paper and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Whatever font you choose, MLA recommends that the regular and italics type styles contrast enough that they are each distinct from one another. The font size should be 12 pt.
  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless otherwise prompted by your instructor).
  • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph one half-inch from the left margin. MLA recommends that you use the “Tab” key as opposed to pushing the space bar five times.
  • Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow your instructor's guidelines.)
  • Use italics throughout your essay to indicate the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, provide emphasis.
  • If you have any endnotes, include them on a separate page before your Works Cited page. Entitle the section Notes (centered, unformatted).

Formatting the First Page of Your Paper

  • Do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically requested or the paper is assigned as a group project. In the case of a group project, list all names of the contributors, giving each name its own line in the header, followed by the remaining MLA header requirements as described below. Format the remainder of the page as requested by the instructor.
  • In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor's name, the course, and the date. Again, be sure to use double-spaced text.
  • Double space again and center the title. Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation marks. Write the title in Title Case (standard capitalization), not in all capital letters.
  • Use quotation marks and/or italics when referring to other works in your title, just as you would in your text. For example:  Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas  as Morality Play; Human Weariness in "After Apple Picking"
  • Double space between the title and the first line of the text.
  • Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space with a page number. Number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor or other readers may ask that you omit the last name/page number header on your first page. Always follow instructor guidelines.)

Here is a sample of the first page of a paper in MLA style:

This image shows the first page of an MLA paper.

The First Page of an MLA Paper

Section Headings

Writers sometimes use section headings to improve a document’s readability. These sections may include individual chapters or other named parts of a book or essay.

MLA recommends that when dividing an essay into sections you number those sections with an Arabic number and a period followed by a space and the section name.

MLA does not have a prescribed system of headings for books (for more information on headings, please see page 146 in the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing , 3rd edition). If you are only using one level of headings, meaning that all of the sections are distinct and parallel and have no additional sections that fit within them, MLA recommends that these sections resemble one another grammatically. For instance, if your headings are typically short phrases, make all of the headings short phrases (and not, for example, full sentences). Otherwise, the formatting is up to you. It should, however, be consistent throughout the document.

If you employ multiple levels of headings (some of your sections have sections within sections), you may want to provide a key of your chosen level headings and their formatting to your instructor or editor.

Sample Section Headings

The following sample headings are meant to be used only as a reference. You may employ whatever system of formatting that works best for you so long as it remains consistent throughout the document.

Formatted, unnumbered:

Level 1 Heading: bold, flush left

Level 2 Heading: italics, flush left

Level 3 Heading: centered, bold

Level 4 Heading: centered, italics

Level 5 Heading: underlined, flush left

EU AI Act: first regulation on artificial intelligence

The use of artificial intelligence in the EU will be regulated by the AI Act, the world’s first comprehensive AI law. Find out how it will protect you.

A man faces a computer generated figure with programming language in the background

As part of its digital strategy , the EU wants to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure better conditions for the development and use of this innovative technology. AI can create many benefits , such as better healthcare; safer and cleaner transport; more efficient manufacturing; and cheaper and more sustainable energy.

In April 2021, the European Commission proposed the first EU regulatory framework for AI. It says that AI systems that can be used in different applications are analysed and classified according to the risk they pose to users. The different risk levels will mean more or less regulation. Once approved, these will be the world’s first rules on AI.

Learn more about what artificial intelligence is and how it is used

What Parliament wants in AI legislation

Parliament’s priority is to make sure that AI systems used in the EU are safe, transparent, traceable, non-discriminatory and environmentally friendly. AI systems should be overseen by people, rather than by automation, to prevent harmful outcomes.

Parliament also wants to establish a technology-neutral, uniform definition for AI that could be applied to future AI systems.

Learn more about Parliament’s work on AI and its vision for AI’s future

AI Act: different rules for different risk levels

The new rules establish obligations for providers and users depending on the level of risk from artificial intelligence. While many AI systems pose minimal risk, they need to be assessed.

Unacceptable risk

Unacceptable risk AI systems are systems considered a threat to people and will be banned. They include:

  • Cognitive behavioural manipulation of people or specific vulnerable groups: for example voice-activated toys that encourage dangerous behaviour in children
  • Social scoring: classifying people based on behaviour, socio-economic status or personal characteristics
  • Biometric identification and categorisation of people
  • Real-time and remote biometric identification systems, such as facial recognition

Some exceptions may be allowed for law enforcement purposes. “Real-time” remote biometric identification systems will be allowed in a limited number of serious cases, while “post” remote biometric identification systems, where identification occurs after a significant delay, will be allowed to prosecute serious crimes and only after court approval.

AI systems that negatively affect safety or fundamental rights will be considered high risk and will be divided into two categories:

1) AI systems that are used in products falling under the EU’s product safety legislation . This includes toys, aviation, cars, medical devices and lifts.

2) AI systems falling into specific areas that will have to be registered in an EU database:

  • Management and operation of critical infrastructure
  • Education and vocational training
  • Employment, worker management and access to self-employment
  • Access to and enjoyment of essential private services and public services and benefits
  • Law enforcement
  • Migration, asylum and border control management
  • Assistance in legal interpretation and application of the law.

All high-risk AI systems will be assessed before being put on the market and also throughout their lifecycle.

General purpose and generative AI

Generative AI, like ChatGPT, would have to comply with transparency requirements:

  • Disclosing that the content was generated by AI
  • Designing the model to prevent it from generating illegal content
  • Publishing summaries of copyrighted data used for training

High-impact general-purpose AI models that might pose systemic risk, such as the more advanced AI model GPT-4, would have to undergo thorough evaluations and any serious incidents would have to be reported to the European Commission.

Limited risk

Limited risk AI systems should comply with minimal transparency requirements that would allow users to make informed decisions. After interacting with the applications, the user can then decide whether they want to continue using it. Users should be made aware when they are interacting with AI. This includes AI systems that generate or manipulate image, audio or video content, for example deepfakes.

On December 9 2023, Parliament reached a provisional agreement with the Council on the AI act . The agreed text will now have to be formally adopted by both Parliament and Council to become EU law. Before all MEPs have their say on the agreement, Parliament’s internal market and civil liberties committees will vote on it.

More on the EU’s digital measures

  • Cryptocurrency dangers and the benefits of EU legislation
  • Fighting cybercrime: new EU cybersecurity laws explained
  • Boosting data sharing in the EU: what are the benefits?
  • EU Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act
  • Five ways the European Parliament wants to protect online gamers
  • Artificial Intelligence Act

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This section features overview and background articles for the general public. Press releases and materials for news media are available in the news section .

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OpenAI Unveils A.I. That Instantly Generates Eye-Popping Videos

The start-up is sharing the new technology, called Sora, with a small group of early testers as it tries to understand the potential dangers.

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essay report format

By Cade Metz

Reporting from San Francisco

In April, a New York start-up called Runway AI unveiled technology that let people generate videos, like a cow at a birthday party or a dog chatting on a smartphone, simply by typing a sentence into a box on a computer screen.

The four-second videos were blurry, choppy, distorted and disturbing. But they were a clear sign that artificial intelligence technologies would generate increasingly convincing videos in the months and years to come.

Just 10 months later, the San Francisco start-up OpenAI has unveiled a similar system that creates videos that look as if they were lifted from a Hollywood movie. A demonstration included short videos — created in minutes — of woolly mammoths trotting through a snowy meadow, a monster gazing at a melting candle and a Tokyo street scene seemingly shot by a camera swooping across the city.

OpenAI, the company behind the ChatGPT chatbot and the still-image generator DALL-E , is among the many companies racing to improve this kind of instant video generator, including start-ups like Runway and tech giants like Google and Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram. The technology could speed the work of seasoned moviemakers, while replacing less experienced digital artists entirely.

essay report format

It could also become a quick and inexpensive way of creating online disinformation, making it even harder to tell what’s real on the internet.

“I am absolutely terrified that this kind of thing will sway a narrowly contested election,” said Oren Etzioni, a professor at the University of Washington who specializes in artificial intelligence. He is also the founder of True Media, a nonprofit working to identify disinformation online in political campaigns.

OpenAI calls its new system Sora, after the Japanese word for sky. The team behind the technology, including the researchers Tim Brooks and Bill Peebles, chose the name because it “evokes the idea of limitless creative potential.”

In an interview, they also said the company was not yet releasing Sora to the public because it was still working to understand the system’s dangers. Instead, OpenAI is sharing the technology with a small group of academics and other outside researchers who will “red team” it, a term for looking for ways it can be misused.

essay report format

“The intention here is to give a preview of what is on the horizon, so that people can see the capabilities of this technology — and we can get feedback,” Dr. Brooks said.

OpenAI is already tagging videos produced by the system with watermarks that identify them as being generated by A.I . But the company acknowledges that these can be removed. They can also be difficult to spot. (The New York Times added “Generated by A.I.” watermarks to the videos with this story.)

The system is an example of generative A.I., which can instantly create text, images and sounds. Like other generative A.I. technologies, OpenAI’s system learns by analyzing digital data — in this case, videos and captions describing what those videos contain.

OpenAI declined to say how many videos the system learned from or where they came from, except to say the training included both publicly available videos and videos that were licensed from copyright holders. The company says little about the data used to train its technologies, most likely because it wants to maintain an advantage over competitors — and has been sued multiple times for using copyrighted material.

(The New York Times sued OpenAI and its partner, Microsoft, in December, claiming copyright infringement of news content related to A.I. systems.)

essay report format

Sora generates videos in response to short descriptions, like “a gorgeously rendered papercraft world of a coral reef, rife with colorful fish and sea creatures.” Though the videos can be impressive, they are not always perfect and may include strange and illogical images. The system, for example, recently generated a video of someone eating a cookie — but the cookie never got any smaller.

DALL-E, Midjourney and other still-image generators have improved so quickly over the past few years that they are now producing images nearly indistinguishable from photographs. This has made it harder to identify disinformation online, and many digital artists are complaining that it has made it harder for them to find work.

“We all laughed in 2022 when Midjourney first came out and said, ‘Oh, that’s cute,’” said Reid Southen, a movie concept artist in Michigan. “Now people are losing their jobs to Midjourney.”

Cade Metz writes about artificial intelligence, driverless cars, robotics, virtual reality and other emerging areas of technology. More about Cade Metz

Explore Our Coverage of Artificial Intelligence

News  and Analysis

OpenAI announced that it was releasing a new version of ChatGPT that would remember all prior conversations with users  so it could use that information in future chats. The start-up also unveiled technology that creates videos that look like they were lifted from a Hollywood movie .

The F.T.C. outlawed unwanted robocalls generated by A.I. , amid growing concerns over election disinformation and consumer fraud facilitated by the technology.

Google has released Gemini, a smartphone app that behaves like a talking digital assistant as well as a conversational chatbot .

The Age of A.I.

A year ago, a rogue A.I. tried to break up our columnist’s marriage. Did the backlash that ensued help make chatbots too boring? Here’s how we tame d the chatbots.

Amid an intractable real estate crisis, fake luxury houses offer a delusion of one’s own. Here’s how A.I. is remodeling the fantasy home .

New technology has made it easier to insert digital, realistic-looking versions of soda cans and shampoo on videos on social media. A growing group of creators and advertisers is jumping at the chance for an additional revenue stream .

A start-up called Perplexity shows what’s possible for a search engine built from scratch with A.I. Are the days of turning to Google for answers numbered ?

Chafing at their dependence on the chipmaker Nvidia, Amazon, Google, Meta and Microsoft are racing to build A.I. chips of their own .

OpenAI’s Sora Is a Total Mystery

A new program from the ChatGPT maker promises to create videos from simple text prompts, but little is known about how it will actually work.

essay report format

Yesterday afternoon, OpenAI teased Sora , a video-generation model that promises to convert written text prompts into highly realistic videos. Footage released by the company depicts such examples as “a Shiba Inu dog wearing a beret and black turtleneck” and “in an ornate, historical hall, a massive tidal wave peaks and begins to crash.” The excitement from the press has been reminiscent of the buzz surrounding the image creator DALL-E or ChatGPT in 2022: Sora is described as “ eye-popping ,” “ world-changing, ” and “ breathtaking, yet terrifying .”

The imagery is genuinely impressive. At a glance, one example of an animated “fluffy monster” looks better than Shrek ; an “ extreme close up ” of a woman’s eye, complete with a reflection of the scene in front of her, is startlingly lifelike. But Sora is also shrouded in mystery. Nobody outside a select group of safety testers and artists approved by OpenAI can use the program yet (although Sam Altman, the company’s CEO, has been taking Sora prompt requests on social media and posting the results ). The model could very well bring about the fantasies people are already floating. Perhaps it will be an imagination engine, a cinematic revolution , or a misinformation machine. But for now, it’s best viewed as a provocation or an advertising blitz.

Although many of these products are spun as powerful enough to upend our conception of the world—or to destroy it outright —companies such as OpenAI tend not to detail their inner workings. ( A recent study gave 10 major tech companies, including OpenAI, a failing grade on an AI-transparency index.) The MIT Technology Review was given a preview of sample videos generated by Sora only after agreeing to what its journalists called the “unusual” condition that they would not seek outside opinions until after OpenAI announced the product; initially, no research paper accompanied the release.

Read: We don’t actually know if AI is taking over everything

The technical report that OpenAI later published contains brief, generic descriptions that are sparse on, well, technical details. This is far from the first text-to-video model ( Meta unveiled one in September 2022 , about two months before ChatGPT’s release), but right now, without the ability of people outside the company to study or test Sora, knowing how it builds upon or compares with previous products is impossible. What is apparent from the report is that, similar to the start-up’s language models, the more computing power that OpenAI pumped into Sora, the higher quality its outputs became—a ghoulish blob of fur becomes a photorealistic, adorable pup when generated with 16 times the resources. Beyond any technological breakthrough, Sora may be the latest, and perhaps most spectacular, result of the billions of dollars in OpenAI’s coffers—a victory of scale as much as innovation.

A spokesperson for OpenAI told me in a written statement that the company is “sharing our research progress early to start working with and getting feedback from people outside of OpenAI and to give people a sense of what AI capabilities are on the horizon.” Asked about training data, the spokesperson would only specify that the model is trained on “licensed and publicly available content”; asked about potential harms, she said the company is still working to address “misinformation, hateful content, and bias .”

OpenAI is not alone in its secrecy. Also yesterday, Google announced an updated version of its flagship language model, Gemini 1.5, hailing it as a “ breakthrough .” But nobody beyond a small group of developers and major, corporate customers would be able to test its most advanced capabilities. Plenty of other AI products are also released without much accompanying information .

Read: We’re witnessing the birth of a new artistic medium

We do know, however, that demos of AI products tend to contain flaws, some minor and some embarrassing, and Sora is no exception. By OpenAI’s own admission, it struggles with depicting physics, cause and effect (the company says that you might ask for a video of a person biting into a cookie, only to notice that no bite mark is left behind), and other simple details (a man is shown running the wrong way on a treadmill). Internet sleuths have uncovered still other failures, such as disappearing objects and misshapen hands . Nonetheless, the product appears astonishing—which, for all the excitement, raises exceedingly familiar yet serious concerns over deepfakes , copyright infringement , artists’ livelihoods , hidden biases , and more.

Meanwhile, the internet swirls with paparazzi-esque theories and observations: guesses about how Sora works; insinuations that Sora is not generating new things but copying existing videos; comparisons showing similarities between its videos and the outputs of a leading text-to-image model. These concerns, for now, cannot be found right or wrong. The public still barely understands the inner workings of DALL-E and ChatGPT, but at least we can test those products’ capabilities for ourselves; with Sora’s announcement, OpenAI has entered the realm of mythmaking.

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OpenAI teases an amazing new generative video model called Sora

The firm is sharing Sora with a small group of safety testers but the rest of us will have to wait to learn more.

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OpenAI has built a striking new generative video model called Sora that can take a short text description and turn it into a detailed, high-definition film clip up to a minute long.

Based on four sample videos that OpenAI shared with MIT Technology Review ahead of today’s announcement, the San Francisco–based firm has pushed the envelope of what’s possible with text-to-video generation (a hot new research direction that we flagged as a trend to watch in 2024 ).

“We think building models that can understand video, and understand all these very complex interactions of our world, is an important step for all future AI systems,” says Tim Brooks, a scientist at OpenAI.

But there’s a disclaimer. OpenAI gave us a preview of Sora (which means sky in Japanese) under conditions of strict secrecy. In an unusual move, the firm would only share information about Sora if we agreed to wait until after news of the model was made public to seek the opinions of outside experts. [Editor’s note: We’ve updated this story with outside comment below.] OpenAI has not yet released a technical report or demonstrated the model actually working. And it says it won’t be releasing Sora anytime soon. [ Update: OpenAI has now shared more technical details on its website.]

The first generative models that could produce video from snippets of text appeared in late 2022. But early examples from Meta , Google, and a startup called Runway were glitchy and grainy. Since then, the tech has been getting better fast. Runway’s gen-2 model, released last year, can produce short clips that come close to matching big-studio animation in their quality. But most of these examples are still only a few seconds long.  

The sample videos from OpenAI’s Sora are high-definition and full of detail. OpenAI also says it can generate videos up to a minute long. One video of a Tokyo street scene shows that Sora has learned how objects fit together in 3D: the camera swoops into the scene to follow a couple as they walk past a row of shops.

OpenAI also claims that Sora handles occlusion well. One problem with existing models is that they can fail to keep track of objects when they drop out of view. For example, if a truck passes in front of a street sign, the sign might not reappear afterward.  

In a video of a papercraft underwater scene, Sora has added what look like cuts between different pieces of footage, and the model has maintained a consistent style between them.

It’s not perfect. In the Tokyo video, cars to the left look smaller than the people walking beside them. They also pop in and out between the tree branches. “There’s definitely some work to be done in terms of long-term coherence,” says Brooks. “For example, if someone goes out of view for a long time, they won’t come back. The model kind of forgets that they were supposed to be there.”

Impressive as they are, the sample videos shown here were no doubt cherry-picked to show Sora at its best. Without more information, it is hard to know how representative they are of the model’s typical output.   

It may be some time before we find out. OpenAI’s announcement of Sora today is a tech tease, and the company says it has no current plans to release it to the public. Instead, OpenAI will today begin sharing the model with third-party safety testers for the first time.

In particular, the firm is worried about the potential misuses of fake but photorealistic video . “We’re being careful about deployment here and making sure we have all our bases covered before we put this in the hands of the general public,” says Aditya Ramesh, a scientist at OpenAI, who created the firm’s text-to-image model DALL-E .

But OpenAI is eyeing a product launch sometime in the future. As well as safety testers, the company is also sharing the model with a select group of video makers and artists to get feedback on how to make Sora as useful as possible to creative professionals. “The other goal is to show everyone what is on the horizon, to give a preview of what these models will be capable of,” says Ramesh.

To build Sora, the team adapted the tech behind DALL-E 3, the latest version of OpenAI’s flagship text-to-image model. Like most text-to-image models, DALL-E 3 uses what’s known as a diffusion model. These are trained to turn a fuzz of random pixels into a picture.

Sora takes this approach and applies it to videos rather than still images. But the researchers also added another technique to the mix. Unlike DALL-E or most other generative video models, Sora combines its diffusion model with a type of neural network called a transformer.

Transformers are great at processing long sequences of data, like words. That has made them the special sauce inside large language models like OpenAI’s GPT-4 and Google DeepMind’s Gemini . But videos are not made of words. Instead, the researchers had to find a way to cut videos into chunks that could be treated as if they were. The approach they came up with was to dice videos up across both space and time. “It’s like if you were to have a stack of all the video frames and you cut little cubes from it,” says Brooks.

The transformer inside Sora can then process these chunks of video data in much the same way that the transformer inside a large language model processes words in a block of text. The researchers say that this let them train Sora on many more types of video than other text-to-video models, varied in terms of resolution, duration, aspect ratio, and orientation. “It really helps the model,” says Brooks. “That is something that we’re not aware of any existing work on.”

“From a technical perspective it seems like a very significant leap forward,” says Sam Gregory, executive director at Witness, a human rights organization that specializes in the use and misuse of video technology. “But there are two sides to the coin,” he says. “The expressive capabilities offer the potential for many more people to be storytellers using video. And there are also real potential avenues for misuse.” 

OpenAI is well aware of the risks that come with a generative video model. We are already seeing the large-scale misuse of deepfake images . Photorealistic video takes this to another level.

Gregory notes that you could use technology like this to misinform people about conflict zones or protests. The range of styles is also interesting, he says. If you could generate shaky footage that looked like something shot with a phone, it would come across as more authentic.

The tech is not there yet, but generative video has gone from zero to Sora in just 18 months. “We’re going to be entering a universe where there will be fully synthetic content, human-generated content and a mix of the two,” says Gregory.

The OpenAI team plans to draw on the safety testing it did last year for DALL-E 3. Sora already includes a filter that runs on all prompts sent to the model that will block requests for violent, sexual, or hateful images, as well as images of known people. Another filter will look at frames of generated videos and block material that violates OpenAI’s safety policies.

OpenAI says it is also adapting a fake-image detector developed for DALL-E 3 to use with Sora. And the company will embed industry-standard C2PA tags , metadata that states how an image was generated, into all of Sora’s output. But these steps are far from foolproof. Fake-image detectors are hit-or-miss. Metadata is easy to remove, and most social media sites strip it from uploaded images by default.  

“We’ll definitely need to get more feedback and learn more about the types of risks that need to be addressed with video before it would make sense for us to release this,” says Ramesh.

Brooks agrees. “Part of the reason that we’re talking about this research now is so that we can start getting the input that we need to do the work necessary to figure out how it could be safely deployed,” he says.

Update 2/15: Comments from Sam Gregory were added .

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