Report structure

Reports are designed to be read quickly and easily. Often only parts of a report are read in detail. Reports vary from essays as they have a more formal layout and normally use numbering, headings and sub-headings to indicate sections. The format for a report can vary by school, so always check your module guide! (It is on GCULearn). Reports often include:

  • Title page This is brief but explicit. Include your name, date, module, course and for whom the report is written.
  • List of contents with section and page numbers. If there are charts, diagrams or tables included in your report, these should be listed separately under a title such as List of Illustrations together with the page numbers on which they appear.
  • Acknowledgements should only be included if appropriate.
  • Summary or abstract This can also be called an executive summary. This is very important and is often the only section of a report read in detail. It is normally written when the report is finished. This should be a short paragraph summarising the main contents. It should include a short statement of the main task, the methods used, conclusions reached and any recommendations to be made.
  • Introduction This sets the scene and includes the aims and objectives of the report. It also defines the limits of the report, outlines the method of enquiry, gives a brief general background to the subject of the report and indicates the proposed development.
  • Main body This illustrates how a project was undertaken. It normally includes a literature review, explanation of methodology used, discussion and analysis of findings. Like an essay it should be ordered logically with each section being clearly linked. It should include evidence and where appropriate, graphs and illustrations.
  • Conclusion This draws out the implications from the report and normally recommends a course of action. It should link back to the introduction.
  • References You should provide a list of all the authors you have cited in your report.
  • Appendices These contain supporting information, such as transcripts of interviews, results of surveys, a glossary and results from experiments.

This vidcast has been created by Angela Shapiro, SCEBE LDC. It describes how to write a final year technical report. Bear in mind that any examples will refer to SCEBE courses.

Want to know more? - we have more detailed pages on technical writing later in this section. More help is available from your Learning Development Centre.

Now that you have a structure, read our section on writing your assignment to make sure that you fill it with the best quality content.

Creative Commons Licence
SMILE by Imperial College, Loughborough University and the University of Worcester, modified by Marion Kelt Glasgow Caledonian University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.