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How to Use Tables & Graphs in a Research Paper

structure of a research report with special focus on tables and diagrams

It might not seem very relevant to the story and outcome of your study, but how you visually present your experimental or statistical results can play an important role during the review and publication process of your article. A presentation that is in line with the overall logical flow of your story helps you guide the reader effectively from your introduction to your conclusion. 

If your results (and the way you organize and present them) don’t follow the story you outlined in the beginning, then you might confuse the reader and they might end up doubting the validity of your research, which can increase the chance of your manuscript being rejected at an early stage. This article illustrates the options you have when organizing and writing your results and will help you make the best choice for presenting your study data in a research paper.

Why does data visualization matter?

Your data and the results of your analysis are the core of your study. Of course, you need to put your findings and what you think your findings mean into words in the text of your article. But you also need to present the same information visually, in the results section of your manuscript, so that the reader can follow and verify that they agree with your observations and conclusions. 

The way you visualize your data can either help the reader to comprehend quickly and identify the patterns you describe and the predictions you make, or it can leave them wondering what you are trying to say or whether your claims are supported by evidence. Different types of data therefore need to be presented in different ways, and whatever way you choose needs to be in line with your story. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that many journals have specific rules or limitations (e.g., how many tables and graphs you are allowed to include, what kind of data needs to go on what kind of graph) and specific instructions on how to generate and format data tables and graphs (e.g., maximum number of subpanels, length and detail level of tables). In the following, we will go into the main points that you need to consider when organizing your data and writing your result section .

Table of Contents:

Types of data , when to use data tables .

  • When to Use Data Graphs 

Common Types of Graphs in Research Papers 

Journal guidelines: what to consider before submission.

Depending on the aim of your research and the methods and procedures you use, your data can be quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative data, whether objective (e.g., size measurements) or subjective (e.g., rating one’s own happiness on a scale), is what is usually collected in experimental research. Quantitative data are expressed in numbers and analyzed with the most common statistical methods. Qualitative data, on the other hand, can consist of case studies or historical documents, or it can be collected through surveys and interviews. Qualitative data are expressed in words and needs to be categorized and interpreted to yield meaningful outcomes. 

Quantitative data example: Height differences between two groups of participants Qualitative data example: Subjective feedback on the food quality in the work cafeteria

Depending on what kind of data you have collected and what story you want to tell with it, you have to find the best way of organizing and visualizing your results.

When you want to show the reader in detail how your independent and dependent variables interact, then a table (with data arranged in columns and rows) is your best choice. In a table, readers can look up exact values, compare those values between pairs or groups of related measurements (e.g., growth rates or outcomes of a medical procedure over several years), look at ranges and intervals, and select specific factors to search for patterns. 

Tables are not restrained to a specific type of data or measurement. Since tables really need to be read, they activate the verbal system. This requires focus and some time (depending on how much data you are presenting), but it gives the reader the freedom to explore the data according to their own interest. Depending on your audience, this might be exactly what your readers want. If you explain and discuss all the variables that your table lists in detail in your manuscript text, then you definitely need to give the reader the chance to look at the details for themselves and follow your arguments. If your analysis only consists of simple t-tests to assess differences between two groups, you can report these results in the text (in this case: mean, standard deviation, t-statistic, and p-value), and do not necessarily need to include a table that simply states the same numbers again. If you did extensive analyses but focus on only part of that data (and clearly explain why, so that the reader does not think you forgot to talk about the rest), then a graph that illustrates and emphasizes the specific result or relationship that you consider the main point of your story might be a better choice.

graph in research paper

When to Use Data Graphs

Graphs are a visual display of information and show the overall shape of your results rather than the details. If used correctly, a visual representation helps your (or your reader’s) brain to quickly understand large amounts of data and spot patterns, trends, and exceptions or outliers. Graphs also make it easier to illustrate relationships between entire data sets. This is why, when you analyze your results, you usually don’t just look at the numbers and the statistical values of your tests, but also at histograms, box plots, and distribution plots, to quickly get an overview of what is going on in your data.

Line graphs

When you want to illustrate a change over a continuous range or time, a line graph is your best choice. Changes in different groups or samples over the same range or time can be shown by lines of different colors or with different symbols.

Example: Let’s collapse across the different food types and look at the growth of our four fish species over time.

line graph showing growth of aquarium fish over one month

You should use a bar graph when your data is not continuous but divided into categories that are not necessarily connected, such as different samples, methods, or setups. In our example, the different fish types or the different types of food are such non-continuous categories.

Example: Let’s collapse across the food types again and also across time, and only compare the overall weight increase of our four fish types at the end of the feeding period.

bar graph in reserach paper showing increase in weight of different fish species over one month

Scatter plots

Scatter plots can be used to illustrate the relationship between two variables — but note that both have to be continuous. The following example displays “fish length” as an additional variable–none of the variables in our table above (fish type, fish food, time) are continuous, and they can therefore not be used for this kind of graph. 

Scatter plot in research paper showing growth of aquarium fish over time (plotting weight versus length)

As you see, these example graphs all contain less data than the table above, but they lead the reader to exactly the key point of your results or the finding you want to emphasize. If you let your readers search for these observations in a big table full of details that are not necessarily relevant to the claims you want to make, you can create unnecessary confusion. Most journals allow you to provide bigger datasets as supplementary information, and some even require you to upload all your raw data at submission. When you write up your manuscript, however, matching the data presentation to the storyline is more important than throwing everything you have at the reader. 

Don’t forget that every graph needs to have clear x and y axis labels , a title that summarizes what is shown above the figure, and a descriptive legend/caption below. Since your caption needs to stand alone and the reader needs to be able to understand it without looking at the text, you need to explain what you measured/tested and spell out all labels and abbreviations you use in any of your graphs once more in the caption (even if you think the reader “should” remember everything by now, make it easy for them and guide them through your results once more). Have a look at this article if you need help on how to write strong and effective figure legends .

Even if you have thought about the data you have, the story you want to tell, and how to guide the reader most effectively through your results, you need to check whether the journal you plan to submit to has specific guidelines and limitations when it comes to tables and graphs. Some journals allow you to submit any tables and graphs initially (as long as tables are editable (for example in Word format, not an image) and graphs of high enough resolution. 

Some others, however, have very specific instructions even at the submission stage, and almost all journals will ask you to follow their formatting guidelines once your manuscript is accepted. The closer your figures are already to those guidelines, the faster your article can be published. This PLOS One Figure Preparation Checklist is a good example of how extensive these instructions can be – don’t wait until the last minute to realize that you have to completely reorganize your results because your target journal does not accept tables above a certain length or graphs with more than 4 panels per figure. 

Some things you should always pay attention to (and look at already published articles in the same journal if you are unsure or if the author instructions seem confusing) are the following:

  • How many tables and graphs are you allowed to include?
  • What file formats are you allowed to submit?
  • Are there specific rules on resolution/dimension/file size?
  • Should your figure files be uploaded separately or placed into the text?
  • If figures are uploaded separately, do the files have to be named in a specific way?
  • Are there rules on what fonts to use or to avoid and how to label subpanels?
  • Are you allowed to use color? If not, make sure your data sets are distinguishable.

If you are dealing with digital image data, then it might also be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the difference between “adjusting” for clarity and visibility and image manipulation, which constitutes scientific misconduct .  And to fully prepare your research paper for publication before submitting it, be sure to receive proofreading services , including journal manuscript editing and research paper editing , from Wordvice’s professional academic editors .

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How to clearly articulate results and construct tables and figures in a scientific paper?

The writing of the results section of a scientific paper is very important for the readers for clearly understanding of the study. This review summarizes the rules for writing the results section of a scientific paper and describes the use of tables and figures.


Medical articles consist of review articles, case reports, and letters to the editor which are prepared with the intention of publishing in journals related to the medical discipline of the author. For an academician to be able to progress in carreer, and make his/her activities known in the academic environment, require preparation of the protocol of his/her academic research article, and acquiring sufficient information, and experience related to the composition of this article. In this review article, the information related to the writing of the ‘Results’ section, and use of tables, and figures will be presented to the attention of the readers.

Writing the ‘Results’ section

The ‘Results’ section is perhaps the most important part of a research article. In fact the authors will share the results of their research/study with their readers. Renown British biologist Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–1895) indicated his feelings as “The great tragedy of science: the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.” which emphasizes the importance of accurately, and impressively written results.

In essence results provide a response for the question” What is found in the research performed?”. Therefore, it is the most vital part of the article. As a priority, while drafting the ‘Results’ section of a manuscript one should not firstly write down methods in the ‘Material and Method’ section. The first sentence should give information about the number of patients who met the inclusion criteria, and thus enrolled in the study. [ 1 ] Besides information about the number of patients excluded from the study, and the reasons for exclusion is very important in that they will enlighten the readers, and reviewers who critically evaluate the manuscript, and also reflect the seriousness of the study. On the other hand, the results obtained should be recorded in chronological order, and without any comments. [ 2 ] In this section use of simple present tense is more appropriate. The findings should be expressed in brief, lucid, and explicable words. The writing style should not be boring for the reader. During writing process of a research article, a generally ill-conceived point is that positive, and significant findings are more important, attractive, and valuable, while negative, and insignificant findings are worthless, and less attractive. A scientific research is not performed to confirm a hypothesis, rather to test it. Not only positive, and significant results are worth writing, on the other hand negative or statistically insignificant result which support fallacy of a widely accepted opinion might be valuable. Therefore, all findings obtained during research should be inclıuded in the ‘Results’ section. [ 1 ]

While writing the ‘Results’ section, the sequence of results, tabulated data, and information which will be illustrated as figures should be definitively indicated. In indicating insignificant changes, do not use expressions as “decreased” or “increased”, these words should be reserved for significant changes. If results related to more than one parameter would be reported, it is appropriate to write the results under the subheading of its related parameter so as to facilitate reading, and comprehension of information. [ 2 ] Only data, and information concerning the study in question should be included in the ‘Results’ section. Results not mentioned in this section should not be included in the ‘Discussion’ and ‘Summary’ sections. Since the results obtained by the authors are cited in the ‘Results’ section, any reference should not be indicated in this section. [ 3 ]

In the ‘Results’ section, numerical expressions should be written in technically appropriate terms. The number of digits (1, 2 or 3 digits) to be written after a comma (in Turkish) or a point (in especially American English) should be determined The number of digits written after the punctuation marks should not be changed all throughout the text. Data should be expressed as mean/median ± standard deviation. Data as age, and scale scores should be indicated together with ranges of values. Absolute numerical value corresponding to a percentage must be also indicated. P values calculated in statistical analysis should be expressed in their absolute values. While writing p values of statistically significant data, instead of p<0.05 the actual level of significance should be recorded. If p value is smaller than 0.001, then it can be written as p <0.01. [ 2 ] While writing the ‘Results’ section, significant data which should be recalled by the readers must be indicated in the main text. It will be appropriate to indicate other demographic numerical details in tables or figures.

As an example elucidating the abovementioned topics a research paper written by the authors of this review article, and published in the Turkish Journal of Urology in the year 2007 (Türk Üroloji Dergisi 2007;33:18–23) is presented below:

“A total of 9 (56.2%) female, and 7 (43.8%) male patients with were included in this study. Mean age of all the patients was 44.3±13.8 (17–65) years, and mean dimensions of the adrenal mass was 4.5±3.4 (1–14) cm. Mean ages of the male, and female patients were 44.1 (30–65), and 42.4 (17–64) years, while mean diameters of adrenal masses were 3.2 (1–5), and 4.5 (1–14) cm (p age =0.963, p mass size =0.206). Surgical procedures were realized using transperitoneal approach through Chevron incision in 1 (6.2%), and retroperitoneal approach using flank incision with removal of the 11. rib in 15 (93.7%) patients. Right (n=6; 37.5%), and left (n=2; 12.5%) adrenalectomies were performed. Two (12.5%) patients underwent bilateral adrenalectomy in the same session because of clinical Cushing’s syndrome persisted despite transsphenoidal hipophysectomy. Mean operative time, and length of the hospital stay were 135 (65–190) min, and 3 (2–6) days, respectively. While resecting 11. rib during retroperitoneal adrenalectomy performed in 1 patient, pleura was perforated for nearly 1.5 cm. The perforated region was drained, and closed intraoperatively with 4/0 polyglyctan sutures. The patient did not develop postoperative pneumothorax. In none of the patients postoperative complications as pneumothorax, bleeding, prolonged drainage were seen. Results of histopathological analysis of the specimens retrieved at the end of the operation were summarized in Table 1 .” Table 1. Histopathological examination results of the patients Histopathological diagnosis Men n (%) Women n (%) Total n (%) Adrenal cortical adenoma 5 (31.3) 6 (37.6) 11 (68.8) Pheochromocytoma 1 (6.2) 1 (6.2) 2 (12.6) Ganglioneuroma 1 (6.2) - 1 (6.2) Myelolipoma - 1 (6.2) 1 (6.2) Adrenal carcinoma - 1 (6.2) 1 (6.2) Total 7 (43.7) 9 (56.2) 16 (100) Open in a separate window

Use of tables, and figures

To prevent the audience from getting bored while reading a scientific article, some of the data should be expressed in a visual format in graphics, and figures rather than crowded numerical values in the text. Peer-reviewers frequently look at tables, and figures. High quality tables, and figures increase the chance of acceptance of the manuscript for publication.

Number of tables in the manuscript should not exceed the number recommended by the editorial board of the journal. Data in the main text, and tables should not be repeated many times. Tables should be comprehensible, and a reader should be able to express an opinion about the results just at looking at the tables without reading the main text. Data included in tables should comply with those mentioned in the main text, and percentages in rows, and columns should be summed up accurately. Unit of each variable should be absolutely defined. Sampling size of each group should be absolutely indicated. Values should be expressed as values±standard error, range or 95% confidence interval. Tables should include precise p values, and level of significance as assessed with statistical analysis should be indicated in footnotes. [ 2 ] Use of abbreviations in tables should be avoided, if abbreviations are required they should be defined explicitly in the footnotes or legends of the tables. As a general rule, rows should be arranged as double-spaced Besides do not use pattern coloring for cells of rows, and columns. Values included in tables should be correctly approximated. [ 1 , 2 ]

As an example elucidating the abovementioned topics a research paper written by the authors of this review article, and published in the Turkish Journal of Urology in the year 2007 (Türk Üroloji Dergisi 2007;33:18–23).is shown in Table 1 .

Most of the readers priorly prefer to look at figures, and graphs rather than reading lots of pages. Selection of appropriate types of graphs for demonstration of data is a critical decision which requires artist’s meticulousness. As is the case with tables, graphs, and figures should also disploay information not provided in the text. Bar, line, and pie graphs, scatter plots, and histograms are some examples of graphs. In graphs, independent variables should be represented on the horizontal, and dependent variables on the vertical axis. Number of subjects in every subgroup should be indicated The labels on each axis should be easily understandable. [ 2 ] The label of the Y axis should be written vertically from bottom to top. The fundamental point in writing explanatory notes for graphs, and figures is to help the readers understand the contents of them without referring to the main text. Meanings of abbreviations, and acronyms used in the graphs, and figures should be provided in explanatory notes. In the explanatory notes striking data should be emphasized. Statistical tests used, levels of significance, sampling size, stains used for analyses, and magnification rate should be written in order to facilitate comprehension of the study procedures. [ 1 , 2 ]

Flow diagram can be utilized in the ‘Results’ section. This diagram facilitates comprehension of the results obtained at certain steps of monitorization during the research process. Flow diagram can be used either in the ‘Results’ or ‘Material and Method’ section. [ 2 , 3 ]

Histopathological analyses, surgical technique or radiological images which are considered to be more useful for the comprehension of the text by the readers can be visually displayed. Important findings should be marked on photos, and their definitions should be provided clearly in the explanatory legends. [ 1 ]

As an example elucidating the abovementioned issues, graphics, and flow diagram in the ‘Results’ section of a research paper written by the authors of this review article, and published in the World Journal of Urology in the year 2010 (World J Urol 2010;28:17–22.) are shown in Figures 1 , and ​ and2 2 .

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is TJU-39-Supp-16-g01.jpg

a The mean SHIM scores of the groups before and after treatment. SHIM sexual health inventory for male. b The mean IPSS scores of the groups before and after treatment. IPSS international prostate symptom score

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is TJU-39-Supp-16-g02.jpg

Flowchart showing patients’ progress during the study. SHIM sexual health inventory for male, IIEF international index of erectile function, IPSS international prostate symptom score, QoL quality of life, Q max maximum urinary flow rate. PRV post voiding residual urine volume

In conclusion, in line with the motto of the famous German physicist Albert Einstein (1879–1955). ‘If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor .’ results obtained in a scientific research article should be expressed accurately, and with a masterstroke of a tailor in compliance with certain rules which will ensure acceptability of the scientific manuscript by the editorial board of the journal, and also facilitate its intelligibility by the readers.


Report writing

  • Features of good reports
  • Types of Report


Organising your information, abstract / executive summary, literature review, results / data / findings, reference list / bibliography.

  • Writing up your report

Useful links for report writing

  • Study Advice Helping students to achieve study success with guides, video tutorials, seminars and appointments.
  • Maths Support A guide to Maths Support resources which may help if you're finding any mathematical or statistical topic difficult during the transition to University study.

structure of a research report with special focus on tables and diagrams

  • Academic Phrasebank Use this site for examples of linking phrases and ways to refer to sources.
  • Academic writing LibGuide Expert guidance on punctuation, grammar, writing style and proof-reading.
  • Reading and notemaking LibGuide Expert guidance on managing your reading and making effective notes.
  • Guide to citing references Includes guidance on why, when and how to use references correctly in your academic writing.

The structure of a report has a key role to play in communicating information and enabling the reader to find the information they want quickly and easily. Each section of a report has a different role to play and a writing style suited to that role. Therefore, it is important to understand what your audience is expecting in each section of a report and put the appropriate information in the appropriate sections.

The guidance on this page explains the job each section does and the style in which it is written. Note that all reports are different so you must pay close attention to what you are being asked to include in your assignment brief. For instance, your report may need all of these sections, or only some, or you may be asked to combine sections (e.g. introduction and literature review, or results and discussion). The video tutorial on structuring reports below will also be helpful, especially if you are asked to decide on your own structure.

  • Finding a structure for your report (video) Watch this brief video tutorial for more on the topic.
  • Finding a structure for your report (transcript) Read the transcript.

structure of a research report with special focus on tables and diagrams

  • When writing an essay, you need to place your information  to make a strong argument
  • When writing a report, you need to place your information  in the appropriate section

Consider the role each item will play in communicating information or ideas to the reader, and place it in the section where it will best perform that role. For instance:

  • Does it provide background to your research? ( Introduction  or  Literature Review )
  • Does it describe the types of activity you used to collect evidence? ( Methods )
  • Does it present factual data? ( Results )
  • Does it place evidence in the context of background? ( Discussion )
  • Does it make recommendations for action? ( Conclusion )

Reports for different briefs will require different sections to be included. Check your brief carefully for the sections to include in your final report.

structure of a research report with special focus on tables and diagrams

  • the purpose of the work
  • methods used for research
  • main conclusions reached
  • any recommendations

The introduction … should explain the rationale for undertaking the work reported on, and the way you decided to do it. Include what you have been asked (or chosen) to do and the reasons for doing it.

- State what the report is about. What is the question you are trying to answer? If it is a brief for a specific reader (e.g. a feasibility report on a construction project for a client), say who they are.

- Describe your starting point and the background to the subject: e.g., what research has already been done (if you have to include a Literature Review, this will only be a brief survey); what are the relevant themes and issues; why are you being asked to investigate it now?

- Explain how you are going to go about responding to the brief. If you are going to test a hypothesis in your research, include this at the end of your introduction. Include a brief outline of your method of enquiry. State the limits of your research and reasons for them, e.g.

"Research will focus on native English speakers only, as a proper consideration of the issues arising from speaking English as a second language is beyond the scope of this project".

structure of a research report with special focus on tables and diagrams

Introduce your review by explaining how you went about finding your materials, and any clear trends in research that have emerged. Group your texts in themes. Write about each theme as a separate section, giving a critical summary of each piece of work, and showing its relevance to your research. Conclude with how the review has informed your research (things you'll be building on, gaps you'll be filling etc).

  • Literature reviews LibGuide Guide on starting, writing and developing literature reviews.
  • Doing your literature review (video) Watch this brief video tutorial for more on the topic.
  • Doing your literature review (transcript) Read the transcript.

The methods  should be written in such a way that a reader could replicate the research you have done. State clearly how you carried out your investigation. Explain why you chose this particular method (questionnaires, focus group, experimental procedure etc). Include techniques and any equipment you used. If there were participants in your research, who were they? How many? How were they selected?

Write this section  concisely  but  thoroughly  – Go through what you did step by step, including everything that is relevant. You know what you did, but could a reader follow your description?

structure of a research report with special focus on tables and diagrams

Label your graphs and tables clearly. Give each figure a title and describe in words what the figure demonstrates. Save your interpretation of the results for the Discussion section.

The discussion ...is probably the longest section. It brings everything together, showing how your findings respond to the brief you explained in your introduction and the previous research you surveyed in your literature review. This is the place to mention if there were any problems (e.g. your results were different from expectations, you couldn't find important data, or you had to change your method or participants) and how they were, or could have been, solved.

  • Writing up your report page More information on how to write your discussion and other sections.

The conclusions ...should be a short section with no new arguments or evidence. This section should give a feeling of closure and completion to your report. Sum up the main points of your research. How do they answer the original brief for the work reported on? This section may also include:

  • Recommendations for action
  • Suggestions for further research

structure of a research report with special focus on tables and diagrams

If you're unsure about how to cite a particular text, ask at the Study Advice Desk on the Ground Floor of the Library or contact your Academic Liaison Librarian for help.

  • Contact your Academic Liaison Librarian

The appendices ...include any additional information that may help the reader but is not essential to the report's main findings. The report should be able to stand alone without the appendices. An appendix can include for instance: interview questions; questionnaires; surveys; raw data; figures; tables; maps; charts; graphs; a glossary of terms used.

  • A separate appendix should be used for each distinct topic or set of data.
  • Order your appendices in the order in which you refer to the content in the text.
  • Start each appendix on a separate page and label sequentially with letters or numbers e.g. Appendix A, Appendix B,…
  • Give each Appendix a meaningful title e.g. Appendix A: Turnover of Tesco PLC 2017-2021.
  • Refer to the relevant appendix where appropriate in the main text e.g. 'See Appendix A for an example questionnaire'.
  • If an appendix contains multiple figures which you will refer to individually then label each one using the Appendix letter and a running number e.g. Table B1, Table B2. Do not continue the numbering of any figures in your text, as your text should be able to stand alone without the appendices.
  • If your appendices draw on information from other sources you should include a citation and add the full details into your list of references (follow the rules for the referencing style you are using).

For more guidance see the following site:

  • Appendices guidance from University of Southern California Detailed guidance on using appendices. Part of the USC's guide to Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper.
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  • Next: Writing up your report >>
  • Last Updated: Jun 21, 2024 10:30 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.reading.ac.uk/reports

Uncomplicated Reviews of Educational Research Methods

  • Writing a Research Report

.pdf version of this page

This review covers the basic elements of a research report. This is a general guide for what you will see in journal articles or dissertations. This format assumes a mixed methods study, but you can leave out either quantitative or qualitative sections if you only used a single methodology.

This review is divided into sections for easy reference. There are five MAJOR parts of a Research Report:

1.    Introduction 2.    Review of Literature 3.    Methods 4.    Results 5.    Discussion

As a general guide, the Introduction, Review of Literature, and Methods should be about 1/3 of your paper, Discussion 1/3, then Results 1/3.

Section 1 : Cover Sheet (APA format cover sheet) optional, if required.

Section 2: Abstract (a basic summary of the report, including sample, treatment, design, results, and implications) (≤ 150 words) optional, if required.

Section 3 : Introduction (1-3 paragraphs) •    Basic introduction •    Supportive statistics (can be from periodicals) •    Statement of Purpose •    Statement of Significance

Section 4 : Research question(s) or hypotheses •    An overall research question (optional) •    A quantitative-based (hypotheses) •    A qualitative-based (research questions) Note: You will generally have more than one, especially if using hypotheses.

Section 5: Review of Literature ▪    Should be organized by subheadings ▪    Should adequately support your study using supporting, related, and/or refuting evidence ▪    Is a synthesis, not a collection of individual summaries

Section 6: Methods ▪    Procedure: Describe data gathering or participant recruitment, including IRB approval ▪    Sample: Describe the sample or dataset, including basic demographics ▪    Setting: Describe the setting, if applicable (generally only in qualitative designs) ▪    Treatment: If applicable, describe, in detail, how you implemented the treatment ▪    Instrument: Describe, in detail, how you implemented the instrument; Describe the reliability and validity associated with the instrument ▪    Data Analysis: Describe type of procedure (t-test, interviews, etc.) and software (if used)

Section 7: Results ▪    Restate Research Question 1 (Quantitative) ▪    Describe results ▪    Restate Research Question 2 (Qualitative) ▪    Describe results

Section 8: Discussion ▪    Restate Overall Research Question ▪    Describe how the results, when taken together, answer the overall question ▪    ***Describe how the results confirm or contrast the literature you reviewed

Section 9: Recommendations (if applicable, generally related to practice)

Section 10: Limitations ▪    Discuss, in several sentences, the limitations of this study. ▪    Research Design (overall, then info about the limitations of each separately) ▪    Sample ▪    Instrument/s ▪    Other limitations

Section 11: Conclusion (A brief closing summary)

Section 12: References (APA format)

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About research rundowns.

Research Rundowns was made possible by support from the Dewar College of Education at Valdosta State University .

  • Experimental Design
  • What is Educational Research?
  • Writing Research Questions
  • Mixed Methods Research Designs
  • Qualitative Coding & Analysis
  • Qualitative Research Design
  • Correlation
  • Effect Size
  • Instrument, Validity, Reliability
  • Mean & Standard Deviation
  • Significance Testing (t-tests)
  • Steps 1-4: Finding Research
  • Steps 5-6: Analyzing & Organizing
  • Steps 7-9: Citing & Writing

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A Brilliant Mind

Writing and productivity boost for scientists

How to structure the result section of your scientific article

structure of a research report with special focus on tables and diagrams

The results section is what all your readers look forward to when they browse your paper. This is where they will finally find the answers to the questions that motivated the research. Are the hypotheses formulated in the introduction confirmed? Is the theory valid? If your article were a crime movie, the results section would be the scene where the murderer is discovered. So, better to make it captivating!

If you are currently writing or plan to write an empirical article soon, this post is for you. You will find 6 tips to make your results section a fine work of writing, worthy of a novel by Agatha Christie (you will find more information on the general structure of scientific articles here , the introduction here, and the method section here ).

structure of a research report with special focus on tables and diagrams

Think about how you read scientific articles.  Chances are that most of the time you don’t read them from cover to cover, paying attention to every word and every idea, or thinking intensely about what the author might have meant. You probably start by going through the abstract, then you read the first two sentences of the introduction, and then you go straight to the results. Time is too precious and there are too many scientific publications to dwell on every one of them. 

The readers of your article are in the same situation. They want to quickly understand the research you’ve done and the results you’ve found. Your job is to make it easy for them. Here’s how you can do it.

1. Carefully select the results you wish to present

If you have spent days, weeks, months analyzing your data; if the pile of statistical outputs on your desk is higher than the Statue of Liberty that carries the Eifel Tower to the top of Mount Everest: Congratulations! Scientists need to know their data in every detail. You have done an excellent job and you can be proud of it. Having said that, what I am about to tell you may hurt: 95% of these results have no place in your article. 

I’m not advising you here to hide a result that doesn’t suit you. At no cost! Honesty and transparency are at the heart of all good science. My dearest wish – besides a new season of the Kominsky Method – is that you, all of us, produce excellent science. To achieve this, it is essential to acknowledge that some results are unexpected or do not confirm our hypotheses. This is the only way to learn from our research results and improve our theories. So be honest and transparent! 

What I’m saying here is that the results you present in your paper must be consistent with the research question you announced in your introduction . This research question is the main thread of your article. Does a result help to shed light on your research question? If the answer is a resounding “yes”, you should most likely report it in your results section. If the answer to this question is “no” or “not really”, it may be best to omit it or save it for another article. Presenting results that do not really match your research question is confusing for the reader and detracts from the clarity of your article. 

Let’s take an example!

Imagine that you have conducted a study to test the efficacy of a new treatment to cure a disease called dragon-pox (yes, this is the same example as in the post on the introduction , I’m trying to be consistent here!). Your main research question is: “Is the new treatment more effective in curing dragon-pox than the old one?” Now imagine that while conducting this research, you discovered that patients who smoke cigarettes are more likely to develop severe forms of dragon-pox. This result is interesting in itself, but it has nothing to do with your research question. Therefore, you probably shouldn’t report it in your paper. Rather, you can publish it in another article, in which you might want to confirm this exploratory finding with a new confirmatory study. William Faulkner said, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” The same goes for scientists and their significant unexpected results.

2. Start with the most important findings

In a research article, it is rare to have only one result. Typically, an article reports a series of results. How do you determine the order in which to present these results? 

Not all results are essential. Some answer the research question directly while others are more peripheral. Start with your most important results and then present the secondary ones. If you are testing the efficacy of a treatment, the most direct evidence of efficacy should come first, followed by potential moderators, mediators, and outcomes that are less relevant to the research question.

structure of a research report with special focus on tables and diagrams

Here is an example:

Main finding: “Dragonpox patients who received treatment A recovered in half the time it took patients who received treatment B. Indeed, one week after treatment A, 76.54% of patients were symptom-free and were able to resume their daily activity compared to 36.63% with treatment B.”

Peripheral finding: “In addition, we found that treatment A was more effective in women than in men. A 2 x 2 ANOVA with treatment and gender as between-subject factors revealed a significant interaction (see Table 1). Post-hoc analyses indicated that, after treatment A, women recovered more quickly than men, but we did not find any gender difference in response to treatment B”.

3. Explain the meaning of your results and how they support your hypotheses and conclusions

Statistical results without any explanation are as exciting as a pasta meal without sauce: It’s tasteless and hard to swallow. The results section of an article is more than the output of a series of statistical tests. It is part of a story. So, to make your article easy to understand and interesting, it is important to embed the results into the larger story of your paper. How can you do this? 

Begin the paragraph reporting a specific result by reminding the reader why you performed this analysis, then describe the results of that analysis, and finally end with an interpretation of those results. You don’t need to follow this structure for every result; it would probably be too cumbersome. Just do it for your main results and you will be sure that your readers will have a good grasp of your story.

Isn’t the interpretation of the results reserved for discussion? Yes and no. Saying that a statistical test is significant is already an interpretation. After all, a significance level is a subjective judgment. Writing that one treatment is more effective than another is also an interpretation of a difference in numbers.So you will certainly provide some kind of interpretation in the results section. To find out how far you need to go, check the articles published in the journal in which you intend to submit your study. The degree of interpretation in the results section, indeed, varies from one area of research to another and from one journal to another.

4. Place as much information as possible in the tables and figures 

There are two ways to present scientific results. Either you insert them in the text in which you describe them, or you present them in the form of tables and figures. If you have a choice, choose the second option. Statistical results inserted into a text are difficult to grasp and make the text more difficult to read. Your readers will have a smoother experience if the text and the statistics are presented separately.

structure of a research report with special focus on tables and diagrams

5. Use subheadings

Subheadings contribute to the clarity of your paper and results for several reasons:

  • They attract the attention of readers (they are often the only thing you read in a newspaper).
  • They help your readers understand the structure of your results at a glance.
  • They help your readers quickly scroll through the article to get to the results they are most interested in.

Don’t be afraid to use subheadings to improve the clarity of your result section.

6. Don’t get distracted by statistics

Many scientists are passionate about statistics. Analyzing data is an art, which requires work, intelligence, and expertise. Still, statistics, however brilliant and innovative they may be, are only a means to an end. The main characters of an article are not the statistical analyses (unless it is a methodological article) but the data. When statistics steal the spotlight from the data, the article loses clarity and power.

Thus, describe and report as much information about your statistical analyses as is necessary for the reader to understand what you have done, but remember that the focus should be on the results, not the analyses.

I wish you good luck in writing your result section!

Cover photo by  Isaac Smith  on  Unsplash ; Photo by  William Iven  on  Unsplash ; photo by  Pixabay  from  Pexels

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Section 1- Evidence-based practice (EBP)

Chapter 6: Components of a Research Report

Components of a research report.

Partido, B.B.

Elements of  research report

Introduction What is the issue?
Methods What methods have been used to investigate the issue?
Results What was found?
Discussion What are the implications of the findings?

The research report contains four main areas:

  • Introduction – What is the issue? What is known? What is not known? What are you trying to find out? This sections ends with the purpose and specific aims of the study.
  • Methods – The recipe for the study. If someone wanted to perform the same study, what information would they need? How will you answer your research question? This part usually contains subheadings: Participants, Instruments, Procedures, Data Analysis,
  • Results – What was found? This is organized by specific aims and provides the results of the statistical analysis.
  • Discussion – How do the results fit in with the existing  literature? What were the limitations and areas of future research?

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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


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


  • 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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Research Report

Research Report Meaning, Characteristics and Types

Table of contents:-, research report meaning, characteristics of good research report, key characteristics of research report, types of research report, stages in preparation of research report, characteristics of a good report.

A research report is a document that conveys the outcomes of a study or investigation. Its purpose is to communicate the research’s findings, conclusions, and implications to a particular audience. This report aims to offer a comprehensive and unbiased overview of the research process, methodology, and results.

Once the researcher has completed data collection , data processing, developing and testing hypotheses, and interpretation of responses, the next important phase in research is the preparation of the research report. A research report is essential for the communication of research findings to its potential users.

The research report must be free from personal bias, external influences, and subjective factors. i.e., it must be free from one’s liking and disliking. The research report must be prepared to meet impersonal needs.

What is Research Report?

According to Lancaster, “A report is a statement of collected and considered facts, so drawn-ups to give clear and concise information to persons who are not already in possession of the full facts of the subject matter of the report”.

When researchers communicate their results in writing, they create a research report. It includes the research methodology, approaches, data collection precautions, research findings, and recommendations for solving related problems. Managers can put this result into action for more effective decision making .

Generally, top management places a higher emphasis on obtaining the research outcome rather than delving into the research procedure. Hence, the research report acts as a presentation that highlights the procedure and methodology adopted by the researcher.

The research report presents the complete procedure in a comprehensive way that in turn helps the management in making crucial decisions. Creating a research report adheres to a specific format, sequence, and writing style.

Enhance the effectiveness of a research report by incorporating various charts, graphs, diagrams, tables, etc. By using different representation techniques, researchers can convince the audience as well as the management in an effective way.

Characteristics of a good research report are listed below:

  • Clarity and Completeness
  • Reliability
  • Comprehensibility and Readability
  • Logical Content

characteristics of a good research report

The following paragraphs outline the characteristics of a good research report.

1) Accuracy

Report information must be accurate and based on facts, credible sources and data to establish reliability and trustworthiness. It should not be biased by the personal feelings of the writer. The information presented must be as precise as possible.

2) Simplicity

The language of a research report should be as simple as possible to ensure easy understanding. A good report communicates its message clearly and without ambiguity through its language.

It is a document of practical utility; therefore, it should be grammatically accurate, brief, and easily understood. 

Jargon and technical words should be avoided when writing the report. Even in a technical report, there should be restricted use of technical terms if it is to be presented to laymen.

3) Clarity and Completeness

The report must be straightforward, lucid, and comprehensive in every aspect. Ambiguity should be avoided at all costs. Clarity is achieved through the strategic and practical organization of information. Report writers should divide their report into short paragraphs with headings and insert other suitable signposts to enhance clarity. They should: 

  • Approach their task systematically, 
  • Clarify their purpose, 
  • Define their sources, 
  • State their findings and 
  • Make necessary recommendations. 

A report should concisely convey the key points without unnecessary length, ensuring that the reader’s patience is not lost and ideas are not confused. Many times, people lack the time to read lengthy reports.

However, a report must also be complete. Sometimes, it is important to have a detailed discussion about the facts. A report is not an essay; therefore, points should be added to it.

5) Appearance

A report requires a visually appealing presentation and, whenever feasible, should be attention-grabbing. An effective report depends on the arrangement, organization, format, layout, typography, printing quality, and paper choice. Big companies often produce very attractive and colourful Annual Reports to showcase their achievements and financial performance.

6) Comprehensibility and Readability

Reports should be clear and straightforward for easy understanding. The style of presentation and the choice of words should be attractive to readers. The writer must present the facts in elegant and grammatically correct English so that the reader is compelled to read the report from beginning to end.

Only then does a report serve its purpose. A report written by different individuals on the same subject matter can vary depending on the intended audience.

7) Reliability

Reports should be reliable and should not create an erroneous impression in the minds of readers due to oversight or neglect. The facts presented in a report should be pertinent.

Every fact in a report must align with the central purpose, but it is also vital to ensure that all pertinent information is included.

Irrelevant facts can make a report confusing, and the exclusion of relevant facts can render it incomplete and likely to mislead.

Report writing should not incur unnecessary expenses. Cost-effective methods should be used to maintain a consistent level of quality when communicating the content.

9) Timelines

Reports can be valuable and practical when they reach the readers promptly. Any delay in the submission of reports renders the preparation of reports futile and sometimes obsolete.

10) Logical Content

The points mentioned in a report should be arranged in a step-by-step logical sequence and not haphazardly. Distinctive points should have self-explanatory headings and sub-headings. The scientific accuracy of facts is very essential for a report.

Planning is necessary before a report is prepared, as reports invariably lead to decision-making, and inaccurate facts may result in unsuccessful decisions.

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  • limitations of marginal costing
  • nature of leadership
  • difference between advertising and personal selling

A research report serves as a means of communicating research findings to the readers effectively.

Characteristics of Research Report

  • Clarity in Information
  • Optimal Length
  • Objective and Simple Language
  • Clear Thinking and Logical Organization
  • Engaging Style
  • Clarity in Presentation
  • Readability
  • Best Composition Practices
  • Inferences and Conclusions
  • Proper References
  • Attractive Appearance

i) Clarity in Information

A well-defined research report must define the what, why, who, whom, when, where, and how of the research study. It must help the readers to understand the focus of the information presented.

ii) Optimal Length

The report should strike a balance, being sufficiently brief and appropriately extended. It should cover the subject matter adequately while maintaining the reader’s interest.

iii) Objective and Simple Language

The report should be written in an objective style, employing simple language. Correctness, precision, and clarity should be prioritized, avoiding wordiness, indirection, and pompous language.

iv) Clear Thinking and Logical Organization

An excellent report integrates clear thinking, logical organization, and sound interpretation of the research findings.

v) Engaging Style

It should not be dull; instead, it should captivate and sustain the reader’s interest.

vi) Accuracy

Accuracy is paramount. The report must present facts objectively, eschewing exaggerations and superlatives.

vii) Clarity in Presentation

Presentation clarity is achieved through familiar words, unambiguous statements, and explicit definitions of new concepts or terms.

viii) Coherence

The logical flow of ideas and a coherent sequence of sentences contribute to a smooth continuity of thought.

ix) Readability

Even technical reports should be easily understandable. Translate technicalities into reader-friendly language.

x) Best Composition Practices

Follow best composition practices, ensuring readability through proper paragraphing, short sentences, and the use of illustrations, examples, section headings, charts, graphs, and diagrams.

xi) Inferences and Conclusions

Draw sound inferences and conclusions from statistical tables without repeating them in verbal form.

xii) Proper References

Footnote references should be correctly formatted, and the bibliography should be reasonably complete.

xiii) Attractive Appearance

The report should be visually appealing, maintaining a neat and clean appearance, whether typed or printed.

xiv) Error-Free

The report should be free from all types of mistakes, including language, factual, spelling, and calculation errors.

In striving for these qualities, the researcher enhances the overall quality of the report.

Research reports are of the following types:

  • Technical Report
  • Manuscripts for Journal Articles
  • Thesis and Dissertations
  • Other Types of Research Report

Types of Research Report

1) Technical Report

Technical reports are reports which contain detailed information about the research problem and its findings. These reports are typically subject to review by individuals interested in research methodology. Such reports include detailed descriptions of used methods for research design such as universe selection , sample preparation, designing questionnaire , identifying potential data sources, etc. These reports provide a complete description of every step, method, and tool used. When crafting technical reports, we assume that users possess knowledge of research methodology, which is why the language used in these reports is technical. Technical reports are valuable in situations where there is a need for statistical analysis of collected data. Researchers also employ it in conducting a series of research studies, where they can repetitively use the methodology.

2) Manuscripts for Journal Articles

When authors prepare a report with a particular layout or design for publishing in an academic or scientific journal, it becomes a “manuscript for journal articles”. Journal articles are a concise and complete presentation of a particular research study. While technical reports present a detailed description of all the activities in research, journal articles are known for presenting only a few critical areas or findings of a study. The readers or audience of journal articles include other researchers, management and executives, strategic analysts and the general public, interested in the topic.

In general, a manuscript for a journal article typically ranges from 10 to 30 pages in length. Sometimes there is a page or word limit for preparing the report. Authors primarily submit manuscripts for journal articles online, although they occasionally send paper copies through regular mail.

3) Thesis and Dissertations

Students working towards a Master’s, PhD, or another higher degree generally produce a thesis or dissertation, which is a form of research report. Like other normal research reports, the thesis or dissertation usually describes the design, tools or methods and results of the student’s research in detail.

These reports typically include a detailed section called the literature review, which encompasses relevant literature and previous studies on the topic. Firstly, the work or research of the student is analysed by a professional researcher or an expert in that particular research field, and then the thesis is written under the guidance of a professional supervisor. Dissertations and theses usually span approximately 120 to 300 pages in length.

Generally, the university or institution decides the length of the dissertation or thesis. A distinctive feature of a thesis or a dissertation is that it is quite economical, as it requires few printed and bound copies of the report. Sometimes electronic copies are required to be submitted along with the hard copy of the thesis or dissertations. Compact discs (CDs) are used to generate the electronic copy.

4) Other Types of Research Report

Along with the above-mentioned types, there are some other types of research reports, which are as follows:

  • Popular Report
  • Interim Report
  • Summary Report
  • Research Abstract

i) Popular Report

A popular report is prepared for the use of administrators, executives, or managers. It is simple and attractive in the form of a report. Clear and concise statements are used with less technical or statistical terms. Data representation is kept very simple through minimal use of graphs and charts. It has a different format than that of a technical one by liberally using margins and blank spaces. The style of writing a popular report is journalistic and precise. It is written to facilitate reading rapidly and comprehending quickly.

ii) Interim Report

An interim report is a kind of report which is prepared to show the sponsors, the progress of research work before the final presentation of the report. It is prepared when there is a certain time gap between the data collection and presentation. In this scenario, the completed portion of data analysis along with its findings is described in a particular interim report.

iii) Summary Report

This type of report is related to the interest of the general public. The findings of such a report are helpful for the decision making of general users. The language used for preparing a summary report is comprehensive and simple. The inclusion of numerous graphs and tables enhances the report’s overall clarity and comprehension. The main focus of this report is on the objectives, findings, and implications of the research issue.

iv) Research Abstract

The research abstract is a short presentation of the technical report. All the elements of a particular technical report, such as the research problem, objectives, sampling techniques, etc., are described in the research abstract but the description is concise and easy.

Research reports result from meticulous and deliberate work. Consequently, the preparation of the information can be delineated into the following key stages:

1) Logical Understanding and Subject Analysis: This stage involves a comprehensive grasp and analysis of the subject matter.

2) Planning/Designing the Final Outline: In this phase, the final outline of the report is meticulously planned and designed.

3) Write-Up/Preparation of Rough Draft: The report takes shape during this stage through the composition of a rough draft.

4) Polishing/Finalization of the Research Report: The final stage encompasses refining and polishing the report to achieve its ultimate form.

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Logical understanding and subject analysis.

This initial stage focuses on the subject’s development, which can be achieved through two approaches:

  • Logical development and
  • Chronological development

Logical development relies on mental connections and associations between different aspects facilitated by rational analysis. Typically, this involves progressing from simple to complex elements. In contrast, chronological development follows a sequence of time or events, with instructions or descriptions often adhering to chronological order.

Designing the Final Outline of the Research Report

This marks the second stage in report writing. Once the subject matter is comprehended, the subsequent step involves structuring the report, arranging its components, and outlining them. This stage is also referred to as the planning  and organization stage. While ideas may flow through the author’s mind, they must create a plan, sketch, or design. These are necessary for achieving a harmonious succession to become more accessible, and the author may be unsure where to commence or conclude. Effective communication of research results hinges not only on language but predominantly on the meticulous planning and organization of the report.

Preparation of the Rough Draft

The third stage involves the writing and drafting of the report. This phase is pivotal for the researcher as they translate their research study into written form, articulating what they have accomplished and how they intend to convey it.

The clarity in communication and reporting during this stage is influenced by several factors, including the audience, the technical complexity of the problem, the researcher’s grasp of facts and techniques, their proficiency in the language (communication skills), the completeness of notes and documentation, and the availability of analyzed results.

Depending on these factors, some authors may produce the report with just one or two drafts. In contrast, others, with less command over language and a lack of clarity about the problem and subject matter, may require more time and multiple drafts (first draft, second draft, third draft, fourth draft, etc.).

Finalization of the Research Report

This marks the last stage, potentially the most challenging phase in all formal writing. Constructing the structure is relatively easy, but refining and adding the finishing touches require considerable time. Consider, for instance, the construction of a house. The work progresses swiftly up to the roofing (structure) stage, but the final touches and completion demand a significant amount of time.

The rough draft, whether it is the second draft or the n th draft, must undergo rewriting and polishing to meet the requirements. The meticulous revision of the rough draft is what distinguishes a mediocre piece of writing from a good one. During the polishing and finalization phase, it is crucial to scrutinize the report for weaknesses in the logical development of the subject and the cohesion of its presentation. Additionally, attention should be given to the mechanics of writing, including language, usage, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Good research possesses certain characteristics, which are as follows:

  • Empirical Basis
  • Logical Approach
  • Systematic Nature
  • Replicability
  • Validity and Verifiability
  • Theory and Principle Development

1. Empirical Basis: It implies that any conclusion drawn is grounded in hardcore evidence collected from real-life experiences and observations. This foundation provides external validity to research results.

2. Logical Approach: Good research is logical, guided by the rules of reasoning and analytical processes of induction (general to specific) and deduction (particular to the public). Logical reasoning is integral to making research feasible and meaningful in decision-making.

3. Systematic Nature: Good research is systematic, which adheres to a structured set of rules, following specific steps in a defined sequence. Systematic research encourages creative thinking while avoiding reliance on guesswork and intuition to reach conclusions.

4. Replicability: Scientific research designs, procedures, and results should be replicable. This ensures that anyone apart from the original researcher can assess their validity. Researchers can use or replicate results obtained by others, making the procedures and outcomes of the research both replicable and transmittable.

5. Validity and Verifiability: Good research involves precise observation and accurate description. The researcher selects reliable and valid instruments for data collection, employing statistical measures to portray results accurately. The conclusions drawn are correct and verifiable by both the researcher and others.

6. Theory and Principle Development: It contributes to formulating theories and principles, aiding accurate predictions about the variables under study. By making sound generalizations based on observed samples, researchers extend their findings beyond immediate situations, objects, or groups, formulating generalizations or theories about these factors.

1. What are the key characteristics of research report?

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Knowledge maps and emerging trends in cell-cultured meat since the 21st century research: based on different national perspectives of spatial-temporal analysis.

structure of a research report with special focus on tables and diagrams

1. Introduction

2. data sources and analytical methods, 2.1. data sources, 2.2. methods of analysis, 3. research findings, 3.1. trends of papers on cell-cultured meat in the 21st century, 3.2. analysis of issuing countries and institutions, 3.3. characterization of author groups, 3.4. co-cited authors and journals, 3.5. high-frequency keyword analysis, 3.6. keyword clustering analysis, 3.7. keyword emergent analysis of cell-cultured meat research, 4. discussion on cell-cultured meat, 4.1. spatial distribution and naming differences, 4.2. regulatory implications, 5. conclusion and research outlook, 5.1. conclusions, 5.2. potential limitations, 5.3. research prospects, 5.3.1. the research content of cell-cultured meat is expanding to the multidisciplinary cross-cutting fields, 5.3.2. the cell-cultured meat sector should strengthen the overall assessment of market and industry development, 5.3.3. constructing china’s cell-cultured meat technology and regulatory system, author contributions, institutional review board statement, informed consent statement, data availability statement, acknowledgments, conflicts of interest.

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Click here to enlarge figure

Cited TimesCentralityCited Author-Name
4520.07Post, M.J. [ , ]
3830.11Stephens, N. [ ]
3220.10Tuomisto, H.L. [ ]
3100.07Bryant, C.J. [ ]
2680.13Verbeke, W. [ ]
2660.11Bhat, Z.F. [ ]
2480.06Siegrist, M. [ ]
2310.05Datar, I. [ ]
2060.09Mattick, C.S. [ ]
Cited TimesCentralityThe Impact of FactorsCo-Cited Journal Name
5950.042021 IF = 16.002; 5-year IF = 17.835Trends in Food Science & Technology
5490.042021 IF = 7.077; 5-year IF = 6.632Meat Science
4800.102021 IF = 3.752; 5-year IF = 4.069PLoS ONE
4400.022021 IF = 5.016; 5-year IF = 5.653Appetite
3840.042021 IF = 5.005; 5-year IF = 5.49Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems
3220.092021 IF = 11.357; 5-year IF = 12.154Environmental Science & Technology
3070.052021 IF = 4.384; 5-year IF = 4.021Journal of Integrative Agriculture
3050.012021 IF = 5.561; 5-year IF = 5.94Foods
3000.082021 IF = 63.714; 5-year IF = 59.924Science
2990.022021 IF = 6.59; 5-year IF = 6.873Frontiers in Nutrition
The statements, opinions and data contained in all publications are solely those of the individual author(s) and contributor(s) and not of MDPI and/or the editor(s). MDPI and/or the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to people or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content.

Share and Cite

Song, H.; Chen, P.; Sun, Y.; Sheng, J.; Zhou, L. Knowledge Maps and Emerging Trends in Cell-Cultured Meat since the 21st Century Research: Based on Different National Perspectives of Spatial-Temporal Analysis. Foods 2024 , 13 , 2070. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13132070

Song H, Chen P, Sun Y, Sheng J, Zhou L. Knowledge Maps and Emerging Trends in Cell-Cultured Meat since the 21st Century Research: Based on Different National Perspectives of Spatial-Temporal Analysis. Foods . 2024; 13(13):2070. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13132070

Song, Huiqi, Pengwei Chen, Yiwen Sun, Jiping Sheng, and Lin Zhou. 2024. "Knowledge Maps and Emerging Trends in Cell-Cultured Meat since the 21st Century Research: Based on Different National Perspectives of Spatial-Temporal Analysis" Foods 13, no. 13: 2070. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13132070

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