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ACC384 Research Skills Guide: Write your report

Structure of a report

Report component and purpose Instructions

Component: Executive Summary

(sometimes called an abstract)

Purpose: to sum up the entire report

(In the real world, this is often the only section of the report that is read.)

Include, in paragraph form, a summary of :

  • The purpose of the report (why it was written)
  • The problem and how it was investigated
  • What you found out and what you concluded
  • Your recommendations and limitation on these (if applicable).
Component: Table of contents List the report topics using decimal notation. Include the main headings and sub headings with corresponding page numbers, using a format that makes the hierarchy of the topics clear.

Component: Introductions

Purpose: to introduce the topic and objectives of the report

Set the scene; give some background information about the topic. State the aim/purpose of the investigation. Explain the research methods. Outline the sections of the report.

Note; The introduction differs from the executive summary as it introduced the topic, whereas an executive summary summaries each section of the report including the findings and recommendations. Findings and recommendations are not included in an introduction.

Component: Body of the report or discussion

Purpose: to discuss information relevant to the report's objectives and analyse the data that was gathered.

Organise the sections in a logical sequence: what you investigated, what you found. Include examples to back up your ideas, with particular reference to what you found in research.
Component: Conclusion Sum up what has been achieved and the significance of your findings and your discussion. Have your aims been successful or not? Bring everything together. Do not include new information.
Component: Recommendations What do you recommend as a course of action in light of your findings? Always make sure that the recommendations flow from the conclusions.
Component: List of references List all the sources you referred to in your report in accordance with APA referencing style.

Faust, J. (2013) General components used in a report [PowerPoint slide]. Retrieved from ALLaN Team resources: Charles Sturt University

Writing your assessment - support

Charles Sturt University also has other services which can help you to get the best possible results for your work:

  • Turnitin Software - A Turnitin account allows you to check your own writing for inadvertent plagiarism or quotation errors.  Detect and fix problems before submission. Some assessments will require you to submit your work to Turnitin before final submission! 
  • Academic Skills - Academic Skills advisers can help you understand and prepare for your assignments.
  • The Study Success Forum is an ideal place to post those vexing questions about assignment writing techniques. Find it in Interact2 > Study Success > Discussion.
  • Why not attend an Academic Skills workshop online to enhance or refresh your academic writing skills.
  • Make an appointment with an Academic Skills adviser for personal help seven days a week.

Referencing at Charles Sturt University

The Referencing at Charles Sturt University webpage has lots of helpful information about referencing including links to the following resources:

  • Charles Sturt University Guide to APA 7th Referencing
  • Charles Sturt University Example of an APA 7th Reference List
  • Academic Referencing Tool
  • APA 7th Style Blog

The main referencing style at Charles Sturt University is APA 7th though this is not the only style used at the University and you should check with your lecturer if you are unsure.

Using information ethically

These guides have some useful resources and information that will help you to use information ethically while you are studying with Charles Sturt University.

Copyright for Students.

Using images at university.