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HCS531 Research Skills Guide: Assessment Item 2

What are you being asked to do?

In this assessment, you are being asked to demonstrate that you can contribute to policy and service development in an organisational context, critique policy and service frameworks; and revise and construct innovative policy and service responses.

Assessment Item 2 (Service Analysis Report and Recommendations) asks you to:

  • Use the findings from Assessment 1 to recommend solutions to the problem or issue you have identified.
  • Locate credible resources to inform your understanding and consult authentic exemplars of organisational reports.
  • Write an organisational report detailing your recommendations.

For comprehensive instructions, you MUST view your Subject Outline. Make sure you have a very clear understanding of what you're being asked to do. If you're unsure, ask your lecturer.

Research Report Structure

The table below provides you with the standard structure used for a report. However, you need to read your assignment instructions carefully, so you know what is wanted as concerns the set out of your particular assessment item. Advice within this table will help you to structure your reports.

- Charles Sturt Academic Skills Advisors Team

Executive Summary (or abstract).

In paragraph form, include 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).
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.


Introduce the topic and objectives of the report. 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 introduces 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.

Body of the report or discussion

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. Include a summary of the literature that has been published on your topic. 


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.


What do you recommend as a course of action in light of your findings? Always make sure that the recommendations flow from the conclusions.

List of references

List the sources you referred to in your report using the APA referencing style.

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

Tips for Assessment 2

1. Review the research conducted for Assessment 1.

Revisit the resources you referred to in Assessment 1 to refresh your understanding of the topic.

2. Conduct research.

Use Primo Search, Library databases, Google Scholar and Google to source information. Use search techniques to refine your results. If you get stuck, go back to your topic analysis and try different combinations of keywords, search techniques and databases.

3. Locate exemplars of organisational reports.

Use search techniques in Google to locate organisational reports.

Writing research reports

Here are some resources to help you write your research report.