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MHP214 Research Skills Guide: Write & Reference

This guide is designed to help you with your assessments in MHP214.

Writing your assessment

MHP214 Assessment 2 requires you to write a report. The Academic Skills Team at Charles Sturt have shared the following information about report writing to get you started:

"Before writing any report, you need to consider the audience you are writing it for, and to consider what type of report is needed to be written.

In your assignment work, you have specific elements to address and you can put your ideas on each of these specific elements into separate paragraphs, or sections, in your report. Usually, the next paragraph, or section, follows on from the previous one by building a picture of your particular issue. It is also important to make sure that your recommendations or analyses are linked to the information that you have provided in the body or discussion of your report. These recommendations need to be based on the evidence you have collected and used within your report."

The Academic Skills Team (formerly ALLaN) has produced writing resources that will help with your other assessment tasks as well:

You will also find some useful tutorial and workshop recordings that the Academic Skills Team has made. The video tutorials are between 5-8 minutes and will help improve your writing and learning skills. There are also videos of their online workshops and these will run between 30-50 minutes. These are worthwhile resources if you are struggling in the academic writing and literacy skills.

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

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:

  • Academic Referencing Tool
  • APA 7th Referencing Summary PDF
  • APA 7th Example Reference List
  • and more!

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.


EndNote is a bibliographic software provided to you for free from the Library. It can:

  • Record and manage the details of journals and books you have found in your research;
  • Store and manage PDF copies of articles you download, or link to them in the journal databases; and
  • Allow you to annotate and add notes to PDFs.

Go to the EndNote Guide for more information about how to download and use EndNote.

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