Parts of the Formal Report
(see Locker, Ch. 14)

As Locker notes, the organizational components in a report can vary.  In fact, I differ slightly from Locker.
Please follow the guidelines below when writing and organizing your research report.

Title Page
Contains four items:

Letter or Memo of Transmittal
Keep it short.  Please see the text regarding how to write and organize the transmittal

Table of Contents

  • List the headings exactly as they appear in the report
  • List all the headings if the report is less than 25 pages
  • In a long report, pick a level of headings and include that level and above
  • Executive Summary
    (For this report, put the Executive Summary on a separate piece of paper)

    Report Body:

    Introduction. Always contains purpose and scope (May include more; see text.)

    Background    (of the situation, not a full-blown history of topic itself) Body of the Report, continued (your headings as needed)
    As Locker states, this section focuses on the specific problem at hand.  If you are doing in-depth library research, the preceding section will likely blend right in to this one (and you will decide on unique organizational headings as needed).  If you are conducting some data-gathering (methodology), then this section will have an Assumptions, Methodology, and Findings.


    Recommendations  [Optional but suggested for CIS paper] Limitations and Suggestions for Future Research  [Optional. This section is not needed if you have no methodology section. If you do gather some primary data, then you might want to include this short section.  It is typically found as a short, concluding section in academic reports—as a footnote in business reports.] This organizational format differs slightly from Locker’s example in the “Analyzing Information and Writing Reports,” but follows APA organization closely.  Recall that I have posted some links to examples from the Assignments Described link on PAWS.

    References [required]
    APA style in both the body text and Reference section of your paper; note Locker and my Web links for appropriate formatting.

    Appendices  [optional, but survey questions or interview questions, for example, would go here.  If your report has more than three or four graphs, put the excess here.  Extensive tables too large for this short report should also go in the appendix]

    See also, CIS304 Research Paper Description

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