How to Write a Formal Report
Before writing formal reports you need to determine this definition and answer the question what is a formal report. The formal report is a content summary of the scientific work on the chosen topic, a review of the literature in a particular direction. Such a review should give the reader an idea of the current knowledge state of a scientific problem, including a comparison of the specialists’ points of view, and be accompanied by its own assessment of their reliability and persuasiveness.
The formal report writing is a type of independent research work. Here, the author reveals the essence of the problem being studied, gives different points of view, as well as his own view. The work should be completed logically. It must demonstrate the student ability to use special terminology competently, to express their thoughts clearly, and to argue the proposals.
The Purpose of Report
If you ask yourself how to start a formal report, start with goal setting. The goal of the research is the desired result that the student plans to achieve within the framework of the chosen project topic. The student describes the goal in the introduction in simple words with one or two sentences.
Choose one of the words that corresponds more closely to your exploring subject: study, investigate, find out, identify, determine, analyze, establish, show, check, involve into the problem, substantiate, summarize, describe, learn, etc.
Preparation and Planning
The preparation of a formal report should be carried out in accordance with a plan. A well-designed plan is the basis of a successful study. The plan determines the range of issues and problems that will be discussed in the work. It also determines the main content of the work topic, provides the logic in the presentation of the material and ensures consistent and full disclosure of the stated topic.
The plan must be coordinated with the tutor so that the report is immediately conducted in the required direction. Each chapter and each paragraph should have its own name. It is unacceptable that the titles of the chapters repeat the name of the paragraphs or the entire research work.
- Identify your brief. You will get a clear brief for a paper, including what you are learning and for whom the document should be performed;
- Keep your brief in mind. You must always realize, who are you writing for, and why are you writing?
The writing process
There is a single formal report writing algorithm. Every student must be perfectly prepared before start composing. The algorithm reflects the stages of research problem work of a specialist of any level:
- Thesis statements
Theses aim is to give the essence of all the material in short formulations. Many authors first summarize the essence of the work and then write a lengthy text. Typically, these theses relate to the formulation of a scientific problem that is proposed to be discussed. They also present the results of a study or a new methodology. In each of the part of the text, it is necessary to find the main idea and write it out separately. As a result, there must be performed a synopsis containing all the main points of the analyzed work. The theses should be stated clearly and unequivocally. The formulation ambiguity is completely unacceptable.
- Writing an outline
Outlines allow visualizing how the student work will look. Outlines have a different formal report format – a straightforward list, idea webs or concept maps. It is necessary to start with the thesis statement and then define the three main ideas correlated with the statement that the student will want to cover in his papers. There are also must be written details about each major purpose. Every main point must support the thesis. They must be proof that gives support to your thought.
- Trustworthy information sources
Take care of the reliability of the used literature. In addition to the personally obtained information, you need to use other sources. These may be:
- Regulatory documents;
- Reference books (encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.);
- Educational literature and monographs;
- Periodical materials;
- Statistical data etc.
- Paper structure
The research work is assessed not only by the theoretical scientific value, but also by the level of the general methodical preparation, which, above all, is reflected in its composition. The formal report structure is the sequence of its main parts location, which include the main text (i.e. chapters and paragraphs), as well as all parts of the reference guide (tables, graphs, programs).
Apply Formatting to Report Elements
The formatting of the report work is basically standard, and the student cannot deviate from the norms. You should also focus on the methodological recommendations of the university. If there are no special requirements for the structure, content, and design of the report, you need to refer to the main structural elements:
- Title page
The formal report writing format is almost standard when it comes to the title page. It describes the aim of the papers (if it is still not understandable from the paper title). Other points that must be included are the student’s full name, the date, initials, and position of a project tutor.
Geology of the country around Beacon Hill, Leicestershire
4 December 2018
- Terms of references
There must be a piece of short information about the audience.
A report presented in accordance with the requirements for Course GL456, Department of Geology, University of Leicester.
- The abstract
It is an integral part of work, which includes the characteristics of the text and its main theses. The main requirement for writing annotations is to briefly state thoughts and neutrally present the information. The abstract may be performed as a reference or a recommendation. This document should reflect the main issues of each chapter so that after reading everyone can form a general impression of the specific work content. Here is a formal report writing sample (abstract):
Finding the Charnian Supergroup (late Precambrian) rocks examined in the region over Beacon Hill, north Leicestershire. The goal is to present aspects of the stratigraphy at three places - Copt Oak, Mount St. Bernard Abbey and Oaks in Charnwood. It was noted that all of these sections, the Charnian Supergroup consists mainly of volcaniclastic sediments interbedded with mudstones and siltstones. These localities demonstrate characteristics that are typical for displacement in shallow liquid on the sides of a volcano. Additional investigations are needed to understand depositional tools and to assess the nowadays thickness of unique rock elements.
The report contents include the chapters and paragraph titles of the project that exactly correspond to the titles in the text. Do not try to add something from yourself in the contents, the chapter and paragraph titles of the project work. Everything should be brief and concise, ordered correctly and have a numbering containing the hierarchy.
It is the most responsible section of the work. It reveals the purpose and objectives, the object of study and the hypothesis, which is formulated in the practical part of the work. Here also must be the presence of experiments and observations.
Justification of the work relevance proves the importance, modernity and the need of the study. It is also important to indicate the specific tasks of the work that is to be solved in the course of the paper. In the Introduction, you can also indicate the degree of the topic development, to formulate the planned result of the study.
In the report methods, the student needs to specify the research methods that were used in the work. It is advisable to clarify the choice of research methods, i.e. indicate why these methods are best suited to achieve the goal. At each stage of the work, the researcher determines the used methods that are best suited to accomplish the task and to achieve the desired aim in the project. A huge number of research methods can be combined into the methods of an empirical, an experimental-theoretical and a theoretical level.
This part has a summary of the research results together with all graphics data - diagrams, graphs or tables. Every information must support the investigation. It is better to perform the results in a logical order without explanation. Discussion of the results should take place in the other section of the work.
The main part of the research work consists of several logically completed sections in which the plan questions are disclosed. The number of sections cannot be less than two. The structure of the work should correspond to the research objectives formulated in the introduction. Each section is dedicated to solving one of the tasks. The section ends with the conclusions reached by the author as a result of the study of a separate topic aspect.
It is the main scientific results obtained personally by the author in the process of research, expressed in judgments, suggestions, and recommendations. The conclusion should be correlated and based on the private (intermediate) conclusions made at the end of each section (chapter, paragraph).
It is the specific conclusions on the results of the study in accordance with the tasks, which represent the solution of the problems. It may reflect possible ways and prospects for continuing work on the topic.
This part includes all the supporting data the student has used that is not published yet. Here are formal report appendices examples:
- Bibliography. It is a list in alphabetical order. Here must be all the published sources;
- Acknowledgments. Acknowledge all the persons who provided information;
- Glossary. Here must be a list of technical terms in alphabetic order.
Finalizing of Report
Read your work after several days and look at it from an outsider’s perspective. Ask someone to help you and to read your work. Ask him if there is anything you have to change. Proofread the report and mark the orthography, syntax, and punctuation mistakes.
Here you will find the most interesting formal report examples.