Research Report

Research Report Meaning, Characteristics and Types

Table of Contents:-

Research Report Meaning

A research report is a document that conveys the outcomes of a study or investigation. Its purpose is to communicate the research’s findings, conclusions, and implications to a particular audience. This report aims to offer a comprehensive and unbiased overview of the research process, methodology, and results.

Once the researcher has completed data collection, data processing, developing and testing hypotheses, and interpretation of responses, the next important phase in research is the preparation of the research report. A research report is essential for the communication of research findings to its potential users.

The research report must be free from personal bias, external influences, and subjective factors. i.e., it must be free from one’s liking and disliking. The research report must be prepared to meet impersonal needs.

What is Research Report?

According to Lancaster, “A report is a statement of collected and considered facts, so drawn-ups to give clear and concise information to persons who are not already in possession of the full facts of the subject matter of the report”.

When researchers communicate their results in writing, they create a research report. It includes the research methodology, approaches, data collection precautions, research findings, and recommendations for solving related problems. Managers can put this result into action for more effective decision making.

Generally, top management places a higher emphasis on obtaining the research outcome rather than delving into the research procedure. Hence, the research report acts as a presentation that highlights the procedure and methodology adopted by the researcher.

The research report presents the complete procedure in a comprehensive way that in turn helps the management in making crucial decisions. Creating a research report adheres to a specific format, sequence, and writing style.

Enhance the effectiveness of a research report by incorporating various charts, graphs, diagrams, tables, etc. By using different representation techniques, researchers can convince the audience as well as the management in an effective way.

Characteristics of Good Research Report

Characteristics of a good research report are listed below:

  1. Accuracy
  2. Clarity and Completeness
  3. Simplicity
  4. Appearance
  5. Reliability
  6. Brevity
  7. Comprehensibility and Readability
  8. Timelines
  9. Economy
  10. Logical Content

characteristics of a good research report

The following paragraphs outline the characteristics of a good research report.

1) Accuracy

Report information must be accurate and based on facts, credible sources and data to establish reliability and trustworthiness. It should not be biased by the personal feelings of the writer. The information presented must be as precise as possible.

2) Simplicity

The language of a research report should be as simple as possible to ensure easy understanding. A good report communicates its message clearly and without ambiguity through its language.

It is a document of practical utility; therefore, it should be grammatically accurate, brief, and easily understood. 

Jargon and technical words should be avoided when writing the report. Even in a technical report, there should be restricted use of technical terms if it is to be presented to laymen.

3) Clarity and Completeness

The report must be straightforward, lucid, and comprehensive in every aspect. Ambiguity should be avoided at all costs. Clarity is achieved through the strategic and practical organization of information. Report writers should divide their report into short paragraphs with headings and insert other suitable signposts to enhance clarity. They should: 

    1. Approach their task systematically, 
    2. Clarify their purpose, 
    3. Define their sources, 
    4. State their findings and 
    5. Make necessary recommendations. 

4) Brevity

A report should concisely convey the key points without unnecessary length, ensuring that the reader’s patience is not lost and ideas are not confused. Many times, people lack the time to read lengthy reports.

However, a report must also be complete. Sometimes, it is important to have a detailed discussion about the facts. A report is not an essay; therefore, points should be added to it.

5) Appearance

A report requires a visually appealing presentation and, whenever feasible, should be attention-grabbing. An effective report depends on the arrangement, organization, format, layout, typography, printing quality, and paper choice. Big companies often produce very attractive and colourful Annual Reports to showcase their achievements and financial performance.

6) Comprehensibility and Readability

Reports should be clear and straightforward for easy understanding. The style of presentation and the choice of words should be attractive to readers. The writer must present the facts in elegant and grammatically correct English so that the reader is compelled to read the report from beginning to end.

Only then does a report serve its purpose. A report written by different individuals on the same subject matter can vary depending on the intended audience.

7) Reliability

Reports should be reliable and should not create an erroneous impression in the minds of readers due to oversight or neglect. The facts presented in a report should be pertinent.

Every fact in a report must align with the central purpose, but it is also vital to ensure that all pertinent information is included.

Irrelevant facts can make a report confusing, and the exclusion of relevant facts can render it incomplete and likely to mislead.

8) Economy

Report writing should not incur unnecessary expenses. Cost-effective methods should be used to maintain a consistent level of quality when communicating the content.

9) Timelines

Reports can be valuable and practical when they reach the readers promptly. Any delay in the submission of reports renders the preparation of reports futile and sometimes obsolete.

10) Logical Content

The points mentioned in a report should be arranged in a step-by-step logical sequence and not haphazardly. Distinctive points should have self-explanatory headings and sub-headings. The scientific accuracy of facts is very essential for a report.

Planning is necessary before a report is prepared, as reports invariably lead to decision-making, and inaccurate facts may result in unsuccessful decisions.

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Key Characteristics of Research Report

A research report serves as a means of communicating research findings to the readers effectively.

Characteristics of Research ReportA well-crafted report possesses the following characteristics:

  1. Clarity in Information
  2. Optimal Length
  3. Objective and Simple Language
  4. Clear Thinking and Logical Organization
  5. Engaging Style
  6. Accuracy
  7. Clarity in Presentation
  8. Coherence
  9. Readability
  10. Best Composition Practices
  11. Inferences and Conclusions
  12. Proper References
  13. Attractive Appearance
  14. Error-Free

i) Clarity in Information

A well-defined research report must define the what, why, who, whom, when, where, and how of the research study. It must help the readers to understand the focus of the information presented.

ii) Optimal Length

The report should strike a balance, being sufficiently brief and appropriately extended. It should cover the subject matter adequately while maintaining the reader’s interest.

iii) Objective and Simple Language

The report should be written in an objective style, employing simple language. Correctness, precision, and clarity should be prioritized, avoiding wordiness, indirection, and pompous language.

iv) Clear Thinking and Logical Organization

An excellent report integrates clear thinking, logical organization, and sound interpretation of the research findings.

v) Engaging Style

It should not be dull; instead, it should captivate and sustain the reader’s interest.

vi) Accuracy

Accuracy is paramount. The report must present facts objectively, eschewing exaggerations and superlatives.

vii) Clarity in Presentation

Presentation clarity is achieved through familiar words, unambiguous statements, and explicit definitions of new concepts or terms.

viii) Coherence

The logical flow of ideas and a coherent sequence of sentences contribute to a smooth continuity of thought.

ix) Readability

Even technical reports should be easily understandable. Translate technicalities into reader-friendly language.

x) Best Composition Practices

Follow best composition practices, ensuring readability through proper paragraphing, short sentences, and the use of illustrations, examples, section headings, charts, graphs, and diagrams.

xi) Inferences and Conclusions

Draw sound inferences and conclusions from statistical tables without repeating them in verbal form.

xii) Proper References

Footnote references should be correctly formatted, and the bibliography should be reasonably complete.

xiii) Attractive Appearance

The report should be visually appealing, maintaining a neat and clean appearance, whether typed or printed.

xiv) Error-Free

The report should be free from all types of mistakes, including language, factual, spelling, and calculation errors.

In striving for these qualities, the researcher enhances the overall quality of the report.

Types of Research Report

Research reports are of the following types:

  • Technical Report
  • Manuscripts for Journal Articles
  • Thesis and Dissertations
  • Other Types of Research Report

Types of Research Report

1) Technical Report

Technical reports are reports which contain detailed information about the research problem and its findings. These reports are typically subject to review by individuals interested in research methodology. Such reports include detailed descriptions of used methods for research design such as universe selection, sample preparation, designing questionnaire, identifying potential data sources, etc. These reports provide a complete description of every step, method, and tool used. When crafting technical reports, we assume that users possess knowledge of research methodology, which is why the language used in these reports is technical. Technical reports are valuable in situations where there is a need for statistical analysis of collected data. Researchers also employ it in conducting a series of research studies, where they can repetitively use the methodology.

2) Manuscripts for Journal Articles

When authors prepare a report with a particular layout or design for publishing in an academic or scientific journal, it becomes a “manuscript for journal articles”. Journal articles are a concise and complete presentation of a particular research study. While technical reports present a detailed description of all the activities in research, journal articles are known for presenting only a few critical areas or findings of a study. The readers or audience of journal articles include other researchers, management and executives, strategic analysts and the general public, interested in the topic.

In general, a manuscript for a journal article typically ranges from 10 to 30 pages in length. Sometimes there is a page or word limit for preparing the report. Authors primarily submit manuscripts for journal articles online, although they occasionally send paper copies through regular mail.

3) Thesis and Dissertations

Students working towards a Master’s, PhD, or another higher degree generally produce a thesis or dissertation, which is a form of research report. Like other normal research reports, the thesis or dissertation usually describes the design, tools or methods and results of the student’s research in detail.

These reports typically include a detailed section called the literature review, which encompasses relevant literature and previous studies on the topic. Firstly, the work or research of the student is analysed by a professional researcher or an expert in that particular research field, and then the thesis is written under the guidance of a professional supervisor. Dissertations and theses usually span approximately 120 to 300 pages in length.

Generally, the university or institution decides the length of the dissertation or thesis. A distinctive feature of a thesis or a dissertation is that it is quite economical, as it requires few printed and bound copies of the report. Sometimes electronic copies are required to be submitted along with the hard copy of the thesis or dissertations. Compact discs (CDs) are used to generate the electronic copy.

4) Other Types of Research Report

Along with the above-mentioned types, there are some other types of research reports, which are as follows:

  1. Popular Report
  2. Interim Report
  3. Summary Report
  4. Research Abstract

i) Popular Report

A popular report is prepared for the use of administrators, executives, or managers. It is simple and attractive in the form of a report. Clear and concise statements are used with less technical or statistical terms. Data representation is kept very simple through minimal use of graphs and charts. It has a different format than that of a technical one by liberally using margins and blank spaces. The style of writing a popular report is journalistic and precise. It is written to facilitate reading rapidly and comprehending quickly.

ii) Interim Report

An interim report is a kind of report which is prepared to show the sponsors, the progress of research work before the final presentation of the report. It is prepared when there is a certain time gap between the data collection and presentation. In this scenario, the completed portion of data analysis along with its findings is described in a particular interim report.

iii) Summary Report

This type of report is related to the interest of the general public. The findings of such a report are helpful for the decision making of general users. The language used for preparing a summary report is comprehensive and simple. The inclusion of numerous graphs and tables enhances the report’s overall clarity and comprehension. The main focus of this report is on the objectives, findings, and implications of the research issue.

iv) Research Abstract

The research abstract is a short presentation of the technical report. All the elements of a particular technical report, such as the research problem, objectives, sampling techniques, etc., are described in the research abstract but the description is concise and easy.

Stages in Preparation of Research Report

Research reports result from meticulous and deliberate work. Consequently, the preparation of the information can be delineated into the following key stages:

1) Logical Understanding and Subject Analysis: This stage involves a comprehensive grasp and analysis of the subject matter.

2) Planning/Designing the Final Outline: In this phase, the final outline of the report is meticulously planned and designed.

3) Write-Up/Preparation of Rough Draft: The report takes shape during this stage through the composition of a rough draft.

4) Polishing/Finalization of the Research Report: The final stage encompasses refining and polishing the report to achieve its ultimate form.

Stages in Preparation of Research Report

Logical Understanding and Subject Analysis

This initial stage focuses on the subject’s development, which can be achieved through two approaches:

  1. Logical development and
  2. Chronological development

Logical development relies on mental connections and associations between different aspects facilitated by rational analysis. Typically, this involves progressing from simple to complex elements. In contrast, chronological development follows a sequence of time or events, with instructions or descriptions often adhering to chronological order.

Designing the Final Outline of the Research Report

This marks the second stage in report writing. Once the subject matter is comprehended, the subsequent step involves structuring the report, arranging its components, and outlining them. This stage is also referred to as the planning and organization stage. While ideas may flow through the author’s mind, they must create a plan, sketch, or design. These are necessary for achieving a harmonious succession to become more accessible, and the author may be unsure where to commence or conclude. Effective communication of research results hinges not only on language but predominantly on the meticulous planning and organization of the report.

Preparation of the Rough Draft

The third stage involves the writing and drafting of the report. This phase is pivotal for the researcher as they translate their research study into written form, articulating what they have accomplished and how they intend to convey it.

The clarity in communication and reporting during this stage is influenced by several factors, including the audience, the technical complexity of the problem, the researcher’s grasp of facts and techniques, their proficiency in the language (communication skills), the completeness of notes and documentation, and the availability of analyzed results.

Depending on these factors, some authors may produce the report with just one or two drafts. In contrast, others, with less command over language and a lack of clarity about the problem and subject matter, may require more time and multiple drafts (first draft, second draft, third draft, fourth draft, etc.).

Finalization of the Research Report

This marks the last stage, potentially the most challenging phase in all formal writing. Constructing the structure is relatively easy, but refining and adding the finishing touches require considerable time. Consider, for instance, the construction of a house. The work progresses swiftly up to the roofing (structure) stage, but the final touches and completion demand a significant amount of time.

The rough draft, whether it is the second draft or the nth draft, must undergo rewriting and polishing to meet the requirements. The meticulous revision of the rough draft is what distinguishes a mediocre piece of writing from a good one. During the polishing and finalization phase, it is crucial to scrutinize the report for weaknesses in the logical development of the subject and the cohesion of its presentation. Additionally, attention should be given to the mechanics of writing, including language, usage, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Characteristics of a good report

Good research possesses certain characteristics, which are as follows:

  1. Empirical Basis
  2. Logical Approach
  3. Systematic Nature
  4. Replicability
  5. Validity and Verifiability
  6. Theory and Principle Development

1. Empirical Basis: It implies that any conclusion drawn is grounded in hardcore evidence collected from real-life experiences and observations. This foundation provides external validity to research results.

2. Logical Approach: Good research is logical, guided by the rules of reasoning and analytical processes of induction (general to specific) and deduction (particular to the public). Logical reasoning is integral to making research feasible and meaningful in decision-making.

3. Systematic Nature: Good research is systematic, which adheres to a structured set of rules, following specific steps in a defined sequence. Systematic research encourages creative thinking while avoiding reliance on guesswork and intuition to reach conclusions.

4. Replicability: Scientific research designs, procedures, and results should be replicable. This ensures that anyone apart from the original researcher can assess their validity. Researchers can use or replicate results obtained by others, making the procedures and outcomes of the research both replicable and transmittable.

5. Validity and Verifiability: Good research involves precise observation and accurate description. The researcher selects reliable and valid instruments for data collection, employing statistical measures to portray results accurately. The conclusions drawn are correct and verifiable by both the researcher and others.

6. Theory and Principle Development: It contributes to formulating theories and principles, aiding accurate predictions about the variables under study. By making sound generalizations based on observed samples, researchers extend their findings beyond immediate situations, objects, or groups, formulating generalizations or theories about these factors.


1. What are the key characteristics of research report?

A well-defined research report has many key characteristics such as formal structure, clear focus, conciseness, objectivity, formal language, accuracy, visual aids, surveys, citations and references.

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