How to Write Your Final Year Project Research Report
Writing a final year project research report has varying definitions for people from all walks of life. It is a documentation of expertise in the fields of internal audit, research, planning, and operation as well as daily recordings of human activity and happenings; be it political, social, or humanitarian. It is worthy of note that a report is a very complex document, particularly an organizational reporting, not only because of its detailed nature, but the implication of the information embedded in it.
Report writing displays the professionalism of the writer in his field of expertise. In other words, even if the writer is great in his field of science and research, but writes reports that are unclear, disorganized, partial or unrelatable, he is perceived by the environment, management, and colleagues as one without a good communication skill and less of a professional than he really is.
The importance of reports in an organization no doubt influences its writing. Consisting of two main parts: collecting the relevant material, (the jotting phase and filtering it, organizing, and drawing conclusions) and the phase of the actual writing or drafting the final year project report. However, the two parts are very different in nature, and it is worth mentioning that at the point at which materials for the report is being gathered, the researcher does a lot of running around, researching, conducting interviews with people, searching for them, and reading documents. In this phase a lot of time and resources are expended just to find the worthy material.
In terms of the final draft, this is a phase where the writer lets his/her inspiration take the lead. Collect the data with rapt attention or maximum concentration (depending on the scenario), objectively, while keeping the goals of the report in mind. To a large extent, the reporter goes through a lot of process during data collection, some of the materials collected for the report with great difficulty may turn out to be irrelevant or otherwise, data thought to be irrelevant could turn out to be what catches the fancy of the reader.
This final version should be guided by the thoughts of keeping the reader engaged and glued to the content he or she is reading, the researcher/writer must put aside, and ignore personal interest, while logically and chronologically align the facts and figure gathered during the research. Make no mistakes, any report written without the readers in mind, fail to fulfill its purpose.
Effective report writing considers the modus operandi of the writing. Must acknowledge the fact that there are different stages to writing the report, and that the focus at each stage of writing changes. Here are some stages your report writing must go through.
Stages of report writing
Once all data has been collected the writer should put pen on paper. But before this is done:
Divide the writing itself into several stages, defining the objectives of the report, plan it, pick the structure of your report, write the report, then proofread (preferably another person).
The design of the report touches on several aspects, such as the order of the ideas, human angle, that is the employees involved in the report writing processes, the technological aspects, what instruments and technologies were involved in the report.
Choose the report structure
In general, a report can have several acceptable forms or structures. The difference in the structure of the report stems from the difference in the organization of the information. How the report is structured could also be influenced by the writer either being an internal or external expert. A report written by a researcher or auditor belonging to the organization would be different by far from that of an external body, such as a consultant or auditor.
In general, each report has the following generic structure: introduction, purpose, background, about the writer, body, findings, results, conclusion, summary, and what motivated the action or opinion of the writer.
It is a known rule that a report must be objective. The writer must refrain from expressing an opinion, whether using an adjective or the form of reporting. Notwithstanding the fact that the choice of topics is a subjective matter. Consequently, the report should reflect all aspects of the study, and be completely objective and unbiased. However, if there is certain content that does not appear in the report or is given little prominence in it, there will be some subjectivity in the report.
The importance of the abstract to the report
A report is typically a long document, but because these days, people’s attention span has reduced drastically and are mostly not interested in reading, coupled with the digital age we find ourselves; the reading culture has worsened. Hence the importance of the abstract to the report. To a large extent, the summary of the report is the document read and not the report itself, certainly by the decision makers. Typically, the professional expert, engineer or professional examiner reads the report in its entirety. Managers read the summary of the report and indicate to them questions that the expert will answer from the report. Sometimes, they just read the synopsis to get an idea of things. Based on this, the importance of the report summary is given more prominence.
The summary of the report and in particular the executive summary of the report is a separate document from the report. It is a common error to confuse the summary of the report with the executive summary. The distinction between them is clear: the summary is an integral part of the report and is related to the introduction and body of the report. In contrast, the executive summary is a mini report, a miniature of the report whose organization is often different from the organization of the report. If the organization of the report is often according to the timeline or according to the modules of the report, then the executive summary is organized according to the facts that are important to the managers. The writer could also bring the conclusion at the beginning, to avoid doubts and deal with the impatience of the reader.
To successfully excel at the complex task of writing a report, the following guidelines would be of great value.
- Define the purpose of the report first to avoid being perceived as trivial or routine. Give the reader a tip of what is to come in the body of the report.
- Choose a template for the report structure after thinking.
- Write chapter headings for the report. Even if you intend to write more in lucid language, it is best to have possible chapter titles in mind.
- Wait at least 3 days from the end of the draft until the final writing begins. The longer the draft is written, the longer there is to wait between the completion of the draft and the writing of the report.
- Write each chapter separately.
- Divide a long chapter into subheadings if it gets too long (more than half a page).
- Create units of 6-10 lines in each chapter.
- Avoid proofreading and editing while writing.
- Leave the linguistic edit to the end of the work.
- Control the report in steps.
- Ask a colleague or person you value to review the report.