Different Types of Report

There are many different types of report and which type you will be asked to produce will depend on the subject you are studying and the level you are studying at. It will also depend on the purpose you have for writing the report. How many different types of report do you think there are? What are the difference between them?

Let’s watch a video of Professor Sheena Gardner discussing the most common types of reports students are asked to produce for their assignments to find out more.

Task: Watch the video. How many different types of report does Professor Gardner mention?

Professor Gardner told us there were two main types of report:

1. Description and analysis

2. Analysis and recommendations for change

Professor Gardner informed us that certain types of report were common in particular subjects and other types are common in a lot of disciplines. She also mentioned a third type of report that is more complex and common at postgraduate level study. Did you note down all of the information?

Task: Complete the student’s notes to check your understanding of the video and learn about the different types of report.

Throughout this course we will focus on research reports and investigate the typical structure, language and features successful students use to achieve their purpose.

Task: Listen to the audio and complete the tasks from the British Council Writing for a Purpose website to learn more about the purpose, structure and features of a typical research report.

From: https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/writing-purpose/research-reports

Task: Listen to the discussion between a student (S) and a lecturer (L) and use the words given to fill in the blanks. You can listen to the recording above as many times as you want and you can pause it if you need more time to put the answers into the spaces.


The purpose of a Research Report is to demonstrate or develop your ability to undertake a complete piece of research including research design, and an appreciation of its significance in the field.

A research report will probably include most of the same sections as in a Methodology Recount, but will be more clearly contextualised, it will have a deeper discussion of the findings, and it will certainly have a discussion on the broader significance of the research.

The Research Report will probably be organised in chapters and the structure of the Research Report is likely to include the following stages:

Table of Contents
Aims & Objectives: Description and justification of aims, including your research question and objectives; a business report would include terms of reference.
Literature Review: An extensive survey of the literature, including any theory. See: Literature Survey: Literature Review.
Account of Investigation: A clear description and justification of your participants, procedures and materials.
Findings: Details of what you found – your results or findings.
Discussion: A discussion of your findings. May include some background information; a reminder of the main purpose of the study; a summary of results/findings; a discussion of the findings, commenting on whether they are expected or not or whether or not they support the original purpose, and whether they agree with the findings of other researchers; limitations of the study; reference to previous research; possible explanation of findings; explanation of unsatisfactory results; broader generalisation from the particular results; implications of the study; recommendation for and justification of future work.
Conclusions: What conclusions you have come to, including the implications and wider significance of your research.
References: A detailed list of all the sources you have drawn on in your research.
Appendices: Full details of results, questionnaires, etc.

Examples of Research Reports include:

  • research articles
  • student research project
  • topic-based dissertation

The following tasks will help you with the structure of Research Reports.

Task: Test your understanding of the structure of a research report by putting the sections into the correct order.

Task: Try to match the features of a research report to the correct stage.

Your Task: Click on the example research report below to download it.

Quickly skim read the report and think:

  • What features do you notice?
  • What structure does the report use?
  • Does your writing have a similar structure?
  • Does your writing have similar features?

Post your findings on the FutureLearn Discussion forum.