Creating a Research Report: Getting Started

At some point in every high school student’s academic career, a research report is assigned. Some students prefer a research report to a persuasive essay or a test as a means of assessment and/or evaluation because it requires different skill sets and fulfils alternative curriculum expectations. There is a process to creating an informed research report; it is not an assignment that a student can just ‘wing’. Here are some tips for getting started:

Accessing Prior Knowledge

When you are assigned a research topic, you should consider what you already know about the subject so as to create guiding questions for research. Try to brainstorm ideas and knowledge around the topic to determine where to start and how to focus your research.

Primary and Secondary Research

Once you’ve created several guiding questions, it is time to start your research! It is important to access a broad body of knowledge and resources to inform your research report; an effective report includes primary and secondary research. Primary Research is research conducted through first hand investigation (i.e. observations, interviews, surveys etc). Secondary Research is research through printed material and Internet resources to collect data and information that already exists (i.e. biographies, websites, journals, newspapers, etc).

Organizational Framework

When you are creating a research report, you should keep in mind the audience that you are writing for. The audience will determine the level of language, as well as the extent of detail, that you include in your report. Another important item to keep in mind is the organization or framework for your report – how will the information be presented? Will you report the data in a chronological sequence? In sections or parts? Comparatively? You should also consider how best to incorporate graphics and illustrations in your work.

Stay tuned for more tips about Research and Presentation skills!


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