Technical and Business disciplines with an applied focus such as Engineering, Information Technology, Commerce, Accounting and Finance, will set report writing assignments that simulate the process of report writing in industry.
Assignments are set in the form of a problem or a case study. The students research the problem, and present the results of the research in a report format to an imaginary client. These types of reports require the student to analyse his or her observations of phenomena or events in the real world in light of theories studied in the course. Examples of field reports are a Court observation report, an observation report of a child or a patient for Developmental psychology or Nursing, a History site report, and a teaching observation report for Education.
Scientific reports also called laboratory reports are another kind of report.
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Was the independent variable manipulated, and if so, was it manipulated between or within subjects? How were the variables operationally defined? The procedure is how the study was carried out.
It often works well to describe the procedure in terms of what the participants did rather than what the researchers did. For example, the participants gave their informed consent, read a set of instructions, completed a block of four practice trials, completed a block of 20 test trials, completed two questionnaires, and were debriefed and excused. In the third basic way to organize a method section, the participants subsection is followed by a materials subsection before the design and procedure subsections.
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This works well when there are complicated materials to describe. This might mean multiple questionnaires, written vignettes that participants read and respond to, perceptual stimuli, and so on. The heading of this subsection can be modified to reflect its content.
Although there are no standard subsections, it is still important for the results section to be logically organized. Typically it begins with certain preliminary issues. One is whether any participants or responses were excluded from the analyses and why. The rationale for excluding data should be described clearly so that other researchers can decide whether it is appropriate. A second preliminary issue is how multiple responses were combined to produce the primary variables in the analyses. For example, if participants rated the attractiveness of 20 stimulus people, you might have to explain that you began by computing the mean attractiveness rating for each participant.
Or if they recalled as many items as they could from study list of 20 words, did you count the number correctly recalled, compute the percentage correctly recalled, or perhaps compute the number correct minus the number incorrect? A third preliminary issue is the reliability of the measures. A final preliminary issue is whether the manipulation was successful.
This is where you would report the results of any manipulation checks. The results section should then tackle the primary research questions, one at a time. Again, there should be a clear organization. One approach would be to answer the most general questions and then proceed to answer more specific ones. Another would be to answer the main question first and then to answer secondary ones. Regardless, Bem  suggests the following basic structure for discussing each new result:. Notice that only Step 3 necessarily involves numbers. The rest of the steps involve presenting the research question and the answer to it in words.
In fact, the basic results should be clear even to a reader who skips over the numbers. Discussions usually consist of some combination of the following elements:. The discussion typically begins with a summary of the study that provides a clear answer to the research question.
In a short report with a single study, this might require no more than a sentence. In a longer report with multiple studies, it might require a paragraph or even two. The summary is often followed by a discussion of the theoretical implications of the research. Do the results provide support for any existing theories? Although you do not have to provide a definitive explanation or detailed theory for your results, you at least need to outline one or more possible explanations.
In applied research—and often in basic research—there is also some discussion of the practical implications of the research. How can the results be used, and by whom, to accomplish some real-world goal?
Perhaps there are problems with its internal or external validity. Perhaps the manipulation was not very effective or the measures not very reliable. Perhaps there is some evidence that participants did not fully understand their task or that they were suspicious of the intent of the researchers.
Now is the time to discuss these issues and how they might have affected the results. But do not overdo it. All studies have limitations, and most readers will understand that a different sample or different measures might have produced different results. Instead, pick two or three limitations that seem like they could have influenced the results, explain how they could have influenced the results, and suggest ways to deal with them. Most discussions end with some suggestions for future research.
If the study did not satisfactorily answer the original research question, what will it take to do so? This part of the discussion, however, is not just a list of new questions. It is a discussion of two or three of the most important unresolved issues. This means identifying and clarifying each question, suggesting some alternative answers, and even suggesting ways they could be studied.
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Finally, some researchers are quite good at ending their articles with a sweeping or thought-provoking conclusion. However, this kind of ending can be difficult to pull off. It can sound overreaching or just banal and end up detracting from the overall impact of the article. It is often better simply to end when you have made your final point although you should avoid ending on a limitation.
All references cited in the text are then listed in the format presented earlier. They are listed alphabetically by the last name of the first author. If two sources have the same first author, they are listed alphabetically by the last name of the second author. If all the authors are the same, then they are listed chronologically by the year of publication.
State your hypothesis. Describe the subjects of your research.
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Describe the apparatus, materials, and instruments. Describe the procedure of the experiment. Explain your plan for analyzing the data. In a systematic way, present the data for each of the variables being measured. Present quantitative data graphically.