Reports are used to describe research findings, analyze those findings, and make recommendations. When writing a report, writers need to do more than present the facts. Writers also need to interpret their results and help readers understand the information they have collected. Research reports are designed to describe research methods, analyze findings, and make recommendations.
For this assignment, write a 4-5 page Research Report in which you explore a controversial, still evolving topic related to digital citizenship or using technology/the internet. When choosing a topic, you may pick anything we’ve discussed in class over the semester or come up with one on your own (as long as it has to do with using modern technology, navigating the complexities of the internet, or being a digital citizen).
The following SIX sections should be included in your Research Report along with the Works Cited page:
- Executive summary or abstract: summarizes the major sections of the report.
- Introduction: defines a research question or problem and explains why it is important to the reader. The introduction clearly states the purpose and main point of the report, and provides background information on the topic.
- Methods: describes how the research was carried out. Explain your methods step by step in a way that would allow your readers to replicate your research. Each major step will usually receive at least one paragraph of coverage. Explain how you did each step and why you did it that way.
- Results/Findings: presents the results of the research objectively. Choose at least four of the most important findings/results from your research and describe what you found.
- Discussion: analyzes the results and explains what they mean. Show how your results answer your research question. Sometimes this section can be merged with the previous section of Results/Findings.
- Conclusion/Recommendations: restates the main point of the report and offers specific recommendations. Your goal is to leave your readers with a clear sense of what you discovered and what should be done about it.
- Works Cited: Provide bibliographic information for any sources you have cited in MLA format.
A Note on Sources: You should present findings from meaningful sources, not useless or outdated material (limit your research to essays published in the last 5 years, and books published within the last 10 years). You must find one book, one article from a journal, and one (reputable website). The other two types of sources are up to you. Useful databases to search include the EBSCOHost, JStor, Academic Search Premier, and the Philosopher’s Index. The books should be useful in finding proper history, facts, quotes, and/or unfamiliar material to the general public.
Your audience is an academic interested in understanding more about what is being said and written your topic. You are making yourself the expert on this topic so you should address your audience like you are the expert.
In an ongoing effort to increase our media literacy, you will be engaging with various sources as media in order to cull a larger conversation happening around your topic. You will be inserting yourself in this conversation.
Research reports must conform to MLA formatting guidelines:
- 12 point, Times New Roman font
- 1” margins all around (except at top, where header is)
- Double-spaced with no extra spaces between paragraphs
- Proper heading with name, professor’s name, class title, and date
- Proper headers with last name and page numbers, ½” from top of page
- An interesting and descriptive title
- Works Cited page that includes citations of your sources
You can find MLA format sample pages at Purdue’s Online Writing Lab