How to Write a Report
Have you been assigned to write a report for your middle or high school
class? Here's a basic guide on how to do it.
Sample Science Report
Writing a Report
1Follow the assignment instructions exactly. If your teacher gave you a
handout containing the guidelines for the report, re-read it before you
start. Highlight important pieces of information, such as formatting
rules, how many sources you need, and what the report should be about.
Remember, these are the things your report will be graded on - pay
attention to them.<
2Do the research. The research for your report could be as easy as
reading a book, or finding a few sources about something you've been
learning in class. Whatever it is, make sure you have the correct number
of sources for your paper. For each source, you should know the
information you'll need for the bibliography (such as the author,
publication date, publisher/website, city in which it was published, page
number for where you found the information, and so on).Consider using
notecards to organize your sources. Use one notecard for each source, and
list all the information you might need for the bibliography. This can
save you a lot of scrambling later.
3Refine your thesis statement. Your teacher might have given you a thesis
statement, or you might have to come up with one on your own. Either way,
make sure it's something you understand well and can write about.Remember
that a thesis needs to make a point. Instead of saying "Grass is green,"
say "Because grass is green, it is capable of performing photosynthesis."
If you're in high school, your thesis statement will likely need to be a
little more subjective - that is, someone could argue against it, but
you're going to argue for it in your paper.
A thesis statement summarizes what you want to prove in your report for
your reader. All of your subsequent topic sentences of body paragraphs
should tie back into this thesis, so make sure that it is general enough
to stand throughout your essay.
4Write an outline. An outline doesn't have to be a list - it can also be
an idea web or concept map. Whatever format you use, find a way to write
down your ideas. Start with your thesis (or the topic that the report
should be about, such as the name of the book you read or the scientific
principle you studied). Then write down two or three big ideas from your
research. After you've done that, write down some details about each
idea.Organize your outline. Once all your basic thoughts are on the page,
figure out the best order for your report. You should start with your
thesis, then go into your big ideas one by one. The idea that's most
closely linked to your thesis should come first. The idea that links up
your first and third ideas should go second.
5Start writing. Once you have an outline that can serve as your roadmap,
start writing the report. Here are some general sections you can consider
including:Introduction - This should contain your thesis and give your
audience a small preview of what you'll be discussing in your report.
Body paragraphs - The body paragraphs are the "big ideas" you generated
in the outline. Each idea should have its own paragraph (or several of
its own paragraphs, if you're writing a long report), and it should
connect to the paragraphs around it in some way.
Conclusion - The conclusion wraps up everything you just argued for in
the thesis and body paragraphs. It should be a few sentences restating
why you're right, and why your thesis statement is true.
Bibliography - If your teacher wanted to double-check your sources, he or
she would use the bibliography. Different teachers will have you do
bibliographies different ways, so check the assignment. Examples
6Proofread your report. When you've finished writing, print out a draft
of your report. Read it over carefully, marking any corrections with a
colored pen or marker so that you can see them easily later. Make
corrections.If your teacher allows it, consider having a parent or friend
proofread your report as well. Ask them if your arguments make sense.
7If you have the time, let your report sit for a few days. Don't read
over your report at all during this period. Distance yourself from the
paper so that you can view it with a fresh set of eyes later.
8Format your report. Try to follow your teacher's formatting instructions
to the letter. If he or she made no formatting instructions, go with
something clean and classic. Standard format for academic reports in the
United States is 12-point Times New Roman or Arial font, double-spaced
lines, and 1-inch margins all around.<
When using information from the internet, make sure it comes from a
reputable source. Look on the page and make sure you know who wrote the
information and why they are providing it.
To catch errors in your typing easily, read the paper to yourself aloud
at home before turning it in and have family members or friends proofread
While writing, assume that your reader knows little to nothing about the
subject. Add details and definitions to topics in the paper.
Don't get distracted! Keep your mind on the goal and you will have a good
Be sure to rely on more than one source for your information.
Don't delay your research until the last minute. Report creation takes
longer than you might think, especially when you start fiddling with
color, photos, borders, headings etc and that's only after the
information has been written up properly.
Do not take someone's information for your own. This is plagiarizing, and
can result in a failing grade.
Do not follow this outline for all report types. Many reports have
different acceptable styles.
How to Write a Financial Report
How to Write a Police Report
How to Write a Report Quickly and Painlessly
How to Write a Speech
How to Write a Term Paper
How to Write a Report on Paul Revere
How to Write an APA Style Bibliography
How to Write a Letter of Recommendation
How to Search a General Topic Online
How to Monitor Stock News
How to Write an Animal Report
How to Outline a Term Paper
How to Prepare for the Police Oral Board
How to Write a Report in 1 Day