Writing In Academic Style

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Writing in academic style
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Writing a report
The following university websites have useful information on writing academic reports:

University of Canberra: http://www.canberra.edu.au/studyskills/writing/reports
Curtin University:http://unilife.curtin.edu.au/learning_support/report_writing.htm
What is the typical structure of a report?

Reports have a clear structure signalled by subheadings. The following table shows the purpose and usual content of each section.




Title page

Title of the report, and date

Student's name and ID

Course name

Class Facilitator's name

A title page is almost always required but the details of what you write might vary.

Table of contents

Lists the main sections of the report, second and third level headings, and page numbers

If you have used styles for your headings in your word document you can automatically insert a Table of Contents.

Executive summary

Short summary of the report. Summarises the report's purpose, findings, conclusions and recommendations. Similar to an abstract or synopsis and should not be more than a page.

Again, this will not be necessary with short reports. Check the assignment requirements.

If you need to write an executive summary, do so after you have finished your report.

Make sure it is on a separate page.


Usually includes:

brief background information purpose scope outline definition of terms
Provides an overview of the report. Some of what is in the introduction will also be in the executive summary. They are read separately for separate purposes. It is important to make the purpose of the report very clear in the introduction.


This is the main part of your report. The sections will vary according to the type of report.

background information theoretical framework review of literature methodology findings discussion of findings
You will not necessarily have all these subsections in the body of your MBT reports. The assignment question will often indicate which sections you should have. Use a subheading and/or numbers for each section. In your MBT assignment reports, the theoretical framework is very important. Present this framework, then your research findings, then a discussion of your findings in light of the theoretical framework. Findings are facts, but your discussions are opinions: this difference should be made clear.


Provides a summary and evaluation of the report's findings with the key recommendations; may also identify the report's limitations.

You will always need to write a conclusion. As with discussion of your findings, the language you use in your conclusion will be appropriately qualified.


The recommendations area summary in point or numbered form of solutions or courses of action that follow logically from your interpretation of your findings.

You will not always be required to list recommendations in a separate section. Recommendations are usually 'should' statements. They are specific, indicating who should do what, where, when, how, and (sometimes) at what cost.


For charts, tables and other information that is too detailed for the body of your report.

If tables or charts are important you may need to include them in the body of the report.


List all the books, articles, web sites, interviews, etc, that you have referred to in your report.

Many reports in the workplace do not have references, but all reports you write for MBT assignments require you to refer to the literature. You are required to use the Harvard referencing system.

Not all the above sections may be required in every MBT assignment report you write. The notes column indicates which sections are always included and those that may be included, depending on the requirements of the assignment.

What are appropriate headings