How to Write a Report: A Guide
A report is a nonfiction account that presents and/or summarizes the facts about a particular event, topic, or issue. The idea is that people who are unfamiliar with the subject can find everything they need to know from a good report.
Reports make it easy to catch someone up to speed on a subject, but actually writing a report is anything but easy. So to help you understand what to do, below we present a little report of our own, all about report writing.
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What is a report?
In technical terms, the definition of a report is pretty vague: any account, spoken or written, of the matters concerning a particular topic. This could refer to anything from a courtroom testimony to a grade schooler’s book report.
Really, when people talk about “reports,” they’re usually referring to official documents outlining the facts of a topic, typically written by an expert on the subject or someone assigned to investigate it. There are different types of reports, explained in the next section, but they mostly fit this description.
What kind of information is shared in reports? Although all facts are welcome, reports, in particular, tend to feature these types of content:
- Details of an event or situation
- The consequences or ongoing effect of an event or situation
- Evaluation of statistical data or analytics
- Interpretations from the information in the report
- Predictions or recommendations based on the information in the report
- How the information relates to other events or reports
Reports are closely related to essay writing , although there are some clear distinctions. While both rely on facts, essays add the personal opinions and arguments of the authors. Reports typically stick only to the facts, although they may include some of the author’s interpretation of these facts, most likely in the conclusion.
Moreover, reports are heavily organized, commonly with tables of contents and copious headings and subheadings. This makes it easier for readers to scan reports for the information they’re looking for. Essays, on the other hand, are meant to be read start to finish, not browsed for specific insights.
Types of reports
There are a few different types of reports, depending on the purpose and to whom you present your report. Here’s a quick list of the common types of reports:
- Academic report: Tests a student’s comprehension of the subject matter, such as book reports, reports on historical events, and biographies
- Business reports: Identifies information useful in business strategy, such as marketing reports, internal memos, SWOT analysis, and feasibility reports
- Scientific reports: Shares research findings, such as research papers and case studies, typically in science journals
Reports can be further divided into categories based on how they are written. For example, a report could be formal or informal, short or long, and internal or external. In business, a vertical report shares information with people on different levels of the hierarchy (i.e., people who work above you and below you), while a lateral report is for people on the author’s same level, but in different departments.
There are as many types of reports as there are writing styles, but in this guide, we focus on academic reports, which tend to be formal and informational.
>>Read More: What Is Academic Writing?
What is the structure of a report?
The structure of a report depends on the type of report and the requirements of the assignment. While reports can use their own unique structure, most follow this basic template:
- Executive summary: Just like an abstract in an academic paper, an executive summary is a standalone section that summarizes the findings in your report so readers know what to expect. These are mostly for official reports and less so for school reports.
- Introduction: Setting up the body of the report, your introduction explains the overall topic that you’re about to discuss, with your thesis statement and any need-to-know background information before you get into your own findings.
- Body: The body of the report explains all your major discoveries, broken up into headings and subheadings. The body makes up the majority of the entire report; whereas the introduction and conclusion are just a few paragraphs each, the body can go on for pages.
- Conclusion: The conclusion is where you bring together all the information in your report and come to a definitive interpretation or judgment. This is usually where the author inputs their own personal opinions or inferences.
If you’re familiar with how to write a research paper , you’ll notice that report writing follows the same introduction-body-conclusion structure, sometimes adding an executive summary. Reports usually have their own additional requirements as well, such as title pages and tables of content, which we explain in the next section.
What should be included in a report?
There are no firm requirements for what’s included in a report. Every school, company, laboratory, task manager, and teacher can make their own format, depending on their unique needs. In general, though, be on the lookout for these particular requirements—they tend to crop up a lot:
- Title page: Official reports often use a title page to keep things organized; if a person has to read multiple reports, title pages make them easier to keep track of.
- Table of contents: Just like in books, the table of contents helps readers go directly to the section they’re interested in, allowing for faster browsing.
- Page numbering: A common courtesy if you’re writing a longer report, page numbering makes sure the pages are in order in the case of mix-ups or misprints.
- Headings and subheadings: Reports are typically broken up into sections, divided by headings and subheadings, to facilitate browsing and scanning.
- Citations: If you’re citing information from another source, the citations guidelines tell you the recommended format.
- Works cited page: A bibliography at the end of the report lists credits and the legal information for the other sources you got information from.
As always, refer to the assignment for the specific guidelines on each of these. The people who read the report should tell you which style guides or formatting they require.
How to write a report in 7 steps
Now let’s get into the specifics of how to write a report. Follow the seven steps on report writing below to take you from an idea to a completed paper.
1 Choose a topic based on the assignment
Before you start writing, you need to pick the topic of your report. Often, the topic is assigned for you, as with most business reports, or predetermined by the nature of your work, as with scientific reports. If that’s the case, you can ignore this step and move on.
If you’re in charge of choosing your own topic, as with a lot of academic reports, then this is one of the most important steps in the whole writing process. Try to pick a topic that fits these two criteria:
- There’s adequate information: Choose a topic that’s not too general but not too specific, with enough information to fill your report without padding, but not too much that you can’t cover everything.
- It’s something you’re interested in: Although this isn’t a strict requirement, it does help the quality of a report if you’re engaged by the subject matter.
Of course, don’t forget the instructions of the assignment, including length, so keep those in the back of your head when deciding.
2 Conduct research
With business and scientific reports, the research is usually your own or provided by the company—although there’s still plenty of digging for external sources in both.
For academic papers, you’re largely on your own for research, unless you’re required to use class materials. That’s one of the reasons why choosing the right topic is so crucial; you won’t go far if the topic you picked doesn’t have enough available research.
The key is to search only for reputable sources: official documents, other reports, research papers, case studies, books from respected authors, etc. Feel free to use research cited in other similar reports. You can often find a lot of information online through search engines, but a quick trip to the library can also help in a pinch.
3 Write a thesis statement
Before you go any further, write a thesis statement to help you conceptualize the main theme of your report. Just like the topic sentence of a paragraph, the thesis statement summarizes the main point of your writing, in this case, the report.
Once you’ve collected enough research, you should notice some trends and patterns in the information. If these patterns all infer or lead up to a bigger, overarching point, that’s your thesis statement.
For example, if you were writing a report on the wages of fast-food employees, your thesis might be something like, “Although wages used to be commensurate with living expenses, after years of stagnation they are no longer adequate.” From there, the rest of your report will elaborate on that thesis, with ample evidence and supporting arguments.
It’s good to include your thesis statement in both the executive summary and introduction of your report, but you still want to figure it out early so you know which direction to go when you work on your outline next.
4 Prepare an outline
Writing an outline is recommended for all kinds of writing, but it’s especially useful for reports given their emphasis on organization. Because reports are often separated by headings and subheadings, a solid outline makes sure you stay on track while writing without missing anything.
Really, you should start thinking about your outline during the research phase, when you start to notice patterns and trends. If you’re stuck, try making a list of all the key points, details, and evidence you want to mention. See if you can fit them into general and specific categories, which you can turn into headings and subheadings respectively.
5 Write a rough draft
Actually writing the rough draft , or first draft, is usually the most time-consuming step. Here’s where you take all the information from your research and put it into words. To avoid getting overwhelmed, simply follow your outline step by step to make sure you don’t accidentally leave out anything.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; that’s the number one rule for writing a rough draft. Expecting your first draft to be perfect adds a lot of pressure. Instead, write in a natural and relaxed way, and worry about the specific details like word choice and correcting mistakes later. That’s what the last two steps are for, anyway.
6 Revise and edit your report
Once your rough draft is finished, it’s time to go back and start fixing the mistakes you ignored the first time around. (Before you dive right back in, though, it helps to sleep on it to start editing fresh, or at least take a small break to unwind from writing the rough draft.)
We recommend first rereading your report for any major issues, such as cutting or moving around entire sentences and paragraphs. Sometimes you’ll find your data doesn’t line up, or that you misinterpreted a key piece of evidence. This is the right time to fix the “big picture” mistakes and rewrite any longer sections as needed.
If you’re unfamiliar with what to look for when editing, you can read our previous guide with some more advanced self-editing tips .
7 Proofread and check for mistakes
Last, it pays to go over your report one final time, just to optimize your wording and check for grammatical or spelling mistakes. In the previous step you checked for “big picture” mistakes, but here you’re looking for specific, even nitpicky problems.
A writing assistant like Grammarly flags those issues for you. Grammarly’s free version points out any spelling and grammatical mistakes while you write, with suggestions to improve your writing that you can apply with just one click. The Premium version offers even more advanced features, such as tone adjustments and word choice recommendations for taking your writing to the next level.
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How to write a project report: [templates + guide]
Writing a project report is an essential but often overlooked contributor to your project’s health. However, without the use of automation and templates, it can be a little time-consuming to collect and organize the relevant data that the project generates.
In this post, we’ll explore the basics of project reporting. We’ve included some useful templates and tips to create clear and helpful project reports in less time.
If you want to start creating better project reports using monday.com, sign up today.
What is a project report?
A project report is a document where you share details about different areas of your project. Depending on the report type , your audience, and your intention, the details you showcase might differ.
Project reports can be broken down by time— daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly— or a number of other factors like risk, budget, and project management style. Bottom line? They simplify the process of gathering and disseminating information about key information on the project. For instance, a typical report might include:
- Resources you’ve used so far
- How project time is being spent
- How you’re doing against key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Workload and team availability
What is the purpose of project reporting?
Reporting gives you, your team, and your stakeholders the ability to track project progress against the original plan. The main goal of a project report is to improve decision-making, to help you make sense of your project data, and decide what your next steps should be. This in turn can impact your budget, timeliness, and project success.
It also plays a vital role in your stakeholder engagement strategy, as it keeps everyone informed on the progress of projects they’re interested in. Those are just a few of the reasons why project reporting has become the most common activity among PMOs (Project Management Offices).
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5 steps to create a useful project report
Project reports can be useful – or they can end up as a 20-page PDF that lives in a drawer somewhere. To put together a report that your project stakeholders can use to gain insights, make decisions and optimize processes, take the following systematic approach to writing your project reports:
1. Define the purpose and scope: Clearly establish the goals, objectives, target audience, and information needs of your project report. 2. Gather and organize data: Collect and organize all relevant data, ensuring its accuracy and reliability. 3. Structure and outline: Create a clear and logical structure for your report and outline the key points you want to cover. 4. Present information effectively: Use clear and concise language and visual aids like graphs or charts to present the information in an easily understandable, visually appealing manner. 5. Review and revise: Proofread your report for any errors or inconsistencies, ensure that it addresses the defined purpose and scope, and revise as necessary to improve clarity.
The different types of project management reports [with templates]
You can split project reports into different types and categories. Here are five different types of project mangement reports, with monday.com templates you can customize for your unique project and team set-up.
1. Project status report
Probably the most frequently used, a project status report offers a general overview of the current status of your projects. A project status report answers the question: “How likely is it that we’ll complete this project on time without overrunning costs?”
These reports analyze whether you’re meeting project goals and key performance indicators. With our single project template , creating a status report is easier than ever.
2. Resource workload report
Resource workload reports help you visualize what your team’s working on, when they’re working on it, and how much work is left. These also reports help you understand how your assets are being used and make sure your actions are aligned with the overall objective.
Our resource management template helps you organize all your assets, locations, and people into one place and track every action with accuracy. You can also manage your resource allocation initiatives and make sure you don’t assign the same resource twice in multiple tasks.
3. Portfolio report
Portfolio reports take a look at all your projects and consolidate all the data into a single document. These reports capture high-level milestones, status, progress, and highlights of your portfolio strategy.
With our portfolio management template , you can track unlimited projects on a single board and get a quick snapshot of their health and profitability.
4. Task list/Time-tracking report
Time-tracking reports, also known as timesheets, help you measure how your team is spending their time and spot potential bottlenecks.
With our team task list template , you can bring in your entire organization, assign tasks to peers, track time and measure the project progress at a glance.
5. Expense report
A project might seem healthy – until everyone starts reporting expenses at the end of the time period. With our expense tracking template , you can proactively manage your cash flow regardless of your accounting skills (or lack thereof!)
Want to try out these templates – and much more? Check out monday.com today.
FAQs about Project Reports
What are the benefits of a project report.
A project report provides a comprehensive overview of a project’s objectives, progress, and outcomes, serving as a valuable documentation and communication tool. It allows stakeholders to assess your project’s effectiveness, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions based on reliable data.
What are the main types of project reports?
The most commonly used types of project reports include:
- Progress reports
- Resource management reports
- Project portfolio reports
- Time-tracking reports
- Evaluation reports
- Final reports
What are the main components of a project report?
This will depend on the project and the type of report you’re using, but project reports might include:
- Project objective
- Project scope
- Project milestones
- Project expenses or budget
- Project schedule and timeline
- Project progress
- Resource management
- Risk assessment
- Stakeholder communication
- Financial summary
How to create insightful project reports with monday.com
monday.com makes it easy to create effective project reports. Try it for yourself and see:
Here’s why monday.com can make your project reporting better:
- Track project data in a centralized location, so you have all the information you need to make useful reports.
- Use monday.com’s customized visualization tools to visualize and summarize project data the way you want to see it.
- Set up dashboards to see all of your projects at a glance.
- Take advantage of monday.com’s reporting functionality . You can choose between built-in report templates or customized reports if you have more specific requirements.
- Share your reports with project stakeholders , team members, or even clients directly from monday.com.
- Our embedded communication tools let you collaborate on your reports in real-time, gather feedback, and address any questions or concerns.
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Writing a formal report
Learn how to use formal language and key features to write a formal report.
This lesson includes:
Watch this video to find more about writing a great report.
The purpose of your writing, as well as your audience, will help you decide whether to use a formal or informal style of language.
In an informative report, formal language is used and may include the following features:
- A serious tone
- Language that is clear and to the point
- Specialist vocabulary for the subject
- No slang or contractions ( there is instead of there’s )
- Complex sentences
Formal: ‘We must go to the library and study.’
Informal: ‘We’ve got to head to the library and hit the books!’
How to write a formal report
Research your topic first. Find out key facts and interesting information.
Include a brief introduction. Explain what or who you are writing about and why it or they are special.
Use sub-headings to break up your writing into easily identifiable sections.
Use formal language.
Only include facts, not opinions. Use statistics or studies to support your points.
Think about your layout. Use paragraphs and add pictures to illustrate key points.
You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.
Can you complete this quiz about the features of writing a formal report?
Read this article about the famous fossil hunter Mary Anning.
As you read, look out for the key features of report writing.
When you’ve finished, answer the questions below in full sentences.
What is the title of the article?
How many sub-headings are there? Name one.
Did you spot any examples of technical language? Give an example.
How is the information organised?
Are any photographs or illustrations used? Why do you think this is?
You can check your answers using this suggested answer sheet.
Think of your favourite celebrity, musician, sportsperson or hero and write a formal report about them.
- research your topic first
- include a brief introduction
- use sub-headings
- use formal language
- only include facts, not opinions
- think about your layout
In this lesson you have learnt to write a formal report.
There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you to understand more about formal report writing:
How to write a report
How to give a presentation
What is a debate
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How To Write A Lab Report | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples
Published on May 20, 2021 by Pritha Bhandari . Revised on July 15, 2022.
A lab report conveys the aim, methods, results, and conclusions of a scientific experiment. The main purpose of a lab report is to demonstrate your understanding of the scientific method by performing and evaluating a hands-on lab experiment. This type of assignment is usually shorter than a research paper .
Lab reports are commonly used in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. This article focuses on how to structure and write a lab report.
Table of contents
Structuring a lab report, introduction, frequently asked questions about lab reports.
The sections of a lab report can vary between scientific fields and course requirements, but they usually contain the purpose, methods, and findings of a lab experiment .
Each section of a lab report has its own purpose.
- Title: expresses the topic of your study
- Abstract : summarizes your research aims, methods, results, and conclusions
- Introduction: establishes the context needed to understand the topic
- Method: describes the materials and procedures used in the experiment
- Results: reports all descriptive and inferential statistical analyses
- Discussion: interprets and evaluates results and identifies limitations
- Conclusion: sums up the main findings of your experiment
- References: list of all sources cited using a specific style (e.g. APA )
- Appendices : contains lengthy materials, procedures, tables or figures
Although most lab reports contain these sections, some sections can be omitted or combined with others. For example, some lab reports contain a brief section on research aims instead of an introduction, and a separate conclusion is not always required.
If you’re not sure, it’s best to check your lab report requirements with your instructor.
Your title provides the first impression of your lab report – effective titles communicate the topic and/or the findings of your study in specific terms.
Create a title that directly conveys the main focus or purpose of your study. It doesn’t need to be creative or thought-provoking, but it should be informative.
- The effects of varying nitrogen levels on tomato plant height.
- Testing the universality of the McGurk effect.
- Comparing the viscosity of common liquids found in kitchens.
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
An abstract condenses a lab report into a brief overview of about 150–300 words. It should provide readers with a compact version of the research aims, the methods and materials used, the main results, and the final conclusion.
Think of it as a way of giving readers a preview of your full lab report. Write the abstract last, in the past tense, after you’ve drafted all the other sections of your report, so you’ll be able to succinctly summarize each section.
To write a lab report abstract, use these guiding questions:
- What is the wider context of your study?
- What research question were you trying to answer?
- How did you perform the experiment?
- What did your results show?
- How did you interpret your results?
- What is the importance of your findings?
Nitrogen is a necessary nutrient for high quality plants. Tomatoes, one of the most consumed fruits worldwide, rely on nitrogen for healthy leaves and stems to grow fruit. This experiment tested whether nitrogen levels affected tomato plant height in a controlled setting. It was expected that higher levels of nitrogen fertilizer would yield taller tomato plants.
Levels of nitrogen fertilizer were varied between three groups of tomato plants. The control group did not receive any nitrogen fertilizer, while one experimental group received low levels of nitrogen fertilizer, and a second experimental group received high levels of nitrogen fertilizer. All plants were grown from seeds, and heights were measured 50 days into the experiment.
The effects of nitrogen levels on plant height were tested between groups using an ANOVA. The plants with the highest level of nitrogen fertilizer were the tallest, while the plants with low levels of nitrogen exceeded the control group plants in height. In line with expectations and previous findings, the effects of nitrogen levels on plant height were statistically significant. This study strengthens the importance of nitrogen for tomato plants.
Your lab report introduction should set the scene for your experiment. One way to write your introduction is with a funnel (an inverted triangle) structure:
- Start with the broad, general research topic
- Narrow your topic down your specific study focus
- End with a clear research question
Begin by providing background information on your research topic and explaining why it’s important in a broad real-world or theoretical context. Describe relevant previous research on your topic and note how your study may confirm it or expand it, or fill a gap in the research field.
This lab experiment builds on previous research from Haque, Paul, and Sarker (2011), who demonstrated that tomato plant yield increased at higher levels of nitrogen. However, the present research focuses on plant height as a growth indicator and uses a lab-controlled setting instead.
Next, go into detail on the theoretical basis for your study and describe any directly relevant laws or equations that you’ll be using. State your main research aims and expectations by outlining your hypotheses .
Based on the importance of nitrogen for tomato plants, the primary hypothesis was that the plants with the high levels of nitrogen would grow the tallest. The secondary hypothesis was that plants with low levels of nitrogen would grow taller than plants with no nitrogen.
Your introduction doesn’t need to be long, but you may need to organize it into a few paragraphs or with subheadings such as “Research Context” or “Research Aims.”
A lab report Method section details the steps you took to gather and analyze data. Give enough detail so that others can follow or evaluate your procedures. Write this section in the past tense. If you need to include any long lists of procedural steps or materials, place them in the Appendices section but refer to them in the text here.
You should describe your experimental design, your subjects, materials, and specific procedures used for data collection and analysis.
Briefly note whether your experiment is a within-subjects or between-subjects design, and describe how your sample units were assigned to conditions if relevant.
A between-subjects design with three groups of tomato plants was used. The control group did not receive any nitrogen fertilizer. The first experimental group received a low level of nitrogen fertilizer, while the second experimental group received a high level of nitrogen fertilizer.
Describe human subjects in terms of demographic characteristics, and animal or plant subjects in terms of genetic background. Note the total number of subjects as well as the number of subjects per condition or per group. You should also state how you recruited subjects for your study.
List the equipment or materials you used to gather data and state the model names for any specialized equipment.
List of materials
35 Tomato seeds
15 plant pots (15 cm tall)
Light lamps (50,000 lux)
Describe your experimental settings and conditions in detail. You can provide labelled diagrams or images of the exact set-up necessary for experimental equipment. State how extraneous variables were controlled through restriction or by fixing them at a certain level (e.g., keeping the lab at room temperature).
Light levels were fixed throughout the experiment, and the plants were exposed to 12 hours of light a day. Temperature was restricted to between 23 and 25℃. The pH and carbon levels of the soil were also held constant throughout the experiment as these variables could influence plant height. The plants were grown in rooms free of insects or other pests, and they were spaced out adequately.
Your experimental procedure should describe the exact steps you took to gather data in chronological order. You’ll need to provide enough information so that someone else can replicate your procedure, but you should also be concise. Place detailed information in the appendices where appropriate.
In a lab experiment, you’ll often closely follow a lab manual to gather data. Some instructors will allow you to simply reference the manual and state whether you changed any steps based on practical considerations. Other instructors may want you to rewrite the lab manual procedures as complete sentences in coherent paragraphs, while noting any changes to the steps that you applied in practice.
If you’re performing extensive data analysis, be sure to state your planned analysis methods as well. This includes the types of tests you’ll perform and any programs or software you’ll use for calculations (if relevant).
First, tomato seeds were sown in wooden flats containing soil about 2 cm below the surface. Each seed was kept 3-5 cm apart. The flats were covered to keep the soil moist until germination. The seedlings were removed and transplanted to pots 8 days later, with a maximum of 2 plants to a pot. Each pot was watered once a day to keep the soil moist.
The nitrogen fertilizer treatment was applied to the plant pots 12 days after transplantation. The control group received no treatment, while the first experimental group received a low concentration, and the second experimental group received a high concentration. There were 5 pots in each group, and each plant pot was labelled to indicate the group the plants belonged to.
50 days after the start of the experiment, plant height was measured for all plants. A measuring tape was used to record the length of the plant from ground level to the top of the tallest leaf.
In your results section, you should report the results of any statistical analysis procedures that you undertook. You should clearly state how the results of statistical tests support or refute your initial hypotheses.
The main results to report include:
- any descriptive statistics
- statistical test results
- the significance of the test results
- estimates of standard error or confidence intervals
The mean heights of the plants in the control group, low nitrogen group, and high nitrogen groups were 20.3, 25.1, and 29.6 cm respectively. A one-way ANOVA was applied to calculate the effect of nitrogen fertilizer level on plant height. The results demonstrated statistically significant ( p = .03) height differences between groups.
Next, post-hoc tests were performed to assess the primary and secondary hypotheses. In support of the primary hypothesis, the high nitrogen group plants were significantly taller than the low nitrogen group and the control group plants. Similarly, the results supported the secondary hypothesis: the low nitrogen plants were taller than the control group plants.
These results can be reported in the text or in tables and figures. Use text for highlighting a few key results, but present large sets of numbers in tables, or show relationships between variables with graphs.
You should also include sample calculations in the Results section for complex experiments. For each sample calculation, provide a brief description of what it does and use clear symbols. Present your raw data in the Appendices section and refer to it to highlight any outliers or trends.
The Discussion section will help demonstrate your understanding of the experimental process and your critical thinking skills.
In this section, you can:
- Interpret your results
- Compare your findings with your expectations
- Identify any sources of experimental error
- Explain any unexpected results
- Suggest possible improvements for further studies
Interpreting your results involves clarifying how your results help you answer your main research question. Report whether your results support your hypotheses.
- Did you measure what you sought out to measure?
- Were your analysis procedures appropriate for this type of data?
Compare your findings with other research and explain any key differences in findings.
- Are your results in line with those from previous studies or your classmates’ results? Why or why not?
An effective Discussion section will also highlight the strengths and limitations of a study.
- Did you have high internal validity or reliability?
- How did you establish these aspects of your study?
When describing limitations, use specific examples. For example, if random error contributed substantially to the measurements in your study, state the particular sources of error (e.g., imprecise apparatus) and explain ways to improve them.
The results support the hypothesis that nitrogen levels affect plant height, with increasing levels producing taller plants. These statistically significant results are taken together with previous research to support the importance of nitrogen as a nutrient for tomato plant growth.
However, unlike previous studies, this study focused on plant height as an indicator of plant growth in the present experiment. Importantly, plant height may not always reflect plant health or fruit yield, so measuring other indicators would have strengthened the study findings.
Another limitation of the study is the plant height measurement technique, as the measuring tape was not suitable for plants with extreme curvature. Future studies may focus on measuring plant height in different ways.
The main strengths of this study were the controls for extraneous variables, such as pH and carbon levels of the soil. All other factors that could affect plant height were tightly controlled to isolate the effects of nitrogen levels, resulting in high internal validity for this study.
Your conclusion should be the final section of your lab report. Here, you’ll summarize the findings of your experiment, with a brief overview of the strengths and limitations, and implications of your study for further research.
Some lab reports may omit a Conclusion section because it overlaps with the Discussion section, but you should check with your instructor before doing so.
A lab report conveys the aim, methods, results, and conclusions of a scientific experiment . Lab reports are commonly assigned in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
The purpose of a lab report is to demonstrate your understanding of the scientific method with a hands-on lab experiment. Course instructors will often provide you with an experimental design and procedure. Your task is to write up how you actually performed the experiment and evaluate the outcome.
In contrast, a research paper requires you to independently develop an original argument. It involves more in-depth research and interpretation of sources and data.
A lab report is usually shorter than a research paper.
The sections of a lab report can vary between scientific fields and course requirements, but it usually contains the following:
- Abstract: summarizes your research aims, methods, results, and conclusions
- References: list of all sources cited using a specific style (e.g. APA)
- Appendices: contains lengthy materials, procedures, tables or figures
The results chapter or section simply and objectively reports what you found, without speculating on why you found these results. The discussion interprets the meaning of the results, puts them in context, and explains why they matter.
In qualitative research , results and discussion are sometimes combined. But in quantitative research , it’s considered important to separate the objective results from your interpretation of them.
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- How To Write a Report: Cambridge B2 First
- Posted on 20/01/2021
- Categories: Blog
- Tags: B2 First , Cambridge Exams , Cambridge FCE First Certificate of English , FCE , Writing
Imagine the scene. It’s exam day. You’re nearly at the end of your Cambridge English B2 First exam . You’ve just finished writing Part 1 – the essay , and now it’s time to start Part 2. So you turn over the page to find three options:
– A review you know
– An article you’ve seen before
– But what’s this? A report??*
Don’t be intimidated. A report is another formal writing task. And it’s actually quite formulaic, which makes it a popular choice for students in Writing Part 2. It’s also a great opportunity to show you can communicate factual information, in a formal tone with clear organisation.
Excited to learn how to write a first-rate report? Good. We’re here to help you every step of the way and make sure you leave that exam full of confidence that you’ve passed.
*Remember you only need to choose one question to answer. Other titles may include an informal or formal email, and at B2 First for Schools there is a story option instead of a report.
Three steps to writing a report for Cambridge B2 First
Let’s begin by taking a look at a typical question for the report.
Step One: Make a plan
Before you put pen to paper and start your report, hold your horses . A plan is the best chance you have for success. Start by asking these two questions:
1. Who is the report for?
Take a look at the reader of your report. It’s normally a teacher, a superior or a peer group like the members of a book club. In this case your audience is a group leader . That means you should keep the tone nice and formal . Try to avoid contractions, colloquial language and keep it polite.
2. What do you have to do?
Look at the question and underline all the key parts. This will help focus your attention on the task in hand and decide how to organise your report.
There’ll normally be two or three things they want you to do and you’ll always be asked to give a recommendation or suggestion.
The structure is the bones of your report. It’s so important because it holds everything together. Here’s one way to organise your report but perhaps you have another idea?
2. How technology is used in subject X
3. How technology is used in subject Y
4. Your recommendation for which lesson the teacher should watch
The trick is to keep the structure nice and simple. And always check you’re answering the question.
Now you have a clear outline, consider the main topic paragraphs and what you want to include. If you get stuck , think about your own real life experiences. How is technology used in your own lessons at school? Make some notes on your ideas.
Step Two: Write it
If you haven’t skipped the planning stage, writing your report should be easy. An important thing to add here is that reports often contain subheadings. In fact, in the B2 First exam they are strongly encouraged!
Remember that a report is a document that presents information in a clear and organised way. Think about science reports or statistical reports. They have strong introductions that clearly state their aims.
- The aim / purpose / intention of this report is to…
- In this report I will look at…
- This report is based on…
- This report is intended to…
Here’s what a clearly defined report intro might look like…
Just make sure you don’t copy words from the question exactly, and instead try to paraphrase .
Main body of report
This is where we get to the main body of the report. Again, we want to keep it really clear and organised and one way to do that is with bullet points or numbering .
However, don’t overdo it. If you use bullets and numbering in one section, avoid using them in the next. You want to show off that you can write well in English and use a wide range of vocabulary and structures. You also want to use some fancy, formal sounding linkers to connect your ideas.
- To begin with…
- Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly…
- It appears that…
- According to…
- One way…
- Another way…
- Furthermore / In addition…
Now move on to your second paragraph. Try to stay general and avoid personal anecdotes. Don’t start talking about what you like to do at school in your technology classes or what you had for dinner last night. Instead, keep things relevant to the task.
A good way to do this is by using passive reporting verbs:
- It is generally believed that…
- It is thought that…
- One way in which technology is used…
- X is considered to be…
Remember to expand on your points giving reasons for your ideas. And if you do everything right, your second paragraph may look something like this.
Here’s the fun part! This is where you can look back at your ideas and give your own opinion. Make sure you mention the ideas from the previous paragraphs and don’t forget to give reasons why.
- All things considered…
- I would recommend / suggest + ing…
- I would recommend / suggest + object + infinitive (no to)…
- Based on all the findings…
- Although both… , I think that…
- It would seem that……
Let’s look at this sample answer.
If you run out of things to say – remember you can mention the weaknesses of the other option.
Step Three: Check it
Now hopefully you’ve written a report to be proud of. The only thing left to do is to refine it before the time is up !
Make sure you’ve:
- answered all parts of the question, including making a recommendation/suggestion
- used formal language and no contractions like I’m, It’s, haven’t etc.
- written subheadings for each paragraph
- used correct spelling and punctuation
- linked your sentences with connectors eg. However, Because, Although, Furthermore, etc .
Sample report questions
Now you’re a master in report writing, why not put everything you’ve learnt into practice? Try one of these sample report questions.
Glossary for language learners:
hold your horses (exp): used to tell someone to stop and consider carefully their decision or opinion about something.
the bones of sth. (n): the structure or main idea of something.
get stuck (v): to be in a position where you’re unable to move.
skipped (v): missed out to move on to the next thing.
paraphrase (n): to say something in a different way but so it means the same.
overdo (v): to do too much of something.
show off (pv): to show your abilities and accomplishments.
expand on (v): to develop an idea.
run out of (pv): to deplete / to be used up.
time is up (exp): the time allowed is finished.
exp = expression
pv = phrasal verb
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What this handout is about.
This handout provides a general guide to writing reports about scientific research you’ve performed. In addition to describing the conventional rules about the format and content of a lab report, we’ll also attempt to convey why these rules exist, so you’ll get a clearer, more dependable idea of how to approach this writing situation. Readers of this handout may also find our handout on writing in the sciences useful.
Background and pre-writing
Why do we write research reports.
You did an experiment or study for your science class, and now you have to write it up for your teacher to review. You feel that you understood the background sufficiently, designed and completed the study effectively, obtained useful data, and can use those data to draw conclusions about a scientific process or principle. But how exactly do you write all that? What is your teacher expecting to see?
To take some of the guesswork out of answering these questions, try to think beyond the classroom setting. In fact, you and your teacher are both part of a scientific community, and the people who participate in this community tend to share the same values. As long as you understand and respect these values, your writing will likely meet the expectations of your audience—including your teacher.
So why are you writing this research report? The practical answer is “Because the teacher assigned it,” but that’s classroom thinking. Generally speaking, people investigating some scientific hypothesis have a responsibility to the rest of the scientific world to report their findings, particularly if these findings add to or contradict previous ideas. The people reading such reports have two primary goals:
- They want to gather the information presented.
- They want to know that the findings are legitimate.
Your job as a writer, then, is to fulfill these two goals.
How do I do that?
Good question. Here is the basic format scientists have designed for research reports:
Methods and Materials
This format, sometimes called “IMRAD,” may take slightly different shapes depending on the discipline or audience; some ask you to include an abstract or separate section for the hypothesis, or call the Discussion section “Conclusions,” or change the order of the sections (some professional and academic journals require the Methods section to appear last). Overall, however, the IMRAD format was devised to represent a textual version of the scientific method.
The scientific method, you’ll probably recall, involves developing a hypothesis, testing it, and deciding whether your findings support the hypothesis. In essence, the format for a research report in the sciences mirrors the scientific method but fleshes out the process a little. Below, you’ll find a table that shows how each written section fits into the scientific method and what additional information it offers the reader.
Thinking of your research report as based on the scientific method, but elaborated in the ways described above, may help you to meet your audience’s expectations successfully. We’re going to proceed by explicitly connecting each section of the lab report to the scientific method, then explaining why and how you need to elaborate that section.
Although this handout takes each section in the order in which it should be presented in the final report, you may for practical reasons decide to compose sections in another order. For example, many writers find that composing their Methods and Results before the other sections helps to clarify their idea of the experiment or study as a whole. You might consider using each assignment to practice different approaches to drafting the report, to find the order that works best for you.
What should I do before drafting the lab report?
The best way to prepare to write the lab report is to make sure that you fully understand everything you need to about the experiment. Obviously, if you don’t quite know what went on during the lab, you’re going to find it difficult to explain the lab satisfactorily to someone else. To make sure you know enough to write the report, complete the following steps:
- What are we going to do in this lab? (That is, what’s the procedure?)
- Why are we going to do it that way?
- What are we hoping to learn from this experiment?
- Why would we benefit from this knowledge?
- Consult your lab supervisor as you perform the lab. If you don’t know how to answer one of the questions above, for example, your lab supervisor will probably be able to explain it to you (or, at least, help you figure it out).
- Plan the steps of the experiment carefully with your lab partners. The less you rush, the more likely it is that you’ll perform the experiment correctly and record your findings accurately. Also, take some time to think about the best way to organize the data before you have to start putting numbers down. If you can design a table to account for the data, that will tend to work much better than jotting results down hurriedly on a scrap piece of paper.
- Record the data carefully so you get them right. You won’t be able to trust your conclusions if you have the wrong data, and your readers will know you messed up if the other three people in your group have “97 degrees” and you have “87.”
- Consult with your lab partners about everything you do. Lab groups often make one of two mistakes: two people do all the work while two have a nice chat, or everybody works together until the group finishes gathering the raw data, then scrams outta there. Collaborate with your partners, even when the experiment is “over.” What trends did you observe? Was the hypothesis supported? Did you all get the same results? What kind of figure should you use to represent your findings? The whole group can work together to answer these questions.
- Consider your audience. You may believe that audience is a non-issue: it’s your lab TA, right? Well, yes—but again, think beyond the classroom. If you write with only your lab instructor in mind, you may omit material that is crucial to a complete understanding of your experiment, because you assume the instructor knows all that stuff already. As a result, you may receive a lower grade, since your TA won’t be sure that you understand all the principles at work. Try to write towards a student in the same course but a different lab section. That student will have a fair degree of scientific expertise but won’t know much about your experiment particularly. Alternatively, you could envision yourself five years from now, after the reading and lectures for this course have faded a bit. What would you remember, and what would you need explained more clearly (as a refresher)?
Once you’ve completed these steps as you perform the experiment, you’ll be in a good position to draft an effective lab report.
How do i write a strong introduction.
For the purposes of this handout, we’ll consider the Introduction to contain four basic elements: the purpose, the scientific literature relevant to the subject, the hypothesis, and the reasons you believed your hypothesis viable. Let’s start by going through each element of the Introduction to clarify what it covers and why it’s important. Then we can formulate a logical organizational strategy for the section.
The inclusion of the purpose (sometimes called the objective) of the experiment often confuses writers. The biggest misconception is that the purpose is the same as the hypothesis. Not quite. We’ll get to hypotheses in a minute, but basically they provide some indication of what you expect the experiment to show. The purpose is broader, and deals more with what you expect to gain through the experiment. In a professional setting, the hypothesis might have something to do with how cells react to a certain kind of genetic manipulation, but the purpose of the experiment is to learn more about potential cancer treatments. Undergraduate reports don’t often have this wide-ranging a goal, but you should still try to maintain the distinction between your hypothesis and your purpose. In a solubility experiment, for example, your hypothesis might talk about the relationship between temperature and the rate of solubility, but the purpose is probably to learn more about some specific scientific principle underlying the process of solubility.
For starters, most people say that you should write out your working hypothesis before you perform the experiment or study. Many beginning science students neglect to do so and find themselves struggling to remember precisely which variables were involved in the process or in what way the researchers felt that they were related. Write your hypothesis down as you develop it—you’ll be glad you did.
As for the form a hypothesis should take, it’s best not to be too fancy or complicated; an inventive style isn’t nearly so important as clarity here. There’s nothing wrong with beginning your hypothesis with the phrase, “It was hypothesized that . . .” Be as specific as you can about the relationship between the different objects of your study. In other words, explain that when term A changes, term B changes in this particular way. Readers of scientific writing are rarely content with the idea that a relationship between two terms exists—they want to know what that relationship entails.
Not a hypothesis:
“It was hypothesized that there is a significant relationship between the temperature of a solvent and the rate at which a solute dissolves.”
“It was hypothesized that as the temperature of a solvent increases, the rate at which a solute will dissolve in that solvent increases.”
Put more technically, most hypotheses contain both an independent and a dependent variable. The independent variable is what you manipulate to test the reaction; the dependent variable is what changes as a result of your manipulation. In the example above, the independent variable is the temperature of the solvent, and the dependent variable is the rate of solubility. Be sure that your hypothesis includes both variables.
Justify your hypothesis
You need to do more than tell your readers what your hypothesis is; you also need to assure them that this hypothesis was reasonable, given the circumstances. In other words, use the Introduction to explain that you didn’t just pluck your hypothesis out of thin air. (If you did pluck it out of thin air, your problems with your report will probably extend beyond using the appropriate format.) If you posit that a particular relationship exists between the independent and the dependent variable, what led you to believe your “guess” might be supported by evidence?
Scientists often refer to this type of justification as “motivating” the hypothesis, in the sense that something propelled them to make that prediction. Often, motivation includes what we already know—or rather, what scientists generally accept as true (see “Background/previous research” below). But you can also motivate your hypothesis by relying on logic or on your own observations. If you’re trying to decide which solutes will dissolve more rapidly in a solvent at increased temperatures, you might remember that some solids are meant to dissolve in hot water (e.g., bouillon cubes) and some are used for a function precisely because they withstand higher temperatures (they make saucepans out of something). Or you can think about whether you’ve noticed sugar dissolving more rapidly in your glass of iced tea or in your cup of coffee. Even such basic, outside-the-lab observations can help you justify your hypothesis as reasonable.
This part of the Introduction demonstrates to the reader your awareness of how you’re building on other scientists’ work. If you think of the scientific community as engaging in a series of conversations about various topics, then you’ll recognize that the relevant background material will alert the reader to which conversation you want to enter.
Generally speaking, authors writing journal articles use the background for slightly different purposes than do students completing assignments. Because readers of academic journals tend to be professionals in the field, authors explain the background in order to permit readers to evaluate the study’s pertinence for their own work. You, on the other hand, write toward a much narrower audience—your peers in the course or your lab instructor—and so you must demonstrate that you understand the context for the (presumably assigned) experiment or study you’ve completed. For example, if your professor has been talking about polarity during lectures, and you’re doing a solubility experiment, you might try to connect the polarity of a solid to its relative solubility in certain solvents. In any event, both professional researchers and undergraduates need to connect the background material overtly to their own work.
Organization of this section
Most of the time, writers begin by stating the purpose or objectives of their own work, which establishes for the reader’s benefit the “nature and scope of the problem investigated” (Day 1994). Once you have expressed your purpose, you should then find it easier to move from the general purpose, to relevant material on the subject, to your hypothesis. In abbreviated form, an Introduction section might look like this:
“The purpose of the experiment was to test conventional ideas about solubility in the laboratory [purpose] . . . According to Whitecoat and Labrat (1999), at higher temperatures the molecules of solvents move more quickly . . . We know from the class lecture that molecules moving at higher rates of speed collide with one another more often and thus break down more easily [background material/motivation] . . . Thus, it was hypothesized that as the temperature of a solvent increases, the rate at which a solute will dissolve in that solvent increases [hypothesis].”
Again—these are guidelines, not commandments. Some writers and readers prefer different structures for the Introduction. The one above merely illustrates a common approach to organizing material.
How do I write a strong Materials and Methods section?
As with any piece of writing, your Methods section will succeed only if it fulfills its readers’ expectations, so you need to be clear in your own mind about the purpose of this section. Let’s review the purpose as we described it above: in this section, you want to describe in detail how you tested the hypothesis you developed and also to clarify the rationale for your procedure. In science, it’s not sufficient merely to design and carry out an experiment. Ultimately, others must be able to verify your findings, so your experiment must be reproducible, to the extent that other researchers can follow the same procedure and obtain the same (or similar) results.
Here’s a real-world example of the importance of reproducibility. In 1989, physicists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischman announced that they had discovered “cold fusion,” a way of producing excess heat and power without the nuclear radiation that accompanies “hot fusion.” Such a discovery could have great ramifications for the industrial production of energy, so these findings created a great deal of interest. When other scientists tried to duplicate the experiment, however, they didn’t achieve the same results, and as a result many wrote off the conclusions as unjustified (or worse, a hoax). To this day, the viability of cold fusion is debated within the scientific community, even though an increasing number of researchers believe it possible. So when you write your Methods section, keep in mind that you need to describe your experiment well enough to allow others to replicate it exactly.
With these goals in mind, let’s consider how to write an effective Methods section in terms of content, structure, and style.
Sometimes the hardest thing about writing this section isn’t what you should talk about, but what you shouldn’t talk about. Writers often want to include the results of their experiment, because they measured and recorded the results during the course of the experiment. But such data should be reserved for the Results section. In the Methods section, you can write that you recorded the results, or how you recorded the results (e.g., in a table), but you shouldn’t write what the results were—not yet. Here, you’re merely stating exactly how you went about testing your hypothesis. As you draft your Methods section, ask yourself the following questions:
- How much detail? Be precise in providing details, but stay relevant. Ask yourself, “Would it make any difference if this piece were a different size or made from a different material?” If not, you probably don’t need to get too specific. If so, you should give as many details as necessary to prevent this experiment from going awry if someone else tries to carry it out. Probably the most crucial detail is measurement; you should always quantify anything you can, such as time elapsed, temperature, mass, volume, etc.
- Rationale: Be sure that as you’re relating your actions during the experiment, you explain your rationale for the protocol you developed. If you capped a test tube immediately after adding a solute to a solvent, why did you do that? (That’s really two questions: why did you cap it, and why did you cap it immediately?) In a professional setting, writers provide their rationale as a way to explain their thinking to potential critics. On one hand, of course, that’s your motivation for talking about protocol, too. On the other hand, since in practical terms you’re also writing to your teacher (who’s seeking to evaluate how well you comprehend the principles of the experiment), explaining the rationale indicates that you understand the reasons for conducting the experiment in that way, and that you’re not just following orders. Critical thinking is crucial—robots don’t make good scientists.
- Control: Most experiments will include a control, which is a means of comparing experimental results. (Sometimes you’ll need to have more than one control, depending on the number of hypotheses you want to test.) The control is exactly the same as the other items you’re testing, except that you don’t manipulate the independent variable-the condition you’re altering to check the effect on the dependent variable. For example, if you’re testing solubility rates at increased temperatures, your control would be a solution that you didn’t heat at all; that way, you’ll see how quickly the solute dissolves “naturally” (i.e., without manipulation), and you’ll have a point of reference against which to compare the solutions you did heat.
Describe the control in the Methods section. Two things are especially important in writing about the control: identify the control as a control, and explain what you’re controlling for. Here is an example:
“As a control for the temperature change, we placed the same amount of solute in the same amount of solvent, and let the solution stand for five minutes without heating it.”
Structure and style
Organization is especially important in the Methods section of a lab report because readers must understand your experimental procedure completely. Many writers are surprised by the difficulty of conveying what they did during the experiment, since after all they’re only reporting an event, but it’s often tricky to present this information in a coherent way. There’s a fairly standard structure you can use to guide you, and following the conventions for style can help clarify your points.
- Subsections: Occasionally, researchers use subsections to report their procedure when the following circumstances apply: 1) if they’ve used a great many materials; 2) if the procedure is unusually complicated; 3) if they’ve developed a procedure that won’t be familiar to many of their readers. Because these conditions rarely apply to the experiments you’ll perform in class, most undergraduate lab reports won’t require you to use subsections. In fact, many guides to writing lab reports suggest that you try to limit your Methods section to a single paragraph.
- Narrative structure: Think of this section as telling a story about a group of people and the experiment they performed. Describe what you did in the order in which you did it. You may have heard the old joke centered on the line, “Disconnect the red wire, but only after disconnecting the green wire,” where the person reading the directions blows everything to kingdom come because the directions weren’t in order. We’re used to reading about events chronologically, and so your readers will generally understand what you did if you present that information in the same way. Also, since the Methods section does generally appear as a narrative (story), you want to avoid the “recipe” approach: “First, take a clean, dry 100 ml test tube from the rack. Next, add 50 ml of distilled water.” You should be reporting what did happen, not telling the reader how to perform the experiment: “50 ml of distilled water was poured into a clean, dry 100 ml test tube.” Hint: most of the time, the recipe approach comes from copying down the steps of the procedure from your lab manual, so you may want to draft the Methods section initially without consulting your manual. Later, of course, you can go back and fill in any part of the procedure you inadvertently overlooked.
- Past tense: Remember that you’re describing what happened, so you should use past tense to refer to everything you did during the experiment. Writers are often tempted to use the imperative (“Add 5 g of the solid to the solution”) because that’s how their lab manuals are worded; less frequently, they use present tense (“5 g of the solid are added to the solution”). Instead, remember that you’re talking about an event which happened at a particular time in the past, and which has already ended by the time you start writing, so simple past tense will be appropriate in this section (“5 g of the solid were added to the solution” or “We added 5 g of the solid to the solution”).
- Active: We heated the solution to 80°C. (The subject, “we,” performs the action, heating.)
- Passive: The solution was heated to 80°C. (The subject, “solution,” doesn’t do the heating–it is acted upon, not acting.)
Increasingly, especially in the social sciences, using first person and active voice is acceptable in scientific reports. Most readers find that this style of writing conveys information more clearly and concisely. This rhetorical choice thus brings two scientific values into conflict: objectivity versus clarity. Since the scientific community hasn’t reached a consensus about which style it prefers, you may want to ask your lab instructor.
How do I write a strong Results section?
Here’s a paradox for you. The Results section is often both the shortest (yay!) and most important (uh-oh!) part of your report. Your Materials and Methods section shows how you obtained the results, and your Discussion section explores the significance of the results, so clearly the Results section forms the backbone of the lab report. This section provides the most critical information about your experiment: the data that allow you to discuss how your hypothesis was or wasn’t supported. But it doesn’t provide anything else, which explains why this section is generally shorter than the others.
Before you write this section, look at all the data you collected to figure out what relates significantly to your hypothesis. You’ll want to highlight this material in your Results section. Resist the urge to include every bit of data you collected, since perhaps not all are relevant. Also, don’t try to draw conclusions about the results—save them for the Discussion section. In this section, you’re reporting facts. Nothing your readers can dispute should appear in the Results section.
Most Results sections feature three distinct parts: text, tables, and figures. Let’s consider each part one at a time.
This should be a short paragraph, generally just a few lines, that describes the results you obtained from your experiment. In a relatively simple experiment, one that doesn’t produce a lot of data for you to repeat, the text can represent the entire Results section. Don’t feel that you need to include lots of extraneous detail to compensate for a short (but effective) text; your readers appreciate discrimination more than your ability to recite facts. In a more complex experiment, you may want to use tables and/or figures to help guide your readers toward the most important information you gathered. In that event, you’ll need to refer to each table or figure directly, where appropriate:
“Table 1 lists the rates of solubility for each substance”
“Solubility increased as the temperature of the solution increased (see Figure 1).”
If you do use tables or figures, make sure that you don’t present the same material in both the text and the tables/figures, since in essence you’ll just repeat yourself, probably annoying your readers with the redundancy of your statements.
Feel free to describe trends that emerge as you examine the data. Although identifying trends requires some judgment on your part and so may not feel like factual reporting, no one can deny that these trends do exist, and so they properly belong in the Results section. Example:
“Heating the solution increased the rate of solubility of polar solids by 45% but had no effect on the rate of solubility in solutions containing non-polar solids.”
This point isn’t debatable—you’re just pointing out what the data show.
As in the Materials and Methods section, you want to refer to your data in the past tense, because the events you recorded have already occurred and have finished occurring. In the example above, note the use of “increased” and “had,” rather than “increases” and “has.” (You don’t know from your experiment that heating always increases the solubility of polar solids, but it did that time.)
You shouldn’t put information in the table that also appears in the text. You also shouldn’t use a table to present irrelevant data, just to show you did collect these data during the experiment. Tables are good for some purposes and situations, but not others, so whether and how you’ll use tables depends upon what you need them to accomplish.
Tables are useful ways to show variation in data, but not to present a great deal of unchanging measurements. If you’re dealing with a scientific phenomenon that occurs only within a certain range of temperatures, for example, you don’t need to use a table to show that the phenomenon didn’t occur at any of the other temperatures. How useful is this table?
As you can probably see, no solubility was observed until the trial temperature reached 50°C, a fact that the text part of the Results section could easily convey. The table could then be limited to what happened at 50°C and higher, thus better illustrating the differences in solubility rates when solubility did occur.
As a rule, try not to use a table to describe any experimental event you can cover in one sentence of text. Here’s an example of an unnecessary table from How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper , by Robert A. Day:
As Day notes, all the information in this table can be summarized in one sentence: “S. griseus, S. coelicolor, S. everycolor, and S. rainbowenski grew under aerobic conditions, whereas S. nocolor and S. greenicus required anaerobic conditions.” Most readers won’t find the table clearer than that one sentence.
When you do have reason to tabulate material, pay attention to the clarity and readability of the format you use. Here are a few tips:
- Number your table. Then, when you refer to the table in the text, use that number to tell your readers which table they can review to clarify the material.
- Give your table a title. This title should be descriptive enough to communicate the contents of the table, but not so long that it becomes difficult to follow. The titles in the sample tables above are acceptable.
- Arrange your table so that readers read vertically, not horizontally. For the most part, this rule means that you should construct your table so that like elements read down, not across. Think about what you want your readers to compare, and put that information in the column (up and down) rather than in the row (across). Usually, the point of comparison will be the numerical data you collect, so especially make sure you have columns of numbers, not rows.Here’s an example of how drastically this decision affects the readability of your table (from A Short Guide to Writing about Chemistry , by Herbert Beall and John Trimbur). Look at this table, which presents the relevant data in horizontal rows:
It’s a little tough to see the trends that the author presumably wants to present in this table. Compare this table, in which the data appear vertically:
The second table shows how putting like elements in a vertical column makes for easier reading. In this case, the like elements are the measurements of length and height, over five trials–not, as in the first table, the length and height measurements for each trial.
- Make sure to include units of measurement in the tables. Readers might be able to guess that you measured something in millimeters, but don’t make them try.
- Don’t use vertical lines as part of the format for your table. This convention exists because journals prefer not to have to reproduce these lines because the tables then become more expensive to print. Even though it’s fairly unlikely that you’ll be sending your Biology 11 lab report to Science for publication, your readers still have this expectation. Consequently, if you use the table-drawing option in your word-processing software, choose the option that doesn’t rely on a “grid” format (which includes vertical lines).
How do I include figures in my report?
Although tables can be useful ways of showing trends in the results you obtained, figures (i.e., illustrations) can do an even better job of emphasizing such trends. Lab report writers often use graphic representations of the data they collected to provide their readers with a literal picture of how the experiment went.
When should you use a figure?
Remember the circumstances under which you don’t need a table: when you don’t have a great deal of data or when the data you have don’t vary a lot. Under the same conditions, you would probably forgo the figure as well, since the figure would be unlikely to provide your readers with an additional perspective. Scientists really don’t like their time wasted, so they tend not to respond favorably to redundancy.
If you’re trying to decide between using a table and creating a figure to present your material, consider the following a rule of thumb. The strength of a table lies in its ability to supply large amounts of exact data, whereas the strength of a figure is its dramatic illustration of important trends within the experiment. If you feel that your readers won’t get the full impact of the results you obtained just by looking at the numbers, then a figure might be appropriate.
Of course, an undergraduate class may expect you to create a figure for your lab experiment, if only to make sure that you can do so effectively. If this is the case, then don’t worry about whether to use figures or not—concentrate instead on how best to accomplish your task.
Figures can include maps, photographs, pen-and-ink drawings, flow charts, bar graphs, and section graphs (“pie charts”). But the most common figure by far, especially for undergraduates, is the line graph, so we’ll focus on that type in this handout.
At the undergraduate level, you can often draw and label your graphs by hand, provided that the result is clear, legible, and drawn to scale. Computer technology has, however, made creating line graphs a lot easier. Most word-processing software has a number of functions for transferring data into graph form; many scientists have found Microsoft Excel, for example, a helpful tool in graphing results. If you plan on pursuing a career in the sciences, it may be well worth your while to learn to use a similar program.
Computers can’t, however, decide for you how your graph really works; you have to know how to design your graph to meet your readers’ expectations. Here are some of these expectations:
- Keep it as simple as possible. You may be tempted to signal the complexity of the information you gathered by trying to design a graph that accounts for that complexity. But remember the purpose of your graph: to dramatize your results in a manner that’s easy to see and grasp. Try not to make the reader stare at the graph for a half hour to find the important line among the mass of other lines. For maximum effectiveness, limit yourself to three to five lines per graph; if you have more data to demonstrate, use a set of graphs to account for it, rather than trying to cram it all into a single figure.
- Plot the independent variable on the horizontal (x) axis and the dependent variable on the vertical (y) axis. Remember that the independent variable is the condition that you manipulated during the experiment and the dependent variable is the condition that you measured to see if it changed along with the independent variable. Placing the variables along their respective axes is mostly just a convention, but since your readers are accustomed to viewing graphs in this way, you’re better off not challenging the convention in your report.
- Label each axis carefully, and be especially careful to include units of measure. You need to make sure that your readers understand perfectly well what your graph indicates.
- Number and title your graphs. As with tables, the title of the graph should be informative but concise, and you should refer to your graph by number in the text (e.g., “Figure 1 shows the increase in the solubility rate as a function of temperature”).
- Many editors of professional scientific journals prefer that writers distinguish the lines in their graphs by attaching a symbol to them, usually a geometric shape (triangle, square, etc.), and using that symbol throughout the curve of the line. Generally, readers have a hard time distinguishing dotted lines from dot-dash lines from straight lines, so you should consider staying away from this system. Editors don’t usually like different-colored lines within a graph because colors are difficult and expensive to reproduce; colors may, however, be great for your purposes, as long as you’re not planning to submit your paper to Nature. Use your discretion—try to employ whichever technique dramatizes the results most effectively.
- Try to gather data at regular intervals, so the plot points on your graph aren’t too far apart. You can’t be sure of the arc you should draw between the plot points if the points are located at the far corners of the graph; over a fifteen-minute interval, perhaps the change occurred in the first or last thirty seconds of that period (in which case your straight-line connection between the points is misleading).
- If you’re worried that you didn’t collect data at sufficiently regular intervals during your experiment, go ahead and connect the points with a straight line, but you may want to examine this problem as part of your Discussion section.
- Make your graph large enough so that everything is legible and clearly demarcated, but not so large that it either overwhelms the rest of the Results section or provides a far greater range than you need to illustrate your point. If, for example, the seedlings of your plant grew only 15 mm during the trial, you don’t need to construct a graph that accounts for 100 mm of growth. The lines in your graph should more or less fill the space created by the axes; if you see that your data is confined to the lower left portion of the graph, you should probably re-adjust your scale.
- If you create a set of graphs, make them the same size and format, including all the verbal and visual codes (captions, symbols, scale, etc.). You want to be as consistent as possible in your illustrations, so that your readers can easily make the comparisons you’re trying to get them to see.
How do I write a strong Discussion section?
The discussion section is probably the least formalized part of the report, in that you can’t really apply the same structure to every type of experiment. In simple terms, here you tell your readers what to make of the Results you obtained. If you have done the Results part well, your readers should already recognize the trends in the data and have a fairly clear idea of whether your hypothesis was supported. Because the Results can seem so self-explanatory, many students find it difficult to know what material to add in this last section.
Basically, the Discussion contains several parts, in no particular order, but roughly moving from specific (i.e., related to your experiment only) to general (how your findings fit in the larger scientific community). In this section, you will, as a rule, need to:
Explain whether the data support your hypothesis
- Acknowledge any anomalous data or deviations from what you expected
Derive conclusions, based on your findings, about the process you’re studying
- Relate your findings to earlier work in the same area (if you can)
Explore the theoretical and/or practical implications of your findings
Let’s look at some dos and don’ts for each of these objectives.
This statement is usually a good way to begin the Discussion, since you can’t effectively speak about the larger scientific value of your study until you’ve figured out the particulars of this experiment. You might begin this part of the Discussion by explicitly stating the relationships or correlations your data indicate between the independent and dependent variables. Then you can show more clearly why you believe your hypothesis was or was not supported. For example, if you tested solubility at various temperatures, you could start this section by noting that the rates of solubility increased as the temperature increased. If your initial hypothesis surmised that temperature change would not affect solubility, you would then say something like,
“The hypothesis that temperature change would not affect solubility was not supported by the data.”
Note: Students tend to view labs as practical tests of undeniable scientific truths. As a result, you may want to say that the hypothesis was “proved” or “disproved” or that it was “correct” or “incorrect.” These terms, however, reflect a degree of certainty that you as a scientist aren’t supposed to have. Remember, you’re testing a theory with a procedure that lasts only a few hours and relies on only a few trials, which severely compromises your ability to be sure about the “truth” you see. Words like “supported,” “indicated,” and “suggested” are more acceptable ways to evaluate your hypothesis.
Also, recognize that saying whether the data supported your hypothesis or not involves making a claim to be defended. As such, you need to show the readers that this claim is warranted by the evidence. Make sure that you’re very explicit about the relationship between the evidence and the conclusions you draw from it. This process is difficult for many writers because we don’t often justify conclusions in our regular lives. For example, you might nudge your friend at a party and whisper, “That guy’s drunk,” and once your friend lays eyes on the person in question, she might readily agree. In a scientific paper, by contrast, you would need to defend your claim more thoroughly by pointing to data such as slurred words, unsteady gait, and the lampshade-as-hat. In addition to pointing out these details, you would also need to show how (according to previous studies) these signs are consistent with inebriation, especially if they occur in conjunction with one another. To put it another way, tell your readers exactly how you got from point A (was the hypothesis supported?) to point B (yes/no).
Acknowledge any anomalous data, or deviations from what you expected
You need to take these exceptions and divergences into account, so that you qualify your conclusions sufficiently. For obvious reasons, your readers will doubt your authority if you (deliberately or inadvertently) overlook a key piece of data that doesn’t square with your perspective on what occurred. In a more philosophical sense, once you’ve ignored evidence that contradicts your claims, you’ve departed from the scientific method. The urge to “tidy up” the experiment is often strong, but if you give in to it you’re no longer performing good science.
Sometimes after you’ve performed a study or experiment, you realize that some part of the methods you used to test your hypothesis was flawed. In that case, it’s OK to suggest that if you had the chance to conduct your test again, you might change the design in this or that specific way in order to avoid such and such a problem. The key to making this approach work, though, is to be very precise about the weakness in your experiment, why and how you think that weakness might have affected your data, and how you would alter your protocol to eliminate—or limit the effects of—that weakness. Often, inexperienced researchers and writers feel the need to account for “wrong” data (remember, there’s no such animal), and so they speculate wildly about what might have screwed things up. These speculations include such factors as the unusually hot temperature in the room, or the possibility that their lab partners read the meters wrong, or the potentially defective equipment. These explanations are what scientists call “cop-outs,” or “lame”; don’t indicate that the experiment had a weakness unless you’re fairly certain that a) it really occurred and b) you can explain reasonably well how that weakness affected your results.
If, for example, your hypothesis dealt with the changes in solubility at different temperatures, then try to figure out what you can rationally say about the process of solubility more generally. If you’re doing an undergraduate lab, chances are that the lab will connect in some way to the material you’ve been covering either in lecture or in your reading, so you might choose to return to these resources as a way to help you think clearly about the process as a whole.
This part of the Discussion section is another place where you need to make sure that you’re not overreaching. Again, nothing you’ve found in one study would remotely allow you to claim that you now “know” something, or that something isn’t “true,” or that your experiment “confirmed” some principle or other. Hesitate before you go out on a limb—it’s dangerous! Use less absolutely conclusive language, including such words as “suggest,” “indicate,” “correspond,” “possibly,” “challenge,” etc.
Relate your findings to previous work in the field (if possible)
We’ve been talking about how to show that you belong in a particular community (such as biologists or anthropologists) by writing within conventions that they recognize and accept. Another is to try to identify a conversation going on among members of that community, and use your work to contribute to that conversation. In a larger philosophical sense, scientists can’t fully understand the value of their research unless they have some sense of the context that provoked and nourished it. That is, you have to recognize what’s new about your project (potentially, anyway) and how it benefits the wider body of scientific knowledge. On a more pragmatic level, especially for undergraduates, connecting your lab work to previous research will demonstrate to the TA that you see the big picture. You have an opportunity, in the Discussion section, to distinguish yourself from the students in your class who aren’t thinking beyond the barest facts of the study. Capitalize on this opportunity by putting your own work in context.
If you’re just beginning to work in the natural sciences (as a first-year biology or chemistry student, say), most likely the work you’ll be doing has already been performed and re-performed to a satisfactory degree. Hence, you could probably point to a similar experiment or study and compare/contrast your results and conclusions. More advanced work may deal with an issue that is somewhat less “resolved,” and so previous research may take the form of an ongoing debate, and you can use your own work to weigh in on that debate. If, for example, researchers are hotly disputing the value of herbal remedies for the common cold, and the results of your study suggest that Echinacea diminishes the symptoms but not the actual presence of the cold, then you might want to take some time in the Discussion section to recapitulate the specifics of the dispute as it relates to Echinacea as an herbal remedy. (Consider that you have probably already written in the Introduction about this debate as background research.)
This information is often the best way to end your Discussion (and, for all intents and purposes, the report). In argumentative writing generally, you want to use your closing words to convey the main point of your writing. This main point can be primarily theoretical (“Now that you understand this information, you’re in a better position to understand this larger issue”) or primarily practical (“You can use this information to take such and such an action”). In either case, the concluding statements help the reader to comprehend the significance of your project and your decision to write about it.
Since a lab report is argumentative—after all, you’re investigating a claim, and judging the legitimacy of that claim by generating and collecting evidence—it’s often a good idea to end your report with the same technique for establishing your main point. If you want to go the theoretical route, you might talk about the consequences your study has for the field or phenomenon you’re investigating. To return to the examples regarding solubility, you could end by reflecting on what your work on solubility as a function of temperature tells us (potentially) about solubility in general. (Some folks consider this type of exploration “pure” as opposed to “applied” science, although these labels can be problematic.) If you want to go the practical route, you could end by speculating about the medical, institutional, or commercial implications of your findings—in other words, answer the question, “What can this study help people to do?” In either case, you’re going to make your readers’ experience more satisfying, by helping them see why they spent their time learning what you had to teach them.
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
American Psychological Association. 2010. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . 6th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Beall, Herbert, and John Trimbur. 2001. A Short Guide to Writing About Chemistry , 2nd ed. New York: Longman.
Blum, Deborah, and Mary Knudson. 1997. A Field Guide for Science Writers: The Official Guide of the National Association of Science Writers . New York: Oxford University Press.
Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. FitzGerald. 2016. The Craft of Research , 4th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Briscoe, Mary Helen. 1996. Preparing Scientific Illustrations: A Guide to Better Posters, Presentations, and Publications , 2nd ed. New York: Springer-Verlag.
Council of Science Editors. 2014. Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers , 8th ed. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press.
Davis, Martha. 2012. Scientific Papers and Presentations , 3rd ed. London: Academic Press.
Day, Robert A. 1994. How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper , 4th ed. Phoenix: Oryx Press.
Porush, David. 1995. A Short Guide to Writing About Science . New York: Longman.
Williams, Joseph, and Joseph Bizup. 2017. Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace , 12th ed. Boston: Pearson.
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how to write an academic report: Examples and tips
Writing a report should be concise and to the point. It should also be relevant to the topic. Make sure to check your work with someone and read it aloud. Proofreading is also important because computer programs cannot catch every mistake. You may even want to wait a day before you read it to make sure that it is error-free. Keep in mind that an academic report differs from a business or technical report.
Avoiding the present tense
While the present tense is commonly used in academic writing, it isn’t always necessary. When anyone tells you about writing how to write an academic report , you can switch the tense within the same sentence or paragraph when you shift from general statements to more specific examples based on research. Other times, it’s appropriate to use the present tense when you write about a particular event that has changed over time.
The best time to use either tense is determined by the context in which you’re writing. While both are acceptable, you’ll want to ensure that your reader knows when you made your findings. In most cases, the present tense will mean that you’re writing about the time you did the research, while the past tense can be interpreted in different ways.
Introducing your topic
The introduction is the first section of your paper, and it should capture the reader’s interest and make them want to read the rest of your paper. You can do this by opening with a compelling story, question, or example that shows why your topic is important. The hook should also establish the relevance of your paper in the wider context.
The introduction should also have a thesis statement, which should explain your research paper’s topic and point of view. This statement will guide the organization of your essay. A strong thesis statement is specific, clear, and able to be proved.
Stating your thesis statement
Your thesis statement should be clear and concise. It should be able to persuade others while laying out your strong opinions. It should also contain an argument. For example, you could argue that the government should ban 4×4 pickup trucks. Or, you might argue that the amount of foul language in movies is disproportionate to the amount of it in real life.
A strong thesis statement contradicts a commonly held viewpoint. It is not too complex to explain over the course of the paper. It should also express a single main idea.
Putting together an outline before writing your report
Putting together an outline is a great way to organize your paper. Outline the content that you will cover and how you plan to support your main point. You can use a list format or alpha-numeric format to organize your outline. Regardless of the format, your outline should have a parallel structure and include the same types of words in each section. It is also a good idea to include citations whenever possible.
When you’re writing, outlining will help you get the most out of your writing. It will save you time and effort when writing because you can make full sentences and well-developed essays with an outline.
One of the most important things to remember when writing an academic report is to avoid using jargon. These words are often difficult to understand, and although they are useful shorthand for scientists, they may alienate non-specialist readers. The use of jargon is the most common reason that readers complain about writing, but there are ways to replace these terms with plainer versions.
Jargon is specialized terminology used by a specific group. It can be incredibly difficult to understand if you’re not part of the group. It also tends to make your writing more complicated and shows that you’re trying to show off your knowledge.
How to Write an Academic Report – Examples and Tips
While the present tense is commonly used in academic writing, it isn’t always necessary. When writing an academic report, you can switch the tense within the same sentence or paragraph when you shift from general statements to more specific examples based on research. Other times, it’s appropriate to use the present tense when you write about a particular event that has changed over time.
Owen Ingram is a research-based content writer, who works for Cognizantt, a globally recognised professional SEO service and Research Prospect , a Servizio di redazione di saggi e dissertazioni . Mr Owen Ingram holds a PhD degree in English literature. He loves to express his views on a range of issues including education, technology, and more.
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What is a report and how does it differ from writing an essay? Reports are concise and have a formal structure. They are often used to communicate the results or findings of a project.
Essays by contrast are often used to show a tutor what you think about a topic. They are discursive and the structure can be left to the discretion of the writer.
Who and what is the report for?
Before you write a report, you need to be clear about who you are writing the report for and why the report has been commissioned.
Keep the audience in mind as you write your report, think about what they need to know. For example, the report could be for:
- the general public
- academic staff
- senior management
- a customer/client.
Reports are usually assessed on content, structure, layout, language, and referencing. You should consider the focus of your report, for example:
- Are you reporting on an experiment?
- Is the purpose to provide background information?
- Should you be making recommendations for action?
Language of report writing
Reports use clear and concise language, which can differ considerably from essay writing.
They are often broken down in to sections, which each have their own headings and sub-headings. These sections may include bullet points or numbering as well as more structured sentences. Paragraphs are usually shorter in a report than in an essay.
Both essays and reports are examples of academic writing. You are expected to use grammatically correct sentence structure, vocabulary and punctuation.
Academic writing is formal so you should avoid using apostrophes and contractions such as “it’s” and "couldn't". Instead, use “it is” and “could not”.
Structure and organisation
Reports are much more structured than essays. They are divided in to sections and sub-sections that are formatted using bullet points or numbering.
Report structures do vary among disciplines, but the most common structures include the following:
The title page needs to be informative and descriptive, concisely stating the topic of the report.
Abstract (or Executive Summary in business reports)
The abstract is a brief summary of the context, methods, findings and conclusions of the report. It is intended to give the reader an overview of the report before they continue reading, so it is a good idea to write this section last.
An executive summary should outline the key problem and objectives, and then cover the main findings and key recommendations.
Table of contents
Readers will use this table of contents to identify which sections are most relevant to them. You must make sure your contents page correctly represents the structure of your report.
Take a look at this sample contents page.
In your introduction you should include information about the background to your research, and what its aims and objectives are. You can also refer to the literature in this section; reporting what is already known about your question/topic, and if there are any gaps. Some reports are also expected to include a section called ‘Terms of references’, where you identify who asked for the report, what is covers, and what its limitations are.
If your report involved research activity, you should state what that was, for example you may have interviewed clients, organised some focus groups, or done a literature review. The methodology section should provide an accurate description of the material and procedures used so that others could replicate the experiment you conducted.
The results/findings section should be an objective summary of your findings, which can use tables, graphs, or figures to describe the most important results and trends. You do not need to attempt to provide reasons for your results (this will happen in the discussion section).
In the discussion you are expected to critically evaluate your findings. You may need to re-state what your report was aiming to prove and whether this has been achieved. You should also assess the accuracy and significance of your findings, and show how it fits in the context of previous research.
Your conclusion should summarise the outcomes of your report and make suggestions for further research or action to be taken. You may also need to include a list of specific recommendations as a result of your study.
The references are a list of any sources you have used in your report. Your report should use the standard referencing style preferred by your school or department eg Harvard, Numeric, OSCOLA etc.
You should use appendices to expand on points referred to in the main body of the report. If you only have one item it is an appendix, if you have more than one they are called appendices. You can use appendices to provide backup information, usually data or statistics, but it is important that the information contained is directly relevant to the content of the report.
Appendices can be given alphabetical or numerical headings, for example Appendix A, or Appendix 1. The order they appear at the back of your report is determined by the order that they are mentioned in the body of your report. You should refer to your appendices within the text of your report, for example ‘see Appendix B for a breakdown of the questionnaire results’. Don’t forget to list the appendices in your contents page.
Presentation and layout
Reports are written in several sections and may also include visual data such as figures and tables. The layout and presentation is therefore very important.
Your tutor or your module handbook will state how the report should be presented in terms of font sizes, margins, text alignment etc.
You will need good IT skills to manipulate graphical data and work with columns and tables. If you need to improve these skills, try the following online resources:
- Microsoft online training through Linkedin Learning
- Engage web resource on using tables and figures in reports
How to Write a Project Report: Step-By-Step Guide [+ 4 Free Templates]
By archtc on December 26, 2017 — 21 minutes to read
- How to Write a Project Report: Step-By-Step Guide Part 1
- Project Report Templates: Free Download Part 2
- Additional Resources Part 3
- How to Dramatically Reduce Time You Spend Creating Reports Part 4
At some point during the implementation of a project, a project report has to be generated in order to paint a mental image of the whole project. Ultimately, a project report must maximize the insight gained with minimal effort from the reader. Apart from describing its results, it must also explain the implications of those results to the organization and its business operations.
How to Write a Project Status Report:
The most common type of project report, a project status report provides a general state of the project to its stakeholders. It quantifies work performed and completed in measurable terms. It compares this with an established baseline to see if the project is on track or; if adjustments have to be made if the project is behind its schedule. It keeps everyone on the same page and manages each other’s expectations.
Project status reports are accomplished to serve the following purposes;
- to keep an updated flow of information in relation to the project’s progress
- to immediately address issues and concerns that may come up at any point of the project’s implementation or duration
- to document reasons for changes and adjustments made to the original plan for the project
- to monitor fund utilization and to ensure that the project expenses are still within the budget
- to serve as a basis for decision-making and addressing problems
- to keep track of the team’s performance and individual contributions
- to act as a uniform procedure for communicating project development to the stakeholders.
Status reports are most effective when they follow a standard form with predefined fields that need to be regularly updated. Doing so will save time and provide consistency and predictability of the information the stakeholders will receive about the status of the project.
WHAT TO INCLUDE
For a status report to be comprehensive, it must include the following elements:
Summary/overall health of the project, facts on the project progress, target vs. actual accomplishments, action(s) taken, risks and issues, keys to an effective project status report.
- Submit the report on time . A status report is time sensitive and sending it late defeats the purpose of such a report.
- Giving complete but inaccurate information is just as bad as giving accurate but incomplete information . Since stakeholders rely on the status report for a heads-up on the project, and its content is used as the basis for decision-making, it is critical that the report provides both complete and accurate information.
- Do not cover up bad news or adverse reports as these are all part of the transparency of the status report . Keep in mind that being open with the stakeholders, whether the project is sailing smoothly or not, will benefit both the team and the client, since any problems there are will be immediately given attention and solved.
- Be proud of the team’s accomplishments, after all, this is what the clients and the stakeholders will want to know about .
- Anticipate questions from the clients or stakeholders and be prepared to answer them .
- Be familiar with the culture of the organization and respect the information hierarchy they observe . There are instances when the CEO wants to be the first to know about the contents of these reports before cascading it to his downlines. On the other hand, middle managers will want a head start on these reports so they can also anticipate and prepare for any reaction from the top executives.
- Craft the status report in such a way that there will be no information overload . It should contain necessary information that the stakeholders need to know. Lengthy reports will consume not only the writer’s time but also that of the reader. Too many details also give an impression of micro management.
All projects, or any activities of business, face risks. It is just a matter of how an organization identifies, assesses, analyzes, and monitors these risks. With a Risk Register, an organization is equipped with a tool to better respond to problems that may arise because of these risks. It helps in the decision-making process and enables the stakeholders to take care of the threats in the best way possible.
A Risk Register, also called an Issue Log, is iterative because it will be updated periodically depending on how often the team identifies a potential risk. It may also be updated if the characteristics of the existing potential risks change as the project progresses.
The Risk Register document contains information about the following:
- Risk Category: Grouping these risks under different categories is helpful. Doing so will provide a way to make a plan of action that will address most, if not all of the risks falling under the same category, saving time, effort, and resources.
- Risk Description: Provide a brief explanation of the identified potential risk. The description can be done in a variety of ways depending on the level of detail. A general description can be difficult to address while giving too much detail about the risk may entail a significant amount of work. Three factors to consider when making a risk description are: the way these risks are going to be managed, who will handle them, and the reporting requirements of the person receiving the risk register.
- Risk ID: Assign a unique identification code to each risk identified to track it in the risk register easily. Create a system of coding in such a way that the category to which the said risk belongs is easily identifiable.
- Project Impact: Indicate the potential effect of the assumed risk on different aspects of the project such as budget, timelines, quality, and performance.
- Likelihood: Referring to the possibility of the risk occurring, the likelihood can be expressed qualitatively—high, medium, low—or quantitatively, if there is enough information available. Whatever criteria are to be used, assign a number—with the highest value corresponding to that which is most likely to occur.
Using the table above, the identified risk can be ranked this way:
- Risk Trigger: These are the potential risk events that will trigger the implementation of a contingency plan based on the risk management plan. This plan should have been prepared prior to the development of a risk register.
- Prevention Plan: This enumerates the steps or action to be taken to prevent the risks from occurring.
- Contingency Plan: On the other hand, the contingency plan determines the steps or action to be taken once the risk events have occurred. This program also contains the measures to be taken to reduce the impact of such risks to the project.
- Risk Owner: The person responsible for managing risk, and the implementation of the prevention and contingency plans, it can be anyone among the stakeholders—members of the team, a project manager, or project sponsors.
- Residual Risk: Sometimes, a risk cannot be entirely eliminated after treatment. Part of it may linger throughout the duration of the project, but once it has been treated, it can be considered as a low-level risk.
Keys to an Effective Risk Register
- The first risk register must be created as soon as the project plan and the risk management plan has been approved . This initial risk register must be integrated into the project plan.
- Active risks during a particular period must also be included in the project status report .
- Risk management is an iterative process which is why the risk register must also be updated from time to time . Updates can be made when new risks are identified or there have been changes in the risks already in the register.
- The numerical value assigned to the likelihood and severity levels must remain constant throughout the duration of the whole project .
- Likewise, any terms used must be defined, and this definition must be utilized consistently .
Project Closure Report
As the end of a project, a Project Closure Report signals its culmination. Its submission officially concludes a project and implies that funds and resources will no longer be needed, and everything will go back to its status prior to the implementation of the project.
This process is critical as it will officially tie up all loose ends and prevent confusion among stakeholders.
This particular type of project report summarizes information on the project results, the criteria used to measure the effectiveness of the project delivery process, and the feedback from the stakeholders. Each performance metric includes an assessment and a narration of how the team performed on such metrics.
This performance metric describes how the team utilized the budget in carrying out the project effectively. Under this performance metric, the following aspects are measured:
Budget variance, explanations for key variances.
Describe how the team implemented the project within the expected time frame and schedule.
Overall Project Duration
Schedule variance, the explanations for key variances, change management.
This metric refers to the team’s ability to handle and manage changes throughout the project’s implementation effectively. It is measured through the following:
Total Number of Changes
The impact of the changes, the highlight of changes, quality management.
This particular metric refers to the team’s ability to observe and comply with quality standards during the project’s implementation.
Total Number of Defects Identified
The explanation for resolved defects, risk and issue management.
This metric deals with how risks and matters that occurred during project implementation were handled and resolved by the team. Key points to include are the following:
The impact of the Risks and Issues to the Project
Human resource management.
This refers to the team’s ability to carry out the project effectively.
Project Organization Structure
This metric looks at how the stakeholders participated in the project.
Under this metric, communication throughout the duration of the project is assessed.
Communication Management Plan
- Summarize essential feedback collected . Describe the method by which these comments were gathered and who was solicited for feedback. Also include how they responded to each question and briefly discuss which items received great responses from the participants and which ones got few answers.
- Take note of common themes or trends of feedback gathered .
- From the feedback gathered, also take note of any opportunities from this feedback and discuss how these opportunities can be applied to future projects, or in the organization itself .
- Give a brief discussion of what the team learned when carrying out the project . Among these learnings, discuss which ones can be applied to future projects and how it will impact not only those future projects but also the whole organization.
Other points of interest may not have been captured in the Project Status Report and may be included in the Project Closeout Report. Some of these factors include:
Duration and Effort by Project Phase
Benefits realized, benchmark comparisons, keys to an effective project closure report.
- The closure report is mostly a summary of all efforts related to the project . It is important to ensure that all highlights of the project have been properly documented so that retrieval of these reports is easier and all efforts will be acknowledged.
- Emphasize the high points the project delivered, how efficiently it was done, and what has been learned from the process.
- If there are notable variances during the project implementation, make sure to provide a fact-based explanation on it . In addition, the impact of this difference must also be described.
- A critical point in a project closure report is establishing the link between the project performance, the lessons learned, and the steps that will be taken by the organization for its continuous improvement . Aside from the project deliverables, another valuable output of a project is the learnings derived from the process and how it will be translated into concrete concepts applicable to the business processes of the organization.
A little bit different from the types of project reports previously mentioned, an Executive Summary is a distinct kind of report which uses different language. It is a high-level report which aims to provide a bigger and deeper understanding of the project—how it will benefit the organization and how it will fit into future business strategies. It is written with a busy executive in mind, someone who has a lot of important things to do and may find reading a lengthy piece of prose a waste of precious time. Factual and objective, this particular type of project report must be able to provide a realistic status of the project, as business executives understand that everything may not go according to the plan.
Some may confuse an executive summary with an abstract but, in reality, they are clearly distinct from one another and serve a different purpose.
An abstract is usually written for academic or scientific papers. It is written with a topic sentence which, generally, gives an overview of what the article is about. It is, then, supported by two or three supporting sentences which support the main idea of the topic sentence.
An executive summary, on the other hand, is composed of different sections discussing almost every significant aspect of an undertaking. It consists of sequentially arranged key points supported by conclusions and recommendations. Check our in-depth article on how to write an effective executive summary .
Things to Remember in Writing Project Reports
Here are some of the principles that need to be observed in writing an effective project report;
Write for the reader
The report should have a structure, ensure that the report is evidence-based and is supported by data, make it as objective as possible.
There is a clear distinction between facts and opinions . These should never be used together, especially if the report is dwelling on a failed project. The report becomes subjective if it reflects personal opinions of the writer. Make it objective by eliminating all parts which are not based on facts and real events. If it is really necessary to include a personal view or opinion, make sure to explicitly identify it as such. A separate section of the project report may be devoted to the writer’s personal opinion to keep the rest of the report unbiased.
There are a number of ways project reporting helps an organization, a team, and even the project itself and here are some of them:
It tracks the progress of the project
It helps identify risks, it helps manage project cost, it gives stakeholders an insight on how the project is performing, project report template: free download.
Click Here to Download Project Status Report XLSX
Click Here to Download Project Update Report DOC
Click Here to Download Project Update Report 2 DOCX
Click Here to Download General Project Report DOCX
Templates on ProsperForms:
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How to Write a Report
- Introduction of your chosen topic
- Content of your chosen topic
- The results of your findings
- Closing it with the conclusion of the report
What Is the Purpose of a Report?
Effective formal report writing example.
Basic Audit Report Writing
Sample Research Report Writing Example
Example Student Report Writing
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The Difference between Essay and Report Writing
How to prepare a report writing.
- The first thing that you should do to prepare when writing a report is of course the chosen topic that you’re going to be reporting.
- Study and understand the chosen topic that you would be writing a report about in order make an effective and informative report.
- Start writing your report to actually experience it on a more hands-on way. You may also see writing examples in doc
6+ script writing examples, 6+ meeting minutes writing examples, 5+ formal writing examples, 5+ abstract writing examples, 5+ application writing examples, 4+ summary writing examples, what do you mean by writing skills, what is writing used for, 12+ financial report examples, 8+ research report examples, 7+ activity report examples, 6+ short report examples, related articles.
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How to Write an Executive Summary for a Report: Step By Step Guide with Examples
So you have finally written a great comprehensive business report that took you weeks to create. You have included all the data from the different departments, compared it, done the analysis, made forecasts, and provided solutions to specific problems.
There is just one problem – the key stakeholders in the company don’t have enough time to go through the whole report.
Since the data and the KPIs that you included in the report are necessary for quality decision-making, you can see why this can become a huge issue.
Luckily, there is a way to present all of your key findings and not take too much of their time. This is done through executive summaries.
An executive summary is exactly what the name suggests – a summary. It is essentially a quick overview of all the most important metrics in the report. The purpose of this summary is to bring the attention of the highest-ranking members in the company to the most important KPIs that they will consider when making decisions.
While an executive summary is a rather short section, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to write. You will have to pay extra attention to every single sentence in order to avoid unnecessary information.
Do you want to learn how to create an informative executive summary? This guide will show you all you need to know.
What Is an Executive Report?
What is an executive summary in a report, how long should an executive summary be, who is the audience of an executive summary, what should be included in an executive summary report, how to write an executive summary report, common mistakes to avoid when writing executive summaries, executive report examples, executive summary templates, create executive reports in databox.
Executive reports are used for keeping senior managers updated on the latest and most significant activities in the company. These reports have to be concise and accurate since they will have a huge impact on the most important business-related decisions.
Working for any sort of company requires writing different types of reports such as financial reports , marketing reports , sales reports , internal reports, and more.
What all of these reports have in common is that they are very comprehensive and typically require a lot of time to go through them –way too much time, if you ask busy managers.
They include a wealthy amount of data and a bunch of different metrics which are more useful for a particular team in the company. However, the highest-ranking members tend to be more focused on only the most essential KPIs that they need for making future decisions and strategies.
This is why executive reports come in handy. They are usually only a few pages long and they include only the most relevant details and data that incurred in a specific period.
An executive summary is the brief overview section included in a long report or document. This part of the report primarily focuses on the key topics and most important data within it. It can include an overall business goal of the company or short-term strategic objectives.
This summary is primarily useful for C-level managers who don’t have time to read the whole report but want to have an insight into the main KPIs and latest business performances.
Bank officials also may use executive summaries since it’s the quickest way for them to estimate whether your company represents a good investment opportunity.
Depending on your company’s practice, executive summaries can either be placed at the beginning of the report or as a formal section in the table of contents.
The length of the summary depends on the type of report, but it is typically one or two pages long.
To know whether you have written a good executive summary, you can ask yourself, “Are the stakeholders going to have all the information they need to make decisions?”
If the answer is yes, you have done a good job.
There is no strict rule about how long executive summaries should be. Each company is unique which means the length will always vary. In most cases, it will depend on the size of the report/business plan.
However, a universal consensus is that it should be anywhere from one to four pages long or five to ten percent of the length of the report.
This is typically more than enough space to summarize the story behind the data and provide your stakeholders with the most important KPIs for future decision-making.
The people most interested in reading the executive summary are typically the ones who don’t have time to read the whole report and want a quick overview of the most important data and information.
- Project stakeholders – The individuals or organizations that are actively involved in a project with your company.
- Management personnel (decision-makers) – The highest-ranking employees in your company (manager, partner, general partner, etc.)
- Investors – As we said, this could be bank officials who want a quick recap of your company’s performance so they can make an easier investment decision.
- Venture capitalists – Investors who provide capital in exchange for equity stakes.
- C-level executives – The chief executives in your business.
Related : Reporting Strategy for Multiple Audiences: 6 Tips for Getting Started
The components of your executive summary depend on what is included in the overall larger document. Executive summary elements may also vary depending on the type of document (business plan, project, report, etc.), but there are several components that are considered universal.
These are the main elements you should include:
Methods of analyzing the problem
Solutions to the problem, the ‘why now’ segment, well-defined conclusion.
The purpose of the summary should typically be included in the introduction as an opening statement. Explain what you aim to achieve with the document and communicate the value of your desired objective.
This part is supposed to grab your reader’s attention, so make sure they pay extra attention when writing it.
Problems are an unavoidable element in modern-day businesses, even in the most successful companies.
The second thing your executive summary needs to outline is what specific problem you are dealing with. It could be anything from product plans and customer feedback to sales revenue and marketing strategies.
Define the problems clearly so all the members know which areas need fixing.
Problem analysis methods are key for identifying the causes of the issue.
While figuring out the problems and the methods to solve them is immensely important, you shouldn’t overlook the things that caused them. This will help you from avoiding similar issues in the future.
Now that you’ve introduced the stakeholders to the problems, it’s time to move on to your solutions. Think of a few different ways that could solve the issue and include as many details as you can.
This is one of the most important parts of your executive summary.
The ‘Why Now’ segment showcases why the problem needs to be solved in a timely manner. You don’t want the readers to get the impression that there is plenty of time to fix the issue.
By displaying urgency in your summary, your report will have a much bigger impact.
One of the ways to display urgency visually is by adding performance benchmarks to your report. In case your business is not performing well as other companies within your industry, only one image showcasing which metrics are below the median could make a compelling case for the reader.
For example, if you have discovered that your churn rate is much higher than for an average SaaS company, this may be a good indication that you have issues with poor customer service, poor marketing, pricing issues, potentially outdated product features, etc.
Benchmark Your Performance Against Hundreds of Companies Just Like Yours
Viewing benchmark data can be enlightening, but seeing where your company’s efforts rank against those benchmarks can be game-changing.
Browse Databox’s open Benchmark Groups and join ones relevant to your business to get free and instant performance benchmarks.
Lastly, you should end your executive summary with a well-defined conclusion.
Make sure to include a recap of the problems, solutions, and the overall most important KPIs from the document.
Okay, so you understand the basics of executive summaries and why they are so important. However, you still aren’t sure how to write one.
Here are some of the best practices you can use to create amazing executive summaries that will impress your key stakeholders and high-ranking members.
Write it Last
Grab their attention, use appropriate language, talk strategy, include forecasts, highlight funding needs, make it short.
The most natural way to write your executive summary is by writing it at the end of your report/business plan.
This is because you will already have gone through all the most important information and data that should later be included.
A good suggestion is to take notes of all the significant KPIs that you think should be incorporated in the summary, it will make it easier for you to later categorize the data and you will have a clearer overview of the key parts of the report.
You may think that you already know which data you are going to include, but once you wrap up your report, you will probably run into certain things that you forgot to implement. It’s much easier to create an executive summary with all the data segmented in one place, than to rewrite it later.
While your primary goal when creating the executive summary is to make it informative, you also have to grab the attention of your readers so that you can motivate them to read the rest of the document.
Once they finish reading the last few sentences of the summary, the audience should be looking forward to checking out the remanding parts to get the full story.
If you are having trouble with finding ways to capture the reader’s attention, you can ask some of your colleagues from the sales department to lend a hand. After all, that’s their specialty.
One more important element is the type of language you use in the summary. Keep in mind who will be reading the summary, your language should be adjusted to a group of executives.
Make the summary understandable and avoid using complicated terms that may cause confusion, your goal is to feed the stakeholders with important information that will affect their decision-making.
This doesn’t only refer to the words that you use, the way in which you provide explanation should also be taken into consideration. People reading the report should be able to easily and quickly understand the main pain points that you highlighted.
You should have a specific part in your executive summary where you will focus on future strategies. This part should include information regarding your project, target market, program, and the problems that you think should be solved as soon as possible.
Also, you should provide some useful insights into the overall industry or field that your business operates in. Showcase some of the competitive advantages of your company and specific marketing insights that you think the readers would find interesting.
Related : What Is Strategic Reporting? 4 Report Examples to Get Inspiration From
Make one of the sections revolve around financial and sales forecasts for the next 1-3 years. Provide details of your breakeven points, such as where the expenses/revenues are equal and when you expect certain profits from your strategies.
This practice is mainly useful for business plans, but the same principle can be applied to reports. You can include predictions on how your overall objectives and goals will bring profit to the company.
Related : How Lone Fir Creative Uses Databox to Forecast, Set, & Achieve Agency & Client Goals
Don’t forget to talk about the funding needs for your projects since there is a high chance that investors will find their way to the executive summary as well.
You can even use a quotation from an influential figure that supports your upcoming projects. Include the costs that will incur but also provide profitability predictions that will persuade the investors to fund your projects.
While your report should include all of the most important metrics and data, aim for maximum conciseness.
Don’t include any information that may be abundant and try to keep the executive summary as short as possible. Creating a summary that takes up dozens of pages will lose its original purpose.
With a concise summary and clear communication of your messages, your readers will have an easy time understanding your thoughts and then take them into consideration.
Also, one last tip is to use a positive tone throughout the summary. You want your report to exude confidence and reassure the readers.
PRO TIP: How Well Are Your Marketing KPIs Performing?
Like most marketers and marketing managers, you want to know how well your efforts are translating into results each month. How much traffic and new contact conversions do you get? How many new contacts do you get from organic sessions? How are your email campaigns performing? How well are your landing pages converting? You might have to scramble to put all of this together in a single report, but now you can have it all at your fingertips in a single Databox dashboard.
Our Marketing Overview Dashboard includes data from Google Analytics and HubSpot Marketing with key performance metrics like:
- Sessions . The number of sessions can tell you how many times people are returning to your website. Obviously, the higher the better.
- New Contacts from Sessions . How well is your campaign driving new contacts and customers?
- Marketing Performance KPIs . Tracking the number of MQLs, SQLs, New Contacts and similar will help you identify how your marketing efforts contribute to sales.
- Email Performance . Measure the success of your email campaigns from HubSpot. Keep an eye on your most important email marketing metrics such as number of sent emails, number of opened emails, open rate, email click-through rate, and more.
- Blog Posts and Landing Pages . How many people have viewed your blog recently? How well are your landing pages performing?
Now you can benefit from the experience of our Google Analytics and HubSpot Marketing experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template that contains all the essential metrics for monitoring your leads. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in marketing reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your HubSpot and Google Analytics accounts with Databox.
Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.
No one expects you to become an expert executive summary writer overnight. Learning how to create great and meaningful summaries will inevitably take some time.
With the above-mentioned best practices in mind, you should also pay attention to avoiding certain mistakes that could reduce the value of your summaries.
Here are some examples.
Don’t use jargon
Avoid going into details, the summary should be able to stand alone, don’t forget to proofread.
From project stakeholders to C-level executives, everyone should be able to easily understand and read the information you gather in your summary.
Keep in mind, you are probably much more familiar with some of the technical terms that your departments use since you are closer to the daily work and individual tasks than your stakeholders.
Read your summary once again after you finish it to make sure there are no jargons you forgot to elaborate on.
Remember, your summary should be as short as possible, but still include all the key metrics and KPIs. There is no reason to go into details of specific projects, due dates, department performances, etc.
When creating the summary, ask yourself twice whether the information you included truly needs to be there.
Of course, there are certain details that bring value to the summary, but learn how to categorize the useful ones from the unnecessary ones.
While you will know your way around the project, that doesn’t apply to the readers.
After wrapping up the summary, go over it once again to see whether it can stand on its own. This means checking out if there is any sort of context that the readers will need in order to understand the summary.
If the answer is yes, you will have to redo the parts that can’t be understood by first-time readers.
Your executive summary is prone to changes, so making a typo isn’t the end of the world, you can always go back and fix it.
However, it’s not a bad idea to ask one of your colleagues to proofread it as well, just so you have an additional set of eyes.
Using reporting tools such as dashboards for executive reports can provide you with a birds-eye view of your company’s most important KPIs and data.
These dashboards work as visualization tools that will make all the important metrics much more understandable to your internal stakeholders.
Since executive reports on their own don’t include any visual elements such as graphs or charts, these dashboards basically grant them superpowers.
Executive reporting dashboards also make the decision-making process easier since there won’t be any misunderstandings regarding the meaning of the data.
Not only will you be able to gather the data in real-time, but you can also connect different sources onto the dashboard can use the visuals for performance comparisons.
Interested in giving executive report dashboards a try? Let’s check out some of the best examples.
Marketing Performance Dashboard
Customer support performance dashboard, financial overview dashboard, saas management dashboard, sales kpi dashboard.
To stay on top of your key user acquisition metrics, such as visit to leads conversion rates, email traffic, blog traffic, and more, you can use this Marketing Performance Dashboard .
You can pull in data from advanced tools such as HubSpot Marketing and Google Analytics to get a full overview of how your website generates leads.
Some of the things you will learn through this dashboard are:
- Which traffic sources are generating the most amount of leads
- How to track which number of users are new to your website
- How to compare the traffic you are getting from your email with blog traffic
- How to stay on top of lead generation goals each month
- How to be sure that your marketing activities are paying off
The key metrics included are bounce rate, new users, page/session, pageview, and average session duration.
You can use the Customer Support Performance Dashboard to track the overall performance of your customer service and check out how efficient individual agents are.
This simple and customizable dashboard will help you stay in touch with new conversation numbers, open/closed conversations by teammates, number of leads, and much more.
Also, you will get the answers to questions such as:
- How many new conversations did my customer support agents deal with yesterday/last week/last month?
- How many conversations are currently in progress?
- In which way are customer conversations tagged on Intercom?
- How to track the number of leads that the support team is generating?
- What is the best way to measure the performance of my customer support team?
Some of the key metrics are leads, open conversations, new conversations, tags by tag name, closed conversations, and more.
Want to know how much income your business generated last month? How to measure the financial health of your business? How about figuring out the best way to track credit card purchases?
You can track all of these things and more by using the Financial Overview Dashboard .
This free customizable dashboard will help you gain an insight into all of your business’s financial operations, cash flow, bank accounts, sales, expenses, and plenty more.
Understanding your company from a financial standpoint is one of the most important ingredients of good decision-making.
With key metrics such as gross profit, net income, open invoices, total expenses, and dozens more – all gathered in one financial reporting software , you will have no problems staying on top of your financial activities.
Use this SaaS Management Dashboard to have a clear overview of your business’s KPIs in real-time. This customizable dashboard will help you stay competitive in the SaaS industry by providing you with comprehensive data that can you can visualize, making it more understandable.
You will be able to:
- See how your company is growing on an annual basis
- Have a detailed outline of your weakest and strongest months
- Determine which strategies are most efficient in driving revenue
The key metrics included in this dashboard are recurring revenue, churn by type, MRR changes, and customer changes.
Do you want to monitor your sales team’s output and outcomes? Interested in tracking average deal sizes, number of won deals, new deals created, and more?
This Sales KPI Dashboard can help you do just that.
It serves as a perfect tool for sales managers that are looking for the best way to create detailed overviews of their performances.
By connecting your HubSpot account to this customizable dashboard, you can learn:
- What’s the average deal size
- The number of open, closed, and lost deals each month
- How much revenue you can expect from the new deals
- How your business is progressing towards the overall sales goals
Although you probably understand what your executive summary should include by now, you may still need a bit of help with creating a clear outline to follow.
We thought about that too. Here are some template examples that will help you create executive summaries for different kinds of business needs.
Here is an executive summary template for a business plan:
- [Company profile (with relevant history)]
- [Company contact details]
- [Description of products and/or services]
- [Unique proposition]
- [Competitive advantage]
- [Intellectual property]
- [Development status]
- [Market opportunity]
- [Target market]
- [Funding needs]
- [Potential price of goods]
- [Projected profit margins for year one and two]
- [Summarize main points]
Executive summary template for marketing plan:
- [Product description]
- [Unique customer characteristics]
- [Customer spending habits]
- [Relationship to product]
- [Access channels]
- [Value and credibility of product]
- [Product competitive advantage]
- [Creative outlook]
- [Goal statement]
- [Forecasted cost]
- [Next week]
- [Next month]
Executive summary template for a research report
- [Project topic]
- [Name | Date]
- [Report introduction]
- [Research methods]
Executive summary template for project executive
- [Project name]
- [Program name]
- [Project lead]
- [Prepared by]
- [Project milestones]
- [Status overviews]
- [New requests]
- [Issues summary]
- [Project notes]
For the longest time, writing executive reports has been seen as a grueling and time-consuming process that will require many sleepless nights to get the job done right.
While there is plenty of truth to this, modern automated reporting software has revolutionized these writing nightmares.
Databox is one of those tools.
With Databox, you will be able to connect data from multiple sources into one comprehensive dashboard. Also, you are going to gain access to different types of charts and graphs that you can use for data visualization and make the report much more understandable to the readers.
Using a modernized tool like Databox will provide you with a faster, more accurate, and more efficient reporting process.
This advanced software allows you easily create your own customizable reports that can be adjusted in real-time as soon as new data emerges.
Who says executive reporting has to be a tedious process? Sign up for our free trial and see how easy creating executive reports can be.
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How to write a lab report for chemistry + Examples
Writing a chemistry lab report can be challenging, but it is definitely a skill that can be learned. In order to write a good lab report for chemistry experiments, you must first understand the purpose of the report. A lab report is not just a summary of what you did in the lab, it is also a tool that instructors can use to assess your understanding of the material.
When writing a lab report for chemistry class, there are several things that you must include:
- The purpose of the experiment
- The materials used in the experiment
- The procedure followed in the experiment
- The results of the experiment
- The interpretation of the results
- A discussion of any errors or deviations from the expected results
- A conclusion drawn from the results of the experiment
Lab reports should be written in a clear and concise manner. It is important to remember that the reader of your report will not have the same level of knowledge as you do about the subject. Therefore, it is important to explain all terms and concepts in a simple and straightforward way.
- How to write an abstract for a lab report
- How to write an executive summary for a lab report + examples
- How to write an introduction for a lab report
- How to write a biology lab report + examples
- How to write a conclusion for a lab report + examples
- How to write a discussion in a lab report + examples
- Analytical Chemistry
- Environmental Chemistry
- General Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Physical Chemistry
- Quantum Chemistry
- Polymer Chemistry
- Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Structure: How to format a chemistry lab report
The format of a chemistry lab report may vary depending on the instructor, but there are some general elements that are always included. Your report should be divided into sections, with each section starting on a new page. The following is an example of how to format a chemistry lab report:
How to format a chemistry lab report
- Methods and materials
How to write a lab report for chemistry
A chemistry lab report is a written report describing your findings from conducting chemical experiments. The purpose of a chem lab report is to communicate your results to your instructor and to other students in the class. Lab reports are an essential part of scientific training, providing valuable communication skills that will be useful throughout your chemistry career.
There are many different ways to write a chemistry lab report, but here are a few general guidelines that will help you get started:
The title page should include the title of your experiment, your name, and the names of any other collaborators. The title page of your chem lab report should also list the date, your instructor’s name, and the name of your department or lab.
Example of a chemistry lab title page:
EXPERIMENT 4: Determination of the Molar Mass of an Unknown Substance
By John Smith and Jane Doe
December 5, 2016
Department of Chemistry
The abstract is a brief summary of your experiment. It should include the purpose of your experiment, the methods you used, the results you obtained, and your conclusions.
When writing a lab report for chemistry class, your abstract should:
- Describe the purpose of the experiment and what you were trying to accomplish
- Summarize the methods you used and how you conducted your experiment
- List the major results of your experiment, including data and observations
- State what your conclusions are based on your data
Example of a chemistry lab report abstract:
The purpose of this experiment was to synthesize aspirin and measure its melting point. The synthesis was carried out using two different methods, and the melting points of the products were measured. The results showed that the synthesis using method A produced a product with a higher melting point than the product synthesized using method B.
The introduction should provide a brief overview of the purpose of your experiment and the methods you used. You should also state the hypothesis you were testing and explain how you went about proving or disproving it.
Most students keep on wondering how to write an introduction for a lab report chemistry. The truth is that this part of your report should be quite easy to write, as long as you keep in mind a few key elements.
Methods and Materials:
The methods section should describe the procedures you used in your chem experiment. This includes describing how you mixed your solutions, what equipment you used, and any other relevant details. You should also explain why you chose these particular methods and how they helped you answer your hypothesis.
You should also list the materials you used in your lab, including the chemicals and equipment. Be sure to include the name and quantity of each material.
For example: 3 ml HCl, 1 ml NaOH (aq), Phenolphthalein indicator, 250mL Erlenmeyer flask, Bunsen burner, etc.
The results section is where you get to report the data from your experiment. This includes things like measurements, observations, and any other relevant information. Be sure to present your data in a clear and concise manner, and be sure to include a discussion of any trends or patterns you may have noticed.
In the discussion section, you should interpret your results and discuss their implications. The discussion section is where you interpret your findings and explain what they mean. You should also identify any areas that need further research.
When writing the discussion section of a lab report chemistry, it is important to remember that you are not simply recounting what happened during the experiment. Rather, you are providing an interpretation of the data and explaining its significance.
The conclusion should summarize the findings of your report and highlight the most important points. It should also provide a brief overview of the methods you used and discuss any possible errors or limitations of your experiment.
A good conclusion will leave the reader with a clear understanding of the purpose of your experiment and the significance of your findings. It should also provide a concise summary of the methods you used and the results you obtained.
The references section should list any sources you used in your report, including books, articles, websites, and lab manuals. Be sure to include all relevant information, such as author names, publication dates, and URLs.
When writing a lab report for chemistry, it is important to include a references section so that readers can easily find the sources you used. This is especially important if you are using sources that are not commonly known or if you are citing sources that are not available online.
By following these general guidelines will help you write a clear effective chemistry lab report. However, always check with your instructor for specific guidelines that may be applicable to your particular course.
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Chemistry Lab Report Examples
Below is a list of chemistry lab report examples
Chemistry Lab Report Example: Handwritten By DR Scott
Chemistry Lab Report Example – Measuring the expansion of freezing water at different precisions. This chem lab report example has been handwritten by DR Scott.
Sample of chemistry lab report
Below is a sample of chemistry lab report on Exploring the law of conservation of mass by a chemistry homework help expert. Use this chemistry lab report sample to learn how to write a lab report for chemistry:
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Children and young people’s writing in 2023
Added 05 jun 2023.
This report outlines findings from our 2023 Annual Literacy Survey, exploring children and young people’s writing enjoyment at school and in their free time.
This report is based on 71,351 responses to our Annual Literacy Survey from children and young people aged 5 to 18 in schools across the UK in early 2023. Findings show that enjoyment of writing is at one of the lowest levels we have evidenced since 2010.
Key findings in 2023:
- Levels of writing enjoyment have reduced by 12.2 percentage points over the past 13 years, which means that, over that time, there has been a 26% decrease in the number of children and young people aged 8 to 18 who say they enjoy writing in their free time.
- While daily writing levels have increased slightly over the past year, compared with 2010, the number of children and young people who wrote something daily in their free time has decreased by over a quarter (28.5%).
- Writing continues to support children and young people’s mental wellbeing, with 1 in 4 (24.5%) of children and young people saying that writing made them feel better, while 1 in 7 (15.5%) wrote to support causes and issues they care about.
As we continue to record alarmingly low levels of writing enjoyment among children and young people, urgent coordinated action is needed. It is now time to provide considered iopportunities aimed at reconnecting children and young people with the creative elements that transform writing into a pleasurable personal practice.
- Give this article
Climate Shocks Are Making Parts of America Uninsurable. It Just Got Worse.
The largest insurer in California said it would stop offering new coverage. It’s part of a broader trend of companies pulling back from dangerous areas.
By Christopher Flavelle , Jill Cowan and Ivan Penn
Christopher Flavelle, who has long covered the impacts of climate change on the insurance market, reported from Washington. Jill Cowan and Ivan Penn reported from Los Angeles.
The climate crisis is becoming a financial crisis.
This month, the largest homeowner insurance company in California, State Farm, announced that it would stop selling coverage to homeowners. That’s not just in wildfire zones, but everywhere in the state.
Listen to This Article
For more audio journalism and storytelling, download New York Times Audio , a new iOS app available for news subscribers.
Insurance companies, tired of losing money, are raising rates, restricting coverage or pulling out of some areas altogether — making it more expensive for people to live in their homes.
“Risk has a price,” said Roy Wright, the former official in charge of insurance at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and now head of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, a research group. “We’re just now seeing it.”
In parts of eastern Kentucky ravaged by storms last summer, the price of flood insurance is set to quadruple. In Louisiana, the top insurance official says the market is in crisis, and is offering millions of dollars in subsidies to try to draw insurers to the state.
And in much of Florida, homeowners are increasingly struggling to buy storm coverage. Most big insurers have pulled out of the state already, sending homeowners to smaller private companies that are straining to stay in business — a possible glimpse into California’s future if more big insurers leave.
Growing ‘catastrophe exposure’
State Farm, which insures more homeowners in California than any other company, said it would stop accepting applications for most types of new insurance policies in the state because of “rapidly growing catastrophe exposure.”
The company said that while it recognized the work of California officials to reduce losses from wildfires, it had to stop writing new policies “to improve the company’s financial strength.” A State Farm spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Insurance rates in California jumped after wildfires became more devastating than anyone had anticipated. A series of fires that broke out in 2017, many ignited by sparks from failing utility equipment, exploded in size with the effects of climate change. Some homeowners lost their insurance entirely because insurers refused to cover homes in vulnerable areas.
Michael Soller, a spokesman for the California Department of Insurance, said the agency was working to address the underlying factors that have caused disruption in the insurance industry across the country and around the world, including the biggest one: climate change.
He highlighted the department’s Safer From Wildfires initiative, a fire resilience program, and noted that state lawmakers are also working to control development in the areas at highest risk of burning.
But Tom Corringham, a research economist with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego who has studied the costs of natural disasters, said that allowing people to live in homes that are becoming uninsurable, or prohibitively expensive to insure, was unsustainable.
He said that policymakers must seriously consider buying properties that are at greatest risk, or otherwise moving residents out of the most dangerous communities.
“If we let the market sort it out, we have insurers refusing to write new policies in certain areas,” Dr. Corringham said. “We’re not sure how that’s in anyone’s best interest other than insurers.”
A broken model
California’s woes resemble a slow-motion version of what Florida experienced after Hurricane Andrew devastated Miami in 1992. The losses bankrupted some insurers and caused most national carriers to pull out of the state.
In response, Florida established a complicated system : a market based on small insurance companies, backed up by Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, a state-mandated company that would provide windstorm coverage for homeowners who couldn’t find private insurance.
For a while, it mostly worked. Then came Hurricane Irma.
The 2017 hurricane, which made landfall in the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm before moving up the coast, didn’t cause a particularly great amount of damage. But it was the first in a series of storms, culminating in Hurricane Ian last October, that broke the model insurers had relied on: One bad year of claims, followed by a few quiet years to build back their reserves.
Since Irma, almost every year has been bad.
Private insurers began to struggle to pay their claims; some went out of business. Those that survived increased their rates significantly.
More people have left the private market for Citizens, which recently became the state’s largest insurance provider, according to Michael Peltier, a spokesman. But Citizens won’t cover homes with a replacement cost of more than $700,000, or $1 million in Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys.
That leaves those homeowners with no choice but private coverage — and in parts of the state, that coverage is getting harder to find, Mr. Peltier said.
‘Just not enough wealth’
Florida, despite its challenges, has an important advantage: A steady influx of residents who remain, for now, willing and able to pay the rising cost of living there. In Louisiana, the rising cost of insurance has become, for some communities, a threat to their existence.
Like Florida after Andrew, Louisiana’s insurance market started to buckle after insurers began leaving following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Then, starting with Hurricane Laura in 2020 , a series of storms pummeled the state. Nine insurance companies failed; people began rushing into the state’s own version of Florida’s Citizens plan.
The state’s insurance market “is in crisis,” Louisiana’s insurance commissioner, James J. Donelon, said in an interview.
In December, Louisiana had to increase premiums for coverage provided by its Citizens plan by 63 percent, to an average of $4,700 a year. In March, it borrowed $500 million from the bond market to pay the claims of homeowners who had been abandoned when their private insurers failed, Mr. Donelon said. The state recently agreed to new subsidies for private insurers, essentially paying them to do business in the state.
Mr. Donelon said he hoped that the subsidies would stabilize the market. But Jesse Keenan, a professor at Tulane University in New Orleans and an expert in climate adaptation and finance, said the state’s insurance market would be hard to turn around. The high cost of insurance has begun to affect home prices, he said.
In the past, it would have been possible for some communities — those where homes are passed down from generation to generation, with no mortgages required and no banks demanding insurance — to go without insurance altogether. But as climate change makes storms more intense, that’s no longer an option.
“There’s just not enough wealth in those low-income communities to continue to rebuild, storm after storm,” Dr. Keenan said.
A shift to risk-based pricing
Even as homeowners in coastal states face rising costs for wind coverage, they’re being squeezed from yet another direction: Flood insurance.
In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program, which offered taxpayer-backed coverage to homeowners. As with wildfires in California and hurricanes in Florida, the flood program arose from what economists call a market failure: Private insurers wouldn’t provide coverage for flooding, leaving homeowners with no options.
The program achieved its main goal, of making flood insurance widely available at a price that homeowners could afford. But as storms became more severe, the program faced growing losses.
In 2021, FEMA, which runs the program, began setting rates equal to the actual flood risk facing homeowners — an effort to better communicate the true danger facing different properties, and also to stanch the losses for the government.
Those increases, which are being phased in over years, in some cases amount to enormous jumps in price. The current cost of flood insurance for single-family homes nationwide is $888 a year , according to FEMA. Under the new, risk-based pricing, that average cost would be $1,808.
And by the time current policyholders actually have to pay premiums that reflect that full risk, the impacts of climate change could make them much higher.
“Properties located in high-risk areas should plan and expect to pay for that risk,” David Maurstad, head of the flood insurance program, said in a statement.
The best way for policymakers to help keep insurance affordable is to reduce the risk people face, said Carolyn Kousky, associate vice president for economics and policy at the Environmental Defense Fund. For example, officials could impose tougher building standards in vulnerable areas.
Government-mandated programs, like the flood insurance plan, or Citizens in Florida and Louisiana, were meant to be a backstop to the private market. But as climate shocks get worse, she said, “we’re now at the point where that’s starting to crack.”
Audio produced by Kate Winslett .
Christopher Flavelle is a Washington-based climate reporter for The Times, focusing on how people, governments and industries try to cope with the effects of global warming. @ cflav
Jill Cowan is a Los Angeles-based reporter for the National desk covering California. @ jillcowan
Ivan Penn is a Los Angeles-based reporter covering alternative energy. Before coming to The New York Times in 2018 he covered utility and energy issues at The Tampa Bay Times and The Los Angeles Times. @ ivanlpenn
Learn More About Climate Change
If you struggle to understand the science behind climate change, let us walk you through the basics .
What’s causing global warming? How can we fix it? Our F.A.Q. will tackle your climate questions, big and small .
Replacing all of our polluting machines with electric versions could be the key to fighting climate change. But electrifying almost everything is a formidable task .
Is carbon capture really an effective counterweight to the overheating planet? Here’s how these technologies work .
Half the world could soon face dangerous heat. We measured the daily toll it is already taking .
New data reveals stark disparities in how different U.S. households contribute to climate change. See your neighborhood’s climate impact .
Wildlife is disappearing around the world as humans take over too much of the planet. Meet some of the animals that are running out of places to live .
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User Account Control settings and configuration
- 1 contributor
User Account Control settings list
The following table lists the available settings to configure the UAC behavior, and their default values.
User Account Control configuration
To configure UAC, you can use:
- Microsoft Intune/MDM
- Group policy
The following instructions provide details how to configure your devices. Select the option that best suits your needs.
Configure UAC with a Settings catalog policy
To configure devices using Microsoft Intune, create a Settings catalog policy , and use the settings listed under the category Local Policies Security Options :
Assign the policy to a security group that contains as members the devices or users that you want to configure.
Alternatively, you can configure devices using a custom policy with the LocalPoliciesSecurityOptions Policy CSP . The policy settings are located under: ./Device/Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/LocalPoliciesSecurityOptions .
You can use security policies to configure how User Account Control works in your organization. The policies can be configured locally by using the Local Security Policy snap-in ( secpol.msc ) or configured for the domain, OU, or specific groups by group policy.
The policy settings are located under: Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options .
The registry keys are found under the key: HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System .
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Scientific reports: Shares research findings, such as research papers and case studies, typically in science journals Reports can be further divided into categories based on how they are written. For example, a report could be formal or informal, short or long, and internal or external.
1. Identify your audience Knowing who will be reading your report is an important step in determining how you will format your report, what to include and the tone you should use when writing it. For example, if you are writing a sales report for your manager, will anyone else be reading the report?
Sample Report in Standard Report Writing Format 6 Types of Reports There are a selection of different reports you might need to create. Each of these will follow a similar reporting writing format to what we've covering in this post. 1. Annual Reports The first type of report we'll cover is an annual report.
1. Decide on terms of reference Many formal reports include a section that details the document's "terms of reference" (or ToR). These terms include:
Here are several examples: Compliance report A compliance report documents how an organization is or isn't complying with specific regulations or laws. Often written by an organization's compliance officer, a compliance report provides accountability to show that the company is following legal rules or its internal procedures.
1. What does the report have at the very beginning? 2. What does each paragraph have? 3. Does it use a formal tone (like how you would speak to your head teacher) or an informal tone (how you...
Step 2: Find the major highlights. As we stated already, your project reports shouldn't include all the information, data points, and events of your project. An effective project report is more like a summary — it focuses on the information that's relevant to the reader and ignores anything else.
For example. Formal: 'We must go to the library and study.' Informal: 'We've got to head to the library and hit the books!' How to write a formal report. Research your topic first. Find ...
Introduction. Your lab report introduction should set the scene for your experiment. One way to write your introduction is with a funnel (an inverted triangle) structure: Start with the broad, general research topic. Narrow your topic down your specific study focus. End with a clear research question.
1 Progress Report Examples A progress report is a business report shows how a specific project or plan is progressing. It shows and visualizes a variety of the following things: If goals are being met or not When a specific task needs to be either repeated or discarded A timeframe of task completed and results
Step 2: Create an Outline. Once you've gathered the resources, it's time to plan the report. Before you start writing, create an outline that will help you stick to the right structure. A business report is complex writing in which you can get lost very easily if you don't have a clear plan.
Title: Begin your report with your name, along with any co-authors in the case of a project report. State the date and title of your report or project. Summary or abstract: Reports that have multiple pages need to contain a summary at the start. In this section, highlight the key points in your report, any major results and recommendations.
Other titles may include an informal or formal email, and at B2 First for Schools there is a story option instead of a report. Three steps to writing a report for Cambridge B2 First. Let's begin by taking a look at a typical question for the report. Step One: Make a plan. Before you put pen to paper and start your report, hold your horses. A ...
What this handout is about. This handout provides a general guide to writing reports about scientific research you've performed. In addition to describing the conventional rules about the format and content of a lab report, we'll also attempt to convey why these rules exist, so you'll get a clearer, more dependable idea of how to approach ...
Introducing your topic The introduction is the first section of your paper, and it should capture the reader's interest and make them want to read the rest of your paper. You can do this by opening with a compelling story, question, or example that shows why your topic is important.
Reports are concise and have a formal structure. They are often used to communicate the results or findings of a project. Essays by contrast are often used to show a tutor what you think about a topic. They are discursive and the structure can be left to the discretion of the writer.
How to Write a Project Report: Step-By-Step Guide Part 1; Project Report Templates: Free Download Part 2; Additional Resources Part 3; How to Dramatically Reduce Time You Spend Creating Reports Part 4; At some point during the implementation of a project, a project report has to be generated in order to paint a mental image of the whole project.
25+ Report Writing Examples in PDF You don't necessarily have to have great writing skills when you're writing a report. You just need to know some basic techniques and guidelines along the way to make a truly compelling one. Furthermore, it is essential and utmost practical to learn and practice business writing when it comes to making reports.
Worksheets and downloads. A report - exercises 430.53 KB. A report - answers 138.91 KB. A report - report 453.99 KB. A report - writing practice 210.61 KB.
Report writing is an essential skill in many disciplines. Master it now at university and writing reports in the workplace will be easier. A report aims to inform and sometimes to persuade. They should be written as clearly and succinctly as possible with evidence about a topic, problem or situation. Here are some general guidelines but check ...
The most natural way to write your executive summary is by writing it at the end of your report/business plan. ... Related: What Is Strategic Reporting? 4 Report Examples to Get Inspiration From. Include Forecasts. Make one of the sections revolve around financial and sales forecasts for the next 1-3 years. Provide details of your breakeven ...
When writing a lab report for chemistry class, your abstract should: Describe the purpose of the experiment and what you were trying to accomplish. Summarize the methods you used and how you conducted your experiment. List the major results of your experiment, including data and observations.
Last Name of the Author (s), Initial (s). The title is placed in italics. The number goes in parentheses. Publishing organization or the government. URL (if it can be accessed online). Here is the template format: Last Name, First Name. (Year). Report title: Subtitle (Report No. number).
Key findings in 2023: 1 in 3 (34.6%) children and young people aged 8 to 18 said that they enjoy writing in their free time. Levels of writing enjoyment have reduced by 12.2 percentage points over the past 13 years, which means that, over that time, there has been a 26% decrease in the number of children and young people aged 8 to 18 who say ...
For example, officials could impose tougher building standards in vulnerable areas. Government-mandated programs, like the flood insurance plan, or Citizens in Florida and Louisiana, were meant to ...
This policy must be enabled and related UAC settings configured. The policy allows the built-in Administrator account and members of the Administrators group to run in Admin Approval Mode. Disabled: Admin Approval Mode and all related UAC policy settings are disabled. Note: If this policy setting is disabled, the Windows Security app notifies ...