The report is a serious research paper. Use of headings, paragraph numbers, tables, charts and diagrams all help to take your reader on a clearly signposted journey.
The maximum length of the paper is 3,000 words (excluding reference and appendices). It should be A4, double spaced, with Calibri font size 12. Use APA style.
The following elements are suggested to structure your report:
Title page – title of report, your name, organisation, date of submission, name of academic supervisor.
Acknowledgements – you may wish to acknowledge the support of individuals in the organisation
Contents page – sections, appendices, tables, figures, illustrations
Executive Summary – This is a summary and outline of main findings including context, purpose, objectives, methods, main results, conclusions and recommendations for the reader to have an overview of the report.
Introduction – including background, organisational context and circumstances leading to the investigation, aims and objectives. It should include the following sections:
• Literature review – a critical analysis of the most significant contributions to the literature, the theories, concepts, issues and research reports that have shaped your research questions and the approach you have chosen. At least 15 academic references are required. Show how existing research findings support/justify your own research.
• Research methodology – Evidence of systematic data and/or information collection and clear presentation of findings. This includes a justification for the choice of methods chosen to investigate your topic, the procedures used, any ethical issues, strengths and weaknesses of the approach. Explain why you chose the approach that you did. Clear presentation of the findings using charts, graphs etc. where appropriate.
Analysis and interpretation of findings – Comprehensive analysis and interpretation of findings in a holistic and integrated manner. Construct a logical, consistent argument based on the findings which analyses the information in the light of your research objectives and the literature reviewed.
Conclusions – Summarise main points and state any conclusions that can be drawn. These must be based on evidence. Conclusions link the analysis of your findings with your recommendations:
• Recommendations – these are a natural follow-on from your conclusions and are actions for the future. They should be realistic, timely and, if appropriate, cost-effective.
• Evaluation/personal reflections – this is where you can tell your reader what you have learned from the whole process of your research. Include comments from the organisation where appropriate.
Bibliography –You must reference properly and fully to avoid plagiarism whether intentional or not.
Appendices – This could include publicly available information such as organisation’s vision/mission, strategic plans, organisational chart, media coverage and so on. This section should not be used as a ‘dumping ground’ for information you could not fit into the main body due to the word limit. The report should be able to stand alone – without the appendices.