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English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

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5.1 Planning a science or a technology report

Table 5 highlights the elements of a science or technology report, though the same general principles apply in other disciplines too.

Table 5 The main elements of a science or a technology report
titleattracts the reader’s attentionconcise phrase or sentence introducing the content
abstractgives a brief summaryshort paragraph clarifying the scope of the report and the main findings
introductiongives the purpose of the investigation being reportedexplains why the investigation was undertaken and gives essential background information
main text

describes how the study was conducted

describes how the study was conducted

interprets results

the ‘meat’ of the report containing, for example (depending on the discipline):
  • method of investigation/approach taken and why
  • record of observations or measurements
  • references to appropriate theories
  • discussion
  • analysis of the key facts
conclusionsdescribes what the study has shownincludes the meaning of the results of the investigation, what has been demonstrated and any recommendations for action

When writing a report, it is necessary to assemble and order the material, perhaps under a set of headings (which can be added to or subdivided). The plan will help to include material that is relevant and to the point.