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How To Write A Report Introduction: An Academic Guide

By Laura Brown on 27th July 2023

You are definitely here to learn how to write an introduction to a report. So let’s answer it directly!

Well, an effective introduction of a report should succinctly introduce the topic, state the purpose and scope of the report, and provide a brief overview of the key points to be discussed . A report introduction should capture the reader’s interest and set the tone for the rest of the document.

This could be the summary of what should be included in a report introduction and how you can write it. But this summary is not enough to understand completely how you are going to start your report.

Since you are here, you must have got an academic report to tackle. Well, let’s start by talking about something that’s often overlooked but absolutely crucial – the introduction! Trust us, nailing the introduction can make a world of difference to your entire report.

Your report introduction is like the friendly handshake you offer to your readers. It sets the tone, gives an overview of what’s to come, and entices them to stick around for the good stuff. A well-crafted intro not only impresses your readers but also shows off your writing chops and analytical skills.

So, let’s dive into the world of introductions and make your reports shine right from the very start! Get ready to captivate your audience and make your mark in the educational realm. Let’s go!

How To Write A Report Introduction: An Academic Guide

1. First, Understand The Purpose Of Your Report

To embark on successful academic writing , it’s crucial to grasp the essence of your report’s purpose. Reports come in various types, including essays, research papers, case studies, and many more! Each type requires a tailored approach to crafting a report introduction that captivates your readers.

Once you have identified the type of report you have got to prepare, the second most important thing is to understand why you have been given this report. What is the purpose, and what could be the possible outcome of completing this report.

2. Analyse The Target Audience

Audience engagement is a critical aspect of your report! Let’s shine a spotlight on your readers, who are the real heroes, and explore the art of tailoring your report introduction to captivate them.

It is really essential to consider the readers’ background and knowledge. Are they seasoned professors, fellow students, or professionals in a specific field? Understanding their perspectives helps you strike the perfect balance of technicality and simplicity in your introduction.

Crafting an introduction that speaks directly to your audience is the key. Inject enthusiasm, sprinkle relatable examples, and address their pain points . Use audience-savvy techniques, ensuring your introduction resonates with readers and leaves them eager to explore your entire report.

So, let’s dive in and charm your audience with an introduction they won’t forget! Let’s get started with how to write a report introduction!

3. Elements of a Strong Introduction

Before we head directly into how to start a report introduction, we need to understand some basic elements of the introduction of a report. A well-crafted introduction not only piques the interest of the readers but also sets the tone for the entire document. To achieve this, it should incorporate the following essential elements:

• Opening Hook or Attention-Grabber

The first few sentences of your introduction should captivate the reader’s attention and compel them to delve further into your report. An opening hook can take various forms, such as a thought-provoking question, a compelling statistic, a vivid anecdote, or a relevant and surprising fact.

• Contextualising the Report’s Topic

Following the attention-grabber, it is essential to provide the necessary context for your report’s topic. This contextualisation allows readers to grasp the background, relevance, and significance of the subject under investigation. Incorporate relevant historical, theoretical, or practical information to situate the report within its broader academic or real-world context.

• Thesis Statement or Main Objective

The thesis statement, often positioned at the end of the opening paragraph of the report introduction, concisely articulates the main objective or central argument of your report. It should be clear, specific, and focused, guiding readers on what they can expect to explore further in the document. A strong thesis statement sets the direction for the entire report, providing a roadmap for readers to navigate the subsequent sections with a clear understanding of the primary purpose.

• Overview of Report Structure and Sections

To facilitate navigation and comprehension, it is crucial to provide readers with an overview of the report’s structure and its key sections. This section-by-section outline acts as a guide, giving readers a glimpse of the organisation and flow of the report.

By skillfully incorporating these elements, your introduction will establish a strong groundwork for your report, fostering engagement and understanding throughout its entirety. Now we can move on with your actual question, how to write an introduction for an academic report! After reading this guide, if you still find anything difficult, you can always contact our report writing service for 24/7 assistance.

4. Crafting the Opening Hook

The art of crafting an engaging opening hook lies in its ability to seize the reader’s attention from the outset. Anecdotes and real-life examples breathe life into the report , making complex topics relatable and captivating for your readers. As you go on to illustrate the practical implications of the subject matter, your readers can immediately connect with the content. It will allow you to foster a sense of curiosity to explore further.

In addition to anecdotes, you should incorporate relevant statistics or data. It infuses credibility and significance into the introduction. Numbers possess a persuasive power, shedding light on the magnitude of an issue and underscoring the urgency of the report’s focus. Thought-provoking questions, on the other hand, spark introspection and stimulate critical thinking. Coupled with compelling quotes, they entice readers to contemplate the broader implications of the subject matter.

An effective opening hook in the report introduction, whether through anecdotes, statistics, or questions, sets the stage for an intellectually stimulating journey through the report’s core ideas. By capturing your reader’s imagination, the introduction paves the way for a rewarding exploration of the report’s findings and insights.

Since, students often search for how to write an introduction for a report example, here is one for you. The opening of the introduction could be like this:

In the age of digital interconnectedness, social media platforms have revolutionised the way we communicate, share information, and interact with others. The allure of virtual networks, however, comes hand in hand with growing concerns about their impact on mental health. As these platforms become an integral part of our daily lives, it is crucial to examine the intricate relationship between social media usage and its potential consequences on individuals’ psychological well-being, a pressing issue that forms the focal point of this academic report.

5. Providing Context for the Report

A well-contextualised introduction is paramount to the comprehension of the matter of the report. You should first delve into the background and history of the topic to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of its evolution over time. This historical perspective lays the groundwork for appreciating the report’s relevance in the present context.

Moreover, describing the current relevance and significance of the topic bridges the gap between theory and practice. It highlights the practical implications and real-world applications, enticing readers to explore further. In addition to how to write a report introduction, it is essential to address the previous research or related studies to showcase the existing body of knowledge and identify gaps that the current report aims to fill.

By combining historical context, present-day relevance, and existing research, the introduction forges a clear pathway for readers to navigate through the report’s findings, enriching their understanding and appreciation of the subject matter.

Let’s have a look at an example from the sample report introduction:

The exponential rise of social media has transformed the dynamics of social interactions, communication, and information dissemination, transcending geographical boundaries. With billions of users actively engaging on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, the implications on mental health have garnered significant attention from researchers, health professionals, and society at large. This report endeavours to delve into the multifaceted impacts of social media on mental health, analysing its effects on emotional well-being, self-esteem, and psychological distress.

6. Formulating a Clear Thesis Statement

As we go on to learn how to write an introduction of a report, we should know about the thesis statement. A strong thesis statement is like the backbone of your whole work. It’s the core purpose and focus of what you are doing. When you define the main objective and scope in your thesis, it gives your readers a sneak peek into what you are trying to achieve.

To make it effective, keep the thesis concise and specific. Avoid any vagueness or ambiguity . This will help sharpen the direction of the report and guide your readers to understand the main argument better.

When your thesis aligns with the objectives of your report, everything flows more smoothly. It acts as a navigational tool, guiding you and your readers through all the details and helping everyone grasp the subject matter better. So, get ready to make your report shine with a killer thesis statement!

Let’s have an example of a thesis statement from the introduction of a report:

This report aims to explore the complexities of the relationship between social media usage and mental health, considering both positive and negative aspects. By synthesising existing research, psychological theories, and empirical evidence, we seek to shed light on the various mechanisms through which social media can influence mental health outcomes. Ultimately, this examination underscores the importance of promoting digital well-being and fostering responsible social media use for individuals of all ages.

7. Outlining the Report Structure

An effectively outlined report structure serves as a roadmap for readers. It gives readers a clear and organised overview of what’s inside. First off, listing the major sections or points give them a quick glimpse of how it’s all laid out.

And here’s the trick: a brief description of each section helps readers know what to expect. That way, they can read with focus and easily find what they need later.

When you highlight the logical progression of the report, it keeps everything flowing smoothly. Each section builds upon the previous ones, creating a cohesive narrative. This way, readers can get a comprehensive understanding of the topic.

Putting it all together, a well-structured report becomes a valuable guide for your readers. It leads them through all the details and ensures a rewarding and informed reading experience.

Do’s & Don’ts of How to Make a Report Introduction

Concluding on how to write a good introduction for a report.

A strong introduction forms the backbone of your report, as it plays a pivotal role in engaging readers and guiding their journey through the study’s contents. By recapitulating the significance of a well-crafted introduction, we underscore how it captivates readers from the outset, fostering their interest and curiosity.

The introduction sets the tone for the entire report, shaping readers’ perceptions and expectations. As this guide highlights the key elements for creating an effective introduction and how to start writing a report introduction, we encourage students to apply these principles to their own reports. By doing so, they can elevate the impact of their work, leaving a lasting impression on their readers.

We hope that this guide will help you through the introduction process. You can further go on to read how to write a conclusion for a report , so that you can create an excellent report for you.

Laura Brown

Laura Brown, a senior content writer who writes actionable blogs at Crowd Writer.

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Are you working on a report and struggling to write an engaging introduction? Do you want to know how to hook your readers and make them want to read your entire report? To better understand the concept of report introduction writing, visit the following link;

Review Introduction in Complete Dissertation Examples Here

In this step-by-step guide, we'll teach you how to write a report introduction that will get your readers excited about what's to come. It is a skill; mastering it can be the difference between a good and bad report.

What is a Report?

A report is an academic document that contains data or findings from an investigation. Reports are usually used to communicate the results of a business project, scientific study, or research effort. Reports typically include a section of the executive summary, followed by sections that provide more detailed information.

Explore What is the Goal of Report Writing Here

The length and format of a report vary depending on its purpose and audience. For example, an annual report for shareholders will be very different from a scientific one. Ultimately, the goal of any report is to provide clear and concise information about a particular subject.

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Structure of a Report

The structure of a report is very important in report writing conventions. The structure of a report is as follows.

1. Introduction

The introduction is the first section of a report and sets the tone for the rest of the document. The main objective of an introduction is to introduce your topic and get your readers interested in what you have to say.

2. Executive Summary

The executive summary is a short, concise overview of the findings or conclusions presented in a report. It's typically one or two paragraphs long and should be written last.

The body of a report contains all the detailed information about your topic. It can be divided into subsections if needed.

4. Conclusion

The conclusion wraps up the information presented in the body of the report and offers some final thoughts on the subject matter.

5. Appendices

Appendices are optional sections that contain additional information related to your topics, such as charts, graphs, tables, images, or data sets.

Role of Introduction in a Report

The purpose of an introduction in an academic report is to offer a clear, concise overview of the main points the report will address.

The introduction of a report is critical as it sets the stage for the rest of the report and provides your readers with a framework to understand your findings.

Learn More about What should Keep in Mind While Writing Introduction

It is important to remember that the introduction is not meant to be exhaustive; instead, its goal is to give the reader a basic understanding of what the report will cover.

It should state the overall purpose or goals of the report. It must provide a brief overview of the methods used to gather information and data for the report. Finally, the introduction should briefly touch on the key findings or takeaways from the report. By including these elements, you can ensure that your readers clearly understand your report's core.

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Characteristics of a well-written report introduction.

  • The introduction should convey the purpose of the report.
  • The introduction should provide an overview of the report's key points.
  • The introduction should clarify why the topic is necessary or relevant.
  • The introduction should define any key terms used in the report.
  • The introduction's purpose is to set the tone for the rest of the report.
  • The introduction should clarify what the reader can expect to find in the report.
  • The introduction should be well-organized and easy to follow.
  • The introduction should be no more than one or two paragraphs long.
  • The introduction must end with a clear statement of the report's thesis or main argument.

Components of a Well-Written Introduction

There are three parts to a well-written introduction:

  • The transition

The hook grabs the reader's attention with a brief report overview. The transition briefly explains how the hook relates to the rest of the report. The scope statement clearly and concisely states the report's leading authority.

Here's how to craft various parts of the introduction:

1. The Hook

The first part of a well-written introduction is the hook. The hook grabs the reader's attention and gives them a reason to keep reading. It can be a crucial statistic, important background information, and an overview of the topic in consideration.

2. The Transition

The second part of a well-written introduction is the transition. The transition connects the hook to the purpose of the report. In this part, write about what to expect from the report.

3. The Scope

A well-written introduction's third and final part describes the report's scope. You should briefly discuss the data collection methods, analysis, and results of the report.

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Steps of writing a report introduction, 1: introduce the topic of the report.

Present your report's topic and explain it briefly to familiarize the reader with the topic of the report. The concise way to introduce it is by explaining the background of the title and elaborating on the outcome.

 2. Summarize the Main Points Covered in the Report

In the second step, provide a summary of your key points, sections, results, and discussions of the report.

3. State the Purpose of the Report

Step 3 should describe the aim and purpose of your report. Use concise language and expressive verbs. Avoid jargon, ambiguities, and technical complexities early in your report.

4. Preview the Main Findings of the Report

In the final step of your report introduction, tell your readers what results you gained and what are the report's primary findings.

Template of the Report Introduction

You can follow this template to craft a concise and crisp introduction to your report.

"The purpose of this report is to (explain what the report will be about). This report will (give an overview of what the report will cover). The methodology used in this report is (explain how the report was created). The findings of this report are based on (describe what the report found). This report concludes with (give a summary of the report's conclusions)."

To conclude, writing a report introduction can make or break your complete report analysis. Therefore, the said recommendations must be followed to stand out in your report writing. 

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Introductions

What this handout is about.

This handout will explain the functions of introductions, offer strategies for creating effective introductions, and provide some examples of less effective introductions to avoid.

The role of introductions

Introductions and conclusions can be the most difficult parts of papers to write. Usually when you sit down to respond to an assignment, you have at least some sense of what you want to say in the body of your paper. You might have chosen a few examples you want to use or have an idea that will help you answer the main question of your assignment; these sections, therefore, may not be as hard to write. And it’s fine to write them first! But in your final draft, these middle parts of the paper can’t just come out of thin air; they need to be introduced and concluded in a way that makes sense to your reader.

Your introduction and conclusion act as bridges that transport your readers from their own lives into the “place” of your analysis. If your readers pick up your paper about education in the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, for example, they need a transition to help them leave behind the world of Chapel Hill, television, e-mail, and The Daily Tar Heel and to help them temporarily enter the world of nineteenth-century American slavery. By providing an introduction that helps your readers make a transition between their own world and the issues you will be writing about, you give your readers the tools they need to get into your topic and care about what you are saying. Similarly, once you’ve hooked your readers with the introduction and offered evidence to prove your thesis, your conclusion can provide a bridge to help your readers make the transition back to their daily lives. (See our handout on conclusions .)

Note that what constitutes a good introduction may vary widely based on the kind of paper you are writing and the academic discipline in which you are writing it. If you are uncertain what kind of introduction is expected, ask your instructor.

Why bother writing a good introduction?

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The opening paragraph of your paper will provide your readers with their initial impressions of your argument, your writing style, and the overall quality of your work. A vague, disorganized, error-filled, off-the-wall, or boring introduction will probably create a negative impression. On the other hand, a concise, engaging, and well-written introduction will start your readers off thinking highly of you, your analytical skills, your writing, and your paper.

Your introduction is an important road map for the rest of your paper. Your introduction conveys a lot of information to your readers. You can let them know what your topic is, why it is important, and how you plan to proceed with your discussion. In many academic disciplines, your introduction should contain a thesis that will assert your main argument. Your introduction should also give the reader a sense of the kinds of information you will use to make that argument and the general organization of the paragraphs and pages that will follow. After reading your introduction, your readers should not have any major surprises in store when they read the main body of your paper.

Ideally, your introduction will make your readers want to read your paper. The introduction should capture your readers’ interest, making them want to read the rest of your paper. Opening with a compelling story, an interesting question, or a vivid example can get your readers to see why your topic matters and serve as an invitation for them to join you for an engaging intellectual conversation (remember, though, that these strategies may not be suitable for all papers and disciplines).

Strategies for writing an effective introduction

Start by thinking about the question (or questions) you are trying to answer. Your entire essay will be a response to this question, and your introduction is the first step toward that end. Your direct answer to the assigned question will be your thesis, and your thesis will likely be included in your introduction, so it is a good idea to use the question as a jumping off point. Imagine that you are assigned the following question:

Drawing on the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass , discuss the relationship between education and slavery in 19th-century America. Consider the following: How did white control of education reinforce slavery? How did Douglass and other enslaved African Americans view education while they endured slavery? And what role did education play in the acquisition of freedom? Most importantly, consider the degree to which education was or was not a major force for social change with regard to slavery.

You will probably refer back to your assignment extensively as you prepare your complete essay, and the prompt itself can also give you some clues about how to approach the introduction. Notice that it starts with a broad statement and then narrows to focus on specific questions from the book. One strategy might be to use a similar model in your own introduction—start off with a big picture sentence or two and then focus in on the details of your argument about Douglass. Of course, a different approach could also be very successful, but looking at the way the professor set up the question can sometimes give you some ideas for how you might answer it. (See our handout on understanding assignments for additional information on the hidden clues in assignments.)

Decide how general or broad your opening should be. Keep in mind that even a “big picture” opening needs to be clearly related to your topic; an opening sentence that said “Human beings, more than any other creatures on earth, are capable of learning” would be too broad for our sample assignment about slavery and education. If you have ever used Google Maps or similar programs, that experience can provide a helpful way of thinking about how broad your opening should be. Imagine that you’re researching Chapel Hill. If what you want to find out is whether Chapel Hill is at roughly the same latitude as Rome, it might make sense to hit that little “minus” sign on the online map until it has zoomed all the way out and you can see the whole globe. If you’re trying to figure out how to get from Chapel Hill to Wrightsville Beach, it might make more sense to zoom in to the level where you can see most of North Carolina (but not the rest of the world, or even the rest of the United States). And if you are looking for the intersection of Ridge Road and Manning Drive so that you can find the Writing Center’s main office, you may need to zoom all the way in. The question you are asking determines how “broad” your view should be. In the sample assignment above, the questions are probably at the “state” or “city” level of generality. When writing, you need to place your ideas in context—but that context doesn’t generally have to be as big as the whole galaxy!

Try writing your introduction last. You may think that you have to write your introduction first, but that isn’t necessarily true, and it isn’t always the most effective way to craft a good introduction. You may find that you don’t know precisely what you are going to argue at the beginning of the writing process. It is perfectly fine to start out thinking that you want to argue a particular point but wind up arguing something slightly or even dramatically different by the time you’ve written most of the paper. The writing process can be an important way to organize your ideas, think through complicated issues, refine your thoughts, and develop a sophisticated argument. However, an introduction written at the beginning of that discovery process will not necessarily reflect what you wind up with at the end. You will need to revise your paper to make sure that the introduction, all of the evidence, and the conclusion reflect the argument you intend. Sometimes it’s easiest to just write up all of your evidence first and then write the introduction last—that way you can be sure that the introduction will match the body of the paper.

Don’t be afraid to write a tentative introduction first and then change it later. Some people find that they need to write some kind of introduction in order to get the writing process started. That’s fine, but if you are one of those people, be sure to return to your initial introduction later and rewrite if necessary.

Open with something that will draw readers in. Consider these options (remembering that they may not be suitable for all kinds of papers):

  • an intriguing example —for example, Douglass writes about a mistress who initially teaches him but then ceases her instruction as she learns more about slavery.
  • a provocative quotation that is closely related to your argument —for example, Douglass writes that “education and slavery were incompatible with each other.” (Quotes from famous people, inspirational quotes, etc. may not work well for an academic paper; in this example, the quote is from the author himself.)
  • a puzzling scenario —for example, Frederick Douglass says of slaves that “[N]othing has been left undone to cripple their intellects, darken their minds, debase their moral nature, obliterate all traces of their relationship to mankind; and yet how wonderfully they have sustained the mighty load of a most frightful bondage, under which they have been groaning for centuries!” Douglass clearly asserts that slave owners went to great lengths to destroy the mental capacities of slaves, yet his own life story proves that these efforts could be unsuccessful.
  • a vivid and perhaps unexpected anecdote —for example, “Learning about slavery in the American history course at Frederick Douglass High School, students studied the work slaves did, the impact of slavery on their families, and the rules that governed their lives. We didn’t discuss education, however, until one student, Mary, raised her hand and asked, ‘But when did they go to school?’ That modern high school students could not conceive of an American childhood devoid of formal education speaks volumes about the centrality of education to American youth today and also suggests the significance of the deprivation of education in past generations.”
  • a thought-provoking question —for example, given all of the freedoms that were denied enslaved individuals in the American South, why does Frederick Douglass focus his attentions so squarely on education and literacy?

Pay special attention to your first sentence. Start off on the right foot with your readers by making sure that the first sentence actually says something useful and that it does so in an interesting and polished way.

How to evaluate your introduction draft

Ask a friend to read your introduction and then tell you what he or she expects the paper will discuss, what kinds of evidence the paper will use, and what the tone of the paper will be. If your friend is able to predict the rest of your paper accurately, you probably have a good introduction.

Five kinds of less effective introductions

1. The placeholder introduction. When you don’t have much to say on a given topic, it is easy to create this kind of introduction. Essentially, this kind of weaker introduction contains several sentences that are vague and don’t really say much. They exist just to take up the “introduction space” in your paper. If you had something more effective to say, you would probably say it, but in the meantime this paragraph is just a place holder.

Example: Slavery was one of the greatest tragedies in American history. There were many different aspects of slavery. Each created different kinds of problems for enslaved people.

2. The restated question introduction. Restating the question can sometimes be an effective strategy, but it can be easy to stop at JUST restating the question instead of offering a more specific, interesting introduction to your paper. The professor or teaching assistant wrote your question and will be reading many essays in response to it—he or she does not need to read a whole paragraph that simply restates the question.

Example: The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass discusses the relationship between education and slavery in 19th century America, showing how white control of education reinforced slavery and how Douglass and other enslaved African Americans viewed education while they endured. Moreover, the book discusses the role that education played in the acquisition of freedom. Education was a major force for social change with regard to slavery.

3. The Webster’s Dictionary introduction. This introduction begins by giving the dictionary definition of one or more of the words in the assigned question. Anyone can look a word up in the dictionary and copy down what Webster says. If you want to open with a discussion of an important term, it may be far more interesting for you (and your reader) if you develop your own definition of the term in the specific context of your class and assignment. You may also be able to use a definition from one of the sources you’ve been reading for class. Also recognize that the dictionary is also not a particularly authoritative work—it doesn’t take into account the context of your course and doesn’t offer particularly detailed information. If you feel that you must seek out an authority, try to find one that is very relevant and specific. Perhaps a quotation from a source reading might prove better? Dictionary introductions are also ineffective simply because they are so overused. Instructors may see a great many papers that begin in this way, greatly decreasing the dramatic impact that any one of those papers will have.

Example: Webster’s dictionary defines slavery as “the state of being a slave,” as “the practice of owning slaves,” and as “a condition of hard work and subjection.”

4. The “dawn of man” introduction. This kind of introduction generally makes broad, sweeping statements about the relevance of this topic since the beginning of time, throughout the world, etc. It is usually very general (similar to the placeholder introduction) and fails to connect to the thesis. It may employ cliches—the phrases “the dawn of man” and “throughout human history” are examples, and it’s hard to imagine a time when starting with one of these would work. Instructors often find them extremely annoying.

Example: Since the dawn of man, slavery has been a problem in human history.

5. The book report introduction. This introduction is what you had to do for your elementary school book reports. It gives the name and author of the book you are writing about, tells what the book is about, and offers other basic facts about the book. You might resort to this sort of introduction when you are trying to fill space because it’s a familiar, comfortable format. It is ineffective because it offers details that your reader probably already knows and that are irrelevant to the thesis.

Example: Frederick Douglass wrote his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave , in the 1840s. It was published in 1986 by Penguin Books. In it, he tells the story of his life.

And now for the conclusion…

Writing an effective introduction can be tough. Try playing around with several different options and choose the one that ends up sounding best to you!

Just as your introduction helps readers make the transition to your topic, your conclusion needs to help them return to their daily lives–but with a lasting sense of how what they have just read is useful or meaningful. Check out our handout on  conclusions for tips on ending your paper as effectively as you began it!

Works consulted

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.

Douglass, Frederick. 1995. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself . New York: Dover.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Introductions

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Basic Components

The introduction to your assignment is likely to require some of the following basic components. Note that the guidance below is particularly relevant to essays . Other types of assignment may include some but not all of these elements, or additional ones.

  • Importance of the topic: Open the assignment by introducing the theme(s) or issue(s) you address. This element is sometimes referred to as ' background ' or an ' issue statement '. 
  • Aim: Inform your reader of the purpose of your writing. (e.g. This essay explores the concept of X in relation to Y, and critically evaluates.....).
  • Thesis statement: This may not apply in all assignments, but, where appropriate, would indicate the line of argument or reasoning that the assignment takes. (e.g. It is argued/suggested that practitioners and policy makers need to consider ....).
  • Overview:  Guide the reader as to how the work is organised ; this is sometimes also referred to as a ' synopsis '. (e.g. First,…X is discussed, followed by Y .....).

You may also need a brief definition of your terms. However, if the definitions are more complex or contested, you probably need a separate section after the introduction. See the page on definitions for an example: Definitions

It is advisable to write or edit your introduction last (not first), to make sure it matches the assignment you have written. If you prefer to draft your introduction first (e.g. as bullet points initially), be aware that you may choose to change it later. 

Example Introduction

Here is an example of the introduction from a report produced for a Masters module:

Underlying this report is the assumption that organisations, and the individuals within them, hold the intention to do their job well, and, if possible, to do their job better, within the context of their particular situation, abilities and priorities. Creating and developing coaching relationships within the organisation can be described as one form of an attempt to move in this direction. Accordingly, this report analyses the potential for an increase in coaching practice within one particular organisation. It will be suggested that coaching might usefully be incorporated into certain areas of the organisation. Coaching within organisations, for the purpose of this report, is taken to refer to a particular type of intentional conversation. This conversation may contribute to the development of the coachee while potentially enhancing the individual's work within the organisation (as discussed by Boyatzis, Smith and Blaize, 2006). The report will first consider a more nuanced definition of coaching, along with an outline of current themes in the way coaching is discussed in the literature. This is followed by an explanation and justification of taking a psychoanalytically informed approach to an analysis of coaching within organisations (Arnaud, 2003). After that, the specific organisational context of the [XYZ workplace] will be analysed, together with an assessment of the need for coaching within this organisation, and an evaluation of the existing potential to facilitate such conversations. At the same time, a brief strategy and implementation plan that details how these needs could be met will be presented. 

Source: Blackwell, J. (2013) Advancing coaching and mentoring in and across organisational contexts. Organisational Report. UCL Institute of Education: Unpublished MA Assignment.

Below, the elements of the example introduction are analysed in more detail:

Underlying this report is the assumption that organisations, and the individuals within them, hold the intention to do their job well, and, if possible, to do their job better, within the context of their particular situation, abilities and priorities. Creating and developing coaching relationships within the organisation can be described as one form of an attempt to move in this direction.

These two statements set out the importance of the topic. The way this is done, and the information which is needed, will vary depending on the topic. Please remember that this is only one example.

Accordingly, this report analyses the potential for an increase in coaching practice within one particular organisation. 

This sentence states the aim of the assignment, in the context of the abovementioned importance (Accordingly...). It also restates the assignment title/task.

It will be suggested that coaching might usefully be incorporated into certain areas of the organisation.

This is the thesis statement.

Coaching within organisations, for the purpose of this report, is taken to refer to a particular type of intentional conversation. This conversation may contribute to the development of the coachee while potentially enhancing the individual's work within the organisation (as discussed by Boyatzis, Smith and Blaize, 2006).

Here we have a brief definition of the key term, for the purpose of this assignment.

The report will first consider a more nuanced definition of coaching, along with an outline of current themes in the way coaching is discussed in the literature. This is followed by an explanation and justification of taking a psychoanalytically informed approach to an analysis of coaching within organisations (Arnaud, 2003). After that , the specific organisational context of the [XYZ workplace] will be analysed, together with an assessment of the need for coaching within this organisation, and an evaluation of the existing potential to facilitate such conversations. At the same time , a brief strategy and implementation plan that details how these needs could be met will be presented.

This final section provides the outline/structure/organisation, so that the reader knows what to expect.

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Essential Tips for Writing Report Introductions

Table of Contents

Reports are descriptive pieces of writing that are expected to give the reader a comprehensive overview of a specific topic. It should provide a better understanding to your readers. And as with any piece of writing, introductions are significant. If you’re unsure  how to write a report introduction , you’ve found the perfect article to help you.

Carefully crafted introductions should be concise, clear, and honest. The initial section of your introduction should give your reader a quick overview of the report . In this article, we’ll talk about how you can do exactly just that.

A MacBook Air next to an open notebook, glasses, a phone, and a pencil case.

What is a Report?

A report is a document that presents an overview of the information gathered by an individual or group for a specific purpose. It also states the methods done to collect that information. Reports are closely similar to a business paper or a case study.

Schools, universities, and organizations often use reports to provide an overview of different programs or explain new organizational structures’ pros and cons. They generally present data more professionally and visually appealingly. It can make use of charts or graphs to help organize data.

Different Types of Reports

Reports can be categorized into different types based on their purpose, objectives, or target audience. Here are some of the most common types of reports:

Academic Reports

Academic reports present the research results and provide a scholarly summary of the findings. They should be concise, properly cited, and documented. These can also measure the learning progress made by students.

  • Book reports
  • Critique papers
  • Movie analysis
  • Research papers

Scientific Reports

In contrast to academic reports, a scientific report is more in-depth and professional. It is a more cumulative report, which includes data measured with comprehensive analysis.

This report focuses on the technical aspects of the subject. It is essential to define the problem and research method for a scientific report.

  • Case studies
  • Technical notes

Business Reports

Several businesses base their strategies on business reports. They can be written by management or specific departments and divided into categories. A business report can contain the following:

  • Introduction
  • Detailed information on the company
  • Key company statistics and trends
  • Diagrams and charts depicting each section

How to Write a Report Introduction

Introductions for each type of report should be structured differently and follow different patterns. The steps listed below are general strategies for how to write a good introduction for a report.

1. Limit it to a few lines

Report introductions are generally 500-100 words long. This is longer than how you would typically write introductions to essays. The length of the introduction will depend mainly on the overall length of your report.

2. Make it interesting.

Start with a sentence starter that draws the reader’s attention and makes them want to learn more about your report. You can start stating the problem you’re trying to solve. Or you can state essential and trivial information that your report has gathered.

3. State your main points

Your introduction should describe what your report will cover. Consider the main themes you have studied or researched and how they relate to the overall findings in the report.

Think about what the report aims to accomplish and what knowledge was already widely accepted about the subject matter. An excellent report should build on existing information.

4. End with a thesis statement

Conclude your introduction with a strong thesis statement that expresses the report’s main point and summarizes all findings. This should be written as the last sentence of the opening.

What Should a Report Include?

Different institutions may require various report formats. Here are some general sections that a report usually includes.

1. Title page

Reports often use a title page to keep things organized. The title page can include the authors’ names and the report submission date. It may also include additional information, such as a grant or project number.

2. Table of contents

The table of contents helps readers in navigating the page directly to the section they’re interested in, allowing faster navigation.

3. Page numbering

Page numbering is necessary if you are writing a longer report. By placing page numbers, you can ensure they are in order if there are errors or misprints.

4. Headings and subheadings

Reports are usually divided into sections, separated by headings and subheadings, so viewers can browse and scan quickly.

5. Citations

The report guidelines can tell you what format is best if you are citing information from a different source. A typical citation format for reports is the American Psychological Association format.

6. Works cited page

At the end of the report, you should include a bibliography with credits and legal information for other sources where you obtained information.

The purpose of a report is to inform an audience about a particular issue or study. It can provide an opportunity for public engagement and feedback or discussion on new or existing information.

Your introduction is an essential part of any report. It contains a brief glimpse into the main points your report will be discussing. Remember to limit it to a few lines and state your main points clearly. Now you know  how to write a report introduction, you’re ready to try writing one yourself!

Essential Tips for Writing Report Introductions

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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What is Report Writing? A Beginner's Guide

Explore the art of effective communication in our blog, "What is Report Writing? A Beginner's Guide." Discover the fundamental skills needed for Report Writing and how it plays a crucial role in various aspects of life, from academics to the professional world. Get started on your journey to becoming a proficient Report Writer.

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Well, you're in the right place. In this blog, we will explain What is Report Writing and take you through the world of Report Writing step by step. We'll explore different Report types, learn about the Report Writing format, discover helpful tips, and even distinguish it from other types of writing. 

Table of Contents  

1) Understanding What is Report Writing? 

2) Types of Reports 

3) What is the Report Writing format?  

4) Tips for effective Report Writing 

5) Difference between Project Writing and Report Writing 

6) Conclusion 

Understanding What is Report Writing? 

Report Writing is the process of presenting information in a structured and organised way. It serves as a means of communicating facts, findings, or recommendations to a specific audience, typically in a written format. This type of writing is used in various fields, including academics, business, science, and government, to convey important details and insights. 

A Report typically starts with a clear purpose or objective. The Writer gathers relevant information through research, observation, or data collection. This data is then analysed and organised into a coherent document. Reports can vary in length, complexity, and style, depending on the intended audience and purpose. 

One of the key aspects of Report Writing is its structure. A typical Report consists of sections such as an introduction, methodology, findings or results, discussion, and a conclusion. These sections help readers understand the context, the process of gathering information, the outcomes, and the significance of the findings. 

Reports often include visual aids like charts, graphs, and tables to make complex data more accessible. Additionally, citing sources is essential to provide credibility and allow readers to verify the information.  

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Types of Reports 

Different Types of Reports serve various purposes, and understanding their distinctions is crucial for effective communication in academic, professional, and organisational settings. Here, we'll explore four common types of Reports:  

Types of Reports

Routine Reports 

Routine Reports are regular updates on ongoing activities, often within an organisation. These Reports provide concise information about daily or periodic operations, helping stakeholders stay informed and make informed decisions.  

They focus on facts and figures, avoid unnecessary details, and typically follow a standardised format. Examples include daily Sales Reports, Attendance Reports, And Inventory Status Reports. Routine Reports are essential for tracking performance and ensuring smooth operations. 

Special Reports 

Special Reports are more in-depth and are created for specific purposes, such as investigating a particular issue or analysing a unique situation. These Reports require extensive research and a comprehensive presentation of findings. They are often used to address complex problems or make critical decisions.  

For instance, a company might commission a Special Report to evaluate the impact of a new product launch, or a government agency might prepare a Special Report on the environmental impact of a policy change. Special Reports provide a thorough examination of a specific topic and often include detailed recommendations. 

Formal Reports 

Formal Reports are comprehensive and meticulously structured documents characterised by a standardised format. They usually include a title page, table of contents, executive summary, methodology, findings, discussion, recommendations, and conclusion. Formal Reports are common in academic and corporate environments, as well as in government and research institutions.  

They are used to present detailed information and analyses, often for decision-making or academic purposes. A thesis, a business proposal, or an annual Financial Report are examples of Formal Reports. These Reports require a high degree of professionalism and follow strict formatting and citation guidelines. 

Informal Reports 

Informal Reports are less structured and often used for internal communication within an organisation. They are generally shorter and more straightforward than Formal Reports, emphasising brevity and efficiency. Memos, email updates, and short Progress Reports are common examples of informal Reports. 

They serve to share information quickly, often within a department or among team members. Informal Reports are valuable for everyday communication, problem-solving, and decision-making within an organisation, and they do not require the extensive structure and formality of Formal Reports. 

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What is the Report Writing format?  

Report Writing Format is a way of organising and presenting information in a concise and clear manner. It usually follows a standard structure that can be adapted to different purposes and audiences. A typical Report Writing format consists of the following elements:  

Elements in Report Writing

a) Title page : This is the first page of the Report that contains the title, the author’s name, the date, and any other relevant information. 

b) Table of contents : This is an optional page that lists the sections and subsections of the Report with their corresponding page numbers. 

c) Executive summary (or abstract) : This serves as a concise summary outlining the key points and discoveries within the Report. It should be written in a clear and concise manner and highlight the purpose, scope, methodology, results, analysis, conclusion, and recommendations of the Report. 

d) Introduction : This is the first section of the Report that introduces the topic, background, objectives, and scope of the Report. It should also provide a clear statement of the problem or research question that the Report aims to address. 

e) Methodology : This is the section that describes how the data or information was collected and analysed. It should explain the methods, tools, techniques, sources, and criteria used in the research or investigation. It should also mention any limitations or challenges encountered in the process. 

f) Findings/results : This is the section that presents the data or information obtained from the research or investigation. It should be organised in a logical and coherent manner, using headings, subheadings, tables, graphs, charts, and other visual aids to illustrate the key points and trends. 

g) Analysis and discussion : This is the section that interprets and evaluates the findings or results of the Report. It should explain what the data or information means, how it relates to the problem or research question, and what implications or conclusions can be drawn from it. It should also compare and contrast the findings or results with other relevant sources or literature. 

h) Conclusion : This is the final section of the Report that summarises the main points and findings of the Report. It should restate the purpose, objectives, and scope of the Report and provide a clear answer to the problem or research question. It should also highlight the main implications or contributions of the Report to the field or topic of interest. 

i) Recommendations : This is an optional section that provides suggestions or actions based on the findings or conclusions of the Report. It should be realistic, feasible, and specific and address any issues or gaps identified in the Report. 

j) References : This is a list of sources that were cited or consulted in the Report. It should follow a consistent citation style, such as APA, MLA, Harvard, etc. 

k) Appendices : These are additional materials that support or supplement the main content of the Report. They may include data tables, calculations, questionnaires, interview transcripts, etc. 

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Tips for effective Report Writing 

Here are some tips for effective Report Writing:  

Tips for effective Report Writing

a) Know your purpose and audience : Before you start writing, you should have a clear idea of why you are writing the Report and who will read it. This will help you decide what information to include, what tone and style to use, and how to structure and format your Report. 

b) Plan and research : You should plan your Report by outlining the main sections and sub-sections and identifying the key points and arguments you want to make. You should also research your topic thoroughly, using reliable and relevant sources and taking notes of the data and evidence you will use to support your claims. 

c) Write and edit : You should write your Report in a concise and clear manner, using simple and precise language and avoiding jargon and slang. You should also follow the Report Writing format that suits your purpose and audience and use headings, subheadings, bullet points, tables, graphs, charts, and other visual aids to organise and present your information. You should also edit your Report carefully, checking for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting errors and ensuring that your Report is coherent and consistent. 

d) Use tools and software : You can use various tools and software to help you with your Report Writing process. For example, you can use Bing to search for information on your topic or to find examples of Reports written in different formats. You can write and edit your Report, using features such as grammar check, spell check, word count, citation manager, etc, in Google Docs or Microsoft Word. You can also use PowerPoint or Prezi to create and present your Report visually.

a) Purpose : Project Writing is usually done to demonstrate the student’s ability to apply their skills and knowledge to a specific problem or topic. Report Writing is usually done to present the results and findings of a research or investigation on a specific problem or topic. 

b) Format : Project Writing does not have a fixed format, but it may follow the structure of an essay, with an introduction, body, and conclusion. Report Writing has a fixed format, with a title page, table of contents, summary, introduction, methodology, findings/results, analysis/discussion, conclusion, recommendations, references, and appendices. 

c) Features : Project Writing is more creative and flexible than Report Writing. It may include personal opinions, reflections, or recommendations. Report Writing is more formal and objective than project writing. It should be based on reliable sources and data and avoid personal opinions or bias. 

d) Examples : Some examples of Project Writing are a business plan, a marketing campaign, a software development, a case study analysis, etc. Some examples of Report Writing are a Lab Report, a Market Research Report, a Scientific Report, a Feasibility Report, etc. 

Project Writing and Report Writing are different types of academic writing that require different skills and approaches. You should always check the requirements and expectations of your course and module handbooks, instructions from your lecturer, and your subject conventions before you start writing. 

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Conclusion 

Report Writing is a crucial skill that can open doors to various opportunities in your academic and professional life. By understanding What is Report Writing, the types of Reports, Report Writing formats, and following effective tips, you can become a proficient Report Writer. Moreover, recognising the differences between project writing, article writing, and Report Writing will help you choose the right approach for your communication needs. Finally, with the help of modern Report writing software, you can streamline the process and create impressive Reports that convey your message effectively.  

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Tips on how to write and introduction for a report

A business report is always created to solve a problem. This could be something simple, such as finding a better way to organise the ordering of office stationery or a more complex problem, such as implementing a new multi-million pound computer system. And an important part of any report is the introduction. It is often the most read section and must inform the reader that the report contains something worth reading. This makes a great introduction essential, so follow the tips below to ensure you hit the mark every time!

Tip One – write it last – don’t write your introduction until you’ve completed your report. The introduction is a summary of what is contained in the report and you cannot summarise what is in the report until you have finished it.

Tip Two – keep it short – your introduction should be only a few lines long. It is a brief paragraph designed to tell the reader what the report covers. It should allow the reader to quickly decide if the report is something that they wish to continue reading or not.

Tip Three – include all the relevant information – the introduction should answer the following questions:

  • Why has the report been written? If you cannot answer this question then it’s likely that the report isn’t needed. However, this is highly unlikely to happen as most reports are commissioned to address a particular problem. Detail the problem and state why it’s significant to the business.
  • Who commissioned the report? State who requested that the report be written in the first place – was it an individual, department, organisation or someone else.
  • What is covered in the report? Detail the scope of the report and, if need be, say what is not covered too.
  • How was the report carried out? Give details of what methods of assessment were used to investigate the problem.

Tip Four – don’t include jargon or abbreviations in your introduction – this is one of those rules that can be applied or disregarded depending on the intended readership. If the readers are familiar with technical jargon, then it’s fine to use it. For example, if you are writing the report for colleagues on a board of experienced engineers at a chemical engineering plant, you can be pretty certain that they will familiar with all the technical terms used. However, if there’s any chance that there are people reading the report who may not understand the jargon or abbreviations, don’t use them until you have had the chance to explain what they mean.

If you feel you need more help with report writing, we have the solution. Our report Writing course will teach you how to write professional reports every time. Request a Report Writing course prospectus today.

how to write introduction for report writing

A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Compelling Introductions

A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Compelling Introductions

Table of contents

how to write introduction for report writing

I’ve been complimented for every single one of my introductions this month. Whether they were intros for blogs, case studies, or whitepapers—they all followed a compelling narrative.

But my introductions from ten months ago had to be heavily reworked by my editors, and often completely rewritten.

So what changed in this time?

I started following a structured approach to writing intros—the Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis model, also known as the Hegelian dialectic (more on this soon). 

how to write introduction for report writing

In this guide to introductions, I’ll show you how to create a compelling introduction, no matter what your argument. I’ll explain each step with multiple examples that I’ve developed and sourced on my journey to improve introductions. By the end of this guide, there you’ll be itching to write your next introduction. 

AI introduction generator > AI introduction generator >

how to write introduction for report writing

Let’s start at the very beginning. 

Characteristics of a good introduction

When you write logically, you make it easy for your audience to continue reading without zoning out. Logic connects the dots for your readers and keeps them from making assumptions. It also ensures they conclude what you want them to. 

2. Persuasiveness

Your introduction should compel the reader to keep reading. If your writing is not persuasive, you’ll lose your reader early on, and your brilliantly devised arguments will have no audience. 

Context is vital to set the stage for the arguments you will present in the rest of your writing. Without context, your reader might not know where your story fits into the larger scheme. 

Most frameworks for writing introductions only guarantee one of these elements. Hegel’s dialectic guarantees all three. 

Who is Hegel, and why should you care about his dialectic?

Georg Hegel was a German philosopher who challenged a 2000-year-old concept of logic developed by Aristotle. The reigning model was deductive reasoning—which is still used in criminal investigations and law practice. 

But Hegel’s model, Thesis Antithesis Synthesis (TAS), was more potent because it resolves previous arguments as it presents the next. 

Let’s look at how it works. 

The thesis makes a claim. 

For example, ‘People now know the earth to be spherical.’

The antithesis introduces an objection to the thesis.

“But this wasn’t always the case. In fact, in the 5th century, 1200 people were prosecuted for making the case for a spherical earth. Contradicting our planet’s flatness was considered blasphemy.”

The synthesis creates a new thesis that resolves the objection posed by the antithesis. 

“Until one day, a scientist named Pythagoras risked being stoned to death to prove the earth was round. 

Hegel’s dialectic can seem complicated when you first analyze it. “But how will I come up with objections to my statement?”, “what if there isn’t a widely accepted claim about the story I’m telling?, “what if I’m writing on a boring topic and can’t use TAS to make a compelling argument?” — all of these are questions I’ve had while experimenting with Hegel’s model. 

So can you use this framework to write every single intro for the rest of your life?

Short answer: yes. And I’ll show you how. 

How to use the Hegelian Dialectic 

There are three things you’ll need to apply Hegel’s Dialectic to your intros:

  • Conceptual understanding 
  • Thorough research
  • Good note-taking skills 

Let me explain. 

You must thoroughly understand your topic to execute an argument in the fewest possible words. To do this, you need to either research well or be a subject matter expert. 

Finally, you need good note-taking skills to dissect existing information in an argument and restructure it to fit Hegel’s model. 

Simply put, you need to break down every information cluster and put it together more compellingly. 

Let’s do this step by-step with large chunks of information.

Step 1: Separate your information into ‘Claims’ and ‘Objections’. 

Let's do this for a Wikipedia article on The Bermuda Triangle

“ The Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil's Triangle, is an urban legend focused on a loosely-defined region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean where a number of aircraft and ships are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The idea of the area as uniquely prone to disappearances arose in the mid-20th century, but most reputable sources dismiss the idea that there is any mystery.” 

Note: to easily identify objections, look for statements that start with ‘but’, however’, or ‘interestingly’. 

how to write introduction for report writing

Step 2: Keep only the interesting claims and see how they might be interconnected. 

Get rid of fluff. 

“ The Bermuda Triangle is an urban legend focused on the North Atlantic Ocean. Several aircraft and ships are said to have disappeared here under mysterious circumstances.” 

Note: your choice of ‘interesting claims’ will depend on the audience and purpose of your article. For example, Claim 2, “ The Bermuda Triangle is focused in a region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean” might be important for an audience of geographers but unnecessary for a general audience. 

Step 3: Introduce the objection immediately after the claim.

“ The Bermuda Triangle is an urban legend focused on the North Atlantic Ocean. A number of aircraft and ships are said to have disappeared here under mysterious circumstances. But most reputable sources dismiss the idea that there is any mystery.”

By this point we have already generated intrigue. 

Step 4: Leverage the intrigue into a hook for the rest of the article. 

“ The Bermuda Triangle is an urban legend focused on the North Atlantic Ocean. Several aircraft and ships are said to have disappeared here under mysterious circumstances. But most reputable sources dismiss the idea that there is any mystery.

However, people continue to disappear without a reasonable explanation and that left us curious. 

So we talked to 30 scientists who’ve worked in the region, and here’s what they say.”

Once you start practicing TAS for all content you come across, you’ll find it increasingly easier to construct sound arguments that build narratives—even when you have to write on a dull topic. 

Think I’m exaggerating? 

Let’s try this for a snippet with relatively boring information about the spice cardamom. 

Here’s the Britannica entry: 

“Cardamom, also spelled cardamon,  is a spice consisting of whole or ground dried fruits, or seeds, of Elettaria cardamomum, a herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). The seeds have a warm, slightly pungent, and highly aromatic flavor somewhat reminiscent of camphor. They are a popular seasoning in South Asian dishes, particularly curries, and in Scandinavian pastries.

At first glance, this snippet does not contain an objection statement. There are no statements starting with ‘but’, ‘however’, or even ‘interestingly’. To be able to create a Hegelian argument from this, we need to spot contradictory ideas. 

This is often much harder to do. Here’s what I did:

I read this snippet again and noticed that cardamom is a common ingredient for both curries and Scandinavian desserts. But one of these dishes (curry) is extremely spicy, and the other(dessert) is sweet. This tells me that cardamom is a versatile spice, and there must be a history to how it came to be used in drastically opposite recipes—this gives me both an objection and a hook . 

Let’s build our table:

how to write introduction for report writing

Let’s piece this into an introduction using our four-step framework. 

“Cardamom is a spice of dried fruits or seeds with a warm, pungent, and highly aromatic flavor. People in equatorial South Asian countries use cardamom to make spicy curries like Chicken Korma, Changezi Chicken, and Butter Chicken. 

But halfway across the globe in Scandinavia, Cardamom is used in sweet desserts. 

How did Cardamom travel to Scandinavia from South Asia and become a key ingredient for both sweet and spicy recipes?

Read on to find out.”

Now, not every snippet of information will fall into claims and objections. Some are more intricately woven and far more complex. 

Let’s look at how we can still develop them into a compelling argument. 

A twist on the standard Hegelian Dialectic

Let’s look at this snippet on Terrorism from Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus:

“Terrorists are like a fly that tries to destroy a china shop. The fly is so weak that it cannot budge

even a single teacup. So it finds a bull, gets inside its ear and starts buzzing. The bull goes wild with

fear and anger, and destroys the china shop. 

This is what happened in the Middle East in the last decade. Islamic fundamentalists could never have toppled Saddam Hussein by themselves. Instead they enraged the USA by the 9/11 attacks, and the USA destroyed the Middle Eastern china shop for them. Now they flourish in the wreckage. 

By themselves, terrorists are too weak to drag us back to the Middle Ages and re-establish the Jungle Law. They may provoke us, but in the end, it all depends on our reactions. If the Jungle Law comes back into force, it will not be the fault of terrorists.” 

If I had to turn this into an introduction, here’s how I would structure it.  

Thesis: It wasn’t the US government that toppled Saddam Hussien–it was Islamic fundamentalists.  ‍ Antithesis : But how could a remote, technologically deprived community take down a powerful ruler like Saddam Hussien?  ‍ Synthesis : By enraging the US government. Like a fly that enters a bull’s ear to enrage it and wreck havoc, islamic fundamentalists used the United State’s military forces to decimate the Middle East. 

By themselves, terrorists are too weak to drag us back to the Middle Ages and re-establish the Jungle Law. They may provoke us, but in the end, it all depends on our reactions. If the Jungle Law comes back into force, it will not be the fault of terrorists.

The key is to identify the point of tension or pivot from the larger claim, no matter how complex the argument. Once you do this, you can build both your thesis and synthesis around the contradiction.

To strengthen your conceptual understanding of TAS, let’s look at some examples of how TAS can be used to sell products. 

Examples of the Hegelian Dialectic

Each of these examples explores an expertly used method to build an argument. Pick whichever one works for your product, purpose, and audience. 

Example 1: Adding context to a factual statement 

Sample problem: convince readers to sign up for a Twitter ecommerce Platform. 

Thesis: “Since Twitter is about building relationships—brands that offer the right products to their niche communities will attract engaged crowds.” Antithesis: But Twitter’s ecommerce features are new and few. And they don’t come with community-focused tools. Synthesis: To close the gap for our readers, we came up with 6 creative ways you use Twitter ecommerce features to build community and sell products.

I’ve opened this intro with a widely accepted fact about Twitter—that the platform encourages brands with strong communities. I’ve used the antithesis to introduce the service offering (Twitter ecommerce) and highlighted the problem with the offer as it stands (no community-focused tools) . The new synthesis tells the reader they can leverage the power of the platform even without the community-focused tools by reading our blog. 

This persuades the reader to read on. 

To make a compelling thesis, you don’t even have to start with a true statement. You can also start with:

  • Desirable scenarios
  • Common beliefs
  • A shocking piece of news/data 

Let’s see how: 

Example 2: Building desire with a hypothetical scenario

Sample problem: convince readers to try a software for managing deals.

Thesis : “In an ideal world, closing deals would be a two-step process. You would talk to a prospect and send across a contract that would come back signed. Viola! Deal closed.  Antithesis: “In reality, there are seven stages in the sales process.” Synthesis: “Good news: with effective deal management, you can bring your sales process very close to the 2-step process.”

I’ve started this introduction with a scenario my readers desire. Then I’ve introduced why the desirable situation is not common or realistic. Finally, I tell my readers that the common situation can be converted to the hypothetical one by trying out our solution. 

Example 3: Challenging a common belief

To build an antithesis to a common belief you can agree with the belief while introducing a new angle. Or you can contradict the belief with new evidence. Here’s what each of them looks like:

1. Agreeing with the belief: 

Thesis : You probably think that you know why dinosaurs disappeared. The popular theory is that 66 million years ago, a giant asteroid crashed into the surface of the earth and wiped off all life, including the mighty dinosaur.  ‍ Antithesis: But this story has another layer: the meteor was not a random cosmic phenomenon. 

It followed a cyclic and predictable pattern. One that’s going to repeat in 2044. 

Will humans go extinct in 2044?

Synthesis: Read on to find out what scientists know about the asteroid that might wipe out humanity—like it did dinosaurs. 

2. Contradicting the belief

Thesis: You probably think that you know why dinosaurs disappeared. The popular theory is that 66 million years ago, a giant asteroid crashed into the surface of the earth and wiped off all life, including the mighty dinosaur.  Antithesis: But you’d be wrong.

Recently discovered fossils tell us that mass extinction was caused by a violent volcanic eruption. 

One that might happen again. And once again, wipe out all life on earth. 

Synthesis: What does the ancient eruption tell us about the one predicted for 2044? Read on to find out. 

Example 4: Introducing a shocking piece of data 

Thesis: Company X made 20 types of water bottles in 2000.  19 of them not only didn’t sell but had to be discarded with hefty environmental fines. Antithesis: But one brought in $10 million dollars in 2 years for this tiny, 3-person brand.  Synthesis: So, what did that one bottle do?

Example 5: Enraging the reader with an accusation 

Thesis: If you’re having a sales call just once, you’re already failing at sales.  All of that data on customer pain points, competitor tactics, and product problems—uttered once and then gone with the wind. Those were the things your company needed to retain its best customers. Antithesis: But with so many things vying for your attention during the sales call, how do you find the time to take helpful notes? Synthesis: Enter: [Brand]’s automated note-taker. You focus on the call, it focuses on the notes.

Variations of the Hegelian Dialectic

Did you know a number of popular copywriting formulas follow Hegel’s Dialectic?

The “Problem-Agitate-Solution” and the “And-Therefore-But ” framework are two examples. 

Even though you can start from scratch every time you write an intro, these formulas might save you time. 

In this section, I’ll also explain where and when you can use these popular frameworks

1. Problem Agitate Solution (PAS) Framework:

You start by introducing a problem. Then you agitate the reader by highlighting specific details of the problem. Finally, you conclude with a solution that leaves the reader reassured. (If you’re using PAS to sell something, the solution is where you would introduce your product. 

Here’s an example:

Problem: Installing a new software can often feel like climbing a ladder in the dark—you know there’s a next step, but not where it is.

Agitate: You make yourself sit through demo videos, fumble around with buttons, and attempt to understand the interface—only to give up in exasperation. To make matters worse, email reminders keep popping up to tell you how you’ve failed at this simple task. 

Solution: There’s a way to make it go away. XYZ’s software installer takes away the pain of setting up a new software. Its automatic integration does the grunt work for you. 

In essence, the problem and agitate statements are an aggravated thesis. The antithesis is implied. In this case it’s the assumption that there is no way to install software without the grueling grunt work. The synthesis tells us there is a way to avoid the grunt work by using XYZ software. 

‍ When to use PAS: Advertisement copy, introductions, short video scripts. 

Note: PAS is not limited to these formats but I’ve personally found myself agitated to the point of annoyance when either the ‘agitate’ or the ‘solution’ segment is dragged out for long form copy. 

2. And, But, Therefore (ABT) Framework:

The ‘And’ statement makes two, interconnected powerful claims. The ‘But’ statement introduces a problem with the claim. “Therefore” statement introduces a new claim that resolves the problem. 

And : New dinosaur fossils are discovered every two years and they’ve added to our understanding of life from 66 million years ago. 

‍ But: But the evidence from the last five years has been increasingly contradictory. Fossils of some regions tell us that an asteroid wiped out the species, but other fossils indicate a violent volcano. 

Therefore: To understand the truth of the matter, we’ve invited 12 paleontologists to our show to answer our burning questions (pun intended.)

The ABT framework is a variation on Hegel’s Dialectic because the introductory claims are layered. Usually, the first claim is the big picture and the second one is a finer detail. The rest of the structure mimics Hegel’s Dialectic. 

When to use ABT: Medium-length blogs, short landing pages, and short to medium video scripts. 

Note: ABT can be used for longer-form writing than PAS because it builds lesser tension. There is no segment that intentionally aggravates the reader, so there is more room to build an argument. 

Now that we’ve looked at how to construct compelling arguments using the Thesis Antithesis Synthesis model, let’s look at tried and tested ways to add more oomph to your introductions. 

Pro tips for leveling up your introductions 

These are ideas and strategies I’ve collected over the years and they’ve worked for me every time. 

1. Start with a story 

Use the Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis model to tell a compelling brand story. 

Here’s an example from a blog on Unique Selling Propositions. 

“Rolls Royce went from selling 10,000 to 40,000 cars in one year in 1957—a 400% uptick in sales with just one uptick in marketing—a unique selling proposition (USP). 

The USP was simple—it was a fast, quiet car. The statement read: ‘At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in the new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock’. 

But what made this USP powerful enough to bring in 400 million dollars in sales?

‍ Memorable, defensible, and customer-centric positioning.” 

Measurable results add an extra layer to this example. When people see a numerical transition, they are more likely to believe your story. 

2. Add verifiable proof 

Proof can be a testimonial, results from your dashboard, or even a statistic. Social proof helps your readers trust you and believe in your story. 

Here’s an example of how I have used a Google result to back up what I was saying with my content:

“ My blog on Twitter Ecommerce for Sprout Social, is now the featured snippet!

Beating both TechCrunch and HubSpot—which had no.1 and no.2 slots for over a year!

How did I do this?

‍ A step-by-step guide to outranking competitors while creating value. 

how to write introduction for report writing

Because I have proof, readers are more likely to read my guide. 

3. Introduce a pain point 

When you start your writing with a popular pain point it tells your readers you understand them. As a result, they’re more likely to continue reading. 

Here’s an example of how starting with a pain point attracts a wide audience. 

how to write introduction for report writing

Here’s an example that combines a pain point with proof:

how to write introduction for report writing

Once you add these expert tips to your TAS toolkit, you’ll never write a boring intro again. 

How to get past the creative block

While TAS provides a tried and tested framework to work (and rework) your introductions to perfection, it requires tremendous creativity. It’s hard to nail TAS even after multiple tries. 

A mock debate helps me when I’m facing a creative block with introductions. Ideally, I try to get a friend to participate as the opponent. But I often have debates with myself where I ferociously defend each side. 

As a result, I can distinguish superficial arguments from meritorious ones.

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How to Write a Research Paper Introduction (with Examples)

How to Write a Research Paper Introduction (with Examples)

The research paper introduction section, along with the Title and Abstract, can be considered the face of any research paper. The following article is intended to guide you in organizing and writing the research paper introduction for a quality academic article or dissertation.

The research paper introduction aims to present the topic to the reader. A study will only be accepted for publishing if you can ascertain that the available literature cannot answer your research question. So it is important to ensure that you have read important studies on that particular topic, especially those within the last five to ten years, and that they are properly referenced in this section. 1 What should be included in the research paper introduction is decided by what you want to tell readers about the reason behind the research and how you plan to fill the knowledge gap. The best research paper introduction provides a systemic review of existing work and demonstrates additional work that needs to be done. It needs to be brief, captivating, and well-referenced; a well-drafted research paper introduction will help the researcher win half the battle.

The introduction for a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:

  • Present your research topic
  • Capture reader interest
  • Summarize existing research
  • Position your own approach
  • Define your specific research problem and problem statement
  • Highlight the novelty and contributions of the study
  • Give an overview of the paper’s structure

The research paper introduction can vary in size and structure depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or is a review paper. Some research paper introduction examples are only half a page while others are a few pages long. In many cases, the introduction will be shorter than all of the other sections of your paper; its length depends on the size of your paper as a whole.

  • Break through writer’s block. Write your research paper introduction with Paperpal Copilot

Table of Contents

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The introduction in a research paper is placed at the beginning to guide the reader from a broad subject area to the specific topic that your research addresses. They present the following information to the reader

  • Scope: The topic covered in the research paper
  • Context: Background of your topic
  • Importance: Why your research matters in that particular area of research and the industry problem that can be targeted

The research paper introduction conveys a lot of information and can be considered an essential roadmap for the rest of your paper. A good introduction for a research paper is important for the following reasons:

  • It stimulates your reader’s interest: A good introduction section can make your readers want to read your paper by capturing their interest. It informs the reader what they are going to learn and helps determine if the topic is of interest to them.
  • It helps the reader understand the research background: Without a clear introduction, your readers may feel confused and even struggle when reading your paper. A good research paper introduction will prepare them for the in-depth research to come. It provides you the opportunity to engage with the readers and demonstrate your knowledge and authority on the specific topic.
  • It explains why your research paper is worth reading: Your introduction can convey a lot of information to your readers. It introduces the topic, why the topic is important, and how you plan to proceed with your research.
  • It helps guide the reader through the rest of the paper: The research paper introduction gives the reader a sense of the nature of the information that will support your arguments and the general organization of the paragraphs that will follow. It offers an overview of what to expect when reading the main body of your paper.

What are the parts of introduction in the research?

A good research paper introduction section should comprise three main elements: 2

  • What is known: This sets the stage for your research. It informs the readers of what is known on the subject.
  • What is lacking: This is aimed at justifying the reason for carrying out your research. This could involve investigating a new concept or method or building upon previous research.
  • What you aim to do: This part briefly states the objectives of your research and its major contributions. Your detailed hypothesis will also form a part of this section.

How to write a research paper introduction?

The first step in writing the research paper introduction is to inform the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening statement. The second step involves establishing the kinds of research that have been done and ending with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to address. Finally, the research paper introduction clarifies how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses. If your research involved testing hypotheses, these should be stated along with your research question. The hypothesis should be presented in the past tense since it will have been tested by the time you are writing the research paper introduction.

The following key points, with examples, can guide you when writing the research paper introduction section:

  • Highlight the importance of the research field or topic
  • Describe the background of the topic
  • Present an overview of current research on the topic

Example: The inclusion of experiential and competency-based learning has benefitted electronics engineering education. Industry partnerships provide an excellent alternative for students wanting to engage in solving real-world challenges. Industry-academia participation has grown in recent years due to the need for skilled engineers with practical training and specialized expertise. However, from the educational perspective, many activities are needed to incorporate sustainable development goals into the university curricula and consolidate learning innovation in universities.

  • Reveal a gap in existing research or oppose an existing assumption
  • Formulate the research question

Example: There have been plausible efforts to integrate educational activities in higher education electronics engineering programs. However, very few studies have considered using educational research methods for performance evaluation of competency-based higher engineering education, with a focus on technical and or transversal skills. To remedy the current need for evaluating competencies in STEM fields and providing sustainable development goals in engineering education, in this study, a comparison was drawn between study groups without and with industry partners.

  • State the purpose of your study
  • Highlight the key characteristics of your study
  • Describe important results
  • Highlight the novelty of the study.
  • Offer a brief overview of the structure of the paper.

Example: The study evaluates the main competency needed in the applied electronics course, which is a fundamental core subject for many electronics engineering undergraduate programs. We compared two groups, without and with an industrial partner, that offered real-world projects to solve during the semester. This comparison can help determine significant differences in both groups in terms of developing subject competency and achieving sustainable development goals.

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With Paperpal Copilot, create a research paper introduction effortlessly. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through how Paperpal transforms your initial ideas into a polished and publication-ready introduction.

how to write introduction for report writing

How to use Paperpal to write the Introduction section

Step 1: Sign up on Paperpal and click on the Copilot feature, under this choose Outlines > Research Article > Introduction

Step 2: Add your unstructured notes or initial draft, whether in English or another language, to Paperpal, which is to be used as the base for your content.

Step 3: Fill in the specifics, such as your field of study, brief description or details you want to include, which will help the AI generate the outline for your Introduction.

Step 4: Use this outline and sentence suggestions to develop your content, adding citations where needed and modifying it to align with your specific research focus.

Step 5: Turn to Paperpal’s granular language checks to refine your content, tailor it to reflect your personal writing style, and ensure it effectively conveys your message.

You can use the same process to develop each section of your article, and finally your research paper in half the time and without any of the stress.

The purpose of the research paper introduction is to introduce the reader to the problem definition, justify the need for the study, and describe the main theme of the study. The aim is to gain the reader’s attention by providing them with necessary background information and establishing the main purpose and direction of the research.

The length of the research paper introduction can vary across journals and disciplines. While there are no strict word limits for writing the research paper introduction, an ideal length would be one page, with a maximum of 400 words over 1-4 paragraphs. Generally, it is one of the shorter sections of the paper as the reader is assumed to have at least a reasonable knowledge about the topic. 2 For example, for a study evaluating the role of building design in ensuring fire safety, there is no need to discuss definitions and nature of fire in the introduction; you could start by commenting upon the existing practices for fire safety and how your study will add to the existing knowledge and practice.

When deciding what to include in the research paper introduction, the rest of the paper should also be considered. The aim is to introduce the reader smoothly to the topic and facilitate an easy read without much dependency on external sources. 3 Below is a list of elements you can include to prepare a research paper introduction outline and follow it when you are writing the research paper introduction. Topic introduction: This can include key definitions and a brief history of the topic. Research context and background: Offer the readers some general information and then narrow it down to specific aspects. Details of the research you conducted: A brief literature review can be included to support your arguments or line of thought. Rationale for the study: This establishes the relevance of your study and establishes its importance. Importance of your research: The main contributions are highlighted to help establish the novelty of your study Research hypothesis: Introduce your research question and propose an expected outcome. Organization of the paper: Include a short paragraph of 3-4 sentences that highlights your plan for the entire paper

Cite only works that are most relevant to your topic; as a general rule, you can include one to three. Note that readers want to see evidence of original thinking. So it is better to avoid using too many references as it does not leave much room for your personal standpoint to shine through. Citations in your research paper introduction support the key points, and the number of citations depend on the subject matter and the point discussed. If the research paper introduction is too long or overflowing with citations, it is better to cite a few review articles rather than the individual articles summarized in the review. A good point to remember when citing research papers in the introduction section is to include at least one-third of the references in the introduction.

The literature review plays a significant role in the research paper introduction section. A good literature review accomplishes the following: Introduces the topic – Establishes the study’s significance – Provides an overview of the relevant literature – Provides context for the study using literature – Identifies knowledge gaps However, remember to avoid making the following mistakes when writing a research paper introduction: Do not use studies from the literature review to aggressively support your research Avoid direct quoting Do not allow literature review to be the focus of this section. Instead, the literature review should only aid in setting a foundation for the manuscript.

Remember the following key points for writing a good research paper introduction: 4

  • Avoid stuffing too much general information: Avoid including what an average reader would know and include only that information related to the problem being addressed in the research paper introduction. For example, when describing a comparative study of non-traditional methods for mechanical design optimization, information related to the traditional methods and differences between traditional and non-traditional methods would not be relevant. In this case, the introduction for the research paper should begin with the state-of-the-art non-traditional methods and methods to evaluate the efficiency of newly developed algorithms.
  • Avoid packing too many references: Cite only the required works in your research paper introduction. The other works can be included in the discussion section to strengthen your findings.
  • Avoid extensive criticism of previous studies: Avoid being overly critical of earlier studies while setting the rationale for your study. A better place for this would be the Discussion section, where you can highlight the advantages of your method.
  • Avoid describing conclusions of the study: When writing a research paper introduction remember not to include the findings of your study. The aim is to let the readers know what question is being answered. The actual answer should only be given in the Results and Discussion section.

To summarize, the research paper introduction section should be brief yet informative. It should convince the reader the need to conduct the study and motivate him to read further. If you’re feeling stuck or unsure, choose trusted AI academic writing assistants like Paperpal to effortlessly craft your research paper introduction and other sections of your research article.

1. Jawaid, S. A., & Jawaid, M. (2019). How to write introduction and discussion. Saudi Journal of Anaesthesia, 13(Suppl 1), S18.

2. Dewan, P., & Gupta, P. (2016). Writing the title, abstract and introduction: Looks matter!. Indian pediatrics, 53, 235-241.

3. Cetin, S., & Hackam, D. J. (2005). An approach to the writing of a scientific Manuscript1. Journal of Surgical Research, 128(2), 165-167.

4. Bavdekar, S. B. (2015). Writing introduction: Laying the foundations of a research paper. Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, 63(7), 44-6.

Paperpal is an AI writing assistant that help academics write better, faster with real-time suggestions for in-depth language and grammar correction. Trained on millions of research manuscripts enhanced by professional academic editors, Paperpal delivers human precision at machine speed.

Try it for free or upgrade to  Paperpal Prime , which unlocks unlimited access to premium features like academic translation, paraphrasing, contextual synonyms, consistency checks and more. It’s like always having a professional academic editor by your side! Go beyond limitations and experience the future of academic writing.  Get Paperpal Prime now at just US$19 a month!

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  • 5 Reasons for Rejection After Peer Review
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  • 8 Most Effective Ways to Increase Motivation for Thesis Writing 

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  • How to write a lab report

How To Write A Lab Report | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples

Published on May 20, 2021 by Pritha Bhandari . Revised on July 23, 2023.

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.

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Table of contents

Structuring a lab report, introduction, other interesting articles, 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.

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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.

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.”

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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.

Experimental design

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)

Nitrogen fertilizer

Measuring tape

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.

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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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