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Types of Assignment

How to start, plan and structure your work

Report: Things you need to know...

Reports are usually written to record the methodology, results and conclusions of an investigation (this may be as a result of primary research (often practical and undertaken by you) or secondary (analysis of current literature and evidence)

They are written for easy reading and discussion so headings, sub-headings, numbering, bullet points, images, tables and graphs can all be used.  Use concise, business-like language so that the reader of your report can easily understand.

Reports can be written in a variety of ways, there is not just one correct way (check assignment guidelines). A report may consist of sections such as:

  1. Title  - be specific.
  2. Introduction – aim(s), objectives and why this is an important area for investigation?
  3. Methodology – what you did to investigate and/or research this subject?
  4. Findings and discussion – what you found out and what the findings mean?
  5. Conclusions – what conclusions you made? 
  6. Recommendations - if needed.
  7. References
  8. Appendices


Table of Contents

When making a report in Word it can be very useful to use the tools built into the program to assist your structuring.

How to Insert a Contents Table.


Microsoft Word Tutorial step by step
Creating a table of contents page with Microsoft Word.

Step  1    Use styles. Headings should be formatted with header 1 (e.g. Chapters) and subheadings should be formatted with header 2. 
Step  2    Click on the “References” tab to select the option “table of contents”.
Step  3    Customise your table of contents style and format by selecting “custom table of contents”.
Step  4    Click "Update" to refresh the table of contents page.

How to:

To designate a section as a Heading.

Highlight the heading words and then in the ribbon select Home and then Styles.

Word Home Ribbon

To create the Contents Table.

On the ribbon select References and select Table of Contents.

Word Ribbon  Table of Contents


Word table of contents example


Figures and Tables

When writing reports you will often include media (Tables and Figures) which needs to be clearly identified and labelled.


If Referencing directs the reader to external sources of information, then clearly naming your internal media gives the reader the direction they need within the report.


Tables are representations of the data and show numbers in column or rows. Figures use that data to show the information in a more visual manner, assisting the reader in their understanding. While labeling the table, the label or numbers are centered and written on the top of the tables. 

Example Table:

Table 1: Title

Data Numbers
12 56
14 94

Figures refer to any visual information including but not limited to charts, diagrams, graphs, photos, etc. which are not Tables. They can be in the main sections of the report, or if they contain supplemental material they may be contained in an appendix e.g. survey questions used in a primary research project. Figures should always be numbered in the order they appear within the document e.g. Figure 1, and always underneath the image.

Example Figure:

Photo of a cat

Figure 1: Photo of a cat 

Or if from a source of information - Figure 1: Photo of a cat (Heap, 2020)

Tech: How to......

Insert a caption for a picture

Insert a table of figures


Figure Caption / Figure Legend: sometimes these terms are used interchangeably. Figure captions provide more detail to the reader ensuring they can understand the figure without having to read the main body of text. Factors to include in a good caption: Figure X: title, materials and methods, results and any supporting definitions. 


Need to know more...

Try doing an advanced search, for example "report writing" + business in order to find resources appropriate to your subject area.