Prepare the following sections of your research report:
1. Research report introduction: provide a clear introduction of your research project as well as a justification for choosing the research topic. Include a list of important terms with definitions
2. Research objectives / questions: outline the research objectives / questions for your research
3. Literature review. Your literature review should:
• Have a brief introduction that clearly states the purpose of the review and the
significance of this to this research project. An overview of the type of literature that appears in your literature review.
• Include situational / industrial factors that provide a background to the research where this is relevant e.g. you may need to provide a history of a topic or legal influences or
specific industry conditions and practices.
• Demonstrate an awareness of related literature in this field and provide an overview
of the key debates, theories and concepts that are relevant to your field of study.
• Cover information sources that are reputable and of a high quality.
• Evaluates the relevance of the chosen literature to your research project.
4. A planned timeline for the remainder of the research project. This timeline should have specific
goals, objectives and dates these are to be completed.
N.B. when you analyse your primary research data you may find that there are unanticipated new
concepts/ theories relevant to your topic that you need to add to your literature review. It is fine for you
to add this to the literature review that appears in your final report.
Generally, your report will contain ten sections when it is based on primary research.
Choose your title carefully; making sure it reflects the content of your report. Sometimes it can
be easier to choose your title last.
An abstract is a summary of the entire report and includes the report’s aims and objectives,
main findings and key recommendations. Normally it would take up about a page in length
(max 200 words in this case). An abstract is not the same as an introduction (see introduction
section). The purpose of the abstract is to allow anyone reading your report to gain a quick
In the section you introduce your report topic and context. Include such things as an explanation
of the topic area, the problem or issues being reported, the specific research objectives, the
question addressed in the report, the limitations and assumptions and importantly you preview
the report structure.
4 Literature Review:
A summary-review of all the literature sources you have consulted during the researching and
writing-up of your report. Conducting a literature review is the first step in your project once you
have identified your topic area. Your conclusion for your literature review should summarise all
your main findings and you should link this into your analysis and interpretation chapter and
recommendations where applicable.
In this section, give a precise description of the method employed in carrying out your
investigation. You might, for instance, include several sub-sections covering data collection,
sampling, questionnaire development, survey procedure, etc. The main aims of this section are
two-fold: (a) it allows the critical reader to assess the quality of your method in relation to both
professional practice and the study’s objectives; and (b) subsequent researchers will be able to
understand exactly how and why you set up the study in the way that you did – this is of immense
importance if they wish to replicate your work.
It is recognised that some topics are better suited to a higher emphasis placed on secondary
research as compared to primary research. You should discuss and justify this in this section if
this is the case with your project.
Naturally it is imperative that you present your findings in the most appropriate way. There is
no “one right way” to report your findings – individual reports will vary so much. In general, the
findings outline the work you have done to enable you to undertake analysis and interpretation.
You must use credible sources and clear evidence which helps you make your case. You need
to present your information in a logical, systematic manner and divide the material with
appropriate headings to help the reader’s understanding.
7 Analysis and Interpretation of Findings/Discussion:
In this section, you analyse and interpret your findings and ‘present your stance/paradigm’. This
will lead into your conclusions and recommendations. Present the analysis in a logical,
systematic way and divide the material with appropriate headings to assist the reader’s
N.B. It is recommended that you combine your findings and analysis.
The conclusions section summarises the key findings of the report and must be grounded in the
present, (in contrast to the recommendations which focus towards the future). Conclusions
should be presented as a list of points arranged so the major conclusions come first.
The recommendations section includes the opinions of the writer about the course of action that
should be followed. Recommendations focus towards the future (in contrast to the conclusions
which are grounded in the present). Recommendations should be action-oriented, numbered,
arranged in order of importance and not contain any new information. You should refer to your
main research issue and the objectives that you set out to investigate. This will show the
examiner that you have used your research to formulate the recommendations for your
Note: A reference list contains only the material you have cited in your report
If you have used other material (such as background reading) but have not cited this information
anywhere in your report then this should be listed separately under a new list called
Material that is complex and/or detailed is collected at the end of the report in the Appendices
so as not to distract readers from the main theme. Include pictures, graphs and other
illustrations in the appendices. You should label these “Appendix 1”, “Appendix 2”, etc. and
refer the reader to the appropriate appendix, where necessary, in the main body of your report.
This is a good start and attempt. Assuming this is the introduction phase. But once you dive into these section later, consider the following tips:
In your literature review, write definitions with in-text citations: wellbeing, employee wellbeing, human resources, productivity, effectiveness and efficiency in the workplace. You may also write best practices from textbooks on these specific terms; that way, you educate the reader/stakeholder and demonstrate academic rigour. You may then proceed to write about the industry trends of what other organisations are doing in their HR function to promote employee wellbeing and its effectiveness on productivity; these can be sourced from journals.
The same applies to methodology; you need to define any research-based term, such as ‘research’, research process, methodology, primary data, secondary data, data analysis, research design, quantitative and qualitative. When you need to use or apply a research method, try and define it with an in-text citation.