3. How to structure your project report?

Table 1 provides some examples of the full range of sections that are required in a project report. Note that your own subject teacher may require you to include some or all the sections and moves, according to different assessment purposes, subjects and disciplines.

Table 1: The structure of types of reports

Literature survey /dissertation

General scientific report

Scientific report in chemistry

Non-scientific report

Title page



Literature Review

Main body of text



Title page



Materials and methods





Title page





Materials and methods



Title page


Literature Review

Main body of text



Table 2 presents the typical sections of project reports and summarises the functions or ‘moves’ of each section.

Table 2: Typical components of project reports, with notes on expected moves and content in each section


Expected moves and content

Title page

Include the basic information of the project: the institution’s name, the department’s name, the programme of study, the subject code and name, the title of project report, the author(s)’s full name(s), the student number (if appropriate), the lecturer’s/supervisor’s name, and the submission date.

      Scientific-style reports: a descriptive title that indicates the content of the project and sometimes describes the major findings.

      Non-scientific-style reports: a title that defines the topic concisely but comprehensively.

Abstract (mainly for long reports)


Give a brief overview of all the key information in the report, namely, the objective, methods, analyses, key findings and results, and conclusions.


Keywords (optional & mainly for long reports)

Create a short list of words related to your project that is used in the discipline or field.


      Scientific-style reports:

-    Introduce the topic by providing background information and objective for the project, without consulting literature;

-    State clearly the objective of the project;

-    Define major terms/concepts;

-    Provide a preview for the subsequent content of the report.

     Non-scientific-style reports:

-    Outline the project or issue to be addressed, which is the aim of the project;

-    Provide the context of the project, with references to the literature or other resource material to be used, if applicable.

Table of contents (mainly for long reports)

Provide an index for the convenience of readers to locate sections through corresponding page numbers in the report.

Main body of text or

Literature review

Address the issues or solutions in response to the project’s objective;

Provide an analysis of all related aspects/factors/matters.

      Scientific literature survey or scientific-style reports:

-    Describe the historical development and current state of the topic or issue chronologically;

-    Indicate and describe related previous studies and scholars’ chief contributions;

-    Indicate correlations, contradictions and gaps in knowledge, and outline your approach to them.

? Divide this section into sub-sections with appropriate (sub-)headings to reflect various aspects of the topic.

? Include tables to assist with a comparison between approaches or results from different studies.

Materials and Methods

Describe the design of the experiment/research performed;

State the analytical methods adopted for data analysis, and explain why they are suitable;

Describe the experimental or research procedures, which are replicable for other researchers.

(Data analysis, Key findings and) Results

Describe the experiments performed;

Present the results in either tabular or graphic format, without discussing them;

Indicate meaningful aspects of the data in appropriate order.

? From the most significant and important item to the least.

? Use visuals (i.e. box plots/graphs/charts/tables/diagrams) or sets of formulas to synthesize and present key findings and results, and add captions or explanations to describe them.

² A closer connection between graphics and texts helps your elaboration as well as readers’ understanding of your points.

? You may combine this section with the Discussions section to allow your explanation to flow better or to develop a narrative to account for the relationship between results and approaches.


      Scientific-style reports: comment on the results and outline the main conclusion. Include the following components, if appropriate:

-    Evaluate the methods used, and the sources of errors in the experimental process;

-    Show the relationships among the observed facts that have been presented in the (Findings and) Results section;

-    Based on the observed findings and results, give possible explanations (i.e. why things happen), inferences (i.e. what these imply), and/or implications (i.e. what future effects there may be) towards the topic or issue;

-    Compare your findings with others or the ideal result.

? You may combine this section with the Results section to clarify your explanation or to develop a narrative to account for the relationship between results and approaches.

? Alternatively, you may combine this section with the Conclusions section. If so, include the following content:

-    Draw conclusions and indicate the significance of your results.

-    Suggest improvements for the experiment(s) or research;

-    Suggest implementations of the findings (in a business report);

-    Suggest further project directions, if more time and resources are available.

     Non-scientific-style reports:

-    Restate the problem or issue to be addressed;

-    Outline the main solutions or responses to the problem or issue;

-    Account for the favorable solutions with supporting evidence;

-    Provide recommendations, if appropriate.

² Original thoughts are counted heavily in this section.


Summarise the important findings in the report and highlight the most significant ones;

Give an overview of the conclusions drawn previously in the report;

Evaluate the major limitations of the study, and suggest improvements.

? You may combine this section with either the Discussions section or the Recommendations section.

² Sometimes, making a clear distinction between the three sections; Results, Discussion and Conclusion, can increase the overall clarity of the project report.


Propose a series of solutions or recommendations for action;

State your expectations or the implications for potential future work/studies of the same topic.

Acknowledgements (mainly for long reports)

List the people you wish to thank for their help in your work.

References /Bibliography

/Literature cited

List alphabetically all the references referred to or cited in the text, such as journal articles, books and websites, following closely the required conventions of structure, style and format.

Appendices /Illustrations (mainly for long reports

Include complex materials, such as a questionnaire template, detailed figures or tables that are not necessary for your analyses and discussions in the main text, or would disrupt the flow of the report or significantly lengthen the Results section.

Glossary (mainly for long reports)

Provide definitions of technical or disciplinary terms that may be unfamiliar to readers

Keys: ? indicates a tip for structuring the sections of a project report;  indicates a reminder of possible action to enhance the writing quality and readability of a project report

Adapted from: McMillan & Weyers (2011); Silyn-Roberts, (2013).

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