The post is a summary on report writing format of a research project based to a great extent on American Psychological Association (APA) styles. Generally, the presentation focuses on the structure and formatting attributes of the Front Matter and the Opening Chapter of a research report. The structure of a research report can be summarised under three categories, namely:
- the Front Matter,
- the Main Body of the Report, and
- the Back Matter (References, Bibliographies and Appendices).
The Front Matter
The Front Matter begins with the Cover Page, the Spine through the List of Figures.
The Cover Page
The Cover Page of a research report has four blocks as illustrated in Figure 1:
- The first block of this page is the institution of affiliation. It must be printed at the top of the page, i.e., 12 single spaces or 2 inches from the top edge of the page
- the TITLE of the report must be printed in the middle of the page
- the author’s FULL NAME
- the YEAR of presenting the research work must be printed at the bottom half of the page. Note that the use of ‘BY’ and titles such as Mr., Mrs., Rev., Alhaji, etc. are not acceptable. The text of the four blocks are presented in upper cases
Figure 1: Sample of a cover page
The Spine is presented in Figure 2 and is printed in three blocks. All writings must be in upper cases.
- the degree
- the full name of the candidate
- the year the research project is being presentated.
Figure 2: The Spine
- The name of institution is the first block. It is set at five single spaces (1.27 cm) from the top edge of the page and centred between the left and right margins.
- The title of the report follows.
- The full name of the candidate is set in the third block.
- The department and the faculty of the university to which the research work is submitted and the purpose for which the work is required are captured in the fourth block
- The fifth block states the date (month and year) that the work is presented (Figure 3)
Figure 3: The title page
The declaration page is where you’re required to simply reaffirm the originality of your research project free of plagiarism. A sample declaration is presented in Figure 4. Figure 4: Declaration for a research project
The abstract is a summary of the entire paper and should include only materials that are part of the research report. It should not consist of (a) more than 250 words, (b) symbols, and (c) many technical terms. It is written in the past tense and numbered (ii) after the title page at bottom of the page (footer). Present your abstract in a single paragraph. A typical abstract (Figure 5) comprises (a) the reason why the research was done, (b) what was investigated, (c) who the participants were, (d) how the study was conducted, and (e) at least one major key finding, conclusion, and recommendation Figure 5: An abstract sample
You acknowledge all contributions towards the completion of the project. It is numbered (iii) at bottom of the page (footer). It is not another dedication page. It should therefore contain at most two lines, consisting of just a few words. It is highly unconventional to acknowledge God, Allah or any other supernatural powers in documents of this nature. Example
In Memory of My Parents
Table of Contents
Table of contents should list abstract, acknowledgements, dedication, list of tables and list of figures, the chapter headings into which the paper is divided, the main headings and sub-divisions. The heading TABLE OF CONTENTS is typed on the tenth single space below the top of the paper and it is centred between the margins. The words “Chapter” and “Page” head their respective columns. Two spaces are recommended for all indentations in the Table of Contents (Figure 6). Figure 6: Table of contents
List of Tables
After the Table of Contents, the next separate section typed on a new page is the List of Tables. The heading LIST OF TABLES is placed on the tenth single line from the top margin of the paper.
List of Figures
The next separated page or pages in the Preliminaries or Front Matter is the List of Figures. The setting is the same as LIST OF TABLES.
Present introductory statements (without placing it under the heading “Introduction”) at the beginning of chapter two through chapter five to explain how each chapter is organised. Indentation All paragraphs are indented at 5 to 7 spaces (1.27 cm) from the left margin (first column). Margins Set the top, bottom and right margins to 1 inch (2.54 cm). Thus, the margins start from the edge of the paper and extend 2.54 cm both sides. The left margin is set to 2 inches (5.04 cm) in order to allow for binding. An alternative is to set all margins including gutter to 1 inch (2.54 cm). Paper Size The preferred paper size is A4 with a measurement of 21 cm by 29.7 cm (8.5 inches by 11 inches). Font The preferred font is Times New Roman typeface, 12 point type size and regular type style. Text Alignment The body text is aligned to both left and right margins (justify). Pagination All pages of the main document (body and back matters) are assigned Arabic (1, 2, etc.) numerals. The numbers are placed at the footer and aligned centre. It continues through references and appendices. Use Roman (i, ii, etc.) numerals for the front matter. Spacing The main document including reference should be composed on double spacing. Where captions extend beyond one line, it is typed on single spacing. A chapter heading (e.g. Chapter One) starts on the third single spacing from the edge of the top margin. A chapter title such as “Introduction” is typed on the second single spacing after the chapter heading. Example of a typical first page of the main body of a research project is illustrated in Figure 7. The abstract, acknowledgements and dedication headings are set off as follows:
- they are typed on the tenth single space from the top of the page in upper case and centred between the margins.
- the first line of the text begins on the third single space below the heading and six single spaces (1.27 cm) from the left margin.
Figure 7: Sample of Chapter One
In presenting a table, note that (a) the table has no gridlines except the two horizontal lines for the top and bottom parts of the table; (b) the title is placed at the top of the table, presented in title case, aligned left with bold effect; and (c) the entries are presented in double spacing (Table 1). The caption for a figure is presented below the figure and written in title case (Figure 8). Use Arabic numerals to number tables and figures consecutively throughout the text. Figure 8: A sample formatted table
This table is not different from Figure 8 except that the pair of horizontal gridlines are set for total at the bottom part of the table.
To download sample of Table2 click onTable2
Figure 9: A sample figure
Most reference styles introduce in-text citations in the body text and reference lists at the end of the report. For the reference list, use (a) hanging indentation for each reference list, (b) sentence case for the title of a non-periodic and title case for the article of a journal, and (c) double spacing (Figure 10). Figure 10: A sample of reference list