How to Write a Research Report
(Developed by Melissa Yoshioka; Maui Community College)

The basic research report is an important way to learn about a particular area of neuroscience. The report requires library work, Internet searches, planning and patience. Here is an outline to help plan a research report.

1. Select a topic

  • Define the category of possible topics related to neuroscience. Choose from a list of examples of suitable topics. The topics should be sufficiently narrow to be covered in a limited report, sufficiently broad for the student to locate enough information on the topic. For example:

    • Parts of the brain and nervous system (select one area; for example, the cortex or hippocampus)
    • Drug effects (select one drug; for example, cocaine)
    • The senses (select one sense; for example, vision)
    • Behavior (select one type of behavior; for example language or emotion)

  • Suggest texts or other sources from which students might select topics for approval.

  • Have students select at least two possible topics before going to the library or starting an Internet search.

2. Locate and List Sources

  • Review the use of the card catalog and Internet searches.

  • Indicate all the different types of sources a student might use.

    • Library books
    • Magazines
    • Internet
    • Charts
    • Newspapers
    • Interviews

  • Instruct students to go to the library to decide about which topic has good sources available and bring those sources to school. For example, a copy of a magazine or newspaper article.
3. Check the table of contents and index of each reference book, skim the material to find the pages that discuss the topic.
4. Make choices about the topic according to the reading abilities, level of material and time available for the project.
5. Prepare note pages for reference material: write the title, author, publisher, place and date of publication and page number at the top of each page. These note cards record information for use in the bibliography and allow students to check information or go back to the original source for more information.
6. Read carefully, taking notes on the main ideas and facts. Write in phrases in your own words.
7. Prepare outline

  • Explain the general outline form and purpose of each section.

  • Write out a sample outline in class:

    I  Introduction
    II  Body
    III  Conclusion

8. Write a rough draft

  • Leave margins or skip lines for notes and changes

  • Use only one side of the paper

9. Correct and copy

  • Proofread by reading aloud

  • Check for punctuation and run-on sentences

  • Check spelling in the dictionary

  • Go over the report with an adult

10. Prepare a bibliography and title page (show examples on the chalk board)

Approximate Time Schedule and Due Dates for the Research Report
(2 month project)

Day 1 - Introduce the project.
Day 7 - Report topic due (two choices)
Day 14- Books due (photocopy articles)
Day 28- Notes completed
Day 35 - Outline due
Day 42 - Rough draft completed
Day 49 - Bibliography completed
Day 56 - Report due

The Completed Research Report

On or before Day 56, the following items must be completed in this exact order:

  1. Title page

  2. Final copy of report (typed or in very neat handwriting)

  3. Outline

  4. Bibliography

  5. Notes

The following is a sample letter that could be sent home to parents along with a description of the Research Report and the time schedule.

Dear Parents,

Your son or daughter may need some guidance in meeting these deadlines. Please see to it that time is allotted each day so that work is not left for the last minute. Please check that all writing is done from the student's notes only, never directly from a book. Notes must be written in very short phrases. I would also appreciate your help in reviewing the rough draft with the student before the final copy is prepared. Thank you very much for your cooperation. This assistance will be of great value to your child.



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