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

  • Choose some topic related to neuroscience. Your choice should be specific enough to be covered in a limited report, but it should also be broad enough to find enough information on the topic. Some examples of topics are:

    • 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)

  • Use books, magazines, the Internet and newspaper to find interesting topics.

  • Give your teacher at least two possible topics before going to the library or starting an Internet search.

2. Locate and List Sources

  • Know how to use the card catalog and Internet searches.

  • Locate all of the sources from which you will get your information.

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

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 your choice of a topic.
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 will allow you 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 an 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

Approximate Time Schedule and Due Dates for the Research Report
(2 month project)
Your own teacher may have a different schedule. Know when each part of the report is due!

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

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