A research report must be well drafted so that it is seriously taken by others and all that have to be said are well said. Reader orientation, purpose orientation, time orientation, technology orientation, etc are all needed. The steps in writing a research report are presented below.
1. Organization of Thought
Organization of thought as to how the report be presented is the most fundamental starting point in the journey of preparation of a research report. Ideas come before the mind eye. These are thought over again and a frame of presentation is planned. This plan does not in itself constitute style, but it is the foundation.
2. Acquaintance with the Research
Full acquaintance with research is needed. This is facilitated by notes. It is desirable to make notes on separate cards or slips called form-facet. Accuracy and Adequacy are required – The second facet of mastery over notes consists in the investigator’s complete control over the data, called study facet, i.e., understanding each fact by itself and in terms of others and of the researcher’s own thoughts; the notes to be compared; criticized and revalued in order to enable the investigator to direct and organize the data in his own way and perhaps differently from what others have done.
3. First Draft
The first draft concentrates on substance, i.e., fullness of facts. All the facts of value are to be brought together. In addition to fullness, accuracy of the facts incorporated into the text becomes necessary. Another requirement is that there should be balance, proportion and development in facts. Importance is to be given to the comprehensiveness of the report but not to the language and form. For writing the first draft the researcher should have control over his notes and should think continuously over the problem. In a way, the first draft is the most important of the different stages in reporting. This report may have to be re-written a number of times and still it continues to remain only a working draft. There are three purposes in writing the first draft, viz., to weave the material together for making clear connections, to assure the investigator himself of a satisfactory organizations and fullness of the facts, and to avoid blank paper fright that may be present in every young researcher.
4. Second Draft
After a lapse of some time from the completion of first draft, the revision is made for writing the second draft. While drafting the second one, the researcher should concentrate largely on form and language. The researcher should give the first draft, at this stage, a shape so that it can be readable, clear and lucid. Considerable trimming or editing will have to be done to make the writing precise, concise and brief. Finally, at the second draft stage, critical evaluation will have to be made of all that has been written-facts, findings, conclusions and recommendations. To make the report readable and effective, the language plays major part.
5. Third Draft
The final stage in drafting is the preparation of final report. It concentrates mainly on the finish and final touches, i.e. on documentation and polish to make the report weighty, authoritative, convincing and attractive. Documentation indicates the references to the sources, other previous and current work and view, additional data and discussion and suggested further reading on the specific problem as handled by the researcher. In other words, it indicates the thoroughness of the investigation and on the other a guide to further work. A good research paper depends not only upon the amount of reading or notes taken or upon the form of presentation but also upon the accurate and thorough recording of the investigation.