Research Report Checklist

When you write your research report, tick each box as you go. That way, you can be sure that you don't lose marks because you have forgotten something or have put it in the wrong place.



The point of the introduction is to justify your hypotheses, so you need to talk about previous work on the topic and give a rationale for your own experiment: why are you doing it? Are you trying to support someone else's work, modify it, or reject it, or are you trying to decide which of two theories is more likely?

Review of background theories
Evidence supporting these theories
Evidence against (if any)
Logical link to hypotheses: explanation of why you have carried out your particular study (replicate/modify/refute/test between theories)
Formal statement of alternative and null hypotheses in operational terms
Alpha level stated
Number of tails


This is a description of what you did to test your hypotheses, succinctly but in enough detail to allow another researcher to replicate it. It should also justify all the design decisions you made (why repeated measures rather than independent groups, for example?).

Type of investigation (e.g., laboratory study, observational study, case study)
Design (experimental (repeated measures, independent groups etc.), correlational)
Experimental designs: State the independent variable, dependent variable and number of conditions (identify experimental and control if applicable)
Correlational: State the two variables
Experimental controls, e.g., single or double blind

Sampling procedure (random, stratified, opportunity etc.)
Number (in each condition if applicable)
Relevant information (e.g., age, sex, education, occupation)

What you used in the experiment (don't simply refer the reader to appendices) and how you controlled extraneous variables
How you constructed any special materials (e.g., word lists, questionnaires) etc.
Standardised instructions

What happened in sequence, step by step (location of study, instructions to participants, presentation of stimuli, responses made, method of data collection, debriefing etc.)


Descriptive statistics (central tendency, dispersion, tables, graphs)
Inferential statistics (test used (why), value obtained, df, critical value, tails, significance level)
State whether H1 or H0 is supported


Restate your findings briefly in words
Relate your findings to theories in introduction (support/modify/refute/one theory supported over another)
If your results refute current theories, give possible theoretical explanation(s) and how you might go about testing it/them
Suggest improvements to your experiment
Suggest further research
Discuss any practical implications of your findings
Brief summing up


List of all studies referred to (not textbooks used)
Following format used:
Mingay, D (1998) Students in action: A contradiction in terms. British Journal of Psychology, 41, 85-90.
Mingay, D (1999) Students' Inaction: A More Likely Phenomenon. London, Trouser Press.


All your raw data, calculations, samples of materials used etc. go here, not in the main report.

Labelled clearly and numbered consistently with numbers in main report
Referred to in main report


Written last but placed before introduction.

Single paragraph
Less than 150 words
Why you did the study
How you did it
What you found
What it means


Goes at very start of report.

Fewer than 12 words
Succinctly sums up what study was about (apposite wit?)