Sections of a Good Report


The following sections should be included in most reports.  The sections should be in roughly this order, though you may vary the order somewhat for stylistic reasons.  The report should be about 5-10 pages in length, plus an appendix of statistical tables, figures, or other output.


  1. Introductory statement.  The first paragraph should state the theme of the report.  Your 5 hypotheses should be interconnected enough that you can say something general about them.  For instance, you might give a general picture of what you expect to find about different aspects of liberalism/conservatism, or opinions about race or family.
  2. Statement of your 5 hypotheses. 
  3. Description of the sample.  You should state what the universe is (East Baton Rouge parish residents age 18 and over), and how the data were collected.  You might also describe briefly any problems of representativeness and what measures were taken to address them (call-backs, weighting the sample, etc.).  You should state the sample size.
  4. Testing the hypotheses.  (If you choose, you can include the 5 hypotheses in this section, rather than before the sample description.)
    1. In this section, you test the accuracy of your hypotheses and evaluate the reasons you have given for them.
    2. You should have at least a paragraph for each hypothesis, though your discussions should be concise.
    3. You should include your statistical tables in an appendix, sequentially numbered, and refer to them this way in the text.
    4. Describe percentage differences in the tables, if you use tables.  Discuss any correlations and their significance.  If you compute chi-square, state its significance.
  5. Discussion. 
    1. You should summarize your findings and evaluate their substantive significance, at a similar level of generality as in the first section of the report.
    2. You should describe any puzzling findings or unanswered questions that may be a basis for further research.