The Layout of a Report

1. Title page

The title page will vary according to the style required by the assessor or your company. At a minimum, the title page should include:

  • Name of the university
  • Name of school e.g. School of Mining Engineering
  • Name and code of the subject e.g. MINE1740 Mining Legislation
  • Title of the report
  • Name of author or authors
  • Date of submission

Some schools publish styles guides that you are expected to follow when submitting a report. Check with your school office as to whether your school has one.

2. Figures and tables

Figures include:

  • diagrams
  • graphs
  • sketches
  • photographs
  • maps

Tables represent data in columns.

All figures and tables should be numbered and labelled. Each should have a very simple, descriptive caption explaining the figure or table. Any symbols or abbreviations used in the figure or table must be explained in the text.

The figure must also be referred to in the text, identified by its number, e.g. Figure 23. Avoid using "the figure above" or "the figure below", as text locations may change when editing your report. All figures and tables must be referenced if copied or adapted from another source.

3. Equations and formulae

Equations should be numbered as they appear in the text, with a number in brackets on the right hand side margin. This number is used for identification throughout the rest of the text. 

Equations are generally centred, with consecutive equations on separate lines and with the equal sign (=) vertically aligned.

y = mx + b (1)

x = l(h + f) (2)  

4. Chapter numbering system

The numbering of chapters and subheadings is normally undertaken throughout the report. The Introduction is generally numbered 1 with the Reference section having the last number. Third level headings are the generally accepted limit (e.g. 8.4.3); too many levels becomes confusing.

The preliminary sections (i.e. Table of Contents) prior to the Introduction are not numbered. Appendices are usually labelled with letters, e.g. Appendix B.

5. Font 

Fonts that are easy to read are generally chosen for a report. Times New Roman, Arial and Helvetica are the most popular.

Font size should be a minimum of 12 point for the body text, larger sizes are used for the headings with first level headings being the largest.

The same font should be used throughout the report. It is important not to distract the reader from the contents of the report. Most word processing programs have report templates in them which can be used as a basis for your report style.

6. Appendices 

Appendices are supplements to a report. They are included as separate sections, usually labelled Appendix A, Appendix B etc., at the back of the report. An appendix includes: 

  1. information that is incidental to the report;
  2. raw data and evidence which supports the report;
  3. technical data which is too long and or detailed but which supports the report;
  4. maps, folded diagrams, tables of results, letters are some examples.

See next: Technical writing conventions

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