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Create Your Project Summaries (page 2)

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on Mar 16, 2011

Table of Contents

This is the second page of your report. The table of contents should contain a list of everything in the report that follows this page, including a page number for the beginning of each section, as shown in Figure 9.2.

Example of a table of contents

Introduction

This section sets the stage for your project report. It is a statement of your purpose, along with some of the background information that led you to make this study and what you hoped to achieve from it. It should contain a brief statement of your hypothesis based on your research; that is, it should state what information or knowledge led you to your hypothesis. If your teacher requires footnotes, then include one for each information source you have used. The sample introduction shown in Figure 9.3 does not use footnotes.

Example of an introduction

Experiment

This part of the report contains information about the project experiment. Describe in detail all methods used to collect your data or make your observations. It should include the project problem followed by a list of the materials used and the amount of each, then the procedural steps in outline or paragraph form as shown in Figure 9.4. The experiment described in Figure 9.4 includes instructions for counting the moths. Other things you should include, if they apply, are photographs and instructions for making self-designed equipment. All instructions should be written so that they could be followed by anyone to get the same results.

Example of an experiment

Discussion

The discussion of your experimental results is a principal part of your project report. It describes the outcome of your efforts. Include experimental data tables and graphs to confirm results. (See Step 8 for information on collecting and organizing your data.) Include qualitative as well as quantitative results. Never change or omit results because they don't support your hypothesis. Be thorough. You want your readers to see your train of thought so that they know exactly what you did. Compare your results with published data and commonly held beliefs, as well as with your expected results. Include a discussion of possible errors. Were your results affected by uncontrolled events? What would you do differently if you repeated this project?

Project Conclusion

The project conclusion is a summary of the results of the project experiment and a statement of how the results relate to the hypothesis. In one page or less, it tells what you discovered based on your analysis of the data. A sample conclusion is shown in Figure 9.5. The conclusion states the hypothesis and indicates whether the data supports it.

Example of a project report conclusion

If your results are not what you expected, don't panic. Assuming that your research led you to your hypothesis, state that while your research backed up your hypothesis, your experimental results did not. Refer to any published data on which you based your hypothesis. Say what you expected and what actually happened. Give reasons why you think the results did not support your original ideas. Include errors you might have made as well as how uncontrolled variables might have affected the results. Discuss changes you would make to the procedure if you repeated the project, and include ideas for experiments to further investigate the topic of your project. All information in the conclusion should have been reported in other parts of the report; no new material should be introduced in the conclusion.

Acknowledgements

The acknowledgments section is a short paragraph or two stating the names of people who helped you, with a brief description of their contributions to your project, as shown in Figure 9.6. It should not be just a list of names. Note that when acknowledging relatives, it is generally not necessary to include their names, just their relationship to you; for example, mother, father, sister, and so on. Identify individuals with their titles, positions, and affiliations (institutions), and list anyone who gave financial support or material donations. Do not include the monetary amounts of donations.

Example of the acknowledgments section of a project report

References

Your reference list is a bibliography of all the sources where you obtained information.

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