There are many forms of transferring knowledge from one person to another. Apart from the verbal communication of knowledge, written format is also more popular.
When it comes to formal formats such as education or corporate world, one of the most sort after methods of communication is reports. Not only for communication but also reports are used for recording knowledge and new findings. This is true, especially in the scientific community. The reason why reports are more popular is that they are one of the most effective media of transferring once it is found to the community. It can be to academic, scientific or to the general public.
Usually, a report is the final outcome of an observation, an experiment, an analysis or any form of scientific study. It will communicate the purpose, the method, the findings and the limitations of the said activity. By reading a well-written report, an individual can understand the complete ins and out of the said experiment or scientific study. Since a well-written report follows certain guidelines and practices, it is easy for the whole community to understand and derive conclusions by reading a particular report. Since the scientific community resides all over the world with various levels of literacy and various use of language, having a formal structure in a report will ensure that all the main points of the report are communicated without any misinterpretations. The same principle applies to psychological report writing as well.
One of the greatest effect a report has on psychological community is that it helps future investigations and studies. Most of the current researches and studies are based on past research papers. By perusing past psychological research papers, students and experts can see any weaknesses and constraints of the past studies, subsequently giving them a chance to test that theory in an alternate setting. This will bring about more extensive research and also more significant results for the mental group.
Purpose of a Report
Reports represents data which has been assembled as a result of research and examination of information and of issues. Psychological reports can cover an extensive variety of subjects, however for the most part concentrate on transmitting data and findings with a reasonable reason, to a particular set of interested parties. Great psychological reports are records that are exact, objective and finish. They ought to likewise be elegantly composed, plainly organized and communicated in a way that holds the reader’s consideration and lives up to their desires. The genuine estimation of the examination might be surveyed through a report. Frequently reports are organized in a way that mirrors the data discovering process and the reviewing of the discoveries: that is, rundown of the substance, presentation or foundation, strategies, comes about, discourse, conclusion and additionally suggestions.
The extension and style of reports may fluctuate generally. It relies upon three key factors: the report’s target group, the report’s motivation and the kind of data to be imparted; for instance, specialized reports convey specialized data, so the level of detail in the report will rely upon the reader’s recognition and comprehension of specialized ideas.
The most important objective of a psychological report is to communicate the recommendations of the study. The recommendations will be based on the data analysis and conclusion of the complete study or research. The recommendations are the part that would add value to the psychological community as well as add value to the general public. Many authoritative bodies will be able to take decisions to change human lives. Further apart from communicating the key recommendations, a good psychological report will help the reader to understand a certain phenomenon as well as principles which were used when deriving to the conclusion and its recommendations. These understanding will help future studies as well as more avenues for new research.
Apart from using psychological reports to document experiments and studies, some reports are used to communicate a consolidated message from various other reports. These reports use data, findings, conclusions and recommendations from other various sources, various reports and compiled them into one complete report. This gives vast insights for academics who are particular on that subject. Not only this saves time but also amalgamates knowledge from different sources where these sources would be overlooked in a conventional setting. By using these types of reports, the writer will be able to paint a comprehensive and complete picture of the scenario of a phenomenon among the psychological community.
Aspects to ensure quality in Psychological Report
In spite of the main objective of the investigation, whether its a new experiment or a new study there are standard measures ensure the quality of a psychological report. Regardless it’s target audience consciousness, coherence, clarity, the focus on important aspects, smooth transition among chapters and meaningful organisation of chapters, good vocabulary and being specific are exceedingly vital highlights of a decent psychological report. The report should be to the degree conceivable, be free of specialised language unless it is commonly known or a specific vocabulary which is specific to the industry. Further the report being free of any spellings and grammar mistakes are crucial.
Any suppositions made by the researcher should be plainly expressed in the report, and facts instead of opinions of the researcher should be given in the report. The report should be written in a way it has a natural flow of information, as the reader advances through it. The significance of the readability and presentation of the report can’t be overemphasised. Fitting headings and subheadings help to organise the report in a more effective and logical manner. This will enable the reader to transit effortlessly throughout the report.
In a well structured psychological report, an announcement of the reason for the investigation will be first given. This is also considered as the research problem, which the researcher aims to solve. The strategies or methodology received to gather the information would then be given. At last, an interpretation of the outcomes, accompanied by visual tables and graphs will provide the findings.
One of the other major aspects of a good psychological report is that the writer interprets the results instead of mealy reporting them. When interpreting said results the report writer has to keep in mind about the target audience of the report. For an example, if the target audience is the general public, then some findings might have to be elaborated further, rather than for an academic in psychology. Adding to that, the researcher has to ensure that they would take every eventuality when coming to conclusions when basing their interpretations of results. The researcher has to consider the basic demographical information, the psychological state the subject is in and many other influencing factors before coming to conclusions based on data. Another important factor is that the researcher addresses all the relevant issues when interpreting data and coming to conclusions.
Apart from the above-mentioned aspects, it is crucial that the report writer respects the participants and their diversity. This is important because most of the participants would reveal a lot of personal information and would leave them vulnerable if the said information is published. Therefore a good psychological report always follows a strong policy on data protection and anonymising data. Not only anonymising data a good report will adhere to strict ethical guidelines set by governing bodies as well.
Content of a Report
Clearly, the psychological research report should have a title that demonstrates in a sufficient way what the research is about. It should have the table of content at the beginning of the report. The table of content with page references, as a rule, records the essential headings and subheadings in the report. A different rundown of tables and figures should be added to the table of content. The table of content should then be followed by the research proposal, a duplicate of the approval to carry out the study. A synopsis or an executive summary can follow. The executive summary or the synopsis (depending on if its an applied research or basic research) is a concise record of the study, will highlight the important information such as the problem statement, sampling design and recommendations. The recommendations will carry suggestions on implementing the recommendations.
All psychological reports should have an introduction specifying the motivation behind the research or the study. The research objectives along with the reason for why this study was conducted will be given. In the case of a psychology research, an idea for how will the research impact the scientific community and the reasons for selecting a particular topic are also stated. The reasons would be discussed along with the lines of relevancy, appropriateness and relevancy of the research. These factors are based on current trends and factors in the psychological ecosystem. Once a reader goes through the introduction they should be able to clearly state the objective and the problem statement clearly.
Body of the report
The body of the report which would be the core feature of the report. The body would contain any assumptions which were made during the study. Not only that, the body will look into any speculations as well. It will also contain insights with respect to the structure of the examination. Also, the body will talk about how the information or data was collected from the target group or any other sources. Finally, it will contain how the collected information was analysed, any special tools used and the outcomes of the said analysis. Specifically, in a psychological report, areas such as background information about participants and the study, any observations including the mental status of the participants, and any other factors that would influence the study is discussed.
Conclusion of the report
The last piece of the report would talk about the findings of the study. These findings are generally derived using the data analysis. These findings will be followed by recommendations by the researcher. These recommendations would provide an insight into how the impact of the research problem and can be based on any future psychological studies. The details provided in the report would be, for example, to persuade the reader of the thoroughness of the study and the validity of the data and it’s analysis. This would induce trust in the reader of the outcomes and the recommendations made. Each psychological report would likewise bring up the limitations of the study. (for instance, in data collection, data analysis, sampling and so forth).
Comprehensive descriptions and descriptive explanations, smooth flow of materials will provide a scientific authenticity to any psychological report. Further recommendations should be logical and should make sense in the given context. Also, the recommendations should be backed by data analysis.
The final part of the report would end with a summary and acknowledgement. This would acknowledge the help received in order to complete the study from various individuals and other sources. Then a list of references which was offered when compiling the study will be cited in the report would then follow. Finally, if there are any appendices should be attached to the report beyond this point.
In summary, a thorough, well carried out psychology study will lose all its value when it is not properly presented in writing. To be viewed as valuable, a report should give a decent method of rational to the study, plainly and clearly talk about the problem the study intends to answer, show the results and findings of the study completely and thoroughly, and analyse the information in a way that is effectively understood by the reader. The conclusion drawn from the study should reasonably answer for the problem discussed.
Even though the report should have a basic structure, it’s sections and chapters can be tailored to meet the needs of the situation. An essential part is having clear and crisp writing, charts, figures and tables that successfully highlights the problem. The writing should be simple, using simple language and be free from jargon. Further, it should be precise and comprehensible. The writing should be interesting enough to keep the reader interested to keep them reading on.
To gain credibility to the work, the limitations should be presented in an objective and unbiased manner. Especially when it comes to psychological reports, the writer has to report unpalatable findings. Therefore the researcher should use tact and diplomacy when reporting such situations.
Finally, the report writer should keep in mind who is the target audience and should always tailor the report to full fill their needs and to keep them interested in the report while delivering the core message of the study.