Research Report Structure
• The front matter includes the following:
o Title Page
o Table of Contents
o List of Tables
o List of Figures
Chapter 1 through 5 (12 pages):
• The back matter includes the following:
Document Preparation – Form and Style
Form and style guidelines for a Research Report serve a number of purposes: to ease adaptation of the document for publication in whole or part, to ensure a level of professional appearance, and ease the burden on the readers of the document by presenting material in a logical, consistent fashion. Nevertheless, form and style guidelines should not be burdensome for Peer Reviewer or Professor. The bulk of the effort in developing and mentoring a Research Report should certainly be directed toward the quality of the thoughts being presented, not the appearance of that presentation.
The current edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association serves as the primary guide for format and style. Since that manual focuses primarily on publication in journals, some exceptions are necessary for a Research Report. The Research Report guidelines are amplified with examples of:
• Title Page (Appendix A)
• Table of Contents (Appendix E)
• List of Tables (Appendix F)
• List of Figures (Appendix G)
• First Page of a Chapter (Appendix H)
• Appendix Pages (Appendix I)
• Reference List (Appendix J)
References and Citations
One of the most important tasks in writing a Research Report is to reference other works and sources in the text body. You must provide a formal reference citation for each idea or statement taken from the work of an individual or organization. Failure to provide a reference citation, when one is appropriate, is plagiarism, which is a violation of the university’s Code of Student Conduct and Academic Responsibility. An act of plagiarism will subject the student to disciplinary action including suspension or expulsion from the university. Always err on the side of caution when writing any formal paper. As you conduct your work, keep accurate records that indicate which portions of your Research Report are not your own words and ideas. If you attempt to do this as an afterthought, you run the risk of losing the source of the information and committing plagiarism. Reference citations in the text should use the author-date citation system specified in the current edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. All reference citations must be listed alphabetically in the References section at the end of the document, again following the format specified in the current edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. However, each reference should be single-spaced with a double space in between each entry. Make sure that every citation is referenced and every reference is cited.
The left-hand margin must be 1.5 inches (4 cm.). Margins at the right, top, and bottom of the page should be 1.0 inch. (See exception for chapter title pages below.) The Research Report text must be left-aligned (leaving a ragged right edge).
Double-spacing is required for most of the text in documents submitted during the Research Report process. Pages for the abstract, acknowledgments, and parts of the table of contents, however, must be single-spaced in the Research Report. Single-spacing also can be used for table titles and headings, figure captions, references in a reference list (but double-spacing is required between references in the list), footnotes, and long quotations. Long quotations may be indented five spaces. Judicial triple can improve appearance and readability and is appropriate after chapter titles, before major subheadings, before footnotes, and before and after tables in the text; however, avoid open white spaces.
The text of the document is double-spaced. There should be no extra spaces between paragraphs in sections; however, indent the first line of paragraphs five spaces (1/2 inch). Chapters must begin on new pages.
Page numbers for the front matter, starting with the Table of Contents, should be lowercase roman numerals, centered at the bottom of the page. All pages following the front matter should have page numbers in Arabic numerals in the upper right-hand corner. The page order and numbering for the front matter is:
1. Title page is page i, but the page number is not printed.
2. Approval Signature page is page ii, but the page number is not printed.
3. Abstract is page iii but the page number is not printed.
4. Acknowledgements is page iv and not to exceed one page. The page number is not printed.
5. Table of Contents is page v and the page number is printed, bottom center.
6. List of Tables (only present if the document contains tables) is given the next page number in sequence, printed bottom center.
7. List of Figures (only present if the document contains figures) is given the next page number in sequence, printed bottom center.
For body text, you should use 12-point Times New Roman. Text for the cover page may be larger but should not exceed 14-point size. Text for the chapter title text should be 14-point size. Be consistent in your use of typefaces throughout the document. Do not use a compressed typeface or any settings on your word processor that would decrease the spacing between letters or words. Sans serif typefaces such as Helvetica or Arial may be used for relatively short blocks of text such as chapter headings and captions but should be avoided in long passages of text as they impede readability.
Every document that is submitted, from the Research Report, must have a title page. The title page includes the exact title of the Master’s Thesis, date of submission, your name, and name of the department which the report is submitted. Use the format of the Sample Research Report Title Page provided in Appendix A.
The abstract (see Appendix es C) is single spaced. An abstract is a stand-alone document and therefore, should not include citations because it would then need references. Note that the abstract must be fewer than 200 words.
Chapter Title, Heading 1, Heading 2
It is preferred that Research Report contain no more than three levels of headings in the body text. All headings should have only the first letter of each word capitalized except that non-major words shorter than four letters have no capital letters. See Appendix H for a sample page for a first page of a chapter.
Instructions for heading levels follow:
Level 1: Chapter Title
This heading starts two inches from the top of the page, is centered on the page, and is set in 14¬point type. The first line contains the chapter number (e.g., Chapter 4). The second line is blank. The third line displays the chapter title, is centered on the page, and is set in 14-point type.
Level 2: Heading 1
Start heading 1 at the left margin of the page, four spaces (i.e., two returns when your document is set for double-spacing) down from the title, set in bold 12-point type. Double-space (one return) to the subheading body text. Indent the first line of the body text five spaces.
Level 3: Heading 2
Start the heading 2 at the left margin of the page, double-spaced (i.e., one return when your document is set up for double-spacing) from the subheading, set in 12-point italics. Double-space (one return) to the sub-subheading body text. Indent the first line of the body text five spaces.
Tables and Figures in the Text Body
Charts, graphs, diagrams, figures, and summary tables that significantly enhance reading of the Research Report should be placed in the text body. Only include material in the text body that is needed by the reader to understand the point(s) you are trying to make. Other material should be placed in Appendixes. Tables that summarize large amounts of data are best placed at the end of the Master’s Thesis. If you have included data in your text related to some point, then the full table containing such data belongs in an Appendix. When using tables and figures in the body of the paper, remember that the horizontal center of the body is not at the center of the paper. It is 0.25” to the right of center due to the 1.5” left binding margin. All tables and figures that are less than body width must be centered properly. Samples of a table and figure appear in Appendixes L and M.
American Psychological Association (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. (6th ed.). Washington, D.C.: Author.
Bolker, J. (1998). Writing your Research Reportin fifteen minutes a day: A guide to starting, revising, and finishing your doctoral thesis. New York, NY: Henry Holt Publishing.
Kiernan, V (2005). Writing Your Dissertation with Microsoft Word. MattilyPublishing, Alexandria, Virginia