Contents of a research report: A template

By Dr. Brian Kinnaird

For whatever research you intend to do in your law enforcement profession, always plan to record enough information so that people outside of your agency can understand and interpret what you’re researching, why, and how.

  • Title Page (name of the agency, product, program, or service that is being researched; date)
  • Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary (one-page, concise overview of findings and recommendations)
  • Purpose of the Report (what type of research was conducted, what decisions are being aided by the findings of the research, who is making the decision, etc.)
  • Background About Agency/Product/Service/Program that is being researched
          a) Organization Description/History
          b) Product/Service/Program Description (that is being researched)
                      i) Problem Statement
                      ii) Overall Goal(s) of Product/Service/Program
                      iii) Outcomes (or client/customer impacts) and Performance                                          
    Measures (that can be measured as indicators toward the outcomes)
                      iv) Activities/Technologies of the Product/Service/Program                                           
    (general description of how the product/service/program is developed and delivered)
                      v) Staffing (description of the number of personnel and roles in the organization that are relevant to developing and delivering                        the product/service/program)
  • Overall Evaluation Goals (what questions are being answered by the research?)
  • Methodology
          a) Types of data/information that were collected
          b) How data/information were collected (what instruments were used, etc.)
          c) How data/information were analyzed
          d) Limitations of the evaluation (cautions about findings/conclusions and how to use the findings/conclusions, etc.)
  • Interpretations and Conclusions (from analysis of the data/information)
  • Recommendations (regarding the decisions that must be made about the results)
  • Appendices (content of the appendices depends on the goals of the research report)
          a) Instruments used to collect data/information
          b) Data (tabular format, etc.)
          c) Testimonials, comments made by users of the product/service/program
          d) Case studies of users of the product/service/program
          e) Any related literature
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