How to Write a Report Complete with Index

There's no escaping college without experiencing the dread that plagues all students: the research paper. Each semester course requires at least one of the little devils and that generally includes creating an index for the paper. The difficult part, contrary to popular belief, isn't the research itself, but understanding how to format all the found information. A report is broken down into nine simple sections, perhaps less for a simpler report or one not using data. An index, which can easily be completed using a word processor's search tool, tops the paper off.
  • Create an abstract. This should be brief synopsis of the paper, the problem it aims to solve and how it will do so. The abstract is best created at the conclusion of the paper's research and editing, but should be first in formatting. It should be able to stand alone as a summary of the paper.
  • Make a table of contents detailing the paper.
  • Write an introduction. Detail the thesis and hypothesis of the paper. Briefly describe research methods. Unlike the abstract, the introduction does not need to stand alone and should entice the reader to finish the paper. However, it is like the abstract in that it is best written after the paper.
    • Detail materials and methods used. List everything needed to research the topic and methods and data used in doing so.
    • Address results. For a scientific paper, detail findings. For a literature review or other academic paper, give an overview on current thought or trends.
    • Write a discussion. Interpret your findings and contrast them against the opinion of others in the field. Support or disagree with your hypotheses using this information. Do not make general statements; use only your research and findings to develop statements in this section.
    • Develop a conclusion, summarizing your findings and the ideas you had coming into the paper. Explain your findings in clear, concise statements


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