Analysis and research
Having determined what you are being asked to do in the report, the next phase is complete all the analysis and research. Analysis involved will be dependant on the course and specific task.
Use the information that you are given in your course outline, assignment information and check with the lecturer/tutor if you are not sure. In some reports it will be more about analysing data, in others you may be required to do further research of company information, media reports, statistical analysis or journal articles.
Some tasks you might need to perform:
- Gathering data and background info
- Performing statistical/mathematical calculations
- Analysis of results of data
- Further research of statistics, reports, journal articles
If working in a group, it's a good idea to distribute analysis tasks amongst the group members.
Quite often reports might require you to do a combination of your own analysis, and research from existing academic sources. Academic sources are those that have been through a peer review or rigorous process.
Examples of sources that are used in reports:
- Books or chapters in a book - Check if there has been peer review
- Journal articles - Check if it is a peer reviewed journal
- Government reports - Can be a good source of data/information but be aware of bias
- Newspaper articles - Can be a good source of public opinion. Newspapers can also be a source of current financial data
- Some websites - Good source of information regarding companies/industries. Need to be aware of bias.
The ultimate aim of the analysis phase is to come up with your key message (your answer/solution to the question/problem). If you are working in a group, you need to decide on this together, based on your research. Your kep message will determine your structure.