Report writing plays a large role in academic development and is an important part of student research.  A well-written report establishes the next steps necessary to solve problems and accomplish research goals.  It also gives your mentor a tool for determining laboratory protocal improvements or additions.

Final reports should be clear, concise, and written for a broad STEM audience. Final reports for ARES awardees, Apprentices, and Interns should be 2-4 pages in length, not counting the title page and references. Final reports for Graduate Fellows will be longer. 

Every report starts with a title page and a table of contents, after which come the main sections: the summary/abstract, introduction, methodology & results, discussion, and references. For MSGC final reports, we require an additional section: significance of funding. More section details below. 

The summary/abstract will help readers better understand the purpose, key points, and evidence you are going to present in the report. Readers who are in a hurry can read the summary for a preview of the report.

  • Include the purpose of your report.

  • Include only the essential or most significant information to support your theories and conclusions.

  • Keep the summary length to 10-15% of the complete report.

  • Try not to introduce any new information or point in summary that you aren't covering in the report.

  • The summary should communicate the message clearly and independently.

The introduction section should:

  • Briefly describe the background and context of the research you have done.

  • State your research question and the hypothesis. 
  • Comment on the limitations and any assumptions you have made to get to the conclusion.

The methodology & results section should:

  • Explain why you needed your data, how you collected it, and present a summary of it. This is where you should include any graphs or charts (use labels and legends!). If you're using outside data, describe where it came from and how it relates to your research question.
  • Describe your experimental design protocol.

The discussion section should:

  • Interpret the major findings, including stating your conclusions. 
  • State how the research contributes to the larger area of study.
  • Identify future follow-on research.
  • Relate to the objectives that you have mentioned in the introduction.

Significance of Funding:

  • Finally, add a short paragraph reflecting on the personal significance of having your research funded by MSGC (or whomever supported your internship).


  • Cite all sources referenced in your report.