Structure of a Data Analysis Report

Added on - Oct 2019

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General structure of a project report:This document is intended to provide a guide on how to structure a report for most projectsrelated to the analysis and visualisation of data. In some modules you will be given specificstructures to follow, in which case that structure will supersede this one, but this may still beuseful when considering what needs to be shown.These guidelines are just that – guidelines. In almost all projects, some of the suggestedheadings are not entirely relevant, and in others you may find some headings work better inother sections. Feel free to play about with the structure to suit the narrative flow of yourproject.A good, snappy version of all of this is to use the process “Say what you’re going to say, Sayit, then Say it again!”Introduction and background sections 25%-50% of the reportThis section “Sets the stage” for all subsequent elements of the report. You should open witha very brief summary of your work (abstract/executive summary.) In the rest of the section,you give background on domain information (Business application/research question) andtechnical information (What analytical tools you intend to use, statistical analyses, reportingmechanisms etc.) If you are going to use any terms of art or jargon, they should be defined inthis section. This section will typically be the most heavily referenced (i.e. it should havemany citations) and cross-referenced (it should be referred to in subsequent elements of theproject.)This section is where you get to demonstrate your understanding of the topics covered in themodule, and show where your work extended beyond the basics as required to get a highgrade.This section must include at least some level of verifiable objectives. Your project isintended to achieve some goal, be it answering a research question or demonstrating asolution to a business problem. In this section you should state what that is, setting the readerup to notice where you haveThis section should include some, but very rarely all, of the following headings (which wouldbecome chapters in a larger report.) In particular, do not include two different headingswhich cover the same point, such as abstract and executive summary! You may also combineseveral of these, or add extra dimensions of your own, and reorder them as needed.AbstractExecutive SummaryLiterature ReviewDomain InformationTechnical BackgroundObjectives of the projectProject ScopeMetrics to be observedMethod and Implementation sections 25%-50% of the reportThese sections discuss what you actually did in your project. This should start with designand planning elements, and conclude with a sequence of steps discussing what your actualproject workflow was.
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