How to Write a Topic Report

Research is the key to knowledge and covering the topic fully in your report.

Research topics can be broad, narrow or lie anywhere in between. Similarly, the knowledge of the topic you have before you begin delving into the subject for a report can range from great to nonexistent. No matter your level of expertise, there will always be an extra push required for you to produce an interesting and accurate topic report. You have to fully understand the subject matter to be able to select and refine the research you gather before you begin to write.

Decipher the extent of the topic and the approach you wish to adopt. A topic that covers a broad geographical area might be subdivided by using paragraph headings that define each location, or for a historical piece, each time period. A narrow topic may have a wider context. For instance, if you're writing about smallpox, even though it has been eradicated, there was a time when it wiped out entire populations, and that is important background information. Lending proper perspective to your report makes it clearer and more significant for your audience.

Research the information on the topic and refine your research to offer a well-rounded, informative overview of the topic. Define your approach to the topic and confine further research to demonstrating how and why this angle has merit. Compile your research from different sources and cite the basis of the research to support your article.

Begin with an introduction that explains the overview of the topic and gives the reader an idea of the contents of the report that is about to follow. Try to lead into your first paragraph. Present your own take on the topic in question and guide the reader in a controlled way into the areas you wish to explore in the report. These areas may be defined as subheadings in the paragraphs that follow.

Give a variety of examples that demonstrate the topic area you are exploring under each subheading in the body of the paper. Surprise your reader, but always ensure the information you reveal connects back to, or ties into, the main topic. Conclude each paragraph with a sentence that reflects back to the main elements suggested by the title.

Make use of all relevant research technologies to complete your topic report.

Jump at any opportunity you have to guide your audience toward further reading on the subject matter. If your report is to be filed online, include a number of "key concepts" that concisely summarize what the article is about. The assignment may also ask for further resources to be added so the audience can quickly access more information about the topic.

Iain McLean has written professionally since 1989, winning awards in New York and London for his dramatic work. McLean has served as a screenwriter, English lecturer and journalist, covering business and lifestyle issues for publications such as "The Sunday Post," "Fortune Magazine" and He holds an M.A. in screenwriting and research from the London University of the Arts.