How to Format & Type an Academic Report

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How to Format & Type an Academic Report
Good format in an academic report makes readers take the author seriously. (reanding a report image by Mykola Velychko from

Format, grammar and accuracy in presentation are all extremely important in the academic world. No matter how good your research or ideas, they are largely wasted if you are unable to express them with clarity and style. There are specific rules of presentation in academia, and they vary among disciplines. All disciplines require clear exposition and an absence of typographical errors and grammatical inaccuracy. The primary rule of academic writing is that you must proofread, proofread and then proofread again.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Learn how to type properly if you don't know how. Alternatively, hire someone else to type the final draft for you. Be sure that the final copy is completely free of typos and grammatical errors.

  2. 2

    Leave a 1-inch margin on the left side of all pages and a ¾-inch margin on the right, top and bottom. Double space your lines. Use a 12 point, easy-to-read font. Put the page number of the first page at the bottom centre of the page, and all subsequent page numbers in the upper-right corner. When quoting another writer, single space the quote and indent it one inch on both sides.

  3. 3

    Present all of your essential information on the title page. Put the title of the paper in 20 point font a third of the way down. Two thirds down, put your name followed by your student number, the title of the class, the name of the professor, the name of the university and the date.

  4. 4

    Divide the paper into clearly defined subsections. Longer papers will have official chapters, each one numbered and beginning on a new page. Shorter papers can simply be divided into subsections by presenting a subsection head in bold type on a line separated by a space from the preceding and following sections. Make the subheading titles clear, concise and relevant to the subject matter.

  5. 5

    Decide if you will use footnotes or endnotes. Footnotes will go at the bottom of the page they are referencing, while endnotes appear after the conclusion and before the bibliography. Any word processing program will do this automatically. Use footnotes extensively, and reference everything for which you know the source.

  6. 6

    Make your bibliography comprehensive and easy to read. Each book entry should present the author's name (last name, first name), the underlined title, then the place of publication, the publisher, and the date. For a longer work with sources that can be divided into clear sections (for example, economics and art history), separate the bibliography into separate sections for each field.

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