Table of contents

The Contents page sets out the sections and subsections of the report and their corresponding page numbers. It should clearly show the structural relationship between the sections and subsections. A reader looking for specific information should be able to locate the appropriate section easily from the table of contents.

Sections are numbered using the decimal point system. Section numbers appear on the left margin, page numbers on the right.

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Contents

Lecturer's comment:
'Contents' should be centred at the top of the page. It is not necessary to write 'Table of contents'.

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List of abbreviationsii


List of figuresiii

Lecturer's comment:
Pages preceding the Introduction, such as List of figures and tables, Abbreviations or Glossary of terms, are numbered in lower-case Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, ...). Don't place the number i on the title page. Just count it and put ii on the second page of your report. Lists such as these are only needed in long or complex reports. They would rarely be used in undergraduate reports. The Summary and acknowledgements (if included) appear before the Contents page, so are not listed.

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1. Introduction1

Lecturer's comment:
The Introduction is usually section 1. It forms the beginning of the report proper and is therefore on page 1. The rest of the report pages are numbered in Arabic numberals (1, 2, 3...).

2. Design 1: Steel I-girder bridge2

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2.1. Superstructure2

2.2. Abutments3

Lecturer's comment:
Subsections are indented to show their position in the structure of the report.

2.3. Construction method3


3. Design 2: Super T-beam bridge4

3.1. Superstructure4

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3.2. Abutments5

3.3. Construction method6

Lecturer's comment:
Apart from proper nouns (names), only the first word of a section heading should be capitalised.

4. Comparison of designs7

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4.1. Costing7

4.1.1 Construction phase7

Lecturer's comment:
Undergraduate reports usually have no more than two decimal points. If you have more (e.g. 4.1.2.1), you may need to restructure the report.

4.1.2 Ongoing maintenance8

4.2. Safety8

4.3. Aesthetics9


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5. Conclusions and recommendations10

Lecturer's comment:
Conclusions and recommendations are often presented together in a short report. However, in a longer report they may be in separate sections.

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6. References11

Lecturer's comment:
The 'References' section is given both a section and a page number.

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Appendices: 

Lecturer's comment:
Appendices do not have section or page numbers. However, each appendix is numbered individually.
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Appendix 1: Design 1 scale drawings 

Lecturer's comment:
Each appendix must have a number (or letter) and a title. Don't just call them Appendix 1 or Appendix A. The number (or letter) and title should also appear on the appendix itself.

Appendix 2: Design 2 scale drawings




Here is an example from a final year project report.

Contents page

The substance of the report appears between the Introduction and Conclusions. It is up to you to decide how to present this information in a logical order to guide the reader to an understanding of: the problem or motivation any relevant theory the method followed (if applicable) how the outcome fulfills or fails to fulfill the project aim the wider significance of the outcome. To do this, you need to give careful thought to the report structure and ensure that your headings accurately reflect the content of each section.

Activity