Developing a project report

14 Steps to writing a report

The following steps provide a guide to the writing process :

1. Clarify Purpose & Expectations
Be clear about purpose, audience(s), resources to support report production, roles and responsibilities. Make sure this understanding is shared by other key people involved.

2. Decide on appropriate structure for report
Usually funders will have a specific pro forma they would like you to follow. It's worth being familiar with this well before you start writing the report. This way you can be on the look out for what to include as your project progresses. If you have no proforma provided, you will need to choose some appropriate headings as a guide.

For some examples of proformas for reports, please use index below :


3. Produce 1st draft
Get it all down, worry about editing, length, style etc. later. Cut and paste from previous progress reports and evaluation plans etc. Leave gaps for others to fill in if necessary.

4. Re-draft
Read and edit 1st draft, trying to read it from the perspective of a key person you would like the report to influence, or a member of your audience.

5. Circulate
Circulate the draft to the project team or advisory committee if appropriate. Ask for written comments and ideas for recommendations by a fixed date, allowing readers enough time to do so. Be specific about what aspects you would like feedback about, eg. content, specific sections you are unsure about, style, tone, language, flow, recommendations, layout, typos, grammar. If you have only a few people and enough time, circulate just one copy for all comments, so as to make editing easier.

6. Integrate Comments, Develop Recommendations
Decide which comments to incorporate, preferably in a small project team meeting. Discuss recommendations. If your recommendations involve others taking action, it may be advisable to involve these people in the process. This can help make sure they are drafted in a way that is most likely to be well received, and acted upon. It is important to put the most important recommendations first. It can also be helpful to sort your recommendations according to who you would like to be taking action. This way they have quick and clear access to the implications for them.

For more on developing, presenting and following up on recommendations, please use index below :


7. Write Executive Summary
This is a VERY important part of your project report. Executive summaries are the most used source of information about project outcomes. It is necessary to keep the executive summary short, preferably 1-4 pages. It is useful to contain a brief summary of the project purpose, key strategies, findings of relevance to the audience. Make clear the implications of the findings, possibly including the recommendations as part of the executive summary, or following just after it.

8. Circulate Final Draft
Include: acknowledgements, title page, contents page, Executive Summary, recommendations, references, lists of acronyms, appendices (eg. any questionnaires used, background info examples of publicity,etc.)

9. Do final Edits

10. Layout

11. Obtain ISBN Number
If your report is to be a public document. This can be done via the Department of Human Services Library. They will require details of author, publisher, date, keywords, and a copy of the draft report.

12. Register your project with HEAPS

13. Print and Distribute

14. Launch with Celebration!!

Health Promotion Grants Project Report Proforma - Health Promotion SA

Proforma for Part A of Final Report

Please provide a report using the following headings :

1. Executive Summary
Brief overview of the entire report (no more than 1 single - sided A4 page)

2. Background History
Justification of issue

3. Strategies
Explain how successful strategies were in achieving objectives

4. Timeline
Include dates of commencement, special events and completion

5. Project Advisory Group
List membership of project advisory group Comment on level of involvement of target group in project

6. Budget Attach financial statements

7. Evaluation
Comment on results measured against objectives. Include comments on evaluation of project materials and results of any promotional, educational, structural, and community development activities. If you conducted a survey as part of your evaluation, comment on the process and any problems experienced. Were there any unexpected outcomes of the project, positive or negative? Comment on the likelihood of the projects making an impact on the health issue

8. Other results
Any other anecdotal, qualitative or quantitative results of the project not covered in Part B. Were there barriers to the project progressing as expected? Were they overcome? If so, how were they dealt with? What aspects of the project will continue beyond the term of the sponsorship/ what would you do differently next time?

9. Comment on the implications of your work for health promotion
(Reflect on the implications for your work; make recommendations for future action and by whom

10. Comment on how you plan to disseminate your project findings

Part B of Final Report

This section of the report is a statistical evaluation form, and covers the following areas :

1. Population Reach
Numbers of organisers, participants, spectators

2. Media Publicity
Details of any print media, Radio or television coverage of the project

3. Publications
Numbers of articles, reports, newsletters, papers

4. Community Involvement
The extent of community involvement

5. Structural Changes
The extent to which the project had an impact on areas such as smoke free areas, safe alcohol practices, sun protection measures, healthy food choices, disability access, access for disadvantaged groups.

6. Educational Activities
Reach, frequency, duration, in-service training, teacher/student resource material.

7. Survey Results
Survey size, target group, impact on knowledge, attitude, skills, behavioural intention, immediate action, behaviour.

Project Report Pro-forma for Primary Health Care Initiatives & Advancement Programs

Guidelines for preparation of the Final Report
(based on protocol developed for the NBHP evaluation jointly copyrighted with Auer, Chung and Hemmings and SAHC Social Health and Policy Development Branch, and on guidelines for funding of PHCIP and PHCAP)

The final report brings together all the information required to describe the project and how it worked. It is a document that people should be able to read to get an idea of what was achieved and what did and did not work well. The final report will cover the complete duration of the project and some ideas for the future. It will also include an assessment of the project overall, using information collected as part of the evaluation.

Executive summary
A brief overview of the entire report (1-2 pages) Write this when you have completed the rest of the report.

1. Why did we do the Project?

  • What is the problem being addressed
    Project background: history of the project, the issue being addressed, why was it chosen and who identified the issue as important.
  • Who is the program designed for?
    Describe the target group and geographical area. Did you reach the target group you intended? Comment on any changes.

2. What were we trying to do?

  • Project management and organisation

    Sponsoring organisations and location of project - list details
    Sources of funding and budget
    - list details
    Project Advisory Group - list the membership

    Were there any changes in membership over the time of the project? What impact, if any, did these changes have on the project?

    Did you involve all the people you wanted to involve? What sort of involvement did the group have with the project and was it what was expected?

    Involvement of the target group
    Were members of the target group on the Program Advisory Group? If so, were they able to participate and contribute to the group?

    What other involvement did the target group have with the project and was it what was expected?

    Other stakeholders
    List any other organisations, agencies, groups, community members etc, who were involved in the project. Were there any changes in these stakeholders over the time of the project? If so, what impact did these changes have on the project? How much involvement, and what sort of involvement, did these stakeholders have with the project and it what was expected?

  • Project goal, objectives, strategies and indicators
    Take this information from the evaluation plan you prepared earlier. Comment on any changes made to the goal, objectives, strategies or indicators over the time of the project.

3. What have we actually done?

  • Project story

    Timetable of events
    List the actions taken in implementing the project, who was involved and the time scale.

    Simple statistics
    Description of numbers and types of clients, post code, age, language spoken at home, aboriginality, type of service provided etc. eg Community Profile: description of members involved and number of members, type of activity, regularity of events etc.

4. What have we achieved? Results of the evaluation

  • Evaluation Plan
    Include your final evaluation plan as submitted previously.
  • Evaluation Methods
    Summarise the evaluation methods you used and describe the purpose of each method i.e. What information did it seek to collect? Attach copies of any questionnaires, interview or focus group schedules etc. Describe any problems you had in collecting or using information for your evaluation. Describe any changes you made to your evaluation methods or plan.
  • Process evaluation
    Did the program reach the target group? Did all parts of the program reach all parts of the target group? Were participants satisfied with the program? Were all the activities of the program implemented? Were all the materials and components of the program of good quality?

5. Where do we go from here?

  • The future
    What aspects of the project will continue after the life of the project grant? What role will your organisation and other stakeholders have in this issue in the future? What else needs to be done? What changes should be made to the program? Have other needs been identified?
  • Recommendations
    List your recommendations for action and how these could be implemented.
  • Final comments and conclusions

More on recommendations

Hendricks & Papagiannis provide the following suggestions on the 'Dos and Don'ts for Offering Effective Recommendations'

1. Develop Effective Recommendations


  • cover all issues to be "fair game"
  • draw possible recommendations from a wide variety of sources
  • work closely with agency personnel throughout the process
  • consider the political, organisational contexts within which your recommendations must fit


  • wait until the end of your evaluation to start thinking about recommendations

2. Present Effective Recommendations


  • offer only realistic recommendations
  • decide how specific you want your recommendations to be
  • think twice before recommending fundamental changes
  • show the future implications of your recommendations
  • make recommendations easy for decision makers to understand

3. Effectively follow up Recommendations


  • stay involved after recommendations have been accepted, where possible
  • look for other opportunities to recommend if an important recommendation is not accepted .










Planning and Evaluation Wizard
South Australian Community Health Research Unit