Legal Research Report: Meaning and Steps involved in the preparation of an ideal legal research report

Question:- What do you understand by the term legal research report? What steps are involved in the preparation of an ideal legal research report?


Legal Research Report is the statement that contains in brief the procedure adopted and the findings arrived at by the researcher of a legal problem. A legal report is not a complete description of work done by the researcher. It is only a brief statement of most significant facts that are necessary for understanding the generalizations drawn by the investigator. After the collected data have been analyzed and interpreted and various generalization have been drawn, the report has to be prepared. It is the last phase of the research.

A vast planning and preparation is necessary for writing the report. Writing the report requires considerable thought, effort, patience and penetration. Writing a legal research report is a technical activity which demand skills and patience from the researcher. The report should focus on the target audience. Report should be simple, interesting and lucid. Only hard and patient work on the facts, careful and critical assessment and intelligent planning of the Organisation of the report can facilitate the communication. There is no standard criterion for the Organisation of legal research report.

Steps involved in the preparation of an ideal legal research report

A report which deals specifically with a legal problem is said to be a legal research report. Such a report is not a complete description of the work done by the researcher. It is only a brief statement of the most significant facts that are necessary for the understanding the generalizations drawn by the investigator. 4 Once all the data has been analyzed and interpreted, the last step to the entire research process is to write a research report. This report must be comprehensive and written in simple yet clear language so that it is adequately communicated to the concerned readers.

The legal research report shall have the following structure:-

  1. Cover Page
  2. Certificate(s)
  3. The Contents Page
  4. Chapter One: Theoritical Background or Review of Literature.
  5. Chapter Two: Research Methodology of the Study.
  6. Chapter Three: The Analysis and Interpretation of Data.
  7. Chapter Four: Major Findings, Conclusions and Suggestions
  8. Annexure One: Interview Schedule, Questionnaire, Observation Schedule.
  9. Annexure Two: Bibliography
  10. Annexure Three: Relevant documents, legislations, secondary data.

After the research process is over, many researchers face the difficulty of writing down the research. It is advisable that before starting the report writing, the entire research time frame, planning and organizing of the study material is done on the basis of the objectives and the hypothesis made.

Following are some of the basic stepts that a researcher may follow throughout the research so that report writing becomes lucid and manageable.

1. Knowledge of the research material:- The comprehensive and adequate knowledge of the research area by the researcher cannot be understated. It forms the backbone of the entire research process and is of vital importance at the time of analysis, interpretation and report writing.

2. Organizing of research material:- Material collected must be organized and the notes made on them manageable and properly arranged with sufficient information which may be required. The research information must be logically analyzed and represented in the correct sequence of time or occurrence.

3. Continuous report reflective thinking:- Researcher constantly reflects on the material and data collected for a more comprehensive legal research report.

4. Rough drafts:- Prepare rough drafts which will help him with research interpretation and generalizations to be more accurate and relevant to the research questions or hypothesis.

5. Rewrite and polish the rough drafts:- Careful revision of the drafts helps in checking the development of the arguments in the report, representation of the material as well as the cohesiveness of the entire report.

6. Preparation of the final bibliography:- It is essential that from the very beginning of the research, the researcher must maintain a bibliography of the literature read, consulted and incorporated in the research process. This bibliography is generally appended to the research project. It should be arranged alphabetically and be divided into various parts like name of the books, articles, reports and legislations consulted.

7. Footnotes and head notes:- The researcher must whenever citing another author’s work make due footnotes or endnotes to add authenticity and reference to the report. There are various methods of writing bibliography and footnotes like the blue book method, OSCOLA method etc.

For report writing we have to follow the below mentioned steps.

  • The form, the content and style of the report.
  • Reliability of the report in the context of objectives
  • Analysis of the report
  • Interpretation of data
  • Correct usage of citation, reference and bibliography
  • Chapterisation

The purpose of a report is not communication with oneself but communication with the audience. The purpose of report is to convey to the interested person the whole result of the study in sufficient detail in orderly manner. The main aim of the thesis writer is accuracy and truth. He should confirm himself to the validity of conclusion. The purpose of a report is thus the spread of knowledge, broadcasting of generalizations so as to ensure their widest use.

A report also creates  ground for hypothesis and leads to further research on the same or allied problems. The report will generally be conformed to the objects of the study of the problem. Suggestions will be given to researchers to study the items of gaps or additional items which are traced out in the present study.

The research is sometimes undertaken at the instance of a third party which is interested in the problem. The report of such a research is not meant for the general public but for their practical purpose. The sponsored persons are simply interested in the results and findings only.

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