• Research Report: Definition, Types + [Writing Guide]


One of the reasons for carrying out research is to add to the existing body of knowledge. Therefore, when conducting research, you need to document your processes and findings in a research report. 

With a research report, it is easy to outline the findings of your systematic investigation and any gaps needing further inquiry. Knowing how to create a detailed research report will prove useful when you need to conduct research.  

What is a Research Report?

A research report is a well-crafted document that outlines the processes, data, and findings of a systematic investigation. It is an important document that serves as a first-hand account of the research process, and it is typically considered an objective and accurate source of information.

In many ways, a research report can be considered as a summary of the research process that clearly highlights findings, recommendations, and other important details. Reading a well-written research report should provide you with all the information you need about the core areas of the research process.

Features of a Research Report 

So how do you recognize a research report when you see one? Here are some of the basic features that define a research report. 

  • It is a detailed presentation of research processes and findings, and it usually includes tables and graphs. 
  • It is written in a formal language.
  • A research report is usually written in the third person.
  • It is informative and based on first-hand verifiable information.
  • It is formally structured with headings, sections, and bullet points.
  • It always includes recommendations for future actions. 

Types of Research Report 

The research report is classified based on two things; nature of research and target audience.

Nature of Research

  • Qualitative Research Report

This is the type of report written for qualitative research . It outlines the methods, processes, and findings of a qualitative method of systematic investigation. In educational research, a qualitative research report provides an opportunity for one to apply his or her knowledge and develop skills in planning and executing qualitative research projects.

A qualitative research report is usually descriptive in nature. Hence, in addition to presenting details of the research process, you must also create a descriptive narrative of the information.

  • Quantitative Research Report

A quantitative research report is a type of research report that is written for quantitative research. Quantitative research is a type of systematic investigation that pays attention to numerical or statistical values in a bid to find answers to research questions. 

In this type of research report, the researcher presents quantitative data to support the research process and findings. Unlike a qualitative research report that is mainly descriptive, a quantitative research report works with numbers; that is, it is numerical in nature. 

Target Audience

Also, a research report can be said to be technical or popular based on the target audience. If you’re dealing with a general audience, you would need to present a popular research report, and if you’re dealing with a specialized audience, you would submit a technical report. 

  • Technical Research Report

A technical research report is a detailed document that you present after carrying out industry-based research. This report is highly specialized because it provides information for a technical audience; that is, individuals with above-average knowledge in the field of study. 

In a technical research report, the researcher is expected to provide specific information about the research process, including statistical analyses and sampling methods. Also, the use of language is highly specialized and filled with jargon. 

Examples of technical research reports include legal and medical research reports. 

  • Popular Research Report

A popular research report is one for a general audience; that is, for individuals who do not necessarily have any knowledge in the field of study. A popular research report aims to make information accessible to everyone. 

It is written in very simple language, which makes it easy to understand the findings and recommendations. Examples of popular research reports are the information contained in newspapers and magazines. 

Importance of a Research Report 

  • Knowledge Transfer: As already stated above, one of the reasons for carrying out research is to contribute to the existing body of knowledge, and this is made possible with a research report. A research report serves as a means to effectively communicate the findings of a systematic investigation to all and sundry.  
  • Identification of Knowledge Gaps: With a research report, you’d be able to identify knowledge gaps for further inquiry. A research report shows what has been done while hinting at other areas needing systematic investigation. 
  • In market research, a research report would help you understand the market needs and peculiarities at a glance. 
  • A research report allows you to present information in a precise and concise manner. 
  • It is time-efficient and practical because, in a research report, you do not have to spend time detailing the findings of your research work in person. You can easily send out the report via email and have stakeholders look at it. 

Guide to Writing a Research Report

A lot of detail goes into writing a research report, and getting familiar with the different requirements would help you create the ideal research report. A research report is usually broken down into multiple sections, which allows for a concise presentation of information.

Structure and Example of a Research Report

This is the title of your systematic investigation. Your title should be concise and point to the aims, objectives, and findings of a research report. 

  • Table of Contents

This is like a compass that makes it easier for readers to navigate the research report.

An abstract is an overview that highlights all important aspects of the research including the research method, data collection process, and research findings. Think of an abstract as a summary of your research report that presents pertinent information in a concise manner. 

An abstract is always brief; typically 100-150 words and goes straight to the point. The focus of your research abstract should be the 5Ws and 1H format – What, Where, Why, When, Who and How. 

  • Introduction

Here, the researcher highlights the aims and objectives of the systematic investigation as well as the problem which the systematic investigation sets out to solve. When writing the report introduction, it is also essential to indicate whether the purposes of the research were achieved or would require more work.

In the introduction section, the researcher specifies the research problem and also outlines the significance of the systematic investigation. Also, the researcher is expected to outline any jargons and terminologies that are contained in the research.  

  • Literature Review

A literature review is a written survey of existing knowledge in the field of study. In other words, it is the section where you provide an overview and analysis of different research works that are relevant to your systematic investigation. 

It highlights existing research knowledge and areas needing further investigation, which your research has sought to fill. At this stage, you can also hint at your research hypothesis and its possible implications for the existing body of knowledge in your field of study. 

  • An Account of Investigation

This is a detailed account of the research process, including the methodology, sample, and research subjects. Here, you are expected to provide in-depth information on the research process including the data collection and analysis procedures. 

In a quantitative research report, you’d need to provide information surveys, questionnaires and other quantitative data collection methods used in your research. In a qualitative research report, you are expected to describe the qualitative data collection methods used in your research including interviews and focus groups. 

In this section, you are expected to present the results of the systematic investigation. 

This section further explains the findings of the research, earlier outlined. Here, you are expected to present a justification for each outcome and show whether the results are in line with your hypotheses or if other research studies have come up with similar results.

  • Conclusions

This is a summary of all the information in the report. It also outlines the significance of the entire study. 

  • References and Appendices

This section contains a list of all the primary and secondary research sources. 

Tips for Writing a Research Report

  • Define the Context for the Report

As is obtainable when writing an essay, defining the context for your research report would help you create a detailed yet concise document. This is why you need to create an outline before writing so that you do not miss out on anything. 

  • Define your Audience

Writing with your audience in mind is essential as it determines the tone of the report. If you’re writing for a general audience, you would want to present the information in a simple and relatable manner. For a specialized audience, you would need to make use of technical and field-specific terms. 

  • Include Significant Findings

The idea of a research report is to present some sort of abridged version of your systematic investigation. In your report, you should exclude irrelevant information while highlighting only important data and findings. 

  • Include Illustrations

Your research report should include illustrations and other visual representations of your data. Graphs, pie charts, and relevant images lend additional credibility to your systematic investigation.

  • Choose the Right Title

A good research report title is brief, precise, and contains keywords from your research. It should provide a clear idea of your systematic investigation so that readers can grasp the entire focus of your research from the title. 

  • Proofread the Report

Before publishing the document, ensure that you give it a second look to authenticate the information. If you can, get someone else to go through the report, too, and you can also run it through proofreading and editing software. 

How to Gather Research Data for Your Report  

  • Understand the Problem

Every research aims at solving a specific problem or set of problems, and this should be at the back of your mind when writing your research report. Understanding the problem would help you to filter the information you have and include only important data in your report. 

  • Know what your report seeks to achieve

This is somewhat similar to the point above because, in some way, the aim of your research report is intertwined with the objectives of your systematic investigation. Identifying the primary purpose of writing a research report would help you to identify and present the required information accordingly. 

  • Identify your audience

Knowing your target audience plays a crucial role in data collection for a research report. If your research report is specifically for an organization, you would want to present industry-specific information or show how the research findings are relevant to the work that the company does. 

  • Create Surveys/Questionnaires

A survey is a research method that is used to gather data from a specific group of people through a set of questions. It can be either quantitative or qualitative. 

A survey is usually made up of structured questions, and it can be administered online or offline. However, an online survey is a more effective method of research data collection because it helps you save time and gather data with ease. 

You can seamlessly create an online questionnaire for your research on Formplus . With the multiple sharing options available in the builder, you would be able to administer your survey to respondents in little or no time. 

Formplus also has a report summary too l that you can use to create custom visual reports for your research.

Step-by-step guide on how to create an online questionnaire using Formplus  

  • Sign into Formplus

In the Formplus builder, you can easily create different online questionnaires for your research by dragging and dropping preferred fields into your form. To access the Formplus builder, you will need to create an account on Formplus. 

Once you do this, sign in to your account and click on Create new form to begin. 

  • Edit Form Title : Click on the field provided to input your form title, for example, “Research Questionnaire.”
  • Edit Form : Click on the edit icon to edit the form.
  • Add Fields : Drag and drop preferred form fields into your form in the Formplus builder inputs column. There are several field input options for questionnaires in the Formplus builder. 
  • Edit fields
  • Click on “Save”
  • Form Customization: With the form customization options in the form builder, you can easily change the outlook of your form and make it more unique and personalized. Formplus allows you to change your form theme, add background images, and even change the font according to your needs. 
  • Multiple Sharing Options: Formplus offers various form-sharing options, which enables you to share your questionnaire with respondents easily. You can use the direct social media sharing buttons to share your form link to your organization’s social media pages.  You can also send out your survey form as email invitations to your research subjects too. If you wish, you can share your form’s QR code or embed it on your organization’s website for easy access. 


Always remember that a research report is just as important as the actual systematic investigation because it plays a vital role in communicating research findings to everyone else. This is why you must take care to create a concise document summarizing the process of conducting any research. 

In this article, we’ve outlined essential tips to help you create a research report. When writing your report, you should always have the audience at the back of your mind, as this would set the tone for the document. 


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different kinds of research reports

Home Market Research

Research Reports: Definition and How to Write Them

Research Reports

Reports are usually spread across a vast horizon of topics but are focused on communicating information about a particular topic and a niche target market. The primary motive of research reports is to convey integral details about a study for marketers to consider while designing new strategies.

Certain events, facts, and other information based on incidents need to be relayed to the people in charge, and creating research reports is the most effective communication tool. Ideal research reports are extremely accurate in the offered information with a clear objective and conclusion. These reports should have a clean and structured format to relay information effectively.

What are Research Reports?

Research reports are recorded data prepared by researchers or statisticians after analyzing the information gathered by conducting organized research, typically in the form of surveys or qualitative methods .

A research report is a reliable source to recount details about a conducted research. It is most often considered to be a true testimony of all the work done to garner specificities of research.

The various sections of a research report are:

  • Background/Introduction
  • Implemented Methods
  • Results based on Analysis
  • Deliberation

Learn more: Quantitative Research

Components of Research Reports

Research is imperative for launching a new product/service or a new feature. The markets today are extremely volatile and competitive due to new entrants every day who may or may not provide effective products. An organization needs to make the right decisions at the right time to be relevant in such a market with updated products that suffice customer demands.

The details of a research report may change with the purpose of research but the main components of a report will remain constant. The research approach of the market researcher also influences the style of writing reports. Here are seven main components of a productive research report:

  • Research Report Summary: The entire objective along with the overview of research are to be included in a summary which is a couple of paragraphs in length. All the multiple components of the research are explained in brief under the report summary.  It should be interesting enough to capture all the key elements of the report.
  • Research Introduction: There always is a primary goal that the researcher is trying to achieve through a report. In the introduction section, he/she can cover answers related to this goal and establish a thesis which will be included to strive and answer it in detail.  This section should answer an integral question: “What is the current situation of the goal?”.  After the research design was conducted, did the organization conclude the goal successfully or they are still a work in progress –  provide such details in the introduction part of the research report.
  • Research Methodology: This is the most important section of the report where all the important information lies. The readers can gain data for the topic along with analyzing the quality of provided content and the research can also be approved by other market researchers . Thus, this section needs to be highly informative with each aspect of research discussed in detail.  Information needs to be expressed in chronological order according to its priority and importance. Researchers should include references in case they gained information from existing techniques.
  • Research Results: A short description of the results along with calculations conducted to achieve the goal will form this section of results. Usually, the exposition after data analysis is carried out in the discussion part of the report.

Learn more: Quantitative Data

  • Research Discussion: The results are discussed in extreme detail in this section along with a comparative analysis of reports that could probably exist in the same domain. Any abnormality uncovered during research will be deliberated in the discussion section.  While writing research reports, the researcher will have to connect the dots on how the results will be applicable in the real world.
  • Research References and Conclusion: Conclude all the research findings along with mentioning each and every author, article or any content piece from where references were taken.

Learn more: Qualitative Observation

15 Tips for Writing Research Reports

Writing research reports in the manner can lead to all the efforts going down the drain. Here are 15 tips for writing impactful research reports:

  • Prepare the context before starting to write and start from the basics:  This was always taught to us in school – be well-prepared before taking a plunge into new topics. The order of survey questions might not be the ideal or most effective order for writing research reports. The idea is to start with a broader topic and work towards a more specific one and focus on a conclusion or support, which a research should support with the facts.  The most difficult thing to do in reporting, without a doubt is to start. Start with the title, the introduction, then document the first discoveries and continue from that. Once the marketers have the information well documented, they can write a general conclusion.
  • Keep the target audience in mind while selecting a format that is clear, logical and obvious to them:  Will the research reports be presented to decision makers or other researchers? What are the general perceptions around that topic? This requires more care and diligence. A researcher will need a significant amount of information to start writing the research report. Be consistent with the wording, the numbering of the annexes and so on. Follow the approved format of the company for the delivery of research reports and demonstrate the integrity of the project with the objectives of the company.
  • Have a clear research objective: A researcher should read the entire proposal again, and make sure that the data they provide contributes to the objectives that were raised from the beginning. Remember that speculations are for conversations, not for research reports, if a researcher speculates, they directly question their own research.
  • Establish a working model:  Each study must have an internal logic, which will have to be established in the report and in the evidence. The researchers’ worst nightmare is to be required to write research reports and realize that key questions were not included.

Learn more: Quantitative Observation

  • Gather all the information about the research topic. Who are the competitors of our customers? Talk to other researchers who have studied the subject of research, know the language of the industry. Misuse of the terms can discourage the readers of research reports from reading further.
  • Read aloud while writing. While reading the report, if the researcher hears something inappropriate, for example, if they stumble over the words when reading them, surely the reader will too. If the researcher can’t put an idea in a single sentence, then it is very long and they must change it so that the idea is clear to everyone.
  • Check grammar and spelling. Without a doubt, good practices help to understand the report. Use verbs in the present tense. Consider using the present tense, which makes the results sound more immediate. Find new words and other ways of saying things. Have fun with the language whenever possible.
  • Discuss only the discoveries that are significant. If some data are not really significant, do not mention them. Remember that not everything is truly important or essential within research reports.

Learn more: Qualitative Data

  • Try and stick to the survey questions. For example, do not say that the people surveyed “were worried” about an research issue , when there are different degrees of concern.
  • The graphs must be clear enough so that they understand themselves. Do not let graphs lead the reader to make mistakes: give them a title, include the indications, the size of the sample, and the correct wording of the question.
  • Be clear with messages. A researcher should always write every section of the report with an accuracy of details and language.
  • Be creative with titles – Particularly in segmentation studies choose names “that give life to research”. Such names can survive for a long time after the initial investigation.
  • Create an effective conclusion: The conclusion in the research reports is the most difficult to write, but it is an incredible opportunity to excel. Make a precise summary. Sometimes it helps to start the conclusion with something specific, then it describes the most important part of the study, and finally, it provides the implications of the conclusions.
  • Get a couple more pair of eyes to read the report. Writers have trouble detecting their own mistakes. But they are responsible for what is presented. Ensure it has been approved by colleagues or friends before sending the find draft out.

Learn more: Market Research and Analysis


different kinds of research reports

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Reference management. Clean and simple.

Types of research papers

different kinds of research reports

Analytical research paper

Argumentative or persuasive paper, definition paper, compare and contrast paper, cause and effect paper, interpretative paper, experimental research paper, survey research paper, frequently asked questions about the different types of research papers, related articles.

There are multiple different types of research papers. It is important to know which type of research paper is required for your assignment, as each type of research paper requires different preparation. Below is a list of the most common types of research papers.

➡️ Read more:  What is a research paper?

In an analytical research paper you:

  • pose a question
  • collect relevant data from other researchers
  • analyze their different viewpoints

You focus on the findings and conclusions of other researchers and then make a personal conclusion about the topic. It is important to stay neutral and not show your own negative or positive position on the matter.

The argumentative paper presents two sides of a controversial issue in one paper. It is aimed at getting the reader on the side of your point of view.

You should include and cite findings and arguments of different researchers on both sides of the issue, but then favor one side over the other and try to persuade the reader of your side. Your arguments should not be too emotional though, they still need to be supported with logical facts and statistical data.

Tip: Avoid expressing too much emotion in a persuasive paper.

The definition paper solely describes facts or objective arguments without using any personal emotion or opinion of the author. Its only purpose is to provide information. You should include facts from a variety of sources, but leave those facts unanalyzed.

Compare and contrast papers are used to analyze the difference between two:

Make sure to sufficiently describe both sides in the paper, and then move on to comparing and contrasting both thesis and supporting one.

Cause and effect papers are usually the first types of research papers that high school and college students write. They trace probable or expected results from a specific action and answer the main questions "Why?" and "What?", which reflect effects and causes.

In business and education fields, cause and effect papers will help trace a range of results that could arise from a particular action or situation.

An interpretative paper requires you to use knowledge that you have gained from a particular case study, for example a legal situation in law studies. You need to write the paper based on an established theoretical framework and use valid supporting data to back up your statement and conclusion.

This type of research paper basically describes a particular experiment in detail. It is common in fields like:

Experiments are aimed to explain a certain outcome or phenomenon with certain actions. You need to describe your experiment with supporting data and then analyze it sufficiently.

This research paper demands the conduction of a survey that includes asking questions to respondents. The conductor of the survey then collects all the information from the survey and analyzes it to present it in the research paper.

➡️ Ready to start your research paper? Take a look at our guide on how to start a research paper .

In an analytical research paper, you pose a question and then collect relevant data from other researchers to analyze their different viewpoints. You focus on the findings and conclusions of other researchers and then make a personal conclusion about the topic.

The definition paper solely describes facts or objective arguments without using any personal emotion or opinion of the author. Its only purpose is to provide information.

Cause and effect papers are usually the first types of research papers that high school and college students are confronted with. The answer questions like "Why?" and "What?", which reflect effects and causes. In business and education fields, cause and effect papers will help trace a range of results that could arise from a particular action or situation.

This type of research paper describes a particular experiment in detail. It is common in fields like biology, chemistry or physics. Experiments are aimed to explain a certain outcome or phenomenon with certain actions.

different kinds of research reports

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Academic writing: a practical guide

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  • The writing process
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  • Criticality in academic writing
  • Working with evidence
  • Referencing
  • Assessment & feedback
  • Dissertations
  • Reflective writing
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  • Feedback on Argument, Analysis, and Critical Thinking
  • Feedback on Writing Style and Clarity
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  • Feedback on Presentation and Proofreading

Objective, evidence-based writing commonly used in the sciences and some social science subjects.

Introduction to reports

Reports are found within many subjects, particularly sciences and some social sciences. They present factual-based information for a specified audience, with each academic discipline area having its own report types (many of which are based on real-world reports). 

This guide explores what an academic report is as a concept and offers practical advice about the completion of academic reports:

Reports: a Conceptual and Practical Guide [interactive slides]  |  Reports: a Conceptual and Practical Guide [Google Doc]

Features of reports

  • Reports present and (usually) critically analyse data and other factual evidence.
  • There are different types of reports , which each have a specific purpose.
  • There is often a specific structure that must be followed - see our general structure advice and guidance for each report type.
  • The writing style is concise and objective - for more detail, see our academic writing style advice.

different kinds of research reports

The report writing process

Writing a good report isn't just about the final product - much of the thinking and hard work is done before you start writing.

Before your first report, work through the introductory guide to reports above to get an idea of what's expected of you:  Reports: a Conceptual and Practical Guide [interactive tutorial]

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Read the assessment instructions carefully. Which type of report is it? Is there an expected structure? Do you need to analyse data? What's the word count? When's the deadline?

Look at the  assignment writing process  and think about how you'll plan your approach to your report.

Make a schedule: how much time do you need to research, think, plan, draft, write and edit your report? Add in some extra time for a buffer.

Follow the steps in the writing process to prepare and write your report. Try to stick to your schedule.

Check and proofread your report carefully - check your citations and references too! 

Submit your report. Maybe celebrate with some cake?

Read your feedback  carefully. How can you use it to improve your next report? 

For more detail, see our dedicated advice pages:

Organise & analyse

Note taking for synthesising information

In many types of academic writing, you need to compare and synthesise information from numerous sources. This process much is quicker and easier using an effective note-taking technique.

Grid notes  is a useful note taking technique to synthesise information. You collect information under specific headings in a grid or table, which helps you to:

  • pull all your notes together in one place.
  • focus on finding just the information you need in sources.
  • identify patterns in source information.
  • plan structure and write.

Find out more:

Grid notes [YouTube]  | Grid notes [Google Doc]

More advice about other note-taking methods:

different kinds of research reports

Using evidence in reports

Sources of evidence.

Reports are based on factual evidence and data, found in sources such as:

  • your own research findings (quantitative or qualitative)
  • findings from research papers (quantitative or qualitative)
  • published governmental or organisational datasets
  • reports from companies or organisations
  • business case studies

Tips on finding appropriate sources of evidence for your reports:

different kinds of research reports

Reading academic journals

Writing a report usually requires reading lots of journal papers. This can seem like a massive task, but you usually don't need to read every word of a paper to get the information you need!

Find tips and strategies to read papers effectively:

Being Critical

Using evidence critically

It's not enough to describe or summarise the evidence - to access higher grades you'll also need to critically analyse it. What does the evidence mean in relation to your overall point or argument?

There are many ways that you could use evidence critically, such as:

  • evaluate or justify methodological choices
  • consider how your findings fit into previous research
  • compare findings, models or frameworks
  • evaluate different solutions or applications and select the most effective one
  • make evidence-based recommendations

For more advice, see our dedicated criticality resources:

different kinds of research reports

Research reports

Research or experimental reports present and discuss the outcomes of your research: what did you do , what did you find out , and what does it mean?

They're very common in science subjects and sometimes used in Education, Management or other subjects.

Research reports usually follow a set structure:

  • introduction


Writing a research report

This tutorial introduces what's expected in each section, with advice and examples:

Writing a research report [interactive tutorial]  |  Writing a research report [Google Doc]

Many dissertations also follow this structure, so these tips also apply to research reports:

different kinds of research reports

Example research reports

Example research reports may be available on your module VLE sites or from your tutors.

Research-based journal papers are also usually based on the same principles, so reading papers from your field is also a good way to see what's expected. Note that the referencing style used by the journal might be different to your department's referencing style!

This ecology paper is a well-structured example of a research paper:

different kinds of research reports

Other support for report writing

Online resources.

The general writing pages of this site offer guidance that can be applied to all types of writing, including reports. Also check your department guidance and VLE sites for tailored resources.

Other useful resources for report writing:

Appointments and workshops 

As well as advice within your department, you can access central writing and skills support:

Writing Centre logo

Have questions about planning or interpreting quantitative data analysis? You can book a statistics appointment with the Maths Skills Centre or explore the workshops and online resources:

Maths Skills Centre logo

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  • Last Updated: Jun 4, 2024 10:44 AM
  • URL: https://subjectguides.york.ac.uk/academic-writing

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4.1: Common Types of Research Reports and Documents

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Common Types of Research Reports & Documents

Research is central to most work in STEM fields and you may often be required to conduct various types of research as part of your professional life. Lab reports, recommendation reports, proposals, and white papers are just some of the professional documents that rely on research. These are the kinds of documents that can help organizations make decisions, solicit new clients and contracts, and communicate with the public.

For more information on these common types of professional correspondence, see the Workplace Communications chapter.

A Guide To The Top 14 Types Of Reports With Examples Of When To Use Them

Types of reports blog post by datapine

Table of Contents

1) What Is The Report Definition?

2) Top 14 Types Of Reports

3) What Does A Report Look Like?

4) What To Look For In A Reporting Tool

Businesses have been producing reports forever. No matter what role or industry you work in, chances are that you have been faced with the task of generating a tedious report to show your progress or performance.

While reporting has been a common practice for many decades, the business world keeps evolving, and with more competitive industries, the need to generate fast and accurate reports becomes critical. This presents a problem for many modern organizations today, as building reports can take from hours to days. In fact, a survey about management reports performed by Deloitte says that 50% of managers are unsatisfied with the speed of delivery and the quality of the reports they receive. 

With this issue in mind, several BI tools have been developed to assist businesses in generating interactive reports with just a few clicks, enhancing the way companies make critical decisions and service insights from their most valuable data.

But, with so many types of reports used daily, how can you know when to use them effectively? How can you push yourself ahead of the pack with the power of information? Here, we will explore the 14 most common types of reports in business and provide some examples of when to use them to your brand-boosting advantage. In addition, we will see how online dashboards have overthrown the static nature of classic reports and given way to a much faster, more interactive way of working with data.

Let’s get started with a brief report definition.

What Is The Report Definition?

A modern reporting example created with a dashboard tool

A report is a document that presents relevant business information in an organized and understandable format. Each report is aimed at a specific audience and business purpose, and it summarizes the development of different activities based on goals and objectives.  

That said, there are various types of reports that can be used for different purposes. Whether you want to track the progress of your strategies or stay compliant with financial laws, there is a different report for each task. To help you identify when to use them, we will cover the top 14 most common report formats used for businesses today. 

What Are The Different Types Of Reports?

Top 14 types of reports overview graphic

1. Informational Reports 

The first in our list of reporting types is informational reports. As their name suggests, this report type aims to give factual insights about a specific topic. This can include performance reports, expense reports, and justification reports, among others. A differentiating characteristic of these reports is their objectivity; they are only meant to inform but not propose solutions or hypotheses. Common informational reports examples are for performance tracking, such as annual, monthly, or weekly reports . 

2. Analytical Reports 

This report type contains a mix of useful information to facilitate the decision-making process through a mix of qualitative and quantitative insights as well as real-time and historical insights. Unlike informational reports that purely inform users about a topic, this report type also aims to provide recommendations about the next steps and help with problem-solving. With this information in hand, businesses can build strategies based on analytical evidence and not simple intuition. With the use of the right BI reporting tool , businesses can generate various types of analytical reports that include accurate forecasts via predictive analytics technologies. Let's look at it with an analytical report example.

Analytical report example of a sales pipeline dashboard

**click to enlarge**

The example above is the perfect representation of how analytical reports can boost a business’s performance. By getting detailed information such as sales opportunities, a probability rate, as well as an accurate pipeline value forecast based on historical data, sales teams can prepare their strategies in advance, tackle any inefficiencies, and make informed decisions for increased efficiency. 

3. Operational Reports 

These reports track every pertinent detail of the company's operational tasks, such as its production processes. They are typically short-term reports as they aim to paint a picture of the present. Businesses use this type of report to spot any issues and define their solutions or to identify improvement opportunities to optimize their operational efficiency. Operational reports are commonly used in manufacturing, logistics, and retail as they help keep track of inventory, production, and costs, among others. 

4. Product Reports

As its name suggests, this report type is used to monitor several aspects related to product development. Businesses often use them to track which of their products or subscriptions are selling the most within a given time period, calculate inventories, or see what kind of product the client values the most. Another common use case of these reports is to research the implementation of new products or develop existing ones. Let’s see it in more detail with a visual example. 

Type of report examples: a report on product innovation, useful for product development and pricing decisions

The image above is a product report that shows valuable insights regarding usage intention, purchase intention, willingness to pay, and more. In this case, the report is based on the answers from a survey that aimed to understand how the target customer would receive a new product. Getting this level of insights through this report type is very useful for businesses as it allows them to make smart investments when it comes to new products as well as set realistic pricing based on their client’s willingness to pay. 

5. Industry Reports 

Next in our list of the most common kinds of reports, we have industry-specific reports. Typically, these reports provide an overview of a particular industry, market, or sector with definitions, key trends, leading companies, and industry size, among others. They are particularly useful for businesses that want to enter a specific industry and want to learn how competitive it is or for companies who are looking to set performance benchmarks based on average industry values. 

6. Department Reports

These reports are specific to each department or business function. They serve as a communication tool between managers and team members who must stay connected and work together for common goals. Whether it is the sales department, customer service, logistics, or finances, this specific report type helps track and optimize strategies on a deeper level. Let’s look at it with an example of a team performance report . 

A department report type example for customer support team performance

The image above is a department report created with an online data analysis tool , and it tracks the performance of a support team. This insightful report displays relevant metrics such as the top-performing agents, net promoter score, and first contact resolution rate, among others. Having this information in hand not only helps each team member to keep track of their individual progress but also allows managers to understand who needs more training and who is performing at their best. 

7. Progress Reports

From the brunch of informational reports, progress reports provide critical information about the status of a project. These reports can be produced on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis by employees or managers to track performance and fine-tune tasks for the better development of the project. Progress reports are often used as visual materials to support meetings and discussions. A good example is a KPI scorecard . 

8. Internal Reports

A type of report that encompasses many others on this list, internal reports refer to any type of report that is used internally in a business. They convey information between team members and departments to keep communication flowing regarding goals and business objectives. 

An internal report example: hospital management dashboard

As mentioned above, internal reports are useful communication tools to keep every relevant person in the organization informed and engaged. This healthcare report aims to do just that. By providing insights into the performance of different departments and areas of a hospital, such as in and outpatients, average waiting times, treatment costs, and more, healthcare managers can allocate resources and plan the schedule accurately, as well as monitor any changes or issues in real-time. 

9. External Reports

Although most of the reports types listed here are used for internal purposes, not all reporting is meant to be used behind closed doors. External reports are created to share information with external stakeholders such as clients or investors for budget or progress accountability, as well as to governmental bodies to stay compliant with the law requirements.

External report type example of a client report for an IT project

The image above is the perfect example of an external client report from an IT project. This insightful report provides a visual overview of every relevant aspect of the project's development. From deadlines, budget usage, completion stage, and task breakdown, clients can be fully informed and involved in the project. 

10. Vertical & Lateral Reports 

Next, in our rundown of types of reports, we have vertical and lateral reports. This reporting type refers to the direction in which a report travels. A vertical report is meant to go upward or downward the hierarchy, for example, a management report. A lateral report assists in organization and communication between groups that are at the same level of the hierarchy, such as the financial and marketing departments.

11. Research Reports

Without a doubt, one of the most vital reporting types for any modern business is centered on research. Being able to collect, collate, and drill down into insights based on key pockets of your customer base or industry will give you the tools to drive innovation while meeting your audience’s needs head-on.

Types of reports: research report for customer demographics

The image above is a market research analytics report example for customer demographics. It serves up a balanced blend of metrics that will empower you to boost engagement as well as retention rates. Here, you can drill down into your audience’s behaviors, interests, gender, educational levels, and tech adoption life cycles with a simple glance.

What’s particularly striking about this dashboard is the fact that you can explore key trends in brand innovation with ease, gaining a working insight into how your audience perceives your business. This invaluable type of report will help you get under the skin of your consumers, driving growth and loyalty in the process.

12. Strategic Reports

Strategy is a vital component of every business, big or small. Strategic analytics tools are perhaps the broadest and most universal of all the different types of business reports imaginable.

These particular tools exist to help you understand, meet, and exceed your most pressing organizational goals consistently by serving up top-level metrics on a variety of initiatives or functions.

By working with strategic-style tools, you will:

  • Improve internal motivation and engagement
  • Refine your plans and strategies for the best possible return on investment (ROI)
  • Enhance internal communication and optimize the way your various departments run
  • Create more room for innovation and creative thinking

13. Project Reports

Projects are key to keeping a business moving in the right direction while keeping innovation and evolution at the forefront of every plan, communication, or campaign. But without the right management tools, a potentially groundbreaking project can become a resource-sapping disaster.

A project management report serves as a summary of a particular project's status and its various components. It's a visual tool that you can share with partners, colleagues, clients, and stakeholders to showcase your project's progress at multiple stages. Let’s look at our example and dig a little deeper.

Project controlling dashboard as an example of a project report type

To ensure consistent success across the board, the kinds of reports you must work with are based on project management. 

Our example is a project management dashboard equipped with a melting pot of metrics designed to improve the decision-making process while keeping every facet of your company’s most important initiatives under control. Here, you can spot pivotal trends based on costs, task statuses, margins, costs, and overall project revenue. With this cohesive visual information at your fingertips, not only can you ensure the smooth end-to-end running of any key project, but you can also drive increased operational efficiency as you move through every significant milestone.

14. Statutory Reports

It may not seem exciting or glamorous, but keeping your business's statutory affairs in order is vital to your ongoing commercial health and success.

When it comes to submitting such vital financial and non-financial information to official bodies, one small error can result in serious repercussions. As such, working with statutory types of report formats is a water-tight way of keeping track of your affairs and records while significantly reducing the risk of human error.

Armed with interactive insights and dynamic visuals, you will keep your records clean and compliant while gaining the ability to nip any potential errors or issues in the bud.

What Does A Report Look Like?

Now that we’ve covered the most relevant types of reports, we will answer the question: what does a report look like? 

As mentioned at the beginning of this insightful guide, static reporting is a thing of the past. With the rise of modern technologies like self-service BI tools , the use of interactive reports in the shape of business dashboards has become more and more popular among companies.

Unlike static reports that take time to be generated and are difficult to understand, modern reporting tools are intuitive. Their visual nature makes them easy to understand for any type of user, and they provide businesses with a central view of their most important performance indicators for an improved decision-making process. Here, we will cover 20 useful dashboard examples from different industries, functions, and platforms to put the value of dashboard reporting into perspective. 

1. Financial Report

Visual reporting example for finances tracking metrics such as current working capital, cash conversion cycle, and vendor payment error rate

Keeping finances in check is critical for success. This financial report offers an overview of the most important financial metrics that a business needs to monitor its economic activities and answer vital questions to ensure healthy finances. 

With insights about liquidity, invoicing, budgeting, and general financial stability, managers can extract long and short-term conclusions to reduce inefficiencies, make accurate forecasts about future performance, and keep the overall financial efficiency of the business flowing. For instance, getting a detailed calculation of the business's working capital can allow you to understand how liquid your company is. If it's higher than expected, it means you have the potential to invest and grow—definitely, one of the most valuable types of finance reports.

2. Marketing Report 

A marketing report example for campaign tracking generated with a modern dashboard tool

Our following example is a marketing report that ensures a healthy return on investment from your marketing efforts. This type of report offers a detailed overview of campaign performance over the last 12 weeks. Having access to this information enables you to maximize the value of your promotional actions, keeping your audience engaged by providing a targeted experience. 

For instance, you can implement different campaign formats as a test and then compare which one is most successful for your business. This is possible thanks to the monitoring of important marketing metrics such as the click-through rate (CTR), cost per click (CPC), cost per acquisition (CPA), and more. 

The visual nature of this report makes it easy to understand important insights at a glance. For example, the four gauge charts at the top show the total spending from all campaigns and how much of the total budget of each campaign has been used. In just seconds, you can see if you are on target to meet your marketing budgets for every single campaign. 

3. Sales Report

A sales report template focused on high-level metrics such as revenue, profits, costs, incremental sales, accumulated revenue, up/cross-sell rates, etc.

An intuitive sales dashboard like the one above is the perfect analytical tool to monitor and optimize sales performance. Armed with powerful high-level metrics, this report type is especially interesting for managers, executives, and sales VPs as it provides relevant information to ensure strategic and operational success. 

The value of this sales report lies in the fact that it offers a complete and comprehensive overview of relevant insights needed to make smart sales decisions. For instance, at the top of an analysis tool, you get important metrics such as the number of sales, revenue, profit, and costs, all compared to a set target and to the previous time period. The use of historical data is fundamental when building successful sales strategies as they provide a picture of what could happen in the future. Being able to filter the key metrics all in one screen is a key benefit of modern reporting. 

4. HR Report 

Employee performance depicted with business intelligence reporting processes.

Our next example of a report is about human resources analytics . The HR department needs to track various KPIs for employee performance and effectiveness. But overall, they have to ensure that employees are happy and working in a healthy environment since an unhappy workforce can significantly damage an organization. This is all possible with the help of this intuitive dashboard. 

Providing a comprehensive mix of metrics, this employee-centric report drills down into every major element needed to ensure successful workforce management. For example, the top portion of the dashboard covers absenteeism in 3 different ways: yearly average, absenteeism rate with a target of 3.8%, and absenteeism over the last five years. Tracking absenteeism rates in detail is helpful as it can tell you if your employees are skipping work days. If the rate is over the expected target, then you have to dig deeper into the reasons and find sustainable solutions. 

On the other hand, the second part of the dashboard covers the overall labor effectiveness (OLE). This can be tracked based on specific criteria that HR predefined, and it helps them understand if workers are achieving their targets or if they need extra training or help. 

5. Management Report

alt="Visual of a finance KPIs business executive dashboard example for investors"

Managers must monitor big amounts of information to ensure that the business is running smoothly. One of them being investor relationships. This management dashboard focuses on high-level metrics that shareholders need to look at before investing, such as the return on assets, return on equity, debt-equity ratio, and share price, among others. 

By getting an overview of these important metrics, investors can easily extract the needed information to make an informed decision regarding an investment in your business. For instance, the return on assets measures how efficiently are the company's assets being used to generate profit. With this information, investors can understand how effectively your company deploys available resources compared to others in the market. Another great indicator is the share price; the higher the increase in your share price, the more money your shareholders are making from their investment. 

6. IT Report 

IT report tracking the occurrence of technical issues to improve system operational performance

Just like all the other departments and sections covered in this list, the IT department is one that can especially benefit from these types of reports. With so many technical issues to solve, the need for a visual tool to help IT specialists stay on track with their workload becomes critical. 

As seen in the image above, this IT dashboard offers detailed information about different system indicators. For starters, we get a visual overview of the status of each server, followed by a detailed graph displaying the uptime & downtime of each week. This is complemented by the most common downtown issues and some ticket management information. Getting this level of insight helps your IT staff to know what is happening and when it is happening and find proper solutions to prevent these issues from repeating themselves. Keeping constant track of these metrics will ensure robust system performance. 

7. Procurement Report

This procurement report example provides an overview of the most essential metrics of the procurement department

The following example of a report was built with intuitive procurement analytics software , and it gives a general view of various metrics that the procurement department needs to work with regularly. 

With the possibility to filter, drill down, and interact with KPIs, this intuitive procurement dashboard offers key information to ensure a healthy supplier relationship. With metrics such as compliance rate, the number of suppliers, or the purchase order cycle time, the procurement team can classify the different suppliers, define the relationship each of them has with the company, and optimize processes to ensure it stays profitable.

8. Customer Service Report

Call center reporting type presented with the revenue value, costs per support, average time to solve an issue,  and overall satisfaction

Following our list of examples of reports is one from the support area. Armed with powerful customer service KPIs , this dashboard is a useful tool to monitor performance, spot trends, identify strengths and weaknesses, and improve the overall effectiveness of the customer support department. 

Covering aspects such as revenue and costs from customer support as well as customer satisfaction, this complete analysis tool is the perfect tool for managers who have to keep an eye on every little detail from a performance and operational perspective. For example, by monitoring your customer service costs and comparing them to the revenue, you can understand if you are investing the right amount into your support processes. This can be directly related to your agent’s average time to solve issues; the longer it takes to solve a support ticket, the more money it will cost and the less revenue it will bring. If you see that your agents are taking too long to solve an issue, you can think of some training instances to help them reduce this number. 

9. Market Research Report 

A type of report for market research displaying the results of a survey about brand perception

This list of report types examples would not be complete without a market research report . Market research agencies deal with a large amount of information coming from surveys and other research sources. Taking all this into account, the need for reports that can be filtered for deeper interaction becomes more necessary for this industry than any other. 

The image above is a brand analytics dashboard that displays the survey results about how the public perceives a brand. This savvy tool contains different charts that make it easy to understand the information visually. For instance, the map chart with the different colors lets you quickly understand in which regions each age range is located. The charts can be filtered further to see the detailed answers from each group for a deeper analysis. 

10. Social Media Report 

Social media report example displaying performance metrics for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube

Last but not least, we have a social media report .  This scorecard format dashboard monitors the performance of 4 main social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and it serves as a perfect visual overview to track the performance of different social media efforts and achievements. 

Tracking relevant metrics such as followers, impressions, clicks, engagement rates, and conversions, this report type serves as a perfect progress report to show to managers or clients who need to see the status of their social channels. Each metric is shown in its actual value and compared to a set target. The colors green and red from the fourth column let you quickly understand if a metric is over or under its expected target. 

11. Logistics Report

Logistics are the cornerstone of an operationally fluent and progressive business. If you deal with large quantities of goods and tangible items, in particular, maintaining a solid logistical strategy is vital to ensuring you maintain your brand reputation while keeping things flowing in the right direction.

An logistics report focused on the warehouse performance in the logistics industry

A prime example of the types of data reporting tool designed to improve logistical management, our warehouse KPI dashboard is equipped with metrics required to maintain strategic movement while eliminating any unnecessary costs or redundant processes. Here, you can dig into your shipping success rates across regions while accessing warehouse costs and perfect order rates in real-time. If you spot any potential inefficiencies, you can track them here and take the correct course of action to refine your strategy. This is an essential tool for any business with a busy or scaling warehouse.

12. Manufacturing Report

Next, in our essential types of business reports examples, we’re looking at tools made to improve your business’s various manufacturing processes.

Manufacturing Production report displaying main manufacturing KPIs to keep the pulse of your factory

Our clean and concise production tool is a sight to behold and serves up key manufacturing KPIs that improve the decision-making process regarding costs, volume, and machinery.

Here, you can hone in on historical patterns and trends while connecting with priceless real-time insights that will not only help you make the right calls concerning your manufacturing process at the moment but will also help you formulate predictive strategies that will ultimately save money, boost productivity, and result in top-quality products across the board.

13. Retail Report

As a retailer with so many channels to consider and so many important choices to make, working with the right metrics and visuals is absolutely essential. Fortunately, we live in an age where there are different types of reporting designed for this very reason.

Types of reports examples: retail sales and order report

Our sales and order example, generated with retail analytics software , is a dream come true for retailers as it offers the visual insights needed to understand your product range in greater detail while keeping a firm grip on your order volumes, perfect order rates, and reasons for returns.

Gaining access to these invaluable insights in one visually presentable space will allow you to track increases or decreases in orders over a set timeframe (and understand whether you’re doing the right things to drive engagement) while plowing your promotional resources into the products that are likely to offer the best returns.

Plus, by gaining an accurate overview of why people are returning your products, you can omit problem items or processes from your retail strategy, improving your brand reputation as well as revenue in the process.

14. Digital Media Report

The content and communications you publish are critical to your ongoing success, regardless of your sector, niche, or specialty. Without putting out communications that speak directly to the right segments of your audience at the right times in their journey, your brand will swiftly fade into the background.

Content quality control dashboard as a digital media report example

To ensure your brand remains inspiring, engaging, and thought-leading across channels, working with media types of a business report is essential. You must ensure your communications cut through the noise and scream ‘quality’ from start to finish—no ifs, no buts, no exceptions.

Our content quality control tool is designed with a logical hierarchy that will tell you if your content sparks readership, if the language you’re using is inclusive and conversational, and how much engagement-specific communications earn. You can also check your most engaged articles with a quick glance to understand what your users value most. Armed with this information, you can keep creating content that your audience loves and ultimately drives true value to the business.

15. Energy Report

In the age of sustainability and in the face of international fuel hikes, managing the energy your business uses effectively is paramount. Here, there is little room for excess or error, and as such, working with the right metrics is the only way to ensure successful energy regulation.

Energy management dashboard as an example of a type of report for the energy industry

If your company has a big HQ or multiple sites that require power, our energy management analytics tool will help you take the stress out of managing your resources. One of the most striking features of this dashboard is the fact that it empowers you to compare your company’s energy usage against those from other sectors and set an accurate benchmark.

Here, you can also get a digestible breakdown of your various production costs regarding energy consumption and the main sources you use to keep your organization running. Regularly consulting these metrics will not only help you save colossal chunks of your budget, but it will also give you the intelligence to become more sustainable as an organization. This, in turn, is good for the planet and your brand reputation—a real win-win-win.

16. FMCG Report

Kinds of reports examples tracking a report template for the FMCG industry

The fast-moving consuming goods (FMCG) industry can highly benefit from a powerful report containing real-time insights. This is because the products handled in this sector which are often food and beverages, don’t last very long. Therefore, having a live overview of all the latest developments can help decision-makers optimize the supply chain to ensure everything runs smoothly and no major issues happen. 

Our report format example above aims to do just that by providing an overview of critical performance indicators, such as the percentage of products sold within freshness date, the out-of-stock rate, on-time in full deliveries, inventory turnover, and more.  What makes this template so valuable is the fact that it provides a range of periods to get a more recent view of events but also a longer yearly view to extract deeper insights. 

The FMCG dashboard also offers an overview of the main KPIs to help users understand if they are on the right track to meet their goals. There, we can observe that the OTIF is far from its target of 90%. Therefore, it should be looked at in more detail to optimize it and prevent it from affecting the entire supply chain. 

17. Google Analytics Report

This Google analytics report provides the perfect overview of your KPIs, and enables you to discover early-on if you are on track to meet your targets

Regardless of the industry you are in, if you have a website then you probably require a  Google Analytics report. This powerful tool helps you understand how your audience interacts with your website while helping you reach more people through the Google search engine. The issue is that the reports the tool provides are more or less basic and don’t give you the dynamic and agile view you need to stay on top of your data and competitors. 

For that reason, at datapine, we generated a range of Google Analytics dashboards that take your experience one step further by allowing you to explore your most important KPIs in real-time. That way, you’ll be able to spot any potential issues or opportunities to improve as soon as they occur, allowing you to act on them on the spot. 

Among some of the most valuable metrics you can find in this sample are the sessions and their daily, weekly, and monthly development, the average session duration, the bounce rate by channel and by top 5 countries, among others.

18. YouTube Report

Types of reports example: YouTube template to track your video performance with specific video-related metrics and indicators

So far, we’ve covered examples for various industries and sectors. Now, we will dive a bit deeper into some templates related to popular platforms businesses use in their daily operations. With the rise in video-related content, we could not leave YouTube outside of the list. This popular platform hides some valuable insights that can help you improve your content for your current audience but also reach new audiences that can be interested in your products or services. 

This highly visual and dynamic sample offers an interactive view of relevant KPIs to help you understand every aspect of your video performance. The template can be filtered for different videos to help you understand how each type of content performs. For instance, you get an overview of engagement metrics, such as likes, dislikes, comments, and shares, that way, you can understand how your audience interacts with your content.

Additionally, you also get more detailed charts about the number of views, the average watch time per day, and audience retention. These indicators can help you understand if something needs to be changed. For instance, audience retention goes down a lot after one minute and a half. Therefore you either need to make sure you are making the rest of the video a bit more interesting or offering your product or service or any other relevant information in the first minute.

19. LinkedIn Report

Type of report example with a clear overview of key LinkedIn metrics and results over time

Another very important platform that companies use, no matter their size or industry, is LinkedIn. This platform is the place where companies develop and showcase their corporate image, network with other companies, and tell their clients and audience about the different initiatives they are developing to grow and be better. Some organizations also use LinkedIn to showcase their charity or sustainability initiatives. 

The truth is LinkedIn has become an increasingly relevant platform, and just like we discussed with YouTube, organizations need to analyze data to ensure their strategies are on the right path to success. 

The template above offers a 360-degree view of a company page's performance. With metrics such as the followers gained, engagement rate, impressions vs unique impressions, CTR, and more. Decision-makers can dive deeper into the performance of their content and understand what their audience enjoys the most. For instance, by looking at the CTR of the last 5 company updates, you can start to get a sense of what topics and content format your audience on the platforms interact with the most. That way, you’ll avoid wasting time and resources producing content without interaction.

20. Healthcare Report

Patient satisfaction dashboard as an example of a healthcare report

Moving on from platform-related examples, we have one last monthly report template from a very relevant sector, the healthcare industry. For decades now, hospitals and healthcare professionals have benefited from data to develop new treatments and analyze unknown diseases. But, data can also help to ensure daily patient care is of top quality. 

Our sample above is a healthcare dashboard report that tracks patient satisfaction stats for a clinic named Saint Martins Clinic. The template provides insights into various aspects of patient care that can affect their satisfaction levels to help spot any weak areas. 

Just by looking at the report in a bit more detail, we can already see that the average waiting time for arrival to a bed and time to see a doctor are on the higher side. This is something that needs to be looked into immediately, as waiting times are the most important success factors for patients. Additionally, we can see those lab test turnarounds are also above target. This is another aspect that should be optimized to prevent satisfaction levels from going down.

If you feel inspired by this list and want to see some of the best uses for business reports, then we recommend you take a look at our dashboard examples library, where you will find over 80+ templates from different industries, functions, and platforms for extra inspiration! 

What You Should Look For In A Reporting Tool

As you learned from our extensive list of examples, different types of reports are widely used across industries and sectors. Now, you might wonder, how do I get my hands on one of these reports? The answer is a professional online reporting tool. With the right software in hand, you can generate stunning reports to extract the maximum potential out of your data and boost business growth in the process. 

But, with so many options in the market, how do make sure you choose the best tool for your needs? Below we cover some of the most relevant features and capabilities you should look for to make the most out of the process. 

  • Pre-made reporting templates

To ensure successful operations, a business will most likely need to use many types of reports for its internal and external strategies. Manually generating these reports can become a time-consuming task that burdens the business. That is why professional reporting software should offer pre-made reporting templates. At datapine, we offer an extensive template library that allows users to generate reports in a matter of seconds—allowing them to use their time on actually analyzing the information and extracting powerful insights from it. 

  • Multiple visualization options

If you look for report templates on Google you might run into multiple posts about written ones. This is not a surprise, as written reports have been the norm for decades. That being said, a modern approach to reporting has developed in the past years where visuals have taken over text. The value of visuals lies in the fact that they make the information easier to understand, especially for users who have no technical knowledge. But most importantly, they make the information easier to explore by telling a compelling story. For that reason, the tool you choose to invest in should provide you with multiple visualization options to have the flexibility to tell your data story in the most successful way possible. 

  • Customization 

While pre-made templates are fundamental to generating agile reports, being able to customize them to meet your needs is also of utmost importance. At datapine, we offer our users the possibility to customize their reports to fit their most important KPIs, as well as their logo, business colors, and font. This is an especially valuable feature for external reports that must be shown to clients or other relevant stakeholders, giving your reports a more professional look. Customization can also help from an internal perspective to provide employees who are uncomfortable with data with a familiar environment to work in. 

  • Real-time insights 

In the fast-paced world we live in today, having static reports is not enough. Businesses need to have real-time access to the latest developments in their data to spot any issues or opportunities as soon as they occur and act on them to ensure their resources are spent smartly and their strategies are running as expected. Doing so will allow for agile and efficient decision-making, giving the company a huge competitive advantage. 

  • Sharing capabilities 

Communication and collaboration are the basis of a successful reporting process. Today, team members and departments need to be connected to ensure everyone is on the right path to achieve general company goals. That is why the tool you invest in should offer flexible sharing capabilities to ensure every user can access the reports. For instance, at datapine, we offer our users the possibility to share reports through automated emails or password-protected URLs with viewing or editing rights depending on what data the specific user can see and manipulate. A great way to keep everyone connected and boost collaboration. 

Types Of Reporting For Every Business & Purpose 

As we’ve seen throughout our journey, different report formats are used by businesses for diverse purposes in their everyday activities. Whether you’re talking about types of reports in research, types of reports in management, or anything in between, these dynamic tools will get you where you need to be (and beyond).

In this post, we covered the top 14 most common ones and explored key examples of how different report types are changing the way businesses are leveraging their most critical insights for internal efficiency and, ultimately, external success.

With modern tools and solutions, reporting doesn’t have to be a tedious task. Anyone in your organization can rely on data for their decision-making process without needing technical skills. Rather, you want to keep your team connected or show progress to investors or clients. There is a report type for the job. To keep your mind fresh, here are the top 14 types of data reports covered in this post: 

  • Informational reports 
  • Analytical reports 
  • Operational reports  
  • Product reports 
  • Industry reports 
  • Department reports 
  • Progress reports 
  • Internal reports 
  • External reports 
  • Vertical and lateral reports 
  • Strategic reports
  • Research reports
  • Project reports
  • Statutory reports

Now, over to you. Are you ready? If you want to start building your own types of reports and get ahead of the pack today, then you should try our BI reporting software for 14 days for free ! 

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Types of Research – Explained with Examples


  • By DiscoverPhDs
  • October 2, 2020

Types of Research Design

Types of Research

Research is about using established methods to investigate a problem or question in detail with the aim of generating new knowledge about it.

It is a vital tool for scientific advancement because it allows researchers to prove or refute hypotheses based on clearly defined parameters, environments and assumptions. Due to this, it enables us to confidently contribute to knowledge as it allows research to be verified and replicated.

Knowing the types of research and what each of them focuses on will allow you to better plan your project, utilises the most appropriate methodologies and techniques and better communicate your findings to other researchers and supervisors.

Classification of Types of Research

There are various types of research that are classified according to their objective, depth of study, analysed data, time required to study the phenomenon and other factors. It’s important to note that a research project will not be limited to one type of research, but will likely use several.

According to its Purpose

Theoretical research.

Theoretical research, also referred to as pure or basic research, focuses on generating knowledge , regardless of its practical application. Here, data collection is used to generate new general concepts for a better understanding of a particular field or to answer a theoretical research question.

Results of this kind are usually oriented towards the formulation of theories and are usually based on documentary analysis, the development of mathematical formulas and the reflection of high-level researchers.

Applied Research

Here, the goal is to find strategies that can be used to address a specific research problem. Applied research draws on theory to generate practical scientific knowledge, and its use is very common in STEM fields such as engineering, computer science and medicine.

This type of research is subdivided into two types:

  • Technological applied research : looks towards improving efficiency in a particular productive sector through the improvement of processes or machinery related to said productive processes.
  • Scientific applied research : has predictive purposes. Through this type of research design, we can measure certain variables to predict behaviours useful to the goods and services sector, such as consumption patterns and viability of commercial projects.

Methodology Research

According to your Depth of Scope

Exploratory research.

Exploratory research is used for the preliminary investigation of a subject that is not yet well understood or sufficiently researched. It serves to establish a frame of reference and a hypothesis from which an in-depth study can be developed that will enable conclusive results to be generated.

Because exploratory research is based on the study of little-studied phenomena, it relies less on theory and more on the collection of data to identify patterns that explain these phenomena.

Descriptive Research

The primary objective of descriptive research is to define the characteristics of a particular phenomenon without necessarily investigating the causes that produce it.

In this type of research, the researcher must take particular care not to intervene in the observed object or phenomenon, as its behaviour may change if an external factor is involved.

Explanatory Research

Explanatory research is the most common type of research method and is responsible for establishing cause-and-effect relationships that allow generalisations to be extended to similar realities. It is closely related to descriptive research, although it provides additional information about the observed object and its interactions with the environment.

Correlational Research

The purpose of this type of scientific research is to identify the relationship between two or more variables. A correlational study aims to determine whether a variable changes, how much the other elements of the observed system change.

According to the Type of Data Used

Qualitative research.

Qualitative methods are often used in the social sciences to collect, compare and interpret information, has a linguistic-semiotic basis and is used in techniques such as discourse analysis, interviews, surveys, records and participant observations.

In order to use statistical methods to validate their results, the observations collected must be evaluated numerically. Qualitative research, however, tends to be subjective, since not all data can be fully controlled. Therefore, this type of research design is better suited to extracting meaning from an event or phenomenon (the ‘why’) than its cause (the ‘how’).

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research study delves into a phenomena through quantitative data collection and using mathematical, statistical and computer-aided tools to measure them . This allows generalised conclusions to be projected over time.

Types of Research Methodology

According to the Degree of Manipulation of Variables

Experimental research.

It is about designing or replicating a phenomenon whose variables are manipulated under strictly controlled conditions in order to identify or discover its effect on another independent variable or object. The phenomenon to be studied is measured through study and control groups, and according to the guidelines of the scientific method.

Non-Experimental Research

Also known as an observational study, it focuses on the analysis of a phenomenon in its natural context. As such, the researcher does not intervene directly, but limits their involvement to measuring the variables required for the study. Due to its observational nature, it is often used in descriptive research.

Quasi-Experimental Research

It controls only some variables of the phenomenon under investigation and is therefore not entirely experimental. In this case, the study and the focus group cannot be randomly selected, but are chosen from existing groups or populations . This is to ensure the collected data is relevant and that the knowledge, perspectives and opinions of the population can be incorporated into the study.

According to the Type of Inference

Deductive investigation.

In this type of research, reality is explained by general laws that point to certain conclusions; conclusions are expected to be part of the premise of the research problem and considered correct if the premise is valid and the inductive method is applied correctly.

Inductive Research

In this type of research, knowledge is generated from an observation to achieve a generalisation. It is based on the collection of specific data to develop new theories.

Hypothetical-Deductive Investigation

It is based on observing reality to make a hypothesis, then use deduction to obtain a conclusion and finally verify or reject it through experience.

Descriptive Research Design

According to the Time in Which it is Carried Out

Longitudinal study (also referred to as diachronic research).

It is the monitoring of the same event, individual or group over a defined period of time. It aims to track changes in a number of variables and see how they evolve over time. It is often used in medical, psychological and social areas .

Cross-Sectional Study (also referred to as Synchronous Research)

Cross-sectional research design is used to observe phenomena, an individual or a group of research subjects at a given time.

According to The Sources of Information

Primary research.

This fundamental research type is defined by the fact that the data is collected directly from the source, that is, it consists of primary, first-hand information.

Secondary research

Unlike primary research, secondary research is developed with information from secondary sources, which are generally based on scientific literature and other documents compiled by another researcher.

Action Research Methods

According to How the Data is Obtained

Documentary (cabinet).

Documentary research, or secondary sources, is based on a systematic review of existing sources of information on a particular subject. This type of scientific research is commonly used when undertaking literature reviews or producing a case study.

Field research study involves the direct collection of information at the location where the observed phenomenon occurs.

From Laboratory

Laboratory research is carried out in a controlled environment in order to isolate a dependent variable and establish its relationship with other variables through scientific methods.

Mixed-Method: Documentary, Field and/or Laboratory

Mixed research methodologies combine results from both secondary (documentary) sources and primary sources through field or laboratory research.

Purpose of Research - What is Research

The purpose of research is to enhance society by advancing knowledge through developing scientific theories, concepts and ideas – find out more on what this involves.

Preparing for your PhD Viva

If you’re about to sit your PhD viva, make sure you don’t miss out on these 5 great tips to help you prepare.

How to Build a Research Collaboration

Learning how to effectively collaborate with others is an important skill for anyone in academia to develop.

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The term monotonic relationship is a statistical definition that is used to describe the link between two variables.

What is Scientific Misconduct?

Scientific misconduct can be described as a deviation from the accepted standards of scientific research, study and publication ethics.

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Dr Grayson gained her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University in 2016. She now works in industry as an Applications Portfolio Manager and is a STEM Speaker and Advocate.

different kinds of research reports

Dr Morrow gained his MD-PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan. He now splits his time between providing clinical care to patients through the University of Michigan and research relevant to addiction and several other psychiatric disorders.

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  • Research Report
  • Post last modified: 11 January 2022
  • Reading time: 25 mins read
  • Post category: Research Methodology

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What is Research Report?

Research reporting is the oral or written presentation of the findings in such detail and form as to be readily understood and assessed by the society, economy or particularly by the researchers.

As earlier said that it is the final stage of the research process and its purpose is to convey to interested persons the whole result of the study. Report writing is common to both academic and managerial situations. In academics, a research report is prepared for comprehensive and application-oriented learning. In businesses or organisations, reports are used for the basis of decision making.

Table of Content

  • 1 What is Research Report?
  • 2 Research Report Definition
  • 3.1 Preliminary Part
  • 3.2 Introduction of the Report
  • 3.3 Review of Literature
  • 3.4 The Research Methodology
  • 3.5 Results
  • 3.6 Concluding Remarks
  • 3.7 Bibliography
  • 4 Significance of Report Writing
  • 5 Qualities of Good Report
  • 6.1 Analysis of the subject matter
  • 6.2 Research outline
  • 6.3 Preparation of rough draft
  • 6.4 Rewriting and polishing
  • 6.5 Writing the final draft
  • 7 Precautions for Writing Research Reports
  • 8.1.1 Technical Report
  • 8.1.2 Popular Report
  • 8.2.1 Written Report
  • 8.2.2 Oral Report

Research Report Definition

According to C. A. Brown , “A report is a communication from someone who has information to someone who wants to use that information.”

According to Goode and Hatt , “The preparation of report is the final stage of research, and it’s purpose is to convey to the interested persons the whole result of the study, in sufficient detail and so arranged as to enable each reader to comprehend the data and to determine for himself the validity of the conclusions.”

It is clear from the above definitions of a research report, it is a brief account of the problem of investigation, the justification of its selection and the procedure of analysis and interpretation. It is only a summary of the entire research proceedings.

In other words, it can be defined as written documents, which presents information in a specialized and concise manner.

Contents of Research Report

Although no hard and fast rules can be laid down, the report must contain the following points.

  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of contents
  • List of tables
  • List of graphs
  • Introduction
  • Background of the research study
  • Statement of the problem
  • Brief outline of the chapters
  • Books review
  • Review of articles published in books, journals, periodicals, etc
  • Review of articles published in leading newspapers
  • Working papers / discusssion paper / study reports
  • Articles on authorised websites
  • A broad conclusion and indications for further research
  • The theoretical framework (variables)
  • Model / hypothesis
  • Instruments for data collection
  • Data collection
  • Pilot study
  • Processing of data
  • Hypothesis / model testing
  • Data analysis and interpretation
  • Tables and figures
  • Conclusions
  • Shortcomings
  • Suggestions to the problems
  • Direction for further research

Preliminary Part

The preliminary part may have seven major components – cover, title, preface, acknowledgement, table of contents, list of tables, list of graphs. Long reports presented in book form have a cover made up of a card sheet. The cover contains title of the research report, the authority to whom the report is submitted, name of the author, etc.

The preface introduces the report to the readers. It gives a very brief introduction of the report. In the acknowledgements author mention names of persons and organisations that have extended co-operation and helped in the various stages of research. Table of contents is essential. It gives the title and page number of each chapter.

Introduction of the Report

The introduction of the research report should clearly and logically bring out the background of the problem addressed in the research. The purpose of the introduction is to introduce the research project to the readers. A clear statement of the problem with specific questions to be answered is presented in the introduction. It contains a brief outline of the chapters.

Review of Literature

The third section reviews the important literature related to the study. A comprehensive review of the research literature referred to must be made. Previous research studies and the important writings in the area under study should be reviewed. Review of literature is helpful to provide a background for the development of the present study.

The researcher may review concerned books, articles published in edited books, journals and periodicals. Researcher may also take review of articles published in leading newspapers. A researcher should study working papers/discussion papers/study reports. It is essential for a broad conclusion and indications for further research.

The Research Methodology

Research methodology is an integral part of the research. It should clearly indicate the universe and the selection of samples, techniques of data collection, analysis and interpretation, statistical techniques, etc.

Results contain pilot study, processing of data, hypothesis/model testing, data analysis and interpretation, tables and figures, etc. This is the heart of the research report. If a pilot study is planned to be used, it’s purpose should be given in the research methodology.

The collected data and the information should be edited, coded, tabulated and analysed with a view to arriving at a valid and authentic conclusion. Tables and figures are used to clarify the significant relationship. The results obtained through tables, graphs should be critically interpreted.

Concluding Remarks

The concluding remarks should discuss the results obtained in the earlier sections, as well as their usefulness and implications. It contains findings, conclusions, shortcomings, suggestions to the problem and direction for future research. Findings are statements of factual information based upon the data analysis.

Conclusions must clearly explain whether the hypothesis have been established and rejected. This part requires great expertise and preciseness. A report should also refer to the limitations of the applicability of the research inferences. It is essential to suggest the theoretical, practical and policy implications of the research. The suggestions should be supported by scientific and logical arguments. The future direction of research based on the work completed should also be outlined.


The bibliography is an alphabetic list of books, journal articles, reports, etc, published or unpublished, read, referred to, examined by the researcher in preparing the report. The bibliography should follow standard formats for books, journal articles, research reports.

The end of the research report may consist of appendices, listed in respect of all technical data. Appendices are for the purpose of providing detailed data or information that would be too cumbersome within the main body of the research report.

Significance of Report Writing

Report writing is an important communication medium in organisations. The most crucial findings might have come out through a research report. Report is common to academics and managers also. Reports are used for comprehensive and application oriented learning in academics. In organisations, reports are used for the basis of decision making. The importance of report writing can be discussed as under.

Through research reports, a manager or an executive can quickly get an idea of a current scenario which improves his information base for making sound decisions affecting future operations of the company or enterprise. The research report acts as a means of communication of various research findings to the interested parties, organisations and general public.

Good report writing play, a significant role of conveying unknown facts about the phenomenon to the concerned parties. This may provide new insights and new opportunities to the people. Research report plays a key role in making effective decisions in marketing, production, banking, materials, human resource development and government also. Good report writing is used for economic planning and optimum utilisation of resources for the development of a nation.

Report writing facilitates the validation of generalisation. A research report is an end product of research. As earlier said that report writing provides useful information in arriving at rational decisions that may reform the business and society. The findings, conclusions, suggestions and recommendations are useful to academicians, scholars and policymakers. Report writing provides reference material for further research in the same or similar areas of research to the concerned parties.

While preparing a research report, a researcher should take some proper precautions. Report writing should be simple, lucid and systematic. Report writing should be written speedily without interrupting the continuity of thought. The report writing should sustain the interest of readers.

Qualities of Good Report

Report writing is a highly skilled job. It is a process of analysing, understanding and consolidating the findings and projecting a meaningful view of the phenomenon studied. A good report writing is essential for effective communication.

Following are the essential qualities of good report:

  • A research report is essentially a scientific documentation. It should have a suggestive title, headings and sub-headings, paragraphs arranged in a logical sequence.
  • Good research report should include everything that is relevant and exclude everything that is irrelevant. It means that it should contain the facts rather than opinion.
  • The language of the report should be simple and unambiguous. It means that it should be free from biases of the researchers derived from the past experience. Confusion, pretentiousness and pomposity should be carefully guarded against. It means that the language of the report should be simple, employing appropriate words, idioms and expressions.
  • The report must be free from grammatical mistakes. It must be grammatically accurate. Faulty construction of sentences makes the meaning of the narrative obscure and ambiguous.
  • The report has to take into consideration two facts. Firstly, for whom the report is meant and secondly, what is his level of knowledge. The report has to look to the subject matter of the report and the fact as to the level of knowledge of the person for whom it is meant. Because all reports are not meant for research scholars.

Steps in Writing Research Report

Report writing is a time consuming and expensive exercise. Therefore, reports have to be very sharply focused in purpose content and readership. There is no single universally acceptable method of writing a research report.

Following are the general steps in writing a research report:

Analysis of the subject matter

Research outline, preparation of rough draft, rewriting and polishing, writing the final draft.

This is the first and important step in writing a research report. It is concerned with the development of a subject. Subject matter should be written in a clear, logical and concise manner. The style adopted should be open, straightforward and dignified and folk style language should be avoided.

The data, the reliability and validity of the results of the statistical analysis should be in the form of tables, figures and equations. All redundancy in the data or results presented should be eliminated.

The research outline is an organisational framework prepared by the researcher well in advance. It is an aid to logical organisation of material and a reminder of the points to be stressed in the report. In the process of writing, if need be, outline may be revised accordingly.

Time and place of the study, scope and limitations of the study, study design, summary of pilot study, methods of data collection, analysis interpretation, etc., may be included in a research outline.

Having prepared the primary and secondary data, the researcher has to prepare a rough draft. While preparing the rough draft, the researcher should keep the objectives of the research in mind, and focus on one objective at a time. The researcher should make a checklist of the important points that are necessary to be covered in the manuscript. A researcher should use dictionary and relevant reference materials as and when required.

This is an important step in writing a research report. It takes more time than a rough draft. While rewriting and polishing, a researcher should check the report for weakness in logical development or presentation. He should take breaks in between rewriting and polishing since this gives the time to incubate the ideas.

The last and important step is writing the final draft. The language of the report should be simple, employing appropriate words and expressions and should avoid vague expressions such as ‘it seems’ and ‘there may be’ etc.

It should not used personal pronouns, such as I, We, My, Us, etc and should substitute these by such expressions as a researcher, investigator, etc. Before the final drafting of the report, it is advisable that the researcher should prepare a first draft for critical considerations and possible improvements. It will be helpful in writing the final draft. Finally, the report should be logically outlined with the future directions of the research based on the work completed.

Precautions for Writing Research Reports

A research report is a means of conveying the research study to a specific target audience. The following precautions should be taken while preparing a research report:

  • Its hould belong enough to cover the subject and short enough to preserve interest.
  • It should not be dull and complicated.
  • It should be simple, without the usage of abstract terms and technical jargons.
  • It should offer ready availability of findings with the help of charts, tables and graphs, as readers prefer quick knowledge of main findings.
  • The layout of the report should be in accordance with the objectives of the research study.
  • There should be no grammatical errors and writing should adhere to the techniques of report writing in case of quotations, footnotes and documentations.
  • It should be original, intellectual and contribute to the solution of a problem or add knowledge to the concerned field.
  • Appendices should been listed with respect to all the technical data in the report.
  • It should be attractive, neat and clean, whether handwritten or typed.
  • The report writer should refrain from confusing the possessive form of the word ‘it’ is with ‘it’s.’ The accurate possessive form of ‘it is’ is ‘its.’ The use of ‘it’s’ is the contractive form of ‘it is.
  • A report should not have contractions. Examples are ‘didn’t’ or ‘it’s.’ In report writing, it is best to use the non-contractive form. Therefore, the examples would be replaced by ‘did not’ and ‘it is.’ Using ‘Figure’ instead of ‘Fig.’ and ‘Table’ instead of ‘Tab.’ will spare the reader of having to translate the abbreviations, while reading. If abbreviations are used, use them consistently throughout the report. For example, do not switch among ‘versus,’ and ‘vs’.
  • It is advisable to avoid using the word ‘very’ and other such words that try to embellish a description. They do not add any extra meaning and, therefore, should be dropped.
  • Repetition hampers lucidity. Report writers must avoid repeating the same word more than once within a sentence.
  • When you use the word ‘this’ or ‘these’ make sure you indicate to what you are referring. This reduces the ambiguity in your writing and helps to tie sentences together.
  • Do not use the word ‘they’ to refer to a singular person. You can either rewrite the sentence to avoid needing such a reference or use the singular ‘he or she.’

Types of Research Report

Research reports are designed in order to convey and record the information that will be of practical use to the reader. It is organized into distinct units of specific and highly visible information. The kind of audience addressed in the research report decides the type of report.

Research reports can be categorized on the following basis:

Classification on the Basis of Information

Classification on the basis of representation.

Following are the ways through which the results of the research report can be presented on the basis of information contained:

Technical Report

A technical report is written for other researchers. In writing the technical reports, the importance is mainly given to the methods that have been used to collect the information and data, the presumptions that are made and finally, the various presentation techniques that are used to present the findings and data.

Following are main features of a technical report:

  • Summary: It covers a brief analysis of the findings of the research in a very few pages. 
  • Nature: It contains the reasons for which the research is undertaken, the analysis and the data that is required in order to prepare a report. 
  • Methods employed: It contains a description of the methods that were employed in order to collect the data. 
  • Data: It covers a brief analysis of the various sources from which the data has been collected with their features and drawbacks 
  • Analysis of data and presentation of the findings: It contains the various forms through which the data that has been analysed can be presented. 
  • Conclusions: It contains a brief explanation of findings of the research. 
  • Bibliography: It contains a detailed analysis of the various bibliographies that have been used in order to conduct a research. 
  • Technical appendices: It contains the appendices for the technical matters and for questionnaires and mathematical derivations. 
  • Index: The index of the technical report must be provided at the end of the report.

Popular Report

A popular report is formulated when there is a need to draw conclusions of the findings of the research report. One of the main points of consideration that should be kept in mind while formulating a research report is that it must be simple and attractive. It must be written in a very simple manner that is understandable to all. It must also be made attractive by using large prints, various sub-headings and by giving cartoons occasionally.

Following are the main points that must be kept in mind while preparing a popular report:

  • Findings and their implications : While preparing a popular report, main importance is given to the findings of the information and the conclusions that can be drawn out of these findings.
  • Recommendations for action : If there are any deviations in the report then recommendations are made for taking corrective action in order to rectify the errors.
  • Objective of the study : In a popular report, the specific objective for which the research has been undertaken is presented.
  • Methods employed : The report must contain the various methods that has been employed in order to conduct a research.
  • Results : The results of the research findings must be presented in a suitable and appropriate manner by taking the help of charts and diagrams.
  • Technical appendices : The report must contain an in-depth information used to collect the data in the form of appendices.

Following are the ways through which the results of the research report can be presented on the basis of representation:

  • Writtenreport
  • Oral report

Written Report

A written report plays a vital role in every business operation. The manner in which an organization writes business letters and business reports creates an impression of its standard. Therefore, the organization should emphasize on the improvement of the writing skills of the employees in order to maintain effective relations with their customers.

Writing effective written reports requires a lot of hard work. Therefore, before you begin writing, it is important to know the objective, i.e., the purpose of writing, collection and organization of required data.

Oral Report

At times, oral presentation of the results that are drawn out of research is considered effective, particularly in cases where policy recommendations are to be made. This approach proves beneficial because it provides a medium of interaction between a listener and a speaker. This leads to a better understanding of the findings and their implications.

However, the main drawback of oral presentation is the lack of any permanent records related to the research. Oral presentation of the report is also effective when it is supported with various visual devices, such as slides, wall charts and whiteboards that help in better understanding of the research reports.

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Service Operations Management

  • What is Service?
  • What is Service Operations Management?
  • What is Service Design?
  • Service Design Process
  • Service Delivery
  • What is Service Quality?
  • Gap Model of Service Quality
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  • Service Operations Management in Different Sector

Procurement Management

  • What is Procurement Management?
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  • Blacklisting of Suppliers in Procurement
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Strategic Management

  • What is Strategic Management?
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  • Fragmentation and Consolidation Of Industries
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  • What is Supply Chain Management?
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  • What is Order Picking?
  • Receiving and Dispatch, Processes
  • What is Warehouse Design?
  • What is Warehousing Costs?

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Engaging With Research

Common Types of Research Reports & Documents

Research is central to most work in STEM fields and you may often be required to conduct various types of research as part of your professional life.  Lab reports, recommendation reports, proposals, and white papers are just some of the professional documents that rely on research.  These are the kinds of documents that can help organizations make decisions, solicit new clients and contracts, and communicate with the public.

For more information on these common types of professional correspondence, see the Workplace Communications chapter.

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Types of journal articles

It is helpful to familiarise yourself with the different types of articles published by journals. Although it may appear there are a large number of types of articles published due to the wide variety of names they are published under, most articles published are one of the following types; Original Research, Review Articles, Short reports or Letters, Case Studies, Methodologies.

Original Research:

This is the most common type of journal manuscript used to publish full reports of data from research. It may be called an  Original Article, Research Article, Research, or just  Article, depending on the journal. The Original Research format is suitable for many different fields and different types of studies. It includes full Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion sections.

Short reports or Letters:

These papers communicate brief reports of data from original research that editors believe will be interesting to many researchers, and that will likely stimulate further research in the field. As they are relatively short the format is useful for scientists with results that are time sensitive (for example, those in highly competitive or quickly-changing disciplines). This format often has strict length limits, so some experimental details may not be published until the authors write a full Original Research manuscript. These papers are also sometimes called Brief communications .

Review Articles:

Review Articles provide a comprehensive summary of research on a certain topic, and a perspective on the state of the field and where it is heading. They are often written by leaders in a particular discipline after invitation from the editors of a journal. Reviews are often widely read (for example, by researchers looking for a full introduction to a field) and highly cited. Reviews commonly cite approximately 100 primary research articles.

TIP: If you would like to write a Review but have not been invited by a journal, be sure to check the journal website as some journals to not consider unsolicited Reviews. If the website does not mention whether Reviews are commissioned it is wise to send a pre-submission enquiry letter to the journal editor to propose your Review manuscript before you spend time writing it.  

Case Studies:

These articles report specific instances of interesting phenomena. A goal of Case Studies is to make other researchers aware of the possibility that a specific phenomenon might occur. This type of study is often used in medicine to report the occurrence of previously unknown or emerging pathologies.

Methodologies or Methods

These articles present a new experimental method, test or procedure. The method described may either be completely new, or may offer a better version of an existing method. The article should describe a demonstrable advance on what is currently available.

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Research Method

Home » Research Methodology – Types, Examples and writing Guide

Research Methodology – Types, Examples and writing Guide

Table of Contents

Research Methodology

Research Methodology


Research Methodology refers to the systematic and scientific approach used to conduct research, investigate problems, and gather data and information for a specific purpose. It involves the techniques and procedures used to identify, collect , analyze , and interpret data to answer research questions or solve research problems . Moreover, They are philosophical and theoretical frameworks that guide the research process.

Structure of Research Methodology

Research methodology formats can vary depending on the specific requirements of the research project, but the following is a basic example of a structure for a research methodology section:

I. Introduction

  • Provide an overview of the research problem and the need for a research methodology section
  • Outline the main research questions and objectives

II. Research Design

  • Explain the research design chosen and why it is appropriate for the research question(s) and objectives
  • Discuss any alternative research designs considered and why they were not chosen
  • Describe the research setting and participants (if applicable)

III. Data Collection Methods

  • Describe the methods used to collect data (e.g., surveys, interviews, observations)
  • Explain how the data collection methods were chosen and why they are appropriate for the research question(s) and objectives
  • Detail any procedures or instruments used for data collection

IV. Data Analysis Methods

  • Describe the methods used to analyze the data (e.g., statistical analysis, content analysis )
  • Explain how the data analysis methods were chosen and why they are appropriate for the research question(s) and objectives
  • Detail any procedures or software used for data analysis

V. Ethical Considerations

  • Discuss any ethical issues that may arise from the research and how they were addressed
  • Explain how informed consent was obtained (if applicable)
  • Detail any measures taken to ensure confidentiality and anonymity

VI. Limitations

  • Identify any potential limitations of the research methodology and how they may impact the results and conclusions

VII. Conclusion

  • Summarize the key aspects of the research methodology section
  • Explain how the research methodology addresses the research question(s) and objectives

Research Methodology Types

Types of Research Methodology are as follows:

Quantitative Research Methodology

This is a research methodology that involves the collection and analysis of numerical data using statistical methods. This type of research is often used to study cause-and-effect relationships and to make predictions.

Qualitative Research Methodology

This is a research methodology that involves the collection and analysis of non-numerical data such as words, images, and observations. This type of research is often used to explore complex phenomena, to gain an in-depth understanding of a particular topic, and to generate hypotheses.

Mixed-Methods Research Methodology

This is a research methodology that combines elements of both quantitative and qualitative research. This approach can be particularly useful for studies that aim to explore complex phenomena and to provide a more comprehensive understanding of a particular topic.

Case Study Research Methodology

This is a research methodology that involves in-depth examination of a single case or a small number of cases. Case studies are often used in psychology, sociology, and anthropology to gain a detailed understanding of a particular individual or group.

Action Research Methodology

This is a research methodology that involves a collaborative process between researchers and practitioners to identify and solve real-world problems. Action research is often used in education, healthcare, and social work.

Experimental Research Methodology

This is a research methodology that involves the manipulation of one or more independent variables to observe their effects on a dependent variable. Experimental research is often used to study cause-and-effect relationships and to make predictions.

Survey Research Methodology

This is a research methodology that involves the collection of data from a sample of individuals using questionnaires or interviews. Survey research is often used to study attitudes, opinions, and behaviors.

Grounded Theory Research Methodology

This is a research methodology that involves the development of theories based on the data collected during the research process. Grounded theory is often used in sociology and anthropology to generate theories about social phenomena.

Research Methodology Example

An Example of Research Methodology could be the following:

Research Methodology for Investigating the Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Reducing Symptoms of Depression in Adults


The aim of this research is to investigate the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in reducing symptoms of depression in adults. To achieve this objective, a randomized controlled trial (RCT) will be conducted using a mixed-methods approach.

Research Design:

The study will follow a pre-test and post-test design with two groups: an experimental group receiving CBT and a control group receiving no intervention. The study will also include a qualitative component, in which semi-structured interviews will be conducted with a subset of participants to explore their experiences of receiving CBT.


Participants will be recruited from community mental health clinics in the local area. The sample will consist of 100 adults aged 18-65 years old who meet the diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder. Participants will be randomly assigned to either the experimental group or the control group.

Intervention :

The experimental group will receive 12 weekly sessions of CBT, each lasting 60 minutes. The intervention will be delivered by licensed mental health professionals who have been trained in CBT. The control group will receive no intervention during the study period.

Data Collection:

Quantitative data will be collected through the use of standardized measures such as the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7). Data will be collected at baseline, immediately after the intervention, and at a 3-month follow-up. Qualitative data will be collected through semi-structured interviews with a subset of participants from the experimental group. The interviews will be conducted at the end of the intervention period, and will explore participants’ experiences of receiving CBT.

Data Analysis:

Quantitative data will be analyzed using descriptive statistics, t-tests, and mixed-model analyses of variance (ANOVA) to assess the effectiveness of the intervention. Qualitative data will be analyzed using thematic analysis to identify common themes and patterns in participants’ experiences of receiving CBT.

Ethical Considerations:

This study will comply with ethical guidelines for research involving human subjects. Participants will provide informed consent before participating in the study, and their privacy and confidentiality will be protected throughout the study. Any adverse events or reactions will be reported and managed appropriately.

Data Management:

All data collected will be kept confidential and stored securely using password-protected databases. Identifying information will be removed from qualitative data transcripts to ensure participants’ anonymity.


One potential limitation of this study is that it only focuses on one type of psychotherapy, CBT, and may not generalize to other types of therapy or interventions. Another limitation is that the study will only include participants from community mental health clinics, which may not be representative of the general population.


This research aims to investigate the effectiveness of CBT in reducing symptoms of depression in adults. By using a randomized controlled trial and a mixed-methods approach, the study will provide valuable insights into the mechanisms underlying the relationship between CBT and depression. The results of this study will have important implications for the development of effective treatments for depression in clinical settings.

How to Write Research Methodology

Writing a research methodology involves explaining the methods and techniques you used to conduct research, collect data, and analyze results. It’s an essential section of any research paper or thesis, as it helps readers understand the validity and reliability of your findings. Here are the steps to write a research methodology:

  • Start by explaining your research question: Begin the methodology section by restating your research question and explaining why it’s important. This helps readers understand the purpose of your research and the rationale behind your methods.
  • Describe your research design: Explain the overall approach you used to conduct research. This could be a qualitative or quantitative research design, experimental or non-experimental, case study or survey, etc. Discuss the advantages and limitations of the chosen design.
  • Discuss your sample: Describe the participants or subjects you included in your study. Include details such as their demographics, sampling method, sample size, and any exclusion criteria used.
  • Describe your data collection methods : Explain how you collected data from your participants. This could include surveys, interviews, observations, questionnaires, or experiments. Include details on how you obtained informed consent, how you administered the tools, and how you minimized the risk of bias.
  • Explain your data analysis techniques: Describe the methods you used to analyze the data you collected. This could include statistical analysis, content analysis, thematic analysis, or discourse analysis. Explain how you dealt with missing data, outliers, and any other issues that arose during the analysis.
  • Discuss the validity and reliability of your research : Explain how you ensured the validity and reliability of your study. This could include measures such as triangulation, member checking, peer review, or inter-coder reliability.
  • Acknowledge any limitations of your research: Discuss any limitations of your study, including any potential threats to validity or generalizability. This helps readers understand the scope of your findings and how they might apply to other contexts.
  • Provide a summary: End the methodology section by summarizing the methods and techniques you used to conduct your research. This provides a clear overview of your research methodology and helps readers understand the process you followed to arrive at your findings.

When to Write Research Methodology

Research methodology is typically written after the research proposal has been approved and before the actual research is conducted. It should be written prior to data collection and analysis, as it provides a clear roadmap for the research project.

The research methodology is an important section of any research paper or thesis, as it describes the methods and procedures that will be used to conduct the research. It should include details about the research design, data collection methods, data analysis techniques, and any ethical considerations.

The methodology should be written in a clear and concise manner, and it should be based on established research practices and standards. It is important to provide enough detail so that the reader can understand how the research was conducted and evaluate the validity of the results.

Applications of Research Methodology

Here are some of the applications of research methodology:

  • To identify the research problem: Research methodology is used to identify the research problem, which is the first step in conducting any research.
  • To design the research: Research methodology helps in designing the research by selecting the appropriate research method, research design, and sampling technique.
  • To collect data: Research methodology provides a systematic approach to collect data from primary and secondary sources.
  • To analyze data: Research methodology helps in analyzing the collected data using various statistical and non-statistical techniques.
  • To test hypotheses: Research methodology provides a framework for testing hypotheses and drawing conclusions based on the analysis of data.
  • To generalize findings: Research methodology helps in generalizing the findings of the research to the target population.
  • To develop theories : Research methodology is used to develop new theories and modify existing theories based on the findings of the research.
  • To evaluate programs and policies : Research methodology is used to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and policies by collecting data and analyzing it.
  • To improve decision-making: Research methodology helps in making informed decisions by providing reliable and valid data.

Purpose of Research Methodology

Research methodology serves several important purposes, including:

  • To guide the research process: Research methodology provides a systematic framework for conducting research. It helps researchers to plan their research, define their research questions, and select appropriate methods and techniques for collecting and analyzing data.
  • To ensure research quality: Research methodology helps researchers to ensure that their research is rigorous, reliable, and valid. It provides guidelines for minimizing bias and error in data collection and analysis, and for ensuring that research findings are accurate and trustworthy.
  • To replicate research: Research methodology provides a clear and detailed account of the research process, making it possible for other researchers to replicate the study and verify its findings.
  • To advance knowledge: Research methodology enables researchers to generate new knowledge and to contribute to the body of knowledge in their field. It provides a means for testing hypotheses, exploring new ideas, and discovering new insights.
  • To inform decision-making: Research methodology provides evidence-based information that can inform policy and decision-making in a variety of fields, including medicine, public health, education, and business.

Advantages of Research Methodology

Research methodology has several advantages that make it a valuable tool for conducting research in various fields. Here are some of the key advantages of research methodology:

  • Systematic and structured approach : Research methodology provides a systematic and structured approach to conducting research, which ensures that the research is conducted in a rigorous and comprehensive manner.
  • Objectivity : Research methodology aims to ensure objectivity in the research process, which means that the research findings are based on evidence and not influenced by personal bias or subjective opinions.
  • Replicability : Research methodology ensures that research can be replicated by other researchers, which is essential for validating research findings and ensuring their accuracy.
  • Reliability : Research methodology aims to ensure that the research findings are reliable, which means that they are consistent and can be depended upon.
  • Validity : Research methodology ensures that the research findings are valid, which means that they accurately reflect the research question or hypothesis being tested.
  • Efficiency : Research methodology provides a structured and efficient way of conducting research, which helps to save time and resources.
  • Flexibility : Research methodology allows researchers to choose the most appropriate research methods and techniques based on the research question, data availability, and other relevant factors.
  • Scope for innovation: Research methodology provides scope for innovation and creativity in designing research studies and developing new research techniques.

Research Methodology Vs Research Methods

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Types of Research Report

Meaning research report.

Research report is simply a structure compilation of data founded by analysist and researcher after concluding their research study. It consists of data that is collected after analyzing a large set of relevant data acquired through surveys and qualitative methods. It is systematic written document that defines key aspects of research project and serves a medium of communicating it with relevant individuals. It is designed in such a way that facilitate the easy understanding of all findings and recommendations to users. Preparation of research report requires a good knowledge, experience, expertise and imagination by individual. A considerable amount of money and time need to be invested for designing a proper report. 

Every research reports comprises of 7 key components. These components are: Research summary, introduction, methodology, results, discussions, references and conclusion.

Types of Research Report

Research report is mainly of 2 types: Technical report and Popular report.

Technical Report

Technical report is one that is needed where complete written report of research study is needed for the purpose of public dissemination or record-keeping. In these report, data is presented in a simple manner and key results are defined properly. Technical report emphasis on tools used in study, assumptions made and presentation of findings along with their limitation.

Outline of Technical report is: –

  • Results Summary- Description of key findings of the study conducted. 
  • Nature of Study- Denotes objectives of study, formulating problem on operational basis, hypothesis used for working, type of data needed and kinds of analysis.
  • Methods Used- Tools and techniques used for carrying out the study along with their limitations is explained.
  • Data- Description of how the data was collected, what are their sources, their characteristics and limitations. 
  • Data Analysis and Presenting Findings- It is the main body of report where data is analyzed and finding are presented along with supporting data. Distinct types of tables and charts are used for better explanation.
  • Conclusions- Findings are narrated in a detailed manner and implications of policies drawn from results is explained.
  • Bibliography- It provide details of distinct sources which were consulted while performing a research.
  • Technical Appendices- Technical appendices related to mathematical deviations, questionnaire and analysis technique elaboration.
  • Index- It is attached invariably at the report end.

Outline of a Technical report may not be same in all case and may vary in all technical reports.

Popular Report

Popular report is the one that focuses on attractiveness and simplification of data. It is used when its findings will have policy implications. Focus is laid on writing in a clear manner, minimization of technical aspects, using charts and diagrams in liberal and detailed manner. Other key characteristics of popular report are use of many subheadings, large prints and occasional cartoon. Practical emphasis is given more importance in these type of report.

General outline of Popular report is as given below: –

  • Findings and Their Implications- Focus is given on practical aspects of findings of study conducted and how these findings are implied.
  • Recommendations for Action- This section of report on basis of findings provides recommendations for action.
  • Objectives of Study- A description of nature of problem and key objectives of conducting a study are explained here.
  • Techniques Used- Review of all tools and techniques employed along with data employed for concluding the study is given in this portion of study. All description is given in non-technical manner.
  • Results- It is the main portion of report where all finding are denoted in simplified and non-technical terms. All sorts of illustration like diagrams and charts are used liberally.
  • Technical Appendices- Technical appendices provides a detailed informed on different methods used, forms etc. In case, if report is meant for general public then technical appendices is kept precise. 

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  • Open access
  • Published: 17 October 2023

The impact of founder personalities on startup success

  • Paul X. McCarthy 1 , 2 ,
  • Xian Gong 3 ,
  • Fabian Braesemann 4 , 5 ,
  • Fabian Stephany 4 , 5 ,
  • Marian-Andrei Rizoiu 3 &
  • Margaret L. Kern 6  

Scientific Reports volume  13 , Article number:  17200 ( 2023 ) Cite this article

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  • Information technology

An Author Correction to this article was published on 07 May 2024

This article has been updated

Startup companies solve many of today’s most challenging problems, such as the decarbonisation of the economy or the development of novel life-saving vaccines. Startups are a vital source of innovation, yet the most innovative are also the least likely to survive. The probability of success of startups has been shown to relate to several firm-level factors such as industry, location and the economy of the day. Still, attention has increasingly considered internal factors relating to the firm’s founding team, including their previous experiences and failures, their centrality in a global network of other founders and investors, as well as the team’s size. The effects of founders’ personalities on the success of new ventures are, however, mainly unknown. Here, we show that founder personality traits are a significant feature of a firm’s ultimate success. We draw upon detailed data about the success of a large-scale global sample of startups (n = 21,187). We find that the Big Five personality traits of startup founders across 30 dimensions significantly differ from that of the population at large. Key personality facets that distinguish successful entrepreneurs include a preference for variety, novelty and starting new things (openness to adventure), like being the centre of attention (lower levels of modesty) and being exuberant (higher activity levels). We do not find one ’Founder-type’ personality; instead, six different personality types appear. Our results also demonstrate the benefits of larger, personality-diverse teams in startups, which show an increased likelihood of success. The findings emphasise the role of the diversity of personality types as a novel dimension of team diversity that influences performance and success.

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The success of startups is vital to economic growth and renewal, with a small number of young, high-growth firms creating a disproportionately large share of all new jobs 1 , 2 . Startups create jobs and drive economic growth, and they are also an essential vehicle for solving some of society’s most pressing challenges.

As a poignant example, six centuries ago, the German city of Mainz was abuzz as the birthplace of the world’s first moveable-type press created by Johannes Gutenberg. However, in the early part of this century, it faced several economic challenges, including rising unemployment and a significant and growing municipal debt. Then in 2008, two Turkish immigrants formed the company BioNTech in Mainz with another university research colleague. Together they pioneered new mRNA-based technologies. In 2020, BioNTech partnered with US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to create one of only a handful of vaccines worldwide for Covid-19, saving an estimated six million lives 3 . The economic benefit to Europe and, in particular, the German city where the vaccine was developed has been significant, with windfall tax receipts to the government clearing Mainz’s €1.3bn debt and enabling tax rates to be reduced, attracting other businesses to the region as well as inspiring a whole new generation of startups 4 .

While stories such as the success of BioNTech are often retold and remembered, their success is the exception rather than the rule. The overwhelming majority of startups ultimately fail. One study of 775 startups in Canada that successfully attracted external investment found only 35% were still operating seven years later 5 .

But what determines the success of these ‘lucky few’? When assessing the success factors of startups, especially in the early-stage unproven phase, venture capitalists and other investors offer valuable insights. Three different schools of thought characterise their perspectives: first, supply-side or product investors : those who prioritise investing in firms they consider to have novel and superior products and services, investing in companies with intellectual property such as patents and trademarks. Secondly, demand-side or market-based investors : those who prioritise investing in areas of highest market interest, such as in hot areas of technology like quantum computing or recurrent or emerging large-scale social and economic challenges such as the decarbonisation of the economy. Thirdly, talent investors : those who prioritise the foundation team above the startup’s initial products or what industry or problem it is looking to address.

Investors who adopt the third perspective and prioritise talent often recognise that a good team can overcome many challenges in the lead-up to product-market fit. And while the initial products of a startup may or may not work a successful and well-functioning team has the potential to pivot to new markets and new products, even if the initial ones prove untenable. Not surprisingly, an industry ‘autopsy’ into 101 tech startup failures found 23% were due to not having the right team—the number three cause of failure ahead of running out of cash or not having a product that meets the market need 6 .

Accordingly, early entrepreneurship research was focused on the personality of founders, but the focus shifted away in the mid-1980s onwards towards more environmental factors such as venture capital financing 7 , 8 , 9 , networks 10 , location 11 and due to a range of issues and challenges identified with the early entrepreneurship personality research 12 , 13 . At the turn of the 21st century, some scholars began exploring ways to combine context and personality and reconcile entrepreneurs’ individual traits with features of their environment. In her influential work ’The Sociology of Entrepreneurship’, Patricia H. Thornton 14 discusses two perspectives on entrepreneurship: the supply-side perspective (personality theory) and the demand-side perspective (environmental approach). The supply-side perspective focuses on the individual traits of entrepreneurs. In contrast, the demand-side perspective focuses on the context in which entrepreneurship occurs, with factors such as finance, industry and geography each playing their part. In the past two decades, there has been a revival of interest and research that explores how entrepreneurs’ personality relates to the success of their ventures. This new and growing body of research includes several reviews and meta-studies, which show that personality traits play an important role in both career success and entrepreneurship 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , that there is heterogeneity in definitions and samples used in research on entrepreneurship 16 , 18 , and that founder personality plays an important role in overall startup outcomes 17 , 19 .

Motivated by the pivotal role of the personality of founders on startup success outlined in these recent contributions, we investigate two main research questions:

Which personality features characterise founders?

Do their personalities, particularly the diversity of personality types in founder teams, play a role in startup success?

We aim to understand whether certain founder personalities and their combinations relate to startup success, defined as whether their company has been acquired, acquired another company or listed on a public stock exchange. For the quantitative analysis, we draw on a previously published methodology 20 , which matches people to their ‘ideal’ jobs based on social media-inferred personality traits.

We find that personality traits matter for startup success. In addition to firm-level factors of location, industry and company age, we show that founders’ specific Big Five personality traits, such as adventurousness and openness, are significantly more widespread among successful startups. As we find that companies with multi-founder teams are more likely to succeed, we cluster founders in six different and distinct personality groups to underline the relevance of the complementarity in personality traits among founder teams. Startups with diverse and specific combinations of founder types (e. g., an adventurous ‘Leader’, a conscientious ‘Accomplisher’, and an extroverted ‘Developer’) have significantly higher odds of success.

We organise the rest of this paper as follows. In the Section " Results ", we introduce the data used and the methods applied to relate founders’ psychological traits with their startups’ success. We introduce the natural language processing method to derive individual and team personality characteristics and the clustering technique to identify personality groups. Then, we present the result for multi-variate regression analysis that allows us to relate firm success with external and personality features. Subsequently, the Section " Discussion " mentions limitations and opportunities for future research in this domain. In the Section " Methods ", we describe the data, the variables in use, and the clustering in greater detail. Robustness checks and additional analyses can be found in the Supplementary Information.

Our analysis relies on two datasets. We infer individual personality facets via a previously published methodology 20 from Twitter user profiles. Here, we restrict our analysis to founders with a Crunchbase profile. Crunchbase is the world’s largest directory on startups. It provides information about more than one million companies, primarily focused on funding and investors. A company’s public Crunchbase profile can be considered a digital business card of an early-stage venture. As such, the founding teams tend to provide information about themselves, including their educational background or a link to their Twitter account.

We infer the personality profiles of the founding teams of early-stage ventures from their publicly available Twitter profiles, using the methodology described by Kern et al. 20 . Then, we correlate this information to data from Crunchbase to determine whether particular combinations of personality traits correspond to the success of early-stage ventures. The final dataset used in the success prediction model contains n = 21,187 startup companies (for more details on the data see the Methods section and SI section  A.5 ).

Revisions of Crunchbase as a data source for investigations on a firm and industry level confirm the platform to be a useful and valuable source of data for startups research, as comparisons with other sources at micro-level, e.g., VentureXpert or PwC, also suggest that the platform’s coverage is very comprehensive, especially for start-ups located in the United States 21 . Moreover, aggregate statistics on funding rounds by country and year are quite similar to those produced with other established sources, going to validate the use of Crunchbase as a reliable source in terms of coverage of funded ventures. For instance, Crunchbase covers about the same number of investment rounds in the analogous sectors as collected by the National Venture Capital Association 22 . However, we acknowledge that the data source might suffer from registration latency (a certain delay between the foundation of the company and its actual registration on Crunchbase) and success bias in company status (the likeliness that failed companies decide to delete their profile from the database).

The definition of startup success

The success of startups is uncertain, dependent on many factors and can be measured in various ways. Due to the likelihood of failure in startups, some large-scale studies have looked at which features predict startup survival rates 23 , and others focus on fundraising from external investors at various stages 24 . Success for startups can be measured in multiple ways, such as the amount of external investment attracted, the number of new products shipped or the annual growth in revenue. But sometimes external investments are misguided, revenue growth can be short-lived, and new products may fail to find traction.

Success in a startup is typically staged and can appear in different forms and times. For example, a startup may be seen to be successful when it finds a clear solution to a widely recognised problem, such as developing a successful vaccine. On the other hand, it could be achieving some measure of commercial success, such as rapidly accelerating sales or becoming profitable or at least cash positive. Or it could be reaching an exit for foundation investors via a trade sale, acquisition or listing of its shares for sale on a public stock exchange via an Initial Public Offering (IPO).

For our study, we focused on the startup’s extrinsic success rather than the founders’ intrinsic success per se, as its more visible, objective and measurable. A frequently considered measure of success is the attraction of external investment by venture capitalists 25 . However, this is not in and of itself a good measure of clear, incontrovertible success, particularly for early-stage ventures. This is because it reflects investors’ expectations of a startup’s success potential rather than actual business success. Similarly, we considered other measures like revenue growth 26 , liquidity events 27 , 28 , 29 , profitability 30 and social impact 31 , all of which have benefits as they capture incremental success, but each also comes with operational measurement challenges.

Therefore, we apply the success definition initially introduced by Bonaventura et al. 32 , namely that a startup is acquired, acquires another company or has an initial public offering (IPO). We consider any of these major capital liquidation events as a clear threshold signal that the company has matured from an early-stage venture to becoming or is on its way to becoming a mature company with clear and often significant business growth prospects. Together these three major liquidity events capture the primary forms of exit for external investors (an acquisition or trade sale and an IPO). For companies with a longer autonomous growth runway, acquiring another company marks a similar milestone of scale, maturity and capability.

Using multifactor analysis and a binary classification prediction model of startup success, we looked at many variables together and their relative influence on the probability of the success of startups. We looked at seven categories of factors through three lenses of firm-level factors: (1) location, (2) industry, (3) age of the startup; founder-level factors: (4) number of founders, (5) gender of founders, (6) personality characteristics of founders and; lastly team-level factors: (7) founder-team personality combinations. The model performance and relative impacts on the probability of startup success of each of these categories of founders are illustrated in more detail in section  A.6 of the Supplementary Information (in particular Extended Data Fig.  19 and Extended Data Fig.  20 ). In total, we considered over three hundred variables (n = 323) and their relative significant associations with success.

The personality of founders

Besides product-market, industry, and firm-level factors (see SI section  A.1 ), research suggests that the personalities of founders play a crucial role in startup success 19 . Therefore, we examine the personality characteristics of individual startup founders and teams of founders in relationship to their firm’s success by applying the success definition used by Bonaventura et al. 32 .

Employing established methods 33 , 34 , 35 , we inferred the personality traits across 30 dimensions (Big Five facets) of a large global sample of startup founders. The startup founders cohort was created from a subset of founders from the global startup industry directory Crunchbase, who are also active on the social media platform Twitter.

To measure the personality of the founders, we used the Big Five, a popular model of personality which includes five core traits: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Emotional stability. Each of these traits can be further broken down into thirty distinct facets. Studies have found that the Big Five predict meaningful life outcomes, such as physical and mental health, longevity, social relationships, health-related behaviours, antisocial behaviour, and social contribution, at levels on par with intelligence and socioeconomic status 36 Using machine learning to infer personality traits by analysing the use of language and activity on social media has been shown to be more accurate than predictions of coworkers, friends and family and similar in accuracy to the judgement of spouses 37 . Further, as other research has shown, we assume that personality traits remain stable in adulthood even through significant life events 38 , 39 , 40 . Personality traits have been shown to emerge continuously from those already evident in adolescence 41 and are not significantly influenced by external life events such as becoming divorced or unemployed 42 . This suggests that the direction of any measurable effect goes from founder personalities to startup success and not vice versa.

As a first investigation to what extent personality traits might relate to entrepreneurship, we use the personality characteristics of individuals to predict whether they were an entrepreneur or an employee. We trained and tested a machine-learning random forest classifier to distinguish and classify entrepreneurs from employees and vice-versa using inferred personality vectors alone. As a result, we found we could correctly predict entrepreneurs with 77% accuracy and employees with 88% accuracy (Fig.  1 A). Thus, based on personality information alone, we correctly predict all unseen new samples with 82.5% accuracy (See SI section  A.2 for more details on this analysis, the classification modelling and prediction accuracy).

We explored in greater detail which personality features are most prominent among entrepreneurs. We found that the subdomain or facet of Adventurousness within the Big Five Domain of Openness was significant and had the largest effect size. The facet of Modesty within the Big Five Domain of Agreeableness and Activity Level within the Big Five Domain of Extraversion was the subsequent most considerable effect (Fig.  1 B). Adventurousness in the Big Five framework is defined as the preference for variety, novelty and starting new things—which are consistent with the role of a startup founder whose role, especially in the early life of the company, is to explore things that do not scale easily 43 and is about developing and testing new products, services and business models with the market.

Once we derived and tested the Big Five personality features for each entrepreneur in our data set, we examined whether there is evidence indicating that startup founders naturally cluster according to their personality features using a Hopkins test (see Extended Data Figure  6 ). We discovered clear clustering tendencies in the data compared with other renowned reference data sets known to have clusters. Then, once we established the founder data clusters, we used agglomerative hierarchical clustering. This ‘bottom-up’ clustering technique initially treats each observation as an individual cluster. Then it merges them to create a hierarchy of possible cluster schemes with differing numbers of groups (See Extended Data Fig.  7 ). And lastly, we identified the optimum number of clusters based on the outcome of four different clustering performance measurements: Davies-Bouldin Index, Silhouette coefficients, Calinski-Harabas Index and Dunn Index (see Extended Data Figure  8 ). We find that the optimum number of clusters of startup founders based on their personality features is six (labelled #0 through to #5), as shown in Fig.  1 C.

To better understand the context of different founder types, we positioned each of the six types of founders within an occupation-personality matrix established from previous research 44 . This research showed that ‘each job has its own personality’ using a substantial sample of employees across various jobs. Utilising the methodology employed in this study, we assigned labels to the cluster names #0 to #5, which correspond to the identified occupation tribes that best describe the personality facets represented by the clusters (see Extended Data Fig.  9 for an overview of these tribes, as identified by McCarthy et al. 44 ).

Utilising this approach, we identify three ’purebred’ clusters: #0, #2 and #5, whose members are dominated by a single tribe (larger than 60% of all individuals in each cluster are characterised by one tribe). Thus, these clusters represent and share personality attributes of these previously identified occupation-personality tribes 44 , which have the following known distinctive personality attributes (see also Table  1 ):

Accomplishers (#0) —Organised & outgoing. confident, down-to-earth, content, accommodating, mild-tempered & self-assured.

Leaders (#2) —Adventurous, persistent, dispassionate, assertive, self-controlled, calm under pressure, philosophical, excitement-seeking & confident.

Fighters (#5) —Spontaneous and impulsive, tough, sceptical, and uncompromising.

We labelled these clusters with the tribe names, acknowledging that labels are somewhat arbitrary, based on our best interpretation of the data (See SI section  A.3 for more details).

For the remaining three clusters #1, #3 and #4, we can see they are ‘hybrids’, meaning that the founders within them come from a mix of different tribes, with no one tribe representing more than 50% of the members of that cluster. However, the tribes with the largest share were noted as #1 Experts/Engineers, #3 Fighters, and #4 Operators.

To label these three hybrid clusters, we examined the closest occupations to the median personality features of each cluster. We selected a name that reflected the common themes of these occupations, namely:

Experts/Engineers (#1) as the closest roles included Materials Engineers and Chemical Engineers. This is consistent with this cluster’s personality footprint, which is highest in openness in the facets of imagination and intellect.

Developers (#3) as the closest roles include Application Developers and related technology roles such as Business Systems Analysts and Product Managers.

Operators (#4) as the closest roles include service, maintenance and operations functions, including Bicycle Mechanic, Mechanic and Service Manager. This is also consistent with one of the key personality traits of high conscientiousness in the facet of orderliness and high agreeableness in the facet of humility for founders in this cluster.

figure 1

Founder-Level Factors of Startup Success. ( A ), Successful entrepreneurs differ from successful employees. They can be accurately distinguished using a classifier with personality information alone. ( B ), Successful entrepreneurs have different Big Five facet distributions, especially on adventurousness, modesty and activity level. ( C ), Founders come in six different types: Fighters, Operators, Accomplishers, Leaders, Engineers and Developers (FOALED) ( D ), Each founder Personality-Type has its distinct facet.

Together, these six different types of startup founders (Fig.  1 C) represent a framework we call the FOALED model of founder types—an acronym of Fighters, Operators, Accomplishers, Leaders, Engineers and D evelopers.

Each founder’s personality type has its distinct facet footprint (for more details, see Extended Data Figure  10 in SI section  A.3 ). Also, we observe a central core of correlated features that are high for all types of entrepreneurs, including intellect, adventurousness and activity level (Fig.  1 D).To test the robustness of the clustering of the personality facets, we compare the mean scores of the individual facets per cluster with a 20-fold resampling of the data and find that the clusters are, overall, largely robust against resampling (see Extended Data Figure  11 in SI section  A.3 for more details).

We also find that the clusters accord with the distribution of founders’ roles in their startups. For example, Accomplishers are often Chief Executive Officers, Chief Financial Officers, or Chief Operating Officers, while Fighters tend to be Chief Technical Officers, Chief Product Officers, or Chief Commercial Officers (see Extended Data Fig.  12 in SI section  A.4 for more details).

The ensemble theory of success

While founders’ individual personality traits, such as Adventurousness or Openness, show to be related to their firms’ success, we also hypothesise that the combination, or ensemble, of personality characteristics of a founding team impacts the chances of success. The logic behind this reasoning is complementarity, which is proposed by contemporary research on the functional roles of founder teams. Examples of these clear functional roles have evolved in established industries such as film and television, construction, and advertising 45 . When we subsequently explored the combinations of personality types among founders and their relationship to the probability of startup success, adjusted for a range of other factors in a multi-factorial analysis, we found significantly increased chances of success for mixed foundation teams:

Initially, we find that firms with multiple founders are more likely to succeed, as illustrated in Fig.  2 A, which shows firms with three or more founders are more than twice as likely to succeed than solo-founded startups. This finding is consistent with investors’ advice to founders and previous studies 46 . We also noted that some personality types of founders increase the probability of success more than others, as shown in SI section  A.6 (Extended Data Figures  16 and 17 ). Also, we note that gender differences play out in the distribution of personality facets: successful female founders and successful male founders show facet scores that are more similar to each other than are non-successful female founders to non-successful male founders (see Extended Data Figure  18 ).

figure 2

The Ensemble Theory of Team-Level Factors of Startup Success. ( A ) Having a larger founder team elevates the chances of success. This can be due to multiple reasons, e.g., a more extensive network or knowledge base but also personality diversity. ( B ) We show that joint personality combinations of founders are significantly related to higher chances of success. This is because it takes more than one founder to cover all beneficial personality traits that ‘breed’ success. ( C ) In our multifactor model, we show that firms with diverse and specific combinations of types of founders have significantly higher odds of success.

Access to more extensive networks and capital could explain the benefits of having more founders. Still, as we find here, it also offers a greater diversity of combined personalities, naturally providing a broader range of maximum traits. So, for example, one founder may be more open and adventurous, and another could be highly agreeable and trustworthy, thus, potentially complementing each other’s particular strengths associated with startup success.

The benefits of larger and more personality-diverse foundation teams can be seen in the apparent differences between successful and unsuccessful firms based on their combined Big Five personality team footprints, as illustrated in Fig.  2 B. Here, maximum values for each Big Five trait of a startup’s co-founders are mapped; stratified by successful and non-successful companies. Founder teams of successful startups tend to score higher on Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, and Agreeableness.

When examining the combinations of founders with different personality types, we find that some ensembles of personalities were significantly correlated with greater chances of startup success—while controlling for other variables in the model—as shown in Fig.  2 C (for more details on the modelling, the predictive performance and the coefficient estimates of the final model, see Extended Data Figures  19 , 20 , and 21 in SI section  A.6 ).

Three combinations of trio-founder companies were more than twice as likely to succeed than other combinations, namely teams with (1) a Leader and two Developers , (2) an Operator and two Developers , and (3) an Expert/Engineer , Leader and Developer . To illustrate the potential mechanisms on how personality traits might influence the success of startups, we provide some examples of well-known, successful startup founders and their characteristic personality traits in Extended Data Figure  22 .

Startups are one of the key mechanisms for brilliant ideas to become solutions to some of the world’s most challenging economic and social problems. Examples include the Google search algorithm, disability technology startup Fingerwork’s touchscreen technology that became the basis of the Apple iPhone, or the Biontech mRNA technology that powered Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

We have shown that founders’ personalities and the combination of personalities in the founding team of a startup have a material and significant impact on its likelihood of success. We have also shown that successful startup founders’ personality traits are significantly different from those of successful employees—so much so that a simple predictor can be trained to distinguish between employees and entrepreneurs with more than 80% accuracy using personality trait data alone.

Just as occupation-personality maps derived from data can provide career guidance tools, so too can data on successful entrepreneurs’ personality traits help people decide whether becoming a founder may be a good choice for them.

We have learnt through this research that there is not one type of ideal ’entrepreneurial’ personality but six different types. Many successful startups have multiple co-founders with a combination of these different personality types.

To a large extent, founding a startup is a team sport; therefore, diversity and complementarity of personalities matter in the foundation team. It has an outsized impact on the company’s likelihood of success. While all startups are high risk, the risk becomes lower with more founders, particularly if they have distinct personality traits.

Our work demonstrates the benefits of personality diversity among the founding team of startups. Greater awareness of this novel form of diversity may help create more resilient startups capable of more significant innovation and impact.

The data-driven research approach presented here comes with certain methodological limitations. The principal data sources of this study—Crunchbase and Twitter—are extensive and comprehensive, but there are characterised by some known and likely sample biases.

Crunchbase is the principal public chronicle of venture capital funding. So, there is some likely sample bias toward: (1) Startup companies that are funded externally: self-funded or bootstrapped companies are less likely to be represented in Crunchbase; (2) technology companies, as that is Crunchbase’s roots; (3) multi-founder companies; (4) male founders: while the representation of female founders is now double that of the mid-2000s, women still represent less than 25% of the sample; (5) companies that succeed: companies that fail, especially those that fail early, are likely to be less represented in the data.

Samples were also limited to those founders who are active on Twitter, which adds additional selection biases. For example, Twitter users typically are younger, more educated and have a higher median income 47 . Another limitation of our approach is the potentially biased presentation of a person’s digital identity on social media, which is the basis for identifying personality traits. For example, recent research suggests that the language and emotional tone used by entrepreneurs in social media can be affected by events such as business failure 48 , which might complicate the personality trait inference.

In addition to sampling biases within the data, there are also significant historical biases in startup culture. For many aspects of the entrepreneurship ecosystem, women, for example, are at a disadvantage 49 . Male-founded companies have historically dominated most startup ecosystems worldwide, representing the majority of founders and the overwhelming majority of venture capital investors. As a result, startups with women have historically attracted significantly fewer funds 50 , in part due to the male bias among venture investors, although this is now changing, albeit slowly 51 .

The research presented here provides quantitative evidence for the relevance of personality types and the diversity of personalities in startups. At the same time, it brings up other questions on how personality traits are related to other factors associated with success, such as:

Will the recent growing focus on promoting and investing in female founders change the nature, composition and dynamics of startups and their personalities leading to a more diverse personality landscape in startups?

Will the growth of startups outside of the United States change what success looks like to investors and hence the role of different personality traits and their association to diverse success metrics?

Many of today’s most renowned entrepreneurs are either Baby Boomers (such as Gates, Branson, Bloomberg) or Generation Xers (such as Benioff, Cannon-Brookes, Musk). However, as we can see, personality is both a predictor and driver of success in entrepreneurship. Will generation-wide differences in personality and outlook affect startups and their success?

Moreover, the findings shown here have natural extensions and applications beyond startups, such as for new projects within large established companies. While not technically startups, many large enterprises and industries such as construction, engineering and the film industry rely on forming new project-based, cross-functional teams that are often new ventures and share many characteristics of startups.

There is also potential for extending this research in other settings in government, NGOs, and within the research community. In scientific research, for example, team diversity in terms of age, ethnicity and gender has been shown to be predictive of impact, and personality diversity may be another critical dimension 52 .

Another extension of the study could investigate the development of the language used by startup founders on social media over time. Such an extension could investigate whether the language (and inferred psychological characteristics) change as the entrepreneurs’ ventures go through major business events such as foundation, funding, or exit.

Overall, this study demonstrates, first, that startup founders have significantly different personalities than employees. Secondly, besides firm-level factors, which are known to influence firm success, we show that a range of founder-level factors, notably the character traits of its founders, significantly impact a startup’s likelihood of success. Lastly, we looked at team-level factors. We discovered in a multifactor analysis that personality-diverse teams have the most considerable impact on the probability of a startup’s success, underlining the importance of personality diversity as a relevant factor of team performance and success.

Data sources

Entrepreneurs dataset.

Data about the founders of startups were collected from Crunchbase (Table  2 ), an open reference platform for business information about private and public companies, primarily early-stage startups. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive data sets of its kind and has been used in over 100 peer-reviewed research articles about economic and managerial research.

Crunchbase contains data on over two million companies - mainly startup companies and the companies who partner with them, acquire them and invest in them, as well as profiles on well over one million individuals active in the entrepreneurial ecosystem worldwide from over 200 countries and spans. Crunchbase started in the technology startup space, and it now covers all sectors, specifically focusing on entrepreneurship, investment and high-growth companies.

While Crunchbase contains data on over one million individuals in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, some are not entrepreneurs or startup founders but play other roles, such as investors, lawyers or executives at companies that acquire startups. To create a subset of only entrepreneurs, we selected a subset of 32,732 who self-identify as founders and co-founders (by job title) and who are also publicly active on the social media platform Twitter. We also removed those who also are venture capitalists to distinguish between investors and founders.

We selected founders active on Twitter to be able to use natural language processing to infer their Big Five personality features using an open-vocabulary approach shown to be accurate in the previous research by analysing users’ unstructured text, such as Twitter posts in our case. For this project, as with previous research 20 , we employed a commercial service, IBM Watson Personality Insight, to infer personality facets. This service provides raw scores and percentile scores of Big Five Domains (Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Emotional Stability) and the corresponding 30 subdomains or facets. In addition, the public content of Twitter posts was collected, and there are 32,732 profiles that each had enough Twitter posts (more than 150 words) to get relatively accurate personality scores (less than 12.7% Average Mean Absolute Error).

The entrepreneurs’ dataset is analysed in combination with other data about the companies they founded to explore questions about the nature and patterns of personality traits of entrepreneurs and the relationships between these patterns and company success.

For the multifactor analysis, we further filtered the data in several preparatory steps for the success prediction modelling (for more details, see SI section  A.5 ). In particular, we removed data points with missing values (Extended Data Fig.  13 ) and kept only companies in the data that were founded from 1990 onward to ensure consistency with previous research 32 (see Extended Data Fig.  14 ). After cleaning, filtering and pre-processing the data, we ended up with data from 25,214 founders who founded 21,187 startup companies to be used in the multifactor analysis. Of those, 3442 startups in the data were successful, 2362 in the first seven years after they were founded (see Extended Data Figure  15 for more details).

Entrepreneurs and employees dataset

To investigate whether startup founders show personality traits that are similar or different from the population at large (i. e. the entrepreneurs vs employees sub-analysis shown in Fig.  1 A and B), we filtered the entrepreneurs’ data further: we reduced the sample to those founders of companies, which attracted more than US$100k in investment to create a reference set of successful entrepreneurs (n \(=\) 4400).

To create a control group of employees who are not also entrepreneurs or very unlikely to be of have been entrepreneurs, we leveraged the fact that while some occupational titles like CEO, CTO and Public Speaker are commonly shared by founders and co-founders, some others such as Cashier , Zoologist and Detective very rarely co-occur seem to be founders or co-founders. To illustrate, many company founders also adopt regular occupation titles such as CEO or CTO. Many founders will be Founder and CEO or Co-founder and CTO. While founders are often CEOs or CTOs, the reverse is not necessarily true, as many CEOs are professional executives that were not involved in the establishment or ownership of the firm.

Using data from LinkedIn, we created an Entrepreneurial Occupation Index (EOI) based on the ratio of entrepreneurs for each of the 624 occupations used in a previous study of occupation-personality fit 44 . It was calculated based on the percentage of all people working in the occupation from LinkedIn compared to those who shared the title Founder or Co-founder (See SI section  A.2 for more details). A reference set of employees (n=6685) was then selected across the 112 different occupations with the lowest propensity for entrepreneurship (less than 0.5% EOI) from a large corpus of Twitter users with known occupations, which is also drawn from the previous occupational-personality fit study 44 .

These two data sets were used to test whether it may be possible to distinguish successful entrepreneurs from successful employees based on the different patterns of personality traits alone.

Hierarchical clustering

We applied several clustering techniques and tests to the personality vectors of the entrepreneurs’ data set to determine if there are natural clusters and, if so, how many are the optimum number.

Firstly, to determine if there is a natural typology to founder personalities, we applied the Hopkins statistic—a statistical test we used to answer whether the entrepreneurs’ dataset contains inherent clusters. It measures the clustering tendency based on the ratio of the sum of distances of real points within a sample of the entrepreneurs’ dataset to their nearest neighbours and the sum of distances of randomly selected artificial points from a simulated uniform distribution to their nearest neighbours in the real entrepreneurs’ dataset. The ratio measures the difference between the entrepreneurs’ data distribution and the simulated uniform distribution, which tests the randomness of the data. The range of Hopkins statistics is from 0 to 1. The scores are close to 0, 0.5 and 1, respectively, indicating whether the dataset is uniformly distributed, randomly distributed or highly clustered.

To cluster the founders by personality facets, we used Agglomerative Hierarchical Clustering (AHC)—a bottom-up approach that treats an individual data point as a singleton cluster and then iteratively merges pairs of clusters until all data points are included in the single big collection. Ward’s linkage method is used to choose the pair of groups for minimising the increase in the within-cluster variance after combining. AHC was widely applied to clustering analysis since a tree hierarchy output is more informative and interpretable than K-means. Dendrograms were used to visualise the hierarchy to provide the perspective of the optimal number of clusters. The heights of the dendrogram represent the distance between groups, with lower heights representing more similar groups of observations. A horizontal line through the dendrogram was drawn to distinguish the number of significantly different clusters with higher heights. However, as it is not possible to determine the optimum number of clusters from the dendrogram, we applied other clustering performance metrics to analyse the optimal number of groups.

A range of Clustering performance metrics were used to help determine the optimal number of clusters in the dataset after an apparent clustering tendency was confirmed. The following metrics were implemented to evaluate the differences between within-cluster and between-cluster distances comprehensively: Dunn Index, Calinski-Harabasz Index, Davies-Bouldin Index and Silhouette Index. The Dunn Index measures the ratio of the minimum inter-cluster separation and the maximum intra-cluster diameter. At the same time, the Calinski-Harabasz Index improves the measurement of the Dunn Index by calculating the ratio of the average sum of squared dispersion of inter-cluster and intra-cluster. The Davies-Bouldin Index simplifies the process by treating each cluster individually. It compares the sum of the average distance among intra-cluster data points to the cluster centre of two separate groups with the distance between their centre points. Finally, the Silhouette Index is the overall average of the silhouette coefficients for each sample. The coefficient measures the similarity of the data point to its cluster compared with the other groups. Higher scores of the Dunn, Calinski-Harabasz and Silhouette Index and a lower score of the Davies-Bouldin Index indicate better clustering configuration.

Classification modelling

Classification algorithms.

To obtain a comprehensive and robust conclusion in the analysis predicting whether a given set of personality traits corresponds to an entrepreneur or an employee, we explored the following classifiers: Naïve Bayes, Elastic Net regularisation, Support Vector Machine, Random Forest, Gradient Boosting and Stacked Ensemble. The Naïve Bayes classifier is a probabilistic algorithm based on Bayes’ theorem with assumptions of independent features and equiprobable classes. Compared with other more complex classifiers, it saves computing time for large datasets and performs better if the assumptions hold. However, in the real world, those assumptions are generally violated. Elastic Net regularisation combines the penalties of Lasso and Ridge to regularise the Logistic classifier. It eliminates the limitation of multicollinearity in the Lasso method and improves the limitation of feature selection in the Ridge method. Even though Elastic Net is as simple as the Naïve Bayes classifier, it is more time-consuming. The Support Vector Machine (SVM) aims to find the ideal line or hyperplane to separate successful entrepreneurs and employees in this study. The dividing line can be non-linear based on a non-linear kernel, such as the Radial Basis Function Kernel. Therefore, it performs well on high-dimensional data while the ’right’ kernel selection needs to be tuned. Random Forest (RF) and Gradient Boosting Trees (GBT) are ensembles of decision trees. All trees are trained independently and simultaneously in RF, while a new tree is trained each time and corrected by previously trained trees in GBT. RF is a more robust and straightforward model since it does not have many hyperparameters to tune. GBT optimises the objective function and learns a more accurate model since there is a successive learning and correction process. Stacked Ensemble combines all existing classifiers through a Logistic Regression. Better than bagging with only variance reduction and boosting with only bias reduction, the ensemble leverages the benefit of model diversity with both lower variance and bias. All the above classification algorithms distinguish successful entrepreneurs and employees based on the personality matrix.

Evaluation metrics

A range of evaluation metrics comprehensively explains the performance of a classification prediction. The most straightforward metric is accuracy, which measures the overall portion of correct predictions. It will mislead the performance of an imbalanced dataset. The F1 score is better than accuracy by combining precision and recall and considering the False Negatives and False Positives. Specificity measures the proportion of detecting the true negative rate that correctly identifies employees, while Positive Predictive Value (PPV) calculates the probability of accurately predicting successful entrepreneurs. Area Under the Receiver Operating Characteristic Curve (AUROC) determines the capability of the algorithm to distinguish between successful entrepreneurs and employees. A higher value means the classifier performs better on separating the classes.

Feature importance

To further understand and interpret the classifier, it is critical to identify variables with significant predictive power on the target. Feature importance of tree-based models measures Gini importance scores for all predictors, which evaluate the overall impact of the model after cutting off the specific feature. The measurements consider all interactions among features. However, it does not provide insights into the directions of impacts since the importance only indicates the ability to distinguish different classes.

Statistical analysis

T-test, Cohen’s D and two-sample Kolmogorov-Smirnov test are introduced to explore how the mean values and distributions of personality facets between entrepreneurs and employees differ. The T-test is applied to determine whether the mean of personality facets of two group samples are significantly different from one another or not. The facets with significant differences detected by the hypothesis testing are critical to separate the two groups. Cohen’s d is to measure the effect size of the results of the previous t-test, which is the ratio of the mean difference to the pooled standard deviation. A larger Cohen’s d score indicates that the mean difference is greater than the variability of the whole sample. Moreover, it is interesting to check whether the two groups’ personality facets’ probability distributions are from the same distribution through the two-sample Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. There is no assumption about the distributions, but the test is sensitive to deviations near the centre rather than the tail.

Privacy and ethics

The focus of this research is to provide high-level insights about groups of startups, founders and types of founder teams rather than on specific individuals or companies. While we used unit record data from the publicly available data of company profiles from Crunchbase , we removed all identifiers from the underlying data on individual companies and founders and generated aggregate results, which formed the basis for our analysis and conclusions.

Data availability

A dataset which includes only aggregated statistics about the success of startups and the factors that influence is released as part of this research. Underlying data for all figures and the code to reproduce them are available on GitHub: https://github.com/Braesemann/FounderPersonalities . Please contact Fabian Braesemann ( [email protected] ) in case you have any further questions.

Change history

07 may 2024.

A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-61082-7

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We thank Gary Brewer from BuiltWith ; Leni Mayo from Influx , Rachel Slattery from TeamSlatts and Daniel Petre from AirTree Ventures for their ongoing generosity and insights about startups, founders and venture investments. We also thank Tim Li from Crunchbase for advice and liaison regarding data on startups and Richard Slatter for advice and referrals in Twitter .

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Paul X. McCarthy

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Xian Gong & Marian-Andrei Rizoiu

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Fabian Braesemann & Fabian Stephany

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All authors designed research; All authors analysed data and undertook investigation; F.B. and F.S. led multi-factor analysis; P.M., X.G. and M.A.R. led the founder/employee prediction; M.L.K. led personality insights; X.G. collected and tabulated the data; X.G., F.B., and F.S. created figures; X.G. created final art, and all authors wrote the paper.

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The original online version of this Article was revised: The Data Availability section in the original version of this Article was incomplete, the link to the GitHub repository was omitted. Full information regarding the corrections made can be found in the correction for this Article.

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Which social media platforms are most common, who uses each social media platform, find out more, social media fact sheet.

Many Americans use social media to connect with one another, engage with news content, share information and entertain themselves. Explore the patterns and trends shaping the social media landscape.

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YouTube and Facebook are the most-widely used online platforms. About half of U.S. adults say they use Instagram, and smaller shares use sites or apps such as TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter (X) and BeReal.

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Source: Surveys of U.S. adults conducted 2012-2023.

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Usage of the major online platforms varies by factors such as age, gender and level of formal education.

% of U.S. adults who say they ever use __ by …


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The Best Adult Diapers

Anna Wenner

By Anna Wenner

A good adult diaper can open up the world for someone with incontinence, making daily life a whole lot easier. A reliable diaper allows you to see friends, go to the gym, and travel without anxiety about leakage, smells, or finding the nearest bathroom to change.

After testing 15 adult diapers, we found that drugstore options are mostly bad. If you’re fully incontinent, we think it’s worth spending more for premium diapers that offer better coverage. And if you need only light protection, say, for after labor, you may prefer incontinence underwear (which we’re currently testing).

Everything we recommend

different kinds of research reports

InControl BeDry Premium Incontinence Briefs

Absorbent with wetness strip.

These are absorbent and stay secure and leak-proof even during intense activity. Caregivers will appreciate the wetness indicator. They’re pricey, though, and only available from limited online retailers.

Buying Options

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NorthShore MegaMax Tab-Style Briefs

Faster absorbency in more sizes.

These extremely absorbent diapers come in a range of sizes that might be a better fit for smaller and larger people. They don’t come with a wetness strip and are the priciest of our picks, though.

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Beyond XP5000 Plastic-Backed Adult Briefs

Ideal for arthritic hands.

The Beyond XP5000’s thick, sturdy Velcro-style fasteners are easier to use if you have limited dexterity in your hands. But these diapers are less absorbent than some of our other picks.

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Assurance Unisex Stretch Briefs with Tabs

Best of the drugstore adult diapers.

This diaper isn’t nearly as good as our other picks, but if you need diapers urgently, only have mild incontinence, and can’t wait on shipping or want to spend less upfront, they’ll work in a pinch.

How we picked

We looked for adult diapers that don’t leak and that keep you feeling dry, whether you’re going for a run or spending the day in bed.

The best adult diapers fit every body.

A good adult diaper shouldn’t chafe, sag, or feel loose or bulky under clothes.

We looked for diapers that will cost less over time. The more absorbent a diaper, the fewer you’ll need to use.

The extremely absorbent InControl BeDry Premium Incontinence Briefs hold more than 67 ounces (the equivalent of voiding your bladder five to eight times) and didn’t leak in our tests. They’re a good choice if you need maximum coverage and want diapers you only need to change a few times a day.

A wetness indicator strip makes it easy for a caregiver to see whether the diaper needs changing. The refastenable tabs are sturdy and will stay tight even through intense activity, but those with arthritis or other dexterity issues may have trouble with the thin material.

While these diapers are pricier per diaper than many we tested, the overall cost will likely be lower than cheap brands because you’ll need fewer throughout the day. Though the smaller packs (2-count and 16-count) are available on Amazon, we recommend you buy through the InControl website; you’ll get a better deal per diaper and free shipping if you order a case of 48 diapers. They come in four sizes and one color.

We found that the NorthShore MegaMax Tab-Style Briefs absorbed just as much as the InControl BeDry diapers (even though they’re advertised as holding less). They come in a wider range of sizes, so they may be a better fit for those who need a smaller or larger diaper.

Because they lack a wetness strip, they’re less helpful for caregivers than the InControl BeDry diapers. The refastenable tabs are very similar to InControl’s in that they will hold tight even with strenuous activity, but they might be hard to use independently if you have arthritis.

Though they cost the most per diaper out of all the diapers we tested, the higher quality means you can change them less often. Unlike the InControl, NorthShore MegaMax diapers are available in five different colors and can be purchased at several online retailers.

The Beyond XP5000 Plastic-Backed Adult Briefs have Velcro-style, hook-and-loop fasteners that set them apart from our other picks. The tabs require less strength to take on and off and provide a larger and thicker surface to grip, making them easier to use for those with conditions like arthritis. But hook-and-loop fasteners can loosen throughout the day more so than adhesive tabs, so we think they’re best for folks who aren’t particularly active.

They’re also not as absorbent as our InControl and NorthShore picks, struggling especially with a full bladder emptying quickly. With less volume, they absorb decently well and will keep your skin dry.

Most of the diapers that you can buy in the store — including the Assurance Unisex Stretch Briefs with Tabs — hold much less liquid and are more prone to leaking if you have full incontinence. But the Assurance diapers are the best of the lot, holding about 20 ounces more in our stationary tests than diapers from better-known brands like Depend (though they do start feeling wet to the touch at only 8 ounces).

While competitors absorbed less and leaked easily, the Assurance diapers showed no leaks or seepage below 30 ounces of liquid. But we don’t think this diaper will work for anyone who needs to be able to regularly empty a full bladder because the absorbency is so slow.

At a little over 50¢ per diaper (compared with around $1.50 to $3.00 for our other picks), the initial cost of buying these is easier on those with a tight budget. However, long term you may end up spending as much as or more than you would on our other picks because you’ll likely need to change the diaper more often.

The research

Why you should trust us, who this is for, best diaper for active users and caregivers: incontrol bedry premium incontinence briefs, better for smaller and larger bodies: northshore megamax tab-style briefs, best diaper for arthritic fingers: beyond xp5000 plastic-backed adult briefs, best drugstore diaper: assurance unisex stretch briefs with tabs, how we picked and tested, the real cost of low-quality diapers, other good adult diapers, the competition.

I’ve reviewed grab bars , shower mats , and toilet seat risers for Wirecutter, as well as a variety of gear for older and disabled people for USA Today’s Reviewed. I also spent years as a caregiver for my mother while she went through cancer treatments, and I remained her caregiver through the end of her life.

I’ve helped multiple family members navigate bladder and bowel issues, including researching incontinence underwear, colostomy bags (and related accessories), and toilet seat risers. And I’ve seen firsthand how much embarrassment and misinformation there is around buying products for these needs.

For this guide:

  • I read various incontinence resources—including academic studies, articles, blogs, and chat forums—created by and for those who live with all types of bladder incontinence.
  • I interviewed two occupational therapists who specialize in pelvic health to find out what makes a good diaper (as well as the dealbreakers), and I spoke with representatives for adult-diaper manufacturers.
  • I talked with friends and family with bladder incontinence and read online conversations. I also interviewed a man in his late 20s with full bladder and bowel incontinence who helped us test diapers, to get a sense of which ones really work (and which fall far too short).

Incontinence can refer to bladder incontinence (peeing) or bowel incontinence (pooping). Though we focused on the needs of those with bladder incontinence for this guide, our picks will work for bowel incontinence as well.

Bladder incontinence can range from leaking a few drops throughout the day to a complete loss of bladder control. And it can be an issue for everyone from athletes who do high-impact sports to those who just gave birth to people who need full-time care.

Although the recommendations for diaper-style briefs in this guide are geared toward folks with high levels of bladder incontinence up to full bladder incontinence, we also kept in mind the needs of those with moderate bladder incontinence. That said, if you have mild or moderate incontinence, or you’re looking for options that are closer to standard underwear to make the transition, you may want to consider pull-up style briefs or reusable incontinence underwear. We’re currently testing both and will have a new guide out soon with our picks.

There is a common misconception that bladder incontinence is tied to aging, yet anyone at any age can be (or become) incontinent.

In testing, we made sure that our picks would work for the whole spectrum of people with heavy incontinence—from those who are living independent, active lifestyles to those who receive help from a caregiver for their incontinence needs.

Our pick for best adult diaper for active users and caregivers, the InControl BeDry Premium Incontinence Briefs

The InControl BeDry Premium Incontinence Briefs are some of the highest-quality, most-durable adult diapers on the market. Our tester, a 27-year-old farmer with full bladder incontinence, said he “feels the most secure” in these briefs. “I can live my best life because I’m not chained to my home,” he said. Although full absorbency is not quite as fast with these briefs as it is for the NorthShore MegaMax briefs , the BeDry briefs still offer leak-free, quick absorbency in the same large amounts, at a lower price per diaper.

This brief is extremely absorbent. During testing, this diaper easily held 67 ounces of liquid (the most the average person pees in a day). We were actually able to add up to around 80 ounces before the diaper’s absorbency slowed, and it was able to absorb up to 100 ounces without leaks. So even though you’ll still probably want to change this diaper at least once or twice throughout the day (for hygienic and comfort reasons), it can technically last for a very long time before it becomes ineffective.

The wetness indicator is easy to see and works well. For caregivers, a wetness indicator can be a huge help when they’re taking care of someone who can’t reliably communicate discomfort. The strip on these diapers turns from a pale yellow to a dark black, making it easy to see at a glance when it’s time for a change.

A look at the inside of the InControl BeDry Premium Incontinence Briefs.

The tabs are strong and easily refastenable. This diaper’s tabs have a strong adhesive, with blue strips on the edges that make them easy to see against the white diaper. In addition, the plastic-coated fastening areas make it a cinch to put on the diaper, take it off, or reposition it throughout the day. Our tester especially liked the labeled fastening areas because they allowed him to get the fit right the first time without needing to redo the tabs.

The quality is (almost) unmatched. Ultimately, adult diapers still have a long way to go before most are as reliable and durable as they need to be for active users. InControl BeDry and the NorthShore MegaMax stand out well and above the competition; their durability, sturdier materials, and smart designs help prevent leaks and seepage, and they held up to our tester’s active lifestyle and high level of incontinence. This diaper’s Whiff-X core, the specialized absorbency area, helps this brief feel dry and comfortable, even with large amounts of liquid. And the leak guards keep any liquid that isn’t immediately absorbed from ending up on clothing.

The overall price is lower than comparable diapers. Incontinence products add up fast, particularly for those who need to use them 24/7. When calculating cost, it’s important to factor in what you’re paying per diaper and how many diapers you typically need in a day. With the InControl BeDry diapers, our tester with full bladder incontinence needed to use only three over a 24-hour period (he noted that he could have probably gotten by with two, but he prefers a change before bed). This puts the current price per day for a pack of 48 at $5.55 over 24 hours. (Note that shipping from the company is free if you buy the case of 48 diapers, but for the smaller bag, it can add more than $10.)

The sizing is clear and makes reordering easy. Each diaper is labeled with the brand name and size, so reordering is easy. This saves you from trying to guess or dig through past orders (and from having to decipher vague descriptions like “I like the gray ones” if you’re ordering for someone else).

Flaws but not dealbreakers

  • We find InControl’s advertised capacity for these diapers confusing. It lists the “theoretical capacity” (this is a measure used in quality control but one that’s not really applicable to real-world use). We wish the company would just list the absorbency before leakage.
  • We found that the plastic in the diaper made some noise, but it wasn’t enough to bother our tester throughout the day.
  • For people with limited dexterity, the thin sticker tabs could be difficult to use.
  • InControl’s diapers are available from fewer online retailers than our other picks. You can buy the smaller packs (two briefs and 16 briefs) on Amazon, but buying the 48-diaper pack directly from the company’s website is a better deal.
  • Whereas shipping is free if you buy the largest offered pack of 48 diapers, the smaller packs can come with some fairly hefty shipping costs. And, if you order from InControl’s website, it can take more than a week for the diapers to arrive.
  • Unlike NorthShore MegaMax diapers, InControl BeDry diapers come in one color only.
  • Price per diaper: $1.85 at the time of publication
  • Sizes: S (from 27-inch waist/hip) to XL (up to 47-inch waist/hip)
  • Colors: white
  • Wetness indicator: yes
  • Claimed absorbency: 12 hours

Our pick for best adult diapers for smaller and larger bodies, the NorthShore MegaMax Tab-Style Briefs.

If you need petite or larger sizes, or if you tend to release a full bladder all at once, the NorthShore MegaMax Tab-Style Briefs are the best choice. They work just as well as the InControl BeDry diapers , but they cost quite a bit more and don’t come with a wetness strip. Our tester described them as “by far one of the best adult diapers I have ever worn. I can go about my day confidently because I don’t have to be paranoid about this diaper falling off, tearing, or leaking unexpectedly.”

They can absorb a lot of pee very quickly. NorthShore’s MegaMax diapers absorbed even large volumes of liquid faster than every other diaper we tested—beating out the also-fast InControl BeDry diapers. For those who tend to pee a lot at once, this is crucial for avoiding leaks. The diapers advertise an absorbency of 30 to 49 ounces (depending on the size you wear), but our tests found that they could easily hold the full 67 ounces an average person pees in a day. We also like that NorthShore clearly lists the “absorbency before leakage” of its diapers, rather than a theoretical max capacity or other confusing claims.

An inside look at the Northshore’s MegaMax Tab-Style Briefs.

The tabs are strong and easily refastenable. The tabs on NorthShore MegaMax diapers are made of thick, sturdy tape that can be easily refastened, and they have blue edges, so they’re easy to see and find against the diaper. The landing area isn’t quite as cleverly designed as the one on the InControl diapers, however, because it doesn’t have a printed-on reference indicating where to fasten the tabs for the best fit.

The color options are fun. Just because you’re wearing a diaper doesn’t mean it has to be boring. NorthShore MegaMax diapers come in five different colors, including a tie-dye pattern (though all the colors aren’t available for every size).

The quality and durability are impressive. Much like the quality of the InControl diapers, NorthShore’s diapers are top of the line. The MegaMax diapers are sturdy enough to work for even very active users (like our tester) while staying comfortable and leak-free. They’re made of highly durable material, which is on a par with the InControl diapers in keeping moisture away from the skin. And they’re reinforced with double leak guards and plastic backing to prevent any moisture breaking through.

They come in a wide range of sizes. NorthShore MegaMax offers the greatest range of sizes of all of our picks, with its XS starting at an 18-inch waist/hip measurement and its 2XL going up to 76 inches.

  • Because they lack a wetness indicator, NorthShore MegaMax diapers aren’t as ideal for caregivers of folks who can’t communicate when a diaper needs to be changed.
  • MegaMax is one of the most expensive adult diapers we saw. Due to this diaper’s high quality, it will still be cheaper overall than low-quality diapers that you’ll need to change more often, but ultimately the MegaMax didn’t have enough advantages over InControl’s BeDry to justify the increase in the cost per diaper. As with the BeDry diapers, with the MegaMax briefs you’ll get the best deal on cost per diaper and shipping by ordering directly from NorthShore’s website.
  • MegaMax didn’t have enough advantages over InControl’s BeDry to justify the increase in the cost per diaper. As with the BeDry diapers, with the MegaMax briefs you’ll get the best deal on cost per diaper and shipping by ordering directly from NorthShore’s website.
  • Unlike InControl, NorthShore doesn’t have the brand or size listed on its diaper. While this isn’t a dealbreaker by any means, it does make reordering more challenging for those who have tossed the packaging already.
  • As with the InControl BeDry diapers, with the NorthShore MegaMax diapers, the plastic backing creates some noise during wear. But the noise was minimal and wasn’t noticeable under most clothing.
  • Price per diaper: $2.87 for size M at the time of publication
  • Sizes: XS (from 18-inch waist/hip) to 2XL (up to 76-inch waist/hip)
  • Colors: five options (black, blue, pink, white, tie-dye)
  • Wetness indicator: no
  • Claimed absorbency: 30 to 49 ounces

Our pick for best adult diaper for arthritic fingers, the Beyond XP5000 Plastic-Backed Adult Briefs.

Although the Beyond XP5000 Plastic-Backed Adult Briefs don’t offer the same absorbency or comfort as our top two picks, they do use hook-and-loop fasteners (rather than thin adhesive tabs). So they’re a lot easier for those with limited dexterity to use independently.

We don’t necessarily recommend this diaper for active people, however, because the hook-and-loop fasteners can more easily loosen throughout the day, compared with sticker tabs.

The hook-and-loop tabs work well and are easy to use. The hook-and-loop tabs on this diaper are easy to grab, fasten, and refasten. They require less hand strength and dexterity than sticker tabs (though they’re also less secure). So many folks who have arthritis or other conditions will be able to use these independently for longer.

An inside look at the Beyond XP5000 briefs.

The absorbency is good. Though the absorbency isn’t as fast as with the InControl BeDry or NorthShore MegaMax diapers, it’s nonetheless very solid. This diaper absorbed 30 ounces of liquid plenty quickly while still feeling very dry to the touch. However, as it neared the 67-ounce mark, the diaper was noticeably more damp than our other two top picks. Those who tend to release a lot of urine all at once may find this diaper leaks, but for those who release smaller amounts over time (even those with full bladder incontinence), this brief is more than up to the task.

Reordering is simple. The brand and size are both listed on the diaper, so it’s easy to reorder the product online yourself or get help from a loved one.

The materials are durable and will keep you mostly dry. The Beyond XP5000 diaper is made of high-quality materials; for small to moderate amounts of liquid, these diapers stay feeling nearly as dry and comfortable as the InControl BeDry and NorthShore MegaMax (and much more than Assurance). With larger volumes, this diaper still doesn’t leak, but it will feel damper to the touch, and it won’t be as comfortable for as long as InControl or NorthShore diapers.

It has a wetness indicator. Like our InControl and Assurance picks, this diaper comes with a wetness strip that changes color when it needs to be changed—an especially useful feature for caregivers.

  • This diaper was a little louder to put on and take off than our top two picks because of the hook-and-loop strips. While our tester found the noise comparable to our other picks when he was walking around, quietly changing it in a public bathroom was more difficult.
  • Because the tabs fasten with hook and loop, they tend to loosen and stretch over time. This can also cause chafing for especially active wearers.
  • The cost per diaper is around the same price as those of the InControl BeDry and NorthShore MegaMax diapers. However, if you experience full bladder incontinence, there’s a real possibility you’ll be paying more overall because you’ll need to change this diaper more often. (Our tester ended up using five over the course of the day, rather than three.)
  • Like the InControl BeDry diapers, these briefs aren’t available at many online retailers.
  • The diaper packaging lists the absorbency capacity in vague and confusing terms. This isn’t helpful for understanding how much urine the diaper will hold for the average person or comparing across brands.
  • This diaper is available in one only color.
  • Price per diaper: $1.79 for size M at the time of publication
  • Sizes: M (from 31-inch waist) to XL (up to 64-inch waist)
  • Wetness Indicator: no
  • Claimed absorbency: unclear

Our pick for best drugstore diaper, the Assurance Unisex Stretch Briefs with Tabs.

We generally found the diapers available in chain stores like Walgreens or CVS to be nowhere near the quality of the options available online. But if you need diapers last minute and can’t wait for shipping, or shopping online is too much of a hassle, Walmart’s Assurance Unisex Stretch Briefs with Tabs are the best of the worst.

If you’re dealing only with leaks or smaller amounts of urine, and you can change the diapers regularly, these’ll work in a pinch.

The upfront cost is hard to beat. Assurance Stretch Briefs are the cheapest ones we tested, and they’re one of the cheapest that are widely available at just 53¢ a pair. Due to their lower absorbency, in the long run you could spend the same or more as you would for a higher-quality diaper, since you’ll need to change it more often. However, for those on a tight budget, the lower price can be a huge help.

An inside look at the Assurance diapers.

You can buy these diapers at a physical store. Though they’re also available online, these diapers are the only ones among our picks that you can easily purchase by driving to a nearby store. Because they’re from Walmart’s brand, these diapers can be found at most Walmart stores across the country. When you need a diaper immediately, this is one of the best that you can reliably find fast.

It has a wetness strip. If you’re a caregiver who needs to be able to tell when the diaper needs to be changed, a wetness strip can be crucial. While you’ll want to watch this diaper a little more closely than our other picks to make sure it’s not leaking, the wetness strip was easy to see and use.

  • Compared with our other picks, the Assurance diaper has significantly worse absorbency, durability, and overall quality. If you have the time and budget to trade up for one of our other picks, we recommend doing so every time. But we know that’s not always possible, and for those situations, the Assurance diaper is your best bet.
  • This diaper’s absorbency isn’t high enough or fast enough for those with total loss of bladder control or those who tend to pee a lot at once. Compared with our other picks, this diaper stayed damper during our tests, even with just 8 ounces of fluid (a fraction of what InControl’s or NorthShore’s diapers could hold without feeling damp). So the Assurance diaper should ideally be changed after every use, to avoid health issues and discomfort.
  • Like the Beyond XP5000 diaper’s packaging, this diaper’s packaging doesn’t clearly list its absorbency capacity.
  • This diaper comes in white only.
  • Price per diaper: 53¢ (for all sizes) at the time of publication
  • Sizes: S/M (from 22-inch waist) to L/XL (up to 64-inch waist)

An assortment of the adult diapers that we tested.

An individual’s physical needs and lifestyle will factor into figuring out which diaper works best for them. A diaper that doesn’t leak or seep through is always the top priority, but we also focused on the following criteria:

  • Absorbency volume: We took into consideration the heaviest use cases. And we eliminated diapers that wouldn’t work for those with full bladder incontinence or those who need to wear a diaper for longer stretches of time. We preferred diapers with packaging that explained absorbency in real-world terms, rather than in a theoretical capacity (which is intended as a standard for quality control, not a guidance on how much a diaper will hold).
  • Absorbency speed: We focused on products that could quickly and reliably absorb the liquid as fast as possible, to help avoid leaks and contain smells.
  • Leak-free design: A good diaper will keep even a full bladder’s contents contained—no matter your anatomy—while avoiding dreaded leaks out of the leg holes.
  • Durable construction: We searched for diapers that were durable enough to hold up, whether you’re working outside in your garden or relaxing inside.
  • Fit and comfort: Diapers cover a highly sensitive part of the body. Therefore it’s vital to find a pair that fits correctly, so you remain comfortable and confident throughout your day. A bad fit can lead to chafing, sores, leaks, and worse. To help us decide which models to try, we looked closely at user reviews, online forums, and information from people who use adult diapers.
  • Keeping skin dry: A good diaper is the one you forget you’re wearing. We looked for diapers that wouldn’t feel sopping wet hours after they had been used.
  • Refastenable tabs: One of the huge benefits of a diaper-style brief is being able to adjust the fit; this helps prevent leaks and increase comfort. We examined how each diaper’s refastening method worked, and we checked whether the tabs were easy to use, felt secure, and refastened without damaging the surface beneath.
  • The right price: At a minimum, someone with full bladder incontinence will need to change a good-quality diaper at least three times a day. But with lower-quality and lower-absorbency diapers, you may need to change them as often as 12 times a day. No matter the diaper, the price adds up quickly, so we looked for diapers that cost the least over time.
  • Low noise level: Plastic is essential for many of the highest-absorbency diapers to work well, but it can also be conspicuously loud. We focused on products that didn’t make a lot of noise when the wearer was moving around.
  • Wetness indicator: A wetness indicator is most useful for those who get assistance with changing their diapers, such as from nurses or caregivers. For those changing their own diapers, this may not be a factor, but we kept this feature in mind to find the best option for those who need it.
  • Size range: Though the adjustable nature of diapers means a single size can fit a wider range of bodies, we considered only those diapers that came in a wide range of sizes.

For this guide, we considered only tab-style diapers (commonly called adult diapers). They are more absorbent and leak-proof than pull-up style briefs. They also tend to fit better, since the tab fastener allows you to tighten or loosen the diaper, whereas a pull-up can easily droop, sag, or slide off.

Although we originally considered adding washable, cloth diapers to our testing, we quickly decided against it because they’re less absorbent, more prone to leaking, and difficult to clean.

We selected the highest-absorbency diapers from 15 different brands, including those that are household names to less-well-known brands you can only buy online. We first tried on each diaper, to evaluate how easy it was to use the tabs and follow the instructions for putting it on and fastening it correctly. We then tried out different movements and positions, to determine a diaper’s noise level and comfort.

Next, we put each diaper through a series of absorbency tests, to determine how much water it could hold without it leaking or seeping through and how quickly the absorption occurred. We started by pouring 8 ounces (the average single-urination amount) onto the absorbent part of the diaper while it was lying flat. We then progressively increased the amount to 30 ounces and then 67 ounces (about the most an average person urinates in a day), and then up to the listed maximum capacity for each diaper (or up to 100 ounces, for those that didn’t list the information explicitly).

During these tests, I kept an eye on how well the wetness indicator worked (if the diaper had one), and I took note of any problem areas in the design that left open the possibility of leakage with movement.

From there, we hung each diaper up overnight by its tabs, to see whether it would leak, seep through, or come undone from the weight of the liquid it had absorbed. Realistically, no matter how good a diaper is, it shouldn’t be worn for 24 hours, but we wanted to stress test each product for a worst-case scenario.

We then had a tester—a 27-year-old man who has full bladder and bowel incontinence—use the top four performers that we identified in our testing for 48 hours. (He didn’t test the Assurance Unisex Stretch Briefs because they didn’t work for his needs.)

A livestock farmer by profession, he wore the diapers while going about his work day, which involves constantly bending over, lifting heavy objects, using a chainsaw, and occasionally running to corral an animal who has found a weak spot in the fence. He evaluated each diaper’s absorbency, and he noted whether it leaked or contained odors, as well as how often he needed to change it.

It can be tempting to compare the cost of common incontinence diapers with that of premium diapers and buy the cheaper option. But because premium diapers absorb more, you can use fewer of them, and thus the total cost per day can be less.

Here’s the breakdown of what our tester used over 24 hours while testing premium InControl and MegaMax diapers, compared with the number of less-absorbent Depend Fresh Protection with Tabs we estimate he would have used, based on our own testing. (To be clear, he didn’t test the Depend briefs, because they don’t meet his needs as someone with full incontinence):

To determine the cost of the diaper itself, divide the total cost of the package by how many diapers it holds. In most cases, larger packages will provide a better value (and they often come with free shipping).

Beyond the cost savings, by choosing a high-quality diaper, you’ll spend less time worrying about leaks or finding a place to change. Our tester said that when low-quality diapers were his only option, for financial reasons, “I had anxiety because of the fear of being embarrassed, and I was depressed because the poor-quality diapers available to me limited my ability to be in public.”

An easy-on option for moderate incontinence: The McKesson Extended Wear Stretch Briefs have a single long strip of hook-and-loop fasteners on each side. So for those who have limited dexterity in their hands, this brief is one of the easiest to put on and take off. While the McKesson brief did not hold up well for our active tester with full bladder incontinence, it’s still worth considering for those with moderate bladder incontinence or those who can change a diaper more frequently.

If you want a subtler option: The Tena Proskin Stretch Fully Breathable Briefs leaked a little at 67 ounces, and they absorbed more slowly than some of our other picks. Yet we found them to be the closest to “regular” underwear, due to their quiet, clothlike material. For those who have moderate incontinence or who are still getting used to the idea of wearing a diaper, this is a good one for making the transition.

The solid, mid-priced Tranquility ATN Disposable Briefs provide impressive absorbency without any leaks. And though the company claims they hold up to 34 ounces, when we tested them with 67 ounces, they easily held the full amount. However, we dismissed these briefs because they were noisy when our tester moved around, and they had a less comfortable fit.

The Attends Advanced Briefs have a great price, but their slow absorbency, moderate noise level, and less-comfortable feel led us to dismiss them. Yet in a pinch, this product is still a fine choice.

The Abena Abri-Form Comfort M4 and BetterDry Adult Diapers w/ Plastic Backing were both strong options for high-absorbency diapers made from quality materials. However, both had a noticeable leaking issue, so we ultimately dismissed them. The Abena brief’s lack of an elastic waistband around the back led to gapping and leaks for some wearers, and the adhesive tabs tore the plastic during repositioning. And the BetterDry brief’s leak guards were too small for larger volumes of liquid.

We had high hopes for the Depend Fresh Protection with Tabs briefs, given how ubiquitous they were. But we found that the quality didn’t hold up. This brief was less absorbent, durable, and harder to use than others we tested. Whereas some of our briefs could absorb 67 ounces easily, the Depend brief began leaking at only 8 ounces.

We loved the low price of the FitRight OptiFit Briefs and the Walgreens Certainty Unisex Briefs , but we found that both had major leak issues.

Although the Unique Wellness Briefs did hold a lot compared with other briefs we tested, they could not hold the advertised 87 ounces. This product’s packaging was also the least discreet by far.

Prevail Air Plus Daily Briefs had hundreds of good user reviews, but ultimately they couldn’t compete with the other briefs we tested. The mid-range price is decent, but the repositionable tabs consistently tore the diaper during testing. Overall, the quality did not match the price.

This article was edited by Claire Perlman and Christine Cyr Clisset.

Lindsey Vestal, occupational therapist and pelvic health specialist , phone interview , October 10, 2023

Kourtney Randsdorp, occupational therapist and pelvic health specialist , email interview , October 12, 2023

Adam Greenberg, president of NorthShore Care Supply , email interview , April 11, 2024

Meet your guide

different kinds of research reports

Anna Wenner

Anna Wenner is a freelance writer. Though Anna’s writing spans everything from fandoms to fashion, she especially loves accessibility and LGBTQ+ topics. Previously Anna created cards at Hallmark, documented graves at a cemetery, and photographed everything from the NCAA tournament to President Barack Obama.

Further reading

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We looked at 30 diapers, lab tested 15, and found that the inexpensive Parent’s Choice and Up & Up diapers perform pretty much like diapers that cost much more.

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Want a bassinet with storage? A co-sleeper with a drop-down side? Automated rocking? Whatever your needs, here are six models worthy of being baby’s first bed.


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