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The University of Southampton
English for EngineersUnderstanding assessed tasks

Interim Reports

You may be required to produce an interim report as part of a larger project, such as your final Individual Project. This report serves an important purpose in setting out what you are hoping to achieve and how far you have got in achieving this.

The reader is looking to answer questions, such as:

Interim report requirements

Although the interim report is significantly shorter than the final report, it should not be vague. It should provide detailed information that is relevant to the purpose of an interim report.

Broad and up-to-date understanding of the literature

“Your literature review is too brief. You need to demonstrate evidence of further reading and greater technical understanding of the field”. (Tutor feedback)

Although your interim report won’t contain your full literature review, it should show depth and breadth. The reader will want to be able to see you understand the field. 

Progress to date and next steps

“Lacks detail of progress to date.” (Tutor feedback)

You need to show the reader what you have achieved and how you plan to complete the project. Be specific so that the reader can assess whether your progress and plan are reasonable. 

Attention to detail

“Referencing was variable throughout the report. This reduces the professionalism of the report and makes it look as though it hasn’t been written with care and attention, contradicting the general standard of the report.” (Tutor feedback)

Although the interim report is not the final report, it is not a draft. It may be assessed in its own right. This means that you need to pay attention to detail and dedicate time to producing it.

Relevance of literature to your project

“The literature review could have been improved by explicitly pointing to how this information is used in the project. It was often difficult to understand how the information in the report related to your work.” (Tutor feedback)

Your interim report, like other reports and essays, needs to connect the literature clearly to your project. The danger when writing a literature review is that it contains a series of paraphrases or summaries, but lacks the analysis that develops the argument to show why this is relevant to your project.

Your interim report should:

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It is important to focus on the story of the research and link each section. Reading the report it can be difficult to determine the relevance of the sections to the overall story. This makes it feel disjointed and it can be difficult to determine the problem that needs to be solved, what others have done before, and what you plan to do that will help solve it.

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