CO-OP Work Term Report Guidelines for Science Programs - Appendix A: Guidelines

General work-term report structure

All work-term reports must be submitted online. All work-term reports should conform to the following general structure:

  • Title page
  • Abstract and keywords
  • Table of contents
  • List of figures
  • List of tables
  • Body of work-term report (introduction, results and discussion, conclusions)
  • References
  • Appendices

Title page

Include the work-term report title. Include your name, student number, course code and report submission date. Do not boldface or italicize anything on the title page.


Include a 100-to-200-word (up to one page) abstract describing and summarizing the work-term report. The abstract should be self-explanatory and provide the reader with a summary of the contents of the work-term report.


At the bottom of the abstract page, include three to five keywords (separated by commas) that may be used to index the work-term report.


Give a complete background of the projects you worked on, including the nature and the objectives. Detail the work and summarize the assignments you undertook, but give more detail for those described in the body of your report. Note that the introduction differs from the abstract.

Body of the report

For the final work term report, include a detailed explanation of the projects you’ve undertaken, as well as the approach you used to achieve the project objectives. Describe the results you obtained, as well. For interim reports submitted during eight-month placements, it is understood that projects are likely not complete. You should still give a detailed explanation of the projects being undertaken. Discuss plans to advance any projects. When relevant, you can reuse material from interim reports in the final report.

Provide enough information so that the CO-OP academic coordinator, who may not be familiar with the topic of the report, can easily understand the context. All figures and tables presented throughout the body of the report must be referenced in the text. Figures and tables taken from another document must be properly referenced in their title.

The body of the work term report must follow these editorial guidelines:


  • Final reports at the end of a placement should be between 10 and 15 pages. This number does not include the abstract, references and appendices. Interim reports at the four-month (and or eight-month) mark placements should be between 5 and 10 pages.


  • double-spaced text
  • 12-point standard font (Times, Times Roman, etc.)
  • one-inch margins (top, bottom, left, right)
  • italics, as needed, but no underlining
  • page numbers, in the bottom-right corner of the page header
  • section headers, as needed
  • tables and figures numbered sequentially (e.g., Table 1, Table 2, Figure 1, Figure 2) and bearing descriptive titles (figure titles at the bottom of the figure and table titles at the top of the table)


All work-term reports must have proper punctuation, spelling, capitalization, italics, abbreviations, headings, quotations, numbers, tables and figures. In addition, avoid bias in language.

Footnotes and endnotes

Footnotes and endnotes should not be used. Relevant information, which might normally be placed in a footnote or endnote, should be included in the work-term report text.


Make sure you refer to all references in the body of your report.

The choice of your referencing style determines the format of your in-text references and bibliographic entries. Make sure that your report includes in-text references in the form of parenthetical citations (for APA Style and MLA Style) or footnotes or endnotes (for Chicago Manual of Style), as well as bibliographic entries in the form of a reference list (for APA Style), a list of works cited (for MLA Style), or a bibliography (for Chicago Manual of Style).

Here are the official resources for each of these referencing styles:

APA Style

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). APA style blog [Blog]. Retrieved from

MLA Style

MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.

The MLA Style Center. Modern Language Association of America, New York,

Chicago Manual of Style

University of Chicago Press. The Chicago Manual of Style. 16th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

University of Chicago Press. The Chicago Manual of Style Online. Accessed October 26, 2016.

There are a number of books on business report writing on the 4th floor of the Morisset Library. (They begin with the call number HF 57.) Books on technical writing can be found on the 6th floor. (They begin with the call number T 11.)

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