What Is a Research and Development Report?

Research and development comprise activities that companies use to innovate and introduce new products or services. Research and development is the first step to a development process, and its goal is to introduce new products and services to the market, adding to the company’s bottom line. Having research and development allows an organization to stay ahead of its industry competitors. Research and development or R&D are separate from operational activities, with companies knowing that investing in it does not yield an immediate profit. Instead, an organization utilizes the R&D to contribute to long-term growth and investment that leads to the production of company trademarks, patents, or copyrights. Companies that take advantage of assigning research and development departments produce substantial capital for operation. It is their responsibility to make estimates on the expenditures that involve risk capital, as there is no immediate revenue, and return of investment becomes blurry. As such, the R&D report holds all the critical information regarding innovations and new products and services from a company. Companies create the document to satisfy regular reporting requirements and generate interest from research and scientific industries.

According to the statistical information from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) regarding the gross domestic expenditure on research and development by sector of performance and source funds, the United States spent an estimated value of 657,549 US dollars in research and development during 2019.

Types of Research and Development

Research and development go a long way, primarily in the field of business. It is especially true when organizations and industries are responsible for making innovations and looking for new processes. As such, companies rely on research and development to keep pace with present trends. Below are the types of research and development organizations use, regardless of professional area or sector.

Basic research: The goal of basic research is to thoroughly understand the concept of a single topic or subject area rather than practical application. Its concern revolves around pursuing scientific advancements without any specific commercial objectives. For companies to have gained the maximum advantage from this type of research, they must show consistency and dedication to providing resources for the long term. The benefit of using basic research is that it aims to provide deeper information and understanding about specific problems and the process to overcome them. It provides an organization with the initial knowledge in developing strategies and finding solutions. It also supplies the business with a better familiarity with current market trends.Applied research: Applied research involves work investigations that are necessary to acquire the understanding to develop commercially marketable products and services to the consumer market. The goal of applied research is determining potential uses of the results of basic research or finding new strategies and techniques to achieve specific company objectives. The result of the applied research allows organizations to associate essential information in handling customer and industry requirements. As such, applied research becomes the next step in the process of research and development, enabling companies to identify viable solutions through different strategies, resolve arising problems, and take advantage of industry trends.Experimental Development research: The last type of research and development involves a systematic process of project work, utilizing previous studies and existing knowledge from research and practical experiences. The understanding from this information helps companies to develop new products, services, technologies, and techniques. Through it, engineering and manufacturing teams bring multiple ideas to reality before it goes to production for the public’s consumption. The new methods stemming from experimental development research can also help companies to effectively and efficiently market their products and services to consumers.

Criteria for Identifying Research and Development

When engaging in research and development activities, the individuals performing it follows several actions to achieve new knowledge and techniques. Research and development activities must adhere to five core criteria. The section below provides examples and descriptions of the five criteria for added information.

To be aimed at new findings (novel): New knowledge is one of the principal objectives of research and development. In the business world, the novelty of research and development projects must go in comparison with existing studies and knowledge within an industry. The activity must produce new information for the business and the industry itself. Novelty can also be the result of existing studies that have potential discrepancies. Experimental development projects that support developing new ideas and concepts for new products and techniques. Systematic testing is another example of novelty as it provides documentation for the use of chemical reactions already operational in different production procedures. It produces new products in molecules not present in previous production or any scientific literature.To be based on original, not obvious, concepts and hypotheses (creative): Any research and development project that an enterprise embarks on must have the objective of producing new concepts to improve existing knowledge. Human input must be present to provide creative wisdom to research and development processes. For example, daily activity in itself is not a classification of research and development, but the new techniques to perform tasks are creative. Similarly, vocational training is not research and development, but new strategies to deliver employee training can be research and development.To be uncertain about the final output (uncertain): Research and development are full of uncertainties. Similar to any research process, the outcome and costs of the project are not accurate to the outputs and the project goals. Uncertainty is especially prevalent when using basic research, intending to add information to existing knowledge. Researchers already have the idea that the results they produce are not up to par with their expectations. An example of uncertainty results from a research project addressing only several hypotheses. Uncertainty is an essential criterion when comparing research and development projects for prototyping and non-prototyping products.To be planned and budgeted (systematic): Research and development is a formal process that must be systematic. Meaning the activity must follow a structured method that has records to monitor the processes and outcomes. The activity records must be available and consistent with the project to address the specific needs of required resources, including financial resources. Budgeting and planning are more prevalent in large projects, but small-scale activities can also utilize this criterion. For example, a small group of employees must produce a viable solution for a specific problem they need to plan and budget resources to achieve it.To lead to results that can go for reproduction (transferable or reproducible): A research and development project must be available for the transfer and reproduction of new knowledge. Meaning other researchers can reproduce the results of the project for other research and development activities. The purpose of the research and development is to expand current knowledge, and results cannot always be implicit. In the business setting, results from research and development activities are often under security clauses, including intellectual property protection, but other researchers in the business can obtain the records for use.

How To Compose a Research and Development Report

Researchers must already have an idea of the outcomes they want to achieve when writing the research and development report. Since research and development reports are driven by factual information and data, there is no room for promotional stints and marketing hype. Below is a helpful guide for individuals who plan on writing a research and development report for their organization.

  • 1. List down the project objectives

    Project objectives are the goals you want to achieve at the end of the research and development project. Ensure that you identify the necessary deliverables and assets you wish to accomplish, including intangible outcomes like new procedures or knowledge. The objectives you set for the research and development must follow the SMART goal setting, making them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.

  • 2. Describe the Progress Since The Last Report

    Start with identifying the baseline and milestones to demonstrate the progress of the research and development project. Baselines are the state of products, services, technology, or techniques at the beginning of the activity or since the last report. Meanwhile, project milestones refer to the specific tasks and objectives that the team or individual must complete on a target due date. Milestones can include particular tests or assessments and publications from previous literature like scientific journals.

  • 3. Identify Possible Risk Factors that Affect the Project Schedule

    Identify the risk factors the project can encounter by completing a project risk analysis. Conducting the analysis the researchers can indicate the possible strengths, weaknesses, and other possible opportunities after accomplishing the research and development project. It is necessary to know and be familiar with the risk that may arise during the project that can affect the project schedule. Compose a detailed list of all possible hazards that can disrupt operations, resources, and technology as the project is ongoing.

  • 4. List the Possible Areas of Future Research

    Indicate possible areas of future research according to the results of the research and development activity after its accomplishment. There are different paths that a research report can lead to, including building on a particular area of the research, addressing research flaws, or examining and testing a research theory, for the first time, from a different context, for re-evaluation processes, or expanding theories, frameworks, or models.

  • 5. Outline Possible Changes in the Key Project Personnel

    Changes in key personnel refer to the replacement or status change of principal investigators, researchers, and other significant members that are part of the research and development project. It is necessary to list down all the possible individuals that are part of the research project. It enables other researchers to address them when new knowledge stems from the research and development report.


How do you write research and development (R&D)?

Research and development must come from the involved researchers during the project and detail the nature of the advancement, including uncertainties and competencies. In writing research and development the researchers must identify the processes and difficulties they faced during the project schedule before achieving success.

What is the importance of R&D?

Research and development are essential for businesses to compete with other organizations in the industry. If a company can innovate and adapt to new knowledge and technology, they are more likely to become more successful. Sectors that invest in their research and development can provide real-world solutions to their consumers and the public market.

What is an R&D strategy?

By definition, an R&D strategy refers to a coherent set of correlated choices to decide about organizational architecture, processes, techniques, people, and projects. The R&D strategy serves as a roadmap for the company to achieve its plans for growth.

Without research and development, businesses cannot innovate and introduce new products and services to the market. Organizations must invest resources into research and development to ensure the production of marketable goods and to target the needs of the public. Ensure that the company is one step ahead of its competitors when conducting research and development. Aside from performing R&D projects, it is necessary to have them in the record. Begin writing your research and development report by downloading the samples available in this article.