Progress Reports

Progress reports are a frequently used and very useful device for staying on top of a long term project. Progress reports are simply put brief reports summarizing the progress you have made on a project to date including an outline of any problems you may have encountered as well as plans for the next work period. If your advisor doesn’t require you to submit progress reports, you might consider doing this on your own.

They have benefits for all involved:

Benefits for researcher:

  • Written record of accomplishments to date on project;
  • Opportunity to collect and gauge quality and quantity of research accomplishments; and
  • Starting point for first draft of technical paper, thesis chapter, or other written reports

Benefits for supervisor:

  • Useful method of keeping researchers and research teams on-time and on-track;
  • Written record of progress or lack thereof; and
  • Provides supervisor with knowledge of problems and allows supervisor to provide timely feedback and intercession


There really is no standard format for progress reports. However, given that the peer-reviewed technical journal article is generally viewed as a standard medium for written communication in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, if your advisor doesn’t provide you with any specific format requirements, the format for a technical article might be a useful format to adopt in preparing your progress report. Another useful format for progress reports is that of the standard business memo.

Online Technical Writing: Progress Reports.