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Report Reader Checklist FAQ

Why did you create the Report Reader Checklist?

The Report Reader Checklist was created to serve three main purposes:

First, the Ecampus Research Unit (ECRU) staff created the checklist as a tool for stakeholders in the field of online teaching and learning who need or want assistance with reading and understanding the results of various research reports.

Second, the checklist was designed as a tool to help readers in the field of online teaching and learning identify the strengths and weaknesses of study reports as they make decisions and/or take specific actions based on study results.

Third, the checklist is also a resource that the ECRU created to contribute to our larger goal of increasing research literacy in the field of online teaching and learning.

What was the process for creating the Report Reader Checklist?

The first draft of the checklist was created by the Ecampus Research Unit (ECRU) staff based on best practices for research design and methodology. The checklist was internally tested with several Oregon State Ecampus staff, as well as provided to reviewers outside of Oregon State University for feedback and comments. The final version has been through several iterations to make it concise, informative and user-friendly.

How did you choose your examples?

ECRU staff reviewed reports dating back to 2014 when choosing examples for the checklist supplementary website. In each report, we looked for specific examples that would speak to each of the individual criteria on the checklist.

Who is the intended audience for the Report Reader Checklist?

The checklist was created for administrators and other stakeholders in the field of online teaching and learning who are reading study reports relevant to the field of distance education. This audience could include campus leaders, faculty and instructors, instructional designers, student support staff, advisors, researchers and many others who are consuming these reports as part of their professional development or for their day-to-day work.

How do I use the Report Reader Checklist?

The checklist is meant to provide an overview of the foundational elements that should be included when reporting on the results of a study. Report readers can apply each checklist criterion to a report to see whether that element has been included or not. There are no “points” or “weighting” within the checklist, but if readers find one area (e.g., “Context” or “Methodology”) that is missing several criteria within a report, that would indicate that a report is weaker in that particular area.

The supplementary website for the checklist offers more details on each criterion, as well as sample exemplar reports for each criterion so that users can learn more about areas they are unfamiliar with.

Is there a print version of the Report Reader Checklist?

What if I think something is missing from the Report Reader Checklist?

We always appreciate feedback on the Report Reader Checklist. Submit your comments by emailing the Ecampus Research Unit staff directly at

Do you have any resources for report writers?

Yes. In response to requests from checklist users, we have created a 10 Tips for Report Writers resource. Learn more and download the resource.