The Writing Format of Reports
What Are Reports?
A report might be required by a university (an academic or business report), or it may be required as part of your job (a technical or business report).
Report writing can also be used for other reasons: to present data (e.g., a financial or lab report), to present research findings or to analyse a problem and recommend an action or strategy.
Guide to Report Writing
Reports are written to serve a specific purpose and are targeted at a specific audience. The information is presented in a clear format using sections and headings. This makes it easy to find and follow. This guide provides a basic introduction to writing reports.
What is a report?
A report is, in essence, a concise, clear, and concise document that is written for a specific purpose and audience. A report usually describes and analyses a problem or situation, and often makes recommendations for future actions. This is a factual paper and should be well-structured.
The exact format and content requirements for a report can vary from one organisation to another, and between different courses and tutors. It’s also possible that there may be specific guidelines.
Before you begin writing your report
You should first prepare and plan your report. Before you begin writing, determine who your audience is. Write your report according to their expectations and needs. To better understand the purpose of your report, you should ask several questions. These are some questions you should consider:
- Who are the readers?
- What is the purpose of this report?
- What information should be included?
Once you have identified the basic elements of your report you can start to gather supporting information and then sort it out. Next, organise your information and create an outline. It will be much easier to organise your information and write your report.
How to format your report
These are the major sections of the standard format for writing reports:
Title Section – This section includes the name and date of the report’s preparation.
Summary – A summary of the main points, conclusions, or recommendations. The summary should be brief as it provides a quick overview of the entire report. The summary will be read by many people and they may only glance at the entire report. Make sure to include all relevant information. This summary should be written last, so that you include all relevant information, even those that may be added in the final minutes.
Introduction – This is the introduction to the first page of your report. The introduction should explain the problem and tell the reader why this report is being created. If you didn’t include them in the title, you will need to define the terms and explain the arrangement of the details.
Body – The main section of the report. Each section should have a subtitle. The order in which information is presented is based on its importance, with the most important information being at the top.
Conclusion – Here is the final piece of the puzzle. This section should not contain jargon, as most people will only read the Summary and Conclusion.
Recommendations are what you need to do. Your recommendations should be explained in plain English.
Appendices – This section contains information that experts in the field will find useful. This contains all technical details to support your conclusions.
Important Things to Remember
It is important to organise the information logically, with the most crucial information appearing first. Before you begin writing your report, identify your purpose. This will help you save time and avoid a feeling of aimlessness creeping into your content.
A Word on Formatting: How a document is presented is part of its format. Most likely, your office has a preferred format for different types business documents. These specifications should be adhered to. They can sometimes help you organise your ideas and their flow.
Discuss the purpose of this report with the person in charge if you were given it. Do not proceed until you understand the reasons behind what you are doing. Everything else will follow from that.
Your goal should be clear when writing a report. It should be simple to understand and read, even for someone who is not familiar with the subject.
You should aim for clear, precise text using plain English and shorter words for long sentences.
You should set deadlines and limits. You must be clear about when your reports will be completed. From there, work backwards. Take into account what you need to do and how long it will take to accomplish it.
You must type the same information twice every time you repeat it in your report. This can increase the chance of making mistakes. Reduce repetition of key data and entire sections. This will make it easier for writers to complete their work and save reviewers time. Do you have important data that your client should not overlook? A tabular presentation at the top of your report is a better option than repetition. To learn more about report writing or to hire us for a tailored session contact our team.