How to Write a Report: A Guide to Report Format and Best Practice

Matt Ellis

A report is a nonfiction account that presents and/or summarizes the facts about a particular event, topic, or issue. The idea is that people who are unfamiliar with the subject can find everything they need to know from a good report. 

Reports make it easy to catch someone up to speed on a subject, but actually writing a report is anything but easy. So to help you understand what to do, below we present a little report of our own, all about report writing and report format best practices. 

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Table of contents

What is a report?

Types of report formats

What is the structure of a report, what should be included in a report, how to write a report in 7 steps, what is a report .

In technical terms, the definition of a report is pretty vague: any account, spoken or written, of the matters concerning a particular topic. This could refer to anything from a courtroom testimony to a grade schooler’s book report . 

Really, when people talk about “reports,” they’re usually referring to official documents outlining the facts of a topic, typically written by an expert on the subject or someone assigned to investigate it. There are different types of reports, explained in the next section, but they mostly fit this description. 

What kind of information is shared in reports? Although all facts are welcome, reports, in particular, tend to feature these types of content: 

  • Details of an event or situation
  • The consequences or ongoing effect of an event or situation
  • Evaluation of statistical data or analytics
  • Interpretations from the information in the report
  • Predictions or recommendations based on the information in the report
  • How the information relates to other events or reports

Reports are closely related to essay writing , although there are some clear distinctions. While both rely on facts, essays add the personal opinions and arguments of the authors. Reports typically stick only to the facts, although they may include some of the author’s interpretation of these facts, most likely in the conclusion. 

Moreover, reports are heavily organized, commonly with tables of contents and copious headings and subheadings. This makes it easier for readers to scan reports for the information they’re looking for. Essays, on the other hand, are meant to be read start to finish, not browsed for specific insights. 

There are a few different types of reports, depending on the purpose and to whom you present your report. Here’s a quick list of the common types of reports:

  • Academic report: Tests a student’s comprehension of the subject matter, such as book reports, reports on historical events, and biographies 
  • Business reports: Identifies information useful in business strategy, such as marketing reports, internal memos, SWOT analysis, and feasibility reports
  • Scientific reports: Shares research findings, such as research papers and case studies, typically in science journals

Reports can be further divided into categories based on how they are written. For example, a report could be formal or informal, short or long, and internal or external. In business, a vertical report shares information with people on different levels of the hierarchy (i.e., people who work above you and below you), while a lateral report is for people on the author’s same level, but in different departments. 

There are as many types of reports as there are writing styles, but in this guide, we focus on academic reports, which tend to be formal and informational. 

>>Read More: What Is Academic Writing?

The report format depends on the type of report and the requirements of the assignment. While reports can use their own unique structure, most follow this basic template:

  • Executive summary: Just like an abstract in an academic paper, an executive summary is a standalone section that summarizes the findings in your report so readers know what to expect. These are mostly for official reports and less so for school reports. 
  • Introduction: Setting up the body of the report, your introduction explains the overall topic that you’re about to discuss, with your thesis statement and any need-to-know background information before you get into your own findings. 
  • Body: The body of the report explains all your major discoveries, broken up into headings and subheadings. The body makes up the majority of the entire report; whereas the introduction and conclusion are just a few paragraphs each, the body can go on for pages. 
  • Conclusion: The conclusion is where you bring together all the information in your report and come to a definitive interpretation or judgment. This is usually where the author inputs their own personal opinions or inferences.  

If you’re familiar with how to write a research paper , you’ll notice that report writing follows the same introduction-body-conclusion structure, sometimes adding an executive summary. Reports usually have their own additional requirements as well, such as title pages and tables of content, which we explain in the next section. 

There are no firm requirements for what’s included in a report. Every school, company, laboratory, task manager, and teacher can make their own format, depending on their unique needs. In general, though, be on the lookout for these particular requirements—they tend to crop up a lot: 

  • Title page: Official reports often use a title page to keep things organized; if a person has to read multiple reports, title pages make them easier to keep track of. 
  • Table of contents: Just like in books, the table of contents helps readers go directly to the section they’re interested in, allowing for faster browsing. 
  • Page numbering: A common courtesy if you’re writing a longer report, page numbering makes sure the pages are in order in the case of mix-ups or misprints.
  • Headings and subheadings: Reports are typically broken up into sections, divided by headings and subheadings, to facilitate browsing and scanning. 
  • Citations: If you’re citing information from another source, the citations guidelines tell you the recommended format.
  • Works cited page: A bibliography at the end of the report lists credits and the legal information for the other sources you got information from. 

As always, refer to the assignment for the specific guidelines on each of these. The people who read the report should tell you which style guides or formatting they require. 

Now let’s get into the specifics of how to write a report. Follow the seven steps on report writing below to take you from an idea to a completed paper. 

1 Choose a topic based on the assignment

Before you start writing, you need to pick the topic of your report. Often, the topic is assigned for you, as with most business reports, or predetermined by the nature of your work, as with scientific reports. If that’s the case, you can ignore this step and move on. 

If you’re in charge of choosing your own topic, as with a lot of academic reports, then this is one of the most important steps in the whole writing process. Try to pick a topic that fits these two criteria: 

  • There’s adequate information: Choose a topic that’s not too general but not too specific, with enough information to fill your report without padding, but not too much that you can’t cover everything. 
  • It’s something you’re interested in: Although this isn’t a strict requirement, it does help the quality of a report if you’re engaged by the subject matter. 

Of course, don’t forget the instructions of the assignment, including length, so keep those in the back of your head when deciding. 

2 Conduct research

With business and scientific reports, the research is usually your own or provided by the company—although there’s still plenty of digging for external sources in both. 

For academic papers, you’re largely on your own for research, unless you’re required to use class materials. That’s one of the reasons why choosing the right topic is so crucial; you won’t go far if the topic you picked doesn’t have enough available research. 

The key is to search only for reputable sources: official documents, other reports, research papers, case studies, books from respected authors, etc. Feel free to use research cited in other similar reports. You can often find a lot of information online through search engines, but a quick trip to the library can also help in a pinch. 

3 Write a thesis statement

Before you go any further, write a thesis statement to help you conceptualize the main theme of your report. Just like the topic sentence of a paragraph, the thesis statement summarizes the main point of your writing, in this case, the report. 

Once you’ve collected enough research, you should notice some trends and patterns in the information. If these patterns all infer or lead up to a bigger, overarching point, that’s your thesis statement. 

For example, if you were writing a report on the wages of fast-food employees, your thesis might be something like, “Although wages used to be commensurate with living expenses, after years of stagnation they are no longer adequate.” From there, the rest of your report will elaborate on that thesis, with ample evidence and supporting arguments. 

It’s good to include your thesis statement in both the executive summary and introduction of your report, but you still want to figure it out early so you know which direction to go when you work on your outline next. 

4 Prepare an outline

Writing an outline is recommended for all kinds of writing, but it’s especially useful for reports given their emphasis on organization. Because reports are often separated by headings and subheadings, a solid outline makes sure you stay on track while writing without missing anything. 

Really, you should start thinking about your outline during the research phase, when you start to notice patterns and trends. If you’re stuck, try making a list of all the key points, details, and evidence you want to mention. See if you can fit them into general and specific categories, which you can turn into headings and subheadings respectively. 

5 Write a rough draft

Actually writing the rough draft , or first draft, is usually the most time-consuming step. Here’s where you take all the information from your research and put it into words. To avoid getting overwhelmed, simply follow your outline step by step to make sure you don’t accidentally leave out anything. 

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; that’s the number one rule for writing a rough draft. Expecting your first draft to be perfect adds a lot of pressure. Instead, write in a natural and relaxed way, and worry about the specific details like word choice and correcting mistakes later. That’s what the last two steps are for, anyway. 

6 Revise and edit your report

Once your rough draft is finished, it’s time to go back and start fixing the mistakes you ignored the first time around. (Before you dive right back in, though, it helps to sleep on it to start editing fresh, or at least take a small break to unwind from writing the rough draft.) 

We recommend first rereading your report for any major issues, such as cutting or moving around entire sentences and paragraphs. Sometimes you’ll find your data doesn’t line up, or that you misinterpreted a key piece of evidence. This is the right time to fix the “big picture” mistakes and rewrite any longer sections as needed. 

If you’re unfamiliar with what to look for when editing, you can read our previous guide with some more advanced self-editing tips . 

7 Proofread and check for mistakes

Last, it pays to go over your report one final time, just to optimize your wording and check for grammatical or spelling mistakes. In the previous step you checked for “big picture” mistakes, but here you’re looking for specific, even nitpicky problems. 

A writing assistant like Grammarly flags those issues for you. Grammarly’s free version points out any spelling and grammatical mistakes while you write, with suggestions to improve your writing that you can apply with just one click. The Premium version offers even more advanced features, such as tone adjustments and word choice recommendations for taking your writing to the next level. 

explain the features of report writing

Clearinfo

What is Report Writing: Format, Examples, Types & Process

  • Table of Contents

Many professionals struggle to create effective reports due to a lack of understanding of the essential elements and organization required. This can lead to frustration and a failure to communicate key information to the intended audience.

In this blog, we’ll explore what is report writing, the types of reports, essential elements, and tips for creating effective reports to help you communicate your message and achieve your goals.

Definition of report writing? 

According to Mary Munter and Lynn Hamilton, authors of “Guide to Managerial Communication,” report writing is “the process of selecting, organizing, interpreting, and communicating information to meet a specific objective.”

What is report writing? 

Report writing refers to the process of creating a document that represents information in a clear and concise manner. Reports can be written for various purposes, such as providing updates on a project, analyzing data or presenting findings, or making recommendations.

Effective report writing requires careful planning, research, analysis, and organization of information. A well-structured report should be accurate, and objective, and contain a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. It should also be written in a professional and accessible style, with appropriate use of headings, subheadings, tables, graphs, and other visual aids.

Overall, report writing is an important skill for professionals in many fields, as it helps to communicate information and insights in a clear and concise manner.

What is a report? 

A report is a formal document that is structured and presented in an organized manner, with the aim of conveying information, analyzing data, and providing recommendations. It is often used to communicate findings and outcomes to a specific audience, such as stakeholders, or managers. Reports can vary in length and format, but they usually contain a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.

Types of report writing

By understanding the different types of report writing, individuals can select the appropriate format and structure to effectively communicate information and achieve their objectives. However, the kind of report used will depend on the purpose, audience, and context of the report.

1/ Informational reports: These reports provide information about a topic, such as a product, service, or process.

Further Reading : What is an information report

2/ Analytical reports: These reports present data or information in a structured and organized manner, often with charts, graphs, or tables, to help the reader understand trends, patterns, or relationships.

3/ Formal Reports: These are detailed and structured reports written for a specific audience, often with a specific objective. In comparison with informal reports , formal reports are typically longer and more complex than other types of reports. 

4/ Progress reports: These reports provide updates on a project or initiative, detailing the progress made and any challenges or obstacles encountered. 

5/ Technical reports: These reports provide technical information, such as specifications, designs, or performance data, often aimed at a technical audience.

6/ Research reports: These reports present the findings of research conducted on a particular topic or issue, often including a literature review, data analysis, and conclusions.

7/ Feasibility Report: A feasibility report assesses the likelihood of achieving success for a suggested project or initiative.

8/ Business Reports: These reports are used in a business setting to communicate information about a company’s performance, operations, or strategies. Different types of business reports include financial statements, marketing reports, and annual reports.

Structure of report writing 

The structure of a report refers to the overall organization and layout of the report, including the sections and subsections that make up the report, their order, and their relationships to each other. A report can we divided into three parts. 

Preliminary Parts:

  • Acknowledgments (Preface or Foreword)
  • List of Tables and Illustrations
  • Introduction (clear statement of research objectives, background information, hypotheses, methodology, statistical analysis, scope of study, limitations)
  • Statement of findings and recommendations (summarized findings, non-technical language)
  • Results (detailed presentation of findings with supporting data in the form of tables and charts, statistical summaries, and reductions of data, presented in a logical sequence)
  • Implications of the results (clearly stated implications that flow from the results of the study)
  • Summary (brief summary of the research problem, methodology, major findings, and major conclusions)

End Matter:

  • Appendices (technical data such as questionnaires, sample information, and mathematical derivations)
  • Bibliography of sources consulted.

This structure provides a clear and organized framework for presenting a research report, ensuring that all important information is included and presented in a logical and easy-to-follow manner.

Extra Learnings Role of a report structure in report writing  The report structure plays a crucial role in report writing as it provides a clear and organized framework for presenting information in an effective and logical manner. It ensures that the reader can easily understand the purpose and scope of the report, locate and access the relevant information.  The preliminary parts of the report, provide an overview of the report and aid navigation. The main text makes it easier for the reader to comprehend and analyze the information. And The end matter provides additional details and sources for reference. An organized report structure also helps the author to communicate their research and ideas effectively to the intended audience.

What is the report writing format? 

The format of report writing refers to the structure of a formal document that provides information on a particular topic or issue. The report writing format typically includes the following key components: 

8 Essential elements of report writing are: 

1/ Title: The title is the first thing that readers will see, and it should be clear and concise. The title should include the report’s subject or topic and the author’s name, date of writing, or who the report is for. Remember to keep the title brief and informative, avoiding vague or ambiguous language.

Example of Business Report Title Page:   “Market Analysis and Growth Strategies for XYZ Corporation” Author: Mary Johnson Date: January 2, 2022 Company: Earthcon Corporation Department: Strategy and Planning

In this example, the title page includes the name of the report, ‘Market Analysis 2022,’ the author’s name, ‘John Doe,’ the submission date, ‘January 1, 2024,’ and other details such as the name of the organization, ‘Earthcon Corporation.’

2/ Table of Contents : The table of contents provides an overview of the report’s contents. It should list all sections and subsections with clear headings. It is essential to make the table of contents organized and easy to read, allowing readers to locate specific information quickly.

Example of  Table of Contents I. Introduction…… 1 Purpose of the Report…… 2 Methodology Used…… 2 II. Executive Summary…… 3 III. Background and Context…… 3 IV. Analysis and Findings…… 4 Market Trends and Data…… 5 Competitor Analysis…… 6 SWOT Analysis…… 7 V. Recommendations and Conclusion…… 8 VI. References…… 9

3/ Summary : Also known as the executive summary, the summary provides a brief overview of the entire report. It should summarize the report’s main points, including findings, objectives, and recommendations. The summary should be written after the entire report is completed, and it should be concise and summarized in less than one page.

Example of executive summary: The Annual Sales Report for Earthcon Company shows a 10% increase in overall sales compared to the previous year. The report also reveals that the majority of sales came from the Midwest region and the target demographic is primarily males aged 25-40. Based on these findings, recommendations have been made to focus marketing efforts towards this demographic in the upcoming year.

4/ Introduction : The introduction introduces the report’s topic and informs readers what they can expect to find in the report. The introduction should capture readers’ attention and provide relevant background information. It should be clear and concise, including why the report was written and its objectives.

Example of Introduction:  This comprehensive report aims to analyze and evaluate the sales performance of EarthCon Corporation throughout 2024. It will look into detailed sales trends observed throughout the year, carefully examining the various factors that have influenced these trends. Additionally, the report will identify and highlight potential areas for growth, offering valuable insights and recommendations to drive future success.

5/ Body: The body is the longest section and includes all the information, data, and analysis. It should present information in an organized manner, often using subheadings and bullet points. The body should include all relevant research findings and data, often accompanied by visuals such as graphs and tables. It is essential to cite all sources correctly and remain objective, avoiding personal opinions or biases.

Example of Background and Context: This report seeks to analyze the influence of technological advancements on business productivity. Previous research has indicated a correlation between the adoption of innovative technologies and increased operational efficiency for Earthcon. The report will examine further into this topic and offer suggestions for maximizing the benefits of these advancements. Example of Analysis and Findings: The market trends and data show a steady increase in demand for innovative products, with a significant rise in sales in the past five years. In comparison, competitor analysis reveals that Earthcon Corporation is well-positioned to take advantage of this trend due to its strong brand reputation and product portfolio. A SWOT analysis also highlights potential areas for improvement and growth.

6/ Conclusion: The conclusion summarizes the findings and conclusions of the report. It should wrap up all the essential information presented in the body and make recommendations based on the report’s findings. The conclusion must be brief and clear, avoiding the introduction of any new information not previously presented in the body.

7/ Recommendations: The recommendation section should provide suggested goals or steps based on the report’s information. It should be realistic and achievable, providing well-crafted solutions. It is often included in the conclusion section.

Example of Recommendations and Conclusion: Based on the analysis, it is recommended that EarthCon Corporation invest in research and development to continue producing innovative products. Additionally, efforts should be made to expand into emerging markets to increase global reach. In conclusion, the Annual Sales Report shows positive outcomes and recommends strategic actions for future growth.

8/ Appendices: The appendices section includes additional technical information or supporting materials, such as research questionnaires or survey data. It should provide supplementary information to the report without disrupting the report’s main content. 

It is important to use clear headings and subheadings and to label tables and figures. Also, proofreading and fact-checking are critical before submitting the report. A well-crafted report is concise, informative and free of personal bias or opinions.

What are the features of report writing

There are several key features of effective report writing that can help ensure that the information presented is clear, concise, and useful. Some of these features include:

1/ Clarity: Reports should be written in clear and concise language, avoiding jargon or technical terms that may be confusing to the reader. 

2/ Objectivity: A report should be objective, meaning that it should be free from bias or personal opinions. This is particularly important when presenting data or analysis.

3/ Accuracy: Reports should be based on reliable sources and accurate data. Information should be verified and cross-checked to ensure that it is correct and up-to-date.

4/ Structure: A report should be structured in a logical and organized manner, with clear headings, subheadings, and sections. 

5/ Visual aids: A report may include visual aids such as charts, tables, and graphs, which can help to illustrate the key points and make the information easier to understand.

6/ Evidence: Reports should include evidence to support any claims or findings, such as statistics, quotes, or references to relevant literature.

7/ Recommendations: Many reports include recommendations or suggestions for future action based on the findings or analysis presented.

Significance of report writing

Report writing is a critical skill that can have a significant impact on individuals, and organizations. In fact, a report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that the ability to communicate effectively, including report writing, was the most important skill sought by employers.

  • Reports provide decision-makers with the information they need to make informed decisions.
  • Effective report writing demonstrates professionalism and attention to detail, which can help to build trust and credibility with clients.
  • Reports can inform planning processes by providing data and insights that can be used to develop strategies and allocate resources.
  • Reports often include recommendations or suggestions for future action, which can help to improve processes, procedures, or outcomes.
Further Reading: What is the significance of report writing

Report writing examples and samples

Annual-Business-Report-of-Reliance-industries

Example of Progress Report

Sample-of-progress-report

The essential process of report writing

Report writing requires careful planning, organization, and analysis to ensure that the report effectively communicates the intended message to the audience. Here are the general steps involved in the process of report writing:

Plan and prepare:

  • Identify the purpose of the report, the target audience, and the scope of the report.
  • Collect and examine data from different sources, including research studies, surveys, or interviews.
  • Create an outline of the report, including headings and subheadings.

Write the introduction:

  • Start with a brief summary of the report and its purpose.
  • Provide background information and context for the report.
  • Explain the research methodology and approach used.

Write the main body:

  • Divide the report into logical sections, each with a clear heading.
  • Present the findings and analysis of the research in a clear and organized manner.
  • Use appropriate visual aids, such as tables, graphs, or charts to present data and information.
  • Utilize a language that is both clear and Brief, and avoid using unnecessary jargon or technical terminology.
  • Cite all sources used in the report according to a specified citation style.

Write the conclusion:

  • Summarize the main findings and conclusions of the report.
  • Restate the purpose of the report and how it was achieved.
  • Provide recommendations or suggestions for further action, if applicable.

Edit and revise:

  • Review the report for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  • Check that all information is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Revise and improve the report as necessary.

Format and present:

  • Use a professional and appropriate format for the report.
  • Include a title page, table of contents, and list of references or citations.
  • Incorporate headings, subheadings, and bullet points to enhance the report’s readability and facilitate navigation.
  • Use appropriate fonts and sizes, and ensure that the report is well-structured and visually appealing.

Important Principles of report writing

To write an effective report, it is important to follow some basic principles. These principles ensure that your report is clear, concise, accurate, and informative. In this regard, here are some of the key principles that you should keep in mind when writing a report:

1/ Clarity: The report should be clear and easy to understand. 

2/ Completeness: The report should cover all the relevant information needed to understand the topic

3/ Conciseness: A report should be concise, presenting only the information that is relevant and necessary to the topic. 

4/ Formatting: The report should be properly formatted, with consistent fonts, spacing, and margins

5/ Relevance: The information presented in the report should be relevant to the purpose of the report.

6/ Timeliness: The report should be completed and delivered in a timely manner.

7/ Presentation: The report should be visually appealing and well-presented.

Extra Learnings Styles of report writing When it comes to the style of report writing, it’s important to use hard facts and figures, evidence, and justification. Using efficient language is crucial since lengthy reports with too many words are difficult to read. The most effective reports are easy and quick to read since the writer has comprehended the data and formulated practical recommendations. To achieve this, it’s important to write as you speak, avoid empty words, use descending order of importance, use an active voice, and keep sentences short. The goal should be to write to express and not to impress the reader.  It’s also important to get facts 100% right and to be unbiased and open. By following these tips, one can create a well-written report that is easy to understand and provides valuable insights.

Differences between a report and other forms of writing

Reports are a specific form of writing that serves a distinct purpose and have unique characteristics. Unlike other forms of writing, such as essays or fiction, reports are typically focused on presenting factual information and making recommendations based on that information. Below we have differentiated report writing with various other forms of writing.

Essay vs report writing

Project writing vs report writing, research methodology vs report writing, article writing vs report writing, content writing vs report writing, business plan vs report writing, latest topics for report writing in 2024.

The possibilities for report topics may depend on the goals and scope of the report. The key is to choose a topic that is relevant and interesting to your audience, and that you can conduct thorough research on in order to provide meaningful insights and recommendations.  

  • A market analysis for a new product or service. 
  • An evaluation of employee satisfaction in a company. 
  • A review of the state of cybersecurity in a particular industry. 
  • A study of the prevalence and consequences of workplace discrimination. 
  • Analysis of the environmental impact of a particular industry or company. 
  • An assessment of the impact of new technology or innovations on a particular industry or sector. 

Report writing skills and techniques 

Effective report writing requires a combination of skills and techniques to communicate information and recommendations in a clear, and engaging manner.

From organizing information to tailoring the report to the intended audience, there are many factors to consider when writing a report. By mastering these skills and techniques, you can ensure that your report is well-written, informative, and engaging for your audience. Some of the primary ones are: 

1/ Organization and structure: Structure your report in a logical and organized manner with headings and subheadings.

2/ Use of data and evidence: Present objective data and evidence to support your findings and recommendations.

3/ Audience awareness: Tailor your report to the needs and interests of your intended audience.

4/ Effective visuals: Use graphs, charts, or other visuals to communicate complex information in a clear and engaging way.

5/ Editing and proofreading: Carefully edit and proofread your report to ensure it is error-free and professional.

6/ Tone: Use a professional and objective tone to communicate your findings and recommendations.

7/ Time management: Manage your time effectively to ensure you have enough time to research, write, and revise your report.

Tips for effective report writing

  • Understand your audience before you start writing. 
  • Start with an outline and cover all the important points. 
  • Employ clear and concise language.
  • Utilize headings and subheadings to organize your report.
  • Incorporate evidence and examples to support your points.
  • Thoroughly edit and proofread your report before submission.
  • Follow formatting guidelines If your report has specific formatting requirements.
  • Use visuals to enhance understanding.

What is the ethical consideration involved in report writing 

Ethical considerations play a crucial role in report writing. The accuracy of the information presented in the report is of utmost importance, as it forms the basis for any conclusions or recommendations that may be made. In addition, it is essential to avoid plagiarism by giving credit to the original sources of information and ideas. 

Another crucial ethical consideration is confidentiality, particularly when the report contains sensitive or confidential information. It is important to safeguard this information and prevent its disclosure to unauthorized individuals.

Avoiding bias in report writing is also crucial, as it is essential to present information in an objective and unbiased manner. In cases where research or data collection is involved, obtaining informed consent from human subjects is a necessary ethical requirement.

By taking these ethical considerations into account, report writers can ensure that their work is fair, accurate, and respectful to all parties involved.

Common mistakes in report writing 

There are several common mistakes that students and report writers make in report writing. By avoiding these common mistakes, students as well as report writers can create effective and impactful reports that are clear, accurate, and objective.

1/ Writing in the first person: Often, students and report writers commit an error by writing in the first person and utilizing words such as “I” or “me. In reports, it is recommended to write impersonally, using the passive voice instead.

2/ Using the wrong format: Reports should use numbered headings and subheadings to structure the content, while essays should have a clear line of argument in their content.

3/ Failing to introduce the content: The introduction of the report should introduce the content of the report, not the subject for discussion. It is important to explain the scope of the report and what is to follow, rather than explaining what a certain concept is.

4/ Missing relevant sections: Students and report writers, often miss out on including relevant sections that were specified in the assignment instructions, such as a bibliography or certain types of information. This can result in poor interpretation.

5/ Poor proofreading: Finally, not spending enough time proofreading the reported work can create unwanted mistakes. Therefore, It is important to proofread and correct errors multiple times before submitting the final report to avoid any mistakes that could have been easily corrected.

By avoiding these common mistakes, students and report writers can improve the quality of their reports. 

What are some challenges of report writing and how to overcome them

Report writing can be a challenging task for many reasons. Here are some common challenges of report writing and how to overcome them:

1/ Lack of clarity on the purpose of the report: To overcome this challenge, it is important to clearly define the purpose of the report before starting. This can help to focus the content of the report and ensure that it meets the needs of the intended audience.

2/ Difficulty in organizing ideas: Reports often require a significant amount of information to be organized in a logical and coherent manner. To overcome this challenge, it can be helpful to create an outline or flowchart to organize ideas before beginning to write.

3/ Time management: Writing a report can be time-consuming, and it is important to allow sufficient time to complete the task. To overcome this challenge, it can be helpful to create a timeline or schedule for the various stages of the report-writing process.

4/ Writer’s block: Sometimes writers may experience writer’s block, making it difficult to start or continue writing the report. To overcome this challenge, it can be helpful to take a break, engage in other activities or brainstorming sessions to generate new ideas.

5/ Difficulty in citing sources: It is important to properly cite sources used in the report to avoid plagiarism and maintain credibility. To overcome this challenge, it can be helpful to use citation management tools, such as EndNote or Mendeley, to keep track of sources and ensure accurate referencing.

6/ Review and editing: Reviewing and editing a report can be a challenging task, especially when it is one’s own work. To overcome this challenge, it can be helpful to take a break before reviewing the report and seek feedback from others to gain a fresh perspective.

By being aware of these challenges and taking proactive steps to overcome them, report writers can create effective and impactful reports that meet the needs of their intended audience.

Best Software for writing reports 

Report writing software has made it easier for writers to produce professional-looking reports with ease. These software tools offer a range of features and functionalities, including data visualization, collaboration, and customization options. In this section, we will explore some of the best report-writing software available:

1/ Tableau : This tool is great for creating interactive and visually appealing reports, as it allows users to easily create charts, graphs, and other data visualizations. It also supports data blending, which means that you can combine data from multiple sources to create more comprehensive reports.

2/ Zoho reporting : This tool is designed to help users create and share professional-looking reports quickly and easily. It offers a variety of customizable templates, as well as a drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy to add data and create charts and graphs.

3/ Bold Reports by Syncfusion : This tool is designed specifically for creating reports in .NET applications. It offers a wide range of features, including interactive dashboards, real-time data connectivity, and customizable themes and templates.

4/  Fast Reports : This tool is a reporting solution for businesses of all sizes. It allows users to create reports quickly and easily using a drag-and-drop interface and offers a variety of templates and customization options. It also supports a wide range of data sources, including databases, spreadsheets, and web services.

Further Reading : 10+ Best Report Writing Software and Tools in 2024

What is the conclusion of report writing

The conclusion of report writing is the final section of the report that summarizes the main findings, conclusions, and recommendations. It should tie together all the different sections of the report and present a clear and concise summary of the key points. 

THE UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE has given an inverted introduction framework that can use used for writing effective conclusions for reports. 

inverted-introduction-pyramid-framework

Example of conclusion in report writing:

The implication of the above diagram can be explained with the following example:  

1. RETURN TO TOPIC:

Social media has revolutionized the marketing landscape, providing new opportunities for brands to connect with their target audience.

2. RESTATE THESIS:

However, the complexities and limitations of social media mean that it is unlikely to completely replace traditional marketing methods. The role of the marketing professional remains crucial in ensuring that social media strategies align with the company’s overall goals and effectively reach the desired audience.

3. SUMMARY OF IDEAS DISCUSSED:

Automated tools cannot fully account for the nuances of human communication or provide the level of personalization that consumers crave. Therefore, the most effective marketing strategies will likely blend social media tactics with traditional marketing channels.

4. CONCLUDING STATEMENT [restating thesis]:

In conclusion, while social media presents significant opportunities for brands, the expertise of marketing professionals is still essential to creating successful campaigns that achieve desired outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1) what is report writing and example.

Ans: Report writing involves preparing a structured document that delivers information to a particular audience in a clear and systematic manner. An example of a report could be a business report analyzing the financial performance of a company and making recommendations for improvement.

Q2) What is report writing and types of reports?

Ans: The act of presenting information in an orderly and structured format is known as report writing. Reports come in different types, such as analytical reports, research reports, financial reports, progress reports, incident reports, feasibility reports, and recommendation reports.

Q3) What are the 5 steps of report writing

The five steps of report writing, are as follows:

  • Planning: This involves defining the purpose of the report, determining the audience, and conducting research to gather the necessary information.
  • Structuring: This step involves deciding on the structure of the report, such as the sections and subsections, and creating an outline.
  • Writing: This is the stage where the actual writing of the report takes place, including drafting and revising the content.
  • Reviewing: In this step, the report is reviewed for accuracy, coherence, and effectiveness, and any necessary changes are made.
  • Presenting: This final step involves presenting the report in a clear and professional manner, such as through the use of headings, visuals, and a table of contents.

Q4) What is a report in short answer? 

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What is Report Writing? A Beginner's Guide

Explore the art of effective communication in our blog, "What is Report Writing? A Beginner's Guide." Discover the fundamental skills needed for Report Writing and how it plays a crucial role in various aspects of life, from academics to the professional world. Get started on your journey to becoming a proficient Report Writer.

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Well, you're in the right place. In this blog, we will explain What is Report Writing and take you through the world of Report Writing step by step. We'll explore different Report types, learn about the Report Writing format, discover helpful tips, and even distinguish it from other types of writing. 

Table of Contents  

1) Understanding What is Report Writing? 

2) Types of Reports 

3) What is the Report Writing format?  

4) Tips for effective Report Writing 

5) Difference between Project Writing and Report Writing 

6) Conclusion 

Understanding What is Report Writing? 

Report Writing is the process of presenting information in a structured and organised way. It serves as a means of communicating facts, findings, or recommendations to a specific audience, typically in a written format. This type of writing is used in various fields, including academics, business, science, and government, to convey important details and insights. 

A Report typically starts with a clear purpose or objective. The Writer gathers relevant information through research, observation, or data collection. This data is then analysed and organised into a coherent document. Reports can vary in length, complexity, and style, depending on the intended audience and purpose. 

One of the key aspects of Report Writing is its structure. A typical Report consists of sections such as an introduction, methodology, findings or results, discussion, and a conclusion. These sections help readers understand the context, the process of gathering information, the outcomes, and the significance of the findings. 

Reports often include visual aids like charts, graphs, and tables to make complex data more accessible. Additionally, citing sources is essential to provide credibility and allow readers to verify the information.  

Report Writing Training

Types of Reports 

Different Types of Reports serve various purposes, and understanding their distinctions is crucial for effective communication in academic, professional, and organisational settings. Here, we'll explore four common types of Reports:  

Types of Reports

Routine Reports 

Routine Reports are regular updates on ongoing activities, often within an organisation. These Reports provide concise information about daily or periodic operations, helping stakeholders stay informed and make informed decisions.  

They focus on facts and figures, avoid unnecessary details, and typically follow a standardised format. Examples include daily Sales Reports, Attendance Reports, And Inventory Status Reports. Routine Reports are essential for tracking performance and ensuring smooth operations. 

Special Reports 

Special Reports are more in-depth and are created for specific purposes, such as investigating a particular issue or analysing a unique situation. These Reports require extensive research and a comprehensive presentation of findings. They are often used to address complex problems or make critical decisions.  

For instance, a company might commission a Special Report to evaluate the impact of a new product launch, or a government agency might prepare a Special Report on the environmental impact of a policy change. Special Reports provide a thorough examination of a specific topic and often include detailed recommendations. 

Formal Reports 

Formal Reports are comprehensive and meticulously structured documents characterised by a standardised format. They usually include a title page, table of contents, executive summary, methodology, findings, discussion, recommendations, and conclusion. Formal Reports are common in academic and corporate environments, as well as in government and research institutions.  

They are used to present detailed information and analyses, often for decision-making or academic purposes. A thesis, a business proposal, or an annual Financial Report are examples of Formal Reports. These Reports require a high degree of professionalism and follow strict formatting and citation guidelines. 

Informal Reports 

Informal Reports are less structured and often used for internal communication within an organisation. They are generally shorter and more straightforward than Formal Reports, emphasising brevity and efficiency. Memos, email updates, and short Progress Reports are common examples of informal Reports. 

They serve to share information quickly, often within a department or among team members. Informal Reports are valuable for everyday communication, problem-solving, and decision-making within an organisation, and they do not require the extensive structure and formality of Formal Reports. 

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What is the Report Writing format?  

Report Writing Format is a way of organising and presenting information in a concise and clear manner. It usually follows a standard structure that can be adapted to different purposes and audiences. A typical Report Writing format consists of the following elements:  

Elements in Report Writing

a) Title page : This is the first page of the Report that contains the title, the author’s name, the date, and any other relevant information. 

b) Table of contents : This is an optional page that lists the sections and subsections of the Report with their corresponding page numbers. 

c) Executive summary (or abstract) : This serves as a concise summary outlining the key points and discoveries within the Report. It should be written in a clear and concise manner and highlight the purpose, scope, methodology, results, analysis, conclusion, and recommendations of the Report. 

d) Introduction : This is the first section of the Report that introduces the topic, background, objectives, and scope of the Report. It should also provide a clear statement of the problem or research question that the Report aims to address. 

e) Methodology : This is the section that describes how the data or information was collected and analysed. It should explain the methods, tools, techniques, sources, and criteria used in the research or investigation. It should also mention any limitations or challenges encountered in the process. 

f) Findings/results : This is the section that presents the data or information obtained from the research or investigation. It should be organised in a logical and coherent manner, using headings, subheadings, tables, graphs, charts, and other visual aids to illustrate the key points and trends. 

g) Analysis and discussion : This is the section that interprets and evaluates the findings or results of the Report. It should explain what the data or information means, how it relates to the problem or research question, and what implications or conclusions can be drawn from it. It should also compare and contrast the findings or results with other relevant sources or literature. 

h) Conclusion : This is the final section of the Report that summarises the main points and findings of the Report. It should restate the purpose, objectives, and scope of the Report and provide a clear answer to the problem or research question. It should also highlight the main implications or contributions of the Report to the field or topic of interest. 

i) Recommendations : This is an optional section that provides suggestions or actions based on the findings or conclusions of the Report. It should be realistic, feasible, and specific and address any issues or gaps identified in the Report. 

j) References : This is a list of sources that were cited or consulted in the Report. It should follow a consistent citation style, such as APA, MLA, Harvard, etc. 

k) Appendices : These are additional materials that support or supplement the main content of the Report. They may include data tables, calculations, questionnaires, interview transcripts, etc. 

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Tips for effective Report Writing 

Here are some tips for effective Report Writing:  

Tips for effective Report Writing

a) Know your purpose and audience : Before you start writing, you should have a clear idea of why you are writing the Report and who will read it. This will help you decide what information to include, what tone and style to use, and how to structure and format your Report. 

b) Plan and research : You should plan your Report by outlining the main sections and sub-sections and identifying the key points and arguments you want to make. You should also research your topic thoroughly, using reliable and relevant sources and taking notes of the data and evidence you will use to support your claims. 

c) Write and edit : You should write your Report in a concise and clear manner, using simple and precise language and avoiding jargon and slang. You should also follow the Report Writing format that suits your purpose and audience and use headings, subheadings, bullet points, tables, graphs, charts, and other visual aids to organise and present your information. You should also edit your Report carefully, checking for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting errors and ensuring that your Report is coherent and consistent. 

d) Use tools and software : You can use various tools and software to help you with your Report Writing process. For example, you can use Bing to search for information on your topic or to find examples of Reports written in different formats. You can write and edit your Report, using features such as grammar check, spell check, word count, citation manager, etc, in Google Docs or Microsoft Word. You can also use PowerPoint or Prezi to create and present your Report visually.

a) Purpose : Project Writing is usually done to demonstrate the student’s ability to apply their skills and knowledge to a specific problem or topic. Report Writing is usually done to present the results and findings of a research or investigation on a specific problem or topic. 

b) Format : Project Writing does not have a fixed format, but it may follow the structure of an essay, with an introduction, body, and conclusion. Report Writing has a fixed format, with a title page, table of contents, summary, introduction, methodology, findings/results, analysis/discussion, conclusion, recommendations, references, and appendices. 

c) Features : Project Writing is more creative and flexible than Report Writing. It may include personal opinions, reflections, or recommendations. Report Writing is more formal and objective than project writing. It should be based on reliable sources and data and avoid personal opinions or bias. 

d) Examples : Some examples of Project Writing are a business plan, a marketing campaign, a software development, a case study analysis, etc. Some examples of Report Writing are a Lab Report, a Market Research Report, a Scientific Report, a Feasibility Report, etc. 

Project Writing and Report Writing are different types of academic writing that require different skills and approaches. You should always check the requirements and expectations of your course and module handbooks, instructions from your lecturer, and your subject conventions before you start writing. 

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Conclusion 

Report Writing is a crucial skill that can open doors to various opportunities in your academic and professional life. By understanding What is Report Writing, the types of Reports, Report Writing formats, and following effective tips, you can become a proficient Report Writer. Moreover, recognising the differences between project writing, article writing, and Report Writing will help you choose the right approach for your communication needs. Finally, with the help of modern Report writing software, you can streamline the process and create impressive Reports that convey your message effectively.  

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What is Report Writing? Parts, Types, Structure, Process

  • Post last modified: 4 June 2023
  • Reading time: 30 mins read
  • Post category: Business Communication

What is Report Writing?

Report writing is a formal style of presenting objective facts and information. There can be various types of reports, such as academic reports, science reports, business reports, technical reports, and news reports. A report can be verbal or written. However, a written report is more formal than a verbal report.

What is Report Writing

Table of Content

  • 1 What is Report Writing?
  • 2 Report Writing Definition
  • 3 Report Writing Advantage
  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Background
  • 4.3 Findings
  • 4.4 Conclusions
  • 4.5 Recommendations
  • 5.1 Informational reports
  • 5.2 Analytical reports
  • 5.3 News reports
  • 6.2 Remaining details
  • 6.3 Informational news report
  • 6.4 Analytical news report
  • 6.5 Additional details
  • 6.6 Concluding sentence
  • 7.1 Identify
  • 7.2 Research
  • 7.3 Organise
  • 8 Feasibility Reports
  • 9.1 Cover letter
  • 9.2 Executive summary
  • 9.3 Proposal
  • 9.4 Pricing information
  • 9.5 Terms and conditions

Report Writing Definition

Report writing is the process of organizing and presenting information in a clear, concise, and objective manner for a specific audience. It involves gathering data, analyzing it, and presenting it in a format that is easy to understand and relevant to the topic at hand. – The University of Wisconsin Writing Center

Report writing is the art of communicating information that has been acquired through research or investigation in a formal, structured manner. It involves synthesizing information, drawing conclusions, and making recommendations based on the findings. – The American Management Association

Report writing is the process of creating a document that provides information, analysis, and recommendations on a particular topic or issue. It requires the ability to organize and present data in a logical and meaningful way, as well as to convey complex ideas in a clear and concise manner. – The International Business Communication Standards (IBCS)

Report Writing Advantage

A written report also provides the following advantages:

  • A written report presents a formal record of a transaction, which is not possible in a verbal report.
  • A written report conveys a message without any distortion. On the other hand, a message can be easily misrepresented in a verbal report.
  • A written report is more convenient for lengthy and distant communication.
  • A written report requires a reader to think before responding to a message.
  • Facts, figures and statistical data can be better represented graphically in a written report.

However, writing a report is not as easy as drafting a formal e-mail. A report is a brief, precise document. It is written for a specific audience with some specific objective. To write a report, you need to first thoroughly understand the purpose of report writing, then research information from various sources, verify the validity of information, analyse information, and then present findings or results. These findings must be reported objectively without personal biases.

A well-written report must have an effective objective analysis. Based on the analysis, you can recommend possible courses of action for the future. However, it is up to the report reader to accept the recommendations.

Therefore, while report writing, you must pay attention to why you are writing the report and who has asked you to write the report. This will help you investigate the information appropriately.

Parts of a Report

Following are the main sections of a formal report :

Introduction

Conclusions, recommendations.

This section indicates the purpose of the report, who has ordered the report, how the data is collected, and whether any recommendations are provided. In addition, the introduction section may also provide information on who has written the report and the date on which it is submitted.

This section provides the background of a problem or a situation on which the report is written. In case the report is too lengthy, then instead of introduction, an executive summary should be written.

The purpose of an executive summary is to enable top executives and managers to get a quick snapshot of a long report without reading the entire report. Therefore, the executive summary comes before introduction. Of course, then there would be no background section.

This is the longest section of a report, which is written after the investigation is over. This section presents factual information without any interpretation or suggestions.

Each finding is summarised as a conclusion in this section. In the above sample report, there are four conclusions based on the summary of each paragraph in the findings section. These conclusions are listed numerically in the same order as the corresponding findings.

The final section provides a numbered list of recommendations, which are based on the list of the conclusion. Each recommendation uses the verb should. This is because the writer is simply giving suggestions and not making a decision. Therefore, the verb should is used instead of the verb will. However, there are exceptions:

  • To give a strong recommendation: Use the verb must. For example, ‘The team managers must ensure that the break hours are not shortened.’
  • To give a weak recommendation: Use the verb could. For example, ‘Having a coffee dispenser in the facility could boost the staff morale.’

Types of Reports

Reports exist in our academics and workplaces in so many forms that we may not even be aware of them. For example, a student submits a laboratory report to communicate the methods and results of scientific experiments conducted in a lab.

Academicians and business people use research reports to view scientific studies of an issue or a problem. Policy-makers read field study reports to read about the ground situation from branch offices and manufacturing plants. Similarly, there are progress reports, technical reports, functional reports, case studies, etc.

All these reports share the attributes, principles, and format of report writing, which are described above. These reports can be organised into three groups:

Informational reports

Analytical reports, news reports.

An informational report is used to objectively present information without any analysis. Examples of informational reports include the First Information Report (FIR), annual reports, monthly financial reports, or employee attrition reports. These reports only report the facts as they are.

For example, the police write an FIR to record details about a cognisable offence, such as personal details of the complainant/informant, place, date and time of occurrence, offence, description of the accused, witnesses, and complaint.

Similarly, a company presents an annual report to its shareholders to present details of its business activities and finances of the previous financial year. An informational report presents objective facts without analysing the reasons and conditions behind the reported situation.

For example, if someone wants to study information on a field trip, then he can ask for a site visit report. Similarly, if a manager wants to view the feedback of a training programme, then he can ask for the training feedback report from the trainer. If the head of a department wants to get an update on the different projects in his department, he can ask for progress reports from different project managers.

An analytical report evaluates a problem or an issue and presents the outcomes of analysis to explain the causes of the problem, demonstrate relationships, or make recommendations.

For example, a scientific or market research report studies a problem scientifically by developing a hypothesis, gathering data, analysing data, and presenting findings and conclusions.

Similarly, a feasibility analysis report studies a problem and predicts whether the current solution or alternatives will be practical or will produce the desired outcome. Whenever you need to make a critical decision, then an analytical report is prepared. These reports help the decision-maker(s) analyse the prevailing situation.

For example, a company wants to decide where to open a branch office in a particular area. In this situation, an analytical report can evaluate the details of the property, such as infrastructure, land cost, competitive stores, etc., and then recommend the best site from the available options.

If you are working as or aspire to be a journalist, then you may need to write a press report. A press report is a newsworthy article in a newspaper, magazine or website. It is different from the press release by companies. A press release is an official statement of a company on an important subject or event. A press release generally focuses on one particular subject, such as a milestone, a launch, an anniversary, etc.

On the other hand, a press report discusses the subject in detail. A press release is a marketing tool used by companies to keep the general public and the media updated about its newsworthy occasions. It helps build a company’s visibility in the minds of its customers and community at large.

A press release is generally prepared by a company’s marketing or Public Relations (PR) team, whereas a press report is written by an independent journalist. Therefore, a press report presents more objective information than a press release, which is a company’s promotional mouthpiece. Just like informational and analytical reports, a press report requires considerable research on a subject before it is written credibly.

The author must ask the 5 Ws and 1 H – who, what, where, why, when, and how. Questions arise in the following manner:

  • What happened?
  • Where did it happen?
  • When did it happen?
  • Who was involved?
  • Why did it happen?
  • How did it happen?

After finding the answers, he must note down all the relevant facts that must be mentioned in the news report. These facts can be organised into the following three groups:

  • Vital and interesting facts
  • Not vital but interesting facts
  • Not vital, not interesting, but related facts

By organising information into the above groups, the author will be able to include all the relevant facts into the news report. The facts must be specific. If there are gaps in the story and the related information is not available, then questions can be marked against them so that these can be researched further.

Next, the author must decide the type of news report he wants to write – informational or analytical. The former will provide objective and straightforward information, whereas the latter will also provide the author’s opinion on the subject.

After determining the type of news report to write, the author must create an outline or structure of the report. The most common structure is an inverted triangle, where the most important information is at the top.

A news report must provide the information that the readers want as soon as possible. If the news report is for a newspaper, then the most important news must be above the “fold”. The “fold” is the crease in the newspaper when it is folded in half. All the engaging stories are above the fold. Similarly, on a website, the most important information is at the top of the screen before one has to scroll down.

A news report must be written according to the audience. The author should ask the 5Ws with respect to the audience reaction, such as:

  • Who is the audience?
  • Where is the audience?
  • What does the audience want to read?
  • Why do they want to read it?
  • When will they read it?

Structure of News Report

Finally, the structure of a news report is as follows:

Remaining details

Informational news report, analytical news report, additional details, concluding sentence.

The leading sentence of a news report is the most important section. It should tell what the news report is all about, why it is important, and what information the rest of the news report provides.

These provide the basic information of what happened, where it happened, when it happened, who was involved, and why it was remarkable.

In this report, the remaining details provide more information about the newsworthy item.

In this report, the remaining details also provide the opinion of the author.

These details help the reader learn more about the newsworthy item, such as additional facts about the subject, contact information, or interview quotes. These details comprise transitional elements that help build the flow of information. In an analytical report, these can also include counter-arguments and their authors.

The news report should end with a concluding sentence, which repeats the leading statement or a statement mentioning future developments.

Report Writing Process

This process will ensure that your report is accurate, clear, comprehensive and credible.

Before writing a report, identify the following parameters:

  • Issue or problem : Identify the issue or problem to analyse.
  • Audience : Identify who the audience is. Find out their background information. Determine why they would want to read the report.
  • Purpose : Determine the purpose for which the report will be used.
  • Scope and limitations : Identify the scope of the report. Determine the limitations of report writing.
  • Expectations : Determine expectations regarding the format or structure of the report. Identify the models available for report writing. Determine whether there is a style guide and/or a marketing guide.

To research the facts or information for report writing:

  • Plan : Make a draft plan on how to analyse the problem and present the objective of the report.
  • Collect data: Collect information based on the purpose of the report.
  • Analyse : Finally, analyse and evaluate the collected information.

After gathering and analysing the required information, organise it as follows:

  • Main points : Identify the main points of the report. These main points should be supported by adequate evidence.
  • Additional information : Identify the supporting information that analyses and confirms the main points. This information should be placed in appendices.
  • Logical structure : Organise the entire information into a logical structure to help the readers easily navigate to the desired part of the report.
  • Write : After deciding the logical structure of the report, fill in the elements of the report, including executive summary, main body, introduction and conclusion.
  • Revise : Finally, verify if it is appropriate for the problem, audience, and purpose.

Feasibility Reports

A feasibility report is a written document that analyses the proposed solution and examines whether it is feasible considering various types of constraints such as financial, social, environmental, social, technical, and legal that can make it impossible for a solution to be opted.

Feasibility reports assess the practicality of following a particular course of action for a project. It advises whether it will be feasible to opt for a particular course of action or will this proposal or plan work? These are written internal reports that advise on consolidating departments or to organise a wellness programme for employees or to outsource company’s accounting or social media or to move the manufacturing unit to a new location.

Some companies hire a professional consultant to write feasibility reports in order to investigate a problem. These reports help in deciding whether to proceed or reject the proposed option.

  • Overview of the Project
  • Objectives of the Project
  • The Need for the Project
  • Overview of Existing Systems and Technologies
  • Scope of the Project
  • Deliverables
  • Financial Feasibility
  • Technical Feasibility
  • Resource and Time Feasibility
  • Risk Feasibility
  • Social/Legal Feasibility
  • Considerations

Proposal Writing

A business proposal is defined as a written document from a seller that offers a particular service or product to a prospective buyer. Business proposals are important in scenarios where a buyer might consider multiple prices in a transaction.

A good business proposal considers the buyer’s requirements and puts forth the seller’s proposal in a way that favours the seller’s products and services, and persuades the buyer about the offer. A business proposal is a critical document as it determines the difference between success and failure in a venture. Business proposals can be:

  • Solicited : These are requested by clients themselves or submitted in response to an advertisement published by the client. Solicited business proposals generally have a better chance of success since they are tailored to the requirements of the person receiving the proposal.
  • Unsolicited : These are submitted to potential clients even though they did not request for one. These are non-specific proposals and have no direct connection to the client’s requirements. Sellers use them to market a product or service to a prospective customer.

Because proposals are time-consuming, it is the best to start with available templates if possible. You will save a lot of time if you start with a proposal template that matches what you need and then customise it according to your requirements.

A business proposal includes various sections which are defined as follows:

Cover letter

Executive summary, pricing information, terms and conditions.

In the other article, you studied writing cover letters for a job application. A business proposal also needs a cover letter because a good cover letter will stimulate interest in the proposal. Make sure to highlight your positives and personalise them to the client to whom you are sending the business proposal.

This is where you give the client a ‘problem statement’ to help him identify the challenges and requirements in his business. This is because in order to persuade the client to do business with you, you first need to make sure that the client realises they have those needs. Then you briefly state how you will be able to help them meet those requirements.

The proposal is the part where you offer a detailed solution to the challenges and needs of the prospective client. This is the main reason for submitting a business proposal so it should be as detailed as possible, addressing all the needs of the client.

You should explain to the client all services that you can provide. You should tailor your list of services to suit the particular client’s needs but include other services that you may provide. Also include an estimated project schedule and time frame.

Most buyers consider the price of services before offering a contract. Thus, getting accurate pricing information is crucial. However, two points must be kept in mind. One it is important to be exact with the pricing and the second is to never negotiate below what you think the project is worth.

For smaller projects, a ‘fee summary’ will do the job. But a ‘fee schedule’ is needed for bigger projects, where payments need to be broken down to specific milestones.

It is in your interest to get legal counsel to review the proposal as this will cover your business against claims.

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Some academic assignments ask for a ‘report’, rather than an essay, and students are often confused about what that really means.

Likewise, in business, confronted with a request for a ‘report’ to a senior manager, many people struggle to know what to write.

Confusion often arises about the writing style, what to include, the language to use, the length of the document and other factors.

This page aims to disentangle some of these elements, and provide you with some advice designed to help you to write a good report.

What is a Report?

In academia there is some overlap between reports and essays, and the two words are sometimes used interchangeably, but reports are more likely to be needed for business, scientific and technical subjects, and in the workplace.

Whereas an essay presents arguments and reasoning, a report concentrates on facts.

Essentially, a report is a short, sharp, concise document which is written for a particular purpose and audience. It generally sets outs and analyses a situation or problem, often making recommendations for future action. It is a factual paper, and needs to be clear and well-structured.

Requirements for the precise form and content of a report will vary between organisation and departments and in study between courses, from tutor to tutor, as well as between subjects, so it’s worth finding out if there are any specific guidelines before you start.

Reports may contain some or all of the following elements:

  • A description of a sequence of events or a situation;
  • Some interpretation of the significance of these events or situation, whether solely your own analysis or informed by the views of others, always carefully referenced of course (see our page on Academic Referencing for more information);
  • An evaluation of the facts or the results of your research;
  • Discussion of the likely outcomes of future courses of action;
  • Your recommendations as to a course of action; and
  • Conclusions.

Not all of these elements will be essential in every report.

If you’re writing a report in the workplace, check whether there are any standard guidelines or structure that you need to use.

For example, in the UK many government departments have outline structures for reports to ministers that must be followed exactly.

Sections and Numbering

A report is designed to lead people through the information in a structured way, but also to enable them to find the information that they want quickly and easily.

Reports usually, therefore, have numbered sections and subsections, and a clear and full contents page listing each heading. It follows that page numbering is important.

Modern word processors have features to add tables of contents (ToC) and page numbers as well as styled headings; you should take advantage of these as they update automatically as you edit your report, moving, adding or deleting sections.

Report Writing

Getting started: prior preparation and planning.

The structure of a report is very important to lead the reader through your thinking to a course of action and/or decision. It’s worth taking a bit of time to plan it out beforehand.

Step 1: Know your brief

You will usually receive a clear brief for a report, including what you are studying and for whom the report should be prepared.

First of all, consider your brief very carefully and make sure that you are clear who the report is for (if you're a student then not just your tutor, but who it is supposed to be written for), and why you are writing it, as well as what you want the reader to do at the end of reading: make a decision or agree a recommendation, perhaps.

Step 2: Keep your brief in mind at all times

During your planning and writing, make sure that you keep your brief in mind: who are you writing for, and why are you writing?

All your thinking needs to be focused on that, which may require you to be ruthless in your reading and thinking. Anything irrelevant should be discarded.

As you read and research, try to organise your work into sections by theme, a bit like writing a Literature Review .

Make sure that you keep track of your references, especially for academic work. Although referencing is perhaps less important in the workplace, it’s also important that you can substantiate any assertions that you make so it’s helpful to keep track of your sources of information.

The Structure of a Report

Like the precise content, requirements for structure vary, so do check what’s set out in any guidance.

However, as a rough guide, you should plan to include at the very least an executive summary, introduction, the main body of your report, and a section containing your conclusions and any recommendations.

Executive Summary

The executive summary or abstract , for a scientific report, is a brief summary of the contents. It’s worth writing this last, when you know the key points to draw out. It should be no more than half a page to a page in length.

Remember the executive summary is designed to give busy 'executives' a quick summary of the contents of the report.

Introduction

The introduction sets out what you plan to say and provides a brief summary of the problem under discussion. It should also touch briefly on your conclusions.

Report Main Body

The main body of the report should be carefully structured in a way that leads the reader through the issue.

You should split it into sections using numbered sub-headings relating to themes or areas for consideration. For each theme, you should aim to set out clearly and concisely the main issue under discussion and any areas of difficulty or disagreement. It may also include experimental results. All the information that you present should be related back to the brief and the precise subject under discussion.

If it’s not relevant, leave it out.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The conclusion sets out what inferences you draw from the information, including any experimental results. It may include recommendations, or these may be included in a separate section.

Recommendations suggest how you think the situation could be improved, and should be specific, achievable and measurable. If your recommendations have financial implications, you should set these out clearly, with estimated costs if possible.

A Word on Writing Style

When writing a report, your aim should be to be absolutely clear. Above all, it should be easy to read and understand, even to someone with little knowledge of the subject area.

You should therefore aim for crisp, precise text, using plain English, and shorter words rather than longer, with short sentences.

You should also avoid jargon. If you have to use specialist language, you should explain each word as you use it. If you find that you’ve had to explain more than about five words, you’re probably using too much jargon, and need to replace some of it with simpler words.

Consider your audience. If the report is designed to be written for a particular person, check whether you should be writing it to ‘you’ or perhaps in the third person to a job role: ‘The Chief Executive may like to consider…’, or ‘The minister is recommended to agree…’, for example.

A Final Warning

As with any academic assignment or formal piece of writing, your work will benefit from being read over again and edited ruthlessly for sense and style.

Pay particular attention to whether all the information that you have included is relevant. Also remember to check tenses, which person you have written in, grammar and spelling. It’s also worth one last check against any requirements on structure.

For an academic assignment, make sure that you have referenced fully and correctly. As always, check that you have not inadvertently or deliberately plagiarised or copied anything without acknowledging it.

Finally, ask yourself:

“Does my report fulfil its purpose?”

Only if the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ should you send it off to its intended recipient.

Continue to: How to Write a Business Case Planning an Essay

See also: Business Writing Tips Study Skills Writing a Dissertation or Thesis

explain the features of report writing

Report Writing And Its Significance In Your Career

You reach the office at around 9.00 AM, switch on your system, and start working. It’s a usual workday for…

Report Writing And Its Significance In Your Career

You reach the office at around 9.00 AM, switch on your system, and start working. It’s a usual workday for you until your manager comes to your desk and asks you to create a sales report. That’s the first time you’ve got such a task, and find yourself struggling with basic questions such as, “What’s a report?” and “How do I write one?”

What Is Report Writing?

Elements of report writing, importance of report writing.

You must have heard the term ‘report writing’ before.

According to the commonly known definition of report writing, a report is a formal document that elaborates on a topic using facts, charts, and graphs to support its arguments and findings.

Any report—whether it’s about a business event or one that describes the processes of various departments in a company—is meant for a particular type of audience.

But why do you think your manager wants you to create a report?

One simple answer is: an elaborate report prepared with evaluated facts helps solve complex problems. When managers come across certain business situations, they ask for comprehensive and well-thought-out reports that can help them design business plans.

Once you have an idea about what a report is, the next step is to understand how you can write one.

There are different types of reports, and each has a specific structure, usually known as ‘elements of the report’.

While we tell you what the elements of report writing are, if you want detailed guidance, you can go for Harappa Education’s Writing Proficiently course that talks about the popular PREP (Point of starting, Reason, Evidence, and Point of ending) model of report writing.

Every report starts with a title page and a table of contents, after which come the main sections–the executive summary, introduction, discussion, and conclusion.

Executive Summary:

Do you remember summary writing for English class during school days? You were asked to read a story or passage and write a summary, including the important takeaways. ( ambien )

That’s exactly what you are expected to do in a report’s executive summary section. This section presents a brief overview of the report’s contents. You should present the key points of the report in this section.

But why is it important to write an executive summary at the start of the report?

Firstly, the summary will help readers better understand the purpose, key points, and evidence you are going to present in the report. Secondly, readers who are in a hurry can read the summary for a preview of the report.

Here are some specifics that will help you write a clear and concise summary:

Include the purpose of your report and emphasize conclusions or recommendations.

Include only the essential or most significant information to support your theories and conclusions.

Follow the same sequence of information that you have used in the report.

Keep the summary length to 10-15% of the complete report.

Try not to introduce any new information or point in summary that you haven’t covered in the report.

The summary should communicate the message clearly and independently.

Introduction:  

The introduction section should:

Briefly describe the background and context of the research you have done.

Describe the change, problem, or issue related to the topic.

Define the relevant objectives and purpose of the report

Give hints about the overall answer to the problem covered in the report.

Comment on the limitations and any assumptions you have made to get to the conclusion.

Discussion:

This section serves two purposes:

It justifies the recommendations.

It explains the conclusions.

While you are writing the discussion section, make sure you do the following:

Present your analysis logically.

If needed, divide the information under appropriate headings to improving readability and ease of understanding.

Explain your points and back up your claims with strong and evaluated evidence.

Connect your theory with real-life scenarios

Conclusion:

The last key element of report writing is the conclusion section. Present the conclusion as follows:

  • The primary conclusion should come first.

Identify and interpret the major problems related to the case your report is based on.

Relate to the objectives that you have mentioned in the introduction.

Keep the conclusion brief and specific.

Before you start writing a report, it’s important to understand the significance of the report. It’s also crucial to research independently instead of relying on data and trends available on the internet, besides structuring the report properly. Here’s why:

Decision-Making Tool

Organizations require a considerable amount of data and information on specific topics, scenarios, and situations. Managers and decision-makers often use business reports and research papers as information sources to make important business decisions and reach solutions.

Another reason that adds to the significance of report writing is that it is a collection of evaluated information.

Different types of activities by different departments define an organization. Think of the departments your organization has–development, sales, distribution, marketing, HR, and more. Each department follows defined processes and protocols that require many small and large activities on a daily basis.

It is impossible for the management to keep an eye on the different activities in each department.

That’s where the reports can help. With every department writing and maintaining periodic reports, keeping a tab of ongoing activities becomes easier for the management.

Professional Improvements

During the annual appraisal cycle, your manager will ask you to write reports to explain your position, level of work, and performance.

If you have ever wondered how your manager decided to promote your colleague and not you, the answer may lie in his well-presented report.

Quick Source For Problem-Solving

There’s no denying that managers require accurate information on various topics to make quick decisions. Often due to urgency, managers only rely on business reports as an authentic source of information. Almost every employee would have witnessed a situation that needed the manager’s attention urgently. Reports come in handy during such situations.

Report writing is a significant exercise in many ways for your professional life. If you are not well-versed with it already, you must start working on your report writing skills now. For more help or guidance to learn this new skill, sign up for Harappa’s Writing Proficiently course.

Make the most of your time at home and master this new skill. Work on many assignments, improve your skills, and become a pro at report writing.

Explore our Harappa Diaries section to learn more about topics related to the Communicate habit such as the Importance of Writing Skills and the Cycle of Communication .

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Report Writing Format, Tips, Samples and Examples

Pankaj dhiman.

  • Created on December 11, 2023

How to Write a Report: A Complete Guide (Format, Tips, Common Mistakes, Samples and Examples of Report Writing)

Struggling to write clear, concise reports that impress? Fear not! This blog is your one-stop guide to mastering report writing . Learn the essential format, uncover impactful tips, avoid common pitfalls, and get inspired by real-world examples.

Whether you’re a student, professional, or simply seeking to communicate effectively, this blog empowers you to craft compelling reports that leave a lasting impression.

Must Read: Notice Writing: How to write, Format, Examples

What is Report Writing ?

Report Writing – Writing reports is an organized method of communicating ideas, analysis, and conclusions to a target audience for a predetermined goal. It entails the methodical presentation of information, statistics, and suggestions, frequently drawn from study or inquiry.

Its main goal is to inform, convince, or suggest actions, which makes it a crucial ability in a variety of professional domains.

A well-written report usually has a concise conclusion, a well-thought-out analysis, a clear introduction, a thorough methodology, and a presentation of the findings.

It doesn’t matter what format is used as long as information is delivered in a logical manner, supports decision-making, and fosters understanding among stakeholders.

Must Read : Article Writing Format, Objective, Common Mistakes, and Samples

Format of Report Writing 

  • Title Page:
  • Title of the report.
  • Author’s name.
  • Date of submission.
  • Any relevant institutional affiliations.
  • Abstract/Summary:
  • A brief overview of the report’s key points.
  • Summarizes the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions.
  • Table of Contents:
  • Lists all sections and subsections with corresponding page numbers.

Introduction:

  • Provides background information on the subject.
  • Clearly states the purpose and objectives of the report.
  • Methodology:
  • Details how the information was gathered or the experiment conducted.
  • Includes any relevant procedures, tools, or techniques used.
  • Findings/Results:
  • Presents the main outcomes, data, or observations.
  • Often includes visual aids such as charts, graphs, or tables.
  • Discussion:
  • Analyzes and interprets the results.
  • Provides context and explanations for the findings.

Conclusion:

  • Summarizes the key points.
  • May include recommendations or implications.

Must Read: Directed Writing: Format, Benefits, Topics, Common Mistakes and Examples

Report Writing Examples – Solved Questions from previous papers

Example 1: historical event report.

Question : Write a report on the historical significance of the “ Battle of Willow Creek ” based on the research of Sarah Turner. Analyze the key events, outcomes, and the lasting impact on the region.

Solved Report:

Title: Historical Event Report – The “Battle of Willow Creek” by Sarah Turner

This report delves into the historical significance of the “Battle of Willow Creek” based on the research of Sarah Turner. Examining key events, outcomes, and the lasting impact on the region, it sheds light on a pivotal moment in our local history.

Sarah Turner’s extensive research on the “Battle of Willow Creek” provides a unique opportunity to explore a critical chapter in our local history. This report aims to unravel the intricacies of this historical event.

Key Events:

The Battle of Willow Creek unfolded on [date] between [opposing forces]. Sarah Turner’s research meticulously outlines the sequence of events leading to the conflict, including the political climate, disputes over resources, and the strategies employed by both sides.

Through Turner’s insights, we gain a nuanced understanding of the immediate outcomes of the battle, such as changes in territorial control and the impact on the local population. The report highlights the consequences that rippled through subsequent years.

Lasting Impact:

Sarah Turner’s research underscores the enduring impact of the Battle of Willow Creek on the region’s development, cultural identity, and socio-political landscape. The report examines how the event shaped the community we know today.

The “Battle of Willow Creek,” as explored by Sarah Turner, emerges as a significant historical event with far-reaching consequences. Understanding its intricacies enriches our appreciation of local history and its role in shaping our community.

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Report writing Samples

 book review report.

Title: Book Review – “The Lost City” by Emily Rodriguez

“The Lost City” by Emily Rodriguez is an enthralling adventure novel that takes readers on a captivating journey through uncharted territories. The author weaves a tale of mystery, discovery, and self-realization that keeps the reader engaged from beginning to end.

Themes and Characters:

Rodriguez skillfully explores themes of resilience, friendship, and the pursuit of the unknown. The characters are well-developed, each contributing uniquely to the narrative. The protagonist’s transformation throughout the story adds depth to the overall theme of self-discovery.

Plot and Pacing:

The plot is intricately crafted, with twists and turns that maintain suspense and intrigue. Rodriguez’s ability to balance action scenes with moments of introspection contributes to the novel’s well-paced narrative.

Writing Style:

The author’s writing style is engaging and descriptive, allowing readers to vividly envision the settings and empathize with the characters. Dialogue flows naturally, enhancing the overall readability of the book.

“The Lost City” is a commendable work by Emily Rodriguez, showcasing her storytelling prowess and ability to create a captivating narrative. This novel is recommended for readers who enjoy adventure, mystery, and character-driven stories.

Must Read: What is Descriptive Writing? Learn how to write, Examples and Secret Tips

Report Writing Tips

Recognise your audience:

Take into account your target audience’s expectations and degree of knowledge. Adjust the content, tone, and language to the readers’ needs.

Precision and succinctness:

To communicate your point, use language that is simple and unambiguous. Steer clear of convoluted sentences or needless jargon that could confuse the reader.

Logical Structure:

Organize your report with a clear and logical structure, including sections like introduction, methodology, findings, discussion, and conclusion.

Use headings and subheadings to improve readability.

Introduction with Purpose:

Clearly state the purpose, objectives, and scope of the report in the introduction.

Provide context to help readers understand the importance of the information presented.

Methodology Details:

Clearly explain the methods or processes used to gather information.

Include details that would allow others to replicate the study or experiment.

Presentation of Findings:

Give a well-organized and structured presentation of your findings.

Employ graphics (tables, graphs, and charts) to support the text and improve comprehension.

Talk and Interpretation:

Examine the findings and talk about the ramifications.

Explain the significance of the results and how they relate to the main goal.

Brief Conclusion:

Recap the main ideas in the conclusion.

Indicate in detail any suggestions or actions that should be implemented in light of the results.

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Common mistakes for Report Writing 

Insufficient defining:.

Error: Employing ambiguous or imprecise wording that could cause misunderstandings.

Impact: It’s possible that readers won’t grasp the content, which could cause misunderstandings and confusion.

Solution: Explain difficult concepts, use clear language, and express ideas clearly.

Inadequate Coordination:

Error: Not adhering to a coherent and systematic format for the report.

Impact: The report’s overall effectiveness may be lowered by readers finding it difficult to follow the information’s flow due to the report’s lack of structure.

Solution: Make sure the sections are arranged clearly and sequentially, each of which adds to the report’s overall coherence.

Inadequate Research:

Error: Conducting insufficient research or relying on incomplete data.

Impact: Inaccuracies in data or lack of comprehensive information can weaken the report’s credibility and reliability.

Solution: Thoroughly research the topic, use reliable sources, and gather comprehensive data to support your findings.

Inconsistent Formatting:

Error: Using inconsistent formatting for headings, fonts, or spacing throughout the report.

Impact: Inconsistent formatting can make the report look unprofessional and distract from the content.

Solution: Maintain a uniform format for headings, fonts, and spacing to enhance the visual appeal and professionalism of the report.

Unsubstantiated Conclusions:

Error: Drawing conclusions that are not adequately supported by the evidence or findings presented.

Impact: Unsubstantiated conclusions can undermine the report’s credibility and weaken the overall argument.

Solution: Ensure that your conclusions are directly derived from the results and are logically connected to your research objectives, providing sufficient evidence to support your claims.

To sum up, proficient report writing necessitates precision, organization, and clarity. Making impactful reports requires avoiding common errors like ambiguous wording, shoddy organization, inadequate research, inconsistent formatting, and conclusions that are not supported by evidence.

One can improve the caliber and legitimacy of their reports by following a logical format, carrying out extensive research, staying clear, and providing conclusions that are supported by evidence.

Aiming for linguistic accuracy and meticulousness guarantees that the desired meaning is communicated successfully, promoting a deeper comprehension of the topic among readers.

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  • How it works

5 Initial Elements of Report Writing

Published by Grace Graffin at November 19th, 2021 , Revised On October 9, 2023

Is it time to write your first report? Try not to dread too much on it. Think of the report writing process as a fun project and break it into stages. College students are asked to write a report for a particular audience; if not in college, you may be asked to write one at your job. Whatsoever the reason and premises, it is essential to learn the basics of report writing to draft an immaculate one.

Introduction to Report Writing:  

The report itself refers to giving an account of something you have seen, observed, or found out. In the academics and professional world, a report refers to any document that elaborates an event or a thesis that has been investigated through formal research methodologies. Moreover, research is a systematic study of an event, natural phenomenon, material, or condition to find out the facts and underlying reasons. Therefore, for academic research, thesis or dissertation, you have to write an elaborate report that is an integral part of a college degree.

According to the definition, a report is any formal document that explains a topic using facts, figures, charts, graphs, and other aids to support the arguments and findings.

Precisely, a report is any write-up that explains the findings of research in a set standard format. You need to get familiar with report writing skills and techniques to write a flawless paper and secure a good grade.

Types of Report:  

Some of the types of reports are:

Informational:  

The informational reports are the reports that are aimed to inform and instruct. The audience who reads such a report is informed about an occurrence, situation, and event. Since the report writers do not critically evaluate a problem in the informational report, there are no conclusions, limitations, or suggestions included.

Analytical:

The analytical reports critically analyze the information, and thus it includes conclusions and recommendations, etc. When writing this report, the report writers aim not only to inform the reader but provide the perspective of good or bad, right or wrong about the certain situation.

Persuasive:

The persuasive reports are called an extension of the analytical reports as the report writers take a side based on the analysis of a situation that he has made. Moreover, the writer aims to convince the audience to believe and conform with his notion. The persuasive reports are usually written at businesses, as their purpose is to sell an idea, product, or service.

Difference between Report and Essay:

From the above-mentioned definition of report writing and its types, you might have become confused about how, if,  reports differ from essay writing . Reports and essays are two different kinds of writings; here it is how.

The purpose of the report is to elaborate and explain research or study that you can carry out yourself. On the other hand, writing an essay aims to describe ideas or research carried out by other people. Even if you have carried out a study yourself, you will write an essay about the arguments you have already made. Elaborately or precisely, an essay does not directly include any practical research.

  • Graphic aids: 

In the report writing, you can add charts, graphs, images, or other graphic aids to substantiate the arguments or findings of the research. In the essay, you cannot add any kind of graphic aid whatsoever the reason it could be.

  • Table of contents:

While it is required for the reports to have a table of contents , you do not need to add a table of content for essays.

  • Recommendations: 

Reports, except informational reports, include recommendations, but essays do not constitute any recommendations.

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Elements of Report Writing:  

1.     executive summary:  .

The executive summary is a precise overview of the report that gives a quick preview of what the report is all about. It includes a glimpse of the outline, problem statement , methodology , findings , and limitations. Although abstract and executive summary are used interchangeably, there exists a fine difference between them both. Abstract and executive summary both constitute the same elements but differ in length: abstract is shorter than the executive summary. The executive summary is the comprehensive description or the overview of the paper. Moreover, abstracts are written for content that is to be published in a journal.

Anyways, the executive summary or abstract contains the following elements:

  • Background: 

The background includes an overview of the event or a more generalized description of a concept.

  • Problem statement:

You will write a sentence or two to define the problem that urged you to carry out the research. The problem can be any mere observation or literature gap that you have identified from the literature.

The executive summary will also include the methodology employed to do the research. It will mention the type and approach of sampling and analysis, i.e., qualitative and quantitative .

It will provide the main results, conclusions, and findings of the research.

One thing that you must remember in mind

2.    Introduction:  

The next element of the report writing is the introduction. It is a significant part of the report that introduces the reader to the broad value of the research. While the executive summary is a brief overview, the introduction part of the research is a detailed overview. In the introduction, you will describe the context and background and provide the significance of the report. In this section, you will also highlight the research objectives and aim that you want to achieve. Shed some light on the problem and the driving reason behind the research. You will also mention the method that you have used to carry out the investigation. Briefly mention the answer to the problem that you have dug out a thorough investigation in the research.

3.    Findings:  

The findings of the report will contain the main conclusions that you have extracted as a result of the research. You will mention your findings and can include graphical aids if they support them. To cut the story short, it is the place where you will pen down the details of the observations that you found out from the event, object, or situation.

4.    Discussion:

In the discussion session, you will discuss and analyze the finding of the research. The discussion tackles two areas. First, it elaborates the findings; second, it makes the recommendations.

In this section, you will make the comparisons, check the result along with different scales, and extend the discourse by making speculations based on facts and identifying the covert reasons for specific phenomena. In the discussion, it is imperative to put the explanations in a logical and systematic manner to avoid any inadequacies. Moreover, in the discussion section, when you are explaining your findings, they must be aided with sufficient facts.

5.    Conclusion:

Last but not least, you will end up your report with the conclusion that sums up the whole story of the research. In conclusion, it is important to maintain a hierarchy of ideas in order of importance of details. In a way, it is more like an essay conclusion that rephrases the introduction. It is the gist of the report that precisely describes the main conclusions, mentions major issues to the given situation and the report writer’s interpretation of that. When writing the conclusion, you must cut corners and focus on what is important and valuable to discuss.

Also Read: Things You Should Know About Report Writing

In a nutshell

While students/employees respond in many ways to write different assignments, report writing is something they usually find daunting. If you know what to do in report writing, you will find it exciting to craft a good report and get all the praise from your supervisor. The five pillars of report writing include an executive summary, introduction, findings, discussion, and conclusion. Keep them in your mind while writing your report, and you will be able to write a perfect one.

Good Luck with your report writing!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of report writing.

Different types of report writing include research reports, business reports, technical reports, investigative reports, and academic reports, each serving specific purposes like analysis, documentation, or communication.

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Structure of reports Report sections and what goes in them

Reports are a common academic genre at university. Although the exact nature will vary according to the discipline you are studying, the general structure is broadly similar for all disciplines. The typical structure of a report, as shown on this page, is often referred to as IMRAD, which is short for Introduction, Method , Results And Discussion . As reports often begin with an Abstract , the structure may also be referred to as AIMRAD.

Preliminaries

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For another look at the same content, check out YouTube » or Youku » .

There are several parts which go at the beginning of the report, before the main content. These are the title page , abstract and contents page .

Your report should have a title page. Information which could be included on this page are:

  • the title of the report
  • the name(s) of the author(s)
  • your student number(s)
  • name of the lecturer the report is for
  • date of submission

Many longer reports will contain an abstract. This is like a summary of the whole report, and should contain details on the key areas, in other words the purpose, the methodology, the main findings and the conclusions. An abstract is not usually needed for shorter reports such as science lab reports.

Contents page

Many reports will contain a contents page. This should list all the headings and sub-headings in the report, together with the page numbers. Most word processing software can build a table of contents automatically.

The first section of your report will be the introduction. This will often contain several sub-sections, as outlined below.

There should be some background information on the topic area. This could be in the form of a literature review. It is likely that this section will contain material from other sources, in which case appropriate citations will be needed. You will also need to summarise or paraphrase any information which comes from your text books or other sources.

Many reports, especially science reports, will contain essential theory, such as equations which will be used later. You may need to give definitions of key terms and classify information. As with the background section, correct in-text citations will be needed for any information which comes from your text books or other sources.

This part of the report explains why you are writing the report. The tense you use will depend on whether the subject of the sentence is the report (which still exists) or the experiment (which has finished). See the language for reports section for more information.

Also called Methodology or Procedure, this section outlines how you gathered information, where from and how much. For example, if you used a survey:

  • how was the survey carried out?
  • how did you decide on the target group?
  • how many people were surveyed?
  • were they surveyed by interview or questionnaire?

If it is a science lab report, you will need to answer these questions:

  • what apparatus was used?
  • how did you conduct the experiment?
  • how many times did you repeat the procedure?
  • what precautions did you take to increase accuracy?

This section, also called Findings, gives the data that has been collected (for example from the survey or experiment). This section will often present data in tables and charts. This section is primarily concerned with description. In other words, it does not analyse or draw conclusions.

The Discussion section, also called Analysis, is the main body of the report, where you develop your ideas. It draws together the background information or theory from the Introduction with the data from the Findings section . Sub-sections (with sub-headings) may be needed to ensure the readers can find information quickly. Although the sub-headings help to clarify, you should still use well constructed paragraphs, with clear topic sentences . This section will often include graphs or other visual material, as this will help the readers to understand the main points. This section should fulfil the aims in the introduction, and should contain sufficient information to justify the conclusions and recommendations which come later in the report.

The conclusions come from the analysis in the Discussion section and should be clear and concise. The conclusions should relate directly to the aims of the report, and state whether these have been fulfilled. At this stage in the report, no new information should be included.

Recommendations

The report should conclude with recommendations. These should be specific. As with the conclusion, the recommendations should derive from the main body of the report and again, no new information should be included.

Reference section

Any sources cited in the text should be included in full in the reference section. For more information, see the reference section page of the writing section.

Appendices are used to provide any detailed information which your readers may need for reference, but which do not contain key information and which you therefore do not want to include in the body of the report. Examples are a questionnaire used in a survey or a letter of consent for interview participants. Appendices must be relevant and should be numbered so they can be referred to in the main body. They should be labelled Appendix 1, Appendix 2, etc. ('appendices' is the plural form of 'appendix').

The diagram below summarises the sections of a report outlined above.

Academic Writing Genres

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There is a downloadable checklist for reports (structure and language ) in the writing resources section.

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Find out about report language in the next section.

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Author: Sheldon Smith    ‖    Last modified: 22 January 2022.

Sheldon Smith is the founder and editor of EAPFoundation.com. He has been teaching English for Academic Purposes since 2004. Find out more about him in the about section and connect with him on Twitter , Facebook and LinkedIn .

Compare & contrast essays examine the similarities of two or more objects, and the differences.

Cause & effect essays consider the reasons (or causes) for something, then discuss the results (or effects).

Discussion essays require you to examine both sides of a situation and to conclude by saying which side you favour.

Problem-solution essays are a sub-type of SPSE essays (Situation, Problem, Solution, Evaluation).

Transition signals are useful in achieving good cohesion and coherence in your writing.

Reporting verbs are used to link your in-text citations to the information cited.

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Report structure and tips

The following guide has been created for you by the  Student Learning Advisory Service . For more detailed guidance and to speak to one of our advisers, please book an  appointment  or join one of our  workshops . Alternatively, have a look at our  SkillBuilder  skills videos.   

Reports are formal documents which can include headings, sub-headings, numbered sections, bullet point text, and graphics such as flow charts, diagrams or graphs. All of these devices may be used to help the reader navigate the report and understand its content.

A report is likely to include some or all of these elements, typically ordered as follows:

Title page: clearly identifying the subject of the report and the author Acknowledgements: naming third parties who have helped create the document Executive summary: an abbreviated, stand-alone overview of the report. Similar to the abstract of a journal article Contents page: allowing the reader to find their way quickly to sections of interest. This may or may not also include a table of figures or tables Introduction: outlining the main context, aims and objectives of the report Background information: anything essential to a full understanding of the report Methodology: describing how the report’s objectives were met or how the research was conducted Findings: what the report found Analysis: what these findings mean; their relevance and importance Conclusion: summarising the key things the report learned or established Recommendations: suggestions for action based on the report’s findings Bibliography: a full list of sources used to compile the report Appendices: containing supplementary information referred to in the report Glossary: definitions of technical terms used in the report

Common requirements

Different types of report – from technical reports to business reports - can vary widely in length, format and function. However, with every report:

Objectives: should be clearly defined Structure: should be logical and easy to navigate Writing: should be clear, succinct, and easy to understand Evidence: should support all conclusions made

Report writing tips

  • Often, reports are written about a collaborative project. If this is the case, make sure you know who is doing what and how the report will come together, including timeframes. Make sure to include time to share the report with the rest of the team before it is ‘published’, and that any requirements from external stakeholders or project partners are clearly outlined and factored in
  • Before you start writing, clarify the aims, structure and content of your report
  • Write in the 3rd person (This report will show…) to emphasise your objectivity
  • Use clear, formal language, avoiding slang, jargon and contractions such as don’t or can’t
  • Write sections as and when you are able, not necessarily in order of appearance
  • Have a system of version control (numbered drafts)
  • Write freely, whilst allowing time for editing and proof-reading later
  • Keep the report’s title in mind, and stay focussed on fulfilling its objectives
  • Each finding should have a conclusion; each leading to a recommendation

Report writing in the sciences

  • Writing in a scientific context This resource offers an introduction to writing in an engineering or scientific context, offering an outline of some of the most common conventions in technical writing . 
  • Structure and content of lab reports This resource offers an introduction to structuring and writing both simple and extended lab reports .  
  • Writing for publication in the biosciences This resource presents guidelines on getting published in Molecular Microbiology .

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Report writing

  • Features of good reports
  • Types of Report

Introduction

Organising your information, abstract / executive summary, literature review, results / data / findings, reference list / bibliography.

  • Writing up your report

Useful links for report writing

  • Study Advice Helping students to achieve study success with guides, video tutorials, seminars and one-to-one advice sessions.
  • Maths Support A guide to Maths Support resources which may help if you're finding any mathematical or statistical topic difficult during the transition to University study.

explain the features of report writing

  • Academic Phrasebank Use this site for examples of linking phrases and ways to refer to sources.
  • Academic writing LibGuide Expert guidance on punctuation, grammar, writing style and proof-reading.
  • Reading and notemaking LibGuide Expert guidance on managing your reading and making effective notes.
  • Guide to citing references Includes guidance on why, when and how to use references correctly in your academic writing.

The structure of a report has a key role to play in communicating information and enabling the reader to find the information they want quickly and easily. Each section of a report has a different role to play and a writing style suited to that role. Therefore, it is important to understand what your audience is expecting in each section of a report and put the appropriate information in the appropriate sections.

The guidance on this page explains the job each section does and the style in which it is written. Note that all reports are different so you must pay close attention to what you are being asked to include in your assignment brief. For instance, your report may need all of these sections, or only some, or you may be asked to combine sections (e.g. introduction and literature review, or results and discussion). The video tutorial on structuring reports below will also be helpful, especially if you are asked to decide on your own structure.

  • Finding a structure for your report (video) Watch this brief video tutorial for more on the topic.
  • Finding a structure for your report (transcript) Read along while watching the video tutorial.

explain the features of report writing

  • When writing an essay, you need to place your information  to make a strong argument
  • When writing a report, you need to place your information  in the appropriate section

Consider the role each item will play in communicating information or ideas to the reader, and place it in the section where it will best perform that role. For instance:

  • Does it provide background to your research? ( Introduction  or  Literature Review )
  • Does it describe the types of activity you used to collect evidence? ( Methods )
  • Does it present factual data? ( Results )
  • Does it place evidence in the context of background? ( Discussion )
  • Does it make recommendations for action? ( Conclusion )

explain the features of report writing

  • the purpose of the work
  • methods used for research
  • main conclusions reached
  • any recommendations

The introduction … should explain the rationale for undertaking the work reported on, and the way you decided to do it. Include what you have been asked (or chosen) to do and the reasons for doing it.

- State what the report is about. What is the question you are trying to answer? If it is a brief for a specific reader (e.g. a feasibility report on a construction project for a client), say who they are.

- Describe your starting point and the background to the subject: e.g., what research has already been done (if you have to include a Literature Review, this will only be a brief survey); what are the relevant themes and issues; why are you being asked to investigate it now?

- Explain how you are going to go about responding to the brief. If you are going to test a hypothesis in your research, include this at the end of your introduction. Include a brief outline of your method of enquiry. State the limits of your research and reasons for them, e.g.

explain the features of report writing

Introduce your review by explaining how you went about finding your materials, and any clear trends in research that have emerged. Group your texts in themes. Write about each theme as a separate section, giving a critical summary of each piece of work, and showing its relevance to your research. Conclude with how the review has informed your research (things you'll be building on, gaps you'll be filling etc).

  • Literature reviews LibGuide Guide on starting, writing and developing literature reviews.
  • Doing your literature review (video) Watch this brief video tutorial for more on the topic.
  • Doing your literature review (transcript) Read along while watching the video tutorial.

The methods  should be written in such a way that a reader could replicate the research you have done. State clearly how you carried out your investigation. Explain why you chose this particular method (questionnaires, focus group, experimental procedure etc). Include techniques and any equipment you used. If there were participants in your research, who were they? How many? How were they selected?

Write this section  concisely  but  thoroughly  – Go through what you did step by step, including everything that is relevant. You know what you did, but could a reader follow your description?

explain the features of report writing

Label your graphs and tables clearly. Give each figure a title and describe in words what the figure demonstrates. Save your interpretation of the results for the Discussion section.

The discussion ...is probably the longest section. It brings everything together, showing how your findings respond to the brief you explained in your introduction and the previous research you surveyed in your literature review. This is the place to mention if there were any problems (e.g. your results were different from expectations, you couldn't find important data, or you had to change your method or participants) and how they were, or could have been, solved.

  • Writing up your report page More information on how to write your discussion and other sections.

The conclusions ...should be a short section with no new arguments or evidence. This section should give a feeling of closure and completion to your report. Sum up the main points of your research. How do they answer the original brief for the work reported on? This section may also include:

  • Recommendations for action
  • Suggestions for further research

explain the features of report writing

If you're unsure about how to cite a particular text, ask at the Study Advice Desk on the Ground Floor of the Library or contact your Academic Liaison Librarian for help.

  • Contact your Academic Liaison Librarian

The appendices ...include any additional information that may help the reader but is not essential to the report's main findings. The report should be able to stand alone without the appendices. An appendix can include for instance: interview questions; questionnaires; surveys; raw data; figures; tables; maps; charts; graphs; a glossary of terms used.

  • A separate appendix should be used for each distinct topic or set of data.
  • Order your appendices in the order in which you refer to the content in the text.
  • Start each appendix on a separate page and label sequentially with letters or numbers e.g. Appendix A, Appendix B,…
  • Give each Appendix a meaningful title e.g. Appendix A: Turnover of Tesco PLC 2017-2021.
  • Refer to the relevant appendix where appropriate in the main text e.g. 'See Appendix A for an example questionnaire'.
  • If an appendix contains multiple figures which you will refer to individually then label each one using the Appendix letter and a running number e.g. Table B1, Table B2. Do not continue the numbering of any figures in your text, as your text should be able to stand alone without the appendices.
  • If your appendices draw on information from other sources you should include a citation and add the full details into your list of references (follow the rules for the referencing style you are using).

For more guidance see the following site:

  • Appendices guidance from University of Southern California Detailed guidance on using appendices. Part of the USC's guide to Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper.
  • << Previous: Types of Report
  • Next: Writing up your report >>
  • Last Updated: Jan 29, 2024 11:27 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.reading.ac.uk/reports

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Report Writing

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  • Updated on  
  • Nov 4, 2023

Report Writing

The term “report” refers to a nonfiction work that presents and/or paraphrases the facts on a specific occasion, subject, or problem. The notion is that a good report will contain all the information that someone who is not familiar with the subject needs to know. Reports make it simple to bring someone up to speed on a subject, but actually writing a report is far from simple. This blog will walk you through the fundamentals of report writing, including the structure and practice themes.

This Blog Includes:

What is a report, reporting formats, newspaper or magazine reports, business reports, technical reports, what is report writing, report writing: things to keep in mind, structure of report writing, magazine vs newspaper report writing format, report writing format for class 10th to 12th, report writing example, report writing for school students: practice questions, report writing slideshare.

  • Report Writing in 7 steps

Also Read: Message Writing

A report is a short document written for a particular purpose or audience. It usually sets out and analyses a problem often recommended for future purposes. Requirements for the precise form of the report depend on the department and organization. Technically, a report is defined as “any account, verbal or written, of the matters pertaining to a given topic.” This could be used to describe anything, from a witness’s evidence in court to a student’s book report.

Actually, when people use the word “report,” they usually mean official documents that lay out the details of a subject. These documents are typically written by an authority on the subject or someone who has been tasked with conducting research on it. Although there are other forms of reports, which are discussed in the following section, they primarily fulfil this definition.

What information does reporting contain? All facts are appreciated, but reports, in particular, frequently contain the following kinds of information:

  • Information about a circumstance or event
  • The aftereffects or ongoing impact of an incident or occurrence
  • Analytical or statistical data evaluation
  • Interpretations based on the report’s data
  • Based on the report’s information, make predictions or suggestions
  • Relationships between the information and other reports or events

Although there are some fundamental differences, producing reports and essays share many similarities. Both rely on facts, but essays also include the author’s personal viewpoints and justifications. Reports normally stick to the facts only, however, they could include some of the author’s interpretation in the conclusion.

Reports are also quite well ordered, frequently with tables of contents of headers and subheadings. This makes it simpler for readers to quickly scan reports for the data they need. Essays, on the other hand, should be read from beginning to end rather than being perused for particular information.

Depending on the objective and audience for your report, there are a few distinct types of reports. The most typical report types are listed briefly below:

  • Academic report: Examines a student’s knowledge of the subject; examples include book reports, historical event reports, and biographies.
  • Identifies data from company reports, such as marketing reports, internal memoranda, SWOT analyses, and feasibility reports, that is useful in corporate planning.
  • Shares research findings in the form of case studies and research articles, usually in scientific publications.

Depending on how they are written, reports can be further categorised. A report, for instance, could be professional or casual, brief or lengthy, and internal or external. A lateral report is for persons on the author’s level but in separate departments, whereas a vertical report is for those on the author’s level but with different levels of the hierarchy (i.e., people who work above you and below you).

Report formats can be as varied as writing styles, but in this manual, we’ll concentrate on academic reports, which are often formal and informational.

Also Read: How to Write a Leave Application?

Major Types of Reports

While the most common type of reports corresponds to the ones we read in newspapers and magazines, there are other kinds of reports that are curated for business or research purposes. Here are the major forms of report writing that you must know about:

The main purpose of newspaper or magazine reports is to cover a particular event or happening. They generally elaborate upon the 4Ws and 1H, i.e. What, Where, When, Why, and How. The key elements of newspaper or magazine report writing are as follows:

  • Headline (Title)
  • Report’s Name, Place, and Date
  • Conclusion (Citation of sources)

Here is an example of a news report:

Credit: Pinterest

Business reports aim to analyze a situation or case study by implementing business theories and suggest improvements accordingly. In business report writing, you must adhere to a formal style of writing and these reports are usually lengthier than news reports since they aim to assess a particular issue in detail and provide solutions. The basic structure of business reports includes:

  • Table of Contents
  • Executive summary
  • Findings/Recommendations

The main purpose of the technical report is to provide an empirical explanation of research-based material. Technical report writing is generally carried out by a researcher for scientific journals or product development and presentation, etc. A technical report mainly contains 

  • Introduction
  • Experimental details
  • Results and discussions
  • Body (elaborating upon the findings)

Must Read: IELTS Writing Tips

A report is a written record of what you’ve seen, heard, done, or looked into. It is a well-organized and methodical presentation of facts and results from an event that has already occurred. Reports are a sort of written assessment that is used to determine what you have learned through your reading, study, or experience, as well as to provide you with hands-on experience with a crucial skill that is often used in the business.

Before writing a report, there are certain things you must know to ensure that you draft a precise and structured report, and these points to remember are listed below:

  • Write a concise and clear title of the report.
  • Always use the past tense.
  • Don’t explain the issue in the first person, i.e. ‘I’ or ‘Me’. Always write in the third person.
  • Put the date, name of the place as well as the reporter’s name after the heading.
  • Structure the report by dividing it into paragraphs.
  • Stick to the facts and keep it descriptive.

Must Read: IELTS Sample Letters

The format of a report is determined by the kind of report it is and the assignment’s requirements. While reports can have their own particular format, the majority use the following general framework:

  • Executive summary: A stand-alone section that highlights the findings in your report so that readers will know what to expect, much like an abstract in an academic paper. These are more frequently used for official reports than for academic ones.
  • Introduction: Your introduction introduces the main subject you’re going to explore in the report, along with your thesis statement and any previous knowledge that is necessary before you get into your own results.
  • Body: Using headings and subheadings, the report’s body discusses all of your significant findings. The majority of the report is made up of the body; in contrast to the introduction and conclusion, which are each only a few paragraphs long, the body can span many pages.
  • In the conclusion, you should summarize all the data in your report and offer a clear interpretation or conclusion. Usually, the author inserts their own personal judgments or inferences here.

Report Writing Formats

It is quintessential to follow a proper format in report writing to provide it with a compact structure. Business reports and technical reports don’t have a uniform structure and are generally based on the topic or content they are elaborating on. Let’s have a look at the proper format of report writing generally for news and magazines and the key elements you must add to a news report:

To Read: How to Learn Spoken English?

The report writing structure for students in grades 10 and 12 is as follows.

  • Heading :  A title that expresses the contents of the report in a descriptive manner.
  • Byline : The name of the person who is responsible for drafting the report. It’s usually included in the query. Remember that you are not allowed to include any personal information in your response.
  •  (introduction) : The ‘5 Ws,’ or WHAT, WHY, WHEN, and WHERE, as well as WHO was invited as the main guest, might be included.
  • The account of the event in detail : The order in which events occurred, as well as their descriptions. It is the primary paragraph, and if necessary, it can be divided into two smaller paragraphs.
  • Conclusion : This will give a summary of the event’s conclusion. It might include quotes from the Chief Guest’s address or a summary of the event’s outcome.

Credit: sampletemplates.com

Credit: SlideShare

Now that you are familiar with all the formats of report writing, here are some questions that you can practice to understand the structure and style of writing a report.

  • You are a student of Delhi Public School Srinagar handling a campus magazine in an editorial role. On the increasing level of global warming, write a report on the event for your school magazine. 
  • On the Jammu-Srinagar highway, a mishap took place, where a driver lost his control and skidded off into a deep gorge. Write a report on it and include all the necessary details and eyewitness accounts. 
  • As a reporter for the Delhi Times, you are assigned to report on the influx of migrants coming from other states of the country. Take an official statement to justify your report.
  • There is a cultural program in Central Park Rajiv Chowk New Delhi. The home minister of India is supposed to attend the event apart from other delegates. Report the event within the 150-200 word limit. 
  • Write today’s trend of COVID-19 cases in India. As per the official statement. include all the necessary details and factual information. Mention the state with a higher number of cases so far.
  • In Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, a table tennis tournament was held between Delhi Public School New Delhi and DPS Punjab. Report the event in 250-300 words.

Also Read: Formal Letter Format, Types & Samples

Credits: Slideshare

Report Writ ing in 7 steps

  • Choose a topic based on the assignment
  • Conduct research
  • Write a thesis statement
  • Prepare an outline
  • Write a rough draft
  • Revise and edit your report
  • Proofread and check for mistakes

Make sure that every piece of information you have supplied is pertinent. Remember to double-check your grammar, spelling, tenses, and the person you are writing in. A final inspection against any structural criteria is also important. You have appropriately and completely referenced academic work. Check to make sure you haven’t unintentionally, purposefully, or both duplicated something without giving credit.

Related Articles

Any business professional’s toolkit must include business reports. Therefore, how can you create a thorough business report? You must first confirm that you are familiar with the responses to the following three questions.

Every company report starts with an issue that needs to be fixed. This could be something straightforward, like figuring out a better way to organise procuring office supplies, or it could be a more challenging issue, like putting in place a brand-new, multimillion-dollar computer system.

You must therefore compile the data you intend to include in your report. How do you do this? If you’ve never conducted in-depth research before, it can be quite a daunting task, so discovering the most efficient techniques is a real plus.

Hopefully, this blog has helped you with a comprehensive understanding of report writing and its essential components. Aiming to pursue a degree in Writing? Sign up for an e-meeting with our study abroad experts and we will help you in selecting the best course and university as well as sorting the admission process to ensure that you get successfully shortlisted.

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Ankita Mishra

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  • Steps in Report Writing: Report Writing Format

Report writing is a formal style of writing elaborately on a topic. The tone of a report and report writing format is always formal. The important section to focus on is the target audience. For example – report writing about a school event, report writing about a business case, etc.

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Introduction.

All your facts and information presented in the report not only have to be bias-free, but they also have to be a 100% correct. Proof-reading and fact-checking is always what you do as a thumb rule before submitting a report.

One needs to write reports with much analysis. The purpose of report writing is essential to inform the reader about a topic, minus one’s opinion on the topic.

It’s simply a portrayal of facts, as it is. Even if one gives inferences , solid analysis, charts, tables and data is provided. Mostly, it is specified by the person who’s asked for the report whether they would like your take or not if that is the case.

report writing format

In many cases, you need to be clear about your own suggestions too for a specific case after a factual report. That depends on why are you writing the report and who you are writing it for in the first place. Knowing your audience’s motive for asking for that report is very important as it sets the course of the facts focused in your report .

These different kinds of reports are also covered in our previous chapter in reports writing. We recommend you to read our chapter on kinds of reports before diving into the report format. Now that we have some idea about report-writing, let’s get straight into our report writing format.

Report Writing Format

Following are the parts of a report format that is most common..

  • Executive summary – highlights of the main report
  • Table of Contents – index page
  • Introduction – origin, essentials of the main subject
  • Body – main report
  • Conclusion – inferences, measures taken, projections
  • Reference – sources of information

Let us understand each one of them in detail.

Executive summary.

You summarize the main points of the report, such as the report topic, the data obtained, the data analysis methods, and recommendations based on the data. The summary could be as short as a paragraph or as long as five pages, depending on the length of the full report.

Usually, the recipient of the report doesn’t always have the time to read through the entire report. This summary gives the reader a gist of the important points.

Remember that although attached as the first page, this summary is always putting a perspective for the entire report, meaning that effort-wise, the writer always needs to include it at the end.

Most importantly, the summary should contain:

  • the purpose of the report
  • what you did (analysis) and what you found (results)
  • your recommendations; these recommendations should be short and not go beyond a page

Table of Contents

The report should begin with a table of contents. This explains the audience, author, and basic purpose of the attached report. It should be short and to the point.

This section is the beginning of your report. It highlights the major topics that are covered and provides background information on why the data in the report was collected. It also contains a top view of what’s covered in the report.

The body of the report describes the problem, the data that was collected, sometimes in the form of table or charts , and discusses with reasons. The body is usually broken into subsections, with subheadings that highlight the further breakdown of a point. Report writing format is very specific that way about clear and crisp headings and subheadings.

This just structures out readers clarity in understanding and further enhances the logical flow that can get hard to follow. Since a report has no personal bias or opinions, you can imagine that reading through a report can be a bit boring and people may find it hard to follow through. In such a case, it’s always best to create pointers and lay out the points in short and simple methods .

Note: Tables and figures must all be labeled

At the end of our main body lies the tying of ends together in the much-awaited conclusion . The conclusion explains how the data described in the body of the document may be interpreted or what conclusions may be drawn. The conclusion often suggests how to use the data to improve some aspect of the business or recommends additional research.

This solution then may be implemented to solve a given problem the report was made for in the first place. Big consultancies or service providers prepare reports in the form of Microsoft Powerpoint or the Keynote in Mac to present to the stakeholders. At the end of which lies the conclusive suggestion section.

If you used other sources of information to help write your report, such as a government database, you would include that in the  references . The references section lists the resources used to research or collect the data for the report. References provide proof for your points. Also, this provides solid reasoning for the readers so that they can review the original data sources themselves. Also, credit must be given where credit is due.

Lastly, comes the appendix. Although this one is not necessary, more like an optional element. This may include additional technical information that is not necessary to the explanation provided in the body and conclusion but further supports the findings, such as tables or charts or pictures, or additional research not cited in the body but relevant to the discussion. Note: Tables and figures must all be labelled.

In case you want to closely look at report writing format example or take a look at the report writing sample, our next chapter will have a clear example of the same. Stay tuned.

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  • Kinds of Reports
  • Introduction and Essential Elements of Report Writing

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Report Writing Format: Lab & Business Report [Outline Example + Tips]

All students go through this, sooner or later. Report writing is like an initiation into college. You are not a real student until you squeeze out at least one report.

That’s why we recommend you learn the main report-building rules to save time in the future.

5 Key features of report writing.

These are general principles to know when you have the assignment to write a report. From the aspects mentioned above, you can already feel the character and style of a report.

It is straightforward, clearly structured, and prosperous for facts. Therefore, reports are mostly suitable for business, natural sciences, medicine, and other scientific areas.

Ready to learn more?

Here you can find a detailed explanation of report writing rules, purposes, and structure . Special attention is paid to different types of reports; also, don’t miss excellent tips on report presentation .

Let’s go! 👉👉

🧱 What Is a Report?

  • 📑 Report Outline

🧪 Lab Report Writing Format

  • 🧲 Physics Report Writing Format
  • ⚗️ Chemistry Report Writing Format

💼 Business Report Writing Format

👩‍🏫 report presentation.

Simply put, a report is a statement . It is a proposition/analysis that informs the audience about a particular subject.

Report - a description of an event or situation (by Cambridge Dictionary).

One detail that we would add to the Cambridge definition – a report can also describe an issue or an object.

Depending on a research area and subject, the content of a report varies, and so does its nature. However, regardless of your topic, a report should represent some information based on collected and analyzed data. That is, while working on a report, pay very distinct attention to the evidence that supports your words.

Here are the crucial features of any report:

  • A report is structured and easy to follow
  • A report analyzes the issue
  • A report presents facts and findings
  • A report has a particular purpose and audience
  • A report suggests recommendations on an issue

This list is only the beginning of what we are going to tell you further.

Let’s see what the essential requirements of report writing format are.

Challenges of Building a Report

Before you start writing your report assignment, it is constructive to figure out what its challenges are.

These are the aspects that a good report should meet—all of them.

  • A clear framework . With the help of a framework, you refer to the question and stay within a defined scope. Having a rigorous pattern is crucial since you’ll be addressing many related terms and issues in the course of the report. However, your task is not to deepen into those questions and stick to your plan.
  • Focus. Coming from the previous point, here, the discussion is about having a distinct central thought/idea. No high-quality report has a vague research focus. Remember that you are expected to discuss and solve an exact question within an exact framework.
  • Development. This aspect requires you to make your work fluent and smooth. Control the logical connections between paragraphs and make sure that the topic is not just dryly retold. Rather, disclose the issue like you tell a story.

Report Writing Challenges.

  • Organization and style. A good report requires a lucid organization with subsections and logically structured content. Besides that, make sure to follow one style, both writing and formatting. It says about good manners and respect for your reader.
  • Facts. Although a report can contain personal points of view, its core should be based on relevant, checked information. Seek the evidence and examples from authoritative sources and build up your logic on it.

Types of Report Writing

All reports have standard features like rigorous structurization, the importance of valid data, and intense language formality.

Now let’s figure out the classification of types of reports. This section will review some main types of report writing, their peculiarities, and aspects requiring special attention.

A lab report is a description of an experiment or any other kind of laboratory work that you have conducted. Therefore, the purpose of a lab report is to tell what, how, and why you have done it. Also, a lab report requires describing findings and their significance thoroughly.

Be able to explain all the terms you use in work, all the procedures, and results. An excellent understanding of the topic is necessary for a successful report.

Business Report

A business report serves as a company tool to help in decision-making processes. There are various types of business reports used for different purposes. For example:

  • Recommendation report
  • Investigative report
  • Research studies report
  • Periodic report
  • Situational report

and other…

Research Report

A research report can be written on any subject. Many classes will require you to write a report on a research project you’ve conducted. Your main goal is to make it clear and comprehensive so that a reader understands each step.

Book Report

Unlike a book review, a book report centers on the overall summary: the plot, characters, main thoughts of a book, etc. That is to say, a book report is a brief retelling that refers to the key points and characters. Accordingly, a book report structure differs a lot from a research or business report structure, but about that later.

📑 Report Outline with Example

As we already mentioned, it is hard to create one universal outline for all types of reports. They all vary according to their logic and individual requirements. However, it is still possible to draw a list of points vital for a good report.

One thing that is 100% universal – rich, fruitful academic language. Lucky you! We have a fantastic compilation of analytical words & phrases for any purpose. Don’t hesitate to borrow some cool writing ideas from our article.

let’s see what a common content outline of a report is.

Title Page of a Report

Main parts: header with the short title of the report or your last name, depending on the citation style; the full title of the report, your name.

Tips and tricks:

  • Follow the rules of the appropriate citation style;
  • Consult your instructor or follow these title page examples .

Main parts: a research question and main research findings; research methods used; conclusions and recommendations.

  • Keep it brief – up to 150-200 words.
  • Don’t make references to the text of the actual report.
  • Write it after completing the rest of the report writing.

Table of Contents in a Report

Main parts: headings and subheadings with their corresponding pages.

  • Include appendices and references in your table of contents;
  • Don’t mention the abstract and title page.

Report Introduction

Main parts: background information, research question (or hypothesis), and significance of the chosen problem.

  • Avoid including too much background information – get to the point right from the start;
  • Do your best to explain why your topic is important and why readers should care about it.

Main Body of a Report

Main parts: literature review, methodology, research findings, discussion, and limitations.

  • In a literature review, explore the different opinions on the question and point out a gap in the existing literature;
  • When writing a report, choose a good research paper topic that genuinely interests you;
  • In the research findings section, avoid analysis – simply write what you have found out;
  • In the discussion paragraph, include a detailed analysis of your findings: make it the most prominent part of your paper;
  • Remember that quality report writing is impossible without the review of limitations. Be sure to acknowledge that your research may have some drawbacks.

Main parts: a brief summary of all previous elements.

  • When writing reports, never include any new information in the conclusion part – repeat only what you have already said;
  • Make it up to 10% of the total word count.

References in a Report

Main parts : all the sources used in your research (for text references, images, or tables).

  • Double-check that each of your in-text citations has a corresponding entry in the references section;
  • Vice versa – make sure that every entry from the reference list has at least one in-text citation.
  • When writing reports, don’t forget the alphabetical order and special rules for the works of the same author.

Main parts : tables, graphs, pictures, questionnaires, etc.

  • Always write where you have borrowed something from (unless you have created it yourself).
  • Filed experts will probably read appendices as they seek all technical details.
  • Order appendices as they appear in the text.

Basic Report Outline.

Report Outline Example

Now, let’s look at the report outline example! You can check the full report here: An Urban Health Profile Report on Childhood Obesity . It describes a project that aimed to assess which elements of the urban environment could contribute to the high level of child obesity in the Hendon suburb, located in the London Borough of Barnet.

As already mentioned before, in a lab report, you need to describe every detail step-by-step. A good lab report consists of a thorough description of research goals, methods, procedures, findings, and results.

A lab report is mostly used in natural sciences, for example, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, etc.

Below are parts of a lab report you should consider.

  • Title Page. Use a title that comprehensively characterizes your lab work focus.
  • Abstract. Sketch your goals, questions, and findings in a brief paragraph at the beginning.
  • Introduction . Refer to the background and key theories, including your hypothesis and objectives.
  • Methods . Depict equipment, procedures, and materials, including all calculations and obstacles.
  • Results . Introduce your findings visually. Discuss results based on these visualizations.
  • Discussion. Sum up the results, refer to the hypothesis, and theorize your findings.
  • Conclusion. Revise key points, relate to the problem, and note the significance of the research.
  • References Section. Make a one-style list of all sources used.
  • Appendices. Include all the materials that were too detailed to include in the main body.

These were the parts most likely to be required for your lab report.

Remember that if you follow thorough guidelines and do everything step-by-step, chances for success are way higher.

Now let’s quickly see lab reports on different subjects. What are their specificities?

🧲 Physics Lab Report Writing Format

The above-described structure is suitable for a physics lab report format . Your main goal in this piece of paper is to demonstrate how well you understand every step of work and its results.

To make your job easier, here is a great checklist. Go through these questions several times while writing a physics lab report.

  • Will your friend or any random person be able to read your report and understand everything precisely? In other words, is it graspable for the masses?
  • Will a person from your field be able to understand what you have done by just reading an abstract?
  • Will you understand your lab report in a couple of months and repeat or thoroughly explain all the steps?

These questions will help you a lot in deciding what to include or exclude in your work.

We have only left to show you excellent examples of a physics lab report format, and we wish you luck!

Check out these:

⚗️ Chemistry Lab Report Writing Format

Frankly speaking, there’s no significant difference in chemistry and physics lab report formats. The outline is the same, goal and logic as well.

For a fantastic guide to a chemistry lab report format, check the following sources:

  • Writing a Lab Report (Chemistry); Lewis University
  • Guide for Writing a Lab Report – for chemistry and biochemistry students; Concordia University
  • How to Write a Chemistry Lab Report: 14 Steps

A business report is a flexible format that varies according to the purpose. With the help of business reports, people exchange information and make decisions. Thus, it is essential to be very careful with everything you include in your business report.

A significant difference from other types of reports is that in a business report, you can deviate from formal academic language. It means that the primary factor in business report writing is the audience—your language and style change by who your listeners are. However, don’t take it as a total freestyle, a report is a report, and you must follow the rules.

For wholesome guidelines on a business report outline, here are some good sources:

  • How to Write a Formal Business Report (With Examples)
  • How to Write a Business Report
  • Business Reports Helpsheet; The University of Melbourne
  • Structuring a Business Report

Another distinctive feature of a business report is its intention to persuade. Unlike the chemistry lab report format, the business paper provides active recommendations. Suggesting a new method or alternative strategy, a business report states why its solutions deserve attention.

We recommend you read this business report prepared by Southwest Texas State University students. Inside, you can find an effective structurization, relevant data, and sufficient interpretation of the findings.

Business Report Examples

We have compiled a list of business report examples to help you get an idea of how such papers might look:

  • Strategy report on product launch in the Australian market .
  • Internationalization of business: Management report .
  • UK electricity companies: Industry report .
  • Samsung company: Contemporary marketing report .
  • Sunoco, Inc.: Financial analysis report .
  • Report on e-business between China and the USA .
  • A Report on the Victorian Fine Furnishings company .
  • Coca-Cola: Financial research report .
  • Entrepreneurial organisation report .
  • Technical communication: Ethical codes report .
  • Business proposal report for a child day care .
  • Kmart Australia: Business report .
  • Report on Microsoft Canada: Xbox marketing .
  • Electronic marketing report for Horizon Travel Company .
  • Netflix: Strategy report .
  • Project Execution Through Risk Addressing (PETRA) analysis report .
  • Riverside Electronics Plc: Financial report .
  • Strategic service vision report: Paws n’ Tails .
  • Strategic HR report: Work plan of a modern company .
  • Premier Restaurants Latvia: Internship report .
  • A business report on Buddy’s Floor Barn .
  • Management report: Tesco Personal Finance .
  • Johnson-Venter report on recruitment and selection procedures .
  • Amazon strategic audit report .
  • Lego Group: Comprehensive report .
  • CD Projekt S.A.: Business report .
  • Advanced marketing strategy of Nokorola: Report .
  • Report on George at ASDA .
  • Samsung strategic marketing report .
  • Landshark Co.: Cost report for individual loans section .
  • The report of Hubbard Computers using Dell Computers as pure play company .
  • Industry innovation report: Amazon .
  • CFO report on Colgate-Palmolive Company .
  • Management accounting report of Nissan company .
  • Apple Inc.’s company analysis and financial report .
  • Accounting summary report: The case of Competition Bikes .
  • Colgate-Palmolive Company: Financial research report .
  • Report for Domino’s Pizza Enterprises .
  • Halfords Group Plc.: Financial reporting .
  • Business and economics report: Barr .
  • ASOC plc: Report for a potential investor .
  • Accounting report on Queen Limited .
  • Financial report of Lockheed Martin Corporation .
  • Financial analysis report for ANZ Banking Group, Virgin Blue Holdings, and Wesfarmers Ltd .
  • Organization systems evaluation report .
  • Financial research report: Apple, Inc .
  • Procurement and supply report .
  • Quanta Airline business report .
  • Fosters Australia firm’s security valuation report .
  • A business analysis report on David Jones Limited and Premier Investments Limited .

Once your report is written, you might be asked to present it. Let’s quickly go through the primary rules of how to make an excellent report presentation.

  • First and foremost, make a very detailed and accurate plan . Remember a simple rule: the more you talk, the more mistakes you make. That is why having a thorough outline of what you are going to say is so essential. It will help you to always keep to the main ideas and messages. No need to deepen into calculation details and other technical components.

The more you talk, the more mistakes you make.

  • Like any other presentation, a report presentation needs a clear structure. Luckily, you have already worked on it while writing. Your task is to present this structure to the audience and, more importantly, don’t switch between parts without smooth links. In other words, make sure that every element has a natural transition from the previous one. This will make your speech stable, fluent, and professional.
  • Denote your goals from the very beginning . There is no need to explain that being clear about what you want is one of the critical factors in perceiving your speech. Once you know your aims for this presentation and broadcast them to the audience, the whole speech takes a different form and tone: confident, straightforward, and efficient.

If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. (Albert Einstein).

  • The way you open your report presentation is decisive for the whole performance. We won’t stop repeating that the right hook is the best solution for a strong opening. With the help of a hook, you will be able to catch the audience’s attention. Don’t lose any second; read our excellent guide on writing successful hooks, with samples and explanations: Catchy Hooks: Guidelines, Ideas, Samples .

If you manage to make a really good hook, your listeners will think about it throughout the speech and maybe after.

Here are some additional materials that will help you to deal with report presentation preparations:

  • How to Write a Research Report and Give a Presentation
  • 18 Tips for Presenting a Report Effectively

Done! You are now ready to build a report presentation.

It’s ok if now you feel that report writing is almost as easy as snapping your fingers

Use the tips above, complete your report as soon as possible, and finally, relax.

Good luck with your report writing 🍀

If you have any questions, post them below in the comments section 👇

Writing an Effective Research Proposal Sample in 3 Steps

How to write a thesis statement: tips & examples.

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Chapter 1: Introduction to Technical and Report Writing

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Learning Objectives

What is Technical Writing? [1]

You’re probably wondering what this “technical writing thing” is. Someone may even have told you, “It’s this course where they make you write about rocket science and brain surgery.” Well, not really, as you will see in a moment. Actually, the field of technical communication is essential in a wide range of fields and occupations. It is a fully professional field with degree programs, certifications, and—yes!—even theory. It’s a good field with a lot of growth and income potential; and an introductory technical-writing course for which this book has been developed is a good way to start if you are interested in a career in this field .

Technical writing is an audience-centered means of communication that provides a reader with clear and easy access to information. In the business world, time equates to profit, and profit is the force behind all business interaction. The technical writer and reader have a vis-à-vis relationship. The writer recognizes, respects, and addresses the importance of time in effective and efficient communication by providing documents written in specific formats, using unambiguous language to send clearly accessible information. The reader in turn thoroughly understands the information in order to give a thoughtful response.

The Meaning of “Technical”

Technical communication—or technical writing, as the course is often called—is not writing about a specific technical topic such as computers, but about any technical topic. The term “technical” refers to knowledge that is not widespread, that is more the territory of experts and specialists. Whatever your major is, you are developing an expertise—you are becoming a specialist in a particular technical area. And whenever you try to write or say anything about your field, you are engaged in technical communication .

Academic Writing Versus Technical Writing

The definite purpose, strict format and use of appropriate language in technical writing define the differences between technical writing and academic writing. The academic writer’s purpose may be to write an assignment, a story, a letter, etc.. These works may or may not have a reader. However, technical writing always has a definite purpose and will always have a reader. Regardless of the number of the intended readers of a document who may or may not read the document, the document will be read by the primary reader.

Workplace Writing

However, the focus for technical-writing courses is not necessarily a career as a technical writer but an introduction to the kinds of writing skills you need in practically any technically oriented professional job. No matter what sort of professional work you do, you’re likely to do lots of writing—and much of it technical in nature. The more you know about some basic technical-writing skills, which are covered in this guide and in technical-writing courses, the better job of writing you’re likely to do. And that will be good for the projects you work on, for the organizations you work in, and—most of all—good for you and your career .

Really Technical Writing

Keep relaxing, but you should know that professional technical writers do in fact write about very technical stuff—information that they cannot begin to master unless they go back for a Ph.D. But wait a minute! The technical documents have to ship with the product in less than nine months! How do they manage? Professional technical writers rely on these strategies to ensure the technical accuracy of their work:

  • Study of books, articles, reports, websites related to the product
  • Product specifications: what the product is supposed to do, how it is designed
  • Interviews with subject matter experts: the product specialists, developers, engineers
  • Product meetings during the development cycle
  • Live demonstrations of the product
  • Familiarization with similar, competing products
  • Experimenting with working models of the product
  • Most importantly, subject matter experts’ review of technical writers’ work for technical accuracy and completeness

Of course, experienced technical writers will tell you that product development moves so fast that specifications are not always possible and that working models of the product are rarely available. That’s why the subject matter experts’ review is often the most important.

Considerations of Technical Documents

There are key components of what makes a document strong. Therefore, writers keep these items in mind while constructing technical documents.

The Importance of Audience

Another key part of the definition of technical communication is the receiver of the information—the audience. Technical communication is the delivery of technical information to readers (or listeners or viewers) in a manner that is adapted to their needs, level of understanding, and background. In fact, this audience element is so important that it is one of the cornerstones of this course: you are challenged to write about highly technical subjects but in a way that a beginner—a nonspecialist—could understand. This ability to “translate” technical information to non-specialists is a key skill to any technical communicator. In a world of rapid technological development, people are constantly falling behind and becoming technological illiterates. Technology companies are constantly struggling to find effective ways to help customers or potential customers understand the advantages or the operation of their new products .

Not only is the the level at which you write important but so are the language choices you make as you do so. Please review the information on the following link for tips: Use Language that is Sensitive to Your Audience [2]

So relax! You don’t have to write about computers or rocket science—write about the area of technical specialization you know or are learning about. Also, plan to write about it in such a way that even Grandad can understand !

Formatting and Language

Formatting and appropriate language are the basic design elements of all technical documents. A format that shows a hierarchical structure and a coordinate structure of information le ads the reader thorough text.

Textbook image

Readers should be able to identify a writer’s organizational pattern very quickly when reading a technical document . This sometimes refers to a document being “reader friendly.” In addition , using appropriate language is significant in providing the reader with a thorough understanding of the purpose of the document, how the document relates to the reader’s needs, and what action is expected of the reader. [3]

A document may also have one reader (the primary reader) or several readers (the secondary readers). A primary reader is the person who ordered the report to be written or the person for whom a report is intended. These readers will usually read the entire report. Secondary readers are those readers who will read only the sections of the report that relate to them, their jobs, their departments, responsibilities, etc. For example, if a report was sent that detailed funding for different departments, a piping superintendent may only want to read the section that relates to piping. This is where format, the use of headings, is significant in allowing the reader easy access to information. When the piping superintendent can scan through the document and clearly find the heading that identifies his department saves time.

Cultural Communication

Technical writers need to be aware of the differences between the behavior and the norms, beliefs and values of specific cultural. According to Edward T. Hall and Mildred Reed Hall, In Understanding Cultural Differences, each culture operates according to its own rules (1990, pp. 3-4). Hall and Hall add that problems occur when members of one culture apply the rules to another culture (1990, pp. 3-4). To communicate effectively with other cultures, the technical writer needs to not only be aware of rules governing behaviors that can be observed but also of the not-so-obvious rules that govern the norms, beliefs, and values of the people of a culture. The invisible rules of a culture dramatically impact the acceptance of ideas, plans, and strategies. The Cultural Iceberg illustrates patterns of world communication, showing indicators of Institutional Culture (the obvious behavior of a culture), which can be clearly seen as the tip of the iceberg, and People Culture (the norms, beliefs and values of a culture), which cannot be seen and which are the barriers to successful communication .

Figure 2 The Cultural Iceberg

explain the features of report writing

Technical writers have a responsibility to their readers and to their employers to follow ethics when writing reports.

Law and Ethics Text with Watch

Technical writers must use words that demonstrate valid appeals to reason, avoiding emotional words and phrases that appea l to basic emotion instead of justifiable reasoning. In addition, technical writers must use valid references to support ideas and strategies, avoiding referencing non experts to sway readers’ support. Also, technical writers must use accurate numbers to report data, avoiding charts and tables that skew data. Using any type of fallacies in technical writing is unethical and could result in dire consequences.

Not only do technical writers have a responsibility to report accurate information, but they also have a responsibility to credit accurate sources of information. At no time is it acceptable to rearrange information in order to attempt to indicate that the writer is the source of someone else’s idea or to indicate that the writer read a report that included information he/she cited, when the primary source of the information was cited in another report. All sources must be referenced accurately in the text and cited on a reference page.

Daniel G. Riordan (2005), in Technical Report Writing Today, cites Dombrowski to define three threads of ethics:

One major thread is that the communicator must be a good person who cares for the audience. Communicators must tell the truth as convincingly as possible, because truth will lead to the good of the audience. Another thread is that the communicator must do what is right, regardless of possible outcomes. A third thread is that communicators must act for the greatest good for the greatest number of people (p. 16) .

In addition, Riordan (2005) references the “code of ethics of the Society for Technical Writers, and cites five of the code’s tenants:

My commitment to professional excellence and ethical behaviors means that I will …

  • Use language and visuals with precision.
  • Prefer simple direct expression of ideas.
  • Satisfy the audience’s need for information, not my own need for self-expression.
  • Hold myself responsible for how well my audience understands my message.
  • Report the work of colleagues, knowing that a communication problem may have more than one solution (Riordan, 2005, pp. 15-16) .

Hall, E. T. & Hall, M. R. (1990). Understanding Cultural Differences. Yardmouth: Intercultural Press, Inc.

Riordan, D. G. (2005). Technical Report Writing Today. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Visuals & Readability

To make a document more reader friendly, many technical writers rely on visuals to achieve this goal. [5] For example , la bels, callouts and captions are identifying text for graphics . Labels and callouts identify specific elements or features on a graphic; whereas captions are short phrases or sentences that describe the graphic. Notes, or footnotes, explain, or give credit.

Labels and Callouts

To identify specific elements or features, labels and captions are placed directly on the graphic or near it. “Although the terms are used interchangeably, labels are text identifiers that are self-explanatory in an image, while callouts are labels that require further information outside the image to explain what they are identifying” (Gurak 304). They supplement the visual information. But use them selectively; use them only if readers need them (Rude 116).

The advantage of labels is that the reader gains a basic understanding of elements in the graphic without referring to supplementary explanations. But, too many labels obscure the image. In this case, callouts are the better option. Use numbers or letters to identify each element and the supplementary explanations.

Guidelines for Creating Labels and Callouts

  • Determine the number of items to identify in the image (Gurak 308).
  • Estimate how much explanation each item requires to determine if labels or callouts are more appropriate (Gurak 308).
  • create a consistent visual style (Gurak 308)
  • use the same terms on the label or callout as in the text (Rude 116)
  • in general, all parts mentioned in the text should have a label or callout, and all parts with a label or callout should be mentioned in the text. (Rude 116)
  • Use a standard font and size for readability (Rude 116)
  • Align the labels and callouts for a neater appearance (Rude 116)
  • If callouts are used, place the explanatory text in a key next to the graphic.

Labels can take different forms (Gurak 304 – 306):

  • They may be placed directly on the graphic (whereby they become part of the graphic).
  • They may be placed around the graphic and use lines to point to the relevant element in the graphic.
  • Online, labels can be links or hotspots whereby more information about the element is displayed on mouse rollover.

This is an example of l abels placed directly on the graphic.

Map of Central Park with labelled streets and park areas.

Figure 3 Map of the West Side Central Park, NYC between 102nd and 110th Streets.

Here, the labels are placed around the graphic.

Drawing of a flower with all parts labelled with lines to their placement on the drawing.

Figure 4 Parts of a flower.

In this sample, when the mouse is rolled over the ‘Firebox’ label, the text will read: “Literally a box containing the fire. It is surrounded by water on the top and all sides. The bottom is a grate with an ash pan below that.” Additional information is displayed .

Anatomy of a steam locomotive. Each part of the train is labelled with a line to the part.

Figure 5 Labels as hotspots.

Callouts are best used when many parts of the image need to be labeled and each part requires a longer explanation. In fact, the label sequence may be in alphabetical or numerical (as in Figure 6) order. Ensure that the explanation is near the graphic.

Sample Nutrition Facts label from Macaroni and Cheese. Call outs on the left side point to different parts of the label, such as Start Here, Check Calories, Limit these Nutrients, Get Enough of these Nutrients, Footnote, and the Serving Size.

Figure 6. How to understand and use the Nutrition Facts Label.

Coded callouts are in numerical sequence; the explanation for each number appears below the graphic. The example above shows part of the explanation of Number 1 explanation only.

Captions, table, and graphics titles must clearly identify information to the reader. Interpretive captions usually require one or more sentences. Captions should be informational, without becoming too lengthy. Captions that are merely a title for a graphic are not very helpful (Franklin 96).

Writing Style for Captions

  • Captions for graphics include the title and any explanatory material, immediately under the graphic.
  • Words such as Figure, Illustration, and Table should be in bold type.
  • The caption should be italicized.
  • Treat tables and figures the same.

Good captions are what guide readers not only to see, but also to understand. Captions label graphics with titles and explain to readers what they are seeing, and how to interpret the information captured in the visual. The Franklin Covey Style Guide for Business and Technical Communication provides an excellent source for writing captions (Franklin 39 – 41).

Five Specific Style Rules

  • Use interpretive captions whenever possible. I nterpretive captions provide both a title and explanatory information, usually expressed in a complete sentence, to help readers understand the central point(s) that the writer wants to convey. A graphic and its caption should be clear and understandable without requiring readers to search for clarifying information in the text:
  • Figure 4. Cabin-Temperature Control System. Constant cabin temperature control is maintained by the system’s modulated cabin sensor.
  • This interpretive caption gives the title and then tells the reader the principle message – that the check valve provides near-zero risk. And, it states how the check valve provides near-zero risk (Franklin 39).
  • Figure 23. Check Valve . The risk of bad air entering the changer is near zero because the check valve permits air flow in one direction only.
  • This interpretive caption gives the title of the figure and emphasizes that the cabin has a constant temperature – a benefit provided by the feature described in the figure. The caption states clearly what the writer wants the reader to learn from the drawing (Franklin 39).
  • Avoid using short, often ambiguous, titles to replace interpretive captions. In the past, styles for technical and scientific documents used only short, simple title captions for visuals. These were often superfluous, providing no real information other than the obvious to the reader, i.e. – A Horse. Titles that are so short and cryptic that they sound telegraphic are not useful. Such captions are only useful when the graphics are self-explanatory, and require no interpretation (Franklin 40).
  • Number figures and tables sequentially throughout the document, and place the number before the caption. If an important figure or table is presented twice, treat it as two separate visuals and number each. Figure and table numbers should be whole numbers (Franklin 40).
  • Captions may appear below or above a visual, but consistency throughout a document is critical. Arguments support both options; choose one, warrant your choice, and be consistent.
  • Put the caption above the visual for better visibility when captions are used with slides and other project visual aids. Captions placed at the bottom may be blocked by the heads of those seated in front (Franklin 99).

Notes or footnotes are categorized as either explanatory or source notes. Explanatory footnotes are identified by a superscript number or letter. The order in which notes appear is important; explanatory footnotes are placed above source notes. And both are placed above the caption, if the caption is placed at the bottom of the illustration.

A pie chart about Toxic Chemical Releases. Below the chart, a footnote is listed with a source note and caption.

Figure 7. Placement of footnote, source note and caption.

Source: Rude, p. 115, modified.

The Writing Process [6]

Writing, especially when compiling a larger document, is not something you sit down, complete in one session, and quickly submit. This is especially true when writing for the workplace where accuracy and clarity are necessary. In fact, writing should be seen as a process that is recursive where the writer moves in and out of various stages of writing and often times revisits some of the stages. The writing process might consist of the following:

This is the planning done before writing a document. It may be defining the purpose of the task, analyzing the primary and secondary readers, sketching the document and what will go in each section, or gathering research.

This is writing and compiling a first draft of the document. Sometimes, the writer worries more about getting ideas down more than guaranteeing every punctuation or grammar choice is correct.

When a writer revises, a writer revisits the draft and makes substantial changes to it. This is more than editing. It is adding, deleting, and moving entire sections of the document around to prepare it as a final, comprehensive document. In fact, it is here that many writers ask others for feedback before revising to ensure that another, unbiased set of eyes have looked over the document and easily understand it.

This is the final part of the process. It is reading through the document several times while looking for clarity, consistency, and accuracy. In fact, consider reading your document aloud and listening to it as you do so instead of reading and “seeing” it. Most individuals communicate mostly through talking and listening. Therefore, when you read aloud, you can hear if something in your document doesn’t sound right and then correct it. You should be able to read it in a way that it is understandable and sounds conversational.

For additional information on the writing process, visit The Writing Center website for the University of Texas: University of Texas Writing Center & The Writing Process .

Using a process in the workplace and in our class will strengthen your documents significantly. In fact, remember that your documents reflect on who you are as student, technical writer, employee, and even researcher.

[1] Technical Writing. Authored by : Dr. Elizabeth Lohman. Provided by : Tidewater Community College. Located at : http://www.tcc.edu/ . Project : Z Degree Program. License : CC BY: Attribution , edited by Amber Kinonen , edits included in italics

[2] Use Language that is Sensitive to Your Audience. Provided by : Writing Commons. Located at : http://writingcommons.org/open-text/collaboration/143-common-comments/word-choice-/575-use-language-that-is-sensitive-to-your-audience . License : CC BY-NC-ND: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives edited by Amber Kinonen , edits included in italics

[3] Image of Textbook. Authored by : Dominik Wagner. Located at : https://flic.kr/p/eoAvCb . License : CC BY: Attribution

[4] Image of Text with Watch. Authored by : Stephen Wu. Located at : https://flic.kr/p/tZ1LP . License : CC BY-NC-ND: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives

[5] Norbert Elliot’s “Labels, Callouts, Captions and Notes” CC-BY Saylor, edited by Amber Kinonen , edits included in italics

[6] The Writing Process CC-BY Amber Kinonen

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Chapter 1: Introduction to Technical and Report Writing by Bay College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Research Method

Home » Research Report – Example, Writing Guide and Types

Research Report – Example, Writing Guide and Types

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Research Report

Research Report

Definition:

Research Report is a written document that presents the results of a research project or study, including the research question, methodology, results, and conclusions, in a clear and objective manner.

The purpose of a research report is to communicate the findings of the research to the intended audience, which could be other researchers, stakeholders, or the general public.

Components of Research Report

Components of Research Report are as follows:

Introduction

The introduction sets the stage for the research report and provides a brief overview of the research question or problem being investigated. It should include a clear statement of the purpose of the study and its significance or relevance to the field of research. It may also provide background information or a literature review to help contextualize the research.

Literature Review

The literature review provides a critical analysis and synthesis of the existing research and scholarship relevant to the research question or problem. It should identify the gaps, inconsistencies, and contradictions in the literature and show how the current study addresses these issues. The literature review also establishes the theoretical framework or conceptual model that guides the research.

Methodology

The methodology section describes the research design, methods, and procedures used to collect and analyze data. It should include information on the sample or participants, data collection instruments, data collection procedures, and data analysis techniques. The methodology should be clear and detailed enough to allow other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the study in a clear and objective manner. It should provide a detailed description of the data and statistics used to answer the research question or test the hypothesis. Tables, graphs, and figures may be included to help visualize the data and illustrate the key findings.

The discussion section interprets the results of the study and explains their significance or relevance to the research question or problem. It should also compare the current findings with those of previous studies and identify the implications for future research or practice. The discussion should be based on the results presented in the previous section and should avoid speculation or unfounded conclusions.

The conclusion summarizes the key findings of the study and restates the main argument or thesis presented in the introduction. It should also provide a brief overview of the contributions of the study to the field of research and the implications for practice or policy.

The references section lists all the sources cited in the research report, following a specific citation style, such as APA or MLA.

The appendices section includes any additional material, such as data tables, figures, or instruments used in the study, that could not be included in the main text due to space limitations.

Types of Research Report

Types of Research Report are as follows:

Thesis is a type of research report. A thesis is a long-form research document that presents the findings and conclusions of an original research study conducted by a student as part of a graduate or postgraduate program. It is typically written by a student pursuing a higher degree, such as a Master’s or Doctoral degree, although it can also be written by researchers or scholars in other fields.

Research Paper

Research paper is a type of research report. A research paper is a document that presents the results of a research study or investigation. Research papers can be written in a variety of fields, including science, social science, humanities, and business. They typically follow a standard format that includes an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion sections.

Technical Report

A technical report is a detailed report that provides information about a specific technical or scientific problem or project. Technical reports are often used in engineering, science, and other technical fields to document research and development work.

Progress Report

A progress report provides an update on the progress of a research project or program over a specific period of time. Progress reports are typically used to communicate the status of a project to stakeholders, funders, or project managers.

Feasibility Report

A feasibility report assesses the feasibility of a proposed project or plan, providing an analysis of the potential risks, benefits, and costs associated with the project. Feasibility reports are often used in business, engineering, and other fields to determine the viability of a project before it is undertaken.

Field Report

A field report documents observations and findings from fieldwork, which is research conducted in the natural environment or setting. Field reports are often used in anthropology, ecology, and other social and natural sciences.

Experimental Report

An experimental report documents the results of a scientific experiment, including the hypothesis, methods, results, and conclusions. Experimental reports are often used in biology, chemistry, and other sciences to communicate the results of laboratory experiments.

Case Study Report

A case study report provides an in-depth analysis of a specific case or situation, often used in psychology, social work, and other fields to document and understand complex cases or phenomena.

Literature Review Report

A literature review report synthesizes and summarizes existing research on a specific topic, providing an overview of the current state of knowledge on the subject. Literature review reports are often used in social sciences, education, and other fields to identify gaps in the literature and guide future research.

Research Report Example

Following is a Research Report Example sample for Students:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Academic Performance among High School Students

This study aims to investigate the relationship between social media use and academic performance among high school students. The study utilized a quantitative research design, which involved a survey questionnaire administered to a sample of 200 high school students. The findings indicate that there is a negative correlation between social media use and academic performance, suggesting that excessive social media use can lead to poor academic performance among high school students. The results of this study have important implications for educators, parents, and policymakers, as they highlight the need for strategies that can help students balance their social media use and academic responsibilities.

Introduction:

Social media has become an integral part of the lives of high school students. With the widespread use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, students can connect with friends, share photos and videos, and engage in discussions on a range of topics. While social media offers many benefits, concerns have been raised about its impact on academic performance. Many studies have found a negative correlation between social media use and academic performance among high school students (Kirschner & Karpinski, 2010; Paul, Baker, & Cochran, 2012).

Given the growing importance of social media in the lives of high school students, it is important to investigate its impact on academic performance. This study aims to address this gap by examining the relationship between social media use and academic performance among high school students.

Methodology:

The study utilized a quantitative research design, which involved a survey questionnaire administered to a sample of 200 high school students. The questionnaire was developed based on previous studies and was designed to measure the frequency and duration of social media use, as well as academic performance.

The participants were selected using a convenience sampling technique, and the survey questionnaire was distributed in the classroom during regular school hours. The data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics and correlation analysis.

The findings indicate that the majority of high school students use social media platforms on a daily basis, with Facebook being the most popular platform. The results also show a negative correlation between social media use and academic performance, suggesting that excessive social media use can lead to poor academic performance among high school students.

Discussion:

The results of this study have important implications for educators, parents, and policymakers. The negative correlation between social media use and academic performance suggests that strategies should be put in place to help students balance their social media use and academic responsibilities. For example, educators could incorporate social media into their teaching strategies to engage students and enhance learning. Parents could limit their children’s social media use and encourage them to prioritize their academic responsibilities. Policymakers could develop guidelines and policies to regulate social media use among high school students.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, this study provides evidence of the negative impact of social media on academic performance among high school students. The findings highlight the need for strategies that can help students balance their social media use and academic responsibilities. Further research is needed to explore the specific mechanisms by which social media use affects academic performance and to develop effective strategies for addressing this issue.

Limitations:

One limitation of this study is the use of convenience sampling, which limits the generalizability of the findings to other populations. Future studies should use random sampling techniques to increase the representativeness of the sample. Another limitation is the use of self-reported measures, which may be subject to social desirability bias. Future studies could use objective measures of social media use and academic performance, such as tracking software and school records.

Implications:

The findings of this study have important implications for educators, parents, and policymakers. Educators could incorporate social media into their teaching strategies to engage students and enhance learning. For example, teachers could use social media platforms to share relevant educational resources and facilitate online discussions. Parents could limit their children’s social media use and encourage them to prioritize their academic responsibilities. They could also engage in open communication with their children to understand their social media use and its impact on their academic performance. Policymakers could develop guidelines and policies to regulate social media use among high school students. For example, schools could implement social media policies that restrict access during class time and encourage responsible use.

References:

  • Kirschner, P. A., & Karpinski, A. C. (2010). Facebook® and academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(6), 1237-1245.
  • Paul, J. A., Baker, H. M., & Cochran, J. D. (2012). Effect of online social networking on student academic performance. Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology, 8(1), 1-19.
  • Pantic, I. (2014). Online social networking and mental health. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(10), 652-657.
  • Rosen, L. D., Carrier, L. M., & Cheever, N. A. (2013). Facebook and texting made me do it: Media-induced task-switching while studying. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(3), 948-958.

Note*: Above mention, Example is just a sample for the students’ guide. Do not directly copy and paste as your College or University assignment. Kindly do some research and Write your own.

Applications of Research Report

Research reports have many applications, including:

  • Communicating research findings: The primary application of a research report is to communicate the results of a study to other researchers, stakeholders, or the general public. The report serves as a way to share new knowledge, insights, and discoveries with others in the field.
  • Informing policy and practice : Research reports can inform policy and practice by providing evidence-based recommendations for decision-makers. For example, a research report on the effectiveness of a new drug could inform regulatory agencies in their decision-making process.
  • Supporting further research: Research reports can provide a foundation for further research in a particular area. Other researchers may use the findings and methodology of a report to develop new research questions or to build on existing research.
  • Evaluating programs and interventions : Research reports can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and interventions in achieving their intended outcomes. For example, a research report on a new educational program could provide evidence of its impact on student performance.
  • Demonstrating impact : Research reports can be used to demonstrate the impact of research funding or to evaluate the success of research projects. By presenting the findings and outcomes of a study, research reports can show the value of research to funders and stakeholders.
  • Enhancing professional development : Research reports can be used to enhance professional development by providing a source of information and learning for researchers and practitioners in a particular field. For example, a research report on a new teaching methodology could provide insights and ideas for educators to incorporate into their own practice.

How to write Research Report

Here are some steps you can follow to write a research report:

  • Identify the research question: The first step in writing a research report is to identify your research question. This will help you focus your research and organize your findings.
  • Conduct research : Once you have identified your research question, you will need to conduct research to gather relevant data and information. This can involve conducting experiments, reviewing literature, or analyzing data.
  • Organize your findings: Once you have gathered all of your data, you will need to organize your findings in a way that is clear and understandable. This can involve creating tables, graphs, or charts to illustrate your results.
  • Write the report: Once you have organized your findings, you can begin writing the report. Start with an introduction that provides background information and explains the purpose of your research. Next, provide a detailed description of your research methods and findings. Finally, summarize your results and draw conclusions based on your findings.
  • Proofread and edit: After you have written your report, be sure to proofread and edit it carefully. Check for grammar and spelling errors, and make sure that your report is well-organized and easy to read.
  • Include a reference list: Be sure to include a list of references that you used in your research. This will give credit to your sources and allow readers to further explore the topic if they choose.
  • Format your report: Finally, format your report according to the guidelines provided by your instructor or organization. This may include formatting requirements for headings, margins, fonts, and spacing.

Purpose of Research Report

The purpose of a research report is to communicate the results of a research study to a specific audience, such as peers in the same field, stakeholders, or the general public. The report provides a detailed description of the research methods, findings, and conclusions.

Some common purposes of a research report include:

  • Sharing knowledge: A research report allows researchers to share their findings and knowledge with others in their field. This helps to advance the field and improve the understanding of a particular topic.
  • Identifying trends: A research report can identify trends and patterns in data, which can help guide future research and inform decision-making.
  • Addressing problems: A research report can provide insights into problems or issues and suggest solutions or recommendations for addressing them.
  • Evaluating programs or interventions : A research report can evaluate the effectiveness of programs or interventions, which can inform decision-making about whether to continue, modify, or discontinue them.
  • Meeting regulatory requirements: In some fields, research reports are required to meet regulatory requirements, such as in the case of drug trials or environmental impact studies.

When to Write Research Report

A research report should be written after completing the research study. This includes collecting data, analyzing the results, and drawing conclusions based on the findings. Once the research is complete, the report should be written in a timely manner while the information is still fresh in the researcher’s mind.

In academic settings, research reports are often required as part of coursework or as part of a thesis or dissertation. In this case, the report should be written according to the guidelines provided by the instructor or institution.

In other settings, such as in industry or government, research reports may be required to inform decision-making or to comply with regulatory requirements. In these cases, the report should be written as soon as possible after the research is completed in order to inform decision-making in a timely manner.

Overall, the timing of when to write a research report depends on the purpose of the research, the expectations of the audience, and any regulatory requirements that need to be met. However, it is important to complete the report in a timely manner while the information is still fresh in the researcher’s mind.

Characteristics of Research Report

There are several characteristics of a research report that distinguish it from other types of writing. These characteristics include:

  • Objective: A research report should be written in an objective and unbiased manner. It should present the facts and findings of the research study without any personal opinions or biases.
  • Systematic: A research report should be written in a systematic manner. It should follow a clear and logical structure, and the information should be presented in a way that is easy to understand and follow.
  • Detailed: A research report should be detailed and comprehensive. It should provide a thorough description of the research methods, results, and conclusions.
  • Accurate : A research report should be accurate and based on sound research methods. The findings and conclusions should be supported by data and evidence.
  • Organized: A research report should be well-organized. It should include headings and subheadings to help the reader navigate the report and understand the main points.
  • Clear and concise: A research report should be written in clear and concise language. The information should be presented in a way that is easy to understand, and unnecessary jargon should be avoided.
  • Citations and references: A research report should include citations and references to support the findings and conclusions. This helps to give credit to other researchers and to provide readers with the opportunity to further explore the topic.

Advantages of Research Report

Research reports have several advantages, including:

  • Communicating research findings: Research reports allow researchers to communicate their findings to a wider audience, including other researchers, stakeholders, and the general public. This helps to disseminate knowledge and advance the understanding of a particular topic.
  • Providing evidence for decision-making : Research reports can provide evidence to inform decision-making, such as in the case of policy-making, program planning, or product development. The findings and conclusions can help guide decisions and improve outcomes.
  • Supporting further research: Research reports can provide a foundation for further research on a particular topic. Other researchers can build on the findings and conclusions of the report, which can lead to further discoveries and advancements in the field.
  • Demonstrating expertise: Research reports can demonstrate the expertise of the researchers and their ability to conduct rigorous and high-quality research. This can be important for securing funding, promotions, and other professional opportunities.
  • Meeting regulatory requirements: In some fields, research reports are required to meet regulatory requirements, such as in the case of drug trials or environmental impact studies. Producing a high-quality research report can help ensure compliance with these requirements.

Limitations of Research Report

Despite their advantages, research reports also have some limitations, including:

  • Time-consuming: Conducting research and writing a report can be a time-consuming process, particularly for large-scale studies. This can limit the frequency and speed of producing research reports.
  • Expensive: Conducting research and producing a report can be expensive, particularly for studies that require specialized equipment, personnel, or data. This can limit the scope and feasibility of some research studies.
  • Limited generalizability: Research studies often focus on a specific population or context, which can limit the generalizability of the findings to other populations or contexts.
  • Potential bias : Researchers may have biases or conflicts of interest that can influence the findings and conclusions of the research study. Additionally, participants may also have biases or may not be representative of the larger population, which can limit the validity and reliability of the findings.
  • Accessibility: Research reports may be written in technical or academic language, which can limit their accessibility to a wider audience. Additionally, some research may be behind paywalls or require specialized access, which can limit the ability of others to read and use the findings.

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  • Research Report: Definition, Types + [Writing Guide]

busayo.longe

One of the reasons for carrying out research is to add to the existing body of knowledge. Therefore, when conducting research, you need to document your processes and findings in a research report. 

With a research report, it is easy to outline the findings of your systematic investigation and any gaps needing further inquiry. Knowing how to create a detailed research report will prove useful when you need to conduct research.  

What is a Research Report?

A research report is a well-crafted document that outlines the processes, data, and findings of a systematic investigation. It is an important document that serves as a first-hand account of the research process, and it is typically considered an objective and accurate source of information.

In many ways, a research report can be considered as a summary of the research process that clearly highlights findings, recommendations, and other important details. Reading a well-written research report should provide you with all the information you need about the core areas of the research process.

Features of a Research Report 

So how do you recognize a research report when you see one? Here are some of the basic features that define a research report. 

  • It is a detailed presentation of research processes and findings, and it usually includes tables and graphs. 
  • It is written in a formal language.
  • A research report is usually written in the third person.
  • It is informative and based on first-hand verifiable information.
  • It is formally structured with headings, sections, and bullet points.
  • It always includes recommendations for future actions. 

Types of Research Report 

The research report is classified based on two things; nature of research and target audience.

Nature of Research

  • Qualitative Research Report

This is the type of report written for qualitative research . It outlines the methods, processes, and findings of a qualitative method of systematic investigation. In educational research, a qualitative research report provides an opportunity for one to apply his or her knowledge and develop skills in planning and executing qualitative research projects.

A qualitative research report is usually descriptive in nature. Hence, in addition to presenting details of the research process, you must also create a descriptive narrative of the information.

  • Quantitative Research Report

A quantitative research report is a type of research report that is written for quantitative research. Quantitative research is a type of systematic investigation that pays attention to numerical or statistical values in a bid to find answers to research questions. 

In this type of research report, the researcher presents quantitative data to support the research process and findings. Unlike a qualitative research report that is mainly descriptive, a quantitative research report works with numbers; that is, it is numerical in nature. 

Target Audience

Also, a research report can be said to be technical or popular based on the target audience. If you’re dealing with a general audience, you would need to present a popular research report, and if you’re dealing with a specialized audience, you would submit a technical report. 

  • Technical Research Report

A technical research report is a detailed document that you present after carrying out industry-based research. This report is highly specialized because it provides information for a technical audience; that is, individuals with above-average knowledge in the field of study. 

In a technical research report, the researcher is expected to provide specific information about the research process, including statistical analyses and sampling methods. Also, the use of language is highly specialized and filled with jargon. 

Examples of technical research reports include legal and medical research reports. 

  • Popular Research Report

A popular research report is one for a general audience; that is, for individuals who do not necessarily have any knowledge in the field of study. A popular research report aims to make information accessible to everyone. 

It is written in very simple language, which makes it easy to understand the findings and recommendations. Examples of popular research reports are the information contained in newspapers and magazines. 

Importance of a Research Report 

  • Knowledge Transfer: As already stated above, one of the reasons for carrying out research is to contribute to the existing body of knowledge, and this is made possible with a research report. A research report serves as a means to effectively communicate the findings of a systematic investigation to all and sundry.  
  • Identification of Knowledge Gaps: With a research report, you’d be able to identify knowledge gaps for further inquiry. A research report shows what has been done while hinting at other areas needing systematic investigation. 
  • In market research, a research report would help you understand the market needs and peculiarities at a glance. 
  • A research report allows you to present information in a precise and concise manner. 
  • It is time-efficient and practical because, in a research report, you do not have to spend time detailing the findings of your research work in person. You can easily send out the report via email and have stakeholders look at it. 

Guide to Writing a Research Report

A lot of detail goes into writing a research report, and getting familiar with the different requirements would help you create the ideal research report. A research report is usually broken down into multiple sections, which allows for a concise presentation of information.

Structure and Example of a Research Report

This is the title of your systematic investigation. Your title should be concise and point to the aims, objectives, and findings of a research report. 

  • Table of Contents

This is like a compass that makes it easier for readers to navigate the research report.

An abstract is an overview that highlights all important aspects of the research including the research method, data collection process, and research findings. Think of an abstract as a summary of your research report that presents pertinent information in a concise manner. 

An abstract is always brief; typically 100-150 words and goes straight to the point. The focus of your research abstract should be the 5Ws and 1H format – What, Where, Why, When, Who and How. 

  • Introduction

Here, the researcher highlights the aims and objectives of the systematic investigation as well as the problem which the systematic investigation sets out to solve. When writing the report introduction, it is also essential to indicate whether the purposes of the research were achieved or would require more work.

In the introduction section, the researcher specifies the research problem and also outlines the significance of the systematic investigation. Also, the researcher is expected to outline any jargons and terminologies that are contained in the research.  

  • Literature Review

A literature review is a written survey of existing knowledge in the field of study. In other words, it is the section where you provide an overview and analysis of different research works that are relevant to your systematic investigation. 

It highlights existing research knowledge and areas needing further investigation, which your research has sought to fill. At this stage, you can also hint at your research hypothesis and its possible implications for the existing body of knowledge in your field of study. 

  • An Account of Investigation

This is a detailed account of the research process, including the methodology, sample, and research subjects. Here, you are expected to provide in-depth information on the research process including the data collection and analysis procedures. 

In a quantitative research report, you’d need to provide information surveys, questionnaires and other quantitative data collection methods used in your research. In a qualitative research report, you are expected to describe the qualitative data collection methods used in your research including interviews and focus groups. 

In this section, you are expected to present the results of the systematic investigation. 

This section further explains the findings of the research, earlier outlined. Here, you are expected to present a justification for each outcome and show whether the results are in line with your hypotheses or if other research studies have come up with similar results.

  • Conclusions

This is a summary of all the information in the report. It also outlines the significance of the entire study. 

  • References and Appendices

This section contains a list of all the primary and secondary research sources. 

Tips for Writing a Research Report

  • Define the Context for the Report

As is obtainable when writing an essay, defining the context for your research report would help you create a detailed yet concise document. This is why you need to create an outline before writing so that you do not miss out on anything. 

  • Define your Audience

Writing with your audience in mind is essential as it determines the tone of the report. If you’re writing for a general audience, you would want to present the information in a simple and relatable manner. For a specialized audience, you would need to make use of technical and field-specific terms. 

  • Include Significant Findings

The idea of a research report is to present some sort of abridged version of your systematic investigation. In your report, you should exclude irrelevant information while highlighting only important data and findings. 

  • Include Illustrations

Your research report should include illustrations and other visual representations of your data. Graphs, pie charts, and relevant images lend additional credibility to your systematic investigation.

  • Choose the Right Title

A good research report title is brief, precise, and contains keywords from your research. It should provide a clear idea of your systematic investigation so that readers can grasp the entire focus of your research from the title. 

  • Proofread the Report

Before publishing the document, ensure that you give it a second look to authenticate the information. If you can, get someone else to go through the report, too, and you can also run it through proofreading and editing software. 

How to Gather Research Data for Your Report  

  • Understand the Problem

Every research aims at solving a specific problem or set of problems, and this should be at the back of your mind when writing your research report. Understanding the problem would help you to filter the information you have and include only important data in your report. 

  • Know what your report seeks to achieve

This is somewhat similar to the point above because, in some way, the aim of your research report is intertwined with the objectives of your systematic investigation. Identifying the primary purpose of writing a research report would help you to identify and present the required information accordingly. 

  • Identify your audience

Knowing your target audience plays a crucial role in data collection for a research report. If your research report is specifically for an organization, you would want to present industry-specific information or show how the research findings are relevant to the work that the company does. 

  • Create Surveys/Questionnaires

A survey is a research method that is used to gather data from a specific group of people through a set of questions. It can be either quantitative or qualitative. 

A survey is usually made up of structured questions, and it can be administered online or offline. However, an online survey is a more effective method of research data collection because it helps you save time and gather data with ease. 

You can seamlessly create an online questionnaire for your research on Formplus . With the multiple sharing options available in the builder, you would be able to administer your survey to respondents in little or no time. 

Formplus also has a report summary too l that you can use to create custom visual reports for your research.

Step-by-step guide on how to create an online questionnaire using Formplus  

  • Sign into Formplus

In the Formplus builder, you can easily create different online questionnaires for your research by dragging and dropping preferred fields into your form. To access the Formplus builder, you will need to create an account on Formplus. 

Once you do this, sign in to your account and click on Create new form to begin. 

  • Edit Form Title : Click on the field provided to input your form title, for example, “Research Questionnaire.”
  • Edit Form : Click on the edit icon to edit the form.
  • Add Fields : Drag and drop preferred form fields into your form in the Formplus builder inputs column. There are several field input options for questionnaires in the Formplus builder. 
  • Edit fields
  • Click on “Save”
  • Form Customization: With the form customization options in the form builder, you can easily change the outlook of your form and make it more unique and personalized. Formplus allows you to change your form theme, add background images, and even change the font according to your needs. 
  • Multiple Sharing Options: Formplus offers various form-sharing options, which enables you to share your questionnaire with respondents easily. You can use the direct social media sharing buttons to share your form link to your organization’s social media pages.  You can also send out your survey form as email invitations to your research subjects too. If you wish, you can share your form’s QR code or embed it on your organization’s website for easy access. 

Conclusion  

Always remember that a research report is just as important as the actual systematic investigation because it plays a vital role in communicating research findings to everyone else. This is why you must take care to create a concise document summarizing the process of conducting any research. 

In this article, we’ve outlined essential tips to help you create a research report. When writing your report, you should always have the audience at the back of your mind, as this would set the tone for the document. 

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