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.

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

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 format typically includes several components that must be there in the report to provide specific subjects in an organized and structured format. 

8 Essential elements of report writing are: 

1/ Title page: This includes the title of the report, the author’s name, the date of submission, and other relevant information.

2/ Table of contents: The table of contents lists the report’s primary sections and subsections, together with their corresponding page numbers.

3/ Executive summary: An executive summary gives a concise summary of the report, emphasizing the significant conclusions and recommendations.

4/ Introduction: This provides background information on the topic or issue, explains the purpose and scope of the report, and outlines the methodology used.

5/ Main body: This is where the bulk of the information is presented, usually divided into several sections and sub-sections. The main body may include data, analysis, and discussion of the topic or issue.

6/ Conclusion: This Summarizes the primary discoveries of the report and offers conclusions or recommendations accordingly.

7/ References: This lists the sources cited in the report, following a particular citation style such as APA, MLA, or Chicago.

8/ Appendices: This includes any additional materials such as charts, tables, graphs, or other supporting data.

The specific format and structure of a report may vary depending on the purpose, audience, and type of report.

Report writing examples and samples


Example 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 2023.

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 2023

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. 


Example of conclusion in report writing:

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


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


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.


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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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.


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.


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


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 .


Tutlance Learn

How to write a report

writing report is

A report is a document that presents information in an organized format for a specific audience and purpose. Reports are typically used to communicate results from an investigation or research project, and they are often presented in a formal, structured way.

Many students struggle to write report because they don’t understand what it is or how to approach it. This guide will help you understand what a report is and how to write one effectively.

What is a report?

A report is a formal document that presents the findings of an investigation or research project. Reports are typically used to communicate the results of a business or scientific inquiry, and they often take the form of presentations or memos. Reports can be divided into two main categories: informational and analytical. Informational reports simply present facts and data, while analytical reports use data to support conclusions or recommendations.

Reports are an important tool for businesses and organizations, as they can help decision makers make informed decisions about products, services, or strategies. In addition, reports can be used to assess the effectiveness of a business or organization, identify areas for improvement, and track progress over time.

When writing a report, it is important to ensure that all the information is clear and easy to understand. The structure of a report should be simple and logical, with headings and subheadings that accurately reflect the content. Paragraphs should be concise and well-organized, and visuals such as tables and charts should be used to break up the text and highlight key points.

It is also important to be accurate and objective when writing a report, and to avoid making assumptions or drawing conclusions without evidence.

Reports can play an important role in business and academic settings, and they can be a valuable tool for communicating information and findings.

What kind of information is shared in reports? 

Reports typically include the following information:

  • The purpose of the report
  • The methods used in the research or investigation
  • The results of the research or investigation
  • The conclusions drawn from the research or investigation
  • Recommendations based on the findings of the report

Who writes reports?

Reports are typically written by researchers, scientists, business professionals, and students. However, anyone who needs to communicate information in a clear and concise manner can write a report.

What is the difference between an informational and analytical report?

Informational reports simply present facts and data, while analytical reports use data to support conclusions or recommendations. What should be included in a good report?

Types of reports

What are different types of reports?

There are many different types of reports, but some of the most common are research reports, business reports, and academic reports.

  • Research reports : A research report is a document that presents the findings of a research project. It may be written for publication in a scholarly journal, or it may be used internally by a company or organization.
  • Business reports : A business report is a document that presents the results of an analysis or evaluation of a business situation. It may be used to make decisions about future courses of action, or to recommend changes in policy or practice.
  • Academic reports : An academic report is a document that presents the findings of an academic study. It may be used to inform decisions about future research, or to present the results of a thesis or dissertation.

There are many other types of reports, including technical reports, marketing reports, and financial reports. However, these are some of the most common types of reports that are written.

What is the structure of a report?

The structure of a report depends on the type of report, the purpose of the report, and the audience. For example, a police report will be different from a scientific report.

The basic report structure includes:

  • Title page: Contains the title of the report and other information such as the author, date, and sponsoring agency.
  • Table of contents: Lists the headings and subheadings of the report with page numbers.
  • Executive summary: A synopsis of the report that highlights the main points.
  • Introduction: The introduction explains the purpose of the report and provides background information.
  • Body: The body is divided into sections and subsections, each with its own heading. The body discusses the evidence and presents conclusions.
  • Conclusion: Summarizes the findings of the report and offers recommendations, if appropriate.
  • References: Contains a list of all sources cited in the report.
  • Appendices: A collection of supplementary material that is not essential to the understanding of the report.

When writing a report, be sure to:

  • Organize your thoughts and ideas before you start writing.
  • Use headings and subheadings to organize the body of the report.
  • Include all relevant information and supporting evidence.
  • Be clear and concise.
  • Proofread your work for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.
  • Make sure the report is formatted correctly.

Now that we have learnt the definition of a report, various types of reports, and the basic report structure, let us review 10 steps in writing a report effectively.

How to write a report in 10 steps

There are various types of reports, but most of them follow a similar structure as the one discussed above. This guide will teach you how to write a report in 10 simple steps.

1. Choose a topic

The first step in report writing is choosing a good topic. Make sure that the topic is interesting and relevant to your audience. If you’re not sure what to write about, consider asking your instructor or classmates for ideas.

A good report topic should be:

  • A topic you’re interested in
  • A topic your audience would be interested in
  • A topic that is not too broad or too narrow

If the topic has been provided by your instructor, make sure you understand what is expected of you.

2. Research your topic

Before you can start writing your report, you need to gather information on your topic. Once you have chosen a topic, it’s time to do some research. You’ll need to find reliable sources of information that will help you understand the issue and make your argument more convincing.

When doing research for a report, it’s important to:

  • Find a variety of sources (books, articles, websites, etc.)
  • Evaluate each source carefully (is it reliable? Is it biased?)
  • Take good notes so you can easily go back and find the information you need later

3. Organize your thoughts

Once you’ve gathered all of your information, it’s time to start organizing it. Begin by brainstorming a list of main points that you want to include in your report. Then, group related information together and make sure that everything is logically arranged. For example, if you’re writing a report on a company, you may want to include information on its history, current status, and future plans.

4. Write a thesis statement

A good thesis statement is clear, concise, and specific. It should state your position on the topic and indicate the main points you will be discussing.

Characteristics of a good thesis statement include:

  • Being arguable : A thesis statement should not be a statement of fact, but rather a position that can be argued.
  • Focusing on one main point : A good thesis statement should focus on one main point only.
  • Being clear and concise : The thesis statement should be easy to understand and free of jargon.
  • Indicating the main points you will be discussing : The thesis statement should give the reader an idea of what to expect in your essay.

You need to formulate a good thesis statement for your report.

For example, if you are writing a report on the rise of obesity in America, your thesis statement might be “Obesity in America has reached epidemic proportions and is a serious public health problem.”

5. Outline your report

Once you have written your thesis statement, outline the main points you plan to make in support of it. Doing this will help you stay focused and ensure that your essay covers all the relevant points.

A report outline example might look something like this:


  • Briefly introduce the topic and state your thesis statement.
  • Provide some background information on the topic.
  • Explain why the topic is important or relevant.

Body Paragraphs

  • Each body paragraph should focus on one main point that supports your thesis statement.
  • Use evidence and examples to illustrate your points.
  • Restate your thesis statement.
  • Summarize the main points you made in your essay.
  • Offer your opinion on the topic and what needs to be done about it.

Now that you have a good understanding of what is needed to write a report, you can start writing the first draft.

6. Write a draft of your report

Now it’s time to writing your report. Begin by writing a draft of your report. Include all the information you want to include, but don’t worry about making it perfect just yet. Drafting the report involves writing down the main points of your research in a logical order. Be sure to include all the relevant information and cite your sources correctly.

7. Edit and proofread your report

After you have written a draft of your report, it’s time to edit and proofread it. Proofreading a report involves checking for any errors or typos and making sure that the report is clear and concise. To proofread a report, you should:

  • Check for any errors or typos
  • Make sure that the report is clear and concise
  • Pay attention to the overall structure and organization of the report
  • Make sure that all the information is presented in a logical order
  • Check for any errors in citations or sources

8. Write the final draft

Once you have edited and proofread your report, you can now write the final draft. Make any final changes and be sure to include a title page and table of contents.

The final draft should be free of any errors or typos and should be clear and concise.

Now that you have written the final draft of your report, it’s time to format it. The format of a report varies depending on the type of report, but there are some general guidelines you can follow:

  • Use a standard font such as Times New Roman or Arial and a font size of 12 points.
  • Use 1-inch margins on all sides.
  • Include a title page and table of contents.
  • Use headings and subheadings to organize the information in your report.
  • Be sure to cite your sources correctly.

9. Publish your report

After you have edited and proofread your report, it’s time to publish it. You can publish your report in a variety of ways, such as online, in a print publication, or as a presentation. Whichever way you choose to publish your report, be sure to proofread it one last time before you do.

10. Promote your report

Once you have published your report, promote it! let people know that it exists and where they can find it. Share it on social media, send out an email blast, or post about it on your website or blog. The more people who see your report, the more impact it

Follow the first eight steps for an academic report and you will be able to write a report of any type. Just remember to choose a topic that you are interested in and research it thoroughly before you start writing.

A well-written report will help to ensure that your findings are clearly and accurately communicated to your audience.

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How To Write A Report For A Formal Or Academic Occasion?


If you are immersed in academic, research, or the business world, it is likely that sooner or later (or even right now), you will have to face the task of report writing. Therefore, knowing how to write a report can save your life.

Here you can find a practical guide which will help you know the appropriate techniques needed in writing a report so that it will comply with standards. If you follow these steps to the letter, you will not only learn the art of making a report, but you will be the best at it.

What Is Report Writing?

Before getting into a subject and teaching you  how to write a good paper , you need to know clearly what you are facing. Therefore, the first thing is to delve a bit into the concept and define it.

A formal report or report essay is a text written in prose form, exposing the results of an investigation, a business process, or the analysis of a particular topic.

This type of report is used as an expository tool in different areas such as business, scientific, literary, or even in the legal field.

A report paper aims to present the reader with an analysis of results in the framework of an investigation, with special emphasis on the conclusions and processes that led to a certain result.

In the business area, brief reports are used to account for progress in different processes within the company or to disclose timely information requested by external entities.

Types Of Reports

There are various types of reports from projects or business to lab reports, let’s take a look at these two generic types.

Business Or Project Report

Business report writing is an assignment which the writer or researcher is required to analyze a situation while using standard management theories to arrive at some recommendations for an improved result.

An example, within a business organization, can be when workers are evaluated or when another company is studied. In essence, we can have a report as a tool used in a research study or in a scientific field.

Academic Report

Another general type is an academic report. These could be book reports, movie reviews, research, and even lab reports.

Academic reports are different from other types with one of the reasons being that they must be written and structured according to a recommended style format such as APA or MLA.

Report Writing Format And Style

If your teacher or instructor doesn’t state otherwise, APA or AP is the best formatting style for writing academic and business reports or other journalistic writings.

Also, the best type of writing style used for producing reports is the formal type. To achieve this, you may want to steer clear of the active voice and use the passive voice more. The active voice sound subjective. Meanwhile, report writing is supposed to be objective and devoid of personal opinions and views.

Report Structure

To write an effective report, you must choose and maintain a certain structure. Check out the correct way to structure your paper.

Executive Summary

Executive summaries are frequently used more in business reports than academic ones. They are used in situations where the entire report is voluminous. Like a newspaper news article, the writer or researcher seeks to capture the entire gist in a few paragraphs before presenting the full paper.

The introduction is the presentation of your report where you must explain in brief words what the work is about. To make an effective introduction, you must answer these questions: what, how, where, and why. If you answer each of these questions and join them with logical connectors, you will surely have a great introduction.

Body Paragraphs

In developing the body paragraphs, you have to expose the subject in the most accurate way possible, explaining the results found through the use of clear arguments.

The body is dedicated to the analysis of the facts. Then, you move on to the synthesis, that is, to the phase which you interpret what happened and get the useful indications for the future.

Finally, you must finalize the text of the document with the conclusions. You take stock of all your work. The conclusion, as the name implies, is the synthesis of what is addressed in your report. Try to write brief conclusions that summarize the most relevant points of the topic addressed

The appendix cannot be mistaken for references, citations, or the bibliography. Appendices, in short, are added text which necessarily aren’t the main idea raised in the article, but are important in the making of the written report.

In principle, to write a report, you can use this standard structure:

  • Introduction
  • Presentation of the subject treated
  • Motivations for choosing the topic
  • Purpose of the work
  • Phases and hours of work
  • People involved in the work and their role
  • Body paragraphs
  • Presentation of the aspects examined
  • Methods followed
  • Work evaluation
  • Possible difficulties encountered
  • Final reflections on the evidence that emerged from the document
  • Proposals for the future

Important Report Writing Tips

Before you begin a report,  there are some talking points, tips and report writing skills such as fact gathering,  persuasive writing technique , theoretical knowledge, etc. which you must observe or put into practice even before getting the report prompt. Check them out:

  • Choose your goal well

It will seem trivial to start from here, but the result you want to obtain from your report is really the axis of everything. So, before writing a single line of the report, you should ask yourself: “What is the goal I want to achieve? What is the message I want to convey?

  • Put yourself in the role of the recipient

This suggestion is not only valid when a report is written. More generally, it’s worth it for every time you sit down and write any kind of document. Putting yourself in the shoes of your recipient is essential: it helps you process the information contained in your report, to make it more understandable.

  • Make a list of the things you need to write

Before writing your report, you should know what issues to touch. In summary: writing a report does not make sense if you do not know where you want to go and how. Take a sheet and write on it what are the topics of the project and the order it touches them. It is about choosing the topic to start from, the central topics and the concepts on which to build the end of the report.

  • Search authorized sources

Writing a report means being as objective as possible. In fact, this type of document is an analysis of fact and not a creative history. Therefore, your sources must be reliable and objective. You must mention them in the text of your report: they should be based on truth.

  • Be simple, clear and concrete

For your reader, you have an obligation to be extremely clear. Here are some tips on how to be more understandable and, consequently, on how to write a report that is more effective:

  • Write short sentences
  • Use simple language
  • Avoid subordinates: force the reader and eliminate concentration
  • Be clear, precise, concrete: avoid whirling words full of smoke
  • Avoid a baroque or presumptuous style
  • Avoid any technical jargon, unless the report is read by those who understand it
  • Use tables and charts

Writing a report means exposing facts in a concrete way. And what is better to support facts than a graph or table? Therefore, use these elements to clarify and give even more concreteness to the things you write in your report.

  • Insert photos and images

Images and photographs are much more intuitive than words. This also applies when you need to write a report. Therefore, in your reports, insert photographs or images to document, clarify, and exemplify.

  • Format the report text

Writing a report also needs giving it a nice look. This means formatting your text appropriately. For example:

  • Choose the most appropriate format for maximum readability, both in case the document is printed or read on a monitor.
  • Highlight the most important words and concepts in bold.
  • Use numbered and bulleted lists for item lists.
  • Divide the text into blocks to avoid an unpleasant effect that makes the text look like a single wall.
  • Choose an effective title: A very important point of writing a report is what title to give the document. The title must be absolutely clear, you must say what the report contains. You must not be lazy or use word games. Probably, the best time to choose the title is at the end of the report, when the work is finished, and everything is clear.
  • Use summaries

If your report is long, it should be divided into chapters. In this case, the use of abstracts is recommended. A summary is a short text, a hundred or two hundred words maximum, which is placed at the beginning of each chapter and explains to the reader what you will find in that part of the report.

  • Read the document carefully

Re-reading what is written is an important phase of writing a report. Verify especially that there are no errors in spelling, grammar, or syntax in the report. Also, verify that the sentences are logically linked to each other. In addition, the topic of each sentence should always be clearly expressed.

  • Take care of your spelling. Any text loses its seriousness if it has spelling errors.
  • Before you start writing your report, you can make summaries to find your main ideas.
  • Create a template where you put in words and the things you should say. This will help you at the time of writing to develop your ideas.
  • In case you include specific data of an investigation, book, press release, or other documents that have a copyright, you must quote properly and include a bibliography.

To be a successful report writer, you must to know the concept and the various types. Report writing has a definitive structure and style to follow, as already revealed in this article. Try to follow them correctly, and you’d be assured of a great report paper.

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How to Write a Report

Last Updated: August 25, 2023 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Amy Bobinger . Emily Listmann is a private tutor in San Carlos, California. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. There are 22 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 43 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 8,583,893 times.

When you’re assigned to write a report, it can seem like an intimidating process. Fortunately, if you pay close attention to the report prompt, choose a subject you like, and give yourself plenty of time to research your topic, you might actually find that it’s not so bad. After you gather your research and organize it into an outline, all that’s left is to write out your paragraphs and proofread your paper before you hand it in!

Sample Reports

writing report is

Selecting Your Topic

Image titled Write a Report Step 1

  • The guidelines will also typically tell you the requirements for the structure and format of your report.
  • If you have any questions about the assignment, speak up as soon as possible. That way, you don’t start working on the report, only to find out you have to start over because you misunderstood the report prompt.

Image titled Write a Report Step 2

  • For instance, if your report is supposed to be on a historical figure, you might choose someone you find really interesting, like the first woman to be governor of a state in the U.S., or the man who invented Silly Putty.
  • If your report is about information technology , you could gather information about the use of computers to store, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data or information.
  • Even if you don’t have the option to choose your topic, you can often find something in your research that you find interesting. If your assignment is to give a report on the historical events of the 1960s in America, for example, you could focus your report on the way popular music reflected the events that occurred during that time.

Tip: Always get approval from your teacher or boss on the topic you choose before you start working on the report!

Image titled Write a Report Step 3

  • If you’re not sure what to write about at first, pick a larger topic, then narrow it down as you start researching.
  • For instance, if you wanted to do your report on World Fairs, then you realize that there are way too many of them to talk about, you might choose one specific world fair, such as the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, to focus on.
  • However, you wouldn’t necessarily want to narrow it down to something too specific, like “Food at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition,” since it could be hard to find sources on the subject without just listing a lot of recipes.

Researching the Report

Image titled Write a Report Step 4

  • If you don’t have guidelines on how many sources to use, try to find 1-2 reputable sources for each page of the report.
  • Sources can be divided into primary sources, like original written works, court records, and interviews, and secondary sources, like reference books and reviews.
  • Databases, abstracts, and indexes are considered tertiary sources, and can be used to help you find primary and secondary sources for your report. [5] X Research source
  • If you’re writing a business report , you may be given some supplementary materials, such as market research or sales reports, or you may need to compile this information yourself. [6] X Research source

Image titled Write a Report Step 5

  • Librarians are an excellent resource when you're working on a report. They can help you find books, articles, and other credible sources.
  • Often, a teacher will limit how many online sources you can use. If you find most of the information you need in the library, you can then use your online sources for details that you couldn’t find anywhere else.

Tip: Writing a report can take longer than you think! Don't put off your research until the last minute , or it will be obvious that you didn't put much effort into the assignment.

Image titled Write a Report Step 6

  • Examples of authoritative online sources include government websites, articles written by known experts, and publications in peer-reviewed journals that have been published online.

Image titled Write a Report Step 7

  • If you’re using a book as one of your sources, check the very back few pages. That’s often where an author will list the sources they used for their book.

Image titled Write a Report Step 8

  • Remember to number each page of your notes, so you don’t get confused later about what information came from which source!
  • Remember, you’ll need to cite any information that you use in your report; however, exactly how you do this will depend on the format that was assigned to you.

Image titled Write a Report Step 9

  • For most reports, your thesis statement should not contain your own opinions. However, if you're writing a persuasive report, the thesis should contain an argument that you will have to prove in the body of the essay.
  • An example of a straightforward report thesis (Thesis 1) would be: “The three main halls of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition were filled with modern creations of the day and were an excellent representation of the innovative spirit of the Progressive era.”
  • A thesis for a persuasive report (Thesis 2) might say: “The Panama-Pacific International Exposition was intended as a celebration of the Progressive spirit, but actually harbored a deep racism and principle of white supremacy that most visitors chose to ignore or celebrate.”

Image titled Write a Report Step 10

  • The purpose of an outline is to help you to visualize how your essay will look. You can create a straightforward list or make a concept map , depending on what makes the most sense to you.
  • Try to organize the information from your notes so it flows together logically. For instance, it can be helpful to try to group together related items, like important events from a person’s childhood, education, and career, if you’re writing a biographical report.
  • Example main ideas for Thesis 1: Exhibits at the Court of the Universe, Exhibits at the Court of the Four Seasons, Exhibits at the Court of Abundance.

Tip: It can help to create your outline on a computer in case you change your mind as you’re moving information around.

Writing the First Draft

Image titled Write a Report Step 11

  • Try to follow any formatting instructions to the letter. If there aren't any, opt for something classic, like 12-point Times New Roman or Arial font, double-spaced lines, and 1 in (2.5 cm) margins all around.
  • You'll usually need to include a bibliography at the end of the report that lists any sources you used. You may also need a title page , which should include the title of the report, your name, the date, and the person who requested the report.
  • For some types of reports, you may also need to include a table of contents and an abstract or summary that briefly sums up what you’ve written. It’s typically easier to write these after you’ve finished your first draft. [14] X Research source

Image titled Write a Report Step 12

  • Example Intro for Thesis 1: “The Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) of 1915 was intended to celebrate both the creation of the Panama Canal, and the technological advancements achieved at the turn of the century. The three main halls of the PPIE were filled with modern creations of the day and were an excellent representation of the innovative spirit of the Progressive era.”

Image titled Write a Report Step 13

  • Typically, you should present the most important or compelling information first.
  • Example topic sentence for Thesis 1: At the PPIE, the Court of the Universe was the heart of the exposition and represented the greatest achievements of man, as well as the meeting of the East and the West.

Tip: Assume that your reader knows little to nothing about the subject. Support your facts with plenty of details and include definitions if you use technical terms or jargon in the paper.

Image titled Write a Report Step 14

  • Paraphrasing means restating the original author's ideas in your own words. On the other hand, a direct quote means using the exact words from the original source in quotation marks, with the author cited.
  • For the topic sentence listed above about the Court of the Universe, the body paragraph should go on to list the different exhibits found at the exhibit, as well as proving how the Court represented the meeting of the East and West.
  • Use your sources to support your topic, but don't plagiarize . Always restate the information in your own words. In most cases, you'll get in serious trouble if you just copy from your sources word-for-word. Also, be sure to cite each source as you use it, according to the formatting guidelines you were given. [18] X Research source

Image titled Write a Report Step 15

  • Your commentary needs to be at least 1-2 sentences long. For a longer report, you may write more sentences for each piece of commentary.

Image titled Write a Report Step 16

  • Avoid presenting any new information in the conclusion. You don’t want this to be a “Gotcha!” moment. Instead, it should be a strong summary of everything you’ve already told the reader.

Revising Your Report

Image titled Write a Report Step 17

  • A good question to ask yourself is, “If I were someone reading this report for the first time, would I feel like I understood the topic after I finished reading?

Tip: If you have time before the deadline, set the report aside for a few days . Then, come back and read it again. This can help you catch errors you might otherwise have missed.

Image titled Write a Report Step 18

  • Try reading the report to yourself out loud. Hearing the words can help you catch awkward language or run-on sentences you might not catch by reading it silently.

Image titled Write a Report Step 19

  • This is a great trick to find spelling errors or grammatical mistakes that your eye would otherwise just scan over.

Image titled Write a Report Step 20

  • Ask your helper questions like, “Do you understand what I am saying in my report?” “Is there anything you think I should take out or add?” And “Is there anything you would change?”

Image titled Write a Report Step 21

  • If you have any questions about the assignment requirements, ask your instructor. It's important to know how they'll be grading your assignment.

Expert Q&A

Emily Listmann, MA

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About This Article

Emily Listmann, MA

It can seem really hard to write a report, but it will be easier if you choose an original topic that you're passionate about. Once you've got your topic, do some research on it at the library and online, using reputable sources like encyclopedias, scholarly journals, and government websites. Use your research write a thesis statement that sums up the focus of your paper, then organize your notes into an outline that supports that thesis statement. Finally, expand that outline into paragraph form. Read on for tips from our Education co-author on how to format your report! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Writing a report

writing report is

What is a report?

A report is a well-structured and researched document that informs a specific audience on a particular problem or topic. The purpose of a report is to inform, guide or influence decision making and/or the outcome of a course of action.

Writing reports is common in many workplaces. Thus, you often find this form of writing set as an assessment task at university. It can be either an individual- or team-based assignment.

The purpose and structure of reports can differ between disciplines and audiences. For example, a business report written for a manager will have an introduction which is separate from a literature review, whereas a lab report for your lecturer will often combine the introduction and literature review into one section. What is important is that you pay careful attention to your assessment task instructions and make sure that your key message is clear, well-reasoned and well-supported by relevant research.

Four things you need to know about report writing View

Audience and purpose.

You need to continually consider the target audience of your report. For example, ask yourself such questions as - are you writing for a client? a healthcare professional? your manager? do you have more than one audience (e.g. an imaginary client and your lecturer)?

The answers to these questions will guide your decisions about how the report is structured, the amount of background information you include, what type of information is required, and how best to present the report, including the level of technical language you use.

Differences between a report and an essay

Reports typically follow a clear structure and have common elements, each with a specific purpose. These features differentiate reports from another common form of writing at university - the essay.

You can learn about the key differences from the table below.

Check your understanding View

In the fields below drag and drop each feature to the appropriate written assignment type: Report, Essay, or Both.

Research reports

Some assignment tasks at university involve writing a research report to explain a research project or investigation that you have undertaken. The structure of a typical research report includes the following sections:

Take it further - approaching discipline-specific reports

Take a look at the following resources for information about reports in your faculty or discipline.

BusEco: Report writing

This resource is designed to assist you in completing a business report. It provides a guide to approaching and structuring your report and includes annotated examples with written feedback.

Engineering: Lab report

This resource expands on the general report structure and provides useful tips and examples on how to turn practical work and lab experiments into a written lab report.

Engineering: Technical report

This resource expands on the general report structure and provides useful tips and examples on how to write a report for key stakeholders, using experimental and practical data.

This resource provides information about what reports look like in IT, and how you might consider structuring your IT report. It includes student samples for each possible section of an IT report, along with video and written feedback.

MNHS: Health sciences case report

This resource provides a guide to approaching and structuring a patient-based case report. It includes an annotated example with written feedback.

MNHS: Comparative report

This resource is designed to assist you in completing your Comparative Report [CR] for Integrating Science and Practice [iSAP] assessment tasks. It provides a guide to approaching and structuring your report and includes an annotated example with written feedback.

MNHS: Psychology case report

This resource provides detailed guidance on the structure and content of the psychology case report, with numerous examples from the recommended reading.

Science: Lab report

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We want to hear from you! Let us know what you found most useful or share your suggestions for improving this resource.

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Ultimate Guide on How to Write a Report Tips and Sample

writing report is

Defining a Report

A report is a type of writing that represents information, data, and research findings on a specific topic. The writer is expected to deliver a well-structured, credible, and informative text that dives into the small details of a certain topic, discussing its benefits and challenges.

Reports serve many important purposes. They provide recorded facts and findings. They are used to analyze data and draw insights that can be used for decision-making. Some reports serve as compliance checks to ensure that organizations meet certain standards and requirements. Also, reports are a formal way to communicate valuable information to decision-makers and stakeholders.

A report paper can be academic or about sales, science, business, etc. But unlike other texts, report writing takes much more than getting acquainted with the subject and forming an opinion about it. Report preparation is the most important stage of the writing process. Whether you are assigned to write an academic or a sales paper, before you start writing, you must do thorough research on the topic and ensure that every source of information is trustworthy.

Report writing has its rules. In this article, we will cover everything from how to start a report to how to format one. Below you will find a student research report sample. Check our paper writer service if you want one designed specifically for your requirements.

Student Research Report Sample

Before you read our article on how to write an act essay , see what an informative and well-structured report looks like. Below you will find a sample report that follows the format and tips we suggested in the article.

Explore and learn more about comprehensive but concise reports.

What are the Report Types

As mentioned, there are plenty of different types of report papers. Even though they are very formal, academic reports are only one of many people will come across in their lifetime. Some reports concentrate on the annual performance of a company, some on a project's progress, and others on scientific findings.

Next, we will elaborate more on different sorts of reports, their contents, and their purpose. Don't forget to also check out our report example that you can find below.

report types

Academic Reports

An academic report represents supported data and information about a particular subject. This could be a historical event, a book, or a scientific finding. The credibility of such academic writing is very important as it, in the future, could be used as a backup for dissertations, essays, and other academic work.

Students are often assigned to write reports to test their understanding of a topic. They also provide evidence of the student's ability to critically analyze and synthesize information. It also demonstrates the student's writing skills and ability to simply convey complex findings and ideas.

Remember that the report outline will affect your final grade when writing an academic report. If you want to learn about the correct report writing format, keep reading the article. If you want to save time, you can always buy essays online .

Project Reports

Every project has numerous stakeholders who like to keep an eye on how things are going. This can be challenging if the number of people who need to be kept in the loop is high. One way to ensure everyone is updated and on the same page is periodic project reports.

Project managers are often assigned to make a report for people that affect the project's fate. It is a detailed document that summarizes the work done during the project and the work that needs to be completed. It informs about deadlines and helps form coherent expectations. Previous reports can be used as a reference point as the project progresses.

Sales Reports

Sales reports are excellent ways to keep your team updated on your sales strategies. It provides significant information to stakeholders, including managers, investors, and executives, so they can make informed decisions about the direction of their business.

A sales report usually provides information about a company's sales performance over a precise period. These reports include information about the revenue generated, the total number of units sold, and other metrics that help the company define the success of sales performance.

Sales report preparation is a meticulous job. To communicate information engagingly, you can put together graphs showing various information, including engagement increase, profit margins, and more.

Business Reports

If you were assigned a business report, something tells us you are wondering how to write a report for work. Let us tell you that the strategy is not much different from writing an academic report. A Strong thesis statement, compelling storytelling, credible sources, and correct format are all that matter.

Business reports can take many forms, such as marketing reports, operational reports, market research reports, feasible studies, and more. The purpose of such report writing is to provide analysis and recommendations to support decision-making and help shape a company's future strategy.

Most business reports include charts, graphs, and other visual aids that help illustrate key points and make complex information easy to digest. 

Scientific Reports

Scientific reports present the results of scientific research or investigation to a specific audience. Unlike book reports, a scientific report is always reviewed by other experts in the field for its accuracy, quality, and relevance.

If you are a scientist or a science student, you can't escape writing a lab report. You will need to provide background information on the research topic and explain the study's purpose. A scientific report includes a discussion part where the researcher interprets the results and significance of the study.

Whether you are assigned to write medical reports or make a report about new findings in the field of physics, your writing should always have an introduction, methodology, results, conclusion, and references. These are the foundation of a well-written report.

Annual Reports

An annual report is a comprehensive piece of writing that provides information about a company's performance over a year. In its nature, it might remind us of extended financial reports.

Annual reports represent types of longer reports. They usually include an overview of a company's activities, a financial summary, detailed product and service information, and market conditions. But it's not just a report of the company's performance in the sales market, but also an overview of its social responsibility programs and sustainability activities.

The format of annual report writing depends on the company's specific requirements, the needs of its stakeholder, and the regulation of the country it's based.

Writing Reports Are Not Your Thing?

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Report Format

As we've seen throughout this article, various types of reports exist. And even though their content differs, they share one essential element: report writing format. Structure, research methods, grammar, and reference lists are equally important to different reports.

Keep in mind that while the general format is the same for every type, you still need to check the requirements of the assigned report before writing one. School reports, lab reports, and financial reports are three different types of the same category.

We are now moving on to discuss the general report format. Let's direct our attention to how to start a report.

Title : You need a comprehensive but concise title to set the right tone and make a good impression. It should be reflective of the general themes in the report.

Table of Contents : Your title page must be followed by a table of contents. We suggest writing an entire report first and creating a table of content later.

Summary : The table of contents should be followed by an executive report summary. To create a comprehensive summary, wait until you have finished writing the full report.

Introduction : A major part of the report structure is an introduction. Make sure you convey the main idea of the report in just a few words. The introduction section must also include a strong thesis statement.

Body : The central part of your work is called the report's body. Here you should present relevant information and provide supported evidence. Make sure every paragraph starts with a topic sentence. Here you can use bullet points, graphs, and other visual aids.

Conclusion : Use this part to summarize your findings and focus on the main elements and what they bring to the table. Do not introduce new ideas. Good report writing means knowing the difference between a summary and a conclusion.

Recommendations : A report is designed to help decision-makers or provide crucial information to the conversation, including a set of goals or steps that should be taken to further advance the progress.

Appendices : As a finishing touch, include a list of source materials on which you based the information and facts. If you want your report to get acknowledged, don't neglect this part of the report format.

How to Write a Report Like a PRO

Mastering the report writing format is only a fraction of the job. Writing an exceptional report takes more than just including a title page and references.

Next, we will offer report-writing tips to help you figure out how to write a report like a PRO. Meanwhile, if you need someone to review your physics homework, our physics helper is ready to take on the job.

report like a pro

Start With a Strong Thesis

A strong thesis is essential to a good paper because it sets the direction for the rest. It should provide a well-defined but short summary of the main points and arguments made in the report.

A strong thesis can help you collect your thoughts and ensure that the report has a course and a coherent structure. It will help you stay focused on key points and tie every paragraph into one entity.

A clear thesis will make your report writing sound more confident and persuasive. It will make finding supporting evidence easier, and you will be able to effectively communicate your ideas to the reader.

Use Simple Wording

Reports are there to gather and distribute as much information to as many people as possible. So, the content of it should be accessible and understandable for everyone, despite their knowledge in the field. We encourage you to use simple words instead of fancy ones when writing reports for large audiences.

Other academic papers might require you to showcase advanced language knowledge and extensive vocabulary. Still, formal reports should present information in a way that does not confuse.

If you are wondering how to make report that is easy to read and digest, try finding simpler alternatives to fancy words. For example, use 'example' instead of 'paradigm'; Use 'relevant' instead of 'pertinent'; 'Exacerbate' is a fancier way to say 'worsen,' and while it makes you look educated, it might cause confusion and make you lose the reader. Choose words that are easier to understand.

Present Only One Concept in Each Phrase

Make your reports easier to understand by presenting only one concept in each paragraph. Simple, short sentences save everyone's time and make complex concepts easier to digest and memorize. 

Report writing is not a single-use material. It will be reread and re-used many times. Someone else might use your sales report to support their financial report. So, to avoid confusion and misinterpretation, start each paragraph with a topic sentence and tie everything else into this main theme.

Only Present Reliable Facts

You might have a strong hunch about future events or outcomes, but a research report is not a place to voice them. Everything you write should be supported by undisputed evidence.

Don't forget that one of the essential report preparation steps is conducting thorough research. Limit yourself to the information which is based on credible information. Only present relevant facts to the topic and add value to your thesis.

One of our report writing tips would be to write a rough draft and eliminate all the information not supported by reliable data. Double-check the credibility of the sources before finalizing the writing process.

Incorporate Bullet Points

When writing a research report, your goal is to make the information as consumable as possible. Don't shy away from using visual aids; this will only help you connect with a wider audience.

Bullet points are a great way to simplify the reading process and draw attention to the main concepts of the report. Use this technique in the body part of the report. If you notice that you are writing related information, use bullet points to point out their relation.

Incorporating bullet points and other visual aids in your report writing format will make a report easy to comprehend and use for further research.

While you are busy coming up with effective visual aids, you may not have enough time to take care of other assignments. Simply say, ' write my argumentative essay ,' and one of our expert writers will answer your prayer.

Review the Text for Accuracy and Inconsistencies

After completing report preparation and writing, ensure you don't skip the final stage. Even the greatest writers are not immune to grammatical mistakes and factual mix-ups.

Reviewing what you wrote is just as important as the research stage. Make sure there are no inconsistencies, and everything smoothly ties into the bigger scheme of events. Look out for spelling mistakes and word count.

If you want to further advance your writing skills, read our article about how to write a cover letter for essay .

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How to Write a Report? - Tips and Guidelines

Ever tried writing a report on some event you were a part of? What are the kind of details you think should be included in a report? Learn everything about report writing, how to write a report, the various types of reports, and the format and structure of a report in this article.

Table of Contents

What is a report, what to include in a report, types of reports, report writing format and structure, how to write a report, frequently asked questions on report writing.

A report is a document of the summary of an event, issue, or a topic. A report is never a fictional story. Writing a report aims to let the unaware readers know about a particular topic or idea. However, there is no particular definition of a report. Any discourse, written or verbal, covering a particular topic is known as a report. A report can be a courtroom confession or a child’s book report. But in general, when people talk about a report, it is more of an official document describing the facts of a topic, which is typically written by experts. The information regarding the event or topic must have enough evidence to support the statement. The data must be factually correct as it reaches various readers. A report must be written in an informative tone rather than opinionated.

A report is a document which covers all the information related to the event or topic and includes all the factual information. Therefore, the one who writes a report must ensure that all the information provided has proper evidence for the same.

The information that can be added to a report include,

  • The brief details of the event
  • Consequences and effects of the event
  • Evaluation of statistical data and analytics
  • Interpretations from the information
  • How the information is relevant to other events

There is often a lot of confusion when it comes to report writing and essay writing, although there are clear differences between them. Both essays and reports are written based on factual information; essays include the personal opinion of the author; whereas, reports stick to the facts. However, reports also include the author’s interpretation of the topic in the conclusion of the report. The only difference is that these interpretations are objective. A report is a more systematic and organised way of writing which includes headings, subheadings, etc. and makes it easier for the readers to read. Essays, on the other hand, are mostly written in a single flow without subheadings or breaks.

Reports are classified into three main types depending on the purpose or motive behind the report. The common types of reports are

  • Academic Reports: This report tests the child’s comprehension ability. It tests if the student has understood the lesson and is able to comprehend the subject matter, such as books, historical events, biographies, etc.
  • Business Reports: It can be a marketing report, work report, etc., and the main purpose of writing the business report is to identify different business strategies.
  • Scientific Reports: Share research findings like case studies and journals.

The structure of a report depends on the type of report and the requirements of the report. The basic format for writing a report is mentioned below.

  • Executive Summary: Like an abstract in any academic paper, an executive summary is a standalone section of the report that summarises the whole of the report so that the readers know what to expect. These are mostly used in official reports.
  • Introduction: The introduction of the report plays a crucial role as it includes the main idea of the report. The main argument is discussed in the introduction before you put your points and the evidence is collected.
  • Body: The body comes after the introduction of the report. It includes all the information regarding the event or the topic. All the facts and evidence collected can be displayed in the body of the report. The body covers the major part of a report.
  • Conclusion: It is the part of a report where all the information is gathered together, and your personal opinion or judgement is explained in this paragraph.

A report can be written easily if you have adequate information and you know how to categorise your points. You can follow to the tips provided below to write a report.

  • Finding a suitable topic
  • Conducting a research
  • Gathering all the information
  • Writing a thesis statement
  • Preparing an outline
  • Writing the final report
  • Reviewing and revising
  • Editing and proofreading

Let us look at each of these in detail.

Finding a Suitable Topic

Before you can start writing your report, it is crucial to find the topic you wish to write on. In most cases, the topic is already given, and if not, you can find a suitable topic for the same. To find the topic, you must keep in mind that you must be interested in the topic and must be able to collect the required information.

Conducting a Research

Whatever the kind of report, academic, business, news, etc., healthy research must be conducted. Research is essential to find adequate information regarding the topic. Since a report includes all the factual data, extensive research is essential. It is essential to find the right evidence to prove your topic.

Gathering all the Information

After you are done with your research, you can jot down all the points at a place and note down all the facts collected. After collecting the information, you can decide on the subheadings and divide them as per their categories.

Writing a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is written to conceptualise the main theme of the report. Just like the first sentence or the topic of the report, the thesis statement summarises the main points in brief.

Preparing the Outline

Preparing an outline of a report is essential for all the kids who are writing a report because you can categorise your important points and it becomes easy for you to decide on the headings and subheadings. It is essential to prepare the outline so that you do not miss out on the important points.

Writing the Final Report

After you have prepared the rough draft, you can start writing the final report. The final report must be written in simple language and in short sentences. The sentences must be short but convey the message clearly.

Reviewing and Revising

After the final report is written, it is crucial to revise and recheck if all the information has been added and you are not missing out on important information. Make sure to check if all the information has been added under the right heading and subheading.

Editing and Proofreading

After the final revision of the report, you must check the report for any grammar , spelling, and typographical errors. It is common that while writing, you might have overlooked a lot of mistakes. Therefore, final proofreading is essential.

What is a report?

A report can be a discourse containing any information which people are not aware of. A report can be either written or verbal.

What is the purpose of a report?

The purpose of writing reports is to spread information regarding an event, topic, or idea in brief. For example, a news report is written to spread the news among the people.

What is the format of a report?

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction

How to write a report?

  • Find a suitable topic
  • Conduct a research
  • Gather all the information
  • Write a thesis statement
  • Prepare an outline
  • Write the final report
  • Review and revise
  • Edit and proofread

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How to Write a Report (2023 Guide & Free Templates)

You have a report due in a few days, but you’re still procrastinating like a pro.

Sounds familiar?

If you’ve been staring at a blank page, wondering how to write a report the best way possible, you’re not alone. For many, writing a report, especially for the first time, can feel like rolling a giant boulder uphill.

The good news is that from a first draft to creating reports that people love to read is a skill you can develop and polish over time.

Whether you’re a student, a professional, or someone who wants to up their report-writing game, keep reading for a 2023 guide and step-by-step instructions on how to write a report. Plus, learn about the basic report format.

You’ll also get access to report templates that you can edit and customize immediately and learn about a tool to make reports online (no need to download software!). 

What is report writing?

Report writing is a way of communicating information, data, insight, or analysis. It’s an essential skill that will come in handy in various settings, from academic research or diving into historical events to business meetings.

But creating a report can be a bit intimidating at first.

In its simplest form, report writing starts with researching and gathering all the information, analyzing your findings, and presenting it in a way that’s easy for your audience to understand.

Sounds easy enough, right? 

Well, there’s a bit more to it than that. We’ll guide you through every step of the process to write an entire report from a rough draft and data in the next section. 

But first, let’s get to know the different types of reports.

Types of reports

Reports come in all shapes and sizes, and the type of report you write will depend on your specific goals and audience. Each type of report has its unique purpose, format, and style.

financial review report, how to write a report

The most common types of reports are: 

  • Academic report – These include school reports, book reports, thesis reports, or analytical reports between two opposing ideas.
  • Business report – Business reports range from annual reports to SWOT analyses . The goal of business reports is to communicate ideas, information, or insights in a business setting.
  • Research report –  Research reports are often more scientific or methodological in nature. They can take the form of case studies or research papers. 

Learn more : 20 Types of Reports and When to Use Them (Plus Templates)

How to write a report without feeling overwhelmed

Breaking down the report writing process into three stages can make it much more manageable for you, especially if it’s your first time to create one. 

These three stages are: 

  • Pre-writing stage
  • Writing stage
  • Post-writing stage

Let’s take a look at the steps for each stage and how to write a good report in 2023 that you can be proud of.

Stage 1: Pre-writing 

The pre-writing stage is all about preparation. Take some time to gather your thoughts and organize your main idea. Write a summary first.

Here are important steps to help you deal with the overwhelm of creating an insightful report. 

Understand the purpose of your report

Knowing your purpose will help you focus and stay on track throughout the process. Dig into the why of your report through these questions:

  • Who is your intended reader? Are you familiar with your audience’s language and how they think?
  • What are you trying to achieve with your report? Are you trying to inform, persuade, or recommend a course of action to the reader? 

Research your topic

It’s time to gather as much information as you can about your topic. This might involve reading books, articles, and other reports. You might also need to conduct interviews with subject matter experts.

Pro tip on how to write a report : Pick reputable sources like research papers, recently-published books, and case studies by trustworthy authors. 

Make a report outline

An outline is a roadmap for your report. It covers your title, introduction, thesis statement, main points, and conclusion. Organizing your thoughts this way will help you keep focus and ensure you cover all the necessary information.

example of a business report outline

While you can create a report without creating an outline, you could write a better report with an outline. An outline helps you organize your facts and important points on paper. 

Stage 2: Writing

Once you have completed the pre-writing stage, it’s time to write your report. 

Follow the proper report writing format

You will feel a lot of resistance at this point because this is where most of the tedious work of report writing happens. However, the process can be a breeze if you follow a proper structure and report writing format.

The structure of your report can vary depending on the type of report you’re creating, but the report writing format below can serve as a guide for anyone.

  • Title page. This is the first page of your report and should include the report’s title, the author’s name, the date of presentation or submission, and any other relevant information, such as your name or the organization’s name.
  • Table of Contents (TOC ). This section contains subsections of your report and their corresponding page numbering.  A well-written TOC will help readers navigate your report easily and find the information they need.
  • Brief summary . This part provides an overview of the report’s particular purpose, subject, methodology, key findings, and recommendations. This section is often called the executive summary in corporate reports.
  • Introduction . The introduction should provide background information about the topic and explain why the report was written. It should also state the aims and objectives of your report and give an overview of the methodology used to gather and analyze the data. Make sure you include a powerful topic sentence.
  • Main body. The main body of the report should be divided into subsections, each dealing with a specific aspect of the topic. These sections should be clearly labeled and organized in a logical order. In most reports, this is also the part where you explain and present your findings, analysis, and recommendations.
  • Conclusion. Summarize the main points of your report and provide a final summary, thought, or suggestions. Review your thesis statement. The conclusion also includes any limitations of the study and areas for further research or future action.
  • References . This section should include a list of all the sources cited in the report, like books, journal articles, websites, and any other sources used to gather information on your subject.
  • Appendices . In the appendices section, you should include any additional information relevant to the report but not in the article’s main body. This might consist of raw data, event details, graphs, charts, or tables.

With all these key report elements, your readers can look forward to an informative, well-organized, and easy-to-read report.

Pro tips: Remember to use clear and concise language in your essay. It is also required to follow a specific type of formatting set by your organization or instructor.

Plus, use the active voice when you can because it helps improve clarity. To write a report essay in a passive voice makes it sound less concise.

Reports should usually be written in the third person.

Edit and proofread the article

Once you have completed your first essay draft, take some time to edit and proofread your work. Look for spelling mistakes and grammar errors, as well as any areas where the flow of your article could be improved. Review your topic sentence.

If hiring a professional editor isn’t possible, have a colleague or someone else read your rough draft and provide feedback. You can also use tools like Grammarly and the Hemingway App . 

Stage 3: Post-writing

You’re almost there! This stage is about finalizing your report and ensuring it is ready to be shared. 

Format your report

Ensure your report is formatted correctly, with clear and easy-to-read fonts, headings, and subheadings.

Incorporate visuals

Adding visuals to your report article is another great way to help your audience understand complex information more easily.

From charts to illustrations, the right visual can help highlight and explain key points, events, trends, and patterns in your data, making it easier for the reader to interpret the information.

an example of a report that uses visuals effectively, written report

However, it’s important to use visuals sparingly and ensure they are relevant and effectively support the texts. You will learn more about effectively incorporating visuals into your report as you scroll down below to the next sections. 

Share your report

Once your report is complete, share it with your audience. This might involve submitting it to your boss, presenting it to a group, or sharing it online.

A final note for this section: Remember to take your time, stay organized, and most importantly, have fun! Writing a report can be a rewarding experience, especially if you get positive feedback when you present.

How to add visuals to your report

Adding visuals to your report is more than just putting a graph or chart for every piece of information.

There are no hard and fast rules but use the pointers below as guidelines:

  • Each visual in your report should have a purpose. Don’t just add a pie chart or bar graph for the sake of adding one. Your visual of choice should offer clarity to readers that’s impossible to achieve with words alone. Piktochart’s report maker lets you search for free stock images and illustrations to add to any page with drag and drop.
  • Add captions, legends, or arrows to your visuals when possible. For more technical reports, graphics are either Tables or Figures. Number them in order of appearance (Figure 1, Figure 2, Table 1, etc.) and give each a descriptive title.
  • Place the visual close to the relevant text on the page.
  • Document the source of the visual, citing it in both the caption and references section if necessary.
  • Make the graphic stand out with colors, borders, boxes, spacing, and frames.

a report about customer satisfaction results with graphs, charts, and icons

Learn more : How to Improve Your Data Visualization Design in 6 Steps 

Write reports like a pro with Piktochart’s easy-to-edit report templates

Creating reports from scratch can be time-consuming. The great news is you don’t have to make reports from scratch like how it used to be in the 90s and early 2000s. Organizations of all shapes and sizes now understand that you can also create the perfect report with the help of templates.

For example, Piktochart offers a variety of fully customizable templates, allowing you to easily add your branding, colors, and text within the online editor. You can visualize your thesis statement and first draft in less than an hour. It’s also possible to start writing directly in the tool, adding graphics page by page.

These templates range from reports for school presentations to sales reports. By editing them, you can create professional-looking reports without the hassle of formatting and design.

Here are some examples of Piktochart’s professionally-designed templates. If you can’t pick one that matches your report writing format and needs, create a free Piktochart account to get access to more templates. 

Survey report template 

This survey report template includes clear visualizations, making your report findings easier to understand. From customer surveys to employee satisfaction reports, this template is quite versatile. 

an employee satisfaction survey report template by Piktochart

Research report template 

This research report template is perfect for anyone looking to create a thorough and professional research report. The template includes all the necessary sections to help you easily organize your research and present your findings in a concise document.

research report template by Piktochart

Corporate report template 

Looking for a corporate report template example with an editable table of contents and foreword? This template is the perfect fit!

Whether you’re presenting to investors or sharing information with your team, this corporate report template will help you create a polished and informative executive summary for any corporate organization.

corporate report template by Piktochart

Case study report template

Whether you’re conducting a business case study or an academic case study, this case study report template can help you earn your readers’ trust. This template is specifically designed with fashion as its main theme, but you can edit the photos and details to make it more on-brand with your niche.

case study report template

Marketing report template

Use this template to create comprehensive marketing reports. The template includes editable sections for social media, data from search engines, email marketing, and paid ads. 

monthly marketing report template by Piktochart

Financial report template 

With this customizable finance report template, you don’t need to make a financial report from scratch. Once you’ve written your content, save your report in PDF or PNG formats.

finance report template by Piktochart

Annual report template 

This annual report template is the right template for creating a professional and informative executive summary of your organization’s performance over the past year. This template was designed for HR annual reports, but you can also repurpose it for other types of yearly reports. 

annual review template by Piktochart showing how to write a report

See more report templates by creating a free Piktochart account . 

Quick checklist for better report writing

Before you submit or present your report, use the quick checklist below to help ensure that your report is well-structured, accurate, clear, and properly cited. Most of all, you must ensure that your report meets your audience’s expectations and has all the information and details they need. 

Purpose and audience

  • Does the report address its purpose and meet the needs of the intended audience?

Structure and organization

  • Is the material appropriately arranged in sections?
  • Have irrelevant details been removed?

Accuracy and analysis

  • Has all the material been checked for accuracy?
  • Are graphs and tables clearly labeled? Check the page numbers too.
  • Is the data in graphs or tables analyzed and explained in words?
  • Does the discussion or conclusion show how the results relate to the objectives mentioned in the introduction?
  • Have the results been compared with existing research from the literature survey?

Writing style and clarity

  • Is the report written in a tone that’s indicated in the brand style guide (for corporate reports)? Does it avoid colloquialisms or contractions? 
  • Does it follow the organization’s specific guidelines for writing style? 
  • Is it jargon-free and clearly written? Have you translated technical terms into simpler words?
  • Use the active voice when you can because it helps improve clarity. A written report in a passive voice may make it sound less concise. 

Acknowledgment and citation

  • Have all ideas and event data taken from or inspired by someone else’s work been acknowledged with a reference?
  • Have all illustrations and figures taken from someone else’s work been cited correctly?


  • Has the report been carefully proofread for typos, spelling errors, and grammatical mistakes?

Make engaging and effective reports quickly with Piktochart

Writing a report is a must-have skill for anyone looking to communicate more effectively in their personal and professional lives. 

With the steps we’ve provided in this guide, anyone can learn how to write a report that is informative, engaging, and comprehensive.

Plus, the free templates we highlighted are valuable for individuals looking to create reports quickly and efficiently. They can also be used to transform a longer report filled with texts into something more engaging and easy to digest.

Sign up for a free Piktochart account today, and look forward to writing reports with its library of modern, customizable report templates. 


Kyjean Tomboc is an experienced content marketer for healthcare, design, and SaaS brands. She also manages content (like a digital librarian of sorts). She lives for mountain trips, lap swimming, books, and cats.

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20 Types of Reports and When to Use Them (Plus Templates)

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How To Write A Report

Table of contents, content of this article.

  • How to write a good report
  • Difference from essay
  • Tips for good writing

1. How To Write A Good Report

A report is a form of writing that is systematic, organized, and often tries to define or analyze a problem or an event. The problem or event analyzed can also be within a body of literature belonging to either a single document or several documents. The sole purpose of a report is to objectively present readers with all the relevant information in relation to a particular issue. Writers are expected to shelve their personal feelings or shield themselves from issues that might render the report subjective because the use of reports is at times beyond aiming to impress the author’s readership. A report has three distinct attributes which help to distinguish it from other forms of writing.

These include:

  • Pre-defined structure.
  • The existence of Independent sections.
  • Reaching impartial and balanced conclusions.

The above makes report writing a different endeavor, but it is still a significant part of academic writing.

A report should always be:

  • Accurate (be filled with reliable information)
  • Concise (direct and to the point)
  • Clear (writers must maintain consistency and avoid being ambiguous)
  • Well-structured (writers must follow the standard structure)

Straying from the above disqualifies an author’s piece or article from being a report.

2. Report vs Essay. What is the difference

A report differs greatly from a conventional essay.

  • First of all, reports have a specific structure, and writers are always asked to adhere to it while essays follow the conventional introduction, body, and conclusion structure.
  • Reports also use different sections and these should always have subheadings. These sections serve a certain purpose within a report and cannot be left out.
  • Essays, on the other hand, do not have sections and while writers may need to have subheadings within their essays, they are not conventional.
  • The purpose of each form of writing also differs. In reports, writers aim at conveying a particular piece of information to their audience while in essays the main goal is to showcase the writer’s comprehension of the teacher’s instructions.

The above exquisitely and explicitly show the differences between essays and reports. Understanding these differences is the first step to learning how to write a report.

3. Topic selection for a report

Topic selection separates bad report writers from good report writers as well as from excellent report writers. In many instances, readers are attracted to certain documents because of their topics. Getting the right report topic is of the essence if writers are to maintain their readership. Many writers forget the issue of scope when selecting a topic. The scope is indeed an important consideration that calls for patience and careful consideration of the general subject suggested before settling on a specific report topic. Exceptional report writers understand the significance of scope and thus focus on specific aspects of a subject or topic before they decide on a topic. Writers are often advised to focus on the vitalities of a subject and only present that to their readers.

It is essential for authors to ask themselves the following questions to help in narrowing the scope of a subject:

  • What are the specific aspects of a topic that appear interesting to the writer?
  • What do you think will interest your audience/readers?
  • What information can you find regarding the selected subject?

The above questions are indeed essential and help a writer to find or settle on a topic they are familiar with and also feel strongly about. Knowing what interests the readers is of course of the essence because it gifts the writer with a sense of direction and purpose. Finally, report writing needs to be factual and well cited. It is thus important to ensure the selected topic is adequately referenced for purposes of building a credible and reliable argument .

Below are some good topics for a report:

  • Global Warming
  • Nuclear Fusion
  • The Shift to Solar Energy
  • Breast Cancer
  • US-Japan Relations since the 1945 atomic bombing
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • The History of Christianity
  • History of Buddhism
  • History of Foot Binding in China
  • The Power Struggle in the East
  • Causes of the 2007/2009 Recession
  • History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

4. Typical structure of a report

As already said, a report structure is formal and must be strictly adhered to by all writers. Deviating from this structure only leads to reduced marks or a bored and angry audience.

Below are the elements that form the structure of a report:

Executive Summary/Abstract

An executive summary or an abstract mainly provides a summary of the entire report. While some writers write it immediately after commencing their report, it is always advisable to write it last. This section is of great importance and makes it easier for the readers to quickly understand the main points or the focus of the report.

A table of contents is simply a list of all the sections the writer decided to include in their report. Its sole purpose is to prepare readers for what to expect when reading the report and also to make it easier for them to access some of the sections directly.


Like other introductions, a report introduction ushers in the readers by providing them with a brief but accurate summary of the topic or issue under study. From the introduction, readers should be able to understand the writer’s focus or perspective.

The body mainly contains the bulk of information which builds on or supports the thesis statement from the introduction. Unlike the body of essays, the body of a report can be divided into sections depending on the topic being reviewed. Some of the sections include a literature review, a methods section, a findings section, and finally a discussion of the findings section.

Conclusion and Recommendations

A report conclusion must be included, and it contains the inferences or the points the writer withdrew from the report. How to conclude a report is indeed essential because it provides writers with the opportunity of restating and insisting on their main point.

Recommendations are always included, and here the writer is expected to include their suggestions of how, for example, the investigation can be improved in the future or how a problem can be averted in the future. If in case the writer’s recommendations have financial associations, then he/she must provide estimations or the projected costs of whatever issue they were discussing in their report.

Reference list

Exceptional report writers consult journals and articles which are relevant to their topic. Later, these articles and journals need to be included under the reference list section. A reference list, therefore, contains all the materials the writer used to conduct their research.

While this is not a mandatory inclusion, it adds to one’s analysis and should hence be included whenever necessary.

Once the writer has completed the report, it is important first to review it before submitting or printing it. Proofreading the finished report is indeed essential because it helps the writer to identify some of the mistakes they could have made. For example, one could have gotten some statistical facts wrong, and it is only through proofreading that such mistakes can be identified and corrected. Grammatical errors should also be avoided, and while currently there are software varieties that can help with this, the human mind is still miles ahead, and one should identify and correct such mistakes while proofreading. Reading the report to an audience can also help a writer to avoid some mistakes while also maintaining the focus and purpose of the report. Two heads will always be better than one and consulting one’s friends or co-workers could help a writer avoid re-writing the entire report in case it is found defective later.

5. Some good tips for a report writing

Report writing tips are readily available on the Internet.

Below are some of those tips:

  • Avoid ambiguity when writing a report.
  • The use of simple language is also of great importance.
  • Clarity and accuracy are also essential.
  • Avoid guessing or using information that cannot be confirmed.
  • Use recent material as sources of one’s information.
  • Always start with a report outline and draft.

Like the tips above, report writing help can be readily found on the Internet. However, it is essential to be involved in the entire process lest one gets what they did not ask for.

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How To Write a Report: A Detailed Guide [+AI Method]

Catherine Miller

Writers often wonder how to stand out from the crowd when writing a professional report.

Unlike articles or blogs, the informative, formal nature of reports can make them feel stiff and boring. And whether you want a top grade or to make an impact on your audience, another dull report probably won’t help.

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In my career I’ve written a range of reports for both internal and external audiences—and regularly read reports from industry leaders, too. Top reports are informative and educational, summarizing key information quickly so it’s easy to digest. But the best examples also use high-quality research and concise but compelling language to bring the subject matter to life. 

In this article, I’ll focus on general thematic reports, the kind you may be asked to write at college or work. I’ll give you the lowdown on how to write an effective report that still packs in the facts.

Types of reports

The term “report” comprises a wide genre of documents. If you’re used to other kinds of academic writing, it will help to understand the key qualities that reports share.

What sets reports apart

Reports are similar to other kinds of academic writing in many ways: you’ll still need strong research in the background, clear citations, and a formal language style , for example. 

But several details set reports apart from other forms. Reports:

  • Stick to the facts rather than veering into personal opinion or argument
  • Save interpretation and recommendations for the end of the piece
  • Use clear organizational techniques like bullet points, heading and subheadings, and charts or graphics
  • Use concise, clear language that can be easily skimmed

Common types of reports

Reports are used in a wide range of contexts, so make sure you’re writing the right kind of report for your purposes. Here’s an overview of some common types.

a chart listing the common types of reports and what they consist of

Pre-writing steps

Before you set pen to paper, it’s important to do your research and plan your report carefully. Giving yourself plenty of time for this stage will make the actual writing quicker and less rambling. 

1. Define the audience and purpose of the report

If you haven’t already been given a purpose for the report, be sure to define this before you begin. This can help you decide on the type of research you need to do and check if your report is fulfilling its goals while you draft.

Examples of common report aims:

  • To demonstrate your understanding of an academic topic or text
  • To improve understanding of the work your department is doing, so other departments in the same organization can build on your success
  • To raise awareness of a particular problem that your organization can solve

On top of this, ask yourself who your audience is and what is their level of prior knowledge relative to yours. Within a hierarchy, such as a company or school, the audience may be more senior than you (vertical reporting), or at the same level as you (lateral reporting). This can affect what information is relevant to include.

Additionally, note whether it’s an internal or external publication and what your audience might do with the information they learn from your report.

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Read the full article: Use AI to better define your audience

2. establish goals and objectives.

If you are writing your report for school or university, check the assessment guidelines for the report before you begin. You’ll need to include all the required elements. 

If you are writing for professional purposes, however, the goals and objectives may be up to you or your department to define. An objective for your report should ideally be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound).

For example, a lead-generating report can be used for the aim of securing meetings with interested buyers by highlighting a problem that your company can solve, and the impact of your report can be measured by the number of downloads and subsequent meetings within a certain time period. 

An internal report could be used to inform a strategy meeting, and the impact could be measured in how many strategic recommendations are made as a result.

Read the full article: Develop your strategy and goals

3. research and gather information.

A report needs to be based on factual evidence, so the research stage is absolutely key to producing an informative piece. Firstly, you should review the major literature on the topic to make sure you can define and explain key terms and set out any needed context. 

For academic reports, your professor or institution may be able to provide a recommended reading list. Use your college library and make sure you find out which academic journals your institution subscribes to. You can often access these online using sites like JSTOR and Google Scholar . 

You may also want to include primary sources to add originality to your report and make it more appealing to your audience. These could include:

  • Original research such as interviews
  • Statistics you’ve compiled 
  • Details of experiments, tests, or observations you’ve made

It’s really helpful to keep organized notes during your research. Note any key quotations with page numbers, plus publication and author details for each text you reference or read. This will make it much easier to create your citations and bibliography later on. 

You could do this on paper or using flexible software like Notion or Evernote or specialist software like Mendeley or Zotero .

Read the full article: 8 Must-Have Tools for Researchers in 2023 (Including AI)

4. outline your report structure.

Creating an outline before you begin writing is key to successfully drafting a report. 

Start by noting down a skeleton framework, i.e. the main points you want to cover, which you will then develop as you write. In some cases, if you’re clear on what you might include in your report, this step might come before you start researching; alternatively, your main points might change during your research phase.

Although the exact layout of your report will depend on your objectives, a report should include the following sections:

  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Summary of context 
  • Summary of your main topic or text
  • Bibliography

Additional sections that you may want to include, depending on context: 

  • An abstract — used in academic contexts. 
  • A summary of your findings — useful if you include your own original research (such as interviews or statistics)
  • Recommendations for further action or research

Read the full article: How to Properly Write an Outline Using AI

5. write the draft of your report.

Your first draft is your chance to develop the ideas you noted down during outlining. You might need to continue researching as you go, especially if you find that certain areas need more evidence or explanation.

Write your title and abstract

The title of your report should clearly and concisely state what it is about. Your audience may need to quickly select it from a list of other publications, so make sure to use keywords to make your work easy to identify. Remember that this is also your audience’s first impression of your writing!

You may also need to create an abstract for your work: a short summary of your research and findings, giving a quick statement about the problem and/or potential solution, a concise explanation of what you did to investigate it, and your findings in brief. You will probably want to write your abstract after finishing the rest of the report.

Create a table of contents

The table of contents should direct readers to each section of the report with page numbers. You may want to include hyperlinks to relevant sections if you are presenting your document electronically. 

Prepare your sections

Developing each section in full will form the bulk of your drafting work. Make sure each section is adding value to your report.

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‍ Balance analysis with facts

Report writing should be factual. There will be times when you need to draw conclusions and make recommendations. However, this analysis should not overwhelm the factual content of your report. Remember, this is not a persuasive opinion piece. Make sure your analysis is grounded in evidence, and keep your recommendations concise. 

Use clear language

A report should clearly inform the audience about the topic at hand. Keep your language precise and easy to understand. Keep sentences and paragraphs at a sensible length. If you use technical terms your audience might not know, include definitions. Try to avoid emotive language that can make the report sound like a persuasive essay. 

Sometimes it can be difficult to achieve all this while writing the first draft, so feel free to come back to improve on it in later drafts.

Use visuals to keep it interesting

Many reports use visuals like graphs, charts, photographs, or infographics. These can convey information quickly and engage your audience by breaking up the text. 

Simple graphs and charts can usually be made in spreadsheet software, but you may want to call on the skills of a graphic designer if your organization has the resources. Make sure to caption and number your graphics.

Cite your sources

Your institution or organization may stipulate a citation model, so double-check what is required before you begin. In general, quotations or anything else taken from another source should be properly cited, including the author’s name, title, and page number, plus other information, depending on format. Citations may be in-text or footnotes. 

It’s a good idea to add citations as you write, because going back and putting them in afterwards can be very fiddly and time-consuming. 

At the end of your report you will also need to provide a bibliography, which lists the texts you have cited. Citation software like Zotero or a bibliography generator like MyBib can make this easier.

Follow an appropriate format

Make sure to check the style guidelines provided by your academic institution or work organization. These might determine the page formatting you need to use (e.g. page numbering, page size, use of images, etc.). If no such guidelines exist, look at other reports from your field to determine what will be clear and useful for your audience.

Read the full article: Essay writing guide

6. edit, review and revise.

Reviewing and revising your work is one of the most important parts of the writing process, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time for this part and avoid rushing to meet a deadline. Review your content first, checking that each section has enough evidence and development, before moving on to editing for clarity and technical accuracy.

Using a reading and writing assistant like Wordtune can make editing at the phrase, sentence, or word level quicker and easier. Wordtune not only finds spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors, but it can also suggest changes to your vocabulary and sentence structure that make your work clearer and more compelling. You can even specify whether you want a more formal or casual tone — most reports should be formal in nature. 

Read the full article: The complete editing guide

Writing a report using an ai prompt (chatgpt + wordtune).

You can use this prompt to generate a useful report:

Please generate a comprehensive report on the topic "[Your Specific Topic Here]". Ensure the report adheres to the following structure and guidelines: Title: Craft a concise and descriptive title that encapsulates the essence of the report. Abstract: Provide a succinct summary (100-150 words) that encapsulates the main objectives, methodology, findings, and significance of the report. Table of Contents: List all the sections and relevant sub-sections of the report for easy navigation. Introduction: Introduce the topic, its background, relevance in today's context, and the primary objectives of this report. Body: Dive deep into the topic. This should include: Background/History: A brief history or background of the topic. Current Scenario: Present relevant data, facts, and figures. Analysis/Discussion: Discuss the implications of the data, any patterns observed, and their significance. Conclusion: Summarize the main findings, discuss their implications, and suggest recommendations or potential future research directions. Additionally, ensure that the content is: - Well-researched and cites reputable sources. - Coherent and logically structured. - Free from jargon, unless necessary, and is accessible to a general audience.

Make sure your next report has an impact

Whether your report is for academic or business purposes, you need to make sure it is well-researched, clearly expressed, and conveys the main points quickly and concisely to your audience. Careful planning and organization can make this process much easier, as well as leaving time to review and revise your work, either manually or with the help of software like Wordtune. Following these tips, your first report is sure to make an impact — and the more you write, the easier it will get.

P.S. This article was co-written with Wordtune . Wordtune didn’t write the whole piece. Instead, it contributed ideas, suggested rephrasing alternatives, maintained consistency in tone, and of course - made the process much more fun for the writer.

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The ProWritingAid Writing Reports

ProWritingAid analyzes your writing and highlights potential improvements. Each report focuses on a particular area of your writing. Some reports will provide quick fixes that will allow you to polish up a short piece of writing. Other reports will go in depth and reveal areas where you can do more to improve your writing style.

While ProWritingAid is not going to do your job for you, it will make your job easier. You'll improve your writing style as you use the reports because you'll become more aware of the mistakes that you make, just like having a real-life writing coach guiding you. Not every suggestion will work for every writer, so you'll have to use your own judgement.

The Writing Style Report

The Writing Style Report is one of the most popular and comprehensive reports that ProWritingAid offers. We all know that there is a lot more to good writing than just correct grammar, and these suggestions are based on the same ideas you would learn in a university writing course.

The Style Report highlights several areas of writing that should be revised to improve readability, including: passive and hidden verbs, over-reliance on adverbs, repeated sentence starts, emotional tells and much more. These suggestions are the same as a professional copyeditor would give you (in fact many of them use ProWritingAid). If you are going to send your writing to a copyeditor then, by fixing all these mistakes upfront, your editor will be able to focus on the more important aspects of your work, such as tone of voice. You'll get a more polished piece of writing as a reward.

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The Grammar Report

The Grammar Report is like Microsoft Word's grammar checker but with super powers. We use the latest artificial-intelligence algorithms to catch all those issues that Word's grammar checker misses. What's more, our team of copy-editors have input thousands of specific checks that they have come across in their years of editing. For example, they noticed that many writers write “adverse” when they actually mean “averse”, so when this comes up, the software will offer a short explanation about how the two words are different. This additional understanding means you can make sure you select the correct word not just this time, but every time. You'll eliminate all the embarrassing errors from your text and learn not to make them in the future.

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The Overused Words Report

Writers should be wary of many words and phrases in the English language that are indicative of poor writing style. Intensifiers like "very", for example, actually weaken your writing, or hesitant words like "just" or "maybe" make your writing feel unconvincing. Words like these are fine in moderation, but when overused can undermine your ideas. In this report, we'll flag the problematic words and phrases that are commonly overused by writers, and help you to eliminate them. As you work through them, you will begin to recognize and avoid using them in the first place.

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The Clichés and Redundancies Report

Clichés are the crutch of the lazy writer! Don't rely on someone else's dusty old imagery, brainstorm for innovative new ways to express your ideas. Fresh metaphors will leave a much stronger impression on your reader.

Never use two words, when one will do the job. Redundant wording adds quantity to your writing, but not quality. Every word in your writing should be there for a reason. This report helps you eliminate the clutter.

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The Sticky Sentence Report

Sticky sentences wobble around without getting to the point. They are hard to follow, and should be rewritten to increase clarity.

Every sentence contains some words that don't have any actual meaning; they just hold your sentence together: and, in, the, of, etc. These glue words are empty spaces in your writing that your reader needs to get through to reach your meaning. Statistics show that published texts have a low percentage of glue words, and so should your writing.

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The Readability Report

Being a great writer is not about using fancy words – it’s about communicating meaning to your readers. If they have to look up words or decipher your language in any way, they'll be distracted from your ideas. This report uses the top readability tools out there, including the popular Flesch Reading Ease Score, to analyze your writing and highlight those sentences that will be hard for your reader to understand.

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The Repeats Check

Writers often mistakenly use the same word several times in the span of one paragraph because it’s foremost in their mind. But those repeats can set off an echo in the reader’s mind – that subconscious feeling of “Didn’t he just say that?” Too much of the same word or phrase can be irritating to read and, worse, it can detract from what you are trying to say. This report highlights repeated words and phrases in your document so you can use a more diverse vocabulary.

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The Sentence Length Report

Writing that uses varying sentence lengths keeps the reader’s brain engaged. Some should be short and punchy, others should be long and flowing. Sentence variety adds an element of music to your writing.

ProWritingAid creates a visual representation of your sentence lengths so you can pick out areas where you should add more variety. Too many long sentences may result in a monotonous text, or too many short sentences may result in a choppy text. You can see at a glance where adding more short, medium or long sentences will round out the piece.

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The Pronoun Report

Inexperienced writers often rely on pronouns to keep the narrative moving: “He did this”, “She did that”, “They ran there”, “I found out.” It's dull. On average, published writing contains only 4-15% pronouns. If your writing contains a higher percentage than that, then you need to replace your pronoun-heavy passages with more dynamic wording.

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The Transition Report

Transition words are the road signs in writing—they help your reader move smoothly between ideas. Transitions like “similarly”, “nevertheless”, “in order to”, or “as a result” help you show your readers how separate points go together to support your larger idea. They illustrate agreement, contrast or show cause and effect. One in every four sentences (25%) should contain a transition. If your transition score is less than 25%, you should consider adding more road signs.

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The Consistency Check

Consistency is essential in writing. It makes it feel professional and polished. The Consistency Check highlights inconsistency of spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, and punctuation. It also checks to make sure that you are consistently writing in either American English or British English.

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The Pacing Check

Great fiction always contains fast-paced sections, such as dialogue and character action, as well as slow-paced sections, such as introspection and backstory. Both are essential to create a strong narrative and believable characters, but you never want your readers to feel bored or bogged down by too many long, slow passages. Use ProWritingAid to monitor your slow-paced sections to make sure your readers never lose interest.

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The Dialogue Tags Check

Most dialogue tags, aside from "said" and "asked" break that cardinal rule of writing: show don't tell. If you write "Jane exclaimed" after her dialogue, you are depending on a word to get Jane's emotion across. Instead, show it to your reader with her actions. Describe how Jane's eyes bulge with shock. Make everyone in the room turn to look at her outburst. Use ProWritingAid to highlight all your dialogue tags and get your emotion across in a stronger way.

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The Contextual Thesaurus

The contextual thesaurus allows you to explore a range of synonyms by double-clicking any word. Unlike most thesaurus suggestions, our report offers replacement words that fit within that context of that sentence.

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The Diction Report

When it comes to writing, less is more. Too often writers try to sound authoritative by saying simple things in wordy ways. Why write “has the ability to” when you can write “can”? You’re just using more words to say the same thing, which makes your writing less clear. We'll find these unnecessarily verbose phrases so you can make every word count.

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The Alliteration Report

Alliteration creates a pleasant rhythm when reading and so is often used in fiction, poetry and even advertising. Spark creativity by using ProWritingAid to highlight all instances of alliteration in your text.

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The Homonym Check

Homonyms are words that sound the same but have different meanings — and they slip past spellcheckers all the time! If you write He lost his patients but really meant He lost his patience, your spellchecker won't flag it as an error. The ProWritingAid tool will highlight every word in your document with a homonym so you can double-check that you have the correct spelling.

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The Acronym Check

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adventures in 21st-century writing —

Openai confirms that ai writing detectors don’t work, no detectors "reliably distinguish between ai-generated and human-generated content.".

Benj Edwards - Sep 8, 2023 3:42 pm UTC

A photo of a teacher covering his eyes.

Last week, OpenAI published tips for educators in a promotional blog post that shows how some teachers are using ChatGPT as an educational aid, along with suggested prompts to get started. In a related FAQ , they also officially admit what we already know: AI writing detectors don't work, despite frequently being used to punish students with false positives.

Further Reading

In a section of the FAQ titled "Do AI detectors work?", OpenAI writes , "In short, no. While some (including OpenAI) have released tools that purport to detect AI-generated content, none of these have proven to reliably distinguish between AI-generated and human-generated content."

In July, we covered in depth why AI writing detectors such as GPTZero don't work, with experts calling them "mostly snake oil." These detectors often yield false positives due to relying on unproven detection metrics. Ultimately, there is nothing special about AI-written text that always distinguishes it from human-written, and detectors can be defeated by rephrasing. That same month, OpenAI discontinued its AI Classifier, which was an experimental tool designed to detect AI-written text. It had an abysmal 26 percent accuracy rate.

OpenAI's new FAQ also addresses another big misconception, which is that ChatGPT itself can know whether text is AI-written or not. OpenAI writes, "Additionally, ChatGPT has no 'knowledge' of what content could be AI-generated. It will sometimes make up responses to questions like 'did you write this [essay]?' or 'could this have been written by AI?' These responses are random and have no basis in fact."

Along those lines, OpenAI also addresses its AI models' propensity to confabulate false information, which we have also covered in detail at Ars. "Sometimes, ChatGPT sounds convincing, but it might give you incorrect or misleading information (often called a 'hallucination' in the literature)," the company writes. "It can even make up things like quotes or citations, so don't use it as your only source for research."

(In May, a lawyer got in trouble for doing just that —citing six non-existent cases that he pulled from ChatGPT.)

Even though automated AI detectors do not work, that doesn't mean a human can never detect AI writing. For example, a teacher familiar with a student's typical writing style can tell when their style or capability suddenly changes. Also, some sloppy attempts to pass off AI-generated work as human-written can leave tell-tale signs, such as the phrase " as an AI language model ," which means someone copied and pasted ChatGPT output without being careful. And recently, an article in the scientific journal Nature showed how humans noticed the phrase "Regenerate response" in a scientific paper, which is the label of a button in ChatGPT.

As the technology stands today, it's safest to avoid automated AI detection tools completely. "As of now, AI writing is undetectable and likely to remain so," frequent AI analyst and Wharton professor Ethan Mollick told Ars in July. "AI detectors have high false positive rates, and they should not be used as a result."

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How to Interpret Polling Showing Biden’s Loss of Nonwhite Support

Yes, there’s reason for skepticism, but also reason for concern for Democrats, particularly over turnout.

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Nate Cohn

By Nate Cohn

Is President Biden really struggling as badly among nonwhite voters — especially Black voters — as the polls say ?

I’ve seen plenty of skepticism. Among nonwhite voters, a Democratic presidential candidate hasn’t fared as badly as those polls suggest in a presidential election result since the enactment of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. In the case of Black voters, the disparity between the usual support for Democrats — around 90 percent or more — and the recent polling showing it in the 70s or even the 60s just seems too much to accept. Some skeptics believe they’ve seen results like this before , only for Republican strength to vanish on Election Day.

But if we compare the polls with those from previous election cycles, Mr. Biden’s early weakness looks serious. His support among Black, Hispanic and other nonwhite voters is well beneath previous lows for Democrats in pre-election polls over the last several decades — including the polls from the last presidential election. Yet at the same time, his weakness is put in better perspective when judged against prior polls, rather than the final election results.

Here’s how you should interpret what the polling really means for Mr. Biden’s eventual support among nonwhite and especially Black voters.

Election results are the wrong benchmark

A major source of skepticism of Mr. Biden’s weakness among nonwhite voters is the sheer magnitude of the drop-off, based on the difference between the early poll results among registered voters and the estimated final results in post-election studies, like the exit polls.

It’s an understandable comparison, but it’s a bad one. Millions of people are undecided in polling today, while all voters have made up their minds in these post-election studies. The registered voter polling also includes millions of people who won’t ultimately vote; the post-election studies typically include only actual voters.

These two factors — undecided voters and low-turnout voters — help explain many seemingly weird differences between pre-election polls and the post-election studies.

For illustration, consider the following from our New York Times/Siena College polling:

Mr. Biden leads, 72 percent to 11 percent, among Black registered voters over the last year.

Mr. Biden’s lead among Black voters jumps to 79-11 if undecided voters are assigned based on how they say they voted in 2020.

He leads by 76-10 among Black voters with a record of participating in the 2020 general election.

His lead among 2020 voters jumps to 84-10 if we allocate undecided voters based on their self-reported 2020 vote preference.

For comparison, this same group of Black voters who turned out in 2020 reported backing Mr. Biden over Donald J. Trump, 89-7, in the last election.

The upshot: The gap between post-election studies and registered voter polls narrows considerably after accounting for the inherent differences between the two measures — undecided voters and turnout.

This lesson isn’t limited to Black voters. To take a different example, Mr. Biden leads by just 46-34 among young registered voters in our polling over the last year, but he leads by 57-35 among young validated 2020 voters if we assign undecided voters based on their 2020 vote preference. His lead among Hispanic voters grows from 47-35 to 56-36 with the same approach. Among Asian American, Native American, multiracial and other nonwhite voters who aren’t Black and Hispanic, it goes up to 50-39, from 40-39.

Of course, we can’t assume that Black, Hispanic, young or any voters will turn out as they did in 2020. We can’t assume that undecided voters will return to their 2020 preferences, either. The point is that the differences between pre-election registered voter polls and the final post-election studies explain many of the differences between survey results by subgroup and your expectations.

If you must compare the crosstabs from registered voter polls with the final election studies, here’s a tip: Focus on major party vote share. In the case of Black voters, Mr. Biden has a 71-12 lead, so that means he has 86 percent of the major party vote in our Times/Siena polling, 71/(71+12) = 86. That roughly five- or six-point shift in major party vote share is a lot likelier to reflect reality than comparing his 59-point margin among decided voters (71-12 = 59) with his 80-point margin from 2020.

Why major party vote share? The logic is simple. Imagine that today 17 percent of eventual Biden voters are undecided and 17 percent of eventual Trump voters are undecided. What would that mean for a poll of voters who will eventually vote 86 to 14? They would be 71 to 12 in the polls today.

Mr. Biden’s polling weakness is unusual

There’s another aspect of the skeptics case that I’m less sympathetic toward: the idea that we always see this kind of weakness among nonwhite voters, and it just never materializes.

If you look back at polling from prior cycles, it becomes clear that Mr. Biden today really is quite a bit weaker than previous Democrats in registered voter polling from prior cycles.

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Presidential vote choice in pre-election polls of registered voters

Among Black voters

Among Hispanic voters

Democratic support

Republican support

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Presidential vote choice in

pre-election polls of registered voters

Black voters

Hispanic voters

If there’s any consolation for Mr. Biden, it’s that the drop-off is a bit smaller in our Times/Siena polling: In fall 2020, our polls gave Mr. Biden an 81-6 lead among Black registered voters, compared with the aforementioned 71-12 in a compilation of the last four Times/Siena polls.

The story is similar among Hispanic voters, who did not show similar levels of support for prior Republican candidates.

Now it’s possible that these 2020 figures were overly rosy for Mr. Biden, given that the polling more generally overestimated his support that year. Perhaps you can knock Mr. Biden’s major party vote share down two points in 2020. Either way, it seems clear he’s running well behind where he stood in the run-up to the 2020 election, while his opponent is running at least five points ahead.

This is a smaller shift than the 20-plus point change implied by the comparison between the polls and the final election studies, but it’s still quite significant. It’s also quite comparable to other demographic shifts in recent years, like Mr. Trump’s gains among white working-class voters in 2016 or his gains among Hispanic voters in 2020. At this time in both cycles, no one imagined that Mr. Trump would make 40-point gains in Obama counties in rural Iowa, and then big improvements near the Rio Grande four years later. In the end, he gained about seven points of major party vote share among these groups nationwide — about the same shift we see in the polling today.

Turnout is another option

If you’re still skeptical that Mr. Trump can make gains among nonwhite voters, it’s worth remembering that there’s another possibility: Many disillusioned or disaffected nonwhite voters might just stay home.

That possibility seems especially plausible today, with so much of Mr. Biden’s weakness concentrated among younger voters and those without a robust track record of voting. That’s exactly what happened in the last midterm election, when the Black share of the electorate fell to multi-decade lows amid weak polling for Democrats.

Looking back over the last few decades, there’s a clear relationship between the racial turnout gap — the difference between white and Black turnout — and the proportion of Black registered voters who back Democrats in pre-election polls since 1980. Or put differently: When Black voters don’t support Democrats, they tend not to vote.

It’s possible that the Black voters who back Mr. Trump in the polls today will ultimately show up for him next November. But for now, when I see Mr. Biden’s share among Black voters slip into the 60s and 70s in the polls, I mostly see yet another decline in the Black share of the electorate, at least “if the election were held today.”

If there’s any good news for Mr. Biden here, it’s that the election is still 14 months away.

Nate Cohn is The Times’s chief political analyst. He covers elections, polling and demographics for The Upshot. Before joining The Times in 2013, he was a staff writer for The New Republic. More about Nate Cohn

The Run-Up to the 2024 Election

Donald Trump

Big Republican donors have made clear their distaste for the former president. Now, as Trump barrels toward the nomination, they are reacting with a mix of hand-wringing, calls to arms and fatalism .

Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida played off each other at the Iowa-Iowa State football game, where the tables appeared to turn on the former president .

President Biden

With low approval ratings and shaky public performances, the president and his team are planning an ad blitz and trying to reassure voters about his age .

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California has become the most visible Democrat-in-waiting. His support of Biden is a key part of his effort to put himself forward for the next campaign .

The G.O.P. Field

Ron DeSantis:  A resurgence of Covid-19 cases is giving the Florida governor a chance to highlight his state’s pandemic response in hopes of striking some distance from Trump .

Nikki Haley:  In crafting an anti-abortion message  that doesn’t alienate moderate Republicans and swing voters, the former South Carolina governor’s approach has won both supporters and detractors.

Mike Pence:  The former vice president used a speech in New Hampshire to call Trump’s brand of populism a “road to ruin” for the Republican Party .

Vivek Ramaswamy:  The biotech entrepreneur has drawn big crowds in New Hampshire. But many Republican voters in the state wonder if he needs more political seasoning .

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Trump’s comments risk tainting jury pool in federal election subversion case, special counsel says

FILE - Special counsel Jack Smith speaks to the media about an indictment of former President Donald Trump, Aug. 1, 2023, at an office of the Department of Justice in Washington. A slim majority of Americans approve of the U.S. Justice Department indicting Donald Trump over his efforts to remain in office after losing the 2020 election, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

FILE - Special counsel Jack Smith speaks to the media about an indictment of former President Donald Trump, Aug. 1, 2023, at an office of the Department of Justice in Washington. A slim majority of Americans approve of the U.S. Justice Department indicting Donald Trump over his efforts to remain in office after losing the 2020 election, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith warned Tuesday that former President Donald Trump’s “daily” statements threaten to taint a jury pool in Washington in the criminal case charging him with scheming to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Trump’s provocative comments about both Smith’s team and U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan — who is presiding over the case — have been a central issue since the indictment was filed last month. Prosecutors have repeatedly signaled their concerns about the impact of Trump’s social media posts and Chutkan explicitly cautioned against inflammatory remarks from Trump that could intimidate witnesses or contaminate potential jurors.

The posts continued Tuesday both before and after the latest concern flared, with Trump earlier in the day circulating a New York Post story about Chutkan on his Truth Social platform and openly mocking the idea that she could be fair in his case. Later in the evening, he issued another post in which he attacked Smith as a “deranged” prosecutor with “unchecked and insane aggression.”

Tuesday’s complaint from the Justice Department underscores the extent to which Trump’s social media attacks are testing the patience of prosecutors and risk exposing him to sanctions from the judge, who last week set a trial date of March 4, 2024 , in an effort to keep the case moving. Trump has faced admonitions in other cases, too, with a condition of his release in a separate prosecution in Atlanta being that he refrain from intimidating co-defendants, witnesses or victims in the case.

Louis Kloeppel, with Interface Construction, demolishes part of a damaged wall so repairs can begin on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, at the Total Access Urgent Care in Chesterfield, Mo. A Missouri jury has awarded $745 million to the parents of a young woman killed on a sidewalk outside an urgent care center by a driver who huffed nitrous oxide canisters right before the accident. (Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

The subject surfaced again in a dispute over a motion that the Justice Department said it wanted to file under seal, with an accompanying redacted version to be filed on the public docket. Defense lawyers objected, countering that they were entitled time to review the Justice Department’s filings and any proposed sealed exhibits before they could be docketed.

But prosecutors said it would untenable to take several weeks to decide whether “every ordinary filing that refers to Sensitive Materials may be docketed.”

“Such a requirement would grind litigation in this case to a halt, which is particularly infeasible given the pressing matters before the Court — including the defendant’s daily extrajudicial statements that threaten to prejudice the jury pool in this case, as described in the Government’s motion,” the Smith team wrote.

Chutkan set deadlines for next week for additional filings that she said may be filed under seal.

Trump faces three other prosecutions besides the federal election subversion case. He’s charged with 18 other people in a state case in Atlanta with plotting to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia; faces federal charges from Smith accusing him of illegally hoarding classified documents ; and is accused in New York of falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment to a porn actor.

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Georgia grand jury recommended charging Lindsey Graham

  • Former senators Kelly Loeffler, David Perdue also named
  • Graham says he was asking questions as part of his job
  • None of the three senators were indicted in the end

Sept 8 (Reuters) - A Georgia grand jury recommended criminal charges against Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham and other allies of Donald Trump as part of its investigation into efforts to overturn Trump's 2020 presidential defeat, said a report released on Friday.

None were ultimately charged when Georgia prosecutors filed a sweeping criminal case against Trump and 18 alleged co-conspirators.

The special grand jury recommended charges against Graham as well as Georgia's two U.S. senators at the time, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, the report said. Like Trump, all are Republicans.

Graham, a Trump rival turned golf buddy, denied wrongdoing and said he was fulfilling his oversight duties as the top lawmaker on the Senate Judiciary Committee when he asked Georgia officials to examine absentee ballots after Trump's defeat.

"We can't criminalize senators doing their job," he said at a news conference in South Carolina on Friday. "The next election, if I have questions I'll do the same thing."

The panel also recommended charges against Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, adviser Boris Epshteyn and lawyers Lin Wood and Cleta Mitchell, the report showed.

It was unclear why Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opted not to bring charges against the six people, and her office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The six were among 39 people the special grand jury recommended charging in its Dec. 15 report, which had been sealed for nine months. Unlike the final criminal indictment, it did not detail specific allegations.

The special grand jury did not have the power to issue charges, but Willis used the evidence it gathered to seek an indictment of Trump and his 18 co-defendants from a regular grand jury last month.


Responding to the report's release on Friday, Trump said it showed Willis's case was politically motivated. "They wanted to indict anybody who happened to be breathing at the time," he wrote on social media.

Trump speaks at Republican fundraiser in Columbia

[1/2] U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks at a Republican fundraising dinner in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S. August 5, 2023. REUTERS/Sam Wolfe/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

Trump and the other defendants in the case have pleaded not guilty. As with his three other criminal prosecutions , Trump has denied any wrongdoing and said he is the victim of political persecution.

Loeffler and Perdue, both Trump loyalists, were defeated by Democratic candidates in January 2021 runoff elections. Perdue ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2022. Neither immediately responded to a request for comment.

"This baseless witch hunt isn't based on the facts, or the law, or reality," Flynn's lawyer Jesse Binnall said in a statement. Flynn, a prominent figure on the far right, had urged Trump to use the military to overturn the 2020 election.

A longtime Trump political adviser, Epshteyn was involved in efforts to overturn Trump's loss and has since been advising the former president on the legal threats he now faces. An attorney, Epshteyn declined to comment.

Wood, a conservative lawyer who promoted conspiracy efforts about the election, denied wrongdoing and said he was surprised to learn the special grand jury recommended charges against him. "I'm not quite sure why my name is in it," he told Reuters. He has since retired in the face of disciplinary bar proceedings.

Mitchell, another conservative lawyer who worked to reverse Trump's defeat, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The special grand jury convened in 2021 at the request of Willis to aid her investigation. Over several months, the jurors subpoenaed testimony from 75 witnesses, including Trump allies such as his former attorney Rudy Giuliani, Graham and top Georgia officials such as Governor Brian Kemp.

The special grand jury did not act unanimously.

It voted 13-7, 14-6 and 17-4 in favor of indicting Graham, Loeffler and Perdue, respectively. There was one abstention in each of the votes for Graham and Loeffler. The grand jury voted 20-1 in favor of indicting Trump with respect to the national effort to overturn the election.

The indictment listed 30 unindicted co-conspirators, who have not been charged but allegedly played a role in the scheme.

Despite his legal troubles, Trump remains the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination next year against Democratic President Joe Biden, the incumbent.

The special grand jury report remained secret at Willis's request while she determined what charges to bring. With the indictments issued, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled there was no longer any reason to keep it from the public.

Additional reporting by Andrew Goudsward, Jasper Ward, Sarah N. Lynch, Makini Brice, Katharine Jackson, Richard Cowan and Joseph Ax; Writing by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Howard Goller

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Thomson Reuters

Reports on the New York federal courts. Previously worked as a correspondent in Venezuela and Argentina.

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