There is a high demand for reports in every field. It can be used for multiple purposes as it illustrates key details about a particular topic, event or issue. It can help develop projections, devise plans, evaluate events or results, identify trends, provide recommendations, and discuss outcomes and future courses of action.
This non-fiction account is a comprehensive document that can acquaint people with all specifics. While this document is very important, report writing is a skill everyone should learn. So here you will find all details on how to write a report.
An Overview of a Report
Theoretically, the meaning of the report is quite indefinite. It is considered an account that can be either vocal or transcribed highlighting issues about a particular topic. It can be anything from a real-life incident to an author’s book report.
So, when people refer to a report, they mean an official document that summaries the specifics of a particular topic, generally written by a pro on the subject or anyone consigned to inspect the matter. There are several types of reports, each with a different purpose.
The report is based on facts, but in specific it may include the following content type:
- Event or situation details
- Magnitude or continuing effect of an event or situation
- Assessment of numerical data or analytics
- Analyses of the report info
- Forecasts or recommendations according to the report facts
- Identifying trends
- How does the info relay to other occasions or accounts?
Reports are similar to essay writing, though there are some evident differences. As both illustrate facts, essays may include the personal thoughts and advice of the author. However, reports are generally based on the facts, yet they may still include some of the author’s analysis of the facts, usually in the conclusion.
Besides, reports are deeply structured, usually with a table of content and many headings and subheadings. It is an attempt to make the document an easy read for the readers, and aid in the skimming of the report and finding the relevant information. On the contrary, essays are written to be read as a whole, and not to be surfed for particular insights.
Types of Reports
Several types of reports reflect the purpose and to whom it is presented. Below are some of the commonly used reports:
It helps evaluate a student’s understanding of a subject such as reports about historical incidents, manuscript reports or biographies.
It helps recognize info that can support a business strategy like marketing reports, in-house memos, SWOT studies and feasibility reports
It illustrates research outcomes like research papers, and case studies usually in science journals.
Reports can be further classified according to the way they are written or what topic they address. For instance, a report can be formal or informal, brief or detailed, and internal or external.
In corporations, a vertical report shares info with individuals on various hierarchy levels (like from manager to director etc.), whereas the lateral report is for the individuals on the same level, but the departments may vary.
The report structure may vary for each type, as every document has different requirements. Whilst reports may use their distinct structure, a majority of reports may follow a basic pattern:
Similar to an abstract in an academic paper, an executive summary is a brief section that provides an overview of the report’s findings or outcomes. It gives the reader an idea about the report. It is common for the official reports and less likely for the school reports.
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When writing the main body of the report, the introduction is of utmost importance. It describes the general topic that the author may discuss, along with the thesis statement and any history or background info before mentioning the findings.
The body of the report may illustrate all the key findings that are split into headings and subheadings. The body is the main part of the entire report, however, the intro and conclusion might be a few paragraphs.
The conclusion summarizes all the info illustrated in the report along with a definitive interpretation or judgement. It is where the author includes their personal opinions or interpretations.
If you know how to write a research paper, you will notice that report writing has the same structure: intro, body and conclusion. However, sometimes you may include an executive summary. Reports generally have their additional requirements like title page, table of contents and referencing section.
Components of a Report
There are no pre-set requirements of what to include in a report. Every institution, corporation, lab, task supervisor, and instructor may follow their format according to reporting requirements. Generally, some of the components that every report includes are:
Official reports usually have a title page that helps keep things ordered. So, if a person has to skim through several reports, the title page will help them keep track.
Table of Content
Similar to books and manuscripts, the table of content help readers find the desired section of the report they are interested in, allowing swift surfing.
A common consideration when writing a detailed report is the page numbers. It helps keep the long document arranged in order, in case things get mixed up.
Headings and Subheadings
Reports are generally split into sections with headings and subheadings to facilitate surfing and scanning.
If you are including information from other sources, you need to cite sources. The citation guidelines may guide you on the report format.
A bibliography is a section at the end of the report that enlists references and legal info of other sources you extracted info from.
Steps of Writing a Report
Now that you know about the specifics of writing a report, you may follow the steps below that will steer you from an idea to a full paper.
Select a Topic According to the Assignment
Before you begin writing a report, you need to choose a topic for the report. As a norm, your instructor or task manager may assign a topic for the report. However, a majority of the business reports may have pre-set requirements, so if this is the case you may ignore the step and progress further.
Still, if you have a choice to choose your report topic, as with many academic works, then you must carefully make a selection. The reason is that it is the most crucial step in the entire writing process. You should choose a topic that may fit the following criteria:
There should be sufficient information
Pick a topic that is neither too general nor too specific, and should have sufficient info to add value to your report. Your topic selection may impact the quality of your report. However, you should not overdo it, as too much info may be irrelevant.
Carry out research
If you are writing a business or scientific report, you may have to carry out your research your organization may facilitate you. Even though, there is ample tunnelling for external sources in both types of illustrations.
For academic work, you have to carry out research independently, lest you are supposed to use class material. It is the main reason why selecting the right topic is so important, you won’t be able to write in detail if the topic you chose doesn’t have sufficient info available.
The key to writing an incredible report is to hunt for reliable sources like reports, research papers, case studies, journal articles, and much more. You can find research material through search engines, however, library resources may also be helpful.
Set Terms of Reference
A majority of formal reports may include a section that illustrates the terms of reference. These terms may encompass an overview of the report, its importance, date of writing, and purpose of the report.
Deciding on these terms may help the writer and reader to comprehend the purpose and importance of the report, and what it aims to accomplish. The terms of reference are typically illustrated in the initial para allowing the reader to determine the relevance without the need to read the full document. When you set real terms at the start, it will help you create a good outline and keep the discussions on track all through the writing procedure.
Write a Thesis Statement
Before progressing further, you should write a thesis statement to help you theorize the core theme of the report. Similar to the paragraph heading, the thesis statement recaps the key points of the document.
After gathering sufficient research, you may identify a few trends and patterns in the info. If these patterns conclude or lead up to a major, primary point, that is the thesis statement.
For instance, when writing a report about the incomes of Fast Moving Consumer Goods industry employees, your thesis statement might be similar to “Though incomes used to correspond with the living expenditures, after years of inactivity it is no longer acceptable”. After this point, your report will explain the thesis supported by evidence and arguments.
According to experts, it is always a good idea to include your thesis statement in the executive summary and introduction of the report.
Create an Outline
Creating an outline is an ideal approach for writing anything. However, it is quite helpful for reports as it may ensure better structuring of the writing. As reports are usually divided into headings and subheadings, a firm outline ensures that you remain on track and don’t miss out on important details.
While researching, you may begin thinking of the outline as soon as you detect patterns and trends in the info you have gathered. And if you are stuck, you may enlist key points, specifics, and evidence you would want to include. You may see if you can include them in overall or particular categories so that you can create headings and subheadings.
Creating an initial draft is typically the most time taking step. Here is when you have to understand and organize all the researched information. If you don’t want to get overwhelmed, just follow your outline and ensure you include all the important details systematically.
Always remember that a first draft is never perfect. Just write naturally, as you may have time later to improve your mistakes.
Review and Edit
After you create an initial draft, you should review and edit the mistakes that you may have ignored. For that, you may first reread your report for any major glitches, such as cohesiveness, relevance, and misinterpretations. So, it is the ideal time to edit errors and rewrite the sections that require improvement. A report with grammar and spelling mistakes might not be appealing. So, it’s best to check your document for such errors also.
Examine Data and Include Findings
The main focus of every report is the results section or the part where you include your data interpretations. For a financial manager, the findings can be an explanation as to why there is a decline in the company stock prices in the last year. And for an environmentalist, it can be an overview of the experiment on recyclable plastics and how they can help waste management in the world.
The findings section of the report may illustrate treasured info regarding the topic you may address, even if the results might not be ideal. And if you think that the data is inadequate or the research method is weak, you may have to adopt a professional and accurate approach to explain the findings.
The final part of the report is usually the recommendations. After analysing the data and outcomes, you should be able to illustrate an idea as to what actions need to be taken as a response to the findings. For instance, as a project manager, after you analyse the number of extra hours the marketing team has been working to execute the advertising campaign, you may suggest the hiring of an extra employee. While a surgeon doctor may suggest that the medical centre should introduce new purification methods in the operation theatre after observing a rise in infections in the operated patients.
If you are still unsure about how to write a commendable report, you should take help from the online exam help UK.
Tips for Writing a Perfect Report
When you follow all the guidelines for writing a particular report, you may benefit from some useful tips for writing a perfect document.
Here are some of the suggestions:
Understand Your Audience
Before you start writing your report, you should have a sound understanding of the recipient of the report and why they are asking for the info. You should also be knowledgeable of what you want from them after presenting the report. Having a good understanding of your audience helps you guide your style and ensure you convey your information most effectively.
While report structuring is important, you should make sure that your document is free of errors. The reason is that it will create a bad impression. So, the best way is to proofread your report several times before you submit or present it.
Be Open to Feedback
According to your job designation, you may receive feedback or criticism regarding your report. You should be open to critique and candid feedback, as it will help you improve your work. If you are eager to take the feedback and incorporate your higher management’s suggestions, you will have greater chances of success.
Time is money, and writing a quality report can consume a lot of time ranging from many hours to several weeks (depending on the document length). Before you start, you should set a duration for writing a report and follow a regular writing schedule. Hourly and daily goals may also boost your progress and help you stay on track.
Know the Art of Writing
If report writing is one of your regular tasks as a student or professional, you should know the art of writing a commendable report. For that, you may research how to write a business report, marketing report, academic report, scientific report or research report, you will surely find a lot of material on the internet. It will serve as a guideline for you, will help you adopt a professional approach, include what is relevant, assist you in creating a proper report structure, understand the report requirements and save you from making blunders.
However, if you are short of time, you may seek the help of a business management assignment help UK for your university report task.