Reports are considered to be one the best ways to relay an information. It is used in speech, television or film, and writing. Since there are many ways on how you can convey a message or information through a report, writing a short report has been known to be more effective.
However, writing report requires a set of skills. In order for you to write an effective report, you must know and understand the essence of writing a report. You also need to have a good knowledge of a report structure. Luckily, this article talks about a report. You will learn here the structure, tips, and guidelines for writing a report.
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What is a Report?
A report is a specific form of writing that is made with the intention of relaying information in a presentable manner. The report defines and analyses a subject or a problem. A report may also include:
- A document that records the series of events or situations.
- The explanation of the importance and significance of the events or facts.
- The assessment and evaluations of facts or the results made from the research investigation.
- The interpretation and the description of the results of a decision or course of action.
- The conclusions and recommendations.
- A presentation of information and evidence.
What Is a Business Report and Its Format?
A business report is a popular type of business management report that analyses and evaluates a situation, either real situations or case study, and applies business theories to create suggestions and action plan to improve the business. A business report contains business related information the assists the management to make better business decisions.
A common business report follows the same format.
- The executive summary or a brief overview of the business report.
- The introduction of the business report.
- The contents of the business report.
- The findings from a research.
- The conclusions.
- And the recommendations.
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The Report Structure
Below is the common structure of a report. This structure is used in a business report, formal report, and/or research report. However, it is entirely up to the management or department on what report structure is suitable for them.
- Title page. This is always included and it is placed on the first page. This section also contains your name, the name of the person whom you are submitting for, date of submission, and your course or department,
- The acknowledgement. It is a list of people who sponsor or help you in creating the report.
- The table of contents. This should always be present in any report, especially in a long one. The table of contents contains the list of the main topics and subtopics together with their page number.
- The terms of reference. This section is optional. The terms of reference are the definition of the task and your objective for writing the report.
- The procedure. This section is also optional. This usually contains a description on how you carried out your research or the methods you use to gather the information.
- The material and methods. This similar to the procedure but this is usually used in scientific or engineering report writing. This is where you list the materials you used in the experiment and the methods or procedure of the experiment.
- The summary. This is the brief description of your whole report or an overview of the report.
- The introduction. This where your write how you fully understood your report and how you are going to discuss the topics in your report.
- The body. This the main section of your report. This is where you discuss your main topic and the supporting topics.
- The conclusion. This where you write the implications and executive summary of your report.
- The references. This is where you state all your sources that support your report.
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The Difference between Essays and Reports
A report is a piece of informative writing, while an essay writing is structured around an introduction, body, conclusion, and the essay itself.
While a report always goes to the process of identifying and evaluating the extent of issues in a report, essays focus is slightly different.
An essay puts a specific position or argument at the beginning.
One of the obvious differences of reports and essays is the use of heading. A report always uses sections and headings, an essay may not.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences of the two.
- are formally structured and outlined.
- are informative, educational, and fact-based.
- are written with a specific purpose and objective.
- are written in a style relevant to each section.
- always include main headings and subheadings.
- sometimes use bulleted points.
- includes tables, charts, diagrams, and graphs.
- give recommendations for action.
- are semi-structured.
- are argumentative, contentious, and idea-based.
- have no specific audience.
- sometimes do not include subheadings.
- have sophisticated writing style.
- may not use bulleted points.
- are written in single story style throughout.
- rarely include tables, charts, diagrams, and graphs.
To know more about the difference between reports and essays, you can browse our report examples in PDF and Word and our essay examples in Doc.
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The Guidelines in Report Writing
These guidelines focus on the writing style of a report.
- A font style of a report must be written in an Arial or Calibri (body), and the font size must be 12 pt.
- A past tense of the verb must be used throughout the report.
- The first person point of view (e.g. “I” singular and “we” plural) must not be used.
- Use a double spacing format between a line of text.
- The pages must be arranged accordingly and must have a page number.
- The report should as long as they need to be. However, brevity is desirable.
- Only provide the necessary and relevant information in your report.
- The title page, the abstract, the introduction, and the references must be on a separate page.
- A heading needs to be indicated each section of the report.
- A table of contents and the definition of terms must be present.
- The sentences of the report must not start with “It” unless the “It” refers to a subject that is clearly written in the context.
- Fancy uses of text, font style, or font weights must be avoided unless it enhance or highlights a context
- Proofread your report to find typing, grammar, and spelling errors.