15+ Report Writing Format Examples – PDF, MS Word, Pages

By definition, a report is “an account given of a particular matter, especially in the form of an official document, after thorough investigation or consideration by an appointed person or body.” In this sense, it is the visual and physical presentation of what you have studied or read. It is the summary of what you have learned after thorough research and study on the particular subject, which is then submitted to a professor or the department head in an organization. You may also see marketing report examples.

A report is written for a clear purpose and for a particular audience. Say for example, the purpose of your report is to discuss the elements of poetry for your introduction to English Literature class. Basically, your report has to talk about a specific subject intended for a particular audience.

Formal Report Template

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Professional Report Template

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Formal Report Format Example

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Formal Report Example

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A report is the the presentation of specific information backed up with evidences to further prove a point. The information and evidences are then analysed, broken down and explained, and then applied to certain problems or issues to help the audience understand the point better. These information are presented in a structured format using sections and headings for the audience to easily follow the flow of the report. However, a report is still a brief and concise document as it is somehow just a summary of the topic you are to discuss. You may also like consulting report examples.

In conclusion, a report is a factual paper and needs to be clear and well-structured. Although reports and essays are often used interchangeably, a report is better suited in business, scientific and technical fields.

Informal Report Format Example

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Informal Report Example

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Elements of a Report

  • A description of a sequence of events/situation;
  • Personal interpretation of the significance of the said events/situation;
  • An evaluation of the facts or the results of the research;
  • Discussion of the likely outcomes or future courses of action;
  • Your recommendations as to a course of action; and
  • Conclusions.

You may also see business report examples.

Report Writing Format

1. Title Page

This should be brief but should explicitly mention the purpose of the report. It should also include the name of the author/s, the date prepared and to whom the report is given. For example:

Descriptive Analysis of the Effects of Advertising to Media Outlets in Orlando, FL
David Smith
2 November 2004  

2. Terms of Reference

Under this heading is where you mention who will read the report (audience), why was the report written, and how it was written. For example:

A report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for Course AD205, Department of Mass Communication, University of Florida.

3. Summary (Abstract)

The purpose of the summary is to briefly describe the content of the report. It should just give the audience a clear and comprehensive overview, and should be written about 1/2 of the page’s length. You may also like management report examples.

4. Contents (Table of Contents)

Just like in a book, the content page or table of contents should include the different chapters and/or headings along with its designated page number. The chapter titles and headings along with the page/s should be presented in a way that the reader can easily and quickly scan the list and locate the particular page of the content. You may also check out what should be in an executive summary of a report?

5. Introduction

The introduction sets the scene for your entire report. The details regarding the aims and objectives of the report must be thoroughly discussed in the introduction. The scope of the report should also be discussed along with the description methods, the framework of the research, and the background information/history of the subject. You might be interested in service report examples.

However, the separation of headings solely depend on the guidelines given by your course professor or department head. For example in science subjects, there is a need for separate headings for Methods, and Results are used prior to the main body (Discussion) of the report.

6. Methods

As mentioned above, a separate heading for methods, results and discussions are generally common for science subjects/courses. For example, the methods section can incorporate the list of equipment used, explanation of the procedures, relevant information on the materials used, etc. Basically, the complete description and explanation of the method used for researching about the subject of the report should be included. You may also see quality report examples.

7. Results

The results section includes a summary of the research and/or conducted experiments along with the necessary graphs, diagrams, tables, etc. This is only intended for the presentation of the results with the necessary evidences and does not need any further comment or discussion about the results. In addition, the results should be presented in a logical order. You may also like medical report examples & samples.

8. Discussion

The discussion is where you discuss the entirety of the report. This is where you present the facts and evidence that were gathered and analyzed. Your points should be presented logically, therefore, it is advised to divide this section into different headings. The headings and subheadings will create a structure of your report. As the discussion section can be lengthy, it is better to group and arrange your content in a way that it will be easier for your readers to understand and follow. You may also check out technical report examples & samples.

9. Conclusion

The overall significance of what has been discussed and covered in your report is to be presented under the conclusions section. Just like in any writing form and style, the conclusion upholds the same purpose of summarizing the major points made in the entire report. This where you remind and convince the audience of the significant points you have made or highlight the issues or findings you deem to be the most important. You might be interested in financial report examples.

10. Appendices

All the supporting information you used in the report that is not published should be written under this heading. This might include the graphs, tables, questionnaires, surveys or transcripts, etc.

11. Bibliography

The bibliography is where you list in alphabetical order all the published references you used in the report. There are different styles of using references and bibliographies, it all depends on the guidelines of your department/course. The references you used but did not cite directly can be listed in a different heading such as ‘Background Reading’ and should be listed in alphabetical order in the same format used in the bibliography. You may also see how to write a progress report.

12. Acknowledgement

This is the appropriate section where you acknowledge those who have supported and assisted you in your research be it terms of providing information, advice or help.

13. Glossary of Technical Terms

As some terms you may have used in your general report are too technical, it is useful to provide an alphabetical list of the technical terms used with a brief, clear description of each term. This section can also be used to explain and give out full meanings of abbreviations, acronyms or standard units used in the report.

Short Report Example

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Long Report Example

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Types of Report

There are various types of reports, but here are the most common category of reports you may use:

1. Formal and Informal Report

A formal report is an official written report that contains detailed information, research, and data necessary to make business decisions. Generally, this report is written to solve a specific problem. Formal reports can be categorized into three: informational, analytical and recommendation reports.

On the other hand, an informal report is generally a brief and direct report that can be delivered through an email or memo. It is commonly used to share important information with one person or to a small group of people. It functions to inform, analyze, and recommend. An informal report has the following types: information reports, progress reports, justification/recommendation reports, feasibility reports, minutes of meetings and summaries.

2. Short and Long Reports

Short reports are written when there is a need for brief written communication. It is written to inform the concerned recipient about a specific matter that needs appropriate decisions from the recipient. The information are arranged in a memo-like format. You may also see recruitment report examples.

Meanwhile, a long report is a written document containing the common formats or content found in a report (i.e. title page, summary, table of contents, etc.).

3. Informational and Analytical Reports

Informational reports i.e. annual reports, monthly financial reports, and reports on personnel absenteeism present objective information about one area of an organization to another. While an analytical report i.e. scientific research, feasibility reports, and real-estate appraisals discuss and presents attempts to solve a problem or an issue.

4. Proposal Reports

A proposal report is a document presented to describe how one organization can meet the needs of another organization. It is written with the purpose of solving problems. Proposal reports can either be solicited or unsolicited.

5. Vertical and Lateral Reports

Reports that are more upward or downward in terms of movement in the hierarchy of an organization is called a vertical report. For example, school reports go UP to the district which is then submitted UP to the state government. Meanwhile reports that assist in coordination of the organization and is presented between the same organizational level is called a lateral report. For example, reports created by a company’s production and finance departments.

6. Internal and External Reports

Internal reports are only discussed within the organization. Meaning, these reports are only discussed with organization members, more specifically of the higher ranking officials. On the other hand, external reports are prepared to be distributed outside the organization (i.e. annual reports, social responsibility reports).

7. Periodic Reports

Periodic reports are progress reports which are regularly published on scheduled dates. Generally, they are upward directed and serve management control.

8. Functional Reports

Reports that take designation from the ultimate use of the report are called functional reports. These includes accounting reports, marketing reports, general financial reports, etc.

Informational Report Example

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Indirect Analytical Report Example

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Project Proposal Report Example

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Project Periodic Report Example

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Presentation and Style of a Report

Since you ultimately want to present your report in a comprehensive and logical way, it is important to keep in mind what your audience wants to see in your report. Here are some formatting styles that you can use for your formal report:

1. Font

Use only one font for the entire report. Arial or Times New Roman are the most common fonts used when making reports.

2. Lists

In order to break information into easy-to-understand points, it is always advised to use lists whenever possible (i.e. numbered list or a bullet list).

3. Headings and subheadings

Headings and subheadings are great ways of identifying various topics and breaking the text of your report into the right length. This will also keep your report organized and can be located quickly as it can be listed individually in the table of contents. You may also see examples of short report.

In addition, here are some writing styles to consider in your report:

  • Keep it simple. There is no need to impress your audience, instead try to clearly communicate with them. Keep your sentences short and to the point. Only go into details unless it is really necessary. Make sure every word you include contributes to the entire purpose of the report. You may also like sales report example & samples.
  • An active voice is more suitable to use in a report than a passive voice. If you use an active voice, it makes the writing of the report move smoothly and easily. It also needs fewer words than the passive voice.
  • Good grammar and punctuation are also important. Read the report aloud and/or have someone proofread it for you before submitting it. You may also check out investigation report samples and examples.

What Makes a Good Report?

A good report should present and analyze the relevant facts and evidences regarding the problem or issue of the report. It should cite all the sources used as reference for the report in accordance to the prescribed method and most importantly, it should be factual and not plagiarized. A well written report will manifest your ability to:

  • understand the purpose of the report brief and comply its specifications;
  • research, gather, evaluate and analyse pertinent information;
  • organize and arrange content in a logical and coherent order;
  • adhere to specific instructions of the report brief in presenting your report;
  • generate appropriate conclusions backed by the evidence and analysis of the report;
  • give thoughtful and practical recommendations where required.

You might be interested in monthly report examples & samples.

Accomplishment Report Example

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Functional Expense Report Example

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Progress Report Example

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Online Marketing Opportunity Report Example

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Essential Stages of Report Writing

1. Understanding the report brief

The first stage of the writing process is the most important stage. During this stage, you need to be able to confidently say that you understand the whole purpose of your report as per your report brief or instructions. Make sure that you understand who the report is written for and why it is being written. You may also see book report examples & samples.

2. Gathering and selecting information

Once you fully understand the whole purpose of your report, you can now begin gathering pertinent information about your topic. Since there are a lot of probable sources for the information you are going to need, you should widen your knowledge about the topic by reading related literature before you look for other forms of information such as questionnaires, surveys etc. You may also like research report examples.

3. Organizing your material

After gathering the information that you need, you will now decide how to present them. You can start by grouping all the relevant information together so that you can form chapters or sections. You can then choose an order or sequence to follow so that your content is organized logically. You may also check out status report examples.

4. Analyzing your material

Before you even begin writing the first draft of your general report, make notes on the points you are making with the information and facts that was gathered. You must be able to not just present the information, but you also have to be able to relate it to the problem or issue of the report.

5. Writing the report

Since you have managed to organize your content into their appropriate sections and headings, you can begin writing your first draft. Always go for a direct and concise writing style. Aside from clarity, your report must be well written and well- structured.

You should be able to effectively introduce the main topic of your report, explain and expand on the idea while also offering necessary terms, present relevant evidence to support your point/s, comment on how each evidence relates to your point/s, and lastly, conclude chapter and/or sections by showing its overall significance to other chapters and/or sections. You might be interested in employee report examples & samples.

6. Reviewing and redrafting

Ideally, you should have some time to relax after you are done with your first draft. Try to read your first draft again and rearrange or rewrite it if you think the reader will not easily comprehend your thoughts. It is inevitable to change your mind, therefore, your report is always subject to change after your first draft. However, always keep in mind that you still have to adhere to the specific instructions and requirements of your report brief. You may also see visit report examples & samples.

7. Presentation

Once you are satisfied with the overall arrangement of your redrafted report, you now have to focus on the presentation. Make sure that the wording of each chapter/section/subheading is clear and accurate. Check the consistency of the numbering in chapters, sections, etc. You will now have to proofread your report for minor errors, misspellings, grammar, etc. You may also like inspection report examples & samples.

In conclusion, it will surely take and need time to create a flawless report. You need to allocate the right amount time for planning, data gathering and writing. A good report is not a result of overnight cramming, but a product of dedication, perseverance and accuracy.

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