Report Writing Guide

08/17/2019 | George Orwell | 820

Before understanding types of reports, first, let’s see what does a report means and what it’s the purpose? Report writing is a special form of assignment writing which aims at determining and probing a particular issue. It is a blunt and brief information document writing which is written for a certain set of audience. It can be written either as a statement or a description. The report can be both small or big in size.                                                                                                                                            The Report Can Be Made Based On Certain

  • Findings
  • Observations
  • Happenings
  • Recommendations etc.

Both individuals and groups of individuals can be engaged in the purpose of reports writing. It can be both in verbal or written form. Reports may be made by either a single person such as secretary, departmental head or an investigator or by a group of individuals, committee or subcommittees. The report may be prepared either during a certain standard interval of time such as annual, bi-annual, monthly, bi-monthly. For example reporting by the branch to its head office. Or it can be made only once, for example, a report by an inquiry committee.

Reports may be prepared on certain researches and findings in some physical sense. For example report on events based on a certain organization. Report based on certain investigations from research.

Significance Of Report Writing:

There is a huge importance of report writing in both organizational and administration life. There are many decisions that you need to take on the basis of  research findings. Reports can help the group of organization, departments or committee to understand certain materialistic facts about an issue happened in the organization, committee or group itself. Various external and internal reports can of general administration.

There might be a need to prepare, submit and circulate the reports statutorily. As an instance: yearly report of an organization. A report has the same value as a document. The report is the source of proof, history, and reference. The overall responsibility of preparing a report is on the secretary of the organization or company.

Class Of Reports:

The most vital form of report writing can be classified into two i.e. formal and informal:

  1. Formal report writing:  You need to follow a definite structure for writing formal report. It does not contain any personal opinion or any information of this sort. Check a sample of the formal report writing
  2. Informal report writing: Informal reports are  basically a precise and short messages  which you need to write in a simple and casual language.

In another form,  you can classify report as long and short reports. It is obvious that the one-page report is short and a thirty-page report is long. But there is no line to define the stoppage for recognizing the short or long report. It can be better answered on a case by case basis.

The next form on the basis of which you can classify  report is analytical and informational reports:

  1. Analytical report:The main purpose of preparing  an analytical report  to solve any particular issue. It can be either feasibility reports, scientific research, real-estate appraisals or many such.
  2. Informational report: You can prepare it for the transformation of information from one part of the company to other parts. As an instance: monthly or annual financial reports.

Another Form Of Reports Can Be Classified As Lateral Or Vertical:

  1. Lateral reports: The main purpose of preparing is to transfer the information between units at the same level in an organization. They are useful in the coordination of work of a company.
  2. Vertical reports: This type of report either moves downward or upward in a hierarchy of an organization. Their contribution is toward the control of the management of a company.

The Next Type Of Classification For Writing Reports Is External And Internal Classification:

  1. External reports: These type of reports can be considered as the yearly report of an organization that is distributed outside the organization for a certain purpose. These type of reports are normally formal ones.
  2. Internal reports: These reports are distributed inside the organization. It can be either formal or informal on the basis of its purpose.

The next classification is periodic reports.

This type of report can be either monthly, annually, quarterly and any other report that is scheduled on a regular basis. Mostly these reports are identical, which means the report of this month is exactly the same as of the previous month as per their structure. They are also usually vertical, as they come from different departments and go towards management.

The next type of report is a functional report. This type of report can be referred to as dividing the report taking into account their functions. The examples of these types of reports are marketing reports, financial reports, accounting reports, concert reports, lab reports, etc. A report can have many functions at a time.

Reports According To Their Formats – Mainly Includes Four Categories

  • Category 1 – Preprinted Form: This type of format can be used for routine reports along with some periodical reports. This report is available as a form with the blanks in it that are to be filled with the asked information. Mostly the information to be filled are numerical, so you should fill the blanks with numbers and forward it away. This report is normally formal and short in size having a maximum of five pages.
  • Category 2 – Letter: This type of report is used in case the information needs to be circulated outside the organization. It consists of the normal letters, but can also consist of headings, tables, footnotes, and figures.Reports  are usually short in length. It should be informal because of the use of the personal pronoun.
  • Category 3 – Memo: This type of report normally refers to short and informal that needs to be transferred within the organization. It features the format of ‘Date’, ‘to’, ‘From’ and ‘Subject’, like most regular memos. Memos might consist of visual aids or internal headings.
  • Category 4 – Manuscript: These are normally long and formally written reports. Sometimes they might be short in length. The requirement for information depends on the length of the report.

Features Of Reports:

  1. The report is prepared on the basis of certain facts and has a very less connection with any statistical data, references, etc.
  2. The report should be made in the exact form or approach. Form and style should be chosen based on the purpose of the report.
  3. Obviously report is written for a definite purpose. A usual purpose is the distribution of information. The other purposes of report writing include a compilation of records, giving guidance for your action and judgment, evidence formation, etc.
  4. The circulation of the report can be done either for an individual, pile of individuals, members of an organization or public as a whole.
  5. An effective report should contain all the characteristics and features.
  6. Reports can be of different categories.
  7. It is mainly dedicated to meetings.
  8. Reports can be used as a means of communication of certain important facts.
  9. It is prepared by considering a certain group of readers.
  10. A report has invariably a bearing on time.
  11. The report can either be adopted or referred back to the committee for reconsideration. Hence a report should be given special treatment.

How To Write A Report:      

Writing a report might come up as a frightening process for students. But it can be made easy by paying proper attention to report prompt, selecting a subject that fascinates you, providing enough time for the research work. After completing all the research process and preparing an overall outline, the only thing you have left with is to write down the perfect report. Always remember to proofread the paper before you hand it over to the authority.

Step 1 – Selection Of Topic:

  • Read The Report Prompt Or Guidelines Carefully: If certain guidelines are provided by the authority to write a report, then always remember to deeply go across them for understanding the needs of the assignment. By carefully understanding the prompt, you will get to know if you have to write an informative report or persuasive, who will be your target audience and the issues that will be concerned with your report. You can also understand the structure and format requirements by understanding the guidelines. In case of any query related to the book report writing, crosscheck it as soon as possible for the sake of perfect report.
  • Pick Up A Topic According To Your Interest: If you will choose some topic for the report writing that is fascinating to you, you will find yourself more attracted to the research and writing process. It will help you to generate a report that is interesting to read. In this way, you will get more positive feedbacks or brighter grades.

For example: If you are writing a report on a historical figure, you can choose the one you find interesting like the first woman to climb Mount Everest, etc.

Sometimes you don’t have an option to choose the topic on your own, still, you can find something according to your interest through the research work.

  •  Always Choose A More Specific Topic: If your topic is too wide to cover, you will find it unorganized in the desire of covering plenty of information in one go. Also, your topic should not be too short that it is hard to find enough information to write. Try to cover any one specific area of the topic that has a lot of facts to write about.

Step 2 – Researching The Report:

  • Include A Number Of Reputable Sources In Your Report: Sometimes the students might be given the guidelines about how more or limit the number of resources to be used to write the report. Always remember to follow those guidelines intensively. If you don’t source the report properly, you will not get the necessary feedback irrespective of your writing. Remember to use only authoritative sources such as scholarly articles, newspapers, books, etc. In the absence of any guidelines for using the number of sources, at least use 1 to 2 reliable sources for each page of your report.

Step 3 – Choose Proper Sources:

  1. Primary sources such as interviews, court records, and original written works.
  2. Secondary sources such as reviews, reference books, etc.
  3. Tertiary sources such as indexes, abstracts, and databases. The tertiary sources can be used to detect the primary and secondary sources useful for your report.

To write a business report, you might be provided with some additional materials referred to as market research, sales reports, etc. You should compile these materials on your own.

  • While Writing A Report For School, Remember To Check With The Library First

Library is the best place to begin your research even if you have permission to go through online sources. When you feel that you care about the write your report lab now, you should definitely visit the school library, any public library or library in your college or university. Go through the useful books, journals, etc that you can’t find through online sources.

There is no better resource than librarians for writing a report. They can help you find books, articles, and other credible sources. Sometimes the teacher gives the limitation for using the online sources. Then no need to worry, if you find most of the information in the library then you can use online sources for finding the rest of the sources.

  • While doing online research, only scholarly sources should be used

As any person can upload any information on the internet, it is difficult to find reliable and genuine information. In this case, it is beneficial to take information from genuine search engines such as Google Scholar, Lexis Nexis, or your school’s recommended search engine. There is a number of genuine online sources such as government websites, articles written by reputed writers, and publications in peer-reviewed journals that have been published online.

  • Cross-reference your sources to find new material

In case you detect an article on the same subject that you have picked up, written by any other writer, you can use the same sources used by the writer to write your report. While using any book as your source, check a few pages from the last. That is the place where an author lists the sources used by them.

  • Maintain proper notes during the research process by including citation information

Whatever useful information you find through any of the resources, not down all the information to use it in the report. Also note the information about the source such as author, publication date, page number, publisher, etc. This can help you with your bibliography purpose. Don’t forget to mark the pages of your notes to avoid confusion later. 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.

  • Use Researched Material To Prepare A Thesis Statement

While doing researches for your report, you might find the main theme rising in your notes. You can use this theme in order to prepare an effective thesis statement. The thesis statement should contain a summary of the fact that you want to present in front of the reader. The body paragraphs should have a connection with the thesis statement.

Most of the times, the thesis statement should not contain your own opinions. While writing a persuasive essay, the thesis consists of the facts and arguments that will be further verifying in the body paragraphs.

  • Arrange The Notes To Form An Outline

After done with the thesis statement of your thesis report, now it’s time to arrange the notes to form a perfect and effective report. Start the writing process with the thesis statement, then add 3 to 4 important facts connected to the thesis statement and that is useful for your report.

You should write outline with a purpose to understand the actual look of your assignment. You can create a straightforward list or make a concept map, depending on what makes the most sense to you.

Arrange the information from your notes in the proper logical order. 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.

Step 4 – Writing The First Draft:

  • Format the report by using the guidelines that you are provided

It is beneficial to format the paper such as fonts, margins, spacing, etc before starting the writing process instead of doing it all after completing the overall writing process. While writing the paragraphs, you should cite each and every information you put there.

Remember to follow the given instructions for formatting. In the absence of any instructions, use the classic ones such as 12 pt Times New Roman or Arial font followed by double spaced lines and 1 in (2.5 cm) margins all around.

The finishing paragraph should consist of the bibliography for the assignments depicting the sources you have used in the report. It is also necessary to add a title page including the title, your name, date, and name of the person requested for the report. Some sort of assignments also demands to write a table of contents and a brief summary of the overall content and facts and figures that you have added. All these are more easy to write after finishing the first draft.

  • Include the thesis in the introduction

Introduction is the paragraph where the topic should be introduced along with the thesis statement. Always try to make the introductory paragraph interesting to make your reader engaged in the process of reading the overall report. There is a need to provide some background information depicting the topic after that put your thesis statement to give the reader knowledge about what they are going to read in your assignment.

  • Begin each body paragraph of the report with a topic sentence

In the body paragraphs, you have to put the evidence in support of your thesis statement. There should be a topic sentence and evidence in its support in each body paragraph. The topic sentence depicts the main idea of the body paragraph and links the paragraph back with the thesis statement. In any paragraph, you should first present the crucial or convincing information.

  • Each topic sentence should be supported with evidence from your research

After writing the body paragraph in your topic sentence, provide evidence found in your research in support of your topic sentence.  You can make well structured assignment and ensure smooth flow by linking the sentence of each body paragraph with the topic sentence.

Paraphrasing refers to reorganize the ideas and facts written by the author in his or her own words. Whereas the direct quote refers to putting the exact words cited by the author written in quotation marks in the original article. Use the sources in support of your topic, but never plagiarise the content. Copying the sentences just word to word can put you in trouble. Also, be sure to cite each source as you use it.

You need to write commentary on the topic and evidence by using your own ideas. You should use evidence in support of the ideas presented in the topic sentence. It is necessary to link it back to the thesis. This can help the reader to understand your thoughts to make the argument stronger. The commentary should be of 1 or 2 sentences.

  • Give the summary of your report in the conclusion paragraph

Here you can provide the summary for your thesis along with the final thoughts. Here the reader should understand again that what they are going to gain from your assignment. It should also depict the importance of your information presented by you. You should not add any new information in the conclusion.  But it should be a powerful summary of your overall writing.

Step 5 – Revise The Report

  • Check your reports for the surety 

Go through your entire report by considering yourself as a reader and you are reading the information for the first time. Check whether all points are clear and easy to read or not.  Also, check if your evidence is supporting your thesis or not. It is wise to ask questions to yourself such as ‘“If I were someone reading this assignment for the first time, would I feel like I understood the topic after I finished reading?’

  • Check and proofread report 

You can lose your grades  if your report consists of lots of errors such as spelling, grammar, typo, etc.  For this, if you write the assignment  in the word processor with a built-in spell checker, it will keep on detecting the mistakes as you are writing. But this cannot be possible for proofreading. Read the content loudly on your own. If you hear the words you have written, it will be helpful to catch the awkward language that is not possible to catch while reading it silently.

  • Read each sentence entirely and carefully

You might skip certain errors irrespective of how carefully you have read assignment . After completing the proofreading step, read your entire assignment again, but try reading it backward this time. Begin with the end sentence then sentence before that and so on. This is the best method to detect each and spelling and grammatical error carefully.

  • Ask someone else to proofread it for you

Asking someone else to proofread assignment can be helpful especially when you already did it before many times. Ask them to detect all sort of error  and ask them whether they are getting your point clearly or not.

  • Compare your report to the assignment requirements to ensure it meets expectations

Do not take a risk by losing any of the important points. Check again your assignment checklist. In case of any query or question related to the assignment, ask your tutor.

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