Reports are written to serve a specific purpose and are addressed to a certain audience. The report presents collected information and data, and then analyses and applies it to a certain aspect of the case. It usually has a pre-determined structure to make it easier to follow and find data.
A report brief is usually given to you when you are asked for instructions or guidelines. A report brief can outline the purpose, audience, problem, or issue your report should address and any requirements for format or structure. Report writing is not an easy task, but the report writing services UK and US students rely on helped us to make this guide. All the basics are present here.
Reports are often used for written assignments in school and colleges because of the following reasons:
- It helps determine how good students learned the information from books and lectures,
- Students have the opportunity to learn a valuable skill that is commonly used at work.
A well-written report should present and analyze facts and evidence relevant to the issue or problem being addressed. All sources should be acknowledged and referenced in accordance with the preferred method used by your department.
A report’s style is more concise than an essay and uses less rhetoric. Your ability to write a well-written report will be demonstrated.
- Understand the purpose of this report and follow its specifications.
- Collect, evaluate, and analyze relevant information.
- Structure material in a logical, coherent order
- Your report should be presented in a consistent fashion according to the brief instructions.
- Draw appropriate conclusions that are supported and supported by the analysis and evidence in the report.
- Make thoughtful and practical suggestions where necessary.
Structure of a report
The typical structure consists of thirteen elements: title, terms of reference, abstract, table of contents, introduction, methods, results, discussion, appendices, acknowledgements, bibliography, and the glossary. You will be right if assume the last part is the essential one. Still, others are valuable too.
Depending on the requirements of your department it can be a few more or less of elements. Below we’ll review all the mentioned parts of the report.
- Title Page
If the title of your work does not make it clear, this should describe briefly but clearly the purpose of the report. You may also include your name, the date, and the purpose of the report.
- Terms of Reference
This section could contain a brief explanation about the reasons why the report was written, who is the target audience and how it was done. This could be a sub-heading in the abstract or one-paragraph section.
The abstract should describe briefly the contents of the report. The summary should briefly describe the report’s aims, the findings, and the next steps. Avoid detail and discussion aim for about half a page.
The summary should be the first thing your audience reads, so it should give the reader a concise overview of the contents of the report.
- Table Of Contents
The contents page should include the page numbers and the chapters/or headings. The contents page should be organized in a way that allows the reader to quickly scan through the list of headings to locate a specific part of the report.
In addition to providing page references, chapter headings and subheadings may be numbered. No matter what numbering system you choose, make sure it is consistent and clear throughout.
The introduction sets the stage for the main body. It is important to explain the aims and objectives of this report in detail. Any limitations or problems in the scope of this report should be highlighted.
A description of research methods, research parameters, and background history should also be included.
This heading can include information such as a list and explanations of equipment used; details about procedures followed; pertinent information on materials used including sources and preparation details; and references to any problems encountered or subsequent changes in procedure.
This section should contain a summary of your investigation or experiment, along with any graphs, tables, or diagrams that can be used to support your findings.
Your results should be presented in a logical order, without any comments. The main body (Discussion), should contain your results.
You will discuss your material in the main body. You should analyze the evidence and discuss it with particular reference to the issue or problem.
You might want to divide your discussion section into sections headings if it is too long. It is important to arrange your points in a logical, logical order.
To create a clear structure, use headings and subheadings. Bullet points are a way to organize a series of points into a simple-to-follow list. All sources should be acknowledged and properly referenced, just like the entire report.
The conclusion should highlight the overall importance of the information covered. The conclusion should highlight the key points or highlights of the report. The conclusion should not contain any new material.
You should list all supporting information that you have used but are not publicly available under this heading. These could include graphs, tables, questionnaires or surveys, as well as transcripts.
Refer to the appendices within the body of the report.
Your bibliography should list all publications cited in your report in alphabetical order. There are many ways to use bibliographies and references.
For guidelines, refer to the study guide Bibliographies and Referencing. Also, check your departmental manual.
Texts that you consulted, but did not directly refer to, could be placed under a separate heading like ‘Background Reading’. They will then be listed alphabetically in the same format as your bibliography.
You may want to thank specific individuals or organizations for their assistance if you feel it is appropriate.
- Glossary of Technical Terms
A list of technical terms in alphabetical order with brief descriptions of each term is helpful. This section can also be used to explain acronyms, abbreviations, or standard units that are used in your report.
The most important stages of writing a report
Reports must be concise, clear, and well-structured. Planning and preparation are key ingredients to writing a successful report. Writing a report is easier if you plan well, you can learn more about it here. Below are the essential steps to writing a report that is successful. Take into account how long each stage will take, and then divide the time between them. Make sure you leave enough time for final proofreading and checking.
- Understanding the report brief
This is the most crucial stage. It is important to ensure that you fully understand the purpose of your reports as set out in your brief or instructions.
You should think about who the report is written for and why. Make sure you have read and understood all instructions. Ask your tutor for clarification if necessary.
- Collecting and Selecting Information
Once you have clarified the purpose of your report you can begin gathering relevant information. You may get your information from many sources.
However, the amount of information that you need depends on the detail required for the report. To gain a better understanding of the subject or issue, you might start by reading relevant literature. Then, look at surveys and questionnaires.
You must evaluate the information you have read and collected and then make a selection. Refer to your brief report to determine what information is pertinent.
- Organizing your material
After you have collected the information, you will need to decide what should be included and how it should be presented. Start by grouping points that are closely related. These points can be grouped together to form sections or chapters.
Keep the report short and cut out any unnecessary information. Your material should be organized in a logical, easy-to-follow order.
- Analyzing your material
Before you start to draft your report, take some time to reflect on and make notes about the points that you will make based on the evidence and facts you have collected. What can you draw from the information?
What are the weaknesses and limitations of the evidence? Are there any evidence pieces that conflict? It’s not enough to just present the information that you have gathered. You must also relate it to the issue or problem described in the brief report.
- Writing the Report
Once you have organized your material into the appropriate sections and headings, you can start to draft your first draft.
It may be easier to write the summary page and the contents page at the conclusion if you know what you will include. Write clearly and concisely. Don’t waste time and communicate your points clearly. A clear structure is required for all sections, chapters, and paragraphs. This structure can be modified to fit chapters, sections, and paragraphs.
- Introduce the main idea of the chapter/section/paragraph
- Explain the idea and define any key terms.
- Provide evidence that supports your points.
- Each piece of evidence should be discussed in detail to show how it is related to your point.
- Conclude your chapter/section/paragraph by either showing its significance to the report as a whole or making a link to the next chapter/section/paragraph.
- Revision and redrafting
You should allow yourself time to rest before reviewing your first draft. Prepare to reorganize or rewrite sections based on your review. The draft should be viewed from the viewpoint of the reader. Is the structure clear and easy to follow? Is the information clear and concise? Are they supported with relevant evidence? It is easier to edit and rearrange paragraphs or sections in your first draft when you use a word processor. To make it easier to rewrite your draft, write each section separately on separate pieces of paper.
After you have reviewed the structure and content of the redrafted report, it is time to move on to the presentation. Check that the wording of each chapter/section/subheading is clear and accurate. You must ensure that your report is in accordance with the brief instructions Regarding presentation and format.
You should ensure consistency in the numbering of sections, chapters and appendices. Check that you have correctly referenced and acknowledged all sources. Your report will need to be proofread for spelling and grammar errors. Proofread your report more than once if you have the time. An error in presentation or expression can create a bad impression that can make it difficult to read.