“What Is A Report? Why Do I Need To Write One?”
In general sense, report is a document that details the important points from a meeting or an investigation.
Writing a report is essential in different organizational settings as:
- It is used to communicate one information to another.
- It maintains the records of actions, events, meetings or investigations.
- It is used as a secondary data for research purposes.
- It is used for budgeting and other financial analysis.
- It can serve as a data for further follow-up (either monthly, quarterly or annually).
What Is A Formal Structure Of A Report?
Though different types of reports have different styles, they all follow a standard format. Each report is a slight variation of this standard format depending on the requirements.
Generally, a report is made of the following elements:
- Title: The title section includes name of the writer, department, date of preparing the report and date of submission.
- Acknowledgements: It involves a note of thanks to all the contributors who have aided in the successful making of the report.
- Abstract: This involves a short summary of the entire report. It is extremely necessary to inscribe it carefully as the reader might only read the summary and skim through the remaining data.
It is better to write your abstract in the end so that you don’t forget to include all the relevant data.
- Table of Contents: The section and subsections with their pages numbers.
- Introduction: All reports have an opening section which is called introduction. It acts like a funnel starting from a broad topic leading to specific issue. An introduction shows:
- The overview of the problem.
- The purpose of the event, meeting or the investigation.
- Outlines what is included in the upcoming sections.
- Body: A body is the main section of the report with more than one paragraphs. Each paragraph contains a subtitle with the most important information coming first. This section explains:
- What was the investigation/meeting about?
- How was the investigation done/ how was the meeting arranged?
- What were the key notes of the event/ what was found in the investigation?
- Any further interpretations.
- Conclusion: The end part of the report where everything is combined. Just like abstract, this part is very important as the reader may only read abstract and conclusion. A conclusion wraps up the following points:
- What were the achievements of the report?
- Were the aims of the reports successfully fulfilled?
- What were the significance of the report?
- Recommendation: In this section, you can give your recommendations telling the reader “what could be done” or “what could have been done”.
- Appendices: You can add graphs, tables or charts in the appendix section which were not there in the body of the appendix.
What Are Different Types Of Reports?
While business reports are of various types, the majority academic reports are:
- They either describe a company’s situation or used in order to present a company goals and objectives.
- They can be formal or informal.
- Informal are shorter and are presented as memos or letters.
- Formal reports are much longer with detailed information.
- A lab report usually explains a scientific experiment or research.
- It explains how you did an experiment and what the results were.
- They are usually involved in chemistry, physics and other practical subjects.
- One of the most common assignments in school.
- A book reports discusses the contents of a book.
- It is like a summary of the entire book which helps readers to better understand its chapters.
- It is different from the book review which highlights the pros and cons of a book and how it could have been improved.
- A formal report is the collection and interpretation of the data with presentation to the audience.
- They are usually done for projects.
- These are complex requiring a lot of research.
- They involve many types of data, charts and graphs.
- Also known as technical reports.
- They involve the description of a process or results of a technical research.
- They are one of the most needed reports in industry.
- They require exceptional technical skills.
- Progress reports are made by companies.
- They can be done for financial analysis, improvement in a product or services or as the evaluation of employees’ performances.
- They are periodic in nature done monthly, semiannually or annually.
Why Writing a Report Is Important Academically?
Reports are given as assignments in schools. The reasons why they are important academically because:
- They improve your writing skills.
- They make you keen for attention to detail.
- They prepare you for the practical skill used at workplaces.
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