Some people often confuse reports and essays. It is so as they are interchangeably used in the school context. There are several similarities in academia. Report writing and essay writing use different formats. They also have different goals. An essay comprises of ideas and arguments. The arguments seek to communicate an idea to the reader.
A report, on the other hand, is technical, scientific, and business-like. Report writing is based on factual statistics. And compromise of analysis, explaining the causes of a certain issue. Also, they providing recommendations based on results.
Most report writing formats are clear and easy to follow. However, the guidelines may differ from school or institutions. Before embarking on a report writing project, find acceptable report writing formats. Do not forget general guidelines from your professor or employer. Get a clear and well-articulated guide of report writing here.
Components of a Report
Your report should have a description of the situation. As mentioned earlier, reports highlight an issue. A good topic examines the facts. Can also expound on the outcomes of the issue at hand. Most importantly, has sources. Your sources could range from interviews or data trends. Also, a good report gives a detailed explanation of future projections. The information is based on your research. Finally, a good report always has a conclusion. Your conclusion should provide a summary of your findings. This always explains whether your report has achieved its purpose.
Now you have the important aspects to include in your report. Let’s get started. We start with compiling, researching, and compiling the report.
You need the report to be easy to follow, factual, and timely. To help you in this, the first step involves understanding the brief. In academia, the professor will give a summary of the topic at hand.
Secondly, establish the reader and end goal. Knowing your reader and goal helps you in selecting an ideal format as well as terms. For more information regarding establishing your reader, click here.
An executive summary should not be more than a page. It is also advisable to work on the executive summary after compiling the report. The executive summary makes it easy for the reader to go through the document. For more information on how to write an executive summary, find it here.
The introduction explains the topic, the motive of the report, and an outline of the structure. A good introduction should be about ½ or ¾, a page. Remember to focus on the reader. Ensure the reader understands what exactly they should expect from the report.
The body has a detailed explanation of the issue or reports subject. Giving statistics and numbers. Include tables, pies, maps, or even charts, to further explain your work. Using numbers is a great way to make your report authoritative. It also makes your work easier to understand.
Tip: This is the most detailed part of your document. To ensure your report is readable, include headings and subheadings. Additionally, use numbers, bullet points, and highlight key points. Another important tip when working on your body is paragraphing. Use each paragraph to explain a different point.
As part of the body, your report should also have recommendations. Giving an account of thoroughly backed information on how your findings make a difference.
Your conclusion is a wrap-up of what you mentioned in your body. Make it simple and clear. Some of the important questions to help with a strong conclusion are outlined.
Your end goal and purpose of the report? Give a short explanation, on how you achieved your end goal.
Your findings? You could include a statement explaining how you came up with your sources. And how they helped reach your goal. For example, if you used interviews, include a statement explaining this.
A major discovery about your topic? Besides having recommendations sections, you could also highlight major discoveries made. The discoveries made at this point are during your research. And how it influences your end goal.
Does your report answer the brief? Finally, let the reader know whether you achieved to get the answers.
Before reading through your document, some readers will go through your introduction and conclusion. Therefore, it is important to make the most of it. All this can be done by including relevant and helpful information.
An appendix contains non-essential information. However, it helps ensure the reader has a deeper understanding of the issue. The appendices should be used for each topic and describe some of the contents.
Although the appendix is an integral part of the report. Your main body should have the most important aspects of the topic. When the appendix is omitted, then the report is understandable.
In addition to extra information, you could also include maps and diagrams in your appendix. However, avoid stuffing your appendix with excess information. Get a well-outlined guide on how and what to include in the appendix here.
When writing your report, you will find that some of your ideas and arguments have similar components to those of other writers. Owing to this, it’s important to correctly acknowledge the use of other author’s material by referencing your paper.
Consider the reader. There are three types of reports; academic, business, and technical reports. You can get a guideline on writing each of them here. If you are writing an academic report, then center your work based on your study. All this is just to be clear to your tutor. If you are presenting the report to seniors or colleagues. Then you could use industry terms. However, when dealing with the public use easy to understand terms.
Use easy language. Even if you are eyeing your colleagues. It is essential to use easy to understand language. Avoid jargon and cliché words. In line with easy language, it is also essential to mind sentence structure. As well as your grammar. Have an editor go through your work. Or simply read through your work before making a final submission.
Follow specific formats. Learning or business institution has different specifications when it comes to formats.
With your motive and reader in mind, working on a business or academic report is now easy. After settling on the topic. Take your time to find various sources to help you back your arguments. Ensuring your report communicates a clear message. It also provides viable solutions for the problem. Most importantly, always refer back to the formats. Not forgetting institution general guidelines.