ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to write a report

Updated on April 25, 2015

Report writing is an incredibly demanding form of writing and goes beyond mere writing styles and practices to incorporate other areas (such as result presentation and analysis), which each have their own set of regulations. What’s more report writing is so very often at odds with other forms of writing and is additionally subject to a demanding purpose of presenting coherent information that is assessed, dissected and analysed to ultimately form conclusions that have been clearly backed up by the report's findings. It’s then unsurprising that given the purpose of a report that few naturally take to report writing; this guide aims to overcome this by explaining in clear jargon free language how to write a report.

What is a report and what is its purpose?

A report should serve as a well arranged document that provides some level of analysis in the assessment of a problem.

A report may include any or all of the following:

  • An official record of a chronological number of events

  • Interpretation and analysis into these events (including what may have caused these events to occur and/or what the future implication of such events may be)

  • Evaluation of a set of facts, figures or results

  • A formal discussion as to the outcomes of taking a particular route or making a certain decision

  • Conclusions based upon the evidence presented

  • Recommendations


How to write a report: Essential elements

Due to the nature of a report there is a very set formula and a whole range of writing rules to follow; specifically this means that a report should always be:

  • Accurate

  • Succinct

  • Coherent

  • Formally and correctly structured

Source

The initial steps for writing a report

When preparing to write a report it’s vital that you give the report brief the time and consideration that it commands. This stage should very much be considered as vital in forming the foundations of an effective report. At this stage you should:

  • Create a mind map of your initial thoughts

  • Note down key ideas

  • Refrain from gathering too much information

  • Create a list of key questions that you may have

  • Summarise the brief, re-writing it if necessary to break down what exactly is being asked of you

Throughout the process the most important thing that you should do is to continually ask yourself whether what you’re undertaking is relevant to the initial brief. It can be all too easy to find yourself, at the end of the process, having answered a completely different question to that which was originally posed in the brief.

Source

How to plan a report in a structured, progressive manner

When writing a report it’s important that you appreciate what is expected of the language and form of your writing; specifically this means:

  • Your language is formal, unbiased and unemotive

  • Your paragraphs are concise, with each serving a clear purpose

  • There is no use of colloquial words or terms

  • Words are written in full, rather than shorted (e.g. aren’t should be are not)

  • The entirety of the report is completely objective.


Report structure

A report’s format is incredibly structured and consists of the following sections in the order in which they’re listed (sections with an asterix aren’t always included).

  • Title page,

  • Acknowledgements,

  • Contents,

  • Terms of reference,

  • Procedure,

  • Materials and Athos,

  • Summary,

  • Introduction,

  • Main report body,

  • Results*,

  • Conclusions,

  • Recommendations*,

  • Appendices*,

  • References,

  • Bibliography*,

  • Glossary*

How to write a report: Writing style and author voice

Author voice

Previously the formal guidelines for author voice was that a passive approach should be taken; for example “the study was conducted…” instead of “we studied…”; today however many are of the viewpoint that such an approach can make the report overly complex and altogether rather unnecessary. Whilst some educational institutions have differing opinions on this, if you are able to write in the active voice (e.g. ‘I undertook...’, ‘We undertook...;’) then you should certainly consider doing so as it may make the entire process somewhat easier.


The defining differences between essay and report writing

Whilst essays follow a single narrative throughout, reports are formed of distinct sections, which may be subject to a different writing style or format as compared to the previous. For example, your methods section will be descriptive, whilst your introduction should be explanatory; these then compare to a discussion section which will be analytical.

How to Write a Good University Essay or Report

Source

What element of report writing do you find most intimdating?

See results

5 Tips to improve your writing

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)