Report is a nonfiction story that summarizes and/or presents the facts of a certain event, issue, or topic. A good report will provide all the information that a person who is unfamiliar with a subject needs.
Reports allow you to quickly bring someone to the forefront of a certain subject. But writing a real report is not an easy task. Below we've created our own report to explain how to write a report.
What is an annual report?
Reports are defined in a very broad way: they can be either written or spoken. They may cover any topic. This can be anything, from a testimony in court to a book review by a third-grader.
When people use the word "report", they usually mean official documents that provide the facts and figures of a certain topic. These are often written by experts or investigators. Reports come in many forms, which are explained below, but all of them fit this description.
What type of information does a report contain? Reports, for example, are more likely to include the following types of information:
- Details of a situation or event
- A situation or event that has a lasting effect or consequence
- Data analytics or statistical analysis
- Interpretations of the report
- Reports can be used to make predictions or recommendations.
- Information about other events and reports
Essay writing and reports are very similar, but there are a few differences. Essays add personal opinions to the facts in both, but reports do not. Reports are usually limited to just the facts. The author may add some interpretation in the final paragraph.
In addition, many reports have a lot of headings. It's easier for readers who want to find information quickly to scan through reports. Essays should be read in their entirety, not just scanned for certain insights.
There are different types depending on who and what you're reporting to. Here is a list of common types of report:
- Academic report:Tests student comprehension of subject matter. For example, book reports, historical reports and biographies.
- Business reports: Identifies important information for business strategy. Examples include marketing reports, internal memos SWOT analyses, feasibility reports, and more.
- Scientific Reports: Shares findings of research, such as case studies and research papers, usually in science journals
The way in which a report is written can also be used to categorize it. Reports can be formal, informal, internal, or external. In business, vertical reports share information with people from different levels within the hierarchy.
The writing styles for academic reports tend to follow a formal format.
What is a report's structure?
The structure of a document depends on its type and requirements. Reports can have their own structure but most use this template.
- Executive Summary: Just like the abstract of an academic paper or book, an executive summary summarizes your findings so that readers are aware of what they can expect. They are more common in official reports than school reports.
- Introduction: The introduction is the first part of your report. It explains your topic, includes your thesis, and provides any necessary background information.
- In the body, you will find all of your findings organized into headings. The body takes up most of the report. While introductions and conclusions are usually only a handful of paragraphs long, the body may be several pages.
- Conclusion: In the conclusion, you will bring all of your information together and make a final interpretation or judgement.
The author will usually add their personal opinion or inferences.
If you're familiar with how to write a research paper, you'll notice that report writing follows the same introduction-body-conclusion structure, sometimes adding an executive summary. In addition to the usual requirements for reports, we will also explain how title pages and table of contents are used.
What should you include in your report?
Reports are not required to follow any specific format. Each school can customize their format according to their individual needs. Look out for the following requirements that tend to be repeated a great deal:
- Title: In official reports, a title is usually used to organize the report.
- Index: Similar to books, an index allows users to navigate quickly and easily.
- Page numberingIt is common to number pages in a report in case you make a mistake or have a mix-up.
- Headings/subheadings: Most reports are divided into sections with headings and subtitles. This makes it easier to browse and scan.
- Format for Citations: You can find the format you should use in the guidelines.
- Works Citation Page: At the end of your report, you will find a bibliography that lists all the sources from which you obtained information.
Always refer to your assignment for detailed instructions. If you are unsure, ask those who read your report for any style guides and formatting requirements.
How to Write a Report in 7 Steps
Let's now get down to the details of writing a report. You can follow the steps below to get from an idea into a finished paper.
1. You can choose a subject based on your assignment.
It is important to select the topic before writing your report. You may be given a pre-determined topic for your report, as is the case with many business reports. You can skip this step if you're not required to.
It is important to choose a topic that fits both criteria. Choose a topic which fits both of these criteria:
- Adequate information is available: Select a topic which has enough information, but does not overwhelm your report.
- The subject is something that you are interested in. Although this is not a mandatory requirement, it can improve the quality and effectiveness of your report.
Keep in mind that the assignment's instructions, including the length, are important to consider when making a decision.
For both, it's important to dig for sources outside of your company or business.
If you are writing an academic paper, you will be doing most of the research yourself, unless your professor has given you class materials to use. This is why it's so important to pick the right subject. If you choose a topic that doesn't offer enough research, you'll be left behind.
The key to finding reliable sources is to look only at official documents, publications, research studies, case study, and books by reputable authors. You can use the research from other reports that are similar. Search engines can provide a wealth of information, but you can also find it at the library.
3. Thesis statement
You should first write a summary of the report's main idea. The thesis sentence summarizes what you are writing about, or in this instance, your report, just like the topic of a para.
You will begin to see patterns and trends in your research once you've done enough. This thesis statement is based on the fact that these patterns are all pointing to or implying a larger, overarching issue.
As an example, if your report was about the wages paid to fast-food workers, you might have a thesis that reads, "Even thought wages used match up with living costs, they do not anymore." You will then use ample evidence to support your thesis.
You should include your thesis in the executive summary as well as your introduction, but it's important to know what direction you want to take when creating your outline.
4. Create an outline
Reports are organized by headings and subheadings, so an outline can help you stay on track. In reports, headings and subtitles are used to separate sections. A good outline helps you keep track of your writing.
When you begin to see patterns and trends, it is best to start planning your outline. If you are stuck, make a list of key details, examples, and other evidence. If you're stuck, try making a list of all the key points, details and evidence you want to mention.
5. You can write a rough version
This is where the bulk of your time will be spent. Here you'll put the research information in words. Follow your outline to avoid feeling overwhelmed and make sure that you do not forget anything.
Do not fear making mistakes. This is the first rule to follow when writing a rough copy. The pressure of expecting your first drafts to be flawless can add a great deal of stress. Write naturally and relax, and fix the details, like the word choices and mistakes, later. The last two steps should be enough.
6. Your report should be revised and edited
When you have finished writing your rough draft, it is time to start editing and fixing any mistakes. Before you jump back into editing, take some time to relax and sleep on your rough draft.
It is best to reread your report and look for any major problems, like deleting or moving paragraphs or sentences. Sometimes you will find that the data you used isn't correct, or you misinterpreted key pieces of evidence. The time is right to fix "big picture" errors and rewrite long sections if required.
To learn more about self-editing, read our guide.
7. Check for errors and proofread
The final step is to go through your report a second time. This will allow you to check your spelling and grammar. The previous step was to check for general mistakes. Now you want to look for small, specific problems.
Grammarly, for example, will highlight these errors. Grammarly offers a free version that highlights your spelling and grammar errors as you type. Then, it gives you suggestions on how to improve the writing. The Premium version includes even more features, including word choice and tone recommendations.