You may think that you don't need to write reports, but if you look at the Oxford English Dictionary definition, which is that a report is "a statement of the results of an investigation or of any matter on which definite information is required," you'll realise that reports are used in all kinds of situations. In fact, you probably read reports every day and just don't know it, in newspapers for example. And, I'm certain you give verbal reports all the time, like when you tell your friends about a night out.
In business, there are lots of reasons why you might be required to write a report. Perhaps your office is thinking of changing stationery suppliers and you've been tasked with working out how much you use, what it costs and how savings can be made. Or you work in a shop and your employer wants to understand his customer base better. He's asked you to create a report on the different kinds of people who frequent the shop - would you know how to go about it?
If not, learning how to put together a professional and comprehensive report will definitely be to your advantage.
The Basics of Writing Report
Whilst the format of the report and what it contains will likely change depending on what kind of report you are tasked with creating - the fundamentals will be the same as those detailed below:
- title page - title, date and the author's name
- circulation list - who the report will be sent to
- notes and acknowledgements - who provided the funding
- table of contents - details the contents
- list of illustrations - titles and page numbers
- abstract/summary - short paragraph detailing the nature of the report
- introduction - the scope and terms of the report
- body of report - what you discovered is detailed here
- conclusions - pulls the information discovered in the report together
- recommendations - the most important section, what do the finding of the report tell you and what will you now recommend
- appendices - additional information, such as tables, photographs, results, maps are be included here
- bibliography and recommended reading - any publications you referred to or recommend for reading
- glossary - explain technical terms used in the report
- references - details of sources used in the report
- index - only necessary if the report is long
It's simple right? No! Okay, let us help you. We've just launched a great new course that'll teach you everything you need to know to become proficient at writing professionally presented reports. To find out more, click on Report Writing course.