Report Writing- Characteristics, Structure and Types

Report Writing, Characteristics, Structure and Types

Report Writing, Characteristics, Structure and Types

Report Writing

Reports are vital to the communicative needs of all types of organizations.They contribute to the decision making process at all organizational levels.Scientists,executives and professionals before they proceed further with their investigations,examine the existing reports in a specific area. Hence writing report is a flexible teaching-learning-practising tool specially designed to help students and employees develop general research,identify the problem and reporting skill.

Characteristics of a Good Report Structure

1.Clear Structure

A report should have a clear,logical structure.A good structure will help to decide where to put each fact or idea.

2. Selectivity

Selectivity in words is very important.Careful choice of words enables to convey the meaning in correct way

3. Objectivity

Report is not an essay .It deals with a problem for purpose.Therefore it is important to look at all sides of the problem without being biased.It is important to keep own conventions,beliefs,likes and dislikes at side.

4. Accuracy

The report should be factually accurate.Therefore it is important to verify the facts before framing them into a report.There should not be nay space for misguidance and misinformation.The information given should be accurate.

5. Clarity

The report should be clear enough to answer the questions in the minds of the readers.

6. Simplicity

Difficult vocabulary and complicated sentences do not enhance the quality of report.Short sentences and straight forward language should be used.

7. Sections and subsections

Each point should fit logically into sections.One section should contain one point which can be further discussed in sub-sections.Do not have too much material in each section.

8. Headings and Sub-headings

Have a sequence of headings and sub-headings which will help the readers to find the information they need. One word headings are often vague and misleading. Good headings will give your readers an overview of your plan.

9. Conclusion

Conclude with raising key issues and points,with suggestions for research/practice as appropriate.

10. Sensitivity

Maintain sensitivity to problems and processes of research undertaken for example, ethics, communication,

negotiation and collaboration.

The Structure of a Report

Types of reports can vary greatly; they can range from an experimental report to an environmental impact statement. There is however, a basic structure common to most reports, irrespective of their type.

1. Title Page

 The title page includes the name of the report, who wrote it, their organization and the date.

2. Acknowledgement

This section allows the people who were indispensable in writing the report to be thanked or mentioned.

3. Table of Contents

 The Table of Contents lists all the major sections of the report. It helps the reader to find specific information and indicates how the information has been organized and what topics are covered. The table of contents should also include a list of figures and a list of tables if any are used in the report.

4. Executive Summary

This section briefly summarizes the purpose of the study, sources of information, major findings, conclusions, and recommendations.  It is designed for those who do not have the time to read the entire report and as a means of refreshing a reader’s mind at some later time.  It is probably the most important section of the report, because it is almost certain to be read.

5. Introduction

The Introduction is an extremely important part of any report.  It should not include too much detail, but it should give the reader a good idea of where the report is going (including a brief description of the contents of the report).

The Introduction has three main components:

i. The Background describes events leading up to the existing situation, what projects have been done previously, and why the project or study is necessary.

ii. The Purpose defines what the project or study is to achieve, who authorized it and the specific terms of reference.

iii. The Scope outlines any limitations imposed on the project such as cost, time etc.

Introduction is different from Executive summary because it highlights the background,information,purpose and scope of the report.It should be specific,to the point,brief but a complete discussion of the context of the problem.

6. Body

The body of the report is composed of a series of chapters that describe the subject of the report. It’s divided into topics which are arranged in a logical order with headings and sub-headings. The body of the report must address:

  • Why was the study necessary? (the purpose)
  • When, where, how and by whom the study was conducted?
  • What were the findings?
  • What conclusions were drawn?
  • What recommendations were made?

7. Conclusion

covers the writer’s judgement based on information in the body of the report.It should be brief, concise and specific.

8. Recommendations

The Recommendations should follow naturally from the conclusions.The recommendations should be based on the materials and data which you collected during the research process.

9. Abbreviation

Provide an alphabetical list of the abbreviations used in the report if they are not familiar ones.Provide a glossary with brief explanation of the technical terms used.

10. References/Bibliography

List of all sources that has been used in report in alphabetical order.It includes author’s name and initials,date of publication,title of the book,paper or journal,publisher,place of publication.

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