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