Guide to Report Writing
What is a report?
A Report is a highly structured document written in a formal style. Normally a report is based on your reading and some form of practical work, such as an investigation, survey, experiment or review of practice in other organisations.
Reports are written for a particular purpose, to inform, to persuade, or to offer recommendations. They are also produced for a specific audience. Reports generally draw conclusions based on their findings and may suggest a course of action or areas of further research.
Reports generally aim to: * Set out the issue and explain why the activity was undertaken * Describe what was done and how it was done * Present the findings, conclusions, and any recommendations
Preparing and writing your report
Use your assignment brief to make sure you understand the purpose of the report and the intended audience. Have a plan allowing enough time to collect and organise your information and write, redraft, and proofread the report.
You should write in a formal academic style with simple sentences avoiding slang and unnecessary jargon. Paragraphs need to be concise and focus on one issue or area of discussion. Tables and diagrams can be used in your report but make sure they add to the reader’s understanding of the issues and that they are clearly labelled.
Presentation and Layout
In a report the content is divided up into a number of sections each with a heading. These sections may be further divided into sub sections. Sections and sub sections make it easier for the reader to locate the information they need. Normally these sections and subsections are numbered using a progressive numbering system. Most word processing software will do this numbering for you. 1. Main section 2.1. Sub section 2.2.1. Sub section 2.2.2. Sub section
2. Main section 3.2. Sub section 3.3.3. Sub section 3.3.4. Sub section
Report structure - what sections should a report have?
This table outlines the main sections that a report should contain. However if you are given specific guidelines for your report you must follow them. Title | The title page should have the title of the report, the author’s name, and any other details required by the assignment brief such as module and course titles. | Contents | List all the main sections including the appendices remembering to include the page numbers. Any illustrations, tables or diagrams that you have used also need to be included in a separate list in this section. | Abstract/Summary | A brief summary or overview of the report. It should be a document which can be read independently of the main report. | Introduction | A brief description of what the report is about, what it will cover, any relevant