Writing a report will typically involve collecting evidence or information about a particular issue or initiative, evaluating that information, and presenting the findings in an objective way. Most reports also offer recommendations for discussion or future action.
It's important to present a report in as clear and concise a way as possible. A reader needs to grasp the main points quickly and easily, so you should avoid very long sentences and keep to standard English as far as possible. If you are writing a report for a general audience, always explain any technical terms that you use.
Structuring a report
Practical writing > Writing skills at work > Writing reports
As a general guide, reports can be broken down into the following sections:
- Title and contents: base the title on the essentials of the brief you were given, and add your name and the date of the report.
- Introduction/terms of reference: describe the details of your brief or any other reason for writing the report.
- Procedure/method: if appropriate, describe your method of gathering information.
- Findings: present the outcome of your research in a concise, logical way. You can summarize the opinions of people you have approached, present statistics or figures in support of your points, or describe any other relevant research. It may be helpful to organize the information under subheadings or subsections.
- Conclusions: summarize your assessment of the current situation, based on your findings.
- Recommendations: recommend what action should be taken, based on your conclusions.
- Appendices: if appropriate, you can add any supporting data, questionnaires used, etc. in the appendices to your main report.
Once you've finished the report, read it through to check that it is clear and to make sure that it doesn't contain any grammar or spelling mistakes.
Sample business report
Here's an example of a well-structured, clear, and concise business report.