Discover our guide to report writing with the best writing tips, format template and advice to help you succeed!
Get ready to master the art of report writing, where compelling and exciting arguments are matched with data and factual research. If you’re writing a report for school, college or as practice for an upcoming exam, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of how to write a report that resonates with your reader.
Report writing is the skill of creating a cohesive written document that shares information and findings. For English students, report writing is required to present research and data analysis in an organized way. It’s a fantastic activity that empowers students to become confident in their writing and cultivates communication and research skills that greatly benefit professional careers.
Whether you’re new to writing reports or a pro looking to elevate your writing skills, our guide will help you pick a report writing topic, format your writing correctly, choose the right report, and begin writing. With plenty of helpful tips and tricks, you’ll become a master wordsmith in no time!
Types of Reports
There are three different types of reports for you to master: informational reports, analytical reports and recommendation reports. Let’s look at the differences between these types of reports so you can decide which one best suits your subject.
Informational reports are designed to present factual data, details or summaries without an in-depth analysis. These reports give the reader straightforward information that’s easy to understand. Usually, these reports are a type of business report used to update colleagues in the workplace or provide information to involved third parties.
An example of an informational business report could be a company update announcing a company name change or an annual report displaying financial updates for shareholders. These reports are purely informative and state only the facts.
Analytical reports present and analyze data, interpret information and draw conclusions. Analytical reports are typically used for research projects, literary analysis and scientific studies. Students often create an analytical report as a part of their final exam.
These reports involve assessing data, looking for patterns and trends and offering insight into the findings. The author often draws conclusions based on the data and offers their opinion backed by data.
Recommendation reports are written to porose the options available to solve a problem or query. These reports use background information and data analysis to give insight into a recommended course of action. Recommendation reports are excellent for helping organizations make decisions.
For example, as a student, you might be asked to create a recommendation report in business class with a hypothetical situation that must be resolved or in environmental science to recommend sustainable practices for the local community.
Steps in Report Writing
Step 1. Preparing to Write
Preparation is the key to success, so it’s important to prepare before you begin writing! Take steps to define the purpose of your report, consider your audience and think about the scope of your report.
Establish an understanding of what you will communicate in your report, choose the type of report your will be writing and take note of the most important information to include. Once you understand what your report will be about, you’ll want to set a timeline to complete it.
Give yourself a goal for when your outline will be completed, then allow for time to gather data and information, organize your information, complete the writing process and proofread. Remember, it’s always best to have extra time than too little time, so overestimate how long each stage will take.
Step 2. Gathering Information
Gathering your data and information is one of the most important report-writing steps. Collect relevant information from credible sources like interviews, surveys, academic papers and research or observational data. Make sure you have plenty of accurate information to fill out your report to make a compelling conclusion.
Step 3. Organizing Information
When you’ve gathered your information and data, you can begin organizing your information and creating a loose structure for your report. Determine the main points and key findings you will present in your report and lay them out in an order that makes sense for your report topic. Structuring your information logically will make your report easy to understand and allow you to accurately convey your thoughts and findings.
Step 4. Writing the Report
Once you’ve created a plan and organized your information into an outline, it’s time to begin writing. Your report has three main sections: the introduction, the body and the conclusion.
Begin with an engaging introduction that outlines the main points and scope of the report. Then, present your information using headings and subheadings in the body of your report. Using subsections is a great way to showcase important points and create a good report. Conclude by showing your findings and recommendations if applicable to the topic.
You’ll also need to create a title page, table of contents, executive summary, recommendations (if required) and a reference page. Later in this article, you’ll find more information on properly structuring your report. Writing a business report? Check out our guide!
Step 5. Editing and Revising
After writing your first draft, it’s important to dedicate some time to editing and revising your report. Check for grammar, spelling and punctuation errors as well as general readability. You can use proofreading software to help you with this step to ensure you correct any missed mistakes. Editing is one of the most important steps as it refines your work and ensures that it’s up to high standards before submitting. Read our writing tips for some extra help when writing your report.
Getting your report writing format right is vital for landing a top grade and creating a research report, book report or analytical report that resonates with the reader. Following the correct report writing format shows the reader that you are a professional, take the subject matter seriously and have dedicated time to creating a cohesive written report.
The title page of your report is the first thing your readers will see. The title page will show your report title, your name, the date of submission and your institution or organization’s name. The title page sets the tone for your report, so make sure to choose an appropriate title that accurately reflects the content of your report.
Table of Contents
The table of contents lists the sections of your report along with the page numbers. This page acts as a roadmap to the content of your report so that readers can easily navigate to the appropriate page.
The executive summary summarizes the report in a few short sentences. It highlights the main points and conclusions so readers can grasp the report’s content without reading the entire document. Use your executive summary to give readers an insight into the report and conclusions at a glance in case they don’t have the time to read the entire report.
The introduction sets the tone for your report and introduces the main ideas and purpose of the report. It often includes a summary of the content discussed in the report and explains why the writer has chosen to create this report. For example, if you’re writing an analytical report, you can use the introduction to explain why you are analyzing this data and what you hope to achieve in the report.
The body of your report is where you’ll present all of your information, research data and findings. Divide your body into sections with relevant headings and subheadings for your topic. Focus each section on one specific aspect of your report and include the relevant information you have gathered to support your statements. The body content is the main section of your report, so take this chance to showcase all of your research and information.
The conclusion section of your report summarizes the key points discussed in the report. Use this section to wrap up your findings from all of your research and reiterate the main points of your report. State your conclusion confidently and take pride in the report that you have created.
If you are writing a recommendation report, this is the section where you should provide it! This section should include action-based recommendations on your findings for the reader to carry out. These suggestions should offer solutions to any identified issues in the report and guide the reader to resolve them.
The references section of your report should include a list of all the sources you have used to gather information, research data, ideas and opinion. Include a comprehensive list of all the material you have used to create your report, including books, articles, websites, interviews and more.
It’s important to use the specific citation style you have chosen or been assigned to use if you’re writing a college paper. What are MLA citations? Citation styles give a set format for writing your references, such as APA MLA and Chicago. Check out our guide for everything you need about an MLA format works cited page.
The appendix of your report comes at the very end after your reference list. The appendix should include any additional information the report uses, like interview transcripts, survey data, and raw data.
Make sure to label your appendices clearly. For example, each piece of data should be marked (Appendix 1, Appendix 2, Appendix 3.) You’ll need to assign each piece of information or data to your appendices throughout your report. Use phrases like “See Appendix 1” to direct your reader to the data.
If you have taken data from outside sources rather than independent work, you must reference them in the correct citation style. Include an in-text citation next to the item in your appendices and add the full reference to your references list. Check out our guide on how to organize in-text citations.
Report Writing Tips
1. Use Clear and Concise Language
Clarity is one of the most important things in report writing. Use simple and straightforward language and get to the point quickly! Avoid over-complicating your sentences, and keep readability at the forefront of your mind when writing.
2. Avoid Jargon and Technical Terms
Unless your report targets a specialized audience, it’s best to keep jargon and technical terms to a minimum. You want to ensure that the reader understands what you’re saying and doesn’t need to pause to look up terms or phrases they don’t understand. Keep your writing clear and concise, and use language that can be easily understood.
3. Use Headings and Subheadings
Split your report into sections to organize your information and make it easier for readers to navigate your report. Break up the content into relevant headings and subheadings and include all related information under each section. This is a great way to highlight your research and make the information stand out in your report.
4. Use Visuals To Support the Text
Visual aids like charts, graphs and tables can leave a lasting impact on your readers and help them understand the information you are trying to convey. Visuals make complex information easier to understand and can also be used to split up large sections of text and information into bitesize chunks.
5. Proofread Thoroughly
Once you have completed your report, dedicate a significant portion of your time to proofreading and editing your draft. Assess your report’s readability and look for grammar, spelling and formatting errors.
A polished report that is free from mistakes will show your level of understanding of the topic and convey professionalism. Check out our guide with the best grammar checkers to use for your report!
Organizing your report correctly is critical in landing a top grade as a student and leaving a lasting impact on your readers as a professional. When you create a clear structure and follow report writing rules, readers can find information quickly and understand your carefully researched information. Report writing is a vital skill for all industries to be able to make informed decisions and practice clear communication.
In business, reports can be used for market analysis, problem-solving and strategic planning. Throughout all professional industries, reports are a valuable tool that allows individuals and teams to share information, analyze data and create success.
Students graduate from essay writing to report writing in school and college to hone their research, communication and writing skills while assessing their understanding of topics. Whether you’re a student or professional, learning how to write a report is key to successfully communicating your ideas in a structured and impactful way.
- See Analytical Report Examples For Quality Data Analysis
- How do you write a clear and concise executive summary for a data analysis report?
- Recommendation Report
- Report writing
- Unit 37: Report Objective: Informational and Analytical – Communication at Work
- Appendices – Oxford Brookes University
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