A report is the record of an investigation and its outcomes. There are different kinds of reports which are written for various purposes such as documenting experiments and testing, presenting solutions to a problem or giving recommendations. Report writing is key to success at school and work.
Here are tips for writing a good report:
Establish the type of report
This will inform you how to organize and sequence your information. For example a scientific report includes abstract, method and materials, results, discussion and conclusions.
Identify the problem statement
This is the problem/issue you are investigating. Here you will determine what the central question of your report is and the aim you wish to achieve.
Keep accurate records
Ensure you have citations well documented. Record your methods for collecting data, the data collected, how you collected it and your conclusion from the findings.
Establish a clear structure
This can be done by drafting your table of contents. It includes each section, subsection and their page numbers all in a logical sequence.
Keep focused on original questions
While writing your report, ensure you stay on track by visiting the original question at various intervals. This will keep your report focused and relevant.
Use clear visuals
Use visual representations such as pictures, tables, graphs and charts where relevant
Edit your report
Pay attention to small details such as spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. If possible let another person take a look at it as they might be better suited to point out errors you may have missed.
Sections of a report
The main sections of a report include:
Title – This includes the name of the author(s) and the date of report preparation.
Summary – There needs to be a summary of the major points, conclusions, and recommendations.
Introduction – This introduces the details of the report
Body – This is the main part of the report. It includes various sections and subsections. Here detailed information is arranged according to a logical sequence.
Conclusion – This brings together all the threads of the report.
Recommendations – This is a call to action. Usually for further research, solutions to a problem or what you think should happen.
Appendices – This include further information not included in the main report.