A report is similar to an essay in that both need:
A report differs from an essay in that a report:
A report should generally include the following sections:
Presentation and style are important. First impressions count, so consider these simple tips:
Report writing - An essential skill
Report writing is an essential skill for professionals in almost every field: accountants, teachers, graphic designers, information scientists (the list goes on). That’s one of the reasons why your lecturers will almost certainly require you to write reports during your period of study. A report aims to inform, as clearly and succinctly as possible. It should be easy to read, and professional in its presentation. See these key features of academic reports. Exactly what you include in your report and how you present it will vary according to your discipline and the specific purpose of the report. Here we give some general guidelines, but you should check with your lecturer for more detail on what is expected.
Reports and essays - what’s the difference?
A common problem is that students transfer what they have learned about essay writing to report writing both essays and reports need:
What follows is a generic structure for reports. Using this structure will help to give your report the correct level of formality; it will also help to ensure that you do not leave out anything important. However, the actual structure required by your discipline may not be exactly what is represented here - you should check with your lecturer.
A report should generally include the following sections.
This must contain:
Table of Contents
The Table of Contents is a list of the headings and appendices of the report. Depending on the complexity and length of the report, you could list tables, figures and appendices separately. Make sure the correct page numbers are shown opposite the contents. Up-to-date word processing packages can generate a table of contents for you.
Abbreviations and/or glossary
Acknowledgements (if appropriate)
This is a short paragraph thanking any person or organisation which gave you help in collecting data or preparing the report.
Abstract (Summary or Executive Summary)
An abstract is quite different from an introduction. It is a summary of the report in which you include one sentence (or so) for every main section of your report. For example, you can include:
Write the abstract after you have written the report.
The content of the body depends on the purpose of the report, and whether it is a report of primary or secondary research.
A report of primary research (based on your own observations and experiments) would include:
Sum up the main points of the report. The conclusion should clearly relate to the objectives of your report. You should not include new information in your conclusion section.
Recommendations (if appropriate)
These are suggestions for future action. They must be logically derived from the body of your report
Please see the Library for some information on references .
An appendix contains material which is too detailed, technical, or complex to include in the body of the report (for example, specifications, a questionnaire, or a long complex table of figures), but which is referred to in the report. Appendices are put at the very end of the report, after everything else. Each appendix should contain different material. Number each appendix clearly.
Some common problems with research report writing that you should take care to avoid are:
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