How To Write A Report? Writing Tips For Students

how to write a report

Everyone needs to write a report at one time or the other. Some assignments in school would require a report. Most times, students are confused as to what is expected of them to write. In the business world, you might need to write a report on a project, and if not properly done you may pass the wrong message.

Generally, when it comes to writing reports, most people are often confused about the writing style. What should be included, the language to use, the length of the report, and other things? Here, we would be discussing how to write various types of reports.

What Is A Report?

A report is a document that presents information in an organized format for a specific audience and purpose. Reports may be given orally, but often, it’s usually in the form of written documents. There are different types of report writing but generally, a report presents a written or spoken account of occurrences which one observed, did, heard, or investigated.

Before we proceed to discuss how to write a report, we would briefly discuss two common types of reports that aren’t a form of report writing as such. The first one is a credit report.

  1. What is a credit report? A credit report is a detailed record of a person’s credit history prepared by the credit bureau. The credit bureau gathers financial information about an individual and creates a credit report based on the information collected. It usually contains information about your credit activities, history, and status. Often, lenders use these reports to help them decide whether or not they would grant you a loan request. Another kind of report similar to a credit report is a consumer report.
  2. What is a consumer report? A consumer report is a collection of various documents about an individual. It generally includes criminal records, credit reports, driving records, and other public records. In recent times, consumers report may also include your activities on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. An employer can use consumer reports to evaluate prospective employees. Consumer reports are usually prepared by a consumer reporting agency (CRA).

How Can I Write A Report?

There are different types of reports such as a scientific report, business report, and much more but the basic structure for all types of report are almost the same. All reports generally have an introduction, body, and conclusion. The specific type of report you want to write would now determine any additional components you will need to add to this outline. We would be discussing some report writing examples and how to write each one of them.

  • Case report. Case reports are written evaluations of the signs, symptoms, treatment, and subsequent reactions of a particular patient. A case report usually describes a novel or an unusual occurrence. It’s the cornerstone for medical progress as it usually provides new concepts and ideas in medicine. For this kind of report, the first thing you want to do is to identify the kind of case report. This identification would help you in choosing the appropriate journal that you would use in writing your report. The type of journal selected would also determine the structure of your report. In general, all case report follows this structure: abstract, introduction, case presentation, discussion, and conclusion. Some might require a literature review while others won’t.
  • Lab report. A lab report explains how you performed your experiment, what you learned in the process, and what you can infer from the result. Lab reports are usually a significant part of all laboratory courses and make up for like 70% of your grade. If you are given an outline by your instructor, use that in writing your report, otherwise, you follow the general outline for writing lab reports. lab reports generally have the same format but here, we would be discussing in specific how to write a chemistry lab report. The structure of a chemistry lab report should be in the format: Title, Introduction, tools/apparatus, procedure, Data/table of results, observation/discussion of results, and conclusion. Also, it is important to note that when writing your lab report, you should write in the past tense.
  • Book report. writing book reports are common assignments given to students in schools and writing such reports may be challenging for most students as it requires you to analyze a large body of the text. Book reports help you understand a book and its author. A book report is different from book reviews and shouldn’t be mixed up. The structure of book reports is simpler than that of book reviews. Book reports involve a brief background of the author and a summary of the book. Generally, it follows the outline: Introduction, characters, a summary of the plot, and a conclusion. In writing a great book report, outline what captures your attention as you read, take notes while reading, pay attention to details, pay attention to the theme of the book. Also, you want to use quotes from the book in your report as this would enhance your report.
  • Incident report. An incident report should include all the essential information about the incident. The incident report could entail workplace illness, accidents, injuries, or near misses. An incident report is aimed at getting the exact details of occurrences while it is still fresh in the minds of the witnesses. To write an incident report, ensure you take immediate action as soon as the incident occurs, notify the manager/leadership of the organization immediately. Afterward, you collect facts surrounding the incidents (name and accounts of witnesses, injures sustained, damaged caused, date, specific location, and other relevant information). Then, you analyze the fact to determine why and what caused the incidents, and finally, you recommend an action plan to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future.
  • Police report. If you happen to be a victim or a witness in a crime or an accident scene, then you would need to write a police report and here is how to write one. Ensure you write down everything you can remember or that you noticed immediately after the crime or accident. Summarize the event in clear and simple language. You might have to support your claims with pieces of evidence so gather as many proofs as possible.
  • Business report. Business reports are written documents that provide the necessary information, and analysis to help the business in making an informed and smart decision. Business reports are pretty much about facts. They have a lot in common with MBA thesis. The structure of a business report includes an executive summary, table of content, introduction, body, conclusion, references, and sometimes appendix.
  • Technical report. A technical report is a formal report aimed at conveying technical information in a clear, precise, and easily accessible format. It is divided into sections that allow different readers to access different levels of information. The commonly accepted format for a technical report writing is a title page, abstract, acknowledgment, executive summary, introduction, body, conclusion, references, and appendices.
  • Research report. A research report should include the process of research, your findings and the relevance of your research work. A research report writing includes four main components: introduction, findings, conclusion, and recommendations.
  • Progress report. Your supervisor/ project manager often requires that you write a project report to keep track of your progress on a particular project. It outlines the activities you have accomplished, the tasks you have completed, and also the milestones you have reached.
  • Case study report. A case study report requires you to investigate and research a business problem, analyze it and propose an effective solution with supporting evidence and facts. The general outline for writing a case study report is an introduction, background, evaluation of the case or business problem, proposed solution, recommendation, and conclusion.
  • Scientific report. The general outline to write a scientific report includes a title page, table of content, abstract, introduction, materials and procedures, results, discussion, conclusion, and references.

The structure and flow of your report are very important to keep your reader interested in your report until the end. That is why it is important to take a bit of time to plan the structure before you get started writing the report. You have to determine who your audience is so you can tailor your report writing to meet the needs and expectations of your audience.

Also, after writing your report, ensure to proofread it to eliminate any error and also check to see that you fulfilled the purpose of writing the report. Finally, you can consider using report writing software and tools to assist you in writing your reports.

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