REPORT WRITING IN ENGLISH
Reports are responses to specific requirements. A report discusses a topic in a structured, easy-to-follow format. Reports are divided into sections with headings and subheadings. Reports can be academic, technical or business related and feature recommendations for specific actions. Reports are written to present facts about a situation, project or process and define and analyze the issue at hand. Reports relay observations to a specific audience in a clear and concise style.
Unlike an essay which is written in a single narrative style from start to finish, each section of a report has its own
purpose and will need to be written in an appropriate style to suit – for example, the methods and results sections are mainly descriptive, whereas the discussion section needs to be analytical.
Preparation and Planning
First identify the audience. Report should be written and tailored to the readers’ needs and expectations. When planning, ask yourself several questions to understand the objective of the report better. Some questions to consider include:
- Who are the readers?
- What is the purpose of the report and why is it needed?
- What important information has to be included in the report?
Once you identify the basics of your report, you may begin to collect supporting information, then sort and evaluate that information. The next step is to organize your information and begin putting it together in an outline. With proper planning, it will be easier to write your report and stay organized.
1. Status Report
2. Event Report
3. Survey Report
The steps are:
- Problem analysis
- Data collection
- Classification of data
Presentation and Style
Present the report in a simple and concise style that is easy to read and navigate. Readers want to be able to look through a report and get to the information they need as quickly as possible. That way a report has a greater impact on the reader.
There are simple formatting styles that can be used throughout a report that will make it easy to read and look organized and presentable. For example:
Font: Let there be consistency in the fonts used.
Lists: Use lists whenever possible to break information into easy-to-understand points. Lists may either be numbered or bulleted.
Headings and Subheadings
You may use headings and subheadings throughout your report to identify the various topics and break the text into manageable chunks.
These will help keep the report organized and can be listed in the table of contents so they can be found quickly.
There are also some writing styles to consider:
- Keep it simple. Do not try to impress, rather try to communicate. Keep the sentences short and to the point. Do not go into a lot of details unless it is needed. Make sure every word needs to be there that contributes to the purpose of the report.
- Use active voice rather than passive where possible. Active voice makes the writing move smoothly and easily. For example: “Bad customer service reduces regular business” is more concise and direct than “Regular business is reduced by bad customer service.”
- Good grammar and punctuation are also important. Read the report aloud and have someone proofread it for you.
- Remember that the computer cannot catch all the mistakes, especially with words like “red / read” or “there / their.” You may even want to wait for some time after you write it to come back and look at it with fresh eyes.
- Make the Right Impact Reports should be well organized and easy to follow. To achieve this, follow a structured format. How a report is presented to the reader makes not only a lasting impact but also makes the writer seem credible and the information contained in the report reliable. A finishing touch that can make a great impact on the reader is how you package the report. Always print the final report on good quality paper. You may also consider placing the report in a binder or a folder.
General Template / Format of a Report
INTRODUCTION / TERMS IF REFERENCE
This section briefly states the purpose and scope of the report. This includes who requested the report, the main issues or problems to be identified, the reason for undertaking the report and the due date of the report.
This section addresses three questions:
i. Why the report was written?
ii. Who it was written for?
iii. What the scope of the report is?
In this section the writer explains the procedures used or the processes involved. For example, visits to places/sites, interviews with people and so on.
This is the main part of the report because it gives facts and evidence collected by following the procedures.
- What was found during the research or investigation.
- Gives the facts only – no interpretation by the writer of the report.
- Tables, graphs or diagrams can be used.
- Must be relevant to the issues and
- problems identified in the Terms of Reference.
- Arranged in a logical order with headings and sub-headings.
You may also be required to analyse, interpret and evaluate the findings. The discussion draws together different parts of the findings and may refer to findings of theories.
The inferences drawn from what is mentioned in the previous section are presented here.
- Brief statements of the key findings of the report (full explanation is given in the Findings and/or Discussion).
- Arranged so the major conclusions come first.
- Should relate directly to the objectives set out in the Terms of Reference or Introduction.
This section is optional. If the writer has been asked to make suggestions or recommendations, they will be presented here. It includes the opinions of the writer of the report about possible changes, or solutions to the problems, including who should take action, what should be done, when and how it should be done.
- Not part of the word count
- A list of the sources that are used in and referred to in the report.
- Use APA referencing style.
- Not always required
- Lists any sources that were read for the research but were not cited in the report.
- Bibliography is not included in the word count.
- Not always required
- Additional relevant information. May
- include interview questions, surveys, glossary etc.
- Appendices are not included in the word count).
1. SAMPLE STATUS REPORT
On a Civil Engineering Project
The Chief Executive Engineer
BBMP Head Office
Hudson Circle, Bengaluru-02
Title: Status of construction of the flyover at West of Chord Road, Rajajinagara.
Terms of Reference:
On July 22, 2019, Larsen & Turbo, a construction company, entered into a contract with BBMP to construct a two way flyover at West of Chord Road, Rajajinagara, Ist Block signal toat a cost of 17 crores. The construction was to begin on 1st December, 2019 and be completed by October, 2020. It was agreed that the Government would be provided interim progress reports on 15th January, 15th July and 15th December, 2020.
Work completed to date:
The construction company has completed the following jobs:
- Survey and planning completed on 31st October.
The foundation work started on 15th November.
Pillar work completed on 15th July.
Work in progress:
Insertion of the cables began on 2nd August and the work has been going on as per the schedule.
Work to be completed:
The company has assured that they would complete the following works by 31st October:
a) Assembling the Slabs.
b) Concreting the road.
As a result of the nationwide lorry strike which is a week old, the construction company anticipates problems in procuring steel in time. But efforts are being made to use their lorries overtime and get the work done in time.But for this problem, there does not seem to be any other hitch in getting the work completed on schedule.
2. SAMPLE EVENT REPORT
Such a report is about an event that takes place in a college or any other place. It begins with a dramatic note and is followed by the details of the programme or the event. It should have a proper beginning and a conclusion. The sentences should be clear and short. The details should be specific. The report should be divided into suitable paragraphs.
Inauguration of Sports Activities:
It was a memorable day in the annals of our college. Santhosh Dravid, the most popular cricket player of our country as well as the world, had arrived as the chief guest to inaugurate the sports activities of the college for the present year. All of us were excited to receive such a star of cricket. We had taken interest in decorating the entrance as well as the auditorium. Some of us had exhibited a collage of pictures marking the milestones of his cricket career.
The guest arrived at 10 am and he was ceremoniously welcomed by the Physical Instructor, the Sports Secretary and a few office bearers of the Association. Hundreds of us were there, indeed, to cheer him and click pictures. He was taken to the Principal’s chamber for a cup of tea. He was happy to see the creative collage of his cricket career.
The function began at 10.30 am. The programme was anchored by Ms. Meena, Joint Secretary for Sports. It began with an invocation followed by lighting the lamp as a token of inauguration. Our Physical Instructor, Ramanna introduced the guest highlighting his unique achievements, his awards and his contribution to the world of cricket. He also welcomed the guest as well as the audience. The Principal honoured him with a bouquet, a shawl, a fruit bowl and a memento.
Then the chief guest rose to speak. The auditorium was silent to listen to every word of the cricketing hero. He mentioned a few major events of his life that led him to play cricket and learn it.
He thanked his cricket coach for his invaluable guidance and motivation. He explained that there were quite a number of ups and downs in his career before he could reach the peak. He ended his talk with a suggestion that we should do well in the field of our passion. He made it clear that we should not worry about the hurdles and face them with confidence. Hard work is the only way to success, he said. He sat down to a thunderous applause.
The vote of thanks was proposed by the Sports Secretary. Later all of us thronged him for photos. It was a memorable day for us and we shared our photos as well as the message with our friends.
3. SAMPLE SURVEY REPORT
To: Shankar Das, Chairman
REPORT ON DECLINING ATTENDANCE
1. TERMS OF REFERENCE
In July you asked us to investigate the reasons for the fall in attendance the the concerts and to submit a report with recommendations by December.
a) The attendance figures of the previous year were obtained.
b) Members of the academy and some others were interviewed.
c) A questionnaire was sent to all the current members and also those who discontinued membership in the last 12 months.
a) The attendance figures in the previous year were as follows:
First Quarter 3000
Second Quarter 2400
Third Quarter 1900
Fourth Quarter 1300
- Majority of the members are of the opinion that the quality of music has deteriorated and that they miss the maestros of the previous era.
- Most of the artistes who performed in the last two years actually experimented on stage in the name of innovation.
- Lack of discretion in the choice of programmes.
- Inadequate communication. Members were not informed about the last minute changes in concert schedules and also about the change in artistes sometimes.
Attendance at concerts shows a noticeable decline because of dissatisfaction with the quality of music and administrative lapses in sending communication to the members and the general public. Failure to redress them may lead to a further decline in
membership and might gradually erode the reputation of the Academy.
- The organising committee should be objective in their selection of programmes and artistes and should set aside personal preferences.
There should be a wide range of programmes.
Members should be informed of the concerts for a whole quarter and changes in them, if any, should be notified in the press immediately. This should also be followed by personal communication.
There should be a campaign for enrolling life members.
A number of schemes should be planned to attract membership.
The programmes should be given wider publicity.
Members, Reporting Committee.
- Imagine that you have been asked to conduct a survey as the Student Welfare Officer of your institution about the use of the library and reading room facilities and submit a report to him/her with your recommendations.
Consider the following points:
- Do students read magazines of general interest or sports / Film magazines?
- What types of books are generally issued out, text books or reference books?
- How many students refer to dictionaries, encyclopaedia or other books kept for reference only?
- Do students prefer CDs to books?
- Wherever available, do students use the internet facility more than the reference section in the library?
2. The Department of Student Welfare is concerned about the deteriorating food habits of students in the city. Imagine that you have been asked to conduct a survey and present a report.
You may use the following hints:
- Preference for junk food among youth
- Fast food consumption- as a fashion statement/ increased availability
- Irregular food timings
- Effects of these food habits lead to early onset of lifestyle-related diseases
- Solutions to the issue could be achieved through awareness, availability of healthy food on campuses
3. Your college conducted an intercollegiate youth fest in the month of October.
Write an event report for the college magazine using the following hints.
Inaugurals – various competitions – participation by various colleges – festive atmosphere – prize distribution – valedictory.
4. You are an officer working for PWD. You have been entrusted with the task of construction of a public library.
Write a status report to The Chief Engineer by using the following hints.
Survey and planning is complete – foundation work started delay due to heavy rains – work likely to be completed by