Writing a Report: Why Proper Structure Matters

For many young people university seems like a lot of fun: parties, hanging out with friends, a lot of alcohol, new people and, of course, traveling. However, there is something you should do from the first day on and this something is writing reports. You should agree that except for studies you use reports a lot in your daily life no matter where you go – reporting to your boss or to the readers of the journal, to the clients or your managers. So writing a report is an essential skill mastering which will be no much pain.

Report Definition and Its Concepts

We can define the report as a formally written document like a presentation that provides brief information on a certain topic or subject. It can be used in many different ways such as informing someone on the progress, describing the results of the work or making personal recommendations. The paper should be brief, objective, properly structured; it should contain the main points useful for the reader and consist of the few sections.

A basic report consists of the following points:

  1. Title page / the heading;
  2. Abstract (describes the problem in 200 words, provides ways of investigation and your findings);
  3. Table of contents (sections of your report and page number);
  4. Introduction (provides some initial info about the topic, gives a brief description of the body sections and states the main purpose of the report);
  5. Main body;
  6. Conclusion (describes the results achieved);
  7. References (the list of sources online/offline).

You can also give your recommendations and present additional charts and pictures in the annex section.

Things to Do Before You Start Writing

Before you start writing your report, make sure you understood the task well. If the people you are writing for gave you the guidelines, read them and ask questions at once if necessary. If you are writing for school, you just need to present your topic without expressing your opinion. In other cases, you will have to convince your reader and analyze the information.

Here is where to start:

  1. Choose the topic you like and know about. Being passionate about what you write is the key to a great job done. If the topic is already specified, try to find something about it that attracts you and makes you interested in the investigation;
  2. Find good sources. Make sure you have enough sources to base your report on and if there are online sources, they should be also reputable. Take care of citing them according to the required style;
  3. Create a thesis. The main idea of the whole report will be expressed in your thesis so make sure you summarized the important points and came up with the deep analysis;
  4. Create an outline. The outline will help you make the important points visual: it can be lists, concept maps or other means that express your idea;
  5. Write an intro. Introduce your topic to the readers, present your thesis and outline. The main goal is to make the reader interested with catchy but informative sentences;
  6. Compose the main body. Present the evidence that support your thesis and divide the main body into paragraphs. Make up a topic sentence and support it by quoting the experts in this field;
  7. Create a conclusion. Summarize all the info presented and describe the results you achieved.

Make sure you proofread the paper before you present it to your teacher or boss to avoid any grammatical mistakes and misinformation.

Some Final Words

When writing your report, be absolutely clear about the topic: the reader should quickly find the required info and easily understand it even if they have no knowledge about the subject. Use plain language to create crisp and precise text and avoid jargon and slang. Make sure the information is relevant and brings some value to the reader.