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The essentials of good report writing are universal in the sense that it does not matter which type of report you are writing. There are different types of reports such as research reports, business reports, medical reports and science reports. However, we are not going to dwell on the types of reports but rather on the essentials of writing a good report, regardless of the type. The success of a report largely depends on its writing and presentation.
You may wonder why we write reports. Reports are necessary to communicate progress, indicate achievements and make relevant recommendations. Reports are useful for evaluation purposes and may assist in making the necessary adjustments on an ongoing project. Although report writing may seem to be boring, it is actually a challenging and exciting activity.
The essentials of good report writing include the following:
Preparation of a report involves many activities. Depending on the type of report, some may require a letter of transmittal from the writer to the recipient, showing the basic requirements the writer would need. The letter also gives the recipient a basic idea of what to expect in the report. The preparation stage includes selecting an attractive report title, determining topics to be covered and listing points of the topics.
Still under preparation, the writer has to acknowledge all those who offered assistance during the process. The acknowledgments should look as sincere as possible. After acknowledgments, the writer creates a summary abstract, which communicates the reports scope. An executive summary closely follows the summary abstract, showing purpose of the report, background of the report and sources of information.
The introduction stage communicates the main objectives of the report. It covers a wide area including the background information, literature review, scope of study and research methodology used. The introduction phase should be very short and concise. It should however, set the stage for a clearer and logical flow of the report.
As a writer, you should make sure that you understand the main objectives of the report before embarking on writing it in the first place. This will assist in ensuring that you do not go out of topic or experience writer’s block, a situation where a writer suddenly runs out of ideas.
3. Writing the Body
The body is one of the most important parts of the whole report since it holds almost all facts and relevant information, as regards to the problem. All information should be made available in a straightforward way without beating about the bush. Although it is a report, it is advisable to use active voice as compared to passive voice since the former is clearer, more direct and has a natural tone.
It is wiser to use section headings when writing the body, as a report writer since doing this maintains the logical flow of the report and it is much easier for the readers to follow and understand. You may further bold all your titles and subtitles and format your text to ensure that the information provided is clear. The transition from one section to the other should be smooth, ensuring that the reader does not get lost.
The conclusion indicates the end report writing. It should be a summary of the whole report, covering all aspects of the document and any underlying themes. Before writing the conclusion, it is advisable that you first make a draft of the whole document and then note the main points that you will sum up. There should be no inclusion of any new information, in the conclusion.
The conclusion of the report also involves listing the recommendations of the research. After studying the whole report and understanding the underlying problem, you are able to make recommendations on the possible solutions.
Some reports may include a list of references. A list of references shows the main sources of information for the writer. The list facilitates easier verification of the information. Just in case you might need to edit the report, it would be easier to find the information you are looking for if you follow the list of references. The appendices are not included in report writing.
After learning and understanding on how to write a report, you may wish to start getting jobs for commercial purposes. These jobs will definitely come but the problem is that the topics and reports are so diverse to the extent that you may experience writer’s block. However, there is a proven solution.