At some point, it is most likely that you were asked to make a report. If not for work, you were definitely asked to write one for school. It could be a case study, a research report, or a narrative report, chances are you have made some kind of report. Making a report would require you a lot of time and research as you can’t just make a report out of nowhere. You have to have quantifiable data to back it up.
When making these reports, there are often formatting rules that you have to follow. There are certain elements that should be included in there. This adds to the work that you have to do. Fortunately, you won’t have to worry about that with our sample report format.
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What Is a Report?
A report is an informational piece of work that is made to relay information to another. A report could also be used in narrating a certain event. It is done by an appointed person and relayed to a person or a group of people. A report is often written in an official document. That is why reports need to follow a certain format because they are meant to be formal records regarding certain matters.
A report needs to be backed up by accurate data. Thorough examination and investigation needs to be done to do one. A hastily done report would not be valuable and its weakness is going to show up sooner than later. It requires a lot of time and study but the final document would often be very useful for anyone doing the study.
Types of Report
Reports can be classified into two parts: informal and formal.
- Informal Report – Informal reports are usually relatively short documents that are found in many organizations. The primary function of these types of report is to inform and recommend. It still follows the formats that make them official documents but it is not as detailed as the formal ones. It is also a little more controversial as it often talks about certain issues in the organization. Some examples of these types of reports include progress reports, credit report, personnel evaluation, and so on.
- Formal Report – A formal report is more official and lengthy as opposed to the informal ones. It needs a rigorous and in-depth study on the subject matter. The data collected is often interpreted into usable information that is used to make decisions for the company. Formal reports can be categorized into analytical reports, recommendation reports, and informational reports.
Who Makes Reports?
Reports are done on a variety of topics and for a variety of reasons. It is initially a lot of work but the results are often very much worth the time and effort and money spent on doing one. Almost anyone with the right resources can do reports. Below are some of the people that often make these reports.
- Students – The school is one place where reports are usually done. Students are often always asked to do one. They are often asked to do a case study report or a research report. When assigned a certain task, they are also sometimes asked to do a progress report to track the development of the project.
- Auditors – After an audit, auditors are often asked to do a report on their findings. They state whether the company is complying with standards or if they are meeting the desired goals.
- Business Owners – Business owners also need to make reports on how their business is doing.
- Medical People – People in the medical field are not exempt from doing paper stuff. They are also expected to do reports on the patient’s health. Lab reports are something they also prepare.
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The Report Format
Reports are official documents and so there is a format that needs to be followed. However, there are different types of reports according to their use and industry and so different types of report also have different elements. Because of this there is no standard format you can follow in writing a report. There are, however, some general sections that should be present in any official report. Report are not to be written like essays. It needs to be written in sections and headings and sub-headings. Listed below are the sections you would often find in a report format.
- Title – The title of the report should accurately capture the subject of the report. It should be brief but should contain a clear description of the study that you did. The title page is also the part where you often see the names of the people who did the research and the official logo of the company.
- Abstract – This is where you give a general overview of the study that was done. Make sure to state the results, conclusions, and recommendations that you came up with. However, be sure to relay all those information without going into details. That is will be discussed in the later part. Keep this one short.
- Introduction – The introduction part is where you will state the problem and how it came to be. This is important so readers will have a background of it. Also, state the purpose of doing the report in this part.
- Discussion – This part forms the body of your report. This is where you present all the data that you have gathered, the method by which you were able to obtain the data, and so on. Be sure to lay everything that you have researched in here as they will be used to back up the results that you got and the recommendations that you made.
- Summary of Results – You will need to state the results of the study that you made here. It helps if you present quantifiable results that are presented in tables and graphs as it is much easier to interpret them that way.
- Conclusion – This is where you summarize the results of your findings. Also, explain in this section the significance of your study and what it has accomplished. Only talk about what you have found out in the whole study process. Do not introduce any new information here.
- References – List in this section the full details of the sources that you used within your whole report.
Again, there is no set format for reports. There are always sections that would be needed for every other kind of report, depending on the topic and the industry it is in. A project report, for example, will have different entries on it as opposed to an internal audit report. The elements listed above, however, are the general sections that you can find in a usual report.
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Examples of Reports
A report may be formal or informal. These two however can be further divided into other types of reports. There are many examples of reports that could be done. Some of them are listed below.
- Project Report – A project report talks about all the aspects when one is starting a new project. You are often introduced to a problem and see what you can do about it. The same thing is going to be done. You need to gather all the necessary data about the topic. Explain what you did, the method of obtaining information that you did, and so on. You may also do progress reports on how the project is developing.
- Annual Report – An annual report is a comprehensive report of all the things about the company from the previous year. It will often include the director’s report, an auditor’s report, a statement from the chairperson, and so on. The financial statements from the preceding year are also presented in an annual report.
- Business Report – A business report is one in which a situation is given and you are going to study it by applying business theories. The results in a business report are important pieces of information for the company because they often examine the cost that each course of action will take. A cost-benefit analysis would need to be done when doing a business report.
- Narrative Report – A narrative report is used to explain a story. That is why when writing one, it is important to maintain it in a chronological order. Make sure to properly introduce the characters, the plot, the setting, the climax, and the conclusion.
- Accomplishment Report – An accomplishment report is done to show what you have done for the company. Make sure to focus on your accomplishments and to explain your value to the company. Lay out the goals and expectation of your position and then show how you were able to accomplish those with actual numbers.
- Audit Report – This is a report done to show the findings after an audit. The auditor lists out the findings based on the things that are considered to be important in the success of the company.
- Case Study Report – You are given a case and you need to make a report on how you will approach the case problem. In this type of report, you need to carefully analyze the situation and put your results and recommendations into writing.
- Research Report – Almost anything can be studied using research. A topic is given to the researcher and he or she will approach the problem by researching. The research problem together with results and findings are placed in a document called a research report.
- Daily Report – This report is all about the tasks accomplished by employees on a certain day. These are of course updated every day to keep track of the performance and progress of employees.
- Financial Report – This is a detailed report of the financial information of people or a business entity.
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Tips in Making a Report
There are many instances when one would be asked to make a report. It could be for school, assigned as a homework, or it could be for work. There are also different kinds of reports that one will be asked to do depending on the requirements of your supervisor. That is why there are also components that could be found on one report and another component that is totally unique to another report.
Writing a report is not an easy thing to do. There are so many things to consider and it could get too overwhelming to just even start writing. Add to that the immense amount of research that you have to do in order to write the content of your report. We understand that making a report is not an easy task and so we have compiled some useful tips that you can apply when you are making your next report.
- Know the report’s purpose. Before writing the report, make sure to determine it’s real purpose. What do you want to accomplish by making this report? Do you want to inform your readers? Do you want to persuade them about your idea? Knowing the report’s purpose gives you a clear direction as to where you want to go with it, which makes it easier to write.
- Maintain a logical flow. This is common sense but you will be surprised at the number of people who forget about this rule. The report should start with a good introduction, then you go to the body, and then make a conclusion. Make sure that the points you stated in the previous section would lead on easily into the second point.
- Use visuals to reinforce your content. Visuals are very effective ways of grabbing your reader’s attention and augmenting your content. When done right, the images and illustrations you add to your report could prove to be very beneficial to you.
- Review. Review your report and revise when needed. Also, let someone else review your report. You may be blind to your own mistakes and so a different set of eyes would catch mistakes that you won’t.
When making, say, an annual report, there will have to be steps to be followed and a format that needs to be observed. It is a formal document and so these things need to be complied with. Our report samples contain these formats and have all the necessary elements that make a good report.
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