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Report Writing Guidelines by Educator Resource Center

In most of the technical specialities, students are asked to write reports in classes rather than the essay, which often confuses them. Reports are nothing like any other academic papers, and they rather prepare students for the future jobs where pupils will work on reports at least once a year.

The length, formatting, outline, and the writing style of such type of paper are the things that bring a lot of headache as students usually have hard times getting known to the report writing process. The next set of explanations and useful tips will help you get out of the confusion and learn what a report is and how to write it.

While some essays may be referred to as reports, it is important to understand that the report is a separate writing piece that is usually used to keep the track of certain events or inform the interested parties about the project(s) the writer is, has been, or is willing to undertake.

Reports are brief and concise. They always have a specific purpose and the audience that should review them. A report analyzes the particular situation, a question, or an issue, and provides necessary recommendations. As it is based on factual information, it should be outlined well and written in a professional manner.

Whether you are asked to write a report at school or work, you should always ask the people who give you the task to provide guidelines for writing.

As usual, reports consist of the following logical parts:

• A detailed description of the issue/event/situation.

•          Explanations of the event’s significance, and the reasons why you review it.

•          Assessment of the research results.

•          Discussions and recommendations.

•          Conclusions/ Summary.

These sections should not necessarily be a part of every report. Your main instructions are the ones from the workplace or the university.

A report should help people find the info on the matter they need, and let them understand the course of actions of the writer. Such work should include heading and subheading where needed, and have an index with page numbers.

Most of the word processors have a function that creates the table of contents automatically, which is great when you need to change the report a lot. It instantly fixes headings and page numbers when you make any changes, and allows you to keep the track of the sections you already have in the paper.

You should always think of the report structure before you write. It will be your writing map and will help to prepare the work faster.

In most of the cases, especially at university, you will receive a report brief to follow. It is crucial to analyze it and understand who you are writing for and why you do it. Also, you need to recognize what you need the audience to do after reading your report: take certain actions, consider recommendations, etc.

Always keep the brief in mind while planning and writing the report. The purpose and the intended audience will determine what kind of information you need to include and how you should put it. You will understand how to organize the paper, what sections to break the report in, and what points to pay the special attention to.

Include only precise data in tables, charts, and graphs. Use exact descriptions and examples not to confuse the reader. Also, mind the language you are using to convey the info. If your readers are not familiar with the sphere, do not use technical jargon or other words most of the readers will not understand. However, do not make the report look too simple. If you know the word is hardly comprehensible, and there is no way to replace it, then leave it, but remember to provide definitions or explanations.