Report Writing -You reach the office at around 9.00 AM, switch on your system, and start working. It’s a usual workday for you until your manager comes to your desk and asks you to create a sales report. That’s the first time you’ve got such a task, and find yourself struggling with basic questions such as, “What’s a report?” and “How do I write one?”
What is report writing?
You must have heard the term ‘report writing’ before.
According to the commonly known definition of report writing, a report is a formal document that elaborates on a topic using facts, charts, and graphs to support its arguments and findings.
Any report—whether it’s about a business event or one that describes the processes of various departments in a company—is meant for a particular type of audience.
But why do you think your manager wants you to create a report?
One simple answer is: an elaborate report prepared with evaluated facts helps solve complex problems. When managers come across certain business situations, they ask for comprehensive and well-thought-out reports that can help them design business plans.
Elements of Report Writing
Once you have an idea about what a report is, the next step is to understand how you can write one.
There are different types of reports, and each has a specific structure, usually known as ‘elements of the report’.
While we tell you what the elements of report writing are, if you want detailed guidance, you can go for Harappa Education’s Writing Proficiently course that talks about the popular PREP (Point of starting, Reason, Evidence, and Point of ending) model of report writing.
Every report starts with a title page and a table of contents, after which come the main sections–the executive summary, introduction, discussion, and conclusion.
Do you remember summary writing for English class during school days? You were asked to read a story or passage and write a summary, including the important takeaways.
That’s exactly what you are expected to do in a report’s executive summary section. This section presents a brief overview of the report’s contents. You should present the key points of the report in this section.
But why is it important to write an executive summary at the start of the report?
Firstly, the summary will help readers better understand the purpose, key points, and evidence you are going to present in the report. Secondly, readers who are in a hurry can read the summary for a preview of the report.
Here are some specifics that will help you write a clear and concise summary:
Include the purpose of your report and emphasize conclusions or recommendations.
Include only the essential or most significant information to support your theories and conclusions.
Follow the same sequence of information that you have used in the report.
Keep the summary length to 10-15% of the complete report.
Try not to introduce any new information or point in summary that you haven’t covered in the report.
The summary should communicate the message clearly and independently.
The introduction section should:
Briefly describe the background and context of the research you have done.
Describe the change, problem, or issue related to the topic.
Define the relevant objectives and purpose of the report
Give hints about the overall answer to the problem covered in the report.
Comment on the limitations and any assumptions you have made to get to the conclusion.
This section serves two purposes:
It justifies the recommendations.
It explains the conclusions.
While you are writing the discussion section, make sure you do the following:
Present your analysis logically.
If needed, divide the information under appropriate headings to improving readability and ease of understanding.
Explain your points and back up your claims with strong and evaluated evidence.
Connect your theory with real-life scenarios
The last key element of report writing is the conclusion section. Present the conclusion as follows:
The primary conclusion should come first.
Identify and interpret the major problems related to the case your report is based on.
Relate to the objectives that you have mentioned in the introduction.
Keep the conclusion brief and specific.
Importance of Report Writing
Before you start writing a report, it’s important to understand the significance of the report. It’s also crucial to research independently instead of relying on data and trends available on the internet, besides structuring the report properly. Here is why:
Organizations require a considerable amount of data and information on specific topics, scenarios, and situations. Managers and decision-makers often use business reports and research papers as information sources to make important business decisions and reach solutions.
Another reason that adds to the significance of report writing is that it is a collection of evaluated information.
Different types of activities by different departments define an organization. Think of the departments your organization has–development, sales, distribution, marketing, HR, and more. Each department follows defined processes and protocols that require many small and large activities on a daily basis.
It is impossible for the management to keep an eye on the different activities in each department.
That’s where the reports can help. With every department writing and maintaining periodic reports, keeping a tab of ongoing activities becomes easier for the management.
During the annual appraisal cycle, your manager will ask you to write reports to explain your position, level of work, and performance.
If you have ever wondered how your manager decided to promote your colleague and not you, the answer may lie in his well-presented report.
Quick source for problem-solving:
There’s no denying that managers require accurate information on various topics to make quick decisions. Often due to urgency, managers only rely on business reports as an authentic source of information. Almost every employee would have witnessed a situation that needed the manager’s attention urgently. Reports come in handy during such situations.
Report writing is a significant exercise in many ways for your professional life. If you are not well-versed with it already, you must start working on your report writing skills now. For more help or guidance to learn this new skill, sign up for Harappa’s Writing Proficiently course.
Make the most of your time at home and master this new skill. Work on many assignments, improve your skills, and become a pro at report writing.
Explore our Harappa Diaries section to know more about topics related to the Communicate habit such as The Importance of Writing Skills and the Cycle of Communication.
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