A report is a structured document that takes information and presents it in an objective and succinct manner. It contains an introduction, body and conclusion. The style of the writing is analytical without being argumentative. The scope of a report varies depending upon the subject. Academic reports take data or research and present it in a logical format.
Structure the report with short paragraphs, graphics such as tables or figures, numbered headings and subheadings, and possibly a bibliography or glossary. Many reports also contain an abstract at the beginning and are followed by a recommendation or appendix section at the end. Formal reports contain the following: title page; table of contents; introduction; body; and conclusion.
Present the material in a stylised and clean manner so the reader may digest it quickly. Use spacing to make paragraphs stand out from each other. Include graphics, numbering, formal language, and consistent formatting to contribute to the overall presentation of the report.
Do not include information that is outdated, inaccurate, irrelevant or conflicting with any other data. Refrain from noting your opinions; it is up to the reader to make subjective conclusions based upon the objective information contained in the report. Make recommendations in the report only if they are supported by facts.
While every writer has a different strategy and process for completing an accurate report, there are some general guidelines to follow to ensure the report is a clear and concise document. These steps include: analyse the scope of the report and the magnitude of the task; organise ideas surrounding the report and determine what does not need to be included; create an outline with headings and all the pertinent information; finally, write and revise the draft.