|Report writing may seem very difficult to do. However, if the report is well organised and if it is clear why each paragraph has been written then it is possible to write a concise, structured report. This lesson provides steps toward effective report writing.|
|Can you think of a report that impressed you? What did you like about it? Was it the structure of the report? Was it well researched? Was there a clear recommendation?|
|There are different reasons for writing a report. Here are the three main reasons. Match the reasons for the report with their name.|
|Before writing a report it helps to ask the following questions. Try and answer them and then add another question to each of the reports.|
The debriefing report
1 How much do the readers already know about the subject?
2 Should I give some background to it?
3 Do I need to make recommendations? (For example recommending that your organisation should have a stand at a conference)
1 Which information is not relevant or useful and should be left out?
2 What is the logical order to present the information?
The research report
1 What is the objective of this report?
2 How can I prevent it from being too long?
3 How can I present facts and figures concisely?
4 What recommendations should I make?
You may give both opinions and facts in a report. However, it is important when writing a report that the readers know when you are giving an opinion, or stating a fact.
1 Look at the following information you have about attendance at a supervisors’ course. Decide if the information is fact or opinion. The first one has been done for you.
|Look at an example report and check you answers:|
|2 Look at the phrases in bold. These make it clear that the information is the opinion of the writer. What other phrases can you use to show you are giving an opinion and not stating a fact?|
|Your boss wants to introduce a dress code. She has asked you to write a short report about they style of clothes employees usually wear to work. Use the information below. Make sure you make it clear when you are giving your opinion or stating a fact. Use the example above to help you.|
|When writing a report it is important that you recognise
the difference between facts and opinions. Which of the statements below
are facts, and which are opinions?
a) Smoking is a silly habit.
Which of the statements above would be best to support the argument that smoking is harmful to health?
|Look at these three statements (a), (b) and (c). Which one does not support the main idea?|
|It is good to get your company’s name in
the papers (main idea)
a) It is a cheap and effective form of advertising
b) Journalists are always looking interesting stories
c) There are many different kinds of publications
|The answer is (c). Both (a) and (b) support the main idea, and (b) provides additional support to make the argument stronger. It reinforces (a). You can show this by using:|
• In addition
|Now do the same with these main ideas.
First decide which statement (a), (b) or (c) does not support the main idea. Then write two sentences that include the main idea, a supporting fact and a reinforcing fact. Look at the motorbike example above to help you.
It is important to wear smart clothes to work
The company should get a new photocopier
The company needs a restaurant
|In a report there is often a section with recommendations
based on the information in the report.
Look at the following ways for making recommendations:
|1 Look at this report written by a visiting director to a company. It makes recommendations for future staff training. What are the phrases for making recommendations?|
|2 What other phrases are there for making recommendations?|
|1 Read this report. What is the overall purpose of the report?|
|2 There are four paragraphs. Read through the report again, why has each paragraph been written?|
|Your company is considering banning smoking in all the
offices. You have been asked to write a report into the smoking habits of
employees in the company. You must also recommend whether a ban is necessary
Write a short report and use the information in the table below to help you.
|Write four paragraphs. This is the reason for each paragraph:
Paragraph 1 introduces the reason for the report.
Use the example in activity 9 above to help you.
|In this lesson you have:|
|The next e-m@il lesson looks at the most common reasons for business writing and it gives advice on how to write them.|