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What is report writing?

What is report writing?

Report writing aims to communicate and account for a situation from different perspectives, that is, something about which a thorough investigation is being conducted. A report can be requested in any field, whether at work, student, university, commercial, etc. 

What is the report?

A report is a type of prose written document that is carried out so that the person who does it can communicate something about a situation or theme to other people. They are usually directed to higher levels (for example to the City Council or a superior), although reports can also be found to communicate something to a professional different from us so that you can work with the same data and contrast or expand them.

What is report writing

Types of report writing?

There are two types of reports, which may have different purposes and differentiated structures. However, this article proposes the preparation of a report that takes into account the general structure of any of them. Each type of report has its own style and language, but the expression within naturalness and spontaneity must be clear, precise, direct, harmonious and balanced, hence the editor of a report must ensure a pleasant style for the reader, Your prayers, ideas must have a logical, coherent sequence, that is perfectly linked.

Oral report: When we talk about an oral report we talk about the summary presentation of the data in a spoken way before an audience. Its objective is to facilitate clear and precise knowledge of the most relevant data that members of the company should know. The tone should be neutral and objective and should focus on the most prominent data.  The report is structured in 3 parts:

  • Introduction: Presentation of the main theme of the report.
  • Orderly display of report data.
  • Conclusion.

Written reportThis report model is more complete in which the data resulting from an analysis is accurately exposed. A commercial report would be classified as a practical report, which summarizes for example analysis or the result of a survey. Every commercial report must have a series of characteristics. The first must be objectivity. A business report should always be based on figures and data that give clear trends.

In that sense, it needs to be concise. The report must provide those data that are necessary and not provide redundant information that does not help the objectives of the report. Truthfulness is achieved through the use of professional and specific terminology. In a commercial report, the language must contain economic, marketing and business language.

Written reports have a structure similar to that of oral reports, although in these the abundance and accuracy of data and information are greater. In short, the structure adapts to the specificities of the support. Thus, we have an introduction that sets out the theme of the report, its objectives, and motivations in addition to the most important elements. The development phase is one in which all the data is exposed, always in an orderly manner and returning to recover the highlights. Finally, the conclusions present the final evaluation and the actions to be taken from the analyzed data. Business reports rely on written information in addition to visual information such as graphics and infographics.

How to do report writing?

A report must be prepared in clear, precise, concrete and objective language. Avoid including personal appreciations using verbal forms such as I think, I think, I would like, desire, etc., which should be replaced by others such as it is observed, analyzed, proceeded, etc.

There are different types of reports, and these can be expository, interpretive or demonstrative.

The expository report: It is a sequence of events narrated without analysis and interpretations of the author, must contain background information that helps to understand what is narrated, for example, the sale of products in commercial stores. 

The interpretive report: Analyzes the situations to draw conclusions and to be able to give the appropriate recommendations, for example, to carry out the evaluation of pedagogical practices 

The demonstration report: It is the one that is posed after a study, the steps followed are described, the conclusions obtained, it is also called a scientist or technician.

Specifically, the preparation of a report must have the following phases: 
  • Set the objective.
  • Select the information.
  • Analyze the latter.
  • Evaluate and verify.
  • Structure the report.
  • Proceed to work on it.
To set the goal, ask yourself these questions: Who is the report for? What is the use it will give you? What do you want to know? What knowledge do you have about the subject? These questions are important to ask yourself before you start writing the report.

Define the preliminary phase of the activities you are going to carry out to achieve the proposed evaluation criteria. Determine the sources of information, human resources, and material resources to extract the data. Once extracted, analyze all the selected information, organize it and start making comparisons.

Evaluate the data and proceed to verify it, consolidate the information, organize and prepare the written report. Good reports should say what is the source of certain information, for this, you must write down the source, you can do so by adding a number next to the data in question and in the footer or in an annex put the source.

The structure of the report is divided into three parts:
  • The introduction answers the questions: for what? why? and with what? 
  • The development presents the procedures or methodology used to collect the information, answers the question how?
  • The conclusion is where the results obtained are presented, answer the question, what was found? and what should be done?

As general recommendations to apply to your report, we give you the following: the report must be objective, subjectivity is not accepted, mention all possible data, be organized, describe in detail each step followed, cite the sources of information you have consulted, write short, clear, precise and concrete paragraphs, state precisely, and present your report.

What objective do we have?: Before we start writing we must reflect on what we want to achieve with our report. Are we going to request the solution to a problem or simply to store data to be able to use it later? We have to take it into account to select the type of report that is most relevant as appropriate.

Consider the type of text you are going to use: Not all reports are the same, each being able to present its own distinctive characteristics. For example, an expository report will reflect data without making any interpretation regarding them, and there is no possibility of making conclusions, while a demonstration type will require the subject to develop a hypothesis and test them in a way that obtains A series of results and conclusions.

Contemplate the target: You have to think about which audience has our report as its objective. This will allow us to adapt the level of language to both our needs and those of the public.

Selection and analysis of the info: Depending on the previous step, it is essential to gather the information we want to provide and structure it properly so that our discourse has a common thread. The type of data to be reflected and who or how the information has been extracted must also be taken into account.

We can use graphic elements: Although it depends on the type of report, it is possible to use visual elements that facilitate the understanding of the data. We are referring, for example, to the use of bar charts to analyze frequencies or to perform a profit and cost analysis.

Give a Title: While it may seem silly to mention it, properly title the report in a clear way, relative to the issue that involves its realization and easily understandable.

Write the introduction: In this first section of the report, we will make a brief summary of the topic to be discussed in the report. It must appear the objective of the realization of said report and the problem that generates the need for its existence and the context in which it is carried out.

Expand the ideas and explain what was researched in the development: In the body of the report, we will have and expand the information and clear the methods and actions that show how the situation occurred or performed and how to obtain the data. 

Make a conclusion: In the last part of the report, the final result of what has been explored and reflected in the report or the demand or request made in order to resolve the situation must be reflected. It must be clear and understandable.

Language to use: It is essential that writing language is clear and concise. It must be written formally and objectively, in the third person and in a passive voice. The facts must be separated from the inferences that are carried out (if there are any) and the data with which they are being treated must be offered directly and clearly explain why they are relevant.

Bibliographic references:
Bunge, M. (1975). Theory and reality. Barcelona. Ariel
Quine, WV (1998). From the stimulus to science. Barcelona. Ariel
Russell, B. (1959). Human knowledge: its scope and limitations. Madrid. Taurus

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