Accepted rules of how to write a report in college
A report is a written document with a clear purpose, targeting a specific audience. Report writing is a common assignment in colleges and universities, where you give specific information, evidence, and analysis of an issue or problem. When drafting your report, you make use of headings and subheadings for easy understanding. Report assignments always come with a brief, detailing instructions and guidelines to follow. The brief is essential as it gives you an outline of the report, purpose, and audience. In this handout, you will find tips and secrets of how to write a report within a short time and without any hustle.
See what’s coming up in this article:
- Elements of a good report
- Steps to follow in report writing
- General report writing instructions
Things to note as you discover how to write a report
The secret of writing an awesome report is following your tutor’s instructions without assuming anything. This is because every department and institution has strict rules, which students must follow at all times. However, a good report must meet some requirements.
What makes a good report then?
Tutors use written reports as a form of academic assessment because of two fundamental reasons:
Find out what you have learned – A report will help your teacher understand your level of understanding of concepts learned in class. Besides, report writing gives you a platform to highlight your research skills and experience. This should tell you how much is at stake whenever you are writing reports.
A report gives you experience – Do not freak out when you get a report assignment. It will give you a chance to gain experience of a skill that is common in the market place. Report writing is all over; it does not end after your graduation. Expect such tasks at your workplace.
To master how to write a report, employ the following approaches:
- Understand what the tutor wants from you by adhering to the assignment requirements
- Gather and evaluate relevant information about your issue
- Structure your material logically so that it flows smoothly
- Be consistent in your report writing, i.e. use same referencing style throughout
- Make sensible conclusions, based on your evidence already presented
- Make recommendations that are practical and thoughtful
Example #1: Sample Report
In this report titled, A Scientific Report on Climate Change, the writer adopts a format that allows him to cover key elements of a report, including the introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusion and references. In the introduction, the writer captures the purpose of the report and prepares the reader of what is ahead. Look at the intro excerpt below:
Climate refers to prevailing weather conditions in a specific region for a long period, spanning 30 years. Climate change on the other hand refers to statistical weather changes over a period. This shows a close tie between climate and climate change. This report explores different ways in which human activities contribute to climate change.
From this introduction, the reader has a clue of what the report is documenting. It lays a foundation by giving general statements about the issue. With the above understanding, the next section will focus on steps on how to write a report. Keep reading…
Stepwise approach of how to write a report in any field
Unlike general academic essays, a report requires you to divide your work into sections, which help in organization and excellent flow of your ideas. With these subsections and headings, the person reading your report will find it easy to follow your argument from the introduction to the end. Below are the steps to follow to get an excellent report.
STEP 1: Title section – This varies depending on the length of your report. For a short report, capture personal details, including your name, date of prepared, course, etc. For longer reports, you may include a table of contents and definition of terms.
STEP 2: Do a summary of your report – This should give an overview of your report. Here, tell the reader the main points of your report, conclusion and recommendations. It may be wise to write this section at the end of your report or revisit it and make changes to ensure that it harmonizes with the rest of your report.
STEP 3: Move to your introduction – This should be on the first page of your report. Explain the problem and make the reader understand the significance of your report. You will also define terms in this section, just in case you did not include them in your title section. Lastly, give a roadmap of your map, showing the organization of ideas in your paper.
STEP 4: Piece together the body – As you figure out how to write a report, put emphasis on the body of your essay since it forms the flesh of your report. It shows your mastery of the subject by use of correct language and jargon. It has sections, which separate ideas. Always start with the most important parts. You may have the following under this:
- Results – This section documents your findings, which could be in terms of tables and statistics.
- Analysis – Here, you evaluate your findings
- Significance- Explain to the reader the importance of the results in finding a solution to the problem you presented in the introduction section.
- Discuss your report – Put everything together and digest your report, giving meaning to the figures, graphs and any trends, which you may have observed.
Step 5: Conclusion – This is where you collect your thoughts together. Do a nice conclusion because most people read report summaries and conclusions. Use normal language, free from jargon.
STEP 6: Recommendations – This refers to what needs to be done. Explain the way forward and the required action. Remember to place your recommendations in order of priority.
STEP 7: Appendices – It carries information for the experts in the field. It may have charts, drawings, tables, figures and any other material that supports your report.
Hope you now understand the procedure of how to write a report without sweat. Examine the following example as you digest the above tips.
Example #2: Sample Report
This report on Computer systems computer systems shows you all the sections to capture when working on your assignment.
The writer gives an abstract of the report. Here is a sneak preview of the section:
This report explores the current and future trends in scanner technology. A brief history of the scanner technology is initially outlined in the report. The discussion centers on the pros and cons of the five common scanners the world uses today. In the conclusion, the report focuses on how furthering scanner technology will change the application of these appliances in the society. It is also suggested that scanners that are more specialized will find application in other devices like digital cameras.
In this example, you can see how different elements flow sequentially. It is easy to understand what the writer is discussing without flipping different sections. You too can do a good job if you follow the hints of how to write a report that we have so far discussed.
More tips on how to write a report in no time
In this section, you will find presentation tips that will make you standout of your class as a sharp and knowledgeable student. Here we go
How to present your report like a research expert
Follow the instructions – Reading instructions carefully prepares you for the task ahead. It will save your time when you embark on your report because you will understand your assignment better.
Impress your tutor – Do you want to win your tutor’s attention? Then present a professional report. Use a standard format that captures important sections of your report.
Type your report – this makes your work easier to read and neat
Peruse previous reports – To become good in report writing, learn to appreciate other people’s work. Visit the library and go over some of the best academic reports presented in the past. This will give you an idea of how a good report looks like.
Focus on the audience – A successful report meets the needs of the reader. In particular, use standard and simple language depending on the target audience. Limit the use of the jargon to the discussion and explain any terms that hinder the reader’s understanding of what you are explaining.
Below more examples to consider as you think about how to write a report.
Example #3: Sample Reports
Environmental Analysis Report: An Organization in Australia
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