A report is a structured written work prepared for some specific reader or group of readers in response to some specific purpose, aim or request. There are many varieties of reports, but generally their function is to give an account of something, to answer a question, or to offer a solution to a problem.A good report must is appropriate for its purpose and audience. It is accurate, logical, clear and concise, and well organised.
One important characteristic over other form of general writing like essays is that report follows a structured format. This enables readers to find and focus on specific information. There are many different formats of reports used according to the subject covered, report length, and preferences of report writer. But most report, particularly the longer ones, have the following structure.
- Transmittal document
- Title page
- Table of contents
- Abstract/Executive Summary
A three stage process may be adopted to prepare and present a report. These three stages are
- Planning the report.
- Writing the first draft of the report in line with the plan.
- Formatting, revising, and proof-reading.
In the planning stage clarity is developed on the purpose of the report, what different kind of information will be included in it and designing overall structure of the report. The writing of first draft involve putting down in one place all the information and ideas that one intends to include in the report, not being constrained by the need for things like language used and the format. Once all the material has been put in one place in the second stage, the attention is shifted to the language, grammar, and format of the report.