Module 20: Writing Information Reports
March 17 2012
What is a report?
- Many different kinds of documents are called reports.
- In some organizations, one and 2 page memos are called reports.
- In other organizations, a report is a long document with illustrations and numerical data.
- Informal reports may be letters and memos, slide presentations, website summaries, business
cases, or even computer printouts of production or sales figures.
- Formal reports contain formal elements such as a title page, a letter or memo transmittal page,
a table of contents, and a list of illustrations.
- Reports can be called information reports if they collect data for the reader, analytical reports
if they interpret data but do not recommend action and recommendation reports if they
recommend action or a solution.
What do Reports have in Common?
- All contain 3 distinct sections: Introduction, Body and Conclusion.
- The introduction puts the report in context for readers; it includes:
o A lead-in sentence: “This report describes….”
o A purpose statement: “The purpose of this report is to….”
o The scope of the report: “In this report, I explain the need ….”
o A summary of findings or results.
- The body section presents specifics (facts, figures, statistics, examples, visuals) the audience
needs to understand a situation and in some cases, to make a decision.
- The conclusion section summarizes the most important information covered in the body, and can
o Recommendations, if the report’s purpose is to effect change or solve a problem.
o Supplementary material the audience may want (appendices, questionnaires)
o References, when the report uses secondary sources of information.
What Should I do before I write any report?
- Do your research. Define the situation. Draft a good purpose statement.
- Creating a report includes:
o Defining the situation
o Gathering and analyzing the necessary information
o Organizing the information
o Drafting the report
o Revising and editing the report
o Submitting the report
- Choose one type of social media
- Identify the specific situation r problem.
- Identify the specific audience with a vested interest in the situation, or with the power to support
or implement your suggestions.
Writing Purpose Statements
- Goes into the introduction and is the organizing principle of every report.
- A good purpose statement makes 3 things clear:
o The situation or the problem o The specific information that must be explored, or questions that must be answered to
resolve the situation or the problem.
o The rhetorical purpose (to explain, to inform, to recommend, to propose, to request) the
report is designed to achieve.
- To write a good purpose statement, you have to understand the basic situation, or problem and
have some idea of the questions that your report will answer.
Information and Closure Reports
- Information report summarizes your work or research to date.
- Closure report summarizes a project, and assesses the results.
- They both include:
o An introduction paragraph, summarizing the report topic, purposes, and most important
outcomes, from the reader perspective
o A chronologi