Chapter 6 Informal Reports
Determining the Purpose
There are two main kinds of informal reporting, and the one you use will depend on
your purpose in writing:
1. The informational report:
Gives the facts of a situation
Often in a regular schedule (ex. Monthly sales report)
2. The analytic report:
o Analyzing a situation and recommending a certain course of action.
Planning the Report
Determine at the outset exactly what type of person you are addressing.
Decide on the precise reason or reasons for writing the report
o Including the results you hope to gain from it.
Work out in exact terms the subject of your study.
Don’t spend time on areas of marginal importance or on details that the
reader won’t care about.
Choosing the Best Order
Two considerations will determine the best order for a report:
1. What is the most important information?
For an analytical report
o Likely to be the conclusion drawn from the investigation or the
recommendations for solving a problem.
For an information report
o May merely be a summative statement
Construct a hierarchy of information or ideas
The information you select as being most important will become your key
2. What is the reader’s likely reaction?
Reader will typically be interested in the information
Direct and Indirect Organization
1. Direct order
When the reader will be pleased or interested, put the key points before
your explanation of how you reached them.
Purpose Key Points Discussion of Findings
1 2. Indirect order
When the reader will de displeased or skeptical.
Build gradually toward the conclusion or recommendations
Purpose Discussion Key Points
Elements of the Report
Open with a short statement of purpose.
If the method of obtaining information is important, you can include the
method in the introductory statement.
If there are a number of recommendations, list them with the most important
May also want to summarize the main findings that support the conclusion.
May find it easiest to write this section last.
Discussion of Findings
Show how the facts lead to the conclusions
Methods of organizing the body of the report are as follows:
Order of importance
Follow the direct approach again.
Make a new section and heading for each point or finding
Classification or division
Divides a topic into classes or component parts.
When classifying or dividing the subject
Do incorporate all relevant information within the categories you have
Don’t let information overlap categories.
Don’t put vastly different amounts of information in each of the categories.
Groups information according to time periods.
Don’t choose this orde