Chapter 7 Formal Reports and Proposals
The Four R’s of Planning
The first step in planning any writing is to think about the reason for writing and
about the receiver.
Assessing the Reason for Writing and the Receiver
Formal reports are usually less personal than informal ones.
Omitting the personal I or we.
o Business writers are increasingly using these pronouns in formal
reports to produce clearer and more forceful writing.
Deciding on Research
Some ways to start your research:
By yourself or with a colleague.
Jot down all the questions you can think of.
2. Tree diagramming
Assume the subject is the trunk and add as many large and small
3. The five Ws approach
Who, What, Where, When, Why?
4. The three Cs approach
Components – how can the subject be divided?
Change – what are the changed or changing elements of the subject?
Context – what is the larger issue or field into which this subject fits?
Teamwork and Collaborative Communication
Principles you need to observe to enhance teamwork:
1. Build an effective team
If possible, limit the size of the team to three or four members.
Assign and assume responsibilities so that leadership and group
interactions are clearly defined and understood.
2. Create schedules and meet deadlines
Make sure all team members are aware of the final date, and stay on
1 3. Develop strategies for conflict management
Feedback and evaluation are essential
Determine members’ strengths and weaknesses and work off them.
4. Observe gender and cultural differences
Different perspectives and approaches.
5. Explore online collaboration
Ability to all work together from different locations.
1. Access information online
2. Ask your librarian
3. Use the library catalogue
4. Search library databases
5. Consult internal sources
6. Check the reliability of information
1. Use file cards
2. Create an outline
Organizing Formal Reports
For readers who will be interested or pleased, use the direct approach.
Summary Introduction Recommendation Discussion of Findings
For readers who will be displeased or skeptical the indirect approach will
lean them gradually toward the conclusion or recommendations:
Summary Introduction Discussion of Findings Conclusions/Recommendations
Usually a condensation of the most important points.
Write after you have completed the body of the report.
In direct approach, the summary focuses on the conclusions or
In indirect approach, the summary should focus on the statement of purpose.
Generally should follow the order of the report.
Use lists where possible.
Omit examples, quotations, and other supporting details.
Stick to the facts.
Can include several or all of the following:
2 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE Discussion of findings
Largest section in most formal reports.
Discusses the details of your investigation.