Writing a Report
- It is important for students to learn how to write a report. The report should present the findings and recommendations, and provide a detailed analysis of the data. It defers from an essay which typically tries to answer one or two questions in the form of thesis statements.
- Generally speaking, a well written report should be clear and concise, accurate, logical and well organized. Producing a well written report requires much effort. It is useful to start early so that the assignment can be submitted on time for marking.
- Each report should be structured in such a way that the readers are able to follow and understand it. The recommended structure of a report is shown as follows:
Structure of a report
- Title page
- Executive summary (or abstract)
- Table of contents
- Appendix (if any)
4. The title page should include the title of the report, module title, group members’ names, batch number, and date of submission.
5. The executive summary provides the readers a brief overview of the report’s subject matter, methods of analysis, key findings and recommendations. It should consist of no more than 200 words.
This report provides an analysis and evaluation of the current strategy adopted by Peaceful Valley Ltd. It begins with an overview of the company’s background. The Five-Forces model is utilized to assess the degree of competitiveness in the paper pulp manufacturing sector in its home base of India. The report proceeds to describe the international strategy adopted by the company as a means to enhance its growth prospect in the next 5-10 years. Secondary data were collected to assess and analyze the relevance of the strategy.
The report finds the prospects of the company less than satisfactory. This is largely due to the changed global environment that erupted in 2008-2009, following the global financial crisis that began in the United States. Recommendations discussed include diversifying its portfolio to include a greater proportion of investments in the Asia Pacific region, emphasizing the importance of maintaining cost discipline and expanding investments in human and physical resources.
- The table of contents is useful to assist the reader in locating information quickly. The table of contents should include all section headings (and sub-headings, if necessary), and their respective page numbers. It may also be useful to include a list of tables or figures in the report, which can be placed right after the Table of Contents page.
- The purpose of writing an Introduction is to outline the coverage of the report. It provides the readers the necessary background of the report – the report’s objectives or purposes, and any instructions that may be useful to the reader. In writing the report, it may be good to ask why the report is necessary.Example:In April 2008, Peaceful Valley Ltd was at a critical juncture. It had made some progress in its home base of India but it was uncertain about where and how to achieve good growth in years ahead. The management then decided to globalize the organization, with plans start manufacturing plants in the United States and Europe.This report provides a detailed analyses and evaluation of the international strategy adopted by Peaceful Valley Ltd in post-2008 period, which coincided with the onslaught of the global financial crisis. The report will pay attention to the competitiveness of the industry in its home base of India. Secondary data from the company’s official website and government’s financial database will be used to highlight the current situation. The report will comment on the international strategy of the company and make recommendations that would improve Peaceful Valley’s current performance.
The body of the report contains the detailed discussion of the subject matter. This is the section that describes, analyzes, interprets and evaluates the data, findings, relationships, methodology, etc. In writing the body, it may be useful to first think of a topic and follow this with sentences that support, expand or explain the point made. A body comprising three to five topics should be adequate.
• First topic
o Supporting sentence 1
o Supporting sentence 2
• Second topic
o Supporting sentence 1 o Supporting sentence 2 o ……
• Third topic
o Supporting sentence 1
o Supporting sentence 2
9. The conclusions should report the main findings and recommendations. The latter can be presented in “bulleted” information to ease reading. No new materials should be presented in the Concluding section. Instead, the materials should be drawn from the evidences and discussions presented in the body.
10. It is essential to include a reference list of the materials that the group members have consulted. Materials presented in the reference list must be referenced in-text (on referencing guidelines, see Academic Honesty and Referencing Guidelines).
11. Finally, appendices are supplements to the main report. The materials that may be included in the appendix are the questionnaire utilized by the group members and extracts from relevant sources, among other things.