Report is a kind of assignment in which one has to present information and data on the specified subject. There are different reasons why one asks for a written report. There are school reports, business reports, financial reports, clinical reports, and so on. The type of report varies on the kind of department the subject belongs. All reports must be clear, concise, and true.
To make a written report is not as complicated as it sounds. To give a background on how it is done, below are the guidelines of making a written report:
IDENTIFY THE PURPOSE OF THE REPORT
It is in this stage where the reporter identifies who requested the report, what the report is for, and why it is needed. It is also relevant to know what is required of the report and when the report is due. Identifying these factors give the reporter an idea on how he will proceed with the written report, what procedure is to implement, and how long the process of making the report must be.
IDENTIFY THE PROCEDURE
This is where the planning stage takes place. This is where one identifies what actions to take to come up of with a report. It is where the reporter decides if researching, reading, interviewing, video recording, and studying is to be done to come up with transparent written report.
GATHERING OF INFORMATION
Once the kind of procedure is identified, gathering of information now takes place. One must know the sources of information he needs. Gathering and collecting data, facts, and information can be done in numerous ways, and learning what procedure is needed leads to the right source. If it is reading and researching, the library is the best way to do it. That can also be reinforced by the use of internet to collect information online. If interviewing a person who has knowledge of the subject is needed, it is polite to set a schedule and appointment to the person who can provide the best information of subject matter.
IDENTIFY THE STRUCTURE OF THE REPORT
Written reports vary according to its purpose, environment or work place, and department. This can be financial report, laboratory report, school report, investigative report, and summary report. Once identified what kind of written report is asked, planning on what structure to use comes next. Know the audience. It is essential to know who will be listening and be reading the report to know what tone to use. Formal tone is mostly used by schools and companies because it is more professional. Informal tone, on the other hand, is used to avoid monotony and to invite listeners and audience to engage and participate without being too stiff and strict. It is also important to know who the audience would be to know what words and terms to use. If the audience is not familiar with the words and terms reflected in the report, there is a need to further explain the meaning of these words. This may also dictate the length of the report.
CREATING A DRAFT
Now that purpose of the report is identified, information is gathered, and the structure is chosen, drafting the report comes next. With all the information gathered, zero-in on the areas that are essential and must be part of the report. Make sure that all interests and areas are covered. Make use of photos, graphs, tables, and even videos if necessary to come up with a report that will bring out the purpose of creating one. If possible, ask a colleague to go over with the draft and ask for some suggestions on what else is to be added or deleted, or if there are areas that need to be improved.
FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Now that the report is almost complete, it is time to draw conclusions and analyses based on what have gathered and researched. Reports often end in conclusions and analyses so to learn what necessary steps to take. It is in this part where recommendations and suggestions are expressed. It is where the one who asked for the report again comes in. Think of what he could have wanted to achieve from the written report and make necessary recommendations and suggestions on what should be done. In giving recommendations, have also in mind if these are possible, doable, and if it will benefit the many.
MAKE A LIST OF THE REFERENCES
The right information and data are critical in giving out a report. Part of it is meeting people who have knowledge of the subject, reading books that tackle the subject, and searching the internet to gather the facts needed. Though not all of the information collected is relevant, it is still important to keep a record of these references and sources so in case there is a need to go back to them again, there is no need to start from scratch. The one reading the report may also have questions, inquiries, and clarification and the reference may enlighten any grey areas. Create a list of all the sources to back-up the written report.
THE FINAL REPORT
This may be the final step but this is one of the most critical parts of writing a report. There might be a need to start from the top to check if guidelines are followed, if the terms and words used in the report are easy to understand, if the graphs, photos, and tables are clear, and if the length of the report is too long, too short, or just enough to keep the audience interested. Proofreading and editing are very important in this stage. If all are met, the written report is now ready to be handed to the one who requested for it.
Various courses and departments require a written report. Written report is one way of communicating knowledge to a certain subject and deriving conclusions and recommendations in the end. By just simply following these steps, one can easily come up with a written report in a brief yet concise manner.