Academic Writing – Part 2: Writing Reports

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Business and scientific reports are formal documents. A report should be concise, well organised, using headings, sub-headings, sections, and easy to follow. Sections should be numbered: – major section 1,2,3 etc. -first level of sub-section 1.1, 1.2 etc.

Report format:

  • Title page – subject of the report, author, date.
  • Terms of reference – who ordered the report, when and why, any conditions.
  • Contents page – all section numbers and titles, using exactly the same wording as in the report.
  • Abstract – brief summary of report – task, summary of conclusions and recommendations.
  • Introduction – background information.
  • Main body of report – findings, description, facts, opinions, etc.This must be well structured.
  • Conclusion – summary of results.
  • Recommendations – usually in the form of a list.
  • Appendices (not always necessary) – additional details, tables, graphs, detailed analysis.These must be numbered and cross referenced in the text.
  • Glossary (not always necessary) -explanation of any specialist terms.
  • Bibliography – references to any books, journals, etc. which were used either for background reading, or directly quoted in the report. They should be arranged alphabetically by the author’s name. The reference should include author, date of publication, title, edition, place of publication, publisher.


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