10-1 Use this slide to introduce the chapter. The photo of report covers could be used to discuss the importance of choosing one that communicates an appropriate message as well as one that is in line with its expected use. Or it could be used to discuss why report writing is important for business or why studying it is important.
10-3 This slide gives the definition of reports. Show the definition first, then click to underline and discuss the key words. Encourage students to participate in the discussion if class size permits.
Reports and proposals can put heavy demands on your readers, so the “you” attitude takes on even greater importance with these long messages. In general, try to strike a balance between being too informal and overly formal. To make your tone less formal, speak to readers in the first person, refer to them as “you,” and refer to yourself as “I” (or “we” if there are multiple authors). To make your tone more formal, use an impersonal journalism style: emphasizing objectivity, avoiding personal opinions, and building your argument on provable facts. Communicating with people in other cultures often calls for more formality in reports, both to respect cultural preferences and reduce the risk of miscommunication. Informal elements such as humor and casual language tend to translate poorly from one culture to another.
The content and quality of your reports will likely influence your professional success, because they show how well you think, gather and analyze data, draw conclusions, and develop and support your recommendations. Your credibility and future success are on the line with every business report you write. You’ll create more successful reports if your content has the following characteristics: Accuracy. Information presented in a report must be factual, correct, and error free. When writing reports, be sure to double-check your facts and references, in addition to checking for typos. Completeness. To help colleagues or supervisors make a decision, include all the information necessary for readers to understand the situation, problem, or proposal. Support all key assertions using illustrations, explanations, and facts. Balance. Present all sides of the issue fairly, and include all necessary information. Omitting relevant information or facts can make your report biased. Clarity and logic. Clear sentence structure and good transitions are essential. Identify the ideas that belong together, and organize them in a way that's easy to understand. Proper documentation. If you use primary and secondary sources for your report or proposal, document and give credit to your sources.
The specific elements you should include in an introduction depend on the nature and length of the report, the circumstances in which you’re writing it, and your relationship with the audience. An introduction could contain any or all of the following elements: Authorization. When, how, and by whom the report was authorized; who wrote it; and when it was submitted. Problem/opportunity/purpose. The reason for the report’s existence and what it is supposed to accomplish. Scope. What is and what isn’t going to be covered in the report. The scope indicates the report’s size and complexity; it also helps with the critical job of setting the audience’s expectations. Background. The conditions or factors that led up to the report. This section enables readers to understand how the problem, situation, or opportunity developed and what has been done about it so far. Sources and methods. The primary and secondary sources of information used. Definitions. A list of terms that might be unfamiliar to your audience, along with brief definitions. Limitations. This section does not excuse a lack of effort or poor performance; however, it should present factors that were beyond your control. Report organization. What topics are covered and in what order, along with a rationale for using a given organizational scheme, if appropriate.
The body of your report can require some tough decisions about which elements to include and how much detail to offer as supporting evidence. Some audiences and situations require detailed coverage; others can be handled with more concise treatment. Provide only enough information in the body to support your conclusions and recommendations; you can put additional details in tables, charts, and appendixes. The topics commonly covered in a report’s body include the following: Explanations of the problem or opportunity that caused the report to be written Facts, statistical evidence, and trends used in the discussion Results of studies or investigations conducted while preparing the report Discussion and analyses of potential courses of action Advantages, disadvantages, costs, and benefits of a particular course of action
Procedures or steps in a process Methods and approaches used to solve problems Criteria for evaluating alternatives and options Conclusions and recommendations (in direct reports) Supporting reasons for conclusions or recommendations
The content and length of your report’s close depend on your choice of direct or indirect order, among other variables. If you’re using a direct approach, you can end with a summary of key points, listed in the order they appear in the body of the report. If you’re using an indirect approach, you can use the close to present your conclusions or recommendations, if you didn’t end the body with them. However, don’t introduce new facts in your close; your audience should have all the information they need by the time they reach this point. If your report is intended to prompt others to action, use the ending to spell out exactly what should happen next. If you’ll be taking all the actions yourself, make sure your readers understand this fact so that they’ll know what to expect from you.
10-5 This slide illustrates the three ways to state a report problem—in the infinitive phrase, the question form, and the declarative statement. After showing them, you may want to select a report case from the text, have students read the problem, and have them state the problem in each of the three ways. It is always best to have the student write the problem statement.
10-12 You can use this slide both to show the ways to gather facts for a report and to explain the difference between primary and secondary research.
10-13 This slide reviews advice for avoiding human error in interpreting.
10-16 You may use the series of problems on these next few slides to illustrate specific cases of interpretation errors in reports. Show the question first and have the students write their answers. Discuss them and then show the answer provided.
10-42 This overview slide points out a few of the major strategies a report writer should employ when writing a report. Examples of some of these strategies follow.
10-43 There is more on beginnings and endings in the next two chapters, but you can use this slide to discuss generally what these two important report parts need to accomplish.
10-54 Summarized here are points for maintaining interest in reports.
11-5 This slide shows the four characteristics of short reports. You can show it and fill in more details from the lecture notes. You might want to refer to the text examples to illustrate the points.
11-14 This motivational quote ends the presentation.
An orderly and objective communication of
factual information that serves a business
A report is a prepared account of what
happened, about a particular event, presented
in formal and organized format backed with
It may be a single report or a series of them.
Academic reports are usually detailed and
in most cases targeting academicians.
They are of high content and the producer
and the reader are at the same level or a
Professional reports are for informing and
persuading people as well as initiating change
They may be detailed depending on the
targeted audience/taste of the sponsor.
In most cases they have a mixed audience of
those who may understand the in-depth of the
subject content and non technical people like
the decision-makers .
A report must meet the needs of the
readers and answer the questions in their
A report must be at the right level for the
readers. Some readers have an in-depth
knowledge of the subject while others may
be decision-makers without specialized,
A report must have a clear, logical
structure-with clear signposting to show
where the ideas are leading
A report must give a good first impression.
Presentation is very important
A report must not make assumptions about
the readers’ understanding.
All writers need to
◦ apply the ‘so what’ test
◦ explain why something is a good idea
Reports must be written in good English
◦ using short sentences with correct grammar and
Reports should have a time reference
Define your aim
Collect your ideas
Select the material and decide how to
show the significance of your facts
Structure your ideas
Start on report writing
Conclusion and Recommendations
The “You” Attitude
Level of Formality
Chapter 11 - 10
•Problem or Purpose
•Scope of Coverage
•Sources or Methods
Chapter 11 - 12
Explanations of problem or opportunity
Facts, statistics, and trends
Results of studies or investigations
Discussion and analysis of actions
Pros and cons, costs and benefits
Chapter 11 - 13
Procedures or steps in a process
Methods and approaches
Criteria for evaluating options
Conclusions and recommendations
Information and evidence for support
Chapter 11 - 14
A checklist to use while editing a report
looks at 7 areas.
1. The purpose
Have you clarified your purpose?
Have you identified your readers' needs and
Have you included the main points?
Are these points supported by evidence?
Is the information relevant to the purpose?
Are there spelling mistakes?
Do the figures add up?
Are the references correct, in the text and at the end?
Are all sources of information listed in the References
Are abbreviations consistent?
Are images clear?
Is the report easy to follow?
Are headings and numbering clear?
Are the arguments followed through?
Is it logical/easy to follow?
Is the font and style consistent for the different
levels, body, tables and graphics?
Is it clear, direct, easy to read?
Will the readers understand it?
Will its tone help you achieve the purpose?
Can unnecessary words/phrases be deleted?
Is the grammar/punctuation correct?
Is there any repetition?
Is the layout appealing?
Does it highlight important points?
"To measure the effect of radio spot
advertising on X company sales"
"What are the effects on X company sales of
radio spot advertising?"
"Company X wants to know how a spot
advertising campaign will affect its sales."
◦ Company records
◦ Company records
Report the facts as they are.
Draw conclusions only when appropriate.
Do not interpret lack of evidence as proof to the
Be sure your data are comparable.
Be sure you draw only logical conclusions.
Be sure the data are reliable and representative.
Give attention to all important facts.
Tailor your claims to your data.
Q. A study produced data that showed United States
college students to be far behind their comparable
groups in European countries. The conclusion was
made that the educational systems in these
European countries are superior to that in the
A. The education systems are not comparable. The
United States is committed to a system of
educating the masses. Many of the other countries
maintain a system of highly selective education.
Put the report in context with your beginning and
◦ Impersonal vs. personal writing
Maintain a consistent time viewpoint.
Use smooth transitions.
A good beginning . . .
– states the subject of the report
– reveals what kind of data it is based upon
– indicates its likely significance to the reader
A good ending . . .
– may summarize; or summarize and interpret; or
summarize, interpret, and recommend—depending on
– must make the informational “gist” clear
– must make the contents’ significance clear
Select words carefully.
Watch the rhythm of expression.
Stress content over techniques.
Be complete without using more words than
Little need for introductory information
Predominance of direct order
More personal writing style
Less need for a structured coherence plan
“We are drowning in information, while
starving for wisdom. The world henceforth
will be run by synthesizers, people able to
put together the right information at the
right time, think critically about it, and
make important choices wisely.”
--E. O. Wilson, Pulitzer Prize Winner
Professor, Harvard University
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