Report types• A short report to a client may use a letter format• Formal reports may contain formal elements such as a title page, a transmittal, a table of contents, and a list of illustrations• Informal reports may be letters and memos or even computer printouts of production or sales figures• Reports can be called: - Information report if they collect data for the reader: Sales report, Quarterly report, - Analytical report if they interpret data but don’t recommend action: Annual reports, audit reports, make-good or pay back reports. - Recommendation report if they recommend action or solution: Feasibility reports, justification reports, problem-solving reports
Report Structure• Cover• Title page• Letter of transmittal• Table of contents• List of illustrations• Executive summary• Report Body - Introduction - Background (History of the problem) - Body - Conclusions - Recommendations; Notes References; Work cited• Appendixes
Title Page• Contains the following items: - Title of the report - Whom the report is prepared for - Whom it is prepared by - The release date• The title should be detailed• The release date is normally the date the report is scheduled for discussion.
Letter or Memo of transmittal• Letter of transmittal if you are not a regular employee; a memo if you are an employee• Organize the transmittal in the following way: - Tell when and by whom it was authorized and the purpose it was to fulfill - Summarize your conclusions and recommendations - Mention and points of special interests in the report - Point out any additional research that is necessary - Thank the reader for the opportunity to do the work
Table of contents and Illustrations• Table of contents lists the headings exactly as they appear in the body of the report• If report is less than 25 pages you may list all the levels in the report• In a very long report pick a level and put all the heading on that level• A list of illustrations enables readers to refer to your visuals - Tables are words or numbers arranged in rows and columns - Figures are everything else - Tables and figures are numbered independently
Executive Summary• An Executive summary or Abstract tell the reader what the document is all about• It summarizes the the recommendations of the report and the reasons for the recommendation or describes the topics the report discusses and indicates the depth of the discussion• A good abstract is easy to read, concise and clear.• Using ‘you’ sparingly• For experimental research: the purpose of the research, its hypothesis, the experimental method, the significant results, the implication for treatment, action or further research.• Descriptive abstract indicate what topics the article covers and how deeply it goes into each topic, but does not summarize what the article says about each topic
Introduction & Background / History• The introduction of the report always contains a statement of purpose and scope and may include all of the parts in the following list: - Purpose - Scope - Limitations - Assumptions - Methods - Definitions• Background of the situation or history of the problem• Enable later audiences to understand the basis of the report
Conclusions & Recommendations• Conclusions summarizes points you have made in the body of the report• Recommendations are action items that would solve or ameliorate the problem• The sections are often combined if they are short• No new information should be included in the conclusions• Conclusions are usually presented in paragraphs; you could also use a numbered or bulleted list• Number the recommendations to make it easy for people to discuss them
Time table for writing reports• To use time effectively, think about the parts of the report before you begin writing• Much of the introduction comes from the proposal with minor revisions• You can write six sections even before you’ve finished your research: Purpose, Scope, Assumptions, Methods, Criteria, Definitions• The background reading for your proposal can form the first draft of your list of references• Save a copy of your questionnaire or interview questions to use as an appendix
Timetable for writing reports• You can write the title page and the transmittal as soon as you know what your recommendations will be• After you’ve analyzed your data, write the Executive summary, the body, and the conclusions and recommendations.• Prepare a draft of the table of contents and the list of illustrations• When you write a long report, list all the sections (headings) that your report will have• Write the important sections early to get to the meat of the report. The background, etc. can wait
Less formal report structure• Title page• Table of contents• Abstract / Executive summary• Body: - Introduction - Body - Conclusions - Recommendations
Business Writing• Written communication serves as a record, which follows spoken communication• You can refer to the material at a later stage• Since in written communication there may be no face-to-face interaction, there is a possibility that there could be some misunderstanding
Principles of written communication1. Orientation to the receiver: The recipient should be kept in mind while writing. Use appropriate vocabulary and jargon.2. Use short and simple vocabulary: Use short words, which are simpler, in preference to long words3. Use specific words to bring vitality and exactness: don’t use ambiguous words4. Use active voice in preference to passive voice: Active voice conveys force and focus. Passive voice conveys half- heartedness and defensiveness5. Use action words: Conveys the force of your personality and your sense of purpose
Principles6. Be brief: Verbosity conveys a poor impression to the reader. Managers don’t have time to go through long winded letters. You need good vocabulary7. Prefer short sentences to long, compound and complex sentences:8. Use gender unbiased words: Use plural or the work ‘or’ or /.9. Use proper sentence design: In oral communication, emphasis on a particular word changes the meaning. The emphasis on each of the words have a particular meaning. E.g. “I never said that”.10. Flow: the structure of correspondence should be cohesive and smooth flowing. Sentences must blend into paragraphs, etc.
Principles11. Sentence: each sentence should convey a single thought. This provides clarity.12. Paragraphs: Each paragraphs discusses an idea, which could comprise a number of thoughts. A group of paragraphs can further discuss a group of topics13. Consistency and continuity: Each correspondence should deal with only one subject.14. Linkages: There must be a smooth flow of ideas and each idea must merge into the next in an effortless and seamless manner. Therefore, each paragraph should end in such a way that the next paragraph appears logical.