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What is a Report?
• A report is a way of giving information. Reports
inform. Their purpose is to convey information,
and not to construct a debate.
• In an essay ideas are brought together to build
things up, in a report these ideas broken down
into small, easily manageable parts.
• In a report, these ideas are conveyed through
small paragraphs using sections and subsections
in a series of short bullet points.
Reports are intended to be read quickly, for
a specific reason, so it’s essential to make
the information as accessible as possible –
‘accessible’ in the sense of ‘easily
findable’, and in the sense of ‘easily
What does a report look like?
• All reports have a similar appearance because of the
fairly standard way the information they contain is
• As the reader flips through the pages, they should
see headings, sub-headings, numbered sections,
bullet points, diagrams – and not too many lengthy
‘blocks’ of uninterrupted paragraphs.
Usual components of a report
-explains the focus of the report
• Executive Summary/abstract
-appears at the beginning of the report so the reader can
know if it is relevant for them (no bullet points to be
• List of Contents
1.1 The Current Situation 1
1.2 Scope of Enquiry 1
1.3 Methodology 2
2.1 Present Support Mechanisms
2.1.1 Induction Programme 2
2.1.2 Bridging Programme 2
2.1.3 PAT System 3
2.2 Academic Skills
188.8.131.52 ‘Shelf-based’ 3
184.108.40.206 Electronic 4
220.127.116.11 Active Research 4
18.104.22.168 Essays 4
22.214.171.124 Reports 5
2.2.3 Spoken Skills
126.96.36.199 Tutorial Participation 5
188.8.131.52 Oral Presentations 6
2.3 Integration 6
2.4 International Students
2.4.1 Cultural Issues 7
2.4.2 Language 7
2.4.3 Visas 8
3.0 Conclusions 9
Page-numbering is rule-bound
• The Executive Summary does not have a page-number,
nor do the Contents Page, Reference List or Appendices.
• The main headings (‘Introduction’, ‘Results’,
‘Conclusions’, etc.) are not allocated a page number if
these sections have been divided into sub-sections, as
normally they will be. So, of the sections in the example,
only ‘Conclusions’ has a page number because it is the only
section which is not subdivided.
Usual structure of a report
•Introduction (explains what the report is about)
•Body (explains the issues)
•Conclusion (summarises what has been told)
Referring to the Appendices
• While writing the ‘body’, there will be times when it may be
necessary to include a diagram which, for example, which takes up a
whole page; instead of placing it into the text, it can be placed at the
end of the report, as an appendix.
• For example, it maybe given as an appropriate place in the text, and it
might look like this:
For a full comparison of the Oral Presentation skills of Level 3
Direct Entrants and their continuing counterparts, please refer to
• Any information or material you select as an appendix must be
referred to in the text of the report. This is very important as any
appendix item which is not referred to from the text will probably be
ignored and will not, therefore, be considered in the assessment.
Using tables, figures, diagrams, etc.
• It is always a good idea to use ‘visuals’ in ‘body’ of report. They can
usually express information economically (important when you’re
worrying about a word-limit), and in a more accessible way than in
• In addition they break up and add variety to the page, and so enhance
appearance of your work. Visuals should be properly ‘labelled’ (like
using a ‘title’) and, if they are not of your own design, with data from
your own research, these sources should be acknowledged, as in this
• If contents of the visual are your own, you would merely give
diagram/table/etc. a title, and source would be assumed to be you.
• Only Executive Summary, Reference Page and
appendices (each one) should have a ‘new’ page.
• Other sections do not require new pages
Nuts and Bolts
Is there enough ‘white space’? Should be in small blocks of writing,
not long paragraphs.
Is it written in formal academic language? Should be written in the 3rd
person. As the training has been completed, should be written in past
tense. No sms language or abbreviations should be used.
Can section 184.108.40.206 (for example!) be found in the twinkling of an
eye? All sections should be easily accessible so the contents page
needs to be constructed right at the end when all the other sections
have been completed
Thus, is the numbering effectively done?
Is indentation in the numbered sections consistent?
Are headings and sub-headings used appropriately? Do they
explain what the paragraph is about?
Is each page numbered? (except, of course, for those excluded
Have you used a fresh page for each main section? If so, don’t!
Only the Executive Summary, the Reference Page and the
appendices (each one) should have a ‘new’ page.
Are large diagrams properly placed on one page? (They must
never sprawl across two pages.)
Make sure to read through the report many times – editing
and re-editing are essential
If official information is being used, make sure to
reference where it is from i.e. websites, company records
Check for grammar, spelling, punctuation – all these will
create an impression
Finally – the layout and presentation should look good