This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Writing & Study Skills
Maths, Stats & numeracy
There are many different types of report, from mid-term sales and marketing forecasts, through to scientific lab reports. When writing a report it is important to keep in mind: • • • why the report is being written (e.g. to provide information, to make a request or to influence decision-making) what it will cover (the focus, themes and issues) who the audience is (e.g. what does the audience already know about the subject area, what do they want/need to know, what is their likely opinion).
The structure of reports varies according to the subject matter, and different courses may have different report formats. Students may find that not all of the sections discussed here are relevant to the type of report they have to produce. For example, some business school reports may not need a methodology section, whereas a scientific report based on primary research would almost certainly need a methodology section. Check the assignment guidelines / instructions carefully to ascertain which sections to include. Many departments put out a guide to the structure and style of reports they require for their subject areas; read these carefully and/or ask your tutor if you are in doubt. Here we will look at two commonly used types of report: ‘academic’ style reports and ‘corporate’ style reports. Many features are common to both, but there are some important differences that you need to be aware of (always check with your department if you are unsure of which style to use). Note that reports can have flexible formats, so the following should be used as a guide only. 1
conclusions and recommendations. conclusions and recommendations etc). key points in the methodology. Introduction The introduction gives background information to provide a context for the report. The abstract should be self-contained so that anyone can read it to get an overview of the whole report without having to read through the entire text. It provides an overview of the topics covered and the purpose of the report. 2 . key findings. it is often easier to write the abstract after you have completed the other sections. Although it appears at the beginning of a report.‘Academic’ style reports Typical sections include: Title page Abstract (executive summary) Contents page Introduction Literature review Methodology Results Discussion Conclusion Recommendations References/Bibliography Appendices What do these terms mean? Abstract (executive summary) An abstract (sometimes called an executive summary) is a brief summary of the report. It differs from the abstract in that it shouldn’t state key findings. containing key information from each section (for example.
. the limitations of the report findings (e. It may also include justifications for using a particular data gathering method and/or any problems encountered during collection and collation. bias. If the results are extensive.g. graphs. sample size. charts or diagrams to visually present the information (make sure these are all labelled accurately). restricted sample. or any problems encountered) may also be discussed. In addition. The significance of the findings should be discussed as well as a critical evaluation of these findings in the context of the analysis of the literature review. Results The results section presents the results of the investigation and may include tables. for example identifying similarities and differences or gaps in the literature etc. It is more than a summary as it should provide a critical analysis of the sources. you could present a summary of the findings in this section and put more detailed results in an appendix (see below). (See our resources on Critical Thinking and Writing Analytically). Discussion This section provides a more in-depth analysis and discussion of the findings in the results section.Literature review The literature review provides a critical evaluation of sources that have been reviewed while researching the topic. Methodology The methodology section summarises the techniques used to collect the data presented in the report. 3 .
Appendices Appendices contain material that is referred to in the report. etc.g. References / Bibliography The reference list should contain the full details of all the references used in the text.). A bibliography (if included) can include texts consulted but not used/cited in your text.Conclusion Recommendations This section includes suggestions for action. questionnaires. raw data. so information in the appendices should not be essential to understanding the report. Follow your department’s recommended style for references. 4 . but which is too large or detailed to include in the body of the report (e. The reader should be able to choose whether or not to consult the appendices. Recommendations should logically follow on from points made earlier in the report as recommendations should have a firm basis.
in the correct order and numbered accordingly? (Adapted from Payne & Whitaker 2000) 5 .) Abstract: Does the summary/abstract stand alone as a complete and accurate summary of the report? Introduction: Is the background as brief and as thorough as possible and are any definitions clarified? Are the aims of the report clearly stated? (Note: sometimes the aims are presented in a separate section). Recommendations: Do you need a separate section for recommendations or can they go in the conclusion? Are the recommendations relevant to and fulfil the aims of the report? Is it clear what action (if any) is required? References: Is the list of references complete and are all the in-text citations correct and in the right place? Will the reader be able to trace the references? Appendices: Are all the appendices present.‘Academic’ report checklist Title Page: Does the title page contain all the correct detail? Contents page: Are the contents list. Methods: Are the methods used in the report appropriate and clearly stated? Will the reader be able to establish the validity of the methods used? Results: Are the findings presented in a logical order? Is the content relevant to the aims of the report? Is the language clear and concise? Discussion: Is the material well-balanced and are any opinions/assertions supported? Conclusions: Are the conclusions well-supported and do they reflect a sound analysis of the material presented in the main body? Check that new information hasn't been introduced. list of tables and charts and appendices complete and in order with correct page references? (Check these haven't shifted during rewriting.
sales were down 25 percent (Bruce 1998). Robert Dyce launched the first Dyce and Dyer door-to-door marketing 6 . Example of a ‘corporate’ style report 2.‘Corporate’ style reports Some courses. Note: In ‘corporate’ style reports. If this is the case your department should provide you with a detailed outline of the format they require. With the arrival of rival haberdashery Pauls on the corner of Market and Union Streets in 1953. This style of report is similar to reports generated in corporate environments.0 Marketing Strategies – historical perspective Between 1939 and 1954 Dyce and Dyer relied primarily on word of mouth advertising and shop-front appeal (Peeler 2003). however. Pauls had secured a prime location and set up lavish window displays that snagged shoppers’ attention before they reached Dyce and Dyer further down Market Street. If you are assigned a ‘corporate’ style report it is important to read through the assignment instructions carefully as these will often contain clues as to how to structure the report and what labels will be required for each section (see our resource on Understanding Assignment and Exam Questions). By the time founding partner Robert Dyce stepped down due to ill health and his son Robert took over in 1954. It would be useful to plan out the structure in advance to ensure the sections are cohesive and that the flow of information through the report is logical (see our resource on Writing Effective Paragraphs). In ‘corporate’ style reports the sections are numbered and it is up to the writer to structure and label the different sections according to what is appropriate for the contents and/or assignment instructions. particularly business courses. the company was faced with its first major retail competition (Considine 1976). Later that year. abstracts are known as executive summaries. may require you to write reports that don’t necessarily follow the standard ‘academic’ report format we have outlined above.
1 The door-to-door marketing campaign was begun with two clear objectives: to advertise the store. and to offer loyalty discounts. thus promoting brand awareness.2 Loyalty discounts were offered to consumers who bought more than £50 worth of items over a twelve month period.1. Carefully worded descriptions of the store suggested a superior shopping and after-sales service experience (see Appendix 2).2 The door-to-door marketing campaign was a major success for Dyce and Dyer and spawned a number of copy-cat loyalty schemes (Henderson 2005). Within two years sales at Dyce and Dyer had outstripped its rival Pauls (Bruce 1998).1 Brand awareness was achieved through well-designed marketing leaflets clearly displaying the Dyce and Dyer logo and shop front. Produced by Robert Gordon University: Study Skills & Access Unit 7 . Consumer purchases and loyalty discounts were tracked on personalised cards kept in the store (Bruce 1998). 2.campaign. 2.1. 2. The leaflets also contained a map with the store’s location clearly displayed. 2.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.