HOW TO WRITE A REPORT
HOW TO WRITE A REPORT
I. DRAFTING OF REPORTS
A report is a record of ascertained facts. Reports are written by a well informed person or a group of persons for the information of the interested parties.
In large organizations, reports provide a record of what has happened in its various units and departments. They help the management to formulate policies and co-ordinate activities. A written report has the following advantages.
1. The managerial persons can go through the report in their leisure time.
2. A written report is in the form of complete and final information because all the necessary details are collected analyzed and interpreted.
3. It can be used for future references
4. It helps the higher management in taking sound decisions.
The objectives of report are:
a. to communicate
b. to refer back
c. to motivate and
d. to serve as a basis for action
III. PARTS OF THE REPORT
A report has many parts all of which come under the following three headings.
1. Front matter or preliminary parts.
b. Fly leaf
d. Title page
f. Letter of authorization
g. Letter of acceptance
h. Letter of approval
m. Table of contents and
n. Table of illustration.
2. The body.
b. Materials and methods
c. Discussion and commentary
d. Foot notes
e. Section heading
h. The object
3. Back matter.
c. Reference list
d. Test data
IV. STEPS IN REPORT WRITING
1. Planning the report
2. Gathering pertinent information
3. Interpreting the facts
4. Arriving at conclusions
5. Making recommendations
The report must be drafted in such a manner that the reader who has no special knowledge of the matter is able to understand the benefits, disadvantages and implications of the subject matter. The report must be short but at the same time comprehensive. It should not omit important matters. The subject matter of the report must be arranged in a logical sequence. It will be better to write the report by giving suitable titles and sub-titles so that the reader grasps the contents easily.
A report normally begins with a reference to the appointment of the person or committee entrusted with the task of making a report. This should also reveal the scope of investigation and enquiries must be conducted. The necessary data required must be collected and analyzed for the purpose of supporting the observations made and conclusions arrived at in the report. Normally an outline of the report is prepared before writing out what is known as the First Draft to the report. This draft is to be circulated to the members of the committee and their observations are to be gathered. After this, the final report is prepared. The report thus prepared is to be signed by all the members of the committee and by the chairman. If any member dissents, he can give a note of dissent on the report and then sign it.
Here, we are concerned with the preparation relating to the working of a joint stock company. The usual reports are:
a. Directors report
b. Reports of committees and experts
c. Secretary’s Report
V. OFFICE REPORTS
The growing complexities of modern business throw challenging task to the management which depends more and more experts and professionals within the organization. Hence, they see a need for adequate information and written communication in the group. People at the various levels of management have to report to the policy making body. For instance, the manager prepares his report based on the reports sent to him by departmental managers who, in turn, rely on the supervisors.
Reports differ in their style and purpose. However a common truth of all reports is that the reporter communicates certain conclusions and recommendations based on his investigations on circumstances or facts. The report may be prepared out on experiments, inspection, experience or research but the essential condition is that it should speak of facts and not opinion\s or estimates. Thus, a report may be defined as an official document that presents facts for the information of an interested reader.
Office reports a\serve some specific purposes:
a. Present factual information to the management to help on its planning and co-ordination of business activities.
b. Provide alternative propositions to the management of facilitate active decision making.
c. Provide a basis for evaluating executive performance.
PRINCIPLES OF REPORT WRITING
To serve these purposes effectively, reports must have certain basic qualities.
a. A report should be addressed to some definite reader or body of readers.
b. It should have a short and unambiguous title so it can be seen at a glance what the report is about.
c. It is preferable that the report should be introduced by quoting the terms of reference. This is an important preliminary for it should be crystal clear why the report is required and as to what it should contain.
d. The body of the report should be planned and should be logical in sequence, preferably with numbered and headed paragraph. Instead of actual headings, a good style of report is to set the headings in a wide margin at the side of the relevant paragraphs.
e. If a report has recommendations they should be boldly marked and should be either in the relevant parts of the report or at the end of the document.
f. The report should be signed by the person responsible for it and it should be dated.
Nowadays it has become a common practice to incorporate tables, graphs and charts in reports. In such cases, it is but proper to interpret them and to draw attention to the facts revealed.
Reports greatly vary in their nature on the basis of their purpose, timing, style and contents. Whatever be the kind of the report, it must be simple in its approach, unambiguous in its language, neat and compact in its appearance and true to its purpose.