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Page history last edited by carinallosa2002@... 12 years, 9 months ago


How To Write an Effective Report

The main purpose of a report is to communicate ideas and information to your reader(s) so that they can extract specific material quickly and accurately. The best reports are written in a style that is:

  • Clear with a logical structure which is easy to follow

  • Concise and to the point

Identify your readers/ users

The first thing you will need to do is to consider your readers and their potential requirements.
You'll need to find out:

  • Why is the report needed?
  • Who is going to use it?
  • What are they hoping to get out of it?
  • Are they looking for specific ideas or information, or for a solution to a specific problem?
  • What do they already know?
  • What are their attitudes to the topic of the report?
  • What decisions are likely to be made as a result of your report?

Collect information thoroughly

  • Consult: colleagues, stakeholders
  • Read previous reports,surveys, publications
  • Make it concise

Check any assumptions your reader(s) may have

  • Don't assume the reader knows as much as you know but don't ever over explain the obvious.

Draw up an outline structure

  • Read your notes
  • Pull related ideas together
  • What headings/ Subheadings emerge?
  • Put these headings/ subheadings into a logical order
  • Consider what should go into main body (essential material) and what should go into the appendices (supporting evidence, detailed calculations, questionnaires, etc.)

General advice on writing your report

You should start writing your report when you have drawn some conclusions from your work.

Write your conclusions first - until your conclusions have been written down there is nothing to be reported. A report written in this way will have a clear sense of direction because the remainder of the report will aim to justify your conclusions.


In general terms
  • The introduction poses the question
  • The conclusion is a suggested answer
  • The remainder of the report is a route of evidence and arguments from the introduction to your conclusion and recommendations.
  • Your aim is to convince the reader that your conclusions are valid.




  •  Edit your work






Useful Links




Useful Phrases


Introduction / Background



As requested at the Board meeting of 18 April, here is my report.


The report will discuss / consider / describe / analyze / review ...


The report is based on ...


I have divided the report into three sections.






The findings / figures / results / investigations show that ...


It appears that ... . This has led to a situation where ...


The graph/table shows that ...





As can be seen in table 1 / section 2 / figure 3, ...


As mentioned above, ... / ..., see below.


...and I will discuss this in more detail below /in section 3.2.


Conclusion / Recommendations



I (would like to) suggest /recommend that ...


My specific recommendations are as follows.


Closing comments



Please have a look at the report and let me have your comments.


Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.




Useful links






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