Report Writing Guidelines: Elements, Structure, and Tips

What is Report?

A report is a formal message created with a particular intention. It is generally written to describe an event, an experiment, a project, or for business purposes. A report includes factual information, a description of a problem, process, etc. It presents and interprets data and suggests solutions and recommendations using a standard format and layout. In this article, we will learn about how to write a report by following some guidelines and tips. We’ll also explore the important components and structure of a report, and there will be an example to help us understand better.

Elements of a Report and Guidelines for Report Writing

elements of a report
Diagram:- Elements of a report
  • Cover Page:
    1. Have a clear and complete title. This should indicate the subject and the nature of the report.
    2. Mention the author’s name.
    3. Mention for whom the report is written.
    4. Mention the date of submission.
  • Title Page:
    1. Same details as on the cover page.
  • Table of Contents:
    1. List all headings and subheadings.
    2. Give page numbers against the first page of each section.
    3. Include the full titles of the appendices.
  • Lists of Figures and Tables:
    1. List all figures and tables.
    2. Give page numbers for each.
  • Acknowledgements:
    1. Acknowledge contributions.
    2. Mention the nature of the contributions.
  • Summary:
    1. Give a complete and compact summary.
    2. Mention the background and procedure briefly.
    3. Summarize the key information.
    4. Present conclusions and recommendations.
    5. Do not include any information that is not presented in the report.
  • Introduction:
    1. Present the background and purpose of the report.
    2. Indicate the scope and limitations of the report.
    3. Review important previous work or research on the topic.
    4. Include subsequent sections or subsections appropriate to structure.
    5. Explain when, where and how the study/survey, research was done.
    6. Include subsections or informative heading as appropriate.
  • Body: data and discussion:
    1. Present the findings and analysis clearly, systematically and logically.
    2. Use lists, tables and figures to present information.
    3. Explain, discuss and evaluate findings.
    4. Include citations for the information taken from sources.
  • Conclusion:
    1. Summarize the key findings in the report and explain their significance.
    2. Include only conclusions that flow from the data and discussion presented.
    3. Show how the report’s objectives have been met.
  • Recommendations:
    1. Present recommendations based on the findings and analysis.
  • Appendices:
    1. Present survey questionnaires and others used.
    2. Give appropriate titles to your appendices. (e.g.. Appendix A Background Questionnaire)
  • References:
    1. Follow a standard and appropriate formation.
    2. List all sources of borrowed information.
    3. Include all necessary information:
      • Journal articles: author, date of publication, title, journal title, volume and issue number and page range
      • Books: author, date of publication, title, place of publication and publisher
      • Internet sources: author, date of publication, title, internet address, and the date you accessed the source
  • Form and layout:
    1. Use a standard and clear structure.
    2. Use right space, headings, bold type, underlining, caps, bullets, numbering. etc.
    3. Make the information clear and accessible.
    4. Use lists to present objectives, conclusions, recommendations.
    5. Number the headings using a decimal numbering system.
    6. Maintain consistency and follow prescribed conventions.
  • Writing style:
    1. Present the content, making it relevant to the audience and purpose.
    2. Make it free of jargon if the report is intended for a non-technical audience.
    3. Use a straightforward, concise and clear style.
    4. Use the active voice rather than the passive.
    5. Present methodology sections in the passive voice.
    6. Use the correct sequence of tense (e.g., the past tense to describe work completed and the present tense for conclusions and general statements).
    7. Have a coherent flow, linking new information to the known.
    8. Use correct grammar, punctuation and spelling.

Example of an Organization Report

The following is an example of an organization report:

Cover Page

Report No. 12

A feasibility report on the

opening of ‘Shopper World’

at DBC Road

Submitted by Sales Officer

R. Sekhar

‘Shoppers World’

Anand Nagar


Submitted to

The Sales Manager

Hyderabad Region

Submitted on

24 March 2017

A feasibility report on the opening of ‘Shopper World’ at DBC Road
  • Introduction

‘Shoppers World’, an already established name among the super market. intends to extend its service to DBC Road, Amrit Nagar, Hyderabad. This report is submitted in response to letter no. 764, dated 10 February 2009 from the Sales Manager, Hyderabad region.

  • Steps taken

A team of three persons visited the area to find out about the kind of shops running there, the availability of space for the intended mall and the cost involved in procuring the necessary land or building. A survey was undertaken to evaluate the kind of reception the new mall would have among the residents of the concerned locality.

  • Results

The visiting team found that there are many exclusive shops for groceries textiles, steel utensils and crockery and electronic goods but there is no one super market that has all these facilities under one roof. The team has also found that there are seven to eight new residential complexes in that area apart from a few old ones.
The door-to-door survey indicates that about 80 percent of the women go out to work and more than 90 percent of them prefer to have a super market they can finish their shopping at one go.

There is a three-floor building vacated by a hotelier recently which is on sale. The purchase price is between ten to eleven crores.

  • Recommendations

Considering the prospective success, it is strongly recommended that the new branch of ‘Shoppers World’ be opened at the earliest, at DBC Road, Secunderabad.

                                                                                                                    R. Sekhar

                                                                                                                    (Sales Officer)

  • Appendix A: A topography of DBC Road, Hyderabad with the existing bildings.
  • Appendix B: A detailed building plan of ‘Star Nite’, the three-storeyed hotel which is for sale.
  • Appendix C: A questionnaire distributed among the residents of the locality.

1. As the Head, Department of English, R K College of Engineering, wirte a report to the Principal of the college on the feasibility of opening a new multimedia language laboratory in your department.

2. As the lab-in-charge, Proline Computers, write a report to the proprietor on the accident that resulted in the burning of five computers.

3. As the Director, Softech Private Ltd., write a report to the vice-president of the company on the poor performance of the nightshift workers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is a report?

A: A report is a formal document created with a specific intention, providing a detailed account of an event, experiment, project, or conveying information for business purposes. It presents facts, analyzes data, and offers recommendations using a standardized format and layout.

Q: What are the guidelines of report writing?

A: Report writing guidelines include having a clear and complete title, mentioning the author’s name, specifying the intended audience, providing a date of submission, using appropriate headings and subheadings, citing sources, using a concise and clear writing style, and following standard formatting and layout conventions.

Q: What are the 7 steps of report writing?

A: The seven steps of report writing are planning, research, organizing, writing, reviewing, formatting, and finalizing. Following these steps helps in creating a well-structured and comprehensive report.

Q: How should I present my findings in a report?

A: Present your findings in a clear, systematic, and logical manner. Utilize appropriate visual aids, such as lists, tables, and figures, to enhance the presentation of information. Explain, discuss, and evaluate your findings, providing citations for any information derived from external sources.

Q: What is the importance of a report’s structure?

A: The structure of a report ensures that information is presented in a logical and organized manner. It helps readers navigate through the report easily, locate specific sections or information, and understand the flow of the content. A well-structured report enhances readability and comprehension.

Q:How can I improve my report writing skills?

A: To improve your report writing skills, practice regularly, pay attention to the guidelines and elements discussed in this article, and seek feedback from peers or mentors. Analyze well-written reports in your field to understand the best practices and strategies used. Additionally, work on enhancing your writing style, grammar, and overall communication skills.

Report Writing Guidelines: Elements, Structure, and Tips pdf

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