After studying this unit, you will be able to
- understand the purpose of reports
- Understand report organization
- identify different types of reports
- Identify the parts and contents of reports
- construct different types of reports
A vital part of any business or organization, reports document specific information for specific audiences, goals, or functions. The type of report is often identified by its primary purpose or function, as in an accident report, a laboratory report, a sales report, or even a book report.
Reports are often analytical but sometimes just “report the facts” with no analysis at all. Other reports summarize past events, present current data, and forecast future trends. While a report may have conclusions, propositions, or even calls to action, presenting analysis is the primary function. A sales report, for example, is not designed to make an individual sale. It is, however, supposed to report sales to date and may forecast future sales based on previous trends (Business Communication for Success, 2015).
Table 22.1 Excerpt: Report Pros, Cons, and Proper Use
Before delving into reports in detail, let’s review the advantages, disadvantages, and occasions for writing them as given earlier in unit 6 on channel selection. (Business Communication for Success, 2015)
1. Find an annual report for a business you would like to learn more about. Write a review for it and share it with classmates.
2. Write a report on a trend in business that you’ve observed. For example, write a report recommending open textbooks as a solution to the rising cost of traditional textbooks being a significant issue for students.
Cember, E., Heavilon, A., Seip, M., Shi, L., & Brizee, A. (2018, March 23). Handbook on report formats. Purdue OWL. Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/726/1/
Driscoll, D. L. (2013, March 12). Writing report abstracts. Purdue OWL. Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/656/1/
Purdue OWL. (2010, April 29). Reports, proposals, and technical papers [PowerPoint File]. Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/656/02/
Microsoft Office. (2014, December 14). Papers and Reports. Templates. Retrieved from https://templates.office.com/en-us/Papers-and-Reports
Techwriter. (2010, September 24). How to write a transmittal or cover letter. Technical Communication Centre. Retrieved from https://www.technicalcommunicationcenter.com/2010/09/24/how-to-write-a-transmittal-or-cover-letter/
University of South Australia. (2017). Study Help: Report writing [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GV4yMF8vx6o