With Descriptive English forming an important part for exams like SBI PO, UIIC AO etc. we bring to you in this article the Report Writing Format and Sample Report.
Report Writing Format
Here are the main sections of the standard report writing format:
- Title Section – This includes the name of the author(s) and the date of report preparation.
- Summary – There needs to be a summary of the major points, conclusions, and recommendations. It needs to be short as it is a general overview of the report. Some people will read the summary and only skim the report, so make sure you include all the relevant information. It would be best to write this last so you will include everything, even the points that might be added at the last minute.
- Introduction – The first page of the report needs to have an introduction. You will explain the problem and show the reader why the report is being made. You need to give a definition of terms if you did not include these in the title section, and explain how the details of the report are arranged.
- Body – This is the main section of the report. There needs to be several sections, with each having a subtitle. Information is usually arranged in order of importance with the most important information coming first.
- Conclusion – This is where everything comes together. Keep this section free of jargon as most people will read the Summary and Conclusion.
- Recommendations – This is what needs to be done. In plain English, explain your recommendations, putting them in order of priority.
- Appendices – This includes information that the experts in the field will read. It has all the technical details that support your conclusions.
Remember that the information needs to be organized logically with the most important information coming first.
Pointers to score high in Report Writing
- Use names and pronouns (I, he, her) when you write about yourself and others at the scene. Avoid outdated expressions like “this officer” and “the abovementioned person” or “official 1.”
There are certain people who advocate that use of impersonal terminology brings in guaranteed objectivity and accuracy, but it not true. You have the same integrity whether you are calling yourself “I” or “this officer.” And think about this: if you were testifying in court, and sworn to tell the truth, you would use everyday language (“I,” “me”) in your testimony. Follow the same practice in your reports.
- Limit yourself to one idea per sentence.
Short, straightforward sentences are easy to read, understand and save time for everyone. You will appreciate this time-saving tip when you are reviewing a report to prepare for an important business meeting. Also, the longer a sentence is, the more likely you are to make an error.
Short sentence and its structure in English generally begin with a noun, and the grammar is simple. Complicated sentences, on the other hand, require complicated punctuation, and they open the door to sentence errors.
Try to limit yourself to three commas per sentence. If a sentence has more than three commas, it’s probably too complicated to be read easily, and it may contain usage or punctuation errors.
- Be as clear and specific as possible.
“Contacted” is vague: Did you visit, phone, or email the witness? “Residence” is just as confusing: House, apartment or mobile home? Always strive for clarity.
- Use simple language.
“Since” is easier to understand (and write) than “inasmuch as.” “Pertaining to” is a fancy (and time-wasting) way to write “about.”
- Stick to observable facts.
Conclusions, guesses, hunches, and other thought processes do not belong in a report. Stick to the facts. A statement like “He was aggressive” won’t stand up in court. You can, however, write “Jackson clenched his fists and kicked a chair.”
- Write in paragraphs.
Organizing information in groups has two important benefits: Your report is more logical, and it’s easier to read and understand later on.
- Use active voice.
A widespread mistaken notion is that passive voice guarantees objectivity and accuracy. However, it is not true. Writing a sentence like “A revolver was seen under the nightstand” does not guarantee that you are telling the truth. It is much simpler to just write “I saw a revolver under the nightstand.” That is what you would prefer to read in the report submitted by someone else as well, isn’t it?
- Use bullet style.
Bullet style is nothing but the style you have probably been writing shopping lists all your life when your mother asks you to bring something from the grocery shop nearby. Use the same format when you’re recording several pieces of related information, like this:
Michael Jordan told me:
- He and Maria have been “fighting a lot”
- She was drunk when he came home from work
- She threw a package of frozen chicken at him
- He didn’t touch her
Typical structure template for writing a committee report:
- Members to which the report is meant for
- [Name, institution, location, Chair]
- [Name, institution, location, member]
- [Date, Time, and Location]
- [Provide simple documentation of any meetings of the committee or subset of the committee, in whatever mode and format, e.g., in person, conference call, etc.]
- [Here you mention the purpose of the report in a brief. This enables the reader to understand the purpose behind writing the format.]
- Issues [Write different issues as sub headings and explain their highlights in bullet points below the respective sub headings]
- Current Status
- Accomplishments / Issue 1
- Future Goals
- Current Status
- Near-Term Plans / Main Body of the Report [Use Sub Headings as and where needed. In bullet form, outline near-term actions and plans as well under those sub headings.]
- Informal Recommendation(s) [An opportunity to make recommendations, suggestions, and comments to the Board and Executive Director]
You may like to read Baswan Committee Report HERE
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