Report writing

Report writing is common in a number of disciplines. A report is a specific form of writing, written concisely and clearly and typically organised around identifying and examining issues, events, or findings from a research investigation. It needs to be structured around your key message. 

A report might involve

  • an analysis of existing data and literature (for example, in the area of finance),
  • field research (for example, geography),
  • results of an investigation (for example, many science disciplines).

Whatever the type of report, they are expected to be well written, clearly structured and expressed in a way that suits the particular audience. Results and analysis should be accurate, clear and objective. Report structures can vary between disciplines and audiences but the structure needs to support the key message.

Reports differ from essays in a number of ways. Consider the following:

Reports Essays
Convey specific information about an issue, event or project. Show how you understood a question or topic & were able to draw on research to support your understanding.
Contains a key message, a concise description and analysis of research and results. Develop an argument to support a particular thesis.
Contain conclusions and recommendations based on findings. Draw a conclusion but recommendations are rare.


Report structure

Reports are structured to suit the needs of the particular project and audience however they typically contain:

  • Title page
  • Executive summary/abstract
  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Appendices

There is more information on structuring Business and Science reports.