Writing the report

Once you have determined the key message and the best way to structure your report, you will find the writing phase smoother and more efficient. It is often much easier to allocate sections of the report to different group members as everyone is clear on the overall direction of the report.

In the writing, focus on:

  1. Setting up your key message in the introduction
  2. Developing your key message through your sections and topic sentences
  3. Supporting your ideas with good evidence
  4. Summarising your findings in concluding sentences and your conclusion


Executive summaries

Provide a succinct overview of the entire report and typically include:

  • Brief outline of the context and aim
  • Outline of main findings
  • The key message
  • Recommendations

Below are two sample Executive summaries from Business and Engineering.


This report was prepared to provide ABC Recruitment with information regarding ways to improve profitability and improve its overall financial position.

The profitability, liquidity and capital structure of ABC Recruitment for the month of August 2018 were analysed. Results show that the company has a low net profit ratio. Gross profit ratio suggests an initial high profit, however when compared to the net profit the business' expenses have eroded much of the income generated. Analysis of liquidity shows that the company can comfortably meet its liabilities. Compared to the ratios of an established firm 45.13% and industry average of 55%, the business is currently quite comfortable with the capital structure.

Profitability could be improved by introducing an incentive-based wage scheme, and reducing other expenses. It is also suggested that ABC Recruitment focus on advertising to establish a 'brand', and look to managing its debtors to improve its overall financial position.


PowerBlocks brings an innovative approach to modular technology in the electronics industry. Our product's Unique Selling Point is based on customisability and user-centred design, also reflected in our business and brand.

The electronics industry is a growing and transforming one, with an increasingly technology-dependent and mobile culture pervading globally...

Our product is composed of functional modules which 'snap' together to create a powerboard with more customisability and flexibility than any existing product on the market...

The initial target market for PowerBlocks is the 'innovator' segment of the consumers [1]. The 'innovative' population is characterised by higher prosperity, education and risk orientation. They like to try new things, have the capability to do so and may also be more interested in being involved with the design and development of the product. Hence, our marketing strategy is designed to capitalise on the product's customisability and target market's willingness to experiment.

A KickStarter campaign and an interactive website will provide engagement with consumers, a platform for initial sales, and funds to start the venture. Competitions for new module designs will be run through the website, further engaging the target market and providing an avenue for 'open innovation' - allowing us to outsource development of the blocks and respond to user feedback. Eventually, we envision PowerBlocks being sold through regular retail outlets as well in order to compete with established manufacturers.

Forecasts of PowerBlocks' financials for the first year indicate that the company can maintain positive cash flow throughout the year due to KickStarter funding and high potential revenues. Our net revenue for the year has been projected close to $0.9 million with a net profit of $150,000 ensuring we achieve growing ROI (Return On Investment).

While risks and challenges for both the technology and our venture exist and have been identified, we believe PowerBlocks has the capability and opportunity to succeed in a growing market. Our marketing strategy and product alike have been carefully tailored to succeed in our target market. With a growing ROI in offer for a start-up funding of $100,000, we believe the PowerBlocks venture presents a sound opportunity for investors who can partner with us to develop the business.



Introductions can be very short and succinct and allow the reader to know your key message and the outline of the reasons behind that. Your introduction should not just repeat the terms of the question. So avoid sentences like:


This report will examine the financial strengths and weaknesses of ABC Recruitment Recruitment and recommend what actions the company management should take.


The following are two sample Introductions. In each one you can identify the four moves: background/context, aim/purpose, key message and outline. Notice how this can be achieved in a few clear and concise sentences.


This report is prepared for ABC Recruitment at the request of the owner/manager Mr. David Foo, for the month of August 2005. ABC Recruitment is newly established, and the owner is seeking advice on how to improve the business at this early stage. An examination of the profitability, liquidity and capital structure of ABC Recruitment for the month of August 2005 shows that the company has a low net profit ratio, which could be improved by introducing an incentive-based wage scheme, and reducing other expenses. It is also suggested that ABC Recruitment focus on advertising to establish a 'brand', and look to managing its debtors to improve its overall financial position.


Interest in nanofibrous materials stems from their unique properties, such as high porosity, large surface area to volume ratios, and enhanced mechanical performance (Huang et al. 2003). They show potential in many fields, such as environmental engineering (membranes and filters), clothing (chemical and biological protection), and healthcare (drug delivery, wound dressing, and tissue engineering) (Ramakrishna et al. 2006). Consequently, the ability to manufacture such materials has been a subject of much research and several processes have been developed, including drawing, template synthesis, phase separation, self assembly, and electrospinning (Huang et al. 2003). Electrospinning requires only simple instrumentation and is a cost effective, scalable, and feasible method for fabricating polymeric fibres ranging in diameter from 3nm to 1μm (Kumbar et al. 2008; Reneker et al. 2001). It is not yet a perfect technique however, and research must be conducted to fully understand the jet instability the method depends on, the effects of fabrication parameters on the created mat, and the tailoring of materials for different applications. This review aims to give an overview of the electrospinning method and its potential application in tissue engineering.

Body paragraphs

The body of the report provides the justification for your recommendation(s) by presenting findings based on evidence. The discussion is kept concise by using appendices to present complex/lengthy calculations and data.

Break your report into major points (see Structure). These are your sections and sub-sections. For each section/sub-section, break again into points, these become your paragraphs.

Paragraphs are the report's 'building blocks' and it is important to structure them well. Each paragraph should contain one main idea. It develops that idea in three parts, with a topic sentence, supporting sentences and a concluding or linking sentence.

Topic sentences

The first sentence of a paragraph is usually the topic sentence. It should indicate your position and encapsulate the argument that you make in that paragraph. To help write the topic sentence ask yourself, 'What is this paragraph about?' and 'How does it develop my argument?' If you cannot answer these questions clearly, then the paragraph could be cut or revised.

The topic sentence needs to be clear and unambiguous because it acts like a signpost that tells the reader what to expect next.

Supporting sentences

The sentences in the main part of the paragraph support and develop the main idea. Each sentence should connect to the others to create a logical flow. This is where you incorporate your research and analysis and support it with evidence, such as quotations or statistics.

Whenever you use an idea that is not yours, whether quoted or paraphrased, you must cite its source. Referencing is central to academic integrity, which means that you must acknowledge when you have built your argument on the work of other scholars.

Concluding and linking sentences

The final sentence of your paragraph should summarise or conclude the idea that you introduced in the topic sentence. It can also lead on to the next paragraph by developing a logical link to the next main idea. Good transitions at the end of paragraphs help the essay to feel more coherent. If you have trouble linking the main ideas across your paragraphs, consider reordering them.

Concluding and editing a report

Typically conclusions summarise the findings. Some reports include detailed recommendations and often also include the limitations but this can differ from report to report.


Editing the report is a vital part of the process - especially when the report has been written by different members of a group. Now is the time to ensure that the report is clear, concise and cohesive and reads as though it was written by one person.

When editing, the following steps can be a helpful way to approach your report:

  1. Key message - Is there a clearly stated key message in the Executive summary and/or the introduction? Does it respond to the report question?
  2. Structure - Is the structure logical and does it outline the reasons for our response?
  3. Paragraphing - are the paragraphs clear and well balanced - do they support our message?
  4. Expression - is the expression clear and consistent?

For more tips on editing your report, go to our Editing your work page.