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How to Write a Report - Part 1

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Whether you’re researching a topic for a university course or publishing the findings of a test or case study, report writing is an essential skill. After reading this series of articles, you will be well on your way to producing a high-quality, readable, and professional report that’s sure to impress. First things first: The Title Page.
What you'll need: 
A computer with word processing software
A “Secret” or “Confidential” stamp (optional)
All reports should have a title page that includes certain key information. Begin by choosing a title that is clear and concise. The title should be the most prominent heading in the report. A subtitle may also be provided to add clarity to the title.
If the report has been commissioned by someone other than the author, include his or her name and position. (For example: “Produced at the request of Jane Doe, Project Manager”)
Next, include the name of the author(s) and their qualifications as well as the name of the organisation, if appropriate. It is especially important to include one’s qualifications and the company’s name if the report will be distributed outside of the organisation. This is less important if the report will only be circulated internally since it is likely that your co-workers will already know your position and credentials.
Type the date the report is issued in full. (For example: “12 May 1983” versus “12-05-83.”) This helps to avoid any confusion, particularly if the report will be distributed internationally where the format for writing the date may be different.
If your organisation has a practice of including a reference number on all reports, enter this information accordingly.
Depending on the nature of the report, you may also want to refer to copyright on your title page. Generally, the purpose of a copyright is to prevent any individual from copying a substantial part of your report without obtaining proper permission. Check with your organisation’s intellectual property department as to their policy regarding copyright.
If your report is of a confidential nature, be sure to stamp or otherwise note this on your title page.
Finally, include a distribution list. In order of seniority, type the names of the individuals who should see the report. Alternatively, the recipients may be listed by geographical location or alphabetically. Also, include one copy to be filed and record this at the bottom of the list.
It is recommended that you arrange the above information on your title page in the order given; however, a different format may be chosen provided the title still stands out as the most prominent feature. Once you have created your title page, you are ready to compile the body of your document.
Ensure that you use proper grammar, capitalisation, and punctuation throughout.
Avoid overusing “Secret” or “Confidential” security markings as they tend to provoke exceptional interest.


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