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Definition of report

 (Entry 1 of 2)

Definition of report  (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

intransitive verb

  • thunderclap

Examples of report in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'report.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from reporter to bring back, report, from Latin reportare , from re- + portare to carry — more at fare

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Phrases Containing report

  • annual report
  • missing person report
  • report card
  • report back
  • report for duty
  • progress report
  • report sick
  • report stage
  • self - report

Articles Related to report

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‘Rapport’ vs. ‘Report’

An easygoing, detailed account

Dictionary Entries Near report

Cite this entry.

“Report.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/report. Accessed 17 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

Kids definition of report.

Kids Definition of report  (Entry 2 of 2)

Legal Definition

Legal definition of report.

Legal Definition of report  (Entry 2 of 2)

More from Merriam-Webster on report

Nglish: Translation of report for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of report for Arabic Speakers

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written report definition

Report Writing And Its Significance In Your Career

You reach the office at around 9.00 AM, switch on your system, and start working. It’s a usual workday for…

Report Writing And Its Significance In Your Career

You reach the office at around 9.00 AM, switch on your system, and start working. It’s a usual workday for you until your manager comes to your desk and asks you to create a sales report. That’s the first time you’ve got such a task, and find yourself struggling with basic questions such as, “What’s a report?” and “How do I write one?”

What Is Report Writing?

Elements of report writing, importance of report writing.

You must have heard the term ‘report writing’ before.

According to the commonly known definition of report writing, a report is a formal document that elaborates on a topic using facts, charts, and graphs to support its arguments and findings.

Any report—whether it’s about a business event or one that describes the processes of various departments in a company—is meant for a particular type of audience.

But why do you think your manager wants you to create a report?

One simple answer is: an elaborate report prepared with evaluated facts helps solve complex problems. When managers come across certain business situations, they ask for comprehensive and well-thought-out reports that can help them design business plans.

Once you have an idea about what a report is, the next step is to understand how you can write one.

There are different types of reports, and each has a specific structure, usually known as ‘elements of the report’.

While we tell you what the elements of report writing are, if you want detailed guidance, you can go for Harappa Education’s Writing Proficiently course that talks about the popular PREP (Point of starting, Reason, Evidence, and Point of ending) model of report writing.

Every report starts with a title page and a table of contents, after which come the main sections–the executive summary, introduction, discussion, and conclusion.

Executive Summary:

Do you remember summary writing for English class during school days? You were asked to read a story or passage and write a summary, including the important takeaways. ( ambien )

That’s exactly what you are expected to do in a report’s executive summary section. This section presents a brief overview of the report’s contents. You should present the key points of the report in this section.

But why is it important to write an executive summary at the start of the report?

Firstly, the summary will help readers better understand the purpose, key points, and evidence you are going to present in the report. Secondly, readers who are in a hurry can read the summary for a preview of the report.

Here are some specifics that will help you write a clear and concise summary:

Include the purpose of your report and emphasize conclusions or recommendations.

Include only the essential or most significant information to support your theories and conclusions.

Follow the same sequence of information that you have used in the report.

Keep the summary length to 10-15% of the complete report.

Try not to introduce any new information or point in summary that you haven’t covered in the report.

The summary should communicate the message clearly and independently.

Introduction:  

The introduction section should:

Briefly describe the background and context of the research you have done.

Describe the change, problem, or issue related to the topic.

Define the relevant objectives and purpose of the report

Give hints about the overall answer to the problem covered in the report.

Comment on the limitations and any assumptions you have made to get to the conclusion.

Discussion:

This section serves two purposes:

It justifies the recommendations.

It explains the conclusions.

While you are writing the discussion section, make sure you do the following:

Present your analysis logically.

If needed, divide the information under appropriate headings to improving readability and ease of understanding.

Explain your points and back up your claims with strong and evaluated evidence.

Connect your theory with real-life scenarios

Conclusion:

The last key element of report writing is the conclusion section. Present the conclusion as follows:

  • The primary conclusion should come first.

Identify and interpret the major problems related to the case your report is based on.

Relate to the objectives that you have mentioned in the introduction.

Keep the conclusion brief and specific.

Before you start writing a report, it’s important to understand the significance of the report. It’s also crucial to research independently instead of relying on data and trends available on the internet, besides structuring the report properly. Here’s why:

Decision-Making Tool

Organizations require a considerable amount of data and information on specific topics, scenarios, and situations. Managers and decision-makers often use business reports and research papers as information sources to make important business decisions and reach solutions.

Another reason that adds to the significance of report writing is that it is a collection of evaluated information.

Different types of activities by different departments define an organization. Think of the departments your organization has–development, sales, distribution, marketing, HR, and more. Each department follows defined processes and protocols that require many small and large activities on a daily basis.

It is impossible for the management to keep an eye on the different activities in each department.

That’s where the reports can help. With every department writing and maintaining periodic reports, keeping a tab of ongoing activities becomes easier for the management.

Professional Improvements

During the annual appraisal cycle, your manager will ask you to write reports to explain your position, level of work, and performance.

If you have ever wondered how your manager decided to promote your colleague and not you, the answer may lie in his well-presented report.

Quick Source For Problem-Solving

There’s no denying that managers require accurate information on various topics to make quick decisions. Often due to urgency, managers only rely on business reports as an authentic source of information. Almost every employee would have witnessed a situation that needed the manager’s attention urgently. Reports come in handy during such situations.

Report writing is a significant exercise in many ways for your professional life. If you are not well-versed with it already, you must start working on your report writing skills now. For more help or guidance to learn this new skill, sign up for Harappa’s Writing Proficiently course.

Make the most of your time at home and master this new skill. Work on many assignments, improve your skills, and become a pro at report writing.

Explore our Harappa Diaries section to learn more about topics related to the Communicate habit such as the Importance of Writing Skills and the Cycle of Communication .

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Some academic assignments ask for a ‘report’, rather than an essay, and students are often confused about what that really means.

Likewise, in business, confronted with a request for a ‘report’ to a senior manager, many people struggle to know what to write.

Confusion often arises about the writing style, what to include, the language to use, the length of the document and other factors.

This page aims to disentangle some of these elements, and provide you with some advice designed to help you to write a good report.

What is a Report?

In academia there is some overlap between reports and essays, and the two words are sometimes used interchangeably, but reports are more likely to be needed for business, scientific and technical subjects, and in the workplace.

Whereas an essay presents arguments and reasoning, a report concentrates on facts.

Essentially, a report is a short, sharp, concise document which is written for a particular purpose and audience. It generally sets outs and analyses a situation or problem, often making recommendations for future action. It is a factual paper, and needs to be clear and well-structured.

Requirements for the precise form and content of a report will vary between organisation and departments and in study between courses, from tutor to tutor, as well as between subjects, so it’s worth finding out if there are any specific guidelines before you start.

Reports may contain some or all of the following elements:

  • A description of a sequence of events or a situation;
  • Some interpretation of the significance of these events or situation, whether solely your own analysis or informed by the views of others, always carefully referenced of course (see our page on Academic Referencing for more information);
  • An evaluation of the facts or the results of your research;
  • Discussion of the likely outcomes of future courses of action;
  • Your recommendations as to a course of action; and
  • Conclusions.

Not all of these elements will be essential in every report.

If you’re writing a report in the workplace, check whether there are any standard guidelines or structure that you need to use.

For example, in the UK many government departments have outline structures for reports to ministers that must be followed exactly.

Sections and Numbering

A report is designed to lead people through the information in a structured way, but also to enable them to find the information that they want quickly and easily.

Reports usually, therefore, have numbered sections and subsections, and a clear and full contents page listing each heading. It follows that page numbering is important.

Modern word processors have features to add tables of contents (ToC) and page numbers as well as styled headings; you should take advantage of these as they update automatically as you edit your report, moving, adding or deleting sections.

Report Writing

Getting started: prior preparation and planning.

The structure of a report is very important to lead the reader through your thinking to a course of action and/or decision. It’s worth taking a bit of time to plan it out beforehand.

Step 1: Know your brief

You will usually receive a clear brief for a report, including what you are studying and for whom the report should be prepared.

First of all, consider your brief very carefully and make sure that you are clear who the report is for (if you're a student then not just your tutor, but who it is supposed to be written for), and why you are writing it, as well as what you want the reader to do at the end of reading: make a decision or agree a recommendation, perhaps.

Step 2: Keep your brief in mind at all times

During your planning and writing, make sure that you keep your brief in mind: who are you writing for, and why are you writing?

All your thinking needs to be focused on that, which may require you to be ruthless in your reading and thinking. Anything irrelevant should be discarded.

As you read and research, try to organise your work into sections by theme, a bit like writing a Literature Review .

Make sure that you keep track of your references, especially for academic work. Although referencing is perhaps less important in the workplace, it’s also important that you can substantiate any assertions that you make so it’s helpful to keep track of your sources of information.

The Structure of a Report

Like the precise content, requirements for structure vary, so do check what’s set out in any guidance.

However, as a rough guide, you should plan to include at the very least an executive summary, introduction, the main body of your report, and a section containing your conclusions and any recommendations.

Executive Summary

The executive summary or abstract , for a scientific report, is a brief summary of the contents. It’s worth writing this last, when you know the key points to draw out. It should be no more than half a page to a page in length.

Remember the executive summary is designed to give busy 'executives' a quick summary of the contents of the report.

Introduction

The introduction sets out what you plan to say and provides a brief summary of the problem under discussion. It should also touch briefly on your conclusions.

Report Main Body

The main body of the report should be carefully structured in a way that leads the reader through the issue.

You should split it into sections using numbered sub-headings relating to themes or areas for consideration. For each theme, you should aim to set out clearly and concisely the main issue under discussion and any areas of difficulty or disagreement. It may also include experimental results. All the information that you present should be related back to the brief and the precise subject under discussion.

If it’s not relevant, leave it out.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The conclusion sets out what inferences you draw from the information, including any experimental results. It may include recommendations, or these may be included in a separate section.

Recommendations suggest how you think the situation could be improved, and should be specific, achievable and measurable. If your recommendations have financial implications, you should set these out clearly, with estimated costs if possible.

A Word on Writing Style

When writing a report, your aim should be to be absolutely clear. Above all, it should be easy to read and understand, even to someone with little knowledge of the subject area.

You should therefore aim for crisp, precise text, using plain English, and shorter words rather than longer, with short sentences.

You should also avoid jargon. If you have to use specialist language, you should explain each word as you use it. If you find that you’ve had to explain more than about five words, you’re probably using too much jargon, and need to replace some of it with simpler words.

Consider your audience. If the report is designed to be written for a particular person, check whether you should be writing it to ‘you’ or perhaps in the third person to a job role: ‘The Chief Executive may like to consider…’, or ‘The minister is recommended to agree…’, for example.

A Final Warning

As with any academic assignment or formal piece of writing, your work will benefit from being read over again and edited ruthlessly for sense and style.

Pay particular attention to whether all the information that you have included is relevant. Also remember to check tenses, which person you have written in, grammar and spelling. It’s also worth one last check against any requirements on structure.

For an academic assignment, make sure that you have referenced fully and correctly. As always, check that you have not inadvertently or deliberately plagiarised or copied anything without acknowledging it.

Finally, ask yourself:

“Does my report fulfil its purpose?”

Only if the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ should you send it off to its intended recipient.

Continue to: How to Write a Business Case Planning an Essay

See also: Business Writing Tips Study Skills Writing a Dissertation or Thesis

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Definition of report noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

  • Are these news reports true?
  • media/press/newspaper reports
  • report on something And now over to Jim Muir, for a report on the South African election.
  • A local news station aired a special report on the controversy.
  • according to a report According to this evening's weather report, there will be snow tomorrow.
  • Are these newspaper reports true?
  • It was many years before the full story was made public.
  • the front-page story
  • She gave the police a full account of the incident.
  • She gave us her version of what had happened that day.
  • a report/​story about something
  • a brief/​short report/​story/​account
  • a full report/​story/​account/​version
  • a news report/​story
  • to give a(n) report/​account/​version
  • correspondent
  • news agency
  • Our correspondent in Kabul files a report most days.
  • Join us tonight at 10 for a full report on the latest developments.
  • We could not find any detailed reports of the incident.
  • The spokesman confirmed a recent report in the Wall Street Journal.
  • She denied a report in the Las Vegas Sun that the exhibition was closing.
  • We have reviewed all reports from today's battle.
  • We'll have a live report from Manila in about 30 minutes.
  • investigative news reports about glitches in the system
  • The sites generate detailed travel reports.
  • The report went on to list her injuries.
  • groundbreaking
  • influential
  • give somebody
  • be based on something
  • address something
  • concern something
  • according to a/​the report
  • amid reports
  • in a/​the report

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information

  • a police report
  • The company has just released its annual report .
  • Can you give us a progress report?
  • report on something You need to compile a report on your findings.
  • Auditors normally issue a report as to whether the company accounts have been prepared correctly.
  • The lab report seems to be missing.
  • She spent hours in the law library browsing through case reports.
  • The autopsy report revealed that the man had been strangled.
  • She made her report to her senior colleagues.
  • Sentencing will be delayed until a psychiatric report is carried out.
  • I've asked Jen for a full report of the meeting.
  • I have to do a report for my boss by tomorrow.
  • A detailed medical report is required of all applicants.
  • fired for falsifying an expense report
  • daily status reports as to how and what we were doing
  • a damaging internal report on the department's organization
  • I will have to make a full report of the situation to my superiors.
  • I'll let you have a report as soon as I can.
  • I typed up a report about the morning's events for our clients.
  • Her report questions the scientific validity of the experiment.
  • Following discussion, the annual report was accepted unanimously.
  • The case has not yet been reported in the law reports.
  • The chairman's report provides a summary of operations.
  • They replied citing a report from the finance department.
  • the consumer report for this 1993 model
  • the company's summary report for the second quarter of this year
  • the government's latest employment report
  • a report to the academic community
  • The management team must make a full report to the board.
  • The company was asked to submit its annual report.

official study

  • to release/issue a report
  • report on something The committee will publish its report on the health service next week.
  • according to a report According to the report, we are facing an obesity crisis.
  • An official report quoted several leading scientists.
  • A recent report from the US Department of Education estimates that approximately 1.1 million students are being homeschooled.
  • In a report published today, the committee is expected to call for a new trial of GM crops.
  • The committee will publish an interim report on its findings to date.
  • According to a report issued by Morgan Stanley, China is a very significant market for luxury companies.
  • The UN released a report imploring wealthy countries to double their foreign aid.
  • The 124-page report was released today.
  • You can download the full report from our website.
  • A damning report by the Police Ombudsman was leaked to the press.
  • Police are still trying to come to terms with the report, which examined racial attitudes within the force.
  • The government commissioned a report into the rioting.
  • The report's authors have asked for more time to complete their enquiries.
  • Very few people in government actually read the report.
  • We will have to wait until they deliver their report before we can come to any conclusions.
  • An independent report highlighted some serious flaws in the child protection services.
  • a report by scientists
  • a confidential report leaked to the press
  • a report entitled ‘Kick-start’
  • an official report on the accident
  • a report from the select committee
  • a report linking ill health with industrial pollution
  • This report is based on the analysis of 600 completed questionnaires.
  • There have been many new findings since the original report.
  • The report warns that more job losses are likely.
  • The report notes evidence that secondary smoke harms unborn children.
  • The report looks at the health risks linked to obesity.
  • The report draws attention to the appalling conditions in the country's prisons.
  • The report called for sweeping changes in the education system.
  • Criticism has been directed at local businesses in a report out today.
  • The MPs called for a full report on the nuclear contract.
  • The committee presented its report to the Attorney General.
  • The department has launched a report into the bombing.
  • The findings are summarized in the report.
  • The government commissioned a report on the state of agriculture in the country.
  • The report admits to several outstanding questions about the safety of the waste dumps.
  • The report continued in similar vein.
  • The report fails to explain his decision.
  • The report reveals that debt has risen every year for the last ten years.
  • reports of something There are unconfirmed reports of a shooting in the capital.
  • I don't believe these reports of UFO sightings.
  • reports that… We are hearing reports that she has quit.
  • despite reports Despite reports claiming the market is heading for a crash, he predicts that prices will rise.
  • According to reports, this will be her last film before she retires.
  • The company made 50 people redundant last month, amid reports it was running out of cash.
  • We're investigating reports of an explosion in this area.
  • I based my statement on reports circulating at the time.
  • We've had reports of a gang shooting in the city.
  • Police received reports of drug dealing in the area.
  • We have received reports that civilians have been killed.
  • They could neither confirm nor deny reports that the chairperson was to be replaced.
  • This appears to confirm recent reports that the two stars are dating.
  • The minister denied reports that she was about to quit.
  • He denied reports of a dispute with the prime minister.
  • The company denied reports of its interest in a merger.
  • These reports surfaced throughout the summer.
  • There have been conflicting reports on the number of people killed.
  • The pro-democracy rally came amid reports of dissatisfaction among army officers.
  • Reports have indicated that a growing number of medium-sized companies are under financial pressure.
  • Reliable intelligence reports suggest that the terrorists have bases in five cities.
  • First reports of the accident are coming in.

on student’s work

  • a school report
  • to get a good/bad report
  • She got a better report card this time.
  • a weekly meeting with my direct reports
  • He was finding one of his reports very difficult to manage.
  • a loud report
  • (formal) talked about by people in a bad/good way

Other results

  • the Beveridge Report
  • the Wolfenden Report
  • US News and World Report
  • report stages
  • Beveridge Report
  • report back
  • report to somebody
  • report back (on something) (to somebody)

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Example sentences written report

Definition of 'report' report.

IPA Pronunciation Guide

Definition of 'written' written

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What is Report Writing? A Beginner's Guide

Explore the art of effective communication in our blog, "What is Report Writing? A Beginner's Guide." Discover the fundamental skills needed for Report Writing and how it plays a crucial role in various aspects of life, from academics to the professional world. Get started on your journey to becoming a proficient Report Writer.

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Well, you're in the right place. In this blog, we will explain What is Report Writing and take you through the world of Report Writing step by step. We'll explore different Report types, learn about the Report Writing format, discover helpful tips, and even distinguish it from other types of writing. 

Table of Contents  

1) Understanding What is Report Writing? 

2) Types of Reports 

3) What is the Report Writing format?  

4) Tips for effective Report Writing 

5) Difference between Project Writing and Report Writing 

6) Conclusion 

Understanding What is Report Writing? 

Report Writing is the process of presenting information in a structured and organised way. It serves as a means of communicating facts, findings, or recommendations to a specific audience, typically in a written format. This type of writing is used in various fields, including academics, business, science, and government, to convey important details and insights. 

A Report typically starts with a clear purpose or objective. The Writer gathers relevant information through research, observation, or data collection. This data is then analysed and organised into a coherent document. Reports can vary in length, complexity, and style, depending on the intended audience and purpose. 

One of the key aspects of Report Writing is its structure. A typical Report consists of sections such as an introduction, methodology, findings or results, discussion, and a conclusion. These sections help readers understand the context, the process of gathering information, the outcomes, and the significance of the findings. 

Reports often include visual aids like charts, graphs, and tables to make complex data more accessible. Additionally, citing sources is essential to provide credibility and allow readers to verify the information.  

Report Writing Training

Types of Reports 

Different Types of Reports serve various purposes, and understanding their distinctions is crucial for effective communication in academic, professional, and organisational settings. Here, we'll explore four common types of Reports:  

Types of Reports

Routine Reports 

Routine Reports are regular updates on ongoing activities, often within an organisation. These Reports provide concise information about daily or periodic operations, helping stakeholders stay informed and make informed decisions.  

They focus on facts and figures, avoid unnecessary details, and typically follow a standardised format. Examples include daily Sales Reports, Attendance Reports, And Inventory Status Reports. Routine Reports are essential for tracking performance and ensuring smooth operations. 

Special Reports 

Special Reports are more in-depth and are created for specific purposes, such as investigating a particular issue or analysing a unique situation. These Reports require extensive research and a comprehensive presentation of findings. They are often used to address complex problems or make critical decisions.  

For instance, a company might commission a Special Report to evaluate the impact of a new product launch, or a government agency might prepare a Special Report on the environmental impact of a policy change. Special Reports provide a thorough examination of a specific topic and often include detailed recommendations. 

Formal Reports 

Formal Reports are comprehensive and meticulously structured documents characterised by a standardised format. They usually include a title page, table of contents, executive summary, methodology, findings, discussion, recommendations, and conclusion. Formal Reports are common in academic and corporate environments, as well as in government and research institutions.  

They are used to present detailed information and analyses, often for decision-making or academic purposes. A thesis, a business proposal, or an annual Financial Report are examples of Formal Reports. These Reports require a high degree of professionalism and follow strict formatting and citation guidelines. 

Informal Reports 

Informal Reports are less structured and often used for internal communication within an organisation. They are generally shorter and more straightforward than Formal Reports, emphasising brevity and efficiency. Memos, email updates, and short Progress Reports are common examples of informal Reports. 

They serve to share information quickly, often within a department or among team members. Informal Reports are valuable for everyday communication, problem-solving, and decision-making within an organisation, and they do not require the extensive structure and formality of Formal Reports. 

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What is the Report Writing format?  

Report Writing Format is a way of organising and presenting information in a concise and clear manner. It usually follows a standard structure that can be adapted to different purposes and audiences. A typical Report Writing format consists of the following elements:  

Elements in Report Writing

a) Title page : This is the first page of the Report that contains the title, the author’s name, the date, and any other relevant information. 

b) Table of contents : This is an optional page that lists the sections and subsections of the Report with their corresponding page numbers. 

c) Executive summary (or abstract) : This serves as a concise summary outlining the key points and discoveries within the Report. It should be written in a clear and concise manner and highlight the purpose, scope, methodology, results, analysis, conclusion, and recommendations of the Report. 

d) Introduction : This is the first section of the Report that introduces the topic, background, objectives, and scope of the Report. It should also provide a clear statement of the problem or research question that the Report aims to address. 

e) Methodology : This is the section that describes how the data or information was collected and analysed. It should explain the methods, tools, techniques, sources, and criteria used in the research or investigation. It should also mention any limitations or challenges encountered in the process. 

f) Findings/results : This is the section that presents the data or information obtained from the research or investigation. It should be organised in a logical and coherent manner, using headings, subheadings, tables, graphs, charts, and other visual aids to illustrate the key points and trends. 

g) Analysis and discussion : This is the section that interprets and evaluates the findings or results of the Report. It should explain what the data or information means, how it relates to the problem or research question, and what implications or conclusions can be drawn from it. It should also compare and contrast the findings or results with other relevant sources or literature. 

h) Conclusion : This is the final section of the Report that summarises the main points and findings of the Report. It should restate the purpose, objectives, and scope of the Report and provide a clear answer to the problem or research question. It should also highlight the main implications or contributions of the Report to the field or topic of interest. 

i) Recommendations : This is an optional section that provides suggestions or actions based on the findings or conclusions of the Report. It should be realistic, feasible, and specific and address any issues or gaps identified in the Report. 

j) References : This is a list of sources that were cited or consulted in the Report. It should follow a consistent citation style, such as APA, MLA, Harvard, etc. 

k) Appendices : These are additional materials that support or supplement the main content of the Report. They may include data tables, calculations, questionnaires, interview transcripts, etc. 

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Tips for effective Report Writing 

Here are some tips for effective Report Writing:  

Tips for effective Report Writing

a) Know your purpose and audience : Before you start writing, you should have a clear idea of why you are writing the Report and who will read it. This will help you decide what information to include, what tone and style to use, and how to structure and format your Report. 

b) Plan and research : You should plan your Report by outlining the main sections and sub-sections and identifying the key points and arguments you want to make. You should also research your topic thoroughly, using reliable and relevant sources and taking notes of the data and evidence you will use to support your claims. 

c) Write and edit : You should write your Report in a concise and clear manner, using simple and precise language and avoiding jargon and slang. You should also follow the Report Writing format that suits your purpose and audience and use headings, subheadings, bullet points, tables, graphs, charts, and other visual aids to organise and present your information. You should also edit your Report carefully, checking for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting errors and ensuring that your Report is coherent and consistent. 

d) Use tools and software : You can use various tools and software to help you with your Report Writing process. For example, you can use Bing to search for information on your topic or to find examples of Reports written in different formats. You can write and edit your Report, using features such as grammar check, spell check, word count, citation manager, etc, in Google Docs or Microsoft Word. You can also use PowerPoint or Prezi to create and present your Report visually.

a) Purpose : Project Writing is usually done to demonstrate the student’s ability to apply their skills and knowledge to a specific problem or topic. Report Writing is usually done to present the results and findings of a research or investigation on a specific problem or topic. 

b) Format : Project Writing does not have a fixed format, but it may follow the structure of an essay, with an introduction, body, and conclusion. Report Writing has a fixed format, with a title page, table of contents, summary, introduction, methodology, findings/results, analysis/discussion, conclusion, recommendations, references, and appendices. 

c) Features : Project Writing is more creative and flexible than Report Writing. It may include personal opinions, reflections, or recommendations. Report Writing is more formal and objective than project writing. It should be based on reliable sources and data and avoid personal opinions or bias. 

d) Examples : Some examples of Project Writing are a business plan, a marketing campaign, a software development, a case study analysis, etc. Some examples of Report Writing are a Lab Report, a Market Research Report, a Scientific Report, a Feasibility Report, etc. 

Project Writing and Report Writing are different types of academic writing that require different skills and approaches. You should always check the requirements and expectations of your course and module handbooks, instructions from your lecturer, and your subject conventions before you start writing. 

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Conclusion 

Report Writing is a crucial skill that can open doors to various opportunities in your academic and professional life. By understanding What is Report Writing, the types of Reports, Report Writing formats, and following effective tips, you can become a proficient Report Writer. Moreover, recognising the differences between project writing, article writing, and Report Writing will help you choose the right approach for your communication needs. Finally, with the help of modern Report writing software, you can streamline the process and create impressive Reports that convey your message effectively.  

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What is Report Writing: Format, Examples, Types & Process

  • Table of Contents

Many professionals struggle to create effective reports due to a lack of understanding of the essential elements and organization required. This can lead to frustration and a failure to communicate key information to the intended audience.

In this blog, we’ll explore what is report writing, the types of reports, essential elements, and tips for creating effective reports to help you communicate your message and achieve your goals.

Definition of report writing? 

According to Mary Munter and Lynn Hamilton, authors of “Guide to Managerial Communication,” report writing is “the process of selecting, organizing, interpreting, and communicating information to meet a specific objective.”

What is report writing? 

Report writing refers to the process of creating a document that represents information in a clear and concise manner. Reports can be written for various purposes, such as providing updates on a project, analyzing data or presenting findings, or making recommendations.

Effective report writing requires careful planning, research, analysis, and organization of information. A well-structured report should be accurate, and objective, and contain a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. It should also be written in a professional and accessible style, with appropriate use of headings, subheadings, tables, graphs, and other visual aids.

Overall, report writing is an important skill for professionals in many fields, as it helps to communicate information and insights in a clear and concise manner.

What is a report? 

A report is a formal document that is structured and presented in an organized manner, with the aim of conveying information, analyzing data, and providing recommendations. It is often used to communicate findings and outcomes to a specific audience, such as stakeholders, or managers. Reports can vary in length and format, but they usually contain a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.

Types of report writing

By understanding the different types of report writing, individuals can select the appropriate format and structure to effectively communicate information and achieve their objectives. However, the kind of report used will depend on the purpose, audience, and context of the report.

1/ Informational reports: These reports provide information about a topic, such as a product, service, or process.

Further Reading : What is an information report

2/ Analytical reports: These reports present data or information in a structured and organized manner, often with charts, graphs, or tables, to help the reader understand trends, patterns, or relationships.

3/ Formal Reports: These are detailed and structured reports written for a specific audience, often with a specific objective. In comparison with informal reports , formal reports are typically longer and more complex than other types of reports. 

4/ Progress reports: These reports provide updates on a project or initiative, detailing the progress made and any challenges or obstacles encountered. 

5/ Technical reports: These reports provide technical information, such as specifications, designs, or performance data, often aimed at a technical audience.

6/ Research reports: These reports present the findings of research conducted on a particular topic or issue, often including a literature review, data analysis, and conclusions.

7/ Feasibility Report: A feasibility report assesses the likelihood of achieving success for a suggested project or initiative.

8/ Business Reports: These reports are used in a business setting to communicate information about a company’s performance, operations, or strategies. Different types of business reports include financial statements, marketing reports, and annual reports.

Structure of report writing 

The structure of a report refers to the overall organization and layout of the report, including the sections and subsections that make up the report, their order, and their relationships to each other. A report can we divided into three parts. 

Preliminary Parts:

  • Acknowledgments (Preface or Foreword)
  • List of Tables and Illustrations
  • Introduction (clear statement of research objectives, background information, hypotheses, methodology, statistical analysis, scope of study, limitations)
  • Statement of findings and recommendations (summarized findings, non-technical language)
  • Results (detailed presentation of findings with supporting data in the form of tables and charts, statistical summaries, and reductions of data, presented in a logical sequence)
  • Implications of the results (clearly stated implications that flow from the results of the study)
  • Summary (brief summary of the research problem, methodology, major findings, and major conclusions)

End Matter:

  • Appendices (technical data such as questionnaires, sample information, and mathematical derivations)
  • Bibliography of sources consulted.

This structure provides a clear and organized framework for presenting a research report, ensuring that all important information is included and presented in a logical and easy-to-follow manner.

Extra Learnings Role of a report structure in report writing  The report structure plays a crucial role in report writing as it provides a clear and organized framework for presenting information in an effective and logical manner. It ensures that the reader can easily understand the purpose and scope of the report, locate and access the relevant information.  The preliminary parts of the report, provide an overview of the report and aid navigation. The main text makes it easier for the reader to comprehend and analyze the information. And The end matter provides additional details and sources for reference. An organized report structure also helps the author to communicate their research and ideas effectively to the intended audience.

What is the report writing format? 

The format of report writing refers to the structure of a formal document that provides information on a particular topic or issue. The report writing format typically includes the following key components: 

8 Essential elements of report writing are: 

1/ Title: The title is the first thing that readers will see, and it should be clear and concise. The title should include the report’s subject or topic and the author’s name, date of writing, or who the report is for. Remember to keep the title brief and informative, avoiding vague or ambiguous language.

Example of Business Report Title Page:   “Market Analysis and Growth Strategies for XYZ Corporation” Author: Mary Johnson Date: January 2, 2022 Company: Earthcon Corporation Department: Strategy and Planning

In this example, the title page includes the name of the report, ‘Market Analysis 2022,’ the author’s name, ‘John Doe,’ the submission date, ‘January 1, 2024,’ and other details such as the name of the organization, ‘Earthcon Corporation.’

2/ Table of Contents : The table of contents provides an overview of the report’s contents. It should list all sections and subsections with clear headings. It is essential to make the table of contents organized and easy to read, allowing readers to locate specific information quickly.

Example of  Table of Contents I. Introduction…… 1 Purpose of the Report…… 2 Methodology Used…… 2 II. Executive Summary…… 3 III. Background and Context…… 3 IV. Analysis and Findings…… 4 Market Trends and Data…… 5 Competitor Analysis…… 6 SWOT Analysis…… 7 V. Recommendations and Conclusion…… 8 VI. References…… 9

3/ Summary : Also known as the executive summary, the summary provides a brief overview of the entire report. It should summarize the report’s main points, including findings, objectives, and recommendations. The summary should be written after the entire report is completed, and it should be concise and summarized in less than one page.

Example of executive summary: The Annual Sales Report for Earthcon Company shows a 10% increase in overall sales compared to the previous year. The report also reveals that the majority of sales came from the Midwest region and the target demographic is primarily males aged 25-40. Based on these findings, recommendations have been made to focus marketing efforts towards this demographic in the upcoming year.

4/ Introduction : The introduction introduces the report’s topic and informs readers what they can expect to find in the report. The introduction should capture readers’ attention and provide relevant background information. It should be clear and concise, including why the report was written and its objectives.

Example of Introduction:  This comprehensive report aims to analyze and evaluate the sales performance of EarthCon Corporation throughout 2024. It will look into detailed sales trends observed throughout the year, carefully examining the various factors that have influenced these trends. Additionally, the report will identify and highlight potential areas for growth, offering valuable insights and recommendations to drive future success.

5/ Body: The body is the longest section and includes all the information, data, and analysis. It should present information in an organized manner, often using subheadings and bullet points. The body should include all relevant research findings and data, often accompanied by visuals such as graphs and tables. It is essential to cite all sources correctly and remain objective, avoiding personal opinions or biases.

Example of Background and Context: This report seeks to analyze the influence of technological advancements on business productivity. Previous research has indicated a correlation between the adoption of innovative technologies and increased operational efficiency for Earthcon. The report will examine further into this topic and offer suggestions for maximizing the benefits of these advancements. Example of Analysis and Findings: The market trends and data show a steady increase in demand for innovative products, with a significant rise in sales in the past five years. In comparison, competitor analysis reveals that Earthcon Corporation is well-positioned to take advantage of this trend due to its strong brand reputation and product portfolio. A SWOT analysis also highlights potential areas for improvement and growth.

6/ Conclusion: The conclusion summarizes the findings and conclusions of the report. It should wrap up all the essential information presented in the body and make recommendations based on the report’s findings. The conclusion must be brief and clear, avoiding the introduction of any new information not previously presented in the body.

7/ Recommendations: The recommendation section should provide suggested goals or steps based on the report’s information. It should be realistic and achievable, providing well-crafted solutions. It is often included in the conclusion section.

Example of Recommendations and Conclusion: Based on the analysis, it is recommended that EarthCon Corporation invest in research and development to continue producing innovative products. Additionally, efforts should be made to expand into emerging markets to increase global reach. In conclusion, the Annual Sales Report shows positive outcomes and recommends strategic actions for future growth.

8/ Appendices: The appendices section includes additional technical information or supporting materials, such as research questionnaires or survey data. It should provide supplementary information to the report without disrupting the report’s main content. 

It is important to use clear headings and subheadings and to label tables and figures. Also, proofreading and fact-checking are critical before submitting the report. A well-crafted report is concise, informative and free of personal bias or opinions.

What are the features of report writing

There are several key features of effective report writing that can help ensure that the information presented is clear, concise, and useful. Some of these features include:

1/ Clarity: Reports should be written in clear and concise language, avoiding jargon or technical terms that may be confusing to the reader. 

2/ Objectivity: A report should be objective, meaning that it should be free from bias or personal opinions. This is particularly important when presenting data or analysis.

3/ Accuracy: Reports should be based on reliable sources and accurate data. Information should be verified and cross-checked to ensure that it is correct and up-to-date.

4/ Structure: A report should be structured in a logical and organized manner, with clear headings, subheadings, and sections. 

5/ Visual aids: A report may include visual aids such as charts, tables, and graphs, which can help to illustrate the key points and make the information easier to understand.

6/ Evidence: Reports should include evidence to support any claims or findings, such as statistics, quotes, or references to relevant literature.

7/ Recommendations: Many reports include recommendations or suggestions for future action based on the findings or analysis presented.

Significance of report writing

Report writing is a critical skill that can have a significant impact on individuals, and organizations. In fact, a report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that the ability to communicate effectively, including report writing, was the most important skill sought by employers.

  • Reports provide decision-makers with the information they need to make informed decisions.
  • Effective report writing demonstrates professionalism and attention to detail, which can help to build trust and credibility with clients.
  • Reports can inform planning processes by providing data and insights that can be used to develop strategies and allocate resources.
  • Reports often include recommendations or suggestions for future action, which can help to improve processes, procedures, or outcomes.
Further Reading: What is the significance of report writing

Report writing examples and samples

Annual-Business-Report-of-Reliance-industries

Example of Progress Report

Sample-of-progress-report

The essential process of report writing

Report writing requires careful planning, organization, and analysis to ensure that the report effectively communicates the intended message to the audience. Here are the general steps involved in the process of report writing:

Plan and prepare:

  • Identify the purpose of the report, the target audience, and the scope of the report.
  • Collect and examine data from different sources, including research studies, surveys, or interviews.
  • Create an outline of the report, including headings and subheadings.

Write the introduction:

  • Start with a brief summary of the report and its purpose.
  • Provide background information and context for the report.
  • Explain the research methodology and approach used.

Write the main body:

  • Divide the report into logical sections, each with a clear heading.
  • Present the findings and analysis of the research in a clear and organized manner.
  • Use appropriate visual aids, such as tables, graphs, or charts to present data and information.
  • Utilize a language that is both clear and Brief, and avoid using unnecessary jargon or technical terminology.
  • Cite all sources used in the report according to a specified citation style.

Write the conclusion:

  • Summarize the main findings and conclusions of the report.
  • Restate the purpose of the report and how it was achieved.
  • Provide recommendations or suggestions for further action, if applicable.

Edit and revise:

  • Review the report for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  • Check that all information is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Revise and improve the report as necessary.

Format and present:

  • Use a professional and appropriate format for the report.
  • Include a title page, table of contents, and list of references or citations.
  • Incorporate headings, subheadings, and bullet points to enhance the report’s readability and facilitate navigation.
  • Use appropriate fonts and sizes, and ensure that the report is well-structured and visually appealing.

Important Principles of report writing

To write an effective report, it is important to follow some basic principles. These principles ensure that your report is clear, concise, accurate, and informative. In this regard, here are some of the key principles that you should keep in mind when writing a report:

1/ Clarity: The report should be clear and easy to understand. 

2/ Completeness: The report should cover all the relevant information needed to understand the topic

3/ Conciseness: A report should be concise, presenting only the information that is relevant and necessary to the topic. 

4/ Formatting: The report should be properly formatted, with consistent fonts, spacing, and margins

5/ Relevance: The information presented in the report should be relevant to the purpose of the report.

6/ Timeliness: The report should be completed and delivered in a timely manner.

7/ Presentation: The report should be visually appealing and well-presented.

Extra Learnings Styles of report writing When it comes to the style of report writing, it’s important to use hard facts and figures, evidence, and justification. Using efficient language is crucial since lengthy reports with too many words are difficult to read. The most effective reports are easy and quick to read since the writer has comprehended the data and formulated practical recommendations. To achieve this, it’s important to write as you speak, avoid empty words, use descending order of importance, use an active voice, and keep sentences short. The goal should be to write to express and not to impress the reader.  It’s also important to get facts 100% right and to be unbiased and open. By following these tips, one can create a well-written report that is easy to understand and provides valuable insights.

Differences between a report and other forms of writing

Reports are a specific form of writing that serves a distinct purpose and have unique characteristics. Unlike other forms of writing, such as essays or fiction, reports are typically focused on presenting factual information and making recommendations based on that information. Below we have differentiated report writing with various other forms of writing.

Essay vs report writing

Project writing vs report writing, research methodology vs report writing, article writing vs report writing, content writing vs report writing, business plan vs report writing, latest topics for report writing in 2024.

The possibilities for report topics may depend on the goals and scope of the report. The key is to choose a topic that is relevant and interesting to your audience, and that you can conduct thorough research on in order to provide meaningful insights and recommendations.  

  • A market analysis for a new product or service. 
  • An evaluation of employee satisfaction in a company. 
  • A review of the state of cybersecurity in a particular industry. 
  • A study of the prevalence and consequences of workplace discrimination. 
  • Analysis of the environmental impact of a particular industry or company. 
  • An assessment of the impact of new technology or innovations on a particular industry or sector. 

Report writing skills and techniques 

Effective report writing requires a combination of skills and techniques to communicate information and recommendations in a clear, and engaging manner.

From organizing information to tailoring the report to the intended audience, there are many factors to consider when writing a report. By mastering these skills and techniques, you can ensure that your report is well-written, informative, and engaging for your audience. Some of the primary ones are: 

1/ Organization and structure: Structure your report in a logical and organized manner with headings and subheadings.

2/ Use of data and evidence: Present objective data and evidence to support your findings and recommendations.

3/ Audience awareness: Tailor your report to the needs and interests of your intended audience.

4/ Effective visuals: Use graphs, charts, or other visuals to communicate complex information in a clear and engaging way.

5/ Editing and proofreading: Carefully edit and proofread your report to ensure it is error-free and professional.

6/ Tone: Use a professional and objective tone to communicate your findings and recommendations.

7/ Time management: Manage your time effectively to ensure you have enough time to research, write, and revise your report.

Tips for effective report writing

  • Understand your audience before you start writing. 
  • Start with an outline and cover all the important points. 
  • Employ clear and concise language.
  • Utilize headings and subheadings to organize your report.
  • Incorporate evidence and examples to support your points.
  • Thoroughly edit and proofread your report before submission.
  • Follow formatting guidelines If your report has specific formatting requirements.
  • Use visuals to enhance understanding.

What is the ethical consideration involved in report writing 

Ethical considerations play a crucial role in report writing. The accuracy of the information presented in the report is of utmost importance, as it forms the basis for any conclusions or recommendations that may be made. In addition, it is essential to avoid plagiarism by giving credit to the original sources of information and ideas. 

Another crucial ethical consideration is confidentiality, particularly when the report contains sensitive or confidential information. It is important to safeguard this information and prevent its disclosure to unauthorized individuals.

Avoiding bias in report writing is also crucial, as it is essential to present information in an objective and unbiased manner. In cases where research or data collection is involved, obtaining informed consent from human subjects is a necessary ethical requirement.

By taking these ethical considerations into account, report writers can ensure that their work is fair, accurate, and respectful to all parties involved.

Common mistakes in report writing 

There are several common mistakes that students and report writers make in report writing. By avoiding these common mistakes, students as well as report writers can create effective and impactful reports that are clear, accurate, and objective.

1/ Writing in the first person: Often, students and report writers commit an error by writing in the first person and utilizing words such as “I” or “me. In reports, it is recommended to write impersonally, using the passive voice instead.

2/ Using the wrong format: Reports should use numbered headings and subheadings to structure the content, while essays should have a clear line of argument in their content.

3/ Failing to introduce the content: The introduction of the report should introduce the content of the report, not the subject for discussion. It is important to explain the scope of the report and what is to follow, rather than explaining what a certain concept is.

4/ Missing relevant sections: Students and report writers, often miss out on including relevant sections that were specified in the assignment instructions, such as a bibliography or certain types of information. This can result in poor interpretation.

5/ Poor proofreading: Finally, not spending enough time proofreading the reported work can create unwanted mistakes. Therefore, It is important to proofread and correct errors multiple times before submitting the final report to avoid any mistakes that could have been easily corrected.

By avoiding these common mistakes, students and report writers can improve the quality of their reports. 

What are some challenges of report writing and how to overcome them

Report writing can be a challenging task for many reasons. Here are some common challenges of report writing and how to overcome them:

1/ Lack of clarity on the purpose of the report: To overcome this challenge, it is important to clearly define the purpose of the report before starting. This can help to focus the content of the report and ensure that it meets the needs of the intended audience.

2/ Difficulty in organizing ideas: Reports often require a significant amount of information to be organized in a logical and coherent manner. To overcome this challenge, it can be helpful to create an outline or flowchart to organize ideas before beginning to write.

3/ Time management: Writing a report can be time-consuming, and it is important to allow sufficient time to complete the task. To overcome this challenge, it can be helpful to create a timeline or schedule for the various stages of the report-writing process.

4/ Writer’s block: Sometimes writers may experience writer’s block, making it difficult to start or continue writing the report. To overcome this challenge, it can be helpful to take a break, engage in other activities or brainstorming sessions to generate new ideas.

5/ Difficulty in citing sources: It is important to properly cite sources used in the report to avoid plagiarism and maintain credibility. To overcome this challenge, it can be helpful to use citation management tools, such as EndNote or Mendeley, to keep track of sources and ensure accurate referencing.

6/ Review and editing: Reviewing and editing a report can be a challenging task, especially when it is one’s own work. To overcome this challenge, it can be helpful to take a break before reviewing the report and seek feedback from others to gain a fresh perspective.

By being aware of these challenges and taking proactive steps to overcome them, report writers can create effective and impactful reports that meet the needs of their intended audience.

Best Software for writing reports 

Report writing software has made it easier for writers to produce professional-looking reports with ease. These software tools offer a range of features and functionalities, including data visualization, collaboration, and customization options. In this section, we will explore some of the best report-writing software available:

1/ Tableau : This tool is great for creating interactive and visually appealing reports, as it allows users to easily create charts, graphs, and other data visualizations. It also supports data blending, which means that you can combine data from multiple sources to create more comprehensive reports.

2/ Zoho reporting : This tool is designed to help users create and share professional-looking reports quickly and easily. It offers a variety of customizable templates, as well as a drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy to add data and create charts and graphs.

3/ Bold Reports by Syncfusion : This tool is designed specifically for creating reports in .NET applications. It offers a wide range of features, including interactive dashboards, real-time data connectivity, and customizable themes and templates.

4/  Fast Reports : This tool is a reporting solution for businesses of all sizes. It allows users to create reports quickly and easily using a drag-and-drop interface and offers a variety of templates and customization options. It also supports a wide range of data sources, including databases, spreadsheets, and web services.

Further Reading : 10+ Best Report Writing Software and Tools in 2024

What is the conclusion of report writing

The conclusion of report writing is the final section of the report that summarizes the main findings, conclusions, and recommendations. It should tie together all the different sections of the report and present a clear and concise summary of the key points. 

THE UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE has given an inverted introduction framework that can use used for writing effective conclusions for reports. 

inverted-introduction-pyramid-framework

Example of conclusion in report writing:

The implication of the above diagram can be explained with the following example:  

1. RETURN TO TOPIC:

Social media has revolutionized the marketing landscape, providing new opportunities for brands to connect with their target audience.

2. RESTATE THESIS:

However, the complexities and limitations of social media mean that it is unlikely to completely replace traditional marketing methods. The role of the marketing professional remains crucial in ensuring that social media strategies align with the company’s overall goals and effectively reach the desired audience.

3. SUMMARY OF IDEAS DISCUSSED:

Automated tools cannot fully account for the nuances of human communication or provide the level of personalization that consumers crave. Therefore, the most effective marketing strategies will likely blend social media tactics with traditional marketing channels.

4. CONCLUDING STATEMENT [restating thesis]:

In conclusion, while social media presents significant opportunities for brands, the expertise of marketing professionals is still essential to creating successful campaigns that achieve desired outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1) what is report writing and example.

Ans: Report writing involves preparing a structured document that delivers information to a particular audience in a clear and systematic manner. An example of a report could be a business report analyzing the financial performance of a company and making recommendations for improvement.

Q2) What is report writing and types of reports?

Ans: The act of presenting information in an orderly and structured format is known as report writing. Reports come in different types, such as analytical reports, research reports, financial reports, progress reports, incident reports, feasibility reports, and recommendation reports.

Q3) What are the 5 steps of report writing

The five steps of report writing, are as follows:

  • Planning: This involves defining the purpose of the report, determining the audience, and conducting research to gather the necessary information.
  • Structuring: This step involves deciding on the structure of the report, such as the sections and subsections, and creating an outline.
  • Writing: This is the stage where the actual writing of the report takes place, including drafting and revising the content.
  • Reviewing: In this step, the report is reviewed for accuracy, coherence, and effectiveness, and any necessary changes are made.
  • Presenting: This final step involves presenting the report in a clear and professional manner, such as through the use of headings, visuals, and a table of contents.

Q4) What is a report in short answer? 

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  • Definition of written
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  • Research Report: Definition, Types + [Writing Guide]

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One of the reasons for carrying out research is to add to the existing body of knowledge. Therefore, when conducting research, you need to document your processes and findings in a research report. 

With a research report, it is easy to outline the findings of your systematic investigation and any gaps needing further inquiry. Knowing how to create a detailed research report will prove useful when you need to conduct research.  

What is a Research Report?

A research report is a well-crafted document that outlines the processes, data, and findings of a systematic investigation. It is an important document that serves as a first-hand account of the research process, and it is typically considered an objective and accurate source of information.

In many ways, a research report can be considered as a summary of the research process that clearly highlights findings, recommendations, and other important details. Reading a well-written research report should provide you with all the information you need about the core areas of the research process.

Features of a Research Report 

So how do you recognize a research report when you see one? Here are some of the basic features that define a research report. 

  • It is a detailed presentation of research processes and findings, and it usually includes tables and graphs. 
  • It is written in a formal language.
  • A research report is usually written in the third person.
  • It is informative and based on first-hand verifiable information.
  • It is formally structured with headings, sections, and bullet points.
  • It always includes recommendations for future actions. 

Types of Research Report 

The research report is classified based on two things; nature of research and target audience.

Nature of Research

  • Qualitative Research Report

This is the type of report written for qualitative research . It outlines the methods, processes, and findings of a qualitative method of systematic investigation. In educational research, a qualitative research report provides an opportunity for one to apply his or her knowledge and develop skills in planning and executing qualitative research projects.

A qualitative research report is usually descriptive in nature. Hence, in addition to presenting details of the research process, you must also create a descriptive narrative of the information.

  • Quantitative Research Report

A quantitative research report is a type of research report that is written for quantitative research. Quantitative research is a type of systematic investigation that pays attention to numerical or statistical values in a bid to find answers to research questions. 

In this type of research report, the researcher presents quantitative data to support the research process and findings. Unlike a qualitative research report that is mainly descriptive, a quantitative research report works with numbers; that is, it is numerical in nature. 

Target Audience

Also, a research report can be said to be technical or popular based on the target audience. If you’re dealing with a general audience, you would need to present a popular research report, and if you’re dealing with a specialized audience, you would submit a technical report. 

  • Technical Research Report

A technical research report is a detailed document that you present after carrying out industry-based research. This report is highly specialized because it provides information for a technical audience; that is, individuals with above-average knowledge in the field of study. 

In a technical research report, the researcher is expected to provide specific information about the research process, including statistical analyses and sampling methods. Also, the use of language is highly specialized and filled with jargon. 

Examples of technical research reports include legal and medical research reports. 

  • Popular Research Report

A popular research report is one for a general audience; that is, for individuals who do not necessarily have any knowledge in the field of study. A popular research report aims to make information accessible to everyone. 

It is written in very simple language, which makes it easy to understand the findings and recommendations. Examples of popular research reports are the information contained in newspapers and magazines. 

Importance of a Research Report 

  • Knowledge Transfer: As already stated above, one of the reasons for carrying out research is to contribute to the existing body of knowledge, and this is made possible with a research report. A research report serves as a means to effectively communicate the findings of a systematic investigation to all and sundry.  
  • Identification of Knowledge Gaps: With a research report, you’d be able to identify knowledge gaps for further inquiry. A research report shows what has been done while hinting at other areas needing systematic investigation. 
  • In market research, a research report would help you understand the market needs and peculiarities at a glance. 
  • A research report allows you to present information in a precise and concise manner. 
  • It is time-efficient and practical because, in a research report, you do not have to spend time detailing the findings of your research work in person. You can easily send out the report via email and have stakeholders look at it. 

Guide to Writing a Research Report

A lot of detail goes into writing a research report, and getting familiar with the different requirements would help you create the ideal research report. A research report is usually broken down into multiple sections, which allows for a concise presentation of information.

Structure and Example of a Research Report

This is the title of your systematic investigation. Your title should be concise and point to the aims, objectives, and findings of a research report. 

  • Table of Contents

This is like a compass that makes it easier for readers to navigate the research report.

An abstract is an overview that highlights all important aspects of the research including the research method, data collection process, and research findings. Think of an abstract as a summary of your research report that presents pertinent information in a concise manner. 

An abstract is always brief; typically 100-150 words and goes straight to the point. The focus of your research abstract should be the 5Ws and 1H format – What, Where, Why, When, Who and How. 

  • Introduction

Here, the researcher highlights the aims and objectives of the systematic investigation as well as the problem which the systematic investigation sets out to solve. When writing the report introduction, it is also essential to indicate whether the purposes of the research were achieved or would require more work.

In the introduction section, the researcher specifies the research problem and also outlines the significance of the systematic investigation. Also, the researcher is expected to outline any jargons and terminologies that are contained in the research.  

  • Literature Review

A literature review is a written survey of existing knowledge in the field of study. In other words, it is the section where you provide an overview and analysis of different research works that are relevant to your systematic investigation. 

It highlights existing research knowledge and areas needing further investigation, which your research has sought to fill. At this stage, you can also hint at your research hypothesis and its possible implications for the existing body of knowledge in your field of study. 

  • An Account of Investigation

This is a detailed account of the research process, including the methodology, sample, and research subjects. Here, you are expected to provide in-depth information on the research process including the data collection and analysis procedures. 

In a quantitative research report, you’d need to provide information surveys, questionnaires and other quantitative data collection methods used in your research. In a qualitative research report, you are expected to describe the qualitative data collection methods used in your research including interviews and focus groups. 

In this section, you are expected to present the results of the systematic investigation. 

This section further explains the findings of the research, earlier outlined. Here, you are expected to present a justification for each outcome and show whether the results are in line with your hypotheses or if other research studies have come up with similar results.

  • Conclusions

This is a summary of all the information in the report. It also outlines the significance of the entire study. 

  • References and Appendices

This section contains a list of all the primary and secondary research sources. 

Tips for Writing a Research Report

  • Define the Context for the Report

As is obtainable when writing an essay, defining the context for your research report would help you create a detailed yet concise document. This is why you need to create an outline before writing so that you do not miss out on anything. 

  • Define your Audience

Writing with your audience in mind is essential as it determines the tone of the report. If you’re writing for a general audience, you would want to present the information in a simple and relatable manner. For a specialized audience, you would need to make use of technical and field-specific terms. 

  • Include Significant Findings

The idea of a research report is to present some sort of abridged version of your systematic investigation. In your report, you should exclude irrelevant information while highlighting only important data and findings. 

  • Include Illustrations

Your research report should include illustrations and other visual representations of your data. Graphs, pie charts, and relevant images lend additional credibility to your systematic investigation.

  • Choose the Right Title

A good research report title is brief, precise, and contains keywords from your research. It should provide a clear idea of your systematic investigation so that readers can grasp the entire focus of your research from the title. 

  • Proofread the Report

Before publishing the document, ensure that you give it a second look to authenticate the information. If you can, get someone else to go through the report, too, and you can also run it through proofreading and editing software. 

How to Gather Research Data for Your Report  

  • Understand the Problem

Every research aims at solving a specific problem or set of problems, and this should be at the back of your mind when writing your research report. Understanding the problem would help you to filter the information you have and include only important data in your report. 

  • Know what your report seeks to achieve

This is somewhat similar to the point above because, in some way, the aim of your research report is intertwined with the objectives of your systematic investigation. Identifying the primary purpose of writing a research report would help you to identify and present the required information accordingly. 

  • Identify your audience

Knowing your target audience plays a crucial role in data collection for a research report. If your research report is specifically for an organization, you would want to present industry-specific information or show how the research findings are relevant to the work that the company does. 

  • Create Surveys/Questionnaires

A survey is a research method that is used to gather data from a specific group of people through a set of questions. It can be either quantitative or qualitative. 

A survey is usually made up of structured questions, and it can be administered online or offline. However, an online survey is a more effective method of research data collection because it helps you save time and gather data with ease. 

You can seamlessly create an online questionnaire for your research on Formplus . With the multiple sharing options available in the builder, you would be able to administer your survey to respondents in little or no time. 

Formplus also has a report summary too l that you can use to create custom visual reports for your research.

Step-by-step guide on how to create an online questionnaire using Formplus  

  • Sign into Formplus

In the Formplus builder, you can easily create different online questionnaires for your research by dragging and dropping preferred fields into your form. To access the Formplus builder, you will need to create an account on Formplus. 

Once you do this, sign in to your account and click on Create new form to begin. 

  • Edit Form Title : Click on the field provided to input your form title, for example, “Research Questionnaire.”
  • Edit Form : Click on the edit icon to edit the form.
  • Add Fields : Drag and drop preferred form fields into your form in the Formplus builder inputs column. There are several field input options for questionnaires in the Formplus builder. 
  • Edit fields
  • Click on “Save”
  • Form Customization: With the form customization options in the form builder, you can easily change the outlook of your form and make it more unique and personalized. Formplus allows you to change your form theme, add background images, and even change the font according to your needs. 
  • Multiple Sharing Options: Formplus offers various form-sharing options, which enables you to share your questionnaire with respondents easily. You can use the direct social media sharing buttons to share your form link to your organization’s social media pages.  You can also send out your survey form as email invitations to your research subjects too. If you wish, you can share your form’s QR code or embed it on your organization’s website for easy access. 

Conclusion  

Always remember that a research report is just as important as the actual systematic investigation because it plays a vital role in communicating research findings to everyone else. This is why you must take care to create a concise document summarizing the process of conducting any research. 

In this article, we’ve outlined essential tips to help you create a research report. When writing your report, you should always have the audience at the back of your mind, as this would set the tone for the document. 

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Home » Research Report – Example, Writing Guide and Types

Research Report – Example, Writing Guide and Types

Table of Contents

Research Report

Research Report

Definition:

Research Report is a written document that presents the results of a research project or study, including the research question, methodology, results, and conclusions, in a clear and objective manner.

The purpose of a research report is to communicate the findings of the research to the intended audience, which could be other researchers, stakeholders, or the general public.

Components of Research Report

Components of Research Report are as follows:

Introduction

The introduction sets the stage for the research report and provides a brief overview of the research question or problem being investigated. It should include a clear statement of the purpose of the study and its significance or relevance to the field of research. It may also provide background information or a literature review to help contextualize the research.

Literature Review

The literature review provides a critical analysis and synthesis of the existing research and scholarship relevant to the research question or problem. It should identify the gaps, inconsistencies, and contradictions in the literature and show how the current study addresses these issues. The literature review also establishes the theoretical framework or conceptual model that guides the research.

Methodology

The methodology section describes the research design, methods, and procedures used to collect and analyze data. It should include information on the sample or participants, data collection instruments, data collection procedures, and data analysis techniques. The methodology should be clear and detailed enough to allow other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the study in a clear and objective manner. It should provide a detailed description of the data and statistics used to answer the research question or test the hypothesis. Tables, graphs, and figures may be included to help visualize the data and illustrate the key findings.

The discussion section interprets the results of the study and explains their significance or relevance to the research question or problem. It should also compare the current findings with those of previous studies and identify the implications for future research or practice. The discussion should be based on the results presented in the previous section and should avoid speculation or unfounded conclusions.

The conclusion summarizes the key findings of the study and restates the main argument or thesis presented in the introduction. It should also provide a brief overview of the contributions of the study to the field of research and the implications for practice or policy.

The references section lists all the sources cited in the research report, following a specific citation style, such as APA or MLA.

The appendices section includes any additional material, such as data tables, figures, or instruments used in the study, that could not be included in the main text due to space limitations.

Types of Research Report

Types of Research Report are as follows:

Thesis is a type of research report. A thesis is a long-form research document that presents the findings and conclusions of an original research study conducted by a student as part of a graduate or postgraduate program. It is typically written by a student pursuing a higher degree, such as a Master’s or Doctoral degree, although it can also be written by researchers or scholars in other fields.

Research Paper

Research paper is a type of research report. A research paper is a document that presents the results of a research study or investigation. Research papers can be written in a variety of fields, including science, social science, humanities, and business. They typically follow a standard format that includes an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion sections.

Technical Report

A technical report is a detailed report that provides information about a specific technical or scientific problem or project. Technical reports are often used in engineering, science, and other technical fields to document research and development work.

Progress Report

A progress report provides an update on the progress of a research project or program over a specific period of time. Progress reports are typically used to communicate the status of a project to stakeholders, funders, or project managers.

Feasibility Report

A feasibility report assesses the feasibility of a proposed project or plan, providing an analysis of the potential risks, benefits, and costs associated with the project. Feasibility reports are often used in business, engineering, and other fields to determine the viability of a project before it is undertaken.

Field Report

A field report documents observations and findings from fieldwork, which is research conducted in the natural environment or setting. Field reports are often used in anthropology, ecology, and other social and natural sciences.

Experimental Report

An experimental report documents the results of a scientific experiment, including the hypothesis, methods, results, and conclusions. Experimental reports are often used in biology, chemistry, and other sciences to communicate the results of laboratory experiments.

Case Study Report

A case study report provides an in-depth analysis of a specific case or situation, often used in psychology, social work, and other fields to document and understand complex cases or phenomena.

Literature Review Report

A literature review report synthesizes and summarizes existing research on a specific topic, providing an overview of the current state of knowledge on the subject. Literature review reports are often used in social sciences, education, and other fields to identify gaps in the literature and guide future research.

Research Report Example

Following is a Research Report Example sample for Students:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Academic Performance among High School Students

This study aims to investigate the relationship between social media use and academic performance among high school students. The study utilized a quantitative research design, which involved a survey questionnaire administered to a sample of 200 high school students. The findings indicate that there is a negative correlation between social media use and academic performance, suggesting that excessive social media use can lead to poor academic performance among high school students. The results of this study have important implications for educators, parents, and policymakers, as they highlight the need for strategies that can help students balance their social media use and academic responsibilities.

Introduction:

Social media has become an integral part of the lives of high school students. With the widespread use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, students can connect with friends, share photos and videos, and engage in discussions on a range of topics. While social media offers many benefits, concerns have been raised about its impact on academic performance. Many studies have found a negative correlation between social media use and academic performance among high school students (Kirschner & Karpinski, 2010; Paul, Baker, & Cochran, 2012).

Given the growing importance of social media in the lives of high school students, it is important to investigate its impact on academic performance. This study aims to address this gap by examining the relationship between social media use and academic performance among high school students.

Methodology:

The study utilized a quantitative research design, which involved a survey questionnaire administered to a sample of 200 high school students. The questionnaire was developed based on previous studies and was designed to measure the frequency and duration of social media use, as well as academic performance.

The participants were selected using a convenience sampling technique, and the survey questionnaire was distributed in the classroom during regular school hours. The data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics and correlation analysis.

The findings indicate that the majority of high school students use social media platforms on a daily basis, with Facebook being the most popular platform. The results also show a negative correlation between social media use and academic performance, suggesting that excessive social media use can lead to poor academic performance among high school students.

Discussion:

The results of this study have important implications for educators, parents, and policymakers. The negative correlation between social media use and academic performance suggests that strategies should be put in place to help students balance their social media use and academic responsibilities. For example, educators could incorporate social media into their teaching strategies to engage students and enhance learning. Parents could limit their children’s social media use and encourage them to prioritize their academic responsibilities. Policymakers could develop guidelines and policies to regulate social media use among high school students.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, this study provides evidence of the negative impact of social media on academic performance among high school students. The findings highlight the need for strategies that can help students balance their social media use and academic responsibilities. Further research is needed to explore the specific mechanisms by which social media use affects academic performance and to develop effective strategies for addressing this issue.

Limitations:

One limitation of this study is the use of convenience sampling, which limits the generalizability of the findings to other populations. Future studies should use random sampling techniques to increase the representativeness of the sample. Another limitation is the use of self-reported measures, which may be subject to social desirability bias. Future studies could use objective measures of social media use and academic performance, such as tracking software and school records.

Implications:

The findings of this study have important implications for educators, parents, and policymakers. Educators could incorporate social media into their teaching strategies to engage students and enhance learning. For example, teachers could use social media platforms to share relevant educational resources and facilitate online discussions. Parents could limit their children’s social media use and encourage them to prioritize their academic responsibilities. They could also engage in open communication with their children to understand their social media use and its impact on their academic performance. Policymakers could develop guidelines and policies to regulate social media use among high school students. For example, schools could implement social media policies that restrict access during class time and encourage responsible use.

References:

  • Kirschner, P. A., & Karpinski, A. C. (2010). Facebook® and academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(6), 1237-1245.
  • Paul, J. A., Baker, H. M., & Cochran, J. D. (2012). Effect of online social networking on student academic performance. Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology, 8(1), 1-19.
  • Pantic, I. (2014). Online social networking and mental health. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(10), 652-657.
  • Rosen, L. D., Carrier, L. M., & Cheever, N. A. (2013). Facebook and texting made me do it: Media-induced task-switching while studying. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(3), 948-958.

Note*: Above mention, Example is just a sample for the students’ guide. Do not directly copy and paste as your College or University assignment. Kindly do some research and Write your own.

Applications of Research Report

Research reports have many applications, including:

  • Communicating research findings: The primary application of a research report is to communicate the results of a study to other researchers, stakeholders, or the general public. The report serves as a way to share new knowledge, insights, and discoveries with others in the field.
  • Informing policy and practice : Research reports can inform policy and practice by providing evidence-based recommendations for decision-makers. For example, a research report on the effectiveness of a new drug could inform regulatory agencies in their decision-making process.
  • Supporting further research: Research reports can provide a foundation for further research in a particular area. Other researchers may use the findings and methodology of a report to develop new research questions or to build on existing research.
  • Evaluating programs and interventions : Research reports can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and interventions in achieving their intended outcomes. For example, a research report on a new educational program could provide evidence of its impact on student performance.
  • Demonstrating impact : Research reports can be used to demonstrate the impact of research funding or to evaluate the success of research projects. By presenting the findings and outcomes of a study, research reports can show the value of research to funders and stakeholders.
  • Enhancing professional development : Research reports can be used to enhance professional development by providing a source of information and learning for researchers and practitioners in a particular field. For example, a research report on a new teaching methodology could provide insights and ideas for educators to incorporate into their own practice.

How to write Research Report

Here are some steps you can follow to write a research report:

  • Identify the research question: The first step in writing a research report is to identify your research question. This will help you focus your research and organize your findings.
  • Conduct research : Once you have identified your research question, you will need to conduct research to gather relevant data and information. This can involve conducting experiments, reviewing literature, or analyzing data.
  • Organize your findings: Once you have gathered all of your data, you will need to organize your findings in a way that is clear and understandable. This can involve creating tables, graphs, or charts to illustrate your results.
  • Write the report: Once you have organized your findings, you can begin writing the report. Start with an introduction that provides background information and explains the purpose of your research. Next, provide a detailed description of your research methods and findings. Finally, summarize your results and draw conclusions based on your findings.
  • Proofread and edit: After you have written your report, be sure to proofread and edit it carefully. Check for grammar and spelling errors, and make sure that your report is well-organized and easy to read.
  • Include a reference list: Be sure to include a list of references that you used in your research. This will give credit to your sources and allow readers to further explore the topic if they choose.
  • Format your report: Finally, format your report according to the guidelines provided by your instructor or organization. This may include formatting requirements for headings, margins, fonts, and spacing.

Purpose of Research Report

The purpose of a research report is to communicate the results of a research study to a specific audience, such as peers in the same field, stakeholders, or the general public. The report provides a detailed description of the research methods, findings, and conclusions.

Some common purposes of a research report include:

  • Sharing knowledge: A research report allows researchers to share their findings and knowledge with others in their field. This helps to advance the field and improve the understanding of a particular topic.
  • Identifying trends: A research report can identify trends and patterns in data, which can help guide future research and inform decision-making.
  • Addressing problems: A research report can provide insights into problems or issues and suggest solutions or recommendations for addressing them.
  • Evaluating programs or interventions : A research report can evaluate the effectiveness of programs or interventions, which can inform decision-making about whether to continue, modify, or discontinue them.
  • Meeting regulatory requirements: In some fields, research reports are required to meet regulatory requirements, such as in the case of drug trials or environmental impact studies.

When to Write Research Report

A research report should be written after completing the research study. This includes collecting data, analyzing the results, and drawing conclusions based on the findings. Once the research is complete, the report should be written in a timely manner while the information is still fresh in the researcher’s mind.

In academic settings, research reports are often required as part of coursework or as part of a thesis or dissertation. In this case, the report should be written according to the guidelines provided by the instructor or institution.

In other settings, such as in industry or government, research reports may be required to inform decision-making or to comply with regulatory requirements. In these cases, the report should be written as soon as possible after the research is completed in order to inform decision-making in a timely manner.

Overall, the timing of when to write a research report depends on the purpose of the research, the expectations of the audience, and any regulatory requirements that need to be met. However, it is important to complete the report in a timely manner while the information is still fresh in the researcher’s mind.

Characteristics of Research Report

There are several characteristics of a research report that distinguish it from other types of writing. These characteristics include:

  • Objective: A research report should be written in an objective and unbiased manner. It should present the facts and findings of the research study without any personal opinions or biases.
  • Systematic: A research report should be written in a systematic manner. It should follow a clear and logical structure, and the information should be presented in a way that is easy to understand and follow.
  • Detailed: A research report should be detailed and comprehensive. It should provide a thorough description of the research methods, results, and conclusions.
  • Accurate : A research report should be accurate and based on sound research methods. The findings and conclusions should be supported by data and evidence.
  • Organized: A research report should be well-organized. It should include headings and subheadings to help the reader navigate the report and understand the main points.
  • Clear and concise: A research report should be written in clear and concise language. The information should be presented in a way that is easy to understand, and unnecessary jargon should be avoided.
  • Citations and references: A research report should include citations and references to support the findings and conclusions. This helps to give credit to other researchers and to provide readers with the opportunity to further explore the topic.

Advantages of Research Report

Research reports have several advantages, including:

  • Communicating research findings: Research reports allow researchers to communicate their findings to a wider audience, including other researchers, stakeholders, and the general public. This helps to disseminate knowledge and advance the understanding of a particular topic.
  • Providing evidence for decision-making : Research reports can provide evidence to inform decision-making, such as in the case of policy-making, program planning, or product development. The findings and conclusions can help guide decisions and improve outcomes.
  • Supporting further research: Research reports can provide a foundation for further research on a particular topic. Other researchers can build on the findings and conclusions of the report, which can lead to further discoveries and advancements in the field.
  • Demonstrating expertise: Research reports can demonstrate the expertise of the researchers and their ability to conduct rigorous and high-quality research. This can be important for securing funding, promotions, and other professional opportunities.
  • Meeting regulatory requirements: In some fields, research reports are required to meet regulatory requirements, such as in the case of drug trials or environmental impact studies. Producing a high-quality research report can help ensure compliance with these requirements.

Limitations of Research Report

Despite their advantages, research reports also have some limitations, including:

  • Time-consuming: Conducting research and writing a report can be a time-consuming process, particularly for large-scale studies. This can limit the frequency and speed of producing research reports.
  • Expensive: Conducting research and producing a report can be expensive, particularly for studies that require specialized equipment, personnel, or data. This can limit the scope and feasibility of some research studies.
  • Limited generalizability: Research studies often focus on a specific population or context, which can limit the generalizability of the findings to other populations or contexts.
  • Potential bias : Researchers may have biases or conflicts of interest that can influence the findings and conclusions of the research study. Additionally, participants may also have biases or may not be representative of the larger population, which can limit the validity and reliability of the findings.
  • Accessibility: Research reports may be written in technical or academic language, which can limit their accessibility to a wider audience. Additionally, some research may be behind paywalls or require specialized access, which can limit the ability of others to read and use the findings.

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In this blog, we will explore the key distinctions between a written and an oral report, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Definition of written reports

Definition of written reports

A written report is an organized and detailed document that provides information on a particular subject. It is typically used to present evidence or findings from research, experiments, or investigations.

Written reports often include facts, data, and analysis from the authors’ research, as well as recommendations for action or improvement. An oral report, on the other hand, is a presentation of information that is usually spoken and accompanied by visual aids such as slides or charts. Oral reports are generally shorter and less detailed than written reports, and they are usually presented in person or via video conference.

Both reports are important tools for presenting and communicating information, but the differences between them should be taken into account when deciding which to use.

Definition of oral reports

Definition of oral reports

Oral reports are a type of presentation in which the presenter conveys information verbally to an audience. This differs from a written report, which is a document that is written down, containing the same information. The difference between an oral report and a written report is that an oral report is a live presentation, while a written report is a document that can be shared afterwards and used as a reference.

The difference between an oral report and a written report is that an oral report is a live presentation, while a written report is a document that can be shared afterwards and used as a reference. Oral reports often include visuals such as slides, graphs, and charts, while written reports typically only include text. Oral reports also give an audience the opportunity to ask questions, while written reports usually do not.

Advantages and disadvantages of written reports

Advantages and disadvantages of written reports

Written reports and oral reports both have their advantages and disadvantages. Written reports are generally more detailed and organized than oral reports, making them ideal for communicating complex ideas and data.

On the other hand, oral reports can be more concise and engaging, allowing for a better understanding of the material presented. Furthermore, the immediacy of an oral report allows for the presenter to more effectively explain and clarify any questions from the audience.

In the end, it depends on the purpose of the report and the audience it is intended for. Written reports are better suited for communicating detailed information, while oral reports are better for summarizing and engaging an audience.

Advantages and disadvantages of oral reports

Advantages and disadvantages of oral reports

Oral reports and written reports are both useful forms of communication, but they each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Oral reports are a great way to get a message across quickly and with a personal touch, but they can be difficult to follow if the speaker is unprepared or the audience is not paying attention.

Ultimately, the choice of whether to use an oral or written report depends on the situation and the message that needs to be conveyed.

Comparison of written reports to oral reports

Comparison of written reports to oral reports

When it comes to delivering information, written and oral reports are two of the most commonly used forms of communication. While written reports provide a more in-depth and detailed view of a topic, oral presentations can be more efficient and direct.

Written reports often require more research and preparation, whereas oral reports may be more spontaneous and allow for more audience interaction. Written reports are typically more permanent, allowing readers to refer back to them at any time, while oral reports are often forgotten soon after they are delivered.

Ultimately, the choice of which type of report to use comes down to the purpose, urgency, and audience of the report.

Bottom Line

The main difference between written and oral reports is the way in which the information is presented. Written reports are typically written down in a document format, while oral reports are usually delivered through a spoken presentation. Written reports are usually more detailed and long-lasting, while oral reports are often short and meant to cover the most important points.

Both written and oral reports can be effective means of conveying information, depending on the situation and the needs of the audience.

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What is Report Writing? Parts, Types, Structure, Process

  • Post last modified: 4 June 2023
  • Reading time: 30 mins read
  • Post category: Business Communication

What is Report Writing?

Report writing is a formal style of presenting objective facts and information. There can be various types of reports, such as academic reports, science reports, business reports, technical reports, and news reports. A report can be verbal or written. However, a written report is more formal than a verbal report.

What is Report Writing

Table of Content

  • 1 What is Report Writing?
  • 2 Report Writing Definition
  • 3 Report Writing Advantage
  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Background
  • 4.3 Findings
  • 4.4 Conclusions
  • 4.5 Recommendations
  • 5.1 Informational reports
  • 5.2 Analytical reports
  • 5.3 News reports
  • 6.2 Remaining details
  • 6.3 Informational news report
  • 6.4 Analytical news report
  • 6.5 Additional details
  • 6.6 Concluding sentence
  • 7.1 Identify
  • 7.2 Research
  • 7.3 Organise
  • 8 Feasibility Reports
  • 9.1 Cover letter
  • 9.2 Executive summary
  • 9.3 Proposal
  • 9.4 Pricing information
  • 9.5 Terms and conditions

Report Writing Definition

Report writing is the process of organizing and presenting information in a clear, concise, and objective manner for a specific audience. It involves gathering data, analyzing it, and presenting it in a format that is easy to understand and relevant to the topic at hand. – The University of Wisconsin Writing Center

Report writing is the art of communicating information that has been acquired through research or investigation in a formal, structured manner. It involves synthesizing information, drawing conclusions, and making recommendations based on the findings. – The American Management Association

Report writing is the process of creating a document that provides information, analysis, and recommendations on a particular topic or issue. It requires the ability to organize and present data in a logical and meaningful way, as well as to convey complex ideas in a clear and concise manner. – The International Business Communication Standards (IBCS)

Report Writing Advantage

A written report also provides the following advantages:

  • A written report presents a formal record of a transaction, which is not possible in a verbal report.
  • A written report conveys a message without any distortion. On the other hand, a message can be easily misrepresented in a verbal report.
  • A written report is more convenient for lengthy and distant communication.
  • A written report requires a reader to think before responding to a message.
  • Facts, figures and statistical data can be better represented graphically in a written report.

However, writing a report is not as easy as drafting a formal e-mail. A report is a brief, precise document. It is written for a specific audience with some specific objective. To write a report, you need to first thoroughly understand the purpose of report writing, then research information from various sources, verify the validity of information, analyse information, and then present findings or results. These findings must be reported objectively without personal biases.

A well-written report must have an effective objective analysis. Based on the analysis, you can recommend possible courses of action for the future. However, it is up to the report reader to accept the recommendations.

Therefore, while report writing, you must pay attention to why you are writing the report and who has asked you to write the report. This will help you investigate the information appropriately.

Parts of a Report

Following are the main sections of a formal report :

Introduction

Conclusions, recommendations.

This section indicates the purpose of the report, who has ordered the report, how the data is collected, and whether any recommendations are provided. In addition, the introduction section may also provide information on who has written the report and the date on which it is submitted.

This section provides the background of a problem or a situation on which the report is written. In case the report is too lengthy, then instead of introduction, an executive summary should be written.

The purpose of an executive summary is to enable top executives and managers to get a quick snapshot of a long report without reading the entire report. Therefore, the executive summary comes before introduction. Of course, then there would be no background section.

This is the longest section of a report, which is written after the investigation is over. This section presents factual information without any interpretation or suggestions.

Each finding is summarised as a conclusion in this section. In the above sample report, there are four conclusions based on the summary of each paragraph in the findings section. These conclusions are listed numerically in the same order as the corresponding findings.

The final section provides a numbered list of recommendations, which are based on the list of the conclusion. Each recommendation uses the verb should. This is because the writer is simply giving suggestions and not making a decision. Therefore, the verb should is used instead of the verb will. However, there are exceptions:

  • To give a strong recommendation: Use the verb must. For example, ‘The team managers must ensure that the break hours are not shortened.’
  • To give a weak recommendation: Use the verb could. For example, ‘Having a coffee dispenser in the facility could boost the staff morale.’

Types of Reports

Reports exist in our academics and workplaces in so many forms that we may not even be aware of them. For example, a student submits a laboratory report to communicate the methods and results of scientific experiments conducted in a lab.

Academicians and business people use research reports to view scientific studies of an issue or a problem. Policy-makers read field study reports to read about the ground situation from branch offices and manufacturing plants. Similarly, there are progress reports, technical reports, functional reports, case studies, etc.

All these reports share the attributes, principles, and format of report writing, which are described above. These reports can be organised into three groups:

Informational reports

Analytical reports, news reports.

An informational report is used to objectively present information without any analysis. Examples of informational reports include the First Information Report (FIR), annual reports, monthly financial reports, or employee attrition reports. These reports only report the facts as they are.

For example, the police write an FIR to record details about a cognisable offence, such as personal details of the complainant/informant, place, date and time of occurrence, offence, description of the accused, witnesses, and complaint.

Similarly, a company presents an annual report to its shareholders to present details of its business activities and finances of the previous financial year. An informational report presents objective facts without analysing the reasons and conditions behind the reported situation.

For example, if someone wants to study information on a field trip, then he can ask for a site visit report. Similarly, if a manager wants to view the feedback of a training programme, then he can ask for the training feedback report from the trainer. If the head of a department wants to get an update on the different projects in his department, he can ask for progress reports from different project managers.

An analytical report evaluates a problem or an issue and presents the outcomes of analysis to explain the causes of the problem, demonstrate relationships, or make recommendations.

For example, a scientific or market research report studies a problem scientifically by developing a hypothesis, gathering data, analysing data, and presenting findings and conclusions.

Similarly, a feasibility analysis report studies a problem and predicts whether the current solution or alternatives will be practical or will produce the desired outcome. Whenever you need to make a critical decision, then an analytical report is prepared. These reports help the decision-maker(s) analyse the prevailing situation.

For example, a company wants to decide where to open a branch office in a particular area. In this situation, an analytical report can evaluate the details of the property, such as infrastructure, land cost, competitive stores, etc., and then recommend the best site from the available options.

If you are working as or aspire to be a journalist, then you may need to write a press report. A press report is a newsworthy article in a newspaper, magazine or website. It is different from the press release by companies. A press release is an official statement of a company on an important subject or event. A press release generally focuses on one particular subject, such as a milestone, a launch, an anniversary, etc.

On the other hand, a press report discusses the subject in detail. A press release is a marketing tool used by companies to keep the general public and the media updated about its newsworthy occasions. It helps build a company’s visibility in the minds of its customers and community at large.

A press release is generally prepared by a company’s marketing or Public Relations (PR) team, whereas a press report is written by an independent journalist. Therefore, a press report presents more objective information than a press release, which is a company’s promotional mouthpiece. Just like informational and analytical reports, a press report requires considerable research on a subject before it is written credibly.

The author must ask the 5 Ws and 1 H – who, what, where, why, when, and how. Questions arise in the following manner:

  • What happened?
  • Where did it happen?
  • When did it happen?
  • Who was involved?
  • Why did it happen?
  • How did it happen?

After finding the answers, he must note down all the relevant facts that must be mentioned in the news report. These facts can be organised into the following three groups:

  • Vital and interesting facts
  • Not vital but interesting facts
  • Not vital, not interesting, but related facts

By organising information into the above groups, the author will be able to include all the relevant facts into the news report. The facts must be specific. If there are gaps in the story and the related information is not available, then questions can be marked against them so that these can be researched further.

Next, the author must decide the type of news report he wants to write – informational or analytical. The former will provide objective and straightforward information, whereas the latter will also provide the author’s opinion on the subject.

After determining the type of news report to write, the author must create an outline or structure of the report. The most common structure is an inverted triangle, where the most important information is at the top.

A news report must provide the information that the readers want as soon as possible. If the news report is for a newspaper, then the most important news must be above the “fold”. The “fold” is the crease in the newspaper when it is folded in half. All the engaging stories are above the fold. Similarly, on a website, the most important information is at the top of the screen before one has to scroll down.

A news report must be written according to the audience. The author should ask the 5Ws with respect to the audience reaction, such as:

  • Who is the audience?
  • Where is the audience?
  • What does the audience want to read?
  • Why do they want to read it?
  • When will they read it?

Structure of News Report

Finally, the structure of a news report is as follows:

Remaining details

Informational news report, analytical news report, additional details, concluding sentence.

The leading sentence of a news report is the most important section. It should tell what the news report is all about, why it is important, and what information the rest of the news report provides.

These provide the basic information of what happened, where it happened, when it happened, who was involved, and why it was remarkable.

In this report, the remaining details provide more information about the newsworthy item.

In this report, the remaining details also provide the opinion of the author.

These details help the reader learn more about the newsworthy item, such as additional facts about the subject, contact information, or interview quotes. These details comprise transitional elements that help build the flow of information. In an analytical report, these can also include counter-arguments and their authors.

The news report should end with a concluding sentence, which repeats the leading statement or a statement mentioning future developments.

Report Writing Process

This process will ensure that your report is accurate, clear, comprehensive and credible.

Before writing a report, identify the following parameters:

  • Issue or problem : Identify the issue or problem to analyse.
  • Audience : Identify who the audience is. Find out their background information. Determine why they would want to read the report.
  • Purpose : Determine the purpose for which the report will be used.
  • Scope and limitations : Identify the scope of the report. Determine the limitations of report writing.
  • Expectations : Determine expectations regarding the format or structure of the report. Identify the models available for report writing. Determine whether there is a style guide and/or a marketing guide.

To research the facts or information for report writing:

  • Plan : Make a draft plan on how to analyse the problem and present the objective of the report.
  • Collect data: Collect information based on the purpose of the report.
  • Analyse : Finally, analyse and evaluate the collected information.

After gathering and analysing the required information, organise it as follows:

  • Main points : Identify the main points of the report. These main points should be supported by adequate evidence.
  • Additional information : Identify the supporting information that analyses and confirms the main points. This information should be placed in appendices.
  • Logical structure : Organise the entire information into a logical structure to help the readers easily navigate to the desired part of the report.
  • Write : After deciding the logical structure of the report, fill in the elements of the report, including executive summary, main body, introduction and conclusion.
  • Revise : Finally, verify if it is appropriate for the problem, audience, and purpose.

Feasibility Reports

A feasibility report is a written document that analyses the proposed solution and examines whether it is feasible considering various types of constraints such as financial, social, environmental, social, technical, and legal that can make it impossible for a solution to be opted.

Feasibility reports assess the practicality of following a particular course of action for a project. It advises whether it will be feasible to opt for a particular course of action or will this proposal or plan work? These are written internal reports that advise on consolidating departments or to organise a wellness programme for employees or to outsource company’s accounting or social media or to move the manufacturing unit to a new location.

Some companies hire a professional consultant to write feasibility reports in order to investigate a problem. These reports help in deciding whether to proceed or reject the proposed option.

  • Overview of the Project
  • Objectives of the Project
  • The Need for the Project
  • Overview of Existing Systems and Technologies
  • Scope of the Project
  • Deliverables
  • Financial Feasibility
  • Technical Feasibility
  • Resource and Time Feasibility
  • Risk Feasibility
  • Social/Legal Feasibility
  • Considerations

Proposal Writing

A business proposal is defined as a written document from a seller that offers a particular service or product to a prospective buyer. Business proposals are important in scenarios where a buyer might consider multiple prices in a transaction.

A good business proposal considers the buyer’s requirements and puts forth the seller’s proposal in a way that favours the seller’s products and services, and persuades the buyer about the offer. A business proposal is a critical document as it determines the difference between success and failure in a venture. Business proposals can be:

  • Solicited : These are requested by clients themselves or submitted in response to an advertisement published by the client. Solicited business proposals generally have a better chance of success since they are tailored to the requirements of the person receiving the proposal.
  • Unsolicited : These are submitted to potential clients even though they did not request for one. These are non-specific proposals and have no direct connection to the client’s requirements. Sellers use them to market a product or service to a prospective customer.

Because proposals are time-consuming, it is the best to start with available templates if possible. You will save a lot of time if you start with a proposal template that matches what you need and then customise it according to your requirements.

A business proposal includes various sections which are defined as follows:

Cover letter

Executive summary, pricing information, terms and conditions.

In the other article, you studied writing cover letters for a job application. A business proposal also needs a cover letter because a good cover letter will stimulate interest in the proposal. Make sure to highlight your positives and personalise them to the client to whom you are sending the business proposal.

This is where you give the client a ‘problem statement’ to help him identify the challenges and requirements in his business. This is because in order to persuade the client to do business with you, you first need to make sure that the client realises they have those needs. Then you briefly state how you will be able to help them meet those requirements.

The proposal is the part where you offer a detailed solution to the challenges and needs of the prospective client. This is the main reason for submitting a business proposal so it should be as detailed as possible, addressing all the needs of the client.

You should explain to the client all services that you can provide. You should tailor your list of services to suit the particular client’s needs but include other services that you may provide. Also include an estimated project schedule and time frame.

Most buyers consider the price of services before offering a contract. Thus, getting accurate pricing information is crucial. However, two points must be kept in mind. One it is important to be exact with the pricing and the second is to never negotiate below what you think the project is worth.

For smaller projects, a ‘fee summary’ will do the job. But a ‘fee schedule’ is needed for bigger projects, where payments need to be broken down to specific milestones.

It is in your interest to get legal counsel to review the proposal as this will cover your business against claims.

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Home Market Research

Research Reports: Definition and How to Write Them

Research Reports

Reports are usually spread across a vast horizon of topics but are focused on communicating information about a particular topic and a niche target market. The primary motive of research reports is to convey integral details about a study for marketers to consider while designing new strategies.

Certain events, facts, and other information based on incidents need to be relayed to the people in charge, and creating research reports is the most effective communication tool. Ideal research reports are extremely accurate in the offered information with a clear objective and conclusion. These reports should have a clean and structured format to relay information effectively.

What are Research Reports?

Research reports are recorded data prepared by researchers or statisticians after analyzing the information gathered by conducting organized research, typically in the form of surveys or qualitative methods .

A research report is a reliable source to recount details about a conducted research. It is most often considered to be a true testimony of all the work done to garner specificities of research.

The various sections of a research report are:

  • Background/Introduction
  • Implemented Methods
  • Results based on Analysis
  • Deliberation

Learn more: Quantitative Research

Components of Research Reports

Research is imperative for launching a new product/service or a new feature. The markets today are extremely volatile and competitive due to new entrants every day who may or may not provide effective products. An organization needs to make the right decisions at the right time to be relevant in such a market with updated products that suffice customer demands.

The details of a research report may change with the purpose of research but the main components of a report will remain constant. The research approach of the market researcher also influences the style of writing reports. Here are seven main components of a productive research report:

  • Research Report Summary: The entire objective along with the overview of research are to be included in a summary which is a couple of paragraphs in length. All the multiple components of the research are explained in brief under the report summary.  It should be interesting enough to capture all the key elements of the report.
  • Research Introduction: There always is a primary goal that the researcher is trying to achieve through a report. In the introduction section, he/she can cover answers related to this goal and establish a thesis which will be included to strive and answer it in detail.  This section should answer an integral question: “What is the current situation of the goal?”.  After the research design was conducted, did the organization conclude the goal successfully or they are still a work in progress –  provide such details in the introduction part of the research report.
  • Research Methodology: This is the most important section of the report where all the important information lies. The readers can gain data for the topic along with analyzing the quality of provided content and the research can also be approved by other market researchers . Thus, this section needs to be highly informative with each aspect of research discussed in detail.  Information needs to be expressed in chronological order according to its priority and importance. Researchers should include references in case they gained information from existing techniques.
  • Research Results: A short description of the results along with calculations conducted to achieve the goal will form this section of results. Usually, the exposition after data analysis is carried out in the discussion part of the report.

Learn more: Quantitative Data

  • Research Discussion: The results are discussed in extreme detail in this section along with a comparative analysis of reports that could probably exist in the same domain. Any abnormality uncovered during research will be deliberated in the discussion section.  While writing research reports, the researcher will have to connect the dots on how the results will be applicable in the real world.
  • Research References and Conclusion: Conclude all the research findings along with mentioning each and every author, article or any content piece from where references were taken.

Learn more: Qualitative Observation

15 Tips for Writing Research Reports

Writing research reports in the manner can lead to all the efforts going down the drain. Here are 15 tips for writing impactful research reports:

  • Prepare the context before starting to write and start from the basics:  This was always taught to us in school – be well-prepared before taking a plunge into new topics. The order of survey questions might not be the ideal or most effective order for writing research reports. The idea is to start with a broader topic and work towards a more specific one and focus on a conclusion or support, which a research should support with the facts.  The most difficult thing to do in reporting, without a doubt is to start. Start with the title, the introduction, then document the first discoveries and continue from that. Once the marketers have the information well documented, they can write a general conclusion.
  • Keep the target audience in mind while selecting a format that is clear, logical and obvious to them:  Will the research reports be presented to decision makers or other researchers? What are the general perceptions around that topic? This requires more care and diligence. A researcher will need a significant amount of information to start writing the research report. Be consistent with the wording, the numbering of the annexes and so on. Follow the approved format of the company for the delivery of research reports and demonstrate the integrity of the project with the objectives of the company.
  • Have a clear research objective: A researcher should read the entire proposal again, and make sure that the data they provide contributes to the objectives that were raised from the beginning. Remember that speculations are for conversations, not for research reports, if a researcher speculates, they directly question their own research.
  • Establish a working model:  Each study must have an internal logic, which will have to be established in the report and in the evidence. The researchers’ worst nightmare is to be required to write research reports and realize that key questions were not included.

Learn more: Quantitative Observation

  • Gather all the information about the research topic. Who are the competitors of our customers? Talk to other researchers who have studied the subject of research, know the language of the industry. Misuse of the terms can discourage the readers of research reports from reading further.
  • Read aloud while writing. While reading the report, if the researcher hears something inappropriate, for example, if they stumble over the words when reading them, surely the reader will too. If the researcher can’t put an idea in a single sentence, then it is very long and they must change it so that the idea is clear to everyone.
  • Check grammar and spelling. Without a doubt, good practices help to understand the report. Use verbs in the present tense. Consider using the present tense, which makes the results sound more immediate. Find new words and other ways of saying things. Have fun with the language whenever possible.
  • Discuss only the discoveries that are significant. If some data are not really significant, do not mention them. Remember that not everything is truly important or essential within research reports.

Learn more: Qualitative Data

  • Try and stick to the survey questions. For example, do not say that the people surveyed “were worried” about an research issue , when there are different degrees of concern.
  • The graphs must be clear enough so that they understand themselves. Do not let graphs lead the reader to make mistakes: give them a title, include the indications, the size of the sample, and the correct wording of the question.
  • Be clear with messages. A researcher should always write every section of the report with an accuracy of details and language.
  • Be creative with titles – Particularly in segmentation studies choose names “that give life to research”. Such names can survive for a long time after the initial investigation.
  • Create an effective conclusion: The conclusion in the research reports is the most difficult to write, but it is an incredible opportunity to excel. Make a precise summary. Sometimes it helps to start the conclusion with something specific, then it describes the most important part of the study, and finally, it provides the implications of the conclusions.
  • Get a couple more pair of eyes to read the report. Writers have trouble detecting their own mistakes. But they are responsible for what is presented. Ensure it has been approved by colleagues or friends before sending the find draft out.

Learn more: Market Research and Analysis

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OpenAI teases an amazing new generative video model called Sora

The firm is sharing Sora with a small group of safety testers but the rest of us will have to wait to learn more.

  • Will Douglas Heaven archive page

OpenAI has built a striking new generative video model called Sora that can take a short text description and turn it into a detailed, high-definition film clip up to a minute long.

Based on four sample videos that OpenAI shared with MIT Technology Review ahead of today’s announcement, the San Francisco–based firm has pushed the envelope of what’s possible with text-to-video generation (a hot new research direction that we flagged as a trend to watch in 2024 ).

“We think building models that can understand video, and understand all these very complex interactions of our world, is an important step for all future AI systems,” says Tim Brooks, a scientist at OpenAI.

But there’s a disclaimer. OpenAI gave us a preview of Sora (which means sky in Japanese) under conditions of strict secrecy. In an unusual move, the firm would only share information about Sora if we agreed to wait until after news of the model was made public to seek the opinions of outside experts. [Editor’s note: We’ve updated this story with outside comment below.] OpenAI has not yet released a technical report or demonstrated the model actually working. And it says it won’t be releasing Sora anytime soon. [ Update: OpenAI has now shared more technical details on its website.]

The first generative models that could produce video from snippets of text appeared in late 2022. But early examples from Meta , Google, and a startup called Runway were glitchy and grainy. Since then, the tech has been getting better fast. Runway’s gen-2 model, released last year, can produce short clips that come close to matching big-studio animation in their quality. But most of these examples are still only a few seconds long.  

The sample videos from OpenAI’s Sora are high-definition and full of detail. OpenAI also says it can generate videos up to a minute long. One video of a Tokyo street scene shows that Sora has learned how objects fit together in 3D: the camera swoops into the scene to follow a couple as they walk past a row of shops.

OpenAI also claims that Sora handles occlusion well. One problem with existing models is that they can fail to keep track of objects when they drop out of view. For example, if a truck passes in front of a street sign, the sign might not reappear afterward.  

In a video of a papercraft underwater scene, Sora has added what look like cuts between different pieces of footage, and the model has maintained a consistent style between them.

It’s not perfect. In the Tokyo video, cars to the left look smaller than the people walking beside them. They also pop in and out between the tree branches. “There’s definitely some work to be done in terms of long-term coherence,” says Brooks. “For example, if someone goes out of view for a long time, they won’t come back. The model kind of forgets that they were supposed to be there.”

Impressive as they are, the sample videos shown here were no doubt cherry-picked to show Sora at its best. Without more information, it is hard to know how representative they are of the model’s typical output.   

It may be some time before we find out. OpenAI’s announcement of Sora today is a tech tease, and the company says it has no current plans to release it to the public. Instead, OpenAI will today begin sharing the model with third-party safety testers for the first time.

In particular, the firm is worried about the potential misuses of fake but photorealistic video . “We’re being careful about deployment here and making sure we have all our bases covered before we put this in the hands of the general public,” says Aditya Ramesh, a scientist at OpenAI, who created the firm’s text-to-image model DALL-E .

But OpenAI is eyeing a product launch sometime in the future. As well as safety testers, the company is also sharing the model with a select group of video makers and artists to get feedback on how to make Sora as useful as possible to creative professionals. “The other goal is to show everyone what is on the horizon, to give a preview of what these models will be capable of,” says Ramesh.

To build Sora, the team adapted the tech behind DALL-E 3, the latest version of OpenAI’s flagship text-to-image model. Like most text-to-image models, DALL-E 3 uses what’s known as a diffusion model. These are trained to turn a fuzz of random pixels into a picture.

Sora takes this approach and applies it to videos rather than still images. But the researchers also added another technique to the mix. Unlike DALL-E or most other generative video models, Sora combines its diffusion model with a type of neural network called a transformer.

Transformers are great at processing long sequences of data, like words. That has made them the special sauce inside large language models like OpenAI’s GPT-4 and Google DeepMind’s Gemini . But videos are not made of words. Instead, the researchers had to find a way to cut videos into chunks that could be treated as if they were. The approach they came up with was to dice videos up across both space and time. “It’s like if you were to have a stack of all the video frames and you cut little cubes from it,” says Brooks.

The transformer inside Sora can then process these chunks of video data in much the same way that the transformer inside a large language model processes words in a block of text. The researchers say that this let them train Sora on many more types of video than other text-to-video models, varied in terms of resolution, duration, aspect ratio, and orientation. “It really helps the model,” says Brooks. “That is something that we’re not aware of any existing work on.”

“From a technical perspective it seems like a very significant leap forward,” says Sam Gregory, executive director at Witness, a human rights organization that specializes in the use and misuse of video technology. “But there are two sides to the coin,” he says. “The expressive capabilities offer the potential for many more people to be storytellers using video. And there are also real potential avenues for misuse.” 

OpenAI is well aware of the risks that come with a generative video model. We are already seeing the large-scale misuse of deepfake images . Photorealistic video takes this to another level.

Gregory notes that you could use technology like this to misinform people about conflict zones or protests. The range of styles is also interesting, he says. If you could generate shaky footage that looked like something shot with a phone, it would come across as more authentic.

The tech is not there yet, but generative video has gone from zero to Sora in just 18 months. “We’re going to be entering a universe where there will be fully synthetic content, human-generated content and a mix of the two,” says Gregory.

The OpenAI team plans to draw on the safety testing it did last year for DALL-E 3. Sora already includes a filter that runs on all prompts sent to the model that will block requests for violent, sexual, or hateful images, as well as images of known people. Another filter will look at frames of generated videos and block material that violates OpenAI’s safety policies.

OpenAI says it is also adapting a fake-image detector developed for DALL-E 3 to use with Sora. And the company will embed industry-standard C2PA tags , metadata that states how an image was generated, into all of Sora’s output. But these steps are far from foolproof. Fake-image detectors are hit-or-miss. Metadata is easy to remove, and most social media sites strip it from uploaded images by default.  

“We’ll definitely need to get more feedback and learn more about the types of risks that need to be addressed with video before it would make sense for us to release this,” says Ramesh.

Brooks agrees. “Part of the reason that we’re talking about this research now is so that we can start getting the input that we need to do the work necessary to figure out how it could be safely deployed,” he says.

Update 2/15: Comments from Sam Gregory were added .

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Credits and deductions for individuals

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How to file your taxes: step by step Check if you need to file Gather your documents Get credits and deductions File your return Get your refund Pay taxes on time Be ready to file taxes next year

How they work

You can claim credits and deductions when you file your tax return to lower your tax. Make sure you get all the credits and deductions you qualify for.

Claim credits 

A credit is an amount you subtract from the tax you owe. This can lower your tax payment or increase your refund. Some credits are refundable  — they can give you money back even if you don't owe any tax. 

To claim credits, answer questions in your tax filing software. If you file a paper return, you’ll need to complete a form and attach it. 

Here are credits you can claim: 

If you earn under a certain income level .

See if you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit . This is a refundable credit, so you can get back more than you pay in taxes. If you qualify, you can claim it even if you don’t normally file taxes or aren’t required to file. 

If you’re a parent or caretaker

Find credits if you: 

Have children or other dependents  

Adopt a child  

Pay for childcare or dependent care  

If you pay for higher education

See if you qualify for an education credit

If you put money into retirement savings

See if you qualify for the saver’s credit  

If you invest in clean vehicles or clean home energy

Buy a clean (electric or hybrid) vehicle  

Make home energy improvements  

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See if you qualify for the Premium Tax Credit

If you qualify for other personal tax credits

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Take deductions 

A deduction is an amount you subtract from your income when you file so you don’t pay tax on it. By lowering your income, deductions lower your tax. 

You need documents to show expenses or losses you want to deduct. Your tax software will calculate deductions for you and enter them in the right forms. If you file a paper return, your deductions go on Form 1040 and may require extra forms. 

Standard vs. itemized deductions 

Most people take the standard deduction, which lets you subtract a set amount from your income based on your filing status . 

If your deductible expenses and losses are more than the standard deduction, you can save money by deducting them one-by-one from your income (itemizing). Tax software can walk you through your expenses and losses to show the option that gives you the lowest tax. 

Some people, including nonresidents and partial-year filers, can’t take the standard deduction . 

Standard deduction amounts 

The standard deduction for 2023 is: 

$13,850 for single or married filing separately 

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If you itemize, you can deduct these expenses:

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  • Gains from sale of your home  
  • Gambling losses  
  • Home mortgage interest  
  • Income, sales, real estate and personal property taxes  
  • Losses from disasters and theft  
  • Medical and dental expenses over 7.5% of your adjusted gross income  
  • Miscellaneous itemized deductions  
  • Opportunity zone investment  

Get answers to questions on itemized deductions and the standard deduction

  Previous Gather your documents

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  25. Credits and deductions for individuals

    Claim credits and deductions when you file your tax return to lower your tax. Make sure you get all the credits and deductions you qualify for.