How to Write a Report Paper
Table of Contents
Report writing is a specialized academic task that students, businesspeople, and professional writers come across. No matter what your area of specialization is, you probably learn to write reports as a student.
This guide was prepared to let you master the skill of writing reports so that you can produce well-structured, well-researched texts for any purpose.
What Is a Report Paper?
Let’s first clarify what a report is; such understanding will help you structure and argument development.
A report is a piece of academic or business writing meant to inform, recommend, or build trust. In terms of informing, the reports are usually compiled about events or problems that need to be resolved. Upon providing the context of the problem, you need to give practical, clear recommendations to manage the issue. If you base your argument on sound data, you’re sure to build trust in your audience and convince the readers to take some intended action.
How to Start a Report Paper
The starting point of any report is the explanation of the study context. Always keep in mind that your readers may know nothing about your study subject, so you have to present the background with enough detail to make it understandable for laypersons.
After you give some details about the subject’s context and background, it’s time to delineate your problem. A report is typically dedicated to some practical issue or gap in the knowledge you’re trying to address. So, your intro is a suitable place for the introductory information about what your report is about and why it matters.
How to Structure a Report Paper
We have already touched upon the report’s introduction a bit, but the structure is still fundamental. Besides introducing the basic information about your study topic, you should also include other vital sections, such as an account of published research on your topic, methods you used to explore the subject, and critical findings you have arrived at.
Depending on the topic of your report, you will develop relevant subheadings for the body of your text. You can single out the topics of subheadings in the introduction, then going through them one by one. The main thing to remember is that no matter how many subheadings or subtopics you have, you need to structure them as standalone essays (or paragraphs), with their short introduction, body with relevant evidence, and conclusion.
The most common report structure should include the following sections (choose the ones of relevance to your specific study):
- Table of contents
- Executive summary
How to End a Report Paper
As a rule, the final section of your report is a conclusion. Here you can return to the subject of your study and the problem you delineated at the beginning, restating the importance of the studied issue. Then you can summarize the key points that you explored in the body of the paper, one by one, without adding new details. It may also be relevant to include a brief section with recommendations at the end, dealing with the practical steps that your target audience can take to solve the issue.
Report Paper Outline
Here is a brief outline to help you out with the writing report process:
The writer uses this part to set the context and background of the examined issue. You should also state the purpose of their report.
e.g., Cancer is the leading cause of death globally. Genomic research has promising potential for treating cancer. The report is dedicated to the genomic technology achievements and current genomic research on cancer.
This section outlines how exactly you are planning to arrive at your findings. Some reports relate to the analysis of internal company data or surveys with target samples (primary data). In contrast, others summarize and present the findings of other people’s research on the subject (secondary data).
e.g., This report examines the clinical research publications on the subject of genomic research on cancer from 2010 to 2022.
In this part, you present the raw data collected in the process of report preparation. At times, the section overlaps with the Results part, and only one of the two can be included.
e.g., The research yielded 125 studies in the CINAHL and PubMed databases fitting the inclusion criteria.
In this section, you can dwell on the subject of your report in more detail. You can analyze the existing genomic technology and the one underway reported in the studies you have found, comparing and contrasting various authors’ opinions.
e.g., Overall, research suggests two significant contributions of genomics to cancer treatment and prevention. Authors A, B, and C described Method A … Method B also looks quite promising based on the clinical research findings of authors D, E, and F.
This section serves to recap the whole argument and summarize the critical report findings to solidify your points. Major conclusions come first, with secondary findings enumerated further. It’s a good idea to structure the conclusions in line with your initial report objectives so that the readers find it easy to trace the entire argument back to the beginning.
Every methodology has some limitations, and your task is to give credit to those limitations. It is always a sign of professionalism if you acknowledge the limits of your study and delineate some directions for further research.
e.g., This report possesses limitations in terms of the period included in the research. Besides, the report is based only on secondary data, limiting the credibility of the findings.
Here you should introduce your ideas about how your findings may inform the problem’s solutions.
e.g., Based on this report’s findings, genomics possesses a real potential for resolving the problem of cancer.
Report Paper Introduction
When writing an introduction to your report, you need to clarify some specifics first. Opinions matter, and so do your tutor’s requirements.
Make sure to check:
- Whether the use of first-person phrases is acceptable.
- Whether the report should have sections and subheadings or should be a one-section document.
- Whether primary or secondary research is needed for its completion.
- Whether you need to use in-text citations, footnotes, or endnotes.
Report Paper Body
The report’s body typically takes 80-90% of the paper’s size. So, the major challenge that a writer comes across is the structure of the report’s body. The writer’s task is to make the sections well-structured and logically linked, without overlaps and repetitiveness.
The essential tips for report authors include:
- Ensure that the report is written in clear, concise, and accurate language.
- The phrasing and ideas should be easy to understand.
- The style and voice of the report should be tailored appropriately for the audience.
- The report should have a clear structure.
How to write a report paper in APA format? This question worries those who come up to the body of the paper, as citations are used in this section of the report more heavily. Keep the major rule of APA format writing in mind: citing the authors and dates of their works’ publications in the in-text citations. If you quote directly, you should also indicate the page number containing the quoted information.
Report Paper Conclusion
The concluding part is a summary of your research findings. The key to writing an impactful conclusion is to make an overall inference about what your data suggests by reverting to your initial report purpose and thesis statement. Expert writers never confuse conclusions and results, as the former is meant to connect all the threads from your discussion into a single whole without adding any new information.
Report Paper Help
Are you looking for some more report writing tips from our experts? Here is a couple of extra recommendations that are sure to make your report ideal.
Don’t Confuse Reports and Essays
Reports should be more fact-based, with fewer irrelevant content words and with fewer author opinions. Reports are the presentations of data and evidence, not your opinion. Even in the analysis of findings, it’s better to stick to facts and what the statistical/content analysis says, not what you infer from the findings.
Don’t Forget About Transitions
Though reports are more suitable for business communication, they should still represent pieces of coherent writing. So, it would be best to keep the correct linkages between paragraphs and sections so that the audience receives an impression of a well-written, cohesive piece.
Don’t Use Slang or Contractions
Reports are still examples of academic writing, so you should follow all academic composition conventions when writing them. Instead of “don’t” or “won’t,” use “do not” or “will not.” Slang phrases are suitable for less formal writing, so resort to classical dictionary variants of the words you use.
So, here you go with the basic report paper guidelines that can help you perform the task with ease. If you still feel uncomfortable with structuring or laying out the evidence, you can always turn to our essay writers for assistance. Our team of qualified pros is always available 24/7 for any kind of writing assistance. Thus, you can always rely on our expertise instead of managing the task on your own.