The following process may be followed to write a report. The process has various stages. 14 important stages in writing a report are explained briefly below. This is also a comprehensive guide to writing any kind of report.
Process (or) Stages of writing report
1. Decide the Nature of Report: The nature of report refers to whether the report is statutory or non-statutory type. The shape of the report is based on the type of report.
2. Decide the Purpose of Report. The purpose of report can be decided only after knowing the nature and type of report. The remaining stages of the report are based on the purpose of the report.
3. Decide the Contents of the Report: Generally, the following contents are included in any type of report. They are Heading, Address, Contents, Terms of reference, Body of the Report, Recommendations, References, Appendices and Signature.
4. Title should be given to any report: It is termed as heading. The title should be short, clear, simple, meaningful and attractive. Besides, the title itself conveys the purpose and contents of the report. The contents of the report is given in page wise. It means that content indicates the page number of each matter or information.
5. Brief introduction: A brief introduction may be given about the need for writing a report and the factors responsible to prepare this report. If a report is prepared to solve a problem, a brief description of problem may be given within the introduction.
6. Main body of the report: The full facts of the information is given in the main body of the report. Moreover, suitable and clear explanation should be given on the basis of available information. Tables, graphs and diagrams are used to present the report very effectively. Moreover, the data have been analyzed in the main body of the report. On the basis of analysis of data and available information, adequate practical suggestions are given in order to help the management to take quality decision.
7. Summary of the Report: Summary and conclusions of the report are given at the end of the report. It is customary to maintain the list of references and bibliography indicating the sources form where the writer has taken material for writing the report. Appendices contain diagrams, statistical data, specimen forms and the like.
8. End of the Report: If an individual is appointed to write a report, he/she has to sign at the end of the report. In other words, if a committee is formed to write a report, the chairman and all the members of committee should sign at the end of the report. It is advisable to mention date on the report.
9. Collection of Data: Data may be divided into two types. They are primary data and secondary data. The primary data has been collected by investigations, observations, interviews or surveys. The secondary data has been collected from various records of the company. Sometimes, some books may be used to collect the secondary data. In certain cases, data have been collected from outside the company.
10. Analysis of Data: The collected data has been classified, tabulated, edited and analyzed. The way of arranging the data is highly useful for proper analysis of data. The logical analysis of data gives meaningful information to the management. The conclusion is also based on the analysis of data.
11. Format of a Report: The format of a report refers to structure of a report. It means that arrangement of data and information in a meaningful way. If report is in a letter form, it has salutation and a complimentary close. If report is in form of memorandum, salutation and complimentary close may be dropped.
12. Writing of First Draft: Report writing is an art. It can be developed by trial and error method. An individual cannot able to write the report according to the expectation of others. The expectation can not be judged accurately. The reason is that needs and reporting style preference of readers are differing from one individual to another. Hence, fair report is prepared and circulated among few members.
13. Report Writing: The first copy of the report is received back from the readers. The critical views of the readers are taken into consideration for revising the report. The criticism may be inclusion of irrelevant data and information and absence of relevant data and information. These things are properly noted. Then, final report is prepared in a systematic way.
14. Presentation of Report: Report may be hand written, Xeroxed, typewritten or printed depending on the number of copies required. Standard norms are followed in the report preparation. Sufficient space and margin should be kept on the left hand side. Reports are written only one side with double space. Pages, paras and sections are properly numbered. If report is voluminous, bound form is used for presenting the report.