Reports are important documents produced by How to search for jobs by City in Ethiopia business organizations. They are different in terms of their size, purpose and content. In this section you will study the purpose of report and parts of a report.
Reports (and proposals) are factual, objective documents, which may be distributed to either insiders or outsiders, depending on their purpose and subject. They come in many formats, including reprinted forms, letters, memos, and manuscripts.
In length, they range from a few pages to several hundred. Generally, however, reports and proposals are longer than letters and memos, with larger number of distinct pieces. Reports (and proposals) also tend to be more formal than letters and memos.
But in reports, as in all forms of business communication, organization, style, and tone depend on the message’s purpose, on the relationship between writer and reader, on the traditions of the organization.
Reviewing a complete model of a formal report can help you understand what to include for your reader and in what appropriate order and manner. The formal report structure follows the steps of the scientific process in presenting the report’s information. Formal report:
- Define the purpose and problem
- Describe the procedures followed to reach an answer
- Report the findings from the gathered information
- Draw conclusions from the findings
- present recommendations drawn from the conclusions
Formal reports will include three major groupings of information:
- Preliminary/prefatory elements
- The report body, made up of an introductory section, the findings the conclusions, and the recommendations; and
- Supplementary information
The preliminary information in a formal report serves as the reader’s road map. The introductory information in the body of the report sets the stage for the reader. It tells the reader what he or she needs to know before reading about the results of the investigation. The findings, conclusions, and recommendations sections are closely related. Each has a specific purpose, i.e. each of them answers a specific question: Findings answer the question ”what?” Conclusions answer the question” so what?” Recommendations answer the question ”Now what?” Recommendations answer the question ”Now what?”. These parts are summarized in the following table:
|Prefatory parts||Body/text of the report||Supplementary parts|
|Letter of authorization||Conclusion|
|Letter of acceptance||Recommendations|
|Letter of transmittal||Notes|
|Table of content|
|List of tables|
Figure: Parts of a formal report
The preliminary part of a report includes the following:
- The cover page
First impressions are important, and the reader sees the cover of the report first. The cover is the folder or other form in which the report is bound. Check on common practice in the organization to make the best decision about the cover. Including the title of the report on the outside, although not required, does make the reader’s job easier. Also consider placing on the cover page your name, you organization’s name, the date, and other information needed to send the report to the right people.
- The Title Fly
The title fly is a piece of onionskin paper that carried only the report title. As readers open the cover of the report, the title fly is what they see, and it adds an extra touch of elegance.
- The Title page
The title page includes the title of the report, the date of completion or submission, and the names of the author or authors, the organization, and the department. A report subtitle or statement of the purpose can also appear. Place all information attractively on the page. The information in each line should be centered horizontally and vertically placed on the page so it looks balanced and visually pleasing.
- The letters and memos of Authorization, Acceptance, or Transmittal
The letter or memo of authorization is the piece of correspondence that requested the report. Including this letter or memo can establish a report’s credibility as it passes throughout the organization. Writers usually include the letter of authorization with the most formal reports the letter or memo of acceptance is a copy of a reply to the letter of authorization. Its purpose is to confirm acceptance of the assigned task. However, the letter or memo of transmittal most frequently appears in the preliminary portions of a formal report. Its primary purpose is to tell the reader, ‘‘here is the report”. You can use this document to highlight significant findings, conclusions, or recommendations. You can also identify specific problems encountered while preparing the report. However, be careful not to make excuse for poor performance. Also, express appreciation for any help received.
- The Executive Summary
The executive summary (sometimes called synopsis) gives the reader a short version of the final report. Their summaries are usually about 250-300 words long or about one page.
The executive summary emphasizes the results or findings but first briefly mentions the background, problem and purpose, and procedures or methodology. The executive summary can be written in direct-deductive order: conclusions and recommendations first followed by a summary of the introduction and findings. Or it can be written in indirect- inductive order form: introduction, findings, conclusions, and recommendations. The amount of space each part occupies in the report should take a proportionate amount of space in the abstract or executive summary.
- The Table of Contents
The table of content serves as a guide to readers. Putting too much detail in a table of contents may be just as harmful as putting too little information. Careful consideration of the needs and interests of your readers will help you choose the appropriate amount of detail. Including major headings and one-level of subheadings gives most readers. Enough detail. Well-chosen and clearly stated headings help emphasize the main ideas in a report, even before the audience reads it. The headings in the table of contents should exactly match the headings in the body of the report. Not all readers choose to read the entire report. Therefore, a clear table of contents lets those readers go right to the sections they need. While we can use different wondering systems to differentiate chapter titles from that of sub-sections, note that only the beginning page number of a section appears in the table of contents.
- The List of Tables
If you include any tables in the report, list the tables separately in order of appearance. Number each table consecutively through out the report.
- The List of Figures
Graphic presentations, including charts, graphs, illustrations, diagrams, and photographs, are figures. If you use figures, number them consecutively throughout the report, using a numbering system separate from the tables.
The body of a formal report includes introductory information, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.