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Reports, in an information age, are essential to business writing and written communications in general.
What makes business reports different from general academic reports is a real-world, practical, problem-centered orientation. The emphasis is placed on brevity, clarity, and functionality.
Reports are varied, each with some typical structural elements.
Includes the following: specification of the problem, the purpose, and the approach you will take in resolving an issue.
Brings a project up to date, often includes the following headings highlighted from the body of the report: status, problems, changes, schedules, and costs.
Is written on a recurring basis, and deals with an on-going situation. Computer printouts are sometimes used.
MEMO OR LETTER REPORT
Is a less formal report on an a limited issue that uses the memo headings and subject declaration to present a specific issue.
The categories included in a report depend on the subject or situation. All reports need to be complete and accurate with informational headings to explain the subject and enable a reader to make a decision.
In detailed, technical reports, for example, among the headings you should probably include are headings similar to the following:
- Theory or background
- Method(s) used
- Results of research
- Recommended action
- Suggested follow-up
In reports where strictly controlled specific research is not required, the organization may resemble that of a memo, and may include the following headings: I Background, II Current situation, III Solution (if applicable) IV Recommendation.
Some informative reports, such as status reports, do not require a recommendation section. Quarterly or annual reports provide a sequential review of a specific time period, and although they may not include a recommendation, they may analyze the meaning of events in the time period covered and suggest future developments. As in any type of communication, format depends on purpose and on the needs of the audience.
Use of headings in long reports are essential. The headings act as an internal outline, showing the reader the importance of each section. Consistency of headings will guide the reader through the categories of your report. Depending upon the level of formality, reports, typically, include some or all of the following eleven parts:
- Letter of Authorization
- Letter of Transmittal
- Table of Contents
Reverse Outlines: A Writer’s Technique for Examining Organization
- 1.1 How to create a reverse outline
- 1.2 Use your reverse outline to answer questions
- 1.3 An example of a reverse outline
Reverse Outlines: A Writer’s Technique for Examining Organization
A reverse outline can help you:
- Determine if your paper meets its goal
- Discover places to expand on your evidence or analysis
- See where readers might be tripped up by your organization or structure
How to create a reverse outline
Does every paragraph relate back to your main idea?
Where might a reader have trouble following the order of your ideas?
Do several of your paragraphs repeat one idea?
Does one paragraph juggle several topics?
Are your paragraphs too long? Too short?
Writing a Research Paper
- 1.1 Discovering, Narrowing, and Focusing a Researchable Topic
- 1.2 Finding, Selecting, and Reading Sources
- 1.3 Grouping, Sequencing, and Documenting Information
- 1.4 Writing an Outline and a Prospectus for Yourself
- 1.5 Writing the Introduction
- 1.6 Writing the Body
- 1.7 Writing the Conclusion
- 1.8 Revising the Final Draft
Writing a Research Paper
- Discovering, Narrowing, and Focusing a Researchable Topic
- Finding, Selecting, and Reading Sources
- Grouping, Sequencing, and Documenting Information
- Writing an Outline and a Prospectus for Yourself
- Writing the Introduction
- Writing the Body
- Writing the Conclusion
- Revising the Final Draft
- Try to find a topic that truly interests you
- Try writing your way to a topic
- Talk with your course instructor and classmates about your topic
- Pose your topic as a question to be answered or a problem to be solved
- library catalog, periodical indexes, bibliographies, suggestions from your instructor
- primary vs. secondary sources
- journals, books, other documents
- a system for noting sources on bibliography cards
- a system for organizing material according to its relative importance
- a system for taking notes
- What is the topic?
- Why is it significant?
- What background material is relevant?
- What is my thesis or purpose statement?
- What organizational plan will best support my purpose?
- present relevant background or contextual material
- define terms or concepts when necessary
- explain the focus of the paper and your specific purpose
- reveal your plan of organization
- Use your outline and prospectus as flexible guides
- Build your essay around points you want to make (i.e., don’t let your sources organize your paper)
- Integrate your sources into your discussion
- Summarize, analyze, explain, and evaluate published work rather than merely reporting it
- Move up and down the “ladder of abstraction” from generalization to varying levels of detail back to generalization
- If the argument or point of your paper is complex, you may need to summarize the argument for your reader.
- If prior to your conclusion you have not yet explained the significance of your findings or if you are proceeding inductively, use the end of your paper to add your points up, to explain their significance.
- Move from a detailed to a general level of consideration that returns the topic to the context provided by the introduction.
- Perhaps suggest what about this topic needs further research.
- Check overall organization: logical flow of introduction, coherence and depth of discussion in body, effectiveness of conclusion.
- Paragraph level concerns: topic sentences, sequence of ideas within paragraphs, use of details to support generalizations, summary sentences where necessary, use of transitions within and between paragraphs.
- Sentence level concerns: sentence structure, word choices, punctuation, spelling.
- Documentation: consistent use of one system, citation of all material not considered common knowledge, appropriate use of endnotes or footnotes, accuracy of list of works cited.
not only … but also
both … and
not so obvious
as well as
either … or
whether …or not
in like manner
parallel with `
in the same category comparable to
S H O W I T
S : Strategy —
Your strategy is your blueprint for writing, your overall plan based on your thesis.
H : Heuristics —
Heuristics are your “Rules of thumb”– your strategy filtered through common sense. Select the best presentation of your message for your purpose, audience, and medium of presentation.
O: Organization —
Plan to organize your essay around a unifying thesis, with a strong beginning, appropriate development, and an effective conclusion.
W: Writing ––
Writing is a process that involves various stages of development. Write your first draft, working out your plan, knowing you will have an opportunity to improve your essay later.
I : Improving —
Improving your writing means revising to optimize your essay for your audience and purpose.
T : Tracking —
Tracking your writing means following-up, reviewing and redeveloping as needed to achieve your purpose.
— 12 — Information and Financial Management, Research Reports
Information and Financial Management,
Part Six: Managing Information, Accounting, and Finance
PHK – Chapter 14: Understanding Information and E- Business
KC: C16 Writing Business Reports
- 1 Suggested Reading About Policies Policy Samples Open Door Policy Bereavement Leave or Funeral Leave Policy Suggested Reading About Policies Business Casual Dress Code Policy Application for Internal Job Opportunities Policy Employee Attendance Policy Related Articles How to Develop, Write, Implement, and Integrate a Policy Sample Letter of Resignation – Sample Resignation Letter Stressing Future P… Concealed Weapons Policy Sample – Concealed Weapons Policy Sample for Workp… Sample Website, Blogging and Social Media Policy Gift Policy Sample – This Sample Gift Policy Is a Company No-Gift Policy
- 2 Identify the Need for a Policy
- 3 You want to have the necessary policies and procedures to ensure a safe, organized, convivial, empowering, nondiscriminatory work place. Yet you do not want to write a policy for every exception to accepted and expected behavior. Policy development is for the many employees not for the few exceptions.
- 4 Check Out These Guidelines to See if a Policy Is Needed
- 5 Articulate the Goal of the Policy
- 6 Gather Information
- 7 Develop and Write the Policy
- 8 Review the Policy
- 9 Obtain Management Support for the Policy
- 10 Obtain Legal Review of the Policy
- 11 Implement the Policy
- 12 Decide How You Will Communicate the Policy in the Future
- 13 Interpret and Integrate the Policy
You want to have the necessary policies and procedures to ensure a safe, organized, convivial, empowering, nondiscriminatory work place. Yet you do not want to write a policy for every exception to accepted and expected behavior. Policy development is for the many employees not for the few exceptions.
Check Out These Guidelines to See if a Policy Is Needed
- if the actions of employees indicate confusion about the most appropriate way to behave (dress codes, email and Internet policies, cell phone use),
- if guidance is needed about the most suitable way to handle various situations (standards of conduct, travel expenditures, purchase of company merchandise),
- when needed to protect the company legally (consistent investigation of charges of harassment, non-discriminatory hiring and promotion),
- to keep the company in compliance with governmental policies and laws (FMLA, ADA, EEOC, minimum wage),
- to establish consistent work standards, rules, and regulations (progressive discipline, safety rules, break rules, smoking rules), and
- to provide consistent and fair treatment for employees (benefits eligibility, paid time off,tuition assistance, bereavement time, jury duty).