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How do I structure my report?

Gemma Pobjoy
Artist Gemma Pobjoy

Reports are a form of writing used in industry and in the workplace generally. Consequently, they have been used in vocational learning environments for many years, and are increasingly being used across a wide range of academic courses. They are intended to investigate, present and analyse information to achieve a particular objective or solve a problem. To achieve these goals and to enable the reader to find information efficiently, the following structure is frequently used.

In general a report will have the following structure:

  • Transmittal document

    This is a separate document attached to the front of the report. Do not include it unless specifically requested to do so.

  • Title page
  • Table of contents
  • List of figures
  • List of tables or illustrations
  • Executive summary
  • Introduction
  • Body of the report

    This section is further broken into as many sections as needed according to the type of report and the material covered. Broadly it is broken into results, findings and discussion.

  • Conclusion
  • Recommendations
  • Appendix or appendices
  • Bibliography/Reference list

For details about each of these sections and a useful report writing checklist, click on the Q Manual Opens in a new window and read chapter 7.

You may find that particular areas of your study or work have specific requirements or guidelines for report writing. Always check your Unit Guide for departmental requirements or ask your tutor if you are not sure.

The sample report with commentary on this site will show you how a group of students in Interior Architecture went about writing their report, and report writing in Language and Learning Online offers further information. There are many books available that give advice on how to write reports, so check the library catalogue or make enquiries at your campus Learning Support Centre.

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