Concept of Report Text

Concept of Report Text

Spring (1999: 3) A report is always expository writing; that is, it can be either informative or persuasive. Many students think of report writing as a long, dreary process with few uses in the “real world”.  Reports are probably the most common form of work related writing. Reports can be any length, from a single paragraph to many pages, and they can be either formal or informal in tone.  Reports can be written or spoken.  Depending on the circumstances, a report may be based on your own personal knowledge of a subject or on information you have gathered through reading, listening, and interviewing specifically for the project.

Any time you gather information, organize it, and pass it along, you have created a report.  For example, when you comment to a co-worker that “It sure is a cold, grey day with lots of blowing snow” you have, in fact, gathered information from your own experience about the temperature, the precipitation, the wind, etc. and passed it along in the form of a short oral report.  If, on the other hand, you had written this same information in a letter to your best friend, - even if it was only one sentence long -you would have created a written report.

The term report is difficult to define because it refers to such a wide variety of documents.  Reports can be as simple as filling in the blanks or answering a few questions about an  accident, or they can be long and involved requiring years of study, hundreds of contributors, and several thick volumes to record the results. What then are the basic characteristics of a report?

a.       All reports are factual. You must be able to back up any facts you include.

b.      All reports organize facts into a meaningful presentation.

c.       Most reports interpret the information gathered.

d.      Many reports make recommendations.

e.       Almost all reports are assigned or requested.  This means that your purpose and audience are determined before you start to work.


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