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What is a report?

What is a report?

A report is a presentation of facts on a certain topic. Its purpose is to convey information and ideas and sometimes to make recommendations.

Different departments within Unitec have differing requirements for report layout so it is very important that you know what type of report your lecturer requires and what format the report should be in.

In general, Unitec students are asked to write either a business or scientific report.

A business report  presents information and about  an issue or incident.  It typically includes reference to relevant theory and gives conclusions and, if requested, recommendations. This report structure is also commonly used in subjects outside of business.

A scientific report provides details of an experiment or test: how it was conducted and the results discovered.

The layout of a report will depend on the type of report you are writing.

Language Reports

Reports are one of the most impersonal kinds of writing and this is reflected in the language used.  It is usually best to avoid expressing personal opinions or feelings except perhaps in the conclusions section. The following clickable list provides some examples of language to use for different parts of a report.

Suggestions for language to use:

Introduction
The aim of this report is to… It is based on…
This report is intended to... It draws on…
This report looks at… It uses…
This report describes…
The purpose of this report is to investigate…
Procedure

The first stage of the research process was to draw up a questionnaire. X was investigated in order to find out…

Reporting a finding
It seems / appears that… It was found that…
…tend(s) to… It was felt that…
This report looks at… It uses…
A majority /minority of… Table 3.1 shows
As can be seen in Table 3.2… The evidence shows that
Quoting
According to… As X (2007)said…
In the words of… As reported by X…
Concluding
It is clear that… It is apparent that…
It seems… It appears…
There is no doubt that…
Commenting
It is interesting to note that… It was surprising to find that…
Generalising
In general… On the whole…
As a rule… Overall…
Making Recommendations
It is recommended that… It would be advisable…
X should consider…