Writing reports

Like essays, reports are widely used for assessment purposes at university.

You may be asked to write a report on a piece of research (for example, a scientific experiment or a case study) or on project work involving fact-finding and/or evaluation. Examples of this include reports on visits to schools, companies or manufacturing plants; evaluations of teaching and learning programmes or IT systems; and progress reports on work or study. Developing good report writing skills will help you to produce assignments of a high standard. It will also be useful in your professional life after university, as report writing is an important aspect of many graduate jobs.

A good report has four main characteristics:

  • clear aims and objectives
  • a specific target audience
  • clear structure and layout, with headings at the beginning of each section
  • simple, clear, concise writing

Like other types of assignments, reports need careful planning and information gathering. After completing these two stages, you can write the first draft, and then make changes and corrections to improve it. Finally, you have to edit and proofread the report before submission. To read more about this, go to the section on the writing process.