A report is a text written to communicate information. Some reports only communicate information, while other reports not only communicate information, but also analyze and evaluate that information. In your courses in the Business School the reports you are required to write belong to the latter category.
Reports vary widely in purpose, length, layout and style. Within organizations, there are a range of different styles and views of what constitutes a ‘good’ report. Academic writing can also be presented in different forms. In the Business School, the requirement is that you use a report style and format to write your assignments. What should be common to all is that a report is a structured form of written communication, in which information or findings are presented, and a set of conclusions drawn. It will also commonly include a set of recommendations or proposals. A report should present its findings in a clear and concise way, and any conclusions should derive clearly from the findings presented.
Reports usually have a much stricter layout than you would find in an essay.
The purpose of a report is to clearly show:
What makes a good report?
A good report:
Understanding the audience and purpose of each report is vital to ensure clarity and accuracy, as well as professionalism.
The audience of reports will vary. The goal is to reach the audience of each, unique report. Your report should:
The purpose of reports will vary; the purpose could be one or more of the following:
As with all forms of written communication, before writing any report, it is vital to be clear about purpose.
A purpose statement is a declarative sentence which summarizes the specific topic and goals of a document. It is typically included in the introduction to give the reader an accurate, concrete understanding what the document will cover and what he/she can gain from reading it. To be effective, a statement of purpose should be:
Some common introductory phrases for purpose statements include:
What is a memo?
"Memo" (short for memorandum) is a business-oriented style that is best suited for interoffice or inter-colleague correspondence. Memos are generally used to provide or ask for information, announce a new policy, update on personnel transfers, or for any other internal issues.
For our assignment, you will be using the memo to explain your topic selection and its process (see the information sheet for the assignment in this module's folder - Module One).
How should it be formatted?
Your memo should be one single-spaced page. You should use 12-point Times New Roman font for the body text of your memo and Arial or Calibri for the headings in your memo. Your margins should be 1 inch on all sides (typical Word document size). Your memo should be written in full block format using Word. Full block format means no indention at the beginning of paragraphs and left justification (similar to how this post is typed!). To signal the end of one paragraph and the beginning of another, you should leave one blank line.
What makes a memo unique is its header:
As you can see in the image above, it has a To:, a From:, a Date:, and an RE:, which means "subject" or "regarding." All should be bolded. It also has "Memo" at the very top, in large and bold letters, and a line that separates the header from the body of the memo. The body of the memo is where you will follow the assignment to discuss your topic and its selection process.
There are different types of memos, based on audience and purpose.
The following video explains the expectations for memos vs. business letters.