Report Writing

Kinds of Reports

Report writing is a formal style of writing elaborately on a topic. The tone of a report is always formal. The important section to focus on is the target audience. For example – report writing about a school event, report writing about a business case, etc. Let us briefly discuss the different kinds of reports

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Kinds of Report Writing – A Brief Introduction

kinds of reports

All your facts and information presented in the report not only have to be bias-free, but they also have to be 100% correct. Proof-reading and fact-checking is always what you do as a thumb rule before submitting a report.

Reports are written with much analysis. The purpose of report writing is essential to inform the reader about a topic, minus one’s opinion on the topic. It’s simply a portrayal of facts, as it is. Even if one gives inferences, solid analysis, charts, tables and data is provided. Mostly it is specified by the person who’s asked for the report whether they would like your take or not if that is the case.

In many cases, what’s required is your suggestions for a specific case after a factual report. That depends on why are you writing the report and who you are writing it for in the first place. Knowing your audience’s motive for asking for that report is very important as it sets the course of the facts focused on your report.

Kinds of Reports

Based on some special characteristics, a report can be a certain kind. Why classify them in kinds? Well, depending upon the purpose of the report, it’s always best to know what kind would be the best for that case.

For example, informal reports in office formal contexts may not be suitable. In that case, even if your report is on point and the best, just the structure or format or language could work against your report.

Small things like that should not stand in the way of you conveying your point. And thus for these reasons and more, let’s dive into the kinds of reports that exist so we can make clear decisions of their usage.

Know the Steps in Report Writing

All Types of Reports and their Explanation

Long Report and Short Reports:

These kinds of reports are quite clear, as the name suggests. A two-page report or sometimes referred to as a memorandum is short, and a thirty-page report is absolutely long. But what makes a clear division of short reports or long reports? Well, usually, notice that longer reports are generally written in a formal manner.

Internal and External Reports:

As the name suggests, an internal report stays within a certain organization or group of people. In the case of office settings, internal reports are for within the organization.

We prepare external reports, such as a news report in the newspaper about an incident or the annual reports of companies for distribution outside the organization. We call these as public reports.

Vertical and Lateral Reports:

This is about the hierarchy of the reports’ ultimate target. If the report is for your management or for your mentees, it’s a vertical report. Wherever a direction of upwards or downwards comes into motion, we call it a vertical report.

Lateral reports, on the other hand, assist in coordination in the organization.  A report traveling between units of the same organization level (for example, a report among the administration and finance departments) is lateral.

Tips and Conventions with Sample Reports

Periodic Reports:

Periodic reports are sent out on regularly pre-scheduled dates. In most cases, their direction is upward and serves as management control. Some, like annual reports, is not vertical but is a Government mandate to be periodic in nature.

That is why we have annual or quarterly or half-yearly reports. If they are this frequent, it only makes sense to pre-set the structure of these reports and just fill in the data every period. That’s exactly what happens in most cases too.


Formal and Informal Reports:

Formal reports are meticulously structured. They focus on objectivity and organization, contain deeper detail, and the writer must write them in a style that eliminates factors like personal pronouns.

Informal reports are usually short messages with free-flowing, casual use of language. We generally describe the internal report/memorandum as an informal report. For example, a report among your peers, or a report for your small group or team, etc.

Informational and Analytical Reports:

Informational reports (attendance reports, annual budget reports, monthly financial reports, and such) carry objective information from one area of an organization to maybe a larger system.

Analytical reports (scientific research, feasibility reports, and employee appraisals) show attempts to solve actual problems. These analytical reports usually require suggestions at the end.

Proposal Reports:

These kinds of reports are like an extension to the analytical/problem-solving reports. A proposal is a document one prepares to describe how one organization can provide a solution to a problem they are facing.

There’s usually always a need to prepare a report in a business set-up. The end goal is usually very solution-oriented. We call such kinds of reports as proposal reports.

Functional Reports:

These kinds of reports include marketing reports, financial reports, accounting reports, and a spectrum of other reports that provide a function specifically. By and large, we can include almost all reports in most of these categories. Furthermore, we can include a single report in several kinds of reports.

Now, as we have progressed from knowing what report writing is and then the kinds of reports. So, let’s see step-by-step how one actually writes a report. Stay tuned to Toppr Guides.

Solved Example on Kinds of Reports

Question: We know that reports are a part of formal communication. So, is there any kind of informal report? If yes, then explain?

Answer: Informal reports are usually short messages with free-flowing, casual use of language. We generally describe the internal report/memorandum as an informal report. For example, a report among your peers, or a report for your small group of team, etc.

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