Fewer than 10 pages in length, a small report provides readers with clear and concise information. Written in memo format, a small report is intended primarily for internal use in a company. You can use a small report to describe a business plan or proposal, strategic plan, marketing plan or financial plan. Although the content and terminology will vary from report to report, the basic structure is the same: table of contents, introduction, discussion, conclusions, recommendations and appendices.
Meet with your supervisor or client to determine which issues must be addressed in the report and ask him for any background documents or other support material. Arrange interviews or meetings with the appropriate people in your office. Use the Internet to obtain additional information for your report.
Create a table of contents before writing the report. Visualize the actual report and organize the information in sequential form. The table of contents streamlines the writing process and provides a step-by-step template for the report.
Write the introduction. Usually a paragraph in length, the introduction states the objectives and key issues of the report. Though the introduction contains background information, it does not summarize the rest of the report.
Provide details about the method of research used and how information was gathered in the discussion section of the report. Organize your information using the appropriate headings and sub-headings. This section is the longest and most complex part of the report and contains the data that leads to your conclusions and recommendations.
Present at least two alternative solutions to the issue or problem and discuss the merits and weaknesses of each. Whenever possible, use facts and figures collected during your research.
Summarize the findings in the conclusion section. Remind the reader of the main objectives of the report and the main merits and weaknesses of the possible solutions. Pave the way for the recommendations.
State your solution and provide the reasons for your choice in the recommendations section. If you provide both short-term and long-term recommendations, clearly state all the implications.
Include any charts, tables or detailed research materials in the appendices section of the report.
In 2008, Joanne Guidoccio opened a wordsmith business. She has been published in the "Guelph Daily Mercury," "Waterloo Record" and "Winnipeg Free Press". A retired school teacher, Guidoccio has a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and psychology from Laurentian University, a Bachelor of education from the University of Western Ontario and a Career Development Practitioner Diploma from Conestoga College.