How to write an informational report updated guide

How to write an informational report updated guide
Before writing an informational report, you need to know what it is and what it entails. It is crucial that you develop an awareness of the different approaches required when writing an informational report. You need to select the correct tools and structure for your report by defining the text’s purpose first.
Informational texts are given primary importance in most English curricula. Acquiring the skills necessary to produce these texts efficiently takes time. Writing an effective informational report is a skill and valuable addition.
What is an informational report?
An informational report is a factual representation of information about a specific topic. The report is nonfiction and summarizes facts about a particular event or issue. It contains details of any event without analyzing or offering recommendations.
When writing an informational report, you are only supposed to present data but not provide any explanation, persuade your audience or argue a point. An informational report is opinion-free whose the purpose to provide necessary information to the audience.
With an informational report, you create a better understanding of a subject. Ideally, a person unfamiliar with the subject should find everything they need to know about the topic from a well-written report. An informative report is easy to put someone to speed on a subject.
Examples of information reports may be found in, technical texts, science books, encyclopedias, reference books, magazines, and websites. Despite the broad range, all the above-mentioned can be classified as forms of information texts.
A report refers to an official document detailing facts on a topic usually written by an expert on the subject or someone who has been assigned to investigate it. There are different types of reports and although all facts can be included, reports tend to feature these kinds of contents
Features of an informational report

Details of an event
The ongoing effects of an event
Evaluation of statistical data or analytics
Interpretations from the information in the report
Recommendations based on the information in the report
How the information relates to other reports

Though distinct, reports are closely related to essay writing. while they both rely on facts, essays add personal opinions of the author. Reports strictly only to facts though they include some facts interpretations by the author usually in the conclusion.
Further, reports are organized mainly with the table of contents and copious headings and subheadings. Moreover, reports are heavily organized, commonly with tables of contents and copious headings and subheadings. It makes it easier for the reader to scan for the information they are looking for. On the other hand, essays are meant to be browsed through but read from start to finish. 
Writing a high-quality informational report
An information report is generally written to provide facts about anything. It can be living or non-living objects and cab also be individual or a group of objects. Some suggestions include

Cost of living
Sea creatures

While writing an informational report, the challenge is to provide the reader with plenty of facts about a subject without providing a personal opinion. Offering personal opinions is necessary when writing a persuasive text. In the event you are writing about a class of objects, always highlight the differences and similarities between them.
Types of report writing
Depending on the purpose and your audience, different reports are available.
Informal and formal report
The main difference between these two reports is mainly the length and sections. t is said that phrasing changes between informal and formal reports from conversational to more formal. Wording and phrasing however vary by type of report.
The accuracy, layout, and clarity of your report, reflect your reliability, validity, and comprehension of the solutions proposed. Essentially, your report should be simple, clear, and organized for your audience to grasp.
Informal reports
Informal reports are shorter though with undefined quantities of words. Usually, the documents have pages under ten. The topics in informal reports are specific and grouped in paragraphs. The topics tend to have simple headings.
Formal reports
A formal report is longer although, as an informal report, the word quantity is not defined. Some start at ten pages but can exceed one hundred pages in some cases. The policy of the company being written determines the sections, content, labels, and purpose of the topic of a formal report.
A formal report addresses complex topics that require in-depth research on the topic, evidence to support proposed solutions, and a substantial description of the background. Data gathered and a summary of the topic generate length. In order to keep this information organized, a formal report requires formal headings and organization to help the readers track what they want to read.
Informational and analytical reports
Informal and formal reports have two categories: informational and analytical reports. Both informal and formal reports can be in either category.
Informational reports
An informational report provides a summary of data found on a particular subject. The format in this report is pre-determined and it is often completed at the end of a business trip. This report can include expense reports and justification reports among others. The main characteristic of this report is its objectivity, they only aim to inform but not propose solutions.
Analytical reports
Unlike an informational report that informs the reader about a topic, the information researched and collected in analytical reports provides an analysis that leads to one or several recommendations. For example, consider a report that helps a company determine where to open a new office. The report might look at several properties with respect to, cost, and accessibility and then recommend the best site.
Operational reports
Operational reports track every detail of a company’s operational tasks. They are short-term reports whose aim is to focus on the present. Usually, they help a business identify an issue and define the solutions to optimize its operational efficiency. Operational reports are mostly used in logistics, manufacturing, and retail as they assist in tracking inventory, costa, and production among others.
Product reports
This report is used to monitor aspects related to product performance and development. Businesses use this report to determine which of their product is selling the most within a specified period of time. It further helps them calculate inventory to see which products are valued more by the client. Another instance of these reports is to research the commission of new products.
Industry reports
These reports provide an overview of a particular industry or sector with definitions, size, key trends, leading companies, and outlook among others within a certain geographical area. They are useful for businesses who want to enter a specific industry and want to know how competitive it is. They are often written but experts in the field or analysts
Department reports
These reports are specific to each department and they describe the achievements of goals and objectives for the reporting period. They can be production results, proposals, or accounts of financial details. They serve as a communication tool between managers and team members.
A department report includes challenges, successes, failures, and recommendations. Different organizations may have different formats. For long reports, an executive summary any be appropriate for top management and for clients who wish to be notified o main issues without reading the whole report
Progress report
A progress report provides information on the status of a project. It informs the management and client about a project and changes or adjusts schedules and budgets. These reposts can be produced at regular intervals could be daily, weekly, or monthly to fine-tune tasks for better development of the project.
Progress reports are used as a visual material to support discussions in meetings. These reports are ideal for projects that have many steps from onset to completion.
Internal reports
Internal reports refer to any reports that are used internally within an organization. These documents are Meant to be viewed only by individuals working in the company. They convey information between members and departments to keep the flow of communication.
The reports can deal with different subjects like human resources, and sales marketing among others. Usually, companies protect themselves by classifying these documents as confidential to avoid accidental disclosure.
External reports
An external report aims at sharing information with external parties such as investors, lenders, and creditors for progress accountability. These parties need this information to evaluate the financial condition of the reporting body.
They also share information with the relevant government bodies to stay compliant with the law. At a formal level, external reporting issues a complete set of financial statements which include an income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows.
Vertical and lateral reports
This type of reporting refers to the direction in which a report travels. Vertical reports are created for either those above or below someone in the organization’s hierarchy. Lateral reports are created and shared among members at the same level in an organization.
A vertical report includes a marketing campaign email by an employee to their superior or a performance report by a manager to their direct reports. A lateral report can be reports sent between managers working team’s managers in the same seniority level.
What constitutes a successful report
There are common mistakes done when writing a report and they include

Poor structuring of the report
Inappropriate writing style
Inadequate referencing
Failure to answer the brief or purpose of the report
Too much or little irrelevant material that is not part of the subject matter
Failure to relate results to the purpose of the report
Use of unnecessary jargon

To ensure you don’t make such mistakes, always ensure you understand the purpose of the report. Who wants it? Why do they want it? What do they want in the report? If you still need more clarification always enquire before you start writing.
How to write an informational report
An informational report does not have an argumentative slant. The goal is to give facts to the reader and let them make their own decision. You should not try to influence their opinion. The important thing to do is to read the brief and re-read it again carefully so that you understand what the requirement for your assignment is.
You follow this with in-depth research and then write clearly and describe your findings in non-ambiguous terms. An informational report doesn’t need a thesis statement as it presents an argument but it needs a clear focus.
When preparing your informational report there are guides to follow to ensure you write an effective document. The following guide will assist you in producing a well-written piece that will not only grab the audience’s attention but keep them glued to the end.

Find out who needs the report and its purpose

It is important to analyze the audience before your start writing your report. Enquire what the motive for the report is and which subject they want to cover as well as the format to use Different reports look different from others. Different institutions also have different ways in which they write reports. All informational reports however have basic things.

Research on the related topic

Use scholarly books, web pages, scientific studies, or interviews to gather data on your subject matter. The research will help you define the scope of your topic. explain at the beginning of your report the methods you used to create surveys and questionnaires if you collected the data yourself.

Use important keywords and phrases

Keywords form the basis of your writing as they put emphasis on what you are writing about. The generation of keywords is equally important for the research stage when using the internet as they guide you in getting specific information on a certain topic.
Search engines are as useful as the terms being searched. The search process helps you refine and filter the vocabulary to use in your report.

State the focus of your report

Informational reports do not require a thesis as this is argumentative. They however need to state the focus of the report in the last sentence of the first paragraph. The rest of the introduction is meant to capture the attention of the reader.
It is equally important you cite key statistics, tell an anecdote, or quote an expert related to the focus. Stating a focus acts as a guide to both the reader and you. a focus enables the reader to know what to expect and you know what to include and exclude in the report.

List your points

Depending on the length of the report, list points that are essential and relate to the focus. Each paragraph should explore each point. Rank each point in terms of its legitimacy. The ranking is an objective that involves distinguishing facts from opinions, detecting fake news, cross-referencing sources, and detecting bias. Ensure you develop each point using statistics, examples, quotations summaries, and personal analysis.

Take notes

The research stage is where you need to stake notes. It is very important as you will be mining information during research. Use technical language when required and a collection of useful facts to include. You can also use visuals but this is best after you have drafted and written your report. Visuals are mainly to support a written report.

Spend time on the discussion section

This is the section that pieces the whole report together by showing how your findings relate to the purpose of the report and any past research. Acknowledge with a reference every idea or information you use from someone else’s work.

Mention your source

if you summarize, use a formatting style, Modern Language Association (MLA) American Psychology Association (APA), or Chicago to chive credit to the source. Most documentation styles require including titles, names, page numbers, dates, and publishers. Ensure you save your information sources so that you can cite them.
Different institutions, editors, and teachers may have a preferred formatting style. It is important you enquire on which one is required before you start writing your report.

Be informative in your report

A report is a communication between you and the reader. Pay attention to your target reader and what they want from the report. You may be asked to write for an unfamiliar reader and it is important to think about why they want a report and ensure you respond to their need.
If it is your teacher, they may want to know that you can report the processes and results of research accurately and discuss the findings in the overall context in response to the purpose of the report.

Restate the main points

A conclusion is an important part of any report as it reminds the reader of what was said and in the body. Mention the main points briefly in your conclusion using different words than in the introduction.
A strong conclusion ensures that the reader will still remember what the topic was about long after they have read it. Be intentional in choosing the keywords.
Features of an informational report
As a student, you may wonder what the difference between an essay and a report is as is it a bit confusing. There is usually a mix of features in both. For instance, an essay that has a sub-heading and some assignments may not be called a report but seem like one in their structure.
The guide below will explain some key differences between essays and reports and how features of reports are economical to read. You will also understand how to read reports and the features that will assist you in your report assignment.
 A report describes a set of actions or analyses in response to a specific brief. You may have an assignment that is not a report but has the same features as a report. If so this guide will provide help on key differences between reports and essays.

Essays are argumentative and idea based while reports are fact-based
Essays are semi-structured while reports are formally structured
Essays are not written with readers in mind while reports are written for a certain purpose and for a specific reader
Essays are written in a single narrative style throughout while reports are written with a style appropriate for a specific section
Essays do not include sub-headings but reports always include headings in each section
Essays don’t include bullet points but reports include bullet points
Essays have no tables of content or graphs while reports include graphs and tables of content
Essays usually offer conclusions while reports provide recommendations

General features of an informational report
Present tense
Informational reports are written in the present tense as the information on the topic is static knowledge. This is however not the case with all informational texts. Some informational texts such as biographies are written in the past tense
Use of specific vocabulary
Specific vocabularies are used depending on the topic. before writing an informational report, brainstorm words and phrases relevant to the topic. in so doing, you will be able to organize the necessary material prior to writing. you will also be able to search using the relevant terms on the internet.
Use general nouns when writing an informational report
It is important to use general nouns in writing your informational topic. the information you provide should be generally true and should be reflected in the use of a generic noun classifying it.
Use passive voice while writing an informational report
Like it is the case with lots of formal writing, a passive voice applies while writing an informational report. A passive voice draws the attention away from the speaker and focuses back on the object.
Informational reports are written in the third person for the same reason the passive voice is used. The Third-person creates an impersonal tone and mains the formal tone appropriate to this genre.
Use visual aid to support your report
Visual presentations are important to support the text. Visuals include diagrams, maps, tables, and graphs among others. They help the reader grasp the information more quickly. When using visuals always ensure you label the captions so that they explain what they show. Visuals reinforce the points made in the topic in a condensed way
Fact vs opinion
Informational reports do not consider your opinion but focus on giving facts about the topic it is important you differentiate between what constitutes facts and what can be considered an opinion in a report.
Structure of an informational report
The purpose of the report is always at the forefront while structuring the report. The general structure of an informational report is as follows.
Table of content
A table of content is necessary for longer informational reports. It should outline where specific information is in the document. A section should correspond to a page number. Or shorter reports, number the sections as this will allow the reader to locate the information being searched. 
Always use a hook to grab the reader’s attention. You can get a hook from a fact, question or statistic. An introduction serves as an orientation for the reader. Let the reader get an insight into what the topic is about for your introduction.
Sun headings provide titles for the table of content. They further help organize the information so that the reader can easily understand it. Sun-headings also help you organize ideas into paragraphs for the reader to locate them easily.
Summarize the conclusion by summarizing your report. The focus of a conclusion should be what has been written in the text. You can also include links that a reader can undertake to find more on the topic.
The glossary contains the words in alphabetical order. A definition that gives context follows. Use bold fonts to emphasize the words in a text that is defined in the text. This informs the reader that they can use the glossary to find further information on the definition of the word.
Language of an informational report

Informational reports use nouns and noun phrases instead of personal pronouns. If at all you use have to use personal pronouns, limit the use
Informational reports are written in the present tense
Some reports require the use of technical terms while others use scientific terms
Use linking verbs in your informational report to give coherence to the topic
Instead of imaginative verbs use the descriptive language since is factual

How do you ensure you have written a successful informational report
To ensure you have written a successful report and answered the questions of the subject, there is a checklist that will help you produce an efficient paper.

Does the report answer the purpose of the brief?
Does it answer the needs of the reader?
Has the material been included in the appropriate sections?
Is the material accurate?
Is the table of content well labeled?
Is data in the graphs well-analyzed?
Does the recommendation relate to the objectives set out in the introduction?
Have you removed any irrelevant material?
Have you used the required formatting style?
Have you written the paper clearly without jargon?
Have you acknowledged the ideas of other authors through a reference?
Have the illustrations from another author been correctly cited?
Is the report proofread and clear off mistakes?

Bottom line
Choosing a topic to write for your informational report can be generated for you or you can choose an area that you wish to report on. An informational report is a broad and complex genre. You need ample time to research the topic for you to present your reader with a well-detailed and properly structured report.
Engage the reader from the get-go by hooking them through the use of interesting anecdotes, facts, or statistics. Provide them with facts and offer recommendations in your conclusion. The above guide will help you with tips on how to write a successful report.


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