Report: what it is, features, types of reports, how to write a report and more


What is the report subgenre?

It is a type of oral or written account in which the content focuses on aspects, characteristics and other elements of a specific event. Thus, the report consists of an organized elaboration that starts with observation and ends with an analysis of the data gathered in the text. This sense of research allows it to be considered one of the most important subgenres of the didactic genre.

With a formal language, as well as a strict organization of the information, the report can be used differently according to the field. For example, a law report is a study decreed by the court to describe in detail a certain situation, as in accounting, the report corresponds to the presentation of the financial statement and other data explaining other documents in this field.

Meaning of the sub-genre report

The term -report-, comes from the Latin informare, which refers to the verb -inform-. Thus, this term is used to refer to a type of oral or written account that intends to inform in a clear and organized manner a series of data, the content of which is based on information obtained from a research task.

Definition of the subgenre report

We can define the report as a type of text that is responsible for the description of details about a given situation or fact, with the intention of disseminating the information it gathers or simply contextualizing a group of people. Therefore, the report can be any document that exposes a type of information that is the result of an investigative process.

Definition of the subgenre report

What is the function of the report?

Something to keep in mind is that, due to the variety of fields in which it can be used, the particular purpose may also vary. However, at a general level, we can say that the main purpose of the report, which it shares in any modality, is that it presupposes the need to expose a situation so that it is brought to the attention of others through observation and analysis.

Characteristics of the report subgenre

These are the most important characteristics of this type of text:

Topic or content: the report is characterized, among other things, because it becomes a detailed outline in which it is possible to study a wide variety of topics that can be adapted to the research mode. It has a structure that allows it to be easily adapted to different fields and areas that require it to know specific information or data, so that it is not exclusive to one area or situation, since its function of transmitting information makes it a versatile tool.

Public or private: an important aspect of the report is that it can be public or private. This means that, according to the object of disclosure, the field in which the research is developed, in addition to other factors, the report can be kept in either of the two conditions.

Format: another of the particularities of this type of text has to do with the format of the report, since in addition to being oral or written, it can also be presented in other more complex formats, such as the implementation of tools such as graphs, tables of contents, summaries, charts, diagrams, extracts, among others, which expose the information contained in the report in different ways.

Structure of the report subgenre

This type of text gathers a large amount of information that, according to the approach, will depend on a strict organization that facilitates its understanding and purpose when exposed. Therefore, it is essential to maintain the following structure:

Title: this part is the gateway to the report. It should summarize a set of words that reflect the content of the text. It should be short, concise and clear.

Table of contents: although this part is optional, the report may include a table of contents, also known as table of contents, in which all the sections or divisions of the report can be placed in an organized manner to guide the reader through the text or to refer to specific parts required.

Introduction: in this first part, as with the text containing the introduction, the central theme of the report is presented in a relatively short text. It is a sort of a foretaste of the contents of the report through which the reader can identify the subject of the text, which is why this first part must be attractive, as it must generate and/or increase the reader’s interest.

Body: this is the central axis of development and the entrance to the explanations, arguments and other details that the report will have. From this point on, the information presented is full of important details. The report writer can manage an internal organization of the body of the report based on subtitles, as well as paratextual elements, steps, numbers, etc.

Conclusion: from all the information that was developed in the body of the report, at this point the writer proceeds to make a series of key considerations and reflections from the elements found and analyzed respectively. These will be relevant ideas in relation to each said part that should emerge from the analysis process.

Bibliography: since the report is also the result of a judicious investigation that implies taking references and sources of information, it is extremely necessary that the author informs the reader of all the resources he/she resorted to for the formulation of his/her conclusions, but also those he/she consulted to develop each element exposed. This will be organized in the final part of the report.

On the other hand, in the case of the oral report, which is the other modality of this type of report, it is extremely important that the speaker maintains the order of the written report, so that he/she also makes a general introduction to the topic, making a short presentation of the central theme of the report. He proceeds with the body of the research point by point to trigger the conclusion of his work.

In this case, the bibliography is not always presented verbatim, but the presenter can make use of it at any time by citing ideas or previous research, thus reinforcing the validity of the information presented. In addition, since you will receive questions from the audience, you will need to add a space for them, if possible not to interrupt the course of the introduction, body and conclusions, but to clarify the ideas and then resolve issues that have not been clear or that the attendees have questions about.

Types of the sub-genre report

According to the modality, field of development or particular function of the report, it is possible to identify different types of reports. These are:

Technical report

These are texts resulting from research that focus on fields such as social phenomena, economic phenomena, psychological phenomena, among others, that take place within different groups of people. This type of research is often used by organizations that require the data obtained. An example of this is the census, a process in which every household in a country is visited to learn specific data by collecting key information.

Dissemination report

This is a report that is oriented to the search for results that come from investigations of a series of technical processes against situations of any person. In other words, its intention is to adapt research results with technical processes.

Demonstrative report

In this case, the report establishes a hypothesis that is formulated in the content and that will be tested in the development of the report. Thus, during the course of the text, descriptions begin to be made about the procedures that were used in order to carry out the research, which will allow, later on, to arrive at the results and the formulation of conclusions. It is often associated with technical reports and scientific reports.

Scientific report

As its name indicates, they will be reports that are made from specific fields of science. They are characterized for being one of the reports with a more relevant role in relation to technical concepts that, in many cases, facilitate the study of the data obtained in order to make decisions, modify paths and other processes that occur within science.

Expository report

The objective of this type of report is the exposition as such. This means that the report is limited to a detailed presentation of the content in a precise and clear way, explaining each process but without delving into considerations, assessments or judgments that come from subjectivity, so it focuses on the procedures that were used.

Interpretive report

Although it is very close to the interpretative report, in this case this type of document, instead of limiting the presentation of details, is responsible for evaluating and analyzing, in addition to providing an interpretation, about the results obtained, in order to provide alternatives for the solution or solution of these. Thus, the subjective character plays a role in this type of report.

Persuasive report

As its name indicates, it is a type of report whose intention is aimed at persuading an addressee or group of people to subsequently make a decision along the same lines as the report. This is facilitated by the fact that the content of the report contains a clear proposal or alternative.

How to write a report

How to write a report?

In view of the above, it is time to see how to write a report. To do so, the following points should be taken into account:

Choice of topic 

If it is your free choice, you can choose a topic that you like to start the process, because it may be that the report is not for your academic or work environment and you can choose a free topic to prepare the report.

Establish the purpose 

Determining the purpose of the report in the first place will allow you to establish the focus of the content. Evaluate the different possibilities according to the types of report we have seen and adapt it to the one that best suits your objectives. Remember that you can choose between interpretative, expository, persuasive reports, etc., the possibilities are many.

Identify the type of audience 

Knowing who you are going to write for is as important as what you are going to write. And this applies not only when writing a report, but in fact, for any type of text you are going to write, as it will give you the necessary information about how to organize the content and the way you are going to present it. Be sure to choose a suitable language, with terms, if possible, that are easily understood within the field in which it is developed, in addition to coherence and other aspects of writing that facilitate the understanding of the report.

Search for official sources 

When writing a report, it is extremely important to have reliable, safe and authorized references and sources from which we can obtain truthful and quality information, since it is an investigative process that requires data and demonstrations that will be exposed to a specific audience.

Remember that the sources should be mentioned in the bibliography of the report, which will lead interested parties to consult them.

Selection of main ideas

Once you have the research topic and the corresponding sources, it is convenient to establish a first structure or data guide that will allow you to organize the content. The idea is that in this part, before starting the development of the report, we can make a selection of main ideas or themes that must be present in the process and that will guide the information to lead it to the conclusions.

Start writing 

We have a guide, the sources, a focus and a defined purpose, now we can start writing. To start developing the content we must look at the structure of the report, a section that we have already seen and that will allow you to give a direction to the content.

Start with a concise introduction and begin to develop the body of the report following the structure determined and accompany the process with the selection of main ideas that you made in the previous step. Revise the development to start establishing the conclusions. Many people prefer to place the title when they have finished, since they review their text and that is where the creativity to name it comes from.

Reviewing the report

When you have finished writing, you may feel that that is all there is to it. In reality, it is a good idea to wait some time before revising it, because we have let our work cool down and we can review it more objectively. This will be necessary to evaluate the writing, coherence between ideas, spelling and other basic aspects of any piece of writing. Check if there are ideas that you could expand if necessary and that have not been completely clear.

On the other hand, it is also important to make sure to establish short ideas, use language that is easy to understand, avoid repetitions, be precise and clear with all the information you provide.

Adding and modifying 

That first revision is important, but it is also important to go through a second revision that allows you to enrich the content and the report in general. That is why in this part we can evaluate the idea of incorporating other resources that enrich the value of the report, such as photographs, images, graphs and others, which facilitate the understanding of the information and diversify it.

Now it will only be a matter of putting the report in the format in which you require it, either manually written or computerized. Pay attention to the unique requirements of this document according to the field in which it will be used, as the fonts of the text, the size of the sheet and in general the form of presentation may vary.