Topics: Book design, Pilcrow, Typography Pages: 17 (4641 words) Published: December 3, 2014
What is a report?
Different types of reports
Structure of a report
General tips about writing reports
Example of a report
Report Checklist

This supplement should be read in conjunction with the guidelines in specific course profiles and course moodle sites.

CQU CRICOS Provider Codes:
VIC - 01624D; QLD - 00219C; NSW - 01315F

What is a report?
A report is a text that originated in the business world in order to analyse and present information in a structured way. Reports are divided into key sections and must be presented using headings and sub-headings. Some key differences between reports and essays are described in table 1.0.

Table 1.0
Are usually written in paragraph form Must be written in paragraph form with full with full sentences, but may include sentences.
bullet points to list items.
Have headings and sub-headings for Generally do not have headings other than sections which are numbered
the title of the essay (unless advised
otherwise in your Course Profile or by your
May include material such as tables Do not contain tables or figures and figures. If the tables/figures are
not too large (less than 1/2 of a page)
they can be included in the
‘Discussion’/‘Main Body’ section of the
report. Alternatively if large, include in
the appendices at the end of the

Both reports and essays must be clearly referenced in-text to indicate the sources of information. They must also include a Reference List with full publication details.

Check the information provided about reports in your CQUniversity course profiles and course moodle sites.

Access the Great Guide to University Study (2013), Topic 5: Developing academic writing skills.

Last Modified March 2013

Page 1 of 16

Different types of reports
Depending on the nature of the course and the topic being covered, you may be asked to write many different types of reports. These will depend on the nature of the course and the topic being covered. Table 2 outlines some of the common types of reports you may be asked to write. Please note the key differences are in the content.

Table 2. Types of Reports
Business Report

A standard report, including most, if not all, the sections outlined in this guide.


A very detailed and analytical report, with very specific
requirements. Please consult your course profile


A technical report (as suggested) generally requires the inclusion of technical specifications. This is sometimes necessary for assignments in IT courses.

Research Report A research report involves you conducting some primary research of your own (e.g. conducting a
survey/questionnaire/interview) as well as a literature review. Generally speaking, the body should include:
 Introduction
 Methodology
 Literature Review
 Discussion (Results)
 Conclusion
 Recommendation
The format and content of a research report is quite specific. Check your course profile and Moodle for specific instructions.

Page 2 of 16

Structure of a report
When writing a report, the structure will depend on the instructions you are given in your course profile and/or by your tutor. The following is an overview of the key sections that are generally included in a business report.

If you are instructed to write a ‘short report’ or if a particular structure is outlined in your course profile/by your tutor, then please be sure to follow those instructions.

It may not be necessary to include all of these sections in your report - check with your tutor about the requirements of all sections marked ‘as requested’.

Reports can generally be seen to include three key sections as outlined in table 3.

Please note that the following terms refer to sections of the report- they are not to be used as headings!

Table 3. Report Sections
Preliminary Section

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