Formal Report

Published: 16th June 2005
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A formal report collects and interprets data and reports information. It may, in the course of doing these tasks, include an analysis and make recommendations for a course of action.

Reports are used to inform, analyze, and recommend. They are usually written in indirect order.
These reports are often very complex and may even be produced in book volume. In the business setting, an informal report is used for internal distribution, while the formal report is used for external distribution to customers, stockholders, and the general public.

The formal report is often a written account of a major project. Examples of subject matter include results of a study or experiment, new technologies, analysis of locations for business relocation, the advisability of launching a new product line, and an annual report.

Careful planning is necessary to guide readers through the report. There are three (3) main sections to a formal report:
1. Front material
2. Body
3. Back material

These sections may contain the following:

Front Material
• Title Page
• Letter of Authorization
• Letter of Transmittal
• Table of Contents
• List of Figures
• List of Symbols or Abbreviations
• Foreword
• Preface

• Introduction
• Text
• Conclusions
• Recommendations

Back Material
• References
• Bibliography
• Appendices
• Glossary
• Index

Think about content, formal reports use indirect approach. This approach introduces the problem, then gives the facts, with analyses, and summarizes the information given.
If your goal is to make a conclusion, you do that next. If your goal is to recommend action, you offer the analyses, draw conclusion, and then, based on this, make your recommendations.

To Eliminate Wrong Messages
• Do not embellish facts
• Do not make faulty conclusions
• Do not compare oranges to apples. Data must be similar in nature for comparisons to be authentic.
• Eliminate digressions or unfocused material. These can easily derail the report.

After the formal report is completed, double check the following:
• Do heading and subheadings properly reflect content?
• Is information complete for reader understanding?
• Does the report flow logically?
• Is there a clear relationship between ideas and fact?
• Are all grammar and spelling errors eliminated?

By following these guidelines for a formal report, you will be able to produce a report that is informative, good looking, and precise. And in today's world of business a formal reports carries much weight.

Anthony Bush is a freelance writer; publish poet with the International Library of Poetry, and owner of Legacy eJournal. To read more articles by Anthony and get FREE tips on how-to write visit

You have my permission to reprint this article in any medium provided that you keep content, including the resource box above, intact and without modification.

Emma Morris on September 13, 2011 said:
Good, clear instructions are included in this article, which makes it very helpful when writing a formal report.

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