Steps in Writing a Report

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Writing a report needn't be difficult. In fact, it can be quite easy if you give yourself plenty of time and conduct the proper research. There is nothing worse than waiting until the night before, loading up on caffeine and pulling your hair out as you try to frantically slap together semicoherent sentences. Start early and you’ll not only save yourself a headache, but also a bad grade. No matter what type of report you are writing, whether it’s a simple book report or a complex research paper, the same basic steps apply.

1 Research

The first step in writing a report is to begin your research. Make a trip to the library, search the Internet for viable, academic resources and look for information in newspapers. Use a variety of research materials that are relevant to your topic and take notes. While researching, you should be thinking about how you can use the information to explain your topic creatively and intelligently. It is important that you not simply regurgitate another person’s ideas, but rather develop your own insights on the topic.

2 Thesis

After you’ve researched the topic and feel you know as much as you possibly can about the subject, formulate a thesis statement. This is your main idea and will serve as the focal point of your report. Your thesis must be clear and concise; theses usually consists of a single sentence. Simply put, your thesis serves as your guide as you write the report, and also lets the reader know what it is you’ll be discussing.

3 Outline

Once you’ve created a solid thesis, you can begin making an outline. This will further guide you through the process of writing the actual report. Your outline is nothing more than a basic sketch of how your paper will unfold. You should attempt to outline the logical order in which you will explain the subject and the main points you plan to cover.

4 Writing

The next step is writing the actual report. You must start the report with an introductory paragraph. This paragraph should be creative and grab the reader’s attention. Introduce the reader to the subject and provide a brief overview of the report. The introduction must also contain your thesis statement. Usually, the thesis is the final sentence of the introduction.

With the introduction out of the way, start writing the body of your report. This is the core of your report, as it explains the topic and your thesis. Cite your research as evidence to support your claims.

You will finish the report with a single paragraph that serves as your conclusion. Restate your main points and thesis in this paragraph and discuss your findings. The conclusion should be both creative and assertive, leaving the reader with no doubt that you’ve thoroughly explained the topic.

5 Edit and Proofread

Finally, editing and proofreading your report is just as important as actually writing the report. Grammatical and spelling errors are a sure way to lower your grade. Also check to make sure every paragraph adheres to your thesis. If you find information that strays from the subject, take it out and replace it with something more on-topic. Also, give your report to someone else to read, because another set of eyes can discover errors you missed.

Arthur Barnhouse has written numerous short stories, contributed content to various websites and was an invited speaker at a university symposium on creative writing. He began writing in 2002 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Pittsburgh. Barnhouse has driven across the United States numerous times and draws upon his travel experiences in his writing.