The "4 Step" Guide to Report Writing - Cloze

By Christopher Wright


Fill in all the gaps with the missing words, then press "Check" to check your answers. Use the "Hint" button to get a free letter if an answer is giving you trouble. You can also click on the "[?]" button to get a clue. Click the this button again for another letter. You can also click on "[?]" for a different hint. Note that you will lose points if you ask for hints or clues!
Rellena los espacios en blanco con las palabras que faltan. Haz click en "Check" para comprobar tus aciertos. Si te resulta difícil la respuesta utiliza el botón "Hint" y te revelará una letra de la casilla en la que te encuentres, puedes clikear varias veces en "Hint" y te dará cada vez una letra más de la palabra. Para obtener ayuda también puedes clikear en el botón de "[?]" y te dará una pista. Perderás puntos con las pistas.

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The "4-step" guide to Report Writing
By Christopher Wright
Writing reports in English can be but with practice and a plan you can do it. Here are some practical tips to a simple “4-step guide” to get you started.
1. Think
2. Plan
3. Write
4. Revise
1) Think
Why am I writing?
It sounds obvious but if you don’t know exactly the purpose of your report, how will your readers know? Possible purposes include: to educate, inform, recommend, persuade, and instruct.
Who are my readers?
Yes, I know you know who your readers are, but how much information do you know about them? Close your eyes, imagine the person or people you’re writing about and put in their shoes asking yourself the following questions:
Who are my readers? (Prioritise your readers based on your purpose: Key and non-key readers) What information or knowledge do they have? What are their attitudes to the subject of the report? What are they looking to find in the report? What are their needs?
What is my key message?
Once you know the purpose of your report, you must decide what your key message is. Include it in the executive summary and also put it in the beginning so the reader knows what follows will support your key message and will help the readers a conclusion. For example: Option 1 will be the best in the short term, but option 2 offers a better long term solution.
What action do I want my readers to take?
What outcomes do you want? What do you want your reader to do after reading your report? This is where you your recommendations, next steps and follow-up.
2. Plan
While reading all of part (1) down any ideas you have and slowly expand them. Group all your ideas together that require a similar action. A mind-map is an excellent visual tool to organise this.
Structuring the report depends on the purpose of your report and the readers. I always assume that most readers are very busy and so will not read all the report. Instead they will read using your contents page and summary to guide them and they’ll thank you for doing that.
Most business reports follow this typical structure:
1. Executive Summary and Recommendations
2. Introduction
3. Content
4. Conclusion
5. Appendices
Lets be realistic, who has time to read a 15-20 page report in English? Readers will only read your report if it has something that benefits them. The Executive Summary is your secret weapon to the attention of the reader by giving them a taste of the benefits inside your report. Keep it brief, to the point and ideally no more than 1 page. It should include, purpose, background information, key issues, your findings, conclusions reached and recommendations.
3. Write
The order in which you present your ideas is critical. It has to have a logical , so you can guide the reader and prove to the reader that your ideas have merit.
Be confident in your recommendations and give them importance by using the active instead of the passive voice. For example “We recommend that …..” instead of “It is recommended that ….”
Be clear and to the point.
Separate each idea and focus on it entirely.
Use layout to help the reader skim read and quickly find the information they want. Make main ideas and recommendations stand-out by using bullet points, headings, sub-headings, bolding, graphics and colour.
4. Revise
Only keep the ideas you’re 100% confident in.
Find two readers you know to read and critique your report.
Firstly someone who is knowledgeable in the area to check and critique the technical content of your ideas. Secondly someone with a high level of English or a native to check and critique the clarity and simplicity of your ideas.
If you can’t find two proof readers, ask your colleagues if they can recommend a translator with expertise in your industry or sector.