What are the elements of a formal report?Hello dear friends here you will get the structure of a formal or long report. What are the elements of a formal report?
A formal or long report has major three (3) parts:
A. Prefatory parts
B. Text parts
C. Supplementary parts
(A) Prefatory Parts
This is the introductory part of any formal report. As this part includes items like ‘table of content’, ‘executive summary’, ‘list of diagrams’, the it is easier on the part of the researcher to prepare this section after the text. A prefatory part includes the following items:
Cover: The cover page of a formal report usually includes the following things:
i. The title of the report
ii. Writer’s name
iii. Submission date
iv. Name, title and organization of the recipient.
2. Title fly: it is actually a formality and has no real importance to add a title fly. It is a sheet of paper with only the title of the report on it.
3. Title page: it includes all the items of the cover and placed before the letter of authorization.
4. Letter of authorization: it is the formal request for the preparation of the report. Researchers generally include this in their reports.
5. Letter of acceptance: It approves the assignment to conduct the research and preparation of the report.
6. Letter of transmittal: it conveys the report to the audience. It can be compared with the preface of a book. It appears right before the table of contents.
7. Table of contents: The headings used in the text of the report are the basis of table of contents. It is prepared after the completion of the text.
8. List of illustrations: Basically it is a part of table of contents, but to highlight the given figures and illustration it becomes a trend to prepare an extra list of illustration.
9. Synopsis or executive summary: An executive summary or synopsis is the brief overview of the whole report. It is a fully developed ‘mini’ version of the report. (Thill and Bovee 1996)
(B) Text of the report
The text of the report placed after the prefatory parts. Detailed discussion and interpretations are included in this section. All the collected information’s or data also presented in this section in a systematic manner. Text of the report contains the following elements.
1. Introduction: in this section by a general discussion researcher introduced the reader to the research problem, its importance, process of investigation etc. a good introduction should include the following points:
i. Definition and purpose of the problem.
ii. Scope of the report
iv. Data sources
v. Research method
vii. Definition of the technical terms.
2. Body of the text report: Detailed and analytical discussions of the problem are given in this section. The length of the body depends on the importance of the topic and demand of the audience.
3. Summary of the text report: The key findings of the report briefly discussed in the summary section.
4. Conclusion of the text report: this section is reconsidered as the mirror of the report. It should include:
i. Summary of the discussion.
ii. Opinion of the researcher.
5. Recommendation of the text report: Under this section researcher should clearly state the course of action that should be taken to solve the problem.
6. Notes of the text report: To prepare a report the researcher need to use findings of other people, quotations of different authors, previously collected data etc. but it is the legal obligation of the researcher to give others credit, for their work. Mentioning the original source under notes enhances the acceptance of the report.
(C) Supplementary parts
This is the last part of a report. It includes:
1. Appendix: It is a supplementary part which contains the important materials related to the report, but not included in the text. Because they are too lengthy or too bulky.
2. Bibliography: all published and unpublished materials used in the report must be mentioned at the end of the report. This list of references known as bibliography.
3. Index: It is a list of names and subjects mentioned in the report. It is given in an alphabetical order. The page number of each item also mentioned.