Also set up committees to report on various issues of social, political and economic importance. Think about a situation where an accident occurred, and there is an investigation going on. So a person who has witnessed the accident has been asked to report. So this person needs to collect factual details of the report by focusing on the specific topic, topic oriented evidences, analyzing and giving his final findings. So you can define that a report is a major form of technical/business/professional communication.
And the person who will conduct the report needs to come up with factual descriptions, ideas and suggestions and transmit it to another person who wants to use it. A report writing has various objectives: To present a record of a task done. To record a research or certain experiments. To document different schedules, timetables and so on. To present a current status. To present information to a large number of people. To solve problem and give recommendation. Always to inform. To explain. To instruct. To evaluate and recommend. To provoke debate. To persuade.
Now, one of the important aspects to consider is the characteristics of a report: Precision: The report should be purpose oriented, (the investigation, analysis, and recommendations should be centre reflected) unified and coherent. Factual details: A report has to be detailed and factual. Where the writer should on elaborate audience need centered facts. Relevance: The report needs to be organized with relevant information. Because irrelevant facts are often confusing and misleading. Reader-oriented: Has to be focused on the background of the reader/audience.
Objectivity of recommendation: The recommendation if made at the end of a rep it should be impartial and not reflecting the writer’s interest. Simple and unambiguous language: A good report should always maintain the following aspects: Clarity Brevity Grammatical accuracy Special format: A special format of a technical report includes cover, title page, tab of contents, list of illustrations, letter of transmittal and appendices. This has a set standard to retain. Illustrations: The means to illustrate in a report can be tables, graphs, maps, drawings, charts, or photographs.
Homogeneity: The report should always focus on one topic at a time. Documentation: Sources of information should always be documented properly. Types of reports: On the basis of purpose, frequency, or mode of presenting, reports can be classified as follows: Informative( purpose) Analytical ( purpose) Periodic, special ( frequency) Oral, written (mode of presentation) A) Informative reports: In an informative report topic oriented factual details of information is provided in a chronological order. The purpose of an informative report is to present the information in an objective, factual, and organized manner.
Where a person needs to collect data, arrange it in an appropriate style. Structure: Detail information is presented in a systematic and coherent manner. The structure and its significance should be evident and focused. A clearly written informational introduction followed by self-explanatory paragraphs. Conclusion rephrases and gaslights important parts of the introduction and the content. B) Analytical Reports: An analytical report or investigative report does not only presents facts related to an issue but also interpret and investigate it further by analyzing the facts, drawing conclusions and making recommendations.
Example steps of a problem-solving investigative report can be as follows: Drafting problem statement Evolving criteria Suggesting alternatives Drawing conclusions and making recommendations The structure of this type of analytical report may follow two patterns: 1 . Inductive methodology: follows a logical inductive pattern from known to unknown. . Deductive methodology: follows a deductive ordering from unknown to known C) Periodic and Special Reports: To form an idea of this kind of reports we need to consider the characteristics of the type of reports.
Characteristics of periodic reports: In their purpose they can be either informational or analytical. They are prepared and presented at regular, prescribed intervals and thus called periodic reports. Generally summarizes statements or facts in details. Progress reports of various kinds, inspection reports, annual reports, and sales reports fall into this category. At times this routine reports can also take the form of analytical report when an organization submits annual assessment reports of their employees to the higher authorities. Special Reports are the ones which are produced to a single occasion or situation.
Like on the occasion of branch opening, unrest among staff, etc. D) Oral and written Reports: Reports become oral or written in terms of the mode of presentation. Example of or reports can be when an employee returns after attending an international conference and present through an oral report/presentation where the employee indicates the deliberations of the seminar. An oral report is simple and easy to present through an impression or an observation. But while oral reports are useful, written reports are always preferred and have several advantages over oral reports.
Reports may have any one of the following formats: Manuscript format: are most common and generally used for all types of reports. T length might vary from a few pages to several hundred pages. Main elements are abstract, summary, appendix, glossary and so on. Memo format: In the main text of the memo the analysis, conclusions and recommendations are written. Letter format: The content of the letter includes the headings, illustrations, and denotes. Printed format: Reports containing routine matter and which are periodical in anta may be written in a printed form prescribed by the organization.
Where the only TA is to fill up the blanks by providing information. HOW TO INVESTIGATE THE SOURCES OF INFORMATION IN A REPORT: Investigating the sources of information is a kind of spadework, which needs to be done in the beginning. The extent of the investigation depends on the length and importance of the report. The most common ways in collecting data for a report are Searching library materials. Personal observations. Conducting personal interviews or telephone interviews. Preparing and circulating questionnaires. A general subject oriented report is a very good example where a writer needs to do a library search.
Nowadays, many online library catalogues may assist you in identifying the appropriate books, Journals, or periodicals quickly and easily. Example: Report on the recent trends in software industry. Pointers to remember while making a library search: Visualize the facts. Connect relevant words to the topic. Understand the meaning and connotation of different dictionary words. For figures and factual statements check the logical accuracy. Identify vague and specific statements, between hasty generalizations and careful judgments, between fact and opinion. Scan through the topic sentences for specific information.
Check the source for honesty and reliability. Check the author’s creditability and check whether the information is biased or not. The source of the information and whether the information is current and complete. Do the claims of the source stand up to scrutiny? Opt for internal records if it is essential. Surf for various databases without overloading information or wasting time. Use multiple search engines if you are looking for less popular topics. Emphasize on keywords and phrases. Maintain a logical order. Use abbreviation (MD, CEO) correctly and check for spelling and confused words.
Refine your search. Personal Observation: Personal observation is used as a method of data collection for securing first-hand information for your reports. While observing personally, you not only observe but also form a mental impression of what you have perceived. For example when you conduct an experiment in a laboratory, you use this method to collect data for your lab report. The two kinds of observation are I) uncontrolled observation. I’) Controlled Controlled observation is generally used in scientific research where scientists carry on experiment and record findings.
Scientists, for example may conduct a particular experiment under specific conditions of temperature and pressure. They set the experiment and then observe. In uncontrolled observation, the observer views things as they are. For instance, you can apply the uncontrolled observation when you collect data for writing a report regarding an existing working condition of a factory. Some tips for successful personal observation: Be focused on what to observe. Be objective and unbiased in your observation. Do not rely entirely on your memory. Carry paper and a pen/pencil to make notes.
Note down all observations on the spot. Make clear distinction between what you have seen and what you have felt. Check the accuracy of facts. Interviews: An interview is an interaction or conversation with a purpose. It is an effective method for collecting primary information directly from an expert. Data collection interviews are conducted with the purpose of collecting data. Can be either face-to -face in person or telephonic. In general interviews are conducted for the following specific purposes: To gather facts or subjective data such as attitudes, preferences, opinions, task emotional reactions.
To determine facts known to a single individual or group of people. To substantiate the data collected through other sources. A successful interview requires careful planning and organization to ensure t get the necessary information. Preparing questions: Interview questions should be prepared beforehand hi you feel confident and you’ll not waste your or respondent’s time. There are f basic types of interview questions: Open -ended questions invite an opinion from the respondent, not Just a yes’, there one word answer. Example: What do you think are the major reasons for the employees’ unrest?
Direct open-ended questions give the interviewee some freedom but give you control. Example: What is your role in bringing back normalcy among the imp Close- ended questions requires yes/no, short answer, produce specific inform save time, requires less effort from the interviewee, eliminate bias prejudice answers. They limit the respondent initiative and are not very useful for extra information. Example: do you feel the unrest among the employees will continue for a we Restatement questions mirror a respondent’s previous answer and invite the respondent to expand on that answer.
Example: You said that the union leader would be meeting the employees the evening. Is that information correct? The face-to-face data collection interview has both advantages and limitations: Advantages: Provides qualitative data as you can seek further clarification, if necessary, on any answers Enables you to observe the reactions of the respondent Can be effective and efficient if you go ready with a set of questions Limitations: It is expensive and time-consuming if you have to meet people located at various laces.
You cannot contact a large number of people and hence the data may not be representative. As the answers are detailed and not in tabular form, you may find the analysis difficult. While preparing the personal interview sheet containing the list of questions, one should remember the following guidelines. Prepare about twenty questions if you have 30 minutes time. Prepare questions with adequate focus on the topic. Think about a logical sequence. Ask intelligent, smart questions. Use a mix of questions types. Edit your questions. Telephone interview: Sometimes interviews are conducted over the telephone.
Such interviews are useful for opinion polls, when a limited number of questions are to be asked and are usually more expensive than the personal interview. The following lists summarize the merits and limitations of telephone interviews: Merits: The telephone interview is the quickest of the survey techniques. The refusal rate is usually low among people who are reached by phone. The cost per interview is low. For studies of middle and high-income groups the telephone interview is satisfactory because most of the interviewees will have phones. Interviews may be scattered over a wide area within a city without adding the cost.
As compared with mail questionnaires, the telephone survey is preferable because it usually costs less per return. Returns are higher on the first solicitation, and they can be more effectively controlled from the point of neighborhood distribution. Detailed data cannot be gathered by this method because the informants soon become annoyed or impatient. If the schedule is too lengthy, the informant may either hang up or give unreliable answers. As it is not possible to observe the body language of the informant, you may not be able to modify your strategies during the interview.