Report Writing & Formatting Guidelines

Writing- Use your own words and stay focused

A report is your voice on the topic. If you are copying from somebody else (e.g. to emphasize a point), reference them. Keep your report as short as possible without losing relevancy (important facts). Stay focused on answering the original question and do not digress. You are wasting valuable time of your audience by providing information that they already know or that are not relevant. Be brief and specific in your introductions. For example, you should not explain a known theory but explain its relevance using a sentence or two. If you are unsure or you want to keep the theory for reference, include it in the appendix.

Be specific and relevant with respect to the subject matter in consideration.

  • Do not include definitions in the main report (use appendix if you feel it is important)
  • Briefly explain all your quotes/referenced items. Also, limit your usage of quotes.
  • Use process maps, comparison tables, and graphs to illustrate your point.
  • Do attach irrelevant and/or large data in the appendix. For example, include the "Survey Questions" and large tables in the appendix- make a chart or a concise table to include that in the main report.

Formatting- Use a Word Processor and give it some time

  1. Cover Page- Create a visually appealing design using templates available in Microsoft Word.
  2. Paragraph formatting- Use the built-in styles of Microsoft Word. Choose a line-spacing no more than 1.2 and a font-size of 12. You can use a standard "report template" to accomplish this.
  3. Table of Content- Use Microsoft Word to auto-generate your table of content.
  4. Use bibliography Do credit all your sources (use bibliography). You reference your content in the appendix. Use Microsoft Word's referencing feature to manage source and auto-generate your bibliography. Search YouTube for more detail.