A report differs from an essay in that it is designed to present facts or results. An argument may be presented, but not in the form of a discussion, as you would expect from an essay. A report could be based on a practical investigation, an experiment or an analysis of data, e.g. financial data. It should be as short and succinct as possible, as it is meant to be scanned quickly by its recipient. It should analyse the problem you have been set, reveal how you reached your findings and come to clear conclusions and recommendations. The length of reports varies from a couple of pages to several hundred depending on the scope of the brief.


Regardless of length a good report should:

  • Be written and arranged in a style appropriate for its recipients.
  • Be clear and concise.
  • Follow a logical structure, with clearly numbered section headings.
  • Include graphs and tables to illustrate the content.


Watch the following videos to hear advice from two academics discussing how to write a good report, with particular reference to structure and presentation.

Coursework Guide: First Impressions

Richard Farr and Chris Grant

Transcript of Coursework guide, Part 1: First Impressions[DOC] 


Coursework Guide: Structure and Writing Style

Richard Farr and Chris Grant

Transcript of Coursework Guide, Part 2: Structure and Writing Style[DOC] 


Work through the following stages to write an effective report by following the links below.