With the ever-growing competition in the business, standing out from the rest of the pack is becoming increasingly difficult. So, what does it take to write an informational report that will grab attention?
Whether you’re writing informational reports to attract new investors, or keep shareholders happy, the process is pretty much the same – you’ll need to gather data, analyze it, and present your findings clearly and concisely.
To help you get started, we’ve put together this guide on how to write an informational report. We’ll review what makes a great informational report, provide some templates and examples, and give tips on ensuring your report is up to par.
Let’s get started.
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What Is An Informational Report?
An informational report is a type of business writing designed to communicate data and findings from a specific project. These reports can be used internally, within an organization, or they may be shared with external stakeholders.
There are even compliance reports which can help to detailed facts on a specific topic for your regulator.
Regardless of the audience, informational reports should be clear, concise, and easy to follow.
When writing a report, it is important to remember that you are presenting information, not your personal opinion. The goal is to provide accurate and objective data that can be used to make decisions or take action.
Sometimes, you may need to include recommendations based on your findings, but always back these up with data.
So keep this in mind when you create your next report.
Difference Between Informational and Analytical Reports
They might sound similar, but they are indeed very different with each covering different broad topics. Let’s take a look at each one.
- An informational report is a business document that conveys data and information about something. This could be anything from an event, process, or product. The purpose is to educate the reader about the subject at hand.
Businesses often use them to provide employees with the information they need to know to do their jobs.
- On the other hand, an analytical report provides insights and recommendations based on data and analysis. Businesses often use them to make strategy, marketing, and product development decisions.
The purpose is to use data to understand a problem or opportunity and offer solutions.
So whatever you’re producing informational reports or analytical reports, just keep the main idea in mind when writing it. This will help ensure your writing process is consistent across all.
Tip: A great way to show complex information quickly is to use visual elements such as charts and graphs.
How To Write Informational Reports
Research is the key to success when writing an informational report. For effective and in-depth research:
1. Define The Scope Of The Topic
Start by thinking about what you want to achieve with your report. What kind of information are you looking for? What are the key points you want to include?
Once you understand your goals well, you can start narrowing down your focus and develop a list of keywords and phrases to guide your research.
2. Present Facts Objectively
Whenever you present facts try and do so without adding personal bias. This will allow any third person to look at the same information and make their own conclusion about how to interpret the facts.
This is great especially if you want to get feedback and encourage others to share ideas. So when you produce your report, so exact that!
Just report on the subject by refining your writing process to be as unbiased as possible.
3. Evaluate Sources
When you’ve found some sources of information, it’s important to evaluate them carefully before using them in your report. Consider the following:
- Is the source reliable and authoritative?
- Is it up-to-date?
- Does it cover the topic in enough depth?
4. Develop Note-Taking Skills
Taking notes is an important part of the research process. When you come across relevant information, write it down carefully, including the source. This will save you time later when you’re writing your report.
Essential Elements Of Information Report Writing
To ensure your informational report is easy to follow and understand, there are a few essential elements you need to include:
1. Present Tense
All information in an informational report should be written in the present tense. This makes the data easier to comprehend, eliminating confusion about whether the information is current or from the past.
For example, A better phrase would be: “The average American worker spends 8 hours a day at their job.”
2. Subject-Specific Vocabulary
When writing an informational report, using specific language regarding the subject matter is important. This will help ensure your reader understands the information you are trying to communicate. Using general terms and phrases can make it difficult for your reader to follow.
For example: Instead of saying:
“The data shows a relationship between X and Y.”
“The data suggest that X is associated with Y.”
This small change makes the information much easier to understand for the reader.
3. General Nouns
The general noun is the word used to describe the subject of your informational report. This could be a person, place, thing, or concept. Using a general noun allows you to be more specific when writing your report.
For example, if you were writing a report on the history of the United States, you could use the general noun “country” to describe it.
This would allow you to be more specific when discussing the different parts of the country’s history.
4. Passive Voice
When writing an informational report, it is important to use passive voice. This will make the information seem objective and reliable.
For example, rather than saying:
“The data shows that the company is doing well.”
It would be better to say:
“According to the data, the company is doing well.”
Using passive voice will make your report sound more professional and trustworthy.
5. Visual Information
Including visual information in your informational report can make it more engaging and easier to understand. Charts, graphs, and images can all be used to supplement the text and help readers to grasp the key points.
When selecting visuals, choose high-quality and relevant information you are presenting. Avoid using too many visuals, as this can make your report look cluttered and difficult to follow.
Stick to a few key images that support your main points.
Structure Of Informational Report (Template And Examples)
Organizing and writing an informational report is not as difficult as it may seem initially. Following a simple structure can produce a well-written and informative report.
1. Table of Contents
The first page of your report should be a table of contents. This will help the reader navigate your report and find the information they want.
If your report is on US history, your table of contents might look like this:
- The Colonial Period
- The American Revolution
- The Constitution
- The Civil War
- The Reconstruction Period
- World War I
- The Great Depression
- World War II
- The Post-War Era
The introduction of your information reports should provide a brief overview of the topic you are writing about. It should include a thesis statement that will give the reader the main idea and the focus of your report.
Also, include any background information the reader might need to know to understand your report.
A sample introduction to the United States history topic might look like this:
The United States is a country with a rich history. This report will explore some major events and periods in American history. We will also examine how these events have shaped the country that we know today.
By the end of this report, you should have a better understanding of the United States and its place in world history.
Once you have introduced your topic, you can begin to organize your information into subheadings. Subheadings can help to keep your information organized and make your report easier to read. Keep the paragraph structure short and to the point.
If you are writing about the American Revolution, some possible subheadings might be:
- The Causes of the American Revolution
- The Boston Tea Party
- The Battle of Bunker Hill
- The Declaration of Independence
Visual aids, such as charts and graphs, can also help break up your information and make it more understandable.
After you have presented your information, you will need to write a conclusion. The conclusion should summarize the main points of your report and give your overall opinion on the topic.
A sample conclusion to the United States history report might look like this:
The United States is a country with a rich and complex history. This report has only scratched the surface of some of the major events and periods in American history.
However, it should have given you a better understanding of the United States and its place in world history. There is much more to learn about this great country and its people.
If you use any terms that might be unfamiliar to your reader, include a glossary. This will help the reader understand your report and make it more useful.
- American Revolution: The American Revolution was a war fought by the thirteen colonies of North America against Great Britain. The colonies won the war and became the United States of America.
- Boston Tea Party: The Boston Tea Party was an event that occurred during the American Revolution. A group of colonists, angered by a tax on tea, dumped several crates of tea into Boston Harbor.
- Constitution: The Constitution is the document that lays out the laws and principles of the United States government.
- Civil War: The Civil War was a war fought by the northern and southern states of the United States. The northern states, known as the Union, fought against the southern states, known as the Confederacy. The war was fought over the issue of slavery.
Some Other Tips To Improve The Writing Process
1. Be Technical and Descriptive
Use specific language that will accurately describe the subject matter at hand. Jargon and slang should be avoided as much as possible, as these can make the information difficult to understand for those unfamiliar with the terms being used.
Also, use adjectives, adverbs, and all the technical words sparingly, as too many of these can make the writing seem cumbersome.
2. Be Concise
Don’t use more words than necessary to get your point across. This can be accomplished by using passive voice and avoiding unnecessary modifiers.
Be sure that each sentence clearly states a single idea and that all of the sentences in a paragraph are related to the topic sentence.
3. Edit Ruthlessly
Once the first draft is complete, it’s time to go back and revise. This is where you’ll cut out any unnecessary words or phrases and tighten up the language.
Be sure to read the piece aloud, as this can help to identify areas that need to be revised. Also, have someone else read it over to catch any errors you may have missed.
4. Revise for Clarity
After the editing process is complete, it’s important to read the piece one last time to ensure it is clear and easy to understand. If any areas seem confusing, rework them to be more straightforward.
Also, be sure to check for any awkward phrasing or choppy sentences.
5. Don’t Forget the Final Details
Be sure to include all of the important details in the piece, such as names, dates, and places. These can help to provide context and make the information more relatable.
Also, be sure to proofread for any errors, as these can detract from the overall quality of the work.
Writing an information report is challenging, but with these tips and examples, you can write one easily. Just remember to keep your target audience and purpose in mind and to organize your information in a way that is easy to follow.
Also, don’t forget to proofread your work before you publish it. With these tips, you can write an informational report to engage and inform your audience.
We hope you found this article helpful!