Friday, November 11, 2011

Writing a Report 3

Look at this task:

An English friend of yours is working on a series of articles called “Young and Old Around the World” which looks at different towns and cities through the eyes of teenagers and senior citizens. She has written asking for your help and this is an extract from her letter.

What I want is some first-hand information about what it’s like to live in your town from the point of view of the two different age groups. You would need to interview, say, ten people in each category on the main topics of public transport, entertainment, and shopping and write me a brief report. Could you also include a short introduction about your town and give a little summing up at the end?

Write your report in about 250 words.

A report is a formal document prepared by one person or a group of people who have been studying a particular subject. There are two basic kinds of reports:

  • The first simply provides information on a topic and gives a brief conclusion or summary at the end. Example: a report on the educational system in a particular country, written to help someone research the subject.
  • The second sets out to identify strengths and weaknesses in a particular situation and make recommendations for improvement. Example: a report on the library facilities in a college written at the request of the principal.

Language and register
Reports are the most impersonal kind of writing and it is usually best to avoid expressing personal opinions or feelings, except, perhaps, in the conclusion. Instead of I think that … or I found that… for example, you can use the impersonal “It” construction and a passive, eg It seems that… It was found that …

It is also advisable to avoid making very definite statements unless you’re absolutely sure they’re true. Instead of saying It is for example, you can use a modal verb eg It could/may/might be or a more tentative expression such as It seems to be or It tends to be.

Layout and organisation
Reports should have a clear factual heading and may also have subheadings which divide the writing into shorter sections. The information should be organised and presented as clearly and logically as possible, with a short introduction explaining the aims of the report and how the information was obtained and a suitable conclusion, summing up the information and making recommendations if necessary.

Useful language

Introduction:            The aim of this report is to..                                    It is based on…
                                    This report is intended to..                                      It draws on 
                                    This report looks at / describes..                            It uses..

Reporting an
observation:            It seems/appears that..                                            It was found that..
                                    The majority / minority of …                                    It was felt that ..

Quoting:                    According to …         As X said…               In the words of …

Speculating:            It may / could / might (well) be that ..

Generalising:           In general      On the whole                        In the main

Commenting:          Interestingly              Curiously             Oddly                    Strangely      
                                    Surprisingly              Predictably
                                    As might be (have been) expected           It is interesting that

Making a recommendation:         It is recommended that ..
                                                            (Perhaps) it would be advisable for X to (do)
                                                            (Perhaps) X might /should consider

Summing up:           To sum up / To summarise On balance               In short

Study the following example carefully:

Leisure Facilities in Grimthorpe

The aim of this report is to describe and assess the leisure facilities available in Grimthorpe. It is based on information made available by the Grimthorpe Tourist Office, and on views expressed by local people who were interviewed.
Grimthorpe has a wide range of sports facilities, both public and private. There is a large modern leisure centre in the High Street and facilities include a swimming pool, a sports hall for judo, fencing and other activities, and tennis courts. The centre runs courses in all these sports and these tend to be very popular. Membership costs £150 a year, which was felt to be rather expensive, but a special temporary membership is available to visitors. The public swimming pool on the outskirts of the town is older, less attractive and often overcrowded, but entry is only £1.50.
There are two theatres in town, the Kings Theatre in Bee Street, which offers mainly “serious” drama and has a good reputation for its productions of Shakespeare, and the Little Theatre in Sea Street which specialises in lighter entertainment and the occasional pop concert. In general, it seems that the Kings Theatre is more popular with the older members of the community while the Little appeals more to people in their teens and twenties.
Museums and Art Galleries
The City Museum has an extensive collection of maps, pottery and other articles connected with Grimthorpe’s history. The attendants are said to be very friendly and helpful, and there is also a small cafĂ© with reasonably priced home-made snacks. Interestingly, few of the local people interviewed had ever been to the museum but it was recommended highly by several tourists.
Grimthorpe is well provided with leisure facilities for a town of its size and these are well used by the townspeople on the whole. Sport seems to be the most popular leisure activity, while cultural activities like visiting the museum or art gallery appeared to be the least popular among the Grimthorpians who were interviewed. Perhaps the  City Council should consider launching a publicity campaign to show how much these facilities have to offer.

Now use these tips to help you write your answer to the task above.


  1. A report should be always done in a formal way, because it has to explain very clearly the topic that has been studied. Also, lots of unknown people could read it, so it should give a great appearance and be enough understable for them. In a formal report we should use modal verbs (could, might) because they make easier the speculating expressions, so we can express ideas in different ways. If we want to make a good report, we should use the passive voice frequently. It is really useful because it helps us to report observations and events. The second conditional can be very useful in a report because it express hypothetical situations which helps us to comunicate our ideas. Also, we need to avoid introducing sentences with “i think...” because a report needs to be objective although the conclusion is personal. We can use sentences such as “according to, it is based on, in the words of....”. In reports we should always have a clear idea but we can make suggestions, accept others thoughts and write them for other people see different points. A report should be very different from a letter because letters are an informal way of communication while the objective of reports is to study a hypothesis in a formal way and to conclude if it was right or wrong. Connectives are also very useful in reports, their job is joining different sentences in one and give it a sense, in general, we should use the followings: therefore, although, also, in general, however... In real life, i will write lots of reports. I am already writing them on school, however, i will need to do a very formal and scientific one at the end of the career. Also, in our jobs, we will probably need to do some of them.

    Javier Mondaza & Luis Galan

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  4. writing is such a hectic task, you need a study or a guideline to write better. i really appreciate your work.Great work. report writing

  5. Well, when it comes to writing reports, I would say that reports should have a clear factual heading and may also have subheadings which divide the writing into shorter sections and that is followed by any report writing service. The information should be organised and presented as clearly and logically as possible, with a short introduction explaining the aims of the report



    "The aim of this report is to learn a little bit more about the different generations' point of view about our city. It is based on interviews, questions and polls performed on the habitants of the town.

    The city as a routine life
    As a routine life, the older generation claims that the city is a very good place to settle and to live, because of the calm and the casual atmosphere that reigns around us. But on the younger generation's side, 8 people of 10 complain about the boring routine : teenagers assert that there is nothing to do in our town, not enough shops, not enough facilities, or not enough place to go to entertain themselves.

    The city as a tourist town
    Young and old people are agree on this fact : our city is a tourist town. Every year, it hosts a thousand of tourists who are looking for peace, calm, sun and new things to discover. The monuments of the city helps to attract them, so if we look at our town with this point of view, tourism values it.

    The city as an identity
    A lot of people who answer our polls are proud to live in the city. In spite of the negative aspects and the little reputation that it have, most of them love our town and are happy to share their routine life with their compatriots. After all, our city is a part of our identity.

    As a conclusion, opinions differ about our city, but it is a tourism town, sometimes a place of boredom for the youngest generation because of the lack of occupations. In spite of this, all the habitants are proud to live there, because the city is a big part of their identity. "