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A report is a structured document that allows students to communicate and demonstrate their knowledge on key subjects, theories, and, concepts. They are structured using headings and sub-headings. Different reports will require you to:

  • Analyse
  • Describe
  • Summarise
  • Appraise or critically assess
  • Make predictions
  • Provide recommendations

Structure of Reports

Report Structure

Reports are structured with several components. The type of report you are writing will determine what sections you will need to include.

Title Page

This should be an inviting and attractive page, that will include the following information.

  • Title of the Report
  • Audience (for who the report is written for)
  • Full name of the Author
  • Date of submission
  • Word count (if necessary)

Abstract/ Executive Summary*

*Business reports often require an Executive Summary instead of an abstract. This should be written in complete sentences. The abstract/ executive summary provides an overview of the report for the reader, it should include:

  • A clear outline of the purpose/objective of the report. 
  • The scope of the research the report covers and any research methods used
  • Main conclusions and recommendations

Contents Page

This provides the reader with a clear understanding of the structure of the report. You will use main headings and sub-headings, and provide page numbers. Follow the video instructions below to find out how to Insert a Contents Page in WORD. 


This is where you will introduce the report. Be clear and as concise as possible here.

  • Provide a brief introduction of the background information to your topic
  • Clearly state the objective of the report - what is it trying to achieve? Why was it written?
  • Identify the audience the report was written for (if necessary)
  • Outline any questions/ problems the report is trying to address
  • Provide the reader with information on the research methods you used to collect data
  • State the limitations of the report
  • Briefly outline how the report is structured

Body of the Report (Discussion)

This is the part of the report where you will employ the use of main headings and sub-headings, this is where you will address the problem/questions/objective of the report.

  • Identify data, theories, information, models, or, practices that are relevant to your report
  • Support claims with evidence from sources
  • Include illustrations, examples, diagrams, tables, and ensure that you refer to them using the Figure Style.
  • Explain, discuss and interpret your findings.


This is a brief summary of the entire report, it is quite similar to your abstract. Provide an overview of your main findings.


This is where you will introduce solutions and recommendations based on the data you have presented in your report.

  • Clearly number or bullet point recommendations
  • Create one recommendation for each main point discussed in the report
  • Ensure that you relate the recommendations to your conclusions in a logically way
  • Use verbs (action words) in each of the recommendations, in order for the reader to be clear on what needs to be done.

Reference List

This is a list that provides bibliographic details of all the sources you have used in your report. To find out more about Referencing visit the AFTRS Referencing Guide.

Please Note: 

Different types of reports require different sections, check your assignment brief before beginning your report. Sections may include

  • Hypothesis
  • Background
  • Context
  • Literature review
  • Descriptions
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Process'
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Research questions 
  • Findings
  • Case studies