Guidelines for Writing Short Reports

Guidelines for Writing Short Reports

Guidelines for Writing Short Reports

A short report drops out some elements of the formal and long report. Normally, prefatory elements of a formal report are avoided in short report. The short report usually consists of title page and report text or body. The body of the short reports usually includes three major parts:

(i ) introduction,

(ii) text or findings and

(iii) conclusions and recommendations.

Murphy and Hildebrandt gave the following -guidelines for presentation of body of a short report.

Suggestions for Writing the Body of a Short Report:


  • Some of the elements like purpose, authorization, sources, scope, definitions, background, limitations, list of topics may be included if desirable.
  • If a report’s introductory elements are stated in one or two short paragraphs at the beginning, the title “Introduction” is usually omitted.

Body or Text:

  • Present all relevant facts accurately and impartially.
  • Organize the report by the inductive plan or the deductive plan; business people prefer the deductive plan.
  • Emphasize important ideas by showing details, placing them in prominent positions (with the highest degrees of headings that are appropriate) and using mechanical means such capitalization, underscoring, boldface, more space and repetition.
  • Include visual aids-graphs, tables, pictures-whenever they will help clarify information for your readers (or listeners).
  • Use headings to guide the reader through the report, but write your sentences and paragraphs so they can stand alone-as if the headings didn’t exist.
  • Use topic sentences for most paragraphs, and use an introductory paragraph at the beginning of a major section that contains two or more subdivisions.
  • Apply the principles of writing. Throughout, make the writing easy to read. Use understandable words, sentences averaging 16 to 20 words, concrete nouns, few adverbs, few adjectives, and paragraphs whose average length is about seven typewritten lines.

Terminal section (summary, conclusions, recommendations):

  • Be sure that the terminal section is an integral part of the report and follows logically from the facts already presented in the text.
  • Remember that a summary condenses the text; conclusions evaluate the text; and recommendations offer specific courses of actions.
  • Don’t include any new material in the terminal section of the report.
  • Usually list summary points in the same order as topics are discussed in the text.
  • If the report has more than one conclusions or recommendation, list and number them.
  • Support your conclusions or recommendations with ample appropriate facts that are tin to date and accurate.