Reports are perhaps the most important form of communication. Image by  Pqsl

Reports are perhaps the most important form of communication. Image by Pqsl

ZIMSEC Writing a report

Perhaps the most important form of communication within businesses and at the workplace is the report. They are found everywhere no matter what profession you will choose be it in the Sciences, Arts or Commercials field you will most likely have to file some form of report or another. Even a humble security guard is required to write regular reports, so are the police, army personnel, the self-employed, scientists, judges, lawyers, politicians and everyone else including even Tobacco farmers.

To prepare you for this, the English Language syllabus requires you to learn the proper format of a report. In Section B of English Paper 1 you might be presented with a question that will test you on your understanding of the report format.

Format of a report


[The full name or professional title of the recipient] for example: To: The General Manager.

From: [ Your full name or title] for example: From: The Finance Manager.

Date: [ Date on which the report was written] for example: 18 April 2014

Title: [A brief and descriptive title for the report] for example: Quarterly Financial Report.

In the first paragraph state the Who, what,where and when. For example, “As is required by company policy and as the finance manager I hereby present the quarterly financial report for the quarter ended 31 March 2014.”

In the other paragraphs use the points given in the question and expand them using your knowledge and diligently present them in chronological or some other logical order. The points might be in the form of a graph or chart. In such cases do not merely repeat the information shown on the graph for example we had a Sales figure of $38 000 over the course of the quarter. Be insightful and analytic for example: We had sales of $38 000 in the quarter which is a decrease from the previous sales of $45 000 in the same quarter last year. This might be a result of a fall in demand of pencil skirts which were are most popular product last summer. We hope to find alternative fashionable items to fill the void in the coming quarter.

In the last paragraph give a general remark or make a recommendation based on the topic. For example:

Generally the quarter was not as bad as we had feared although there is definitely some room for improvement next time around.

[Signature at the end] Reports should always be signed to prove that there are from whoever they say they are from.

Tips for writing a report

  • Always state the purpose of the report in the first paragraph and your authority for compiling such a report.
  • You might also want to provide the general aim of the report.
  • Pieces of information( as given in the question) must include/be followed by reasonable and plausible explanations, comments, suggestions, situations and conditions depending on the nature of the question.
  • References to related correspondence/previous reports where appropriate must be made. For example: Based on my visit to your farm I have compiled this report on what I observed and my suggestions on what you should do to solve the highlighted problems.
  • Sequential discourse markers would be useful as they make it easier for you to state ideas and for those reading to follow the report. For example words like: Firstly, secondly and finally. Go to English Notes Home to find a more detailed list of discourse markers.
  • Whenever appropriate try to predict the future based on your understanding of current data. For example: We expect food production to continue to increase at Tola farm as demand is still healthy and the macroeconomic environment has improved.
  • Make suggestions wherever appropriate. For example: I would strongly recommend more timely purchase of necessary inputs so as to avoid such problems in future.
  • Give an proper conclusion e.g. The report clearly shows that food production at Tola farm is on an upward trend.

Go to English Notes Home to learn other forms of compositions.