Purpose and Audience
At university, the purpose and length of the report is usually decided upon by your lecturer, but in any case, the following questions are relevant:
• Who is the report for?
• What is it for?
• How much information is required?
• What is relevant?
• Where can I research the information?
• How should I research the information?
• How should I present the information?
Asking yourself these questions will inform you how to write your report and what information you want to send to the reader.
- In some cases you will need to write the report as though the audience does not know much about the topic your report covers.
- For a general report you should clearly define key terms and provide sufficient background information to inform the reader of your discussion.
- For more technical or scientific reports, it is wise to assume that the intended audience will have a fair idea of the methods and scientific terms of your study; therefore, technical language can be used.
- Always remember to spell out abbreviations in the first instance you use them, followed by the abbreviation in brackets.
- You should constantly keep the purpose and audience in mind throughout the stages of writing your report. This will keep you on-topic and make the report’s information relevant to its audience.
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