ReportsLEARNING OBJECTIVESBy the end of this section, you will be able to:•Discuss the main parts of a report.•Understand the different types of reports.•Write a basic report.What Is a Report?Reports are documents designed to record and convey information to the reader.Reports are part of any business or organization; from credit reports to policereports, they serve to document specific information for specific audiences,goals, or functions. The type of report is often identified by its primary purpose orfunction, as in an accident report, a laboratory report, a sales report, or even abook report. Reports are often analytical, or involve the rational analysis ofinformation. Sometimes they simply “report the facts” with no analysis at all, butstill need to communicate the information in a clear and concise format. Otherreports summarize past events, present current data, and forecast future trends.While a report may have conclusions, propositions, or even a call to action, thedemonstration of the analysis is the primary function. A sales report, forexample, is not designed to make an individual sale. It is, however, supposed toreport sales to date, and may forecast future sales based on previous trends.This chapter is designed to introduce you to the basics of report writing.Types of ReportsReports come in all sizes, but are typically longer than a page and somewhatshorter than a book. The type of report depends on its function. The function ofthe report is its essential purpose, often indicated in the thesis or purposestatement. The function will also influence the types of visual content or visualaids, representing words, numbers, and their relationships to the central purposein graphic, representational ways that are easy for the reader to understand. Thefunction may also contribute to parameters like report length (page or wordcount) or word choice and readability. “Focusing on the content of your longerbusiness documents is not only natural but necessary because doing so helpsensure complete, correct information” (Bovee & Thill, 2010).Reports vary by function, and they also vary by style and tradition. Within yourorganization, there may be employer-specific expectations that need to beaddressed to meet audience expectations. This chapter discusses reports ingeneral terms, focusing on common elements and points of distinction, butreference to similar documents where you work or additional examination ofspecific sample reports may serve you well as you prepare your own report.