OWL logo
General WritingResearch and CitationTeaching and TutoringSubject-Specific WritingJob Search WritingESL
OWL at Purdue Logo

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/). When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice at bottom.

It's Here: A new look for the Purdue OWL!

The new version of the Purdue OWL is available at https://owl.purdue.edu/. Worry not! Our navigation menu and content will remain largely the same. In 8 days, we will be discontinuing owl.english.purdue.edu and you will be automatically redirected to the new site.

Sections of Reports


This resource is an updated version of Muriel Harris’s handbook Report Formats: A Self-instruction Module on Writing Skills for Engineers, written in 1981. The primary resources for the editing process were Paul Anderson’s Technical Communication: A Reader-Centered Approach (6th ed.) and the existing OWL PowerPoint presentation, HATS: A Design Procedure for Routine Business Documents.

Contributors:Elizabeth Cember, Alisha Heavilon, Mike Seip, Lei Shi, and Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2018-04-03 01:29:50

Thus, the suggestions you will find here are for typical ways to proceed. Before using these suggestions, check first to see if there are specific requirements for your situation, and also consider for whom you are writing, their situation, and what you are trying to achieve. It is also important to consider the HATS methodology available on the Purdue OWL in report design: headings, access, typography, and space, which will help the design elements of your document. Also see the OWL resource, Effective Workplace Writing for suggestions on rhetorical strategies.

You will find that it is easier to write the body of your report first (the procedures, results, discussion, and so on). When that’s done, you will be able to write the abstract much more easily. As a final step, what then remains to be done are the mechanical elements, the cover page, table of contents, references, and so on.

Therefore, this section discusses the parts of a report in the order in which you will usually proceed: first, the body; second, the abstract; finally, the mechanical elements. When you assemble the parts, consider putting them in the following standard order, remembering always to adjust to your reader and situation:





Attachments or Appendices

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.