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.

Handbook on Report Formats

Summary:

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: 2013-03-11 10:28:48

Report Formats

An overview of the how, what, and why of organizing different types of reports

How do you select a format and use it?

What is format?

Why should you use a format?

Your readers

Before you write a report, you must consider your readers. How you format your report will depend on your readers’ goals and needs. Ask yourself the following.

General report format guidelines

When you write a report, you will want to make it easy to read and understand. Here are some guidelines to apply to any report you write.

Other guidelines for writing reports

Past tense is used for explaining procedures, and present tense is used for generalizations and for stating what the results show.

For memos and letters, most companies prefer the first person active: "I have reviewed the program…" NOT "The program has been reviewed…"

Check out the Purdue YouTube Channel for vidcasts on writing engineering reports.

Copyright ©1995-2014 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 This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.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.