Reports can take several different formats. They may be done in the form of a memo or letter, or they may also be formal or informal lab reports.
Every report must have a purpose, and the purpose must be clearly defined in each section of the report. Reports should be written with some degree of flexibility, and they must discuss what was done and how it was done. They must also tell the reader the results of any action taken. Reports should also include a conclusion followed by recommendations.
Most reports are written for academic purposes, but they may also be written in government and in industrial settings. The audience for the report is dependent on the academic institution, place of business or government agency for which it was written. A report for academic purposes is usually written so that teachers can provide a critical analysis of what students are learning. Teachers are able to provide critical analysis because reports tell teachers to what degree a student understands a particular topic. Reports may be written for lay people, executives and experts in a field. Reports often help executives to make decisions, because they may act on the results that were presented.