What Are the Differences Between Formal and Informal Reports?

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Many different functions that people perform in a formal capacity require documentation. This is true in large-scale work environments, small businesses, volunteer capacities, academic capacities and elsewhere.

More often than not, that documentation takes the form of a report. Reports can help to explain what is happening, build a case or persuade others to pursue a certain course of action. Regardless of the format, reports are designed to transfer information from the author to the intended recipients.

Not all reports are created the same way, and there’s a variety of formats, details and requirements that delineate one type of report from another. One place where these differences become apparent is in comparing formal reports versus informal reports. Below, we compare formal reports with their informal counterparts to help clarify the differences between both.

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