What Is a Formal Report?

A formal report presents details and makes recommendations that are based on the information that is presented in the document. There are various types of formal reports, such as research papers, problem-solving reports and feasibility studies.

The communications program at the Isenberg School of Management teaches students what fundamental elements are contained in a report. The first part of the report typically includes an introductory letter, a brief summary, title page, table of contents, and lists of tables and figures.

The body of a formal report is designed to feature the report’s purpose and to introduce the information contained in the document. An introduction, discussion of data and conclusion lead readers to the best course of action to take. The end of the formal report, or back matter, generally includes an appendix or appendices, bibliography or glossary.

When writing a formal report, business students are advised to analyze the purpose of the document first, and then plan a time for writing the content and inserting the tables or lists. The report should be revised before choosing a title. No irrelevant data or repeated information should be included in the document’s contents. Every effort should be made to make the report, clear, concise and to the point.