What Format Should You Use for a Narrative Report?

A narrative report, like most papers, should contain an introduction, a body and a conclusion. Narrative reports can take two forms, which can either be a comprehensive personal statement or an answer to specific questions.

A comprehensive narrative is one that is usually mandated by educational institutions like law schools and medical schools. This type of narrative report gives people the most amount of freedom regarding what they include in their personal essays. Alternatively, personal narratives request the author to answer a set of predetermined questions. This is common among many graduate programs, including graduate schools and some business schools. Sometimes schools require applicants to submit multiple essays.

Composing the Introduction The personal narrative is designed to be a personal style of writing that highlights an individual’s skills, interests and experience. Narrative reports should lead with a strong opening statement that either answers the question being asked or sets the individual apart from others. The introduction should introduce the person and explain his or her exceptional talents, qualities and skills. Individuals should write in a personable and friendly style that is concise, natural and not too complex.

Crafting the Main Argument The body part of the report presents a chance to elaborate on an answer to the questions(s) asked, or to explore in depth the significance of a personal experience. This section might include information on what an individual knows about a particular topic. In this part of the paper, the individual should be as specific as possible in identifying special knowledge that he or she has, compared to others. This is particularly important in professional fields, where the acquisition of knowledge (or lack thereof) might sway the audience’s opinion of an individual. People writing profession-oriented personal statements should include language used in that profession. They can also acknowledge works cited and note any fieldwork performed or interactions with subjects and colleagues. When writing the report, authors should avoid cliches if possible, as they may be frowned upon by recipients. They should strive for a clear, concise style of writing and avoid touching on any subjects that are controversial. Writers should try to tell a personal story naturally and develop a unique angle, if possible, to capture the audience’s attention.

Concluding the Narrative Report In the conclusion, people should reiterate the highlights of their reports, keeping in mind that the end goal is to sway the judges or audience in their favor. They can also inspire readers to look at a subject through a different lens to challenge their preconceived beliefs, keeping in mind that it is not advised to bring up controversial topics.

Throughout the paper, individuals should answer any and all questions asked and do additional research, if necessary, to provide substantive answers. Writers should keep in mind that adding anything new or unusual to a paper (such as favorite quotes or humor) can backfire if the reader does not have the same sentiments. If there are any word limits for the paper, writers should make sure to adhere to them. Before submitting their personal narratives, writers can also circulate the paper among friends and family. This is a valuable method of gaining constructive feedback before the paper reaches the final judges or audience members.