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Components of a Formal Report

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Updated: Jun 14th, 2022

What are the main components of formal report writing? Find the answer here! This sample describes all the basic parts of a report and explains what they are needed for.


In writing a formal report, it is of essence to follow the right format so that a reader can comprehend, without difficulties, what has been carried out, the reason why it has been carried out, and the conclusion on what was carried out.

The components of a formal report

  1. Cover or Title page: The cover page is the first front matter of a formal report document and it has the name of the report, receiverโ€™s name, title and organization, team name and team members, and the date of submitting the report.
  2. Letter of Transmittal: This serves the purpose of announcing the subject under investigation and give details on its approval. Further, it also briefly explains the assignment, previews the conclusions, and appreciates the efforts of others in the accomplishment of the project.
  3. Table of Contents: This is another front matter that shows the start page number where every report heading is seen in the report.
  4. List of Tables and Figures: This gives the list of tables and figures used in the document and the page numbers in which they are found in.
  5. Abstract or Executive Summary: This is an essential component of the report as it enables the readers to have a quick glimpse of what the whole document is about since it specifically focuses on the objective, procedure, results, and the conclusion of the whole investigation. As a mini version of the entire document, this section has to provide clear and concise information to the readers in about two to three paragraphs. Because the majority of readers seldom go through the whole report, abstract is a very essential component of a formal report.
  6. Outline: This can or cannot form a component of a formal report; nonetheless, it is a vital tool for assisting in laying out the structure of the report and the thought process of the author(s). In this way, outline arranges the information in a manner that is easy to comprehend.
  7. Introduction: This is the section that establishes the tone for the whole formal report as it provides the person who reads it with the essential information in order to facilitate the right understanding of the whole document in the intended context. The introduction section includes any background information associated with the project, purpose of the report and significance of the challenge being addressed, and clarification of the scope and limitations of the report. Further, the introduction section also includes the various analysis and theories used to complete the assignment (Lannon, 2007).
  8. The Discussion: This is also known as the body of the report and it is the main component of the formal report since it provides an elaborate explication of the ideas pointed out in the earlier introduction section. Relevant statistical data, findings arrived at after investigations and any other extra information is given to enable the intended audience to comprehend the details of the formal report. Thus, to support the concepts reported in the introduction section, the body of the report ought to provide an in-depth analysis and all the essential information to ensure that the message of the report is passed across. Further, the issues to be discussed are usually divided on topical basis with elaborate definitions and interpretations of the research findings. It is worth mentioning that this section often provides the findings in logical sequence and presents โ€˜just the factsโ€™ without opinions or feelings.
  9. The conclusion: This section gives a review of what has been found after carrying out the study. This is dependent on the facts and information provided to the audience throughout the previous sections. The conclusion reached in the report ought to give a thorough analysis and summary of the research findings.
  10. Recommendations: This section provides the remarks on the project undertaken and also incorporates the suggestions that ought to be done based on the research carried out, results realized, and the conclusion arrived at. It is important to provide in-depth recommendations so as to give the reader a good ground for analyzing the suggestions for improvement made and making the conclusions by himself or herself.
  11. Glossary or Appendix: This is an end matter of the formal report that gives a list of all the resource materials used in completing the report while acknowledging their authors in the appropriate citation style. This section is also important as it prevents one from committing the offense of failing to give the due credit to the authors of the reference materials used.


Thus, adhering to the above components of a formal report will inevitably enable one to write one with no mistakes. And, when making a report, it is of essence to use a style that relays the message effectively and without irrelevant details. One should not deviate from the topic of the discussion and headings should be used to ensure that the readers are in track with the content of the report.


  1. What is a formal lab report?
    A formal lab report contains a description of laboratory activities. Scientists prepare such reports as part of research in physics, biology, chemistry, and other natural sciences.
  2. What is the first step in writing a formal report?
    The first step to writing a formal report is conducting research. You should make notes while doing this. Another important thing is to think of your intended audience. The tone and style of your report depend on what kind of reader it is intended for.
  3. How to write a formal report?
    The key step of report writing is planning. Before you start writing the text, draw up an outline. Then think about the title and the thesis statement. After that, write the introduction and methodology. Then present the key findings of your study.
  4. What are the main components of a formal report?
    The components of a formal report are a cover page, a letter of transmittal, a table of contents, a list of figures and tables, an executive summary, an introduction, methods, a results section, a discussion section, conclusion, recommendations, and an appendix.

Reference List

Lannon, J. M. (2007). Technical Communication, 11th ed. New York: Longman.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Components of a Formal Report." June 14, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/components-of-a-formal-report/.


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