Research, Reports, and Proposals, Essay Example
Research, reports, and proposals are the cornerstone of communication within the business world. In most cases the companies are only as successful as their strategies and their strategies are only as effective as the information on which they are based. Information in business stems from reports and proposals. The research that goes into those reports, as well as the report presentation, decide how effective they will be at delivering a valued and significant message within the corporate landscape on which they’re based. The following will address the fundamentals of writing research reports and what goes into their completion.
Oftentimes the reporting process involves some degree of research and analysis that is based on a problem or purpose. A report might be categorized as informational, or analytical, for which it is necessary to adapt the report to its audience. In his article, “Creating success: How to write reports and proposals,” Forsyth notes that, “The most important thing to settle initially is simply why the report is being written. What is it for? Few reports are just ‘about’ something. They may, of course, have various intentions -to inform, motivate and so on, as mentioned in the previous chapter- but what matters most is the overall objectives (Forsyth, 2010).” This is a very keen observation, while many might like to believe when they are reading a specific text whether it be a novel, school report, business proposal or anything in between that they are enjoying it for its entertainment or informative value, the author obviously wrote the work with a specific intention in mind. It makes sense that the sought goal of a report will shape the subject matter and ultimately the conclusion of the piece; but this bring into question, when writing a proposal, how does one identify their objective? In response to this Forsyth argues that, “Objectives should be defined from the standpoint of readers (Forsyth, 2010).” This can be taken two different ways. An author can write a report with the objective to change the reader’s standpoint or to enforce it. All arguments in the report, in order to be convincing, require solid support through data or credible arguments, and these can only be retrieved from doing research.
Research is effectively planned and conducted through a wide range of techniques, depending on the type of report that is being produced. Reports that require extensive analytical analysis could use information from case studies, scholarly journals, or timely textbooks. The process of retrieving this information is as open-ended as the variety of information itself. For example, Google searches can produce credible material if it’s a Google News search or a Google Scholar search. Likewise, university libraries, as well as public libraries, often have online databases. Finally, especially when doing business research, many corporations publish their financial information and research for public use. Proper research involves retrieving information from credible sources and organizing it in a workable format to be able to translate it into a presentable report worthy presentation. This makes presentation an essential part of the report process once research is done.
Reports can be structured in a variety of ways, but layout has a significant effect on how understandable the information is for the reader. Formal business reports have a specific structure that usually includes, but is not limited to, Title Section, Summary, Methodology Introduction, Main Body, and Conclusion (Thill, 2007). As Forsyth notes, “The simplest structure one can imagine is a beginning, a middle and an end. Indeed this is what a report must consist of, but the argument or case it presents may be somewhat more complex (Forsyth, 2010).” The easiest way to simplify the complexities that might occur when settling on a report structure is to incorporate the use of visuals, such as graphs, charts, diagrams and other images. In addition to making the report visually appealing to the reader, they also add a depth of information and credibility.
In sum, an effective report involves solid research, based on an objective which is driven by an understanding of the reader. Research involves retrieving and organizing data and citing the sources effectively to ad credibility. Presentation is a dynamic factor of the process and can make or break the effectiveness of the report to get a particular point across. Finally, a fundamental part of writing any solid report is knowing when to conclude the argument, like now.
Thill, J. V., & Bovée, C. L. (2007). Excellence in business communication. (8th ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Forsyth, P. (2010). Creating success : How to write reports and proposals. (p. 144). London: Kogan Page Ltd.
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