December Tip of the Month for Technical Report Writing

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December Tip of the Month for Technical Report Writing

Write the report from the reader’s point of view

Before you can write a technical report you will need to do what we call analysing the audience. Find out who your readers are and what their objectives are when reading your report. Write your report with the aim of fulfilling these objectives, not your own.

Readers’ objectives will vary, so you must write your report to satisfy a number of, perhaps conflicting needs. Ask yourself, what information is important to the majority of readers. Put this information in the report. This information will generally be the big picture; the results of analysis, conclusions and recommendations.

A minority of readers will be interested in the detail; the actual results, background information or detailed technical descriptions. Put this type of information into appendices. This means that a table of actual results should not normally appear in the main body of your report. A graph showing a trend in the results would be a more appropriate way of getting the message across.

By structuring your report in this way all readers can easily get the thrust of your report. If some readers need to go into the detail they can do so by reading the appendices.

Remember – Don’t let the detail get in the way of the message.

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