Overview of an Essay Report

Reports are some of the most common types of essays in college and university. They are usually found in the fields of business, science, and research.

Despite the difference in fields, essay reports share a similar writing approach.

In business school, skills on how to write essay reports are considered as equally important as skills on how to write an essay or skills and knowledge on how to apply the case study format.

Accordingly, essay reports are an opportunity for you to illustrate your understanding of core course concepts, theories, and bodies of knowledge.

Interestingly, essay reports are sometimes confused with essays. Particularly, in academics, there is a dilemma on report vs essay structure.

Note that although essay reports and essays are at times used interchangeably, the two are quite different various ways.

First, while an essay seeks to defend a particular view on a topic by presenting arguments and reasoning, an essay report aims at presenting facts about an issue or a topic.

Second, an essay is usually without subheadings, where differently, an essay report layout contains well-defined headings and subheadings.

Above noted, good skills on how to write an essay report requires you to understand the purpose of such report.

The objectives of an essay report could include:

1. Generating novel ideas and options.

2. Influencing decisions.

3. Asking people to adopt a particular point of view.

4. Asking people to choose between alternative recommendations.


How to Write an Essay Report Format

Skills on how to write an essay report are quite important, particularly in the field of business. They are sometimes considered equally essential as skills on how to write a business research paper.

That said, when writing an essay report, you have to be conversant with the report essay structure.

Markedly, as essay report follows a basic structure that can be replicated with ease. This structure is usually defined by different sections as explained below.

Sections of a report essay structure are:

1. Title,

2. Table of contents,

3. Abstract,

4. Introduction,

5. Discussion,

6. Conclusions,

7. Summary,

8. Recommendations, and

9. Appendices



The title is usually contained in the title page. It should clearly indicate what the report is about. Besides the title, this page should also have the names of the author/s.


Table of Contents

When it comes how to write an essay report, the table of contents plays an important role in helping the reader easily navigate through the report. It is typically used in long reports.

Note that you should assume a simple report layout for the table of contents section. In this, the table of contents should be short and clearly worded.

You should as well use a simple and consistent numbering system to avoid confusion.



This section is also employed in long reports. It is also a requisite in formal reports and reports meant for publication. Normally, your abstract should be between 80 and 200 words.

Markedly, preparing a report abstract equally demands good skills on how to write an essay report. This is because through the abstract, you should be able to tell the reader what is encompassed in the report.

Per se, the abstract should say:

1. What you examined,

2. Why it was important to examine it,

3. How you conducted the examination,

4. What you discovered,

5. What conclusions you arrived at, and

6. Major keywords in the report.



The introduction should be short. Depending on the length of the report, it could be a single paragraph or an entire chapter.

It should contain information on:

1. The topic under study,

2. The entity that commissioned for the report and the time it was commissioned for,

3. The purpose of the report,

4. Terms of reference and entailed limitations,

5. A brief background,

6. Method of working,

7. Sources used in research, and

8. Key issues addressed in the report.



This is one of the most important sections when it comes to how to write an essay report. It encompasses the body and the longest part in a report essay structure.

The discussions section contains the details about the topic under study.

The section should assume a logical arrangement in one chapter or several, where the report is long. As well, it could contain numerous headings and/or subheadings.

You should start with the strongest points.

Points should be clearly put across using crisp sentences. Include facts and information that support your points only. Remember to be as formal as possible.



This another area where you are required to demonstrate effective skills on how to write an essay report. The conclusions encompass the key findings arrived at from the research conducted.

It should include information on:

1. Report’s purpose,

2. The findings,

3. The significance of the findings, and

4. How the findings fulfill the report’s purpose.


It is important to note that no new information should be included in this section. All content must be from the work already done.



This is another important section of a report essay structure. It includes the report’s key information. It should be in the form of bullet points, and sometimes short paragraphs.

Usually, it should be a sum-up of the report’s highlights, particularly findings and conclusions.

In long reports, the summary may require a short introduction. It could also appear before the report to allow readers quickly go through the report’s contents.



This is equally an essential section when it comes to how to write an essay report. It is useful in cases where the report seeks to provide options or recommendations for action.

You should therefore clearly stipulate the action you advocate for based on the research conducted.

You should start with the recommendations you find strongest or most appropriate. The readers should be able to deliberate on which of the recommendations is most suitable.



This section features as the last one in a report layout. Its importance however cannot be underrated. You should include informative and relevant information in this section.

Normally, it should contain voluminous information or data that could not be included directly in the report.

It should include information and documents like:

1. Questionnaires,

2. Interviews,

3. Other reports’ summaries,

4. Tables,

5. Figures,

6. Photographs,

7. Maps, and

8. Drawings.



Steps on how to Write an Essay Report

Preparing a report is a systematic process. There are numerous steps that you could follow to ensure that your report is top quality. These steps are as discussed below.


Step 1: Developing the Terms of Reference

This is a critical step. In part, it characterizes the difference in report vs essay structure.

Developing the terms of reference requires you to carefully read entailed instructions and other relevant materials.

You should then go ahead and use the information to establish the purpose of the report.

To do this, you should ask yourself some questions, including:

1. What is the report about?

2. What is exactly required?

3. Why is it required?

4. When am I required to do it?

5. Whom is it intended for?


Step 2: Finding Information

This step is very important when it comes to how to write an essay report. It entails gathering relevant content in relation to the terms of reference.

You need to establish your approach towards research. When doing this, you should ask yourself the below questions.

1. What information is required?

2. Is any background reading required?

3. What resources are required?

4. Is there need for a survey or observation?

5. How should relevant data be collected?


After answering the above questions, you should proceed to actual procurement of information. You could do this by reading published content, interviewing people, or observing activities or people.

It is important to ensure that the information is relevant to the report.

As you read through the materials, keep notes on relevant points. The information acquired should form the foundation for your findings.

As such, make sure that it is appropriate in content and the method through which it is acquired.


Step 3: Writing the First Draft

This entails piecing together your report. It involves some of the most important skills on how to write an essay report.

You must be able to demonstrate proficiency in writing and expressing ideas. Usually, you should start this by determining the appropriate report essay structure.

Herein, you should create the requisite headings and subheadings. Then go ahead and fill them in using content acquired through research carried out earlier on.

This requires you to draft the terms of reference, introduction, and discussions.

You need to determine what information you will include and what will appear in the appendices.

Using the information incorporated into the different headings/sections, go ahead and conduct an analysis/synthesis to arrive at specific conclusions.

When doing this, you should ask yourself the below questions:

1. What was found?

2. What is important about the findings?

3. What do the findings imply?


Note that there should NOT be new information in this part.


Finally, use the analysis/synthesis to make recommendations.


Step 4: Revising the Draft

This is another key step on how to write an essay report. It entails efforts to ensure that the report is correct in content and grammar.

You should go through the report to find out a number of things that include:

1. Whether it adheres to the instructions.

2. Whether you addressed all the key areas.

3. Whether it has the right format.

4. Whether it is coherent.

5. Whether it is devoid of grammatical errors.


Step 5: Compiling the References

This step is usually the last one when preparing a report. You are required to assemble the references for all the sources you used in your report.

The references should be in the required style, whether APA, Harvard, MLA, or Chicago.

As part of the references, also include the table of contents.

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