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Technical Communication, 11th ed., by John M. Lannon (Longman, 2007)

Definition:

A document that presents information in an organized format for a specific audience and purpose.

Types of reports include memos, minutes, lab reports, book reports, progress reports, justification reports, compliance reports, annual reports, and policies and procedures.


See also:

Etymology:

From the Latin, "carry"

Observations:

  • "Reports can fulfill four different, and sometimes related, functions. They can be used as controls to ensure that all departments are functioning properly, to give information, to provide an analysis, and to persuade others to act."
    (H. Dan O'Hair, James S. O'Rourke, and Mary John O'Hair, Business Communication: A Framework for Success. South-Western College Publishing, 2001)


  • "In the professional world, decision makers rely on two broad types of report: Some reports focus primarily on information ('what we're doing now,' 'what we did last month,' 'what our customer survey found,' 'what went on at the department meeting'). But beyond merely providing information, many reports also include analysis ('what this information means for us,' 'what courses of action should be considered,' 'what we recommend, and why'). . . .

    "For every long (formal) report, countless short (informal) reports lead to informed decisions on matters as diverse as the most comfortable office chairs to buy or the best recruit to hire for management training. Unlike long reports, most short reports require no extended planning, are quickly prepared, contain little or no background information, and have no front or end matter (title page, table of contents, glossary, etc.). But despite their conciseness, short reports do provide the information and analysis that readers need."
    (John M. Lannon, Technical Communication. Pearson, 2006)
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