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reports: preparation

Before beginning to write a report or to collect the data for it, determine who is expected to read the report and how the reader is likely to use it. The content and format of a report will be significantly affected by whether it is written for specialists or non-specialists, and whether it is an internal document for a limited number of persons or a report for public distribution.

The purpose for which it is required is equally significant: it may be intended to note certain facts for information purposes, to make recommendations for action, to serve as a basis for discussion or debate, or to record the findings of an investigation or study.

Next, collect the data: documents, evidence, statistics and other potentially useful information. Then organize, analyse and evaluate the data collected, selecting what is essential. Finally, draw up a work plan in chronological order, order of importance, or a combination of the two. Now you should be ready to write the report.