Business reports: the basics

time to complete: 5 minutes

Reports in Social Sciences

If you have read our Lab Reports webpages, you might be wondering how reports in social sciences differ.

A lab report is the formal write-up of an experiment, and it tends to be written for a specialist audience (University of Southampton 2002). A report in social sciences often follows a similar structure to those in science, but its aims can be fairly varied.

For instance, in a field report you will describe observations of events, the environment or even people’s behaviour in order to identify common themes. In this type of report, you will also talk about your own interpretation of the data (Flick 2018). Another example is the management report, where you need to provide essential information that can help managers to solve complex issues within their organisations or judge performance (Management Study Guide 2021).

Which sections will you expect to see in a report?

Despite the wide range of objectives a report may have, reports in the social sciences follow a similar structure  (University of Southern California Libraries 2021).

However, in these webpages we will be looking at a very specific type of reports from social sciences, the business report.

What is the role of headings and subheadings?

Headings and subheadings are essential as they help your reader locate the information quickly. You need to include them both in the body of your report and in your Table of Contents, as they are the reader’s first impression on the content and structure. Make sure you use clear headings and subheadings that are also consistent in style i.e. font and formatting (UNSW Business School no date).