Understanding & Planning Reports & Proposals

Applying the 3 Steps Writing Process to Reports & Proposals

  • Categories of reports (with most common examples) :
    • Informational reports
      • Reports to monitor & control operations
      • Reports to implement policies & procedures
      • Reports to demonstrate compliance
      • Reports to document progress
    • Analytical reports
      • Reports to assess opportunities
      • Reports to solve problems
      • Reports to support decision
    • Proposals
      • Internal proposals
      • External proposals
  • Planning : analyze situation, gather information, select the right medium & organize information
  • Writing : adapt to audience & compose message
  • Completing : revise, produce, proofread & distribute the message

Supporting Your Messages with Reliable Information

  • Process of effective research :
    • Plan your research
    • Locate the data & information needed
    • Process the data & information you located
    • Apply your findings
    • Manage information efficiently
  • Planning your research
    • Develop problem statement
  • Locating data & information
    • Evaluating sources to avoid mistakes
    • Conducting secondary research
      • Information from library – newspapers, business books, directories, statistical resources, government publications, electronic database
      • Information from online
      • Document your resources properly
    • Conducting primary research
      • Surveys
      • Interviews
  • Using your research results
    • Quoting – reproduce the content
    • Paraphrasing – expressing someone else’s ideas in your own words
    • Summarizing – similar to paraphrasing but distills the content into fewer words
    • Conclusion – logical interpretation of facts & other information
    • Recommendation – suggestions on what to do about the information

Planning Informational Reports

  • Ways to organize informational reports :
    • Comparison
    • Importance
    • Sequence
    • Chronology
    • Geography
    • Category
  • Tips for effective website organization :
    • Plan your site structure & navigation before writing
    • Create links & pathways to allow readers explore more
    • Make sure the contents are easily readable & linked together logically

Planning Analytical Reports

  • Focusing on conclusion
    • Use direct approach
    • Support with solid reasons & evidence
  • Focusing on recommendations
    • Describe briefly the problem or opportunity
    • Introduce the benefits
    • List the steps required (recommendations)
    • Explain each step
    • Summarize the recommendations
  • Focusing on logical arguments
    • Use indirect approach
    • Rational path
    • Convince readers by demonstrating that everything adds up to your conclusion

Planning Proposals

  • There are many specific formats for proposals
  • Solicited proposals – prepared at the request of external parties that require products or services
  • Request for proposals (RFP) – a formal invitation to bid on their contracts
  • A good proposal explains what a project or course of action will involve, how much it will cost & how the recipient will benefit

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