19 – Informational Reports
It can be helpful to envision informational reports as a technical form of communication somewhere between correspondence and larger-scale reports, such as proposals or recommendation reports. This is because informational reports typically focus on major projects or subjects beyond the scope of everyday communication. At the same time, they are much more specific and simple in purpose than reports designed to persuade, present, and discuss results, or argue for specific actions.
Further still, informational reports encompass a variety of genres:
- Progress reports (or more informal status reports or status updates) focus on providing project updates to supervisors and upper management.
- Lab reports comprehensively record the procedures, outcomes, and limitations of scientific research.
- Incident reports document onsite events such as accidents or malfunctions for which involved parties may be held liable.
- Evaluations provide an overview of performances on the job by organizational members (e.g. employees, coworkers, employers, etc.).
This chapter will review progress and lab reports, providing specific guidance on how to craft them effectively.