Who is the audience?
A report is a piece of informative writing, which means it has an intended audience who want to find things out from reading your report. Your brief, client request or assignment description should tell you who your intended audience is, and this has an important influence on the content of your report; you need to tailor the information to suit the needs of your audience.
Reports about the same subject written for different audiences would have a very different content and tone. For instance, if you were to write a report on the business growth plan for an intended new market entry initiative, how might your report differ if you were writing it for …
- the management of the business?
- the team of workers helping to implement the plan?
- the financier / sponsor of the project?
- the shareholders’ consumption in an annual general meeting?
- the potential indigenous strategic partner in the new market?
- the examiner / business school lecturer as an academic coursework assessment?
An audience has a vested interest in the information being reported and motivations for wanting the investigation conducted. As a report writer, you need to take these needs into consideration.
This is why, as a student, even though your brief is set by your tutor, you may be asked to write for an imaginary client or a professional situation. In this scenario, you need to consider who will use the information that you are reporting and how they will use it – for example, will your recommendations be passed on to a secondary audience or used to advise clients or managers? What will be relevant and useful for these audiences? or is it purely for academic grading … requiring a logical sequence from an in-depth literature review and critical analysis from credible academic sources with specific academic writing style and formatting?
If your main audience is your tutor, they still want to know that you can report the findings of your investigation in a logical and relevant way, relating them to the overall purpose of the investigation. Academic writing requires in-depth details while business report have need of precision and brevity (straight-to-the-point).