Types of Informal Reports

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  • 0:00 Informal Reports
  • 0:49 Informational Reports
  • 1:37 Analytical Reports
  • 2:55 Progress Reports
  • 3:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Often, information needs to be communicated within a company or department. In this lesson, we'll examine informal reports, including informational, analytical, and progress reports, and the purpose and types of each.

Informal Reports

Ingrid's boss has asked her to put together a short document to update him on the team's progress on a big project they're working on. Ingrid is excited because it's her chance to show off her writing skills as well as her leadership skills on the team. Ingrid's boss has asked for an informal report, which is a document shared within an organization. Informal reports are usually relatively short, though they can occasionally be long. Memos, emails, and papers are all examples of informal reports.

There is more than one type of informal report, and they are differentiated by the information shared in the report. To help Ingrid figure out which type she's writing, let's look closer at the three most common types of informal reports: informational, analytical, and progress reports.

Informational Reports

Ingrid has to write an email report for her boss about the project her team is working on. She's not sure what type of informal report she's writing.

The first major type of informal report is an informational report, which (as the name suggests) shares information about a topic. Informational reports are focused on facts and descriptions. Summary reports are a common example of informational reports. For example, if Ingrid goes to a conference or a meeting and then writes a brief report for her boss explaining what was discussed and what she learned, she will have writing an informational summary report. Investigative reports, too, are an example of informational reports. If her boss wants to know more information about a subject, he might ask Ingrid to do some research and put together an investigative informational report, offering up facts she learned about the subject in her research.

Analytical Reports

Based on the description, Ingrid doesn't think that she's writing an informational report at this time. After all, her boss really wants information on the progress of the team when working on the current project. That's not the same as giving a summary or doing research and communicating the findings.

Another major type of informal report is an analytical report, in which the writer evaluates information to make a recommendation or weigh options. Unlike an informational report where the focus is just sharing information, in an analytical report, the writer analyzes information to come up with an opinion on the subject. One common type of analytical report is a feasibility report, wherein the writer evaluates a plan and tries to decide whether or not it is a feasible, or possible, plan for the company. For example, if Ingrid's boss wants to know if it's feasible for their company to move their department to a new city, he might ask her to write a report describing how feasible that plan is.

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