Five W’s and One H of report writing are the laws, tips, guidelines for writing a better report. Prior to commencing work on a report, a few queries should be raised by the report-writer and satisfactorily answered.
This enables the writer to produce a highly focused report. The queries center on the five W’s and the one H.
What is the problem?
What is it that needs to be ascertained Clarity along these lines helps in eliminating any redundancies that might crop up. Identification of the genesis of the problem helps in streamlining the approach.
The problem could, for instance, be one that has to determine the cause for the decrease in sales.
Why is the issue important?
What is its relevance and significance to the department in specific, and organization in general. The issue is important because a decrease in sales is a cause for concern to the entire organization.
Strategies need to be chalked out for redemption of the situation. Why (purpose) should the problem be analyzed, What are the benefits that will accrue as a result of this particular report-to the department, the organization, and the self.
The report would probably lead to a suggestion of various strategies that could be implemented. This, in turn, would, as suggested in the report, lead to increase in sales.
Who is involved in the situation?
This could take into account both the reader(s) and the writer. In case there is a third party involved, it would also account for that.
Who is going to be my reader With a change in the reader, a change is visible in the manner of approach in the report. The marketing and the production department people would probably be the readers in this particular case.
When did the trouble start?
In case it is an analytical report, one would also need to address oneself to the source and time of the problem before reaching any conclusion. This would entail tracing in brief the downward curve of the sales graph.
It may be asked; When am I going to write the report The time factor is very important. Chalking out or revision of strategies should be done prior to the marketing season or entrance of new players in the market.
Where would the reader be at the time when he receives the report?
Would the reader read the report in a meeting so as to provide information on the causes for decrease in sales or read it within the confines of his room There would definitely be a difference in the manner of approach.
How would the report be written?
What information is to be included and what is to be excluded which graphs and charts would be used avoided All these queries need to be satisfied before beginning a report.
They give the report a particular direction and help the writer to concentrate on the acceptability of the report by the audience to which it is aimed.