How A Report Writing Course Can Tame Big Data

Mary Cullen
Post by Mary Cullen
Originally published September 18, 2015, updated August 29, 2021
How A Report Writing Course Can Tame Big Data
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Once upon a time, there was a warning was that big brother could be

Well, today big data is doing his job. Big data is everywhere all the time. Gartner, the information research technology and advisory company posits:

Big data is high-volume, high-velocity,  high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight and decision making.

Wikopedia pipes in with:

data sets so large that traditional data processing applications are inadequate.

If computers need help making sense of big data, pity the person charged with writing a report summarizing the results. Big data is creating a culture in which business and IT join forces to realize value from data. Companies make decisions based on big data but first it has to be visualized and translated into a report that can communicate the results to key decision makers and ensure they understand it.

Communicating Big Data in a Business Report

Since reports are one of the most important forms of written communication in the business world, the key is to find someone who both understands the brave new world of big data and also has a knack for the type of clear concise writing a report calls for. However raw talent is not enough. Skills needed for report writing, like the ability to differentiate  the essential from non-essential, organizational judgment, and clarity of communication, are acquired more often than inherited, it's a good ideal that the person charged with the task first attend a report writing course.

Basic Insights

Language and layout are important if a report is to be accurate and understandable. No matter whether it is a scientific report, financial report, research or medical, there there are a few basic insights of good writing to keep in mind.

A well-written report.....

  • anticipates the readers' questions. In order to accomplish this, the writer should periodically review what he is writing and attempt to see it from the point of view of a reader, especially one skeptical about the world of big data.
  • is like a good teacher. It strives to explain the facts
  • is like math. It has logic and structure. It takes a pile of facts and  assembles them into a clear accessible, understandable structure.
  • is simple. Simple is not to be confused with simplistic. Big data is complicated. A skilled report writer knows how to deconstruct it and make it comprehensible.
  • avoids jargon. The world of big data is full of its own language. A good report uses accessible language.

A Few Well Put Words of Advice

These tenets can be applied to any type of writing, but as with any written undertaking, preparation is the key. In the case of big data, it involves sifting through the facts. For a few words of advice on this who better to look to than Albert Einstein ?

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."  - Albert Einstein

  • While all data is important, only essential data needs to be included. Writing a report calls for self-editing, especially when dealing with data. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the amount, but understanding what's important to the business can help decide what to include and what to leave out.

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." - Albert  Einstein

  • No matter how well the report writer understands the findings, he is essentially keeping them to himself if he can not communicate them to those reading the report. If they are to act on his insights, he has to simplify the message so that it resonates with them.

Since today's business world feeds on information, report writing is an essential and marketable skill. To learn about how to write the type of reports that can further your career, contact us for information about our report writing courses. Or, download the report writing course outline.

 Download Technical Report Writing Course Outline















Mary Cullen
Post by Mary Cullen
Originally published September 18, 2015, updated August 29, 2021
Mary founded Instructional Solutions in 1998, and is an internationally recognized business writing trainer and executive writing coach with two decades of experience helping thousands of individuals and businesses master the strategic skill of business writing. She excels at designing customized business writing training programs to maximize productivity, advance business objectives, and convey complex information. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Rhode Island, an M.A. in English Literature from Boston College, and a C.A.G.S. in Composition and Rhetoric from the University of New Hampshire.