If you are either in university or already got a job, as a data analyst you will eventually be asked to write a report about some of your findings. And, it might feel scary considering that you probably are much better with numbers than words.
The good news is that there are many resources out there that can help you to write a compelling data analysis report, from free tools for graph and chart creation to templates. But, before you get it started you should be aware of the tips below:
It might feel very frustrating, but you should be prepared to the fact that your audience might not understand what you are trying to present. Translating numbers into words issomething very hard because it might require a technical knowledge way beyond common sense. So accept it as a fact and don’t take criticism personally.
You need to have clear what the goal of your report is considering that it might differ depending on your audience. Are they interested in your results only? Or do they want to be able to replicate what you did so a step-by-step guide could be useful? The answer to this question will help you to decide which elements you should highlight on your report.
The first part of your report (and probably the last one that you will write) is your introduction. It can be created in the form of an Executive Summary, an Overview, or an Abstract. The first one is supposed to be short and focused only on what a decision-maker wants to know. The second one is more general, and the third one is prepared for the eyes of other data analysts only.
One thing that you probably want to run by whoever asked you for a report is which format they are expecting you to deliver. Just look at some templates, and you will see that there are many ways that a data analysis can be constructed and each one of them has different requirements. Just to name a few, it can be an executive brief, a letter report, a journal article, or a white paper, and none of them is born equal.
Now that you know what is the correct format that you should follow, it is time for you to create the outline of your report. Write down each section that you should create, name the with working titles (no need to be the final ones) and explain in a few words which type of content will go there. It will help you to understand the volume and the complexity of your work, and stop you from mentioning unnecessary topics.