Writing a Good Data Analysis Report: 7 Steps
As a data analyst, you feel most comfortable when you’re alone with all the numbers and data. You’re able to analyze them with confidence and reach the results you were asked to find. But, this is not the end of the road for you. You still need to think about your target audience, that is the people who’ll be reading your report. If they don’t understand the report, then all your effort is in vain. This is why it’s crucial that you learn how to write a good data analysis report.
Your coworkers and clients don’t have nearly as much knowledge about data analysis as you do. So, your report needs to be straightforward and informative. The article below will help you learn how to do it. Let’s take a look at some of the practical tips you can apply to your data analysis report writing and the benefits of doing so.
Benefits of Writing Well-Structured Data Analysis Reports
Before we dig any deeper into the writing tips and tricks, you must understand what are the benefits of writing a comprehensible and professional data analysis report. After knowing how it can help you in different segments of your professional journey, you’ll be more willing to learn how to do it.
Below are the main benefits a data analysis report brings to the table.
When you’re writing a data analysis report, you need to be aware more than one end user is going to use it. Whether it’s your employer, customer, or coworker - you need to make sure they’re all on the same page. And when you write a data analysis report that is easy to understand and learn from, you’re creating a bridge between all these people.
Simply, all of them are given accurate data they can rely on and you’re thus removing the potential misunderstandings that can happen in communication. This improves the overall collaboration level and makes everyone more open and helpful.
People who are reading your data analysis report need the information it contains for some reason. They might use it to do their part of the job, to make decisions, or report further to someone else. Either way, the better your report, the more efficient it'll be. And, if you rely on those people as well, you'll benefit from this increased productivity as well.
Data tells a story about a business, project, or venture. It's able to show how well you've performed, what turned out to be a great move, and what needs to be reimagined. This means that a data analysis report provides valuable insight and measurable KPIs (key performance indicators) that you’re able to use to grow and develop.
Information is key regardless of the industry you're in or the type of business you're doing. Data analysis finds that information and proves its accuracy and importance. But, if those findings and the information itself aren't communicated clearly, it's like you haven't even found them.
This is why a data analysis report is crucial. It will present the information less technically and bring it closer to the readers.
Data Analysis Report Writing: 7 Steps
After reading about the benefits of writing a data analysis report, you're hopefully motivated to cut to the chase. The process of writing such a report is far from simple, but you can master it quickly, with the right guidance.
This is why we've prepared a step-by-step guide that will cover everything you need to know about this process, as simply as possible.
Let’s get to it.
1. Decide on your Data Report’s Goals
The first thing you need to do before you even start writing your data analysis report is to decide what is the goal behind it. You need to answer the following question:
- What do I want to achieve with this report?
There can be all kinds of goals in your mind - from supporting a decision-making process of your coworkers to showing your client why they need to invest more in a certain segment of their business strategy.
Once you have a goal, you have something to focus on. Your goal is the core of our report and you’re building the section around it. This is the only way you’ll be able to communicate it clearly and not lose the reader’s attention too soon.
With a defined goal, you can start planning how you’re going to achieve it.
2. Consider your Readers’ Expertise
You are writing your report for a certain target audience, and you need to keep them in mind while writing. Depending on their level of expertise, you’ll need to adjust your report and ensure it speaks to them. So, before you go any further, ask yourself:
- Who will be reading this report? How well do they understand the subject matter?
Let’s say you’re explaining the methodology you used to reach your conclusions and find the data in question. If the reader isn’t familiar with these tools and software, you’ll have to simplify it for them and provide additional explanations.
So, you won't be writing the same type of report for a coworker who's been on your team for years or a client who's seeing data analysis for the first time. Based on this determining factor, you'll think about:
- the language and vocabulary you’re using
- abbreviations and level of technicality
- the depth you’ll go into to explain something
- the type of visuals you’ll add
Your readers’ expertise dictates the tone of your report and you need to consider it before writing even a single word.
3. Include Data Visualization Elements
You have all the data and numbers in your mind and find it easy to understand what the data is saying. But, to a layman or someone less experienced than yourself, it can be quite a puzzle. All the information that your data analysis has found can create a mess in the head of your reader.
So, you should simplify it by using data visualization elements.
Firstly, let’s define what are the most common and useful data visualization elements you can use in your report:
There are subcategories to each of the elements and you should explore them all to decide what will do the best job for your specific case. For instance, you'll find different types of charts including, pie charts, bar charts, area charts, or spider charts.
Whatever you choose, keep in mind that it needs to help you bring your data to life in the mind of the reader. Find the best combination and remember to keep your data visualization elements neat and simple.
For each data visualization element, add a brief description to tell the readers what information it contains. You can also add a title to each element and create a table of contents for visual elements only.
4. Organize Information
When writing your data analysis report, it’s not enough to just include all the valuable information and use understandable language to do so. It also matters how you organize the information you’re presenting.
If your report isn’t properly organized into meaningful sections, the reader might give up on reading it or just find it extremely hard to understand anything.
Here’s what we suggest you do:
- divide the report into sections
- make sure each section helps the reader complete a milestone
- organize sections using subheadings
- make sure you write short paragraphs
- use bullet points and lists to present important information
- number the pages
- add a table of contents at the end
This way, you're helping the reader decide what sections to read first, how to look for the answers they need, and what information to prioritize. Simply put, you're helping them create their own journey when reading your report and reach their conclusions on their own terms.
5. Proofread & Edit Before Submission
All the hard work you’ve invested in writing a good data analysis report might go to waste if you don’t edit and proofread. Proofreading and editing will help you eliminate potential mistakes, but also take another objective look at your report.
First, do the editing part. It includes:
- reading the whole report objectively, like you’re seeing it for the first time
- leaving an open mind for changes
- adding or removing information
- rearranging sections
- finding better words to say something
You should repeat the editing phase a couple of times until you're completely happy with the result. Once you're certain the content is all tidied up, you can move on to the proofreading stage. It includes:
- finding and removing grammar and spelling mistakes
- rethinking vocabulary choices
- improving clarity
- improving readability
You can use an online proofreading tool to make things faster. If you really want professional help, essaymarks.com is a great choice. Their professional writers can edit and rewrite your entire report, to make sure it’s impeccable before submission.
Whatever you choose to do, proofread yourself or get some help with it, make sure your report is well-organized and completely error-free.
6. Stick to a Template Going Forward
The first time writing a data analysis report will be the hardest one. The lack of experience as well as the pressure to not make any mistakes will make this process a lot more difficult than it actually is.
But, once your first report is finished, you’ll see just how easy it was to write it.
Then you can think about using this first report as a template for all your future reports. That means you'll keep the:
- main sections
- formatting settings
- design elements
You can also find and use data analysis reports templates online and simply add the data you’re presenting. A template will help you speed this process up but also:
- focus on the content instead of the form
- build your recognizable writing style
- stay focused and make no mistakes
A template will get you the extra couple of hours you need to go over the information you’ve shared and check if your data analysis report is truly as useful and informative as you want it to be.
7. Ask for Second Opinions & Feedback
Finally, your own judgment isn't going to be enough to ensure the report is ready to be submitted. It would be a great idea to have someone else take a look at it before you send it out.
Here’s why this is the case.
Your brain has been working on this report for quite some time. It knows every word, comma, and figure involved. This is why it will be hard for you to look at the report objectively. You’ll miss out on mistakes that someone else might just spot within seconds.
So, find someone you trust who’s willing to take a look at the report. It could be someone with the same level of expertise as our target audience- to make sure the report is comprehensible. Or, it could be someone more professional and experienced, to verify the quality.
As you can see, it takes some skill and a bit more practice to write a good data analysis report. But, all the effort you invest in writing it will be worth it once the results kick in. You’ll improve the communication between you and your clients, employers, or coworkers. People will be able to understand, rely on, and use the analysis you’ve conducted.
So, don’t be afraid and start writing your first data analysis report. Just follow the 7 steps we’ve listed and use a tool such as ProWebScraper to help you with website data analysis. You’ll be surprised when you see the result of your hard work.