Figure \(8.1\) Engineer, physician, researcher, and NASA astronaut Mae Carol Jemison (b. 1956) was the first Black woman to travel in space. As an astronaut aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992, Jemison conducted scientific research on the production of saline solution and frog reproduction. She also was a co-investigator on two bone cell experiments. More recently, she published a scientific report on biomaterials for human space exploration. (credit: NASA Image and Video Library/Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)
The writing genre for this chapter is the analytical report. The broad purpose of an analytical report is to inform and analyze—that is, to teach your readers (your audience) about a subject by providing information based on facts supported by evidence and then drawing conclusions about the significance of the information you provide. As an academic and professional genre, reports are necessarily objective, which can make for dry reading. Consider the writing identity that you have been developing throughout this course as you tackle this genre. In what ways can you give your report voice? In what ways can you acknowledge or challenge the conventions of the genre?
You have likely written or presented a report at some point in your life as a student; perhaps you wrote a lab report on a science experiment, presented research you conducted, or analyzed a book you read. While some reports seek to inform readers about a topic, an analytical report examines a subject or an issue by considering its causes and effects, by comparing and contrasting, or by discussing a problem and proposing one or more solutions. See Reasoning Strategies: Improving Critical Thinking for more about using these reasoning and organizational strategies in your writing.