Reports on historic buildings: English Heritage guidelines

A good final report is one that

The format of a report will vary, but most will be bound as A4 or A3 documents, illustrated with copies of maps, plans, and photographs, to a quality that makes them easy to read and use. Overlarge (or over-reduced) drawings and poor photographs can hinder understanding. All reports must be well written and clearly organised in a prose style accessible to a wide audience. The analyst will have failed if the report cannot be understood by the general reader. Although reports may be stored or disseminated electronically, paper copies are invaluable on site.

Summaries, introductions, and assessments will draw attention to key facts or interpretations that might otherwise be lost in a welter of information. Graphic devices - bullet points, italic or bold type faces - should be used to highlight key points and conclusions. All pages should be numbered. All sources quoted in reports should be fully referenced using a standard footnote or reference system. Authorship should be clearly stated and the report must carry a date of publication. The brief for the work should be included, as this will make the limitations of the project clear to readers.

A report should always be capable of standing alone; although it may refer to other documents there should be enough information for the reader to understand the context in which the report was prepared.

The content of a report

Most reports undertaken at any stage of the Cobra process will cover the following broad issues, although the structure, length and detail of the report may vary

From Kate Clark, Informed Conservation: Understanding historic buildings and their landscapes for conservation (English Heritage 2001), pp. 98-99.