This article features the following:
- the importance of field reports;
- how to effectively write a field report;
- field report example;
- technology used to streamline field reporting processes; and
- free, ready-to-use field report templates.
A field report is essential in various industries including construction, field services, education, medicine, and management. It provides a detailed description of an observed person, place, or event which is used to analyze and compare data over a theoretical framework. It also helps in:
- observing safety programs outside the office;
- identifying challenges in implementing standards and protocols;
- capturing information on how resources are managed; and
- discovering new processes and effective solutions for the project.
A field report focuses on factual details of a project case. It should cover the circumstances and contributing factors that can help one understand how theory applies to real-world scenarios. Below are the main steps in effectively writing a field report:
- Define the objective(s) of the field report
Clearly state the purpose of the field report to determine the focus and provide the right information needed by the organization. A field report should also define the nature of the organization, the setting of observations, and the methods used to gather data.
- Create theoretical framework
Creating a theoretical framework is as essential as knowing the facts when creating a field report. Gather information based on statistics, news, and research to better understand the topic at hand. A theoretical framework guides researchers in determining the data that need to be measured and set as a baseline for comparison to get the needed information.
- Define scope of work (SOW)
Determine a detailed plan on how to achieve the objectives set by the organization. Evaluate the timeline needed to finish the observation, state the deliverables, and record any potential milestones, risks, and hazards.
- Conduct a field observation
Accurately document the changing aspects of the situation and record details gathered through analysis and observation. Clearly explain the investigation and adhere to the initial plan and methodology. Document the following:
- Physical characteristics of the setting
- Impact of actions and behavior of the subject
- Use of language
- Description of activities
- Use a field report checklist
A field report checklist is used to guide researchers on documenting their observations. It helps monitor the work in progress and staff performance in achieving the task assignments and deliverables.
A field report provides sufficient evidence to describe the activities and support the analysis of the project. It is recommended to follow the five W’s of investigative reporting, namely:
- What – provides a description of the observation
Example: What is the effect of using a digital checklist on field services?
- Where – defines the setting or location of the observation
Example: Location of work in progress, resources, and employee performance
- When – records the time and date when the observation was conducted
Example: The digital checklist was used for field observation on 31 May 2014
- Who – provides information on the participants of the observation
Example: All engineering staff who are working in the field
- Why – provides the reason behind the observation and analysis
Example: To determine the safety and productivity of a site
Constructing field reports with a traditional pen and paper is cumbersome, and recordkeeping can be a challenge in the long run. The inability to capture photos makes the gathering of evidence more prone to human error. Also, losing paperwork can lead to analysis delays, wasted time, and extra costs. By using iAuditor by SafetyCulture, a mobile-ready inspection app, you can avoid the hassle of losing field report observation reports. With iAuditor, you can:
- document observation records using a handheld device;
- attach and annotate unlimited photos as evidence to support your observation and analysis;
- assign and track corrective actions easily to mitigate risks;
- save and secure gathered information in the cloud; and
- send, share, and access real-time reports anytime, anywhere.
To get you started we have created field report templates you can download for free and customize according to your business needs.
Featured Field Report Templates
Field Crew Inspection Report Checklist
This field crew inspection report checklist is created by Millard Lumber Inc. using iAuditor by SafetyCulture. Millard Lumber Inc. is a locally operated building supply and home decor that offers a variety of products and services such as cabinet hardware to roofing and siding. This has been made to evaluate job site location and the staff usage of hand and power tools.
Field Service Report Template
A field service report template is used to record all services performed by field-staff during customer visits. It helps record any equipment defects, action requirements, and expenses needs.