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Recommendation reports Recommendation reports Presentation Transcript

  • Coherence, Sentences, Graphics, and Recommendation Reports ENG 3302 Business and Technical Report Writing© 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins
  • Table of Contents Topic Slide Number/s Writing Coherent Documents 3 to 15 Writing Effective Sentences 18 to 33 Creating Graphics 34 to 121 Recommendation Reports 71 to 88© 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins
  • Writing Coherent Documents© 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins
  • Consider seven questions whenrevising your document for coherence:• Have you left out anything in turning your outline into a draft?• Have you included all the elements your readers expect to see?• Have you organized the document logically?• Is the document persuasive? Chapter 9. Writing Coherent Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 4
  • Consider seven questions when revising your document for coherence (cont.):• Do you come across as reliable, honest, and helpful?• Have you presented all the elements consistently?• Is the emphasis appropriate throughout the document? Chapter 9. Writing Coherent Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 5
  • Follow four guidelines when revising headings:• Avoid long noun strings.• Be informative.• Use a grammatical form appropriate to your audience.• Avoid back-to-back headings. Chapter 9. Writing Coherent Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 6
  • Turning paragraphs into lists presents four advantages:• It forces you to look at the big picture.• It forces you to examine the sequence.• It forces you to create a helpful lead-in.• It forces you to tighten and clarify your prose. Chapter 9. Writing Coherent Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 7
  • Study documents from other cultures to answer four questions:• How does the writer make the information accessible?• How does the writer show the relationship among types of information?• How does the writer communicate the organization of the document as a whole?• How does the writer make transitions from one subject to another? Chapter 9. Writing Coherent Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 8
  • There are two kinds of paragraphs:• A body paragraph is a group of sentences (or sometimes a single sentence) that is complete and self-sufficient and that contributes to a larger discussion.• A transitional paragraph helps readers move from one major point to another. Chapter 9. Writing Coherent Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 9
  • Most paragraphs contain two elements:• The topic sentence summarizes or forecasts the main point of the paragraph.• The supporting information makes the topic sentence clear and convincing. Chapter 9. Writing Coherent Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 10
  • Avoid burying bad news in paragraphs:• The most emphatic location is the topic sentence.• The second most emphatic location is the end of the paragraph.• The least emphatic location is the middle of the paragraph. Chapter 9. Writing Coherent Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 11
  • Supporting information usually fulfills one of five roles:• It defines a key term or idea included in the topic sentence.• It provides examples or illustrations of the situation described in the topic sentence.• It identifies causes: factors that led to the situation.• It defines effects: implications of the situation.• It supports the claim made in the topic sentence. Chapter 9. Writing Coherent Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 12
  • Follow three guidelines when dividing long paragraphs:• Break the discussion at a logical place.• Make the topic sentence a separate paragraph and break up the supporting information.• Use a list. Chapter 9. Writing Coherent Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 13
  • Use three techniques to emphasize coherence:• Add transitional words and phrases.• Repeat key words.• Use demonstrative pronouns followed by nouns. Chapter 9. Writing Coherent Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 14
  • Use transitional words and phrases: Chapter 9. Writing Coherent Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 15
  • Use two techniques to create a coherent design:• Use headers and footers to enhance coherence.• Use typefaces to enhance coherence. Chapter 9. Writing Coherent Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 16
  • Headers and footers are coherence devices. Source: U.S. Department of State, 2007 <www.usaid.gov/policy/coordination/strat plan_fy07-12.pdf>.Chapter 9. Writing Coherent Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 17
  • Writing Effective Sentences© 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins
  • Use these seven techniques for structuring effective sentences:• Use lists.• Emphasize new and important information.• Choose an appropriate sentence length.• Focus on the “real” subject.• Focus on the “real” verb.• Use parallel structure.• Use modifiers effectively. Chapter 10. Writing Effective Sentences © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 19
  • Use these five guidelines for creating effective lists:• Set off each listed item with a number, a letter, or a symbol (usually a bullet).• Break up long lists.• Present the items in a parallel structure.• Structure and punctuate the lead-in correctly.• Punctuate the list correctly. Chapter 10. Writing Effective Sentences © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 20
  • Use parallel structure:• Use the same grammatical form for coordinate elements in a sentence. – all clauses either active or passive – all verbs either indicative or imperative – all nouns preceded by the same article• Parallel structure creates a recognizable pattern and makes a sentence easier to follow. Chapter 10. Writing Effective Sentences © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 21
  • Use modifiers effectively:• Distinguish between restrictive and nonrestrictive modifiers.• Avoid misplaced modifiers.• Avoid dangling modifiers. Chapter 10. Writing Effective Sentences © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 22
  • Choose the right words and phrases:• Select an appropriate level of formality.• Be clear and specific.• Be concise.• Use inoffensive language. Chapter 10. Writing Effective Sentences © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 23
  • Select an appropriate level of formality:There are three levels of formality:• informal• moderately formal• highly formalUse a level and tone appropriate for your• audience• subject• purpose Chapter 10. Writing Effective Sentences © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 24
  • Informal writing can cause two problems:• It tends to be imprecise.• It can be embarrassing. Chapter 10. Writing Effective Sentences © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 25
  • Use these seven techniques for writing clearly and specifically:• Use the active and passive voice appropriately.• Be specific.• Avoid unnecessary jargon.• Use positive constructions.• Avoid long noun strings.• Avoid clichés.• Avoid euphemisms. Chapter 10. Writing Effective Sentences © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 26
  • Use the active and passive voice appropriately:Use the active voice unless• the agent is clear from the context• the agent is unknown• the agent is less important than the action• a reference to the agent is embarrassing, dangerous, or in some other way inappropriate Chapter 10. Writing Effective Sentences © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 27
  • Use these three techniques for writing specifically:• Use precise words.• Provide adequate detail.• Avoid ambiguity. Chapter 10. Writing Effective Sentences © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 28
  • Avoid unnecessary jargon for four reasons:• It can be imprecise.• It can be confusing.• It is often seen as condescending.• It is often intimidating. Chapter 10. Writing Effective Sentences © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 29
  • Be concise:• Avoid obvious statements.• Avoid filler.• Avoid unnecessary prepositional phrases.• Avoid wordy phrases.• Avoid fancy words. Chapter 10. Writing Effective Sentences © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 30
  • Follow these six guidelines for avoiding sexist language:• Replace the male-gender words with non-gender- specific words.• Switch to a different form of the verb.• Switch to the plural.• Switch to he or she, he/she, s/he, or his or her.• Address the reader directly.• Alternate he and she. Chapter 10. Writing Effective Sentences © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 31
  • Follow these five guidelines for using the people-first approach:• Refer to the person first, the disability second.• Don’t confuse handicap with disability.• Don’t refer to victimization.• Don’t refer to a person as “wheelchair bound” or “confined to a wheelchair.”• Don’t refer to people with disabilities as abnormal. Chapter 10. Writing Effective Sentences © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 32
  • Use these seven techniques in preparing text for translation:• Use short sentences.• Use the active voice.• Use simple words.• Include a glossary.• Use words that have only one meaning.• Use pronouns carefully.• Avoid jokes, puns, and culture-bound references. Chapter 10. Writing Effective Sentences © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 33
  • Creating GraphicsChapter 8. Communicating Persuasively © 2012 byBedford/St. Martins
  • Graphics serve five functions:• They can catch readers’ attention and interest.• They can help writers communicate information that is difficult to communicate with words.• They can help writers clarify and emphasize information.• They can help nonnative speakers of English understand information.• They can help writers communicate information to multiple audiences with different interests, aptitudes, and reading habits. Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 35
  • Graphics offer benefits that words alone cannot:• Graphics are indispensable in demonstrating logical and numerical relationships.• Graphics can communicate spatial information more effectively than words alone.• Graphics can communicate steps in a process more effectively than words alone.• Graphics can save space.• Graphics can reduce the cost of documents intended for international readers. Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 36
  • An effective graphic has five characteristics: • It serves a purpose. • It is simple and uncluttered. • It presents a manageable amount of information. • It meets readers’ format expectations. • It is clearly labeled. Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 37
  • Follow these six suggestions to create honest graphics:• Cite your source and obtain permission.• Include all relevant data.• Begin the axes in your graphs at zero—or mark them clearly.• Do not use a table to hide a data point that would be obvious in a graph.• Show items as they really are.• Do not use color or shading to misrepresent an item’s importance. Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 38
  • Follow these five guidelines for integrating graphics and text:• Place the graphic in an appropriate location.• Introduce the graphic in the text.• Explain the graphic in the text.• Make the graphic clearly visible.• Make the graphic accessible. Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 39
  • The process of creating graphics includes four steps:• planning• producing• revising• citing Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 40
  • As you plan graphics, consider the following:• audience• purpose of the graphic and the document• kind of information you want to communicate• physical conditions in which readers will use the document• time• money• equipment• expertise Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 41
  • When producing graphics, choose one of the following four approaches:• use existing graphics• modify existing graphics• create graphics on a computer• have someone else create the graphics Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 42
  • Use color effectively:• Don’t overdo it.• Use color to emphasize particular items.• Use color to create patterns.• Use contrast effectively.• Take advantage of any symbolic meanings colors may already have.• Be aware that color can obscure or swallow up text. Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 43
  • Use color to establish patterns: Source: Myers, 2010, p. 72. Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 44
  • Use color to create effective contrast:The text is hard to read because of insufficientcontrast.Effective contrast makes the text easier to read. Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 45
  • Choose the category of technical information you want to communicate:• numerical information• logical relationships• process descriptions and instructions• visual and spatial characteristics Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 46
  • Five kinds of graphics help illustrate numerical information:• tables• bar graphs• pictographs• line graphs• pie charts Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 47
  • Two kinds of graphics help illustrate logical relationships:• diagrams• organization charts Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 48
  • Three kinds of graphics help illustrate process descriptions and instructions:• checklists• flowcharts• logic trees Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 49
  • Four kinds of graphics help illustrate visual and spatial characteristics:• photographs• screen shots• line drawings• maps Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 50
  • A typical table has these parts:Table numberTable titleColumn headColumn subheadsStubRowData cellSource statementFootnotes Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 51
  • Follow these nine guidelines for creating effective tables:• Indicate the units of measure.• In the stub (the left-hand column), list the items being compared.• In the columns, arrange the data clearly and logically.• Do the math.• Use dot leaders if a column contains a “blank” spot: a place where there are no appropriate data. Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 52
  • Follow these nine guidelines for creating effective tables (cont.):• Don’t make the table wider than it needs to be.• Minimize the use of rules.• Provide footnotes where necessary.• If you did not generate the information yourself, indicate your source. Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 53
  • Horizontal and vertical bar graphs look like this:Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 54
  • Follow these six guidelines for creating effective bar graphs:• Make the proportions fair.• If possible, begin the quantity scale at zero.• Use tick marks (marks along the axis) to signal the amounts.• Arrange the bars in a logical sequence.• Place the title below the figure.• Indicate the source of your information if you did not generate it yourself. Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 55
  • This is an effective bar graph:Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 56
  • The basic bar graph has five variations:• grouped bar graph• subdivided bar graph• 100-percent bar graph• deviation bar graph• stratum graph Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 57
  • This is an effective pictograph: Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 58
  • This pictograph is misleading:Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 59
  • Follow these three guidelines for creating effective line graphs:• If possible, begin the quantity scale at zero.• Use reasonable proportions for the vertical and horizontal axes.• Use grid lines—horizontal, vertical, or both— rather than tick marks when your readers need to read the quantities precisely. Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 60
  • This is an effective line graph: Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 61
  • Follow these eight guidelines for creating effective pie charts:• Restrict the number of slices to six or seven.• Begin with the largest slice at the top and work clockwise in order of decreasing size.• Include a miscellaneous slice for very small quantities.• Label the slices (horizontally, not radially) inside the slice. Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 62
  • Follow these eight guidelines for creating effective pie charts (cont.):• To emphasize one slice, use a bright, contrasting color or separate the slice from the pie.• Check to see that your software follows the appropriate guidelines for pie charts.• Don’t overdo fill patterns.• Check that your percentages add up to 100. Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 63
  • How effective is this graphic? Source: Defense Intelligence Agency, 2003 <www.dia.mil/thisisdia/ DIA_Workforce_of_the_Future.pdf>.Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 64
  • Use these four techniques to show motion: Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 65
  • Follow these five guidelines for presenting photographs effectively:• Eliminate extraneous background clutter that can distract readers.• Do not electronically manipulate the photograph.• Help readers understand the perspective.• If appropriate, include a common object to give readers a sense of scale.• If appropriate, label components or important features. Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 66
  • Line drawings offer three advantages over photographs:• Line drawings can focus readers’ attention on desired information better than a photograph can.• Line drawings can highlight information that might be obscured by bad lighting or a bad angle in a photograph• Line drawings are sometimes easier for readers to understand than photographs are. Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 67
  • Line drawings offer a uniqueadvantage over other graphics: Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 68
  • The basic line drawing has three variations: Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 69
  • Follow these six guidelines for creatingeffective graphics for multicultural readers:• Be aware that reading patterns differ.• Be aware of varying cultural attitudes toward giving instruction.• Deemphasize trivial details.• Avoid culture-specific language, symbols, and references.• Portray people very carefully.• Be particularly careful in portraying hand gestures. Chapter 12. Creating Graphics © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 70
  • Writing Recommendation Reports© 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins
  • Recommendation reports address four kinds of questions:• What should we do about Problem X?• Should we do Function X?• Should we use Technology A or Technology B to do Function X?• We currently use Method A to do Function X. Should we be using Method B? Chapter 19. Writing Recommendation Reports © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 72
  • Feasibility reports answer three kinds of questions:• questions of possibility• questions of economic wisdom• questions of perception Chapter 19. Writing Recommendation Reports © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 73
  • Use a problem-solving methodwhen preparing a recommendation report: • Identify the problem or opportunity. • Establish criteria for responding to the problem or opportunity. • Determine the options. • Study each option according to the criteria. • Draw conclusions about each option. • Formulate recommendations based on the conclusions. Chapter 19. Writing Recommendation Reports © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 74
  • Use logic boxes to plot a series of options: Chapter 19. Writing Recommendation Reports © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 75
  • Use a matrix to compare and contrast options: Criteria and Weight Options  Ricoh Xerox SharpCriterion Weight Rating Score(1) Rating Score(1) Rating Score(1)Pages/min. 1 9 9 6 6 3 3Duplex 3 1 3 3 9 10 30Color 4 10 40 1 4 10 40 Total Score 52 19 73(1) Score = Weight x Rating Chapter 19. Writing Recommendation Reports © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 76
  • Explain your decision matrix:• Explain why you chose each criterion—or didn’t choose a criterion readers might have expected.• Explain why you assigned a particular weight to each criterion.• Explain why you assigned a particular rating to each option. Chapter 19. Writing Recommendation Reports © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 6
  • You can present your conclusions in one of three ways:• Rank all the options.• Classify all the options in two categories: acceptable and unacceptable.• Present a compound conclusion. Chapter 19. Writing Recommendation Reports © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 78
  • Most recommendation reports have three major sections:• the body of the report• the front matter• the back matter Chapter 19. Writing Recommendation Reports © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 79
  • A typical recommendation report has five body elements:• introduction• methods• results• conclusions• recommendations Chapter 19. Writing Recommendation Reports © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 80
  • An introduction typically answers nine questions:• What is the subject of the report?• What is the purpose of the report?• What is the background of the report?• What are your sources of information?• What is the scope of the report? Chapter 19. Writing Recommendation Reports © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 81
  • An introduction typically answers nine questions (cont.):• What are the most significant findings?• What are your recommendations?• What is the organization of the report?• What key terms are you using in the report? Chapter 19. Writing Recommendation Reports © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 82
  • Address the following four questions when writing the body of your report:• Methods. What did you do?• Results. What did you see?• Conclusions. What does it mean?• Recommendations. What should we do? Chapter 19. Writing Recommendation Reports © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 83
  • Consider these four factors when writing your recommendations:• content• tone• form• location Chapter 19. Writing Recommendation Reports © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 84
  • A typical recommendation reportcontains seven elements in the front matter: • letter of transmittal • cover • title page • abstract • table of contents • list of illustrations • executive summary Chapter 19. Writing Recommendation Reports © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 85
  • Understand the difference betweena descriptive and an informative abstract:• A descriptive abstract describes the kinds of information contained in the report.• An informative abstract presents the major findings. Chapter 19. Writing Recommendation Reports © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 86
  • Follow these five guidelines when writing an executive summary:• Use specific evidence in describing the background.• Be specific in describing the research.• Describe the methods briefly.• Describe the findings according to your readers’ needs.• Ask an outside reader to review your draft. Chapter 19. Writing Recommendation Reports © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 87
  • A typical recommendation reportincludes three elements in the back matter: • glossary and list of symbols • references • appendixes Chapter 19. Writing Recommendation Reports © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 88