ObjectivesIn this chapter, you will Learn: Types of reports. To specify the reader of the report. To use supporting materials (tables, figures, ..). To make the report grammatically sound and free of errors. To avoid common language errors when writing To make the format of the report consistent.
What is a report? A report is an objective, planned presentation of facts. A report should be : skillfully planned and organized, logically sequenced, objective, accurate, reliable easy to read. The report sections differ in the kinds of information which they contain, and in their depth of coverage. The aim of reports is to communicate your work to others in writing.
Types of reports Short reports (example: in communication between departments) Issue reports (latest information on particular issues) Informational reports (operations, policies, procedures, compliance, progress) Regular reports (monthly activity, cost reports)
Types of reports (cont) Justification reports (expenses, funding) Statistical reports (usage, frequency) Annual reports (background, major departments, major achievements, financial information)
Who will read your ReportIf you write an internal company report: Your immediate supervisor. Your colleagues working on similar problems. The department head will read the Abstract, the Introduction, and the Conclusions and Results. The Vice-President will read the Abstract. At the end of the year, the title will be listed in the Annual Progress Report.
Who will read your ReportIf you write a paper published in a technical journal Subscribers to the journal, who also work in your field, will read it all. Subscribers to the journal, who wish to keep in touch with your field, will read the abstract only. The Title and Abstract may be reprinted by an abstracting service for wider circulation. Most of the Engineering world will either never hear of your paper, or will see its title only.
Clarity of Writing Make each sentence follows from the previous one, building an argument piece by piece. Group related sentences into paragraphs, Group paragraphs into sections. Create a flow from beginning to end.
Consistency of Format Establish a template and stick to itFor example, if you indent paragraphs, be sure to indent them all; use a consistent style of headings throughout (e.g., major headings in bold with initial capitals, minor headings in italics, etc.); write "%" or "percent" but do not mix them, and so on.
Supporting Material Use figures, tables, data, equations, … to clear your ideas. Refer to them directly in the text. Number figures and tables sequentially as they are introduced. (e.g., Figure 1, Figure 2, …) (e.g., Table 1, Table 2, …). Provide captions with complete information and not just a simple title. Label all axes and include units. Insert a figure or table after the paragraph in which it is first mentioned, or, gather all supporting material together after the reference section (before any appendices).
Report Language The report should be grammatically sound, with correct spelling, and generally free of errors. Avoid jargon , slang. Define any abbreviations not used as standard measurement units. Most of the report describes what you did, and thus it should be in the past tense (e.g., "values were averaged"), but use present or future tense as appropriate (e.g., "x is bigger than y“ ). Employ the active rather than passive: e.g., "the software calculated average values" is better than "average values were calculated by the software").
OpinionThe author uses his words to provide informationabout facts and events that have happened.Adding opinions, personal observations, and otherextraneous material can cloud the communicationbetween the author and reader.The author typically does not provide opinions, exceptin the cases where an unexplained event or phenomenahas occurred.