Report Writing A call for clarity
Today’s Session <ul><li>Structure </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Formal Grammar & Style </li></ul><ul><li>Res...
Possible Structures <ul><li>Basic form: IMRAD </li></ul>Introduction Methods (and Materials ) Results Discussion General t...
Possible Structures <ul><li>Title page </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledgements </li></ul><ul><li>Contents </li></ul><ul><li>Abs...
Possible Structures <ul><li>Abstract </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Short summary of the project. It covers what you did, why it is...
Effective Report Writing <ul><li>Brevity </li></ul><ul><li>Relevance </li></ul><ul><li>Jargon </li></ul><ul><li>Simplicity...
Summary <ul><li>A report will be effective if it is: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>short </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>purposeful </l...
Formal Grammar & Style <ul><li>Avoid contractions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Export figures won’t improve until the economy is ...
Formal Grammar & Style <ul><li>Limit the use of run-on sentences. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personnel have encountered problem...
Style - Vocabulary <ul><li>Researchers  looked at  the way strain builds up around the fault. </li></ul><ul><li>Researcher...
<ul><li>Expert systems can  help out  the user in the diagnosis of problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Research expenditures have ...
<ul><li>Researchers have been  looking into  this problem for fifteen years now. </li></ul><ul><li>The issue was  brought ...
Style - Vocabulary <ul><li>The government has made  good/considerable  progress in solving environmental problems. </li></...
Style - Vocabulary <ul><li>A loss of jobs is one of the  things that will happen/consequences  if the process is automated...
Research Arguments <ul><li>Central to research arguments are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Claims - main claims and sub-claims </...
Qualifying your claim <ul><li>Use probability </li></ul><ul><li>Distance yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Be wise with generalis...
Qualifications and Claims <ul><li>A reduced speed limit will result in fewer road accidents. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A reduc...
Probability <ul><li>It is certain that </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is almost certain that </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li><...
Distance <ul><li>Consumers have less confidence in the economy today than ten years ago. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consumers s...
Generalisation <ul><li>Many consumers have less confidence in the economy. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A majority of … </li></ul...
Weaker Verbs I <ul><li>The results  indicate/establish   that there is a link … </li></ul><ul><li>Table 9  suggests/shows ...
Weaker Verbs II <ul><li>The results given in table 4  validate/support  the second hypothesis. </li></ul><ul><li>Changes i...
Combinations <ul><li>Be confidently uncertain </li></ul><ul><li>The use of seat belts prevents physical injuries in car ac...
Plagiarism 1 <ul><li>Good copying is … scholarship </li></ul><ul><li>Bad copying is … plagiarism </li></ul>
Plagiarism 2 <ul><li>Copying a paragraph as it is from the source without any acknowledgement </li></ul><ul><li>Copying a ...
Plagiarism 2 <ul><li>Composing a paragraph by taking short standard phrases from a number of sources and putting them toge...
Research Phrases <ul><li>&quot;It has long been known...&quot;  </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;A definite trend is evident...&quo...
Remember <ul><li>Draft … draft … draft  </li></ul><ul><li>Revise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The first draft tells the story of ...
And finally <ul><li>… You will complete it and </li></ul><ul><li>It will have been worth it. </li></ul><ul><li>Honest! </l...
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Report Writing

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  • Read from: Origins of Scientific Writing The Early History Questions: relevant for the audience? appropriate for the channel? Correct for the register? Show slide together with cartoon - little words with big meaning -
  • Report Writing

    1. 1. Report Writing A call for clarity
    2. 2. Today’s Session <ul><li>Structure </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Formal Grammar & Style </li></ul><ul><li>Research arguments </li></ul><ul><li>Plagiarism </li></ul>
    3. 3. Possible Structures <ul><li>Basic form: IMRAD </li></ul>Introduction Methods (and Materials ) Results Discussion General to Specific Specific to General
    4. 4. Possible Structures <ul><li>Title page </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledgements </li></ul><ul><li>Contents </li></ul><ul><li>Abstract </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Literature Review </li></ul><ul><li>Methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Results </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion </li></ul><ul><li>References </li></ul><ul><li>Appendices </li></ul>
    5. 5. Possible Structures <ul><li>Abstract </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Short summary of the project. It covers what you did, why it is interesting and important, and what you have found. Draft it early, write it last. It must be a ‘polished jewel’. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Outlines what you have done, why and how. It gives background and states ethical issues, research question(s) and the limitations of the study. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Literature Review </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This gives the context of and background to the study. It covers relevant previous research </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Methodology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It gives the general approach taken and the choices of specific methods </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Results </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This gives te presentation of the data and its analysis and interpretation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Discussion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This gives the answers to the research question(s) and discussion of them in the light of previous research and implications they might have in the future. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>References </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This provides a full list of works referred to in the study </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Appendices </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This includes copis of surveys, questionnaires and other relevant materials (eg interview transcripts) </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Effective Report Writing <ul><li>Brevity </li></ul><ul><li>Relevance </li></ul><ul><li>Jargon </li></ul><ul><li>Simplicity </li></ul><ul><li>Consistency </li></ul><ul><li>Affirmative </li></ul><ul><li>Active </li></ul>
    7. 7. Summary <ul><li>A report will be effective if it is: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>short </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>purposeful </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>readable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>thorough </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>useful </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The ability to write a good report is a professional skill. </li></ul><ul><li>It is one well worth acquiring. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Formal Grammar & Style <ul><li>Avoid contractions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Export figures won’t improve until the economy is stronger </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use appropriate negative forms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The government didn’t allocate much funding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The problem doesn’t have many viable solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Avoid addressing the reader as “you” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You can see in table 1 </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Formal Grammar & Style <ul><li>Limit the use of run-on sentences. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personnel have encountered problems with absenteeism, stress, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Limit the use of direct questions. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What can be done to lower costs? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Place adverbs within the verb. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Economic wealth has declined slowly. </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Style - Vocabulary <ul><li>Researchers looked at the way strain builds up around the fault. </li></ul><ul><li>Researchers observed the way strain accumulates around the fault. </li></ul>
    11. 11. <ul><li>Expert systems can help out the user in the diagnosis of problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Research expenditures have gone up to nearly £460m. </li></ul><ul><li>Building a nuclear power plant will not get rid of the energy problem completely. </li></ul>Style - Vocabulary
    12. 12. <ul><li>Researchers have been looking into this problem for fifteen years now. </li></ul><ul><li>The issue was brought up during the investigation. </li></ul><ul><li>The emission levels have been going up and down . </li></ul>Style - Vocabulary
    13. 13. Style - Vocabulary <ul><li>The government has made good/considerable progress in solving environmental problems. </li></ul><ul><li>We got/obtained encouraging results. </li></ul><ul><li>The results of a lot of/numerous different projects have been pretty good/encouraging. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Style - Vocabulary <ul><li>A loss of jobs is one of the things that will happen/consequences if the process is automated. </li></ul><ul><li>The reaction of the officials was sort of negative . </li></ul><ul><li>The future of federal funding is up in the air . </li></ul>
    15. 15. Research Arguments <ul><li>Central to research arguments are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Claims - main claims and sub-claims </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reasons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evidence </li></ul></ul><ul><li>[make a claim] because of [a reason] </li></ul><ul><li>[make a claim] because of a reason [based on evidence] </li></ul><ul><li>[make a descriptive claim] based on [evidence] </li></ul>
    16. 16. Qualifying your claim <ul><li>Use probability </li></ul><ul><li>Distance yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Be wise with generalisations </li></ul><ul><li>Use weaker/stronger verbs which support your claim </li></ul>
    17. 17. Qualifications and Claims <ul><li>A reduced speed limit will result in fewer road accidents. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A reduced speed limit may result in fewer road accidents. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A reduced speed limit might/could result in fewer road accidents. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    18. 18. Probability <ul><li>It is certain that </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is almost certain that </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>… reduced speed limit might/could result in fewer road accidents </li></ul>
    19. 19. Distance <ul><li>Consumers have less confidence in the economy today than ten years ago. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consumers seem to have less confidence in the economy today than ten years ago. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Consumers appear to have less confidence in the economy today than ten years ago. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It would seem that consumers have less confidence in the economy today than ten years ago. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    20. 20. Generalisation <ul><li>Many consumers have less confidence in the economy. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A majority of … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In most parts of the country … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consumers in most income brackets have … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>With the exception of .. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Apart from … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Except for … </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Weaker Verbs I <ul><li>The results indicate/establish that there is a link … </li></ul><ul><li>Table 9 suggests/shows that students need help in writing effective reports. </li></ul>
    22. 22. Weaker Verbs II <ul><li>The results given in table 4 validate/support the second hypothesis. </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in consumer confidence may have influenced/distorted the results. </li></ul><ul><li>Figure 12 depicts/clarifies the genetic relationship. </li></ul>
    23. 23. Combinations <ul><li>Be confidently uncertain </li></ul><ul><li>The use of seat belts prevents physical injuries in car accidents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Weaken the verb </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Add probability </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Weaken the generalisation </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Add distance </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    24. 24. Plagiarism 1 <ul><li>Good copying is … scholarship </li></ul><ul><li>Bad copying is … plagiarism </li></ul>
    25. 25. Plagiarism 2 <ul><li>Copying a paragraph as it is from the source without any acknowledgement </li></ul><ul><li>Copying a paragraph making only small changes, such as replacing a few verbs or adjectives with synonyms </li></ul><ul><li>Cutting and pasting a paragraph by using the sentences of the original but leaving one or two out, or by putting one or two sentences in a different order </li></ul>
    26. 26. Plagiarism 2 <ul><li>Composing a paragraph by taking short standard phrases from a number of sources and putting them together with some words of your own </li></ul><ul><li>Paraphrasing a paragraph by rewriting with substantial changes in language and organisation, amount of detail and examples </li></ul><ul><li>Quoting a paragraph by placing it in block format with the source cited </li></ul>
    27. 27. Research Phrases <ul><li>&quot;It has long been known...&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;A definite trend is evident...&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Typical results are shown.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;It is believed that...&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;It is generally believed that...&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Correct within an order of magnitude.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;A statistically oriented projection of the findings...&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;It is clear that much additional work will be required before a complete understanding of the phenomenon is possible.&quot; </li></ul>
    28. 28. Remember <ul><li>Draft … draft … draft </li></ul><ul><li>Revise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The first draft tells the story of the research – and you are the principle audience. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Second and third drafts are about crafting the story for your reader; can they follow my arguments? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Polish </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Style </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spell check </li></ul></ul>
    29. 29. And finally <ul><li>… You will complete it and </li></ul><ul><li>It will have been worth it. </li></ul><ul><li>Honest! </li></ul>

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