Wisp Assgn1 Displaying Visuals & Writing Tips Oct08


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This is a set of tips and techniques that are useful not just for writing reports but also wikis and fact sheets. Produced for students doing the WISP module in the Oct 08 Semester.

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Wisp Assgn1 Displaying Visuals & Writing Tips Oct08

  1. 1. Displaying data & using visuals Words convey; illustrations convince.
  2. 2. Purpose of Visual Aids • Emphasise • Clarify • Simplify • Reinforce • Summarise • Add Interest • Improve Credibility
  3. 3. Criteria for Effective Visual Aids Principles of Graphics • Simplicity • Contrast • Unity • Balance
  4. 4. Criteria for Effective Visual Aids Identification and Placement • Introduce • Display • Discuss
  5. 5. Choosing & constructing visual aids Area/ Fruit Apples Oranges Durian Bananas Pineapples Table North 23 34 51 65 16 Central 39 44 70 21 35 South 36 56 08 11 36 East 30 44 76 51 22 West 56 41 65 32 29 Total sales 184 219 270 180 138 To show exact figures and values.
  6. 6. Choosing & constructing visual aids Line Graphs To demonstrate changes in quantitative data over time
  7. 7. Choosing & constructing visual aids Multiple Line Graph
  8. 8. Choosing & constructing visual aids Scatter Graph http://www.ex.ac.uk/cimt/mepres/book7/bk7i3/bk7_3i1.htm
  9. 9. Choosing & constructing visual aids Pie Chart To visualise a whole unit and the proportions of its components
  10. 10. Choosing & constructing visual aids Flow Chart To display a process or procedure
  11. 11. Choosing & constructing visual aids Organisation Chart To define a hierarchy or elements
  12. 12. Choosing & constructing visual aids Gantt Chart To define timeline for work activities and milestones
  13. 13. Choosing & constructing visual aids Photograph, map, illustration To create authenticity, to spotlight a location, and to show an item in use
  14. 14. Choosing & constructing visual aids Graphic Aids Strengths Weaknesses Table Shows precise numerical data Tedious to prepare; slow to show relationship Graph • Line Shows trends and comparisons Too many lines can be confusing • Bar Best for comparison; can be Often incorrectly drawn horizontal, vertical, clustered, segmented or bilateral • Pie Compares divisions; shows Often not drawn to scale; wedges can be comparison of parts totaling 100% confusing and difficult to compare • Gantt Excellent for scheduling events Can be quite large; needs frequent updates • Scatter Useful for statistical data and Tedious; may require special software comparisons Flow Chart Good for showing relationships Many items may require a large chart Computer- Interesting, allows overlay Appropriate software needed drawn image Drawing Beneficial for showing accurate May require special knowledge or skills to representations of images prepare Diagram Best for illustrating flows May not accurately reflect relative importance of parts Photograph Excellent for irreproducible settings Skills and equipment needed
  15. 15. Further Guidelines for Visuals • Graphs, charts and diagrams are known as figures. – Figure 1, Figure 2 etc. • Tables are labelled as tables – Table 1, Table 2 etc. and numbered. • Ensure that all components of visuals are identified. • Separate numbering should be used for those used in the main part of the report and for those tables and diagrams used in the Appendix.
  16. 16. Writing the Report Thoughts assume shape when recorded
  17. 17. 7 Major Steps to Report Writing Analyse the problem and purpose Anticipate the audience and issues Prepare a work plan Implement your research strategy Organise, analyse, interpret & illustrate the data Compose the first draft Revise, proofread, evaluate (Final Report)
  18. 18. Pre-writing Overview • Targeting – Remember your readers • Outlining – Remember your purpose and objective(s) • Structuring – Refer to your skeletal framework • Developing – What will you recommend to overcome problems identified • Checking – Are these recommendations practicable?
  19. 19. Checklist for writing reports Introduction Identify purpose of report Preview the organisation of the report Summarise the conclusions and recommendations for receptive audiences Findings Discuss pros and cons Establish criteria to evaluate alternatives Support findings with evidence Organise the findings for logic and readability
  20. 20. Checklist for writing reports Conclusions/Recommendations Draw reasonable conclusions from findings Make recommendations, if asked.
  21. 21. Writing Tips • Allow sufficient time • Finish data collection • Work from a good outline • Provide a proper writing environment • Write rapidly; revise later • Save difficult sections • Be consistent in verb tense (use past-tense verbs to describe completed actions) • Generally avoid I and We • Let the first draft sit • Revise for clarity, coherence and conciseness (Is it clear? Does it flow? Is it wordy?) • Proofread the final copy three times
  22. 22. Collaborative Writing
  23. 23. Planning the Report • Collectively identify audience, purpose, and scope of project • Assign specific data collection responsibilities to individuals • Collectively develop report outline • Collectively agree on writing style and report format
  24. 24. Collecting & Analysing Data • Collectively identify data sources • Specific individuals might be responsible for designing questionnaire/survey but all members must participate in the review of these instruments • Each person collects and analyses the data he or she is responsible for • Whole group should discuss the data, evaluate its adequacy and agree upon its interpretation
  25. 25. Drafting and Revising • Individuals can work independently on their assigned sections • All members should review all parts written by other team members, in a group setting, group should give constructive feedback and directions for final revision to the individual authors. • Individual authors should evaluate the suggestions given and incorporate the best advice into the final revision
  26. 26. Producing the Final Document • All should participate in the production of the final document. – Group setting preferred. – Assist with the merging of parts, preparation and placement of visual aids, and final review of document. • Individual writer’s should continue to check his or her own section to ensure that it is correct.
  27. 27. References Bowden, J. (2002) Writing a report: how to prepare, write and present effective reports, How to Books, Oxford Gufrey,M.E. (2006) Business Communication: Process & Product, Thomson South-Western,USA Kuiper, S. and Kohut, G. F. (1999) Contemporary business report writing, South-Western College Publications, Cincinnati, Ohio Sharma, R.C. and Mohan, K. (2006) Business Correspondence and Report Writing: A Practical Approach to Business and Technical Communication, Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, New Delhi, India