How to prepare better reports Taken from Essential Study Skills, Burns & Sinfield pp197/208
What is a report? A document designed to deal with the real world A practical document that describes, details or analyses a situation in the real world The reader should be able to make decisions or take action at the end of it
The “Why” question Why am I writing this report? – what am I trying to achieve Why am I writing this report – what do I want my reader to think and do after reading my report?
Think about the reader Who is my reader? What can I expect my reader to already know about this topic? How can I deal with this in my report? What can I expect my reader to believe about my topic? How can I deal with this in my report? What language, tone, style will my reader respond to?TIP: When drafting reports, think of the language, evidence and examples that will influence real reader
10 steps to success1. Prepare to research Tip: You will need to allow2. Follow the action plan – time for your seminar systematic and targeted tutor to give you research feedback on your report –3. Review your notes or it will be difficult to reflect on how to improve4. Plan the body your work!5. Write the first draft6. Leave it Tip: when getting work7. Review, revise, edit back always make a note8. Proof read of three things you do9. Copy/type and hand in well, and three ways you could improve and develop10. Getting it back your practice
What makes a report? Title page Abstract Title and sub-title – A synopsis or summary is the usually divided by a colon : gist of what your report is Date – places report in real about time It could include: overall aims, Authors name and position specific objectives, the task, – when you write a report, procedures or methodology, you are often asked to key findings, key write as though you are a recommendations particular person in an Tip: as it refers to the organisation whole report – write it last! Distribution list
Contents page Contents - lists clearly all the major sections of the report, including subsections and appendices – with page numbers Tip: Check out the contents pages of books – how do they help you as a reader?
Introductions and Bodies……….. Introduction – Should help the reader understand the what, why and how of your report. It needs: Background – why you are interested in the topic or why the report was necessary terms of reference – aim or purpose of your research the methodology – research methods you used to put the report together – literature review, or something more practical: interviews, visits Body – small word, most work! Main part of your report
Conclusions and recommendations(nearly finished by now!) Each part of the body should have a conclusion that points out the implications of your findings, Each conclusion should lead to a recommendation – recommendations tell the reader what to do about something…
And finally: Appendices do not count within the word count! Use sparingly – they should not be longer than your main work! To show your reader some of things you have used to compile your report Bibliography Use Harvard system Glossary – a list of unusual words
Further assistance: The learning development unit www/londonmet.ac.uk/ldu Has tutors that will work with you one to one You can collect a handout on how to write reports, essays etc etc Write2learn online guide to academic writing available 24 hours on webCT