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Writing project reports
Associate Professorof English
Annammal College of Education
What is a report?
• A report is a systematic, well organised
document which defines and analyses a
subject or problem, and which may
– the record of a sequence of events
– interpretation of the significance of these events or
– evaluation of the facts or results of research
– discussion of the outcomes of a decision or course of
Steps to be followed in an effective
• Determine the objective of the report, i.e.,
identify the problem.
• Collect the required material (facts) for the
• Study and examine the facts gathered.
• Plan the facts forthe report.
• Prepare an outline for the report, i.e., draft
• Edit the drafted report.
• Distribute the draft report to the advisory
team and ask for feedback and
• Research Report
• Business Report
• Scientific Report
• Routine Report
• Investigation Report
• Project Report
• Director’s Report
• Title page
• Table of Contents
• Abbreviations and/orglossary
Writing is not easy - Why ?
You do not know where to start.
You do not know what to include.
You are not sure what to exclude.
You do not have all the information.
You do not know how to structure it.
You do not know where to stop……
Ideas for a Good Project Report
∗ Don’t ask a question
∗ Don’t use first or second person – I, you, we
∗ Don’t use qualifiers that make you sound
uncertain such as might, may be, perhaps, etc.
∗ Don’t use absolute qualifiers that mean
everything, all, none, always, never. These are
too hard to prove!
Ideas for a good project report
∗ Don’t use “to be” verbs – am, are, is, was,
were, be, being, been. They aren’t
∗ Do use relative qualifiers which show real-
world variation such as often, primarily,
frequently, too often, regularly, some,
many, most. These are much easier to
Avoid some aspects of informal
• don't (do not!) use contractions (eg it's, he'll,
it'd etc): always use the full form (it is/has,
he will, it would/had).
• don't use colloquial language or slang (eg kid,
a lot of/lots of, cool)
• always write as concisely as you can, with no
irrelevant material or “waffle”.
• generally avoid "phrasal verbs" (e.g. get off,
get away with, put in etc): instead, use one
Avoid some aspects of informal
• be more precise.
• avoid overuse of brackets; don’t use
exclamation marks or dashes; avoid
direct questions; don’t use “etc”.
• always use capital letters appropriately
and never use the type of language used
• Good Report has –
»clarity of Thought
»is complete and Self-explanatory
»is Comprehensive but Compact
»is Accurate in all Aspects
»has Suitable Format for readers
»Supports Facts and is Factual
» has an Impersonal Style
• Good Report has
–a Proper Date and Signature
–has a Reference to Relevant Details
–follows an Impartial Approach
–has all Essential Technical Details
–is presented in a Lucid Style
–is a Reliable Document
–is arranged in a Logical Manner
Is the title page clear, accurate and complete?
Is the contents page clearly laid out and
Do you have a margin of about 1"/2.5cm?
Are yourlines spaced as perthe instruction?
Are all pages numbered, if necessary?
Have you avoided unnecessary use of bold,
italic and colourtype?
Have you used a standard font (Times, Arial
etc)? Is it large enough?
Does the introduction show understanding of
Are all the sentences complete?
Are all the paragraphs adequately developed?
Do all the sections have clearheadings?
Are tables and figures properly integrated into
Are all tables and figures titled, with source if
Is there a clearand adequate conclusion or
• What is the setting of the problem? This is, in
other words, the background..
• What exactly is the problem you are trying to
solve? This is the problem statement.
• Why is the problem important to solve? This
is the motivation.
• How is the rest of the report organized?
• Outlines/flow: For sections which may be
huge, have a rough outline at the
beginning of that section.
• Use of figures: Wherever necessary,
explain all aspects of a figure and do not
leave the reader wondering as to what
the connection between the figure and
the text is.
• Terminology: Define each term/symbol
before you use it, or right after its first
use. Stick to a common terminology
Planning and research
• Decide the basic framework.
• With the main topic or question as a central
focus, jot down the initial thoughts and
group these together.
• Mind Mapping technique will be useful. Start
to divide key ideas from subsidiary
information, and if anything is irrelevant
then delete it.
• From the prior knowledge (from reading and
lectures) form a fairly basic structure.
Planning and research Contd…
• Try not to gather too much information.
Reject anything which is not 100% relevant.
• When making notes, try to summarise the
main points as concisely as possible.
• Remember to make a comprehensive record
of any sources consulted in order to be able
to correctly reference these.
• Make a record of the research methods you
• Does it all make sense? (especially to
• Do sentences, paragraphs and sections run
• Is everything relevant?
• Is the language as concise as possible?
Grammar, spelling &
• Have you carefully checked for the
type of grammar mistakes you tend to
• Have you used verb tenses
• Have you used the spellchecker?
• Have you checked the spelling
• Does your punctuation make your
writing easierto read?
• Are all your sources always
• Is your referencing accurate and
• Is your list of references complete and in
the correct format?
• Do all your references appear in your
bibliography/list of references?
• Are the beginning and the end of quotes
• Have you avoided colloquial language?
• Have you avoided personal language
• Is your language as clear and as concise as
• Is your vocabulary varied, but always
• Grammar, spelling & punctuation
Common Mistakes in Report