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Report writing

  1. 1. Report Writing
  2. 2. What is a Report? • A report is a way of giving information. Reports inform. Their purpose is to convey information, and not to construct a debate. • In an essay ideas are brought together to build things up, in a report these ideas broken down into small, easily manageable parts. • In a report, these ideas are conveyed through small paragraphs using sections and subsections in a series of short bullet points.
  3. 3. ACCESSIBLE Reports are intended to be read quickly, for a specific reason, so it’s essential to make the information as accessible as possible – ‘accessible’ in the sense of ‘easily findable’, and in the sense of ‘easily understandable’.
  4. 4. What does a report look like? • All reports have a similar appearance because of the fairly standard way the information they contain is arranged. • As the reader flips through the pages, they should see headings, sub-headings, numbered sections, bullet points, diagrams – and not too many lengthy ‘blocks’ of uninterrupted paragraphs.
  5. 5. Usual components of a report • Title -explains the focus of the report • Executive Summary/abstract -appears at the beginning of the report so the reader can know if it is relevant for them (no bullet points to be used here) • List of Contents
  6. 6. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 The Current Situation 1 1.2 Scope of Enquiry 1 1.3 Methodology 2 2 FINDINGS 2.1 Present Support Mechanisms 2.1.1 Induction Programme 2 2.1.2 Bridging Programme 2 2.1.3 PAT System 3 2.2 Academic Skills 2.2.1 Research 2.2.1.1 ‘Shelf-based’ 3 2.2.1.2 Electronic 4 2.2.1.3 Active Research 4 2.2.2 Writing 2.2.2.1 Essays 4 2.2.2.2 Reports 5 2.2.3 Spoken Skills 2.2.3.1 Tutorial Participation 5 2.2.3.2 Oral Presentations 6 2.3 Integration 6 2.4 International Students 2.4.1 Cultural Issues 7 2.4.2 Language 7 2.4.3 Visas 8 3.0 Conclusions 9 REFERENCES BIBLIOGRAPHY APPENDICES
  7. 7. Pagination Page-numbering is rule-bound • The Executive Summary does not have a page-number, nor do the Contents Page, Reference List or Appendices. • The main headings (‘Introduction’, ‘Results’, ‘Conclusions’, etc.) are not allocated a page number if these sections have been divided into sub-sections, as normally they will be. So, of the sections in the example, only ‘Conclusions’ has a page number because it is the only section which is not subdivided.
  8. 8. Usual structure of a report •Introduction (explains what the report is about) •Body (explains the issues) •Conclusion (summarises what has been told) •Reference list •Appendices
  9. 9. Referring to the Appendices • While writing the ‘body’, there will be times when it may be necessary to include a diagram which, for example, which takes up a whole page; instead of placing it into the text, it can be placed at the end of the report, as an appendix. • For example, it maybe given as an appropriate place in the text, and it might look like this: For a full comparison of the Oral Presentation skills of Level 3 Direct Entrants and their continuing counterparts, please refer to Appendix 5. • • Any information or material you select as an appendix must be referred to in the text of the report. This is very important as any appendix item which is not referred to from the text will probably be ignored and will not, therefore, be considered in the assessment.
  10. 10. Using tables, figures, diagrams, etc. • It is always a good idea to use ‘visuals’ in ‘body’ of report. They can usually express information economically (important when you’re worrying about a word-limit), and in a more accessible way than in prose. • In addition they break up and add variety to the page, and so enhance appearance of your work. Visuals should be properly ‘labelled’ (like using a ‘title’) and, if they are not of your own design, with data from your own research, these sources should be acknowledged, as in this example: • If contents of the visual are your own, you would merely give diagram/table/etc. a title, and source would be assumed to be you.
  11. 11. NOTE • Only Executive Summary, Reference Page and appendices (each one) should have a ‘new’ page. • Other sections do not require new pages
  12. 12. Nuts and Bolts  Is there enough ‘white space’? Should be in small blocks of writing, not long paragraphs.  Is it written in formal academic language? Should be written in the 3rd person. As the training has been completed, should be written in past tense. No sms language or abbreviations should be used.  Can section 2.2.3.1 (for example!) be found in the twinkling of an eye? All sections should be easily accessible so the contents page needs to be constructed right at the end when all the other sections have been completed  Thus, is the numbering effectively done?  Is indentation in the numbered sections consistent?
  13. 13.  Are headings and sub-headings used appropriately? Do they explain what the paragraph is about?  Is each page numbered? (except, of course, for those excluded from numbering).  Have you used a fresh page for each main section? If so, don’t! Only the Executive Summary, the Reference Page and the appendices (each one) should have a ‘new’ page.  Are large diagrams properly placed on one page? (They must never sprawl across two pages.)
  14. 14. And finally……..  Make sure to read through the report many times – editing and re-editing are essential  If official information is being used, make sure to reference where it is from i.e. websites, company records etc  Check for grammar, spelling, punctuation – all these will create an impression  Finally – the layout and presentation should look good

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