Report writing by Rajnish Kumar 2013


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A guide to writing a professional report which can then easily be formatted for a research journal. Tips on spelling and language errors are also give. Very useful, must go through once..

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Report writing by Rajnish Kumar 2013

  1. 1. REPORT WRITING Rajnish Kumar Professor IT National Academy of Indian Railways
  2. 2. Structure of Presentation Format of a Report About Plagiarism How to cite references Use of Latin terms Common spelling errors Common language errors
  3. 3. Format of Report/Paper What should a report contain? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Cover page Inner cover page Acknowledgments Contents List of symbols, figures and tables, if any Preface Introduction Literature review Chapters covering the work Conclusion References Appendices
  4. 4. Preface The preface should contain information about: • The purpose of the report • The history of the project • Major contents of the report in about 500-1000 words
  5. 5. Introduction The introduction should comprise: • A short historical review • A brief description of the methods • The limitations of the report • Information on accuracy of the given data • Structure of the report.
  6. 6. Mechanics of Report only a guide Paper – Margins – A4 size 1.5 inch left 1 inch right, top and bottom Font Times New Roman 12 size Heading Font Arial 14 Second heading Times New Roman or Arial 12 Bold Third heading Times New Roman or Arial 12 Italics Spacing 1.5 Best is to use standard word DEFAULT Style set
  7. 7. General Guidelines 1. All tables and figures must be numbered 2. If abbreviations which are uncommon are used, list of abbreviations should be prepared and placed after list of table/figures 3. Pages should be numbered starting from Introduction, not before that. 4. Consistent spacing must be given throughout the report.
  8. 8. Reformatting Report for publishing in Journals If the report is to be published in a journal, some reformatting is required. Most of it is common, except that some journals prefer their style. Example of IIMB Management Review is taken which is published by world‘s leading publisher, ELSEVEIR
  9. 9. Example of formatting for IIMB Management Review Format • Cover page The manuscript should be accompanied by a cover page containing the article title, the short title (not more than 5 words and which may be used in all correspondence), the names and affiliations of all the authors (specify order), along with their postal address, phone and fax numbers, and email address. • Details of the authors' name and affiliation should not appear elsewhere in the manuscript. In the case of multiple authors, the cover page should indicate the designated corresponding author.
  10. 10. Example of formatting for IIMB Management Review Second page The second page should contain the article title, the short title, the abstract (not more than 100 words), keywords (a maximum of 8 keywords), and an extended summary (not exceeding 300 words). Body of the article: The recommended length of papers is 8000– 10000 words, inclusive of tables and figures. Material may be formatted in Times New Roman, font size 12 and double spaced. All tables and figures are to be serially numbered, sequentially following references to them in the text. All tables and figures are also to be presented in a separate WORD document and file names should clearly specify the paper to which the exhibits belong. All tables and figures should be in black and white only. IMR follows British spelling (e.g.: organisation, programme, and colour), except in the case of direct quotations. Wherever possible, explanatory theories/concepts and other background material of a historical or collateral nature, and case illustrations/anecdotal applications should be presented in text boxes to ensure they do not interfere with the flow of the main text.
  11. 11. Example of formatting for IIMB Management Review References Authors must acknowledge all the sources they have drawn upon, including direct quotations, as well as ideas, concepts, data, and exhibits. Only those references cited in the main text should be listed in the reference list. Sources should be stated briefly in the text, following the author-date convention of by the last name and the date of publication, in parentheses. Citations within the text would read, for e.g. ‘ According to Pawlak, (1991) … ‘ or ‘… ( awlak, 1991) ‘. P These citations should be amplified in a list of references appearing at the end of the paper. The reference list should be in alphabetical and chronological order, and should include complete bibliographical details, as appropriate— the name(s) of the author(s), year of publication, title of the article/book, name of the journal, details of the publisher, volume and issue number, and individual page numbers, URL of online sources (online journals, magazines, or newspapers) with access date.
  12. 12. Example of formatting The prescribed style of citation is as follows: Sample Book References: Pawlak, Z. (1991). Rough sets: Theoretical aspects of reasoning about data. Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Hair, J. F., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., Anderson, R. E., & Tatham, R. L. (2006). Multivariate data analysis (6th ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. Sample Reference to Chapter in Book: Ravallion, M. (2007). Transfers and safety nets in poor countries: Revisiting the trade-offs and policy options. In V. Abhijit, R. B. Banerjee, & D. Mukherjee (Eds.), Understanding poverty (pp. 203– 230). Oxford University Press. Sample Journal Reference: Bose, I. (2006). ‘ Deciding the financial health of dot-coms using rough sets‘. Information & Management, 43(7), 835– 846.
  13. 13. So…… • If you follow one style, there is no effort in converting a report into a paper ready for being published. • We‘ll cover on how to quote references in the report in the next part, avoiding plagiarism
  14. 14. Avoiding Plagiarism
  15. 15. Plagiarism – Definition • Taking and using the thoughts, writings, and inventions of another person as one's own • Using someone‘s ideas without citing or quoting; thereby, receiving credit for someone else‘s intellectual effort 15
  16. 16. Forms of plagiarism • Copying from a single source • Copying from several sources • Paraphrasing • Collusion 16
  17. 17. How to avoid plagiarism • Use quotes for – Information that comes directly from any source – Words, spoken or written, that you use directly from another person • Make sure you document the source 17
  18. 18. How to avoid plagiarism • Paraphrase – Write the information in your own words, but do not change its meaning or intention – Because you are using someone else‘s idea, always mention the source even if you use your own words 18
  19. 19. Common knowledge • Any information, fact, or statement that is widespread and known by a variety of people is considered common knowledge – John Adams was the second president of USA – The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 • There is no need to give credit to information that is of common knowledge 19
  20. 20. No need to cite Common knowledge Examples of Common Knowledge (Source: Not every fact in the report needs to be documented. Facts that are widely known—common knowledge—can stand by themselves. Examples of statements expressing common knowledge: George Washington was the first president. Plato spent most of his life in Athens. Maine has a lower yearly average temperature than Florida. Any statement that originates from another source and contains information that is not common knowledge must be cited. Examples of statements that don't express common knowledge: Civilizations that were aware of geese usually considered them intermediaries between heaven and earth (Toussaint-Samat 352). The Chinese fishing industry produces 800,000 tons of fish annually (ToussaintSamat 328). The first international coffee syndicate was based in Germany (Toussaint-Samat 590). These statements aren't surrounded by quotation marks because they aren't the original authors' words but must be cited because they express information that involves facts that are not commonly known.
  21. 21. When should I cite? Is it your idea? Yes No Is it common knowledge? No need to cite No CITE 21
  22. 22. Accidental plagiarism • Using words from another source without indicating where they came from. • Ways to avoid accidental plagiarism: – Careful note taking – A clear understanding of the rules for quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing sources 22
  23. 23. When in doubt, cite. Read this 23
  24. 24. Plagiarism detection software 24
  25. 25. Terminology: Fair Use • Fair Use is a statute under copyright law that allows for the use of limited portions of a work that has copyright without having to have permission from the original author. It was created for the purposes of education and research. • BIG QUESTION, what qualifies as a "limited portion"?
  26. 26. How to Quote in a Report Two styles MLA- Modern Language Association APA – American Psychological Association
  27. 27. MLA Quotations • Indirect: Some researchers note that "children are totally insensitive to their parents' shyness" (Zimbardo 62). • Direct: Zimbardo notes that ―children are totally insensitive to their parents‘ shyness‖ (62). • Paraphrasing: Some researchers have observed that children seem unaware that their parents are considered bashful (Zimbardo 62).
  28. 28. APA or Chicago Quotations • Indirect: Some researchers note that "children are totally insensitive to their parents' shyness" (Zimbardo, 1977, p.62). • Direct: Zimbardo (1977) notes that ―Children are totally insensitive to their parents‘ shyness‖ (p. 62). • Paraphrasing: Some researchers have observed that children seem oblivious to their parents‘ bashfulness (Zimbardo, 1977).
  29. 29. MLA Citations Book Zimbardo, Philip G. Shyness: What It Is, What To Do About It. Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus Books, 1977. Print. Essay/Chapter in a Book Swanson, Gunnar. "Graphic Design Education as a Liberal Art: Design and Knowledge in the University and The 'Real World.'" The Education of a Graphic Designer. Ed. Steven Heller. New York: Allworth Press, 1998. 13-24. Print. ** Many of these examples came from the OWL at Purdue **
  30. 30. MLA Citations Article Bagchi, Alaknanda. "Conflicting Nationalisms: The Voice of the Subaltern in Mahasweta Devi's Bashai Tudu." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature 15.1 (1996): 4150. Print. Article from a Database Langhamer, Claire. ―Love and Courtship in MidTwentieth-Century England.‖ Historical Journal 50.1 (2007): 173-96. ProQuest. Web. 27 May 2009. ** Many of these examples came from the OWL at Purdue **
  31. 31. MLA Citations Entire Website The Purdue OWL Family of Sites. The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008. Web. 6 September 2012. Page on a Website "How to Make Vegetarian Chili." eHow, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2012. ** Many of these examples came from the OWL at Purdue **
  32. 32. APA Citations Book Zimbardo, P.G. (1977). Shyness: What it is, what to do about it. Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus Books. Essay/Chapter in a Book O'Neil, J. M., & Egan, J. (1992). Men's and women's gender role journeys: Metaphor for healing, transition, and transformation. In B. R. Wainrib (Ed.), Gender issues across the life cycle (pp. 107-123). New York: Springer. ** Many of these examples came from the OWL at Purdue **
  33. 33. APA Citations Article Scruton, R. (1996). The eclipse of listening. The New Criterion, 15(30), 5-13. Article from a Database APA does not require that a citation for an article in a database document that fact. You can cite an article you find in a database the same way you‘d cite a regular print article, as in the example above. ** Many of these examples came from the OWL at Purdue **
  34. 34. APA Citations Website Lowe, M. (2012). Megan Lowe @ ULM. January 29, 2012, from http://www.ulm./edu/~lowe. Item Without Author Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary (10th ed.).(1993). Springfield, MA: MerriamWebster. ** Many of these examples came from the OWL at Purdue **
  35. 35. Presentation Resources The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) Harvard Guide to Using Sources 42054
  36. 36. ! ? ; : “ ‘ , . _ {} () / Tips on Punctuation Adapted from The Craft of Editing (Springer-Verlag, 2000) and The Craft of Scientific Writing, 3rd edition (Springer-Verlag, 1996).
  37. 37. Punctuation rules are designed to have sentences be read one way Colon: a colon introduces a formal list, long quotation, equation, or definition. Semi-Colon: a semi-colon either joins two independent clauses (closely linked in thought) or separates complex items in a list. Dash: a dash acts as a parenthesis to separate items that cannot be separated by commas. Comma: a comma separates details in a sentence.
  38. 38. A colon introduces a formal list, long quotation, equation, or definition We studied five types of marsupials: opossums, bandicoots, koalas, wombats, and kangaroos. The laboratory growth of this crystal made possible a new astronomical tool: a gamma-ray detector with high-energy resolution. In formal writing, what is on the left side of the colon should stand alone as a separate sentence. Once the list ends, the sentence ends.
  39. 39. Although equations are separated by white space, they should be treated as part of the sentence To calculate the strain, , we used equation 1: = , (1) E where is the stress estimated by FEPC and E is the modulus of elasticity of aluminum.
  40. 40. Em-dashes act as parentheses to separate items that commas cannot Because two isotopes of hydrogen—deuterium and tritium—are lightweight, can be produced easily, and require little energy, they are prime candidates to begin the fusion process. After one year, we measured mirror reflectivity at 96 percent—a high percentage, but not as high as originally expected. Because two isotopes of hydrogen (deuterium and tritium) are lightweight, can be produced easily, and require little energy, they are prime candidates to begin the fusion process. After one year, we measured mirror reflectivity at 96 percent (a high percentage, but not as high as originally expected).
  41. 41. Commas separate introductory phrases and clauses After cooling the exhaust gases continue to expand. After cooling, the exhaust gases continue to expand.
  42. 42. Commas separate parenthetical details X-ray backscatter systems, which are relatively inexpensive require the operator‘s attention. X-ray backscatter systems, which are relatively inexpensive, require the operator‘s attention. Parenthetical: Set off within or as if within parentheses; qualifying or explanatory
  43. 43. An error of , Possession Misplaced modifiers are also very common grammar mistakes: Incorrect: The girl smiled at the camera holding the basket of fruit. (The camera was holding the basket of fruit?) Correct: Holding the basket of fruit, the girl smiled at the camera.
  44. 44. Hyphenation “We built a high-performance implementation.” ―high-performance‖ is hyphenated because ―high‖ modifies ―performance‖ not ―implementation‖. It's not a ―high implementation‖. Here, ―high-performance‖ is an adjective. But: “Our implementation has high performance.” Here, ―performance‖ is a noun. No hyphen. Similarly: ―throughput-oriented workloads‖ or ―GPU-based implementation‖. For some words, it's not clear if it should be hyphenated or not (e.g. ―e-mail‖ vs. ―email‖). The general trend in English is to move toward non-hyphenation (e.g. ―to-morrow‖ became ―tomorrow‖).
  45. 45. Semi Colon ;;;; Use the semicolon to separate units of a series when one or more of the units contain commas. Example: This conference has people who have come from Boise, Idaho; Los Angeles, California; and Nashville, Tennessee. It is preferable to use a semicolon before introductory words such as namely, however, therefore, that is, i.e., for example, e.g., or for instance when they introduce a complete sentence. It is also preferable to use a comma after the introductory word. Examples: You will want to bring many backpacking items; for example, sleeping bags, pans, and warm clothing will make the trip better. As we discussed, you will bring two items; i.e., a sleeping bag and a tent are not optional.
  46. 46. Apostrophes‘‘‘‘‘ Apostrophe errors are also common. Apostrophes are used to show possession, to show that certain words are plural, and to show that letters are missing. Apostrophes show possession: Jim's coat (singular possession) The children's clothes (possession for plural noun that does not end in s) The dogs' toys (possession for plural nouns that end in s) Jim and Ted's apartment (possession shown on the last noun) Apostrophes are also used in contractions to show missing letters and numbers: Can't (cannot) I'm (I am) Who's (Who is) ‘70 (1970) Also, when writing the ‗70s, no apostrophe is present after the number when no possession is being shown.
  47. 47. Two common usage errors are possessives and subject-verb disagreements The criteria for assessing the environmental effects of acid rain (are / is) given in the next section. are So far, the daily number of engineers applying (has / have) remained constant. has The goggles protect a (persons / person‘s) eyes from any damaging effects that a laser could cause. person’s In accordance with my (boss‘ / boss‘s) schedule, the first series of computers was replaced. boss’s
  48. 48. The verb tenses of sentences that refer to the document depend upon position Introduction This report presents a design for connecting light emitting diodes to the HC11 microcontroller. Results and Discussion ...Figure 1 shows the circuit that connects the light emitting diodes to the HC11 microcontroller. Conclusions This report has presented a design for connecting light emitting diodes to the HC11 microcontroller. As was shown in Figure 1, the circuit...
  49. 49. Use numerals when referring to measurements When to use numerals Specific measurements 3 volts, 2 seconds, 1 m/s Percentages 15 percent Monetary figures $3000 Large numerals 5 million When to write out numbers Counting (one or two words) twenty-three gages Informal measurements two hours First word of sentence Thirty-three...
  50. 50. Certain words are commonly misused We produced a small (amount, number) of autos this year, even (fewer, less) than last year. number fewer A company‘s success depends on (its / it's) employees. its The new material is (composed / comprised) of plastic and iodine. composed It appears (as if, like) the Department of Energy will choose the third option. as if
  51. 51. Certain words are commonly misused Reduced weight was the (principal / principle) reason for choosing aluminum. principal The talk centered (around / on) the (principal / principle) of virtual work. on principle (Regrettably / Regretfully), the launch was delayed because Regrettably of thunderstorms. You need not proceed any (farther / further) on your test. further The serum had serious side (affects / effects). effects
  52. 52. Non-words and nonsensical groupings of words also cause problems Whichever design you choose is (alright / all right) with me. all right (Irregardless / Regardless) of the shipping delay, the work will stop because of the strike. Regardless Applying that set of constraints is a (most unique / unique / very unique) way to approach the problem. unique The serum had (alot / a lot) of side effects. a lot
  53. 53. Spelling mistakes Spell check is not the solution affect effect a fact whether weather they’re their there your you’re yore two to too it’s its
  54. 54. Common Spelling Mistakes I Correct Wrong Correct Wrong supersede supercede superceed pronunciation pronounciation accommodation accomodation separate acommodation seperate receive recieve necessary neccesary necesary definitely definately difinately address adress adres
  55. 55. Common Spelling Mistakes II Correct Wrong Correct Wrong occurrence occurence useful usefull independent independant beginning begining parallel paralel paralell parrallel questionnaire questionaire
  56. 56. Possible confusion • • • • • • • • accept/except affect/effect assure/ensure/insure enquire/inquire Practice (noun) /practise (verb) recent/resent Weather/whether Lose/loose
  57. 57. Latin Terms commonly used in Reports e.g. – for example i.e. – that is ibid - Latin word ibidem, which means ―in the same place.‖ et al - stands for et alii which translates as ―and other people.‖ circa- around: e.g. - c. 3000 B.C. viz - namely
  58. 58. e.g. and i.e USAGE Let‘s look at some examples of how to use i.e. and e.g. correctly: YES The rocky planets (e.g., Mercury) are closest to our sun. NO The rocky planets (i.e., Mercury) are closest to our sun. Mercury is not equivalent to the rocky planets-they‘re not the same thing. Mercury is just one example of a rocky planet, therefore e.g. is appropriate. YES The rocky planets (i.e., Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars) are closest to our sun. YES Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars (i.e., the rocky planets) are closest to our sun. NO The rocky planets (e.g., Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars) are closest to our sun.
  59. 59. e.g. and i.e USAGE In some instances, i.e. and e.g. may both be acceptable, but using one or the other will drastically change the meaning of the sentence. For example: 1. Farmer Brown sells his produce (e.g., apples, oranges, carrots) at the market. 2. Farmer Brown sells his produce (i.e., apples, oranges, carrots) at the market. ??? Spot the difference
  60. 60. Ibid. The abbreviation ibid. stands for the Latin word ibidem, which means ―in the same place.‖ It is used in endnotes or footnotes when you cite the same source and page number(s) two or more times. If you cite the same source but a different page number, you can use ibid. followed by a comma and the page number(s). Also, note that ibid. is capitalized when it begins a note. For example: 1. Barsby, 99-101. 2. Ibid. 3. Ibid., 97.
  61. 61. et al. EXAMPLE: Even the recent Gartner report from star analyst Jane Disbrow et al. shows that 61% of their customers have been audited by at least one software vendor. [Forbes] Et an abbreviation of the Latin loanphrase et alii, meaning and others. It is similar to etc.(short for et cetera, meaning and the rest), but whereas etc. applies to things, et al. applies to people. If you cite one author in body text, it should be ―AuthorOne‖. Two authors: ―AuthorOne and AuthorTwo‖. Three or more authors: ―AuthorOne et al.‖ Name of the first author will be given in full and then followed by et al. As with etc., there is no need to include ‘and’ before et al.
  62. 62. Now you can do