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Academic English Drop In Workshops


Morley-Warner, T., 2007, Academic Writing is ... a guide to writing in a university context, ... All the content should be focussed on these questions/problems. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Academic English Drop In Workshops

Academic English Drop In Workshops
  • Materials from Liz Craven and Jonny Wells (ELSSA
  • Morley-Warner, T., 2007, Academic Writing is a
    guide to writing in a university context, CREA
  • Faculty of Business, UTS , 2007, Guide to Writing

ELSSA Centre
  • What do we do?
  • Provide workshops in Faculties throughout
  • Provide one-to-one appointments
  • Where are we?
  • Level 18, Building 1
  • ?
  • ?Phone 9514 2327
  • ?Email
  • ? MaryAnn McDonald

Academic English Drop In Workshops
  • Week 6
  • Report Writing
  • Purpose and audience
  • Types of reports
  • Report structure

Discuss in pairs
  • What do you most want to learn today?
  • Have you written any reports?
  • What were the problems?
  • What are the differences between
  • An essay
  • A report

Reports and essays whats similar?
  • Both require
  • formal style
  • introduction, body and conclusion
  • analytical thinking
  • application of relevant theoretical concepts
  • correct referencing
  • careful proofreading and neat presentation

Reports and essays whats the difference?
  • Reports
  • Document a process of enquiry
  • Written for professional readers (the client)
  • Accessible and explanatory style
  • Can be scanned
  • Have numbered headings and sub-headings
  • Dot points may be acceptable
  • Have short concise paragraphs
  • Use graphics
  • Include executive summaries
  • May include recommendations
  • May include appendices
  • Can be produced by group
  • Essays
  • Explore an idea or thesis
  • Written for academic readers (the lecturer)
  • Complex and argumentative style
  • Must be read carefully
  • Do not have headings and sub-headings
  • Dot points are not acceptable
  • Ideas linked in cohesive paragraphs
  • Do not use graphics
  • Do not have executive summaries
  • Do not include recommendations
  • Do not include appendices
  • Cannot be produced by group

How do you know whats required?
  • Read and analyse the assignment instructions
  • Ask yourself
  • Whats the purpose?
  • Who is the audience?

  • To give the reader clearly organised information
    or data.
  • To provide advice/information to aid
  • Where does this information come from?
  • Your experience
  • Your reading
  • Experiments/measurements in a laboratory or out
    in the field
  • (eg technical report in Engineering)
  • Maybe a combination of the above

  • Are you clear about who the audience is?
  • eg. Non-specialist readership (such as
    shareholders of a company)
  • Specialists in your field eg. Scholarly research

Purpose and audience
  • Will help determine
  • How much information you need to give
  • How much context you need to give
  • Choice of technical and non-technical language

Starting point
  • Set of instructions provided by client or
    employer (lecturer).
  • Instructions raise questions/problems
  • Report should attempt to answer or solve them.
  • All the content should be focussed on these
  • If instructions are vague or ambiguous.
  • Clarify with your lecturer.

Report types
  • What types of report have you been asked to do?
  • Experiential reports
  • Information reports
  • Research reports

Experiential report
  • Eg. Write a report about a weeks experience at
    university. In your analysis, include your
    perceptions of the value of orientation and
    introductory activities, such as the library
    tour your experience of any social activities
    your first lecture and tutorial experience and
    any other significant experience. How did the
    first weeks experience compare to your
    expectations? From your experience, what would
    be your advice to a new student?
  • How would you organise this report?
  • What headings would you expect to find in the
    table of contents?

Suggested headings and functions
  • Introduction
  • Outline purpose of report
  • Context where and when?
  • Introduce yourself what are you studying and
  • Scope of report limited to one personal view of
    one orientation experience at one university at a
    particular time.
  • Overview of reports structure
  • Orientation activities describe and evaluate
  • Social activities describe and evaluate
  • First learning experiences describe and
  • Other significant experiences describe and
  • Evaluation of overall experience and comparison
    with expectations
  • Conclusion advice to a new student. Reiterate
    main findings of your experience.

Experiential report language choices
  • Use the past tense to retell events
  • The first lecture was crowded and I could not
  • Present tense to comment on events to show their
    significance for a new student
  • This suggests that new students need to be early
    to a lecture to get a seat .

Information reports
  • Provides information that will enable a
    conclusion to be drawn or recommendations made
  • Eg. An historical development or trend
    background context which may be the first step to
    constructing a research report
  • You are asked to gather all the information that
    is available to students in their first week on
    campus about the services offered by the

  • What might some suitable headings be?
  • Any other information that you think may be
    helpful to the reader?

Research Reports
  • Purpose of research will determine main areas
    which you should focus on.
  • Check with your faculty guidelines, or in
    professional journals for models. The focus,
    format and language of your report should reflect
    the requirements of your field.
  • Why are you asked to write research reports?
  • To get you writing like an engineer/historian
  • Assignments are modelled on sorts of reports
    written in particular profession eg. Business
    report technical report for engineering company

  • Each field of study may have a preferred model.
  • It may vary from faculty to faculty and subject
    to subject.
  • Consult your faculty guidelines and talk to your

In general the report includes
  • Title page
  • Table of contents
  • List of abbreviations/glossary (if necessary)
  • Executive summary/abstract (sometimes before ToC)
  • Introduction
  • Body sections
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendations
  • Reference list
  • Appendices (if necessary)

Report Cover page
  • Q What information is required on your report
    cover page before submission?

Title page
  • Report title
  • Person for whom the report prepared
  • Person(s) who prepared the report (name
    student )
  • Date of report/submission date
  • Look at the sample

Table of contents
  • Note A T.O.C is ONLY required in long reports
  • A list of the main sections and subsections of
    the report
  • Should be in numeric style
  • Word processing software can help
  • Executive summary not numbered
  • Pages before Introduction use Roman numerals
    i.e. i, ii, iii etc
  • Rest of report Arabic numerals i.e. 1, 2, 3
  • Appendices labelled with letters
  • only used in very long reports similar to an
  • Look at the sample

Numeric style
  • I. Executive Summary
  • 1.1 Staff costs 1
  • 1.1.1 Recruitment costs 3
  • 1.1.2 Training costs 5
  • 1.2 Equipment 9
  • References 44
  • Table 1 22

ELSSA Academic English Reports
Numeric Style
  • Executive Summary ii
  • 1. Introduction 1
  • 2. Sub-heading 2
  • 2.1 Sub-subheading 2
  • 2.2 Sub-subheading 4
  • 3. Sub-heading 6
  • 3.1 Sub-subheading 6
  • 4. Conclusion 8
  • 5. References 9

ELSSA Academic English Reports
  • Use only if necessary
  • Put in alphabetical order
  • Business reports may have a lot of acronyms
    dont expect that we know what they
    mean-especially if they are obscure!

Executive summary/Abstract
  • Note This is ONLY required in long reports
  • The executive summary summarises
  • The introduction (context and purpose of report)
  • Methods
  • Major findings
  • Conclusions
  • Main recommendations

Executive Summary
  • How long should the executive summary be?
  • One page for every 5,000 words

Executive Summary
  • Shouldnt substitute full discussion in body of
    report. You still need to fully outline and
    discuss conclusions and recommendations in final
    sections of report.
  • Shouldnt simply list what report has examined
    without revealing anything about findings.
    (Table of Contents).
  • It should be written after you finish writing the

Report Introductions
  • Q Discuss with your partner/group.
  • What information should the introduction to your
    report include?

  • Like an essay
  • Provide reader with overview of what is to come
  • A clear statement of purpose
  • Eg. It is increasingly important to identify the
    factors that might prevent the dropout of
    university students because .
  • Aims and objectives and context of problem or
  • Eg. This study aims to examine the importance of
    university orientation and introductory
    activities in building positive attitudes toward
    study . in Australia at the present time
  • Scope and limits of report if relevant
  • Eg. This research is limited to students
    attending the city campuses of two universities
    in Sydney
  • May be necessary to provide brief background
  • Eg. Historical context political context
  • Note If explanation of context is lengthy, make
    it a separate section ie. Background/Context
  • Theories/analysis of existing research (in longer
    reports this would be a section entitled
    Literature review)
  • Definition of relevant terms
  • Outline of report structure- what will come up.

Language ?
  • Outline problem and aims
  • Present tense
  • Describe events that have occurred when giving
    background or context
  • Past tense

  • Divided into sections (major topic) and
    sub-sections (specific aspects of topic).
  • Headings should be clearly numbered and
  • Depending on the type of report will include
  • What you found out from your investigation
  • What those findings mean
  • How your findings relate to the question you were
  • Note
  • Good reports have a logical organisation matching
    the purpose of the report.
  • Poor reports are simply summaries of readings on
    the topic.

Hierarchical Headings Numerals and letters
  • A. Staff Costs
  • 1. Recruitment costs
  • a) Management recruitment
  • b) Clerical recruitment
  • 2. Training costs
  • 3. Salaries
  • B. Equipment
  • 1. Costing
  • 2. Budgeting
  • A.

Headings Decimal system
  • 1.1 Staff costs
  • 1.1.1 Recruitment costs
  • Management recruitment
  • Clerical recruitment
  • 1.1.2 Training costs
  • 1.1.3 Salaries
  • 1.2 Equipment
  • 1.2.1 Costing
  • 1.2.2 Budgeting
  • 2.1 and so on

Sub-headings as noun phrases
  • ?Use noun phrases for your sub-headings
  • e.g. Competitive advantages of Company X
  • NOT What are the competitive advantages of
    company X?
  • NOT Company X has many advantages

Parallel form in sub-headings
  • Which is the odd one out?
  • Decrease in costs
  • Increase in passenger numbers
  • Increasing destinations
  • How can these sub-headings be made parallel?

ELSSA Academic English Reports
Report Conclusions
  • Q What information should be in the conclusion
    to your report?

  • Summarise the question again
  • Re-state the purpose of the report.
  • Summary of key findings what was found.
  • Evaluation of key findings what you think they
  • Possibly, discuss the limitations of report.
  • REMEMBERNo new information in conclusions!

  • provide suggestions for future action
  • are realistic in regard to the possibility of
  • are logically derived from the body of the report
  • must be relevant and connected to your findings
  • are written in parallel form

What recommendations may look like in your report.
  • Look at these examples

Recommendations Ex.1
  • Recommendation 7.3 Within the context of country
    programming, the Australian aid program should
    give priority to education, health,
    infrastructure and rural development in
    recognition of the critical importance of these
    sectors of poverty reduction through sustainable
  • Recommendation 7.4 Ongoing sectoral evaluations
    of AusAIDs activities should be undertaken and
    the results used to help determine sectoral
    policies and the activities within the priority
    sectors which have the highest rates of return in
    terms of development impact.
  • Recommentation 7.5 AusAID should develop a new
    health policy giving clear priority to primary
    health care particularly preventable infectious
    diseases and infant and maternal mortality and
    to health sector management and reform.
    Discussions should also be held with the National
    Health and Medical Research Council and other
    relevant bodies with a view to giving a higher
    priority to health research relevant to
    developing countries, especially in the
    Asia-Pacific region.
  • (from Committee of Review, 1997, One Clear
    Objection Poverty Reduction through sustainable
    development, AusAID, Canberra.)

Recommendations Ex.2
  • Recommendation 9
  • That universities co-operate in the establishment
    of twinning projects and mixed mode education in
    specific discipline.
  • These initiatives require a leader in each
    sector. Project-specific consortia could form
    around particular proposals. It would be unlikely
    that one university would lead more than one
    initiate. These consortia could be influential in
    determining the destination for AusAID-funded
  • Recommendation 10
  • That the Open Learning Agency investigate the
    potential for the export of education and
    training via satellites or other new technologies
    such as video conferencing and computer aided
    instruction packages to Vietnam.
  • Recommendation 11
  • That the AVCC establish a code of ethics for
    Australian universities operation overseas, in
    addition to the existing code relating to
    overseas students.
  • (from Fahey, S., 1996, Australian University
    Activity in Vietnam, AGPS, Canberra.)

Recommendations Ex.3
  • Recommendation No. 1
  • The ANAO recommends that AusAID enhance the
    management of any further reforms to the ADS
    scheme by
  • preparing adequate costings of proposed changes
    to support the business case for change and
    provide a basis for monitoring and assessing the
    achievement of financial benefits and
  • developing and monitoring implementation plans
    and timetables for key reform components to
    enable effective project management and provide
    greater assurance that outcomes are achieved in a
    timely and cost-effective manner.
  • Recommendation No. 2
  • The ANAO recommends that AusAID improve
    strategic management of ADS assistance by
  • refining the guiding principles of scholarship
    assistance to reflect its contribution to country
    aid and Australias goal for education and
    training assistance
  • developing operational strategies in support of
    achieving improved key scheme outputs and
    outcomes and reducing scheme costs and
  • conducting a structured risk management analysis
    for ADS to better identify, assess and manage
    scheme risks.

  • Use the form of referencing required in your
    faculty (check with your lecturer if not sure).
  • Incorporate referencing as the report is being
    written. It is time-consuming and difficult to
    go back over notes checking on sources of
    information later.
  • Reports written at university usually have more
    references than those written in the workplace.
  • Have a detailed reference list at the end of your

What is an appendix?
  • What is it?
  • What does it include?
  • Why may you need to use one?

  • Material that supports the text but is too
    detailed or too large to include in report, e.g.
    long complex table of figures.
  • Lecturers may specify what should be included in
    Appendix if not sureask!
  • Dont use appendix to show a lot of information
    that has been collected. It should be relevant
    and useful.
  • Appendices should be numbered and referred to in
    the text.

Refer to appendix in text - example
  • This study involved a survey of the Chamber of
    Manufacturers. A copy of the questionnaire used
    in the survey is included in Appendix 1.

How to plan for reports?
  • Mind map is useful plan major sections, then
    decide on sub-sections.
  • Reader needs to see at a glance how your material
    is organised.
  • Headings and sub-headings do the same job as
    topic sentences in paragraphs in essays.

Honesty in reporting
  • The quality of your report depends on the
    research methods and data collected.
  • It is therefore important to reveal your
    methodology and indicate where you got your
  • This allows the reader to decide how valid your
    findings are.
  • If you dont say how and where you got your
    information, the reader could doubt your findings
    and find your conclusions unreliable.

Honesty in reporting
  • Be honest about any problems you had with the
    method you chose but not to the extent that it
    undermines the whole study.
  • Eg. There may have been time and resource
  • Further research may be required to more fully
    answer the questions.
  • Suggestions on how to approach the questions
    could also be helpful.
  • Acknowledging your sources
  • Allows reader to check data and form their own
  • Indicates reliability of information (difference
    between figures in tabloid newspaper and official
    govt report)
  • Avoids plagiarism

Word Length
  • Keep within the maximum word limit because
  • A good report is economical with words and only
    includes relevant information.
  • The word limit assists with your planning and
    indicates the depth of investigation and analysis
  • Busy decision-makers in the workplace want to
    read concise material they wont read long
  • When planning
  • Allocate a certain number of words to each

Language Style
  • For abbreviations or acronyms, use full
    name/title in the first instance with acronym in
    parentheses eg.
  • Sports Medicine Australia (SMA)
  • Australian Chamber of Manufacturers (ACM)
  • Avoid contractions. Eg. Use they are not
    theyre do not rather than dont.
  • its should be written as it is
  • (NB possessive its doesnt have an

Language Style
  • Write in an objective style
  • 3rd person rather than 1st person
  • Instead of I think that or in my opinion
  • It is considered that or it appears that
  • Your personal opinion isnt relevant - The
    conclusions that can be drawn from the evidence
  • Avoid colourful or emotional language eg.
    Instead of the economy is booming state that
    growth increased by 8.5.
  • Writers use colourful language when they dont
    have the facts or figures to support their
  • Even if purpose is to present a case still use
    objective style.

Presentation of report
  • Use plenty of white space i.e. wide margins,
    space between sections.
  • Make sure headings are clear, ordered and
    numbered. (Word can help you with this).
  • Number each page.
  • Make your report look neat and professional.
  • Check for consistency of
  • formatting
  • language style

Use of Graphics
  • The famous saying goes
  • A picture can say a thousand words.

  • Fig. 1 AusAID sponsored students 1987-2000
  • Source AusAid

Tables and figures
  • Must be numbered
  • Must have captions/ titles
  • Must be referenced also

uMaterials sourced from Liz Craven and Jonny
Wells (ELSSA 2009) Morley-Warner, T., 2007,
Academic Writing is a guide to writing in a
university context, CREA Publications.
thank you