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Report Writing


Report Writing Report writing Before writing a report, the writer should ask What is the purpose of the report? What action is it intended to trigger? – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Report Writing

  • Report Writing

Report writing
  • Before writing a report, the writer should ask
  • What is the purpose of the report?
  • What action is it intended to trigger?
  • Who will read the report?
  • How many people will read it?
  • What do they need to know?
  • What is their current level of knowledge?

Report writing cont...
  • Some considerations
  • Assembling data
  • - Direct - look, ask, send a questionnaire,
    conduct experiments or tests
  • - Personal - who can you write to, speak to,
    phone, with relevant experience/ knowledge
  • Style clear, concise English!

Report writing cont...
  • Objectivity
  • - The writer must appear to be neutral.
  • Never use emotive language and always write
  • Back up assertions with evidence

Report Writing Stages
  • The five major stages of report preparation are
  • Gathering the data
  • Analysing and sorting the results
  • Outlining the report
  • Writing the rough draft
  • Revising the rough draft

Gathering the data
  • Plan what information/results you are going to
  • Maintain orderly records as the data is gathered
  • The little extra effort required to record the
    results carefully can be of great value later

Analysing and sorting the results
  • During this review, conclusions should be drawn
  • This is best done by first writing down all
    significant results in no particular order and
    then sorting them so that the results pertaining
    to a common factor are grouped together.
  • Once the conclusions are drawn, list them in
    descending order of importance.

Analysing and sorting the results
  • Sort through the information and select only the
    Relevant data
  • Too much irrelevant information will confuse the
  • Do not discard information that contradicts your
  • Consider how to represent your data

Analysing and sorting the results
  • Before writing the outline report - Create a
    limiting sentence
  • The HND module to Report Writing
  • covering the fundamentals of organizing, writing,
    and reviewing reports,
  • was written to improve the writing skills of HND
    students and the overall quality of their
  • This focuses your attention on the scope of the

Outlining the report
  • In the sorting stage concentration is on what
    results should be presented in a report.
  • In the outlining stage attention is directed to
    how these results should be presented.

Outlining the report
  • The outline should contain descriptive headings
    of each significant part of the report.
  • It should show the complete scope of the report,
    the relation of the various parts of the work
    discussed, the amount of space to be given each
    part, the places for inclusion of illustrations,
    and the conclusions

Outlining the report
  • Descriptive headings provide a means of ready
    reference and aid clarity.
  • The final outline should show the exact form,
    wording, and value of the headings to be used in
    the report. The headings, although brief, must
    serve as a reliable guide to the included

Writing the rough draft
  • Concentrate on what you want to say rather than
    how to say it. Keep writing down the thoughts as
    they flow into your mind, following your outline
  • Then review this versionbut only for its
    technical content. Are all of the ideas you
    wanted to express included? Have you included
    irrelevant ideas? Does the report organization
    still seem logical?

Revising the rough draft
  • The first review is of the material in the
    report. In this check ask yourself these
  • Are the conclusions valid? Is sufficient
    information given to support the conclusions? Is
    enough background information given to explain
    the results? Have all irrelevant ideas been
    deleted? Are the illustrations pertinent and

Revising the rough draft(2)
  • The second review is of the mechanics and
  • Are the subject and purpose clearly stated?
    Does the report flow smoothly from topic to
    topic? Are the relations between topics clear? Is
    each illustration clear and properly labelled?
    Are all required parts of the report included?

Revising the rough draft(3)
  • The third review is of spelling and grammar.
  • Is each sentence written effectively? Are
    the sentences varied in length and complexity to
    avoid monotony? Are the words specific rather
    than vague? Have all unnecessary words been

  • Be clear, concise and correct. Use
  • Familiar words
  • technical terms should be defined within the text
  • Active verbs for majority of the report
  • Avoid
  • Ambiguity
  • Loaded words
  • Clichés e.g. a can of worms
  • Jargon

Language cont.
  • Avoid
  • Superfluous words and phrases e.g. in order to
    to, in the event that if
  • Tautology - saying the same thing twice with
    different words in the same sentence e.g. the
    brevity of the notice given was far too short
  • Split infinitives e.g. to boldly go
  • Double negatives not never sometimes

Language cont.
  • Avoid
  • Joining two sentences which are not logically
  • Sentences ending with prepositions e.g. to put up
  • Long sentences
  • Professional report may have to be written in the
    third person

Spelling and punctuation
  • Spelling
  • Word processed material should always use the
    spell checker
  • Word uses the American spelling e.g. formalize
    not formalise
  • Punctuation
  • See handout

Report writing cont...
  • Report layout
  • - Title page title of report, name of the person
    who wrote it, date, reference no. (if
    applicable), circulation list.
  • - Table of contents with section and page numbers

Report writing cont...
  • - Abstract or summary
  • Usually written last. Not more than about a
    1.5 spaced, 3/4 of a page of A4. Should include
    the main bones of the report for ease of

Report Writing
  • - Introduction
  • Background to the report
  • specify the purpose of the research
  • terms of reference
  • reference to similar work being done elsewhere
  • acknowledgement of any help and cooperation.

Report writing cont...
  • - Methods of investigation Specify your methods
    used. If you are writing a systems analysis and
    design report for example, you may wish to
    specify the methodology used here.
  • - Findings The results of your investigation
  • - Conclusions Your assessment of these findings
    and their implications

Report writing cont...
  • Recommendations
  • Your suggestions for following up the research
    contained in the report

Report Writing
  • - References a complete list of material
    directly referred to in the main text. After a
    quote in the main body of the text you may put
    (Jones, 199478) author of book used, date of
    publication, page number.
  • In your references at the back, the entry for
    this would be
  • Jones, M A (1994) An introduction to SSADM,
    McGraw Hill, Maidenhead.

Report writing cont...
  • - Bibliography A complete, alphabetical list of
    all sources consulted.
  • - Appendices Detailed information which could
    have cluttered up the main body of the report,
    i.e. charts, graphs, tables of figures,
    supplementary information...

Report writing cont...
  • - Use a numbering system
  • This can be either decimal or a mixture of
    numerals and letters. The example on the next
    slide is the decimal system.

Report writing cont...
  • 1. Main section
  • 2. Main section
  • 2.1 first subsection of 2
  • 2.2 second subsection of 2
  • 3. Main section
  • 3.1 first subsection of 3
  • 3.1.1 first subsection of 3.1 etc...

Report writing
  • Exercise
  • Fog index
  • An indicator that sentences are too long and
    there are too many long words
  • Calculate average number of words in a sentence
  • Calculate the percentage of words of two or more
  • How would you write these differently?

  • Remember the 5 stages of report writing
  • Good planning is essential
  • Clear well presented style
  • Subject, Scope and Purpose - limiting sentence
  • Well referenced
  • Recommendations