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Focusing on sections of a report Dr Michelle Reid Study Adviser, University of Reading.

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Presentation on theme: "Focusing on sections of a report Dr Michelle Reid Study Adviser, University of Reading."— Presentation transcript:

1 Focusing on sections of a report Dr Michelle Reid Study Adviser, University of Reading

2 Overview of the workshop What is the role of this section in a report? The main features of this section What is the appropriate writing style for this section? How to write a good…

3 Icebreaker: Thinking about your audience In groups of three – each person in the group has a number: 1,2, or 3: “The government is planning to raise fees for university students.” [Insert different example] Write the story in the style of: 1. A tabloid headline 2. An academic report 3. A text message to a friend

4 What is the role of this section? What do you know about...[discussion] sections? Why do we include...[discussion] sections in reports? What is the most challenging thing about writing...[discussion] sections? [Insert the section you wish to focus on]

5 Writing the method Describe clearly and simply what you did. It can help to note down all the steps, then you can write them into proper sentences. Aim to include enough information so that someone else could reproduce your experiment / research. This is a factual section, so avoid any personal opinions or unnecessary details.

6 Writing the results Describe in words what your data shows No need to interpret why the data shows this or what it means – this will come in the Discussion. This section should provide enough information so someone can understand what your tables / diagrams / graphs show without having to puzzle them out. Imagine you are talking a friend through what you found out – jot this down and then write it into more formal sentences.

7 Writing the intro / lit review This section(s) expands on the purpose of your research. Identify the research questions you are trying to answer. Although you may read some background literature before you start your research, you may prefer to wait until after the methods to write it up fully. This way you can tailor the lit review to provide the right background context for your research.

8 Writing the intro / lit review When reading for your intro / lit review ask yourself: - What questions are you seeking to answer? - How did they arise? - Why are they worth investigating? Break your literature review down into a series of headings When you read a text – see what heading it fits under…what does it add to the research already grouped under that heading?

9 Writing the discussion The discussion interprets the meaning of the results you have found. It links these results back to the research questions and shows how the findings contribute to the answers to these questions. Also it links the results back to the background research from the lit review / intro and says whether your findings confirm or contradict previous findings. When writing the discussion – have your research questions in front of you to remind you what you are answering. Write your discussion early enough so that you still have time to fill any gaps you find.

10 Writing the conclusions / recommendations These should follow on logically from writing your discussion. Pull out the most important points from your research and summarise them. Imagine someone will read your conclusion first – what are the key things they will want to know about your findings?

11 Writing the summary / abstract Leave writing the abstract until last. The abstract is the first thing people will read, so it should give a clear and accurate overview. The abstract should very briefly summarise all your report: – What you were trying to find out (background) – How you did this (method) – What your main findings were (results) – Why this is important / what it shows (discussion)

12 Activity: Analysing examples of a...[discussion] section Working in small groups – each group has 3 extracts from different...[discussion] sections What are the strengths and weaknesses of each extract? Which extract do you think is the best and why?

13 How to write a good...[discussion] section Look back at your research questions – your discussion should answer these questions. Don’t just describe what your results show – explain why your results show this – what may have caused it? Read through your introduction / literature review – link your findings back to what other people have found. Ask yourself, do your results confirm or contradict other findings – why might this be?

14 How to write a good...[discussion] section Critically analyse your findings – this means: - Looking at your findings and asking yourself, "what do I think about this?" - Then taking it one step further and asking "what is making me think that?" Spend more time on your discussion section

15 Further resources LearnHigher report writing webpages: Guides and exercises on all aspects of reports. Report writing (Napier) www2.napier.ac.uk/getready/writing_presenting/reports.html A clear and easy to follow introduction to report writing with interactive exercises on report structure and layout. Unilearning (Wollongong, Australia) Includes different types of report (business, technical, field, scientific) as well as sections on writing style.

16 Further resources LearnHigher report writing webpages For guides and exercises on all aspects of reports. Report writing (Napier) www2.napier.ac.uk/getready/writing_presenting/reports.html A clear and easy to follow introduction to report writing with interactive exercises on report structure and layout. Unilearning (Wollongong, Australia) Includes different types of report (business, technical, field, scientific) as well as sections on writing style.

17 Any questions? Thank you and good luck with your report writing!


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