REPORTS SHOULD BE USER FRIENDLY Logical structure. Structure readily apparent. Brief. Easy read.
LOGICAL STRUCTURE Use an outline –Report level. –Comment (finding) level. –Summary level.
REPORT- LEVEL OUTLINE Outline is the comment titles. Why a report-level outline? –Strongest and most effective order? –Can comments be merged? –Are comments contradictory? –Are comments duplicated?
COMMENT-LEVEL OUTLINE List everything you know about the subject. Keep the ideas short. (Outline s/b a one-page snapshot.) Arrange ideas into a logical framework. Add headings and subheadings.
MORE EFFECTIVE USE COULD BE MADE OF CRIME DATA Clearer Picture Needed Important Information Excluded
CRIME DATA MORE EFFECTIVE USE COULD BE MADE OF CRIME DATA Clearer Picture Needed Exclusion by definition. XXXX XXX XXXX XXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
STRUCTURE S/B APPARENT Use easily differentiated headings and subheadings. Keep the levels to a minimum. Use the same format in all of your reports. Keep the headings and subheadings short. –Bumper sticker language.
SUMMARY-LEVEL OUTLINE Objective is to condense into a sound bite. A precis, a synopsis, a Cliff’s Notes version. Leave things out. –Avoid shoehorning. Generalize: combine discrete ideas into generic statements.
BE BRIEF! The optimal paragraph length is about six to eight lines. Lead with the finding. Don’t pile up adjectives. Does the reader really need to know this?
REPORT SHOULD BE AN EASY READ Why does it sound so awkward? Shifts in tense, person, or number. Ambiguous or unclear pronoun references. Unidiomatic constructions or expressions. Lack of parallel structure.
REPORT SHOULD BE AN EASY READ Why does it sound so awkward? Too many acronyms. Numeric overload. Lack of unity &/or coherence.