Informal or formal report? Informal reports daily internal communication short organized like a memo Formal reports major reports or outside communication long Organized by front matter, report proper, and back matter
Front & back matter You must have: Title page Table of contents Abstract References You may have: Cover page Letter of transmittal Glossary Appendices
Readers anticipate the following organization Purpose What is the paper’s exigency? Findings What is known or what was learned about the topic? Conclusion What should readers take away from the paper? Recommendation What changes or investments does the reader need to make?
Higher order writing issues Make title/subject specific Use plain, international English Employ a professional, yet friendly tone Be concise! Use the direct format Include hard data where applicable Have a clean doc design
Appropriateness in language No euphemisms: artificially and intentionally neutralized expression used instead of a more accurate common expression when the speaker feels that the associative meaning of the accurate expression is inappropriate. (bodily functions, body parts) Examples: “friendly fire”, “passed away”, “make love” Reverse Euphemisms: Emotionally charged language; “unborn child” for “fetus”
Pompous diction Contingent upon=dependent Endeavor=try Utilization=use Initiate=begin Cognizant of =aware of Ascertain=find out Eventuate=happen Apprise=inform Facilitate=help Implement=start, carry out, begin Prior to=before Transmit=send
Avoid the use of hyperbole Exaggerated use of language used to transform a dull message into something attention-getting. “Everyone knows that…”, “Since the dawn of time…”, “Man has always…” “Spectacular”, “amazing”, “incredible”
Avoid wasting the reader’s time Redundant pairs: rather than using pairs of adjectives or modifiers (unless this adds to the rhythm of a sentence or paragraph), eliminate paired (redundant) modifiers, full and complete, first and foremost, basic and fundamental, true and accurate.
Avoid wasting the reader’s time Belaboring obvious/redundant categories: avoid stating the obvious and then—worse yet— stating it some more period of time, pink in color, educational process, athletic activities, large in size, heavy in weight Sentence that belabors the obvious vs. its revision: Imagine a mental picture of someone engaged in the intellectual activity of trying to learn what the rules are for how to play the game of chess. Imagine someone trying to learn chess.
Redundant or meaningless modifiers Redundant Modifiers: adjective or adverb that simply restates the word it modifies true facts, important essentials, final outcome, end result, terrible tragedy Meaningless modifiers: “hedging” words that add bulk but no substance actually, virtually, for all intents and purposes, generally, given, various.
Proposal writing Persuasive plan Frequently collaborative Solves a problem (sometimes it must prove a problem exists) Considers audience as skeptical Often must differentiate itself from competitors Proves it is workable and realistic
Proposal format (p. 208) Project summary: Much like an abstract, it will summarize the most significant claims made in each section of your proposal for readers who need to know what you will discuss before taking the time to read it. Project description: An introduction/purpose, designed to interest your reader in your topic and provide some historical/cultural context. At the end of your introduction, include a tentative thesis (i.e., "In this project, we propose..." or "This research project will investigate..."). It will also discuss the significance or importance of the project.
Cont.. Plan of the work: Analyzes the problem(s), offers a framework for the questions in your proposal (i.e. a sentence or two to introduce them and situate them in relation to your larger project). Be thorough in thinking about your scope. Provides the methods you will use to complete the project/ develop solution, including specific references to sites, companies, technologies, databases, key texts or theories that you feel will be indispensable to your project. This is also the section in which you might troubleshoot the project, or weigh the benefits and drawbacks of certain solutions Task breakdown provides a timeline and budget for your project. A Gantt chart may be included with a written timeline, though a narrative will often suffice. A conclusion: Address the "So What?" of this research and reiterate your ability to complete the project on time and on budget. Reminds the reader of your central argument.