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Published byAri Hansen Modified over 8 years ago
Outlines and Text Structure ©Feb 2003 Dr. Bradley C Paul
Need for Outline Report has over-all outline imposed as in last lecture Ideas must follow so that people have knowledge before they need it Avoids repetition Usually accomplished with layouts of Middle Technical Sections Suggestion – Do Global Outline Fairly early in work
Further Outline Development Each Section Generally Needs an Outline for same reasons as Global Outline was needed Are Complexities in Teams Often individual sections are delegated to team members Individuals often develop own outline as part of a delegated mini-report May want to have some outline check to make sure peoples work scopes are meeting
The Individual Outline Usually Start with a Context Section Why is this section being done and how does it fit into the over-all plan or design Go to Work Scope What will the section do and what methods will be employed Alternatives Considered Rejection and selection rationale Over-all Statement of Plan May include over-all recommended action
Individual Outline Cont. Technical Details of Plan Again may arrange by sequence By need for background to build bigger concepts May arrange by operations and cost centers Address Technical Concerns Summarize the Result Establish the economic or technical viability – lock in and justify conclusions
Comments on Individual Outlines There is much of individual opinion and task specific need I have outlined basic elements that will usually need to be addressed Give you some direction in building an outline Yes, some of this stuff would be called my opinion
Don’t Overbuild the Outline Have your teams build the Global Outline Let individuals build an over-all outline of their sections May want to have a scope check to make sure everyone's scopes meet Outlines can be built all the way down to the paragraph and sentence order Don’t do that yet
Doing Early Outlining with the Right Point in Mind Early outlines are not to write the paper Reason said don’t over build it Early outline do Break the project into comprehensible pieces Allow you to check that the needs that must be addressed in the document have been met Make certain that reader is brought up to speed and then fed information needed to follow and understand specific results Show where material will be addressed so as to avoid detours in writing that distract from correct purpose of each section
Global Outline Usually Defines Sections of Actual Report Individual Outlines Give an Idea of how deep the outline structure is going to be Outline Points will usually become the Sections, Headings, and Subheadings of the Report Don’t need to copy wording Good explanation of idea ordering is not necessarily a good heading – don’t distract yourself trying to do both at once
The Heading Structure Look at outlines gives you an idea of what kinds and how many headings and subheading will be used Customary to Use Specific Formats for each Heading Level A heading may have one format A subheading another format A sub-sub heading another format These heading format structures are often defined by “style guides”
Style Guides Style Guides been compiled by English Majors Turabian (after Kate Turabian) Professions or Leading Journals in a Field have Style Outlines SME has a guide Society of Economic Geologists Companies or Departments may adopt or even create style guide Groups very with rigors of detail enforcement but Sloppy and inconsistent headings always draws unfavorable notice
Simple Styles for Short Documents Main Heading Subheading Sub-Sub heading Sub-Sub-Sub heading: Works really well if document is short (so people don’t loose track) And if no one has a sub-sub-sub-sub heading Your Sr. Design Reports Probably Don’t meet the criteria
Outline Copy Headings A – Main Heading 1 B – Main Heading 2 B1 – Subheading 1 B2 – Subheading 2 C – Main Heading 3 C1- Subheading 1 C1a – Sub-Sub Heading
Suggested Heading Structure for Large Reports Use a Numeric Structure 1 – Main Heading 1 2 – Main Heading 2 2.1 subheading 1 (can go on up ie 2.14) 2.2 subheading 2 2.2.1 sub-sub heading 1 Numeric Structure Supports Many Heading Levels Won’t blow-up if you find you have one heading depth more than you thought
Numeric Headings Reading can quickly identify depth of subheading without having memorized same style guide Just count the number of numbers in the heading Ie – XX.xx.XX is a 3 rd level subhead Don’t have to worry about running out of alphabet letters Table of Contents readily takes on structure of the original outline
Appendix Matching Dilemmas Numeric Main Text Structure can be hard to match to appendices Simple Subheads with Underlines and indents is for short documents Usually don’t have appendices Alpha-Numeric Text Headings Suggest Appendices Section A has appendix material in Appendix A Section B has appendix material in Appendix B
The Trap Section 1 has an appendix Section 2 does not Section 3 does Now you have Appendix 1 and Appendix 3 Leaves reading looking for Appendix 2
Alpha-Numeric Alternatives Can Have Appendices A, B, C …. AA, AB, AC Just like alpha heading on spreadsheet Can have multiple appendices in one section, none in another Reader never feels he lost an appendix No Natural Structure relates appendices back to main text When the Author of Section 3 finishes his work in appendix B, the Author of Section 2 suddenly decides he does need an appendix after all. If have to go back through and change all the text references and headings in the appendix you will make a mistake Possibly killing the bugger that did this to you
Solutions to Dilemma Very You may choose appendix structure that will work for your document Your boss may have an imposed style One I Like Appendices A1 to match section 1 Appendix A2.1 to match subsection 2.1 Appendix B to contain Drawings Appendix C to contain Standard Tables, Glossaries etc.
Suggested Sequence of Work Do Your Global Outline Check to make sure that your needs and concerns have been met and that your outline brings people up to speed gives them an overview and then gives them background to understand things as they develop Have Team Members Do Individual Section Outlines Check them for Fit and Match Make a decision as to how you will label headings, subheadings and appendices and then be consistent
Your Assignment Get together as a group and make a decision as to how you will do your headings and appendices Turn in a summary style guide statement for your group
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