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How to prepare better reports

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Presentation on theme: "How to prepare better reports"— Presentation transcript:

1 How to prepare better reports
Taken from Essential Study Skills, Burns & Sinfield pp197/208

2 What is a report? A document designed to deal with the real world
A practical document that describes, details or analyses a situation in the real world The reader should be able to make decisions or take action at the end of it

3 The “Why” question Why am I writing this report? – what am I trying to achieve Why am I writing this report – what do I want my reader to think and do after reading my report?

4 Think about the reader Who is my reader?
What can I expect my reader to already know about this topic? How can I deal with this in my report? What can I expect my reader to believe about my topic? What language, tone, style will my reader respond to? TIP: When drafting reports, think of the language, evidence and examples that will influence real reader

5 10 steps to success Prepare to research
Follow the action plan – systematic and targeted research Review your notes Plan the body Write the first draft Leave it Review, revise, edit Proof read Copy/type and hand in Getting it back Tip: You will need to allow time for your seminar tutor to give you feedback on your report – or it will be difficult to reflect on how to improve your work! Tip: when getting work back always make a note of three things you do well, and three ways you could improve and develop your practice

6 Typical report structure:
Title Page Contents Introduction Methodology Findings: - with strap headlines Conclusion Recommendations Bibliography Appendices Glossary

7 What makes a report? Title page Abstract
Title and sub-title – usually divided by a colon : Date – places report in real time Authors name and position – when you write a report, you are often asked to write as though you are a particular person in an organisation Distribution list Abstract A synopsis or summary is the gist of what your report is about It could include: overall aims, specific objectives, the task, procedures or methodology, key findings, key recommendations Tip: as it refers to the whole report – write it last!

8 Contents page Contents - lists clearly all the major sections of the report, including subsections and appendices – with page numbers Tip: Check out the contents pages of books – how do they help you as a reader?

9 Introductions and Bodies………..
Introduction – Should help the reader understand the what, why and how of your report. It needs: Background – why you are interested in the topic or why the report was necessary terms of reference – aim or purpose of your research the methodology – research methods you used to put the report together – literature review, or something more practical: interviews, visits Body – small word, most work! Main part of your report

10 Conclusions and recommendations (nearly finished by now!)
Each part of the body should have a conclusion that points out the implications of your findings, Each conclusion should lead to a recommendation – recommendations tell the reader what to do about something…

11 And finally: Appendices Bibliography
do not count within the word count! Use sparingly – they should not be longer than your main work! To show your reader some of things you have used to compile your report Bibliography Use Harvard system Glossary – a list of unusual words

12 Further assistance: The learning development unit
www/ Has tutors that will work with you one to one You can collect a handout on how to write reports, essays etc etc Write2learn online guide to academic writing available 24 hours on webCT

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