Writing Reports: Identify these stages I) Obtaining a clear specification II) Research & preparation III) Report writing.
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Writing Reports: Identify these stages I) Obtaining a clear specification II) Research & preparation III) Report writing
Writing Reports: Identify these stages I) Obtain a clear specification: Establish which items really need to be included to meet the needs of the audience.
Before putting pen to paper answer the questions: A) Audience: Spend time to research & reflect on your “target” audience. Ex/ Similar background? Existing experience level? Technical language? Positive, negative or neutral views?
B) Purpose: Consider WHY you are drafting the report => Primary purpose + Secondary items Use these purposes to inform decisions on the kinds of language used in the report.
C) The Context in which the Report will be read: Consider the wider setting in which your report is being prepared. Ex/ Urgent deadline for delivery? Routine publication? Designed to work with other communication channels?
D)Sources: Where are the sources of secondary data? Available in an electronic format? Interview => Willing to grant you a meeting? Source material; Commercially & politically sensitive? Any copyright regulations? Ethical issues about use of the information? Quality of each resource (credibility, accuracy)?
II) Researching & Organizing the source material Write the topics to be covered Begin to identify the most important sources for the topics Formulate your report May ask a research question? => associate it with the body of evidence.
III) Report Writing: Activity of writing: Source of learning Different cultures show distinctive preferences The guidance that will be presented is influenced by British conventions for structuring & presenting material.
Organizing the source material: Draft an initial outline structure: Identify the main and sub-sections Consider the order in which each topic should be placed. Getting a report in order- Alternative sequences: Importance Urgency Date/Chronology Simple to complex Global to specific
Structuring Academic Dissertations & Business Reports Business reports have a narrower focus Dissertation always includes a discussion of the wider implications of the findings. Business reports have a shorter- term and more managerial focus.
Academic DissertationsBusiness Reports Title Page Abstract Contents page Introduction Literature review Research methods Findings Discussion Conclusions Recommendations References Appendices Title Page Executive Summary Contents Page Introduction Findings Conclusions Recommendations
Title Page: Clear, concise & unambiguous Ex/Short “main” title, followed by a colon & more explanatory sub-title (Project Equinox: Progress Report for the period 2005-07) Author’s Name Date of Publication
Abstract Allow the reader to make a rapid assessment of whether the report is relevant to their needs Emphasize the key recommendations of the report Brief explanations about the aim of writing the report, research techniques, results & conclusion.
Contents Page Provides an overview of the report Section numbers and headings, with their respective page numbers Keep headings short Use consistent use of typography: sample hierarchy of headings Ex/ Chapter Title: 20 pt, bold Main Headings: 12 pt, bold, upper case Sub-Headings: 12 pt, bold, lower case
Introduction Welcoming to the new arrival Contain a “chapter summary”; outlining how the topic is to be tackled in the following chapters; but brief May include: State the reasons for writing the report Establish its importance
Literature Review Review the critical points of current knowledge and on a particular topic. A logical flow of ideas; Current and relevant references with consistent, appropriate referencing style; Unbiased & comprehensive view of the previous research on the topic. Describe, summarize, evaluate, clarify and/or integrate the content of primary reports
Research Methods Qualitative Quantitative Findings Discussion
Conclusion Key arguments and/or findings of the report SHOULD relate back to the original objectives of the report Provides the author with a useful check that everything has been addressed
Recommendations Sometimes combined with conclusion. Flow logically from the points made in the conclusion Recommend further research, based on the findings of the report.
References For an article: Cheung, C. and Chan, C. (2000), “Learning to Work Safely with Reference to a Social-Cognitive Model”, Social Behavior and Personality, 28 (3), 293-308. For a book: Armstrong, G. and Kotler, D. (2003), “Marketing- An Introduction”, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Appendices Detailed data Analytical material Make the structure visible: Graphical items; charts & photographs help to identify the main subject areas
Variable Data & Writing Style No spelling & grammar mistakes General: 12 pt, TNR, single line spacing The authors should agree on grammatical & stylistic issues: Decide on using present or past tense and active or passive voice!