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Report Writing & Presentation

Table of Contents Page


Executive Summary/Abstract 1. 2.
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Intro uction Purpose of Reports


To share information 2.2 For decision making

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A vantages of reports for communicating Information


3.2 3.3 3.! Practical for large groups Readers can go at their own pace The information can be presented objectivel "oherent presentation of #vidence$arguments

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Presentation an style
!.1 !.2 !.3 !.! !.) !.* %ritten st le and presentation &ength 'eadings &a out of te(t Presentation format +umbering

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Report components
).1 ).2 ).3 ).! ).) ).* ).. )./ ).1 ).13 Title page #(ecutive summar $abstract Table contents ,ntroduction -ain te(t "onclusions Recommendations 0cknowledgements References and 2ibliograph 0ppendices

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Common mista!es
*.1 *.2 *.3 *.! *.) Proof reading ,mpersonal$Third person writing The report format The introduction ,nclude all relevant sections

Executive Summary/Abstract
This is a universal handout on report writing. ,t should assist ou to structure4 research4 organise and author a report that ma be re5uired for assessment purposes 6 either individuall or as part of group. 2 adhering to the assignment specifications 7the subject matter of our assignment8 ou will be able to identif what to include and e(clude from our report. 0 report is broader in range4 and is more action focused than an essa . ,t is a more structured document4 which conve s information that has been e(tracted b the research or investigation conducted thereb making recommendations or offering conclusions to the reader whom re5uires it for a specific purpose. Reports are written for a variet of reasons. 9niversit or progress reports give information on the performance of an individual or department: a surve ors report helps ou decide whether or not to bu a propert : a compan report provides information on its finances thus providing information to its shareholders4 creditors and to prospective investors. "roup Reports ,f ou are re5uired to submit a group report4 even though4 individuall 4 ou ma be looking at different aspects 7and therefore writing a separate section84 ensure that ou and our group work together to produce a coherent report in both content and st le.

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%efinition 0 report could be described as a formal statement of the results of an investigation or research4 or of an matter on which definite information is re5uired. ,t could be produced b an individual or a group. Reports ma be presented orall or in written

form. ,n a report4 situations are anal sed4 conclusions drawn4 alternatives considered and recommendations made. Reports are concise and have a specific structure. 0 good report is one ou don;t need to reread to understand the point. 0cademic units4 which re5uire ou to write reports give ou4 practice in presenting information in a wa which is relevant to our future emplo ment prospects. Reports are different from essa s. #ssa s use information to e(plore ideas and arguments. Their main purpose is to demonstrate that the student can practise skills and abilities in presenting a persuasive case. &. &$# Purpose of Reports To s'are information &arge organisations rel more on the written word than smaller organisations 7where information can be passed on verball 8. (or ecision ma!ing Reports are the basis of significant decision making in industr 4 commerce and public services. A vantages of reports for communicating formation Practical for large groups ,nformation can be transmitted without gathering ever one concerned together at once 7cf. meetings8. Rea ers can go at t'eir o*n pace The receivers of the information can take it in much 5uicker4 reading at twice the speed of listening. T'e information can be presente ob+ectively 'eat and emotion can be removed from the subject. Arguments can be presente co'erently 0 structured format is available to present a case backed up with facts and figures.

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Structural conventions an presentation "eneral "are with presentation can make a vast difference to the professionalism and appearance of a report. 0 well presented report written in an objective4 factual and logical st le which is eas to read is more likel to be accepted than a report which does not meet these standards.

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-engt' The length of the report should be appropriate to its purpose. 0 short report should be concise4 a long report should be comprehensive. %hatever the length4 the material contained should be relevant. The writer should be selective in preparing the report since often some material gathered in the process of preparing the report is not worth including in the finished piece of work. .ea ings 'eadings should be meaningful so that the reader can interpret them correctl and find information re5uired 5uickl . ,mprecise headings such as <=ther considerations< can be infuriating> The headings should follow a logical order. -ayout of text "losel t ped long paragraphs should be avoided. The te(t should be broken up and must present a neat4 well shaped la out with headings4 sub6titles and indentations. P'ysical Presentation The report should be in a format that makes it eas for the reader to consult. ,t must be presented in a format that has a professional appearance4. For e(ample4 the title of the document should be clear: the print must be legible 6 ideall produced on a laser or ink6jet printer: 0 report that fails to meet is unacceptable for a report ?imple plastic envelopes should not be used to submit work. The. 1umbering ,n long reports paragraphs are often numbered for eas reference. ,t is most usual for the decimal numbering s stem to be emplo ed 724 2.!4 2.!.14 2.!.2 etc.8. Components The components of a report normall conform to a standard document4 which must be easil consulted for specific information. The standard pattern of presentation of a report aids the report reader in the same wa that the la out of a recipe book helps someone who is cooking. This inevitabl leads to repetition4 but this is desirable 7unlike in a novel8. For e(ample a conclusion is justified in the main te(t of the report and then given again in the "onclusions section.

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Title page This should be on a separate sheet. The title should help people who have to identif and retrieve the report4 for e(ample for filing4 and should not resemble the title of another report. %ith the title should be the name of the author and the date of completion. The appearance should be neat4 uncluttered and businesslike. Summary/abstract This should be written separatel from the report. ,t gives a brief and factual surve of what is contained in the report itself with the material summarised in the same

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order. ,t should give readers enough information to assess the importance of the material and its relevance to them. /$) Table of contents This should be on a separate sheet of paper listing the contents chronologicall b page number. The titles of each section should make it informative. Intro uction This is to let the reader know what the writer is driving at and what the line of argument is. The necessar background should be stated with an obvious statement of intent and an indication of how the subject is to be developed. The aim is to give the reader an initial frame of reference to assist comprehension and assessment. This should e(plain wh the work was undertaken4 the scope of the work and the limitations 7such as time4 personnel and material8 imposed. "are has to be taken to avoid giving the conclusions of the report here. ,t is important that the introduction is used to introduce the content of the report itself@ it is a common mistake for students to use the introduction to introduce the topic4 rather than what follows in the te(t. 2ain text This should be divided into numbered sections with appropriate and informative headings. The se5uence should be logical4 although not necessaril chronological. The bod of the report should contain a description of all investigations carried out4 a statement of facts covered4 clear arguments and opinions arising from the investigations and the facts uncovered b them. ,llustrations related to the te(t should be placed where the make numerical or descriptive information easier to understand and remember.

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Conclusions These should be firm4 un5ualified statements summarising the findings and inferences of the sections of the main te(t. +o new ideas should be introduced at this point4 but it is acceptable to hint at recommendations. Recommen ations Recommendations should be stated with the readership in mind. There is no need to justif them. That should alread have been done. Ac!no*le gements This section ma come after the title page. ,t should give credit for personal help given4 stimulating and influential ideas4 permission to 5uote from unpublished work. References an bibliograp'y References to publications 7and interviews if appropriate8 will have been made in the te(t. The should be listed in a references list. 0 separate bibliograph ma also be included to cite all material used in putting together the work 7whether this has been

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referred to in the main te(t or not8. ?tudents should use the 0P0 format for referencing and check how to provide ,n6te(t citations in assignments when writing up their reports. /$#6 Appen ices 0ppendices should contain relevant detailed and$or descriptive information which4 although likel to be of interest to the reader and supporting the conclusions4 would interrupt the flow of the argument if included in the main te(t. 0ppendices should not normall be longer than the report itself. Common mista!es stu ents ma!e in report *riting ?tudents regularl make mistakes in their work lowering its 5ualit and affecting the final mark. %hen ou proof read our work check that none of the errors outlined below have crept into our work. Aour work is not read to be handed in until it is proof read4 corrected4 proof read again and4 if necessar corrected once more for another proof reading. %hen planning out how much time ou need to complete our assignment ou must include time for proof reading. T'e impersonal *riter Aou should write impersonall in reports. This means that the word <,< should not appear in our work. Aou should aim to write using the passive voice. ?o instead of writing@ <, have shown that electronic mail is a good medium for communicating across time Bones< ou should write@ <,t has been shown that electronic mail is a good medium for communicating across time Bones<. T'e report format for reports7 t'e essay format for essays The structure of a report should be evident through the use of numbered headings and sub6headings. 7,n contrast4 the structure of an essa should be evident through the line of argument in its content. #ssa s therefore do not usuall come with headings8. T'e intro uction Remember that in the introduction ou should be introducing the content of the report. 0 common mistake is for students to use the introduction to introduce the subject for discussion. ?o4 for e(ample4 a report on the use of computers at the 2ritish &ibrar would have an introduction e(plaining the scope of the report and what is to follow. ,t would not e(plain what a computer is4 nor what the 2ritish &ibrar is. Inclu e all relevant sections ?tick closel to the assignment specification. For e(ample if ou see that 13C of the marks are for a bibliograph of the material ou consulted in preparing our report4 make sure that ou include it. -issing out specified material is a daft wa to lose huge chunks of marks.
Produced b D. #dwards4 &E94 &ondon Fuildhall 9niversit G 2332

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Erew4 ?. H 2ingham4 R. 7111*8. The student skills guide. 0ldershot@ Fower. -ort4 ?. 7111)8. Professional report writing. 0ldershot@ Fower. =rna4 #. 711138. Practical information policies. 0ldershot@ Fower