How To Write A Report
How To Write A Report
Writing reports takes organisation and practice, each skill filling gaps throughout the actual writing process. As you idea begins to take shape, consider alternatives to your topic. Are there other theories that may prove more interesting? Are you merely stating the obvious? Your thesis or statement of intent must be a debatable, often controversial, and well-developed idea. As you form the body and main points of your essay, they will all stem from this one main source of contention, so be sure that you understand your claims before you begin the writing process. Oftentimes researchers will find that their thesis changes in the process of investigating their topic; this is okay. It is important that before you start to further develop your main ideas, though, that you have identified one main thesis and are committed to it. This statement will live in the body of your introduction at the end of the paragraph.
High-quality research is probably the most important aspect of concise and provocative writing; therefore, make sure that you give yourself enough time to investigate and compile your support data. Before you begin sourcing ideas, make sure that you have some direction as to what sources will most benefit your thesis. These should be academic, primarily published, and easily accessible. As you begin your research, compiling your data becomes an important part of the report process. Some tactics for capturing information in an organised fashion include using note cards where key points and their source are printed on one side of the card, allowing you to easily organise them later; additionally, researchers will use an outline structure as they encounter ideas, putting quotes and summary data under key headings which will assist in developing the body of your report. Regardless of your research approach, make sure that the recovered data is relevant, accurate, and from high quality sources.
Once background information has been compiled, the report structure must take shape, allowing you to easily begin the writing process. The first step in organising your data set is to outline the report. Start your process by linking key points and ideas together, placing emphasis on those topics that seem to best support your thesis statement. Then, list your topics placing the most interesting points first and moving towards your conclusion. Each paragraph should have a fundamental topic and three to four supporting sentences, references, or ideas. Considering the expected length of your report, this outline can expand and contract to meet the guidelines, but once you being the writing process, it's merits are substantial.
What Is A Report?
The writing process is often daunting and challenging, leading some writers to attempt to skip steps to compete the task as quickly as possible. Given the depth of your research and the organisation of your outline, this should really be no more than filling in your independent thoughts and key insight. Regardless of your experience level with reports, this process can be easily directed into multiple stages allowing you to consider your information as you pursue a completed project. First and foremost, make sure that you have enough time to complete your rough draft. By allowing yourself an opportunity to complete a rough draft in a single sitting, you will be able to mentally link all of the main points without distraction or procrastination. If you feel that your report is too long to accomplish in a single time frame then break it up into several sections, each one written as though it was a mini report. When you have finished this initial writing process, you will have a rough, but conceptually complete draft that can be rapidly revised and polished at a later sitting or after a brief break.
The revision process is perhaps the most overlooked part of the report undertaking. After completing the first draft it is easy to let your mind wander and other activities reduce your commitment to polishing and finalising your report. If you feel this happening, let your draft sit for a day or until you have ample time to ruthlessly cut and redress the grammatical and conceptual errors which may be lurking within. Upon sitting down with your draft, skim through it and remind yourself of the thesis statement, the key points, and the concluding argument. Ask yourself if you can hear your unique voice within the essay or simply the regurgitation of other researchers. If your draft is still on the computer, print it out and get a coloured pen. The editing process is painful and oftentimes frustrating; however, you must become your best critic and cut those unnecessary words and sentences before they reduce your authority. Check for flow, thought progression, strength of voice, and conclusion. Make sure that everything is directed towards proving your original thesis.
When the revision process is complete, your draft should be edited and all changes saved under a different file name. This secondary draft is not yet complete; however many students will skip this step, assuming that their revision must be a perfect final copy. The truth is that many times revisions will cause ideas to detach from their normal progression, limiting the flow of the report. Read through your writing one more time. Do your changes make sense? Does your conclusion reattach meaning to your thesis? Are there any new grammatical or punctual errors? Once you can realistically say that this is the most polished and perfect piece of writing you can create, you have your final copy. Resave this file under a unique file name so that you have your completed report, drafts and outline in an accessible file. It is the experience with organising your data in this way as well as the learning experience throughout the overall process that will make you a better writer. Reports always seem daunting until we pursue them step by step; and through this effort, your ideas will arise concise and well-developed, your paper will be neat and directed, and the process will become easy and much more enjoyable.