How to write a report

Characteristics

A report is a structured, well organized document which defines and analyzes a topic in depth. It is always written with a specific purpose in mind. While an essay may deal with a number of topics such as: academic, literary or personal experience where a subjective point of view is required, a report is always objective and factual. Personal feelings and overly descriptive or emotional words are to be avoided.

Choose Your topic

If the topic of your report is not already assigned  for you, choose a topic that interests you and one that you can understand. When writing a report, it always helps to know your audience. This will help you determine vocabulary, what details to use and what to emphasize.

Research Your Topic

As with an essay, always record your sources and URLS. Collect information and data by using the library, encyclopedia, or online academic data bases when researching your topic for central ideas. Jot down information and quotes. Keep your topic question in mind.

Plagiarism

Mariam-Webster Collegiate Online Dictionary defines plagiarism as “to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own : use (another’s production) without crediting the source”.

Copying short texts or passages from an online source with the Ctrl+C function in Word and pasting them into your written text by your (Ctrl+V) function should always be avoided. It is much better to give credit to the writers of the sources you have used. Your readers may also benefit by using them at a later time. Quotations, for example, consist of exact words taken from a source and must be enclosed in quotation marks (“….”).

Analyze

Search for and always evaluate the evidence to support your information. Be critical.

The Thesis

The thesis is your topic idea or objective you want to report on. The thesis should be included both in the introduction to your report and its conclusion. Be clear and specific.

Brainstorming

With your topic question in mind, write down all your ideas on a sheet of paper. Ask yourself the following questions:
–    What is the main problem?
–    What do I want to prove?
–    Does the evidence support the information?
–    Is the evidence biased (ensidig)?

The Writing Process

Outline your Report
Outline your report by using your main ideas from your brainstorming sheet. Make a mind map to visualize what you want to say. Present your information in a logical order: main ideas come first, then the evidence. A report is usually broken up into sections. Use numbers 1,2,3, etc for each Heading (main idea) in each section and 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 etc. for Sub-headings. Cut out any irrelevant information.

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