Everything is simple with an oral report. You prepare a brief summary or plan, then speak in front of the audience. It is not necessary to show notes to anyone. A written report is a completely different matter. Today, we are going to tell you what report structure you need to adhere to and how to deal with report writing successfully.
There are no clear rules for preparing a report. This does not mean that you have the right to write by hand, or to forget about the title page, the bibliography, and the introduction. This only means that in each educational institution – the middle or higher ones – there are their own regulations and rules. Moreover, each teacher is free to set his or her demands on the report structure, volume, and type of work.
Structure of the Report
- Title page
- Table of contents
- Main part
Each part of the report begins with a new page, including paragraphs and chapters (if any) of the main part. The structure can be different. For example, if the teacher requires only the main part, you can leave only the title page. The bibliography does not always need to be formalized, but in any case you have to fix the sources from which you took the information.
Stages of Work on the Report
- Selection and study of the main sources on the topic (as well as when writing an essay, it is recommended to use at least 8 to 10 sources).
- Compilation of bibliography.
- Processing and systematization of the material, preparation of conclusions and generalizations.
- Development of a report plan.
- Public presentation with the results of the study.
The report combines three qualities of the researcher: the ability to conduct research, the ability to present the results to listeners, and to answer questions in a qualified manner. A distinctive feature of the report is the scientific, academic style. Academic style is a very special way of submitting text material, and is most suitable for writing educational and scientific works. This style defines the following norms:
- The sentences can be long and complex.
- Often words of foreign origins and different terms are used.
- Use introductory constructions such as “apparently” and “in our opinion.”
- the author’s position should be as transparent as possible, that is, there should be no pronouns such as “I” and “my.”
- In the text there may be cliches and common words.
Should You Write by Hand?
Fifteen to twenty years ago, teachers were loyal to the “rule of papers being written by hand. If desired, it was possible to deal with technical report writing using handwriting. Times have changed. It’s not difficult to find a computer, and it’s inexpensive to print a report out. Therefore, even if the teacher does not require a printed work, do not make him or her suffer, analyzing your handwriting. Even if you come from a remote province where technology has not gotten to you, and do not know how to work in Word (interestingly, does it happen?), contact a special company where they print students’ papers, ask a friend or a neighbor, or order a report – there is always a way out.
How to Make a Report in Printed Form
So, open Word, select the font Times New Roman and start. For normal text, the font size can be 12-14; between the lines, set the interval of 1.5-2. The size of the margins depends on the specific requirements. If there are no clear rules for writing a report, use the default margin sizes. For headings, the size is 14-16. You can create them automatically using standard Word tools (by putting “Heading 1,” “Heading 2,” etc.). Periods “should not be placed at the end of headings!
Page numbering and footnotes are also made using standard program tools. All pages are numbered. The title page is considered the first page.
Making the Table of Contents of the Report
If the table of contents should be at the top, at the center of the page, type “Content” (or “Table of Contents”), then list the parts of the work (introduction, chapter or paragraph titles, conclusion, bibliography). Specify the page number for each part. Numbering begins with the number 3 (on the “first page – the title page; on the second page – the table of contents).
Ask your instructor whether you need to fill the space between the part name and the page number with periods. If there are no clear requirements, you can use periods.
Working on the Bibliography
Even a child knows how to draw up a report without a bibliography. Usually, it is not used for while technical report writing. However, it is much more complicated with other types of reports. Here there are clear requirements for MLA style:
- The author’s book (including writing done by a group of authors) is made as follows:
Knox, Paul L., and Linda McCarthy. Urbanization: an introduction to urban geography. Pearson, 2012.
That is, first the names of the authors, then the title of the book, the city and the publishing house, the year of release, the number of pages are included.
- The book under someone’s editorship (encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.) is made as follows:
Meier, Matt S., and Gutiérrez Margo. The Mexican American experience: an encyclopedia. Greenwood Press, 2003.
So, first we put the title, then the editor’s name, the city, the publisher, the year and the number of pages.
- The publication in the journal / newspaper is made as follows:
Sharp, Paul. “The diplomatic tradition: Diplomacy; diplomats and international relations.” Diplomatic Theory of International Relations, pp. 93–110.
Thus, first we specify the author and the title of the article, then the title of the magazine, the year of publishing, the edition number, pages.
- Internet publication can also be used. Make it like this:
“Labour law.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Dec. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labour_law.
That is, first we specify the title, then the name of the resource and the exact address.
Next you just need to create a title page and print out the report. Ideally, the sheets should be in files and a folder. You can join the sheets with a paper clip or other means. After presenting the report, you may be asked some questions by the audience. If you need time to gather your thoughts, then having previously prepared charts, diagrams, photos, etc. will help you to win precious time for formulating the answer, and sometimes give a ready answer. If you follow these rules, you should get an interesting report that will undoubtedly be highly appreciated by the teacher.
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