Best Institute of Life Long Learning Report Writing by shakeronline


									Institute of Life Long Learning
         Report Writing
         17May 2008

     Prof. K.V. Bhanu Murthy
     Department of Commerce
•   Types of Reports
•   Choice of topic and type
•   How to Write Reports
•   Anatomy of a Report
•   Presentation
•   Bibliography
•   Copyright issues

        Types of Reports
• Dissertation.
• Thesis (A Ph.D is one type of
• Report
• Essay

• "Dissertation" comes from the Latin term
  dissertātiō, meaning "discourse[1]."
  [1] Discourse is communication that goes
  back and forth (from the Latin, discursus,
  "running to and from"), such as debate or

• The word "thesis" comes from the Greek θέσις,
  meaning "position", and refers to an intellectual
  proposition. That needs to be proved or
• A report is a document characterized by
  information or other content reflective of inquiry
  or investigation, which is tailored to the context
  of a given situation and audience. The purpose
  of reports is usually to inform.

• An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an
  idea into its component parts, evaluates the
  issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and
  evaluation to the audience.
• An expository (explanatory) paper explains
  something to the audience.
• An argumentative paper makes a claim about a
  topic and justifies this claim with specific

            Some Examples
• Dissertation: A critical review of feminist
  criticism in recent Indian writings in English.
  Highlighting the debate.
• Thesis: Have pollution levels gone down in
  Delhi? Arguing the case with some evidence.
• Report: What is sub-prime crisis? Or
  Nanotechnologies in daily life or Global
  Warming. Gathering and presenting
• Essay: Rashtravadi andolan aur yuva lekhak.
• Janvadi lekhakon mein boli ka pratibimb.

Common understanding of a report
• In the practical world of business or government,
  a report conveys information and (sometimes)
  recommendations from a researcher who has
  investigated a topic in detail.
• A report like this will usually be requested by
  people who need the information for a specific
  purpose and their request may be written in
  terms of reference or the brief. Whatever the
  report, it is important to look at the instructions
  for what is wanted
 Considerations for choice of topic
• Current topic – lots of information available on
• Old topic – information available in library. But
  must have scope to show a new angle.
• Scope for data analysis and graphic
  presentation makes the final presentation
  attractive. Good at computers? Go ahead.
• Good expression – essay type better.
• General or specific - Have a specific point to
  make go for thesis. But with only one clearly
  stated hypothesis.

           Criteria for deciding
•   Choice of Issues
•   Assessing your capabilities
•   Availability of information or data
•   Time frame
•   Feasibility
•   Interest

      5 Steps to Report Writing
1.   Define the problem
2.   Gather the necessary information
3.   Analyze the information
4.   Organize the information
5.   Write the report

          Problem definition

• Review the background information - do
  not re-invent the wheel. Use existing
• Pick up the precise topic
• State the problem/ issue
• All of the above has to be done by yourself
  and to yourself. You could consult a
  colleague or senior.
  Strategies to Organize Reports
• Comparison/contrast – FDI -India vs. China
• Problem-solution – Child labour and night
• Elimination of alternatives – Nuclear energy:
  debating alternative sources of energy.
• General to particular – Fundamental rights to
• Geographic or spatial – Female foeticide: The
  Case of Punjab.
• Functional – How do credit cards work?
• Chronological – Fifty years of post colonial
  writings.                                     13
• UK English and US English
  – International English and Indian English
• Denotation and Connotation
  – Let me know when you’re free next week for a
  – Could you let me know what times you have
• Tone
  – She is hung up on trivial details.
  – She is meticulous and takes care of details that
    others sometimes ignore.
                 Writing Style
• Brief writing style
   – Omit needless words
   – Combine sentences
   – Rewrite

            We do IT in Style!
•   Chicago Manual of Style
•   Microsoft Manual of Style
•   AMA Style Guide
•   Dictionary
•   Thesaurus
•   Online research

       Anatomy of a Report
• Cover Page
• Acknowledgements A thank you to the
  people who helped you.
• Contents or Table of Contents
• List of Illustrations
• Executive Summary
• Report Body

               Cover Page
• Cover Sheet This should contain some or
  all of the following: full title of the report;
  your name; the name of the unit of which
  the project is a part; the name of the
  institution; the date.
• If there are multiple authors the presenters
  surname must be in capitals.
• The details of the author for
  correspondence must be given
Contents or Table of Contents
• Headings and subheadings used in the report
  with their page numbers. Remember that each
  new chapter should begin on a new page.

• Use a consistent system in dividing the report into
  parts. The simplest may be to use chapters for each
  major part and subdivide these into sections and
  subsections. 1, 2, 3, etc, can be used as the numbers
  for each chapter. The sections for chapter 3 (for
  example) would be 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, and so on. For a
  further subdivision of a subsection you can use
  3.2.1, 3.2.2, and so on.


                                                       Market Concentration



Herfindal's Index




                           1993   1994   1995   1996    1997           1998   1999   2000   2001   2002


• Abstract or Summary or Executive
  Summary or Introduction
  This is the overview of the whole report. It
  should let the reader see, in advance,
  what is in it. This includes what you set out
  to do, how reviewing literature focused
  and narrowed your research, the relation
  of the methodology you chose to your
  aims, a summary of your findings and of
  your analysis of the findings.
                   Report Body
• Introduction
   – Purpose and Scope; Limitations, Assumptions, and
• Background/History of the Problem
• Layout - section wise
• Body
   – Presents and interprets data
• Conclusions and Recommendations
• References or Works Cited
• Appendixes
   – Interview transcripts, questionnaires, question tallies,
     printouts, and previous reports
       Aims and Purpose
• Aims and Purpose or Aims and

 Why did you do the work? What was the
 problem you were investigating? If you are
 not including a literature review, mention
 here the other research which is relevant
 to your work.

• Methodology deals with the methods and principles used in
  an activity, in this case research. In the methodology
  chapter you explain the method/s you used for the research
  and why you thought they were the appropriate ones. You
  may, for example, be doing mostly documentary research
  or you may have collected you own data.
• You should explain the methods of data collection,
  materials used, subjects interviewed, or places you visited.
  Give a detailed account of how and when you carried out
  your research and explain why you used the particular
  methods which you did use, rather than other methods.
• Included in this discussion should be an examination of
  ethical issues.

             Data Collection

• Primary or Secondary – Questionnaire or
  experimental observations.
• Source – Unctad Trade & Development
  Report 2001.
• Time period – with justification.
• Missing data – treatment of.
• Cross sectional or time series.

Main: Present and interpret data
•   Give a clear presentation of your results:
•   What is the hypothesis (ses) (if any).
•   What did you find out?
•   How did you verify?
•   Could there be any exceptions?
•   Show the essential data and calculations
    here. You may want to use tables, graphs
    and figures.

•  This has two aspects:
•  The written report and the oral
• Regarding the written report look below:
1. General guidelines
2. Document Design
3. FAQ and CE

          General Guidelines I
• Type your paper on a computer and print it out
  on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper,
• Double-space the text of your paper, and use a
  legible font like Times New Roman or Courier.
  The font size should be 10-12 pt.
• Leave only one space after periods or other
  punctuation marks (unless otherwise instructed
  by your instructor).
• Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on
  all sides. Indent the first line of a paragraph one
  half-inch (five spaces or press tab once) from
  the left margin.

         General Guidelines II

• Create a header that numbers all pages
  consecutively in the upper right-hand corner,
  one-half inch from the top and flush with the right
  margin. (Note: Your instructor may ask that you
  omit the number on your first page. Always
  follow your instructor's guidelines.)
• Use either italics or underlining throughout your
  essay for the titles of longer works and, only
  when absolutely necessary, providing emphasis.
• If you have any endnotes, include them on a
  separate page before your Works Cited page.
           Document Design
•   Use no more than 5 fonts.
•   Use no more than 5 colors.
•   Use glossy paper.
•   Use white space.
•   Use templates.
•   Use parallelism.
•   Avoid double emphasis.

              FAQ and CE
• Questions
  – You, We, I – personal pronouns
  – Standards for reports
  – How long?
• Common Errors
  – It’s a common error! Its consequences are
  – Singular & Plural errors.
  – Neutrality (he/she, John)

            Referencing style
•   Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Periodical
    Day Month Year: pages.
•   Poniewozik, James. "TV Makes a Too-Close
    Call." Time 20 Nov. 2000: 70-71.
•   Buchman, Dana. "A Special Education." Good
    Housekeeping Mar. 2006: 143-8.
•   Web-resources:
•   Decent Proposal” by John Fellows,, 2002
•   Newspaper report - Better Business Writing,
    The Sunday Times, 22 April 2002.

      Propriety of references
• Acknowledge all sources.
• All things referred to in the text must
  appear in bibliography.
• All things in bibliography must find a place
  in the text and must be referenced. Smith
  (2003) or [2] Arya.
• References must be in alphabetical order.

• All open source material like wikipedia need
  not be referenced.
• Figures / Tables from net or books should be if
  source is open and known.
• Some websites like “open learn” of Open
  University UK, only need acknowledging.
• Source code from “open source” need not.
• Priced material/published material can be
  used if acknowledged and after permission.

           Oral Presentation
• Avoid lengthy and technical explanation. Judges
  already know the subject matter.
• Acknowledge your co-authors and others’ if
• Prepare 1 slide per minute of presentation.
• Try to engage the audience.
• Do not read out very fast.
• Pause at logical place.
• Stand erect and look just above the spectators.
•   How was my presentation?
•   Thanks!
•   Any queries please address to
•   Any praise: to the organizers.


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