Guidelines for Writing Reports

Guidelines for Writing Reports - General Guidelines for...

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General Guidelines for Writing Formal Reports Prepared by: Dr. W. Scott Wayne Dr. Alfred H. Stiller Dr. Kristine K. Craven Dr. Robin A. M. Hensel Lloyd J. Ford Freshman Engineering Program WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources Morgantown, WV 1997, 2007
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You will encounter different report formats in your career, depending on your profession, your specific employer and the subject about which you are writing. Whatever the format, you should develop a good approach to report writing. What follows is an example of one report format. A formal report will normally contain the following sections. 1. Cover or Title Page 2. Abstract 3. Table of Contents 4. List of Figures 5. List of Tables 6. Introduction 7. Background 8. Problem Statement 9. Methodology 10. Results and Discussion 11. Conclusions and Recommendations. 12. References 13. Appendices The following is a description of each of these major report sections presented according to the order they appear in the report, not necessarily in the order in which they should be written. Cover or Title Page Formal reports are normally bound with a cover or title page. Since the cover is the first item seen by the reader, it should be attractive and informative. Usually, it contains four pieces of information: 1. Project title. 2. Your clients or supervisors name ("Prepared for. .."). 3. Your name and or the name of the organization ("Prepared by. ..") 4. Date of submission The title should briefly, but clearly describe the work. That is, a student project to design a mousetrap could be called " Design of a Mousetrap " but should not be called " Assignment #3 ." To make your title page, distinctive, and you may want to place a simple illustration or graphic on it, but do not clutter the page. Use illustrations only if it reinforces the main point and if they can be simply and tastefully done. Abstract or Executive Summary The abstract is the most important and most difficult portion of the report to write. It is a "brief" of the entire report and must be written in a manner so that the reader will 2
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get an overall understanding of what is detailed in the report. The abstract must contain four elements: 1. A clear, concise statement of the problem. 2. A short background of the problem. 3. A brief statement of the approach taken to solve the problem. 4. A statement of the most significant results and conclusions Keep the following guidelines in mind: Keep the abstract short. Most readers expect to prefer a concise, short abstract around 500 words. While this is difficult to do properly, it is very important since many times the abstract will be the only part of the report read by highest level decision-makers within the company. If the abstract is too long, the report may be discarded. Avoid technical jargon.
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This note was uploaded on 04/20/2008 for the course IENG 220 taught by Professor Byrd during the Fall '07 term at WVU.

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Guidelines for Writing Reports - General Guidelines for...

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