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Chap14 - 14 The Report 14.1 Introduction Although this...

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14 The Report 14.1 Introduction Although this chapter is placed at the end of the book, it does not mean that you should consider the writing of your report as the last step in your project. Rather, writing should be considered a continuous process, carried out throughout the dura- tion of the project. One reason for this is that the report fulfils several purposes. Most importantly, the report represents the means for disseminating results and experiences to other people (it is also a proof of project existence). Writing is also an excellent way of structuring your thoughts. Therefore, writing during the different stages of your project helps you to keep the focus in the project. It also helps you to communi- cate with your supervisor, and it provides another means for you to get his/her feed- back on drafts of different parts of the report while you are working on the project. When you proofread your writing you should ask yourself, “Have I said what I wanted to say?” If not, you should go back and engage in some redrafting. Becoming a good writer takes a lot of time. The best researchers spend significant time making sure their presentation is excellent, often rewriting sentences and para- graphs numerous times before they are satisfied. This is part of what makes them so good. You should remember that it does not matter how brilliant your work is if it is not being disseminated. Poor writing will undermine your authority in the reader’s eyes, and good writing will strengthen it. However, remember that you should always write to be understood, not to impress! When writing a report, you should communicate the results to the target reader groups as efficiently as possible. This means that the language and structure must enable the reader to understand the contents with minimum effort. Efficient com- munication does not imply anything about the length of the report, since efficient communication is not about the text being short or long. In any academic project, it is also important that the results are reported truth- fully. Hence, all significant results should be included in the report, even if they are unfavourable ones. Remember that the purpose of academic projects is to extend the state-of-the-art knowledge. If only favourable results were reported then we would definitely not have a full understanding of the problem. Thus, it is your responsibility to truthfully and objectively report both expected and unexpected 122 M. Berndtsson et al. (eds.), Planning and Implementing your Computing Project - with Success! © Springer 2008
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results; that is the nature of the scientific voyage and it is the foundation which knowledge is based on. A common question that many students raise is how long the report should be.
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