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REPORT WRITING GUIDELINES SCIENTIFIC REPORT (A) INTRODUCTION Experimental data become useful to other workers only when it is communicated. The writing of reports occupies a considerable portion of the time of any professional chemist, whether industrial or academic. Therefore, it is essential to develop good skills in writing reports. At the same time this exercise encourages to study original chemical literature, a practice which is also of utmost importance to the chemist. (B) THE READER In the preparation of a report, it is important to bear the intended reader in mind. The report should be written at a level that is understandable to the reader but at the same time does not insult his/her intelligence. Reports prepared for these courses should be directed at a colleague, i.e., a fellow student in chemistry, with knowledge of basic scientific principles at the U2 level, who has not encountered the experiment. (C) THE FORMAT The reports should be word-processed (double-space) and printed on standard size loose- leaf paper using only one side, which will appear as the right hand page when the report is presented in the folder provided. Each page must be numbered for handy reference. Reports written in this manner are easy to read and leave sufficient space for the reader to make comments and suggestions. The report should follow the accepted conventions of publications in Physical Chemistry, to include an abstract, sections on basic theory, experimental details, results, discussion and a reference list of pertinent literature. In general, scientific reports should be written in the PAST TENSE and be impersonal, e.g., "The temperature was noted." or "Solutions were prepared.", etc. Personal pronouns such as I, we, you, etc., should NOT be used nor should "one", as in "one may deduce. ..", be used. Symbols or numerals should NOT appear at the beginning of a sentence. Contractions such as aren't, isn't, etc. are not used in formal reports. To aid the preparation of the report a brief overview of the purpose or aim of the
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experiment should be developed after the experimental data have been processed. The report should reflect a careful assessment of the basic aims of the experiment and the extent to which these have been achieved by the results that emerge from the data. The final report should be reread before it is submitted with special attention to how closely it adheres to the original aim. Lengthy digressions from the main topic detract from the quality of the report. A good report is CONCISE and to the point without being so abbreviated that the arguments become incomprehensible. The various sections of the report should have proper headings and subheadings according to the following format: The heading of a section appears in the centre of the page in capital letters. The first subheading appears at the left hand margin, again in capital letters. Subheadings of these
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