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Linda M. Perry
lmperry@ufl.edu


 

 

© Linda M. Perry
2015

Managing Communication Campaigns > Lectures >

Writing the Report

  • Reports
    • Communicate
      • Research results
      • Activities in an organization
    • Provide
      • A record of accomplishments

  • General Guidelines for Reports
    • 1. Plan
      • Purpose
      • Readers’ needs & expectations
      • Outline main points
        • Table of contents

    • 2. Separate fact from opinion
      • Findings: facts
        • Problem statement
        • Watch judgment words!
      • Conclusions: ideas, beliefs based on findings
      • Recommendations: suggestions or calls to action
        • Grounded in fact, in the findings

    • 3. Make text visually appealing
      • Bullets for short lists
      • Numbers for longer lists or that include ordered steps
      • Headings and subheadings
      • Paragraph indents or space between paragraphs if block style

    • 4. Illustrations for clarification & persuasion
      • Tables or figures

    • 5. Edit carefully
      • Short, simple sentences
      • Proofread, including headings
      • Check figures and math, attachments
      • Several team members read
        • Best editor read last

  • Formal Reports
    • Six or more pages
    • More complex than informal reports
      • Different parts for different readers, so clearly label
      • Important information first
      • Repeat key points when necessary

    • ABC format
      • Abstract (executive summary) for decision makers
      • Supporting details in body
        • Citations throughout
      • Conclusion w/ call to action (your plan)

  • Parts of a Formal Report
    • Title page
    • Memo/Letter of transmittal
    • Table of contents
    • List of illustrations
    • Executive summary (abstract)
    • Introduction
    • Findings
    • Discussion section
    • Conclusions & recommendations
    • End Material

  • Title Page
    • Cover or title page
      • Project title
      • Organization’s name
      • Your names
      • Date of submission
    • Keep it simple, uncluttered

  • Letter/Memo of Transmission
    • Taste of report
      • Prime readers
      • Include major finding(s), conclusion(s) or recommendation(s)
      • Only part of report in first and second person
      • Acknowledgements
    • Letter to outside readers
    • Memo to inside readers
    • Part of report, after title page

  • Table of Contents
    • Make it very readable
      • Space between items
      • Indent subheads
      • Include page numbers, at least for major headings
    • Indicate what section contains
    • Use parallel grammatical construction

  • Executive Summary (Abstract)
    • One page
    • Include important conclusions and recommendations
      • Only the major points
      • Include problem statement
      • No citations
    • Avoid referencing the body

  • Introduction
    • Prepare audience for discussion ahead
    • Short paragraph that includes:
      • Purpose Statement
      • Scope, or range of information
        • Parallel order in report
      • Project description
        • Problem that led to the report
      • Continue report on same page.

  • Findings
    • Use headings from rubric checklist
    • Third-person and objective

  • Discussion Section
    • Move from facts to opinions
      • Move from facts/findings toward conclusions and recommendations
        • Analyze data, findings (e.g. SWOT) to form conclusions
          • Problem Statement
        • Develop recommendations that flow from conclusions
    • Use frequent headings and subheadings

  • Conclusions and Recommendations
    • Conclusions are convictions or beliefs
      • Based on your findings
    • Recommendations are suggested actions
      • Based on your conclusions
    • Section can take the heading:
      • Conclusions OR
      • Recommendations OR
      • Conclusions and Recommendations

  • End Material
    • Appendices
      • Includes prototypes (fliers, posters, screenshots from web pages, press kit, etc.)
    • Works cited or references
      • Give author, surname name first
      • Name of article
      • Name of publication
      • Date of publication
      • If from Internet, date of retrieval (APA, plus)
      • If from interview, give name, date and kind of interview
        • Personal (face-to-face), telephone, email, etc.

  • Style
    • American Psychological Association (APA)
      • Social science
      • Citations, Abbreviations, Oxford comma, %
      • FAQ; Purdue Owl

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