Q:

What are some guidelines for writing reports?

A:

Quick Answer

Columbia University in New York City suggests that a written report should have the following sections: title page, abstract, introduction, body of the report (including materials and methods), results and discussion, conclusions, and references. According to Birmingham University, reports must always be accurate, concise, clear and well-structured.

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Full Answer

Regarding the components of a report, the abstract follows directly after the title. It is a brief summary of the report contents to help readers decide whether to read the report or not. The introduction follows, which must state clearly the problems being discussed, and why each problem is of interest. The introduction must also provide background information and the significance of each problem.

The body of the report comes after the introduction. According to University of Sheffield, a report body includes background, one or more chapters to describe the situation, the problem and its solution, one chapter containing a discussion of results or findings, and a concluding chapter to summarize the outcomes of the project.

The background section reviews previous work done by other people that is relevant to the subject. The results section normally includes statistics, tables or graphs. The conclusion is to draw out the implications of the findings based solely on the facts described in the main body. New material shouldn't be included in the conclusion.

The last section, references, is important and used for various reasons, including to acknowledge the source of material being used, to tell the reader where the confirmation of statements in the report can be found, as well as where to find a more extensive and detailed discussion of the subject.

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