Originally written as a guide to writing assignments, this is also applicable to writing reports and papers.
The following are five simple steps to easy report writing.
Remember the advice to Army instructors:
- Tell them what your are going to tell them.
- Tell them
- Tell them what you have told them.
That is each report should have:
- an introduction that says what the report is about,
- a body that contains the content of the report, and
- a summary and conclusion that draw the report together.
Before writing your report create an outline. Use bullet points or create a mind-map. Start with approximately five topics. Then break each topic down into about five parts.
Excellent mind-mapping software is available for free from http://freemind.sourceforge.net/
Calculate how many words you have for each part of your report. Allow about 5% for each of the introduction and conclusion. This will leave 90% for the body. If you have 5 topics each split into 5 parts, this will give you 18% for each topic made up of 3.6% per part. For a 500 word report you will have about 25 words for the introduction, 90 words for each topic broken down into about 18 words for each of their 5 parts and 25 words for the summary and conclusion.
For the 500 word report write two sentences for the introduction, one or two sentences for each of the 25 parts and two sentences for the conclusion. After writing each of the introduction, the topics and the conclusion, check that you are within 10% of your target for the length of the introduction / topic / conclusion.
Read and revise your report.
Dr Michael Baker
Joint Programme Director, CSEM-BMP