16 Report
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16 Report example: Report Headings ABSRACT: See chapter 1. This may be the only section that some people read, so make sure it represents the whole thing. TABLE OF CONTENTS: The longer the report, the more important this page is. Make it easy to understand at a glance, which generally means using dot leaders between the contents and the page number. See the table of contents for this book. LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES: Now we’re getting really technical . . . but if you’ve got figures and tables, list them. FOREWORD AND/OR PREFACE: Either of these sections situates the report in context—why was it written, why is it significant, how does it relate to other works in the field? Forewords are usually written by someone other than the report’s author, preferably an expert in the field whose name will lend the report some authority. The preface is written by the report’s author(s) and may acknowledge support and help received. Report    113 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AND SYMBOLS: Only if you’re using ones that readers won’t understand. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This is the first part of the body of the report. Longer (up to 10 percent the length of the report) and more complete than the abstract, the executive summary includes the project’s purpose, background, methods, findings, and recommendations. It needs to make sense on its own, in case it’s the only part of the report that someone reads. INTRODUCTION: If you include all these parts of the report, you’re going to end up repeating yourself—the introduction is likely to contain some of the same material as the preface and executive summary. The introduction should orient the reader to the general content of the report, why it was written, and how it will be presented. None of these introductory sections should mention specific findings, recommendations, or tables and figures. THE TEXT ITSELF: This may be the most familiar part of the report for someone who has written other papers and essays, but the style of the text or “body” should be consistent with the rest of the report: lots of headings and subheadings, white space, and sign posts to help the reader along. If you haven’t had much experience with headings, you may find they’re a little trickier than they appear. You need to make sure that headings on the same level use the same kind of font and indentation and are grammatically parallel. A reader should be able to skim your report, reading just the headings, and get a pretty good sense of what the whole report is about. Figures and tables should be numbered and given a title, and the text should refer to them by number. Sometimes they are placed in the text as soon after they’re mentioned as possible , and sometimes reserved for an appendix. See if your organization has a standard method of handling figures and tables, as well as explanatory notes. Generally, the closer such things are to the text that refers to them, the more likely they are to be read. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: In a longer report, these should be separate sections. The conclusions should grow naturally out of the text and should be consistent with the scope and focus of the project laid out in the introduction. Not every report will make recommendations; the report may not be conclusive enough for the author to recommend what should happen next. WORKS CITED/REFERENCES: As is true for any academic paper, a report must list the sources referred to, or quoted from, usually on a page at the end of the body, labeled “Works Cited” by those following MLA guidelines, “References” by writers using APA. BIBLIOGRAPHY: If the report’s author consulted sources not listed in the Works Cited or References section, those sources can be included in a moreinclusive bibliography, the first section in the “back matter.” 114    Genres APPENDICES: Sometimes the appendix is longer than the body of the report, as it may contain technical details for several of the report’s audiences. Figures and tables, as well as such things as sample surveys, may be included in the appendix. Try to work anything important to all your readers into the body of the report; reserve appendices for information that will interest only some readers. GLOSSARY: If the report uses technical terminology not explained within the body, it should include a glossary of definitions, arranged alphabetically. INDEX: An index can...

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