Steps in writing a Report30th January 2021
Report writing is a formal style of writing elaborately on a topic. The tone of a report and report writing format is always formal. The important section to focus on is the target audience.
Research reports are the product of slow, painstaking, accurate inductive work. The usual steps involved in writing report are:
- Logical analysis of the subject-matter;
- Preparation of the final outline;
- Preparation of the rough draft;
- Rewriting and polishing;
- Preparation of the final bibliography; and
- Writing the final draft.
Though all these steps are self-explanatory, yet a brief mention of each one of these will be appropriate for better understanding.
Logical analysis of the subject matter: It is the first step which is primarily concerned with the development of a subject. There are two ways in which to develop a subject
- Logically and
The logical development is made on the basis of mental connections and associations between the one thing and another by means of analysis. Logical treatment often consists in developing the material from the simple possible to the most complex structures. Chronological development is based on a connection or sequence in time or occurrence. The directions for doing or making something usually follow the chronological order.
Preparation of the final outline: It is the next step in writing the research report “Outlines are the framework upon which long written works are constructed. They are an aid to the logical organization of the material and a reminder of the points to be stressed in the report.”
Preparation of the rough draft: This follows the logical analysis of the subject and the preparation of the final outline. Such a step is of utmost importance for the researcher now sits to write down what he has done in the context of his research study. He will write down the procedure adopted by him in collecting the material for his study along with various limitations faced by him, the technique of analysis adopted by him, the broad findings and generalizations and the various suggestions he wants to offer regarding the problem concerned.
Rewriting and polishing of the rough draft: This step happens to be most difficult part of all formal writing. Usually this step requires more time than the writing of the rough draft. The careful revision makes the difference between a mediocre and a good piece of writing. While rewriting and polishing, one should check the report for weaknesses in logical development or presentation. The researcher should also “see whether or not the material, as it is presented, has unity and cohesion; does the report stand upright and firm and exhibit a definite pattern, like a marble arch? Or does it resemble an old wall of moldering cement and loose brick.” In addition the researcher should give due attention to the fact that in his rough draft he has been consistent or not. He should check the mechanics of writing grammar, spelling and usage.
Preparation of the final bibliography: Next in order comes the task of the preparation of the final bibliography. The bibliography, which is generally appended to the research report, is a list of books in some way pertinent to the research which has been done. It should contain all those works which the researcher has consulted. The bibliography should be arranged alphabetically and may be divided into two parts; the first part may contain the names of books and pamphlets, and the second part may contain the names of magazine and newspaper articles. Generally, this pattern of bibliography is considered convenient and satisfactory from the point of view of reader, though it is not the only way of presenting bibliography. The entries in bibliography should be made adopting the following order:
For books and pamphlets the order may be as under:
- Name of author, last name first.
- Title, underlined to indicate italics.
- Place, publisher, and date of publication.
- Number of volumes.
Kothari, C.R., Quantitative Techniques, New Delhi, Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., 1978.
For magazines and newspapers the order may be as under:
- Name of the author, last name first.
- Title of article, in quotation marks.
- Name of periodical, underlined to indicate italics.
- The volume or volume and number.
- The date of the issue.
- The pagination.
Robert V. Roosa, “Coping with Short-term International Money Flows”, The Banker, London, September, 1971, p. 995.
The above examples are just the samples for bibliography entries and may be used, but one should also remember that they are not the only acceptable forms. The only thing important is that, whatever method one selects, it must remain consistent.
Writing the final draft: This constitutes the last step. The final draft should be written in a concise and objective style and in simple language, avoiding vague expressions such as “it seems”, “there may be”, and the like ones. While writing the final draft, the researcher must avoid abstract terminology and technical jargon. Illustrations and examples based on common experiences must be incorporated in the final draft as they happen to be most effective in communicating the research findings to others. A research report should not be dull, but must enthuse people and maintain interest and must show originality. It must be remembered that every report should be an attempt to solve some intellectual problem and must contribute to the solution of a problem and must add to the knowledge of both the researcher and the reader.
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