Fomal Report Guide lines
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The body of the completed report must be from 3000 to 5000 words (approximately 12 – 20 pages). If there is not enough information on the chosen topic, it must be broadened; conversely, if there is too much information, the topic must be narrowed.
The body of the report must include a minimum of THREE visuals. The visuals must enhance the report; clip art is not acceptable.
You must use at least three secondary sources and at least one primary source in researching your topic.
Reports must be neatly printed on good quality paper and be presented in a Cerlox binding. You will include the following parts:
- Cover Page
- Transmittal Document
- Title Page
- Table of Contents/List of Illustrations
- Executive Summary
- Report Body (including Introduction, Body, Summary/Concluding Comments)
- Glossary (if applicable)
- Appendix or Appendices
- Works Cited or Bibliography
THE BREAKDOWN AND MARKING GUIDE FOR THE REPORT
Note: The final report should be approximately 3000 – 5000 words plus front and back matter.
This information is a guide to each of the components and to the formatting of the formal report. It is not intended to replace the information given in your text.
The components are discussed in the order in which they appear in the report, not in the order in which they are written. The Memo or Letter of Transmittal, the Table of Contents, and the Executive Summary are written last.
The cover page is optional; however, it may be required by the instructor. It contains only:
- a graphic to attract the attention of the reader.
- the title of the report.
- the author(s) of the report.
Memo or Letter of Transmittal
The Memo or Letter of Transmittal introduces the report. Note: Memos are sent to employees of your organization and letters to clients.
- Announce the topic of the report, tell how it was authorized, and briefly describe the project (purpose statement).
- Mention the limitations of the report and any problems.
- Give an overview of the research conducted, and highlight your findings.
- Include your conclusions and recommendations if you are writing an analytical report.
- Acknowledge any help from others.
- Close with instruction for follow-up activities and provide contact information.
Although first-person pronouns (I and we) are generally avoided in other sections of the long report, they may be used in the Memo or Letter of Transmittal because it is more personal. Prepare the memo after you finish writing the report.
Space the information evenly on the page:
- Type the name of your report in uppercase letters (do not underscore and do not use quotation marks) 2 inches from the top edge.
- Drop down 2 inches and type Presented to and your instructor’s name and institution.
- Drop down another 2 inches and type Prepared by and the group’s names.
- Type the date of submission 2 inches below the names.
- All items after the title are typed in a combination of upper and lowercase letters.
Table of Contents
Prepare the Table of Contents after you finish the report.
- Show the headings and subheadings of your report and page numbers.
- Start with the List of Illustrations if it has a page to itself. If not, start with the Executive Summary.
- Include all headings and use dot leaders (spaced periods) so that the page numbers are aligned.
- Indent items in outline form or type them flush with the left margin.
List of Illustrations
Prepare the List of Illustrations after you finish the report.
- If you have only a few items, the List of Illustrations may appear on the same page as the Table of Contents.
- Figures are listed before tables.
Prepare the Executive Summary after you finish the report. Its purpose is to give an overview of the report to people who do not want to read the entire document. The summary may repeat some of the information in the Memo of Transmittal, but try to avoid identical wording.
- Summarize key points including the statement of purpose and research methods.
- Highlight the report findings by summarizing each section in the body of the report.
- Include conclusions and/or recommendations (as applicable).
The introduction provides a background or setting for the topic. It includes researched information and might discuss current trends, give a brief history, or tell why the topic is popular. In addition, it should
- describe the purpose of the report (again!) and tell why the topic is significant. Include the scope and limitations of the report.
- identify your sources of information.
- define any terms that may be new to the reader.
- give readers a “road map” that previews the structure of the report either at the end of your introduction or at the beginning of the Findings section.
The introduction may be divided using these headings: Background, Purpose, Significance, Scope, Limitations, Research Methods, and Key Terms. These headings must be introduced.
Findings (Body of Report)
The Findings is the body of the report and may carry the title Discussion of Findings, Findings, or more descriptive headings. This part of the report discusses, analyzes, interprets, and evaluates the research findings.
- Preview the organization of this section for the reader. Organize the body into main sections. You may choose to start each section on a new page.
- Use clear descriptive headings that explain each main section.
- Organize main sections into subsections using descriptive subheadings (talking heads).
The conclusions tell what the findings mean.
- Begin with a statement that relates to the findings, such as Based on the preceding findings, the following conclusions may be drawn about. . . .
- Present the conclusions in a numbered or bulleted list (improves comprehension).
- Be quite specific and refer to research found in the body of the report.
- End with a reminder that you have fulfilled the purpose of the report and a statement which leaves a lasting impression.
Recommendations (for analytical reports)
After considering the findings and conclusions, what recommendations would you make to your target audience?
- Include an appropriate introductory sentence, such as, The findings and conclusions in this study support the following recommendations.
- Write action statements. What should the reader do?
- Make recommendations specific.
- Present them in a numbered list.
- End with a reminder that you have fulfilled the purpose of the report and a statement which leaves a lasting impression.
If included, does the glossary
- present specialized terms in alphabetical order?
- define terms in a grammatically parallel way (e.g., all in sentences or all in phrases)?
- include white space after the terms and align the left margins of the definitions?
Note that integrating definitions into the body of the report is a good strategy for most reports.
Include any literature, charts, or documents that might be important for the reader to better understand the report. The appendix precedes the Works Cited page.
- Begin with a typed title, Appendix, on a separate page.
- Name the appendices Appendix A, Appendix B etc. for more than one appendix.
Include a complete alphabetical list of all references using MLA documentation style.
- Title the page Works Cited if it includes only the references cited in the text of the report. List them in order alphabetical order.
- Title the page Bibliography if the list includes other works which you may have referred to in your research as well as those references you have cited.
Follow the following guidelines for formatting the report.
Double-space the report with the exceptions of the pages given below. When pages are double-spaced, paragraphs are indented. When pages are single- spaced, paragraphs are not indented
- The Memo or Letter of Transmittal and the Executive Summary are single-spaced.
- The Works Cited page can either be single-spaced or double-spaced in MLA documentation style as the instructor suggests.
Use 1 1/4-inch side margins.
- If the report is to be bound, add an extra 1/4 inch to the left margin.
- Do not justify the right margin. Ragged-right edges are easier to read.
- Leave a 2-inch top margin for special pages, such as the first pages of sections, and the Table of Contents, Executive Summary and Works Cited pages.
- Leave 1 1/4-inch top margins on other pages.
All pages except the cover page and the title page must have numbers. The title page counts as a page although it is unnumbered.
- Pages before the introduction are numbered with lowercase Roman numerals.
- Within the body of the report, page numbers may appear in either the upper right comer or centered about 1 inch from the bottom of each page.
- Wherever you place page numbers, be consistent.
Format and Layout
The format and layout (the use of white space, headings, bold type, underlining, caps, bullets, numbering, etc.) of the report should
- make the information clear and accessible, e.g., by using lists to present a series of objectives, conclusions, recommendations or other logically co- ordinate items.
- make the structure of the report clear, for example, by including more space before headings than after headings and by differentiating the headings typographically (e.g., by numbering the headings using a decimal numbering system, to a maximum of four places). Here is one set of conventions:
MAIN HEADINGS: UPPER CASE, BOLD, CENTRED
First-level Headings: Mixed Case, Bold, Centred
Second-level headings: Lower case, italics, flush left
Illustrations and Tables
Illustrations (figures and tables) should be
- numbered and labelled consecutively as tables or figures (e.g., Table 1, Table 2, Figure 1, Table 3, Figure 2), with tables titled above and figures titled below.
- informatively titled (e.g., Table 1. Annual precipitation in Calgary, 1980 – 1990).
- accompanied by legends or footnotes to explain any abbreviations.
- original or accompanied by citations giving the source of the borrowed information. (Depending on the case, borrowed information may be attributed by using phrases such as “adapted from…,” “information from…,” or “as found in…”.)
- referred to and discussed in the text, with their significance made clear.
- presented as soon as possible after they are first mentioned in the text.
Names: _______________ ________________ Report _______/85
23 FRONT MATTER
(2) ___ Includes title, authors and appropriate image
(8) Memo of Transmittal
___ Guide words are double-spaced; fill-in information is aligned two spaces after the longest guide word (SUBJECT)
___ Memo is initialled
___ Announces topic of report and how it was authorized
___ Summarizes the conclusions and recommendations, if applicable
___ Indicates minor problems and shows how they were surmounted
___ Mentions any additional research that was necessary
___ Acknowledges help from others if applicable
___ Provides instruction for follow-up activities; provides contact information
(2) Title Page
___ Specific title in uppercase letters, 2” from top edge
___ 2” space, Presented to instructor’s name and institution
___ 2” space, Prepared by student’s names
___ 2” space, date of submission
(3) Table of Contents/List of Illustrations
___ Table of Contents starts with Executive Summary; pages are numbered correctly
___ Includes all report headings followed by dot leaders and page numbers; page numbers are aligned
___ Table of Illustrations/List of Figures follows; figures are listed before tables; can appear on the same page as the Table of Contents if few items or omitted if very few illustrations.
(8) Executive Summary
___ Provides a summary of each section of the entire report (6)
___ Includes conclusions
___ Includes recommendations, if applicable
___ Researched background information (3)
___ Establishes problem and purpose
___ Includes scope and limitations
___ Describes research methods & sources
___ Defines key terms (if applicable) or refer readers to a glossary
___ Previews the organization of the report (1)
___ Discusses, analyzes, and interprets the research findings as applicable (8)
___ Includes in-text citations formatted appropriately as applicable (max. 5)
___ Contains an introductory statement that relates to the findings (1)
___ Sums up the key ideas proven by the findings (2)
___ Explains what the findings mean; makes recommendations if applicable (2)
___ Final statement which leaves a lasting impression (1)
4 END MATTER
(1) ___ Appendices/Glossary
(3) ___ Works Cited/Bibliography; uses correct format
10 STYLE (1/2 pt. each unless indicated)
___ Clear sentences (immediately understandable) ___ Sentence variety
___ Use of plain English ___ Paragraphs well developed
___ Concise ___ Short paragraphs
___ Effective word choice ___ Short sentences
___ Objective point of view; omits personal pronouns (2)
___ Content is credible and is presented in a logical manner (2)
___ Uses clear descriptive headings; introduces each new level of headings (2)
9 GRAMMAR, PUNCTUATION, SPELLING
___ Correct spelling, grammar and punctuation (-1/2 pt. per error to a max. of 8)
___ Parallel construction used for bulleted and numbered lists
___ At least three visuals are included; no clip art (2)
___ Choice of visual is appropriate
___ Format is correct & consistent
___ Visuals are appropriately placed after they are introduced and on the same page
___ Source information is included if appropriate
___ Attractive and readable (cover of report looks inviting)
___ Appropriate style and size of font
___ Section headings are placed at the top of a new page
___ Effective layout (appropriate use of white space; report is readable)
___ Distinct levels of headings
___ Report is double-spaced with each paragraph indented