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REPORT

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by

Thanh Xuân

on 25 February 2014

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Transcript of REPORT

Respect the structure
Use the standard model unless there is a strong reason for not doing so
E.g. several radically different parts => split up methods, results (and maybe discussion) per part
Advantages of standard model
Helps structure the report
Avoids forgetting essential parts
Helps separate data from opinions
Helps readers to do selective reading
Thank all who have directly contributed to the work
Thank any sponsoring organizations
Thank any external reviewer
Do not thank relatives and friends

STYLE
Additional material that is only meant for technical reading
E.g.: mathematical proofs, raw results, circuit diagrams, …
Non-essential to comprehension
Further clarify report
Each appendix should contain different data/information
Appendices should be referred to in the text

Tomas Maul

This talk is based on slides by Khalid Al Murrani and Michel Bister
All statements, ideas, figures, tables of others should be referenced
Cite current AND recent publications
Current: reference (seminal) papers
Recent: show that you know what are the recent developments in the field (use Citation Index, e.g.: Google Scholar “Cited by …”).
Reference only the works that you have actually read

Should be clear enough for the reader to locate it
Should contain: author name(s), title, location, date
Location:
Publisher and city (for books)
Journal name volume and page(s) (for articles)
Conference name, date, and location, and page in the proceedings (for conference papers)
Department and University (for theses)
URL (for Web pages)
Follow the imposed format

Refereed journals are better than conference papers
Conference papers are better than Web sites
Try to avoid Web sites
They are not reviewed
They are transient
=> try to locate similar information in regular literature
Encyclopedias, textbooks, lab sheets are poor references
Review articles are particularly valuable

Paragraph
One idea per paragraph
One paragraph per idea
First sentence of paragraph is main idea
Rest of paragraph defines the idea
Tense
Passive
Avoid use of pronouns (I, we, you, …)

Numbering
Number all pages
Number all headings except abstract
Hierarchical numbering of headings
Avoid repetitions
Use formal and impersonal language
Use a consistent style

Grammar
Should be impeccable
Spelling also
Articles
First time a process, part or concept is introduced: “a” or “an”
Subsequently use: “the”
No article for uncountable nouns (e.g. NOT “a happiness”)
Use short sentences

General
Recommendations
Be as brief as possible
Avoid unnecessary abbreviations
Know your audience
Don’t repeat the things the reader knows
Don’t copy the information from the lab sheets
Remove unnecessary words, sentences, paragraphs
Weigh each word
Every word should be accurate, justified and usefu
l

The main purpose is to convey information
Don’t try to entertain
Good presentation is less important than sound technical content
Don’t over-emphasize format (you are not studying to be a technical secretary)
Follow the imposed format right from the beginning

Proofread and let it be proofread
Follow preferably the same structure (sub-headings) in methods, results and discussion parts

A good report should demonstrate comprehension, not just state facts
Check visibility and readability

Bibliography
UNiM Library:

DG Riordan, SE Pauley, "Technical report writing today,“ Houghton Mifflin Company (Boston), 1999
R Barrass, "Scientists must write: a guide to better writing for scientists, engineers and students," Routledge (London), 2002
JW Davies, "Communication skills: a guide for engineering and applied science students," Pearson Education Asia Ltd (Singapore), 2001
JN Borowick, "Technical communication and its applications," Prentice Hall (New Jersey), 2000
DF Beer, D McMurrey, "A guide to writing as an engineer," John Wiley & Sons, Inc (New York), 1997
R Ellis, "Communication for engineers: bridge that gap," Arnold (London), 1997
S Goodlad, "Speaking technically: a handbook for scientists, engineers, and physicians on how to improve technical presentations,“ Imperial College Press (London), 1996
HF Wolcott, "Writing up qualitative research," 2001
JN Borowick, "How to write a lab report," 2000

Web:
CD Ingersoll, “Scientific Writing,”
http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/MTPCI/Introcourse04/9.-Ingersoll---Scientific-Writing.ppt
, 23 Nov 2004
RL Boxman, “How to Write a Good Paper,”
http://www.isdeiv.tavrida.com/instructions.ppt,
last accessed: 14 Feb 2005
K Boone, “How to Write a Technical Report,”
http://www.kevinboone.com/howto_report.html
, 8 Jul 2004
“The Stucture, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Stye Scientific Paper,”
http://abacus.bates.edu/~ganderso/biology/resources/writing/HTWsections.html
, 25 Sep 2003
“Scientific Paper Writing,”
http://www.geocities.com/EnchantedForest/Palace/1170/scipprwrt.html,
last accessed: 14 Feb 2005
K Kastens, S Pfirman, M Stute, et al, “How to Write Your Thesis,”
http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/~martins/sen_sem/thesis_org.html,
last accessed: 14 Feb 2005
R Irish, “Laboratory Reports,”
http://www.ecf.toronto.edu/~writing/handbook-lab.html
, 19 Aug 2002
“How to Write a Scientific Paper?”,
http://www.bioen.utah.edu/faculty/KWH/teach/BE4201/How_to_w.pdf, last accessed:
14 Feb 2005
“How to Write a Laboratory Report,”
http://www.mhhe.com/biosci/genbio/maderinquiry/supp/moorech5.html
, last accessed: 14 Feb 2005
G Dillard, “The Scientific Paper,”
http://bioweb.wku.edu/courses/Biol398/Paper/paperText.htm
l, last accessed: 14 Feb 2005
M Longan, “How to Write a Research Report and Give a Presentation,”
http://www.valpo.edu/geomet/geo/courses/geo361/presenting.html,
last accessed: 14 Feb 2005

REPORT
How to write a good
PREFACE
Without publication, science is dead (Gerald Piel)
Work, finish, publish (Michael Faraday)
STRUCTURE
Front matters

Title:
What is this?
Author(s) & affiliation:
Who wrote this?
Abstract:
Summary of the work
Acknowledgments:
Who helped?
(Table of Contents)
(List of Tables)
(List of Figures)

Body of the report

Introduction:
What are we talking about?
Method:

How did we measure?
Results:
What did we measure?
Discussion:
What does it mean?
Conclusions:
What should be remembered?

End matters

References:
Whose work was referred to?
Appendices:
Extra information

Short
Accurate
Informative
Include key-words
Allow search engines to find the article
No abbreviations

Summary of work
Should be self-contained (no references)
1-2 sentences for each of the 5 main parts (introduction, method, results, discussion, conclusions) – then streamline
High information content

No abbreviations
200-300 words
Best (re-)written last
All information should be covered
in the body of the report

Usually too long
Best written last (or at least rewritten). The work it requires (e.g. background reading) needs to be done first.
Provides background information
Starts wide and focuses quickly
Tries to catch the interest
Introduces each and every new idea, concept, symbol, abbreviation

Places paper in context :
Relation to other work
Defines scope and purpose of the work.
What problem(s) are we trying to solve? What question(s) are we trying to answer?

Shows what has been done (by others) before
= literature review
Refer to main authors/works in the field (most relevant work)
Refer to most recent work in the field (use Citation Index)

Shows what has NOT been done before (and was done in the present work)

Shows WHY the study needed to be done
Objectives

What method(s) did we use to address our problem(s)? What method(s) did we use to answer our question(s)?
Must allow evaluation of the results
Must allow verification of the results (convince)
Describe experimental set-up, instruments, procedures, statistical processing
Describe evaluation procedure

Mention all settings, controls, variables, processing, etc.
Assume basic knowledge of the field
Can include photographs and/or diagrams
May include limitations, assumptions, range of validity
Describe what was actually done, NOT what should have been done

Purely objective
Only facts and observations
No opinions or interpretations!
Text
Summarizes most important results of tables and figures
Guides readers through tables and figures
Provides clarifying information
Points to anomalies in the results
Figures
Label all axes
Mention all units
Use same scaling for figures that need to be compared
Put caption BELOW the figure
Number the figures sequentially
Include the figure immediately after the first reference to it in the text (unless page layout does not permit)
Figures
Put all required info on the figure (if possible) – not in caption or text
Avoid crowded figures
Avoid the use of color
Tables
Label all columns
Mention all units
Put caption ABOVE the table
Number the tables sequentially
Include the table immediately after the first reference to it in the text (unless page layout does not permit)
Only place where the author can and should be less objective
Interpret your results. Did we solve our problem(s)? Did we answer our question(s)?
Put results in perspective
Major patterns
Relationships, trends, generalizations
Exceptions to observed patterns and generalizations

Use EITHER table OR figure for a particular subset of results
Do not use more decimals in a number than you could measure
Give an estimate of the measurement error
Also include “negative” results
They are often the source of the major discoveries
Differences with published work or expected results
Possible explanations for differences/ discrepancies
Point out potential shortcomings
Recommendations for future work
Theoretical implications
Possible applications
Possible generalizations

Opinions can be mentioned
Shows what new things were learned from the experiments/data
No new results? Replication.
What is the relevance of the present results – what did we learn?
Explain, analyze, interpret, compare
Mention the things that are not readily observable from the data

What do you want the reader to remember?
Should be self-contained (no references)
Typically 2-3 paragraphs (1 idea per paragraph)

NB- K51
Group's members:
Nguyen Quynh Anh
Nguyen Thi Lan Vy
Bui Thanh Xuan
Tran Lan Nhi
Full transcript