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Reports are very important method of gaining and giving information. Although they may be presented orally, at a meeting for example, reports are usually presented in writing. The ultimate purpose of any report is to provide the foundation for decisions to be made and action taken.
EMPIRICAL/ INVESTIGATE/EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH REPORTS • In empirical research, the investigators gather information through carefully planned, systematic observations or measurements. • When scientists send a satellite to investigate the atmosphere of a distant planet, when engineers test jet-engine parts made of various alloys, when pollsters ask older citizens what kinds of outdoor recreation they participate in, they all are conducting empirical research. • In your career, you will almost certainly perform some type of empirical research – and report on it in writing. Typical Writing Situations • Empirical research has two distinct purposes. Most aims to help people make practical decisions. For example, the engineers who test jet- engine parts are trying to help designers determine which alloy to use in a new engine. • A small portion of empirical research aims not to support practical decisions but rather to extend human knowledge. Here researchers set out to learn how fish remember, what the molten core of the earth is like, or why people fall in love. Such research is usually reported in scholarly journals whose readers are
concerned not so much with making practical business decisions as with extending the frontiers of human understanding. • These two aims of research sometimes overlap.
The Questions Readers Ask Most Often The readers of reports on all types of empirical research tend to ask the same seven general questions.
Why is your research important to us? Readers concerned with solving specific practical problems want to know what problems your research will help them address.
What were you trying to find out? A well- designed empirical research project is based on carefully formulated research questions that the project will try to answer. Was your research method sound? Unless your method is appropriate to your research questions
What results did your results produce? Your readers will want to learn what results you obtained.
How do you interpret those results? Your readers will want you interpret your results in ways that are meaningful to them.
What is the significance of those results? What answers do your results imply for your research questions, and how do your results relate to the problems your research was to help solve or to the area of knowledge it was meant to expand?
What do you think we should do? Readers concerned with practical problems want to know what you advise them to do. Readers concerned with extending
Primary sources or firsthand observation include experiments. a report of previous work Work from published research by experts from your field Chapter 3: Methods is treated in this section. Report elements Introduction Objectives of the research Methods of obtaining facts Facts Discussion Conclusions Recommendations Readers’ Questions Why is your research important to us? What were you trying to find out? Was your research method sound? What results did your research produce? How do you interpret those results? What is the significance of those results? What do you think we should do? GENERAL STRUCTURE FOR A REPORT Front Matter Letter of transmittal Title Abstract Acknowledgements Table of contents List of figures List of tables List of abbreviations and symbols Body of Report Chapter 1: Introduction What will we gain from reading your report? This prepares the reader to understand your work. . The explicit account of data collection and how the data is analysed are presented here. interviews and field observations. Chapter 2: Reviewing Previous A literature review.e.human knowledge want to know what you think your results imply for future research. i. questionnaires.
is to provide a preview of the report. and These are the last sections to be written. the abstract appears at the beginning of the report. The goal of the abstract. in which you tell such things as (1) what problem your report will help solve. End Matter References Apendices Introduction • In the introduction of a report. you can answer this question in a sentence or less. (2) what activities you performed toward solving that problem. however. (3) how your readers can apply your information in their own efforts toward solving the problem. that is. It gives a detailed description of equipment and the process involved in the operation Chapter 5: Presenting the Results Chapter Abstract 6: Conclusion of the equipment. This shows how the results of a study are written and commented on with the aid of illustrations. it gives the most important information from the different section of the report. however. your explanation of the relevance of your report to your readers may take many pages. . The primary goal of the conclusion is to indicate whether or not the objective of the study has been met.Chapter 4: Describing Materials Concerned with the equipment used in your experiment. “What will we gain from reading your report?” In some reports. • In longer reports. you answer your readers’ question.
• You may present your facts in a section of their own. for example. or pieces of information without meaning. Report readers want to assess the reliability of the facts you present: your discussion of your method tells them how and where you got your facts. as explained next. Therefore. field. Results • • Your facts are the individual pieces of information that you gathered. you can direct your readers to those sources. If your report is based on laboratory. your account of your method may help others design similar projects. series of isolated observations. They are a table of data. If you obtained your information from an experiment. results mean nothing. survey. an essential element of every report you prepare will be a discussion in which you interpret your facts in a way that is significant to your readers.Method of Obtaining Results • Your discussion of your method of obtaining the facts in your report can serve a wide variety of purposes. your facts are the verifiable pieces of information you gathered: the laboratory data you obtained. the survey responses you recorded. If you obtained your information from printed sources. or the knowledge you assembled from printed sources. or you may combine your presentation of your facts with your discussion of them. It also suggests where your readers can find additional information. or other special technique. or library research. . Discussion • Taken alone.
and recommendations. Guideline 1: Define Your Research Objectives • You can streamline your research by defining in advance what you want to find. . Conclusions • • Like interpretations. and unless it is intellectually sound. The research provides sufficient detail to allow your readers to understand your topic to the level necessary for them to perform their tasks and appreciate the validity of your persuasive points. conclusions are general statements based on your facts. you are not trying to dig up everything that is known about your subject. your readers will not place any faith in your results or in your conclusions. • Right depth. After all. The research results enable you to write about your topic with sufficient breadth your reader’s needs. • Right scope.• In many of the communication you write. you will weave your discussion of the facts together with your presentation of them. Your research is successful only if it produces results that your readers will value. CONDUCTING RESEARCH Goals of Good Research • The first thing to remember about research is that it needs to be just as readercentered as any other writing activity. You are seeking only information and evidence that will help you achieve your communication’s objectives.
it will be helpful for you to conduct some research in preparation for other research.• Although you should define your research objectives at the outset. Guideline 2: Plan Before You Begin • You will research much more efficiently and effectively if you begin by making a plan. and review articles published in specialized journals for the purpose of summarizing research on a particular subject. . It only makes sense to focus your efforts on them. • Conduct preliminary research when appropriate. Research is all about learning. • Identify the most promising sources. • Consult general sources first. Include the time needed for interpreting results. • • Determine the most productive order in which to consult your sources. In some situations. you should also be ready to revise them as you proceed. Making a Research Plan • Identify all sources that might be helpful. Make a schedule as you can apportion your time wisely. One of the things you may learn along the way is that you need to investigate something you hadn’t originally thought important – or even thought about at all. articles in popular magazines. Useful general sources are encyclopedias (including the specialized ones that exist for many subjects). Include people and organizations as well as publications.
it makes sense to check every source for leads to other sources. article and report you consult. Close to completion of report design be ready? Project Coordinator Informed Guideline 3: Check Each Source for Leads to Other Source • Conducting research is like solving a crime.Imagine. you must also interpret them in light of your reader’s desires. needs. Objective. and situation. that you r key source is an executive or expert you can contact only one. .or where to find the clues. Consequently. Guideline 4: Begin Interpreting Your Research Results Even as You Obtain Them • Research involves more than just amassing information. for instance. To make your results truly useful and persuasive to your readers. Scrutinize the footnotes and bibliographies of very book. Readers’ Questions Are our competitors developing this technology more rapidly than we are? When will Possible Sources Competitor reports to stockholders Assessment of End Source Biased When to consult Next week Trade journals Probably reliable Immediately our Kami Mason. You don’t know exactly what the outline come will be.
. Here. • Record everything. REFERENCE GUIDE: FIVE RESEARCH METHODS Brainstorming • When you brainstorm. Free writing • Free writing is very much like brainstorming. If you shift your task from generating ideas to evaluating them. The goal is to keep your ideas flowing. you will disrupt the free flow of associations on which brainstorming thrives. too. When making notes on the facts and opinions you discover. You rapidly record your ideas as they pop into your mind. you tap your natural creativity free from the confines of structured thought. you write prose rather than a list.Guideline 5: Take Careful Notes • A simple but critical technique for researching productively is to take careful notes at every step of the way. you generate thoughts about your subjects as rapidly as you can through the spontaneous association of ideas writing down whatever thoughts occur to you. Only this time. be sure to distinguish quotations from paraphrases so you can properly identify quoted statements in your communication.
download software. view pictures taken by NASA spacecraft in remote areas of the solar system. or level of expertise. school or work. • You must carefully evaluate the sites you locate. In fact. INTERVIEWING • At work. bias. There are millions of sites in the Internet. Anyone can post information on the Internet. or join online discussions on an astonishing array of topics. Leave lots of space around each box in the flow chart so you can write notes next to it. SEARCHING THE INTERNET • The explosive growth of the Internet has created a rich and continuously evolving aid to researchers. your best source of information will often be another person. with millions more added annually. people will sometimes be your only source of information because you’ll be . From your computer at home. regardless of his or her purpose. Because no one prevents unreliable information from appearing. Navigating through these sites to locate the ones that present useful information on your topic can be difficult. the Internet lets you read technical reports from companies such as IBM. you must carefully evaluate the credibility of each site you encounter. • You may have difficulty finding helpful sites.Flow Chart • When you are writing about a process or procedure. try drawing a flow chart of it.
Concluding the Interview • During the interview. Or you may be asking an expert for information that this person possesses that is not yet available in print or form an on-line source.researching situations unique to your organization or its clients and customers. One of the most productive questions that you can ask near the end of an interview is. Ask something like this: “ If I find that I need to know a little more about something we’ve discussed. Approach this selection from your readers’ perspective. Invite a final thought. • Make arrangements. “ Can you think of anything else I should know?” • Open the door for follow-up. would it be okay if I called you?” . you will be the person who must identify the topics that need to be discussed. Often. Pick someone you feel confident can answer the questions your readers are likely to ask in a way that your readers will find useful and credible. • Plan the agenda. Make sure that all your key questions have been answered. keep your eye on the clock so that you don’t take more of your interviewee’s time than you requested. If you expect the interview to take more than a few minutes. As the interviewer. contact the person in advance to make an appointment. Preparing for an Interview • Choose the right person to interview. Let the person know about the purpose of the interview. • • Check your list. it’s best simply to generate a list of topics to inquire about.
Writing the questions • The first step in writing survey questions is to decide exactly what you want to learn. • You may want to follow each of your closed questions with an open one that simply asks respondents to comment. a survey enables you to gather information from groups of people. Closed questions allow a limits number of possible responses. “ Do you . memo. CONDUCTING A SURVEY • While an interview enables you to gather information from one person. or e-mail. A reliable question is one that every respondent will understand and interpret in the same way. • Mix closed and open questions. Open questions allow the respondent freedom in devising the answer. send a brief thank-you note by letter. If appropriate. Begin by focusing on the decisions that your information will help your readers make. if Roger asked.• Thank your interviewee. A good way to conclude a survey is to invite additional comments. Manufacturers survey consumers when deciding how to market a new product. For instance. and employers survey employees when deciding how to modify personnel policies or benefit packages. • On the job. They provide answers that are easy to tabulate. They provide respondents an opportunity to react to your subject matter in their own terms. • Ask reliable questions. surveys are almost always used as the basis for practical decisionmaking.
Even small changes in wording may have a substantial effect on the way people respond. If your questionnaire is lengthy.like high-quality pastries?” different readers might interpret the term “high quality” in different ways. Decide what you really need to know and ask only about that. Don’t phrase your questions in ways that seem to guide your respondents to give a particular response. to determine how much business the doughnut shop might attract. Before completing your survey. The second question is valid because it can help Roger estimate how many customers the shop would have. • Avoid biased questions. Roger might instead ask how much the respondents would be willing to pay for pasties or what kinds of snacks they like to eat with their coffee. people may not complete it. A valid question is one that produces the information you are seeking. . try out your questions with a few people from your target group. Roger could ask either of these two questions: How much do you like doughnuts? How many times a month you visit a doughnut shop located within three blocks of campus? • The first question is invalid because the fact that students like doughnuts does not necessarily mean they would patronize a doughnut shop. • Test your questionnaire. • Limit the number of questions. Save questions about the respondent’s age or similar characteristics until the end. • Place your most interesting questions first. For example. • Ask valid questions.
you should not write it in telegraphic style. Its words and sentences must be in a good prose style. Abstract or Executive Summary • The abstract is brief. Mailing or handling your survey forms to people you hope will respond is less consuming than conducting a survey face-to-face or by telephone. It’s an effective method of contacting respondents because people are more willing to cooperate when someone asks their help in person. however. . However. only a small portion of the people who receive survey forms in these ways actually fill them out and return them. The typical abstract is a paragraph of 150 to 200 words. In this method. Telephone surveys are convenient for the writer. • Although the abstract is a compressed version of the report. Generally. • Telephone. It provides the readers with a compressed overview of the report by mirroring both its content and organization. condensed statement of the most important ideas of the report.Contacting Respondents • Face-to-face. you read your questions aloud to each respondent and record his or hers answers on a form. • Mail or handout. • The length of the abstract depends primarily on the length of the report. it can sometimes be difficult to use a phone book to identify people who represent the group of people being studied.
equipment or information and advice. Acknowledging special assistance in performing the study or preparing the report. Addressed to the readers. The “letter” of transmittal may be in memo or letter form. • Stating the purpose of the report (readers in the workplace want to focus immediately on the task at hand). . double – space. and begin the abstract. especially from those who funded the project or provided materials. • • Pointing out features of the report that may be of special interest. Letter of transmittal • The letter of transmittal or the preface officially transmits or presents the report to the readers. it provides sufficient background by: • Restating the title of the report (in case the letter is mailed separately from the report).• Center and make prominent the word Abstract at the top of the page.
(3) (3) (a) Broken sprocket (b) Wrong colour Frequency of distribution • One type of classification often used in the organisation of large sets of date is a frequency distribution. P. S. You can .FACTS. Classification • Classification can be used to add meaning data by grouping items into helpful categories or classes. Account numbers 2428 2991 3367 Complaint Broken Sprocket Wrong colour Delivered late Certain faults seem to recur. Walters. Product X: Complaints in July and August 1996 Date August 23 22 19 • Name Greenwald. • Your summary would give the following information. G. Wharf. and you decide to see of there is a trend: you decide to classify the complaints according to type. Classes might be ranges of: age. They must be processed in some way to create ‘information’ which is meaningful and helpful for a particular purpose. errors made and so on. Some of the ways of using statistical data. time spent. or costs/ numbers/ frequency of products purchased. FIGURES AND FINDINGS Calculating Statistical Information • Statistics are ‘raw data’.
19 9 34 8 15 5 11 5 1 4 16 16 24 18 17 6 5 41 28 17 19 17 29 29 27 15 31 7 34 19 11 9 14 23 21 23 23 14 12 18 As frequency distribution. to show trends. Example Given below is a set of raw date on the number of minutes in each hour reported spent on the telephone by 40 sales office staff. For example.19 Number of workers 10 17 .compare the relative frequency of one class against another. the date would be organised as follows. Time spent per hour (minutes) 0-9 10. count up how many times a number between 0 and 10 occurs. or against the sane class over time.
Time spent per hour (minutes) frequency Under 10 Under 20 Under 30 Under 40 Under 60 Number of workers = cumulative 10 10+27=27 10+17+9=36 10+17+9+3=39 10+17+9+3+1=40 (Total sample) PRESENTING STATISTICAL INFORMATION: TABLES.Classes 20-29 30. A simple visual presentation of data has more impact and immediately than a table or block of text that is uniform to the eye and may contain superfluous elements.39 40. under20’ etc.60 9 3 1 Total 40 Class frequencies Total frequency • A cumulative frequency distribution uses ‘ceilings’ instead of ranges to define classes: ‘under 10. CHARTS AND GRAPHS • ‘A picture paints a thousand words’. .
subtotals. $ $$).g.. Jan Feb Mar Apr May Ju n Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec TOTAL $ 000 . Figures are displayed. SALES FIGURES FOR 19.Tables • Tables are a simple way of presenting numerical information. and columns for each month of the year. (E. or percentages can also be presented as a summary for analysis. and can be compared with each other: relevant totals. State the units being used. You simply need to enter the appropriate figures on each position. might have rows for products. All columns and rows should be clearly labeled. Product A B C D TOTAL • • • Here are some further guidelines: The table should be given a clear title. so it can only show two variables: a sales chart for a year. for example. • A table is two-dimensional (rows and columns).
say. The general rules for plotting graphs can be summarized as follows. However. Line graphs • A graph shows. there should be clear sub-totals. How a country’s population changes over time. • A total figure is usually needed at the bottom of each column of figures and at the far right of each row. according to changes in the value of the other variable. • • Changes in sales turnover over time. • The scales on each axis should be selected so as to make the graph big enough to be easily read. neat impression. In some cases it is best not start a scale at zero: this is perfectly acceptable as long as the scale adopted is clearly shown. In particular it shows how the value of one variable changes. . by means of either a straight line or a curve. • The axes must be clearly labeled with descriptions and units. they should not be overcrowded with too many lines. the relationship between two variables. In the example above it might be appropriate. • Tables should not be packed with so much data that the information presented is difficult to read.• Where appropriate. It is chart in which data is shown in the form of bar. to have sub0totals for products A and B together and for C and D together as well as overall totals. • Graphs can show more than one line. Bar charts • The bar chart is one of the most common methods of presenting data in a visual display. They should give a clear.
which is 50% of your total. is often a very efficient way of presenting a lot of information in a small space. colour etc) competing for the reader’s attention. background. shadow. (360 X 0.5 = 180). • Photographs are more impactful. With labels for interesting features. and ignore irrelevancies. for conveying paints of detail: a photograph has many elements (foreground. MECHANISM DESCRIPTION Introduction • Objective. • The whole ‘pie’ = 360” (the number of degree in a circle) = 100% of whatever you are showing. • The essence of a drawing is that it can be used to select and highlight basic lines and features. to create emphasis. in general. Pie charts • A pie chart is used to show pictorially the relative sizes of component elements of a total value or amount. say. It may be either a simple line drawing or something more elaborate. Drawings • A drawing of a company’s product. An element. would therefore occupy a segment of 180 degrees and so on. distinguish one type of feature from another and so on. but less clear.to describe any mechanism used in the study .• And is used to demonstrate and compare amounts or number of things. Tints and solid colour can be used to fill in areas within the line drawing.
You can potentially so much in the description that . physical structure. instruments & machines • • • • • A typical description of materials usually: Provides an overview Describes the principal parts in detail Makes a conclusion Mechanism description explains the purpose. as used here. at home. • Mechanism description is an important means of conveying evidence of their presence and of making visible to the mind what may not be visible to the eye. In this sense. appearance. To evaluate them or use them. • At work. DECIDING HOW MUCH INFORMATION TO PROVIDE • One of the universal problems of mechanism descriptions is the decision of how much information to provide. a driver’s license is a much as mechanism as is a clutch or an automobile. at leisure. Mechanism description helps meet our need to know. refers to any object that takes up space and behaves in a predictable manner or performs work. and how their parts work together or relate to one another.• A mechanism any object or system that has as working part(s) Suggests tools. we are surrounded by mechanisms and objects. The word mechanism. features. we need to know all their functions. and sometimes the operation or behavior of a mechanism.
• When you mention the features in your presentation. or you can combine the information like this: • • The Shredmaster 180 has seven major features: Built-in shredder continuously feeds forms through the shredder. immediately explain the significance of the features so that it has meaning to your readers. . What is the audience’s purpose in reading the descriptions? • Mechanisms have specially designed features built into them that are important to readers. it may be difficult for you to remember that such knowledge might appear isolated and unimportant to your readers unless you explain the importance of the feature. • Because you know so well the features of the mechanism you describe. You must select what information to include and what to leave out.it becomes unacceptably long and provides information that readers cannot use. but you also don’t want to omit meaningful information. Four familiar considerations face you immediately when you prepare to describe a mechanism or object: 1. The twocolumn format will do. You do not want to burden readers with unnecessary information. How familiar is your audience with the mechanism or object? 4. What is the purpose of your descriptions? 2. Who is your audience? 3. Works automatically and without supervision. and describing these features is one of your most important tasks.
If you are familiar with the mechanism or object. The introduction provides this kind of frame of reference and overview for the entire mechanism or object. and molten lave. The main features are its crater (the opening in the earth’s surface) and the conduit connecting the opening to the interior of the earth.• ¾ hp motor has 70% more shredding power than most other models. spewing gases.” • The most important statements you make about a mechanism or object early in your description relate to its functions.bond papers at one time. what it looks like and what its major parts are. or they will be swamped. But you must remind yourself that most readers will need information about what the mechanism or object does (if known). rock. molten lave). The largest active volcano in the world is Mauna Loa in the Hawaiian Islands. and appearance. ARRANGING THE DETAILS OF THE DESCRIPTION The Introduction • Your readers must have an understanding of the overall mechanism or object and a mental framework in which to fit all the details before they get to the details. ash. • • 12’’ throat accepts computer printout pages. parts. Shreds 14 sheets of 20-lb. • “A volcano is a cone-shaped mountain with a crater in the top that from time to time erupts. Hardened cutter blades cannot be damaged by conventional staples or paper clips.500 feet above sea level. it’s easy to assume that your readers share your knowledge. . which towers more than 13. which contains magma (hot.
• The lists of parts indicate the order in which the parts will be discussed. and so forth. • Every mechanism or object has at least two parts. The question to answer is: why is the mechanism designed as it is? Or why is the object shaped as it is? • Example: A drafting compass is designed for drawing circles. • Your readers always need a notion of the size. . which moves Part C. Function: The parts are described in the order of their activity-Part A moves Part B. narrow blade fastened to the open side of the frame. • Every mechanism is designed or has the form to fulfill a particular function. a Cshaped frame. The order may be one of three sequences: 1. and general appearance of the mechanism or object. • When the mechanism or object you are describing is part of a larger mechanism or object.• Example: A hand hacksaw is a metal-cutting saw of three parts: a handle. In either instance you make some arbitrary decisions. Try to come up with not less than parts and not more than five or six. Partitioning the mechanism or object into its major parts usually presents no problems. ares and ellipses. unless it is extremely simple or complicated. you should explain how the mechanism or object relates to the larger whole. Size can be explained by giving dimensions (the metal plate is 2”X3”X1/4” or by comparisons (the film canister is about the size of a tube of lipstick). and a thin.
For instance. can be used with one hand. The Ending • The ending explains how the mechanism how the mechanism works or is used. and so on 3. opens the animal’s mouth with the other. Sharimllah Devi FOSEE MATERIALS . designed like a hypodermic syringe. Here you divide its function or behavior into meaningful stages and explain what happened in each. Importance: The parts are described from the most significant to the least significant The Body • The body of a mechanism description explains each other major part in the order indicated by the list of major parts in the introduction. front to back. The operator grips the gun with one hand.2. and inserts the end of the gun deep enough into the animal’s throat to prevent the pill or tablet from being coughed up. outside to inside. he might have described its use like this: • “The bolus gun. The parts description provides much the same information for each part that the introduces does for the mechanism or object as a whole. if the writer who described the bolus gun had not provided such information in the introduction.” PREPARED BY: Mdm. top to bottom. Space: The parts are described from left to right.
_____________ through the south-facing collectors by a circulation pump. C. An electronic control turns the pump on only during those hours when usable solar energy 6. Overview ( This step consistes of a few sentences to indicate the material used. it 5. Solar systems designed to heat water 1.(D) As water 4. It gives a general idea of the material and the purpose for which it is intended Description of the principal parts ( Here each major part or characteristic of the material is described in logical sequence using spatial or functional arrangement) B.) Complete the description of the solar water heating system by filling in the blanks with the appropriate active or passive verb in the correct tense.Water 3. __________ as a back-up unit during long periods of cloudy weather. ____________. A typical domestic water heating system 2. which are : (A) roof-mounted solar collectors. (B) a solar storage tank. _________ now common in private homes in many parts of the country . It also activates the drain-down valve (E) to drain the system when the storage tank 7.___________ from the existing water heater (C) and replaced by solar heated water. Otherwise. and (C) an existing water heater._________ of three parts . its energy .A. Functional description (This last step shows how the various features described in B function together. The existing water heater 8._____________ through the collectors.__________completely _____ with thermal energy. it acquires heat and returns to the storage tank. or when demand is unusually high. When hot water is needed.
A) is eliminated B) eliminates C) was eliminated 10. A) takes B) is taken C) was taken 6.________ as long as the solar water temperature 10. A) pumps B) pumped C) is pumped 4. A) has B) contains C) consists 3. A) are B) have C) will 2.consumption 9. A) act B) serves C) is 9. See you in class!! . A) can be collected B) could be collected C) can collect 7. A) pass B) passes C) passed 5._________ higher than the existing water heater's thermostat setting 1. A) get B) become C) is Write the passage out with the answers that you've picked. A) will charge B) has charged C) is charged 8.
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