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Arts & Letters Daily

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Writing Reports

Report Format

Report Format

     Dr. Otto
In the Lesson on writing an essay, I urged you to focus on the READER because you want to convince the reader to accept the position you are defending. The focus in a report is not on the reader but on the accuracy and soundness of the conclusion drawn based on a thorough and precise study. The author of a report is …
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Sample – scroll down to Sample
Assignment – scroll down to Assignment
Answer Key – scroll down to Answer Key
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Notes

Template: Report format

  • Introduction – The main idea or purpose of the report is stated in the introduction.
  • Five W’s – One of the 5 W’s becomes the main idea. The others are presented in the body of the report
  • Elaborate – Use one or more strategies to elaborate on the main idea – i.e., comparison, analysis, description, etc.
  • Organization – Use at least two levels of organization: report format and one or the strategies.
  • Investigation – Research the topic under investigation thoroughly.
  • Focus – Make sure that all information and logical implications are focused on the main idea.
  • Conclusion – The conclusion must be drawn from the information and logical implications supported in the research.

Sample

After you have read the following report, read the analysis that follows.

Cars of the Future

Since gasoline powered cars are significant contributors to air pollution according to some environmental scientists, they urge industry to find clean fuels to power cars. They say two sources of energy which need to be explored are electricity and liquid hydrogen. This report compares prototype vehicles that run on electricity with those that run on liquid hydrogen.

Electric powered cars are suitable for driving short distances at relatively low speeds, such as driving to work or to shop. The batteries must be recharged regularly over a six to eight hour period. Therefore, long trips may be inconvenient unless recharging stations are built along major transportation routes. Electric battery power is environmentally friendly – it does not emit pollutants. The battery-powered car is currently available but it is quite expensive.

On the other hand, cars fueled with liquid hydrogen are better suited for travelling longer distances at faster speeds since they do not depend on batteries that require regular recharging.  Hydrogen cell power is also environmentally friendly. Cars powered with hydrogen fuel cells are more expensive and will not be available in the near future.

Industry is making progress in finding clean fuels to power cars. However, only a prototype of the electric car is currently available and it is quite expensive. At this time, consumers do not have access to clean energy and cost efficient cars. I would like one of these cars.

Template: Report format

Introduction – The main idea is stated in the introduction.

– Two sources of energy need to be explored – electricity liquid hydrogen.

Five W’s

This report references ‘What’ and ‘Why’ but concentrates on ‘Why’.

– What – two sources of energy need to be explored – electricity and liquid hydrogen.

– Why – Electric powered cars are suitable for driving short distances at relatively low speeds, such as driving to work or to shop. Electric battery power is environmentally friendly – it does not emit pollution. Cars fuelled with liquid hydrogen are better suited for travelling longer distances at faster speeds. cell power is also environmentally friendly.

Elaborate

The writer chose Comparison using the opposing pattern as the strategy for elaborating the main idea.

– Main idea

two sources of energy need to be explored – electricity and liquid hydrogen.

– Pattern. The opposing pattern describes the first object according to the criteria and then describes the second object using the same criteria drawing out similarities and differences in the process.

– This report compares prototype vehicles that run on electricity with those that run on liquid hydrogen.

– Criteria. The criteria used in the paragraph for making a comparison are:

– driving distance, speed, access to fuel, impact on the environment, availability, cost

– Elaborate. The following paragraphs illustrate elaboration by comparison:

Electric Batteries

Electric powered cars are suitable for driving short distances at relatively low speeds, such as driving to work or to shop. The batteries must be recharged regularly, over a six to eight hour period. Therefore, long trips may be inconvenient unless recharging stations are built along major transportation routes. Electric battery power is environmentally friendly – it does not emit pollutants. The battery-powered car is currently available but it is quite expensive.

Liquid Hydrogen

On the other hand, cars fuelled with liquid hydrogen are better suited for travelling longer distances at faster speeds since they do not depend on batteries that require regular recharging. Hydrogen cell power is also environmentally friendly. Cars powered with hydrogen fuel cells are more expensive and will not be available in the near future.

– Conclusion

At this time, consumers do not have access to clean energy and cost efficient cars.

Organization

The writer has used two levels of organization. First, the writer follows the structure of a report – introduction, body and conclusion. Second, the writer follows the structure for writing a comparison (See Elaborate above)) .

Investigation

The writer did not report on the process used to conduct an investigation of the use of the two clean fuels. The attention given to details suggests that the writer has researched the features of both types of cars based on the fuel used by each type.

– Electric powered cars

suitable for driving short distances, relatively low speeds, batteries must be recharged regularly, over a six to eight hour period, long trips may be inconvenient unless recharging stations are built along major transportation routes, Electric battery power is environmentally friendly, battery-powered car is currently available but it is quite expensive.

– Cars fuelled with liquid hydrogen

suited for travelling longer distances, faster speeds, environmentally friendly, more expensive will not be available in the near future

Focus

The report must focus on the main idea. Any information that does not focus on the main idea should be eliminated. For example, the following sentence does not belong in the Conclusion because it is focused on my interests and not on the main idea.

– I would like one of these cars.

Conclusion

The conclusion must be based on the comparison

– At this time, consumers do not have access to energy and cost efficient cars.

Assignment

Read the following report and complete the template below.

Hot or Cold: What will it be?

According to many scientists, global warming may be interfering with the Earth’s climate. Some respected scientists claim that global warming might trigger an ice age. The hypothesis presented in this report will be analyzed. The Gulf Stream, which brings warm surface water north and east, heats Europe. As the water moves north, it evaporates and becomes saltier and more dense. The dense surface water sinks to the bottom of the sea where it begins to flow southward again.

When it reaches the equator, warm fresh water from streams and rivers dilutes the salt and warms the water. This warm water rises to the surface so that the cycle can repeat itself.

Scientists argue that the warming effects of the Gulf Stream could be reversed by global warming. If global warming caused the ice in Greenland to melt, additional fresh water would pour into the Arctic Ocean. Increased rainfall in the northern latitudes has the same effect. Consequently, the water in the Gulf Stream would not get saltier and would not sink. Without a supply of cold dense water the southern undercurrent would stop. In other words, the Gulf Stream would no longer flow.

Without the warming effects of the Gulf Stream, scientists claim that Europe would get much colder. It would become more like continental climates at the same latitudes. For example, Paris would experience the cold weather of central Canada or central China. More snow would fall causing a further decline in temperature. The Gulf Stream is also tied to other ocean currents. Consequently, if it shuts down other currents will get colder. The effect, according to scientists, would result in less evaporation. Since atmospheric H2O is an important greenhouse gas, its loss would mean even more cooling, as much as 8 degrees Celsius.

The most troublesome aspect of this Gulf Stream Theory is that the cooling trend could happen quickly, within a decade or less. People are experiencing difficulties adjusting to a 2 degree Celsius temperature rise which has brought on droughts, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. Imagine adjusting to an 8 degree Celsius temperature decline with its unknown consequences.

Records show that the earth’ atmosphere is heating up steadily as we continue to produce greenhouse gases. Does this mean that the earth will become hotter and hotter or will it plunge into an ice age? Until scientists can answer these questions, nobody can be certain.

Template: Report format

* Introduction

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* Five W’s

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* Elaborate

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* Organization

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* Investigation

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* Focus

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* Conclusion

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Assignment

Writing Assignment: Report Format

Write a report in which you follow the report format on a topic of your choice. Complete the template below to ensure that you have included all aspects of the report format in your report. Submit it to your teacher or tutor for feedback. Then edit your report based on the feedback you received.

Template: Report format

* Introduction

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___________________________________________________________________________

* Five W’s

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___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

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* Elaborate

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* Organization

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* Investigation

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* Focus

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* Conclusion

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Answer Key

Report format

  • Introduction

Some respected scientists claim that global warming might trigger an ice age.

  • Five W’s

–       Where – north and east, Europe, equator, Greenland, Arctic Ocean, Paris, Canada, China,

–       What – Gulf Stream

–       When – within a decade or less

–       Who –

–       Why – Scientists argue that the warming effects of the Gulf Stream could be reversed by global warming, Without the warming effects of the Gulf Stream, scientists claim that Europe would get much colder.

  • Elaborate

–       Analysis

–       Scientists argue that the warming effects of the Gulf Stream could be reversed by global warming. If global warming caused the ice in Greenland to melt, additional fresh water would pour into the Arctic Ocean.  Increased rainfall in the northern latitudes has the same effect. Consequently, the water in the Gulf Stream would not get saltier and would not sink. Without a supply of cold dense water the southern undercurrent would stop. In other words, the Gulf Stream would no longer flow.

  • Organization

–       Report format

–       Analysis of a problem  – states the problem but does not offer alternative solutions nor a preferred solution.

  • Investigation

–       Does not explain how the data on the Gulf Stream was collected and analyzed

  • Focus

–       Focused on how the Gulf Stream works – The Gulf Stream, which brings warm surface water … the Gulf Stream would no longer flow.

  • Conclusion

–       Does this mean that the earth will become hotter and hotter or will it plunge into an ice age? Until scientists can answer these questions, nobody can be certain.