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Where do I start?

Lyndy Lord
Artist Lyndy Lord

Reports are generally written to achieve an objective and are frequently based on practical work. They can also be a review of literature or an industrial or business situation that you have studied or experienced. Designers and artists find themselves working in a wide range of settings, therefore it can be useful to look at reports written in other environments such as Engineering, Marketing, Information Technology or Business. For some examples, go to Writing for Subjects and see what is required in other disciplines.

Depending on your audience, you may need to consider the writing styles and structures used by other professions.

  • The starting point for report writing is the same as for all assignments and written tasks. You may find QuickRef 4 Researching to Writing a helpful guide to successfully completing a written assignment task. This flow diagram offers 12 clear steps to guide you through the process. Here you will find that the starting point, as always, is careful analysis of the task. QuickRef 5 Essay Writing offers a detailed guide to analysing topics. This guide is also relevant to report writing.
  • Steps 2, 3, and 4 in the 'Research to Writing' process take you through the preparatory stages of brainstorming, planning your time download a pdf document and constructing a rough plan which lists all the key ideas and practical examples. These are frequently organised under headings and subheadings that may be used in the final report.
  • Steps 5, 6, 7 and 8 suggest a process of alternating between researching and revising your plan. Here you are encouraged to search for new material, look for gaps in your knowledge to be filled through research, refine your ideas and develop a detailed working plan in preparation for the writing stage.
  • Steps 8, 9, 10 and 11 refer to writing and rewriting your text, editing and proofreading and ensuring your referencing is correct. The report checklist download a Word doucment can be useful at this stage.
  • Step 12 is what you have been working towards, the moment when you submit the report. Make sure you have an appropriate Faculty cover sheet, have taken note of all the guidelines offered in the task brief and have presented your work according to departmental expectations.
  • Throughout this simple process there is an emphasis on methodical planning and recording of your information. It also suggests you must give yourself adequate time to research, to reflect and to write.
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