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Writing Reports to Get Results: Quick, Effective Results Using the Pyramid Method, 3rd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-471-66088-0
248 pages
April 2004, Wiley-IEEE Press
Writing Reports to Get Results: Quick, Effective Results Using the Pyramid Method, 3rd Edition (0471660884) cover image
The professional's quick-reference handbook for writing business and technical reports
Professionals in business, government, and technical fields often need help in organizing and writing reports for associates, clients, and managers. This simple tutorial handbook offers expert tips and useful ideas for organizing ideas, structuring reports, and adding spice to technical papers.
Writing Reports to Get Results offers in-depth guidance for writing:
* short, informal reports, such as job progress reports and inspection reports
* semiformal reports, such as laboratory and medium-length investigation and evaluation reports
* formal reports, such as analytical and feasibility studies and major investigations
* technical and business proposals of varying complexity
The authors use a simple pyramid method to help writers organize their information into the most convenient and simplest structure for any type of document-from single-page proposals to full-length presentations. Rounding out this easy, instructional handbook are helpful tips on a number of other topics, such as: constructing reference lists and bibliographies; the use of numbers, abbreviations, and metric symbols; preparing illustrations for insertion into a report; and working collaboratively as a member of a writing team.
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Part 1: A Practical Approach to Report Writing.

1. How to Use These Guidelines.

2. The Report Writer's Pyramid.

Getting Started.

Identifying the Reader.

Identifying the Message.

Using the Pyramid Method.

Focusing the Message.

Developing the Details.

Expanding the Details Section.

Part 2: Informal Reports.

3. Incident, Field Trip, and Inspection Reports.

Incident Reports.

Incident Report: Reporting a Project Delay.

Field Trip Reports.

Trip Report No. 1.

Reporting an Installation.

Trip Report No. 2.

Reporting a Site Evaluation.

Reporting Conference Attendance.

Inspection Reports.

Inspection Report No. 1.

Inspecting a Contractor's Work.

Inspection Report No. 2.

Inspecting Electronic Equipment.

4. Progress Reports, Project Completion Reports, and Short Investigation Reports.

Progress Reports.

Occasional Progress Report.

Progress Report No. 1.

Occasional Progress Report.

Periodic Progress Report.

Progress Report No. 2.

Periodic Progress Report.

Headings and Paragraph Numbering.

Project Completion Report.

Project Completion Report: Reporting a Project Is Finished.

Short Investigation Reports.

Short Investigation Report: Correcting an Electrical Problem.

Part 3: Semiformal Reports and Proposals.

5. Test and Laboratory Reports.

Industrial Laboratory Reports.

Industrial Laboratory Report: Testing a Water Stage Manometer and Digital Recorder.

Academic Laboratory Reports.

6. Investigation and Evaluation Reports.

Semiformal Investigation Report: Study of High Gas Consumption.

Comparison between Semiformal and Letter-Form Investigation Reports.

7. Suggestions and Proposals.

Informal Suggestions.

Informal Suggestion: Proposal for a Study.

Semiformal Proposals.

Proposals That Present an Idea.

Semiformal Proposal No. 1.

Proposal to Install Videoconference Facilities in Three Capilano Group Divisions.

Proposals That Offer a Service.

Semiformal Proposal No. 2.

Offering to Provide a Service.

The Formal Proposal.

Letter of Transmittal.



Description of Work, Problem, and Situation.

Approach to Doing Work, Resolving Problem, or Improving Situation.

Organization and Planning.


Price Proposal.



Proposal Appearance.

Part 4: Formal Reports.

8. The Formal Report.

Traditional Arrangement of Report Parts.

Alternative Arrangement of Report Parts.

Analysis of a Formal Report.

Cover Letter.

Title Page.


Table of Contents.







Dan Rogerson's Report Writing Sequence.

Part 5: Report Writing Techniques and Methods.

9. Appearance and Format of Memorandum, Letter, and Semiformal Reports.

Sample Reports.

Notes about Figures 9-2 and 9-3.

Notes about Figure 9-4.

Improving the Body of the Report.

Redesigning the Page.

Choosing a Font.

Justifying Text Only on the Left.

Avoiding All Caps.

Using Tables to Display Information.

10. Developing a Writing Style.

Get the Focus Right.

Identify the Reader.

Identify the Purpose.

Write to Inform.

Write to Persuade.

Be Direct.

Use the Pyramid Structure.

Write in the First Person.

Use the Active Voice.

Avoid "Clutter".

Use Simple Words.

Remove Words of Low Information Content.

Eliminate Overworked Expressions.

Avoiding Gender-specific Language.

Be Consistent When Referring to Men and Women.

11. Writing a List of References or a Bibliography.

How to Write References.



Planning for Reference/Bibliography Entries.

12. Inserting Illustrations into Reports.

Some General Guidelines.

Using Computer Software to Produce Graphics.



Bar Charts.


Surface Charts.

Pie Charts.

Flowcharts, Site Plans, and Line Diagrams.


The Size and Position of Illustrations.

13. Guidelines for Spelling and Handling Abbreviations and Numbers.




Metric (SI) Units.


14. The Report Writing Process.

Preparing to Write.

Organizing the Information.

Writing the Words (Draft).

Editing the Information.

Initial Proofreading.

Detailed Editing.

Revising the Text.

Doing a Second (or Subsequent) Edit.

Obtaining an Objective Opinion.

15. Guidelines for Working with a Report Production Team.

Working with Management.

Working with Other Writers.

Using Email to Communicate with Others.

Working with Illustrators, Draftspersons, and Graphic Artists.

Working with a Printer.


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RON BLICQ and LISA MORETTO are Senior Consultants with RGI International Inc., a consulting firm specializing in oral and written communication skills. They travel all over the world teaching the techniques presented in this book to individuals in technical organizations in a variety of industries. Both are active IEEE members and have served on the Administrative Committee of the Professional Communication Society. They have technical backgrounds and are enthusiastic about helping technical professionals learn to write and communicate. Visit them at www.rgilearning.com
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"...designed for people who work in a business or technical environment and have to write reports...plans are designed to assist managers, business administrators, researchers, supervisors, scientists, and students in writing more readily and...easily." (Clinical Leadership & Management Review, January/February 2002)
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