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

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

Ron S. Blicq, Lisa A. Moretto

ISBN: 978-1-119-13462-6 October 2015 Wiley-IEEE Press 240 Pages

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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.

Preface xi

PART I A Practical Approach to Report Writing 1

1 How to Use These Guidelines 2

2 The Report Writer's Pyramid 4

Getting Started 4

Identifying the Reader 5

Identifying the Message 6

Using the Pyramid Method 7

Focusing the Message 8

Developing the Details 10

Expanding the Details Section 13

PART 2 Informal Reports 17

3 Incident, Field Trip, and Inspection Reports 18

Incident Reports 18

Incident Report: Reporting a Project Delay 20

Field Trip Reports 22

Trip Report No. 1: Reporting an Installation 24

Trip Report No. 2: Reporting a Site Evaluation 26

Reporting Conference Attendance 26

Inspection Reports 28

Inspection Report No. 1: Inspecting a Contractor ' s

Work 32

Inspection Report No. 2: Inspecting Electronic Equipment 34

4 Progress Reports, Project Completion Reports, and Short Investigation Reports 38

Progress Reports 38

Occasional Progress Report 40

Progress Report No. 1: Occasional Progress Report 42

Periodic Progress Report 44

Progress Report No. 2: Periodic Progress Report 45

Headings and Paragraph Numbering 49

Project Completion Report 49

Project Completion Report: Reporting a Project Is Finished 5 0

Short Investigation Reports 52

Short Investigation Report: Correcting an Electrical Problem 53

PART 3 Semiformal Reports and Proposals 55

5 Test and Laboratory Reports 56

Industrial Laboratory Reports 56

Industrial Laboratory Report: Testing a Water Stage Manometer and Digital Recorder 58

Academic Laboratory Reports 67

6 Investigation and Evaluation Reports 69

Semiformal Investigation Report: Study of High Gas Consumption 70

Comparison between Semiformal and Letter - Form Investigation Reports 80

7 Suggestions and Proposals 84

Informal Suggestions 85

Informal Suggestion: Proposal for a Study 86

Semiformal Proposals 86

Proposals That Present an Idea 88

Semiformal Proposal No. 1: Proposal to Install

Video conference Facilities in Three Capilano Group Divisions 90

Proposals That Offer a Service 105

Semiformal Proposal No. 2: Offering to Provide a Service 106

The Formal Proposal 117

Letter of Transmittal 119

Summary 119

Introduction 119

Description of Work, Problem, and Situation 119

Approach to Doing Work, Resolving Problem, or Improving Situation 119

Organization and Planning 119

Exceptions 120

Price Proposal 120

Experience 120

Appendixes 120

Proposal Appearance 120

PART 4 Formal Reports 121

8 The Formal Report 122

Traditional Arrangement of Report Parts 122

Alternative Arrangement of Report Parts 124

Analysis of a Formal Report 125

Cover Letter 125

Title Page 128

Summary 130

Table of Contents 132

Introduction 134

Discussion 136

Conclusions 146

Recommendations 148

References/Bibliography 148

Appendix 150

Dan Rogerson's Report Writing Sequence 154

PART 5 Report Writing Techniques and Methods 155

9 Appearance and Format of Memorandum, Letter, and Semiformal Reports 156

Sample Reports 158

Notes about Figures 9-2 and 9-3 158

Notes about Figure 9-4 161

Improving the Body of the Report 162

Redesigning the Page 162

Choosing a Font 162

Justifying Text Only on the Left 164

Avoiding All Caps 164

Using Tables to Display Information 164

10 Developing a Writing Style 166

Get the Focus Right 166

Identify the Reader 167

Identify the Purpose 167

Write to Inform 168

Write to Persuade 168

Be Direct 168

Use the Pyramid Structure 169

Write in the First Person 170

Use the Active Voice 172

Avoid "Clutter" 174

Use Simple Words 174

Remove Words of Low Information Content 175

Eliminate Overworked Expressions 177

Avoiding Gender - specific Language 178

Be Consistent When Referring to Men and Women 178

11 Writing a List of References or a Bibliography 180

How to Write References 181

Bibliographies 186

Footnotes 187

Planning for Reference/Bibliography Entries 189

12 Inserting Illustrations into Reports 190

Some General Guidelines 191

Using Computer Software to Produce Graphics 191

Tables 192

Graphs 193

Bar Charts 197

Histograms 199

Surface Charts 200

Pie Charts 201

Flowcharts, Site Plans, and Line Diagrams 202

Photographs 204

The Size and Position of Illustrations 204

13 Guidelines for Spelling and Handling Abbreviations and Numbers 206

Spelling 206

Abbreviations 207

Numbers 208

Metric (SI) Units 209

References 209

14 The Report Writing Process 210

Preparing to Write 210

Organizing the Information 212

Writing the Words ( Draft ) 214

Editing the Information 216

Initial Proofreading 216

Detailed Editing 217

Revising the Text 220

Doing a Second (or Subsequent) Edit 220

Obtaining an Objective Opinion 220

15 Guidelines for Working with a Report Production Team 222

Working with Management 223

Working with Other Writers 223

Using Email to Communicate w i t h Others 225

Working with Illustrators , Draftspersons , and Graphic Artists 226

Working with a Printer 227

Index 229

"...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)