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Report Writing Skills and Writing CriticallyReport writing is a common way to organise and communicate information within the workplaceand is often identified by as a invaluable skill to possess in a wide range of employment fields.Reports are a specific form of writing that is organised around examining a particular issue, event orfinding and transmitting the information to a particular audience.A report can best be organised by following 10 key steps:Step 1: Identify the terms for of reference for the report- You may find this information clearly laidout in the Unit Learning Guide for this unit. Here you will find the rationale for assessment task, theterms of the task, or what you are asked do for the assessment task and the marking criteria whichclearly identifies how your report will be assessed. For this step, you always identify who youraudience will be for this topic (i.e. supervisor, committee, etc.). For university writing, you canassume that your audience will be a lecturer, tutor or marker, knowledgeable in the field of study.Step 2: Decide on the procedure- This means planning your investigation or research into thechosen topic and forming an outline as a plan for your report.Some questions to ask yourself during this step are:• What background information to the topic do I need to establish for the reader?• What information do I need to convey in this report?• What documents or publications do I need to support the information?• How will I convey the information in a logical sequence or manner?Step 3: Searching and Evaluating information – In this step you will conduct your search forliterature or publications to inform your report. Be sure to evaluate all resources to ensure that youare using the most credible and up-to-date sources available on the topic.• For more information on Searching and Evaluating sources, please see the ‘Searching andEvaluating Sources’ document previously provided.Step 4: Determine the structure of your report – Reports generally have a similar structure withsome key elements included in most reports. These elements include:• A title page containing the title of the document• For assessment task, please also include your name and student ID number• Executive summary• Table of contents• Introduction• Background information of the topic• Findings from the research or literature regarding the topic• Recommendations derived from the findings• Conclusion• Appendix (If applicable)Use headings and sub-headings to help guide the reader through your report.For more information on how to structure a report, please visit the links provided below.Report Structure:https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/1082785/Report_Structure.pdfStudy Smart Zone: Writing → Reportshttps://www.westernsydney.edu.au/studysmart/home/assignment_help/writingStep 5: Draft your report, analyse your findings and draw conclusion – Once you have your basicstructure outlined and have gathered and examined the information or literature, you can nowbegin writing the body of your report. Use the headings and sub-headings identified in the step 4 toguide the reader through the document in a logical, flowing sequence.The findings in your report are the result of the readings and observations that were derived fromyour investigation. Be sure to not only restate the facts identified during the investigation, but toalso analyse the findings and interpret the information that you have found. When analysing andinterpreting the information, ask yourself:o What is significant or important about my findings?o What do my findings suggest in regard to the topic?o What conclusions can I draw from the findings?These points will be important to discuss in your report.Be sure to include an introduction to introduce the topic to the reader and to highlight key points inthe following text. Additionally, ensure that you include a conclusion to your report that adequatelysummarises the content previously discussed in the body of the report.For more information on writing critically, summarising and conducting literature reviews, pleaserefer to the links provided below.What is critical writing:https://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ld/resources/writing/writing-resources/critical-writingLiterature review:https://library.westernsydney.edu.au/main/researchers/literature-searching/literature-reviewSummarising:https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/1082801/Summarising.pdfParaphrasing:https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/1082670/Paraphrasing.pdfStep 6: Make recommendations- Recommendations are what you think will help to solve the issueor improve the situation based on what you have learned from your investigation of the topic. Yourrecommendations should be based on the conclusions that you have drawn from your findings. Besure that the recommendations that you provide are viable options that could be acted upon in areasonable and practical manner.Step 7: Executive Summary and Table of Contents- The reports in this unit require you to include anexecutive summary and table of contents. Both the executive summary and the table of contentsshould be located at the beginning of the report; however, you will not be able to complete theseelements until after you have written you report.The Table of Contents should be free from errors and should allow the readers to quickly identifywhere each section of the report is located. For a brief video on how to formulate a table ofcontents using Word, please follow the link below.Microsoft Office: Insert a table of contents:https://support.office.com/en-ie/article/insert-a-table-of-contents-882e8564-0edb-435e-84b5-1d8552ccf0c0An executive summary should briefly summarise the content of the document and highlight the keypoints that will be discussed in the text. Executive summaries are designed to allow people toquickly identify whether the document is pertinent to their needs without having to read the entiredocument first.Step 8: Acknowledge your sources- Ensure that you have provided sufficient acknowledgement tothe sources used to inform your report. This is done by including appropriate in-text citation and areference list at the end of your report. For this unit, you will be asked to use APA 6th Editionreferencing style.For more information regarding referencing and citation please follow the links below. Additionalinformation is also available to you on the vUWS site located in the Writing and Referencingdocument.Referencing and Citation:https://library.westernsydney.edu.au/main/guides/referencing-citationAPA 6th Edition:https://library.westernsydney.edu.au/main/sites/default/files/pdf/cite_APA.pdfStep 9: Revise and Edit- Before you submit your draft, it is important that you revise your work andmake any necessary edits. Ensure that the document reads well, and that the information ispresented in a logical sequence. Consider the following:o How would I score my report using the marking rubric provided to me in the Unit LearningGuide?o Have I included all necessary criteria as identified in the unit learning guide?o Is the information provided in the report accurate, up-to-date and derived from crediblesources?o Is my argument logical and supported by the information identified during my investigationof the topic?o Are all abbreviations defined the first time that they are used in the document?o Have I conducted a spelling and grammar check of the document using the featuresprovided by Word?o Have I used academic tone and vocabulary in my writing? Have I omitted any slangterminology or expressions? Have I removed all contractions from my writing?o Are diagrams and tables numbered, labelled and referenced?o Is the formatting correct (i.e. font, line spacing, page numbers, etc)?For more information regarding the use of Word processing and formatting, please see theinformation provided in the link below.Word Processing:https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/1082817/Word_processing.pdfStep 10: Check for similarity using Turnitin -Turnitin provides a similarity report for all documentsuploaded to the Turnitin submission point. The similarity report identifies section of the text thathave a high similarity to a wide range of publications available from the internet and a database ofprevious student submissions. Use the information provided in the similarity report to identify anysections of the text that may not be summarised or paraphrased adequately and therefore should bere-written. You may upload your submission to Turnitin as many times as you like until the cut-offtime on the due date of the assessment task. Please note that you will not be able to resubmit yourassessment once the deadline has past, nor will you be permitted to resubmit due to high similarityfollowing the submission deadline.For more information on how to use Turnitin, please refer to the resources provided below:Turnitin Support:https://library.westernsydney.edu.au/main/guides/turnitinShould you have further questions regarding any of the topics covered above, I encourage you toseek out information available on the University Library or Study Smart web pages or speak with aUniversity librarian to identify any additional resources or workshops available to you.
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