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CHAPTER 15

Writing Careful Long Reports

Philip C. Kolin

University of Southern Mississippi

Long Reports

      Long reports require you to use and combine many of the writing skills and research strategies you have already learned. Key element of long reports include:  Scope. It provides an in-depth view of a key problem or idea.

Research. It requires extensive research.

Format. It is too detailed and complex to be organized in memo or letter format.

Timetable. It requires you to prepare a timetable for completion of the report.

Audience. It is always directed at top level management.

Collaborative effort. It is often the work of several individuals.

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Scope

• • • • Provides an in-depth view of a key problem or idea.

Examines a problem in details, while short reports cover only one part.

8-20 pages long.

Example: relocating plant, adding a new system, adding a new network, changing a programming operation, or adapting the workplace for multinational employees.

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Research

• • • • • • Requires extensive research.

Gather information over time from primary and secondary research.

Discover what experts have to said about the subject.

Information gathered for many short reports helps prepare a long report.

Preparing a proposal can lead to writing a long report.

Suggest a change to an employer.

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Format

• • • Too detailed and complex to be organized in a memo.

Gives readers detailed discussions and interpretations of large quantities of data. Refer to example on page 652 in the book. Copyright © Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Timetable

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The Process of Writing a Long Report

      The following guidelines will help you plan and write a long report: Identify a significant topic.

Expect to confer regularly with your supervisor(s).

Revise you work often.

Keep the order flexible at first.

Prepare both a day-to-day calendar and a checklist.

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Parts of a Long Report

    The 12 parts of a long report fall into three broad categories: Front matter consists of everything that precedes the actual text of the report: letter of transmittal, title page, table of contents, list of illustrations, and abstract.

Report text encompasses the main section of the report: introduction, body, conclusion, and recommendations.

Back matter includes all of the supporting data: glossary, references cited, and appendices.

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Front Matter

      The front matter includes: Letter of transmittal. The letter of transmittal is a one-page letter stating the purpose, scope, and major recommendation of the report.

Title page. The title page includes the full title of the report, which should be neither vague, too short, or too long.

Table of contents. The table of contents should list the major heading and subheadings of the report, and provide page numbers.

List of illustrations. The list of illustrations contains titles for all of the visuals and indicates where in the report they can be found.

Abstract. The abstract summarizes the report, including the main problem you’ve investigated, the conclusions you reached, and any recommendations you may make.

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Letter of Transmittal

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Letter of Transmittal

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Title Page

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Table of Content

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List of Illustration

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Abstract

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Text of the Report

• • • • • The report text includes: Introduction. The introduction tells readers why your report was written scope.

– it should include background information, identification of the problem, a purpose statement, and an indication of the report’s Body. The body takes up most of the report – it contains statistical information, details, physical descriptions, and interpretations.

Conclusion. The conclusion should tie everything in the report together and present the report’s findings.

Recommendations. The recommendations section tells readers what should be done about the findings recorded in the conclusion.

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Back Matter

    The back matter includes: Glossary. The glossary is an alphabetical list, with definitions, of the specialized vocabulary used in the report.

Citations list. The citations list should include all sources cited when researching the report: Web sites, books, articles, television programs, interviews, reviews, audiovisuals, etc.

Appendix. The appendix contains supportive data too long to include in the body of the report: Lengthy tables, sample questionnaires, complete budgets/cost estimates, correspondence, case histories, transcripts, etc.

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