REPORT WRITING: ORGANIZING AND OUTLINING
To appreciate the complex nature of organizing information and content in report writing To understand further the critical role of PPQ in report writing
NTRODUCTION In the planning stage, you have been introduced to the concept of PPQ – Problem, Purpose and Questions – as the main driving force of your report writing. If your PPQ is not formulated well, chances are your report will not make sense. This is because a well‐articulated PPQ controls the direction of your work. Your PPQ will tell you if you are moving in the right direction, or if you are already off‐topic. The next stage is now to make use of the PPQ to organize the information and data you need. The point again is: start the report writing process with your PPQ. In this stage, there are two main steps: 1. Gather and evaluate your material 2. Outline the content of your report For Step 1, you are not yet concerned directly about the content of your actual report. Much needs to be done before you decide on what content gets into your report. For Step 2, you are now concerned with how to shape the content of your report. Usually, this is what people refer to as the organizing stage of report writing. However, before you can even organize the content of your report, much work has to be done to justify why you are using some particular content and not another, and why you are presenting it in the manner you want it to be. So, organizing the content of your writing demands much work from you. This does not only mean much work in the physical sense, but also much work in the mental and cognitive sense. You will see later that each main step requires different thinking and analytical skills. You will realize that report writing is not just a writing task. Ultimately, report writing is a critical thinking exercise. 9 | P a g e Centre for English Language Communication National University of Singapore
ather your material After you have formulated your PPQ, you will then need to decide how to gather material for your PPQ. Such material takes the form of information and data. To gather your material, you must go back to your key questions and ask yourself what information‐getting or research tools you need to be able to answer these questions. In other words, how can you find information or source for data to answer your questions? Do you need to interview people? Do you need to go to the library? Is the information you need available in the internet? Therefore, it is important to know what are some of the most common research tools used to answer research questions. These commonly used tools are: ~Focus Group ~Observation ~Interview ~Questionnaire ~Ethnography ~Document search
In many reports, including the one you will be writing, some material has been identified for you to use. So what you need to do is to determine the soundness of the material based on your PPQ. It is possible that your PPQ will render some parts or information in your available material relevant, while other parts irrelevant. Observation As the term suggests, observation involves watching or seeing what is happening to people, objects or events and making a systematic record of this information. For example, if you would like to find out whether the current frequency of the BTC shuttle bus during off‐peak hours is cost‐effective, observation can be used to determine the average number of students and staff who take the shuttle bus between 2‐4pm every weekday. Observation may be the only method for recording a particular phenomenon which you wish to investigate, e.g., physical activity, company process, human behavior. Focus Group ...