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How to Write a Practical Report

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A practical report is usually written by researchers to communicate to others what you did, why, how you did it, your findings and what you think the findings mean. Readers will want to get their questions answered quickly, so following a set format is critical.

Outline your report in the proper format. The commonly used format for Practical Reports goes like the following:

Cover page Synopsis/abstract Aim and introduction Methods Results Discussion Conclusion Appendix References

The synopsis will include a summary of the main ideas. The aim and introduction explains what you did and why. Methods describes how you did it. Results conveys only the findings, while Discussion is for your opinion about the results and their application to theory. The conclusion summarizes the findings as they relate to the aim.

When you go to outline, write down the basic ideas and points you want to include in each section. This will save you time when you begin to write.

Write the report in an appropriate style with all pertinent information clearly presented. The style of your writing should be such that you assume the reader is intelligent, but unknowledgeable about your study or field. Academic writing often uses more complex language and vocabulary than other writing. The best way to get a feel for this is to read a few other similar reports in your field so you know what your readers will expect.

Ensure that the reader of your report believes your findings matter. Avoid dwelling on the failings of your experiment or the reader will wonder why you bothered to write the report in the first place. Don't overstate your findings, but make sure you don't make it seem like you just wasted a lot of time.

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