A report is called one of the types of homework of a student or student, in the framework of which he reveals in detail the topic (provided by the teacher or chosen independently). Usually the report has a small volume, but it is not just submitted for verification, but is told in front of the group.
How to choose a report topic
If a student has a choice on what topic a report can be made, it is better to proceed from the following principles:
- Personal interest. Within any subject, some topics will be of interest to someone, and others to others.
So, according to the “History of the USA”, someone is interested in preparing reports about wars and battles, someone about economic reforms, and someone about the development of culture and science.
If the topic is not interesting to the speaker himself, it is unlikely that he will be able to interest the audience – although it happens that the initially uninterested topic in the preparation process is revealed from an unexpected angle.
- Relevance of the topic. It is better to choose a theme related to modernity. It is difficult to write a good report on obsolete issues (if this is not a historical aspect of the development of a process or object). Almost any topic can be connected with the present, to trace how the situation has changed, or what effect the object in question had on the formation of the phenomenon. Listeners should understand why they need voiced information, why a report on this topic is being made for them.
- Availability of information. There may be little information on some relevant topics (if this is only a discovery), or it may be classified.
It is difficult to figure out how to write a report at a university about closed military development – even if the fact of such a development was mentioned in the news, it would be almost impossible to find out the details.
If the teacher does not give a choice, you will have to make a report on an imposed topic.
Where to get the necessary information for the report
A few decades ago, the only way to prepare a report was to visit the library. Students took books (library catalogs and librarians helped in their selection), made extracts, then gathered information together at home. In libraries (especially large, regional or federal scale) you can find rare editions. The structure of the scientific report involves an appeal to many sources, but when writing an ordinary student message on the discipline, in most cases it is possible to do without a personal visit to the book repository.
Lenin said that the most important of the arts is cinema. You can rephrase and say that the Internet is the most important source of information. When using network resources, you need to be critical to their quality:
- It is almost impossible to write a report correctly using examples from the database of finished works. In most of these collections, information does not pass any verification; it may be far from reality. In addition, works have been copied from one collection to another for years. Unverified and outdated information is not at all what a good report consists of.
- Articles posted without attribution on websites and social networks should also not form the basis of the report. Anonymous authors may mislead readers – consciously, pursuing any motives, or by their own incompetence.
- Valuable for use are online libraries and article aggregators. In them you can find digitized books published by reputable publishers and passed the control of competent editors, as well as articles from peer-reviewed journals. It is these sources that will be useful when writing a report. When using articles and digitized textbooks, there will be no problems with links and footnotes, since all output data are indicated.
Writing the main body of the report
After the topic is selected, and the literature is selected, you can proceed to the actual writing of the report.
First, make a report plan that you will follow in your work.
- The importance of space exploration for humanity
- The history of space exploration in the USA
- US international space exploration
- Prospects for the United States as a Space Power
It should briefly indicate the main idea and sequence of what will be considered and in what order. The beginning of the report in the given sample contains information about the relevance of the topic – this will help to interest the audience.
Then you can start writing a report according to the following scheme:
- Indicate the main idea of the report, which will be revealed in the future text. If specific terms are needed to understand the topic, they should be clarified (this is done either in the first part of the report, or after the first mention of the term).
- Describe the largest scientists and their research on the topic of the report. If the topic is debatable, do not limit yourself to one school or course, at least in general terms, describe the positions of several leaders.
- Write a conclusion containing an extract formulated in a few words from what was considered in the report earlier, and which conclusions can be drawn from this. Also in the last part of the report, you can voice the prospects for the development of the phenomenon or the possible directions for its further research.
How to make a report
The design of the report is much more lenient than the design of abstracts and larger works. The rules for writing a report do not contain any specific design requirements. This is due to the fact that usually the reports are not submitted for examination to the teacher in writing, but are presented in the form of a story to the audience. Therefore, you draw up a report for yourself, and not for someone, and it should be convenient for you. To make it most convenient to use a sheet with text as a cheat sheet, follow a number of rules:
- Text should be printed, not written. No matter how legible the handwriting may be, in a hurry you can hesitate and misread the word.
- Do not use drafts with corrections; it is better to prepare a neat final version so as not to get confused during the presentation.
- The report sheet should look neat, not be wrinkled and dirty. The condition of the paper is clearly visible even to listeners sitting in the far rows.
- Separately, you can prepare a summary of the report – only key points, main ideas.
- If the technical equipment of the audience allows, the report may be accompanied by a presentation. The presentation should be sufficiently contrasting, well read from the audience.
The presentation template should correspond to the subject of the report: for example, if the report is dedicated to art, it is inappropriate to use gear images in the design of the template.
- If there is no projector in the audience, you can prepare handouts that listeners will receive at the beginning of the report.
A sample of handout – printouts of the artist’s paintings, if the report is prepared on art criticism; charts for economics report.
Additional Report Writing Tips
The report should fit into the time schedule. It is necessary to check with the teacher how many minutes are given to each speaker: usually it is about 5-7 minutes. For 2 minutes, it is enough to cover the topic is unrealistic, but you should not delay the performance. To verify the appropriate volume of the report, you must first read it out loud at home, having measured the time.
You should not write a report with a size exceeding 10 pages, as the work will be more like an essay, from which it follows that you have completed the task incorrectly.
The report is perceived by ear. Therefore, unnecessarily complex and lengthy sentences, overloading with scientific terminology, and an abundance of numbers should be avoided. All this information will not be adequately perceived. If numerical data is still required, it is better to design it as a handout.
Do not delay writing the report to the last moment. Although the amount of work is small, and in theory the preparation does not take much time, calm and thoughtful preparation will allow you to find interesting (possibly not widely known) facts that will interest the students and demonstrate to the teacher a serious approach to the assignment.
Although the volume of the report is usually not done in small and clear sections, it should logically be divided into the introductory part, the main part and the final part (conclusions). The introductory part serves to attract the attention of listeners, to describe what will be discussed at all. The final part summarizes and contains the main ideas voiced in the main part of the report.
Report writing process
When selecting information, a situation may arise that you will find a book or article whose content is fully consistent with your topic. Great temptation to limit this source (if necessary – reducing its volume). Such a report will inevitably be “one-sided”, since it will reflect the position of only one researcher. It is reasonable to prepare a report in the following order:
- Find sources of information on the topic of the report.
- Critically weed out unreliable, obsolete and dubious sources.
- To dwell on 5-7 fairly authoritative sources that consider the problem from different angles.
- Compose a single text from the information contained in the sources. It’s better not to copy entire paragraphs, but to rewrite it in your own words. Written scientific speech and speech for live performance in front of an audience differ in their syntactic structure. Speaking with “your” text will be easier and more natural.
- Read the text aloud, evaluate its volume and time taken. Reduce or add information if necessary. You can ask someone to read the text for you so that you can appreciate how easy it is to hear.
- Prepare a presentation or handout.
- To make a presentation.
- Answer questions on the report, if students ask them.