Report writing You are not asked to write a report on any of these laboratory practicals. However, report writing skills are required in a number of occupations. The following guidance is included to assist with writing or analysing any reports of laboratory of field measurements. More detailed advice is available via the Skills for Learning website, or in the booklet Whatsoever is of Good Report, which can be found on X-stream or, on request, in printed format. The sections A report must be divided into sections with headings. You should normally include the following sections, although the precise details and sizes will vary according to the subject matter 1. Summary. This may be called the Abstract or the Executive Summary. Write it last, but insert it at the beginning. 2. Introduction. This could include; a. The purpose and objectives of the investigation b. Background information make sure it is relevant. c. A review of existing literature 3. Methods; describe how the information used was collected. Sufficient detail should be included such that any suitably skilled and equipped reader could repeat the measurements. 4. Results. If a large number of measurements have been made, summarise them here and put the detailed tables in an appendix. A relatively small quantity of data could simply be included in this section. 5. Uncertainties. You need to include an assessment of the uncertainty in your measurements and in the final result. As well as identifying the main sources of uncertainty you need to estimate how important they are. 6. Analysis sometimes called Discussion. Here you are interpreting and explaining your results, leading up towards your 7. Conclusions. This section should be short and decisive; even if the conclusion is that the objectives laid out earlier have not been achieved. The conclusions must follow from the work described in the report, and it may be appropriate to include some recommendations. 8. References. Every citation made in the text must correspond to a full entry in this list. Only include sources here which you have cited in the text. Referencing Including proper references is an essential skill in report writing and many students lose marks avoidably because of inadequate referencing. Detailed advice on how to use the Harvard referencing system can be found in the booklet Quite Unquote, available from the Skills for Learning website. It is sometimes more difficult to decide when a reference should be inserted and further advice can be found in Whatsoever is of Good Report, or on Skills for Learning. Appendices It may be appropriate to include material in one or more appendices. Do not overdo this; detailed machine print-outs, individual replies to a questionnaire or copies of standard documents and legislation should not normally be included. Style There is a convention that the author of a report does not refer directly to him/herself. That means not using words such as the words I and we, and also avoiding oblique references such as the author or the research team. This convention is no longer universal, but it is one we expect to be used on this course. It is less important, though, than writing clearly and unambiguously about what happened, so it should not be allowed to get in the way of writing clear English. If technical terms are used, their precise meaning should be checked to make sure they are used correctly. If an equally good description in plain language is available, then that should be used instead. If you use any abbreviations, spell them out fully the first time they appear eg PPE (personal protective equipment). Check the assignment brief for any word limit and also for any specific requirements of the person for whom the report is produced (for example, have they asked for specific section headings to be used?).