A report is all about communicating ideas clearly and concisely. There should be discriminating selection, use and presentation of scientific data and ideas to make meaning accessible to intended audiences.
Firstly, always, always, always write in clear, declarative sentences. Declarative means that the sentence simply states an idea or piece of information; it is not a command, request or question. This article you are reading has short and clear sentences. The topic sentence grabs your attention, just as any good topic sentence should. Each idea thereafter flows naturally into the next. This is how you should strive to write every paragraph of your EEI Report.
Whatever you do, don't overwork your sentences! Each sentence should contain just one complete idea. Too many run-on sentences read like the writer let him/herself be swept away in their own stream of consciousness. Was the writer too lazy to think about what he or she was trying to say?
Use passive voice and no personal pronouns!
Everything that you did happened in the past, so write about it in the past.
Active voice using personal pronouns is not recommended:
Examples are: “We adjusted the inclined plane to...”. or “We took the data...”.
But the Passive voice is recommended for scientific reports.
Examples are: “This inclined plane was adjusted to ...” or “The data was/were taken...”
How technical should I get?
Scientists often use technical terms when communicating with each other in the same field but you must judge which technical terms need explaining. You should reserve technical jargon that is not familiar to fellow students only for those instances when jargon is actually appropriate. Students sometimes believe they can hide their ignorance or poor technique behind a smoke-screen of obtuse language. Being difficult to understand doesn't make your writing sound more knowledgeable. It does more harm than good. Pretend you are explaining it to a classmate who has been away. Oscillation and flux density are okay, but anisotropy, isochoric and nanoarchitectonic need explaining.
( short, clear, declarative sentences; consistent tense
( familiar language
( no unnecessary words
( limit technical jargon and explain unfamiliar terms
( grammar and spelling are free of error*
( technical terms have been used appropriately.
*Note – you must proof-read your report. Too many students simply trust the spell and grammar check on MSWord to do the editing work for them and miss some critical literacy issues.
Sections of a Report
1. Title Page: subject, assessment task type, title, your name, date, teacher’s name. You may have to make a statement that this is your own work, and it may have to be countersigned by your parents. The task sheet will tell you this.
2. Table of Contents: include the page numbers for the beginning of each section.
3. The Introduction
Research Question and Aim: begin with your RQ and Aim, and why you think the work is interesting or relevant to the real world (with examples). Also include what you hoped to achieve when you started the project.
Theory Review: This will be used to tell a story that generates interest in the reader for the field of your research and link to the practical investigation to follow. It will draw on your library or internet research and will be referenced. You should be aiming to reproduce, interpret, explain and compare scientific concepts, theories and principles that directly relate to your project and contain no irrelevant or unnecessary details. In other words – don’t waffle on; every irrelevant sentence is a step backwards. Your aim is to show understanding of the science involved and how it directly relates to and supports your project’s research question and aim. In the earlier notes it was suggested you consider: 1. Why your research topic has been chosen by you 2. What do we know already about this issue (theory in