Creating a good Report: Presentation and Style
When writing a report, people tend to focus on the various facts and opinions it should include, first. That's a good thing, because the report's content is, obviously, a very important factor in grading. However, some students neglect to also take into consideration the importance of presentation and style when writing a report to turn in. That can lead to lower scores than you might expect. It's easy to avoid losing points on your grade when you take the time to pay attention to presentation and style, as well.
One of the most vital parts of your reports presentation is its format. For many courses, your instructor will insist upon a formal, uniform format, or they may simply state their own formatting rules. This includes things like the font, font size, margins, how citations are included, and the manner in which references are listed in the reference list or bibliography.
If your instructor does assign a formal style, be certain to follow it in every respect in order to avoid having points docked. If they don't, it's a good idea to use a formal style anyway. Deciding individually how to list and format everything can be a hassle. A good rule of thumb is to use MLA style for literary reports and APA style for science-oriented subjects. Then you'll know for certain that your report is being presented in a professional, clear format that your instructor will be familiar with. When students fail to use a good format for their report, they do themselves a major disservice.
Style is less simple, but there are still things you can do to improve the written style of your paper and get a better grade. When you're writing, focus on being clear, avoiding redundancy, and using active rather than passive tense. Don't be needlessly verbose, but don't be afraid to use a thesaurus to find the perfect word, either. Another element of style to examine is how you've organized the information in your report. While it doesn't make a difference in terms of content, your paper will be more enjoyable to read if the information you've included is presented in a manner that makes some sort of intuitive sense. You might start with general ideas, and then move toward more specific ones, for example. Or if your report is on a historical event, you may choose to include things in a chronological order.