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How to Organize Your Paper or Report

Nov 18, 2008

Creating a logical structure to one’s paper is what organizing a paper or report means.  Poor organization is perhaps the biggest complaint among critics of papers and reports.  Poor organization can lead to reader confusion, and will likely result in the paper remaining unread.  

A solid structure involves time-tested guidelines such as Introduction, Statement of the Problem, Technical Background, Description of analysis, development and measurements, as well as Results, Discussion and Interpretation.  Lastly, the writer must include a Conclusion and Recommendations for what action should be taken after reading.  Using this structure, you’ll be seen as a competent writer and your paper readable.  

There are some things to be aware of, however, when it comes to employing the approach above.  First and foremost, the writer is making the reader go through all the facts using the same process as the writer did, and this makes for a less than compelling read.  

There is another style called the analytical outline.  First, state the problem.  Then list what are your results and conclusions.  This should be followed by recommendations, two or even three major details of the analysis, and then a restatement of your conclusions, followed lastly by the appendix.

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