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Writing and Research in the Workplace

Common writing practices and techniques



Write an informative title


Preferred qualities of a presentation or report title:
  1. Direct relationship to the thesis statement or research question
  2. Clear and honest indication of the presentation or report content
  3. Helps to differentiate your work from other works
  4. Attracts reader interest and attention




Write your own titles for one or two articles from the list below. How do your titles improve on the original titles?





Write the introduction as an invitation to the reader


Ideas for an introduction. Use a:

Preferred qualities of an introduction:
  1. Direct relationship to the thesis statement or research question
  2. Active voice
  3. Present or future verb tense
  4. Early indication of the personality and style of the writer




Write your own introduction for an article from one of the reports below. Bring your experiences and personal style into the article topic.





Research method is a chronological summary of your research


Preferred qualities of a research method summary:
  1. Direct relationship to the thesis statement or research question
  2. Clear relationship to the citations and references list
  3. Evidence of work done by the writer
  4. Chronological order




Briefly describe your research steps that led to one of the following results.





Use structure and headings to organize your writing


There are different ways to organize a presentation or report:

Preferred qualities of the organizational structure as indicated by headings in the presentation or report:
  1. Direct relationship to the thesis statement or research question
  2. Consistent in voice and verb tense
  3. Logical and coherent progression from one heading to the next
  4. Use of whitespace to visually emphasize headings

Ideas for presentation and report headings:




Select an activity that you've been involved with and write headings that illustrate one of the organizational structures above, e.g. procedural, priority or complexity.

As examples, you could write about:




People tend to remember visual elements in this order









Use of colors could be associated with emotions, ideas or cultural values


     Green: growth, movement
     Blue: calm, institutional
     Purple: spiritual
     Red: power, energy, danger




Select graphics or multimedia for emphasis


Preferred qualities of photos, graphs or videos in a presentation or report:
  1. Direct relationship to the thesis statement or research question
  2. Reduce the complexity or difficulty of the topic
  3. Useful on its own with only the caption text
  4. Does not distract the reader

Checklist when using charts:

Different charts are effective for different purposes:




Briefly rate the use of graphics in one of the following articles. Provide specific examples and reasons why the graphics were effective or distracting.





Be careful when using statistical information


The data sample should be representative of the population being measured.

In particular, watch out for data from self-selecting samples. For example, taking a survey at a football game to find out how many people know the name of the England team captain.


The decision to compare numbers or percentages could have different emphasis.

For example, the score of a football game is Tottenham 2 and Chelsea 1. We could say, Tottenham scored 1 more than Chelsea, or we could say that Tottenham scored 100% more than Chelsea.


The use of average or median values may not be useful descriptions of the data set.
 20
 21
 21
Median22
 22
Average31
 80


The median is 110 and the average is 108 for the data set below.
11
25
40
180
190
200



Beware of using reverse implication.

For example, households in densely populated areas are more likely to have Internet access at home. However, not all households with Internet access at home are located in densely populated areas.


Implication is not the same as causation.

For example, households with children are more likely to have Internet access at home. However, having children does not cause an Internet connection at home.




Write headings that make effective use of statistical data from one of the following reports:





Write the conclusion to convince the reader


Write the conclusion as a:

Preferred qualities of a conclusion:
  1. Direct relationship to the thesis statement or research question
  2. Positive point of view
  3. Reminder of the personality and style of the writer




Citations and references give credit to external sources


Citations are very short placeholders used within the main text of the presentation or report, which have sufficient information for the reader to find the complete source in the reference list at the end of the presentation or report. Usually, citations include the following information placed inside a pair of parentheses:

References are the complete list of details about external sources to help readers independently access, review or verify sources used in a presentation or report. All the references are included in one list at the end of the presentation or report and arranged in ascending alphabetical order.




Format of citations and references for commonly used sources


Article in an online magazineCitation format:
( Author surname, year of article )

Citation format if author is unknown:
( Title of article, year of article )

Reference format:
Author, A. (Year). Title of article. Name of Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.magazine.com/full/url

Reference format if author is unknown:
Title of article. (Year). Name of Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.magazine.com/full/url
Article in an online newspaperCitation format:
( Author surname, year of article )

Citation format if author is unknown:
( Title of article, year of article )

Reference format:
Author, A. (Year, Month Day). Title of article. Name of Newspaper. Retrieved from http://www.newspaper.com/full/url

Reference format if author is unknown:
Title of article. (Year, Month Day). Name of Newspaper. Retrieved from http://www.newspaper.com/full/url
Page from a wikiCitation format:
( Title of page, year of page )

Citation format if date is unknown:
( Title of page, n.d. )

Reference format:
Title of page. (Year). Retrieved from name of wiki: http://www.wiki.com/full/url

Reference format if date is unknown:
Title of page. (n.d.). Retrieved from name of wiki: http://www.wiki.com/full/url
Post from a blogCitation format:
( Author surname, year of post )

Citation format if author is unknown:
( Title of post, year of post )

Citation format if author and date is unknown:
( Title of post, n.d. )

Reference format:
A. Author. (Year, Month Day). Title of post. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.blog.com/full/url

Reference format if author is unknown:
Title of post. (Year, Month Day). [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.blog.com/full/url

Reference format if author and date is unknown:
Title of post. (n.d.). [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.blog.com/full/url
Video from website
(such as YouTube)
Citation format:
( Author surname, year of video )

Citation format if author is unknown:
( Title of video, year of video )

Citation format if author and date is unknown:
( Title of video, n.d. )

Reference format:
A. Author. (Year, Month Day). Title of video. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/full/url

Reference format if author is unknown:
Title of video. (Year, Month Day). [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/full/url

Reference format if author and date is unknown:
Title of video. (n.d.). [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/full/url
Online presentations
(including lecture notes)
Citation format:
( Author surname, year of document )

Citation format if author is unknown:
( Title of document, year of document )

Citation format if author and date is unknown:
( Title of document, n.d. )

Reference format:
Author, A. (Year). Title of document. [document format] Retrieved from http://www.any.com/full/url

Reference format if author is unknown:
Title of document. (Year). [document format] Retrieved from http://www.any.com/full/url

Reference format if author and date is unknown:
Title of document. (n.d.). [document format] Retrieved from http://www.any.com/full/url
General websitesOnly use this format if the website does not fit into a more specific category of online sources.

Citation format:
( Author surname, year of document )

Citation format if author is unknown:
( Title of document, year of document )

Citation format if author and date is unknown:
( Title of document, n.d. )

Reference format:
Author, A. (Year). Title of document. Retrieved from http://www.any.com/full/url

Reference format if author is unknown:
Title of document. (Year). Retrieved from http://www.any.com/full/url

Reference format if author and date is unknown:
Title of document. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.any.com/full/url
Email messagesCitation format:
( First initial and surname of source, personal communication, Month Day, Year )

Reference format:
Not included in the reference list.
Printed books or magazinesCitation format for a book or magazine article:
( Author surname, year of publication )

Reference format for a book:
Author, A. (Year). Book title. Location : Publisher.

Reference format for a magazine article:
Author, A. (Year, Month Day). Title of article. Name of Magazine, page numbers.
Other sourcesElectronic sources
Other print sources
Non-print sources




Write a brief summary, citation and reference for an article from the list below.





Do not plagiarize


In the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, the verb plagiarize is defined as:

Source: Plagiarize. (n.d). In Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus online. Retrieved from http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/plagiarize
These actions are plagiarism:
  • Copying text without giving credit
  • Using an answer provided by another person
  • Using a photo, graph or video without giving credit
  • Using information from an email or phone call without giving credit
  • The same work submitted by more than one student.
  • Having someone else write some part of your work
These actions are not plagiarism:
  • Copying text and giving credit
  • Receiving help from another person
  • Using a photo, graph or video and giving credit
  • Using information from an email or phone call and giving credit
  • Working in small groups of more than one student
  • Having other people proof read your work
Rules to avoid plagiarism:
  1. Do not use the copy and paste functions, e.g. Control-C
  2. Write everything in your own words, even notes while doing research
  3. If in doubt, include a citation and reference




Common writing mistakes to avoid


  1. Too much reliance on spell checking tools
  2. Inappropriate use of jokes or figures of speech
  3. Incorrect description of numeric or statistical values
  4. Unnecessary use of comparative adjectives
  5. Incorrect application of quantitative data
  6. Inconsistent verb tense
  7. Inconsistent pronouns




Checklist before coursework submission


When submitting coursework online using your coursework login, do not include:

Final check of grammar and references:
  1. Proof read out loud
  2. Title
  3. Headings
  4. Citations
  5. References list
  6. Word count limits (reports) or Time limit (presentations)