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Tips on writing a report


  1. The Report/manuscript should be double spaced so that it can be easily read.
  2. Select a typeface/point size that is also easy to read.
  3. There should be no more than 27 lines of text (not counting the running head and page number) on each page.
  4. Margins should be 1
  5. inch (2.5 cm) on top, bottom, left and right of the page.
  6. Do not add an extra space between paragraphs, instead indent the first sentence of each paragraph 5 spaces.
  7. Do not put your name in the header.
  8. Put the page number in the upper right corner of the header (just after the running head)
  9. Your running head should be a simplified version of your title. A good rule of thumb is to include the name of your artefact in the title and to have that name as the running head.
  10. Do not quote large blocks of text. Paraphrase and reference is the rule of thumb. Only quote something that is too important to put into your own words. In other words, the exact phrase of the author is too important to leave open to interpretation.
  11. DO NOT make every paragraph in this report a labeled subsection. It is a mark of poor academic writing to have every paragraph set out as a subsection. This is not a business report that will be 'skimmed' but rather an academic report that is to be read, understood, and enjoyed.
  12. Make sure that you do the Reference page with hanging indents.

Title Page

  1. Title:
    Summarize the main idea of the paper simply - your report title should include the name of your artefact. For example: Hypermedia: An online source for Interactive Multimedia students
  2. Author's name:
    First, Middle Initial (unless author goes by two names) and Last name
  3. Institutional affiliation:
    Institution where you worked on paper
  4. Running head:
    Abbreviated title that is printed at the top of every page - this should be just your artifacts title: Example: Hypermedia (from the title referenced above)

Abstract (this is on a separate page)
Brief comprehensive summary of the contents of the article/report (this is written last)

The Paper/Report


Chapter one
Introduction (starting a new page)

Introduce the problem and background to why the brief was set. This is where you discuss the reasons for developing/using CAL , introduce the National Curriculum, introduce the National Grid for Learning. You do NOT discuss your project or what you are planning to do except in passing. You will refer to your concept document which should be Appendix 1.

This chapter should be able to be written in approximately 1000-1500 words


Chapter two

Literature Review (starting a new page)

Discuss the literature but it is not necessary to go into exhaustive depth. Assume that the reader has some knowledge in the field. A review of earlier work provides an appropriate review of the secondary research and recognizes the priority of the work of others to the work you are doing. You must cite work that you refer to in your paper. The purpose of a literature review is to show where the work you are doing is going to fit in with the work others have done in the same subject. Nothing is created in a vacuum. Make sure that the reader understands the importance of your project in relation to work undertaken by others.

The reader is not impressed that you explain EVERY type of instructional multimedia or EVERY developmental psychologist. You need to be concise. You can discuss developmental psychologists, learning theories and type of instructional multimedia together. You need to review the literature so that your work is understood in the context of what has gone before.

This is where you can also include reviews other multimedia work out there that is targeted to your user group. Do NOT depend on your own critical analysis, but rather review and cite published critiques of the work if you can find them. There are published reviews of multimedia work out there. Do not use reviews that you find in Amazon. Those reviews are not written by experts in the field. You should also include screen captures of the artefact being critiqued. This is NOT critical to your review of the literature. But if you find expert reviews of educational multimedia work, this is where you would include it.

Close this chapter by stating the purpose and rationale of your work and how it fits in with the literature.

After you have introduced the problem and developed the background material, you are in a position to tell what you did/will do.

Again... tips: DONT QUOTE... learn to paraphrase and reference material. Quoting text just means that you're really good at copying out of a book or off the web. Learning how to interpret other's research is critical to your understanding of how to apply that knowledge. You do, however, reference the information since it is not yours.

This chapter should be able to be written in approximately 1500-2500 words. I'm not impressed that you decide to turn in 100+ pages of a 'Literature Review'. You are not writing a Ph.D. dissertation here! I'm also serious that you should be able to write this chapter in approximately 1500-2500 words. If you find that yours is longer, then you need to review and delete.


Chapter three

Method (starting a new page)

This describes in detail what you did/will do and how you did it/will do it.

Divide the Method section into labeled subsections that include descriptions of the participants, the apparatus (material/artefact) and the procedure used. 'Procedure used' would include the decisions that you have made concerning using a particular piece of software.

You've made that decision with some thought as to why it is appropriate. This is where you discuss such a decision. You also need to again refer to sources you have read that have led you to make this decision. Ex: (facts are NOT correct... they have been made up). 'Macromedia Flash has been chosen because of its interactive capabilities and according to statistics the Flash plug in is installed on 98% of all web browsers (Macromedia, 2001). You can also refer to your dialogue with your 'Buddy' here. Make sure you use proper APA referencing.

You put YOUR critiques of other CAL in Chapter 3, because they have helped you to decide how and what your work will look like. You should include screen captures. You should also be concise when discussing your critiques. You include the full critique (the form used for critiques) as an Appendix at the end. Summarize your critique in Chapter 3 and refer to the compete document in the Appendix.

You will also refer in this Chapter your Function Specification which should be included as an Appendix.

Embed all images and charts into the body of the text. Label them according to APA style guides with a complete list of charts in the appendix section at the end

This chapter should be able to be written in approximately 2500-4000 words. This chapter is the HEART of your report. This is where you have described to the reader your project and what your project is intended to do. Chapters 1 and 2 set the background so that Chapter 3 (your project) is understood as to how it fits in with what has gone before.


Chapter four

Results (starting a new page)

Results of your Alpha and Beta user testing and how you have changed the artefact to meet the needs of the user and or lesson plan based on these results. You can also refer to the dialogue with your 'Buddy' here. Make sure you use proper APA referencing.

This chapter should be able to be written in approximately 1000-1500 words


Chapter five
Recommendations (starting a new page)

You have now produced an artefact to working prototype stage. What needs to be changed if you were going to go to full production?

This chapter should be able to be written in approximately 1000-1500 words


References (starting a new page)

All citations in the manuscript must appear in the reference list, and all references must be cited in the text.

You must include everything that you refer to in your paper. The reader may want to read more about something that you have cited and needs this information to locate the particular paper or book.

Do NOT include in a reference page material that you have read but have not cited in the report. It is expected that you will read a great deal of information that only serves as deep background and isn't specifically used in your writing.

You should have a minimum of ten (10) references that are a mixture of online and off line resources.

You should also have a minimum of three (3) critiques of multimedia work in your references



You need to include your signed agreement with the teacher that you had signed at the beginning of the project. (Client agreement) and also the signed agreement that s/he has accepted delivery of the work at the end.

You should also have your Concept Document that you created.

Your node map should be included.

Your design functional specification should be included - You do NOT write a 250+ page Functional Specification. The Functional Specification is written so that you know what you have to develop and what the artefact is going to do at each point. It is written so that you do not fall into the trap of letting your artefact build itself. And NO you do NOT work better under pressure!

In total your final report should be approximately 6000-10000 words or 25-40 pages including images, references, and appendix.

Here's the report for Alien-Language, written by Nick Crossland in 2002.


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