Checklist for Formal Reports

Writing Exercises
Writing Guidelines

In the following checklist, the numbers in parentheses refer to page numbers in The Craft of Scientific Writing.



Title orients (17-20)

If descriptive type, then maps report (22-23)
If informative type, then gives synopsis (23-25)


Introduction defines scope and limitations (27-28)
Introduction shows importance (28-30)
Introduction provides key background (30-31)
Introduction maps document (31-33)


Middle has headings that are descriptive and logical (38-40)
Middle has strategies that are logical (33-37)


Conclusion gives overall analysis and future perspective (41-42)
Appendices introduced and stand alone (46-49)
Glossary introduced and defines terms (49-50)


Transitions smooth into sections (55-56)
Transitions smooth throughout sections (54)
Depth achieved (59-63)
Emphasis achieved (64-71)


Being Precise and Clear (73-96)
Generalities grounded (79)
Needless complexity avoided (83-90)
Ambiguity avoided (90-96)
Being Forthright and Familiar (97-118)
Terms defined (111-115)
Examples given (115-118)
Concrete nouns used (103)
Active verbs relied on (105-107)
Being Concise and Fluid (119-145)
Transition words used (138)
Discontinuities bridged (137-145)
Sentences varied (129-136)
Needless words cut (119-125)
Choppy paragraphs avoided (136-137)


Illustrations introduced (162-163)
Illustrations discussed (164-166)
Illustration doesn't mesh (164-166)
Key results accented (66-67)
Illustration misplaced (166-167)
Key images shown (152-156, 167-168)
Level of detail appropriate (159-160)
Captions specific (163-164)


Major Errors
Run-On (258-259)

SV disagreement (259-260)
Incorrect Usage (73-75, 268-272)
Pronoun reference (93-94)
Faulty parallelism (259)
Missing comma (262-264)
Undesired comma (262-264)
Colon error (264-265)
Possessive (271-272)
Verb tense (261)
Misplaced modifier (259)

Minor Errors
Unclear "This" (94)
Numeral (140-141)
Quotation marks (266)
Typography (222-226)
Layout (226-227)

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Last updated 2/99
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