Saturday, July 25, 2015

Tips to Write Good Inspection Reports

Tips to Write Good Inspection Reports
Writing good inspection reports is the result of continuous effort. A lot of practice is needed for an inspector to become successful in writing good inspection reports. However, an inspector should consider the following elements while writing inspection reports.

A. Fairness
As an inspector you must write your inspection report objectively. Hence, you should keep yourself impartial, unbiased and unemotional. In addition, you must be aware of the facts you have already gathered. You have to present these facts fairly in your inspection reports. Distortion or emotional tone of words must be avoided. Never emphasize on the significance of the evidence because it may considerably diminish the value of your report.

B. Quality
You should remain aware of maintaining the quality of your inspection report. Since the overall quality of an inspection report depends much on how you communicate your findings to the reader, you should as far as possible present your findings in your report precisely and exactly. Precision and lucidity of an inspection report mostly depend on proper dictation, phrasing, and sentence structure.

C. Quotation
You should use your own discretion in determining whether you should quote or paraphrase a witness in your report. You should consider these factors according to the significance, or length of the statement.  If quotation is necessary, you should quote the exact words of the witness with quotation marks; otherwise, you should omit quotation marks.

D. Exaggerations
Exaggerations destroy the authenticity of an inspection report. So, you must be careful about exaggerations. Even one small exaggeration may throw doubt upon the authenticity of other statements presented in the report. Instead of stating that something was obvious; you should only state the facts clearly and exactly.

E. Opinions, conclusion and inferences
It is advisable not to include opinions, conclusion, and inferences in inspection reports. Only stating the facts should be your business. Stating your personal opinions and inferences in an inspection report may make its authenticity questionable. Your only goal is to present the facts in such a way so that there is no need for conclusions or interpretations.

F. Superlatives
The use of superlatives in your inspection reports may lead your readers to doubt your objectivity.  For instance, the statement 'A violation is found…' is more reasonable and stronger than 'The worst violation is found…' To state, 'He is a skilled worker' depicts a more convincing and stronger picture than 'He is a highly skilled worker.'

G. Accuracy
Accuracy means correctness and truthfulness. It increases the acceptability of an inspection report many times to the reader. Hence, before submitting the final report, you should verify and cross check the accuracy of your findings and computation. Even a single typographical error in time or date may throw doubts on other facts in your report.

H. Technical Writing and Acronyms
If you work with chemicals with complex scientific names, you will see that many of these chemicals have been identified by acronyms. Much care should be taken when using acronyms. It is advisable to use the scientific or common name in your report for the first time. Afterwards, you can use acronyms of the chemicals.

I. Simplicity
You should present all the facts and findings of your inspection in a simple and plain language. If the subject matter is very complex, try to avoid any kind of elaboration. Instead, present only the facts, findings, and necessary explanations. Readers always like to get the facts from an inspection report as quickly as possible. Use short sentences and short paragraphs in your inspection reports as they are easily digestible and reader friendly.

J. Completeness
A good inspection report depicts a complete picture to the reader. So, try to state all information that is relevant and factual. Use your own discretion in determining which facts are relevant and necessary. Completeness means that all the known facts and details have been included in an inspection report and no further explanation is needed. Remember that your report is totally complete only when it exactly answers the questions of who, what, why, when, where, and how.

Business Report Writing | Structure and Layout

Business Report Writing | Structure and Layout
Custom and convenience have more or less standardized the parts or elements that constitute a report and also established the sequence in which they appear. Variations in structure are, however, made according to the purpose, scope and contents of a report.

The order in which various elements are organized is given below. The first ten elements are collectively termed as front matter, because they appear before the main body. The last five are known as the back matter because they follow the main body.

Front Matter
1. Cover
2. Frontispiece
3. Title Page
4. Copyright Notice
5. Forwarding Letter
6. Preface
7. Acknowledgements
8. Table of Contents
9. List of Illustrations
10. Abstract and Summery

Main Body
1. Introduction
2. Discussion or Description
3. Conclusions
4. Recommendations

Back Matter
1. Appendices
2. List of References
3. Bibliography
4. Glossary
5. Index

Of the above elements, only the title page, the introduction, and the discussion or description are obligatory. In very short reports even a separate title page is not necessary; all you need to do is to write the title on the top of the first page and start with the introduction.

In practice, only long formal reports are likely to contain all the elements. The primary consideration for including an element should be its usefulness. Including elements which are not needed would make your report unnecessarily bulky and impede the flow of communication.

What we have given above is the order of appearance and not the sequence of writing. An important point to remember is that all the terms used to describe elements should not appear as headings or sub-headings in a report. It would be absurd to give in a report a sub-heading such as 'cover' or 'title page' or to designate a certain part of the report as 'main body' or 'main text.' It is generally applicable to other formal writings such as articles, research papers, monograph, books, etc.

Front Matter

Cover
A cover is usually made of white or some soft, neutral colored card. It protects the manuscript from damage and gives the report a neat appearance. Some organizations prepare covers which have their name and address printed on them. All one has to do is to write or get typed (i) the title of the report, (ii) its number, if any, (iii) the date, and (iv) the classification (secret, top secret, etc.) if any. These items of information help identify the report when it is in circulation or filed. Sometimes the name of the author and the authority for whom the report is written are also mentioned.

The cover gives the first impression and you should, therefore, not crowd it with information. Too many items are likely to distract the reader's attention and mar the attractiveness of its layout.

The inside of the front cover and both the inside and the outside of the back cover are usually left blank. Sometimes the inside of the front is used for indicating the circulation list. Notice carefully a sample cover given below.


Top Secret                                                                               Report Number: 1052

United Airways Limited
18 Karwan Bazar, Dhaka 1216


The Causes of Failure to Attract the Passengers to Our Flights


10 October, 2013


Frontispiece
A frontispiece generally appears in bound reports which are meant for wide circulation. It is a sort of window display that ignites the curiosity of the reader. The forms most often used for the purpose are photographs, maps and artistic drawings.

Title Page
Usually the title page is the first right-hand page of the report. In addition to all the information given on the cover, it may contain the following information:

1. Sub-title
2. Name of the author
3. Name of the authority for whom the report was written
4. Contract, project or job number
5. Approvals
6. Distribution list

Sometimes you will be required to get your report approved by some other officer before submission. When you do this, mention the name and designation of the approving officer on the title page. Similarly, if your report is meant for circulation to officers other than the primary recipient, indicate their names and officials titles. Use a separate page for the purpose if the lists of approvals and circulation are long.

Take great care in setting the items on the page symmetrically. Proper grouping of items and spacing are essential to make the title page look attractive. Some organizations provide a prescribed form for the title page to help their employees. Look at the following example page which has been divided into four sections.

Project Number: E21                                                                Report Number: 2015


A REPORT ON
COMBATING AIR POLLUTION IN DHAKA CITY

Prepared for
The Chairman
Department of Forest and Environment
BRAC University, Dhaka

By
The Students
Department of Forest and Environment
BRAC University, Dhaka

25 October, 2013

The first contains the project and the report numbers written on the left hand side and the right hand side respectively. The second section gives the title of the report typed in triple space in capital letters. The third section which is centered on the page indicates the authority for whom the report has been written. And the last section groups two items, namely, the author (name and designation) and the date of submission. While setting the various items on the page, allow an one inch margin on all the four sides, and about half an inch extra on the left side for binding.

Copyright Notice
If a report is published, copyright notice is given on the inside of the title page as:
@2013 Kamrul Islam

Sometimes the following note is added.
All rights reserved. No part of this report may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written permission from the publisher.

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