At this stage, you will have done all your background reading, your experiments or worked through your technical research problems and reached your conclusions. In essence, the writing stage is clarifying and ordering it all so it makes clear sense to anyone that reads it. This can seem like a tall order and that is why planning is one of the most important stages of writing the report. The more time you put into this the better it will be for you because it will make everything else easier along the line. It is often a lack of planning that is the root cause of problems when writing a technical report or dissertation.
First of all, you need to collect all your information together. If at this point it seems a bit overwhelming, don’t worry because once you have organised it all, you will start to get a sense of clarity towards your report. Make sure that you have got all your lecture notes, laboratory handouts and extensive notes from your background reading. It is important that to accompany your notes for your background reading that you have specific details of any theories or scientific research that you are using. For instance, if you are using a theory from a journal article, it is essential that you note down: the title of the article and the author’s name; the name of the journal and the year of publication; also the volume number, issue number and page numbers. Likewise, if you are quoting from a book, you need to write: the book title and author; the publisher, the year of publication and which edition it is. This is essential because if you don’t follow this procedure and use someone else’s theory, you may be accused of plagiarism.
Write down a list of all your topics, ideas and theories. At this stage, it doesn’t have to be organised, you just need a full list. Once you have this you can start putting them into categories under topics. Can you see how a sense of logic is emerging? You can now order them into a sequence. At this point, you may wish to add headings and sub headings. The main objective here is to see a pattern forming that follows logical reasoning.