What You Will Learn and Practice

Page of a document showing a generic numbered outlineWhat I Want You to Do

Review the information required in your Recommendation Report, and write an outline for your draft, including specific headings and subheadings.

Why I Want You to Do It

By creating an outline, you are sketching out the work that you need to do. Longer documents frequently require specific sections and information, and your outline can help ensure you include them all. Think of your outline as a working plan for all the things you will write for your report.

Where You Can Find Help

When to Do It

How You Do It

Create Your Outline

  1. Review the information you should include in your report on the Recommendation Report Criteria page.
  2. Review Table 18.1: “Elements of a Typical Report,” on page 492 of Technical Communication for details on report structure.
  3. Examine the structure of the Sample Report, Figure 18.8 on pages 504–527 of Markel and Selber’s Technical Communication.
  4. Create a rough outline for your Recommendation Report, relying on the information from the Criteria and the textbook.
    • Begin your outline with your report title, using the advice on the Effective Report Titles page to compose a strong title.
    • Use whatever outlining system you prefer for now, as long as it shows major sections and their subsections.
    • Start your outline by copying the list of required sections from the Recommendation Report Criteria page.
    • Revise the basic information you have copied to make it specific to your report. Just copying over the basic outline is not enough. You need to add details that demonstrate your plans for the report.
    • Include notes under the sections and subsections if you like.
    • Work through the entire report, from beginning to end. This is a first draft. You can revise and add material later.
  5. Tip: Your outline should include basic sections and subsections like the Table of Contents in the sample report, but it does not need to be as polished and complete. You are just starting to write your report, so you probably do not know all the details yet. You can include placeholder text or notes.
    Compare your outline to the table of contents in the sample report from the textbook, on page 508. Your outline should include similar details to those you see in the example table of contents.
  6. Make any additions or revisions to your working outline to include relevant information, based on your comparison.
  7. After you have submitted your outline, copy the document into a new word processor file. This will be the first draft of your report. Begin filling in the sections in this new document, using the outline to guide your work and ensure you add everything that is required. Upcoming writing activities will walk you through the sections.

Improve Your Outline

The following activities will all contribute to your Recommendation Report. You can complete all of these activities, or you can pick and choose—just be sure that you put in your best work and record what you do in your work log.

  1. Share your first draft (or as much of a draft as you have) in the Report Outline Feedback Discussion in Canvas. Next week, use the feedback you receive to revise your work.
  2. If you missed the original chance for feedback, you can try the Second-Chance Report Outline Feedback Discussion in Canvas.

How to Assess and Track Your Work

You track and grade your own work in this course. Be sure to complete the following tasks: