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Table of Contents

  • Accurate reflection of structure

  • List of tables/figures

  • Headings that match page numbers

Executive Summary

  • A separate page

  • Heading

  • Summary of the main points in whole assignment

  • Numbering


  • Definition of the topic and key terms

  • Delineate the scope and focus of the topic

  • Indicate the writing task

  • Present a plan of the argument

  • Show the writer’s theoretical approach

Main section of the report

  • An introductory section

  • Logical developments of problem and research

  • Use quotations as evidence

  • Use secondary and primary research

  • Conclusions

  • Recommendation


  • Restate the main ideas

  • Give the writer’s personal opinion on the matter

  • State implications


Layout of the report

  • Headed

  • Numbered

  • Spaced as instructed (+ margins)

Final edit

  • Spell checked

  • Grammar checked – electronically and personally

For more information on report writing, go to the learning lab <>.

All reports must be referenced according to the guidelines set out at






Reference list
Cortada, J (ed). 1998, Rise of the knowledge worker, Butterworth-Heinemann, Boston.
RMIT Business 2004 RMIT Business assignment cover sheet, RMIT University, viewed 20 January 2006, .
RMIT University 2003a, Policy:Plagiarism, Academic Registrar’ s Group, RMIT University, viewed 25 August 2003, .
RMIT University 2003b, RMIT Regulations 6.1.1 – Student Discipline, RMIT Online, viewed 19 August 2003, .
Shannon, J (2003), A companion to business statistics, Pearson, Frenchs Forest, NSW.
Style manual for authors, editors and printers 2002, 6th edn, John Wiley & Sons, Australia.

The Australian Oxford dictionary 2004, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne
Collins Australian dictionary 2003, 5th edn, HarperCollins, Pymble, NSW.
Macquarie dictionary 2005, 4th edn, Macquarie Library, North Ryde, NSW.
RMIT Academic Registrar's Group 2005, Plagiarism (and how to avoid it): resources for students, RMIT University, viewed 6 February 2006, <>.
RMIT University Learning Skills Unit 2006, Learning Lab, RMIT University, viewed 6 February 2006, <>.

Hint: Click on link to Business at bottom of page for tutorials on literature reviewing, report writing and referencing.
RMIT University Library 2005, Copyright, plagiarism and fair use, RMIT University, viewed 6 February 2006, <> .
RMIT University Library 2005, Referencing resources, RMIT University, viewed 6 February 2006, <>.
RMIT University Teaching and Learning 2005, Academic Integrity @ RMIT, RMIT University, viewed 6 February 2006, <>.
Instruction words – likely to occur in the topic question of an essay or business report:

Table 21
Instruction words


Separate or break the subject matter into its parts to discover their nature, proportion, function and relationships


Systematically support or reject a position by presenting reasons and evidence for acceptance or rejection, while indicating your awareness of opposing points of view


Make critical observations about the subject matter; Be careful not to write too many generalisations


Find similarities and differences between two or more ideas, events, interpretations etc. Ensure you understand exactly what you are being asked to compare.


Similar to Compare, the difference is that you should concentrate on dissimilarities


Provide clear concise, authoritative meanings, in which you address the nature or essential qualities of the question. Details are not necessary but you may wish to cite the boundaries or limitations of the definition, since meaning can extend beyond simple definitions


Recall facts, processes or events. Try to provide a thorough description emphasising the most important points. You are not asked to explain or interpret


Present a point of view, that of others and/or your own. This will entail both description and interpretation. Your opinion should be supported by arguments and evidence.


Provide a list or outline form of reply. In such essays you should recount one by one, but concisely, the points required


To appraise in order to make a judgment which requires consideration of strengths and weaknesses.


Clarify, exemplify or elucidate by presenting a figure, picture, diagram or concrete example


Provide an itemised series or tabulation - often expressed in point form.


Give an organised description or an ordering of information in which you state the main point, but omit details. Present the information in a systematic arrangement or classification


When showing relationships your answer should emphasise connections and associations in a descriptive manner.


Re-examine, analyse and comment briefly (in an organised sequence) on the major points of an issue


Formally set forth a position or declare definitely. Details and examples can be omitted


Provide a brief statement or account covering the main points in sequence, or assimilate parts into a general comment. Omit details


The College of Business Guidelines for referencing and presentation in written reports and essays has been designed and developed by the Academic Development Group, College of Business, in partnership with the Study and Learning Centre.

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