Report Submission: Three Common Mistakes

In this post, I am going to list some of the most common yet very grave mistakes that any student or even professionals may commit whenever they create reports. This applies to printed reports and to visual reports which are shown via presentation software. I will be completely honest, possibly tactless, because some people need to realize this the hard way:

1. Using Comic Sans and other decorative fonts : This mistake is way too common. I often wonder why people do this. Is it simply because they look pretty? When you create a report, the objective is not to make it look pretty but to make it look neat and professional. A report is not a visual extension of who you are, rather it is a reflection of what you can do and how intellectual you can be. Funny fonts such as Comic Sans, Chiller and Jokerman do not show that you are serious about what you are doing; it shows that you are treating your report as a joke.

Instead, use simple Sans Serif fonts such as Arial, Calibri or Verdana; if you want something that looks like typewriter-font, try the ever-useful Times New Roman or Courier.

2. Listing Wikipedia, search engines and gossip sites as references: Wiki sites were created to gather information into one place which is a brilliant effort in itself for it helps people find what they need in just one page. However, they still have External Links and References which direct to the source of the information. People make the mistake of listing Wikipedia, Yahoo, Google and many other sites as references even though the information clearly is not from those websites.

Instead, go to the External Links/References section on a wiki site and look for the true source of the information. As for search engines, obviously the information is not from them since all they do is- guess what- SEARCH. Gossip sites, of course, rarely contain reliable information because they are GOSSIP sites.

3. Directly copying and pasting from references without paraphrasing: There is a word for this: PLAGIARISM. You are stealing someone else’s work and submitting it as your own. In this age of scanners and photocopiers, this is increasingly common, but it does not make it any less wrong. Okay sometimes you photocopy or copy+paste some definition for reference because it is convenient, but you step beyond the line from convenience to plain laziness and dishonesty when you actually submit said copied work as your report or even just a part of it. Some people don’t even clean up the copied text; they leave the citations, footnotes and hyperlinks on there.

Don’t be a thief. Don’t plagiarize. Paraphrase.


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