# MATH 6627: Writing Reports: Seven Basic Principles

### From MathWiki

From Jane E. Miller (2004) *The Chicago Guide to Writing About Numbers*. University of Chicago Press

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## Seven Basic Principles

- Set the context with the
**W'**s: who, what, when and where. - Choose effective examples and analogies:
- Use simple familar examples that your audience will be able to understand and relate to.
- Select contrasts that are realistic under real-world circumstances.

- Choose vocabulary to suit your reader or audience.
- Define terms in ways they will understand
- Replace jargon and symbols with familar expressions for non-technical audiences

- Decide whether to present numbers in text, tables and/or graphs.
- How many numbers?
- How much time or effort available to grasp data.
- Do your readers need exact values?

- Report and interpret numbers in the text
- Report them and specify their purpose
- Interpret them and relate them back to the main topic

- Specify both the direction and size of an association between variables
- If it's a trend is it rising or falling?
- If it's a difference across groups of places, which has the highest (or lowest if lowest is important) value and by how much

- To describe a patten involving many numbers, summarize the overall pattern rather than repeating all the numbers:
- Find a generalization that fits most of the data
- Report a few illustrative numbers
- Describe exceptions to the general pattern