Writing a report

In report writing you are often required to refer to information you have gained from your research. This tutorial will teach you how to uses references in your own writing.

There are three important processes involved in using references in your writing:

  1. Understanding paragraph structure.
  2. Writing theory in your own words (paraphrasing and summarising).
  3. Using references in your writing - reporting and linking.

All writing at TAFE and university requires these fundamental skills. This tutorial will show you how to use references in your writing.

Understanding paragraphs

A paragraph is a group of connected sentences that generally contains one main idea expressed in a topic sentence and a group of supporting sentences. Paragraphs are the basic unit for building longer pieces of writing, e.g. reports, essays and most other written assignments.

Paragraphs contain three main parts:

  • A topic sentence - contains the main idea of the paragraph. It is generally the first sentence of the paragraph.
  • Supporting sentences - develop or give details about the topic sentence. Their role is to:
    • expand on the main point
    • offer explanations
    • give examples
    • give additional details.
  • A concluding sentence (optional) - summarises the paragraph or may provide a link to the next paragraph.

Structure of a paragraph

Square box representing paragraph structure with topic sentence on top, supporting sentence in the middle and concluding sentence on the bottom


Example 1