Overview of the report. This report provides technical background on causes, symptoms, and treatments for cerebral palsy—specifically for physical therapy students. (For further details, see technical-background reports in the online textbook.)
Note: This version of the report illustrates the printed copy of the report. The horizontal lines indicate page breaks. Hypertext online versions will be made available soon.
Transmittal letter. The transmittal letter (or memo) is typically attached to the front cover of the report. If the front cover has an inside pocket, the transmittal letter can be placed there. The letter can refer to some prior agreement, provide a descriptive overview of the contents of the report (almost identical to the descriptive abstract on the title page), and encourage the recipients to get in touch if necessary. For convenience's sake, technical-writing instructors request that the transmittal letter be made the first (but unofficial) page of the report. (For further details, see transmittal memos and letters in the online textbook.)
Note: See the online textbook on covers and labels, not illustrated here.
Title page. The title page is the first official page in the report—it's the first page you see when you open the report. However, sometimes the transmittal letter is placed inside the report, as the first page, to keep it from getting lost or damaged. (For further details, see title pages in the online textbook.)
Notice that the title page contains the descriptive abstract, which is an almost word-for word copy of the summary of contents in the transmittal letter. Reports typically contain a lot of this sort of repetition to ensure that readers see the main points, however they read the report. (For further details, see descriptive abstracts in the online textbook.)
Table of contents. After the title page, the next page in the report is the table of contents (TOC). Notice the contents of this TOC: it lists the first-, second-, and third-level headings that occur in the report, along with the abstract and the information sources. Notice the format: the first-level headings are in all caps; the second- and third-level headings use headline-style caps; notice also how they indented in relation to each other. And finally notice the leader dots that guide the eye out to the page number—the page on which the section starts. (For further details, see table of contents in the online textbook.)
Note: Disregard the different font for the table of contents and list of figures. It's used to get the leader dots to align on these web pages. In your own hardcopy reports, use the same font for your table of contents and list of figures as you do for regular body text.
List of figures and tables. After the TOC comes the list of figures—and, in this report, the list of tables. This can include tables and any other sort of nontextual material. The standard design is to center the words LIST OF FIGURES (in all caps) at the top of the page. The actual list uses two column headings—Figure and Page—initial cap and centered over their respective columns. In the figure list, you needn't include the entire figure title, just enough that is grammatically complete. (For further details, see figure lists in the online textbook.)
Abstract (informative). The next page (or pages) in the report is the informative abstract, also called the "executive summary." Note very carefully the difference between the descriptive and informative abstracts. This informative abstract summarizes the key facts and conclusions contained in the report. The descriptive abstract, on the other hand, just gives you a teaser as to the report's purpose and topics covered. (For further details, see informative abstracts in the online textbook.)
Introduction. The introduction is the first main body section of the report. Notice the format just about the "INTRODUCTION" heading. You see the full title of the report—just as it appears on the title page. Notice the contents of the introduction. It begins with some background as to the situation out of which this report arose. The second paragraph narrows in on the problem that is the focus of this report, while the rest of the paragraph indicates the purpose of the report and provides a quick overview of its contents.
Keep these essential elements of introductions in mind—subject matter, background, purpose, audience, and overview of contents. While the specific audience of this report is not stated, the background that readers need to understand is made clear. (For further details, see introductions in the online textbook.)
Main text of the report. Notice how the discussion in the body of this report proceeds: first, the writer establishes what the disease is, along discussions of its different types, causes, and symptoms. With that extended definition of cerebral palsy established, she proceeds to a discussion of the two major treatments of CP. (For further details, see main report text in the online textbook.)
First-level headings. As the online textbook chapter on headings emphasizes, first-level headings are used only in longer, more complex documents such as this one. Notice the format of the first-level heading: it's bold, all-caps, and centered. Notice too that first-level headings always begin a new page—indicated here by horizontal line across the page). (For further details, see first-level headings in the online textbook.)
Second-level headings. If you think of the first-level heading as the roman-numeral parts of an outline, the second-level headings are like the capital-letter items, one level lower in the outline. Notice that they use headline-style caps: that is, the initial letter of all main words (except for prepositions and words like a, an, and the. (For further details, see second-level headings in the online textbook.)
Third-level headings. If you think of second-level headings as the capital-letter items in a traditional outline, third-level headings are like the arabic-numeral items in the outline, one level lower. Notice their format: they use sentence-style caps, that is, first letter of the first word is capitalized only. Notice that they are bold and are punctuated with a period. And finally notice that they "run in" to the paragraph—but are not a grammatical part of that paragraph. (For further details, see third-level headings in the online textbook.)
Page numbering. Numbering pages in a report may seem strange, but it is the traditional way. Notice that all pages before page 1 of the introduction use lowercase roman numerals. All pages beginning with page 1 of the introduction use arabic numerals. Although styles vary, this report put all page numbers at the bottom center of the page. Notice that page numbers are not shown on some pages, such as the title page, first page of the introduction. (For further details, see page numbering in the online textbook.)
Illustrations. Note that illustrations are placed at the points where they are referenced in the report—not all at the end. Try to intersperse text and graphics to give your pages variety and to give your readers relief from long dense pages to straight text. Notice the format of the figure titles. The figure number is followed by a brief descriptive title and, if the figure is borrowed, some information about the source of the figure. (For further details, see illustrations in the online textbook.)
Source citations. Notice the bracketed numbers occurring throughout the report. These indicate the source of borrowed information, at each point where it is borrowed. Go to the end of the report to see what the various sources are. For example, the citation  means that the information in that section of the report came from source 9. Scroll to the information-sources section of the report to see what source 9 is. (For further details, see source documentation in the online textbook.)
Information sources. At the end of the reportis the list of information sources. This report uses the number system in which the sources are numbered. These numbers are used along with page references in the body of the report to indicate the source of borrowed information. Notice several things about this list: the itms are in alphabetical order with last name first; first main word of the title is used in no author name is available; book and magazine names are in italics; article titles use quotation marks. (For further details, see sources list in the online textbook.)
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