Short Form MEMO Style Reports

    Short reports are generally in response to a specific request from a supervisor or a client. There are several different types, such as incident, investigative, progress, and trip reports as well as proposals. Each has its own objectives and styles, appropriate for the particular situation it is reporting about. The investigative type, which analyzes data and seeks to answer why or how something happens under certain conditions, will be used in this laboratory course.
    To limit length, all short reports must be clear and concise. A typical short report is divided into sections, e.g. Purpose, Summary, Procedures, Results, Commentary sections and the Attachments. Section headings are aligned with the left-hand margin in a memo and may be simply capitalized and/or given bold or italicized font. Each of the sections, except for the attachments, should be around one paragraph in length yielding a one- to two-page narrative. The document should be single spaced with margins no more than 1 inch. This two-page restriction is mainly presented to emphasize the demand for conciseness; but completeness is still essential! Recognize that the format itself is also flexible; however, all the critical elements or information need to be included. The essential supporting documentation is included as Attachments. Note, to qualify as an objective report, the text should avoid all usage of first person (we, us, our) second person (you, your) or third person (they). While those are quite acceptable in a letter, the report should contain no pronouns at all. Every I, We, Me, You, They, or similar pronoun will result in -1/3 pt in the report. The text should be professional in nature, not conversational. This is a report of findings, so everything should in the past tense.
    Memos are generally divided into two parts: the heading and the body. 

~MEO 8.28.07