Use these 10 tips and you’ll never submit a rough, unprofessional investigation report again.
By Barbara Carr, Editorial Director and Instructor, TapRooT®
Are you finished conducting your incident Investigation, and wading through the marshes of report writing and proofreading? Take a look at these 10 proofreading tips that will help you write a professional, thorough investigation report.
1.) Rest. You’ve been working those cogs and pistons in your head to conduct your investigation and write your report. Once it’s finished, set your report aside until tomorrow to proofread. If there’s no time for that, grab a cup of coffee and come back to it in 15 minutes. You’ll catch more errors and see it with fresh eyes.
2.) Print it out. We read differently on the screen than on paper, so you’re likely to catch more errors this way.
3.) Concentrate. Close your door, turn off your e-mail notifications and silence that cell phone, if only for 30 minutes. You’ll be able to focus on each detail of your report and proofread much more thoroughly.
4.) Read it aloud. Not only that, read it backward and read it multiple times. All these will prevent your eyes from correcting and missing errors on the page, and help you catch your errors more effectively.
5.) Check your facts. Don’t forget the numbers in your charts and graphs, too.
6.) Use spell-check, dictionary and online grammar resources. Don’t fully rely on your spell-check, however; it doesn’t catch homonyms such as there, their and they’re.
7.) Know thyself. Find out your most frequent errors, and create your own proofreading checklist that reflects these and other important details. Remember grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation and typographical errors.
8.) Eliminate unnecessary wording or information. Example: “The choice of exogenous variables in relation to multi-collinearity is contingent upon the derivations of certain multiple correlation coefficients.” vs. “Supply determines demand.” (Purdue’s Online Writing Lab.)
9.) Keep your audience in mind. Read through your report, putting yourself in your reader’s shoes. Use appropriate tone, vocabulary and formatting so your audience will understand exactly what you’re communicating.
10.) Peer edit. There’s no way you can catch everything. Ask your most honest, detail-oriented peer to proofread your report. Don’t take offense when he finds mistakes; better him than management.
About the Author: Barbara Carr is Editorial Director and Instructor at TapRooT®. As Editorial Director, she writes and manages content that is relevant and useful and ensures that clients receive valuable post-training information through their newsletters, website and blog. She develops evidence collection and investigative interviewing training and teaches TapRooT® courses to clients. Barb is the co-author of TapRooT® Evidence Collection and Interviewing Techniques to Sharpen Investigation Skills (2017).
(This article originally was published here. Republished with Permission.)
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