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Report Writing
Organising and numbering your report

Using headings in your report

Headings should be clearly, logically and accurately labelled since they reveal the organisation of the report and permit quick reference to specific information. They also make the report easy to read.

Headings should be specific and descriptive NOT vague and general (Weaver & Weaver, 1977). Sometimes a main heading will be general but the specificity is developed through subheadings. Given the need for specificity, headings would tend to be more like an abbreviated sentence rather than a single word. A good rule of thumb is that the heading should be "long enough to be an inclusive label but short enough to be immediately clear" (Weaver & Weaver, 1977: 84). You should also try to make headings grammatically and logically consistent; for example, if your main heading was

Types Of Schemas

and your subheadings under this section were:

Schemas for scenes
Schemas for events
Schemas for stories
Problems and their schemas

it would be much better to change the final subheading to

Schemas for problems

so that consistency in your headings is maintained.

Also avoid using headings that are catchy rather than informative; for example, the following subheadings, although catchy and cute, detract from the serious informative intent of the following report.

4. Key products and services of the McDonald's corporation

The following outline of McDonald's key products and services will thoroughly examine all aspects of consumer buyer behaviour …..


4.1 The Big Mac: two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun!

The Big Mac hamburger brand was introduced to the McDonalds's product range in 1968 and has worldwide recognition. The longevity, popularity and recognisability of this product impact on consumer buying behaviour in several ways…..

4.2 McFlurry: just like a snowstorm in your mouth!

The McFlurry is a relatively new item to the McDonald's product range and as such it is relevant to analyse several different aspects of consumer buyer behaviour such as …..

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