Check each block for focus

After you have identified the blocks, check to be sure they correspond to your statement of contents in the introduction. If the report is very brief, you can tell very quickly if you have focused on the essential information. In a longer report, check to be sure each block presents a single central idea. Follow this procedure:

  1. Compare the first sentence of the block with the last sentence of the block. They should both relate to a single central idea. For example, if your central idea for the first block is the time and place of a meeting, don't include anything in that block about the agenda for the meeting or how important it is. Focus only on the time and place in that block.

    A block may develop an idea by taking it from the central idea in the first sentence to a conclusion or extension in the last sentence. If so, examine the block to be sure the progression is clear. The reader must be able to follow the progression easily.

    If the first and last sentences do not describe the same central idea or you do not see a clear progression in thought so the last sentence is a conclusion of the progression, look into the block to see where the block went off track. You may need to reorganize the block or remove unrelated information.

  2. Finally, examine the progression of ideas in the block.
    1. Do you use same words for the central idea in the block that you used in the statement of contents?
    2. Do you use transition and order words such as "first," "the next step," and "finally" to establish relationships between central ideas and supporting details?
    3. Do any of the details introduce unrelated subjects?
    4. Is every detail necessary to clarify the central idea?
    5. Does the block contain sufficient detail for the reader to understand the subject presented in the statement of contents?

It is especially important to review the report for continuity. Every fact, statistic, and example within a block should relate to the central idea for that block. Every block should relate to the statement of contents in the introduction. The statement of contents should state your purpose clearly and explicitly. As you review, think about your original goals for writing the report. What, exactly, do you want your reader to know or do after reading your report? Have you included all the information the reader needs to accomplish the goals?



To see an example of a paragraph from a report that does not have focus and a revision that improves it, click on the "Example" button below. The information will appear in a new window. Close the new window when you're finished looking at the examples.



Notify your instructor.

Please fill in the information requested below so your instructor knows you have finished reading this section.

Your instructor's e‑mail address:

Your e‑mail address:

Your name:

If you have a question for the instructor, write your question below before you click on the "I have finished" button.