Practical Project: Quality of Writing

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UNIT 4 - ⇑ The Computing Practical Project ⇑

← User Manual Quality of Writing Appraisal →


Having written this text book, I've come to discover that Quality of Writing is something that people find very important. If it isn't well written and presented then you are going to find it very hard to read and you probably wouldn't recommend it to your friends. It's exactly the same with your coursework, but if you don't present your work very well then you are going to lose marks and get your teacher very cross. Overall this section is only worth 3 marks, but these are also the 3 easiest marks in the entire Unit. If you follow the guidelines below then you are almost guaranteed to get them.

Eye have a spelling chequer,
It came with my Pea Sea.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss Steaks I can knot sea.

Eye strike the quays and type a whirred
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am write oar wrong
It tells me straight a weigh.

Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your shore real glad two no.
Its vary polished in its weigh.
My chequer tolled me sew.

A chequer is a bless thing,
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right all stiles of righting,
And aides me when eye rime.

Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed too bee a joule.
The chequer pours o'er every word
Two cheque sum spelling rule.

The original version of this poem was written by Jerrold H. Zar in 1992. An unsophisticated spell checker will find little or no fault with this poem because it checks words in isolation. A more sophisticated spell checker will make use of a language model to consider the context in which a word occurs.


Use a Word Processor[edit]

This seems pretty obvious. A lot of schools/colleges use Microsoft Office and Word, check to see if you can get a cheap copy of that. Alternatively you can download OpenOffice for free! It does everything you will need to write a top marks report. If you want to be really clever and write something in LaTeX then feel free, but it's probably not worth the effort right now.

Use a footer[edit]

You get given marks for having footers on your work. This needs to include the following:

Your Name | The title of the Project | The page number
P Kemp | My Amazing Fruit Stall Database | 12/97

Check your Spelling and Grammar[edit]

This is pretty obvious and should be easy enough to do as spelling mistakes are normally highlighted with little red squiggly lines. However, as you can see to the right there are some errors that your spell checker can't pick up. You have to proof read it!

Proof read[edit]

Before every draft you hand in, and especially before your final deadline, proof read your work. This means sitting down and reading through everything you have written. You will be amazed at how many little mistakes you made without realising it. Even better, get a friend or member of your family to read it. If they can understand it then you are sure that the examiner will be able to understand it and you will get all the marks that you deserve.

DO NOT rely on your teacher to proof read your work, they have a lot to mark and might get annoyed with you. It is far better to ask them to give you ideas on how to improve your technical work than asking them to explain the difference between 'they're', 'there' and 'their'!

Use Headings NOT Bold and Underline[edit]

When students are in years 7 and 8 they have great fun with word art and making their titles look very fancy. You don't get any marks for having fancy titles, in fact using them could make you lose marks.

If you have never used Heading styles before, now is the time to learn. By using styles such as Heading 1 and Heading 2 it will allow you to automatically create a table of contents! Imagine that, no need to count the page numbers.

You need a contents page for people to find their way around your work

Use a contents page[edit]

It is essential that the marker can navigate their way through your report. To help them with this we are going to add a table of contents at the front of the document. Doing this manually can take a long time, but if you use headings then your can automate the entire process. Remember if you change any text you will need to update your contents page to show the new layout. The last thing you should do before printing is to update the contents page!

Look at the videos above to see how it is done.

Widows and Orphans[edit]

A very common mistake when writing reports is to mess up the layout. This can involve having headings at the bottom of the page and the text accompanying that text on the next page (Widow) or having the text slipping onto the next page (Orphan). This makes it very hard to read.

Widow end of paragraph at the top of a page:

Page 1 Page 2
xxxxx xxx xxxxx. Xxx x xxxxxx xxx a widowed line.
xxxx xx xxxxx xx xxxxxxxxx, xxx xx
xxxxx, x xxxx xxxxxxxx xxx xxxxxx. Xxx xxxx xx xxxxx x xxxxx xxxxx xx x
Xxxx xx xx xxxx xxxx xxxxxxx xx xx xxxxx, x xxxx xxxxx. Xxxx xxxxxx xxx

Orphan line of paragraph at the bottom of a page:

Page 1 Page 2
xx xxxxxxxxx xx xxxx xxx. Xxx xxxx xxxx, xxxx xx xxxxxxxxx xxxx xxx
xxxxx xx xxxxxx xx xxxxxxxxxx, xxx xxxxxxxxx xx x xxxx xxxxx xx xxxxx.
xx xxxxxx xx xxxxxxx xxxx xx xxxxx. Xxx xxx xx xxxxx x xxxxx xxxxx xx x
xxxx xx. Xxxxx xx xxxxxxxx, xxx xx.
An orphan line xx x xxxxx, xxxxxxx xxxxx, x xxxx xxxxx, xxxx xxxxx xxx

To make sure that your text is nice and tidy you need to make sure that if you have a Widowed header, you make sure that it starts off on the next page. You can do this by using lots of carriage returns, but an easier and tidier way is to use page breaks. You may not have used these before, they are a great way of making sure that everything is well laid out.

First of all find the button. This shows us the formatting of the page.

Next find a heading that you want to switch to the next page, put the cursor in the front of the title and press "CTRL+Enter"

A page break should appear and things should be a little neater.

Make sure your screenshots are clear[edit]

So your project works and you have a lot of screen shots to show that your testing works. However the screenshots are so small that you can't read the data entered or the error messages. This means you are going to lose marks as your evidence of testing doesn't show any testing! Make sure that you crop unneeded parts of the screen out of your images. Use the crop button.