Document Structure

Before setting out to write a complex document, it is necessary to design and develop the structure of the document. It is not a good idea to just start writing a document until you have some idea of how it will be structured.

The structure of a document may be defined as the nature and extent of the different sections, and the order in which these sections appear.

The order of sections is important. The information that you present to your reader should follow a logical sequence.

Supposing your task is to write a report on risks associated with keeping dinosaur. Here is a suggestion for a document structure:

Risks associated with keeping Dinosaurs
by Leo Isaac



Provide helpful information to the reader about Dinosaur in general. Discuss typical issues that have been reported by people who keep Dinosaur.


Risks Identified

Discuss and provide examples of the range of risks associated with keeping Dinosaur. Provide information that helps the reader to evaluate the potential consequences of these risks.


Risk Control Measures

Provide the reader with information on how to manage and reduce the risks associated with keeping Dinosaur. Make some recommendations on the best strategies to employ to reduce risks.


Dealing with Accidents

Provide the reader with advice on what to do when risk control measures fail and accidents happen.



Provide the reader with a summary of the key points of your document. Your conclusion should bring back the key points from each section of the document. The conclusion is important because it is likely to be the last part of the document that the reader will read.



Provide a bibliography of the books, documents and other resources you have used in writing your document. This section is important. It ensures that you give credit to other authors that have helped you.



Sometimes it is necessary to attach supplementary information that may be useful to the reader, at the end of the document. Statistics, facts and drawings can be added to the Appendices.

If this supplementary information is provided in the body of your document i.e. in sections I - IV above, it may make the reading of the document more difficult, or take too long. By putting choosing to put some complex information in the appendices, the reader does not get bogged down in following the issues and key points which you wish to get across.



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