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20 - Top & Tail.

How to professionally use tables in your report.

Make it effortless for your reader

Introduce & Summarise your Dot-Point Lists and Tables.

When using dot-point lists or tables, you need to introduce them and possibly give a conclusion.

A common mistake is to not consider your essay through the eyes of the person reading it. You are so familiar with the information in the essay that it all seems to make sense to you. However, think of someone who picks it up to read for the first time. How does it really read to them?

To me, the 2 examples from the technique “Summary Methods” seem a little strange as they just look like they are simply thrown into a section of the essay. Because they are summary methods they can be confusing to read on their own for the first time. This will lose you marks.

You need to use the Technique “Top and Tail”. This helps the summary methods (dot-point lists and tables) make sense. It is very simple.

You need to introduce the dot-point list or table with a sentence or two. This is the “Top.” Here you explain what the list or table is about.

You may also wish to add a conclusion, the “Tail”. Again, with as little as a sentence or two, you comment on, or “conclude” what the dot-point list or table has shown. The tail is optional.

So a better way to write the dot-point list is:

A better way to write the table is:


My Pets

You can see that I have used a “top” in the dot-point list and the table along with a “tail” to conclude the table. Someone reading your essay for the first time will feel that these have been elegantly written even if a lot less words have been used.

This technique should also be used with graphs and diagrams.



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