Report Writing we will interview a friend or family member, then use what they
Report Writing we will interview a friend or family member, then use what they tell us to practice the skills of: (1) listening carefully to spoken language; (2) writing accurate narrative reports with witness-provided information; (3) observing witness demeanor and body language; and (4) using appropriate direct and indirect quotations. Begin by asking a friend, family member, or fellow student to let you interview them. Please be considerate and do not put anyone in an embarrassing or stressful situation. This is just for report writing practice. Ask your helper to tell you about some event they experienced. The event could be law enforcement-related, such as a traffic stop, an experience as a victim or witness of a crime, or it could be completely unrelated to law enforcement, such as a family event, a memory of a vacation or life event, or some other memory the person is comfortable sharing with you. Interview your helper, being careful to take notes so that you can write your report. Let the person tell their story. Be sure to ask questions to make sure you have the details you will need for your report. You do not have to use the person’s real name for this practice report, otherwise try to be as factually accurate as possible. This does not need to be long or involved. Instead, focus on accuracy and capturing dialog, including both direct and indirect quotes from your helper as appropriate to the story. As you interview your helper, pay attention to the person’s body language and demeanor while they tell their story. Did the person look happy or sad, or even upset or angry? What did you see or hear that made you believe they were happy or sad or angry? Did the person laugh? Sigh? Yell or shout? Tense up or begin gesturing or waving their hands? At the appropriate points in your report, include what you observed (visually – what you saw, auditorily – what you heard), perhaps through their tone of voice, expression, loudness or softness of speech, or other cues that helped you understand their emotions or even truthfulness as they told you the story. These are observations, not quotations, and are important to include in your report. Please conduct your interview professionally and with kindness. There is no need to re-traumatize anyone. Write down what happened from start to finish (chronological order), making sure to do the following: 1. Include all the information to answer the who, what, when, where why and how questions. Keep your report factual and observation based. 1. Who are you? Who did you interview? (Pseudonyms are fine for this practice report.) Who else was involved in the event? Identify each participant by name (or pseudonym) if possible, otherwise by accurate description. 2. Where did you conduct your interview? Where did the event happen? 3. When did you begin and end the interview? Include the date as well as the times. When did the event occur? 4. What happened? How did it happen? Tell the story that the witness (your helper) told you. e. If there is a “why” the event happened, or some motive, be sure to include that information. 1. Use quotations properly. Use indirect quotes to summarize what your helper said. For important points of the story, use direct quotes. Most likely, your helper will include things other people said or told them. YOU MUST MAKE CLEAR WHO SAID IT. Be sure to properly punctuate all quotations. Remember, direct quotes need quotation marks. Indirect quotes just need correct sentence punctuation, no quotation marks. 2. Write your report in past tense, active voice, using quotations. Write your own actions in 1st person (I asked Suzy what happened), and the helper’s story in 3rd person (He/She/They said it was a sunny day). Note that for DIRECT QUOTATIONS, you must write exactly what the person said, exactly as they said it. Do not change the verb tenses or pronouns that the person used in speaking to you. Put quotation marks around all direct quotes. 3. Carefully proof-read your report. Put it aside, then re-read it. Double-check your punctuation and capitalization, especially the punctuation of your quotations. Check for complete sentences and required information (content). Make sure it is written using first and third person, active voice, in past tense. Please make sure your report is double-spaced so there is room for comments.

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