2

Excuse me for keeping things abstract, I do not want to include more details than necessary.

I'm working on an internship. The internship goal is applying known (published) information and evaluating it in practice. I will conclude the internship by writing a report.

I want to include as much information as necessary in my report for it to be as comprehensive as possible for the reader. This allows the reader to decide if they can skip ahead (instead of me). I do not want to leave details out that may be critical for the readers understanding, even though they seem almost trivial to me, as that makes the report harder to read.

That said, my question:

Is it good form to repeat the core content of the original work in my report, or should I keep it as brief as possible? Is there an accepted middle-ground, or is it not that important as I think?

Of course I will not literally copy-paste content. I will cite the original work and explain exactly what my contribution is(n't), and refer to the original publication.

My fear is that it seems indecent to "copy" findings that someone spend a lot of effort on.

4

When you say "core content" I'm assuming you mean the conclusions and, perhaps, something of the methodology. The "findings" of the work.

If you properly cite the other work, you aren't copying it. You can quote it or paraphrase it accurately, so long as it is cited. But your basic inclination to be complete in this case seems correct. This is especially true if you need to interpret (and justify the interpretation) of the other work(s) in any way. If your readers need to make their own interpretations, things might be more confusing to them as well as being painful to have to find and read the other papers.

I'm assuming, of course, that a reader of your work won't need to actually completely digest the works on which you base yours.

  • It is a matter of degree, @JochemKuijpers. I can't make that judgement, of course. – Buffy Sep 28 '18 at 14:22
0

I want to include as much information as necessary in my report for it to be as comprehensive as possible for the reader

That is what you want. Is it what the organization where you're interning at wants to receive?

This allows the reader to decide if they can skip ahead (instead of me).

Well, you could instead perhaps attach a summary as an appendix instead.

Of course I will not literally copy-paste content.

Why not? Maybe it makes sense to attach a few pages as an appendix. After all, we're not talking about a scientific publication here but some internal report. Of course, there may be copyright issues to consider.

Is it good form to repeat the core content of the original work in my report, or should I keep it as brief as possible? Is there an accepted middle-ground, or is it not that important as I think?

This is much too dependent on the specific context: What kind of report you're writing; the recipients' expectations (see what I wrote above); the length of that content relevant to the length of your own work; the question of whether the original content can be summarized, or whether it's already a summary etc. Personally I would be averse to quoting "too much". I'm not aware of some formalized rule for a middle ground.

  • If copying directly to an appendix is an option, I might as well add the original publication, so sadly that would not have been a solution. In the end I included all the relevant information in a properly structured document (PDF with chapter/section page links), so it is easily navigatable. I think I made the right decision, but as @Buffy correctly pointed out; the choice is very much dependent on the specific circumstances. – Jochem Kuijpers Aug 14 at 19:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.