Sometimes the task to write a report for school may seem overwhelming. Topics may seem too large to cover or there may be so much research on the subject that it is difficult to decide what to use. Starting with a rough draft helps the writer pare down when he wants to write about and organize the information in a logical way. The best part of a rough draft is you can change it as much as you like until you are ready to start the report.


At Shenandoah University, writing teachers advise students not to skip writing an outline to begin the rough draft; it is a very important step. An outline organizes the information with just a phrase or sentence where each paragraph will eventually be written. For example, if you are writing a research paper about dog care, your outline might include a section for grooming, one for nutrition and one for exercise. You may have a fourth section about purebred needs. The introduction and the conclusion are separate. Put a few notes under each heading in your outline regarding specific information that will go into the section. Once you have the sections in the order you think best, you may start composing each section in complete paragraphs.

Just Write

A rough draft is simply a good start. It does not need clean copy, spelling and grammar corrections, or polished editing. Not while it is still in rough form, that is. Writing a rough draft gives the author the opportunity to organize various thoughts on paper. The online library resources at Bellevue remind students that a rough draft is a tool to help a writer get started; therefore, the best practice when writing it is simply to let the words flow and not worry about proofreading and editing while writing the rough draft.

Introduction and Conclusion

Introductions and conclusions are often best left for last. After you have the body of your school report in rough draft form, you are better able to craft an introduction that will spark the reader's interest and lead him into reading the whole paper. The conclusion, on the other hand, sums everything up. The conclusion of the paper should not introduce any new information, but rather reiterates the most important point or points made in the school report. Ideally, a conclusion leaves the reader with a good impression.

Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is the main subject of your report. For example, in a report about dogs and dog care, the thesis statement might be, "Dogs require attention, love and care from their owners." There is a lot of detail that may be covered under this general statement. A thesis statement is often placed at the end of the introduction and once again at the beginning of the conclusion. A rough draft should have a thesis statement, but while brainstorming and organizing your rough draft, you may want to change the thesis statement depending upon what your research turns up. This is perfectly acceptable; the purpose of a rough draft is to help writers figure out what they want to say.