Actually beginning to put your ideas on to paper is a way to clarify your thoughts and most people will expect to write several drafts. Don't be hesitant about starting to write, but do make a plan for the section you are writing and have to hand all your notes and research data.
However, it is necessary for all the sections to relate to each other to form a coherent whole. You are writing a single document about 10,000 - 12,000 words long, not a number of essays 1,000 - 1,200 words long. This is a chance to demonstrate your writing technique.
Employers value good communication skills as much as knowledge
The key issues are:
Order of writing
The order in which you write the sections is unlikely to be sequential and the literature review can usually be written at an early stage. A common order which you can adapt to your project is shown below:
The reader will be able to understand and read your project with ease if you have a good style of writing. Most disciplines expect an impersonal style of writing. For example:
However, there is a move towards a more informal style, e.g. in Psychology, so do check this with your supervisor. The usual rules of grammar, spelling and paragraph construction need attention - use the grammar and spell check on the word processor if necessary.
Sentences should not be too long (on average twenty words in length) and avoid long words if a short one is adequate. Abbreviated English, such as 'wasn't' in place of 'was not', is too informal. If you are using abbreviations for technical terms, be sure to write the term in full when you first use it. The library stocks several useful dictionaries of abbreviations.
In written reports, a common problem is lack of depth or a weak argument and faulty analysis. A critical approach or expository style is expected in academic work, using words such as question, challenge, prove, refute, interpret, speculate, argue, analyse, evaluate, integrate, analyse, and differentiate.
This will lead to a better discussion, conclusions and recommendations which are frequently the weakest sections in undergraduate reports. Make sure that information is recorded in the correct section and that you indicate the logical links between the sections. One image of a report is that of separate LEGO bricks to represent each section, which must be joined and built upon.
Editing and reviewing
Word processing means that it is relatively easy to edit a document, but remember your time limits. It is unlikely that you will ever be entirely satisfied with your project. The main points to review in your script are listed here.
If you ask a critical friend to read your work as you approach the final draft, you may be offered helpful advice.
Using a word processor
This is such an important transferable skill that hopefully you have the skills to process your own text. In the production of your report it is invaluable in at least three ways.
Do remember the word processor is only a tool. You still need to think in sentences and paragraphs and write with correct grammar and syntax. The length of paragraph is not determined by the page break made automatically by your computer!
Structuring your report
Good structure improves the flow and can be outlined from an early stage in planning. Sections can be consistently numbered, indented, headed with a different font and so on.
Good presentation is bound to have an initial impact on the examiner. Make use of all the useful functions, such as spelling and grammar check, and listing the contents.