Monday, October 25, 2010

Visual Aids for Reports

Visual aids help to make a report more attractive and exciting to read. A visual aid helps to express the image that you want to create with the data. This can also enhance or clarify the explanation of the report. Different types of visual aids can be used for the type of you report image you want to create.
Visual aids help the reader understand the case. They are especially helpful when there are multiple witnesses, events or other complex relationships involved.

The visual aids that can be used to make a report more presentable are:

• Time flow diagrams: to show the chronological flow of events.
Interview memoranda constitute the bulk of the investigative report. Upon completion of the investigation, it is necessary for the examiner only to assemble the notes in order, prepare an index, list of exhibits and a synopsis in order to complete the paperwork. Clear and concise language is the hallmark of a good memorandum of interview. Avoid using the third person, that is, “the interviewer” instead of “I”. Also, don’t use stilted or pretentious wording.

• Matrix diagram: to illustrate the association of persons or things.
In addition to the facts of the case, fraud examiners should include several other items in the memorandum of interview that can help to make the visual aid more effective and complete.
Such as:
The witness’s name and contact information.
The investigator’s identity
Evidence provided, such as documents
A statement that the interview was voluntary
The date of the interview
The date the memorandum was prepared
How the interview was conducted (ie. In person or by phone)
If the interview was tape-recorded.

• Charts:
o Column chart: it is a good way to make data visual so that one can clearly see where values differ from one another.
o Line chart: In some cases you don’t just want a direct visual of data, but especially know where values have changed over a time period.
o Circle chart: can be used when you want to see which part each item makes out in total.

• Maps: can be used to illustrate the geographical position where certain events occurred. You can link a series of events and see what they all have in common or where a certain hot spot is.

• Building plans: can be used to illustrate place of events within a building. You can then have clarity of what is where or to see if the witnesses statement given is truthful and in accordance.

• Drawings/sketches: can be used to illustrate position of persons, items where crime took place. A simple drawing can be used to identify certain characteristics that can be useful for explaining the image you want people to understand.

• Video presentation: this can help the people to visualize the occurrences in the format that it happened. Videotape electronically carries both a picture and a sound track. Its features of sound, movement, vivid image, color, and variety hold an audience's attention the way film does. Videotape can be used to program an entire presentation, or to support a speaker's remarks by highlighting certain topics. By using this visual, it helps people to understand the situation with more ease.

• Photos: Actual pictures taken at the scene of the crime can help to put it all together. Photos will visualize what the data is saying and then it is easier to understand and to interpret for oneself.

• Posters: are prepared graphic devices that can be made of a variety of materials and media - photographs, diagrams, graphs, word messages, or a combination of these. Each poster should contain one message or theme. Words, charts, diagrams, and other symbols must be penned in a large enough size to be seen by everyone in the room.

• Organization chart: can be used to illustrate hierarchical relationships, such as department managers and employees within a company. You can organize all your data into headings, subheadings so that it can be easy understandable and neat. The audience will then be able to see the whole report clearly and understand how everything fits in where.

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